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Gravatars- “Gimmick” Or “Gimmie Gimmie”?

November 23rd, 2007 by Andrew Cochrane


If you read my treatise on the need for centralized, confirmable identities on the Internet, then you will see where this is going, so bear with me or skip to the end because there is a question there for you to answer. I have been keeping an eye on Gravatar (globaly recognized avatars) for a while now; this is a service of Automattic, the people who bring us WordPress and Akismet spam protection. The basic idea is that you go to their site, register, upload an image, and then any Gravatar enabled website will allow you to comment without registering. They give you an identity (and avatar image) that easily follows you wherever you go, and one that you can update quickly and easily. If you want to change your name, image, or email, you only need do it in one place, and it will automatically change next to every single comment you have left under that ID.

Pretty simple, pretty promising future. With the full backing of Automattic and WordPress.com, and with integration with MovableType, TextPattern, Expression Engine, PMachine, Nucleus, YACS, Blojsom, Blogger, LiveJournal, PHP, PERL, ColdFusion, and Java, the only thing holding this back is user base (as in, they need more users). I think they should join with OpenID and combine their services, they are both great and we need more people with globally applied identities. I actually read this quote on the Gravatar site just now and wish I had seen it when I was writing my previously mentioned video comments rant:

The vast majority of content you come across on the web will still be near-anonymous even though it may have a name attached. Without knowing the author behind the words, the words cannot be trusted… Gravatar aims to put a face behind the name. This is the beginning of trust. In the future, Gravatar will be a way to establish trust between producers and consumers on the internet.

Amen. So here is the question I pose to you, dear readers: should we add Gravatar support to this blog? If you want to see what such an enabled site looks like, check out Matt Mullenweg’s announcement that he turned it on for his own site. I feel like it could add a nice touch to our site, but I also realize that not a lot of people use it yet, so it may be too early to consider turning it on. But I thought I would ask, because, well, because you have to look at this thing too, you know!


3 Responses to “Gravatars- “Gimmick” Or “Gimmie Gimmie”?”

  1. The AV Club Blog » Blog Archive » Gravatars Expand Beyond Comments:

    [...] forays into other parts of the world of information that exists outside and throughout the web. As I said earlier, I would love to have Gravatars working hand in hand with OpenID to integrate more and more [...]

  2. Updating… Updating…. To Wordpress 2.5! | The AV Club Blog

    [...] The first is the addition of Gravatars, if you don’t have one, consider getting one. I posted here that we might add this functionality, and now, well, now we have. If you want your comment to have [...]

  3. Harrison Garnsey