But honestly Nick, it's just a sharing and exchange of information. Without that, the forum doesn't thrive. I wish more members would share what they know openly. I'm not sure if it is lack of time, motivation, or a fear of being corrected.
As both an active member and a Moderator for several years (since 2004), I have had a chance to see and study the trends of the forum. I have come to the conclusion that a very large percent of the folks who visit the forum are really only after recipes or to solve pizza problems. They are a large silent majority, with many lurkers, and are not particularly interested in becoming active members or contributing useful content through posting, or supporting the forum in any other way (like donating to the forum). And they are not particularly interested in the science aspects of pizza making. Many people register solely to have access to the forum's search features (before Steve changed things a while back they did not have to register to conduct searches), which allows them to find recipes and other information they may need to make their pizzas as well as to approach other members using the PM feature to request help. And since most of them do not have WFOs or LBEs/MBEs or 2Stones, or a desire or ability to construct same, they are mostly interested in recipes that can be practiced with standard home ovens and using ingredients that they can find at their local supermarkets.
The favorite recipes among this group are for the NY style (with the Lehmann NY style dough recipe being the favorite) and for clones of chain pizzas, even small regional chains. You can pretty much tell where they are looking for recipes or information by looking at the page views of the most popular threads. Many of those threads have little current activity yet have extraordinarily high page views (see, for example, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?board=36.0
and compare with http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/board,26.0.html
). The ideal recipes are those that are are like cookbook recipes with everything pretty much in one place, and preferably with volume measurements (although many have scales). They by and large will not read through threads, and certainly not long ones, to find the recipes. I learned this when I created the compilations at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8297.0.html
. Note the relatively small number of page views considering that the former thread is over two years old and the latter thread is about a year old. I suspect that people are disappointed when they open up those threads. Had I known the chilly reception that those threads would receive, I would not have created them.
At any given time, there are only a small group of members who are active, hard-core members such as yourself. And that group can change quite dramatically over the course of a year. Newbies have the shortest life spans on the forum and, as a result, rarely end up contributing much of value to the forum. They are the hardest group to help because they need a lot of hand holding. On occasion, a superstar will emerge from that group, but that is quite rare.