I will try to clarify, speak up if I still don't do so in a manner which gets the idea across successfully.
Online communities have evolved a lot overs the years. In the early 2000's, I was an avid user of Yahoo groups, but they have their downs sides, when it comes to usability. This was largely remedied with the introduction of forums, built on this forums', and similar software. As a result, people including myself, stopped participating in Yahoo groups.
Sharkey started this forum, and I was totally engrossed in it. The format works for me, and the subject niche sits with who I am. I like this format, and will keep it going, irrespective. However, large portions of the online community have shifted to newer forms of online community, namely social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and a bunch of others. They are by their nature, somewhat incompatible with this forum format.
Other forums based on the exact same software as this are busier than this forum, and many of our members participate in those other forums. There are differences in how those other forums are run, which directly leads to why the are more active than this one is. Rather than stating why that is, I would comment on why this one isn't. From the start, Sharkey kept the membership list trimmed down to genuine members only, hence the small membership number here, as opposed to other forums. This was largely done, to protect members from email harvesting, for spamming. I have maintained that philosophy, since taking over the responsibility of maintaining the forum, though have had to make access harder than when Sharkey ran it, due to a combination of technical know how, or lack there of, that Sharkey has, and lack of time to keep up that level of maintenance. The result is two fold; the most immediate being that it is a low traffic forum, with the result being that the forum has maintained a very high quality of content, and the resulting spam to members, as a result of belonging here, is likely to be negligible, to non existent.
So, to an explanation of the of the poll questions.
1: Nothing changes; I will keep on doing software upgrades, and as mentioned will be adding an https connection, likely next year (this is how you connect to your bank, and do online shopping. it gives a layer of protection over straight http connections and is how websites in general are going.
the result for people using the site will not change from what it is now.
2: Adding chat to the forum, or making it function as it did, when we had chat before. Just another way of participating in the forums. We lost this ability during one of the software upgrades. I've yet to find a way of re-integrating it back into the forum; particularly in a way, that I can reliably maintain. So would have to keep on working on that, but will do if that is what members want.
3: Integrating the forum with social media; means finding a way of bringing the community we have here, into inclusion with the social media that members are starting to branch out into now. trying to bridge the gap, that became insurmountable between Yahoo groups and this type of forum, before we become a ghost town altogether. As such it would be in the form of a branding exercise as much as anything. Let me try to explain.
Forums such as this are their own walled garden. What you post here, doesn't automatically appear on Facebook, Twitter etc. And if you do not belong to Facebook, Twitter, etc. as I don't; the content posted there is essentially closed to you.
There are a couple of federated social media systems that can allow you two share between the closed wall social media systems such as Facebook, Twitter, etc, and at the same time also share the same content that people post to them, back to the federated systems. What this means in practice, is that someone is a member of Facebook. They can also be a member of one of these federated systems. By connecting the two, they can make a post on the federated system, and there post will show up on both the federated system and Facebook.
When this happens, people on Facebook get to see and respond to the post, and people who are not on Facebook, can also participate with them.
So why not just join Facebook, Twitter etc, as so many other people have? The problem with that, is that like Yahoo, they are proprietary closed wall systems, which have full control of your material, which they can do pretty much what they like with, including close down access, or changing the format, so that it is difficult to use in an easy manner. And what annoys me more than just about anything else, bombard you with advertising, whilst also gathering data on you, for further advertising purposes.
The federated social media system that I would consider incorporating is likely to be Friendica http://friendica.com/
There are any number of nodes you can join now. In fact I have just joined via friendica.eu, which is based in France. So in theory it doesn't matter whether or not I add the option or not. If I did, I would install an instance within the nomadicista.org framework, such as friendica.nomadicista.org, where the membership would be based in the same server as the forum, and import my profile over to here.
So any way, the poll is mostly just a way to try and stimulate some discussion about where to from here.
in response to you noticing the forum slowing down since you joined. I don't believe that is the case. Rather what happened is that the forum picked up pace, considerably when you joined. That happened because you joined and started posting about your fantastic bus build. Then slowed down at the end of it.
If you were to look back throughout the history of this forum, which now goes back eleven years, you will see a pattern that the forum was always been pretty slow, except for when a new member with some new project or other, would stir things up for the duration of that project, then things would die down until someone else, or an existing member came along with a new project. The exception to that is when Rudy joined. Things became busy then, but it also resulted in the near complete loss of this forum.
And that is why the archive within this forum, contains such high quality content, which I intend that interested people can access for both entertainment, and more importantly educational uses, going into the future.