^_^ Ruen, and Allan probably have some good ideas. Since they, like me, have been on at least two other gaming sites. We now know the warning signs of irreparable site death. And we have seen what is popular. ^_^
*keep*First and foremost, you need awesome people. Pwned has that, so that is why it still has a heartbeat, however faint. Awesome people must stay active. *pokes a certain half black man*
*newish*Contests are fun but only if they are relatively easy. One site we were on had caption contests which were super popular for a while. Post a picture, users comment, other users vote on which caption is the best. That caption and the picture are posted as one, at the end of the week. Archives of pictures with the winning captions are available in links. If pwned is too proud to copy that exact idea, then we could have a Best Gamer Picture weekly post. In which a user takes a picture of something game related and people vote on which user has the best one that week.
*bring back*Those mini shout boxes/chat boxes on the main page are cute and let people know that others are on here immediately. So they go "omg there are people here... the site isn't dead!"
*keep*People who take charge without taking charge. The first site I was on was great because the creator was always on but never actually punished people. The best leaders are the ones who don't have to do anything. His being there though was enough for all of us to (for the most part) stay in line, plus he made us happy. I am not saying the creators need to be here all the time, but people like them (admins/mods) should be. This is another reason why I like pwned as the admins are super coolio. So keep that.
*yes*The arcade games were also on my first geek home site. But they are relatively useless without scoreboards.
*no*Blogs on both sites never seemed to do anything but cause drama. While I love writing, pwned can do without them. Unless we want drama.
*new?* Site groups are nice for new members to attach themselves to. I don't even know if pwned has them. If they do, they need to be on the home page and displayed more prominently. Groups give some life to the site, as people who play games together on a regular basis can make their own and feel all special.
*new?* Medals! What person doesn't love achievements and medals showing that they got skills? This was one of my favorite things about a certain site. You had a place where you could see a person's medals. You get them for having so many profile views, so many pictures posted, so many friends, so many friends who you invited to the site, etc. Each medal has a tiny picture signifying the achievement and a cute game related name.
Soooo....the main point is to remember who your audience is! These are a bunch of people who like to compete, who have big secret (some not so secret) egos, who need stimulation, and are relatively lazy. Once you know what attracts people with these traits, then you know how to keep a site alive.