One of the most amazing things about forum communities is that after they take off, they turn into perpetual motion machines. It could be argued that a true perpetual motion machine operates without any input of energy whatsoever, and forums fail this test because users input energy to make the community whirl.
Still, we like to think that our forum communities violate the Laws of Thermodynamics because they become self-propelling. Although users may come and go, activity never stops. The community keeps buzzing and evolves over time.
Regardless of whether or not the scientific community would accept forums as true examples of perpetual motion machines, it remains indisputable that watching a community spring to life and take on a life of its own is magical and one of the most gratifying accomplishments any site owner can achieve.
That’s why we love working with site owners to launch new forum communities and resurrect forums that are sputtering. If a site is getting lots of traffic but still not cranking along there are a number of steps we can take to combat low participation. When it works, it’s like the best job ever. (See comic below.)
Time and again we find that adequate traffic, plus a common sense approach to community management and a platform that is fun and easy to use provides the foundation for a successful, self-propelling forum community.