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.
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.
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.
Nothing much has chanced since this topic was started – there are plenty of ways to encourage people to upload a custom avatar and there are a couple of different options to have default avatars but there is no out of the box solution for enforcing a custom avatar to be used – that would require a small plugin (not available on our Standard plan).
Generally what works for me is asking directly.
“Ehi man in our community we love to see our faces, I noticed that you’re writing a lot of interesting posts why not permit our people to see yours? I guarantee you that talking with a face is better than talking with aa letter in the alphabet.”
We’re about to launch our Discourse site. My users are used to a listserv platform, and I have configured the email settings so that they can reply by email and start new posts by email.
But related to profile pics, the thing I don’t understand is why sometimes users receive an email that shows the sender’s profile pic along with a nicely formatted “Visit topic” link (formatted like a button), but other times a new message comes in a less pretty way – no profile pic and the “Visit topic” is a simple hyperlink.
I’ve been doing testing with some different test accounts, and I see different results. I don’t understand why. I sent a test message and several users got the version that shows a profile pic, like this:
But I have also two test accounts that received the same message, but no profile pic. It looked like this for them:
I tell them that we are human and we like to see (or intuit) who we are talking to. And I suggest photos of real users in my community as exemple in case you don’t want to put a photo of your face. Partial photos, with effects or caricatures… whatever but human.