All you people throwing a tantrum and crying to get your binky back, trying to pin the blame of "dull" forum postings on the removal of the rec system, are putting the cart before the horse.
It's truly pathetic that, according to you, the only thing making posts here interesting was people trying for the approval of their peers here by flaming, trolling, insulting, attacking, mocking and harassing others.
I'm guessing that's because take all that away and you got nothing left. Your entire forum lives were so based on these activities that now that they are no longer profitable, you got nothing else to say. And god forbid people should actually try to insert something interesting into the General Forum... you are not so far removed from your old ways that you can resist attacking them even a little and make them (and others who might have something interesting to say and just witnessed you berating the last guy with something interesting to say) give up and not post any more.
You have to finally come to the realization that internet forums, especially on established sites like this one, are a community, and your actions establish that community. Act like total jerkwads all the time, and you drive away new blood, causing the community to degrade into what it has become because of the abuse of the rec system. This thread reminds me of a bunch of pigs laying around their pig sty and suddenly one of them smacks another one in the back of the head and says "look what you've done to this place!"
Try being a human being in your relationships with other human beings on this site and encourage each other to rise above the pettiness you are used to. I know it's the internet and you are comfortable hiding behind your anonymous (or relatively so) monitor and ripping into each other for a chuckle. I know it's difficult to change old habits (they say it takes 6-8 weeks of daily attention to permanently change a bad habit), but if you want to make the forums more interesting, then stop your whining and do it. Throw away the rec crutch and try being a little more interested in what others have to say. Take the initiative and post something that is interesting to you. Someone else out there will find it interesting as well. There are plenty of users to this site. You've already driven most of them away from the forums, so try to bring them back with actual thoughtful posts, instead of stupid one-word posts like "Plonker." that get 5 recs. Maybe instead of whining about your "lost recs", you can prove to the admins that the rec system is worth bringing back by posting interesting topics that make people want to post, instead of stupid spin-off threads.
To everyone complaining that the quality of the posts in the forums has gone down since the removal of rec tallies, look to your own posts. Not exactly pearls of wisdom, nor shining examples of someone with something interesting to say. If you want to improve the world, start with your own little corner of it, instead of bitching about who's fault it is and how everything would be sunshine again if only things were the way they used to be. Things are different now. Get used to it. Start working to make it interesting instead of belly-aching that the only way it can be interesting is going back to a broken system. Step forward and forget the pedantic, pigsty past. Stop relying on others to entertain you. The future is what YOU make of it.