When the forums came back, I was happy to see the Voting Booth busy again, but this spurt of activity didn't continue for very long at all. Soon the Voting Booth looked like a derelict of the forum it once was, and this saddened me. I made a few polls and people voted in them, so it's not like there's a severe lack of interest in member-based polls, just very few topics - but now, even the voters are decreasing. The number of staff members assigned to the forum (aside from the Mentors) was, as of earlier today, equivalent to the number of topics: a whopping three, and that's including the pinned VB Policy topic.
During my time as a Mentor I was more of a forum wanderer than at any other time during my BZP career, as the job description was basically "go where the unapproved posts are." The VB's lifelessness really struck me, and I submitted some ideas for reform to some of the other staff and specifically to Smeag, then the VB FL. (This was, of course, before the advent of the Tracker.) This led to no reforms, which is why we're still talking about this now, stemming off of the "BZPower's Activity" Tracker ticket. (I don't blame Smeag for inaction, as the forum was relatively busy when compared to what it looks like now, and while I genuinely respect the wisdom he gained in his post as FL, under the circumstances, I think it may be time for reconsideration.)
My suggestions are as follows:
I. Make posts count! I see arguments for posts counting in the off-topic realm, but if any forum needs it, it's the Voting Booth: an all-but-dead LEGO-based forum with an easy method of attracting attention and regaining activity.
II. Let non-Premiers post topics! I've never seen any logic to keeping this around in any forum - it's hardly used for anything and no member has bought Premiership for the purpose of being able to post topics there. It made sense when polls were a hot commodity - anyone remember the old Premier Poll-Making Squad? - but in this day in age, it makes hardly any sense.
Considering the nature of this kind of change I would say that, at best, only one of these would be done, and the decision comes down to Watashi Wa, the VB's current FL. This makes sense on a number of levels, but it all basically comes down to increasing awareness and activity in the forum. These rules are the last vestiges of a forum that once featured a great amount of activity. Once they were good and served a useful purpose - one to control spammy posts, and the other to help capitalize on the popularity. In the present day, these regulations are now unnecessary hoops to jump through.
Should the Voting Booth attract enough attention to aggravate the problem that led to the implementation of the first of these two policies - namely, brief posts that stated nothing more than the member's particular vote - we should include in the VB policy that any member who wishes to post stating their vote must include a reason as to why they voted in that way. This is not a requirement to post, nor would it be a mandatory implementation alongside the ones posted above! This is simply an alternate solution to a problem that, if things go well, might rear its head again.
What do you think?