If a group is limited, for whatever means, to primarily technical matters, and topics, is their aesthetic growth also limited?
When a gathering is hosted and by definition the topic is “X film,” does this reduced variety of ideas also reduce the variety of images and image understanding?
Of course these are rhetorical questions (in the netdom they are trolls) that are meant to elicit discussion, not vitriole, but vigor seems okay, or it did at one time, and does still in some circumstances.
Most of the net forum posters self censor to survive. This means that they issue tiaras to one another out of fear of trolling, or feeding the troll. Large forums are primarily craft, and technique focused. Unfortunately they even limit the level of problem addressed under this heading. Words can’t demonstrate mechanical, skill. How many times can you tell someone how to load a film holder or reel, or advise on cleaning a sensor, before you realize the reader of your post will never acquire the experience to do the thing they are interested in.
Many of the stays, answer the questions daily, but then for them the interaction is an answer to some need unfilled by their real world.
Artisitic growth requires intense ability to self examine, that doesn’t come from online power gatherings. Test this concept:
those with the most posts in any forum, have the least offline growth. Their aesthetic growth is flat, at best.
Your own development will be increased by limiting your technical exchanges. Get past the need to gossip with the crafty ladies of the camera club. Workout why you image what and why you do, rather than how or with what someone else does theirs.