I agree with you to a very limited extent on the Cane Rossos out there, however, I think you are overly optimistic on the influence of this forum. Of the 20,000 or so members, only about 10% have more than 5 posts - let's say those are the folks with meaningful interest. I think that's generous. For each interested member, perhaps there are 4 serious human guests. About 10% of the posts here are in the NP forum. Let's use that as a proxy for interest in NP. If each member and guest interested in NP then told 10 people meaningful information about NP, and they each told 10 more people with zero overlap at any level along the way, then 0.03% of the country might have been influenced by this forum with respect to NP. That's 3 people out of every 10,000, and my guess is that's a big overestimate. I bet it's less than 1/10 of that. I'm not trying to diminish this forum. It has an important purpose, but it is not and never will be to educate the masses on NP.
Craig, no offense, but your numbers are a bit arbitrary. I've seen lurker/member numbers thrown around many times on quite a few forums and while they can be greatly exaggerated (On one forum, I read a post that referenced 1,000 lurkers to every member) they can be underestimated as well.
If you look at the guest numbers on the front page, it's usually around 8-10 guests to each member.
But that's not really the point that I'm making. Our impact on the public is not that direct. When Cook's Illustrated wrote their most recent pizza recipe, where did they come? They came here. There's enough information gathered here that when people write articles, this is where google takes them. Haven't you told me stories about meeting people that have never heard of the forum, that know about your story? Before I started recommending soapstone, the distributor that I went to was overflowing with remnants. 8 months after I started recommending it, they were just about empty. On multiple occasions I've spoken to people who've gone shopping for steel in various parts of the country and their steel people have told them "we've been getting a LOT of people coming in to get steel for baking pizza on." This is not a coincidence. When we flap our wings, the effect ripples.
If there was a bigger repository for pizza information on the internet, I'd be there. There isn't. And this isn't some closely guarded secret. Anyone with basic google skills knows that we're it. The obsessives are gravitating here. And it's the obsessives that are the most amped about pizza, the most likely to talk about it with their friends, the most likely, when asked, to tell the truth about Neapolitan pizza. We don't have Slice's page views, but we make up for that in breadth of knowledge. And, like I said, Slice has done a boatload for the Neapolitan cause. Every photo they post of Neapolitan pizza, the cause wins a little.
It's not like, one day, everyone is ignorant about Neapolitan pizza and the next, they're all enlightened. It's a painfully slow progression. But it is a progression. Neapolitan pizza, to John Q American, no pun intended, is new, is novel. NY style falsely repackaged as Neo is not. It's old and it's stale. You can just picture the dust and the grime on the walls. The younger generation is too obsessed with novelty, authenticity and world cultures not to, if given the chance, take Neapolitan pizza seriously. For those of us that aren't Italian, this generation is not like our parents, who might have mistakenly assumed elbow pasta and tomato soup was Italian. I mean, seriously, have you ever read a Betty Crocker or a James Beard cookbook? It was a different universe 30 years ago. And it will be a different universe 30 years from now. And part of that journey is a better understanding of world cuisine. We have a better understanding than most of our parents, and our children will possess far more details relating to world cuisine than us. And some of those details will be pizza related.
The world isn't really melting any more. Instead of merging into a monoculture like a lot of people did that passed through Ellis Island, we're preserving cultures and treasuring them- and I'm ecstatic about that. If only we could have started developing this world view centuries ago.