I think there are quite strong cognitive-biases to resist having one's opinion changed. We can't learn much from opinions we agree with. By the same token, we won't learn anything from those we're always opposed to (and there's only a couple who fit that bill)
I've got loads out of this forum. IMHO the last two years have been extreme because there have been so many changes in the laws (VAR, sin bins, WC handballs etc. and now the new 2019 changes) and I think that's been quite frustrating at times.
I think it's an amazing resource for new - and experienced refs... having so many observers on here and people knowledgable about the laws and their context is something really special.
The downside is that the trolling and humour often seems to end up in the "wrong" threads. Yes, some subjects are frustrating and lively debate is to be expected, but it would be much better if all members respected e.g. especially new refs posts and bread and butter laws enquiries without the irrelevant stuff.
Its nothing to do with being in favour of the establishment, rather it is keeping things sensible, appropriate and on topic. People have this misconception that because they are posting under a user ID rather than their real name it is anonymous and they can say what they want. That isn't the case and we have been threatened with legal action because of the comments that members have made on here. Thankfully they didn't go anywhere, but if they had we would have been legally bound to provide the actual identity of the poster(s). I know that another refereeing forum were actually formally approached by PGMOL's lawyers and that very nearly found its way into the courts, so I'm sure everyone can understand why we have to be careful.
In addition, every post has a report button, and believe it or not people really do use it. If someone reports a post then as mods we are duty bound to investigate it, otherwise the report button would be pointless. It's a well documented concept that something that may sound amusing in the spoken word doesn't always come across as that in written text. Things that one member finds amusing may well offend another member who then reports it, so we need to have a middle ground.
Those that know me in the flesh will know that I challenge boundaries, I don't accept the status quo or the "we are doing it like that because we have always done it that way" approach. That applies to both my refereeing / observing and professional employment life, and indeed one of the required behaviours for my currently employment role was "be a disruptor", and I don't think many would say I am in favour of the establishment. But as I've said, we have to find a medium between what some find amusing and others offensive and consequently not everyone will agree with the actions that we do or don't take.
Best wishes for the teacher training - this week I started season 23 (of teaching, only just starting season 4 on the pitch). I suspect you’ll find most students a lot more grown up than some of the adults you will have met on the pitch!
I was thrust back on the tools last week for the 3rd time in 19 years, the lad who I worked within usually the pair of hands on the floor fetching and carrying for his older brother the team leader (Duct and equipment installation). I got in teacher mode and made him do the up the scaffold bit under my tutorage. He never gets the chance to do this but to shove him in the deep end having to do stuff himself was excellent training if we need to run him out in the future as a spare team on his own. Grafting week though and everything is seized up, using different sets of muscles than I normally use. Good luck @Brian Hamilton in your new role, I see a new Brian Glover in Wakey very soon!!