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The forums were active back in the day. I remember I would check them multiple times per day looking at the recent activity and there were always new posts/threads being created. Once the site crashed and we lost all the history and the old forums they never really recovered and we are where we are today with maybe 1 or 2 posts per month on the forums.
Personally, I would not mind if they were removed now as I feel everyone has moved on to other forums/reddit/etc for discussion and there is still active discussion on the actual blog stories. If you do decide to keep them around you wouldn't really need something like a forum index anymore and could just have one page when you click "Forum" that lists all the threads in one place since they are so inactive now. As opposed to the 7 separate forums we have now.