I'm looking to set up a NodeBB forum, which used to be on Vanilla. I really like how on Vanilla, all the topics/threads are listed on the homepage, and how you can create a topic from the homepage via the "New Discussion" button, like this:
It still has categories in this setup, but the homepage shows all the topics. Here's a screenshot of the New Discussion page, where you have a menu where you can choose which category the topic goes in:
I really like Vanilla's setup, and I think it would be even better as an option or plugin in NodeBB.