Where do forums come from?
I looked back in google. Somewhere around April of 2007, TypologyCentral suddenly became visible to Google. Somebody set up the forum and invited people in from somewhere, and they all began talking, rather quickly. The forum must have been advertised elsewhere, someplace where a lot of people saw the link. I see some threads that were started by people whose types were introverted NTs. I think they must have known each other from other forums.
I know it costs money to buy a domain and it costs money to buy forum software, although there are freeware forums out there too. I'm sure I could figure out how to set it up. I'm more interested in finding out: 1. how people advertise forums, and 2. why some forums are very active, while others are not very active at all.
My decision to participate in a forum usually depends on how active the forum is. I've seen forums that were filled with empty space - lots and lots of categories, but nothing inside the categories. I think it would be better to start out with just one category and then add more categories later as they developed over time, rather than trying to predict in advance which categories people would want, then set them up and wait for people to put stuff in them. What happens when you do that (start with just a general category and add more categories as more people participate and as it gets more cluttered)? Some specific information has to be visible on the front page, rather than just categories.
I'm curious to know what makes a good forum design, versus a bad one. I've seen bad ones, but never tried to verbalize exactly what it was that made them so bad, and compare them to ones that I thought were good.