Roy, in all honesty, the best part of your post is the last part that allows us to opt out of this forum. Is it possible to partake in the CEF without having the threads show up in the Latest Forum Topics?
At this time, I'm not sure if the topics will be showing up on the front page. I'd prefer that they don't, but there are certain software limitations, so it's "wait and see" for now.
In terms of the Latest Forum Topics widget once you enter the forums, there's no way to disable the topics from appearing over there, assuming you have access to the forum. Once somebody opts out, they will no longer appear.
Hopefully if / when we upgrade the forums in the future, there will be more customizable options for us. Right now, we're bound by our software. Suggestions, though, are always appreciated.
EDIT: Okay, they show up on the front page. I'm not sure that there's much that can be done about that.