Avatars in a forum are an automatic image that are shown to the left of every single post that you create. Because this avatar can appear hundreds, if not thousands, of times in the forum, we have guidelines that apply to avatar images.
LisaShea Discussion and Parakeet Forum
Remember, avatars are designed to let you "give personality" to your forum posts. This means it should be an image of you (if you are over 18), of your parakeets, or of something related to you. It is not meant to be a promotion.
If you want to show people an image once, then it is valid in a post. Once you put it into your avatar, people "tune it out" after the second and third time they see it. By the hundredth time they see it, it is repetitive imagery that solely serves to slow their page drawing speed.
No Copyrighted Images
Images MUST be taken by you and owned by you. Copyright has nothing to do with a "C" with a circle around it. Copyright means ownership. If Joe Smith takes a picture of a bird, he is the owner of that bird - and he automatically has the copyright on it. He doesn't have to put a C with a circle around it on or near the image to make that legal. You must have personally have taken the images you are showing - or you must personally know that person (for example your brother who took a picture of you) and have his permission.
No Gigantic Images - Display Size
Many of our visitors to our forum are running on old computers with a 640 x 480 display size. This means they only have 640 pixels wide of space to see things. If you load an avatar that is 500 pixels wide, you have taken up most of their screen with your avatar! They can no longer really read any text. Also, because our forums use tables, your post in a thread has now altered the *entire* thread layout so that all text in the entire thread is squashed over into the remaining few pixels on the right.
We state clearly in the avatar image load area:
"Please keep any custom avatars at or below 100 x 100 pixels. Thanks! "
While we realize that many members with multiple keets need a slightly larger image size to be able to show all of their keets clearly, we have a hard upper limit of size at 320 wide by 240 high. This is HALF of the screen width and height on a standard browser window!! Any larger than that would be unfairly making those people have an impossible time reading the text they came to our forum to read.
Making an Image Smaller
The easy way to alter an image is to use Paint which comes with pretty much every PC.
Click on Start - Programs - Accessories - Paint
Click on File - Open and browse to find your image
Click on Image - Stretch. Set both the height and width to 50% (i.e. half). Voila! Your image is half as big!
SAVE and you are all set!
No Gigantic Images - File Size
When a user visits our forum, their browser on their home machine must first download the text of our browser page. That file size is about 40k. Then their browser has to begin downloading all images they find on that page - including your avatar signature. If your avatar is 200k, it could take them 5 times as long to sit there, waiting for your pretty image to download, as they would have waited just to read the forum words! Please try to keep your image under 80k. There are MANY free "image compressors" out there on the web that allow the image to *look* the same - but keep the actual, physical *file size* small. If this concept is confusing to you, ask in the forum and we can try to explain it to you.
Remember, the main aim of these forums is communication and sharing of information. We want to provide this information as quickly and easily as we can to our visitors. With your help, we can achieve that goal!
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