Hmm... I'd like to put my two cents in if I may.
I started looking at hookah about a week or so ago. I never smoked one before, Im not even a smoker, but a couple friends smoke the hookah and expressed how relaxing it is. Not knowing anything about the subject I set out to learn a bit and see if this was something I might enjoy. Before my friend told me I could borrow his hobohookah for a week or so, I started doing some research into the subject. Remember, I am a total newbie... or at least I was a week ago.
I found a few forums and vendor sites, I started poking around and finding things that looked interesting. I ended up choosing this forum to start most of my research. I read almost every review under the hookah section, or at least skimmed through. I knew I wanted a small hookah, so I bypassed many of the KM KZ Egyptian etc hookahs, and started focusing on the smaller ones. I ended up reading all the way back to the Smiley $15 Hookah review (which is like one of the first hookah reviews posted here).
I figured out all on my own that I liked the price and look of that hookah, as well as the MYA QT. So, then I started a thread "Recommend a First Hookah and Supplies" (http://www.hookahforum.com/topic/39090-recommend-a-first-hookah-and-supplies/). I think for a newbie I asked some decent questions in that thread. To which I was always replied to in a very nice and favorable fashion. I continued reading reviews, on shisha, coals, hoses and other assorted hookah supplies. Then I would add a question to the thread where maybe I was confused or just plain old had a headache from reading too many opinions. By last friday I had garnered enough knowledge to place a couple orders for hookah supplies. Blue Mya QT, Blue Nammor, Mya Autoseal valve, Alien Bowl, Tangiers and a couple other odds and ends. I feel very comfortable with the purchase, and cant wait to receive the packages.
I talked to various people here in chat and via pm, and everyone has been awesome. A local guy even suggested some places I could check hookah supplies out nearby. I feel pretty welcome here. While the new post counts here don't look to be as active as other forums I belong / belonged to. It still seems like a bunch of great people. The mods seem to be doing a great job of keeping this place clean from NHT stuff, and plain-old-aholes. So kudos to them. I know very well how hard that can be...
Personally, I also have a unique perspective to forums... I have run forums before. I own friendsoffoamy.com and we used to have a rather large following of posters to the forum, now its pretty much dead. We have a few active people and some very attentive mods. But sadly, I don't even make it there but a few times a year. I leave it up there for the newbs who what to chat. I push about 1.5TB of data a month still out of that site, so I will continue to keep it up and kicking till that number dwindles. Its not always easy keeping everyones attention and making people happy. I can attest to the fact our user-ship was the best when we ran contests and were constantly active. We used to have about 300K- 500K unique visitors a month. But that steam ran out when I adopted my son. I also run the corporate forum where I work, its a large intranet for 1500+ store locations (I work for a large franchise system) and it's just hard to keep everyone happy. Specially when they pay us 6% royalties each month ;-)
So, to draw this reply out even longer...
You guys are doing great, everyone has been nice to me. I was concerned about posting at first as I know many other forums that despise newbs My questions never went unanswered, and no one made me feel like a stupid phuck. Now, I have much more understanding of hookah than my friend, who has been smoking in for a number of years. I understand a lot of the little details that most people don't think of. I probably could hold a nice conversation with a fellow hookah aficionado. While I have still lots to learn, I have an amazing amount of understanding -- considering I've only been going at this for ~1 week. I have been to two other forums which I have joined as well. One seems a little awkward, im not sure what to make of it. Lots of reviews. But I don't understand where to post, and I still havent had my acct approved by a mod, so I cant even post. The other seems like an equally informative forum (as this one), but they do seem to want people to post like whores. I come here a number of times a day, and I enjoy reading and sucking up some knowledge from others. So, it is a bummer when I see only a few replies and not a lot of new stuff. But hey thats the way it goes. I also understand the cyclical behavior of forums. So, Im certain things will pick up.
Anyway, just my two cents from someone that has been helped by the wisdom of others here.
Thanks to everyone for their replies, and continued support of my new hobby/addiction.