Because most users are using Avatars which are showing ficticious characters like comics, cats and other funny images.
Go and have a look for yourself at Memberlists of various Forums.
So why are users not using their REAL personal image at Forums, but are using their REAL personal photo at websites like Facebook or Pinterest, etc.?
IMHO, the answer is very simple:
My Forum-posts are currently not getting indexed by Search-Engines as I am hiding the Forum-posts from guests just to respect the "Privacy" (mainly the "Real Personal Photo") of my members.
I am currently also hiding my "Member List" and "Recent Activity", etc. from Guests and Search-Engines due to this reason.
If I open-up my Forum and Forum-posts to be visible to guests as well, then many members will not upload their "Real Personal Photo" as Avatar, but will use "Mickey-Mouse-Avatars" instead of their real photo.
I would like to show the thread-content..... but I do not want to show the "Real Personal User Photo" of my members to guests.
If a Member chooses to hide his "Profile", it should also hide his "Real Personal Photo" at the "Membercard" and also within threads at Forum-posts.
This is my biggest issue with Forums, as I am currently hiding my Forum-content from guests because I need to hide "Real Personal User Photos" from guests.
And hiding Forum-content from guests and search-engines has an adverse effect regarding SEO as all of you very well know.
Just because I want to respect the "Privacy" of my members by not exposing their "Real Personal Photo" when they choose to hide their Profile from guests, I need to hide content from Search-Engines and guests?
Show "default avatars" to guests or better yet provide an image-path for a special Avatar-image which says "Photo visible to Registered Members only". So not showing the default-Avatar, but a specific Avatar-image for which an image-path could be defined in ACP. Optionally to be defined by the specific webmaster in ACP.
"Mickey-Mouse Avatars" instead of "Real Personal Photos" might be fine for technology-related Forums, but are counter-productive for e.g.: Business-related Forums or Matchmaking-Forums.
And many users want to protect their Privacy and not show their "Real Personal Photo" to guests or have their "Real Personal Photo" spread all over the internet....
For personal-related Forums and for Forums which want to have a more personal-touch at which members want to see the real photo of other members (especially Private Forums and Closed Communities), such an option would be beneficial.
What is your opinion?
The term "Mickey Mouse" is a trademark of "The Walt Disney Company" and used in this thread for fictitious reference and comparison only.