Green Witch wrote:
I have to agree with this. The energy is not the same. Fewer new people, fewer regulars, more drama and more meanness.
No offense, but in 2 years on Abuzz and something like 4 years on A2K, I have seen these very complaints come through in little waves at least a dozen times. It's just not anymore like how it used to be, where have all the substantive threads gone, where have all the fun threads gone, everyone's left, there seem to be less good threads, there's so much more meanness, what's up with the trolls. At least a dozen times, with people chiming in and agreeing, yeah you're so right! It was so much better when I first came here!
I've come to thinking that what I'm seeing is not a measure of the site's development, but a measure of people's situation vis-a-vis the site. In the beginning everything is unfamiliar but also exciting. New people are met, new kinds of chat experienced (all the more so because many a2kers had no prior web forum etc experience). Then things become more familiar, less exciting, but you get to have a well-known group of regulars, with whom you feel at ease, whose jokes you get and appreciate, you know who to look up and whom to avoid. It's your place. Then more and more of the people you came here with or got to know when you first came here disappear, peeling off to other places or stations in life as people do. There's a sense of drift, of being left with ever fewer of that trusty band. New posters arrive but you look upon them with more of a jaundiced eye, and witticisms that would have had you laughing out loud earlier now seem like tired echos of those funny people you were first so impressed with. Same with intelligent, elaborate posts, which just seem like rehashes of discussions you already had before, almost word by word, two or four or six years ago. Suddenly you start noticing just how small the group of regulars really is, and how annoying the trolls are. Little annoyances build up.
Pretty much none of which really needs to say anything specific about the actual content on the site - all it needs to be is a web forum with its well-known mechanisms and pros and cons, and users will seem to pretty much invariably go through these stages. And so we sit around every couple of years to reminisce how much better it was or lament what has become of this thing, which once seemed so special or unique.