Sorry I'm late the party in laying out my feelings on the matter but when it comes to private forums in the past I have never seen a reason to join them, the only private forums I've ever been part of are closed alpha/beta forums. Just as Ren pointed out there isn't much point upgrading to a forum from hangouts if the reason to make it private is to police membership. From its inception back in 2011 the reasoning for the community was to find more like minded gamers to have a group you could rely on for MP or just have a bit of bants with. The community’s original tag line being by gamers for gamers, promoting it’s self of being a welcoming open community. With a locked down forum you end up giving the opposite impression that it isn't welcoming or open and is quite elitist. I'm fine with locking the forum down a bit more say by having areas that you have to of made so many posts before being able to create a thread or post on some threads. But believe it is counterproductive from a promotion stand point to make areas of the main forum unavailable.