For example, if you go to this page:
You get a list of the most recently posted-to topics in the "General Discussion Forum". Right now, the info provided for each post is the replies, author, views and date and author of last post. I think it may be useful to also see the date that the topic was started while in this view. This information is currently only available by clicking on a topic name and looking at the tiny print that says the date and time of the original post.
An example of where this might make a difference is with the recent activity in the "98W max power consumption
" thread, which has been revived in the past couple of days, but was written back on what is apparently the oldest day the forums record, August 12, 2002.
I think the best place to include the date info for the topic is in the column currently used for "Author". Instead of displaying just the Author's name, it could display the Author's name and the date the topic was started, similar to the current entry for "Last Post". I would arrange it such that the Author's name is on top and the date of the topic is on bottom (opposite of how it is for "Last Post").
As always, this proposal is only useful if it isn't pointlessly hard to implement, and if it provides positive value to the forums. The only negative I can think of for this proposal is that it might clutter up the forum index view, but as long as certain design cues are followed (Author's name in blue, date smaller(?) and in black), I don't think this will be a problem.