Yeah, community is why people stick around... I can't force a community though. All I can do is provide content and a space to talk. I wasn't here when any of the decisions were made re: the new forums. I HAVE been trying to get those changes you guys want though, but there's only a couple of tech guys and they're always busy.
FWIW: For years I thought I was visiting PT daily for the smart articles but, in retrospect, I believe the REAL ATTRACTION was the lively discussion—the depth and breadth of the community is what kept my interest. Things started to go downhill when the sudden change of management brought a change of forum software and the community began to disperse. Why? I think it is because the new software didn't support a critically simple function: the ability to respond to other user posts, to provide feedback with a simple click of a button. That's my opinion anyway. YMMV.
It is sad that years of user posts are about to 'disappear'. One can't help but think of that old adage about babies and bathwater.
I am sorry the old forums won't be around anymore, but I've saved what I can. Provided there are no complications I'm happy to hand that data off to someone if they want to host it privately... it depends what you can do with SQL dumps I guess.