So what you're saying is, to have something like this?
For example, the proper and consistent URL structure I asked about. There isn't any reason why each section of a site shouldn't behave consistently the same. For example, IPB in root install. If I'm in the /downloads/ directory, all the action for downloads happens there. Any users could go to /downloads/ and get to the downloads front page. So what if you are in a search engine and go to a thread - you'll see /topic/1234-topic-name appear. Going to /topic/ does not bring you to the forum root. You have to somehow know go to /forum/ which disappears when a topic appears. (And how would a user know whether it's forum or forums or talk or board, etc.?)
somesite.tld/forums/123-abc/ somesite.tld/forums/topic/8675309-jenny/ somesite.tld/files/ somesite.tld/files/666-evil/ somesite.tld/files/file/321-contact/
Or like this?
somesite.tld/forums/123-abc/ somesite.tld/forums/123-abc/topic/8675309-jenny/ somesite.tld/files/ somesite.tld/files/666-evil/ somesite.tld/files/666-evil/file/321-contact/
Keep in mind that computers don't really 'think' but go based on what they are programmed to do. So they can look for patterns and find patterns faster than a human and can also retrieve data more accurately. I get what you're saying, but just because a human might have a hard time with something doesn't mean that a computer would. If it's designed to handle those 'hard times' then it won't have much of a problem with it. Just thought I'd point that out.
But while nobody can prove to you that any search engine will rank a site better by having a consistent directory structure, I think it is very logical to infer that if humans will have a hard time with the inconsistencies, a machine that doesn't understand "context" like humans do will probably fare even worse.
Unless you're going to have something like /games/forums/ and /games/blog/ then wouldn't it be better to do /download/games/ and /download/videos/?
I can say one thing I've always wanted to be able to do was tweak the fURL's for IP.Downloads.
I have a category for videos and games, as an example.
Instead of using a URL format such as /files/file/123-foogame, I'd like to have something more along the lines of /games/download/123-foogame and /videos/download/321-foovid.
If you're talking about MS forums, then I'm sure I know what site you're talking about. But since you're in an NDA, you wouldn't be able to confirm if I'm right or not.
P.S. To those who have sent me personal messages, no I won't share the other forum software that increases traffic. I'm bound by agreements, and I'm not a lawyer. Not to mention this is not the appropriate venue. However, it is public information and you could probably deduce it with some research.