I think people need to stop using Comic Sans unironically.
The fact that 'Comic Sans MS' includes the word Comic, does not dictate that it must be used exclusively in humorous or ironic circumstances. Some people enjoy expressing their style through various uses of font and formatting.
When used to excess, any form of expression runs the risk of becoming tedious and trite. But to suggest that people need to stop, implies a rather high level of intolerance. Informing you of this with a more crisp and business-like font such as Courier, for instance, might appear rather harsh and unpleasant. However, the more soothing appearance provided by Comic Sans MS might soften the blow.
There may be others who will say: "You should stop telling people what you think they should and shouldn't do because that makes you look like a petty tyrant, or a just a garden-variety whiner." but I would never say such a thing. I'm more of a to-each-his-own sort of person.
As always (regarding matters of opinion),
I'm not an expert, I'm one of your peers. A forum owner, just like you. Sharing knowledge builds a better community. Proud Member of Guitarnutz2
They say eyes are the window to the soul, and so is a theme the window to your forum? Does your theme tell the story of what your forum is about, or is it even necessary?
Shortly after I started working at ProBoards I had a conversation with Patrick Clinger , and he explained that a lot of research went into the overall layout of our forums. The default layout we offer is optimized for the best user interaction. Looking at our current list of top forums, 9 out of the top 10 have made no layout alterations other than changing some color, and a few have added the sidebar.
So what does this say? The purpose of the forum and its content are the key.
That said, does one size fit all? I just cannot imagine visiting a Star Trek forum without expecting to see a space theme customization. I would think that other visitors would expect the same and be turned off if the forum had just a bland theme.
Themes can enhance the user experience. Offering more than one theme to choose from allows the member to have a more personal connection to the forum. If you expect a member to spend a lot of time on your forum, then having multiple themes gives the user a sense of control over the environment they’re committing their time to.
Some forums have a default generic guest theme, while reserving the additional "fancier" theme choices for members. This approach is akin to a premium or bonus one receives upon registering for membership. However does this backfire? Does the generic theme turn away guest users? Are you putting your best foot forward for potential new members?
Lastly, I would suggest you ask yourself the purpose behind any theme you offer. Is the theme just a personal preference for yourself? Are you using a theme because it looks “cool”? Does it complement the purpose of your forum? Does it elevate the members’ experience on the forum?
So please share. How have themes impacted your forum or your experience with other forums? What feedback, if any, do you get from your members? Basically, what are your thoughts on themes?
I agree that content is key! I believe it's important to have a balance. I appreciate having options but for me I find that simplicity wins me over.