The forums need to be updated - they seem to be using a very old engine/skin and the posts often get jumbled up rather than appear in chronological order?
Things are only just settling-down after the re-org that took place last Autumn. And I think that if this idea got legs then Hugh would need a long lie-down in a very darkened room and there'd be a whip-round for a leaving-present for Jennifer very shortly afterwards!!
I'm accessing the forums through XP SP3 and don't get any of the problems you mention.
On the topic of who's here and who's not, I think forums wax and wane naturally... such is the nature of the medium. It's interesting that in a thread from 2005 that's recently been resusitated there are contributions from many people who you never see here these days. People come, people go... that's forums.