How about removing the status panel from the front page, but still letting RPers post statuses? Or adding a hide/collapse button to the front page?
I believe that statuses are meant for an RP's friends to read as opposed to the entire forum. The genuine ones are "I'm busy/away" or "I've returned" messages. These messages would be useful only to the RP's circle of friends or those who are interested in finding out more about them (e.g. GM's).
If the forum was only a tight knit group of around 50 - 100 people, then yes, the status bar would be a very useful tool to keep everyone informed. But here, we're seeing statuses from many people we dont't know about. As long as it's there, it will be used as a chat panel.
Statuses are sometimes quirky and fun and of course RPers can put in whatever they want to amuse themselves or their buddies - that I understand. I also understand how some like to post meaningful or deep messages. Or you know, just want to be expressive. That's fine too, because I think we've all written poetry at some point.
But it seems some are just want to talk or posting something popular among the masses to gain likes and recognition. This could be the ulterior motive.
I mean, the simplest solution would be to simply ignore the panel. But I'm nosy and if it's there, I'll look at it. :P
So in summary...
Statuses are currently used for:
* "I'm back/away" messages
* Thoughts/feelings about me
* I want likes!
* I want chat!
* A hider for the status panel on the front page
* Remove the status panel completely, whilst keeping statuses on profile pages
* Mods can post statuses to announce things like the forum is overrun by furniture and Korean spambots.