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Feb 5, 2013 04:48 PM

Avatar change released Tuesday, Feb 5

Hi everyone,

Some of you may notice that the avatar that represents you have changed. For people who have not chosen their own avatars, we are now defaulting to the first letter of your username in a colored circle instead of the red fork and spoon on the plate.

If you want to change your avatar, you can do so on your profile. Just click "view profile" in the upper right corner of the site, and then you will see your avatar on the righthand side of your profile. Underneath the avatar you will see the words "upload avatar." Click on that in order to update or personalize the image that represents you!

Let us know if you have any questions,


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Avatars are not rendering properly on Chrome or Firefox.

    Unique user-chosen avatars are too big and overlap the text.

    Default avatars that are now the first letter of the username are too small.

    Need a "Goldilocks" fix ...

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Agree on the Goldilocks fix, please. Cannot see my entire avatar (not that people can read what it says without hovering over it, but still...)

      Interestingly, I do *not* have the too-large avatar issue, as some others have mentioned on another thread (square boxes vs. round).

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Ditto - please fix. First few letters of a post are not readable.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Thirded. I've tried Firefox, Chrome, and IE8 - in all three, avatars overlap the text, and the microscopic initial letters are not appearing "in a colored circle" but are just randomly appearing below usernames on a white background. They don't look like an avatar, just a random stray lower-case letter.

          Also, the screen still "bounces" after I post a comment. And it's still unpleasant.

          Edited to add: Actually, in both IE8 and Firefox the initial letters are appearing in teeny-tiny LOWER-CASE type on a white background. Also, on my profile page (and on the profile pages of others) in the blocks of "People I'm Reading" and "People Reading Me" the single letter avatars apparently force a line break, so that instead of one bigh block of small avatars, there's a short line of a few personally-selected avatars, then a single letter, then another single letter, then another short line of avatars, and so on.

          HOWEVER, in Chrome the single letter avatars are capital letters, do appear in colored circles, and on profile pages the avatars in "People Reading Me" etc. all appear in one big block. So in Chrome at least the "new default avatars" are working the way they were intended to.

          Personally selected avatars are too big and overlap text in the posts in all three browsers.

          There appears to be a different color for each letter of the alphabet. I agree with posters who have pointed out that this makes it easier to confuse posts by users with different usernames but the same initial. With the old default avatar that was the same for ALL users it was easy to ignore the avatar, knowing it was the default - these multicolored ones are much harder to ignore.

          1. re: Allstonian

            Agree - the SCREEN BOUNCE would have been a more appropriate first fix vs. changing the non-specified avatars.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Hi LindaWhit,

              We did push a fix for the bounce in yesterday's release. Are you still seeing it happening?


              1. re: mudaba

                It has been doing so this morning. Let's see if it does with this response....

                ETA: Yes, it leaves the response, the screen scrolls down a bit, and then back up to have the comment being replied *to* and the comment I just left visible on my screen.

                1. re: mudaba

                  I am still seeing bouncy posts today.

          2. On Safari the avatars are rendering too large and overlapping the first few letters of a post. Not horrible, but it looks a bit amateurish. Not a bitch - just an fyi.

            18 Replies
                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                  Wait... you see the avatars as Square? I see them as Circles.

                  Plus, I agree with everyone about the letter in the color block. It looks very childish. Nothing to do with Chowhound At All. Oh! I guess that's what they were going for.

                  1. re: Gio

                    LOL, earlier I saw squares, circles and ovals depending on the width of the letter. So, I thought the capital letter was being "hugged" in color based on the letter shape so a "J" is inside an oval and a "W" is inside a is really silly.

                    Right now I'm seeing capital letter avatars surrounding by a colored square.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      If the original post is someone without an avatar, the new default avatar seems to go oval. See pic below.

                      Otherwise, I only see circle avatars (various colors, arbitrarily assigned) with a white initial in the middle.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Possible for you to post a higher res screen shot? I can't make out what the "correct" avatar is supposed to look like.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Linda, your name is right on top of your avatar. This is obscuring the avatar and making it quite difficult to read your name. Well, actually your name isn't difficult to read, but the username of people who are using photos as avatars with the usernames on top of the photo, both end up obscured.

                          I can sort of see why the default avatar was changed to the single letter (lower case? Why not upper case like the first letter to the start of a book or sometimes a magazine article?) Why would the username be superimposed on the avatar? This cannot be a problem with my browser since I'm on Internet Explorer 8 which is a Microsoft product.

                          Oh, if it matters, the avatar is square but obscured.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            apparently, until addressed, there are a number of different ways we are each seeing default avatars.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Yeah, I realized after I posted that pic that it was a lousy shot. Is large enough on my screen; not so much on screen. Let's see if this is any better...

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                ROFL... Don't tell me you see that Lozenge with a white letter. I don't believe it.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  That's EXACTLY what it is - a purple lozenge with an "F" in it for Fowler. :-D

                            2. re: HillJ

                              I see dead people. All right. No. I'm sorry. The devil made me... This latest ahem update it just plain silly and not at all necessary. Of course, as always, This is only my opinion.

                              1. re: Gio

                                LOL...devils in the details. If Chowhounds had been asked by Site Talk announcement to create a customized/select avatar of their own choosing/liking/design then this circle/square/oval capital letter default wouldn't have been necessary.

                                Sometimes it pays to just tell "us" what you want.

                            3. re: Gio

                              Seriously? What browser? I see them as a square in both IE and FF. Same rendering issue in both places, too. Running on Windows 7.

                              Letter in a color block?? Not on this end. See attached.

                              Cross-browser, cross-OS compatibility, be damned! Testing, be damned! It's amateur hour over at Sorry to be harsh, Chow engineering team, but this feels like 1996 all over again.

                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                Awww... DQP... don't worry. I'm sure The Team will sort it all out in due time. Of course we'll all be grey haired from waiting by then. Either that or raiding the fridge for sustenance.

                                I'm using the latest edition of Fire Fox. I see white letters in round circles that vary in color for different members. At first I thought they represented some sort of undercover team. But soon saw that everyone without a custom avatar had these anti-food symbols.

                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                  davis, I posted just above a larger version - hopefully you can see that.

                              2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                Nor on this end. Everything is a jumbled mix on Firefox.

                            4. re: corneygirl

                              Thanks for the heads-up on rendering issues. We'll be pushing a fix for this later today to make sure the avatars are properly rendering everywhere.


                            5. I first noticed the change due to the wavy pattern of avatars on the people reading me section of my profile.

                              The new default avatars display 50% higher than the others.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                I use Chrome, and they are in a straight line, all the same size.

                              2. It's not working in Internet Explorer 8. The avatars are overlapping the username and making it almost impossible to read the username. For those without a personalized avatar, there is a lower case letter for the first letter of the username, but what't the point of that? Is this more change for change's sake? Go back to the default fork and spoon, it looks better. Or, drop the single, lower-case letter that is under the username, it looks weird and pointless.

                                1. A good reminder that I should get a non-default avatar!

                                  I like the idea of having different default avatars to distinguish users on a thread. The single-letter avatars are bright and pop-out, and I initially thought that a good thing. However, as the number of users on a thread with the same first initial increases, it becomes a distraction. For example, when "Mickey," "Minney," and "Donald" are in a thread together, it's easy to mistake which "M" person is saying what. At least with the homogenous avatars that came by default before, you quickly learn to tune them out.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                    When the avatars defaulted to a fork/spoon they all looked the same too. I have no idea why first letter of s/n was decided on to replace the other default...but it looks childish.