The new non-gravatar avatar option has been rolled out across the network. Now users can set their avatar image to any image they want to upload.

This minutely complicates matters for handling inappropriate avatars. Prior to this, a moderator would have to add a gibberish salt to a user's email in order to set a random auto-generated Gravatar image. Now, moderators would have to set the configuration to use Gravatar at the same time, or alternatively have to provide an image they can just upload. Not a major change in the hassle, but still a change.

I think that the new system allows for a much simpler process, though, since it already opens the door to storing and providing images for an avatar. Could there be a way, probably just a simple button within "Change Picture", that just sets the avatar to a basic default image? Rather than picking up the image from the upload dialog, just nab it from some pre-existing location and set the image.

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    Won't this make it more difficult to separate the various user***s or is it not a common problem? Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 15:43
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    @ben It won't affect their display name. It doesn't necessarily have to be a pre-generated Gravatar image, either. Could just be some generic user image, like what we stuck on John Doe in the new About page.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 15:49
  • And/or add it as an option to the rest of the mod tools (under mod->actions) to keep things consistent and easily discoverable.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 15:56
  • Does gravatar provide a way to force an identicon instead of the actual gravatar? If yes that'd be the best solution. Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:07
  • @ThiefMaster I don't know if there is. It would mesh well with the general principle we have for what we consider a "default avatar", though.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:09
  • @Thief: yes
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 16:23

2 Answers 2


Since gravatar provides a way to force the identicon to be shown I think this would be the best solution. It would not add some default image that whould be shared between possible quite a few users and thus a great way to remove inappropriate gravatars.

It could even be taken a step further that a moderator disabling the user's gravatar would cause them to be notified and automatically unlock their real gravatar after they changed it (that might be somewhat more complex though as it would require a task retrieving and comparing gravatars of those users).

  • Given how often this is needed, the second step is probably overkill.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 18:04

Stack Exchange already uses a default Gravatar for deleted users,

Gravatar Default

we could just use that for inappropriate Gravatar replacement. If we didn't want to use that, it does show that other defaults could be used, as talked about here, so we could create a new one for that circumstance.

  • I often like sites where the default icon is clear so everyone can see this asker has intentionally not filled out a profile. It's a nice way to make the actual icons a little more special.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 17:41

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