I run a dining forum, which is split by major metropolitan areas in the US. I am entertaining the idea of turning my local board from a public forum into a closed forum where participants can join only if they commit to a minimum participation requirement.
In our local forum, there are a handful off active posters who post about their eating out experience, with me being the most active. There are many more lurkers, and semi-lurkers. As a result, it makes for a relatively quiet forum where we get a few reports of restaurants a week, half of them is mine.
There are two other very similar forums. One of them is quieter. The other is about the same. The quieter one and our forum are spinoffs from the one with similar level of activities as us due to members’ UX dissatisfaction.
Arguably we aren’t at critical mass. We have been around for 2 years, and I think we are shrinking rather than growing. We’ve tried many tricks to grow the community already. But by nature the community of knowledgeable diners are small.
What do people think of the idea turning my local forum from a public forum into a closed forum where participants can join only if they commit to a minimum participation requirement is enforced (with some latitude of course- people get busy), and perhaps require a token low membership fee like $5 / year so people have to invest something into the forum.
I personally am not getting much out of the forum since i did a lot of the original content, and I don’t see my interest level in writing these content to hold for much longer if there is not enough interest to reciprocate. The logic for my idea is that even if we have 10 people committed to posting for each other, its better than 3 committed people posting for 100. Writing a personal blog (which I won’t do) seems to be more appealing than even the current scenario. If we let the forum to slowly die off or shut the forum down, the other two forums won’t make critical mass either.