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schwern (1528)

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Schwern can destroy CPAN at his whim.

Journal of schwern (1528)

Saturday September 08, 2007
07:41 PM

Faces + CPAN == A More Polite Community

[ #34391 ]

Some of you may have heard me talking about geek2geek communications lately. One of the biggest issues is the problem of empathy in electronic communications. It's really easy to be an ass to a piece of ASCII and forget there's a human whom you're writing to.

One way to solve this problem is to attach a face to the text, either in your head or in reality. Unfortunately, we can't meet everyone face to face in real life. Fortunately there's already technology to do this and its really simple. Gravatars.

Gravatars are simply small pictures (80 x 80 max) associated with an email address. Using a specially written URL you ask the Gravatar server to give you the picture for a given email address. Done! For example, here's my gravatar for my CPAN address. How do you make that magic URL? Why with Gravatar::URL of course.

You'll notice I used my CPAN address. Wouldn't it be neat if other CPAN authors did the same? Then wouldn't it be even neater if CPAN sites displayed an author's gravatar when you looked at their module? Then you'd have a face to associate with code, rather than just a name, and maybe be a little be politer when you're about to bitch out the author for their totally obvious and moronic bug.

Another handy application is to register a Gravatar for your normal email address, then other people can configure their mail reader to display it. There's a Thunderbird plugin called MessageFaces which displays Gravatars and other face formats when you read a message.

Get out there and increase empathy!

Update: Graham is down with it for, except's connectivity is poor. We're working out a caching scheme.

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  • Sounds like a good idea to me [].
  • I signed up too []. I like that in Avatar-land, I always have a clean shave.
  • I was having a problem off and on all day, but by the time I just added it to my blog [] - I guess the issue got worked out.

    For you viewing pleasure, my new gravatar is here [].

  • This would have been a good idea if it was keyed to an OpenID identity, not an email address. I use a different email address (foo@, bar@, ...) for every site I sign up to. So maintaining it would be a royal pain in the ass, not least to mention that this guy wants you to pay him money for having more than one email address.

    Plus, it's one more annoying thing to have to register for. If I could log into it with my OpenID identity, that'd be no effort at all. And anything OpenID-conversant could query Grava

    • You could stick an email address in your OpenID profile and the other system could query Gravatar with that.

      Of course that requires implementer buy-in…

    • <Jayne>If wishes were horses we'd all be eatin' steak!</Jayne:>

      While I agree, OpenID would be the cat's pajamas, there's a certain question of pragmatism.

      To use OpenIDs would require...

      1) Changing PAUSE's author data to associate an OpenID with each PAUSE identity.
      2) Enhance the PAUSE interface to allow authors to add their OpenID.
      3) Get authors to sign up with OpenID.
      4) Get authors to tell PAUSE their OpenID.
      5) Get Gravatar to work with OpenID.
      6) Get authors to sign up with Gravatar using OpenI
  • I tried the naive approach by simply doing

    perl -MDigest::MD5 -e 'print Digest::MD5::md5_hex(""), "\n"'

    which gives me 42675453fde7b6ee681e9c0ded931c00, but this doesn't work. I tried to verify with

    perl -MDigest::MD5 -e 'print Digest::MD5::md5_hex(""), "\n"'

    which gives me 61c2a42ed105748d58b7b2f7ac3cd712, but the article says db1a33946e2a8577b8d3377d0715bf61.

    An encoding issue?! BTW, I'm runnign 5.8.8 on Linux...
    • Nope. It's your @.

      Try instead:

      perl -MDigest::MD5 -e 'print Digest::MD5::md5_hex( q( ), "\n"'

      That one got me too :(

      • Of course! *smacksforehead*

        Thanks! :-)

        So now I hope that my gravatar [] will result in less people contacting me with support issues... ;-)

    • Turn on warnings. :) Yes, even in a one-liner. My fingers are practically hard-wired to type "-wle".
      • Good advice... thanks! :-)

        But I guess you meant "-we" (which is really easy to type), not "-wle"...

        Anyway, now I'm waiting for the positive effect that my gravatar on CPAN [] will have on the support requests... ;-)

        • No, actually the -l gives you a little extra help too, it saves you from having to print "\n".

          So your one-liner could've just been:

          perl -MDigest::MD5 -wle 'print Digest::MD5::md5_hex( q( )'
          • Look ma no quotes :)

            perl -MDigest::MD5 -wle print+Digest::MD5::md5_hex(shift().q( burak

            me too [] btw...
  • I guess the K.I.S.S. solution to this (involving no new services being used, etc) would be for everyone interested to just upload a me.jpg to their PAUSE directory, and then having some trivial program routinely police that such files are in fact JPEGs, and do in fact meet the image-size and file-size criteria, under penalty of that jpeg being loudly and shamingly deleted.
    • I believe the other big problem is that most files are treated in archive mode? So they aren't allowed to be changed?
      • Oh crap, I think you're right. Some exception to this would have to be made for me.jpg files. Altho, presumably this would be one line of code, and the least of anyone's worries.
    • Discounting the non-mugshot pictures, that’s 1 female among 130 males. Wow.

      • YAPC::NA seemed to reflect that too, yeah. I got stopped by a cleaning lady at the elevators who asked me if I could "keep up with all those guys." (I took it in the technological sense, though in hindsight maybe she meant it elsewise, in which case I would have been even *more* blindsided by the question.)

        But if it's any consolation, I was never conscious of any of "all of those guys" treating me any ways different from anybody else. So there's that.
  • I _was_ considering signing up, however after reading their attitude toward deleting accounts, I decided I'd wait... []
  • Wow, that was easy. Didn't even need to hash it myself, just clicked on "Check this gravatar" and it gave me my hash: 4716f416ce378886a3313e39b4d7a6a4

    Here []'s the gravatar. But how long before it appears on my CPAN page []? Do I need to do something else?