In my opinion there are many things that this forum software has that really isn't advertised as a major feature. On of the small things that really bugs me is on other forums when there is a new post in a long thread and you see the new post icon and click on it you go to the first post of that thread, even if it is like 5 pages long, and you have to go through everything you had all ready read or seen to get to the new posts. In this software it takes you right to the newest most recent post in that thread since your last visit, not in many other software packages. Small things like this means a lot to people like me.
In other words this software is designed around the users of the forums not the owners of the forms. It takes both sides of the isle and closes the gap in many areas. Since I started using this software in 1998 it has made more advances in its technology and ease of use for everyone in the software. No software package is close to exact for your needs but this is the only one that comes close. More input by users and those in the communities using this software is designed into the end product then any other BBS system out there. This software package has always had the largest following for those who want to modify and tweek by other users helping them in those areas.
I can sit here all day and tell you the differences from this to other software like it that I think that makes the ultimate difference for me but those things might not be relevant to you for what you want to do however this is the most expandable software designed for end looks, reliability, support, and final use even after installed and implemented on any web site.
Yes you may need to pay to have someone do the install for you and other things but if you can't do it on your own with the simplicity of the instructions and the ease of installation then it is only fair to pay someone to do it for you. The price of this software is less then what it was years ago and in the USA we pay for services rendered by others as we all need to eat at the end of the day too. Hope I didn't offend you but hey, that's the way it is.