I'm not sure whether this is a question for Meta (site operation), or the main site (technical issue). But I've noticed it only on this website, so it seems related to how the site is rendered. It's been a somewhat recent issue (maybe a few months-ish).

The Problem:

On some pages, selected gravatars are not rendered. It is only certain ones, and those are generally consistent (reproducible, and a page refresh doesn't affect it). For example:


Notice a hole in the gravatars at the beginning of First Posts and in the middle of Late Answers. Both holes are for yass

Another example:


There is a hole in the 5th gravatar position. That hole is Mokubai's gravatar. Moderator gravatars routinely are not rendered.

If a row of gravatars includes several "problem" ones, there are several holes. In all cases, if I hover on the hole, the gravatar is rendered in the popup.

I don't recall seeing holes on the main page or on any post thread. I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but if it happens, it is pretty rare, whereas it is routine on the reviews page and chat.

I use Firefox, have a lot of add-ons, and use SOX, which occasionally interacts with site rendering. So this could very well be a local problem. I haven't tackled diagnostics, yet, because they can be very time consuming.

I was hoping some of our web programmers might be familiar with the site's underpinnings and some characteristic that could differentiate certain gravatars from others. It would also be useful to know if this is a problem that has been reported by others. That would be a hint as to where to start looking.

  • 1
    Could it be something about your browser failing to render certain image formats? My avatar is PNG format whereas most are JPG.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Apr 17, 2017 at 20:09
  • 1
    yass' avatar shows as a png image as well, but then so isTwistys (the red and white circle thing). The difference there is that Twistys ava is hosted on stack.imgur rather than gravatar.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Apr 17, 2017 at 20:13
  • 1
    Devs and CMs apparently monitor per site metas. Gravatar has been known to be flakey lately. There's little our corporate overlords can do about that though.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Apr 17, 2017 at 23:29
  • @JourneymanGeek, your gravatar is also one that routinely isn't rendered (the problem seems to include all mods who show up on the review page or chat). Just as I was going to start diagnostics, the problem disappeared (it appears and disappears every few days), so your news about flakey gravatars is welcome (at least it confirms that I'm not imagining things, although I suppose those aren't mutually exclusive).
    – fixer1234
    Apr 17, 2017 at 23:36
  • 1
    I've brought this up on meta earlier - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/289979/…
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Apr 18, 2017 at 3:19

1 Answer 1


In Chrome (similar instructions for other browsers):

  • Right-click on the image (or where it should be), Inspect
  • Fetch the URL from the markup (e.g. <img src="...".../>
  • Run it through wget or curl and look at the response coming back from the webserver
  • Try it on another system on another network (e.g. home vs. work, or a dedicated server) to make sure it's not just you
  • Try another browser

I can see their gravatars fine (but they're rendering as randomly generated ones for me; yass's gravatar is just a random one:

enter image description here

Can you see that? If not, might be your ISP is blocking the hosting site (this would be pretty common at work, I think.)

  • Thanks. I can see those gravatars everywhere but on the reviews page and chat, so the rendering on those pages must be different. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the problem is specific to my setup, especially some of the add-ons. Guess I'll have to dig into it. And the solution might come down to choosing between seeing holes and giving up an add-on. How did life get complicated with so many critical decisions? :-)
    – fixer1234
    Apr 17, 2017 at 20:29
  • 1
    @fixer1234 If it does come down to a choice between the holes and the add-on, I'd keep the add-on. I suspect your add-on selection serves a definite purpose to your normal practices, while the missing user icons are mostly extra information. On the rare occasion that you do need to see the missing gravatars, you can hover over them for the popup and see them. And you 'd only have to do that if the need to see them happened at the same time as their random disappearing act.
    – Chindraba
    Apr 19, 2017 at 0:47
  • @GypsySpellweaver, sound advice. That's one less major life decision I need to think about. :-)
    – fixer1234
    Apr 19, 2017 at 18:56

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