ones where they had been obviously started deliberately for a lulz fest.
They simply weren't worth all the time to carefully edit.
That is perfectly fair, and I wouldn't expect anyone to trawl through bikini pictures and transcripts of my telephone conversations, just in case there is anything worth preserving in there.
Nonetheless, members do like nonsense threads, and they also like to pursue their vendettas (or chomp popcorn on the sidelines of the vendettas of others). The Dennis Richards thread (for example) that I started was enlivened by some interventions from Toast, which developed or descended into a fairly amusing slanging match. I hope I do not go too far if I say there were also some genuinely worthy displays of wit, albeit exercised in an unworthy cause.
Someone made the observation that it was the most viewed thread of the last 7 days. I checked the stats and indeed it was - by 5 times. That is the point - such things are popular.
Would it not be possible to have a subsection of the forum - The Sand Pit, or Play Pen, or whatever - where such threads can be started or placed? A number of posters derived considerable amusement from a thread where they repeatedly posted repetitions of other posts (inspired by the activities of I presume a bot). Childish, but harmless, and good for the sense of community. There are countless examples of such things, and such threads could all go into this new section.
This would keep all the sniping and nonsense in one place, provide an answer to some of the criticisms currently being levelled at the site, and strengthen the legitimacy of deleting such things elsewhere. "If you want to act like children, go to the f***ing play pen. Be advised, the banning finger hovers ominously" and so forth.
I don't think cleaning up the boards and having a place for members to muck about are necessarily mutually exclusive.