Actually, it's like that for me. I might be multitasking, but unless the shoutbox is in the same window (e.g., I'm working on a post and the shoutbox is at the top of my window where I can keep an eye on it), I usually can't keep up enough with the conversation to really stay "in" the conversation. Even though I have #Elliquiy open in a separate window whenever I log into Trillian, I don't switch to it half the time unless I'm actively not
Either way... I don't really care what happens to the shoutbox. I could live as well without it; if anything, it just means there'd be less wrist-slapping for people who implode all over the rules when they're using it. Which, thankfully, hasn't been many people recently. I think having one shoutbox is less potential for problems though; I think we're really doing fine as it is.
If there's a way to integrate a powerful IRC-like shoutbox into Elliquiy without overwhelming our servers, I'd be all for it. Until that happens, I'm happy with the options available now.