So what's the difference between the two and what prompts me getting kicked over to Phandroid?
I'm just trying to get the lay of the land around here and figure out how things work and why.
I've participated in lots of different types of forums so it's not as if I'm totally unfamiliar. It just seems that this one has a more complex and initially confusing layout than others I've encountered. It's a bit more daunting than most
Phandroid (an android news blog) and Android Forums are owned by the same person (Rob), which is why they both share the navigation bars at the top. That nav bar is what's sending you to phandroid, I'd imagine.
All of the three big boxes that have appeared at the top of the page (Holidroid/Gifts/Amazon) recently take you to articles on phandroid, as will all links in the Home/Carriers/Phones/Tablets/Etc bar except for the Forum link.
Clicking on the big Android Forums android right at top is your best bet if you want to click back to the front page of the forum.
It was actually discussed before, IIRC, that the forums could be rebranded as Phandroid.com as well, but I think that the correct choice was made in leaving it as AF. With the hundreds of thousands of users here, it would have been an immense change, and while the current set up can cause for some confusion as well, as in your case, buttonstc, it's also a lot easier to refer to the Forums as AF everywhere we go.