Icons with stars added are threads that you have posted on.
Best as I can tell, the text starts scrolling to indicate a hot topic based on a certain amount of posts (20 maybe?).
And you'll notice that when you read a thread the icon changes to black when you go back to the forum page -- it changes back to red when a new post has been added to the thread since you last clicked on it.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma
"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi