Do You Know a Solution to this Gravatar Commenting Problem?

Last Updated on: April 18th, 2019


I thought I had found a glitch in the Anti-Spam plugin in my attempts to eliminate spam forever, but after investigating this problem further, I am finding that I don’t have a solution at all, and now I’m not sure where the problem is originating from.

So I need your help. I am not very technical, and so I don’t currently have the answer. Can you help me find a solution?

UPDATE: The solution was found.

Here’s the problem:

Whenever someone who does not have a gravatar leaves a comment on my blog, the image that is being used in place of the “Mystery Man” is that of Max Ivey, the wonderful guy who blogs at The Blind Blogger. (Max is going to freak out when he hears this, especially since he’s been so busy with creating his first ebook, which he has asked me to edit, by the way.)

So now I have a handful of comments left by various people that are showing the commenter as being Max. Here is one that Brian K. Morris left that shows Max’s picture with Brian’s name:

This is a screenshot of Brian's comment that shows Max's picture

I thought this was resulting from the use of the Anti-Spam plugin, but now I’m not sure.

I even tried asking about this problem – this glitch – in a support forum (link to the developer), but have yet to receive a response.

I don’t know how to remove Max’s image from these comments! I want to keep the comments, so removing the whole comment is not a viable option.

I don’t know what to do, and I’m ticked off. I love the Anti-Spam plugin and am not even sure if it is this plugin that’s causing this problem to happen.

I also find it kind of ironic that, of all people to choose, it chose Max. Is it discriminating against Max because he can’t see what this plugin is doing? Why in the world would it do this to begin with? And how can I fix this?

UPDATE: The solution was found. I also was told to deactivate the NIX Gravatar Cache plugin I had installed and activated, so that I don’t have this problem again.

This screenshot shows the converstaion I had with Vitaly about the gravatar problem I am/was having.

My Solution

I spent some time researching this problem.

I learned that:

Custom gravatar images come into play when the comment author does not enter in an email address or when the email address is not linked to a gravatar account. ~source

I also found this article very interesting, even though I already knew that comments slow down the loading speed of a web page/post. However, I don’t want to eliminate the pictures from the comments on my site. I think it’s good that other readers can learn more about a commenter from their gravatar profile. Not everyone knows everyone on the internet!

I also changed the discussion settings.

My default discussion settings were set to “Mystery Man” at the time. I’ve since changed the settings to that of “Gravatar.”

This is a screenshot of the discussion settings on Wording Well.

I also tried to fix this issue by changing plugins, from Anti-Spam to WP Anti Spam, but this plugin is no better. In fact, WP Anti-Spam is worse, and I don’t recommend it at all.

In my attempts to find a solution to preventing this from happening in the future, I activated Akismet AND Anti-Spam. I think this is the best solution to eliminating spam on my site, as it seems to be working… so far.

But I still need to know how to fix the comments where Max’s gravatar appears.

Help!!! Please!!!

UPDATE: The solution was found.

And for those of you who don’t have a gravatar yet, please get one.

24 thoughts on “Do You Know a Solution to this Gravatar Commenting Problem?

  1. Hi Lorraine,

    Sometime any plugin can create problem with the gravatar. If people don’t have any image attached to their e-mail then your default gravatar is shown at your website. It’s always recommended that bloggers shouldn’t keep “Mistery Man” as their default gravatar. You should set any other icon provided by WordPress or may be you can use the logo of your website.
    Now here we come to the problem as how to remove an image of Max which has appeared with the Brian’s comment? I have the solution for this problem. You just need to edit the comment and remove an e-mail attached to that comment so that it is considered as without any image and your default gravatar will appear in place of Max’s image. I have tried it and it worked fine.
    If it doesn’t work then you have to check your plugins.

    I hope this can solve your problem.
    Let me tell about the status.

    Have a great week ahead.:)

    • says

      Ravi, I appreciate your offering a solution to this problem, but it’s already been resolved. It was a caching issue. After deleting the cache of image and other files on my browser, the problem went away, and the Gravatars were updated. 🙂

      Have a great week, too. 🙂

  2. Carol Amato says

    Hi, Lorraine,

    I was reading your dilemma and then saw the update that it was resolved. I’m glad for that because I know how frustrating things like this can be, although I’ve not experienced this exact thing before.

    I regularly clear cache and browsing history on all browsers (three) before closing them to shut down.

    Talk to you soon.
    – Carol 🙂

    • says

      Carol, I appreciate your comment, and that you took the time to read this post. Yes, the issue has been resolved, but only after I suffered a lot of stress over it!

      I think you are wise to regularly clear the cache on your browsers. I will have to do the same!

      Have a great week, Carol.

  3. says

    Hi Lorraine,

    Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve ever actually paid attention to the gravatars of my commenters (well then again I’ve only just started getting comments) SO….I think I’ll start paying attention.

    Glad you have figured the problem out!!

    • says

      Robyn, you might run into this problem some day, and now you’ll be able to solve it. 🙂

      FYI, I’d appreciate it if you got a gravatar pic of your own… I see you don’t have one. Why not?

    • says

      Christy, I’m so happy this issue has been resolved, too. I was pretty upset when I discovered it, and even more so when I didn’t have a solution. I sure am glad that it was a simple fix, too! 🙂

      *score one for the non-techie*

      Of course, I owe it all to Greg. 🙂

  4. says

    Try deleting cache on your browser. Settings, advanced, deleted cached images and files. Some WP themes have a delete cache button too up in the black top bar.

    Image problems are often clogged cache issues!

    • says

      Greg, thanks for this suggestion. I’ll try it. I don’t see an option in my theme, though.

      *minutes later* Okay, I just deleted my browsing history, my download history, the cookies and other site and plug-in data, and the cached images and files for the last four weeks. I then went back and deleted the cached images and files “since the beginning of time” too, so I hope that works!

      Thanks so much for your wonderful suggestion! It worked! 🙂

  5. Martha Gail Moore says

    Lorraine, I’m not very tech oriented either. So hopefully some of your other readers can help you. Good luck!! 🙂 -mgm

  6. William Ballard says

    Hi Lorraine,


    What a pickle to be in. I am not sure how to help in a situation like this. I personally do not use Word Press for my website/blog and the social comment feature that I use is the Facebook feature and so photos come up from Facebook profiles.

    I know that doesn’t really help you much. I am sorry you are going through this. 🙁

    • says

      William, thanks to one of the sharks I know, Greg Narayan, I was able to solve the problem by deleting the cached images and files on my browser, as he suggested. It was like magic – it worked!


      Thanks for your sympathy. This techie stuff is a royal pain the you-know-where. 😉

  7. Jo Ann Plante says

    You have a real quirky problem. I think it’s in the coding, because every commenter that doesn’t have a gravatar reverts back to Brian’s photo, so in coding it would sound like this. If = no gravatar = Brian’s photo. I don’t know how to fix this. Have you spoken to someone in technical support?

    • says

      Jo Ann, you’re actually incorrect; it has to do with cached images and files. I did as Greg suggested and it worked. He told me to delete the cached images and files in my browser… and where to go to do this. Thank goodness for knowing tech-savvy people like him! 😀

  8. Hi Lorraine; okay i know this shouldn’t make me smile because of the headaches its causing you and the fact that some commenters will be confused by the images. but it is funny. its also karmic. I’m a good guy live the right way treat people the way they should be. so its about right that gravitar choose my image. 🙂 i recently had a problem with my own gravitar that adrienne had to fix for me. somehow when i updated my image i clicked the button telling gravitar that my image was x-rated so naturally my friends started asking why i didn’t have a gravitar any more. told them i thought i did had even updated it. well me and adrienne got a good laugh out of that one. thanks for plugging the ebook and your amazing editing services. hope you get this sorted, max

  9. Hi Lorraine,

    I’ve been using Anti-spam for quite a while a few dozen different sites, and this issue has never come up. So I highly doubt it’s your culprit.

    Here’s what I can tell by looking at your source code.

    The default image that’s showing up is located in your /wp-content/uploads/gravatar/ folder.

    I don’t believe that’s a default WordPress folder, which would mean a plugin (or your theme) had to add it.

    I’d start by checking your theme’s settings if it has its own control panel. See if there are any settings there related to avatars or comments.

    If not, check other plugins. Membership plugins can do this (including forum plugins). User avatar upload plugins can do this. Comment management plugins can do this. Or you could even have a wonky caching plugin that’s trying to cache gravatar images in that folder to speed up loading.

    If you don’t have any current plugins that could be doing it, think about old plugins you might have had installed. Occasionally if they’re poorly-developed they’ll leave garbage behind when they’re uninstalled. So you could be dealing with something like that.

    At the very least, you could upload a new default image with the same file name (default-s48.jpg) into that folder to replace it sitewide until you find the root cause of the problem. 🙂

    • says

      Jennifer, I seemed to have solved the problem, thanks to Greg Narayan’s suggestion of deleting the cached images and files in my browser.

      I am VERY GRATEFUL for your comment; I learned a few things from it! I also appreciate that you took the time to help me solve this problem. This techie stuff is so beyond my capabilities…

      By the way, you rock!

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