So the next not-so-obvious question then is… is there a plugin that would add forum-like capability to WordPress comments? I’ve been trying to figure out how to build a better sense of community among my visitors.
Not sure what your definition of “forum-like capability” is. A forum does nothing but allow a post and follow on comments. Unless of course you are attempting to allow visitors to start a new subject and thread, in that case I doubt if that type of plugin is available.
Anyway maybe the Threaded Comments plugin is something to check out.