Roger Wilmut1, clarifying what it takes to upload a custom avatar in the Apple Support Communities:

You need to get to level 3 - 500 points: 50 ‘solved’ or 100 ‘helpful’ or a combination thereof. Welcome to the forums: I hope you enjoy answering peoples questions and hopefully gaining points (and karma) by helping them.

This is bonkers. I’ve never seen any other forum work this way. On Stack Overflow, an immensely more important website than discussions.apple.com, you get to use a custom avatar right out the gate. Same for every other major site I’ve ever seen.

I’m sure Apple has a reason for this restriction. There’s always a “good” reason, just like there’s always a perfectly rational explanation for walking around in white socks, crocks, cargo pants, and a fanny pack, with a side of wispy beard. But the fact that this problem has been solved by other communities proves that it doesn’t have to be this way. Apple should want as many people at its community to have custom avatars as possible. Default avatars are McDonald’s; custom avatars bring culture. It makes no sense to me why Apple restricts customer avatars to the 1%.