I can't help but notice that this forum is based on an older type of forum software. Some of the most popular fresher players in town are Vanilla and Discourse. The latter is still in development, but already is pretty usable. It's not based on PHP, but on Ruby on Rails, though, which might complicate hosting a bit.
Here are a few examples of popular Discourse boards:
Why is Discourse cool?
- It has a really good Notification system
- It has really good infinite scroll, instead of pagination (better than on Facebook)
- You can write a post while checking out other posts (yeah, a weird feature, but it works and is cool)
- It gives more space to content and less to UI stuff like user profiles
- It's overall technologically very advanced, mobile friendly, and so on
- Important stuff in updated in real-time – no need to refresh the page
- Threads can be sorted in all kinds of manners
- You can make threads that don't have a category – they can be categorized afterwards
- Posts can be turned into wiki-posts, which can then be edited collaboratively!
- Lots of details which you don't notice the first time, but which tell you some people put in a lot of thought and effort into the software!
The decentralization software (Bitcoin, blockchains, and so on) community seems to love Discourse forums.
A futuristic site like this may profit from a futuristic forum! I'm just saying that migrating to Discourse might be worth the effort, and thus worth considering.
If you find that Discourse is still missing critical features you absolutely need to have, you can still wait until they are implemented or provided as plugins.