The thing about the Forum Community, Silv, is that a lot of times it is USED like a social media website. The intro threads are so popular because of the fact that there's not one designated topic (beyond welcoming the newbie, of course, whether or not said newbie actually sticks around), so the members that hang here wander from topic to topic, bringing in bits and pieces of their own lives. A lot is, as you say, "emotionally relevant" though you will stumble across the occasional debate. However, a great deal of it tends to be pointless spam that, once you're past the moment, isn't worth reading. The Forum Community is Off-Topic but with post count.
What I'd like to see more of, with jCafe, is a wide diversity of users. At the moment, we pretty much have Winny, most of whom are here for the dls. You have the Forum Community which tends to be like a less stalkery, loosely organized Facebook, and then you have the other sections which, unfortunately, don't see much action. I'm unsure what you can do to revitalize those sections but I think that you need them in order for jCafe to thrive.
To me, what jCafe needs is a good, solid, active core user base that is dedicated to always having new topics to talk about and not just spam. I'm talking news, tech, games, movies, polls, a bunch of different things. I know that some of the more active users left jCafe because there simply was no one to talk to, or that at least would talk back, so they moved on. And, without those more active people constantly injecting some life into the boards, you're not going to attract more users to add to the regulars.
It's fun to use the Forum as an easier to use, less tedious Facebook and I think that that has a role. Any popular forum is going to have that. You also need, though, to provide what Facebook cannot--discussions--or at least compete by providing the user generated content.
I'd like to see more of a Tumblr influence, as well, if we're going that way, with people that like graphics and gifs and the like. The fact is, though, that people who like Tumblr are on Tumblr. Why be on jCafe?
And that's the question. Why be on jCafe? What does jCafe have to offer that no other forum does? Why choose jCafe over the other choices including other message boards and social media sites?
Most of the people that come to jCafe, we know why they're here. It's why Winny's so popular. It's why you have the multitudes of one post count leechers. They're not here to talk. They're here to get their downloads that they can't get elsewhere. The problem is, though, that a forum is more than its downloads.
And it's hard to constantly provide new content. I know. It takes more than a few. I have no idea how to attract those kinds of people that you want, the ones that will suck in the rest of your users.
I also think that jCafe has a LOT of boards and that tends to segregate the possible users even more. Who wants to click, click, click through all these different boards, looking for ones that happen to have some activity?