"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." -Plato
In the donating members section there are already places to post about paddling, cutlery, and other topics that are non-hammock related. What you are describing already exists to a very limited extent. It's not a bad idea, but the off topic forum seems to cover the need, at least for now, and in a manner acceptable to the Mods. I don't profess to be a techie, but it would seem to me that usergroups would add a whole other level of complexity to HF that I'm not sure would be helpful.
I'm not sure I understand your frustration with the off-topic forum.
"You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims." --Harriet Woods
Wow, I originally posted this not expecting so much discussion,(then didn't come back for a while:/) but, a lot of good points. I totally see the reason not to want to fracture the community. Specifically I was looking for a group in my state to make it easier to discuss local issues with local hangers. Certainly I don't think there should be groups for things like DIY, full time, ect. as these are fairly global interests and are best handled with sub forums. But, I wonder if 50-100+ regional sub forums would be reasonable or even if there would be interest. Then theres the discussing of hammocking related issues specific to different activitys and disciplines biking (road or mountain), paddling (canoe, kayak, pontoon, or rowboat), hiking (fast and light, day, backpacking, ect.), car camping, power boating, backyard hanging, the list could go on and on. Of course there would be varying interest and perhaps not enough for some. Bottom line though is that I'm new here and don't understand the community as well as you all who have been here a while so I agree with those now with those who don't want to fracture it. But what about regional sub forums based on interest level? Just a suggestion from a noob TIFWII.