I know that the old forums logged people out regularly; there are furious posts aplenty on that. Just like here, it wasn’t happening to everybody. Evidently the diagram of folks it is happening to has shifted. I’m not saying it’s ‘okay’ to do that, but that it’s not a significant difference from the old forums. (It should still be fixed, although keeping two sites (the forum and the store) logged in and in sync is a PITA.)
I don’t use the PM feature very much; I’ve never missed a PM, but I don’t know how the old system reported them. (I don’t think I ever sent a PM on the old system, much less received one.)
For theming, I think RAMWolff has a theming plugin for improving the color usage on the forums. The key thing to remember, though, is that strong colors will alter the perception of images that are posted up. A picture against a green background will be perceived differently than a picture against a neutral gray or white background. I don’t recall if there’s a ‘better grays’ version of the theme, but there should be, to preserve the ability to see art in a neutral frame.
All those are very valid answers. If you use PMs a lot, that feature means you’re a little less social in your own way. The theme is perhaps too contrast-y for some eyes, which means you avoid the site consciously or unconsciously. The speed is terrible for dial-up and satellite users, so they can’t spend as much time interacting. The lack of post-bumping means you can’t gravitate to where the people are and get that hit of ‘social interaction’ which keeps you interested. And a lack of avatars means you don’t have that visual connection to people’s images, so there isn’t as much a feeling of community.
I don’t think each of these problems affects everybody, but it does mean that everybody has a different gripe about the system. (For example, I don’t use PMs, the theme works fine for me, I’m on a godawful fast connection, and I don’t recall being unexpectedly logged out since the old forums.) This puts the bar at easing a significant part of the unhappy contingent pretty high. Until a majority of that is resolved, a lot of people will still be very unhappy because they perceive little or no movement in the things they care about.
Thanks very much for the answers! I wish I could do something about them the way I have with the old forum and the store’s UI issues, but most of those are things that DAZ has to fix, and that are generally hard even for experienced web dev teams.