I had an (extremely minor) identity crisis when I clicked on my username and saw a different identicon than I'd had previously. :)

According to this answer, your identicon is based on a hash of your last known IP address.

Since a user's profile picture part of their identity, I would prefer if my profile picture only changed through deliberate action on my part.

Since the user's IP hash is already saved (the identicon has to be displayed to people even during the unthinkable periods when we're not actively browsing), I propose preserving the first one assigned to a user, and not updating it even if the user's IP address changes.

Are there any upsides to the current behavior that I haven't thought of?

  • 4
    I'll note that I "fixed" this problem for myself by finding my old identicon cached on another Stack Overflow site, saving it, and then uploading it as my Gravatar. I never realized how attached I was to the image until it was gone. :)
    – daxelrod
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 2:13

1 Answer 1


We primarily use a hash of your email for gravatar.

However, since filling in your email is not required, ip address is used as a fallback.

If you want a guarantee of a consistent gravatar, fill in the email field on your profile and make sure this is present on your associated accounts.

Then, if you want something beyond the default identicon, create a gravatar account and upload something to your account there.

  • 1
    Thank you, I added a comment noting that I did end up using Gravatar to give myself a consistent profile picture. However, my feature request still stands: wouldn't it be better if the image generated from the IP fallback is consistent?
    – daxelrod
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 2:20
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    @daxel your comment is nonsensical; the IP generation is consistent, what isn't consistent is the actual IP address you are using Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 4:57
  • @Jeff Atwood The image could be made consistent by not updating the saved IP (or IP hash) after the user's first visit. The IP seed is an implementation detail that most users will never know about. Have I made more sense this time? :)
    – daxelrod
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 23:21
  • @daxelrod not updating the ip would not be correct in the future when you accessed the site from a different location and we didn't have that information stored. Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 23:44
  • If there's no saved IP, then how do you display my identicon to other users during the times I'm not browsing the site?
    – daxelrod
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 2:21
  • Also, if this back-and-forth is becoming obnoxious, just let me know and I'll stop. Stack Exchange is fantastic, this is just a nit I'm picking.
    – daxelrod
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 2:22

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