Quoth Ishkur, at conception of his forum. I think it still applies:
"Like all messageboards, the Audio Forum will start off slow, then grow into a "Silver" period where new people just as intelligent as the old will add to the bustling community with new thoughts and ideas and great threads and timewasters. This will grow in size and scope (as well as multiple forums), harbouring in a new "Golden Age" where the "old guard" of alpha males and cliques officially gets established, and as time goes on sets itself as a kind of bureacracy, resistant to change and overly-protective of its status.
Then the board will get too big. Idiots, trolls and spammers will show up trying to exploit the community's eclectic atmosphere, and a new guard will try to oust the old guard. Much fighting will ensue. The signal-to-noise ratio will plummet, as it becomes obvious to more than a few that the usefulness of the forum is inversely proportional to how many people there are (one of the internet's greater ironies). People will complain that things have changed while others will counter that nothing has changed, just they have. And in the end it will be like every other attempt at a serious and sensible web community: a trash heap of ignorant human opinion, socially aggressive attention whores and lackluster attempts at restoring its former glory, when, much like Pandora's Box, it can never be that way again. It will become a bitter, intolerant, hollow shell of its once proud sense of self-worth.
This will probably occur over the span of about two years. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, depending on the popularity of the community. It has happened. It will happen. I fully expect it to happen here."