I became a Brony back in August 2011, right as I moved to a different country (Qatar) after living in the USA my whole life. During that time, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic became one of my favorite shows. Just as I would as a fan of any other show, I participated in conversations about the show, even ended up drawing fan art as a way of showing my appreciation for a quality show.
One of the things that struck me about the show was that its creators didn't reject our 'odd' fandom, and instead, embraced it. Whether it was interacting with us on social networking sites, going to conventions for us fans, or simple changes in the background of the show, I was very happy that being such an unexpected fanbase, we were not looked down upon by the creators themselves.
Possibly the most obvious nod to us Bronies was the inclusion of a wall-eyes gray mare aptly dubbed "Derpy Hooves" by the fans, after an animation error in one of the earliest episodes of the show had her in the background with a scrunched expression on her face and her eyes looking in different directions.
In between Season 1 and Season 2, i became a fan. I learned about all the memes and image macros that had been created just during the first season, and I highly enjoyed seeking out Derpy in episodes released in Season 2.
She's become a nostalgic symbol of my early dedication to the show, watching new episodes on live-streams at 6pm Qatar time, as it aired early morning in the USA.
When Derpy had been scripted with a speaking role, I can speak for a good portion of the fandom that it was an awesomely unexpected moment and we certainly didn't like when it was changed, though on some levels, we can understand.
However, Derpy still remains an important symbol of how the creators of a show can subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) include a nod to their growing and increasingly dedicated fandom.
We understand Hasbro is a company and most companies are here for profit. We understand that being cautious is better when producing a show that helps market a toy you're selling. However, I feel that you're also missing on a chance to use Derpy to an advantage as a company. She's possibly the most popular character in the show, at least, as a character not initially even intended to be in the show.
We're not asking for a speaking role, or even a role where she's apart of the foreground. We feel it's something that can benefit us, as the show's dedicated fans and Hasbro, as a company who could profit more from Derpy merchandise upon a return of her Easter-Egg status.
So, in summary, Derpy Hooves is not just some gray Pegasus mare who's eyes sometimes get out-of-whack, she's a nostalgic symbol for us fans from early-on in the show, and she's the symbol of how an unexpected fanbase can be acknowledged and accepted with open arms by the creators of a show. Thanks for your time!
Her absence is season 3 has been anything but unnoticed; some Bronies are very vocal about their disappointment of not seeing their favorite Easter Egg mare in the background of episodes, while some, like me, more expressed that we love the show whether or not Derpy was in it, though having such a connection with the creators being expressed through her inclusion is certainly something we miss.