We recently got the ability to upload our own pictures for our avatars, instead of relaying solely on Gravatar. This is all good of course, but it would be even better if we could also switch back to pictures we added in the past as the avatar.

One benefit is less redundancy on imgur, users who keep changing avatars back and forth (and I'm pretty sure there are such users) are just adding more and more pictures on imgur which are the same.

This feature can be also made network-wise, i.e. user will be able to choose picture he uploaded on Stack Overflow as avatar on other sites in the network.

  • I'm sure imgur already detects duplicates, btw. Re-up an old picture and I'll bet you they either give you the old url back for it or they 'merge' the files in an automated process later. Jan 10, 2013 at 14:08
  • @Martijn nope. Just tested it now. one and two. (same picture file) Jan 10, 2013 at 14:09
  • How does that preclude imgur merging the files server side? If I were running imgur I'd do that; the storage space savings would pay for my salary several years in a row. Jan 10, 2013 at 14:13
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    Bear in mind imgur deletes files if they have not been accessed in a period of 6 months (this may be different on the stack.imgur server, however) so if you upload a file, upload another one, and try to go back to the first one after 8 months it may no longer exist.
    – tombull89
    Jan 10, 2013 at 14:40
  • @tombull89 Stack Exchange has a special arrangement with Imgur, like a super-sized pro account. Their images are not subject to that policy.
    – Jeremy
    Jan 10, 2013 at 15:06
  • @JeremyBanks - thanks for the clarification.
    – tombull89
    Jan 10, 2013 at 15:06
  • @Martijn maybe there is merge behind the scenes, can't really know, but I must assume the worst i.e. no merge and each uploaded picture is whole new and different file sitting on a server. Storage space is cheap these days, but still.. Jan 10, 2013 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


Since constantly switching your avatar doesn't serve any helpful purpose — it mostly just confuses other users — that's not a behavior I would necessarily want to encourage as far as an explicit feature goes.

I'm a pretty visual person, and I think adding a rapid-fire avatar-switching mechanism just detracts from the purpose of having an avatar in the first place.

  • OK fair enough, thanks! Jan 10, 2013 at 18:22
  • But Gravatar supports it and we can do it anyways. I guess the real answer here is, if you want it, use Gravatar.
    – casperOne
    Jan 17, 2013 at 14:23

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