I'd hate to see some of DoCo's classic animated avatars (app103's busy kitty, nudone's shy little cody, Josh's wretched little gnat-thing
, and a few others) disappear completely.
Well, maybe not 'hate' - but I do think I'd miss them.
An occasional (small) surprise on the forum isn't always a bad thing.
But you're right. It can be very distracting if not done right. Maybe you could require moderator approval for an animated avatar - or only allow them at certain times of the year like during the annual fundraiser?
Just my 2¢