As a somewhat newbie to this site, it was difficult to find answers to my questions without yet being comfortable with the forum. It also appears that others have that same difficulty, given this post even existing. When threads go 79 pages, it can be hard to extrapolate answers to certain questions on the topic, especially when things get off topic.
In a perfect world, the information on this forum would be boiled down and compiled into some form of FAQ that touches on all the common problems and mistakes for each style and topic, but that takes a lot of work (hell, you could probably write multiple books with all this information!). Maybe it would help to have stickys of the most helpful and informative posts to some of the more common issues and topics of discussion in each section just to make them more visible and to help eliminate redundancy. Or some kind of "helpful links" section that will point you in the right direction. A section dedicated to using the search options efficiently would probably also be helpful.
Yes, sometimes things do get off topic, but often threads go many pages because they are documenting learning experiences with valuable insight and input from many people. If someone simply wants a recipe, this might not be the best place for them to start. If they want to learn and improve in a specific style, there is no better forum on the internet.
Reading entire threads is valuable. It gives you insight into what works and what doesn’t and more importantly, why. Because everyone faces a unique situation with their home pizza making equipment and ingredients, a cookie cutter solution will likely never be the best. Any attempt to distill down to the “important” information would be subject to the bias of the person doing the distilling and what they saw as important – not what might be important to the person reading the summary.
IMO, to get better at pizza takes effort – both research and experimentation. There is simply no substitute for either knowledge or experience. You are rarely going to get valuable information by asking very broad questions. They will largely get ignored, and when they do get answered, you will generally not get the detail you need anyway.
It strikes me as silly to think that someone would come here wanting to learn to make better pizza and expect the regulars here to do all the work for them? Heck, how do I know they will even read what I write if they have never shown any effort up to that point?
When someone has done some work, posted some pictures, written some on their experience, etc. and then has specific, focused questions based on what they have learned so far, I’m more than happy to share whatever I know and in as much detail as possible.