I'll toss a few cents in here about the front page. I feel like that's where the community comes together on NG. I always go there and look around, and then skim through the news posts.
I know this is a bit late in coming, but when you guys downplayed the classic portal I feel like that killed some of the community aspect because it felt a bit like stock ticker or something. It felt like "THINGS ARE HAPPENING" you know? The individual pages for the flashes had a huge focus on the portal, with your current placement in the rankings displayed right by the score, and the score was really prominent. I feel like the redesign changed a lot of that and kind of make NG feel a little less together. I'm sure the reason why the under judgement flash problem happened was because they no longer had a place in the overall community of the site.
Anyway, if you turned the front page into some kind of news feed, I don't think I'd have much to do when I come here... I don't really use favorites or any of that much, I just come to be part of the action.