You guys are as bad as all the freak'n magicians I hang around when it comes to this stuff.
To begin with, the majority of people in today's world flying the "I'm a skeptic" banner AREN'T -- they are puppets; individuals echoing what they've been told to believe and say by the new clergy of the 21st century intellectualism, a cult-mind situation that has quietly spread into society via the auspices of scholastics and certain facets of the entrainment industry (with Magic being at the fore). These are individuals that are compelled to identify with the idea of being a "Skeptic" because it equates to intellect and as we all know, intelligent people don't have imaginary friends, see ghost or talk with dead people, aliens, et al. We can just ignore the mellennia or two in which some of the most intelligent contributors to literature and yes, scientific advancement came by the hand of men (and a few women) of strong faith as well as occult leanings.
The other thing to understand is that a good portion of the public that calls themselves "skeptics" are, like most humans are on most any topic, cherry pickers. A prime example are all the Born Again Bible Pushers that condemn the idea of any sort of genuine miracle existing in any religion other than their own particular brand-label of Christianity. But another great example is how those that would use pseudo-rationalism as a club to beat others down with; demeaning those scientists and related studies that would support concepts, manifestations, etc. that they simply don't want to exist... which brings us to the CYNIC... which is far closer to form when you start talking about people akin to Joe Nichell & Co. who many ardent skeptics actually avoid because of their fanaticism but likewise their outrageous claims; Nichell for on, implying that you do not what lines are what or what any of the cards mean when you do Readings because the people that get Readings are stupid, uneducated cows that won't know better.
Well, it's obvious Joe don't know what the hell he's talking about
Cynics are where the problem lays and to be honest with you, I've yet to see any of the ugliness when it comes to the classic modes of attack and pushing points here that I've seen in the magic forums. There are people involved with the Cynic's agenda who literally lurk on forums until they find a psychic topic to pounce on or someone to single out and pick on because of beliefs. These people do not contribute to the forums on any other level, offer no positive in-put and tend to go out of their way to keep the banter going.
This forum can be a hint confusing because it is open to both, the believer and the skeptical. I personally think this to be a healthy thing and Ive yet to find otherwise. But when it comes to the question as to why we get new people who do not participate the answers are quite simple;
- 1.) Natural Awkwardness for reasons already noted; not feeling confident in what they wish to discuss/ being afraid of getting their head bit off (regardless which side of the fence they stand on), etc.
2.) Many people join boards just to join boards. It's their way to convince themselves that they have a social life. Sadly, it is a mental/emotional problem that's growing in the world culture where internet, etc. is common place.
3.) Every forum has its dozen or so strong personalities that dominate conversations. Newbies are frequently intimidated by this and feel inadequate when it comes to being able to keep up without seeming "out of sync".
These are the primary reason EVERY board sees such trends, not just this one. The standard solutions (which is what we should be talking about vs. who's to blame for things) range from private invitations via the moderator/management team to members to join in or give feedback, etc. This is always a great first step. The second standard is that when someone joins and does not post x or more post within a given period of time (say, quarterly) they become victims of the and thus, are no longer on the membership list. BUT, you need to weigh things when taking this step in that some members may have justifiable reasons for not posting frequently such as a tight work schedule, family problems, health issues, etc. so look at their log on practices and as with the first solution ASK THEM HOW THEY'RE DOING!
I knew of one small board where the primary owner sent everyone holiday & birthday eCards. It created a spirit of community within the group and resulted in a stronger sense of over-all participation.
Just a few things to consider.