Ok, #1 on signature size. I think this one has been covered, right. as long as they aren't so big to take up too much of a page, they are ok. If you are on dialup, you should disable them, adn several ways have been suggested.
#2, search function. I think this is really an issue for PCTorque, not for the memebers. Although I gather that your underlying issue was just another dig at the idiots that don't use the search function more than it was a suggesting to improve it. I could be wrong, just trying to read between the lines.
#3, on cleanliness.
THis is really where I disagree with you. First, I think most of the people are pretty good at not getting out of hand vulgar. IF they do, they can easily be reported adn censored. As far as pictures are concerned, if a person is in a place where any pictures might be deemed inappropraite (like work or UK uni's), they should take the initiave to disable images...problem solved for your friend in the UK.
I am sorry if some pictures offend you and yet you want to see other ones. But this would be a case of having your cake and eating it too. I would love it if every song I heard I thought was great, and every painting I saw was beautiful. However, using the examples of Bahama's avatar, I see nothing a. pornographic, b. degrading, c. disagreeable with it. Despite society or culture teaching many things about the human form, I refuse to see it as anything less than the emotional response it stirs within me, and in the case of that pic, the only think I can think of is beauty. If you cannot see that image without thinking of other less positive emotions, then I would suggest you disable your images, and sell your TV too, cause you are in alot of trouble.
In the regard of those pictures and children, I will opine that I grew up in a very well structured household (think the world of American Beauty) where my dad, a pretty darn conservative person, had a collection of Playboy. Has since he was 18, and still does. My mom didn't have a problem with it, she has always been pretty much ambivalent, and they were pretty much a known thing in the house, kept out obvious sight, but certainly well within access, they never were ashamed of them in any way. If conversation came up on the topic of Playboy, I know many times they shocked people by stating very un-emotionally that my dad had a subscription and had for years. People could usually never reconcile the difference between my dad, and what society says about nudity. However, this general openness didn't do anything to me other than to bring me up with a healty view on the human form and it's beauty. I consider myself to be very stable and well balanced when it comes to issues of human sexuality, i am pretty conservative in public when issues of sex are involved, out of respect, but not at all disgusted with it the way society teaches us to be, and I attribute part of my lack of discomfort with it on this fact. Not that I think this place should allow nudity, but that I don't think it is at all the nudity itself (and especially not racy pictures), but the way society tells us to view it that causes problems with people. You are free to disagree, but I am only speaking from my own experience. To summarize, I don't personally think that Bahamas picture is hurting anyone. (also see my note at the end on Ayn Rand, as she covers this topic) If other parents think otherwise, they are again, free to disable the images, and keep an eye on their children.
As far as language is concerned. I have a pretty strong take on this as well.
First, there is nothing that a child more than 14 hasn't already heard. I remember getting my mouth washed out with soap in 3rd grade for swearing. By the time I was a teenager, there wasn't much I hadn't heard, so seeing it here really shouldn't be a big deal.
Second, the english language is fluid and changing thing. Swear words aren't used typically for their vulgarity, they are used because of the emotional depth they invoke. Truthfully, the actual letters are nothing more than a placeholder for the image we are trying to invoke in our reader. If I spelled Dog, 'p-l-z' is unimportant as long as my reader got an image of a dog when they read these letters. Would I mean anything different if I called an individual a 'poo-eater' instead of something else. Does writing '$low' mean anything different than 'slow'. (you get where I am taking this) The image is the same, the only difference is that society and yes 'cultural sensitivity' has reamed into our heads that certain combinations of letters are necessarily vulgar, while others are not. While it is true that certain 'imagery' is vulgar, the words themseleves are not guilty of that crime. I would not mean anything less disgusting by describing 'rape' as 'forcibly having sexual intercourse with an unwilling partner', it is just a faster and more convienent to call it rape.
Where am I going with all of this. Well, first, this forum is a very public place. As such I respect the individuals freedom to express themselves freely. If this involves throwing additional imagery into thier posts by using so-called swear words, that is their perogative. IF these words happen to offend adults, they are free to report, and the mods are free to crack down on abuses of this privilege. I doubt this happens often, as most adults can handle the imagery.
On the topic of children, just as with any other media (television, movies, music, games) their parents are free to monitor thier behavior and limit it how they see fit. Should NBF really be a place for young children? Are young children (less than 12 or so) looking for computer buying advice, or computer solutions. While I do recognize that this place has changed as it has grown, I think it should be noted that this place started as a website for 'power notebook users and gamers. IE: sagerforums. That is part of it's identity, and as such, I think it caters to a more adult age level. Children who haven't heard swear words, or seen sexy pictures (heck, check your TV) aren't likely to be looking for notebook computer advice, and if they are, there are other places they can look as well, assuming their parents are paying attention. The fact that you can't advise this site to your 14 year old cousin is fine by me. I applaud you for your discretion. Whether i agree that this place is inappropriate or not, that shows you are a responsible person, and likely you can direct them somewhere else instead.
Likewise, I can't advise a ton of other websites, video games, movies, or music to 14 year old children. THese are all public things, with an adult theme. Forums in general are not something I would suggest for children anyway. There is plenty of notebook and computer advice available elsewhere than forums, and I think that is where they should be sent if you want answers without personal opinions.
#4, post quality. First, has it occured to you the very people you would seek to include and welcome (children) are the most likely to have less experience with computers and thus less constructive things to say. While there are exceptions, I think this is why we have the term 'experience' in the first place. Nonetheless, this is a long running issue for you, and again one I cannot offer much help on. I am in full agreement with you that the general notebook forums should be informational. If a 25 word limit or something else would help this, I would be happy to listen, but outside of that, I can't offer any more advice.
That is one reason I rarely post there unless i have a specific topic to talk about. I am no computer guru, and I don't pretend to be. For this reason, I lurk in OT. As I have also defended before, I love what OT is, and wouldn't want it to change. Yes it is mindless drivel, but in that mindless drivel are personalities and independent thinking, and that is what I am here for. I enjoy the OT for the individuals 'virtual' personalities, and don't know what other collective purpose it could serve. If you don't enjoy this aspect of it, feel free to stay away from the OT section, or only read your own OT threads, which you post when you have an OT question. With the proliferation of sections (which I agree is a little much, but probably eliminates alot of the flaming that occurs between different manufacturers) there is very little Notebook relevant information that falls into OT anyway, making it, even further, a pit of irrelevancy. If that doesn't appeal, nobody is making you go there, and nothing is stopping people from limiting their children from going there either.
As for selfishness, I suggest reading 'Atlas Shrugged' or 'The Fountainhead' by Ayn Rand. While long and somewhat droning, they are incredible works and underneath it all is her philosophy of 'Objectivism'. Very relevant even today on this topic, even if it was written in the 30's (I think).