It seems to me then, that we should be trying to attract stable long term members who can temper this tendency and create long lasting positive relationships which still have content as a vehicle for pursuing friendship, rather than merely time spent and fluff interactions as a vehicle for interaction here. I think even in a social sense, this site could serve to motivate people to interact positively with the non-online world. The exercise thread is an excellent example of this. I have found over the last while that there are more negative interactions than positive, or just that I am feeling a sense of detachment. I have in the past felt frustration with those that just complain about how great the forum used to be and I don't want to be one of those people. I have been on this site for a number of years, but as time goes on, feel a growing sense of restlessness and frustration as I feel that in some ways we are actually hindering people's personal growth by letting people just cope with a surface amount of emotional support from a distance, without us having access to the whole picture (and unwittingly validating some really negative stuff). I've found in some cases, escape to the forum serves to allow people to avoid dealing with their real world issues entirely. It's kind of like being someone's drinking buddy when their life is being destroyed by addiction. I don't want to contribute to that. I understand that not everyone is going to feel that way though, so maybe that is just a personal concern that I will have to think about and decide how I want to continue interacting with the forum. At the same time, I recognize that there is a kind of power that comes with shared information, shared emotional support and stable relationships to encourage and to stimulate thinking and initiative and we could be of great help in that sense.
I could be interested in a committee, but am not naturally inclined towards working in a larger group (part of the reason why I chose not to continue as a mod), both because I need a strongly shared sense of ideology and purpose, and a sense of the time being productively and effectively spent. Are there initiatives that individuals or small groups of people could take on, together with others they know that they are going to be able to work well with? I don't know if that's even a possibility. There is a book called Give and Take that explores the power of individuals in a workplace being given opportunities to pursue initiatives to make the place better by volunteering their time. It explores what makes volunteering successful and what keeps people motivated to continue doing so. Don't know if you've ever run into it, but I've wondered if it would have some relevance to the discussion here.