Originally Posted by RogerMcAllen
You also need several key personalities:
Mom: Usually a female that will step in and pamper the new users that need it, but at the same time can keep all of the boys in line.
Dad: A strong presence in the background, doesn't necessarily do a ton of posting but you know he is there keeping the ship on course
Grandpa: Has been involved since the topic was invented. Knows everything, and has the stories to prove it
Crazy Uncle: Has good ideas, but is a little off kilter. Makes sure people don't start taking themselves too seriously.
Crazy Uncle: ollllo
They keep it running.
And I fully agree with Roger's entire assessment.
I would like to add that off-topic areas are beneficial to the forum, as they keep people coming back when brewing isn't the main thing on their mind, and even more importantly, it helps foster that sense of "community".
If all we had to talk about was brewing, the forum wouldn't become a "community" because the only draw would be answering or asking brewing questions. There is more to all of us than brewing. The additional discussions help develop the online personality of the various members, which rounds out the community aspect of the forum and makes the posters people with personalities, rather than just avatars and screen names.