Don't worry, we're friendly and won't kill you. We appreciate your feedback.
About the number of forums, we used to have a few more, but the forums went through a dry spell a few months back, and David read something that consolidating the forums often helps to encourage additional posting. It did help and, among other things, help to put life back into the forums. Although it seems like it works oppositely well for you.
The shoutbox has had its controversies, but as for right now, it makes a good place to talk about something that should be talked about, but maybe isn't worthy of its own brand new thread. We used to have a few additional skins from which to pick, and some didn't include the shoutbox, but people didn't use them, mainly as a result of the lack thereof.
I can certianly understand yoru confusion, and hopefully I've cleared a bit of it up. Keep the suggestions coming and have fun posting!