NEOBOARDS - ACers across Neopia have seen the phenomenon sweeping across the Avatar Chat. There are at least three topics at a time telling us that we can get our fonts rated there. But why the need to get our fonts rated? Do we need that affirmation that we can make a decent font that matches our avatars? That somebody else thinks our font is good enough to be worthy of their award? Surely it should be a case of whether or not we are happy with our fonts and the way they are.
I think it’s fair to say that each of us, at some point has wondered, “I do wonder what other people think of my font; I wonder if it would be worthy of their award?” I’ve been there, only to be knocked back and told my font isn’t fancy enough. Well, I like my font plain, indeed, I know of plenty of people that like a plain font or really, no font at all. What’s the big deal about having fancy characters and borders in our neoHTML? To express our individuality perhaps? However, isn’t individuality about being just that, an individual? Being an individual is the opposite of conforming to the likes of others as far as our fonts are concerned.
One of the worst aspects of the font rating craze is that each rater rates to different criteria. One rater may tell me that they don’t like the fancy dots I’ve placed ever so carefully in my signature because I like them, and so I remove them and my signature becomes a little plainer. The first rater ups my rating, saying that it’s more individual, but then, I might go to a different board, because let’s face it, we like to know that something we’ve worked on is considered good across the board, only to be told that my signature is too plain. Maybe I could add some fancy dots or Webdings or something. So I remember what the first rater said, I lose the dots, but keeping in mind that someone else thinks this is too plain, I add a heart. My next move? You guessed it, on to rater number three. Rater number three raves about my font, saying it’s great, it’s fantastic, ten out of ten. This of course, makes me happy; finally I think that my font is up to scratch. Suddenly I remember the previous two raters, who was right, who was wrong? Who do I believe? Along comes rater number four.
As you can see it becomes a vicious cycle; we try to find new and exciting ways to make our fonts acceptable to those around us, becoming more and more miserable and confused, saying to ourselves, “But I liked that, I thought it was good.” In no way am I suggesting that making fonts and enjoying fonts, or even having fonts rated, is a bad thing, I am merely suggesting that maybe it is being taken too far. Who decides who is worthy of doing the rating anyway? I don’t know about you, but some of the raters I have come across rate incredibly harshly, yet their own font doesn’t seem to be up to their own standards. This is their choice; they are clearly happy with their fonts, why then can’t they let the rest of us be happy. I suppose that’s when we say that we put ourselves in that situation by going to their topics and saying “Please rate my font”.
We are who we are, though; we need to feel accepted, we need to be told that we’re good enough. That in turn gets dragged down to even having our fonts being made acceptable. I question whatever happened to having a plain font, with colours that matched our favourite avatars which represented who we are. I’m finding now less unique fonts as we strive for these awards, and because of that one person slowly melts into another. It’s getting harder and harder to tell us apart and so we’re becoming a faceless crowd of font rating ACers. Not the way I envisioned the AC going, I must admit.
There are benefits of having the font raters, I suppose; there’s no such thing as something being all bad. Especially those font raters with a decent font themselves; they may be able to give decent advice to those of us who really don’t have a clue when it comes to making our fonts, those of us who stick to a basic font due to lack of knowledge, rather than lack of want. In such cases I applaud the font raters for helping those of us who are less fortunate, I have to admit, that it is thanks to a couple of font raters that I even know how to make my font. Proof again I suppose that everything has its place. Even the font raters who drive me so far up the wall.
Why do raters rate and why do people feel the need to be rated? I put the question out there and these are some of the response I received. Rater __sun_beam__ says, “I rate people's fonts... because I like to see their artistic talent.” That’s a fair claim, I suppose; we go to museums and galleries to admire artistic talent, but we don’t rate their paintings. Our opinions would be considered uneducated. Therefore, if we’re looking at someone else’s font to examine their artistic ability, surely we don’t have the right to rate it. After all, it is their... artistic ability, not ours. How would the TNT artists feel if we started rating their artwork throughout the site? Would we consider ourselves worthy of rating their artwork? Think about it.
Neopian akalanka90210 says, “I get my font rated because the raters might give me a suggestion that I hadn't thought of, and I can use that to change my font more to my liking.” To me the key word in this quote is ‘my’. Akalanka, in my opinion, has the best view of font rating; he seeks out the opinions of others for fresh ideas, but still to make a font that he likes. Lilbabeaus believes that “fonts show personality, and within each font it shows the users talents and a little about their personality,” which is essentially the point I am trying to make (see, I’m not alone in my thinking xD). However, it doesn’t answer the question of why people get their font rated. The final opinion I collected was from Damages, who says she likes to have her fonts rated “because I want to see if people enjoy my work. I'm an artistic person, and it's kinda fun really.” This opinion sits well with me; if you’re proud of something, by all means, show it off, have fun with it, but don’t take it too seriously.
Of course, if you live for fonts, if you enjoy collecting various awards, go for it, conform; change your font as many times as you like. I’m not suggesting that those of you who love what you do should stop, I’m suggesting for those out there (like myself, I know they exist, the meepits told me) who are frustrated by what they see that they don’t have to be like that. Ignore the topics (it’s hard, but possible; focus, my friends) and remind yourself that you are happy with what you have.
I beg of all ACers (and other Neopians of course) don’t change something that you like just because someone gives you a two out of ten and tells you that you’re not worthy of their award. As long as you’re worthy of your own award, it should be enough. Ask yourself two questions. Do you think your font matches your avatar? Do you like the way it looks to you? If you answered yes to both of these questions, more importantly the second question, then I’d like to tell you that your font is just fine. Keep it, love it, flaunt it.