R Rated Avatars

March 8th, 2007
Blogging News

MyBlogLog is a good tool. I use it not quite everyday, but often enough to see how many readers are in the WeblogToolsCollection Community and who is visiting the blog. I would like to have regular up to date click through information (and ad click though information, that is a very cool feature, BTW) but since I do not pay for it, I get stale data. Stale data is useful but in a “meh, shrug” sort of way. However, I have been bothered by one aspect of MyBlogLog that I have not been able to shrug off.

R rated avatars. I thought I had read somewhere that MyBlogLog would watch out for these and filter them out but I have seen them become more and more popular, especially among the marketing crowd.

I have no right to be, nor any qualification to be moral police. But since I cannot police the behaviour of others, I reserve the right to remove, hide, terminate or otherwise remove anything from my site that I deem inappropriate. That being said, I consider R rated avatars inappropriate to be displayed a public blog that is being read by people of all ages and have been actively hiding them when I see them. If you are being hidden from my list on the sidebar, that is probably why. If this turns out to become more prevalent, I will simply remove MyBlogLog from this blog.

I wonder what MyBlogLog thinks of this growing problem or if they even think of this as a problem. I know Jeremy had a rough time recently but what have your experiences been with MyBlogLog? What do you think of the avatars?




  1. RT Cunningham (5 comments.) says:

    It might help to define “R rated”. Is there nudity involved? Sexual innuendo? An R rating means different things to different people, unless the standard is openly published.

  2. Greg Laden (7 comments.) says:

    I have seen a lot of GP rated (or PG-13) avatars, but I have no yet seen an R-rated avatars. I have not seen anything beyond what I’ve seen on television commercials in the US.

  3. Leftblank (4 comments.) says:

    Hm, would you guys mind to use international terms rather than the incomprehensible US-only terms? That makes it quite a lot easier to follow for Europeans and Asians ;)

    I agree that there are a lot of people using avatars of ‘hot’ ladies with well shaped bodies – it’s somewhat proven to be effective as a way to drive traffic to your website as it does get people curious, and it would indeed be nice to be able to filter them out in order to keep the widget look somewhat serious.

  4. engtech (4 comments.) says:

    You can click on any avatar to prevent it from showing up on your blog.

  5. Jonathan (1 comments.) says:

    There can be no standards written that will can be agreed upon outside of your own personal sphere. Amongst you and your friends – maybe. Within a culture – hardly. Globally – not a chance.

    What Swedes would “R-rate” is different from what Americans would and from what Iranians would. So don’t go there. Censor and remove what you can wish – but please, don’t try to formulate guidelines that you expect others to follow.

  6. Mark (386 comments.) says:


    I have no right to be, nor any qualification to be moral police. But since I cannot police the behaviour of others, I reserve the right to remove, hide, terminate or otherwise remove anything from my site that I deem inappropriate.

    Thats exactly what I said.
    engtech: thats how I have been removing the unwanted ones.

  7. nika (1 comments.) says:

    I removed MBL because the screenshot loading was SLOW and lagged out my page.

    I only ever saw faces or innocuous graphics.

    If I DID see any:

    racist image/graphics
    extremist political views

    … I would have dumped MBL in a heart beat.

    I TRY to keep on niche-target with most of what is on my blog. Having nudity, racism, violence, or some other extreme off-topic content does not serve my blog in any way whatsoever, period.

    Anything that goes on your blog should be triaged in that way. If its offensive to you or your readers (including troll comments), dont have it on your blog.

    Now, if you WANT to offend your readers, by all means, go for it, there is plenty of such content to choose from out there!

  8. Jonathan (81 comments.) says:

    +1. I’m all for decency on the net. Good call, Mark.

  9. Storm (6 comments.) says:

    I have a bit of a problem understanding censorship like that. I mean. Every one these days seem to say “I’m against censorship, but…” Well, so they are in favor of censorship then. Fair enough. People can choose what to display on their own weblogs. But it seems silly to me to have an avatar feature and then put demands on it, or in other words put limits on other people’s expression of themselves.

    If you are not upen to people’s avatar wishes then I think you should concider not displaying any avatars at all. Or have a system where you give people nice or ugly avatars based on how much you like them.

    I think that if someone has for instance a racist avatar, then that reflects on them and not me, the weblog owner. If people want to flaunt their ignorance or just general bad tast, then I don’t see how that makes my weblog look bad.

    Of course… if every single one of your visitors has a schwastica or a dead baby next to their comments, it may actually reflect on the content of your weblog. :)

    Also if the avatar content is in direct violation of a law which may land you in jail, it could be a bad idea to display it.

  10. Jonathan (1 comments.) says:

    @Mark: Sorry, I was mostly commenting on the comments before mine (#1-3). Not so much your post, because yes, you said exactly that. Sorry for the confusion. :)

  11. dpk (1 comments.) says:

    I’m all for R-rated avatars, if it might mean we’ll see fewer “unattended” youths online. The truth is it’s impossible to completely sanitize the internet. It’s better to just monitor your child’s internet use, or not allow them online at all if you don’t think you can handle it.

    Then the rest of us who can handle what they see on the internet won’t be stifled by randomly applied “morals”.

  12. Enblogopedia (3 comments.) says:

    Mark…..YOU ARE RIGHT!!

  13. egon (2 comments.) says:

    I don’t know, I mean on one hand it IS the internet, and we want as much freedom as possible, but if people are viewing these blogs at work and what-not, it can pose a problem. I say we push the tag. That would truly solve the problem.

  14. egon (2 comments.) says:

    Oops, sorry about that. What I said was we need to push the [rel=”nsfw”] tag.

  15. Bethany (1 comments.) says:

    Great post, Mark. I think keeping your blog appropriate is not only your right, but your responsibility to your readers who trust you.

  16. Kevin (2 comments.) says:

    If you have readers that are that sensitive or impressionable, what are they doing on the internet in the first place??

  17. Kyle Eslick (3 comments.) says:

    I couldn’t agree more. This is one thing Gravatar did right over MBL by rating avatars.

    I’ve made use of MBL’s reporting feature a few times to report these avatars that I feel are inappropriate and don’t want on my site.

    I may eventually remove my widget.

  18. Petit (1 comments.) says:

    Hi Mark. It’s worth discussing.
    Jonathan ( jturn ). I think you miised the mark ( pun intended ).
    Yes Swedes and Iraninans may rate images differently, and you may fancy R-rated avatars ;), even if the reason you give is just a bit silly.
    The point is not a matter of overall censorship, it is just not doable. But on your own blog, you’re the master and you get rid of what ever you don’t like. If you don’t want the XYZ-rated stuff to show up on your blog, you can ask some service like MyBlogLog to provide an opt out setting.

  19. Kevin (2 comments.) says:

    Petit, I would hardly say his reason was silly. It’s a fact that different cultures have different sensitivities. But trying to impose your definition of “R-Rated” by asking someone else to cater to your definition and define an “opt-out” setting is very silly.

  20. Ajay (209 comments.) says:

    I’m entering this quite a bit late, but its a complaint I got from few of my friends who asked me why I have “obscene” images on my blog. It took me a while to figure out what they were talking about.

    I’m thinking of taking out the MBL code that displays the avatars, because it is slowing down the loading quite a bit.
    It’s not as fast as it was earlier.

  21. theUg (1 comments.) says:

    I’d argue it is all moot point, actually. In that MBL is next to useless in my opinion.

    Who cares who came over and read you? Yea, it’d be nice to show off if, say, Zeldman dropped by, or Huffington took a look at the crap you write. But the better way to build a rep is to write good stuff, and then established people will read it and link to it, giving you some credibility.

    If rep is not a question, who needs to know that the lady with her kitty read you, or whether the baby on an avatar cute or dead, which way the cross is turned et cetera?

  22. Matthew Jabs (2 comments.) says:

    Although I haven’t came across any “R” rated (meaning nudity) MyBlogLog avatars, some are definitely suggestive.

    I do know that some people obviously use these images to try & draw traffic. I think this tactic is kind of underhanded, but like you said, you can’t police everyone & everything.

    I haven’t deemed it a problem yet, and I run which is definitely a family friendly website.

  23. Jay (3 comments.) says:

    The key thing with MyBlogLog for my website isn’t so much the “R-rated” visitors but the default profile page for me that included “Hot In My Communities” — pure link spam until I removed a few popular DJ communities and a few that were from the click count add functionality of MyBlogLog. So, now I’m back to pure geek/nerdy links and less hot young barely legal stuff.

    YmMV (Your morality May Vary)

  24. charlie (1 comments.) says:

    didn’t even notice it until i’ve come across your post. i do see what you mean. haven’t seen anything with my profile yet, luckily.

  25. azrin (11 comments.) says:

    I just don’t bother about them, cos I can’t get anyone to add me to a community :P

    Some of em…are really a cause for nightmares.

    Azrin @

  26. Caroline (1 comments.) says:

    I simply use Gravatar, which means I don’t have any such problems. Seems smarter to me. ;)

  27. Jason Bartholme (1 comments.) says:

    This is just one of MyBLogLog’s many problems that can be solved by an ounce of moderating.

  28. Rian (1 comments.) says:

    I had (and have) the same problem. First of all, the mybloglog sidebar doesnt seem to be updating. Ive had the same people listed for weeks. And yea, one of those is an R-rated, borderline X-rates gravatar that I’d like gone.

  29. Brian (1 comments.) says:

    First I do not think he was specific about what he means as R Rated because R rated is exactly what he meant. You know, Nudity, Excessive violence, or otherwise Inappropriate for general audiences. I must totally agree that this is an issue and I have already taken the step to remove mybloglog widget from my site as well as one other like it. What disgusted me is when I was looking at a website maintained by an 11 year old I found a nude photo avatar with links to porn related pages from its profile. The whole 40 or so viewers mybloglog has brought in is not worth the loss of users my site would suffer from keeping the widget in place so it is gone. Thank you for this post. Now I know I am not the only one.

  30. RT Cunningham (5 comments.) says:

    I removed the MyBlogLog widget for three reasons: 1) What the previous commenter said, (2) The visitors weren’t updating, and 3) My page kept hanging. It’s a shame the owners won’t take the time to police it. I foresee a mass exodus from that service.

  31. mythago says:

    Deciding what goes on your own blog is not really “censorship”. If the government bans certain icons, or if you are not allowed to place the icons you like on your own blog, that is censorship.

    I have no idea if this is technically possible, but it would be interesting to put something like an ICRA tag with many flags that could be checked incoming – so that if you don’t want sexually explicit icons popping up you simply tell the widget not to display those.


  1. […] all the success came a number of people looking use MyBlogLog for financial gains. From R-Rated avatars to people pretending to be somebody else to other commercial avatars like Mr. Online Pharmacy, […]

  2. […] that I have some direct experience with on my own site. One such post was regarding so-called “R-Rated” avatars. It goes like this, you are looking to get some clicks so you sign up for MyBlogLog and put […]

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