caribguy - 5:31 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)
cornwall made a bunch of really good points, user churn is definitely a factor.
I've been reading here since the early days to solve specific problems, and finding (or deducting) answers without having to register. Meanwhile, I contributed -almost exclusively- on another 'expert' forum. This lasted for about three years, until I got bored: the majority of questions had been answered 1,000 times over and the odd high-caliber question would require too much time and effort to answer.
The same is happening here: after about three years of learning and contributing intensively, my frustration with 'Muppet' level questions has started to grow to the point where I become abrupt and confrontational in my answers... I want to be entertained, engaged and enlightened by WebmasterWorld - not frustrated! What keeps me here is industry news, the spiders forum, and a handful of individuals who take the time to share their incredibly high-level of knowledge.
For the most part, problem solving threads are either of an operational (how do I redirect a to b) or tactical (which CMS should I use) nature.
I've seen suggestions to start a wiki to answer the most basic questions rather than referring to the existing library. Would building a wiki-style "best practices" knowledge base help to answer the many entry-level questions? Probably not: answers often require a lot of hand-holding, and solutions are usually given by providing a detailed example for the specific use case. I'm not even touching the fact that a visitor who finds the answer in a wiki is not very likely to become a forum participant...
Like the OP, I couldn't give a rat's behind about "PIP in Topeka" or "I lost 51% traffic last week" - and when following those monthly Google search threads with hundreds of posts, I find myself weeding through mountains of clutter trying to find one or two pieces of gold.
Is it maybe reasonable to introduce a two or three tier membership level in each forum? Levels where the ability to post, mention names of companies or -behold- drop links is reserved (by invitation only) to those who have demonstrated their proficiency on lower tiers? Not that different from what we now have with moderators and administrators, just more explicit.
crude, but true!
bridge the gap between the "Muppets" and "the Professionals"