In the old forums, you could respond to just one comment and it would be offset/treeed so that it was understood that it was a conversation. Here it's more like sitting in class and having to raise your hand to respond.
As for the @ convention, that is based in Social Media. And Social Media is anything but professional. It's a toy or, at best, a one-way information disemination tool.
I am sorry that whomever Veritas paid to start from scratch wasn't given at least a basic understanding of what already existed and worked in the old forums. It was a waste of money.