SMTs and communities have unbelievable potential in the mid to longterm. But with only 60k active users u can't expect miracles over night. The tokenization of forums and chats of giant websites could revolutionize the web as we know it.
Next thing that needs to be focused on will be scaling though. To run a full node is unbearably expensive now, because it needs 1 TB of RAM, that's insane.
No. You don't seem to understand how the reward pool works. Actually we recently hit a new alltime high. Never have been more tokens paid out before. Don't get confused with all the SBD that was printed (and worth 5$ each). It is just that the tokens are worth so much less right now that it seems unattractive. When you say reward pool you actually are talking about the worth of the tokens paid out (in Dollars). Yes, we had 5million before, and yes it is now down to 737.000 again. So we lost 85% of that, too. But it will rise again when BTC rises, because STEEM rise with it.
check out steem.supply to see how the reward pool grows and shrinks independently from the worth in Dollars (of it).