Are there other admin only features? Possibly. I'm sure there are some, and some aren't likely to be released because they're admin things, but we often do test some things as admin only.
The point here was not to request admin like features but to ask if there were things that non-admins should be seeing/accessing but are not for whatever reason and if so then maybe that could help explain why the forums appear good to go to you but not to at least some of the non-admin users. I am assuming that the thing missing for Phil as shown in his post is not an Admin only thing.
Addressing your issues. I am happy to address specifics, but "a step back" or " It was terrible, trash-ware, and we all knew " is a very general, useless from a software design perspective. When we have engaged users with specific complaints, they are often as emotional and irrational as helpful in finding real issues. too often I've dug into a complaint across hours, only to find it isn't nearly as big an issue as someone makes it out and they're more upset about their specific thing. If you have a specific, this doesn't work well, I do encourage you to post specific issues in this forum (not this thread/topic). I will respond and give a reason or status on them
Of the points you made this is one that I'm going to have to correct you on. I never called the SQL Server Central User forum trash-ware. I listed a personal example where I refereed to software I had to use at a previous job as trash-ware and that was in regards to a story about the issue with needed change not happening because of employees fear of being accused (by management) of not being a "team player". I was hoping that something like that, a resistance to needed change for fear of being labeled "not a team player" was not happening with this website.
You say that you've moved to bbPress, which is themed more like Stack Overflow or many modern sites but if you look at stack-overflow and then compare it to this forum they look nothing alike. Stack-overflow is a rich user forum that has a clean setup. There are many options (although I don't see a preview mode/option) and the layout is tight and easy to follow.
When you compare sqlservercentral.com to Stack-Overlfow its a lot easier to see the problems. In short, the user forums at sqlservercentral.com looks more like a simplified forum designed for end users working on mobile devices where as stackoverflow's forums looks like its meant for the workstation warrior. If sqlserevercentral.com's user forum looked and worked like stackoverflow you'd still have some problems but it would be a far better and more dev-user friendly website.
If I didn't care I wouldn't bother taking the time to tell you about any of this and I imagine the same can be said for Jef Moden. The bottom line is that the current user forums for this website is lacking in the kind of features/functionality you;d typically find with a more developer savvy like website.
Just say No to Facebook!