I've used Discourse before. It's different, very different. I'm the same way as I prefer traditional setup. Plus it isn't available freely right now. Currently it's a WIP and you can't DL it. They will however perform a set up for you for a one-time fee.
I prefer myBB myself. It's what I'm running 3 other forums on to see if they take off (no need to expend a lot of money on 'em of they aren't and domain names are cheap). Upgrades are easy to implement and their are some good add-ons out there for it (and unlike phpBB upgrading with the add-ons are not a problem).
Penny for your thoughts? I use Node, development wise, for a lot of things but web apps aren't one of them. It's great at what I use it for but I don't see any reason to switch from PHP when PHP is working just as good for my uses.
I've been experimenting with basic APIs with express though and considered using it for simple future projects but maybe I'm better off just writing them in Laravel?
I, in fact, do write web applications in node. Some fairly high profile ones and the managing workers, routes, etc. are beyond a pain. And since node is single threaded you need to split off workers to handle requests, which isn't as great of an idea.
Both. I attempted to actively contribute to an open source module we use at my job and it was utterly horrendous. One of the worst experiences I've ever dealt with. And callback hell is an understatement. Nested anonymous callbacks... Where's the puke bucket?