Ett ganska intressant inlägg om avatarer och prenumerationer i ett annat forum (www.offtopic.com)
Please read this. It is an important guide to try to help you understand why people pay for subscriptions to browse here, because although it is not required ... it is one of the biggest decisions you will eventually have in browsing here.
Now, trust me, I know the feeling. I joined up on this site a year ago and my initial reaction was, "WHAT?! Pay for an avatar and signature? Are you JOKING?" and I looked around at all of the other members with avatars and I couldn't even begin to fathom that all of these people had actually paid money to browse here. I was literally in complete awe, I didn't know what to think.
After a few weeks of browsing though, I got tired of the site. I got tired of people calling me stupid and not reading my posts, and I genuinely wanted my opinion to mean something here. As you can see now, I've made over 17,000 posts on this site ... and I am appreciative to this community for reading a lot of them and responding to them. The difference of having an av here makes an astounding difference in who you are and what your place is.
... Anyhow, back on track, I wasn't posting much because I knew that no one would care about what I posted. I hardly participated in any threads at all.
One day I saw a topic by another member that read that the #___th poster would win a free avatar, so I participated and to my luck, I actually won. Having an avatar totally changed everything, I had been registered for a few weeks and all of a sudden people were actually replying to what I had to say and it made me feel as if I were an important part of this community. You may say to yourself, "So who cares? Why does it even matter?" Well, it obviously does matter, at least to me AND to you, because if you didn't care then you wouldn't have signed up here and you wouldn't be posting. It's not as if this forum is about specific hardware issues or anything, it is a forum that is 100% random, with no reason to be here except to post and to read threads that the community is offering. You care about what people think of your posts and you care about reading other posts, otherwise you wouldn't be posting or reading. Pretty simple concept, I think.
Now it seems shallow that having an avatar means that everything changes so much for you, but it's really not. I used to think it was too, and before I actually got an avatar ... I do indeed recall being rather anti-avatar, simply because I didn't understand. Since then I have come to understand why having that little title and picture under your name is so important. It IDENTIFIES you. A lot of the new members here make posts that have been posted before, covered a million times, or are just plain stupid / ignorant (hence the initiation forum, huh? It's here for a reason). When people see that 1) you have paid money to be here and 2) you are not just another new member with no avatar, you tend to get recognized. Not having an avatar generally puts you into the category of someone who is new, and a lot of new members just plain suck. It's the truth that many older members don't like all new members, just because it is a general rule that noob = stupid. A lot of times this is proved true, but with the chance that you aren't stupid and have stuff to contribute, a quick and easy way to get yourself out of the 'noob lump' is to buy an av. As long as you make good posts and have an av, you will probably be considered as OG as Fazle (well maybe not, but close!).
To touch on another good point, I have seen numerous threads in the main OT forum about how much money this site is supposedly making with all these ads everywhere. It's time to fill you guys in, the ads are very new and Fazle (the owner of this site) rakes out enough money every month to put most of you through school, and I'm pretty sure that it got bad enough that he eventually had to invest in some ads to cut down the costs a bit. However, the ads barely make a dent in how much this place costs and I know he is still taking a ton of money out of his own pocket to keep this place running. The subscriptions that you purchase do help and it's certainly a good feeling to know that you are helping out this guy (Fazle) to keep this place running for you, but the amount of money from new subscriptions is very low. I know for a fact that he doesn't make that much money off subscriptions... most members will donate once to get an av and then never do it again.
Some of you may say that there's no way a site this small with so few members can take up so much bandwidth. Well the simple answer is that we do. If you look in the main OT forum (whenever you can, I don't know how the Initiation forum thing works), you'll see that sometimes the entire front page is comprised of topics less than a minute old. OT moves faster than some chat rooms do, and we are one of the largest boards on big-boards.com with the fewest amount of members. Yes, we are all post-whores ... some of our newer members have 50,000+ posts. We eat A LOT of bandwidth just in the database queries alone, not to mention the free OT upload service, picture gallery, hotties forum, etc etc.
In short, there are many good reasons to ACTUALLY pay money to browse this site. You are here for one reason and that is to post (or lurk, but that doesn't count), and if you want your posts to mean anything ... you will buy an avatar at one point or another. I went through about 400 or 500 posts before they started meaning something. Some members have to wait through 3,000 or 4,00 before they start realizing that no one replies to their threads or thinks of them seriously. It may be childish in your opinion, but it is the way of OT and there is NO way that you are going to change anything.
I hope that clears things up for some of you, and I hope at least a few of you newer members read through all of this. It's somewhat long but I think it is well worth it to help you understand why exactly you should pay money here. You don't have to ... and you certainly can respect that right (because it is given to you, unlike other forums like SA), but it is pretty much pointless to post without an av. Now here's some extra motivation. If you did read this and decide to buy an avatar, let me know (in private message) after you put it up. I'll PM you some big OT secrets / history that most noobs will be puzzled with for months until they figure it out, someone slips. Just posting questions in the main forum will get you 'ban' and 'stfu noob' comments, but I am really willing to help you guys out if you contribute to this site. Things that I'll cover will be what all those crazy OT acronyms mean (OP, DIAF, etc etc) and I'll cover the OT history that I know, including explaining who many of the more prominent members are and what has happened since I have been here, which isn't that long in OT's eyes ... but I certainly know enough to not be considered so noob-ish anymore.