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Is it possible to use different avatars on different SE sites? If not, then I would like to request this functionality (which I understand may require SE hosting the avatar images).

I would really prefer not to have to jump through hoops with different Open IDs or multiple email addresses.

With SE branching out as much as it has, I think the need for this is greater than ever. The way you present yourself on SO may be different from how you want to appear on Gaming or Cooking, etc. I would probably want a very serious, boring image for SO, but something more fun and on-topic for Gaming.

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@status-declined not the most appropriate username for a person requesting a feature :). –  alex Apr 29 '11 at 11:04
    
Many email providers support some sort of aliases, like username+so@gmail will be delivered to username@gmail. That would still require one to register that more specific email address at Gravatar though. –  Arjan Apr 29 '11 at 11:10
    
@alex - I'm a psychic. –  user27414 Apr 29 '11 at 11:10
    
@status-declined: given how trigger-happy Jeff usually is, you might be. Although I hope you're wrong. –  alex Apr 29 '11 at 11:11
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I don't see this happening, as it would be a major change to our code, API and databases for very little benefit - especially given you can already do this via different emails if you really want a different avatar. Also remember: we don't store images, none, anywhere. Your current avatar doesn't reside on our servers, so enabling anything not email (gravatar) based would be a huge change. –  Nick Craver Apr 29 '11 at 11:34
    
I don't jump through hoops with OpenIDs or multiple email addresses, all of mine are addressed with the same account. And I've got a unique gravatar for every site outside of the Trilogy (and SharePoint). ♪ My solution is the one that Adam proposes below. –  Grace Note Apr 29 '11 at 13:16

2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Is it possible to use different avatars on different SE sites?

Yes, all you need to do is g...

I would really prefer not to have to jump through hoops with different Open IDs or multiple email addresses.

Hey, stop interrupting buddy. As I was saying, wait, what was that? Oh, hoops. Yes, we'll technically you wouldn't be using a different email address. Many email services allow one to salt their own email address without using a different email account as follows:

adavisatubasics+pollyanna@gmail.com

adavisatubasics@gmail.com is my existing email account. You can add any string of valid email address characters after the +. There's nothing to set up in your email account - just make up some word, add it after the plus, and any email sent to that new address will go to your regular email account. For the purposes of the rest of this question I'm going to refer to the "pollyanna" portion of my email as a salt. You don't have to worry about what a salt is, technically, just note that when I say salt or salts, I'm talking about the made-up portion of the email address after the plus sign.

If you hash that and check out the gravatar, you'll find the gravatar I used here for some time when I was Pollyanna. All the email still went to my gmail account, adavisatubasics@gmail.com, but as far as gravatar was concerned, I was using a different email address.

On gravatar, I simply added that email to my normal gravatar account, and now I can select the avatar I want to use for my Stack Overflow account as well as the avatar for my meta account from one gravatar account.

In other words you need only one email account, and one gravatar account, and the liberal use of salts to generate a custom gravatar for each site. It's already built in to the services you use. The only problem is if your chosen email provider doesn't support this email feature, in which case you might need one additional email account, and you can set it up to forward to your regular account.

With SE branching out as much as it has, I think the need for this is greater than ever. The way you present yourself on SO may be different from how you want to appear on Gaming or Cooking, etc. I would probably want a very serious, boring image for SO, but something more fun and on-topic for Gaming.

To each their own. It comes down to branding and branding strategies, and there are a lot of techniques and tricks of the trade. Fortunately for budding self-marketers, it's easy to implement with the current system.

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I was not aware of the salt trick with gmail. It's a bit of a hoop, but at least it's not a flaming hoop. Thanks! –  user27414 Apr 29 '11 at 13:51

I would use gravatar, which can host multiple avatars especially if you just use the foo+something@email provider trick which works fine for gmail and several others.

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