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Hey Beth, I like your feedback and tend to agree. As I mentioned in another thread, the OG really needs to look at what they want to create with the forum. They may have, and we just don't know.

Here's how I tackle implementing a forum/community.
1. First thing to do is determine the audience. Not just who I anticipate coming, but who I want to attract.
2. Next item is to determine what intended result of the forum is. Tech support? Community? Both? Is it more members-helping-members or an official channel for the OG?
3. Determine how 1 & 2 go together. For example, if the intent is to attract a broad audience, add categories such as general discussion, political/debate... if it's to support only the software then only provide categories related to that. (And now we see they have created a general discussion area.)
4. Based on the above, prioritize the built-in features. Then look for any gaps and see if there are any mods which fill those in. The priority list is very important. This will help design the site's information architecture and prevent less important items from fighting for visibility with more important items.

I can go on, but you get the idea. Your recognition of other boards and how they, for example, trimmed the nav down are prime examples of prioritizing. Sure some people will not be happy that the background color doesn't change ever two seconds, but when priorities are set those decisions are easy.