Why so many forum topics? Instead of creating a lively give and take, they kill discussions by cutting posters off from one another. If someone posts in the cruising forum, I'm likely to see it and may respond. If they post it in cruising and livaboard, I won't be likely to see it, or respond. Someone asking about bar-crossing techniques in Washington State won't get an answer from the Pamlico Sound sailor: they've been cut off from one another by the different forums. Reducing discussion this way decreases the usefulness of the site. The poster doesn't get answered, even if he could be helped by site denizens, and he goes elsewhere. Not only do too many forums cut us off from one another, but it also makes the site look DEAD. Forums with five posts??? Don't bother even looking. The last post was two months ago? Old news. This is not the bubbling pot of discussion a good bulletin board creates.
Sharing is what bulletin boards are all about. Dividing "boat building and repairs" into wooden/fiberglass/steel/aluminum/ferrocement is a bad idea. The logical extension of that would be to further split out into plank on frame, plywood, cold-molded, strip-plank,round-chine, hard-chine, and possibly others. This makes no sense when many techniques and ideas could and should be SHARED between the different media. Spiling aluminum plate, steel plate, planks and plywood come to mind as an example. But the plank-on-frame wooden boat builder won't know that the newbie aluminum builder is trying to find out about cutting curves in his plate, because it's an entirely different forum. If there is ONE forum for building/repairs, a lively exchange of Q&A's can take place. We can learn from one another, and perhaps introduce new ideas to our repertoires. Moderators also don't have to waste time reclassifying posts to the "correct" forum, and putting notes everywhere advising everyone where the post went. If a surfer wants more detailed information on a specific thing, they can perform a search for "copper roves" or "acetylene welding" as they wish, without feeling they're being excluded from the general topic and the invigorating exchange that a broader subject area fosters.
The original poster pointed out how difficult the forums here are to navigate. I teach website design to Fourth and Fifth graders. One of the first points we make is how difficult it is to find things when you have to scroll down - or up- or down again - trying to find the particular line you want in a long list. Dividing the forums into lots of subforums has created here -- you guessed it -- a long list that you have to scroll down - or up- or down again - looking for the thing you want. On top of that, the constant adding of new subdivided forums means you're never sure you've found everything you might be interested in. When there are fewer choices, and they all fit ON ONE SCREEN, it is easier to see what might be of interest and go to it. Topics you haven't seen before are already highlighted, so it's not repetitive or difficult to see what's new and put in your $.02, or, as in this post, your $2.50. K.I.S.S. works on my boat; why not try it here?