Amongst the sad farewell threads, the terminology/grammar rants, and the other drama-filled epistles that have popped up recently...I've seen a theme that I find really interesting...it goes something like this:
"SN has 'lost something'. It used to be '10 times better than it is now'. That's why I 'don't post much here anymore'. The 'place is dying'."
Since it's being said by several dudes, I suppose their opinions merit some weight.
But, then you look at the stats for the site over the past few years and you see some pretty steady and respectable growth in reach and traffic:
Does that indicate a "dying" site?
I joined SN in August of 2008 (back when both stats were at their lowest point on the chart). But many think that the year or two up to that point were the "Golden Age" of SN...even though the stats definitely don't show that.
So how do you square these two conflicting views?
I think it's this...when people settle into groups that are in full agreement about how "the sailing world should be" (regardless of what that definition is), and when that group grows to a point that it has the "primary voice" on a forum - it becomes their Golden Age. They think the forum is the best it could possibly be - and at its "highest value" as a resource and place to contribute. Yet, the stats show differently. People outside that group lose interest. The forum actually
starts to die.
On the other hand, when there is a wide variety of different groups and opinions (even crazy ones) mixing it up - the stats improve, but the Golden Agers start saying that the place "is dying" and "losing its value"...precisely because it's moving away from what their group defined as "perfect".
I've always been of the opinion that the more people you have talking about sailing (in whatever way they want and/or can) the value of everything around it increases dramatically (the forum, the demand, the sport itself, etc.). The more you try to "control" that conversation in one specific way, the more you kill it.
It seems the stats bear that out.
What do you guys think?