I could be wrong, but it appears that a user's profile picture is tied (through Gravatar) to the e-mail he uses for notification. Is that the case? (Changing the notification e-mail certainly seems to change the only e-mail address visibly associated with a profile.)

If so it seems an odd linkage, since the mail one happens to choose for notifications is certainly determined by a variety of generally private (and typically irrelevant to SO) considerations, while the picture is (obviously) very public and particular to SO. Shouldn't there be a distinct setting for "picture e-mail" in the user profile for Gravatar to use?

  • It is by default if the user doesn't provide an image to use. Sep 18, 2011 at 21:19
  • "the picture is ... particular to SO" Nah, not exactly. Sep 18, 2011 at 21:22
  • @Jeff: "Provide an image to use"?
    – orome
    Sep 18, 2011 at 21:35
  • Maybe my question is not being understood: If I change my notification e-mail address, my profile picture changes (to whatever Gravitar has associated with that address). Does that make sense to anyone?
    – orome
    Sep 18, 2011 at 21:37
  • @rax: Oh sorry, I could have sworn that we could provide an alternate image for use with the site without going through gravitar at some point. I guess I'm mistaken. Sep 18, 2011 at 21:41
  • (side note: haha love the username)
    – Naftali
    Sep 19, 2011 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


Shouldn't there be a distinct setting for "picture e-mail" in the user profile for Gravitar to use?

Gravatar allows tying any number of E-Mail addresses to the same image, invisible for the outside world, so as far as I can see, this shouldn't be a problem.

  • But Gravitar (naturally) only allows associating one image with a given address. No?
    – orome
    Sep 18, 2011 at 21:31
  • @rax that is true.
    – Pekka
    Sep 18, 2011 at 23:24
  • Hence the problem. SO uses the notification address to fetch the one image Gravatar has associated with it. So, for example, if I change my notification preferences to a different address for whatever reason (say while traveling, for example), my profile picture changes too (unless I have the same picture associated with all my relevant e-mail addresses).
    – orome
    Sep 18, 2011 at 23:35
  • @raxa yeaaah... But that sounds like a pretty esoteric problem to me to be honest. Definitely worth the huge effort of starting to host these images on SO....
    – Pekka
    Sep 19, 2011 at 9:39
  • No need to host at all! All that's needed is an e-mail in the profile other than the notification e-mail. One field will do it.
    – orome
    Sep 19, 2011 at 12:50
  • @raxa ah, fair point. That makes sense.
    – Pekka
    Sep 19, 2011 at 12:57
  • The scenario I chose as an illustration made it sound like more of an edge case than I think it really is. The the reasons for changing the notification address are orthogonal from those for changing the profile picture, yet SO has linked the two features. It could even raise privacy concerns; and when it first happened to me, it took me a few days to notice, because it was so unexpected.
    – orome
    Sep 19, 2011 at 13:10

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