Thanks for your constructive feedback. It's that kind of feedback that will help us move in the right direction and provide us an opportunity to allay concerns. To address your points:
By forcing a voting-centric culture upon what used to be a discussion-centric community, you've turned what used to be an open discussion hub into a popularity contest.
What makes you believe we're "forcing" a voting-centric culture? We've just provided simple voting tools that help provide feedback and create a community-driven site. These mechanisms have been around for a while now in many sites and have proven to be effective. It works well on sites like StackOverflow, reddit, and others. In fact, the old DevMaster forums had some form of voting, though with the way it was designed, it wasn't useful.
Again, the goal isn't to turn the culture into a popularity contest, but to encourage posting great content and allow the community to self-moderate.
When I come to your site, where do you want me to begin?
That's a good question. We're open to feedback on how to make answering that question easier, especially for newcomers. So your argument is that because topics are not categorized in clear categories, it's difficult to browse topics that are interesting to you and hence for you to know what to do. Is that correct? So, if we replace the tagging system with a categorization one (e.g. similar to the categories we had in the old forums), would that help? We're open to exploring that change if it really is a problem. However, based on my observations from the old forums, the majority of users simply browse what's new in terms of topics posted. People usually don't just follow specific categories, as evidenced by the fact that many users participate in topics from multiple categories. The new system is supposed to make browsing actually easier, because it immediately shows you "what's popular" based on community feedback, as well as what's unread. There's a good chance that if most of the community believes a topic to be interesting, that you'll also find it interesting.
Comparing with the front-page on the old site, the old site might have looked nicer because of more visuals and eye candy, but what did it provide? Mainly articles and game development news, neither of which were heavily updated, and weren't core features of the site. Ultimately, people come to DevMaster because of the discussion forums (and DevDB), not the news or articles. That's what the new site is about: focus on where the activity is and what users want: the discussions.
The key point is, almost anything you did in the old forums, you can still do in the new site. Users shared a news item to discuss it. People brought up topics or asked questions. People showcased some of their projects. All that can be done here too, but without the clutter and complexity of the old forums.
I understand the change is huge and usually no one likes changes on things they're used to. I believe at the end, it comes down to people getting used to the new site and giving it a chance. The world is changing, and DevMaster has to adapt to stay relevant.
your engine repository is your treasure chest...If I was in your shoes, I would re-purpose your Posts platform around your DevDB.
I agree that DevDB is the distinguishing feature for DevMaster and has a lot more potential, especially in making it more social and interactive. In general, DevMaster has been providing two things: Discussion Forums and DevDB. The new site makes this clear and pretty much revolves around those two areas. We've actually considered your proposal. However, we felt that the forums had decent activity in the old site and users found value in them. I believe there's always room for discussion-based communities. But I do agree with you that we can incorporate discussion-based functionality around DevDB too.