As I announced earlier, Gravatars have now been enabled on this site. I've been a bit behind the loop on this one as they've been popping up virtually everywhere. However, my reasons for not enabling them sooner is not because I wasn't aware of them.
The reasons are really two-fold. Allowing the use of gravatars means, to a certain extent, handing over a bit of control. You're no longer able to dictate what pictures appear on yor site and whether or not, they fit in with the general theme. The other reason was that, upon initially hearing of the idea, they sound more like a novelty feature.
However, eventually, what you discover is that when you enter a site without gravatars, you notice their omission. You miss the ease with which a particular author's comment is found. You miss the immediate recognition of a particular commentor. And you forego the ability for others to attach themselves to a comment or viewpoint.
It's fascinating how much they actually improve the discussion. Seeing a particular gravatar immediately brings back memories of another post made elsewhere. There's now a face behind the words, an identity where before there was only the crude mechanism of a handle. With that, the interaction becomes a much more social scene.
Gravatars are a perfect example of an idea that has been so wonderfully conceived and implemented that it goes under the radar. It sneaks under and quickly pervades the way things operate to such a extant that you look back and wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place.