MarvinMartian saidThanks for your responses, everyone.
My intent, such as it was, had to do with trying to figure out the reason for the nastiness. There are people from all over the world here (I am myself not American, although living here until June) and it seems we could learn a lot of interesting things about each other if the members could manage to discuss differences civilly. I was a member for a couple of years and didn't really look at the forums at all (mainly reading the fitness articles) but a few months ago I started lurking and very occasionally posting. You can tell by my post count that I haven't commented very often. It seems every time I think of something to add, there's a war raging. So I don't.
I wish it were not so. It seems like this could be a fine resource for the gay community.
Thanks; I'm personally on board with everything here. For what it's worth:
Pellaz is correct that the block feature is important for using this site effectively. I'll put a finer point on it, and take it in a direction he may or may not agree with: Block the people who are preventing you from being able to see the posts you want to see (i.e., based on your convenience, not on their sentiments), and feel free to drag links into a private browser tab when you want to see the unabridged version of a topic. The ignore feature is imperfect, but we can discuss its subtleties if you like.
Once you regain control of your forum browsing experience, the place changes fairly dramatically. You still have to wade through some hostility, but that's what I see as the real challenge here:
* Try to post questions and comments that naturally elicit positive responses
* Work at first mindfully ignoring negative responses, then disarming them, and ideally some day twisting them in a positive direction
* Know always that no one person will make the RJ forums a positive place, and you can never expect everyone or even a majority to put in an effort to put the community above their own compulsions
* Try to never let a positive comment directed at you go unacknowledged.
I've also found that using the "Show Topics I've Posted To" and "Updated Since Last Logon" help make the most of a low post count, especially if you don't have much time to spend here.
I realize this all looks stupid to most people, but I think even skimming through it for what you think I'm getting wrong and what you could do better is a worthwhile exercise.
Above all I agree that RJ has some very valuable contributions to make. Health and fitness are of vital importance to the gay male experience, and no other gay forum I've encountered even attempts to focus on that fact.