Many speculations about the different participation styles have been written and already been interpreted for criticism. Since Stephen explicitly asked (why not subscribing), I want to give answers for my own case.
I did not know in advance if I would be among the many of the 2000 who just wanted to look at the massive spectacular and then drop. As I wrote in my introductory expectation I estimated two weeks of staying for me. So you may count me as the opposite of one who dropped unexpectedly: I stayed unexpectedly, at least till today.
Lisa’s description at Kenkat suggests that this first phase of massive interest, hype and “running around” can be viewed as clearly separated from the subsequent rest, and so I count this finished phase as a massive success.
But I probably don’t even count to the 2200+ because I never managed to subscribe the Daily by email (somehow I got lost in the registration forms when associating my OpenID credentials with my Email address). But that’s no problem. In fact, there were (and still are) even more technical “teething troubles”, and in spite of everything the second phase is still very successful. Minor problems still seem to exist with the update of the “Posts” page (which dutifully stopped at a post of Oct 1st that contained a picture of a large “stop” sign), and with the update of the feed list and the OPML file. All this could not stop the momentum of participation. In fact, people seem to don’t even notice these minor problems and, for example, Jenny’s blog is well visited without ever being centrally announced.
Participation cannot be measured by contributions to the forums. I wrote in week 2 that I don’t like their style. But even if I did, I would not subscribe because my inbox has changed its role quite a lot since my first email in 1984, and I recommend to the Moodle course creators at our university that they use the forced subscription type only for the out-of-the-box “News forum” for emergency notifications such as “class cancelled due to sickness”.
Well, I never contribute to the live sessions. As I wrote after week 2, the synchronous discussions are simply too fast for my ESL knowledge. (Let me take the occasion to thank all readers for their patience with my bumpy language!) And unlike Sia, I don’t feel uncomfortable with this constraint, because synchronous tasks have never been my preference.
Another mitigating factor for me is that I don’t get graded and so I can be more sloppy with doing my assignments. (But even if I was graded, I think I would not strive for a good mark. At my own school, we were ambitious to pass with a minimum of unvoluntary effort, except one of us who aimed for a limited access major. So all this overrating of assessments seems somewhat alien to me, anyway.)
All these factors should be considered before speaking of “failing”.