@TKS Participation on the HM and Research forum was always extremely heavy since HairSite began, until a couple of things happened a few years ago. First, the poster “IronMan” and some of his followers started spamming the board with nonsense and aggressively attacking a lot of the other forum members (even with death threats). That whole episode lasted almost two years. The atmosphere on the forum got very negative and many regular posters were so intimidated they just left (many never came back). The nail in the coffin was Dr. Nigam and the backlash to Dr. Nigam. Dr. Nigam is a hair transplant surgeon in India who at first glance seemed to have a deep knowledge of how to culture stem cells and work with them for hair regrowth, but he made a lot of claims to be able to regrow hair that were not based on fact; they were more like promises. He offered to fly prospective patients out to his clinic in India to have an experimental stem cell procedure performed. It sparked a lot of interest. This created an even bigger backlash with posters appearing out of nowhere on the forum attacking Dr. Nigam, posting personal information about him, and basically smearing him incessantly on the forum. I am sure that many of these posters (who before this were never seen on the HM forum) were being prodded and encouraged to attack Dr. Nigam by their HT doctors. In fact, I think that much of this disruptive behavior was being orchestrated by some of these HT doctors and clinics themselves, because they saw Dr. Nigam as a threat to their incomes and an impostor. Granted, Dr. nigam seemed to play fast and loose with the truth and would constantly exaggerate and make unproven claims, or hints that he could cure MPB that he had no evidence for. But the angry backlash this prompted was actually way out of proportion to any damage Dr. Nigam was actually doing to the forum. The negative reaction to Dr. Nigam was actually so hostile and personal that it resulted in many, many regular posters leaving the forum for good – not because they supported Dr. Nigam, but because the atmosphere on the board was made so toxic for such a long time.
More recently, in the past year or so, it looked like the HM and Research board was rebuilding a following and the discussions started to become more friendly and interesting again.
Now that the layout has been changed, there has been another deep drop-off in participation.