A way to view a user's past avatars <strike>(and names)</strike>

Continuing the discussion from Avatar! Or 'av two if ya want!:

I firmly agree with @Kimmo, when y’all change your avatars, I really don’t know who I’m talking with anymore. But I’m not against fun or personal expression, i don’t think limiting a user to a permanent av is a good idea, either. @sam, @codinghorror, can y’all make a thing on people’s profiles that has a little thumbnail gallery of all the users’ past avatars, please? (in the case of what M_M is doing ITT, [rapidly changing avs every few minutes] you could limit the gallery to avatars that lasted more than a couple days at a stretch to prevent flooding.) Is that a realistic request? If I could access it from the user card–maybe like a little scrolling list?–it would eliminate a lot of confusion for me.

[not sure if the @s above will work since they’re in a quotation from the previous thread, so I will @Kimmo and @codinghorror off the rip]

I was unaware that we were able to change our usernames, too. But yes, by all means, make past usernames and avatars viewable in the same widget. [edited because we have decided this is a bad idea, as posters below have pointed out]

I remember users best by avatar. when the avatar changes, the name will still usually ring a bell, but I won’t be able to recall “oh, that’s the guy I was talking about Buckaroo Banzai with” or “This is the person that always talks about electrical engineering.” But I can remember that stuff from their avatar pic. But only if I can see the pic that correlates to my memory of the user.

So when I come to a name I recognize but with an unfamiliar avatar, this is what I would like to be able to do:

“noahdjango… I know i know that guy…”
[click avatar, expand usercard]

[click view prior avatars or however you’d prefer to word it]


something that might be easier i just thought of: put a back button in the top-left of the user card and clicking it would load the previous iteration of the entire user card, and I could keep clicking back to see the avs and usernames that way. that would be pretty neat.

I’d prefer to have it viewable inline from the usercard so that I don’t lose my train-of-thought, but if you want to load a whole separate page of the user’s profile, it’s your rodeo. anything would help.

The floor is hereby officially open to any ideas, especially since many here are far more computer/design literate than I am.



What do you do in the case of users who switched their profile due to being stalked online, doxed, or otherwise faced harassment with their past profile?


wouldn’t those users usually create a whole new profile? I mean, keeping the profile and just changing the pic and name wouldn’t hide them, any comments they’d already made would still be where they always were with the new name and av on it?

but if someone wants to opt out for those reasons, I can’t object to that.


I’m not sure what they usually would do. I don’t have the stats. I have seen profiles anonymized, and name changes made for some of the reasons I stated. It’s something I think should be weighed into the design decision.


Users can’t change their usernames, but need to request a change via a mod. I know at least one user, @enso, changed their username for a privacy related reason, so maybe there should be some consideration about unintended consequences of that feature. Since few ever change them due to the hassle I don’t think it adds a lot of value to display that history. Icons on the other hand would be nice since sometimes the changes confuse me.


yeah, I really don’t care about the usernames so much because, having never encountered any that changed (that I know of) it was not an issue for me. I only mentioned it–as I thought was clear–due to @codinghorror saying it was a thing. But if you need a mod to hook up the name change and it cannot be done arbitrarily without good reason, then I reverse my stance. where I previously said “by all means, make past usernames and avatars viewable in the same widget,” I’m gonna say that’s a terrible idea to include usernames if they’ve changed.

So… can we please get the avatar thing?

Jeff, where are we at? it seems like this idea is meeting with massive indifference. That means no-go? What say you?

EDIT: starting this thread on a Friday night probably didn’t help in terms of eyeballs finding it, so that may factor into the perceived “massive indifference”? I’ll bump the thread for a while. OTOH, it still may be met with indifference ¯\ __(ツ) _ /¯


If we’re looking at avatar stuff, on my wish-list would be an avatar gallery allowing us to select and switch to previous ones.

Animated gifs for avatars? I mean, it’s not like that’ll be headache-inducing, visually chaotic or all-round hideious or anything.


hey, cool. and if you were rotating out/returning to your “classic” avatars, then that would be helpful in itself; so something like that would also be a win, from my memory’s perspective.


The default out of box settings in Discourse only allow name changes for 3 days after creating your account for the first time. You can of course change your avatar all the time, if you want.

We don’t get a lot of requests for avatar / username history, but I like it in principle.


+1 an avatar history would be sweet.


you’d dig it the most, baby


bumping for Monday eyeballs.

anyone out there have any input today?

I think having it as an opt-in thing, for the reasons @tropo cites, would be a good idea.


User past avatars seems a good idea.
User names not, but that’s all ready discussed above.


It would be useful so I could keep track, if nothing else.

1 Like

Title edited to prevent pointless bother


good looking out, pal.


@codinghorror, you asked me to hash out the idea in a meta thread. I feel I hashed out the idea to the best of my ability. the response from the usual gang of mutants seemed reasonably positive(ish) though hardly a mandate.

Have i convinced you to build this thing?


FWIW, I give this idea a hearty thumbs-up. :+1:

Sounds useful, convenient, and fun.


There’s a lot of stuff on the list. You can check out https://meta.discourse.org/c/releases for details.

1.6 is basically done and will be shipped at the end of this week.