>Interesting information. > >The current and future online environment as you describe >doesn't bode well for those of us who are looking for civil >and informative answers and discussions.
I can understand your trepidation, but Nikonians and sites like it remain a bulwark against the non-membership/free sites. The web is a morass of inequity, iniquity and worse all stirred in amongst the good stuff. Sorting it out can be a full time job. As ever, free equates with, well, free. You get what you pay for. Pay nothing, get nothing. Of course there are any number of freely accessible forums through which we can obtain (and sometime contribute) great information. Go find 'em if you have the time. But the longer we continue online, the greater the chances that co-opted site owners will allow the sort of guerrilla marketing so widely practiced these days. That may only mean that Nikonians and sites like it end up being an even better value for the membership fee.
Nikonians (members) are harder and more realistically critical about old, new and predicted Nikon gear than any other group online or in print today. The benefit is a well-aggregated collection of hard data and extensive user experience on which to begin basing both creative decisions and equipment purchasing decisions. Again, you get what you pay for.
If much of what some other (free) sites do is designed to generate as much traffic as possible in order to help generate AdSense, affiliate/super affiliate and paid ad revenue, and if such sites exist often absent any professional editorial controls, what on earth can be expected from those sites besides traffic-generating controversy, uncontrolled forums, blatant product favoritism and so on? Of course there are exceptions, but it's too often true that finding the exceptions within such sites and finding exceptional free sites to begin with is way too much like hard work.
Once again, Nikoinians to the rescue I think. Nikonians is far from perfect we know, but it's a safe bet for creative stimulus, technical advice and equipment advice. It's about what we both receive and have a chance to contribute in return for our membership fees.