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Premium Member
759 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This has been on my mind quite a bit lately. After some time dabbling and lurking in other forums over the years, I've noticed a trend. Many forums become inactive, like internet ghost towns, though a handful of inhabitants remain lurking in the shadows. Newbies come looking excitedly to interact with others who share their interests, only to find their posts met with silence. Months pass between posts. Dendroboard is still much more active than this, but I think it's important for us to consider some things.

Lots of our older membership is inactive. For those few who stick around to answer questions, and continue to interact, this leaves them with a lot of heavy lifting. There's always a wave of new people joining, asking the same questions that have been answered time and time again, and answering them time and time again can lead to burnout. That's especially true when it's the same 5 people responding all the time. It can make them look grumpy and unwelcoming when they are annoyed at being asked things that are answered in numerous threads and stickies all across the forum, but who can blame them? No one has perfect patience.

On the other hand, for new people, what do they have to contribute? They don't have years of knowledge or observation, so they can't very well give advice. Offering nothing but compliments can appear like a thinly veiled attempt to achieve the 25 minimum posts required for access to the classifieds. Asking questions is the most basic way for them to interact. After having personally sifted through thread after thread and read and read and read before I really started to comment much, I noticed that there really aren't (m)any questions left to be asked. What does a newcomer do? Well, they can share photos and build threads, but they're new, and would probably rather avoid being flamed for doing things wrong in their build, even if their fears are perhaps unfounded. Many people are still just researching, and don't have photos or builds to share, for that matter.

People long absent return occasionally only to complain that things aren't what they used to be, then disappear again, putting forth no effort to improve the situation. Perhaps some of their favorite people are no longer active, and it took a lot of their enjoyment of the board away from them. That's one of those sad spirals of diminishing returns. Coincidentally enough, this is the same dynamic at work in small towns, but that's a tangent to explore in another post.

This has led me to wonder, is this what happened to all those other forums that have gone largely silent? I really enjoy this forum, and I see some very competent, intelligent, interesting people among the newer members. Some of our older members are beginning to be more active, and I hope that more of them return and do the same. I'm optimistic that with a more creative approach, and continued dedication to ongoing communication, Dendroboard will thrive. It's just going to require participation.
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