Over the weekend, @skybrian posted a topic about feeling like you're posting "too much" if you submit too many links on the same subjects. As I said in my comment in there, I've definitely felt the same way sometimes, and I think we should try making some changes that can improve on this.
One of the most common complaints about Tildes is that there isn't much content overall, and that most of it's very "general interest". This is largely because of how the site is set up now, where instead of having different communities, we basically just have one community that's lightly categorized by the groups. It's mostly the same users posting and discussing topics, regardless of which group they're posted in. This is totally fine and has worked well in a lot of ways, but it's also limiting in other ways, especially that it basically discourages posting "too much" about any particular subject because that will be annoying to all the users that don't want to see so much of that content.
One of the best ways that Tildes will be able to grow is by being a place that's known for having good content on different topics. When I started /r/Games on Reddit, I was one of the heaviest submitters for quite a while, making sure that the subreddit was always full of the type of high-quality content I wanted to see. There weren't many viewers or commenters initially, but continuing to consistently post a lot of good content attracted more and more people, and eventually it became self-sustaining.
We need to be able to take a similar approach here, but the current structure of the site is preventing it. For example, I'm one of the most frequent submitters to ~games (I've submitted about 1/3 of the topics in the last month), but I usually try to only post 1 or 2 topics there per day. I could easily submit 10-20 most days, but I know that will annoy a lot of users that don't care that much about games. That feeling isn't a good thing—it prevents any group from being able to "take off" individually.
So to improve this, I think we're going to need to make some changes, and/or figure out some new patterns that we can use.
First of all, I think it may be time to switch away from the current "opt-out" setup for groups (where you see everything by default) into an "opt-in" one where you have to specifically choose what you're interested in. This is something I've always planned to do eventually, because I think "forcing" everyone to see things that they're not especially interested in is both harmful to quality and causes a lot of strife. Switching will absolutely have some downsides too though, including that the activity in the more-niche groups will probably drop even more.
It may also be best to switch away from "Activity" being the default sorting method. Again, this is something I didn't really expect to keep as the default forever, but it's been helpful while the site is small. However, having every new topic show up immediately in the most prominent position on the site just makes it even more annoying for people that aren't interested in the subject. For them, the top of the site keeps getting taken over by posts they don't care about. We're seeing this happen with ~music right now, because some users are trying to make it more active—which, again, should be a good thing—but I know that it's annoying some others.
Some other things that might be worth considering include making it easier and more obvious that you can ignore individual topics and tags, adding new options for creating and filtering different "views", adjusting site behavior so it balances how many posts it shows from each group (but that would likely be confusing), etc.
Another related topic I wanted to bring up (which @skybrian mentioned and I think is an interesting idea) is that we might be able to use "megathreads" more extensively somehow. For example, maybe having a megathread on a particular topic is a better way to judge the demand for a group/sub-group on a particular topic. Right now it's hard to do that because there isn't really any dedicated place to post if you're interested in something specific, but we might be able to encourage more activity by using a megathreads as almost a "testing ground".
For example, if someone's particularly interested in woodworking, it would feel awkward to post a bunch about it in ~hobbies and effectively take over the group with woodworking content. But if there was a "woodworking megathread", it would be both more encouraging and contained (and easily ignored by other users), and if that thread started getting consistent activity from multiple users it would be a good indication that a ~hobbies.woodworking group would probably be able to stand on its own.
I don't really have any particular plans for that kind of thing yet, but I think it's a possibility with a lot of potential, and we might even be able to find some ways to improve how megathreads work to support it. I'm definitely interested in hearing thoughts about how we could enhance threads to make them work especially well for that, including better ways for users to find and know about megathreads they'd want to read and participate in.
I feel like this was a fairly scattered post with a lot of different thoughts in it, but overall I'm just looking for feedback or other ideas for ways we can adjust so that the site can keep growing and increasing in activity smoothly. This is important to figure out, and I think we're reaching the point where it's starting to become more urgent to do it soon. Let me know what you think.