Barticle wrote:Perhaps in some cases it's simply that the boards don't have enough activity (and so we lose users and the problem gets worse). I just wonder if there's anything we can do, perhaps even simply making the effort to post more - sharing information and pictures, asking questions and starting discussions?
I think this is a very salient question. Communities thrive with participation. If a site has one or two new posts a day there is little impetus to visit every day - and so days go by... maybe weeks... and it just falls off the radar. With RPG Geek it took almost a year for the site to have any sort of reasonable traffic (in the early startup months some threads would simply languish for days without a response). We made an effort to pull together contests, play by forum activities and other site-wide events that drew people in. We formed an 'RPG Geek Heroes' guild where interested board members could help point out areas of the site that needed work (we are a database so there is much user-driven content) as well as organize various events and ensure that posters got responses. Over time it has grown and now in our third year we're seeing an average of 5000 visitors per day. Posts are lively (sometimes overly so!) and responses come within minutes or hours, not days. This is not to say that we don't lose people over time - we just replace them faster than they fade away!
So my suggestion would simply be for anyone interested in English discussion of Reach Mahjong to participate in the forums - organize a virtual meetup or just be more active. This should, especially, come from community leaders as well as lurkers. It will have a snowball effect - small changes, over the long run, will make all the difference.
Edit: I'd also recommend anyone who is a community manager and wishes to improve the art and craft of leading a community read The Art of Community which is a free download (you can also buy the book from Orielly) under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license (download link is near the bottom of the link provided). It weighs in at a 574 pages - so it's not for the faint of heart!