I have a hostgator hosting account, they have open forums. A few that cannot be posted in, maybe a few that cannot be seen until someone creates an account. The quality level is not bad but could be better, and I hesitate posting. All sorts of people start threads in the pre-sales forum asking all kinds
of questions, making all sorts
I also have an account at servint. They have a private vb forum that can only be seen if someone has a hosting account there. That is a really nice forum focused on hosting account setups and questions. There is not a lot of posts/day, and for that forum, it seems like a good thing.
Knowing what I just typed, feel free to search webhostingtalk for those 2 hosting providers. There is the normal amount of posts regarding the relative good/bad about host gator, and people start all kinds of negative threads. In my opinion part of the reason is that some of the negativity feeds on itself. People read things on WHT, then post on the HG forums, and read on HG, then post on WHT.
I believe because that is not possible with servints closed forums, they have more consistent and better reviews. Keep in mind servint has been around for a very long time.
I realize that they have 2 different market segments, but believe if servint had open forums that would attract unnecessary, and distracting, posts.
I understand a 'big board admins only' forum would require member to have big board, but surely some of the content contained within would encourage board just under the 'benchmark' to achieve the benchmark therefore perhaps they're limiting the growth of their forum somewhat?
I am quite sure they could do things to increase awareness of that forum, my guess would be they don't want to do that.