A couple of ideas......
- When thinking about how users use forums, it seems to me that a very typical behavior is to hammer what's new. A user will click what's new first, read a thread of interest, then hit what's new again, find a thread of interest, repeat ad nauseum. However, since they finish at the bottom of the thread, they have to scroll back up to the top to hit what's new.
- Solution 1. Include a what's new link at the bottom of the page.
- Solution 2. Have a hot key for what's new. (Not as good as then they would have to take their hands off the mouse.
- Personalized What's New. A user could pull up a forum directory, and check the forums they read and want to see activity in. Then clicking the personalized What's New would only give them the stuff they are interested in. A good example of where this would work best is digital point and the extensive directory structure. The downside is when a user would want to toggle between what's new all, and what's new personal selection.