This may be a duplicate of Bug 46062. If so please close this and complete the other or vice versa.
As recently discussed in the email thread created by myself "/etc/skel doesn't work?!" (dated: Mon, 06 Mar 2017 12:25:22 -0300) on freebsd-questions, appears quite clear (as pointed out by Arthur Chance) that /etc/skel has been added by Jordan Hubbard on Feb 27th 1998 with the comment:
"MFC: /etc/skel doesn't seem to be used in the -current branch either,
but it doesn't hurt."
At present time /etc/skel has no functionality whatsoever, is a dead directory, a leftover dragged until now on the base system from an unclear intention dated almost 20 years back.
It causes confusion, is useless, I believe it is the right time to delete it.
I believe this is a duplicate of Bug 46062 which I just spent a little time looking into.(In reply to ASV from comment #0)
*** This bug has been marked as a duplicate of bug 46062 ***
A commit references this bug:
Date: Sun Dec 31 07:25:56 UTC 2017
New revision: 327421
mtree: remove /etc/skel
We use /usr/share/skel instead of /etc/skel. The existence of /etc/skel
has confused people.
PR: 46062 (submitted 2002-12-07)
Submitted by: email@example.com
Submitted by: firstname.lastname@example.org