EDIT: A few people have pointed out that this would be useful for other parts of the forum as well, particularly the Creations forum. I think that's a great idea as well.
People have pointed out the flaws and other issues related to this idea throughout the topic. I agree with them on many points, but this topic is merely about one idea to help keep things active, not necessarily a solution. So yes, I understand that many people flood the WIP forum with games that aren't worth reviewing, but I still think this is a valid idea for increasing activity.
I've been around since GM 4.0, and I've watched this community change considerably over the course of years.
One thing I've noticed quite a bit of is that the WIP forum in general has slowly slipped into a "dead zone" in a way. The biggest reason that forum changes at all is that people are constantly posting their WIPs (most of them too early in development to be show cased in my opinion, but I digress) and nobody is commenting on each others games.
I remember years ago how I would post some pretty poor work on there (poor by my standards) and it would still get 15+ comments on it within a few days. People were posting on there so frequently that the bad stuff got shuffled down the list pretty quickly while the good was commented on and brought to the top.
Unfortunately it has devolved from there. There are maybe 3 or 4 good topics going that actually have a decent number of hits and people tend to look at and comment on those ones only because they're used to the other topics with no views or posts being mediocre. This leads to some good WIPs getting ignored and pushed down while a few topics rise to the top.
Meanwhile the entire forum is flooded with poor work that only has 5+ posts on them. The only reason these have posts or are on the first page at all is because the poster keeps bumping the topic with the faint hope of having it commented on.
I don't know if anyone has seen the movie, but there is a film called Pay It Forward. The central premise is that if someone does a kind act to you, then "pay it forward" by doing five acts of kindness to other people. I believe that the same kind of thing is needed in the WIP forum. I currently have a topic there and while I'm hanging around the forum I will test out and comment on other peoples games. And then they'll be extremely enthusiastic... and then proceed to ignore other posts... like mine. So the forum consists of people refreshing the page to see if other people have commented on their topics while simultaneously ignoring everyone else's topics, and then they posts bumps asking why nobody is commenting on their topic. The real question is, why aren't you commenting on someone else's topic?
So here is what I suggest for the community: for every person who comments on your topic, download and comment on at least two other topics (edit: or at least, if you have a topic and want help, post around as well instead of just perching on your lonely topic, hitting the F5 every few minutes...), especially if the person who commented on yours has a WIP in their sig - comment on their topic. I think that if everyone had this mindset then it would breath a whole new life into that rather dead section of the forum. My topic has I think three comments on it, so I'll be looking at quite a few other people's posts. I am considering putting a reminder of this in my signature, and I would recommend others do the same.
I know this all might seem a little bit on the dramatic side, but it's not that I'm getting self righteous about it, but that I really have enjoyed this community over the years and would like to see it back at the level it was when I first joined.
EDIT: Yes, I realize this isn't a fix all solution. As a stated earlier, it's just a way to increase forum activity and community growth.
wow, i was just watching this movie the other day, and today i decided to randomly log back into my gmc account after months of inactivity. and this is the first thing i see. you have blown my mind. coincidence? i think not.
PLAY ALL THE GAMES :D