I'm putting this in Requests & Feedback, if it belongs in Misc or some other category please move it, I apologize.
What I'm asking here isn't intended to be inflammatory, but I ask from genuine curiosity. I have been involved with "help forums" for years. From administrator to moderator to member I have seen and been involved in just about every capacity. I watched one forum community evolve over many years from fledgling to so large that it "collapsed" under the weight of the "leech" members who ran off all of the helpful "elder" members. I won't bore you with all those details, but I want to establish that I am not a "noob" when it comes to understanding the delicate "ecosystem" that develops in forum communities.
Whenever I enter a new forum I read the FAQ's, I use the search features, I use Google, etc, etc - and it is only when all else fails that I resort to troubling the community with a question. I do things this way because for years I was the "lead" member of several technical forums, and frankly I did get tired of answering the same question 8 times in one day because a member was too lazy to read 3 posts below their current question. BUT, at the end of the day I still replied, no matter how tired I was of answering the same things over and over - because I realized that 1 or 2 minutes of my time might save this other person HOURS of their own. I won't lie, I did get burned out with it and I dialed things back a bit, I started my own technical website to answer common questions so that instead of retyping answers over and over I could just provide a link.
This evolution of my own involvement is what brought me to WordPress, the desire to update and improve my existing site, make my work easier and make my material more accessible. Everything I do is non-profit and it has been for years, I do it because I enjoy it. This attempt to migrate to WordPress is why I'm posting now...
What does a member have to do to get help? Is the WordPress community already too large? Have greedy and demanding "leech" members already driven out the helpful few? I ask because I haven't posted much, in fact I didn't even sign up until a week or so ago. Prior to that I was solving all my own problems, but in the past week I've posted a handful of questions - some are theme/style/CSS issues while others are about plugins - and with the exception of 2 or 3 members I have gotten almost no replies or help. When I search I see the exact same thing over and over, open-ended questions left hanging and unanswered.
Am I wrong to assume that members who become moderators get that way by being involved in the community and helping when other members can't or won't? I'm not trying to point a negative finger at moderators, I'm genuinely asking if they have some other job with WP that nets them the title? I ask because a lot of the moderation I've seen is closing threads or correcting people for not following the "rules" (admin type duties). I was reprimanded by a moderator for "bumping" a thread, but I see bumped threads throughout the entire forum. If I don't get an answer to my question how else can I get a reply besides bumping the thread? I asked the moderator who corrected me if it was protocol on this forum to re-post the same question over again since I wasn't allowed to bump a thread - of course I received no reply.
Please allow me to reiterate that this isn't intended to be inflammatory towards anyone here, I'm the "new guy" and I understand what comes with that - I also know that this is, by far, the least helpful "help community" I have ever searched through and been involved with.
I guess what I'm asking is, am I going about things the wrong way or is this community really just not that helpful? I've devoted a large portion of my life to helping people I don't know by sharing the knowledge I have with them. If I were able to get help from the people here, the kind of help I need to resolve my issues and learn - as well as feel that I am a part of a community - then there is an excellent chance that I would become an established member here and in turn help others. It's the cycle of "forum life", if you will.
I mean, every one of us were "noobs" at some point, right?
If you're still reading after all this (sorry, I tend to be long-winded) I appreciate and respect your time reading this and would be grateful for your replies.