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Little Anonymous Blue Avatars

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So I've a question. I was totally stroking my own ego by checking, "Who's reading me" and I noticed that all these little anonymous blue avatars keep popping up. No name, no identifying feature, no profile.
Is this the mods? Is that how they are identified?
Not paranoid, just wondering....... : )

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  1. It's just people who haven't uploaded an avatar. Hover over one and the user's screen name will appear. Click on it and you'll go to the person's profile page.

    8 Replies
    1. re: alanbarnes

      no, she's saying there are NO names associated with them. all my little blue avatars have names.

      1. re: mariacarmen

        'zackly. I have exactly ONE that shows a name; the rest appear to prefer to remain unknown.
        Whatever. If there's a mod out there scoping this, would you mind answering before you either delete this or move it to another board, please? Thank you.

        1. re: mamachef

          Okay, that's just strange.

          1. re: mamachef

            4 of your 7 blue avatars show names.

            1. re: Veggo

              Four? that wasn't the case yesterday. So the other three are......
              Wynken, Blynken and Nod?
              Larry, Darryl and Darryl?
              Jack, Chrissy and Janet?
              Marsha, Jan and Cindy?
              Or..........?
              ; )

              1. re: mamachef

                I suspect it's Rocky, Bullwinkle, and Boris Badenuff. I only have one mystery blue guy, I figure it's fan mail from some flounder.

                1. re: Veggo

                  LOL Love the references!

                  Gosh that was a seriously funny show,

                  1. re: Veggo

                    LOL! Good one Veggo!

        2. I have two or three of those buggers. My first impulse was that it was either the moderators, or Chow. But given that I have a few, I wonder if it might be people who've closed their accounts on CH.

          This was asked about in another thread, but CH never directly addressed the avatars that aren't linked to an actual profile.

          25 Replies
          1. re: onceadaylily

            Glad to know I'm not the only one, oadl!
            Interesting thought about closed accounts........hmmmm.

            1. re: mamachef

              Or maybe more than one avatar means more than one mod. Maybe it means we've been especially naughty, and bear much watching. ;)

              1. re: onceadaylily

                Oh, lily, I hope so! Truly I do! : ) and I know, in your heart of hearts, you want that to be the reason too!

                1. re: mamachef

                  *looks innocent* Who, me? Nooo, pffft.

                  Hehe.

                  1. re: onceadaylily

                    My theory is that each "anon avatar" is equal to some number of deletions, (most likely based on the mini-Helen system - in which, if Helen of Troy was the face that launched 1,000 ships, a mini-Helen is -in this case at least- 100 somethings).

                    So if you have one "anon avatar" it equals 100 deletions over the span of your posting history, and if you have 2 it equals 200 and so on and so forth. If you ever hit a "full Helen" (1,000 deletions) you probably win some sort of restaurant GC or perhaps a signed, autographed photo of Jim Leff in his full doggy mask get up?

                    Perhaps we should retitle these "Mini-Mods" or "Mini-Jacq's" as more "Chowcentric" than Mini-Helen's in our case?

                    1. re: Servorg

                      I love your theory. I really do (despite the fact that I have not segued a thread about vegetables into an anecdote about my cat in *weeks*). But I think Mini-mods would be more appropriate than Mini-Jaq's. She, despite her seemingly brusque reply to mariacarmen, is usually responsive, and helpful.

                      Have been . . . modified . . . enough to have earned that blue ghost, or three, equivalent? Maybe. But do *not* tempt me to go for the autographed doggy.

                      1. re: onceadaylily

                        Aww, I was aiming for funny and mysterious. Sorry if I came across as brusque.

                        I really don't know the answer to this question, so I really can't tell you.

                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                          As my favorite Mod, the only one any one knows,I just might say to you; sometimes how we mean to come across isn't how it does. But us non-mods can forgive ya, you walked a mike in our shoes now.

            2. re: onceadaylily

              I have one anonymous avatar, and I also think it might be a deleted account. But if the account goes, should not the avatar vanish as well? Curious.

              1. re: onceadaylily

                Can you actually close a Chowhound account? There are people reading me who've been banned for life, but their profiles remain...

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I think you have to email ch directly and request the closure. (Love *your* new avatar, by the way.) It's odd that they would keep the banned poster's profiles, though.

                  Small h, I just went back over my lists, and I see that one poster that I was reading no longer has an avatar on my list. He's vanished, and could well then be one of the nameless blues now on that list. I suppose it *is* just closed accounts, and that the reading lists are run on a separate program from profiles, creating more/ unnecessary work for the staff to track to delete?

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    I am 99% certain those anonymous avatars are people who have closed their account or been locked out, i.e. someone who opened a new account with a new username, but their previous identity "reads" you. Deactivated profiles, if you will. I know of one person for sure that was banned, whose avatar comes up as blank when hovered over. I do NOT think they are mods - mods "read" everybody anonymously, and have their own avatars associated with their accounts when they want to "read" someone publicly in their personal use of the site.

                    Also, another vote in support of your new avatar, ab. :)

                    1. re: Wahooty

                      It's good to have a coaster that comes when called.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        and loves you unconditionally. My coasters are cold and indifferent.

                  2. re: onceadaylily

                    Well, I don't know what it is -- but I know it isn't the mods.

                    -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                      Ghosts. There is no other explanation.

                      1. re: small h

                        Ha, I typed my response to Servorg before I read your (and Jaquilynne's) response. Ghosts in the machine, then.

                        1. re: small h

                          Curiouser and Curiouser. (Thank you Lewis Carrol)

                          1. re: mamachef

                            "I've often seen a user name without an avatar," thought Alice, "but an avatar without a user name! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life."

                            Lewis Carroll really does come in handy.

                            1. re: small h

                              Awesome.

                              1. re: small h

                                Chortle!

                              2. re: mamachef

                                and the Mod's grin remained, quite some time after he had disappeared.

                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                  I Love you!!!! Cheshire is my total Fave, I use several renderings for Advatars.
                                  And perfectly, totally point on in this. Perfect.

                                  "and the Mod's grin remained, quite some time after he had disappeared."

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    OMG what a perfect contextual reference.
                                    We IS a brilliant bunch, we is.

                              3. re: Jacquilynne

                                That just builds the mystery. Have the engineers weighed in? Not that this is a huge issue, but if there is something on the site they can't track, it is strange. I think it's likely just a glitch with account deletion though. How boring.

                            2. wouldn't it be nice if the Mods actually explained the phenomenon instead of watching the endless speculation? maybe they like it.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                If we knew what caused it, we'd tell you -- but we don't, so we can't.

                                Sorry.

                                -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                  Makes me visualize a chessboard, with all of us CH'rs as the pieces, and a mod. sitting over us, gleefully rubbing hands together and cackling while they ponder their next seemingly arbitrary move...

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    awesome visual :)

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      reading thsi post after reading the lewis carroll references, try that concept, Red Queen?

                                      1. re: Quine

                                        Giggling madly.....I didn't even make a connection 'til you said it, Quine......but, so perfect.

                                  2. I suspect the anonymous avatars may represent visitors who are reading but don't have chowhound accounts, or members who haven't signed in.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                      But you can't create a reading list unless you have an account. I'm pretty sure.

                                      1. re: small h

                                        Yes, but I don't think you need an account to click on someone's profile and read their posts. I could be wrong; haven't tried this without signing in...

                                        1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                          I just logged out and tried it. Works fine, you can browse but you can't post.

                                          1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                            You can read posts without being logged in, sure. But you can't add someone to your reading list without being logged in. And the only way an avatar will show up on your profile page (under "People Reading Me") is if its owner has added you to his or her reading list.

                                            1. re: small h

                                              Ah, didn't know that.

                                      2. Sounds to me like we're right back to...square one. Even with the edifying comments by Jacquilline et al. : )

                                        1. i have four anonymous ones. never noticed that before - kinda creepy! i have to assume they're linked to inactive accounts...though if Jacquilynne hadn't spoken up to let us know that they're NOT for the Mods, i would have been tickled by the idea that it requires four of them to keep an eye on me :)

                                          ETA: one of the ghosts is someone i [was] reading...three [were] reading me.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            I have three, but, after examining it today, only two are on my 'I'm reading', and one on my 'reading me'. The latter popped up first, and I thought at first it was the mods, and then, maybe, Chow. How vain am I. ;)

                                            1. re: onceadaylily

                                              You can read ghosts?
                                              Fun thread.
                                              LOL such great responses to such a trivial little blue spot.

                                              1. re: Quine

                                                You can't read ghosts, Quine; they can only read you. They just sit in your 'I'm reading' list, and wait. They wait, until you are, presumably, ready to receive their message. Which makes me wonder if my blue spots have anything to do with a negative bias toward durian in my profile . . . hmmm.

                                          2. i just had a funny thought - what if one of the avatars in the "Who's Talking" section on *this* page was an anonymous one? now THAT would be creepy!

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              LOL now I know you are silently laughing and saying "Made ya look! Made ya look!"

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Damn you, lady. I just zeroed in, even after reading Quine's comment, and said, "Oh, it's small h."

                                                I do like a mystery, perhaps too much.

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  okay, i'm still laughing as i type this...thanks to both of you for some much-needed comic relief :)

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    Now you've got me compulsively going back-and-forth and trying to figure it out by process of elimination!
                                                    This can't be healthy.
                                                    I wasn't paranoid when I created this posts, but I might be now...

                                                  2. I just checked my avatar list and one is nameless. I guess I always thought that was a CH who flew the coop.

                                                    1. I know that this was discussed previously on CH. Tried to do a google search and found the thread but can't access it -- and there's no cache. Looks like it may have been deleted.

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767298

                                                      If you want to read part of the thread, just google mysterious blue avatars chowhound.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                        That thread was a duplicate of this one.

                                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                          Oh, then it must have been some other thread. I do recall this conversation before (or I'm getting the craziest case of deja-vous). I remember it having to do something with CH members who have deactivated their account.

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                            Ghost in the machine....:-)

                                                            BTW when people say that do they mean the song or the philosophy?

                                                            1. re: Quine

                                                              I always mean the philosophy, along the lines of, "there are still a few bugs in the system, y'all."

                                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                                Lots of folks only think It as the Police Song, which is based on the Philosophy. Damned we all here are one clever and witty crowd. This has been some of the best and fun threads in a long time,.

                                                                1. re: Quine

                                                                  Completely off-topic, but it was the name of a Police album, but not a song.

                                                                  1. re: donovt

                                                                    My bad you are right, I just so associated the concept on the songs that I thought was also in a lyric.

                                                                    Thank you, as I just had to read all the lyrics of the album to refresh my memory and now my inner Ipod brain is playing it for me! :-)
                                                                    I seriously love that.

                                                                    1. re: donovt

                                                                      And it only reinforces the fun of this thread and how clever, witty and diverse a group we all are.

                                                                      1. re: Quine

                                                                        Amen, Quine. Amen.

                                                        2. That extraordinary feeling of deja vu...

                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2eUop...

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                            I can clear up the Deja Vu issue: both posts were mine. I posted one, and it got removed to I didn't-know-where, and I got a little miffed and fired up another one. Apologies to the people who thought they were having a psychic or at least deja vu experience. These two posts were fired off on the same day within 2-3 hrs. of each other.
                                                            Marci