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and i don't think scott cares which you'd rather have. one links to off-site images, one doesn't, so unless the code is changed, the user's general opinion that scott should pay MORE money for hosting so that people can all have a cute little image isn't really realistic.
I'm completely and totally unfamiliar with the price of webhosting, but how much more money would Scott have to pay for users to be able to have avatars? If it's more than a couple of dollars a month then I wouldn't expect it to be done. But if it's relatively cheap, there is no reason not to give the people what they want. After all, if those people who want a cute little image next to their name didn't come to this site, Scott would be making a lot LESS money.
I could honestly care less one way or another. Just throwing it out there.