I asked John about the state of things with CSW, like why is the interface still in the early 1990's, no threaded discussions, etc. Got some great news!
"Yes, you are 100% correct about the CSW Forum. It was meant to mimic old bulletin board systems just as you surmised. I am looking to switch to a new platform later this year (hopefully) to get us out of the stone age. In order to contact a member on CSW Forum, I recommend you click on their username. There, you should see a member profile that includes their email address so you can contact them by email. I hope that helps!"
"No, you are correct. Threaded conversations are lacking, which is one of the reasons we are looking to upgrade the platform later this year. The closest thing we have is if you subscribe to any topic, you can hit the Check Subs button to see any new/unread messages. But there is no following individual posts like we can on the CSW Community site."
Phew, that is great news.