I think it is hard to build communities like that. And these days. I was always interested in doing that, and many times I failed. There just must be the right time and right way. I have couple of thoughts:
Currently I think there are many forums (many of them using discourse too) that cover big chunks of what EQlzr was covering. There’s lines forum, there’s toplap forum (not very active tbh), there’s scsynth for SuperColliders, there’s a separate ardour community… so, in a sense, I felt there’s a possible competition.
I did two recent experiments to try to gather together a community. They were both mastodon instances. One didn’t work (yet, now 3+ years), one did. For the first one - a ‘national’ generalistic instance (I had hoped and tried it to be LGBTQI+ friendly, a safe space also for those politically on the left, minorities) - I even “toured” the country with number of presentations about what Mastodon is etc, and many poeple created an account as a consequence but after a toot or two forgot about it. I approached the second one, focused on sound, differently - I figured “it can be only me, and maybe one more person, or two, or it can be more, I don’t care, as long as it’s focused on music, and account can be made by those who really know they want to be here - they need to ask for it, they need to write me an email or send a message”. I think this community works very well. Number of musicians are posting mostly about music. They are a varied bunch, but they are all ok. Couple of lurkers, but completely different ratio than on the former one. Conclusion: a) it started as low ambition, and b) created a barrier to entry that turned away anyone who was not sure that they want to join the community (IF a microbloging site can really be called a community) created a sieve that worked, somehow.
From the very begining of EQlzr, it felt - to me, subjectively - like a big endeavor. I personly couldnt find time to contribute a lot to it and I projected that subconsciously to others, thinking, “who will find time to contribute with a lot similar already out there?”. It’s amazing how it looks and it feels like a big site, with a lot of content, a big forum with a lot of different categories, and a quite some posts - but mostly from the creator @icaria36, if i’m not mistaken and very little buzz - or at least that’s how it seemed - maybe the ratio is not quite right - a big site and not so many people chatting away - and so it left me a feeling there’s a lot of empty space that needs to be filled, instead of a backstage room crammed with people who are all … “like me”.
and then, the focus always felt to me to be a general music-making one, and I feel a bit lost in this wide net of categories and styles and posts. I’m might not give justice here, and my view is not objective, I admit, but that’s how it feels. I really appreciate the equity and support for minorities, and this mission behind it all, and I even think it was not explicated enough in some way, but on the other hand, I know that these issues should not be explicit “in the wrong way” in the way to promote positive discrimination,… but again at the same time provide this safe space where any hate speech is moderated/banned… I think this was amazing and great and so needed. so, the question here is, thematically, what is the focus, and is this focus ‘the right one’ so that people return and spend time here, does this focus attract enough people?
Just some thoughts, I don’t know if they make sense, but the question ‘how to create a community, online, successfuly’ is a very interesting one to me. And it’s still a mystery to me.