Do you think the person that created this forum really had a clue what s/he was doing? Nobody will participate in a forum that looks this empty.
There are a few lessons here:
1) When you launch a new forum you begin with just one subject/topic. As the forum grows and it becomes clear that you need more than one place, you create another topic.
2) Don’t try to predict what your community will talk about in advance. This is what leads to empty forums like those above. Just respond to what they talk about – and put an influential member on that topic in charge of that section. If your members talk about obscure widgets from china a lot, create a separate forum for it with someone who speaks about the topic the most in charge of moderation.
3) It’s really hard to be the first person to create the topic. So when you do create the second forum you transfer relevant existing threads (and if you have any, you don’t need the forum) from the old forum to the new forum.
p.s. This is my favourite example of a terrible online community.