A few nights ago, I saw only 3 registered users online -- and one of them was me xD. I completely tl;dr'd this thread besides main bullet points, but here are my thoughts:
RL is at at a point of paradox. The members (both staff and non-staff) who [i]are[/i] here are very dedicated to the site. But no matter how many events or projects or promotions or xyz we put out at this point, we don't have enough consistent forum traffic in regard to registered members in order to support them.
Perfect example of this is with staff. Yeah, there are only like 3 staff members who consistently interact with the community. But even if we purged and reinstated old / new mods, so what? Sure, having more active staff might help to create a more welcoming environment, but it doesn't matter how welcoming it is if we've already scared away nearly all potential members over the last 2 years due to a cult of personality among the registered users and a lack of discipline on part of the staff as a whole.
It's not that surprising, honestly, when you combine the fact that over the last few years there's been a decline in RSPS overall with a moderation team which got so comfortable in their spots that they forgot that they are supposed to be prime examples of good behavior within the community, a chatbox atmosphere which turned people away almost instantly upon being ripped to shreds for asking for help, a complete social wilderness between members where everything was one big soap opera, and an administration team which has fallen through on a lot of promised updates in the past.
tl;dr: a lot of different things have contributed to the massive decrease in activity within the community, but there's no easy answer to raise the activity level (including just purging and reinstating staff) after having driven away the vast majority of potential members over the last few years. Admin team has really tried in the last few months, but to be brutally honest I don't know if there's much that can be done at this point.