A post over at Hudson's Hidout led me to think about what would make the Blizzard forums better. Hudson wrote (about the addition of the 3 new forums):
This still dilutes the conversations, as it adds another place to check for information, thereby causing one of the boards to die I am sure. I still don’t like it either way.
I think it kinda depends on the players but if for example general healing guides, Q&A etc. are posted in the healing forum, while e.g. specific issues to holy priests are posted in the priests forum, this could work. On the other hand I suspect a lot of material which would be posted on these new forums would actually go better in a class specific forum. A priest heals very differently from a paladin, for example.
TBH ever since I've started working with tags (gmail really made me work with them in force) I have really liked the idea and I consider these much better than categories. Imagine if the forum allowed you to tag your post: "priest, healing" - instead of having to post in either the priest or healing forums.
But for that to work, search has to be done right (since the volume of posts esp. in general forums/tags is huge). Search right now in the Blizzard forums simply isn't working and even when it did, it was bad - barebones at best and with a very strange (and incomplete) feature set.
No solution is good when the basics are bad and really the basic forum infrastructure of Blizzard is horrible - no threading of replies, no tags, no search, no ability to "mod up" good posts/replies. And what's with the stupid limit on number of posts in a thread?
I also think they should let selected players moderate the forum, this would give them a much bigger set of moderators, who would volunteer in order to keep the forums useful to all. There is no way the current Blizzard moderators can follow every post and this is a pity since it causes both a lower S/N ratio and on the other hand good posts/replies get missed. Alternatively selected players (based on the Slashdot model) could get mod points and use these up to mod posts down or up. This system actually works pretty well for Slashdot posts, which while not a forum come pretty close to it.