You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about the way people think and act generally Andrew. Obviously the site is set up wrong for you - or more accurately, for your perception of a new member, but I'm not so sure it applies to everyone.
I'm not sure your music shop analogy works either. I mean, it's not a music shop, it's a forum. People act differently on forums compared to real life, and most people know the way that forums operate.
Personally I think it's good that the home page shows the latest conversations in chronological order. As a new member on a forum, that's exactly what I want to see, it allows me to check out the general level of conversation and topics, see how often people are posting (i.e., is the forum dead or thriving), and get a feel for how things generally progress. If there is something I specifically want to know, there's a search button on most forums.
Having said that, the only way that we can know what people actually want is to ask them, so it's all conjecture until that research is performed.
As a former internet marketer of "dubious" methods, if I wanted people to come to this forum, I'd contact people whom I know are definitely the type that are going to join, stay, and become a valued member of a home recording forum. i.e., people who are already members of other recording forums.