Thanks for that. I think the decline in participation (posting) is due to 2 primary factors: First, the advent of Facebook and other social media. Many people started using those formats to discuss issues of the day.
Second, the bickering. Everything from race, religion and politics were being discussed, but a lot of insults were hurled and it drove people away.
Today, I think people are ready to come back because they've found that Facebook may be better suited for keeping in touch rather than discussing issues, and because the political section is no longer front page.
I check the forum usage during various times during the day, right now it says that there have been 135 users online (9 members) in the last 30 minutes. Google analytics says we got about 12,000 visitors in the last 30 days, so I know people are coming to the site.
Most, however, are reading instead of posting, and as we get more topics going, we may see more that strike chords with various people.
As far as promoting the site, I am working with folks at some of the local publications to enhance what each of us do, and I post on the myfolsom Facebook page as well. One story I did, about the heroin deaths in town, got over 10,000 views and 3400 clicks.
So again, people are seeing us. I'd like to get more of them participating.