I have followed this thread and have been reluctant to comment since I am such a newbie here. I wanted to see what the old timers had to say. As someone getting back into golf after an extreme layoff and without the desire to be quite a committed to the game as most of the users here, I do have some opinions that may leave some here with a bad taste in their mouth.
First kudos to the MODs!! You guys are doing the best you can with the resources you have. I know that sometimes it is a thankless job and that it is always a payless job so big props to you all for stepping up.
As to why I cam to the site, it was a search engine driver that led me here. I was looking for club reviews online and one of the first links was to the MGS forum. Didn't know anything about this site prior to that. So as to what led me here, it was a search engine. As to why I have stuck around comes to a couple of factors. I was reading the forum threads for info and enjoyed the fact that it was user driven content that was organic and not being driven by MODs or outside influences. I also enjoyed the positive comments and the helpfulness that everyone showed to one another. Then throw in that there didn't seem to be any trolls lurking around was just icing on the cake. I enjoyed that aspect of it and came back a few times without signing up or commenting.
Then I found the testing. After looking into it and seeing what was happening, that is what drove me to actually signup as a user and try and get a chance to be a tester. I followed the rules needed for setting up my account and adding a pic. I became active as a contributor to the threads, mostly for comic relief and not to add in the technical details as I left that to the guys who know what they are talking about. I entered the testing submissions and was chosen to test the Edel wedges, which is in progress and if you haven't followed you really should.
So why am I sticking around? I have the wedges that I am testing, I probably won't contribute on the level that most of the regulars are from a technical stand point, and I know that chances of getting back to back test opportunities are slim at best (especially considering the lack of testing opps that seem to happening). I could just walk at this point, no harm no foul.
Two very distinct reasons - personal drive and social camaraderie. As for my personal drive, I an not the type of person to swoop in, get something for free, and leave. I was chosen to provide a review for the wedges, hopefully one that will be read and enjoyed for its practical content as much as its lack of technical content (though it seems from the previous entries in this thread less and less people read the reviews, which may in all honesty be a reason for less opportunities, just saying). I will do my best to provide a review that reflects how I tested and what my feelings about the product is. I know we have a template that the review is supposed to follow and I will follow it (as best I can), but I hope as well that everyone enjoys the review for what it is, a non-professional review for a high-end industry product.
The social camaraderie aspect of this site is the main reason I am sticking around. I am enjoying seeing people post their round info and their best shots. I like reading people's opinions on topics that help me to work out my opinions. I like the helpfulness of everyone and how users congratulate and provide solace as needed. This site is an oasis in a desert of sites that are driven by trolls, instigators, and influencers. So keeping the core users here intact and happy should be the driving force for how to evolve the forum and drive its visibility to those not yet familiar with it.
Could the forum be updated? Yes. Could the layout be changed? Yes. Should the users have more say in its content? We already do as we drive the threads, but we could have a feedback section that is more visible than the suggestion box channel that is currently in use or even a dedicated feedback focus group (much like the MODs) that provides info for changes that are in progress or that would like to be seen. As far as HQ goes, nothing we say or do here will probably be a driver for what they want to do going forward, so why even bother to bring them into the equation with regards to the forum itself. Testing is a different matter and we should all be as vocal as possible on that front. Send emails, snail mails, text messages, whatever is needed to get out the message to them about testing.
Outie like Kurt Gowdy. Peace.