I have had the same network-wide profile avatar for many years; it's a custom image which I installed nework-wide soon after I registered for Stack Overflow back in 2011. I still see that image e.g. on my Stack Overflow profile and my network profile but not, for instance, on this site, or e.g. on Super User

(The example originally linked to my Unix & Linux profile instead of Super User but I experimentally changed my profile back to the gravatar one there.)

I routinely update my profile presentation text every few months, and did so again a few days ago. Comments below seem to indicate that others who recently edited their profile are experiencing the same problem.

My preferred avatar is a Gravatar which is connected to my email address, which has always been the same (MD5 091f411d57db5be8298e057a32e5ad72). The replacement seems to be a generic identicon with a different MD5. I don't recall seeing this identicon as an option in my profile before:

Profile editor shows Gravatar and Identicon (selected)

You'll notice that the gravatar is still visible as an option, but I can find no way to replace it on all sites in one go. I switched back to the gravatar one on Unix & Linux and noticed that the help next to the "Save" button says

Your profile will be updated on all public communities.

but alas, that did not in fact happen. Do I really have to go over 170+ member sites and manually select my gravatar on each?

  • 2
    Where is your image hosted? – Laurel Mar 28 '20 at 15:14
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    It seems like your Gravatar hash got changed from 091f411d57db5be8298e057a32e5ad72 to 73986d6800efc2a6dd8e1a323ee179a5 somehow. I don't know how this could have happened. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Mar 28 '20 at 18:42
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    I’m not sure if this is the same issue I had years ago, but either way, gravitar is not a trustworthy image hosting service. – Laurel Mar 28 '20 at 19:05
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    @Laurel Consider that in 2011, the only way to have an avatar was through Gravatar. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Mar 28 '20 at 19:10
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    I suspect your legacy email field either got cleared or a software update is rolling out switching gravatar to the verified email field instead. – Martijn Pieters Mar 29 '20 at 0:58
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    I can confirm that the legacy email field on Stack Overflow for your account matches the MD5 hash for your old gravatar. Moderators can’t see your verified email address as far as I know so I can’t verify where the other hash comes from. Check yours at stackoverflow.com/users/email/settings/current and use CyberChef to verify if that’s the source for the new hash. – Martijn Pieters Mar 29 '20 at 1:04
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    On Unix&Linux in the "Edit profile" tab, the "Change picture" dropdown on the profile picture shows "Identicon" (new fugly icon; selected), "Gravatar" (my familiar custom image), and "Upload a new picture". Perhaps the third option here is what I really want? What would cause the preference to change to Identicon on some, but not all sites, anyway? – tripleee Mar 31 '20 at 8:01
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    The system uses a salt when calculating the Gravatar hash of users who haven't registered for Gravatar, to avoid leaking email addresses accidentally. (Those who've registered for it are deemed to be aware of it and choosing to waive this protection.) I think what happened is that something weird happened on some end, which resulted in the system thinking you're not registered for Gravatar and thus adding the salt when it's not supposed to, leading to the change. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Mar 31 '20 at 9:25
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    It happened right after I edited my profile and applied it to all sites. Likely that this was the trigger. Might be something like identicon vs. gravatar. No idea why this value has changed here on meta – rekire Mar 31 '20 at 12:46
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    I have the exact same problem, and it also seems to have happened right after I made a change to one profile (at CrossValidated) and propagated it across all sites. This looks like a bona fide bug. – Stephan Kolassa Apr 2 '20 at 8:57
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    @ShadowWizardisEarForYou I don't think so, there is a bug in updating the profile for all sites in the network – rekire Apr 3 '20 at 4:57
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    I don't see how this is a duplicate of the older question, though I agree that @Gavin's question seems identical. Still no idea how to change back the icon on all sites which suddenly switched to the generic identicon, or why this happened. – tripleee Apr 3 '20 at 19:34
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    @Rob I actually tried that but nothing happened. I vaguely speculate that the code somehow identified the uploaded image as identical to an existing image. Hmmm, I'll try with some random cat picture I guess. – tripleee Apr 8 '20 at 8:30
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    Somebody who is still on gravatar might try to see if they can repro the "I can't replace the gravatar image with an identical uploaded image" corner case, or it was just a fluke when I tried. – tripleee Apr 8 '20 at 9:52
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    I just had the same issue today. I did indeed go through all my networks and change back from identicon to gravatar, only to find all my respective meta site profiles are still using identicon. Here's the weird part: The only way to force my meta profiles to change from identicon to gravatar is to click "Ask a question". As soon as the page for asking a question loads, my icon reverts to gravatar for the meta site. This isn't a client-side issue, viewing my profile in incognito displays identicon too. I've been able to reproduce this behavior on every single network I have an account on. – Patrick Roberts Apr 12 '20 at 1:03

I've been seeing this issue starting around the time of the question. It may be a hosting issue as @Laurel posited. Choosing my old custom avatar on one site and Save and copy changes to all public communities did not copy anything. Only the one site was updated. It did work after uploading a new image from scratch.

  1. Edit profile and settings
  2. Change picture
  3. Upload a new picture <=== especially this
  4. Drag and drop
  5. Add picture
  6. Save and copy changes to all public communities <=== and this
  • Just for the record, was the uploaded image identical to your gravatar image? – tripleee Apr 16 '20 at 5:28
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    @tripleee no it was different. That would be freaky if that made a difference wouldn't it? – Bob Stein Apr 16 '20 at 9:23
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    It would indeed, and yet I would not rule that out. – tripleee Apr 16 '20 at 9:45

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