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What do you think of using a picture of another person as avatar?
Honestly, I think of everyone who is stealing and using a photo from another person as avatar as fraud and scammer who should be banned. Some time ago, there was a troll who stole name and picture from a German member and opened several accounts with their picture. Then there are the scammers who use pictures of American soldiers and doctors to lure their prey. And then there are those people who use pictures of celebrities who might be only known locally and not to a wider international audience, so other users might not immediately recognise that it's a picture of a celebrity, like a Turkish singer or an Indian actor. I remember, that a scammer once used a picture of veterinarian Dr. Evan Antin for his italki profile: Those who use the pictures of celebrities also often pretend to be native English speakers, while their level of English is clearly not advanced. But many learners here might not realise that the handsome native English speaker who is so eager to get to know them is a fraud until it's too late.

What do you think? Does it bug you if someone uses the picture of another person as avatar (no matter if celebrity or not) or do you agree that such users should be reported? Is it ok to pose as native English speaker, when one isn't a native speaker at all?

(I know that there's a grey area and some people might either believe to be native speakers when they're not or they can suffer from dyslexia, speech impediments or be deaf, so that the way they express themselves doesn't sound native, even though, they are native English speakers. But I still think that the majority of "not sounding like native English speakers" are indeed not native English speakers and know it but decide for displaying English as native English to have better chances to attract language partners or students.)
May 21, 2020 7:01 PM
Comments · 11
I think it's not good. I also think that posting pictures with children isn't appropriate as well. That was one of reasons why I removed my pic with my child not long ago.
May 21, 2020
Marcelo's right about ugly folks.

As I've said before, "I'm no oil painting."

May 22, 2020
If it's obvious, like using a famous person's picture, then I don't have a problem with it. If it's to pretend you're someone else in order to deceive people, then that's not OK. And pretending you're another italki member is just creepy. I hope your post doesn't put any ideas into someone's head.
May 21, 2020
It certainly does annoy me.

And I've had people use my Avatar and slightly modified version of my moniker on a different language exchange platform, too. Not fun. They started posting fascist propaganda to language forums of nations who were victims in WWII ...
May 21, 2020
If I'm going to use an avatar, I want it to mean something to me. I have 3 or 4 avatars I will use.

  1. The one you see here on this site.
  2. An MRI picture of my brain. As the image has my name on it, someone would be foolish to use that as their own.
  3. Another photo of me taken recently.
  4. A fork in the road. I was in Louisiana once, and while walking I came across an actual fork in the road. So, I took a picture of it.

Now, since I am the owner of all those photos, I would not want other people to use them without my permission. If they want to use my photo (avatar 1 or 3 in my list), they'll have to take the rest of my body as well. However, I don't think they would want to do so. With the body comes many health challenges.

The MRI picture is something that I hold dear. There are many memories attached to it. I'd likely not allow anyone else to use it. Period.

There are many people on this site that I know by the photo. I can understand why some people may not want to use their actual photo of themself. However, it is not that difficult to take a photo of something and then use that photo. Or, perhaps find an image that doesn't misrepresent you.

I've also come across users with names of famous people. Again, it's not hard to create a name that doesn't misrepresent you.

So, I guess it does bug me.
May 22, 2020
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), French, German
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)