The randomly generated user avatar are created through a rotational symmetry, which is very prone to creating swastikas.

I have seen a few examples of avatars getting dangerously close to swastika territory, but the image below, spotted today, definitely took the price.

Is there any measure in place to avoid swastika avatars being generated? Is this not considered a concern?

  • 13
    This is not a swastika. Swastika arms are to the right, not to the left. As an aside - swastikas are also important symbols in some Indian cultures.
    – Oded
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 15:42
  • Assuming those are generated by Gravatar there is not much SE can do. In case of offensive profile pictures they are reset to the one generated by Gravatar. Resetting this profile image will not help, me thinks.
    – rene
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 15:42
  • 1
    @Oded I am aware of the various historical uses of the Swastika and the proposed differentiation between Sauwastika and Swastika. However, if the profile picture above is possible I don't see anything stopping the mirrored one from occuring. Some people might find this offensive. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 15:45
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    Most people are reasonable enough to understand these are generated images that don't have any particular meaning behind them.
    – Oded
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 15:51
  • The odd chance that a dumb person would be offended by something dumb really isn't enough of a motivating force to do much of anything. Other than to point and laugh at them.
    – user1228
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:15
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    @Oded Swastikas can be to the left too. Left pointing swastikas just weren't the ones the Nazis used. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:31
  • @Sam - I really meant the Nazi swastika.
    – Oded
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:48
  • This was covered in the following related question for those with enough rep: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/169746/… Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 20:43
  • This question is more actual than one might believe
    – GrafiCode
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 10:25
  • here's another (not quite as good, but it still made me think"swastika" and search here, finding this, before posting) - workplace.stackexchange.com/users/47251/zulan
    – Mawg
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 12:56
  • 1
    I'm not offended if someone gets an avatar looking like swastika. But it tells me a lot about the mindset of Matt Mullenweg and strengthen my opinion the people behind wordpress.org being hypocratical fascists. To the people playing the similarities down: In many countries a public showing of the Swastica is forbidden. Those countries have usually suffered a lot in WW2. Thus nazis have created a bunch of swastika like looking symbols to avoid penalties by their governments. To me people who are playing such similarities down are either uneducated / ignorant or nazis themselves. Commented Nov 29, 2019 at 12:10

2 Answers 2


No, there's nothing like that in Gravatar's identicon generation code:

if (finalPicture.LooksLike(Resources.SpecialStuff.Swastika))

This can be an interesting programming challenge, but I'm sure it's not yet implemented there.

Seriously now, while the Swastika itself is indeed officially forbidden, we can't possibly forbid anything that might remotely look like it. Where it ends?

As I advised in this other answer of mine recently:

If one is offended somehow by this or feel abused, they can follow the steps described in answers to Flag abusive users and ask moderators to reset the location profile picture.

That said, if most other people won't find that picture offensive or abusive, there's a very big chance the flag will just be declined. One has the right to flag anything offending them, but please don't flag more than once.

  • While this kind of answer was what I was looking for, I can't accept it until there is some confirmation (supported by proof or a source) that it has not been implemented. I could see it be something that the Gravatar development team has considered, and if not, it would be good to hear their take on it. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 16:09
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    Well, better post in their forums, I doubt we have here Gravatar developers. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 16:11
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    I wouldn't encourage users to flag other users with offensive-looking Identicon images. They'll be declined.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 16:22
  • @animuson one has the right to be offended by anything, e.g. vegetarian might be offended by avatar of a steak. So, IMO it's their full right to flag. Of course there's a very good chance the flag will be declined, but at least the user will feel better as they tried. I will edit the answer to clarify this though. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:09
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    @ShadowWizard Unfortunately encouraging users to flag things that shouldn't be flagged does nothing for making them feel better. It just makes them feel worse when no action is taken, because they feel like action should have been taken since they were encouraged to flag in the first place. This only leads to angry users who are upset they've been ignored, rather than a user who just let the situation go because they understood nothing would come of it in the first place. That's what this comes down to: we'd never change someone's Identicon based on a flag, so there's no point in trying.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:15
  • @animuson hmm.. can you please post this as answer then? Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 18:17

There's an easy way to avoid the issue: replace d=identicon parameter of the Gravatar-generated images with d=wavatar. Result:

wavatar examples

Nothing to be offended by here...

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    While some might argue that these are more offensive on average than the possible swastikas, I'm not sure why this is downvoted so I'd appreciate if the downvoter stepped forward with an explanation. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 16:04
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    I'd prefer they don't. I'd rather keep noise in notifications to a minimum. Thanks.
    – user315433
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 16:14

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