Yes, it's a real pain for occasional PM users.
Not the slightest problem for regular PM users once you have a few under the belt.
The background is that the previous iteration of the forums had got increasingly difficult to support, and, in large part, that was due to having to maintain custom code that was increasingly divergent from the core forum software.
As befits a music tech magazine, the Sound On Sound website and forums were early adopters and used custom code to offer features and functions that weren't available elsewhere.
In the mean time, the internet world moved on and, increasingly, we discovered that the generic software providers were pushed towards alternative solutions than the ones we had envisaged. Not worse, not better, but different than we might reasonably have anticipated,
Because of that, when we bowed to the inevitable and moved to a new platform for the forums, it was clear that we needed to remain as close as possible to the new framework and avoid custom code wherever possible.
Yes, we know that the PM part of the forums can be confusing. And we also know
that we could hack the code to make it better. But experience tells us that the more we hack the code, the harder and more expensive it gets to maintain the hacked code.
Fortunately, not only do we have Mods like myself; we also have long standing forum members like Wonks who offer advice and support as goodwill, and that's what makes this place great.