When working on my own projects, I often find that I get deep into the weeds writing code and ignoring markup. This is particularly true when you try to be relatively test driven. With MVC you can get even more extreme, since you can know for certain that your UI will get the right data without actually having any UI.
But I get a sense of achievement from something that looks real, and I used to be pretty hard core about letting UI drive everything on the back end. I still feel this way to an extent, but in this case I'm not really challenging anything about what I "know" a forum should be. That'll come later. For now I just wanted get some of that view data in a usable form. So I went from this:
This is hardly anything revolutionary or even different from what I have today, but at least when you get to this point it's not just an academic science project. It will change and morph and get uglier before it gets prettier, and that's OK.