That was an unforseen bonus of installing the new PhotoPost software.
When we were doing the install, I had to comb through every setting of the Discussion Software. While doing that, I came accross this setting for the number of queries necessary to produce the main page. "What's this thang do?", I asked Justin, our PHP Guru. "Heck, I don't know", he responded, "Let's try it". The rest is history. The folks at UBB must have sneaked it in there in the last upgrade.
I agree, it's a pretty useful feature. But not having it has taught me that there can be great posts that just don't have a lot of traffic. As a matter of fact, some of the best posts are so well stated, there's very little need for replies. On the other hand, some of the most active posts....well, you know.