I've had an idea that will mean mixing things up -- thanks to some of the feedback.
Public members forum like it used to be - partially supported by affiliate adverts.
Restricted sections for paid members covering aspects of van life that people may not want to be public, including resurrection of the political/news section.
Will think about other features such as private conversations etc.
I won't open anything up until I'm sure I have everything in the right place.
Still pondering the best way to do this, but cannot at the moment think of a better way forwards.
I feel your batting the ball in the right direction for sure with what your suggesting there Paul. A paid members only section is alright with me as well but to bring in some more everyday chatter and discussion by having non member public sections will ony be a good thing as there is only so much half a dozen or so folk can post about.
For a forum like this to pull in folk and create activity there needs to be refreshing stuff that interest folk. A streaming radio player add on or a section where folk can really get the music thing going and highlighting the current music trends etc. dJ-ing various genres and sub genres of music is a massive thing among the current alternative scene, but with that its where facebook works to keep folk linked up and in the loop of their circles unfortunately, but if there's nothing of the current trends no matter what on an independant forum then its not going to have much to offer to draw folk in.