Yes, the number of post is declining but 5000 new post every month is still healthy in my opinion, and AGS is still my number one stop to hear opinions from all side of the debates and stay in touch with reality and this vast world. The number that interest me the most personally isn't the number of post per month but the number of quality games released every years. The moment it will get pretty low, I'll start worrying.
And while the numbers of quality games might have slightly decreased in the last year, the quality greatly increased, and quality games take more time to produce, we just have to compare the delay between each Ben Jordan games. It seems like it's the spirit of 2003 that's making a come back, back when we collectively had big hopes, great projects but little experience. The epic projects collapsed but after 3 years of short yet completed games, it seems like game makers are confidents and feel they have the experience to take on projects we dreamed of back in 2003.
Also, increase in game quality means our standards also increase. I was much more tolerant with games' quality back when I discovered about AGS in 2002 than I am nowadays. And in such environment, I can understand that it might be intimidating and discouraging to submit a little game and get very few downloads and comments compared to a big name like ATOTK or the Blackwell series.
That being said, I will not deny that I miss the 2005-2006 era, which represent in my opinion the pinacle of AGS games productivity, and I wonder what happened to Buloght, ProgZ, Bernie and the others who made games like Knightsquires, Family Treasure or Dance 'Til You Drop... some of these games might have been small but these games still made my day. I also miss a lot of faces who used to post here a lot, I do hope some of them will find the time to come back during the holidays.
Move the popular threads back into gen-gen. That way gen-gen stays interesting even when nothing is happening because of the old stalwarts and encourages people to think of interesting new things to chat about.
That would be counter productive. The purpose of the Popular Threads is to give popular threads visibility, in the Gen-Gen these threads would be lost in the flow of new threads and we'd constantly have to search for them. Also, not every forum sections need to be as active as the Gen-Gen. I say we leave the Popular Threads section alone. Same thing with the Adventure Related Talk, no need of merging.
Regarding the decline in C+C and Competitions, could it be linked to the rise of Pixel Joint and similar websites? I mean, why limit yourself to the comments and competition received from a few artists here while you can have all the comments and competition you want on a community entirely dedicated to that?