Very sad about the loss of functionality here. This is dramatic enough that we are concerned about moving forward with the 0.9.0 release - as we had provided feedback previously. It's concerning not only that functionality is moving backwards (the 0.9.0 release is actually looking worse then 0.8.2 for us) and losing ground, but the through process behind breaking the existing releases instead of providing a smooth, option upgrade path. Moving functionality to plugins has left feature after feature in the dust, or halfway broken. We are literally working with less functionality than we had a year ago and that it is intentional decision making to not moving the product forward is incredibly concerning. I do not understand why these decisions are made or what the plan is for the product. By the time that 1.0 releases, what will be left to release.
We appreciate the security concerns with gravatar but frankly, that a BS excuse for someone's pet desire to remove it. That's not a "we are making serious software and supporting our customers" decision. We rely on that functionality and saying it will go to a plugin is crap as has been covered before. Just like the image links that vanished, YouTube embedding that has been broken for forever and buggy mobile experience that no one addresses. Development time is being spent crippling what was solved instead of fixing what is wrong or providing new features.
There is logic, customer-centric ways to dealing with Gravatar if security concern was in any way the reason for the decision - like disabling it by default or providing some controls from the site managers. Doing this is something wholly different and isn't how I see quality software being maintained. We need to know that when we commit to NodeBB that NodeBB is going to commit to us. It's not trivial to choose a platform and if that platform is unstable and the developers don't understand how production environments work... that just doesn't fly.
Sure the code is open source and we are free to fork it and go our own way. We aren't looking for a product where we have to develop it ourselves, we would have done that from the beginning if that is what we wanted to have to do.
Now, not only are we being mocked with "removing core functionality" as if it somehow was to the benefit of the customers, but as an additional slap in the face the BS code that takes our existing Gravatar functionality away breaks the upgrade process so we can't even move to 0.9.0 on our test platforms to see how bad the step backwards is going to be.
And all of this after we expressed these concerns and trusted NodeBB to take rational, customer-focused steps to not act like this months ago. We are not happy in the slightest. We've committed nearly two years to this platform and consistently see it slipping more and more into excuses and less and less into being production viable.