I don't mean the forum. I mean the actual practice of adults, starting as adults, often in middle-age or more, holding down a full time job, taking care of family responsibilities, having varied interests and engaging in varied activities, no formal music degree, but also playing cello. In public, or not. In orchestras, but also some in small chamber groups, with a local pianist, or in a band.
It's hard for me to tell. I see good signs, and some not so good. Definitely, the times they are a-changing. People seem less willing to engage in activities that don't pay off immediately. Perhaps the wave is over -- those folk who would have started, did, and it will take another generation or two to come of age before such a wave begins again. I see it not just in music making, but in also other activities that require butts to get off the couch and turn off the electronics.
And too, activity in this forum really has fallen off greatly over the last decade. Less controversy, but, of course, less substance.
However, the Internet resources available to a beginning cellist have greatly expanded and are far better than they were a decade ago. Then, what was out there outside of ICS were shoddy, worthless eHow videos and the like, built as advertising platforms to attract clicks from search engines. But that was then. Now, there's some awfully good stuff available, although for the better stuff, it's not free -- you have to pay a little. My cello and I get out a lot, and people come to me and tell me how their niece, grandson, etc, has become such a better cello player from videos. I've even had a cello teacher work with me using a set of videos.
Of course, anybody that tries to learn cello without a teacher is not serious, or just a fool. But, it is likewise foolish to not use other sources -- Verify your understandings, test your (and your teachers) assumptions, consider other's points of view.
We shouldn't be surprised that activity here is low. Learning adults are directing their questions elsewhere. And that's ok, this place can't compete in that arena, it never really could or should.
I guess C-ing BN will never get to the level of Violinists-ing BN (Sorry, that community has long had healthier attitudes, and adult-begunners can enter more genres and opportunities). Still, just because activity here is low does not mean a lot of us are not out there, going to a performance or rehearsal tonight, cello in hand. Regardless of CBN, Long Live C-ing BN!