Some forums come and then they go.
Others grow and grow and grow.
This one has been having growing pains. We get so many questions it is hard to keep up with them.
I have no reason to believe that forums in general have declined in popularity--even temporarily. True, some forums have declined in popularity or even ceased operating, but that doesn't mean that forums in general have declined in popularity. (I don't know what the figures are on forum popularity if there are any such figures.)
How about posting the rewritten essay so I can comment on the improvements?