Let me explain my thoughts more clearly, and make a distinction between what I consider to be: (1) primarily the 'text' based forums within Nikonians (such as the Master Your Tools and Lenses forums) where people 'talk' to each other, and (2) primarily the 'picture' based forums where people share their photographs and comment on them (such as the Landscape, Micro, Travel forums etc).
For the latter group, we are (I am) currently drawn to individual threads by their title, which may or may not entice people to open them, and to view any attached photographs. I know some Nikonians are much more organised than I, and may well read all threads but I tend to dip in and out on the basis of the title alone. I recognise this means that I may well miss some lovely photographs because the title didn't appeal to me for some reason. So, for these picture-based forums, I think it would be useful if there could be a small thumbnail along with the title as an added draw for people to view them. Perhaps this might be in the form of the slide show you now use for the challenge winners. You click on a picture in the slide show and it takes you to the relevant thread. Or, alternatively, the forum front page could be displayed as a 'gallery view' rather than as a text based list. If you permit a reference to another site, I had in mind something similar to the gallery pages on the Nature Photographers website.
I admit I am no IT expert or web designer, so have no idea whether this suggestion is an easy one or not. Or, indeed, if it would be welcomed by other Nikonians. Simply put, my suggestion is to promote the sharing and viewing of the pictures we take with our Nikons. This, for me, is a great incentive to carry on with photography which can otherwise become an individual activity. I must say also, I don't want to down play the discussion forums. These are extremely helpful to me. And having just spent a little while on some alternative discussion boards, the level of civility shown here remains a positive credit to Nikonians as a community.