One fear is that in some forums, just saying too many nice things about brands other than the market leader offends many forum participants who are blindly loyal to that market leader, and could get one "voted off the forum". As a user of an Olympus DSLR (and Pentax manual focus SLRs and Macintosh computers), I would be fearful of "mob rule".
Of the hundreds of e-mails I have received lately the overriding theme has been about telling the truth.
Everyone that has emailed me has been kind and supportive but something that is repeated numerous times is the number of people that are fearful to publicly post their experiences.
Some just don't like censorship, or would be embarrassed to be banned from a forum.
Some have heard that if they protest their IP address could be blocked by a forum and they rely on these forums for new thoughts and fixes.
Others are worried about being shouted down by other participants but more than a few are worried about how they will be perceived by the manufacturers.
I won't say they fear manufacturer retribution, (though a few have voiced this), but most are just worried if they complain loudly they will find themselves in the back of the queue for repairs and/or tech assistance.
Valid or not that last point is a concern.
After all digital cameras are expensive and few can wait weeks or months to get a resolve to an issue, so rather than complain, or go public, they just hold their thoughts to themselves, or worse post only positive experiences hoping a manufacturer will notice and give them better service.
What I believe is needed is a no fear forum where posts can be shared, fears can be put aside.
Lately I have seen proposals of building a forum that is private, or underground, where a select group can share and speak thier mind.
Maybe that's the safest way, but how sad that all that knowledge and experience goes virtually unheard.
Are we potentially working ourselves into a position where the only information we receive about digital capture is well thought out PR releases?
Still I beleive that from where we are today, vs. where we were a week ago, we are all the poorer.