The problem with setting a default just so the field is visible is, from my experience, it never gets reset. Since it has a value nothing I'm aware of will make a user update the value. We did this at my first job with JIRA because management didn't like fields not showing. We ended up with more than half of the values as TBD for those fields when the issues were closed. This is a training issue.
I found the same in my arena Joe, I feel ya there. What we did was create custom series on individual reports and team reports that looked for tickets in a known status that should have the field value NOT be the default value, and then managed the misses that way if it returned a "closed" ticket where the custom field value was still set at the default value. This allowed individuals to view their personal report pages and easily see any misses they had. Leaders are also able to view their teams misses with only slight tweaks to the necessary JQL.
This will not make fields that initially have no value display, unfortunately. The only way to display a field is for it to have a value (without cracking code), so you will need to set a default value that is generic and then the field will display based on the settings you mention. As per the question, if the due date field has never been set, it will not display unless it has a value, which a person should just set the default value to something akin to "Required" or whatever and then it will display that. Custom fields with no default value, that have never been selected or given a value will not display without making changes to the actual code.
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