The power of sticky threads is huge. You get to set the agenda for your community. You get to determine what discussion everyone should participate in. You get to decide what the first discussions people see when they visit the community. You to get to show the community’s what’s popular.
Too often, sticky threads are used to highlight what members must read as opposed to must do. There are better ways of getting members to read something. Don’t use sticky threads to explain the forum guidelines or for news announcements. Use sticky threads to highlight the discussions that members should participate in.
Sticky threads are the singular place for the most emotive topics at any given time. They’re the threads where the community needs to be urged towards and cajoled into giving their opinion. They’re unification material for the community.
Don’t just set a sticky thread. Write a news post about it. Create a poll about the issue and let members vote. Tweet and make a Facebook update about the emotive topic.
Finally, don’t let the sticky thread last forever. Provide a closure to the topic. Summarize what the community has learnt or decided (or, perhaps, not agreed upon).
If the sticky thread proves insanely popular, you can create a forum category devoted entirely to the topic. You can make it a profile question for members to complete (Elvis or The Beatles? The Wire or The West Wing? Daddy or Chips?).