This is what I want to say to THT.
THT, you can't moderate the forums all by yourselves. What if a topic gets closed due to flags for off-topicness, or spam-flagging and you're not there? What if a user needs suspension over the weekend?
We need a goal to work for. You get to regular, then what? People are goal-driven. Lots of people left because without leaders, they had no goal. No role models.
The mistakes of certain people in a group can't be used against all of the people. It's like a teacher saying, "Last year's class was rough when playing soccer at recess, so this class can't play soccer this year at all."
You saw what happened when you announced the demotion, right? No further explanation needed.