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 Long-term growth and the forum

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Djinn and Tonic

Joined: 13 Dec 2014
Posts: 2078
Location: Herding penguins

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:54 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Apologies in advance for rehashing a topic that’s probably come up multiple times, but recent events have reminded me to look into the topic further.

After a quick scan of the member list, out of the roughly 330 new members who have joined this calendar year (including spambots, so maybe shave off 5%), only a few have reached anything past 25 posts. A previous thread a few years ago put the estimate of members who reach that threshold as about 25%, but the 2019 numbers don’t reflect that percentage and I wouldn’t be surprised if 2017-2018 were similar. Given this, we can’t say that the forum is significantly increasing in active membership, as even if you count the roughly 20-30 guests who are active at any time a vanishingly small percentage contribute new content. If you look at the majority of posts in let’s say the General Chat forum, which is a pretty good cross-section of the most active members, extremely few joined within the last five years. This is not to say that the forum has received no new active membership recently, but things look largely dominated by the old guard. And even with older members returning occasionally, some who stay and some who return to the aether, and with current active members being banned, disappearing, or making dramatic exits, there appears to be a slow decline.

What can be done to reverse this? As much as we would like, we can’t magically bring back all of the members who have ever contributed “significantly” to the forum, although their return could be correlated with an increase in new members. But with a raise in active membership, if let’s say half the non-spammy new members stayed and baited and continued building up a community, the forum would become such a more vibrant and fun place to share our hobby and passion. We obviously suffer from being somewhat niche, but that’s no excuse for a marketing campaign or something to make the forum more active. Not to say it’s inactive now, but I feel like more could happen.

Any ideas/thoughts? Am I worrying about nothing? Any old-timers wish to reminisce about the golden years? The fact that my account here is roughly five years old and still places me in the solidly new bunch says something. I understand that there are perils that come with larger forums, requiring more moderation and more worries about content and organization, but if we had even double the “active membership” as we do now things would be even more exciting than they are now.

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Master Baiter

Joined: 02 Feb 2019
Posts: 164

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Don´t make too much out of it. It´s not alarming yet. Forums in general follow this decaying trend.

I use a few even more obscure/niched forums regularly:
Old-school Vespa, Triumph chopper, Morris Minor, Talbot camper, analog camera forums, tube amplifiers, guitar players etc etc.

All of them are losing quantity and active members to Facebook et al.
Maybe some of these apply...

Posting in forums means spending many hours in them. People these days tend to use platforms that require less time invested. They also care less about preserving the accumulated knowledge of a forum.

As in all niched forums, there´s rarely something new under the sun. It´s the same Q:s and A:s, the same themes, the same techniques...with notable exceptions, of course.

Also, this forum has a steep and long learning curve. In order to "become" someone, you really need to learn and practice. That´s not for everyone, see under "spending time" Smile

Just reading the required guides, FAQ:s etc took me more than a week.
Then, reading up on the different scam types, different baits etc took me a couple more weeks (maybe a month) - until I reached a point where I said, "- OK, now I think I get the picture somewhat. NOW, I can participate."

What to do about recruiting committed new members? I don´t know, really.

EDIT: This forum is very special. As a Noob, you enter with practically NO experience and therefore no "discussion capital". You will have to build experience (and thereby your "value" to the community) over time. You have NO "equipment" to enter with. It´s much easier to join (and be an active member) a model railroad forum after finding a complete railroad set in an attic.

Just my 2 cents.
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Agi Hammerthief
Master of Master Baiters

Joined: 12 Mar 2006
Posts: 671
Location: .de

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 2:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

This forum has gotten rather slow in the 10 years I've been away.

with a 9-5 job on the computer I couldn't even muster the screen time for telephone lads after an update of my mail progam deleted all my prepared auto-replies.

edit: spelling

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hug the trolls - maybe it will help them to stop being a worthless piece of trash

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Last edited by Agi Hammerthief on Sat May 04, 2019 5:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dr stephen williams
Baiting Guru

Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 16747
Location: Dreadful Hater-ville

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 4:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

forums grow and then recede, FB took a lot of the traffic away from other forums I was active in. We, here, need anonymity, which FB does not provide, so this remains the only truly active forum I have ever been in.

Most human beings have small attention spans in part because of the quest for new information, which the internet provides.

Baiting is a calling. I have seen some exceptionally gifted baiters come, shine brightly, and then disappear. i have seen some other baiters get burned out. i have see a few skilled baiters walk away because of ego driven temper tantrums. We have seen a few baiters die.

i stick around because i love this place.

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Baiting Guru

Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 11329
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 10:05 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Keep in mind that no one knows if a talented baiter comes here, stays six months, then vanishes -- maybe he keeps baiting on his own, using ideas and information that he gleaned in his time on 419eater. So, at least some of the people who "pop in and drop out" may go on to become active baiting hobbyists.

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