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My identicon (the automatically generated pattern next to my username) is the same for all of the Stack Exchange sites I use. I was confused to see a different shape and colour identicon next to my username when I signed up for Area 51. Since the pattern is based on a hash of my email address (plus a salt), which is stored externally with gravatar, I don't understand how my single gravatar account could be providing two different identicons. Is this change of identicon part of the Area 51 theme or is this unique to me?

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Typically, identicons are created based on a hash of your email address. But since you started using Area 51 as a non-registered user, the identicon was generated based on your last known IP address.

The identicon doesn't change automatically when you register, so I went into the "change your picture" function and simply re-selected the 'use identicon' function, and that seemed to take care of the problem. Everything seems to be in order now. Enjoy.

  • Thank you - I'll bear that in mind if it happens on any other new sites. I was using Area 51 without showing as being logged in at first, until I decided to sign up, but no other email was used. All seems fine now. – trichoplax Mar 14 '14 at 14:29
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    @githubphagocyte Ah, mystery solved. See my updated answer. – Robert Cartaino Mar 14 '14 at 15:33
  • That makes perfect sense now. Always nice to know there's a good reason for something. – trichoplax Mar 14 '14 at 16:12
  • For some reason my identicon has reverted to the one I originally raised this question about. Presumably this is based on my IP address as you suggested - it's identical to before. Only Area 51 is affected. My identicon for all the other sites is my gravatar identicon based on my email address. I'm definitely logged in - my username shows at the top of the screen with my badges. – trichoplax Mar 14 '14 at 23:50
  • I've now fixed this in the way you described - selecting change image and then identicon. My identicon in the question also reverted to the ip version, and is now showing the correct (email based) version. – trichoplax Mar 14 '14 at 23:53
  • This doesn't cause me any problems, but since it highlights an unexplained difference in the way Area 51 behaves compared to the other sites, should this be investigated in case it leads to subtle bugs elsewhere? – trichoplax Mar 14 '14 at 23:55
  • Just to make you aware, the identicon appears to revert to the ip based one every time I visit Area 51 from another Stack Exchange site. Not a problem for me personally, just letting you know... – trichoplax Mar 15 '14 at 0:50
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    When I click "change picture", I don't have the option to use my Stack Exchange identicon; it takes me to the Gravatar site. I use my Gravatar for Stack Exchange Careers but I would prefer to use my SE identicon for Area 51. How do I select my SE identicon? – Alex A. Jan 8 '15 at 18:37

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