Regarding Barkingturtle's ban, Guenny is essentually correct. The thread in question was this "Wed Feb 9 19:22:12 2011 [Kaolian]: Banned for this post. http://everquest.allakhazam.com/forum.html?forum=4&mid=1297199847276642703&page=3&howmany=50#msg1297262092227302410
Regarding Varus, He was presented an option for being unbanned, he chose not to avail himself of it as of now.
Regarding slowness in the forum, its always a little slow in the holliday season typically, it should pick up here around mid february if past indications are any guide. Both Asylum and OOT lack sufficient good content generators. Their is sufficient population to reply to threads and keep them going, and there aren't many that I would consider detremental thread creators, but there aren't enough to keep that gestalt going. As i've mentioned before, I have hangups about seeing too many posts by me as an admin on the front page that I never had as a user, though I've also posted my share of annoying threads so that may be a good thing. We have the lurker count, we have a small, but significant active population that is active in both forums, so merging OOT and Asylum at this time probably wouldn't help, and it would be hard to spell AOOTsylum. Whatever else you say about Varus, he created alot of threads.
Part of the thread creation problem stems from the forum longevity. thouse of us who have been here a particularily long time have seen most of the standard classic threads multiple times. We get in ruts, and it becomes hard to think of things that havent been done, when in reality it doesn't really matter because there has been so much time between them. New posters seem to subconsiously have the opposite problem. They seem reluctant to post threads potentially because they are worried that they have all been done before. Thats one of the reasons this place runs so heavy to news and politic discussions these days.
There are a few core thread types:
User interaction game / quiz / entertainment threads - These range from the Weekend update threads, to quizpolls of doom and back again. LAST, Continue the story. End of the year Forum awards, etc. They tend to be quite popular, but also take effort to set up, and they can get overused and repetitive really quickly. Thats mainly what happened here. People took LAST too far, and annoyed a bunch of other people who aren't even here anymore, and they slowly trickled off.
Flame threads - The core "us vs. them" mentality of the 3 or 4 different factions that once dominated the Asylum isn't there anymore. Most of the posters who have been here longer are older now than we were, some of us (present author excepted of course) have matured somewhat. We've also several of us met one another now. It's hard to build a good mad at someone you have shared a good meal with. Plus there is the need for new blood in here, so people have toned it down a little over the years to try and help aquire new users. Or maybe they just got bored. I dunno. There isn't the underlaying remnants of spectacular guild implosions to drive anything anymore. Also, the troublemakers go away sometimes quicker than they did before, which dampens things a bit.
Politics / news / discussion threads - These we have plenty of, but they only go so far as relevance remains. Some last longer than others.
Random wackyness threads - Many of these were me before I was an admin. There are still some in the OOT, but they tend to go in different directions than the Asylum is used to historically. It's hard to pull off without annoying the crap out of everyone.
Of those thread types, we really only see one of them in quantity anymore. There is definitly oppertunity for new threads more often. People need to really consider that New Content, even if it doesn't go the way they plan, is still new content. If its annoying, people will thread jack it into something else quickly enough.
Whatever else you think about the rest of the site design, the recent forum upgrades seem to have been popular, and our view numbers are up. There are more people watching what we post at any given time, we just need to convince more of those lurkers to start posting. As much crap as people get for ever suggesting other forums come in here, recruitment threads are probably exactly what this place needs to be honest. I dunno. I'm open to ideas if anyone has any.