Competitive sports: If people do not learn the joy of winning, Britain would never have had the Olympics they did have.
Not coming first, will teach people life is not over, because they did not win. If there is a competitive spark in the loser, they will work/train harder to do better next time. If not, they will realise, after a while, that it does not really matter.
In photography, I suppose everyone who takes photos 'with intent' ( other than the hourly snapshots to go on social websites), will want to do better, if they do not quite get the result they hoped for. Once the 'bug' is caught, people will find photography related articles, books and websites and will try to improve.
About this website: Mick has said often enough, he offers the platform and it is up to us to 'fill' the site. So go ahead Jane (and everyone else) use and revive the 'dead' threads, and make the site livelier and more attractive.
ABERS, let your friends know they do not have to enter the competition. If more photographers of your calibre would join, and do 'their own thing,' it would only improve the value, quality and enjoyment of the site.
With a bit of luck there will soon be threads that really catch on, and in doing so, remove the competition posts to second place.