Just a quick note that I've shut down the Introduce Yourself subforum. I know we see such subforums frequently. In short: I couldn't correlate it with anything important on this site, and obligatory intros online are somewhat annoying anyway.
-I couldn't find a strong correlation between long-term retention (people coming back here for months) on this site and the posting of an introduction in our Introduce Yourself subforum. To contrast, long-term retention DOES correlate with viewing our hand-curated Best Homemade Tools subforum or viewing an ebook.
-I couldn't find a strong correlation between our top members (most posts, most tools, etc.) and the act of posting an introduction.
-We can tweak the forum software and various messages so that people are encouraged to introduce themselves; there are a variety of ways to do this. I remember at our peak we were running multiple such modifications, and getting 25+ introductory posts per day. The vast majority of those people did exactly what we encouraged them to do - introduced themselves - and then never reposted again.
So, at least for this forum:
-Can't demonstrate that posting an introduction makes one a more interested member.
-Can't demonstrate that posting an introduction makes one post more.
-Can't demonstrate that posting an introduction makes one post more tools.
-In their first post, people sometimes prefer to "introduce" something that they built, rather than introducing themselves.
-Socially obligatory introductions make perfect sense in physical meetings, especially in a real-world Community of Practice. The argument for formal introduction is much weaker in many online communities, and may largely just be some sort of vestigial meatspace-to-cyberspace social practice.
-We've shifted away from trying to boost mass registration numbers, to looking for good tool builders online and personally inviting them to post here.
-As we grow larger, I want to clean up all of the low-activity subforums.