I have posted/contributed very little on this site so I wont be missed from that stand point. I also know this subject has been argued/discussed/etc but regardless I am having my day on the box because I reviewed the forums over the past year and felt a misdirected need to say something before I go.
I was excited when I first joined this association to only have my eagerness replaced by general disappointment. I know the people who run the site know they have issues as I have seen the posts and I took part in their survey that essentially asked what was wrong. I have been in Quality Assurance for quite some time and it takes very little of that experience to point out your problem.
Your problem is there is a toxic culture on this site. Perform a search for bickering, argument, etc and you will come up with a long list going back quite some time. Maybe a decade. So what does this mean? It means the issues here are not recent. Over time the normalization of deviation from normal rules of conduct, hospitality, care, decency etc has eroded your site creating the current culture that very few want to be a part of anymore. You have made it ok for personal attacks to dominate conversations. And people will ask then who allowed this, whose fault is it? I have seen a lot of finger pointing that its this person or that but as in any audit or surveillance that finds a toxic culture it starts and ends with management not the common worker/contributor. Your moderators and up are to blame as I have seen on several occasions where situations have been escalated by moderators or moderators doing nothing when abuses are hurled.
As an example I had posted if anyone else was having issues with member perks. What did I get in return? I was contacted by the association showing concern in a personal email. That was great. What wasnt great was the arrogance and nastiness I saw in several responding posts. Some say then you just need a thicker skin. Again normalization of deviation from a civilized standard. If you dont want people driven away from this then you have to address the people who are behaving poorly when they are behaving poorly. Being dismissive and stating its just a skin thickness issue just perpetuates the problem.. There should be zero tolerance of moderators escalating an issue ( sorry they must be held to the highest standard as they create the culture). For others you dont have to ban them but saying hey this doesnt belong or youre being nasty and cant post for a few hours or a day but you cant allow for no action. Everyone gets bent every now and again but people on this site take pot shots or derail posts for no reason other than they want to somehow satisfy their own narcissism.
Too many times I read where essential someone is stating, whether it be directly or more discretely, they are better than other people/brewers because the other people are stupid. I need a technical section because I am just way to darn advanced and I know much more than blah blah blah. I am sooo tired of these newbs its the same questions over and over. If you dont have this equipment that I spent 10 k on then you cant make good beer. All grain is far superior. Again these thoughts and "contributions" are toxic, all bunk, and should have no place here. Its as easy as telling the people that make consistent destructive contributions they are not welcome and if they persist you make an example and ban.
Again a short poorly organized rant as I hit the door..