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I don't know when this started, but now, when I go to edit my profile and look at the "Change Picture" menu, the identicon item's image is different than the identicon I actually get when I select that item. The identicon I actually get is just the same one I have always had since the beginning. It's the "Change Picture" menu's identicon that's changed. I haven't changed my account email. I did add another login method recently, but I thought that isn't related to the identicon.

Here's my "real" identicon image:
my "real" identicon image

And here's the one that shows in the "Change Picture" menu:
the identicon image that shows in the "Change Picture" menu

I noticed this yesterday.

Why is this happening? Is it a bug? Should I blame caching? (If so, why/how?)

I tried to look for a duplicate question / if a duplicate question existed searching is:q identicon -[discussion] -[feature-request] -gravatar, but didn't see anything that looked the same.

I did see Why is my profile image different? (2016-08-20), but my user account didn't even exist back then.

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  • Different email hash, but we can't know if the bug is on SE side or Gravatar side. You probably have several emails attached to your Gravatar account. Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 9:10

2 Answers 2

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According to the answer in Unexpectedly changing identicon, this might not be a bug:

This is the default for new users, and for existing users a salt is added as soon as they change their picture and select identicon.

I've added emphasis around the relevant part: when you select identicon option, the system is changing the email hash on purpose (aka "adding salt") due to security concerns, hence resulting in a different final image.

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  • Hmm. My oldest network account didn't even exist when the salt started being added, and this only started for me recently (see the question post).
    – starball
    Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 20:29
  • As far as I know, it's added on the fly. Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 9:51
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I thought it was related to changing your credentials, as they announced in 2021 that changing your email will affect your gravatar. However…

Here's what I see on my account:

brown identicon option

As you can see, the identicon I'm offered is not either of the ones I had in 2016 but a new brown one. (On Area51, my profile image is still the blue one I had in late 2016.) This is because it's using a new gravatar link and not the old one.

I double checked and I haven't ever changed my email. It is just spontaneously different.

This seems to be most similar to when SE first started adding salts in 2013 (before my time).

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