Quite frankly, the STO forums are a mess. It's good that Stormshade got some help from the community but one of the things that need to be addressed is that the forums don't work all that well in the first place. Here are my top 5 issues with the current incarnation of the forums.
1. There are far too many categories and subcategories. Too many threads are getting moved and using inconsistent criteria. Many (negative) C-Store threads are banished to the C-Store subforum, most Duty Officer posts are tossed into the DOff subforum, while posts giving feedback about Featured Episodes are almost never moved (especially if the feedback is positive). For example:
Really what is the difference between "The Academy" and "Federation Shipyards" and "Klingon Fleetyards" and "Character Builds and Powers" and "Bridge Officer Builds and Powers"? I know what each is meant for and what each looks like, but is this really 5 different forums when "The Academy" is a stack of stickied posts on all of the above topics?
Similarly, why do we have "PvE Gameplay" and "Missions and Episodes" and "Federation Gameplay" and "Klingon Gameplay" all together? Surely there are some synergies here?
Why is "General Community Feedback" separated from "Star Trek Online Discussion"? These appear to be the exact same thing.
2. The above makes It (even more) difficult to communicate with the developers. Are these categories laid out by how Cryptic teams work? I can easily identify Duty Officers where Heretic works, Art where CapnLogan works (???), and Foundry where...god knows who works, as it's disturbingly empty...but the point is that it feels very difficult to get developer attention on issues with this proliferation. I get the impression many developers don't even bother reading the forums and/or are uninterested in feedback from players. I'd hope response rates would improve based on this alignment - it's not at all clear how to actually get in touch with anyone there as tickets go unanswered and forums go ignored...and then Cryptic is baffled about why we're not on the same page.
3. The forums don't at all reflect how the players communicate with each other. We have all the forums and categories I mentioned in #1, but nothing for:
Borg Invasion Content
Roleplay (maybe via Captain's Logs??)
Some of those are must-subscribe channels in-world. I realize chat and forums are not the same thing but the point is the current structure creates additional fragmentation of communication about the same topics to ourselves and the developers. I think if you merge and create some of these things, the forums will be more friendly to newcomers.
4. There are several flat-out cesspools on the forums that should be removed or reworked. The prime offender is Ten Forward where there are multiple posts of the same people meowing at each other for a year and posting garbage content that is better left for an in-world private mailing list or chat room. Even in an OT forum, this behavior should be strongly discouraged....aside from taking up valuable storage space where is the benefit of meaningful communication to anyone in the community outside of that group? The other main offender is the Fleet forums which are hundreds of pages of bump bump bump which apparently is tolerated as long as it doesn't say bump bump bump? Surely there's a better way to do this.
5. The forums should NOT be a substitute for official STO documentation. I get that the team is small but it's very difficult to understand the way overcomplicated mechanics and systems and dice rolls when the developers put formulas buried in the forums or worse, just left for players to figure out and hope they get it right (dilithium conversion fiasco, anyone?) Maybe dev blogs are a start to this, and I know STOWiki is another place some of this information lives. Maybe group these posts somewhere?