Matt, how can you say that there has been no mass outcry regarding avatars? There are lots of topics on the subject and it's not just the same old users posting in every topic.
I don't care either way, however obviously a significant part of your customer base, (the ones who care enough about the software and the direction it takes by using these forums and giving feedback) care about how that particular feature was removed.
They are not asking for a new updated feature with more options - they are asking for the same thing that you've previously offered. Is there any empirical data which suggests that more people don't want it? I'm not talking about people like me that sit on the fence but people that actually don't want the feature because they believe that it is no longer relevant.
A poll with respect to this particular subject would only require two options - integrate the avatar system as it was in previous releases or leave as is.
I can't help but feel that the integration would take more work than you would want to put in and for that reason you're against re-integrating it.
Maybe I've missed it but I've not seen any modder suggest that they will be picking up the development of an avatar modification, nor could anyone expect that such a modification would be available for free as I'd imagine it would take a significant amount of coding.
How can silence validate your decisions? That's a comment I'd expect from the developers at IB not IPS. If silence validated your decisions then what you've said in respect to listening to those posting is just a façade.
Not that I think your necessarily taking the software in a wrong direction as I really like 3.2, I do have one question though - where does the vast majority of feedback come from?
I know you've said you have a large number of corporate clients that don't even visit the forums here, is the feedback coming from them? Or is the vast majority of feedback coming from these forums?
If it is these forums would you ever consider having official anonymous customer polls on the removal of features that people are most vocal about? I'm not talking about features that only a few people are complaining about but ones that bring about several threads with hundreds of users. The removal of avatar galleries and the settings that were included would probably be a good example.
I don't want this place to turn into a "vote for you want fixed or added or removed" however it would be nice to see if the vocal people in the minority are actually in the minority. Obviously if you're getting the majority of feedback elsewhere then this wouldn't work.
It's continuing to be maintained by one of the best and most active modders out there. I don't think you're going to run into any issues. I've got several paid for mods from DevFuse and updates are always released in a timely fashion alongside smaller fixes for any bugs. I really believe you're worrying for nothing.