I've been wondering about this sorting business. I'd assume it would be easy and generally useful to be able to sort by date, author, and topic, but the weak point of this idea is "generally", since sorting is something we do all the time anyway without thinking. The criteria I'd want to ponder is "relevance", and since I think in terms of the academic quarter, I think of a limited number of threads per class and that these stay in the meaningful sequence of the course/syllabus: for these purposes, we're not talking about a lot of forum postings like we have on our Dotlrn Q&A forum. I know there are other users besides classroom, but rather than a "general" solution that might please nobody, I'd rather two or more specific solutions that you could choose to fit specific purposes. Hence, I am concentration on the academic seminar and lecture as I know it best and think it the primary forum format for my university circles. As an instructor, I'd like to sort by student as I think we may do well to head in the direction of the academic portfolio and a review of a student's forum postings I would want to see associated with his homework assignments, survey answers, and so collate her work, and having announced that I would do this, encourage participation in a number of formats. From a marketing and, say, attracting instructors, instead of saying we can sort the thing a dozen ways like a rubix cube that fascinates the engineer who sees the beauty in all logical possibilities, I'd rather say we can switch forum features to highlight the stages in project development, or the stages or sequences of a given student's commentaries, or a list of all forum entries containing a url students have found to fulfill an assignment and expressed in a table so we could easily collate them as a portal on this topic. That is, I'd recommend that designers conduct interviews and observations of classroom activities, compile lists of specific needs that might be served, and build components such as forums that can be switched from one precise use to another rather than including all and so leveling the precision of each. How about that?