Real Names and Photos

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Real Names and Photos

I put up some Profile Expectations a few days ago, and have been trying to encourage people to read them and follow them, but I thought it might be helpful to have a place to talk about it a bit more, since they are different from your average forum rules.

Please read the expectations before you comment on this post.

I know a lot of people don't like posting a real photo or real name, or are uncomfortable with the idea. We aren't trying to make you uncomfortable or be difficult: we are willing for people to use a pseudonym if they want to, and we want to hear any concerns you may have over any of the expectations. But at the same time, Jordan and I have thought through the expectations we have, and feel like there are good reasons for having them.

The reason behind using real names and photos is that we're trying to give the forums and community the feeling of real people having a conversation, rather than, say, a flower named "blue giraffe" talking to a logo. I know a lot of forums don't require this kind of commitment, but we really want to create a place where people respect and care for each other, which is much more likely when people seem like people.

Also, with all the struggles these days with copyright and intellectual property, the more real you seem to people, the less likely they are to treat you in a way you don't like. As we grow this site and have more designers and contributors, we want them to be seen as real people whose designs matter and should be treated with respect. You'd be surprised at what a simple change like using a photo and real name can do.

You can already see this in action here. A lot of sites don't have active participation from their web developer. But we made the conscious decision that Jordan should be a real person in the community, not just because he does so much behind the scenes, but because we will be relying on the community to help support the work he does here, and that is much more likely if you know his name, have seen his face, and had a conversation with him. Already, I'm impressed with the way people are thankful for all his work. That wouldn't be true if he was just another faceless developer.

Of course, all this doesn't mean that you have to go by your "real" name. As long as you create a pseudonym that sounds real, we'll take it. We aren't doing background checks on people to be sure they are telling the truth. We just want them to sound like people. In fact, I don't use my last name much online. Not because I'm particularly worried about it (my last name is Magnuson, same as Jordan), but because I've always liked my middle name (Lerin), and have decided to use it more often.

The idea with the real names and photos isn't necessarily to be truthful (although I like to think that I'm really talking to the person in the photo), but to at least give us a real-seeming person to connect to. Online identities will always be constructs, to some extent, but it's still much easier to connect with a photo named "Stephanie Rose" than to a to a flower named "blue giraffe" -- even if "Stephanie" is your grandmother's name, "Rose" is your favorite flower, and the photo is of one of your ancestors who immigrated from Scotland 100 years ago.

I understand if you still have reservations about posting either a name or a photo, but please contact me, either in this forum, or by email ([email protected]), letting me know that you at least have read the expectations. Jordan and I have spent a lot of time and effort building this place and it's nice to think that the things we write are at least being considered.

So what do you think? Are the guidelines helpful, or not? Does the reasoning make sense to you? If you have some better ideas for profile guidelines, please share them! At the end of the day, we're just trying to help Pixel Scrapper become the kind of community you want to spend time in smiley .


I agree with you Marisa.
I was just reading the Boo Contest and the people with actual profile pics gave me a better feeling for the stories being told.
I myself was very reluctant to show my pic because of identity theft (and I'm always behind the camera anyway), but I accepted the expectations of this site and added my pic.
If people are worried, maybe they could show a side profile, or transform their pic into black and white, or a line drawing, or use some other filter/effect to alter their pic.

Maybe the forum should be a closed one where to view the posts you need to be logged in. This would help people's privacy concerns. Currently, doing a google search does bring up peoples posts.

I must admit, I don't see the problem in connection to "being yourself" on line. I know some people prefer to be under cover and hide themselves, but I mean, here? No, no, no... we are having such a nice family feeling going on, and I personally agree with your point about knowing who you are in contact with. As far as I can see, no one on this site has anything to be ashamed of smiley) Just remember - you are among friends here!


Hm hm.... when asking for truthfulness, I better tell that my profile picture is about 10 years old. But I promise it is very much how I still look (add a wrinkle or two and a few grey hairs).

Lórien is not my real name either - but my friends, the people on the job I am in at this moment and even my husband call me Lórien or just Ló, or Lozinha - inha is the sufix for "little" in portuguese. Only my relatives and ppl sending spam call me with my real name.

Why? Because I never really felt connected with it, so I had nicks before the internet - Lórien is the one thats lasting longer because I met my husband and those who today are my best friends ten years ago under this nick, and, as they know I don´t like my real name they keep calling me so. Also, all things related with crafts I sign as Lórien or Lórien Rezende, so its almost an artistic name smiley. It fits me better like the previous one XD

Edit: My husband relatives don´t even know my register name smiley

I myself was very reluctant to show my pic because of identity theft (and I'm always behind the camera anyway), but I accepted the expectations of this site and added my pic.
If people are worried, maybe they could show a side profile, or transform their pic into black and white, or a line drawing, or use some other filter/effect to alter their pic.

Maybe the forum should be a closed one where to view the posts you need to be logged in. This would help people's privacy concerns. Currently, doing a google search does bring up peoples posts.

Thank you for explaining that, Liz... That was one of the reasons why I was concerned. I was almost the victim of identity theft. Was one of the reasons my family & I switched to a PO Box & asked all our utility & credit card companies to password-protect our accounts. It was a very scary time for me. My other concern was about the potential for harassment &/or spam. If the stuff in this forum can be brought via google, that concerns me. I do my very best to protect my computer & family from spam, junk mail, viruses, trojans, etc.

And Lizanne is short for Elizabeth Anne. I just found it easy to combine the two & don't really like being called Liz (which people automatically do to me unless I give them a nickname). I haven't used a fake name or pseudonym at all. And yes, I really am camera shy. I like taking pictures, but I don't like being the subject. Go figure. LOL

I support your rules and guidelines. I think it's an important part of this website's success as a community.

My real name is Merry Sunny Faith, and I have no problem using it - but I am known by my middle name at work, and with friends. I only use my first name on legal documents, when required. So I am "Sunny" to everyone. I think it is important to relate to each other as truthfully and kindly as we possibly can. As my brother always says, "Keep it Real".

Keeping it real,

If you already have facebook or other social media sites, it is basically the same thing. I prefer to talk to a person with a face too. I don't think the name matters so much, but I do like to see you!

The only difference with FB... is that ALL of that personal info even your ful name is private ONLY to your friends if you manage your settings correctly. You won't find any of my FB stuff in a google search. Only forums I was or am in or (X-husband related) which ironically surprised me, but I guess the reality of life is that all of that information is public knowledge. It just used to be if someone wanted to find it that they had to go to the town it happened, and know enough about you already to do that. BUT, now-a-days all of that is easily accessible online I guess since everything about my "past" life from 15+ years ago is ALL over the internet. Who else besides court documents, tax documents, or credit card companies would KNOW those things about me to share???

All that being said, I can respect people not wanting to share their names and faces but still want to be involved online. I have friends both female and male that were abused in their past and scared of a pin dropping. It's hard to get them to come out of their shell and so I understand why they wouldn't want the abuser being able to find them. I am glad Marisa has shared a way for people to let her know if they want to participate and how they can work around it to help them.

But I told my hubby for the first time in a couple years that I may have found a digital sb community to make friends with again. I was hurt a little at a few sites in the past, and so I am a little gun-shy. I think I feel so comfortable here because of the standards that Marisa & Jordan have set for everyone. It makes me feel a little more trusting, I guess if I could call it that; not naive, but really open to trying again. smiley

PS It would be nice if the forum posts could be hidden from google searches, especially since our full names are shown on the posts. For ex: in about 48 hours this post will be there for the whole world to see.... smiley

@Sunny what a great name you have! Its great!

As a new person to the forum, but having been involved in blogging for some time, I think it is important to put a face and a name together. If you are trying to build a community of individuals, you need to relate to them. It is possible to do without photo and name, but you are easier to relate to if you can "see" who you are communicating with.

we are having such a nice family feeling going on, and I personally agree with your point about knowing who you are in contact with.

I agree with Trine - there IS a family atmosphere on here...I haven't felt so instantly part of an online community since I was on the TTC forums five years ago (and some of those lovely ladies are still my online friends). Love it! Love the site! I have NO PROBLEM with people seeing and getting to know the real me.


Even being distant from each other we can be pixel friends - or even pixel family! Real pictures help to connect people to what they say! And the pictures each user deceide to upload are so unique... I really enjoy it!

I'm also glad you are okay with nicknames! smiley I'm cautious about online privacy for a couple reasons. One is that I've been burned in the past by a family member who kind of lurked on my blog & other social media and then used it to attack me. The other is that I'm a teacher, and I want to make my real name as little searchable as possible. I like my students and don't have anything to hide, but I still would prefer to keep my private life my own, you know?

But I definitely appreciate using real names or ones that sound like "people" versus handles. It definitely makes someone that much more real!

Just adding to the choir of approval - I nearly always use an old online pseudonym online, but it's more out of habit/for consistency than anything else now. Names/nicknames are less of an issue for me personally (because I've known people for yeeaars by their screennames!), but the actual photo rule here is having a MUCH bigger impact than I'd initially expected. While, sure, I *can* build associations with Random Cartoon Character or Glittery Gif Image, it definitely feels like less of a real person. This place feels a lot more "real" to me because of the photos. smiley

And I think it's also, consciously or not, helping us write as real people, too, in sentences and actual thoughts (instead of three-word idle comments and abbreviations) knowing our smiling face will be "saying" it!

I have to confess that I've never spent much time in forums. Largely because I find them very confusing and alienating. So when Jordan said we had to have forums, I was a little worried. But we've taken steps to try and make the forums look as simple and clean as we can, and also in making them friendlies with our guidelines. And it's at least worked for me! I enjoy keeping up with the forums, and making new friends! I never imagined I would actually make friends on the internet! Everyone is doing such a good job sharing their thoughts! Thanks!

the name i use here is actually the name of my blog. it contains my real name plus the initials of my middle names and family name so i hope that is ok even if it is not my full last name. my picture is something i use all the time so i have it on my computer. i'm wondering if i should change it to a full faced one?

It's up to you Peggy!

I too was nervous to use my full name and pic too cuz I've actually had my identity stolen, although it was in real life by someone I knew and foolishly trusted, but still it was scary... but then I realiszed that my profile here only says and shows pretty much stuff that's already out there for the world to see... though I keep looking for my usual screenname (which also happens to be my actual nickname) and surprising myself when I see Sarah I like the idea of the photos being of actual people for all the reasons everyone else mentioned... I've only ever been active in one forum back in the early 2000's and it was a Nick Carter Forum (He's a backstreet boy if you don't know who he is) they helped folks legally download interviews and performances that had previously aired on TV or the internet... Youtube wasn't the giant it is now back then... but I lost interest and as you all mentioned... their names were weird screen names and they didn't seem like real people with their pictures of their favorite Backstreet Boy as their personal image... I like that this forum seems to nurture the family vibe that others have mentioned... I feel like I could build relationships, long lasting relationships, here.

And except for Shawna's point about Google searches I see no reason not to follow your guidelines... my name and picture are already public on Facebook.

my names are very common anyway, so I don't mind too much, but I like that we aren't forced to use real info, and thwt we didnt have to provide exact locations,numbers, addresses, etc

I agree, Jess. I have used a pseudonym elsewhere, but I got confused with too many email accounts! smiley

I agree with you Marisa. I think this is one of the ideas you and Jordan came up with in keeping the site real and friendly. The whole site is Great because of all of your expectations. I think I have always used my photo on all forums for the same reasons and it makes me feel more real when making comments etc. when I see a real photo of other member's faces. You both are really pushing towards a better and better site and I believe it will be the best site out there in this type of site. What am I saying It is already the Best site I've seen out there.

I've always wanted to tell you, Marisa every time I see something you have shared and glance at your photo that the smile on your face is so real and just shines through the computer and makes it seem like you are right here.

I know that my last name seems fake, but it is real. It's a very common Irish last name, most places in the US, the name has an added s, but that is incorrect, but that happened to a lot of names when people moved from different countries way back when, and names would get spelled the way they were pronounced, and accents made it sound different than it was, etc. A lot people being illiterate back then didn't know to correct the mistake. (At least that is what I have read). lol

Besides all of your great designs, tuts, etc, I feel that your Profile Expectations are why this site is so amazing.

What I've noticed to be one of the biggest pluses to this that rude, mean or
critical to anyone else. What we find here is a tremendous amount of support. Those learning something new
that post and ask for some constructive criticism about what is right with their item and where changes could be
made to make it even better...get that help...and very good help and advice along with plenty of supportive comments!

Having names and faces makes it feel like we're sitting across a table from each other having some coffee or tea,
and just having a normal conversation with each other. That's why we all love coming here.

I'm thrilled to be part of this forum and am looking forward to watching it keep growing and evolving! smiley

~Hugs To All~ Kathie smiley

I agree, Marisa, about some of the forums being alienating and hard to navigate. I'm not one to want to spend a lot of time figuring out how to navigate a forum, so your and Jordan's design sense for this forum is very much appreciated.

I understand your reaching out to see other's reactions, but I also think it is your creation and vision and you can make a reasonable request of people to share a bit of who they are with a photo and at least a real sounding name. Connection is key and I think you have illustrated your reasons behind this beautifully.

I agree that some of the forums seem impersonal and alienating, I think one of the best things about the Pixel Scrapper community is that we each have a name and a face... not a screen name and preset icons. And the forums are easy to navigate. I love feeling connected to everyone in this community, checking in every day is one of my favorite things. smiley

I understand the rules and I will follow them. The hardest thing is that I have a disease that disfiquires my skin and that is why I use my own artwork for an icon. I have blood cancer (specifically ITP) and that has a devastating effect on my own appearance. In turn, I am very shy about how I look because people are crewel and that is reality. I will post an old photo of what I look like when I first got blood cancer. I hope that people will understand not everyone in this world still has the looks to be out in public like the rules demand? I would rather let my artwork and layout speak for who I am. If that is possible?

Oh just a quick request, I don't really want sympathy for my disease what I want is to celebrate the life that I do have now and what is left. Always remembering better times and bright happy memories for me and my family. Thanks.

Hi Sharon. Thanks for understanding our rules. I know there are lots of reasons why people may not want to share their personal photo. Thanks for finding a way for it to work for you. We do encourage people who are uncomfortable sharing their photo for whatever reason, to use a stand in. Flickr has great options available for you to use. Here's a link right to female portraits.

Well, if you except this image that I posted I am so glad! I want to learn from the site so much because my Photoshop skills are a little rusty. I just want to learn from others and maybe make some work of my own to post and have critiqued by others. Thanks for everything!

This avatar is good to go Sharon, don´t worry. smiley

That is wonderful! Now it is time to create more layouts! (-:

I think it is a nice idea to have a pic. Mine is a few years old now but I hope it is ok.