Pet Peeve of the Day

I feel like I’m turning into some cranky old person who keeps yelling at the young kids to get off the lawn.  But, seriously.  There are just some things that annoy me.  And they seem to motivate me to write more than the random boring things I see each day.

So, my issue of the day: Profile photos on forums or blogs

I have two issues related to this.  One, the person who continually changes their profile photo and two, more annoyingly, when two users have the same profile photo.

Humans are visual and I will often associate a poster with their profile photo.  Actually, far more than I do with their user name.

Now, sometimes it’s pretty obvious that a poster isn’t using a photo of themselves.  That’s fine.

But I like consistency.  I like to be able to scan a thread of comments and skim past comments by the people I’ve come to recognize as more annoying than helpful or stop on ones by people I find particularly astute.  Easiest done when they keep a consistent profile photo.

And when it’s unique to them.

What prompted me to make this post is something that happened on one of the forums I read regularly.

A user joined, I assume somewhat recently because I don’t remember them from before, and used the exact same profile photo of an existing long-time user.  It took me a day or two to realize that, yes, this was in fact a different user.  That was confirmed when both of them finally posted in the same thread.  (Freaky, let me tell you.)

I figured, well, they must have the same taste or something.  It’s not exactly a common photo we’re talking about, but it could happen.

And then today that user went and changed their profile picture to the picture of another long-time user of the forum who posts there regularly.  I can’t remember the other person’s user name, but I know I’ve seen that picture many times before.


Or creepiness?

The poster was already on my radar as problematic.  Now all my little spidey senses are tingling and I wonder if they’re putting one over on everyone or something.

(Worse.  This particular site seems to have no problem letting posters change their user names at whim, too.  Stop reading the posts for a week and suddenly three people are calling themselves something completely new, have deleted half their posts, and are picking fights over whatever it was that caused them to do that.  So, is this particular poster really a new user?  Who knows.  It’s annoying, whatever’s going on there.)

So, don’t do that.  If you’re going to post a photo that isn’t you either choose one that’s so obviously not you and so derivative that no one even tries to associate it with you or choose one that’s unique and consistent and you’re willing to live with for a long time.

Please.  For us old cranky people who can’t handle more drama in our lives.  (Says the person who is still on the young side of middle-aged but feels like the internet takes a year of my life every month I interact with it…)

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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