This is a three pronged attack so watch out!
Attack number 1) The formatting in the articles is amazing. The slight indent of the "reply posts" makes that display so amazing. And the reply system works great.
Attack 2 is a little more complicated.
2.3 (IE this is the third time I'm writing this) Pinned threads don't show up on their "specific" forums on the front page. IE this page is on the front page of "hot topics" but NOT if I set the front page to website forums.
Step 3) Why are various threads stuck "orange" in my buddy list?
I go to the threads. There are no new posts. The "Hyped games" one for example died octo 31.
1 - Thanks for noticing the changes - more are coming!!! The article commenting is one of those cases where, I never used it so didn't have much thought on it... ...until that one day, I decided to comment on an article. I was astounded as to how CRAPPY the comment system looked and felt (and there was a security bug to boot, which allowed those with POSTing knowledge to artificially up (or down) vote comments, at will). Some of the changes took all of one edit to the .css file - others took a bit more work. I will gladly admit that it looks a TON better - but as I say, I'm not done with that section by a long shot!!!
2 - Pinned threads have always been (intentionally) excluded from the Hot Topics box. I'm not 100% sure why it is that way, but that's the code that's there and it has been there for at least the past 5yrs or so. It's an easy enough change to allow them to appear - I'm just not sure whether this will turn into a community nightmare, where half will be happy to see them, and half will have a stroke because they're "cluttering the list".
3 - JLauro is right on this - the issue likely came when moderators were "deleting" posts of people that were banned. I've meant to look into this and try and either correct those counts, or fix it so they are properly dynamic. I'll look into it, when I have more time...