i have a suggestion.
Something that would make these forums perhaps more easily navigated and useful to newcomers would be a simple rule to keep replies within the topic of the original post. That way, a single thread shows the progression of ideas / debates on a single central topic.
This is in no way limiting, as it is easy enough to start a new topic if someone wishes to reply to something but follow a new path form the original poster. This new path allows the new topic to be as fully discussed as the original one, but both are separate and easily follow able and searchable.
Perhaps a simply stated policy on when to reply and when to create a new topic, would suffice ?
This would go a long way to make these messages more valuable to the public. (in my opinion at least)