When I set up the forums, I purposely made sure that there was NOT an off-topic forum. I think it is important to keep the conversation here on topic, and that topic is LEGO.
As cited above, off-topic groups can and will lead to things that we do not want here. By their nature of being off-topic, it becomes increasingly hard to police them.
Also, heated discussions in off-topic groups frequently lead to bitter disputes that have a tendancy to "bleed over" into other groups. That's the last thing I want to see here.
Specifically to Lemon:
Who determines what is a "clean" joke? A perfectly "clean" joke can still be offensive to some people.
The same thing goes for "interesting news items". What you may find interesting someone else may find offensive. Link to an anti-war story (even without the gross imagery mentioned above) and you possibly offend people in the military, veterans, and supporters of the war.
I think that in the end, it just isn't worth the hassle.