Well, I'm wondering if a user with a silly or fun avatar is not considered as reputable as another. Or the complete opposite...Having a default Gravatar mosaic image indicates the user is a noob, or doesn't interact enough with the community to care to define a custom avatar.

Personally, I hope everyone really enjoys my Tobais Fünké avatar.

  • Generally speaking the case is held that a person defines for themself a persona online, and that that persona has an instantly recognizable brand image. I would much rather follow someone with a known-to-me brand image, and their advice, rather than just someone who takes a good headshot.
    – jcolebrand
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:12
  • 1
    @jcolebrand The logical problem then extending to the issue of people who happen to use the same known-to-you brand image. Don't see it often, but always a loop when it happens.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:43
  • Surprise, I'm the top rated noob at SO. I'll keep it. Oct 2, 2011 at 1:09
  • Mosaic avatar looks good. No need to change.
    – nhahtdh
    Jul 17, 2012 at 7:22
  • 3
    I think it's not the avatar that defines you as a noob, it's the name. for example anybody called user12254568523 is a noob.
    – Dan Hanly
    Jul 17, 2012 at 8:03
  • 1
    @DanielHanly given that user id is a SQL Server int, anyone with that exact username has in fact chosen it themselves...
    – AakashM
    Jul 17, 2012 at 11:38
  • 1
    @AakashM lol, sorry smartass, I'll be more careful with my numpad hammerings next time to ensure that they at least are within the range of int!
    – Dan Hanly
    Jul 17, 2012 at 12:47

9 Answers 9


See the list of top users on Meta. Of users on the 1st page:

  • 5 have default (mosaic) avatars.
  • 13 have conventional head-shots.
  • 1 has a decapitated head-shot.
  • 1 has a head-shot of an anime character.
  • 1 has a head-shot of a Simpsons character.
  • 1 has a head-shot of a cat.
  • 1 has a head-shot of an integrated circuit man.
  • 1 has a head-shot of a cross between a human baby and a narwhal.
  • 2 have head-shots of stick figures.
  • 10 have various other objects or symbols, many of them silly.
  • and founder and #1 user Jeff Atwood has this: Coding Horror logo

In short, having a quirky avatar does not hurt your reputation here.

  • 1
    If this question can be answered, I think this is it.
    – MVCylon
    Aug 31, 2011 at 2:25
  • 3
    And one has a QR code. Oct 2, 2011 at 1:22

I'm wondering if a user with a silly or fun avatar is not considered as reputable as another.

It seems to be okay for these guys.

gumbo bobince

Having a default Gravatar mosaic image indicates the user is a noob, or doesn't interact enough with the community to care to define a custom avatar.

There is evidence that this is not the case.


  • 1
    I resent that remark! Having a gravatar image that is not of one's self clearly indicates that .. one is .. oh screw it.
    – jcolebrand
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:11
  • 2
    @jcolebrand is right, I'm clearly not to be trusted.
    – Tim Stone
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:11
  • 5
    I'd submit that reputation points and diamonds are not a valid judge of whether or not I care enough to define a custom avatar. :P
    – mmyers
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:14
  • @mmyers that's not a custom avatar? And here I thought it was
    – jcolebrand
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:15
  • 3
    @mmyers: You really need to work on your interaction with the community. It's like we don't even know you. ;) Aug 30, 2011 at 15:20
  • 6
    @Bill is setting the right example by showing a full body shot. Aug 30, 2011 at 15:36
  • Gumbo's avatar is the greatest avatar ever!!
    – MVCylon
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:42
  • Neil B II's avatar was kind of, well .. umm .. O.k., so I don't have a term to describe that particular avatar, but he managed to hit 10k in a month or so.
    – Tim Post
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:49
  • Cletus' one is also pretty awesome :)
    – user138231
    Aug 31, 2011 at 4:09

Just look at some of the Top Users. I notice that Bill the Lizard and Cletus seem to do fine on rep. :)

And Cletus has 145K rep on the main site, too...


Personally, I have found the best bet to be: ask the community to make a gravatar for you. Then, randomly rotate through the submissions and you're bound to please everyone at some point!

(Sadly, most of the selections were removed from imgur. Here they are from my Gravatar account:)

From Popular Demand:

Popular Demand Gravatar

From Michael Mrozek:

Micheal Mrozek Gravatar

From Tim Stone:

Tim Stone Gravatar

From Fosco:

Fosco Gravatar

  • Hey, haven't seen you in a while! (I believe I submitted one too, but I can't find it.)
    – Moshe
    Aug 30, 2011 at 15:42
  • @Moshe I am slowly working my way out of the pile of work I am under. I shall make an official return soon! If you can find the Gravatar you created for me I will put it in here as well Aug 30, 2011 at 15:47
  • 1
    The images are still viewable by adding stack to their URL. Like i.stack.imgur.com/Q3F0d.png rather than i.imgur.com/Q3F0d.png
    – Arjan
    Aug 30, 2011 at 17:34

Try changing your avatar and user name to something random like Jon Skeet and find a random head shot from Google images like this one

enter image description here

and see if it has any effect on your reputation.

  • 1
    I know you're joking, but it wouldn't be the first time we've had to remove imposter Jon Skeet accounts. Aug 30, 2011 at 17:14
  • 10
    I am Jon Skeet. This is a fake account just to pose this question!
    – MVCylon
    Aug 30, 2011 at 17:46

I would say that at the very least a "unique" avatar might allow you to be more easily recognizable to users, therefore swaying their opinion of your answer based on how they feel about your site interaction as a whole.


I just discovered this Simpson's "Nerd" is named Doug....

enter image description here

Hello new avatar...


It is difficult to get any hard facts here, as there some preferences of certain avatar types might correlate with some other properties which might influence how good the posts are, or otherwise influence the votes.

You might want to do an experiment here:

  • Create three new accounts.
  • One account gets a "funny" image, one stays with the default Gravatar pattern, one gets a serious looking photo.
  • Each time when you are about to post a question or answer, throw a dice to decide which of the three accounts to use.
  • After about 100 (or 1000?) posts each, compare which got most upvotes/downvotes.

To exclude other factors, all three should have similar names. Or you might want to add different types of names, too: the default user920248 type, a real sounding name (not one already active on SO), a pseudonym like "OffBySome" (but again, not one already in use here).

This would be nine accounts, quite some work.

  • 2
    Hey dont use OffBySome! But OffByNone or OffByOne is all yours.
    – bkaid
    Aug 30, 2011 at 17:56
  • Actually, I'm not totally sure in which category my avatar is. It is a photo of myself, in some way. Aug 30, 2011 at 17:57
  • @OffBy: Sorry, I needed an example here, and your post was just above to see. As I said, don't use a name which already is in use. Aug 30, 2011 at 17:59
  • select * from SO where time on SO = 1 year and number questions asked = ~50 and number questions answered = ~50. order by rep. Review each image by hand
    – MVCylon
    Aug 30, 2011 at 18:13

Personally, I really never worried about my Gravatar. I like my privacy online, so I didn't put up a headshot of myself (however grainy :P), but I just used something that represented something that I enjoyed...

My avatar is also rather unique and has sparked some interesting conversations - other people have seen it other places and thought of studiohack.

My two cents. :)

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