How should forum topics look?
As it currently stands, forum topics look different than comments in other sections, such as comments to articles. This was done to at least partly simulate the old phpbb style that many have been used to.
However, you now have a chance to see both possible designs and their advantages and disadvantages and decide what would you like more?
The basic difference is that with the current design forum topics have an avatar and post information on the right to the post content (the way phpbb does it) along with some info like post count and the time of joining) while in the alternative comments view (the second option above) has that avatar on the right and text merely wrapped around it. The obvious disadvantage of the current forum topic design seems to be that the space below the avatar is actually wasted making the width of the content area lesser. The advantage is however familiarity.
Maybe we could really be a bit progressive about this and have forum topics look same as comments, but modify the looks to be even more fitting for both.. In a way maybe we could be a little innovative when it comes to desiging usable forums.. I'm certainly willing to give it a go, if you believe something like that would be a good idea.
That wouldn't be a major change as it is just a design, but we're still in "beta" so to speak (as noted in the header) and that would be the stage where we test various things out until we solidify to something everyone will find best.