Involvement with Stack Overflow is a key part of the core values and workflow for a project that I am managing.

If posting questions, it is important for people to fill out their Stack Overflow profiles including setting a name, icon, and profile text. The icon, name, and accept rate are especially important because that is one of the first things that people see when considering to answer a question. An icon that has not been set telegraphs that the person asking the question does not respect the forum.

Recently, I instructed one of the developers working on this project to change his Stack Overflow avatar picture from the random identicon that Stack Overflow defaulted to.

He expressed concern that the only way to set a Stack Overflow icon was to use a Gravatar. He said that Gravatars follow you around the internet and that there is no way to delete them.

It is still very important that the Stack Overflow icon is set. Is there a way for him to set his Stack Overflow icon that alleviates his concerns?

Thanks so much!

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    I don't think that not setting an icon telegraphs no respect. Im an avid user, and I havent set the icon (except on meta) out of choice--I like what I have. Many respected users don't have gravatars. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/138725/… also. – Manishearth Jul 19 '12 at 16:33
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    See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/44717/… – mmyers Jul 19 '12 at 16:34
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    There is no way to do this, but you can keep your so gravatar separate by using a blank/alias email id (like gmail's plus operator--thats how I manage different gravatars on different se sites) – Manishearth Jul 19 '12 at 16:35
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    I'm the only moderator on Stack Overflow who still uses a default icon, but many of the mods on smaller SE sites do too. I don't think it's a sign of disrespect. – mmyers Jul 19 '12 at 16:36
  • @ManishEarth wants more waffles - Your second comment is the solution to my problem, correct? If so, you might want to answer the question with that solution so that I may accept and upvote. – Chris Dutrow Jul 19 '12 at 18:54
  • @mmyers: Eh, your icon has been immortalized anyway. – Robert Harvey Jul 19 '12 at 19:37

If you don't want an avatar that's associated with an e-mail account to "follow you around the Internet," just set up a new e-mail account with Hotmail or Gmail and don't use it for anything other than Stack Overflow and Gravatar. Neither SO nor Gravatar send much e-mail, so you don't really even have to ever log into the account.

(I thought for a while about how to respond to the "not respecting the forum" part of your statement, but you didn't ask a question about it, and the question you did ask was purely technical, so... I won't.)

  • My only concern here is that it would log him out of Stackoverflow every time he signed into another google account (such as gmail). This would make it more difficult to use Stackoverflow. Now that I think of it, I have two google accounts, and I never get logged out of Stackoverflow. Does this mean that he can use that one google account for Stackoverflow and he won't get logged out everything he signs into another google account? I suppose he could even use a hot mail or other account as well... – Chris Dutrow Jul 19 '12 at 19:24
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    @DutrowLLC The gravatar is based on the email field in your profile, which is independent of the OpenID logins that you have associated with your account, so there shouldn't be any issue. – Tim Stone Jul 19 '12 at 19:26
  • @Tim Stone - Thanks so much, this solution would solve the problem as well. – Chris Dutrow Jul 19 '12 at 19:27

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