The new look offened many people, but the biggest problem has been sheer brokenness. The site is finally close to normal functionality again, but it has taken almost exactly a year to get to this point. How many people do you know that would stick with a broken, barely functional site for a full year? how many people do you know that would bother to check back with a broken, barely functional site after a year to see if it's working yet? We had a perfectly functional site, had it ripped out from under us & replaced with a nonfunctional garbage pile, and were left up shit creek for a full year. Is it any wonder everyone left?
At this point, even though the site is mostly functional again (I think a few things are still broken/missing, but I'm not sure), RJ's reputation has been utterly destroyed. It will take a very long time to rebuild that reputaion & either get old users to come back or get new users to arrive.
On top of that, the lack of interesting forum topics is a vicous circle. People stop coming to the forum because there's nothing good to read. There's nothing good to read because people quit coming to the forums.
*WARNING: The above post may be highly opinionated, read at your own risk.
There needs to be a serious effort made on the part of the administration to make it worth a visitor's effort to sign up and try to fit in/contribute. This site has to get GREAT traffic, but visitors come, check out whatever it was they were searching for in Google, then hit the road. To get people out of their shells, you need to offer them a reason to sign up that they almost can't refuse.
As it is, I fear that visitors see RJ more as a depository of nostalgic stuff, meant to shuffle through a bit and then be done. This has been exacerbated by the new look. It feels more like a library than a place to hang out. Just my two cents.