The Infinity Program is a general discussion forum that was created in June, 2004. The forum started with phpBB 2.x before being moved to vBulletin 3.x in December, 2007. By December, 2011, the forum was converted to xenForo 1.x, so I have been using this software for just over a month.
The banner, background image, and any other aesthetic changes are still to be applied by one of my fellow administrators when he gets the chance. In the mean time, I have been working on replicating every feature from vBulletin 3.x I liked, the last and latest being the "Sample Topics" display that was placed above the forum listing on the index page, and which an expert coder here at xenForo support replicated for a modest fee.
In addition to the guest welcome message and a custom sidebar block displaying featured content, I achieved my goal of showcasing several samples of topics and giving context to my forum for the guest before she ever browses. I felt that too many stand-alone forums like mine fail to give guests content and context on the index page, forcing them to browse to figure out whether they should join.
I am worried, however, that I may have stacked so much content on the index page that it looks too busy, and may serve to overwhelm the guest even as it gives idea what the forum is about and what kind of content is produced. Relatedly, I wonder if guests may think that the text in the "Sample Topics" display should be more readable.
Going back to the purpose of my forum, it is a mere general discussion forum. If there is any difference between it and other stand-alone general discussion forums of its size, I suppose it is that emphasis is placed on substantive discussion and an enriching community; i.e., a forum community where people do not post simply to get more exposure for their websites, and people actually care about having worthwhile discussions for the sake of having worthwhile discussions.
Along those lines, I care a lot for content and managed to preserve all of it (except for about six posts and one account lost after converting to vBulletin 3.x) despite switching hosts three times and switching software three times.