MICROWIKI – A decline in activity amongst the membership of the Grand Unified Micronational organization has reignited ongoing concerns of a wider decline in the MicroWiki community.
A trend that had not gone unnoticed by community participants anecdotally was reinforced as fact by the latest quarterly statistics report released by GUM on October 20th. That report saw a 40% decline in respondents, from 26 member micronations in the 2nd quarter of 2017, to just 16 in the latest quarter ending September 30th.
The decreased activity in GUM, as well as community Skype chat rooms, is a regular topic of discussion in the weeks since then.
One prominent MicroWiki participant, Kit McCarthy, referenced the trend as the primary motivation for taking an indeterminate leave of absence from micronationalism. “I’m spending too much time flicking between windows on my laptop to see if anything’s happening, when, invariably, it’s not,” he said a statement on October 21st.
For John Marshall, the decline is a self-fulfilling prophecy. “When I post stuff and get no responses or replies or feedback, I’m not inclined to continue to post,” he voiced in reply to Suzuki Akihonaomi’s efforts to identify the root of the problem. Others, such as Marka Mejakhansk, see the situation as part of the natural ebb and flow of Internet micronational activity, a reality since the turn of the millennium regardless of community.
Yet, things may not be as discouraging as perceived. A recently returned member of the community, Akihonaomi, on October 29th, began publishing activity statistics for the MicroWiki forums in a wider effort to address the decline. While the forums only received 228 posts in September, October was more robust in terms of activity, with 377 posts. Comfortingly, the increase was not the direct result of a tunnel-visioned discussion on the activity woes; however, it masked another concern – a largely flat trend in the number of new users and discussion threads.
Meanwhile, unsubstantiated rumour suggests GUM may in part be the cause of the decline. “It would seem that some individuals do not wish to return to the [MicroWiki] forums until the GUM is completely dead … if the GUM dies, several users will return to active status” postulated Akihonaomi while referring to a purported protest movement against the organization.
Such rumour aside, as one of the remaining relevant, active, intermicronational organizations, GUM at the very least is a bellwether for the community’s activity. Regardless of any such protest, the organization continues to draw membership applications, including two that were on yesterday’s Quorum meeting agenda. That it has not passed any substantive resolutions beyond the purely administrative since the end of July is not alarming, given that such periods of uninspiring usage are not uncommon for any intermicronational organization.
As for the MicroWiki forums, versus long-term trends, the perceived drop in activity is not significant, suggesting concerns are misplaced. Post-per-day averages in September and October, based on Akihonaomi’s reported statistics, remained 2- and 4-times the long-term post-per-day average of 3.18, respectively. A cursory view of the forums through November indicate another, relatively, healthy month.
That the bottom of activity in the community is so much below that recently seen appears to validate the natural ebb and flow cycle to which Mejakhansk referred, as opposed to a more concerning structural problem.