I visit anywhere from 6 to 8 sites every day, and on certain days I might even go to as many as 12 or 13(remember I'm disabled and don't have to report to a job every day). I will also note that with the confirmation code, this is the most difficult site to participate on that I am actively engaged in and perhaps that fact isn't conducive to many people's active participation. I've noticed that overall membership numbers have increased on all of the sites I visit, with the exception of the NAHC site, which completely self destructed and is now rebuilding with mostly new members. My general observation is that most people who join forum sites are lurkers. I tend to believe that in many instances hunting sites in particular are joined and perused by anti-hunters and anti-gun proponents who are looking for ammunition to fuel their specific anti sites ( some may even be working for the Feds as they search the sites looking for potential inmates for the FEMA camps). Then there are those who sign on simply to spam the sites as we've seen happening in an ever increasing amount lately right here. Perhaps there is a percentage who sign up just to read the forums and glean the site for informational purposes without feeling the need to participate for whatever reason.
I do know that when controversial threads are created, participation among the regulars increases, and as arguments become more intense and personal, sides are taken until eventually one of the original protagonists decides to take his ball and go home and sometimes that's good for the overall health of the site, and sometimes it creates an adverse effect and tends to create less involvement due to fear of intimidation or the desire to avoid unpleasant and argumentative situations.
What I do know from previous experience is that as the various hunting seasons wind down, there is usually an uptick in participation that peaks prior to the beginning of the next new season. With this site's emphasize on deer hunting, maybe the folks who hunt predators, ducks, turkeys, and other game simply don't feel inclined to post much about those interests.
It is important that existing regular members take time to recognize and welcome those new members who do post questions, or just post an introductory comment. Often the simple fact of recognizing those new members helps ease their introduction to the site and bolsters their enthusiasm not only to hunting, but also to participating in the various threads where they are comfortable contributing their thoughts and knowledge.
NRA LM, NAHC LM, Buckmasters LM, The Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, NAGR, Palmetto Gun Rights, QDMA, DU, NWTF, ASAdisabled sportsmens' alliance, EDH, and Proud SC redneck REBEL for life.