Before I start:
- This is not in reply to any one person who is leaving, just the general idea that if the site had stayed identical to tbdl, it would be much better.
Now that that's out of the way:
So many members have been leaving lately. This is not out of the blue. Many of these members have been complaining that the site is too big, too unlike tbdl for them. However, in my experience, forums either grow or die. Staying the same is not an option.
Many of you who've read my posts will know that I ran a forum for about 2 years. This forum started out similarily to TBDL. A close group of users from another forum created their own. The forum was a fan site, in this case. Over the first few months, we got 1 or 2 new members each month that stayed. Eventually, we exhausted the on topic conversations, and all the interesting posts moved to off topic. They quickly joined the community. However about 6 months in, something happened to increase our new users significantly, similar to when TBDL became ADISC.
The old guard weren't happy with this, their forum being invaded by all these new members repeating the same old topics over and over again. They scared off lots of the new members and were generally hostile to them. Does this sound familiar?
Then the influx of members stopped, and the story goes down the opposite path to that travelled by ADISC. So we were back at square one. A (slightly larger) group of people where everyone knew each other. We had 30 very active members, (30000 posts). Everything sailed along fine for the next three or four months, until some of the members started feeling bored of the site. However, a few people did have minor arguments, usually sorted out. There was the general consensus however, that the forum was going downhill. A few members started to leave.
Then, the final blow to the site. One of the mods and one of the more prominent users had a major argument, then flame wars in most of the threads. We banned both members for a week, and told them to cool off. The mod had obviously lost his mod status when he came back. However, both members felt treated unfairly. The both went off and created their own sites. So the three sites, the original with about 14 of the members, the former mods with about 5, and the other user's with about 7 now existed. However none of them had enough members to keep going and all three fell into inactivity.
I've seen this once or twice on other forums I've been on (I'm a big internet user, and a big fan of small forums usually), and loads of times in a forum for forum admins where users get bored of the site, start fighting with each other and leave.
So basically, the point of this story is that:
The same users + lots and lots of contact + time = fights.
Same as in RL really.
Fights + Same users = splits in community
People pick sides.
Splits + Small community = End of community
IMO, if TBDL had stopped growing, the original members would have either gotten bored and left, or started to fight.
Instead they're joined together by complaining about the forum being too big.