Author Topic: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!  (Read 8713 times)

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Offline dmcavanagh

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A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« on: June 27, 2012, 10:56:37 AM »
I always get a chuckle when a new person comes on, introduces themself and then asks how to make pizza expecting one persons response to solve all their problems. It's not that easy folks, take advantage of the wealth of information and knowledge that is present here, but don't try to take advantage of the members who provide it. A little reading and research into all the material that is here in the various forum topics would go along way toward solving most peoples problems, but many think they will take a "short cut", ask a very broad question and instantly get an answer that will have them making great pizza. You gotta do a little work yourself, his is a forum, not a free lunch! ::)


Offline pizzaneer

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 11:05:41 AM »
I'll add to that wisdom:  sometimes it's the spirited debate among forum members that you can really learn from.  We are a community of strong-willed, creative people, and everyone has their favorite approach. 

Read, learn, experiment and post!
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2012, 11:24:06 AM »
The search feature is your friend......be friendly!    ;D
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline anton-luigi

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2012, 11:36:34 AM »
There are soooo many knowledgeable people on here it will make your head spin.  There is no "best" way or "easiest" way to make your favorite pizza.  A bit of research and a specific goal will be the start of your journey.  Asking questions along the way with regards to "specifics" of your particular recipe and/or procedure will take you where you need to go.  I LOVE this forum.  I took a bit of a break from here over the last year or two,  but after re-activating the camaldoli paqcket I had left in my fridge after my wife tossed my Ischia,  restarted my passion again.  Now I need to a WFO in the backyard.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 12:03:55 PM »
Dave,

That was a thoughtful and considerate post, and I thank you for it. Because of the substantial growth of the forum, to the point where there are now close to 60,000 new posts a year (all of which I look at in my role as a Moderator), and the significant increase that that has meant in my Moderator duties, I feel that I can no longer find the time to respond to posts where a member simply states a problem, like "Why is my crust not browning?" or "Why is my dough not rising?" I honestly don't think that any member, no matter how thoughtful or well-intentioned and generous with his or her time, should try to "guess" answers to such broad questions. Maybe we need to come up with a comprehensive checklist of questions for members to answer where the information they have provided is incomplete. That way the burden would be placed on the inquiring member and save a lot of time and posts trying to dig out all of the information needed to provide a good response.

I should also add that new members, and even existing ones, might benefit from reading the forum's Pizza Glossary at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html.

Peter

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2012, 12:12:19 PM »
I think a "sticky" checklist is brilliant!
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 12:16:35 PM »
Pete

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but lately I see a lot of people come on, introduce themself, post a question and then almost get in a "huff" if it isn't answered immediately or to their liking. Also, many intorduce themself and are never seen or heard from again. Glad you approved of my post and I hope the right people read it

Dave

Offline norma427

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2012, 12:37:23 PM »
Dave,

I also thank you for your thread.  :) I have also seen new members post and members try to help them and some of them never come back to let the forum know how the information helped or didnít help.  It does take time to find links to help newbies or even members that know about pizza dough.  Some of the time the questions are too broad to be even answered if there isnít enough information given.  There are many variables that go into making the many types of pizzas and it is hard to be able to try and help someone that has never made pizza or is having many problems with the recipe they might be trying that isnít already proven.  There are many great threads on this forum that explain how to make almost any kind of style that members might want to try.  I would say to try out some of the proven formulations first.  Even then, mixing times, yeasts, hydrations flours, final dough temperature, balling, opening doughs, the level of experience someone has, baking temperatures and so many other variables still come into play.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 12:49:02 PM »
Well said Norma!  It could be called the...."No magic bullet" sticky.   ;)
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Moondance

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2012, 12:53:08 PM »
When I first started making pizza and found this forum, I spent hours searching infomation and experimenting before I felt brave enough to post.  The response and support was fantastic by the folks here and it helped me in great strides to make really good pizza.  I agree 100% there is no quick answer. As I was told, practice, practice, practice!   I also really like Pete's suggestion for a sticky check list.  Lately I've been searching for infomation on making calzones and have found a lot of posts to get me started!  My weekend project  ;)
Regina

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."
John Muir


Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 01:07:23 PM »
Moondance

I used to make calzones a lot but haven't done them in a while. If you need any help I'd be glad to tell you what I know. Good luck and enjoy, I really have to get back to making calzones, maybe this fall.

Offline RamirOk

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2012, 01:10:00 PM »
Great post, I was like Moondance (mostly for my bad English) I spent a lot of time reading and searching in the forum and getting the answers I was looking for.
Something that would be great is a related post area like the one in yahoo answers that when you type your question it show you related questions to see if one of them is useful before posting. But that is something more complex and the checklist is a great start.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2012, 01:31:10 PM »
Dave,

As a Moderator, especially after many years of being one, you get to see everything that happens, including trends and patterns and peoples' likes and dislikes, and so on.

The way that the forum is now set up, new members are required to post an introductory post before doing anything else on the forum. Part of this approach, which Steve introduced over the past year or so, is an anti-spam measure. And it works well. We have cut down spammer and malicious activity significantly, and I no longer wake up every morning to several spammers and troublemakers who penetrated the forum overnight while I was asleep. We still have new members who try to sneak ads into their introductory posts or in their signature lines or avatars but Bill and I are onto those people and they will be detected almost immediately and they will not get very far. In some cases, they are summarily banned.

But, introductory posts also gives new members an opportunity to introduce themselves and for other members to get to know them a bit better. I personally enjoy reading the introductory posts of new members. However, many people--maybe even most of them--register on the forum simply because they cannot get access to the things that interest them if they are just a Guest. A Guest cannot conduct searches, enter posts (e.g., to ask questions or seek other help), exchange PMs with other members, view any member profile information, or even see who is online at any given time. Navigating the forum as a Guest is extremely difficult. Guests have to enter the indexing system, find an entry point, and scan the threads (usually many pages worth) until they find the thread that interests them. That is time consuming and painful. I know because from time to time I will log off of the forum and pretend that I am a Guest looking for something. But with a few simple keystrokes, a Guest can quickly become a registered member and have access to all of the information they want without any fuss or bother. It is really a no-brainer.

A good part of the traffic on the forum is people who are looking for recipes, just as they might look for recipes elsewhere on the Internet, as I myself have done on many occasions. They are especially interested in clones of their favorite chain pizza or local pizzeria. That is how a thread like the Papa John's thread, with little recent activity, can get to #8 on the forum's top ten threads by page views (it has over 106,000 page views). The same pattern can be seen in the American board, since that is where the threads where most chain pizzas posts are kept.

I suspect that the vast majority of new members do not join to become active members of the forum. The reality is that very few members escape their introductory posts into the main forum. I believe that is what you have been seeing. I might add that some of our members are thoughtful enough to take the time to welcome new members after they have introduced themselves. I only do that occasionally, with special reason, because I know that over 95 percent of the new registered members will not escape their introductory posts and will be gone shortly thereafter, although they may revert to being lurkers at that point.

I wouldn't hold my breath that many people will see this thread. Most people who visit the forum are not interested in the forum or any related statistics or anything else like that. Look at the page views of the threads under Forum Info and you will see what I mean. For the most part, they are also not looking for a social component, like virtual or real-world friendships, as have occurred with many of our core members, yourself included. They are really only interested in pizza and having access to the information they need to make pizza. And most of them have only standard home ovens at their disposal (many of our members live in apartments), not wood-fired ovens, although LBEs and MBEs are hot topic areas at the moment, as is the Neapolitan style. scott123 is perhaps almost singlehandedly putting home pizza makers on the map even with their standard home ovens, with his steel stones help and oven mods :-D.

We have a lot of very nice people who come to the forum. And I try not to predict who will stay or who will go when I decide to help them, although I am well aware of what the statistics are.

I think some of the recent posters have talked me into trying to come up with a checklist :-D. I am scheduled to be on vacation starting later this week, so maybe I will find some time to generate such a checklist.

Peter

Offline RamirOk

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2012, 01:50:34 PM »
Pete,
A thing that I use a lot and kept me long time without having to register to the site was searching in google "site:http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/ MY QUESTION" and I still use google to search in the site for simple things.

But I agree with you that many user register for searching and things like that.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 01:52:28 PM by RamirOk »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2012, 01:52:38 PM »

I think some of the recent posters have talked me into trying to come up with a checklist :-D. I am scheduled to be on vacation starting later this week, so maybe I will find some time to generate such a checklist.

Peter
That sounds great Peter....as if you don't already do enough for everyone here! Please try to remember...it's supposed to be a "vacation". Thanks for all you do... ;)
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2012, 02:03:49 PM »
That sounds great Peter....as if you don't already do enough for everyone here! Please try to remember...it's supposed to be a "vacation". Thanks for all you do... ;)

Bob,

Thank you. Like it or not, I always travel with my iPad and laptop and keep in touch with what is going on on the forum. Since the forum is based on an indexing system, every post has to be looked at to be sure that it is in the right place and otherwise in proper order. If I don't keep up daily, after a week I would have over 1000 posts to look at upon my return home. I know that Bill is perhaps doing the same thing as I do, but it has become a habit with me to do things the way I do.

Peter

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2012, 02:11:54 PM »
Pete

Sounds more like work than vacation, but I know it's a labor of love!

Offline bfguilford

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2012, 12:32:28 PM »
As a relative newbie, I can say that the primary reason that I joined was to be able to use the search function. I then discovered just how friendly and helpful the members (especially the core members) of this forum are, and very quickly came to appreciate the assistance and feedback that I have been given as I started out on my pizza making journey (OK... I think I lost Craig when I posted that I don't eat meat  ::)).

Quite simply, I would probably never have gotten to my current level of addiction (to both pizza and this forum) without the replies that I have received to my posts and PMs, and I really appreciate the good natured bantering, as well as the respectful disagreement that characterizes this forum as members push each other's learning curves.

I only hope that I can start to add some value for others who, like me, used this forum as a launching pad, and then discover just how valuable it is.

I would have welcomed the checklist when I joined, and would welcome and use it now.

Peter... as a former boss of mine used to say, the reward for good work is more work, and the reward for really great work is a LOT more work. Hats off to you. Enjoy your vacation.

Barry
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2012, 01:05:09 PM »
(OK... I think I lost Craig when I posted that I don't eat meat  ::)).

No. I'm still here for you.  ;D  There are several meat-free folks here for whom I have the utmost respect. I just don't understand all ya'lls choices. I mean, a great Margherita is my favorite pie, however this is on the pit as we speak...

I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline RobynB

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Re: A Word to the Wise for Newbies!
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2012, 06:29:25 PM »
TXCraig1 said: 
Quote
No. I'm still here for you.  Grin  There are several meat-free folks here for whom I have the utmost respect. I just don't understand all ya'lls choices. I mean, a great Margherita is my favorite pie, however this is on the pit as we speak...

Well, I won't eat meat but I did go out and buy Aleppo and another jar of Calbrian peppers to experiment with tonight in your honor  :D  I just found a jar of Tutto Calabria crushed hot chili peppers, so I'm using some of that for your oil.   And I did buy Prosciutto for the meat-eaters too... 


 

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