I’m so glad that someone else with the same general viewpoint answered this question. As a relatively “green” trainer, I definitely am not blind to the fact that I’ve taken full advantage of the IDEA Answers platform, and I am aware that the number of questions answered has an impact on my rating for IDEA Fitness Connect.
However, at this point, I view the marketing and self-promotion aspects of this website as incidental and not a primary reason for my being active here. I do think that my answers have been thoughtful, and I have made a concerted effort to back my answers up with anecdotal evidence, scientific facts, and reputable sources when necessary. I think that’s a fair assessment.
My main motivation for being active on IDEA Answers revolves around the fact that this is a place where reputable and successful fitness professionals share their collective knowledge with others. I have learned a lot, and I am better for having interacted with the professionals here. I feel completely comfortable when I’m on IDEA Answers because I know that my thoughts, along with everyone else’s, are always taken into consideration and policed when necessary. I think everyone involved here, including the staff at IDEA have taken the Answers platform very seriously and have taken tremendous steps to ensure that quality information is being disseminated. Everyone here has also worked very hard to create a supportive and nurturing environment where all questions are welcome and most every opinion is valued. I’m looking forward to learning more here, and I hope to improve the quality of my future answers as I gain more knowledge and experience in the industry.
As far as self-promotion goes, Yes, I would have to say that IDEA Answers is turning into a great place to promote oneself, professionally. In my opinion, the most important “self-promotions” that a fitness professional can gain from this platform are in the form of education and credibility within the industry.
Your question is a legitimate question, and I wonder sometimes if I were a person who did not know very much about fitness or nutrition or the like, would I feel comfortable asking a question here considering some of the questions that have been answered in the past? In other words, I can see how the IDEA Answers platform might be turning into a “boys’ club” in an ideological sense (not gender-wise). I don’t know if this was the intention in the first place–to be a place solely for fitness professionals to talk about, I guess what you could call “higher fitness” topics. I think Answers would be much more effective if more questions were asked by fitness enthusiasts and those who are not “professionals” in the traditional sense. The answers still need to come from professionals, but I do wonder whether or not the layperson might be intimidated by some of the things we discuss on this platform. Overall, however, I think this platform has served its purpose, and I see no reason that it can’t continue to do so.