What's the long term goal for this forum from Yellow Pages' view?
On the current path, the site that was built by the members and the community created by the members, seems headed towards a hierarchic non-forum . Its important to understand that Ryan and Derek really understood well that it was the members of the site that create the site. The site can exist on its own if we all leave, but only for a very limited amount of time.
I also believe if the editing of the Off-Topic forum begins to occur in the Hot Deals section, people will stop posting altogether in Hot Deals. This could single-handedly destroy the site or leave it open to a competitor. Its just really annoying to read a thread and see tons of posts vanish, replies edited, causing me to lose context of the conversation. I've managed to catch a glimpse at some of these vanishing posts, and many if not all of them didn't break a rule, even under the new rules.
I find way less humour in the site now, and that was partially if not strongly the basis from which RFD was built on. And the difference between a site being a success or not, is the forum community. I won't even get into how all the forum mods are previous members who participated in these types of threads and helped create the community that they are now policing, editing, and dismantling. I don't believe its some revenge conspiracy against their forum-mates, but more of a Yellow Pages business direction. Some of these mods and pro-mod members, used to be the same ones posting hundreds of times over days in Off-Topic or in our short-lived politics/conspiracy forum, healthily and amusingly.
So I'm asking a simple question to clarify, before the community invests any further into this site. Does the "Yellow Pages" intend to shut down the chat forums and only keep the Hot Deals going? It appears that way to me.
It was really hard back in the day to set up a site with a forum and a news/deals scraper bot feeding it. These days its a weekend task. The reason they don't take off is due to community. And over time I can see people choose a competitor and jump ship at this rate.
I personally think the best way to handle this, is to be transparent and let us know what's going on. If the intention is to sharply reduce the chatter and make this a business oriented web site, it'd be wise to inform the community. We can start building up our Feedback/Thanks/etc. on other sites.