I was surprised when I've figured out that profiles in the list of top users on Area 51 are actually images (this gray recаtangles):

enter image description here

But why? I can not think of any case when this kind of data is more beneficial to keep and to display as an image rather than as HTML. Also, if, for some reason, it's OK to keep this as binary data, let's support retina display, it looks pretty blurry on them. But again - why we should keep this as images?


1 Answer 1


Because, well, they are flairs.

Quite a long time ago, the HTML-based flairs were changed to the pngs, probably to allow them to serve their actual purpose better - be embedded anywhere to show your profile.

However you can still access the old HTML flairs, which appear to have borked styling since they're obsolete and nobody looks after them. Notice that I can't embed it there, SE system strips advanced HTML from the posts, so as done by social networks or etc (except for your site :), where showing off your flair makes sense.

Note that this wasn't directly related to Area 51 though it was affected. Area 51 proposals pages show the user flairs while the site is in the beta, and snapshot flair after the site graduating, to save historical rankings. Since the flairs became pngs, they are shown as ones.

Just noticed: for the sites which were shutdown and no longer exist, the flairs are converted to the html ones. E.g.

  • so ok, this is for reasons of universal embedding. OK, should I create a separate question with feature request - add retina version of this particular images?
    – shabunc
    Nov 21, 2015 at 1:30
  • @sha There's no need - requested already.
    – nicael
    Nov 21, 2015 at 11:09
  • Wow Area 51 is so weird! Nov 22, 2015 at 11:32

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