Ok bear with me, this is a long one.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I was curious to see how other forums were managing their transition to the Huddler platform so I did a bit of browsing around and the least I can say is that I'm not too optimistic about the future.
From the numerous feedback threads, the slowness seem to be a recurring problem even months after the launch (some of those website are on Huddler since 2010 apparently). A quick check on alexa.com shows that all the websites rate from "slow" to "very slow".
Aside from minor cosmetic differences, all the websites pretty much look the same as current version SF: same layouts, same vertical spacing and readability problems and same right-hand sidebar. I'm afraid these features are here to stay.
The thing is that Huddler is much more than just another forum platform like vBulletin
While I absolutely don't have a problem with that in principle, it seems that Huddler's focus is much less on the community side of the website and much more on all the adverstising/marketing side.
Here's a somewhat harsh assessment of the situation from a post on head-fi.org.
Now, I don't want to say this is 100% accurate but by the look of things it sure feels like the Huddler forum platform is an ersatz at most as shown by the loss of core forum functionality: no stickies, copy/paste pop-up window, no text to smiley conversion, poor search function etc etc. I understand this might still change or be caused by some bugs but the fact that other websites experienced the same problems a while ago and that we still do too today makes me sceptical.
What also struck me is that several members on these other websites mentionned how the forums felt "dead" since the transition which is something I've definitely been feeling these last couple of days. I can't quite explain it but it seems like the posting rate has been dropping significantly except for noob threads (I'm talking about SW&D here), maybe that's just in my head though, idk...
In any case I personally don't enjoy browsing the forum anymore. While I used to stick around and browse for a significant amount of time until last week, I now find myself checking one or two threads and then quickly moving on to something else. Everything just feels "fragmented" now which is the opposite of a community, I'm not sure it's something you "get used too". I don't know if many share the same feeling and I'm not saying this is the end of SF but I definitely think something is missing.
Unfortunately, I think the worst case scenario is what is spooling out here.