Eric, for me this forum is about much more than offering advice or sharing experiences. Many of you will be surprised to learn that I teach the art of, well, argumentation (i.e., rhetoric) There is nothing I love more than a well-constructed, well-presented argument.
That's what it was all about in Ancient Greece: Arguing for the sake of arguing, not to win, not to show another person up, but to clarify your own position while perhaps learning something from the opposition. Argumentation/Rhetoric was the Athenian's version of the video game. It's like mental gymnastics. Naturally, it is important to remain open to another's stance, but this doesn't mean you can't remain true to your own.
I have learned much on these forums, but to be perfectly honest, I am also aware that no one can clear a thread quicker than I can, just because I LOVE to frame an effective argument or, failing that, stir people to think outside the box. Nothing bores me more quickly than a thread composed of a dozen responses that all say the same thing. I have even -- Ahem -- argued things I didn't believe, just because I fear uniformity of thought in our society, especially in our youth.
What I don't like is a poorly constructed argument, a dogmatic argument that is nothing more than a fleshed-out statement of opinion offered to bolster another's ego; an argument that fails to persuade because it is a canned regurgitation of stale, unrelenting attitudes; or an argument rife with fallacious reasoning or, worse, no reasoning at all. I don't see much of that here, and I haven't seen any of that from you.
I like having you on this forum. I think we all benefit from the manner in which you express yourself. If you've written soapbox dogma, I must have missed those threads
The key to remember is that if something is truly important to you, you want to persuade, not bully. Bullying will turn your reader off in seconds flat. Whoops. I think I just stepped onto my own personal soapbox.
Stick with us, Eric. I have learned from you.