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  1. #1
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    Interesting how participation has declined over the years.

    I have very much enjoyed studying as many posts as possible going back to the earliest ones to get a perspective on kilt-wearing. A few things strike me immediately and, perhaps the most significant, is the marked decline in posts from many hundreds before about 2014 down to very much fewer in the 4 years since.
    As a newcomer I am not the one to speculate on why this is so but it is interesting nevertheless. Does anyone else have any views on this I wonder?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    8th February 18
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    Regarding a couple of other forums, I participate in, people seem to get bored or find something else to occupy their time. Interests change, people retire, health issues, et cetera. One forum had the dreaded Google warning (a link, in a post, went to an infected site). It took them 3-4 months to find it, & delete the post. By the time all was well, members went to other forums. Now, it sees a couple of people per week.
    "I can draw a mouse with a pencil, but I can't draw a pencil with a mouse"

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    17th June 15
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    Participation in forums in general is on the decline. I've seen forums that used to be quite bustling lose participation so much that they ended. I've seen other formerly popular forums that are merely ghost-towns now, with sometimes one or 2 posts a month, sometimes one or 2 a year. It hasn't seemed to matter if it is a political forum, an automotive forum, a science forum, or a general topics forum; forum participation is declining across the board.

    People are switching to Facebook, and other types of social media.

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  7. #4
    Join Date
    24th September 04
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    Victoria, BC Canada 48° 25' 47.31"N 123° 20' 4.59" W
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    It is interesting, that over the years that I have been a member here, this same topic seems to come up about every third or fourth year.

    As I have access to the site's analytics it is interesting that the perception that the forum is "less active" or is "in decline" is usually just that, a perception. Usually a perception that is different from the data in the analytics.

    One of those analytics which is readiy available to all members on a daily basis is found at the bottom of our home or "Forum" page.
    It is listed as the number of "Active Members". This shows how many members have both logged on, and made at least one post, in the previous 90 days. Today that number is 2,465.

    Our founder Hank, officially signed the forum sale document to me on the 10th of Oct. 2009, and on that anniversary each year I jot down the the "Active Members" number. The lowest number was 1,565 on 10 Oct. 2014. Or exactly 900 more, active members today, than the year stated in the original post to this thread.

    Yes, Facebook is much more active today than it was in 2014 and many kilt wearers are active on Facebook. I don't have the analytics for Facebook but the pages I follow are very active today.

    It is possible that a perception of the activity on Facebook, compared to the perception of the activity here, is a factor in the OP's perception.

    It is a fact that the internet forum format is less "immediate" than the format of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
    It is a fact that there are fewer active internet forums today than 10 years ago. It is a fact that people do post more often on the "social media' formated pages than on the forum formated sites.

    It is a fact that, across the board, there are fewer forum formatted sites today than 10 years ago. Fewer car forums, fewer gaming forums, fewer cooking forums.

    There is an additional factor which I guess I should point out as it has happened before on at least three other occasions. In the very early years of X Marks, a very active member left our forum. The reason is in our history and readily available so I don't need to re-hash it now. This member did leave. he did start his own forum, and that forum was very active. If anyone wishes to search for them, the same sort of "X Marks is dying" and "Why is everyone leaving X Marks" sort of posts began to show up then too.

    On another occasion a very active member left due to health reasons. A few months later the perception was that the forum was quieter. And it was.

    So perhaps the best way to answer the OP is like this.

    X Marks is here. It is not going away. X Marks is today, the world's oldest continous, largest, and most active on-line community dedicated to the kilt.

    Yes, some people do leave X Marks. Sometimes life takes people in a different directions. But some people do find us. Some do decide to join us. (We happen to have had a recent surge in new members this month)

    And we will be here.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner


  8. #5
    Join Date
    8th February 18
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    Long live,
    "I can draw a mouse with a pencil, but I can't draw a pencil with a mouse"

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  10. #6
    Join Date
    5th September 12
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    Hi Ivor; welcome to X Marks.

    Perhaps this site has found all of us kilt wearers and there are just few still trickling in! Just kidding, of course! But... It could be that the XMTS membership has settled into some sort of equilibrium. Early on, the core members and experienced kilt wearers who participated most actively, had much to say and share. That has leveled off a great deal. Also, so many sensitive topics have been argued more than enough and we have learned where not to tread (for the most part).

    It may be that many of us (myself included) are lurking more but not posting very often. As you've noted from your own research, there is quite an archive, and anyone with a question and willingness to research would most likely find their answer. I personally don't post very much any more but, I still visit the site often.

    Also, most new members are very active at first (as I was), especially those new to the kilt and having lots of questions (lots of posts). As they settle into the site, their post slow down.

    This is a great site (resource) for kilt wearers that we should promote to the rest of the kilt wearing community. That in itself will increase the activity on the site. My advice is to share this site with members of your St. Andrews Society or other organization and wear your XMTS Dandelion to events to encourage conversation about the site.

    Nile
    Simon Fraser fought as MacShimidh, a Highland chief… wrapped and belted in a plaid over the top of his linen shirt, like his ordinary kinsmen. He put a bonnet on his head, and stuck the Fraser emblem, a sprig of yew, in it. With the battle cry, A'Chaisteal Dhunaidh and the scream of the pipes, they charged to battle. "The Last Highlander" Sara Fraser

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  12. #7
    Join Date
    21st December 05
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    Hawick, Scotland
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    The introduction of the "Aye" button cut down the number of posts.
    Instead of posting "I agree", or "Me too", or "Thanks for the info", or "Thanks for posting your nice photos" many of us now simply click the "Aye" button and therefore make less posts.
    I log in most days, but more often than not I do not post anything.
    Vice-President and Regional Director for Scotland for Clan Cunningham International, and a Scottish Armiger.


  13. #8
    Join Date
    14th April 18
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    Thanks everyone and I wonder if cessna152towser’s response says a great deal about the forum in the present day. My impression is that there are mainly a limited number of long-term contributors who seem to have survived all these years by ensuring that they have never been in any way controversial. Nothing wrong with that of course but the only question to ask is why have so many fallen away. Were their contributions lacking in any value? Did they become bored with a somewhat repetitive subject?

  14. #9
    Join Date
    24th September 04
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    Victoria, BC Canada 48° 25' 47.31"N 123° 20' 4.59" W
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    I would guess there are about as many reasons why a person drifts away as there are people.

    But I will caution about reading some dire reason into or assuming something about someone else's motives.

    In the past we have had a very small number of members who, for some reason, do not seem to be able to play by the rules. But really, we only have 12 rules. The system here on X Marks makes it very hard for a membership to be revoked for rules violations. No one is banned by a rouge moderator like on some other forums and no one just disappears without reason.

    But perhaps the biggest reason someone leaves is that life and interests change. Kilt wearers are a very small part of the world's population. The topic itself is quite narrow. There is just only so much you can talk about. Only so many times you can say or read the same thing.

    We know and understand that. We have gone through many ups and downs over our, almost, 15 year history. And we are still here. Other forums have come and gone. Other formats like social media have come about. And we are still here.

    We were here for the introduction of the Utility style kilts and the casual style kilts. We were here when the first Pakistani kilts came on the market. We have seen new manufacturers and new companies start up. We have seen some of those fail or just go away.

    Even our advertisers have changed many times over the past 15 years. Many of the most famous, largest names in the kilt world of 15 years ago, do not exist today.

    But as it says in our Guiding Principals, We are a kilt forum. A place where those who enjoy wearing a kilt may come and find other like minded kilt wearers. All the while understanding that our chosen topic of discussion is not the entire spectrum of life. Or of kilt wearing for that matter.
    We are a place on the web known all over the world for our respect and gentlemanly behavior to our fellow members. A refuge of sanity, and courtesy in the wild world wide web.

    Let's enjoy what we have built and not worry too much, or read too much into, the maybe's and the what-if's.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  16. #10
    Join Date
    24th September 04
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    Victoria, BC Canada 48° 25' 47.31"N 123° 20' 4.59" W
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    How about if I ask this -

    Ivor, you posted "My impression is that there are mainly a limited number of long-term contributors who seem to have survived all these years by ensuring that they have never been in any way controversial."

    This seems to imply that you have something to say, or something you wish to bring up.

    Would you mind sharing that with us?
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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