I am actually sympathetic to what both Dave and Cornicione have said, and I also think that petef hit the nail on the head in some of his comments.
In many respects, the forum is a victim of its own success. When I officially joined the forum, in 2004, there were about 200 members. A good month was about 45 new topics. I was perhaps one of the early "teachers" on the forum. As such, I had no problem keeping up with the volume. Much of that volume was newbies volume. Fast forward to where we are today, there are now 17,552 members "on the books" and in a typical month we can get over 400 topics. And we are operating at a rate where we can expect around 55,000 new posts for all of 2012. In my opinion, where we have not kept pace is in the number of members who are what I would call "teachers". We have had some very good teachers in the past, and some very good ones at the present, but perhaps not enough to support the current volume of posts. One way the Moderators have tried to address this problem is to suggest to new members that they use the forum's two search engines. We also refer them to the forum's Pizza Glossary at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html
. Steve, the owner of the forum, took this to a higher level with his thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,15262.msg150578.html#msg150578
, where he urges new members to familiarize themselves with the "terms and lingo" used on the forum.
It is not clear how many new members read the Pizza Glossary. There will always be some people who will want to short circuit the glossary and the search engines and just pose their questions. That approach is bound to offend some of our other members, who no doubt will consider the questioners to be lazy. Yet, to petef's point, I know how difficult it is to navigate the forum's content, whether for newbies or for the regulars. I try to address this problem as much as possible by referring members to posts that have covered the subject matter in question. Many of those posts are my own, which I have created over a period of almost eight years, and I can find them quite easily--more easily and faster than the posts of others--because I know the "keywords" I use in composing my posts. Norma has also been a big help in doing the same sort of thing. Sporadically, other members do likewise. Even for me, keeping up with the forum's volume of activity has been a real challenge since part of my job as a Moderator is to look at all posts, which is a chore that takes up a good part of my time on the forum, leaving me less and less time to devote to everything else I do. Unfortunately, it is also hard to determine who is just lazy and who is sincere and who deserves a good response and who doesn't.
The idea of using FAQs and the like has come up before. Unfortunately, that usually means that the persons who create the FAQs have to be the best "teachers". And, even with such a document, whether it is a "sticky" or not, and whether Steve directs new members to that document also, there would be no assurance that new members wouldn't bypass that document also and go right for the jugular. That means that members who might be thinking of helping the new member have to make a judgment about helping the new member or not.