Hi, all. A late check-in from an Obs staffer! This is Marketing and Communications Manager Cara Rudio.
This thread was recently brought to my attention and I have to admit, many of my opinions (and those of the Observatory at large) have already been stated here. Yes, the forums have been slowing down, and this is due to a number of reasons. Chief among them that:
1) Brad was a big driver of the MWO forums, generating discussions and continuing existing discussions, and without him, things are noticeably quieter
2) Winter is a naturally slower time of year for trip reports, which undoubtedly contributes to some of the traffic decline
and, the big pink elephant in the room...
3) Forums everywhere are slowing down, as people naturally shift towards newer technologies (which for this day in age means social media, Facebook being the most predominant social media channel for personal and group messaging)
I wouldn't say that any of these reasons warrant getting rid of the forums. Sure, they might be slower than they used to be, but they're still a nice resource for those who would like to use them.
Is it apparent that we need more moderators? Yes--as that rightly disgruntled forum registrant pointed out. If we're going to continue hosting forums, they aught to be functional. So, I had our web consultant grant me moderating rights, and I'd like to take advantage of Bill O's and Snow Miser's offers to become moderators as well (thank you!!). Guys, shall I grant you those rights?
Though there aren't many current Obs staffers who use the forums (myself included -- I'm sorry to admit that I'm of the Facebook/Gchat/FaceTime generation), we do all value and appreciate the forums for the community they foster. We recognize that many people came to the Obs by way of the forums, and we are also aware of the many life-long relationships fostered by the forums, so until the next life-changing technology lures you all away from the forums, we'll keep the forums! (Albeit with a bit more help moderating, if that's what it takes to keep them alive.)
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Mount Washington Observatory