Andy Carson
Andy Carson

No matter how we slice it, I think we are swimming upstream to some extent. The overwhelming trend in online discussion forums is that they are completely free, they contain people that nearly never meet, and they collect information instead of generating it. I think we have already bucked this trend to some extent, and I am not sure if what trends we will buck in the future. I think a lot depends on if we can “do” anything in the real world that is meaningful to a lot of people.

I am not convinced that overall visibility of the site is a problem. What evidence do you have that this is a problem? Google searches bring interested people here quickly. With over 3/4 of the population online and google being the dominant seacrh engine, this is a huge amount of visibility to me. I do not think that a low number of DAP.org members means interested people are not aware. The site always has a large number of people viewing forums, but only a small percentage of these becomes a DAP.com member and fewer yet are converted to donating DAP.org members. I think that this is demonstrably a problem, and is clear by looking at the numbers rather than simply speculating.

I think that if we want more people to join, we need to supply something meaningful to a large number of people. This something meaningful must be in addition to what is already provided or people will say “I already have this.” I do not believe that ONLY holding in person events in Vermont (the second least populated state in the USA) is going to provide that meaningful content to a large number of people. Online videos can be accessed by everyone and might provide that meaningful content to a lot of people who are distant. I do not think this is a “slamdunk” from the point of view of converting “lurkers” to members, but I think is might work. It would certainly work for me.