I don't know guys - for some reason the format makes it uninviting. There's something to be said for really simple black and white, or that reddish color they used to have with that indeterminate yellowish color. I think the idea is contrast between your comment box and everything else. I have no idea why that seems more inviting, but it does. On my computer this forum comes up as a washed out gray and white. It seems to be fading, ironically.
As to whether the whole concept of an internet forum is passé, I did that Google search suggested above. Not sure I agree that the concept is past, but there are indeed alternatives.
The problem with most of the alternatives, such as Facebook, etc., are that you generally end up only speaking to people you already know. I'm convinced that's why politics are so angry now - people spend all their time in their bubbles and never imagine that other people aren't just like them.
I hope this forum survives - I've met some great people through it, on both coasts, and I'm grateful for the opportunities to have done so.
I'll try to post more but I don't have much to say and my wife tells me that most of what I do say is useless anyway . . .