Well...I didn't think I'd be writing a response in this fashion, but these are questions that need to be answered. I'm thinking that after this, we may need to have a good, long hard look in the mirror and answer the blatantly obvious question - do we as a community have a chance without Stack Exchange's support, or should we start branching out elsewhere?
Do you ask questions?
I don't for two distinct reasons.
I've asked all of the "simple" questions that I can think of, really. I don't think there's more that I could drum up to be answered for the simple sake of seeding the community.
The questions that I have that are really hard and really niche, well...my Google-fu skills have improved to a degree that I could either find an answer or motivate myself towards an answer on my own these days, or...get a solution from another community.
My biggest issue is that we don't have enough active subject matter experts on hand to be able to answer the questions I have, and it's entirely too time consuming to become a subject matter expert in more niche animes just to answer one or two burning questions.
Do you post answers?
Sometimes. Only when I feel like I can answer a question will I try to answer a question.
But looking back... I've answered a grand total of five questions this year, and eight last year. Those don't hold a candle to my '18 or '17 campaigns, and even then...I feel like only 92 answers on a site that I've been a member of since late 2012 is pretty...pathetic. That averages out to something between 11-13 answers a year.
The real issue is that I'm finding it difficult to answer the questions being posed. Do I want to really hunt down what specific music piece is playing in this anime on this episode between the 5 and 6 minute mark, or do I want to answer something better? Obviously I want to answer something better but I'm clearly not finding it here.
Do you engage in Meta more often than on the main site?
I think it's mixed. I do show up on Meta "often" but I also show up on the main site about as often.
Do you still find it worthwhile to ask new questions, or do you now not bother because it would not be as interesting to know the answer (because it's something trivial or not that important and you can live just fine without knowing the answer)?
I may have answered this earlier, but I feel like it would be more worthwhile to ask questions if I could be reasonably assured that there was more than one or two people that heard of some of the series I was referencing, and would be willing to engage in a Q&A about it.
Would you rather (and do you) talk about anime/manga/VNs/games in a free format (chat/forum) than engage in Q&A activities?
Funnily enough, Torisuda's answer was eye-opening on this.
It's something I've kept tucked away in the back of my head for years now, but seeing it laid so bare and out in the open made me realize that the kinds of discussions I want to really have about anime and manga can't happen in a Q&A format.
I won't mince words here - I originally came from Stack Overflow and I've been over-indoctrinated in how that site works. The problem is that the same pattern does not exist and cannot exist for non-technical sites, since we're not really trying to ask questions - we're trying to have discussions. To be fair, I was probably one of those reviewers trying to shut down things that weren't really in a Q&A format.
I'm starting to regret that now. We had a chance to form a community based around what we wanted early on as opposed to fitting our shape into Stack Exchange's mold.
I may be seeking a more free-form environment to engage since I really do value anime as a passion.
I'm starting to consume less and less of it - and subconsciously I suspect that it's because I want to use it as a way to seed more interesting questions here, and I'm finding that hard to do or even desirable to do at this point.
Do you think in recent years fewer question-worthy works have been produces in the anime and manga space which led to the expected result of fewer questions being asked?
No, there's been plenty of interesting and diverse works that have had questions.
It's not that the works themselves are without question or don't have an audience asking questions, we're just not doing anything to capture or welcome that audience here. To further complicate things...if we're talking about just manga, then there's a really really strong chance that we won't be able to have conversations about a lot of them. I hate to say it, but compared to the scanlations works that are going on and the actual series that have been serialized and distributed for mainstream production, and given our reasonable rule about not offering any links to pirated works, we're effectively snuffing a large portion of people who actually do consume this material and want to ask questions on it because it's not legal.
Or do you think that over the years of experience watching and reading, you have come to understand Japanese culture and anime/manga industry background more, so that you usually can figure out the answer to your questions on your own, and so asking (or posting a question and the answer) does not seem worthwhile to you?
Ironically, I've just completed two semesters of basic Japanese for the sake of consuming media from Japan, and while I feel pretty good about that, it does seem like a hollow goal. Am I only just learning Japanese so I can reference original Japanese material without fear of getting called out for sourcing something pirated, or do I really want to learn the language and culture? I feel it's more the latter, and in recent months I've been more engrossing myself in the culture and the language itself rather than just aiming it to be about anime and manga. I don't think that the question or answer piece matters much at that point since, at that instant, I have the ability to figure things out for myself and I can find different communities and areas to pull insight from as opposed to Stack Exchange.
Do you think posting trivial facts about minor mysteries would not be a worthy addition to the site's list of questions and so you often choose to not post these types of questions?
I don't think they're worthy so I wouldn't bother adding them. If it's Googleable in about 5 seconds, then I'd really rather not bother.
How do you think this site could benefit from (more or different) user interaction?
I think we're stuck.
We don't have a convenient means for people to engage with the community-at-large to talk about series or discuss things that are more nuanced than a simple question and answer.
It doesn't matter who we bring on or who we attract; that limitation exists so long as we're on Stack Exchange.
Would it go too far out of scope of the Q&A site's purpose and/or introduce too much responsibility for the moderating part of the community?
Do you think we need more of the same activity?
No, since the kind of activity we are getting right now isn't the activity we want, when to be fair we haven't shown examples of what we've actually wanted in the past.
Do you think we should find new interesting ways to engage old and new users? Perhaps going out of the limited scope of just questions and answers? Something we could do in chats or revitalize the group anime watching sessions?
Commitment and dedication have to exist for that to happen. I worry that we're all so far detached from what we had several years ago that we're not going to be able to reach the older users. To further complicate that, if we don't have support from Stack Exchange Inc. in this mission, then we're burning tons of energy. I don't use software or hardware systems without some level of support, and I feel like I should hold my communities to that same standard.
What are your thoughts on related forms of entertainment and how do you think they could be introduces more into this community?
I feel like we've been very accepting of visual novels, manga and anime from China and Korea, and some American produced anime-style cartoons as well. The problem is that no one's really asking about those things.
How would you like to have fun spending time with other people interested in anime, manga and related entertainment?
I'm weird about my anime; I like to consume it in isolation and in peace. I like to engage with others if I have questions or if I want to talk about a plot point that I think comes up during the show, but that's about the extent of it. The problem is that I want to talk, not just ask questions.