I have noticed that Community ♦ user's avatar had changed yesterday on Gamedev.se.

(Not that I mind, but the new avatar is harder to spot because it blends in with other new users' avatars.)

Then I clicked on the avatar to consult the profile, and it was the same old, usual avatar.

So there are two different avatar images: one used in the feed, and one used in the profile.

I guess it's a bug?

I have noticed the same behaviour on Stack Overflow too.

Screenshot of the avatar in the question feeds:

Screenshot of the icon in the question feeds

Screenshot of the avatar on the profile:

Screenshot of the avatar on the profile


For some really weird reason, they're hosting that avatar on Gravatar, which is broken for many months now, changing images randomly. (including even Jeff Atwood avatar.)

There are many auto-generated thumbnail versions of each hosted avatar, most are still fine, e.g. the 328px version showed in profile page is OK for now, but any day more and more thumbnails break, reverting to the default identicon instead of the uploaded picture due to bug on Gravatar.

The thumbnail showing on questions lists is 32x32px and also sending "f=1" parameter to Gravatar, and this thumbnail for Community is indeed "borked" and showing the identicon instead of the custom image SE uploaded. Without the f=1 parameter it's showing fine, so guess as quick fix they can just omit this parameter.

Of course real fix is to use imgur hosting for the avatar of Community, though if they didn't do it for all those years, it's probably much more complicated than one might think. (For reasons unknown to me.)

  • 3
    Not a really weird reason. It used Gravatar before uploading a profile picture was ever an option, and it's never caused problems so nobody ever changed it over. :) – animuson Feb 15 '17 at 14:34
  • 3
    @animuson well, it's causing problems now. (and there are bug reports all over the place about Gravatar for long time. :)) – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Feb 15 '17 at 14:36

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