All that I can well believe. Keeping that rickety old forum construct going clearly required a lot of manpower resources and of the appropriate skill level and I'm sure everyone recognizes that that was an amazing feat. Recognizing, naturally not with $$$ but with less tangible forms of appreciation such as karma points, notes of thanks in posts etc.
I understand that. That's also how I feel also about the projects I publish from time to time in the Exhibition Gallery. I've not made one cent from anything I've published there but it is nice to hear a few expressions of thanks, from time to time, from people who've been able to use some of the designs and, of course, I've benefited from building something I myself could use as a hobby activity.
Also with the moderation role, which I must say I am glad I don't have to do, clearly a huge amount of personal resources goes into that and of course, not forgetting the resources of many of the general volunteers on this site.
That is how the Arduino organization has harnessed, in only a semi commercial way, the power of an online community to support its products.
But moving on, the forum software has changed. The moderator role has moved to a less "forum software specific technical" activity, without the constant hacking necessary to keep software running, and hopefully then releasing more time to devote to the more user focused part of the moderator role.
So, this is where I started. There is a balancing act to perform between keeping a forum open and user friendly on the one hand and being easy to manage on the other hand. So when at one point, it may have been necessary to engage in strong efforts to tighten down the entry points for spam or other inappropriate posts which may have over-consumed moderator resources, now, hopefully, with the new software freeing up some of the resources which would otherwise have been used for forum maintenance tasks, there are opportunities to relax some of the earlier rules and thus improve the usability of the forum. Very specifically in this case, the hard closing of posts after 120 days.
Well, that comes down to more or less what you have said in your final paragraph that one or two areas will benefit from excluding. I currently count just one. Yes there may be a few additional spam posts to deal with but, hey, there are moderator resources to deal with that.