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Forums just aren't a popular thing anymore these days, for one.
Two, most visitors to this site are looking for news, and their activity is largely limited to commenting on those stories.
We could probably debate other factors like layout, visibility, features, etc. but with no empirical data to support either side of the discussion, it would be fruitless at best.
Basically, we've always just had a small forum community, and we all get out of it what we put into it.
On the other hand, I would like to start getting to work on our "reputation" type system, that should encourage various activities across the site, as well as begin hilting stuff from the forums on the blog as a weekly feature to get things moving. I've had an outline of the reputation system written down for a couple years, but we've been focused on getting other stuff live first. Toying around with the idea of giving extra points to users for forum activity vs blog comments ;)