Yeah I have noticed that glitch in the matrix every now and again.
I don't know that those things would really make a major difference in whether or not a newbie would jump in or not. I remember when we joined back in the day, we just jumped in there. We didn't need a red carpet invitation.
There seems to be a sea change of newbies now that mainly lurk as opposed to post.
I agree. I guess you need a critical mass of interesting posters to attract more interesting posters?
I've also noticed that some of the newbies (not just the crazies, either) seem very sensitive, cowed by the idea that there are people around with existing relationships to each other. I don't know if this is just a sign of the times or what, but it's strange. Were newbies always so tender? (I've always taken myself rather seriously as I'm sure you can all attest, but I don't remember being intimidated or even particularly annoyed by the so-called cliques.)