Thank you @ellicottraven for your critical, yet level-headed and respectful comment. No offense taken.
Let me explain to you and others that there were many factors that went into this calculated decision and it was made after much careful thought and consideration. And to address two common points many members have made -- the monetary cost of running the boards (or anything involving sponsorship) was not the driver of this decision. Also, the purpose of the move was not to try to drive traffic to or increase our followings on other social media platforms.
We looked at a lot of data -- both internal (about our boards) as well as external (digital and social media usage habits in today's world). While many here have argued that the site's traffic will significantly decline because the majority was made up by usage of this board, our numbers did not show that. Over the last several years, we have seen significant declines in the number of active users while audiences on other social platforms have drastically increased. We understand that the smaller group of regular board users here are extremely active and we very much value your avid support of our team. We are constantly evaluating everything we do with the intentions of delivering the best to our fans and reaching the widest number of fans that we can. There came a point when we felt that we could better server our fans if we devoted our resources -- including time -- to other initiatives.
We fully support thoughtful and insightful discussion and always prided our community on that tenet. We understand Facebook and Twitter may not be everyone's favorite modes of communication, but there are plenty of other fans who feel differently and use them to engage teams, athletes, media members and other fans in thoughtful dialogue. Everyone may not be in agreement, but it's widely accepted and acknowledged that conversation today occurs on these platforms. And while trolls and negativity are present on those channels, we have seen (particularly over the last several years) an equal amount of trolling/attacking/negativity on these boards. (I realize the users may not have seen it, but just ask the mods how many inappropriate comments have needed to be removed from this community.) The intent was never for Facebook or Twitter to completely replace the boards. We are only encouraging members to visit those platforms because they provide ways to keep you engaged with us and each other.
The "powers that be" are aware of this decision. Our team was well aware that the very active people in our community would be upset by this move. I don't want you to believe that we don't care about you, because we certainly do -- we are reading every single comment. As others have recognized though, the digital landscape is evolving and we are doing what we feel best serves our fanbase as a whole.
I am not asking that everyone now agree with our decision as I truly understand the disappointment being felt by some. However, I hope that everyone can respect the thought that went into it, know that it wasn't made on a whim and realize that the fans are always at the forefront of our minds in everything we do.
Thank you for reading. And thank you for your loyalty, support, passion, heart and dedication. It's those traits that make the Ravens Flock -- undoubtedly -- the best group of fans in the world.