Posted : 4/24/2014 2:24:16 PM
Just wanted to echo everything that Tina said SO well, and to add my agreement with Jackie's and Vivian's.
Things that come to my mind, in no particular order:
I, too, would like to see the elimination (or at least alteration) of the kinds of ads and banners I see when I log in. Tina's example of an inappropriate ad really isn't an exaggeration of the type of garbage I'm seeing, too. For example, as I type this, there's a gross looking photo of an arm with tons of age spots on it, and a headline enticing me to click to learn how to remove dark spots. I understand ads are necessary in the internet world, but at least make them somewhat related to the forum's focus (pet care, pet supplies, travel with pets, outdoor activity things, etc.).
I also understand your point, Jonathan, about your team needing to do things to get people to engage, when we're not making a huge effort ourselves to initiate much more than the daily chat. But, here's our "chicken and egg" problem (translates perfectly!): when there are only fewer than a dozen of us who post, there are only so many new topics we can come up with each day, unless (doG forbid) one of our pets becomes ill, has a new behavior challenge, etc.). We need a larger community in order to have more variety and activity of posting topics, in my opinion.
Improvements in the layout and clutter reduction may help generate more activity on threads. Speaking for myself, I've posted one or two outside of daily chat, and they don't always get many replies because I think people simply don't see them amid all the clutter of the "light" threads that start to pile up.
Those "light" threads that are initiated by the forum itself may be fun for some lurkers to view, but there's not much to add to them other than to post a reply saying, "Cute!" or "Funny!" It's likely we've all seen these things floating around in our email circles, Facebook, from friends and office mates, etc.
My fear is the activity level may never return to what it once was, and therefore the information value that once was here won't ever exist. I came here looking for information about 9 years ago, and along with getting tons of valuable input about my dog's medical condition, I also learned lots of other valuable things about diet, training, etc., as Tina mentioned. It may be that those types of info exchanges are just happening on private Facebook pages or other breed-specific forums and sites, and sadly the community here just can't compete with that.