As you may know, the old forum platform became obsolete and we needed to replace it. The new forum operates slightly differently.
THE CURRENT FORUM:
does not use the old forum’s customization engine or friend system. That was inevitable due to the old forum being proprietary and not sharing that information with other (e.g. open-source) platforms. The new platform is much more sustainable going forward. We expect connections created in the current platform to last for years. However, control of the avatar remains with the individual user and uses the same (free) service (gravatar.com) that supplies Dr. Farrell’s avatar. Information on updating your avatar is in Account > Member Settings. FYI: That is actually the original avatar system that was here before we added the old forum. In the event the user does not create an avatar, the system will automatically assign a random image in its place which is necessary to have avatars at all and is common on most commenting systems whether Wordpress or The New York Times etc.
The old forum is now just a (static) archive and cannot any longer receive new posts. As a static archive, it does not maintain user-editable avatars, bios, or friend relationships which require the user to actively maintain them. Avatars revert to the random system which assigns random avatars to users
or to the generic system which assigns all users the SAME avatar - instead of allowing custom ones. We only have the options of one generic avatar, totally random avatars, or none at all and, for now, we’ve elected to let the archive use the generic one. This means we can’t go back and update avatar information or other content on the archive. Consider it a snapshot (minus the custom profiles and friend relationships) of the old forum.