Don't look for me to be adopting the democratic model of the family woodworking forum anytime soon. I never say never, but I am a control freak and as long as something is hosted on a server that is my responsibility, I feel I need to have the ability to control how that server is used.
In short, it's my sandbox, and you guys are welcome to use it, but I am not going to wait around for a committee to decide whether it's okay for the cats to crap in it.
I checked out the tractor forum, and I think really like that model of sponsorship. I especially liked the section titled, "Hey, look what I broke today!" That has always been my experience with tractors and farm equipment.
Breeders World dot com has just started sending out unsolicited e-mails to everyone who has registered with their forums. I got two e-mails for cattle sales in the Midwest yesterday. I've managed to figure out how to opt out of future mailings, but I sure found it annoying. That's something I will pledge to never do. I can see a point where there might be some sort of e-mail newsletter associated with this forum, but it will be strictly opt-in, not opt-out.
Travis's experience with forums with large growths in membership and an associated decrease in usefulness and focus is something I have also noticed. When I joined the US Border Collie Club's forums many years ago, there were under 400 members, and most of us had at least a passing familiarity with Border collies as working dogs. Now there are more than 4,000 members, and most of them are wondering whether the latest toy at PetSmart would be good for their dog, which the shelter told them was probably part Border collie (or BC, or [gag] Border).
That's something I really want to avoid here, and it's one reason that I ask people to explain their interest in sheep when they ask to join. I don't care so much about the number of sheep that people own -- I've approved a few people who are simply thinking about getting sheep -- but there's a mindset that I want to maintain here. Sheep are a production animal, not a pet, not a lawn ornament. They require care, and that care requires thought. To the extent that this forum can be a place where those thoughts are hashed out, it will be useful.
And that's my goal. Keep it useful. Make it more useful. The membership is the key to that, and I thank you all for your posts.