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    Avatar Names; Why?

    Brian Wolfe


    Avatar names; Why?

    What I would term as odd or bizarre human behaviour has always interested me and the search for why people act as they do has not only fascinated me but at times eluded my powers of comprehension. The person who said that there is nothing as funny as a barrel of monkeys obviously was not, at the time, situated in a room full of people. Since politics and religion are subjects non grata here on the GMIC, and rightfully so, I will resort to the plethora of other subjects that I personally find irritating; subjects upon which I obsess.

    Straight off I will say that I do not tend to keep up with modern lingo as used in today’s internet communications. Using the letter “n” to represent the word “and’ or ISO (in search of), IMO (in my opinion) and BRB (be right back) simply seems as foreign to me as putting maple syrup on your French fries (chips for those of the British persuasion).  This brings me to today’s rant, so get ready as this is probably going to ruffle some feathers.

    Why do people insist on using avatar names? For the most part I am talking about avatar names on the internet in general, You Tube, as an example rather than a forum such as ours. Since I have admitted that I do not keep current on modern terms perhaps I just don’t know what the term avatar means.  Upon looking it up I found that in Hinduism it is a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth: an incarnate divine teacher.  Well, this could not be the definition I am searching for as we are not allowed to talk about religion here and from some of the comments on the internet I can ascertain they not likely come from any form of divine teacher.  The next definition given was from the computing “world” as, “an icon or figure representing a particular person in video games, Internet, etc”. Ah, there we have it a suitable definition from which to work; something that represents a person on the Internet. 


    Of course I knew this ahead of time but why say something in a few words when a whole paragraph will do (besides I am paid by the word). Again I will reiterate that I have no problem with avatar names here on the GMIC as we do have very good controls regarding ungentlemanly behaviour.  Over the years we have seen a few members “cautioned” as to their conduct.  However, on the Internet in general that seems to be exception rather than the norm.  I never use an avatar name whether here or commenting on the Internet because if I am willing to put something down in writing I am will to stand by what I say.  If I am incorrect in my convictions I do stand to be corrected followed by my apology or expression of gratitude whichever is appropriate. 


    On the other hand I don’t see myself as an offensive sort of fellow, I have never found pleasure in kicking a cat for example, not even unintentionally.  There was an incident a number of years ago when one of our daughters arrived home late from her part-time pizza shop job sans her door key.  She decided that sleeping in the car was a poor choice and rang the door bell to awaken someone to let her in.  This resulted in my rushing through a darkened house to let her in before she woke the whole household. I should mention that we had a cat; a cat whose name evolved in proportion to his girth to the point where the kids aptly renamed him “Fat Tony”.  Fat Tony was fast asleep, his natural state when not gorging himself on Fancy Feast, or some other over-priced cat food. Unknown to me this lump of a cat was transfixed, due to his preponderance, to the floor in line with my path of travel. My left foot apparently just missed him however my right foot made contact with the force of a footballer (soccer player for those of you of the North American persuasion). 

    As a science lesson this is an example of Newton’s First Law of Motion, sometimes referred to as the Law of Inertia, “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. Just to clarify, the “object at rest” and the “unbalanced force” represent the lethargic and comatose Fat Tony. The “object in motion” being yours truly. Imagine, if you will, a football player taking a penalty kick or attempting to kick a field goal (depends on your definition of football) and the ball is replaced by an anvil.  Suffice it to say that the object in motion, in this case, still stayed in motion though transformed from a vertical state to a horizontal one in a split second.  Thus ends the science lesson and the answers the question as to why you never kick a cat, or at least not Fat Tony.


    To return to the question at hand, why do people use avatar names?  Do they feel more at ease giving an opinion and if so what is it about expressing their ideas that frightens them.  Is it giving free range to rude and crass people?  Well, sometimes. Perhaps it much the same as using an avatar picture, such as the Canada General Service Medal’s reverse that I use.  It hints that I am a Canadian and it is a bit of fun, after all life without a little whimsy would be most dull. At times I find it awkward to respond using the avatar name as it is just too impersonal, therefore I usually simply make the response and live with the feeling that I have failed to act in a polite manner by not starting with “Hello X2bKl9”, or whatever their avatar name happens to be.  I would like to see the use of a first name in the closing of an entry or response with “Regards (your first name here)” as an example.  At least a reply could be made to what would appear to be a real person and not some sort of Bot.  I do hope I used that Internet term for Robot correctly, in today’s terminology I run the risk that this is somehow an offensive term.  If so I apologize.


    By now you must have realized that I had nothing for this month’s blog but I hope this amused you somewhat and gave some folks pause to think.



    Brian (a real person not an Internet Bot).





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    I hope fat tony eventually forgave you (cats can hold long term grudges) As to avatars i use my real name but most of the people withassumed names on this forum i know their real identity and they make no effort to hide it. My picture is not me but the great afghan leader mohammed nadir shah. The hero of the 3rd Afghan war ad far as the afghans are concerned also a carachter i admire

    All the best




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    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your comments.  I do agree with you and my comments were in regard to the Internet in general, especially social media.  Here you will be stopped short if you get out of line, however this is not the case for much of the internet.  I think forums are pretty good on the whole to keep insults and ignorant comments in check.  My issue is with those who hide behind an avitar name mainly because they are to cowardly to take ownership of what they say.  Personally I don't really care if people use avitar names as long as they remain respectful; after all, what's in a name anyway; a rose by any other name, so-to-speak.





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    I always assumed that an avatar was simply the image/graphic that best illustrated one's proclivities, (oops, perhaps some synonyms are in order - penchant, preference, taste, interest, hobby - I had better leave it there).

    I have always used my name as a user-name as it seems "cheating" not to do so. As Brian says " I never use an avatar name whether here or commenting on the Internet because if I am willing to put something down in writing I am will to stand by what I say. "

    One man's fish is another's poisson.


    Edited by Stuart Bates
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    I use my pic as I am the lord of the rings :-)

    As far as names go, some guys are justifiably careful.... there have been numerous break ins up to and including murder to steal collections.

    If you are named "John Smith" and live in a big metropolis, no worries, but for the rest, it pays to be careful

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    Hi Chris,

    "I use my pic as I am the lord of the rings :-) " And yet your wife has the ring that rules them all.  ;)

    You make a very good point and perhaps that alone condones the use of avatar names.  The internet is full of people hiding behind their avatars while launching an attack on another's view point, religion or race.  This was the point I was going for however your view is quite valid. 

    From now on I am changing my avatar name to, "Not Brian Wolfe, some other guy not to be confused with the Brian Wolfe you might think it is".  Too long? :rolleyes:


    Brian (or maybe some other fellow)

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    well, mines a translation of my name. The internet is comprised of some very nasty people-especially ones that collect TR. Rick Lundstroms experience with a certain Parisian is enough to make anyone want an extra layer of security, especially these days when bots are actively seeking your information. 

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    Thanks for your comment Ulsterman,

    All good points from the membership and ones I would agree with completely.  I recall that incident you have mentioned, not the high note in the collecting world to say the least. Using my own name certianly makes me think twice about blurting out some comment that I would regret later. On the other hand if I decided to "take on" a knob such as the one you mentioned it would be without reservatiion.  For the most part those on the internet out to do harm are rarely worth the time to get into a confrontation, I just can't be borthered to put in the effort as they are not worth my time.



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    I personally avoid using real name everywhere in forums etc, and also avoid giving too much hints about my location to prevent wrong people from recognizing me. Why? Simply because these days, you just cannot be too careful especially if you happen to own a bit more valuable collection than couple of EK2 1914's.

    Unfortunately, it's not so impossible, that you get uninvited visitors if you show or tell too much of your collection in public. It's not common, but we do have some horrible examples of this kind of s**t in our and other collecting fields.

    I sincerely recommend to everyone, who has - let's say - "more than averagely" valuable collection at home or somewhere else than bank vault - to keep their privacy safe... And even if the goods would be at bank vault behind steel doors (as I do for part of the collection) - you still don't want to have uninvited visitors thinking you might have them at home (or work). Sad to say, but nowadays there is no safe countries or cities in this matter nowadays since borders are pretty open for all kind "entrepreneurers".

    Besides, using nicknames in conversations on forums gives you credibility without your real name, if you take part in conversations in respectable way and contribute something to "commonweath".

    Just my thoughts of this matter - better safe than sorry ;)

    Best regards



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    Thank you for your comments "E". 

    One of the issues I have problems with, keeping in mind that my wife says that I am the most paranoid person she knows, is allowing anyone to view my collection.  Unless the person in question has been known to me for quite a while and we have built a relationship based on trust I simply am not interested in "showing" my collection.  Most of these trusted friends are fellow collectors of like mind when it comes to security.  There are those who might look at my deactivated automatic weapons collection and then through the telling and retelling of the story gets to the "street" as this crazy old guy who is sitting on a pile of working machine guns.  Not a story you want to be told around the wrong crowd.  The crazy old man part notwithstanding.

    I know of one fellow who will change his avitar on a regular basis because he has a following on the internet and is seen, rightfully so, as an expert on one particular brand of sporting rifle.  He is known as Mr.(the band name of the company) and other collectors watch the on line auctions and if he is a bidder they know the item has to be rare.  This drives the closing price up.  His changing of his avitar is not so much security as it is economic, which is still a good enough reason not to use your own name making it even easier for others to watch your movements.

    On a more positive note.  One evening a decade ago the phone rang and it was a fellow GMIC member calling me from the other side of the word wanting to speak with me in person, so-to-speak.  He had easily traced me though the internet.  The fellow and I have been very good friends ever since, communicating several times a week through email and once in a while through Skype.  I will leave this entry with the thought that using your name rather than an avitar is not completely a bad idea; nor is it totally a safe one.






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    I chose my avatar name a while ago. When I was first collecting, I valued the annonimity.  There is always people who could get the wrong impression, use our collecting interests and possibly do us harm.  It was about 6 years ago that one respected friend suggested that I change my avatar name and consider my First name and last initial. Credibility and also people tend to remember a real name rather than a funny or adjective name.  I also consider myself an honorable and I stand by my word and have nothing to be ashamed of with my responses or postings.  I kept my avatar name here because I had already posted much on the forum and the ability to change user handles was not an option. 

    Best regards




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    My attorney told me to keep a low profile while we’re in litigation. Mike is my ex, so if he doesn’t like me using his name,  so what. My real name is Stormy Daniels. 

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    Sorry for the delay in responding, it is garndening season here in Ontario and I got completely distracted, even more the advancing age usually causes.

    I thought I responded to your comment, JustinG, and you replied but I don't see it here so I either imagined it (age again?) or the posts have gone astray.  I do like your avitar as it shows imagination in that it reads "to the rescue" and I understand it is a reference to your career.  Well done!  At times I think that I use my real name mostly because I lack the imagination to come up with a good avitar name.  I can't seem to come up with a name or title for my collection room.  Some fellows call their collection room their bunker or man cave etc. but all I could come up with was "collection room".  I do call my office "The Home Office" as not only is it my office in my home but also a reference to the British Home Office, not that I served in the British Police Service but as more of a tribute to those members who have and or are serving there.  Strange that we don't think to thank a cop for his or her service even though they could be putting their lives on the line every day over what could be a career spanning decades.  So to all the police officers everywhere, "Thank you for your service".

    Back to original or catchy names for a collection room, since I have expanded the collection into three rooms I now have a greater problem  I still call two rooms, the collection room and the home office but the middle room just got "the middle room" as a name, how unoriginal was that? :D

    Hello Stormy, I must say that your avitar name is one of the best stories regarding avitar names.  What can I say? I think I recall that you have mentioned that before on the forum, quite a while back.  I would use the name of my ex as an avitar name but the rules of the GMIC forbid swearing. ;)






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