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It has been discussed previously that animated avatars are disliked because they cause a distraction from the content. However, currently animated avatars are not treated consistently.

  • On desktop, animated avatars are displayed as a still image, both in posts and on the profile page.
  • On mobile, animated avatars are displayed as a still image in posts, but animated on the profile page.

I'm tagging this because I'm guessing one of these two is unintended. Either avatars should animate on the profile page on both desktop and mobile, or on neither. (I sincerely hope that we are all agreed there should be no animation of avatars in posts.)

Example animated profile

https://codegolf.stackexchange.com/users/12537/oliver?tab=profile

This appears to animate on mobile, and show a still image on desktop (for myself and for other users who have tried).


I'd also like to hear arguments for and against animating only on the profile page, but the main purpose of this post is to clear up the inconsistency.

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This appears to be a bug on imgur's side, quite the same as the one reported in the famous Why is there a peeking duck in my profile pic? bug report.

The thing is, when a user uploads a picture to Stack Exchange, it's being hosted on imgur, and several thumbnail versions are being created. Sometimes, one or more of those thumbnails are corrupted, and not saved properly.

In the case of the user you linked to, their 96 pixels thumbnail, which is used in the mobile web profile, is not 96 pixels at all, and is the original image. Other sizes (e.g. 64 pixels and 128 pixels) are not animated, as should be, and also other 96 pixels thumbnail (e.g. my own, compare with full image) are also not animated.

Not sure how Stack Exchange can solve this, but this is obviously a bug, since animated profile pictures are not allowed, as the feature request Can I have an animated profile picture? has been officially declined.

  • As it's a declined request, I'd guess SE will not need to do anything to solve it. Animated avatars are unsupported so if you try to use one and it fails - meh :-) – Ro-Reinstate Monic-Alsop Oct 31 '16 at 9:06

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