As of now, the only way to have an avatar is to upload it here, off-site avatars no longer work. The size limit for avatars is about 49kb, the height limit is 200 and the width limit is 175.
So what you now do is find the pic you want, and if don't already have it saved on your computer, do so, and then upload it.
Now, when I tested it, the height/width limit didn't seem to get enforced. If it never does, it's up to all of you to edit your pics before you upload them to make sure they're no bigger than 200x175.
On that note, I now ask that one of you who is good with a variety of graphics programs tell people who may not know much about it the easiest way to resize images (and with programs that everyone's likely to have or get easily).
The good thing about uploading besides making it more uniform with size and dimension limits (which will make things load a lot faster for everyone, especially those with slow connections) is that it's really easy to get the avatar you want; because now the site hosts it for you instead of you hoping your source holds up or that you can find a site to host it. We take care of that now. So just help us out in maintaining that no avatar is larger than 49Kb, nor larger than 200x175, and this should go really, really well.
Also, it's time to talk signatures. As of now we're asking you keep the same limits in your signature as your avatar: No more than one picture (which still can be linked off site, unlike avatars), and please don't put anything in there bigger than 50kb and try to keep it no bigger than 200 in height, but it can be wider than an avatar. I haven't done any measurements or anything, but I think up to 550 wide wouldn't hurt anything.
Thanks in advance.
P.S., obviously this means animated .gif s are out the window; I've seen some now that are 1.4MB and that's just way too big; and really no animated file is smaller than 200kb 99.9% of the time. So if something like that is in your signature, please remove it. Thank you.