I am a very longtime participant on Cook's Talk
which is hosted by Taunton Press, publisher of Fine Cooking
Magazine. It is an excellent forum with very experienced professional chefs and avid home cooks who have staggering hands-on experience. I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with the forum (mostly on-again
For a brief time I participated on the Cooking Light
forum but gave up. I have found the conversation to be less than stimulating as it pertains to cooking - which is why I'm there. I've also noticed that there is a small, elite group of people who get responses to their posts. Mostly, I've found the group to be sheep, easily led and rarely, if ever, questioning of authority. As a matter of fact, disagreeing with one of the "stars" is so frowned upon - it gets you ostracized.
I love discussion forums - probably an offshoot of my love of chat. I don't chat much anymore. I like the fact that friendships can be fostered on the internet via discussion groups - and it's great to have a support base when you need to know the ideal temperature to roast something or the best spice cake! I once posted that I needed Thai ingredients when I was living in the desert southwest and I got a ton of e-mails from Taunton participants asking me what I needed and when. I don't need to see someone to consider him or her my friend.