Ah! But after the Great Panjandrum of The Changes, potential newbs could have been put off.
... and they might not... We're in Schrodinger's cat territory here aren't we?
The fact is that the number of new members joining the forums has remained remarkably consistent before and after The Changes... which seems to imply that the absence of a Newbies forum isn't putting people of joining and participating at all.
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound