Here's last Friday's poll again. It's nearly finished, as of the time of this posting, and its results are pretty overwhelming.
Of those who bothered to take the poll -- nearly 1800 people as of this moment -- 62% of them entered the hobby by 1984, with a huge contingent (42%) of them entering between 1980 and 1984. Those who entered between 1985 and 1989 and between 1990 and 1994 are neck and neck, with 13% each, which is healthier than I anticipated but still a significant drop-off from the all-time high of the early '80s and below even the 1974-1979 period. The Post-1995 periods are both small but that's exactly as I expected it would be.
But what does it all mean? The poll certainly isn't scientific and it's undoubtedly skewed because of where it appeared, but, even so, I continue to feel that it pretty accurately represents the history of the hobby: rapid growth during the late '70s, a high peak in the early '80s, and a gradual decline till the present day. I'm open to alternate interpretations, so, if you've got them, let me have them. Bonus points if you can present them in a polite and non-dismissive tone.