I was recently laid off from my company. I changed my Stack Overflow account's email address from my work email to my personal email. Upon doing this, my username, which was "Umbrella_Programmer," suddenly changed to "Brainless" and my profile image changed from the Umbrella Laboratories logo to my personal email image.

Was my password stolen, or is this some kind of weird bug? I googled "Stackoverflow Brainless" and found two users: Brainless and brainless, but neither of those people are me.

I have changed my username and image back to their originals, and I changed the password to a new password.

  • perhaps your work email had username brainless Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 18:37
  • gonna log on to a sock Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 18:37
  • cant repro maybe someone did hack i dunno Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 18:44
  • @zixuan no the work email did not have that name Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 18:44
  • I am brainless !
    – brainless
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


You had two accounts registered, one with both of the different email addresses you used. When you confirmed the second email address to one of your accounts, it triggered an automatic merge since you had now verified the email to both accounts. We do not allow multiple accounts to exist with the same verified email address.

The other account was created in 2017, two years before your current account. It never had any participation, so you probably forgot you ever created it. We always perform merges into the lower account Id, so that one was chosen and the display name and profile details of it were kept.

  • Thanks! But why the name "Brainless"? Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 22:05
  • 5
    That is the display name you had set for the old account.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Apr 16, 2020 at 22:13
  • 1
    Brainless!!!!!! Commented Apr 17, 2020 at 14:08
  • @animuson I guarantee I did not set the old account to that name ;) Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 0:00
  • 4
    @Umbrella_Programmer I can vouch for never having done many things that I did Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 15:45

The last time I looked (which was multiple years ago, I did a quick meta search but didn't find anything recent that was relevant), Stack Exchange has the option to pull your photo from a third party service named Gravatar. If you have ever used your personal e-mail with Gravatar, even on a website that has nothing to do with Stack Exchange, your profile update could have caused the system to reach out to Gravatar servers and retrieve whatever you last set with them.

Gravatar provides a tool to check on what it knows about a given address.

For more, see the very old meta posts Is Gravatar a privacy risk? and Is using Gravatar a security risk?.

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