I've just had my attention drawn to this thread.
I'm probably one who fits the different persona category, as sometimes I manage to come across in an entirely unintended manner in threads. A long discussion with another cacher the other night pointed out that a few people who I've never met already don't like me based on some cache logs or forum posts, though most who meet me at events I've attended or run seem to think I'm okay. (They keep coming back anyway... maybe they just like the places I run events
I also lost a bit of interest in the forums after the anti GC stuff a while back, and I've been lurking a bit lately after a long sojourn.
The fact that people were too prepared to see things as personal attact rather than discussion was a detractor also. If you sit around a campfire and talk about each other and past experiences people don't start leaving their chairs or yelling at each other. It doesn't happen on Friday night YAK either. So it has to be a written word, no body language or vocal tone kind of thing tha causes the animosity.
A couple of threads I've noticed that started off as active interesting discussion degenerated into teapot threads for want of a better description, for the last few pages.
Whether that's good or bad I'm not to judge for anyone other than myself.
I probably don't find the forum as useful as I used to. But maybe that just means I know more about caching than I used to.
I have been caching for nearly four years and have just cracked 250 caches. That doesn't make me undedicated or inexperienced, it's primarily to do with the fact that I cache in low density cache to extremely low density areas by preference. My cache stats would attest to that. On the other hand I get the impression that people respect my hides and enjoy my caches going by the logs and I try and maintain the quality of caching rather than the quantity. If I go to a high density area now I tend only to do caches of those that I've come to know place good caches, unless I've learned on the grapevine of newbie cachers who place good caches.
On last weekends trip to Melbourne I despaired as TomTom beeped to announce caches at inane highway weighbridges and on the side of Monash Freeway off ramps where to even park the car unless broken down is illegal. That's not what caching is about. Just because you parked there once so you could change the babies nappy doesn't make it a worthy place to put a cache, even if doing so got you out of changing the offending reason for the stop.
Maybe what we are seeing in the forum is a manifestation of what is happening to caching in general. Quantity rather than quality is becoming a problem.
A newbie to caching these days will in their first 20 finds probably find more caches placed just because there was a park or a spot to put it, with short cache descriptions and very little in the cache page other than the maybe the logs to make it worth reading.
They then think that's what cachings about and start placing a few inane caches of their own, spreading the problem like a virus.
Maybe after a while they find some caches placed longer ago, or by cachers who have been playing longer, and they start to get an idea of what caching used to be about, and place a few of their own quality caches. We can only hope.
Those newer to the forums see the newer posts, which on the whole are less interesting than alot of the older stuff, particularly for those who are new and looking to learn about caching, and consequently they think that's what the forum is about. They either leave finding it unhelpfull, or stay and maintain the standard at what it is.
I'm only hypothesising. I think Dak probably has a point, I don't think it was meant to be personal. And I think if the same conversation had taken place on Yak or around a group table over coffee or beer the interpretation would have been different.