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Look at the moderator page for SO.

Near the bottom is ThiefMaster - if you are looking at the page on a Retina display, you can see that his avatar looks much sharper than anyone else's.

How'd he do that? Some special moderator thing?

I've tried uploading crazy-huge images to achieve the desired effect, but they are still downsized, and look blurry on a Retina display.

Any ideas?

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I'm sure he'd be honored, but I don't think he needs his own tag, hehe. – jonsca May 1 '13 at 3:31
@jonsca: Especially one that wasn't spelled correctly... – animuson May 1 '13 at 3:38
Did you try taking that avatar and uploading it as your own? I can say it's not a special moderator thing, he probably just used an avatar that looked really sharp. – jmort253 May 1 '13 at 4:04
♪ Cause all the user's crazy 'bout a sharp res mod ♫ – random May 1 '13 at 4:11
I thought I was crazy, I've always noticed this – jamylak May 1 '13 at 10:58
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Mods don't have any special powers when it comes to avatars. Maybe his avatar just looks really sharp?

Another thing is that the 1k drop-shadow effect on ThiefMaster's avatar is more prominent. Many of the mods haven't filled their summaries. The ones who have don't have the right colors to make the drop shadow look good. The ones who have the right colors (Gordon and Bill) have uploaded blurry/low-res avatars (ThiefMaster's avatar looks fine at 512x512).

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ThiefMaster's avatar thumbnail is 128px. The others are 48px. – Jeremy Banks May 1 '13 at 4:34
@JeremyBanks: Ah. It seems to look fine at 512, though. – Manishearth May 1 '13 at 4:37
@JeremyBanks it's a conspiracy! – Richard J. Ross III May 1 '13 at 4:38
No idea how SE's software decides between 128px and 48px. Mine is 128px as well, so it's not clearly not a mod thing. – CodesInChaos May 1 '13 at 9:31
@CodesInChaos: Maybe one's from gravatar/openid and the other is a direct upload? – George Duckett May 1 '13 at 10:07
It's also largely transparent. – Grant Thomas May 1 '13 at 11:16
@Manishearth whose avatar do you call blurry/low-res :P – Gordon May 2 '13 at 10:56

For some people gravatars are embedded with &s=128 for others the size depends on context, for example &s=32 on posts or &s=48 in reputation leagues/the mod list, &s=64 on expanded user cards...

This parameter is part of the html emitted by the SE software, so it seems unlikely that the details of the image matter. I didn't find out why it's different for some users. It doesn't seem to depend on reputation(there are plenty of higher rep users with low res gravatars) and it doesn't appear to be linked to being a mod either (I'm no mod anywhere on SE, and most mods have low res gravatars).

So far I found ThiefMaster, KonradRudolph, Gumbo and me with a 128px avatar.

Update: When I click on "Change Picture" and then on the gravatar entry (which is already marked as checked) the account loses the high res image property. So I guess it's caused by a bug that was present when I changed my email the last time, but isn't present anymore.

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His avatar is the original octocat.

It was created by Simon Oxley who is an expert designer (with a resume like designing the Twitter bird), so it's no wonder his work stays sharp in any resolution; it's simply a masterpiece of art.

You can browse more of those cats here. :)

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