I started reading here when I was 23. I got a great deal of value for many years.
Burned all the naive I had left in me with cold hard truths (about sex, about how we treat each other, about how the world works) and taught me how to be smart. HOWEVER, it taught me that there's a fine line between the gay version of Mama's kitchen table wisdom and just being jaded and nihilistic.
I've met a few people in person. Friended more on Facebook. Positive experiences, beautiful souls.
Made it clear that people in public gay culture pretty much don't care about anything but their own relief and good time, and that meaningful relationships with gay people occur when you make something, as opposed to just party and fuck.
I'm also abundantly clear after visiting this place how deep-seeded mental illness is among gay men and how it is our #1 health issue. It makes me profoundly sad, and it's one of the reasons why I can't come here very often. I know much of the nastiness here is supposed to be funny, but the truest words are said in jest and all that.
The tenor of conversation and the stories have prevented me from moving to NY. Ever. Don't want to be a part of that culture - not a good personality fit for me. I get so much happens there, but I can visit and sample all that, then come right back home (and no, I'm not in flyover).
I also stopped all internet debate after years of commenting and arguing, because this place taught me there are more important things in life than someone saying something wrong on the internet.
This place has also taught me that knowing when to leave may be the smartest things that anyone can learn, an d that good times, good spaces and good energies - like everything else - are not forever.
Lots of knowledge transfer here. My intellect and critical thinking skills are better off for having been here. It's why I still give a little visit once in a bit, even though it's pretty much DNA that's left.