I have a discourse forum for a patient-association - a very non tech-savy bunch.
Anyway, they/we think that clicking the row with a topic should be enough to enter a topic - as opposed to having to click the text in the row. Two of them was actually wondering for a while why they did not enter the topic. It is especially relevant in the mobile ui where you are so used to traverse lists - but it also applies for the desktop interface.
The suggestion is not to remove any other links in the just - just that when you hit the row background: enter the topic.