I've been keeping fish off and on for around 30 years now and just recently decided to give natives a try. Like many others, I sifted, sorted, and stumbled my way around the internet until I found this forum. So little information about keeping our own beautiful fish available that it's almost embarrassing. In fact, I know more about a red listed "soda cichlid" than I do about all of the shiners, minnows, darters, etc. that live down the street from me. Then I found this seemingly wonderful place. So full of information that I've spent the better part of six weeks reading and searching and reading some more. It has been great.
However, like so many forums, it seems that some contributors feel the need to flex their intellectual and keyboard muscles. As stated above, it took me some time to find this and in twenty minutes of looking around, I had more information than I'd found in a week of poorly worded searches on google. For many, this is the only source of native species info they have. I know the there are field guides. I'm 50 and own several. My generation seems to love books and I'm firmly in that camp. Books are awesome, however books and water don't really get along very well. Today's mobile devices seem to be much better with the wet stuff than books. For me, I'd much rather drop my phone in the water than my books. Fiscal responsibility be damned! I digress but am found of doing so and likely will again. The point of all of that was that the younger users are far less likely to grab a book to find something out than they are to google it. I have 4 kids, 22, 20, 18, and 16 who could find the answer to just about any question via the web faster than they could find a book on the subject in a library. So when I see a request for help identifying something answered with "go get the book" I see someone being potentially driven from this hobby. I'm sure that isn't the goal but I've seen similar behavior end other associations. The old guard ran out of people to berate and that was that.
I believe, again brand new here, that any call for help should be met with exactly that, help. Don't want to give an ID from a pic in a home aquarium, don't. In my life, I've often found doing nothing is much easier than doing something just to do it. But we Marines are known for an unusual level of creative laziness and that may be why I feel that way. Of course it may also be something about nice or nothing. Who knows?
I read, with interest, a thread regarding increasing membership. Just a thought, but going back to the generational thing, why not offer a choice of either a subscription to AC, a t-shirt, or a hat with a paid membership? If you break down the cost of the magazine, $ 7.50 per issue may seem a bit high when compared to an app but you can't wear an app. Also hats and tees get worn out in public while very few people actually walk around with a magazine all day. If I decide to take the leap and actually become a member, I'd take the mag but I am old.
So, I look forward to digging more information out of these threads and slowly adding natives to my planted and finally cycled 75. Thanks for your time and sufferance.