I agree 100% with that which goes back to @codinghorror’s contention that it’s too early to call up the concept that a high percentage of communities running on Discourse have a predisposition to react in a profoundly negative way to the user directory’s features that warrants a hard coded switch in the admin CP to turn it off.
My initial response aligns with Design To Thrive’s methods of keeping elder members for longer. Those who equal to higher trust levels on a Discourse-run community and maintain that position by creating original content and/or engaging the other users in a way that should be exemplified in a constructive manner. Everyone wants a little attention for their efforts. Using the in-system metrics to show that is something worth exploring which is why I am initially positive to the user directory and its presentation.