given the number of people around in the english speaking world alone who apparently have ME/CFS, is it not surprising these sites/forums aren't more busy
Apart from that there are some social and psychological processes that tend to limit the number of vocal participants in any one forum and this can be seen across the Internet with typical participation levels rarely exceeding 100 and often fairly consistent at around 20-30 for most topic base forums. Readership will typically exceed posting rates by mutiples in the range of 2-10:1 so even with a global internetst population of several million any one forum will rarely get past a daily unique readership of 1,000. Blogs in contrast can attract far higher readership rates.
IVI, quite interesting statistics. Thank you.
I had not heard this anywhere but have been thinking about group size for a long time -- thinking, for example, when is a high school too big? I have not done any research on this, just wondered. But recently I read Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point, and he reports that more than one social scientist has found that the for a group to maintain stability 150 individuals is about the limit. The number was first proposed by British anthropologist Roger Dunbar. 150, roughly, is what our neocortexes have evolved to cope with. Beyond that number the group needs to divide. Or, as an alternative, more restrictive rules will have to be imposed on the group.
Sorry, I'm afraid that I thought I had some refs that I would add later - now sadly have to file under "links I should have kept". There's certainly been relevant stuff written by various 'sociology of the internet' authors but (with appropriate irony) most of the web published material is now drowning under marketing and SEO pontificating. Still it's important to try to understand what are the limits of Internet based communication, particularly where 'legitimacy' is claimed on the basis of 'digital democracy'. The structure of PR may actually serve to boost overall discussion participation because there are lots of sub forums where individuals can feel they are being heard or have confidence in writing about a specifc area. I'm aware of at least one such structured forum that has thousands of registered members, although daily contribution across the whole site is largely confined to less than a 100 members and I'd guess about 50 posters are responsible for 80% of the content. Now I'll have to file this under 'essays I might have written' !
The stat was only 20% are diagnosed (that was for America) .. (this is going back a few years now, so hopefully it is a little better now).