Officially Support Animated GIF avatars?

Note: This discussion was imported from Loomio. Click here to view the original discussion.

Before you say “Ew! GIFs! Gross!”, hear me out. A lot of our users are able to have animated GIF avatars, and more than a few of them are actually kind of cool. Loads of animated GIFs are on the stream already, and it seems like something that users really like. However, we’ve never really explicitly supported them, often users just upload a Gif with a changed file extension.

Keep in mind also that Twitter is officially banning them, see here:

Not all users are going to like it, so here’s what I’m wondering: would it be useful to adopt animated avatars by default, with a user-level option to turn them off if it slows down a user’s page load too much?

I think it’s okay, as long as users can turn them off. It could get pretty…distracting.

(Shutting off GIFs should be granular. I don’t want “all GIFs animated” or “no GIFs animated”. I can see wanting GIFs to animate in posts, but not in avatars.)

Just like Brent.

So I’ll play the counterpart :stuck_out_tongue:

Ew! Animated GIFs! Gross! Okay seriously: There are like 1% beautiful or useful animated GIFs. I’ll happily click on a link for them. But I wouldn’t like to see even those 1% as profile pictures. It is just distracting. There are good reasons and where never officially specified nor got a CSS counterpart. You can’t tell me you can ignore any change in your view. Those that are reactions to your actions are just quicker processed, all require attention. It’s a reflex everybody has to pay attention to movements and believe me, you wouldn’t want to live without it (nor could you very long). It just disrupts your reading flow.

Now I remember the time we let them trough and everybody tried it. So awful.

Okay bug in found, stuff in angle brackets just gets stripped. “…There are good reasons blink and marquee were never officially…”

we have this discussion in an issue on github, too.
there we also got a link to a js snippet, which replaces gifs with a static canvas

Maybe this in combination with a user setting for default behaviour might be a good compromise.

I hate animated GIFs above almost all things.* As Jonne says, perhaps 1% are decent. A lot of them are so lurid and jerky that they actually make me feel ill (I have health issues exacerbated by things moving like this in front of my eyes).

Unfortunately, animated GIFs seem to appear to some people as a ‘complete package’, so they post them one after another with no comment, so there is no useful communication (as far as I see it) and they act as a junk stream. I noticed the same happening on Makrio - lots of people posting animated GIFs with no remixing - as though the GIF is the total extent of their communication. It held no interest for me.

I realise some people might want to communicate this way, and I’m not advocating banning them (although it might make sense to leave Makrio for this form of communication), but please, don’t add proper support for them until you’ve added an option for users to switch off all animations by default.

Or, leave it as it is now - so that only a still frame is shown in the stream, with a symbol indicating that it is an animation, until you click on it, at which point the animation starts. That leaves it up to the end user whether or not to see the animation. (It would be useful to add the facility to click on the animation a second time to stop it again, though.)

*Hyperbole, in case anyone didn’t realise.

Yeah I’m for defo going to vote against any proper support for animated gifs in profile avatars unless there is a user setting to turn them off :slight_smile:

For posts it’s different - there they are part of the content. But I can see some people wanting to block those as well and I’d vote for that. As long as it doesn’t make rendering the stream heavier than it is.

please: don’t allow animated GIF avatars, if you don’t want to look like crappy myspace.

The reason why we should even put effort in closing that hole that allows to upload them:

Ugh. Just when I thought I couldn’t hate animated GIFs any more than I did before. That’s a crime against good taste, if not against humanity itself.

Folks put a lot of their personality into their avatars–the good, the bad and the ugly–and it certainly expresses the ‘freedom’ side of D*, but having both user level options: ‘turn off .gif avatars’, ‘turn off all .gif’ would be great.

+1 for support for gifs and +1 for choice for not having them - then we fill freedom AND usability

I would also suggest H264 as a possible format. It is much smaller than .gif and provides much higher quality.

Well, I’m not sure that h264 is the best candidate. It is not an open format, and I’m not sure we’d want to have small videos for user avatars.

Dependency on H.264 is definitely not suitable, since it’s a proprietary codec. In general, animation is resource hungry, and supporting it in avatars can be taxing, especially in the mobile view.

How about a file size limit?

Allow as most extensions as possible, but limit them all by a maximum file size.

Okay half a year ago I didn’t have any opinion in this or was just undecided. Now my point is (if this is still an active discussion): listen to the users. They want to have GIFs, because they want to have some kind of multimedia going on. Static content is so much 80’s.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that a lot of sites look creepy if they support animated GIFs like myspace. But to simply say no to an obvious user-wish (looking at tumblr, which is quite successful) is too easy. We need to find ways of displaying GIFs or other animated content nicely to the user. Probably we should make the GIF static at first and let it animate when the user hovers the mouse over it or touches it on the user’s touch-device. Probably we also need some option to disable animated media entirely for the users, too. But please don’t ignore the users and their most used features.

I think it’s more accurate to say that some users want animated GIFs. Not all of them.