Hi! I set up my OAC profile back in 2009, thinking it sounded like a cool idea, and then never used it for anything. I haven't been lurking, I didn't visit the site at all (true confessions). I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who sets up profiles and then never uses them for anything. Maybe the barriers to participation should be a little higher. What if interested parties had to comment on a few discussions as a guest before setting up a profile?
Also, the thing that brought me back to OAC after all this time was getting an email about this discussion of its future, if that's relevant info. Glad to be listening in now!
Adonia, you are right that members would probably take this place more seriously if they had to work at qualifying for participation in various ways. When we started, we wanted to make it as easy as possible to join, thinking that was what open meant. Many people not only set up personal profiles, but also groups which they then abandoned responsibility for. Later on, we introduced moderated entry as a way of controlling spammers, so we have moved away from the open model in that respect. Some people have suggested charging for membership, but I prefer the kind of constraints and incentives that you (and Juergen) mention.
I'd be happy to help somehow. Wish I had programming skills to contribute!