Let’s look at it simply. When you strip a community away of essential components required to maintain an engaged group of people, the community as a whole will suffer. If we take a look at the forum in its early conception compared to now we will notice several key differences (and losses):
Forum member of the week: An excellent incentive to check out new producers you may not have heard of with the possibility of being featured. No reason not to have it besides lack of motivation on the part of those organizing it.
Beat the Clock events: Several users have tried to reboot these, and I myself am organizing track challenges on the Auxy Collective discord server. Yet another great potential source of engagement from a music making community.
Akabillposter’s rants: Okay… these were pretty hilarious (and often times very enlightening )
Disappearance of the Auxy Tournaments: Honestly, these were some of the biggest events on the forums and I don’t see why there aren’t more of these (if not so large-scale as to exhaust the community). Switch out the hosts so DHO doesn’t get exhausted either.
Loss of the meme thread: I’ll be honest here, I was in favor of the removal of the meme thread in light of focusing the community a bit more and adding more of a professional vibe here. But having been here for a while since the disappearance of said thread, this community isn’t really built to be such a serious community (like that of the AudioBus forums, for example). There are too many young and “silly” (for lack of a better word) people. And I especially didn’t envision the removal of the memes thread and every single other community involving event.
Infrequent communication from the Auxy developers: This has been somewhat improved and I don’t want to dwell to much here as it’d be beating a dead horse. But it really helps any community to not seem like a ghost town if those who represent and head the community show that they’re alive once and a while.
Just to name a few.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of people here have moved on to other communities (whether it be because of a chain effect of inactivity inciting branching out or just evolving as an artist). This community really is a bubble, and that can be a good and bad thing. You get to know one another and become close to each other, but you also lack variety and context as to what really exists in the world of music production. To name a few, Southborne, IVO, ICS, etc. have all moved on from the Auxy community for the most part. It’s all part of our evolution as a person and a producer and really is wonderful, but is something to keep in mind nonetheless.
All and all, it’s really not surprising to see how the community has declined as far as engagement and activity. There’s really no reason to check here as opposed to say, the Beatmaker forums or maybe the Phuture Collective facebook group. This is not set in stone and can easily be remedied–it was not always like this and we’re only in this state from lack of initiative. If we as a community but specifically the staff around here give this community a purpose and a reason to check here, there’s no reason why we would not see people trickle in again and maybe even some new faces around. Do some promoting of the forum via. the feed or twitter maybe–anything that’ll pull it out of the rut it’s currently in.
I’d also like to point out that this is not undoing the positive progress that removing spammy and unnecessary threads has done. I still think it was an excellent choice to remove the pointless forum games posts and random threads that popped up all the time. But there is a middle ground that will have to be found, and you don’t find it without trying and tweaking things. Right now I think we’re way too tight on the reigns–maybe loosen up a bit. If we find we’re slipping too far and there’s too much unfocused and immature discussion, we can tweak it again.
Now, if the intent is to discourage engagement here and encourage people to branch out from the forum and find other communities, then this is a fine path the forum’s going down by all means. My impression, however, was that the developers and janitor(s) here wanted to keep focus centralized to the forum and minimize as many small community divergences as possible, in which case some of the aforementioned changes would be warranted.