As to where update posts ideally belong is an open question. One of these is more important than the other:
* Putting individual posts in the Updates sub-forum will pollute the search results (either our search or external).
Hmm, I see. The search feature searches for posts by default, and the number of hits is the same regardless of whether update posts are in the main topic or separate topics. However, if a visitor uses search to find the main topic, it's harder if some results are from update topics.
* Separate update notices prevent hijacking other threads that should stick to questions, tweaks, or other elements.
I've been working from the position that search results are critical and so I've been consolidating threads over time, but that might not be correct. Suggestions?
I think that not hijacking the main thread is far more important than making the topic easier to find with search. We have "Forum topic" links in the database, which makes the topic easy to find in any case. Besides, finding the main thread with search isn't that hard even if there are update topics in search results.
In other words, I think that "updates should ideally be posted in the Portable Freeware Update subforum" should remain the active policy.