Well, i've had 2 webhosts since 2000. I've been with gator for many years because they perfect for hosting blog's. I've narrowed down my blog to use less resources so i don't boggle down the server.
Hostdepartment was my first webhost when i created a forum long time ago. The forum was down at least once a week. This was a brand new forum with default vbulletin skin and basically no plugin's. My forum was not screwing with the shared server. The problem was there bad servers and bad technical support. When you run a forum, you expect it to be online 24 hours a day because your traffic is from all over the world in which many different time zones access your forum. After going back and forth with hostdepartment support crew, i just said... screw it, i'm going to hostgator.
No problems with gator for a long time. I sold the forum 4 years ago btw and been running a blog ever since. I got a keyword sports domain on the backburner still and if i create a website, i may have to move to the dedicated server's hostgator has if i don't sell this domain. I can't give any bad experiences with hostgator at all because i've had none. The live chat support is very good and like i said, gator is perfect for hosting blogs if you are using shared hosting. I've wrote a review or two about my hosting experiences on my blog but i won't post the link here. It has affiliate links. :P
With hostgator, if you use them for a forum and on shared hosting, there is a email limit for how many emails you can send out per hour. Keep this in mind if your forum has a lot of members when mass emailing. They will suspend your account for going over there limit. Of course if you start a forum, you really should start out on a VPS server then move up to a dedicated one once the traffic is getting crazy.