Ok, Since we're all voicing an opinion, I might as well step up and put in my two cents.
I don't like it.
I know the changes were made for good reason -- bandwidth -- but everything that I liked about the old forum is gone, and most of the bells and whistles on the new one don't impress me that much.
For starters, I'm with the people who dislike the colour. I find it drab and dull. Driving my Alfa is always a fun, bright and breezy experience, and the forum used to reflect that. This colour scheme doesn't. It is fine for a corporate look. It is smart and sophisticated, but not warm and friendly. Also I agree with whoever said they don't like this style of smilie. Still, if it was just the colour and the look I'd shut up, but sadly, it's not.
Why I really liked reading the old forum as opposed to other forums was the high ratio of amount of content vs. the amount of wasted space. I find this new forum to be guilty of the same bad layout as many other Internet forums -- there's just too much blank space in each post and between the posts. It takes twice as long to read a thread and I can't fit as much on my screen.
This is just a suggestion, but if people don't fill in their age or their contact information, don't display the blank space. It just wastes screen space. There also seems to be too much blank/wasted space between the end of the post and the start of the signature. I realize this is because of the set size of the box -- it must be a minimum to fit all that contact/age/etc. listing information.
I'm also with the camp that wants to see a full range of cars listed, and not just model names. For the most part I don't care whether I can ICQ a person, but I do want to know what that person drives. Whether s/he has personal experience with a car IS an important issue to me. It's why I also miss the detailed info about the car. Just because somebody with a Spider wants to give me advice, it doesn't mean that advice will be relevant to me. What fixes a 2003 Spider probably won't fix my 1973 Spider. Actually even the fix for a 1973 Spider with a 1750 engine may not be the right solution for my 2000 engine. Yes I know that not everybody listed their cars in the old forum, and instead used the space to post slogans, but I appreciated those who did. Of course I eventuallly got to know which regulars drove which cars (for the most part) but for newcomers, it really is difficult to judge who drives what under this new system.
Of course I miss my spell check button -- although I was probably the only one to use it.
I find the replies hard to use. I've tried both the quick reply and the advanced (or whatever it was called). Today it wouldn't even let me use the advanced, and I had to pick the quick one. I realize there are bugs in the system that still need to be worked out and features that still need to be refined, but so far I'm not finding the forum easy or instinctive to use.
Last night, I tried the "preview post" button, and it didn't work for me. I don't know if this is a problem on my end -- which it very well could be -- or a glitch that still needs to be worked out. Essentially it ate my PM and kicked me out of the board. I'm dying to try it again, but I don't want to do it on this post -- I don't want to have to retype this.
Going back to the issue of content over wasted space I find the PM section to be an equally bad offender. If I open my inbox, I like to be able to see the sent and received messages in one view. I hate having to click through for separate views. I know I'm lazy, but I really like getting as much information on the screen as possible. As for the bar indicating how full my inbox is, I really don't need it. If you tell me I have room for 60 messages and my inbox tells me I have 30 and my outbox tells me I have 30, I know my box is full. I don't need a graphic to show me. Again, it just seems to be an excess graphical waste of space without giving me any additional content or value-add.
Also, I miss getting a copy of the PM in my e-mail. The link requires me to come back to AO, when before I could read/refer to my PMs, even when I wasn't online or logged into AO.
I'll shut up now. I'm sure I've offended the whole AO team and many of the regulars. Please note, that's not my intention. I do appreciate all the hard work that has been put into our new home, and I understand that changes had to me made or the forum was going to cease to exist.
I know that there are new skins in the works to allow us to customize our views of the main board, so I won't say too much about that, except that I hope there is a nice, tight compact one that allows us to see all of the lounges on one screen.
I guess I'm just a function over form person. Pretty only goes so far, and despite the colour scheme, the new place is pretty. I just wish it was a little more reader friendly.
Sorry for my critique, and apologies for any hurt feelings. As I said, my intention wasn't to pick on everybody's hard work, it was just to try to put into words my reactions and feelings to the new forum. I know I'm in the minority, but I'm used to being in that group.
P.S. On the plus side I do like the idea of being able to upload attachments to the AO server. I'll have to give it a try one of these days when I have something interesting to share.