I've read the steps to change your username (apparently once a month): Username -> Edit -> Save and copy to all Stack Exchange accounts.

However, my old username is still showing up on my combined flair. I even logged on in stackexchange.com and hit "Sync with oldest profile." Everywhere I look, it's showing my new name (Explosion Pills); however, my combined flair is still showing my old username.

What's even stranger is that if I try to upload that link as an image in this very question, it changes the name:

Why Explosion Pills instead of tandu

I don't believe this is a caching issue, since I've tried it in a fresh browser, Ctrl+Refresh, etc.

Is there anything I can do to get the image link to behave this way?

EDIT: my combined flair shows up correctly now (and has for a long time), but at the time of the question it said tandu for the name.

  • The caching is on the server (but I don't know if that causes what you're seeing).
    – Arjan
    May 16, 2012 at 18:47
  • 1
    I am seeing your new user name on stackexchange.com/users/flair/205662.png (so: just like the Imgur image in your question).
    – Arjan
    May 16, 2012 at 18:49
  • 4
    @Arjan I'm still seeing what I assume is the old one on that link (I.e. not Explosion Pills). May 16, 2012 at 18:54
  • Odd, @staticbeast. Am I right to assume that you first looked after I posted my comment? Web Sniffer states that the server tells browsers it can be cached for quite some time, but that would only apply to the browser cache. And the OP even cleared that cache. Some CDN for the flair too then? But I thought that all CDN was done on specific domains, like cdn.sstatic.net.
    – Arjan
    May 16, 2012 at 18:57
  • They must have some other advanced caching mechanism on the server that we don't know about. o.o @Arjan: Flair was started before the CDN existed, and they didn't want to break existing images that were being used on other sites, so they kept the URL.
    – animuson StaffMod
    May 16, 2012 at 19:03
  • 1
    That flair is pretty heavily cached, if I recall, so it will take a while.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    May 16, 2012 at 19:31
  • But, @Anna, then how can some (including Imgur and myself) see the new flair already? There must be some CDN involved then. I doubt the caching on a single server is related to the client (IP address) that requests the flair.
    – Arjan
    May 16, 2012 at 19:36
  • @Arjan Yeah, I'm not sure on the actual implementation of it. I just know that the flair (anecdotally) takes forever to update.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    May 16, 2012 at 19:50
  • For anyone interested, I still see the old flair with that image not due to browser caching. As long as flair takes forever to update, I guess I'll have to live with that. Someone upvote this question so I'll have over 200 meta stackoverflow rep and my flair will be forced to update! May 16, 2012 at 19:58
  • What do ping stackexchange.com or nslookup stackexchange.com give you? I get as the final destination (non-authoritative answer). And in Chrome's Web Inspector, I see headers including Content-Length: 7313 and Last-Modified: Wed, 16 May 2012 18:49:02 GMT... That's different from Web-Sniffer, showing the same IP address but Content-Length: 6862 and Last-Modified: Wed, 16 May 2012 17:07:41 GMT... Curious!
    – Arjan
    May 16, 2012 at 23:13
  • @Arjan I likely looked before your comment, then again after. Now I am at home (where I have never looked), the flair is showing the correct name. May 16, 2012 at 23:15
  • @Arjan Still seeing the old name where I did before: (Expires Sun, 15 Jul 2012 17:07:41 GMT and Last-Modified Wed, 16 May 2012 17:07:41 GMT) May 17, 2012 at 8:02

1 Answer 1


I always saw your (relatively) new flair, but also see that Web-Sniffer is giving different results. I don't think there's any CDN involved, as I think the CDN uses specific domains, like cdn.sstatic.net. And both my own computer and Web-Sniffer connect to

So I guess there's some load balancer in the SE server farm, and that each server has its own cache? Flair is known to be cached on the server for quite some time (and the server always tells the browser to cache for 86,400 seconds, being 1 day). Then the flair from the server to which the load balancer keeps sending you, simply was generated before Imgur and I happened to be sent to another server. And then the caches on the different servers also have different expiration dates.

More details:

Yesterday, for me, showing the same flair that you uploaded to Imgur:

Content-Length: 7313
Last-Modified: Wed, 16 May 2012 18:49:02 GMT

I seem to get the same results when logged in, and when using some private browsing mode, and also when using a different internet connection (different IP address). I am on IPv6, but the connection to Stack Exchange is using IPv4.

For Web-Sniffer, yesterday:

Content-Length: 6862
Last-Modified: Wed, 16 May 2012 17:07:41 GMT

That Web-Sniffer result is the same as someone reported in a comment, seeing the old flair.

Today, I see you now have 8 silver and 45 bronze badges, and the Meta logo, and get:

Content-Length: 7648
Last-Modified: Thu, 17 May 2012 09:58:59 GMT

Web-Sniffer now reports:

Content-Length: 7635
Last-Modified: Thu, 17 May 2012 10:01:29 GMT    

For yesterday, Imgur gets me yet other data. I guess there the Last-Modified is just the upload date, so should be ignored. And as for Content-Length, they might even re-render the image too? If they are not re-rendering (today they have the same length as Web-Sniffer does) then there were at least 3 different image sizes yesterday, which could indicate at least 3 servers then? For your yesterday's image:

Content-Length: 7287
Last-Modified: Wed, 16 May 2012 18:44:34 GMT

Today, just making Imgur copy from https://stackexchange.com/users/flair/205662.png again, I get the same Content-Length as Web-Sniffer:

Content-Length: 7635
Last-Modified: Thu, 17 May 2012 10:36:51 GMT    

That copy also shows the new badges and the Meta logo, but given the Web-Sniffer headers, it was still generated a bit later. And with a slightly different size?

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