Hi Stitchmouth. I've thought a lot about posting in this thread, left it for weeks, then finally decided I should post.
As the former guild master of Four Winds from Burning Crusade through Wrath of the Lich King, I did try very hard to keep the RP community going. I ultimately failed, and that is why it took me so long to post here. I don't want to bring down your drive and enthusiasm.
Instead, I'll post up here what I tried that did not work. As I was also Four Winds' webmaster at the time, I opened up two additional forums on our server. One was for anyone and everyone to come and RP at. To coordinate when the official forums got too hostile, to advertise new RP guild formings, new events, or to just socialize. That was Lands of Lightninghoof. I don't know why this one didn't work, other than perhaps its strength was also its weakness: it was one extra layer of communication, to those who called the LH official forums home.
The other forum few people knew about, because it was aimed specifically at the RP leaders of LH, and only them. This untitled forum allowed Alliance and Horde RP leaders to coordinate. At its peak, I believe there was a representative from every major RP guild on the server, which was at the time quite a few. However, while the initial momentum was great, nothing could ever be resolved in that forum. I believe it was a case of too many cooks in the kitchen.
Four Winds also had a number of alliances with guilds. Notably there was the loose alliance between Cult of Luukos, Four Winds, and The Eternal Order, which I think everyone knew about. We were the "big 3" RP guilds, and thus our decisions affected much of the community. A mistake of mine here I believe was directing the Four Winds to improve from within, to the point of not being aware of the social issues Luukos and TEO were dealing with. We might have been able to do something. As it was, Luukos crumbling was like a tripod losing a leg. TEO falling apart much later did much the same.
Four Winds also belonged to an inter-RP-guild OOC channel which supported many of the smaller RP guilds of the time. While that channel lasted, there was at least a decent number of RPers on the server. Trolls locking the channel had some minor effect on the loss of this channel, but the real death of the channel was infighting between RPers. When a hobby you love falls apart, it's easy to blame its loss on someone else's shortcomings. "-Those- sorts of RPers", or something like it, preceded a number of statements during that time.
Still, the channel was successful for a time, and it has a spiritual successor in WeRP. I note that people still use that channel, and that's heartening to see. I am still of the belief that if an RP community is to be established again on Lightninghoof, it will start with an OOC channel and open-minded, helpful members.
There was more to the downfall of the RP community, but this is already long, and I'm trying to keep this to what I know -didn't- work for LH.
RP tutorial nights to some extent worked. They briefly upped the RP quality of those attending. RP tutorial nights also by necessity involved teaching those attending how to /ignore the inevitable troll, and how to develop a thicker skin.
I also think one of the biggest problems that Lightninghoof faces is the pain of remembering what we once had, magnified by the "Good Ol Days" phenomena. Wyrmrest Accord and Moon Guard are then the salve. A golden place where RP does happen. And successfully, those places draw RP leaders away from this server (I am one such, admittedly).
Why do you or don't you role-play?
I don't RP here, haven't in a year it seems. I feel the server with a few notable exceptions (special props here to Truenoir and Kelthuzadia and their efforts) is not conducive to an RP community anymore. Those people I come in contact with on the server, randomly or not, are mostly not RPers, or give me that "vibe". I extremely rarely see an MRP addon.
In contrast, on Wyrmrest Accord, the Four Winds are reviving. Four new RP recruits in two days, without even a serious effort put into recruiting. It is unusual to see someone -without- MRP, and standing in any major city tavern or inn has you inevitably surrounded by RPers RPing. I do RP there, and it feels good. I am not trying to carry the weight of justifying RP to others, or to show people how great it is. I just RP.
Do you want to help?
I believe that I'm too burnt out with trying here to help, but I'll watch this thread and see if I can offer any advice or insights. It's a huuuge burden to try to get LH's RP community on its feet again. Your Big Three, if you still want to do this are yourself, Stitchmouth, Truenoir/DSC (hi Bodua!), and Kelthuzadia. All three of you explore darker themes in your RP from my experience, so perhaps focus on that.