Personally, I think the lack of activity on this discussion board could be associated with the 'oldies' times passing. Whether as a result of inactivity, memory, or their unfortunate passing is beyond my knowledge. It is a shame that we no longer have photo threads with 'blasts from the past,' or big long 'history of x' threads that came courtesy of these people. And maybe something with recent, potentially unresolvable errors could contribute to users finding the board more ‘unfriendly’ than a time ago. Perhaps when us newbies' time has come, we'll be able to share our own mimics to revive the board, albeit 50 years too late.
Which brings me to a second point - perhaps there is no new community willing to take on the task, the hobby we so passionately spend our times with. There is no 'reaching out,' no advertising for this community beyond Google searches. Nobody is so willing to 'take the helm' either. And in the culture of today, people are always more inclined to using the car, with the bus becoming more of a secondary transport option/reserve for the 'lower-class' rather than an interest. Nobody finds transport enthusiasm as something ‘cool’ anymore. Bus enthusiasm nowadays is really just portrayed by the stereotype of old guys working on an AEC Regal in a shed somewhere. In time, I’m sure there’ll be a new transport community, but that may be too late for this forum.
Third point – all the discussion in the ‘main’ transport scene nowadays is always about the ‘big things.’ The big, advertised infrastructure projects such as Dandenong Skyrail, Forrestfield-Airport Link, Sydney Metro etc. There is no real basis on the ‘little’ things, the fleet details, fleet lists or company history anymore. Only a small portion of people really care that TP2871 just entered service, most just care that the FAL will open on time. No longer is there a lot of transparency in corporate, transparency in government to allow such details to be released. As a result, nobody really notices those details. All people see now is ‘new bus vs old bus,’ rather than ‘Merc O405NH vs Volvo B8RLE.’
Yes, a role is played in the diminishing of this forum by private ‘splinter’ groups being formed and others moving to new forums, but there are many semi-uncontrollable external forces such as culture and bringing up that play a larger role in the diminishing of this community. And it isn’t always moving to alternatives that diminishes the community. Just look at other forums: SkyscraperCity is always a bustling hive, but nowadays, Railpage is basically the equivalent to a digital ghost town.
I praise the iron will of the admin and moderator team, notably nowadays Fleet Lists
and The Phonj
, for keeping this forum alive at whatever costs. Although the times may be coming to an end, it wouldn’t be too late to say thank you to this wonderful team. Thank you for what you have provided. That being said, I hope one could bring his/her friends into the transport community to help fuel the ATDB. Shouldn’t hurt much, though I’d recommend staying 1.5 metres away from each other for the time being.
EDIT: I suppose, maybe, there is also a move into a culture where people propose new ideas, rather than discuss the old. So heritage is no longer a part of 'new' culture, as there is new movement into new ideas. Perhaps having the Armchair Operators sub-forum listed publicly would attract more attention and more activity onto this board.