What are best practices for encouraging / enforcing profile pics?

Hi! We think profile pics are very important for our forum to have the community feel we’re shooting for.

What are best practices for encouraging profile pics?

One complication is that we need users to go through an approval process before entering Discourse, and I don’t know if that works alongside social log-ins (which we totally want to encourage.)


Can’t claim this is a best practice, but what we’ve done is:

  1. Create a pinned topic that covers the subject, explains the value of having updated profiles, and explains how to update the fields we care about.
  2. When I see someone post as a letter avatar, I sometimes direct message them with a link to that topic.

I held off on doing anything like #2 for a long time, but it’s proven to be far more effective than #1 alone.


I’ve been thinking about this too, especially for highly active/visible members. Getting them to have a nice avatar image would turn it into ‘leading by example’. I got stuck in finding an automated solution that would DM such users when they posted something. Instead, I think I’ll go with Dave’s solution for a while and see if a small effort can make me reach a tipping point here.

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There’s already a reminder that pops up dynamically after you’ve replied a few times and are no longer TL0, and still carry a default avatar.

@tshenry can you test to verify that this is still working on try (remember to reset default TL to 0 before creating an account, as try is TL1 by default)?


I kicked off a new account on try at TL0. When I was naturally promoted to TL1, I received the following message which suggests to fill out the user’s profile:

Then as a TL1 user, I received the following notice when I opened the composer:

The full conditions for the notification can be found here:


I opened a PR for one area I thought could use improvement. Currently the “visiting your user profile” link in the education message points to the base user profile page. The profile picture setting is at least another click and some scrolling down for a new user, it seems like it might be better to take the user right to it.


Here’s a tactic that others can use.

I customized the welcome message to say the following:

Choose one of these popular first steps to take next.

You can also learn how to use our website features by starting an interactive tutorial or reading the new user guide.

Providing a direct link to the page where users can add a profile picture in the first message they received has helped. It’s a step that most people are familiar with given other social media platforms, so they were able to figure it out pretty easily.


Thanks this has been very useful to customizing the invite email templates, especially the general link for preferences and I was able to add one for Profile as we ask for a few custom fields.

And I really appreciate the link to launch the bot tour, it’s a great way to learn discourse by practicing.