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I know about gravatar and have seen the questions about "how to change my profile picture". This question is different.

We are by default assigned a random geometry based picture when we join SO. Sometimes, the design of the geometry or the color of it is not to our liking. Could you provide a button which would re-generate a new random geometry picture until we find a geometry and color that we like?

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2 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The geometric design is based on your email address; change your email and the design will change. If an account doesn't have an email address set, the ip address of the person browsing is used as the basis for the hash instead.

If you have a Gmail account, you can trivially add an alias by adding +somevalue to your Gmail username. For example, if your address is nav@gmail.com you can use nav+stackoverflow@gmail.com too and it'll arrive in the same email box. Moreover, Gmail ignores dots in the email address; n.a.v@gmail.com is seen as the same address as nav@gmail.com. Use this to your advantage.

This only applies to 'anonymous' gravatars (called identicons), where you have not set your own image on gravatar.com or selected the identicon explicitly in your profile. The other alternative is for you to pick a geometric image you do like and to upload that to gravatar.com or directly to your profile here.

Note that avatars are used to help others distinguish between different posters; the anonymous 'identicons' give us this even for people who have not uploaded an avatar image, here or on gravatar.com. As such we don't want the image to change too often.

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Perhaps the algorithm could be altered to base the image on a hash of the email and the current date and time. That way it will be possible to change the design. –  Nav Aug 12 '12 at 10:51
@Nav, it is possible to change it... to anything you want... The reason for the stasis is that you will have the same Gravatar on every site. Adding a time based element would eliminate this. –  ben is uǝq backwards Aug 12 '12 at 10:54
I don't think it's SO/SE who implemented this. And even if they did, it's a rather useless feature to spend their time on I think. Just set a Gravatar of your own if you really want to see it changed. –  Bart Aug 12 '12 at 10:55
The design's original purpose is to have something visual to distinguish between different accounts without a gravatar while still being able to give each account a static image. Note the 'static'; time and date would cause constantly changing gravatars, very confusing for the rest of us. –  Martijn Pieters Aug 12 '12 at 10:55
The geometry designs were gravatars too?! God! Just why couldn't SO have normal profile pic uploads?! Anyway, @Martijn: I meant that the user should be able to change their gravatar when they first create it. To at least be able to choose a shape and colour of their choice. But then again, why not constantly change the profile pic? If people can change their display names on SO, why not the pic too? –  Nav Aug 12 '12 at 18:19
@Nav: but the point is that these patters are generated for those who don't want to bother with a gravatar. It's the fall-back option, not the main event. You can change your gravatar, by uploading one to gravatar.com. –  Martijn Pieters Aug 12 '12 at 19:49
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You can "preview" identicons (the official name of the default Gravatar) using this online generator: http://asaph.org/gravatar/

For example the default for nav@gmail.com is:

You can change it like Martijn suggested e.g. to nav+salt@gmail.com to get totally different identicon:

Once you are content with the result, set that email as your email address via the edit profile page.

Another online Gravatar "parser": http://jsfiddle.net/qtqK5/2/embedded/result/ this one also show other types, not just identicon and was made by Arjan.

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@Arjan nice! Your doing? –  Shadow Wizard Aug 12 '12 at 12:02
Well, mostly copy & paste ;-) Even quicker now: jsfiddle.net/qtqK5/2/embedded/result ;-) –  Arjan Aug 12 '12 at 12:04
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