Personalizing the Community

For commenters:

If you’ve noticed that some folks, in fact many folks that post comments on this blog or others have cute custom pictures next to their names, but never knew where they came from, this post is for you.

This blog is a WordPress self-hosted website. It, like others, uses the Gravatar system, allowing you to associate a picture of your choice with your email address, or even multiple email addresses.

If you visit the Gravatar website, you can quickly setup whatever email address you like to use for commenting and associate your picture to it.

You can also add more email addresses to your account, and more pictures, and set different pictures to different addresses, and yada yada.

Gravatar is tied in not only to self-hosted WordPress, but also is a part of the blog community, and I also believe that other blogging platforms and software styles can incorporate it into their comments using addons/plugins.

So what this means for you is, if you comment on blogs anywhere, chances are they request you to enter your email address, and mention that it will not be displayed in your comment. This is true. The blog software takes your email address, bounces it against Gravatar and checks to see if you have a picture. If so, it grabs it and puts it next to your comment.

Viola! Your comment, personalized!

(Yes, I said viola on purpose. It’s a lovely stringed instrument, well worth my enthusiasm. What?)

I wanted to let you know, because more and more I see people with pictures, but I never really see anyone explaining where they come from. And don’t we all love to display our interests or personality when we chat with each other? I know I enjoy seeing that grinning bear face next to MY comments!

So please, take the time to visit Gravatar and set a picture. It’ll be easy, and lots of fun. Plus, I’ll quickly learn to recognise you by your picture.

I LIKE seeing your pictures!

For bloggers:

If you happen to BE a blogger who uses WordPress, check your Discussion settings, and you’ll see that there is an area for Avatars. If you turn that on, it will enable the Gravatar system. Under that are different options for what to display if the person does NOT have a personalized picture already set up. I had previously been using the default called “Wavatar”, which puts a silly picture next to a person’s name based on their email address. That’s what it means by ‘generated’, it determines what generic picture to use by the email address, so that person always gets the same one. I just changed mine to a new option, “Blank”. So, if someone doesn’t have their own picture, then they won’t have any at all. I think that will work better. 

Other blogging platforms, like I said, can add Gravatars using addons or plugins. You’re smart folks, so I won’t insult you by telling you where to go to get neat stuff for your blog. I’m just mentioning what to look for if you haven’t gone searching for it before.

Also, I heartily encourage you, if you have ANY control over it, to allow commenters to place comments to your posts by their name and URL, followed by whatever security you use, like Captcha. I know some blogs require special accounts to place comments, and I’ll tell you, half of those error out for me, so I just don’t comment. I’ve tried, and especially from work, the special accounts hang up. I’ve never had a problem leaving comments anyplace that uses the Name/URL system, though. Just a word to the wise. You DO want people to tell you they loved your post, right?

26 thoughts on “Personalizing the Community

  1. Hey Thanks for this! I only wish now that would get on the ball and allow gravatar images. At least in the meantime, I changed my FavIcon to also use my gravatar.


  2. Minor point of trivia. My Gravatar is a piece of art I made for myself on the Puzzle Pirates forums.

    …it looks better over there, as it’s about 9 times bigger.

    But yeah, that’s sort of become my online visual ID. Either that or my Dwarf Tinkerer sketch that I use on Facebook and a few other places. It’s interesting how small and subtle these things are, yet how much they help people make quick identification of persons online.


    • Lord knows, when I see that picture, I know that I’ve been Teshed in an inappropriate way. Err, appropriate way.

      In other news, I went out and got Death Race 2 from Redbox rental over lunch. I hear it’s pretty fun… and I had some beer left from last night…


  3. And violin, there it should be!

    Hopping on the bandwagon. Sir Bear, multiple Internet-Bacons for you! I never knew about the gravatars either!

    Thanks for the tip


  4. Since we are talking about site related stuff – what hosting company do you use? I’m looking around for a place to put a self-hosted site up.



    • We use Godaddy, and let me be the first to rush to tell you, FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T USE GODADDY!!!!!

      They suck. Damn, do they suck. We hate them, hates, my precious.

      But I was stupid enough to extend our contract for another year starting about a week before the last time we were hacked because of their lack of security on the backend.


      • Gah! I’m glad for the heads up. I just got my domain a few months ago, but haven’t actually put anything on the site so far. I’ll have to look around and see what I can come up with.


      • I believe that Matticus has spoken very highly of his website host, but I can’t recall who that was exactly. You might want to shoot him an email though.


      • I read tentblogger as a part of my daily diet of procrastination. He had a post for the 20 top blog hosting sites (in his opinion). Here it is:

        I still don’t know who I want to go with. I actually have two reasons for doing it though. First, my work needs a website, and I’m thinking that at wordpress theme, self-hosted site is the way to go at the moment. We are small, and strapped for cash.

        Secondly, I want to have a personal self-hosted site as well. But, there is the catch, I would like to make a little $$$ out of it. We are trying to get out of debt, and the extra cash would come in handy for it. And, since every spare dime is going to snowball the debt we have *cough/tydaveramseycough*, I don’t have the money for the ipad that I’ve been lusting after. >.>

        Oh well. We’ll see what happens.



  5. oooh … *hops onto wagon with the band* …. I tried to do this before, but it seemed complicated then. I guess its easy when you know how 😛

    In theory, mine is my new Goblin Shammy, if it works 😉


  6. The viola is a lovely instrument, but you have to be careful substituting it for “voilà”. If the misspelling remains French, it means something quite different.

    Setting up a Gravatar has been lurking near the bottom of my priority list for a while. I wonder if it’s retroactive in the default WordPress configuration.


    • Didn’t you used to have that on my blogger website years ago? I swear I remember you linking to me your wintersaber kitty mount. Man, can you believe how long it’s been since I was on blogspot? That’s crazy.


      • I started playing in December of 2006. I got the Wintersaber mount right about the same time the BC came out. So, yeah… You’ve been doing it a LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG time. 🙂 I’m not saying your old, just ooolllldddeeerrrr.




  7. *jumps on the bandwagon* 😛

    I knew about gravatars, but never bothered to look up where to get them. Thanks for the info and links, dude.


  8. Surprised snail is…surprised! Though it looks more like he’s winking at shrunk to this size;)

    I love gravatars. I first came across this on Shamus Young’s blog (which all self respecting gaming nerds must read!) and was very impressed at how it made random images for people who hadn’t chosen one. Figuring out how that worked actually taught me a fair bit about PHP.


  9. Hi BBB,

    Here’s my Gravatar. It’s a modification of the guild tabard and the bronze dragon representing my raid team. My guild names the raid teams after the dragonflights. I hope you like it 🙂



Comments are closed.