-- ADMIN NOTE: This post originally appeared on the TSL Subscriber's board. It was contained in a thread discussing TSL's switch from its threaded format boards to vBulletin boards. --
Those who work in software development would say that one of the most important features they build into code is maintainability. The ability to maintain and modify the code according to future needs and desires. The old boards did not have that built in. It was bits and pieces of slung code that grew over the years into what you saw just prior to the change. It worked, in a manner of speaking. But every change that was made to the code, because it wasn't built from the ground up to be maintainable, could have other, unintended changes that could have made the site unworkable. You want to know why Will never added simple things such as an edit function, a post-viewed count, or things like that? Because making those changes could have forced unintended changes that could break the site.
Will had said several times that it was only a matter of time before something happened that would render the site unworkable. And that would be the end of TSL. The future of the site existed on acquiring a maintainable code base that could deliver TSL to people. Unfortunately, since TSL was such a home-cooked site, no other professional sites had the same look-and-feel as the old TSL. Further, most every other board, in the time that TSL moved to its own code from the grassy boards, has moved to the topic-based format. That means there were not many option for threaded boards available to him. Will has done the best he could in delivering TSL's old look-and-feel in using vBulletin with a threaded plug-in, but the fact remains that that is just the closest it will ever get to the old TSL boards.
So we're at the point now where this is what you will get. The old boards won't be coming back. Period. End of story. And the lack of threaded options out there means that this is probably as close as we'll get to the old boards. But it also comes with a cost. The cost is a base topic-focused vBulletin system with a threaded option. That means that there are two sets of TSL readers now. Those that read the boards in the old threaded style, and those that read the boards in the new topic style. And they're seeing different things. The topic viewers, within a topic, see a set of posts sorted by post time, with no indication of who each post is replying to, but can see every post fully with only a few clicks. The threaded viewers can see the subject or first line of all of the posts in a topic and who they are replying to, but don't see the full posts without many clicks (depending on the size of the topic/thread). Each has their advantages and disadvantages, based on each user's comfort level with the different systems, but this is still a difficult time due to the transition, and I think we all can do a few things to help smooth things out.
One would be to stop trying to bring the old boards back. For reasons stated above, they're not coming back. They have as much chance of coming back as TSL does in going back to the old grassy.com board. (No more ECS, ha ha.) That means posts like the original poster's are just unproductive, and are no better than posting "MY BOARD!!!" over and over. If you have legitimate complaints about the new site, something that can be fixed within the constraints of the vBulletin system, then use the New Site Questions/Issues/Suggestions Board. If you don't know how to do something, watch Will's videos or ask on that board; those that have had more experience with vBulletin have been doing a pretty good job of helping people out on the regular boards, but there is a board for questions, so it's better that questions go there. If you have a suggestion that might improve the quality of life within the vBulletin system, then post it there, and I guarantee that Will or Chris will see it and at least consider it. But please, stop trying to bring back the old boards, because it is just not going to happen.
A second thing would be to use Reply With Quote when replying to another post. Threaded viewers may see who you are replying to, but linear posters don't see that, and without the context of who you are replying to, it just doesn't make sense. You may have an amazingly insightful post, but if a linear poster isn't sure what you're referring to, then it may just be overlooked and ignored. Will and Chris and several others have been requesting people to use Reply With Quote (to the point where it may become the default action), and it's gaining in acceptance, but there are still a lot of people who do not use RWQ. With a fragmented user base such that we have right now, it just makes sense to want to have your post understood by both threaded and topic viewers. It's something that can be easily done that would help to reduce the confusion during this transitional period.
My apologies for the novel, but I think this (the inability to go back to the old boards) is something that Will has been speaking about for quite some time now, and some haven't really come to grips with. There are serious software-related issues with staying with the old boards, that could affect the existence of TSL as an entity if they'd stayed. Being in software development myself, and having overseen a series of FORTRAN-to-C/C++ software conversions, I understand fully why the change needed to be made, and wanted to try to shed some light on that. I probably didn't say any more than Will has in the past, but it seemed like it needed to be said again. (And I couldn't help putting in another request for people to use Reply With Quote in with it. Mea culpa.)
(Edit) P.S. I'd noticed before I made this post a potential improvement in the site (having the Quick Links / View Subscribed Topics visible in the What's New view). I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and post that on the New Site Questions Board. I figure since I made a huge post about making suggestions there, I might as well do it myself. =^)