Issue Number 1 (Welcoming many, many new members)
The site's been going about a month and we've had (what I consider) excellent growth (4K, 600 members in roughly that first month), and we currently have a forum at the top of our nodes tree for people to make their own thread and introduce themselves. The problem with that is a lot of new members make one of these threads and then might get zero replies for it because the sheer number of introductions (it's died down a bit but I remember I got online and there had been 20 in about 4 hours) means most people aren't taking the time to say hello and it's a lot of effort for myself or the other admin to do it especially when we have jobs and other threads to respond to ontop of other adminy stuff. We've even hired a moderator who basically is responsibly for welcoming the new members in their threads and helping them learn about the forums, even then a few still fall through the cracks because of online time and whatever.
I'm sure it's not a big issue with people feeling left out that they haven't been answered but I know that I personally dislike the fact that we manage to miss certain people out and I have noticed if people aren't answered that there is a smaller return rate (I haven't used stats to work this out, just me looking at people and threads and seeing what happens).
What I was wondering is whether there is a better way of greeting new members to the forums without missing any and also without having the very force feeling of an automatic welcome message which always feel generic? I like the fact that with welcome threads you get a feel for the user so you can reply with a tailored response. So something that might allow us to keep offering tailored responses without leaving anyone out would be good.
Issue Number 2 (Thread Prefixes or Individual Sub-forums)
To be honest this isn't an issue until Xenforo 1.1 launches but I've been thinking about it for a while and I'm still not sure what to do about it. I'm not entirely sure but for this one it will probably help out if you have our site address for this which is http://kairospot.net/forum/. We currently have an 'Other' category of the forum with a forum called Video Games in, and that has a number of sub-forums within it (4 at the moment but it might balloon if we add in more platforms) and I can't decide whether in the long term we should keep the sub-forums or change over to thread prefixes. The activity in the sub-forums isn't very big (although it's got to be considered that so far we're only a month old and it isn't the main focus of the forums) but I worry that if we change to thread prefixes we'll get a more cluttered area but with the benefit of less sub-forums and easier for people to find subjects they might be interested in (unless it's too cluttered).
I have a few more things I could do with some advice on but those are the two that are bothering me at the moment; so some general advice and maybe some examples on what you've done on your forums would be quite helpful. My main experience with my own (old, now defunct and closed) forum I used to admin was completely different because it was a private forum (although quite large) so we didn't really have a problem with keeping members active or stripping down sub-forums as due to the sites needs we had about 100, so helping to run a (hopefully) larger and more popular public site obviously needs a different approach.