I agree Tested could have more content and more interactions on the forums. I find that a lot of the content is very similar in nature and could expand out. I love the maker space videos but would like to see more videos dedicated to specific skills or practices. I think this site could become an even better resource to the maker community and the education community as more maker driven practices are being adopted by schools.
I joined Premium expecting to find a great community, loads of extra videos and articles of things being tested (you know, because you're Tested.com) lots of behind the scenes stuff, special Q and A's or something. What I found was a 7" Single, a very broken forum (from a tech site!!??), a complete lack of community and 500 videos of people building lego. I'm glad to have supported tested this once as my small way of saying thank you for all the previous stuff you have given out for free which I have really enjoyed, but I won't be renewing, there is literally no point. Since you pretty much don't test things anymore maybe re-brand to "3D Printing, VR, Cosplay and building lego.com"? Sorry if that's sounds harsh, but that's pretty much what you are now.
Whatever direction you decide to take Tested, you really need to replace Will with someone to breath some life back into your shows. I know he's still a guest often but he left a hell of a big hole when he left you've never managed to fill. Not only was he often the most knowledgeable guy on a show but he was funny (and you're shows are so terribly dry now).
I think to some extent there isn't a push for the to fix the forums because seemingly no one uses them. It's a catch 22. They could spend the time and budget to fix the forums in the hope that a community builds from it, or they could spend that making more videos etc. If I was them, sure I would figure out a way to keep the spam off this more efficiently, but I wouldn't move to fix much when there are a couple of posts a week at this point. It just doesn't make sense. If you want better forums, use the forums more. I think we need to grow the community to the point that it is a community they should care about.
In terms of content I'm sure losing Frank put a bit of a wrench into some plans they had as well.
I don't expect my opinion to count for much but I have a love-hate relationship with Tested these days. It's the only podcast I regularly listen to and often have it on in the background in the shop or in the car. I am currently going through the backlog of TIOAT podcasts from the beginning (currently at CES 2013!) The difference between then and now is startling. They were much more entertaining back then, so much so that it does't really matter that the tech is 5 years old.
I lament the loss of Will (and further back the force of nature that is Gary Whitta). They were so opinionated, sometimes obnoxious, so full of shit - it was great! I love the addition of Kishore and the science he brings and Jeremy is a proper maker, I wish he would take a deeper dive into some of the things he has been working on. The podcasts need a much larger "what have you guys been testing" section. I find myself coming to the site less and less these days. I agree that it is a catch 22, you need participation from the community to make a great forum, but people don't use it because it's got problems. I love that Kishore makes comments and interacts so much! Maybe more of this from the other people would help build it up at least at the start.
Sometimes I think Tested forgets it's audience. Like many people, I don't have thousands of dollars to spend on the latest Makerbot, Glowforge, IphoneX, VR, etc. Many of the tools I use I built from scratch, myself, because I'm a maker (whatever that actually means!) Yes, it does sometimes feel like there are product placement ads for "friends of the show" (direct quote).
Maybe my interests have diverged with what Adam/Norm wants to cover (which is cool) but I guess you can either entertain and/or inform. I would hate for the podcasts to drift into doing neither.
With you on most of the sentiments expressed so far, especially from "madcatandco". I probably won't renew my membership. The site seems to have become reliant on Adam's star power to get views, and has forgotten how to serve its audience in other areas. The serious lack of professionalism in podcasts has almost completely lost me, for example - don't come to a tech podcast without knowing what's going on in tech, don't talk for endless minutes about the weather in San Francisco (I live in an area with actual winter :)), don't spoil movies and tv in the middle of a podcast.... on and on. To me, to quote catandcato, the podcasts have already become neither informative or entertaining. A good contrast is Rooster Teeth, (of Red vs. Blue fame), who is definitely more on the entertainment side of things, but who actually does many of the things the fans of Tested have been wanting for years, like proper community features on the site, a premium feature that's actually worth it, cool merchandise, and so on. I mean, Tested hasn't updated their merch in so long that Will's still on the shirts after what, 3 years of being gone?! Merchandising is a great way to make money for a website/youtube channel, and the opportunity is being completely missed in favor of fleecing the audience with loot boxes and tech junk (the tested "shop gear" store).
As far as becoming cliquish, I have to agree. I can't afford a VR headset, so I don't care about the incredibly in depth VR coverage. I don't have a record player, so this record they sent me is useless (and no, I'm not going to buy one, because a decent one would be both expensive and a large "thing" I would have to have in my life). I get that some of the new coverage aligns with Norm's interests, and that's ok... but they have to remember the whole world isn't San Francisco, most people don't make San Francisco salaries, and most of us can't spend $2000 on a 3d printer or laser cutter or drone. If I spend $2000 on something, it'd better make that $2000 investment back.
I joined tested.com about 4 years ago. For the first year I was a premium member. I think I got auto-rebilled in 2015, was annoyed at the auto-re-bill, Cancelled the automatic re-billing. Didn't really follow the site in 2016. Had a heart attack in 2017 and was at home recovering for a while and spent some time watching build videos with Adam and Norm. Watched some airbrushing videos with Norm and a couple of other guys.
Bumped into Norm purely by accident at Crunchy Roll Expo in May 2017 and got to see a few of Adams projects up close. Norm and the people with him were super cool about being in a booth and talking to people.
So I looked in on tested a little more often (as a member, but not a premium member).
Last weekend I discovered Simone Giertz on youtube. That was a fun way to procrastinate my Robot Class homework (edx.org ColumbiaX - CSMM.103x). Then I saw where Simone had joined tested.com.
So I just re-subscribed to Tested.com as a premium member, bought a "tested" T-shirt and sponsored Simone on Patreon.
As much as companies have ups and downs. Tested.com is no different. I have really enjoyed some of the Tested content. Some of the content isn't really my thing. I really enjoy actual engineering content (see the edx.org class above) with actual math. I don't find any of that at Tested. Likewise, I enjoy the DIY maker, the weekend hobbyist, the amateur scientist. I do get a fair bit of that from Tested.
Tested continues to evolve. And while it isn't a perfect fit for all of my interests, it has been a stalwart contributor to the DIY community. So I'm hanging in there and supporting them.
I hope to see them at Maker Faire (Bay Area). I hope to see them at Crunchy Roll Expo. I hope to see them at SacAnime.
@engineerbob: But yes... I wish they would fix and actively moderate this forum. :)