No problem, I can only explain the rationale use.
1) We have a large portion of older member where vision issues can be a problem. One of the main driving forces behind the upgrade was to simplify and make things easier to use and see. That is what drove going to larger smileys, we had reports of smaller smileys being difficult to differentiate.
2) The old set was a hodge podge of things that where available 10 years ago. There were many inconsistencies with their look and design. Some were pretty poorly done and some where just outdated. They actually looked pretty childish and take away from the overall image of the forum to people visiting for the first time. First impressions are what keep people here or make them move one.