Re: New Questions
For # 1, just modify your front-page.php template and remove the secti0n that has the “latest discussions”. You can show only the forums if you want. Unless you’re talking about creating a new page that lists only forums?
For # 2, you will have to do some work on the front-page.php again. Just move the hottags div to wherever you want to show it in your template, and then modify the CSS to make it the size you want.
Both things are certainly possible.