I've been a member for over 5 years and I understand where you're coming from, but I don't necessarily agree with all your conclusions. Overall, this continues to be an excellent forum and has many numerous, outstanding posts. Can some things be improved? Sure.
I find that "Veterans' tend to be more critical of Newcomers because Newcomers tend to ask the same questions that have been answered numerous times in the past or are so general that we don't know what they're looking for. We get frustrated and tend to lash out. I'm guilty of the "Why don't you use the tools provided on here" syndrome. Then I realize that it's not obvious to Newcomers how to do that.
I put the Root Cause of the problem at the feet of the way the site is organized. I've been shouting about how the site needs to be organized to help Newcomers get up to speed and how they can get the most from the TONS of information in here without asking the same basic questions over & over. For Example: how many times has a newcomer ask a question in the "Where Should I Eat?" Forum about a town that has been discussed Ad Infinitum on numerous threads in the past. They ask because mainly they don't know how to use the search tools to find the answers and it's not visibly evident to them that there's a way to do it. They don't know what they don't know!
Here are my major pet peeves and suggestions to improve the site, especially for Newcomers:
Granted, most of this hard to find information is buried and scattered somewhere in the bowels of the site BUT a step-by-step, "How To" instruction section for Newcomers needs to be created and consolidated and then PROMINANTLY DISPLAYED
ON THE HOME PAGE so it's impossible not to see it. It should include the following topics-
A. History, Philosophy and Purpose of Roadfood.com
B. The Rules of Conduct and the importance of constructive posts.
B. How to do a search with step-by-step instructions and examples.
C. The benefits of becoming an Insider and all the services provided with that distinction and how to use them .
D. How to use all the other tools and any other topics helpful to a Newcomer.
Don't expect Newcomers to automatically know how to currently find and use the site as currently constructed. It took me years to figure somethings out and I still don't know all the ins and outs of the site.
I contend most of the negative issues that pop up can be corrected by the Education and Proper Instruction of newcomers AS WELL AS
I've been posting about this issue for years and have never been contacted by anyone in authority who can give me a reason why this can't be accomplished or if they think I'm off-base on this issue.
<message edited by Foodbme on Tue, 01/10/12 12:38 PM>