I personally like having the message board (dashboard?) link on the banner over the forum index. It's sort of how facebook takes you to your feed when you click "Facebook" on the left corner of the page (sidenote, would it be possible to put some "post to facebook/twitter/google plus" widgets on each thread if someone wants to share them?).
If we could have a preview showing the most viewed forum sections (top news, political, boards, locations personally) on the dashboard that might be even better putting everything in one place for everyone, maybe even just moving the forum index to the dashboard for when you're logged in. The dashboard will most likely be the page most people bookmark or set as a homepage, so the more information there the better but of coarse, it shouldn't be overcrowded.
2011 Never Summer Revolver-R 156
2011 Flux RK30's
2010 Rome Libertines