I think Conservationist's post was extremely intelligent. (Except for the part about systematically listening to every song since 1995, that was a lol.)
From my experiences on other discussion forums and mailing lists, and from my thinking about this topic as I continue work on creating a website of my own about metal, I'd like to add a couple things.
What's there to say?
Scholars write about metal, but there are three critical factors here: (1) they need to write to receive their degrees in university; (2) they often get paid for it; (3) they often get published and can use the text as a credential to further their career.
On the other hand, if you're considering the prospect of writing some stuff intended for no other space than an internet discussion forum and/or an accompanying website in DLA, I suggest you think very long and hard... because you'll be working long and hard to be sure, and the question is a matter of productivity. Is it worth it?
Will you just be preaching to the choir, and if so what is productive about your writing? If you're going to really break new ground, and if your discourse is of a high level, then wouldn't you rather submit your article or paper to get published somewhere rather than keep it posted just here? Is there an in-between space between these two sides of the coin? Yes, for example a discussion forum can be a very nice medium to use at one juncture on the road to publishing.
DLA already has some really nice articles, and I don't mean to criticize them. I benefited from them back in the day, but I was actually interested to read them, and I was in a mind space where I took the time to seek them out. If I hadn't gone looking for them I wouldn't have found them. At the end of the day you have to ask, are they elaboration of a belief system, laying it out in a descriptive fashion, or are they more actually persuasive, arguing for certain ideas through logical reasoning; if the latter, how successful are they, and if they're successful then shouldn't they be delivered to a wide audience?
The internet allows in modern times for the beautiful thing called aggregation. Increasingly as the art of aggregation is being better learned, it's realized that it's not so much where texts are posted to, but how access to them is delivered or granted. For example, if a bunch of you write high-level articles about metal for various publications around the internet, and then you maintain on DLA a list of links to these publications, what's the difference between that on one hand, or on the other hand posting all the texts directly to DLA in the first place? The texts' accessibility to DLA users remains exactly the same in each case.
What is this thing called 'community', or 'identity'? What is the *significance* of this forum's identity? Is it about the content or the people? Does it seek to create an image as part of its message to its target audience? How are the principles and ideals it holds reflected in the medium of its message?
In my view, the most important thing is to be crystal clear on all these questions. When any forum or medium for discussion possesses a very high degree of awareness about its relationship with its own subject areas and meta narratives, then I think it's very likely to be a success, whatever subject areas it deals in. Because it can't be clear and honest with itself about its own identity, and fail to fill a legitimate niche or void; the identity of the forum and its utilitarian usefulness are mutually contingent.
It's all about efficiency... which doesn't leave time to catalog every song since 1995! ;-) When a poster sees a high-level topic on the forum, what are they thinking? They realize getting into a heavy discussion will consume much of their time. What motivates them to want to discuss, then, a band's heritage, or etc? And moreover, if you measure the amount of intelligence being expended in that thread, could the forum be made to utilize said intelligence in more efficient ways, for the end benefit of both the poster and the forum and the ideas sought to be promoted?
To what extent have administrators of this forum established relationships with other high-level metal websites? How many people are there who would be interested and able to contribute to high-level discussion? What about the financial aspects of it, and is it sustainable? Has what you want to do already been done? Are you sure it hasn't been done, have you conducted research to be sure in the dusty alleys of universities it hasn't already been started? Etc. So many questions, and so many failed forums on the internet, so think long and hard, don't make a first move without a long plan.