I've posted about numerous different Kickstarter projects, here in this forum. So, today, I thought that I would post about this forum, itself.
Visually, it is lacking. Take that blurry image in the header area at the top, for instance. If the look of this forum was a KickStarter project page, it probably wouldn't get funded.
The navigation options are deficient. It needs navigation bar, so that we don't have to click on the main Board index option or the Back button on our web browser so much, to get back to previous pages.
And, ads. Really?!? I don't begrudge you the ads, as that will be a source of revenue, but so damned many of them? Keep the one son the side, and get rid of the ones between the messages, themselves. It's like trying to get all of the golden eggs, all at once. Let the goose live another day.
Overall, I like the forum. I seem to have made it a regular destination, although that was never the original intention. You really should consider more deeply the forum, itself, as well as how you are crafting the impression that it makes with those that use it.
The ads taken to excess are visually annoying, even though they don't diminish the functionality of the forum, itself. But, to be honest with you, I think that the look of the forum, the preponderance of gray (light gray as background color and medium to dark gray in the blurry header image, combined with the green without a dark border (such as black) to demark it, visually, just makes it all sort of blend together in a big blob of blah.
As regards your personal touch on the site, as site admin, you don't come across as a stuffed shirt nor as someone who is uptight. It helps to generate a relaxed atmosphere. Thumbs up on that!