New-ish to Audiogon Forums... Is it always like this?

I have been trying to be more involved in the forums over the last couple weeks, and I'm noticing a trend already. It seems that when someone asks for a recommendation for a piece of equipment, they provide little to no room/system context. In a couple threads, I've asked the OP to provide more information, such as system information, preferences, requirements, and the like, and ended not getting much more information. The thread ends up being a running list of members' favorite gear, whether it really helps the OP or not. Is this the norm? If so, I'll probably stop trying to be more involved.
yep you purdy much got the fix on things here

but one needs to understand that many people come here not knowing, have money, not knowhow, needing to learn, so it behooves us who have been around the block to have some capacity to educate

but i do agree, if, upon prompting for more info, the asker of the question still doesn’t step up, it is then clearly worth my time and effort to answer thoughtfully
As with any blog, these is good and bad. I agree that lots of folks come here looking for a simple, straight-forward "what should I buy?" question, or confirmation that they already know the right answer, and are not looking for a discussion or for someone to say that's not correct. But there are enough people who come here who do actually want help. Even when they don't respond, for whatever reason, the  "I have X, buy it. I tried Y, don't buy it." is helpful. 

Don't give up yet. I have only been here a few months, some threads don't go anywhere, many are dups, some go off the tracks, but overall most are good, and personally I really hope I've helped out a few folks, at least a little.
"...The thread ends up being a running list of members' favorite gear..."

It's hard to recommend gear that's not our favorite or we haven't heard. 
I've been here over 20 years. It ebbs and flows. Keep trying. Sooner, or later, a great thread will come along and you'll be rewarded with a "thank you" and a sense of accomplishment for your efforts.

"Do a good turn daily". Good words to live by.........

BTW, some of the most active threads on AudiogoN are "music" related threads (What's playing on your TT, CD player, streamer, etc). Lot's of good participation, no trolling, no competition, etc. Give them a try if you want a good, active, long running thread , in which to participate.
Sadly, much of what you have observed hits the nail squarely on the head.  It seems well over 90% of the time when someone suggests a piece of gear it is unqualified.  And, as you observed, the OP often never lists what qualities they are looking for.  So it is garbage in, garbage out.  It becomes a predictable and unhelpful exchange of the same things over and over.

On other hand, there are some threads that have been wonderful sources of information that have run for even years populated by some members who are real gems.  Just wished that occurred more often. 
The observations about people posting their favorite is is correct and it actually gets worse than that.

There are posters here that always recommend something they own, or want to own, regardless of context.

There are posters who denigrate other suggestions, based not on sound, but on where the product is manufactured.

There are posters who recommend or denigrate products they have never heard.

So you have to sort out who is making the post and whether the suggestion has limited or any value at all.

Overall, this is a good forum, and you can get some very useful information, but it takes some time and patience
Recommendations are merely subjective and should be considered as that. There is always useful information from valued members even if it takes some time to decipher their style or way of thinking, so you always learn.
Just keep searching and try to read all or most posts.

@grinnell - lol. I hope you were joking at least.

Thanks for the replies, it's good to hear that there are some diamonds in the rough. I'll keep an open mind, appreciate the good posts, and try not to let the noise bother me. I mean, it is the internet after all.

many of the comments made are accurate and insightful

i would only further add that this is an open forum, there is no qualification checking or needed to post... so as said earlier one needs to hang out here enough and understand (and research, via past posts) who the poster of any particular comment is

you can see how many posts a member has, for each comment posted, then you can click ’details’ of the username, see their history of trading gear, their feedback score, and importantly, whether they list a ’system’ with photos of it

there are some famous/infamous folks here who are provocative, seem to live here with no other meaningful life activity, been kicked out for their bad behavior, then come back repeatedly under new usernames... this classic ’troll’ pattern is
-- 'joined date' just 2-3 months ago
-- over 1.000 posts in that short time
-- zero history or user feedback as equipment trader
-- no system listed no photos
-- yet post after post, denigrating, arguing, being a ’know it all’
@jjss49 Great callouts! It certainly helps to consider the posters when weighing their comments. Having been here since the beginning, over time I've developed a few subconscious categories that help me sift through replies:
- lifers - those who've been here and on other audio forums for the long haul chiming in usefully based on experience with the issues/gear on topic
- promoting pros - dealers and occasionally others that blatantly or discreetly push their wares
- insider angels - manufacturers & other insiders that put the poster's needs above their own short term profits (more please!)
- promoting lemmings - those who often with limited experience promote what they own to reconfirm their decisions
- emerging enthusiasts - want and deserve knowledge to further their journey
- surface scratchers - newbies as described by the OP, asking overly simple questions, expecting nirvana on a silver platter in 180 characters or less, and often too lazy to accept that "it depends"
- zealots - angry believers focused on their preferences (digital/analog subjective/objective or tube/ss)
- everybody else 
Here's to more angel behavior, deep interest and enthusiasm...cheers,
Thanks for the additional, thoughtful replies. @sbank - reading through your list of user types, I cringe to think that I sometimes fall into the wrong category. Honestly, I’m personally still learning how to interact online, in the most positive and meaningful way. It’s odd that it is so different than talking in person. You’d think that it would come "naturally" but it takes some getting used to. EDIT - maybe it's just me.

yes, at audio circle there are notably fewer trolls and time wasters, manufacturers are clearly labelled as such, mods do not tolerate negativity and stamp it out 


haha spencer... great descriptions... you must be in consumer marketing as a profession!!!
I’ll go out on a limb and say the reason for the difference between here and audio circle is this site is here primarily to sell stuff and make money...the forum is in support of that and pretty much anything goes, as long as no laws get broken.

@daveman2 you're clearly on your way, stay positive. There are plenty here happy to help you. 

@mapman good question! My overly simplied take:

audionirvana and whatsbestforum - the wealthy will enjoy them most. audionirvana does have many former & current knowledgeable Agoners, especially about analog.

asylum - seems like hardly anyone participates any more

audiophilestyle (was computeraudiophile) - lots of digital-specific knowledge from some. Plenty of trolls & fights too. Many less experienced with much outside of desktop & headphone rigs.

ASR - subjectivists (aka listeners) need not apply. 

For me, Audiogon is still the best overall. Sure there are warts, but we've got @whart. Cheers,

I think an open ended question like recommendations for a new piece of gear is an invitation for people to chime in with their favorites, wish list items or in some cases, what they own. There are some deep pockets of knowledge here, depending on the thread- for example, if you searched set up for Avantgarde Duos, a subject in which I participated some years ago, you’ll get invaluable info from owners and from Jim Smith, who used to be the US distributor and is known as a set up maven for systems (he comes to your house by appointment and spends a couple days with you).
Ditto on other subjects, including tube variations, old tone arm applications, etc.
I use Audiogon for what it is, and don’t begrudge anybody for what it isn’t. There are/were some great participants here and you can get very granular on certain topics. One member had figured out how to replace the pump in his Audio Desk US RCM and laid out the specifics. That’s gold in my book.
I was going to say "welcome to the asylum" but that name is taken by another forum.

What community forum doesn't have its share of nonsense, hostility, ignorance, conceit, naivete and conversely insight, empathy, experience and humor? Seriously, name one. 
I miss Almarg.
He wrote the most concise, detailed and helpful posts here on Audiogon.
I might be ignorant on this but it would be helpful if there was a notification when someone posted in a thread that one is taking part in. I have seen people refer to me months later. By that time it’s moot.
@bubba12 - you will have to follow a thread to get emails on it. Then double-check your email preferences for the Forums.
I have hung around here for years and posted very little. I am 63 and love music first and foremost but finally was able to build a moderate system that sounds good to me.

This form has been a tremendous source of knowledge, you just have to steer around some opinionated bs but such is life. I would not have purchased several pieces over the years if not for learning about them here and on other forums.

It's funny how the various websites for audio have different cultures. I really like Audiogon, but lately I've been reading a lot on Audio Science Review and enjoy the different perspective. Those folks aren't likely to tout high end speaker cables and the various tweaks found on Audiogon, rather they are measurements people with little patience for things that can't be measured. They also tend to be big on class D amps, A/B amps and not so big on class A and tube audio.
It can get really bad when an OP asks an open-ended question that the posters feel is disingenuous.
@sbank @whart  well there is doctorate in wisdom :-) appreciated and insightful.
Bob - I also miss Al

to the OP they nailed it. Find people you would invest a chunk of your life talking with, listening to and respect from conduct. ... oh, and try to be that person yourself...

I aim, I fail, hopefully I learn, repeat

“New-ish to Audiogon Forums... Is it always like this?”

Always is..... until it is not. 
Again, thanks for the insights. It seems there a quite a few good folks here who are respectful, reasonable, and generally caring. That makes me happy. Here's to the good contributors out there. To all the selfish riffraff: prepare to be ignored.
I have found the information and help many folks here offer extremely valuable, especially in terms of my decision-making before spending big bucks.On the other hand, I am strongly repelled by those who are unkind, rude, denigrating, or aggressive with their posts. One of my values is civil discourse, and it can be difficult to  tolerate the problem folks while I am gaining from the others.
As others have said, this seems to be the nature of anonymous forms.
I like to read the questions and responses, though I don’t have the knowledge or experience with various equipment that others do.  I try not to jump in unless I have something useful to add . . but I just jumped in, didn’t I?  Oh well.
I found this site by accident roughly 6m ago. I was looking for good used at a reasonable price.  I know zip about equipment or room effects etc. but I like to listen to music. 
What I found heartwarming in these dark times was the willingness of most members to offer sincere valuable advice and I might add some good deals.  I recognized that regulars here get requests like mine every day. I also understand from reading their post they could easily brush me off like a fly for my fundamental lack of knowledge as I know it must get boring. I ended up purchasing my components here and after burn-in ( new used and local) I have a big smile on my face.  I am extremely grateful for the member's time and willingness to share.
By the way, I just started looking up posts by those who posted into the thousands and it's like I hit a motherload of insightful stuff but as been said adnauseam as with anything you have to separate the chaff from the wheat, but lots of wheat to eat here. Thanks again guys.
In closing give it some more time and check out the senior member's posts. 
@daveman2...You'll find the occasional thread that IS informative, has cognitive clarity, and may be useful...and may even be entertaining in the process.  Like many forum sites, one has to winnow the chaff to garner the wheat....
Many respond (imho) with what they've owned, their experiences with X,Y, Z, and how it has been a + or (eventually) a - to them after finding the next best thing....and such is life.
Best is to just 'lurk' and glean from others' experiences of what they've owned, why they enjoyed it, what drew them to it, why they dumped it and moved on, or whatever you look to learn from their thrashing about.
And then, there's those who've found The Answer to their Search.
That, in itself, may be the Answer to your particular interests....

I stay away from suggesting Anything to anyone.  I haven't been exposed to all the potential equipment, speakers, and various 'n sundry means and methods that one can apply to things audio.  I don't have the time, the disposable income, nor the desire to endlessly do so.

I amuse self with what I can afford towards what I like to experience in my own space, flawed as it may be.  Perfection is a Myth, the answer to which is subject to ones' own predilections..... and budget.

Do what you like, and what sounds Good to You, in your given space to do so, with that which does so.  Yes, it may take time and trial to accomplish such.  But that's half the entertainment value of doing so.

Welcome to the Chase.  You Will tire of it, eventually. ;)
Have fun in the meanwhile, J
This is not a good forum for true beginners.  Someone has to have enough knowledge to ask specific questions and than know enough to weed through the responses.  It can be confusing because so many people responding have their own biases.  It's not as if they have ill intentions.  They just think they know what's right because that what they have done and they generalize.  And I would agree that so many posts do not include enough system and listener information to make an informed response.  But that doesn't stop forum users from offering their advice anyway.
In my personal opinion this forum offers marginal utility, primarily in the form of entertainment, but occasionally members do make suggestions for products I was previously not familiar with.  Information can be gleaned from every forum in that way. But honestly, I’ve never looked at Audiogon as a resource for great system advice. It’s bottom of the barrel in that regard. Anyone that has participated in other forums like Audiocircle or the Steve Hoffman forums will probably understand what I’m talking about. I’ve received infinitely more useful information and advice on those other forums, comparatively. There are a few members on here that offer legitimately good and RELEVANT advice to people and I certainly take time to read their posts but a vast majority of threads are a complete waste of time and energy. If I had to thin out my forum memberships this would definitely be the first one to go. Just saying. 
I too am strongly repelled by those who are unkind, rude, denigrating, or aggressive with their posts.

Please, go away.
@indyvw,  interesting comment! My experience with audiocircle and has led me to find value mainly in a couple of niches. Hoffman's site has been for me great when searching for discussion about a particular music release (e.g. how does the new digital master compare to the vinyl remaster vs. original pressing of xyz?) 
With audiocircle I've encountered a skew towards many vintage gear owners knowledgeable on stuff like "replacement/DIY options for VPI record cleaning machines)". Perhaps I'll start browsing new topics there and see where it leads.

Separately, I agree with comments that references to systems from both OPs and responders makes for much more insight. I'd love it if all users were required to upload their system and if all posts automatically showed links to their systems alongside the usernames.
There is a ton of gear out there. I have a great time going through it via articles, videos etc. if I were to ask these guys here for recommendations I’d fully expect them to wax poetic about their favorite stuff. Then I’d research the interesting sounding pieces on my own. 
If a poster doesn’t want to give context then I’d seek it out in user reviews and articles. 
No response is annoying though. I get that. 
This forum is a mixed bag but it is worth it for me to check in every day and see if there is anything relevant. I skip most threads that ask for gear recommendations for the reason you describe. Once in a while the question is structed in such a way that I can determine that I have relevant experience and I will weigh in.

Very occasionally there is a truly outstanding thread. For example, I own Thiel speakers and there is a very long detailed thread about Thiel where Tom Thiel, one of the founders, actually participates. It's things like this where Audiogon really shines.

The audio related groups on Facebook are much more aggressively moderated which makes for a more pleasant productive experience. The level of arrogance and nastiness on Audiogon is definitely a turnoff for me.
sbank, yes I think you could be pleasantly surprised with the usefulness of the other forums for inquiries you may have on myriad topics. I have had great experiences on Hoffman and tapped a couple very knowledgeable members for advice when I was putting together my last system.  Honestly I feel bad for hobbyists that use this forum exclusively.  Audiogon plays out more like a bad soap opera or reality TV show for most topics. Lol
Other than a few turkeys who see fit to pollute the forum with their sophomoric political tropes, I find it to be pretty informative.

Agree that the political crap specifically regarding spending money is intolerable. People make what they make and spend what they spend. Therefore listen to what they listen too. Personally think it is great when people join the effort. 

I agree that most of the questions are very vague and the answers are about the peoples favorite gear too much but that is the way people are with stereos and their music but what i can say is that there are so many variables in rooms, component interaction, speaker position, room placement, housing construction, music likes/dislikes, cables, connectors, and conditions/regenerators that all we can do is try and lead people to a good or better choice or avenue.
It takes little to trigger bloviating gasbags into exposing their insecurities with the unhinged self promotion of personal absolutes, but if you hang with any site that's open to the public you're always going to risk exposure to that sort of thing...develop a salve that thickens your skin.
I find the same thing with other things besides audio. I'm a photographer - how many times have I been asked 'What's the best camera?' without having any idea of what they're going to use it for. I can never answer a question like that; all I can do is tell of my own experiences....