This is quite a trivial bug. On https://math.stackexchange.com/tour if content blocking is enabled, avatars won't load:Screenshot of an error.

Content blocking is set up to custom, trackers are blocked in all windows, block list is set to strict and all third-party cookies are blocked.

Firefox version: 65.0.2

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    ... isn't that the point of content blocking? – Glorfindel Mar 14 '19 at 15:58
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    We don't host profile pictures. They're hosted on Gravatar or Imgur mostly, with some users even having pictures loaded from Facebook or Google directly. If you're blocking third parties, obviously those won't load. – animuson Mar 14 '19 at 15:59
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    @animuson does that mean that very restrictive content blocking kills 90% of all sites because they use the Google CDN for, say, jQuery? – John Dvorak Mar 14 '19 at 16:37
  • @JohnDvorak didn't test, but if it does... that's probably why they offer two levels of filtering in the first place (see my answer, Level 1 blocking list apparently does not block Gravatar images) – SPArcheon Mar 14 '19 at 16:39
  • @SPArchaeologist if it's "ruin 90% of all websites" or "let webpages track you", I'd say there aren't enough options presented. FTR, as far as I am concerned, default settings + uBlock works just fine for me. – John Dvorak Mar 14 '19 at 16:41
  • @JohnDvorak UMatrix here. I just discovered there are two lists because I tried to replicate the users setting but the pictures were still loaded. I tried switching to Level 2 to confirm that was the cause, but I do not know how aggressive those setting are. – SPArcheon Mar 14 '19 at 16:43
  • Level 1 blocking will still block facebook avatars (for example graph.facebook.com/1324473728/picture?type=large). For those to display you have to disable blocking trackers completely. – DavidPostill Mar 14 '19 at 19:43
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    Unless your parents have implemented a block for your safety you should view the Internet unfettered. When I go for a walk IRL no one is wearing earplugs and blinders, though I do see young children accompanied by their parents, why would the Internet be different. I use the Internet unblocked and infrequently see something adult oriented. Because I review flagged content here I do see rudeness fairly often, but off of our sites I see it infrequently (even with safe search turned off). Blocking and refusing cookies gives you a different view of everything, just don't visit suspect sites. – Rob Mar 18 '19 at 8:50
  • @Rob The Internet is different, so there are tools to help. How would your IRL walk change if every store/restaurant/club you every came close to (not necessarily walked in to) sent an employee to walk in front of you holding a sale sign for a month? Each such employee also will keep a log of which stores you do enter, and which items you look at. After a week of this, the larger stores will ship in employees from companies they have marketing agreements with, and those new ones will also lead your path carrying signs. Ok, extreme for IRL, but then maybe you'd see what's on the web. – user351780 Mar 25 '19 at 2:34
  • @GypsySpellweaver IRL #1 the employer is too cheap to hire people, #2 the employee is unlikely to leave the store to follow you without a second employee for employee insurance purposes, the few times that we hear of it happening it's also reported on the News that the employee was rushed to the hospital, #3 they already do that inside larger stores (where the owner has money) using cameras and software which detects how many people pause how long at each object - then offer a sale or increase shelf space. You are talking IRL but say let's change it then compare to altered Internet !? – Rob Mar 25 '19 at 5:05
  • What the store does inside with cameras can be done on a web site, even under the GDPR. (Unless the software in-store also used facial recognition, that is.) Your point about the employee going to the hospital is to the point. People don't like it IRL so why should the like it on the web? Controlling tracking cookies and other tricks is what the tools do, and that is why those tools exist. – user351780 Mar 25 '19 at 16:07

The specific avatar from your example is a Gravatar-based avatar (so, it is hosted by Gravatar and not Stack Exchange's Imgur storage like yours).

Apparently, the Tracker Blocking setting in Firefox does indeed block request for Gravatar avatars if the Level 2 more strict blocking list is used.

Let me explain. If you select the "Change block list" option under the Block Trackers setting you will be prompted with a window with two choices.

enter image description here

Based on my test, if you select the first, less restrictive list, the Gravatar pictures are loaded as expected. If you use the second one, they get prevented from loading.

Anyway, this behavior is totally independent from Stack Exchange: they are just using an external service for users avatars, so whatever gets blocked is not in their field of action I fear.

If you want to see the avatars, I fear you will have to change your blocking settings.

  • What is the risk that is being mitigated with that Firefox feature? – rene Mar 14 '19 at 18:03
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    @rene, Gravatar can track you from one website to another. – Mark Mar 14 '19 at 23:20
  • The blocking of images from sites other than Gravatar can be even more sever. Social media site avatars, which are possible to import here, are often blocked by filtering other than the tracker setting. Adblock Plus settings for blocking social media links can affect them, for example. – user351780 Mar 25 '19 at 0:05

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