As someone who has administrated forums(with shoutboxes) I think the shoutbox should be removed.
I have logical reasons why and id appriciate the concideration of this idea and any comments you all might have.
The ShoutBox is a great way to communicate with other members quickly and its a fun element of the website. but what is the cost?
a conversation in the shoutbox could be compared to a thread in the forum. there is a topic, and multiple users contribute their own thoughts. the difference between this conversation happening on the shoutbox instead of in the forums is the speed of the conversation. convenient yes but unfortunate for anyone who might of been interested in talking about the same topic a few hours/days later.
Without the shoutbox, the active community would still want to talk with their friends, and would do so in a better, semiperminant public forum that others could join in on and more people would have reason to actually check the forums for the topics that are being posted.
removing the shoutbox would greatly expand the window of oportunity for communication between a broader number of users on a multitude of inevitibly generated topics from the active community and help aleaviate the “dead” feeling of the forum with the lack of posts.
as a note, a “view unread topics” button would be nice and i think its already a part of invision forums software.