I've talked with Richard several times about trying to move the community to a more robust and usable custom back-end, but we are limited by the fact that we have no money to hire the team of coders necessary to pull off such a feat.
In my opinion, we've outgrown Ning.
But, the simple fact is that with no glowering sky-daddy to scare or bribe people into giving money, it just doesn't happen. That is a good and a bad thing.
In the mean time, if you want to support the site, I suggest buying a t-shirt. You get something and the site gets something. Good deal, no?