http://phoronix.com/rss-check.php?ar...45&user_id=123) the check would be done so there would be no need to visit the forums beforehand to get the cookie. More of a user experience thing to not need to jump through hoops. This would require custom RSS urls for each user (maybe a feature for the next CMS version?).
I think you are on the right track to get users to the forums with the latest CMS updates (making things prominent). One feature there would be to surface good forum comments under the news article.
But hey, I do not know the entire inner workings (including business rules) of your platform and these are only suggestions - Keep up the good work