Edwin - 8:01 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
What do you think of the site on the whole?
Still dip into it almost daily, mainly to see what's happening in the Supporter's Forum.
Strong, but only because I've known it for many years. I can see how it wouldn't resonate so well with people stumbling across the site for the first time today.
Still there, but gradually diminishing as long-timers abandon the site (there seems to be a never-ending river of newbies, but my gut instinct is that more long-timers are leaving than mid-timers are sticking with it to become long-timers)
What is your OVERALL impression of the site?
Positive, but there needs to be a much harsher approach taken to newbies and their questions. It's frankly unacceptable in 2010 to come to a place with the depth of posts and collective experience of WW and start asking 1998-era questions (what is an affiliate program, how should I exchange links, can I make money online, etc.)
These lines of questions need to be nipped in the bud immediately, as they're the biggest interest-killer for long-time and expert users that I can think of!
People need to wake up to the fact that there's literally BILLIONS of pages of information out there (many millions of which are within WW) that provides all the basic grounding they ever need. That wasn't the case 10-12 years ago (think pre-to-during the .com bubble) when everything was still relatively new and shiny. But it smacks of laziness at the very least to turn up on the WW doorstep and start firing off the kind of questions that
A) Have been answered a gajizillion times before
B) Could be answered with 30 seconds of Googling
If anything, WW needs to refocus to concentrate more on the advanced/professional webmaster community. Farm out the newbies to all the thousands of other forums, and stop humouring them. It's no longer fun or cute to see them come gambolling here like kittens learning to play in this exciting Web-playground-thing. That got old years ago, and it's positively ancient today.
And yes, we were all newbies once - but any focus on that ignores the fundamental factor I outlined above that the goalposts have changed: the level of experience available a search away is hundreds of times greater than it was even a few years ago, and similarly the "cost of professionalism" whether it's hiring experienced writers/programmers/whatever on one of the many sites dedicated to that kind of thing, running strong software platforms, putting a website on a solid hosting foundation etc. has dropped to a tiny, tiny fraction of what it used to be.
Bottom line: people who've literally just woken up to the idea that "Hey, I might be able to make money off of the Web" need to be more proactive and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps (using the free information, ebooks, tools, services, etc. etc. that abound all over the Web) to a minimum level before participating in discussions.