Really, the heirarchy point was that, if your site’s fairly small, then there’s no point in having a heirarchy because you’ll wind up with one or two topics with action and perhaps a lot of dead space on your forum on topics no one cares to discuss. I’ve seen it happen, and it sometimes brings down the *whole* forum, in a way, as the forum site can just appear dead. If a site hyper-organizes something that isn’t going to get much traffic, they’re just wasting time and money, IMHO. (I’ve conceded, of course, that in certain situations, forums actually do make sense.)
I do agree with you that FB could improve its interface and functionality (esp. the search as you stated), and also agree (as I said) that there’s a critical userbase number needed for success.
Always glad to hear other viewpoints. Surely, a lot of this stuff is super-subjective. As a web developer, I can only state my own preference and recommendations for clients, based on my experiences. If they resonate, they’ll hire me; if not, they’ll find another. Thanks! :-)