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Suggested movement of some boxes.

 
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My suggestions on layout

  • Put the sub menus on the left, expanded accordion style. This will free up an entire column.
  • When the screen is wide enough, put the highlighted posts at the same level as the forum title. When the screen is narrower, let the entire box just be on a second line.
  • Move the "extra" content to the right hand side. Regular visitors don't need to pay attention to them.
  • Limit their number; they currently scroll down long past the list of posts.


  • My suggestions on the popular posts.
  • Skip the division between "All Time" and "This Month" and simply show "Popular".
  • Then you can tweak the algorithm to pick a nice mix of old-popular, recently active, and new-trending. The list would always be changing, keeping it relevant to both old and new users. (NOTE: always changing doesn't mean dynamically calculated. Calculating the lists once or twice a day, but serving them statically would lessen the load on the forums, and preserve some cachability on the server side.
  • Introduce a weighting system that would also allow you to temporarily goose the appearance of selected threads when there is a related promotion being offered. i.e. If someone is offering a "How to make bricks at home" book, you give 5-6 "brick-related" posts a +15% weight, and all the "dry stack stone" posts a "-15% weight while the promotion is going.
  • The problem with "All Time" popular posts, is they essentially turn into a static list that will be ignored by longtime users.
  • A regular problem with really long lived threads is that the links are often broken, or the users have left.
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