I certainly posted some cringeworthy stuff, a lot of it actually, back in the day that I wish I hadn't. (Can I plead youth?) But you are correct, it was stimulating, despite the "venom."
Unlike yourself, I lost a few friends along the way, a couple of them, Mark Dworkin and Paul Cool, to tragic circumstances beyond anyone's control. (I miss those sweet guys; gone too soon.) Others, who shall remain nameless, to my discovering that they were unable or unwilling to cease self-righteously personalizing every dotted i and crossed t as if their very lives depended on it. So, in that sense, a learning experience, I suppose.
Goes without saying that like yourself I learned a lot by mixing it up with "real" historical researchers. I may not always sound like it, and I continue to have my reservations about the "truth claims" that the field often falls victim to, but I do admire those like a Peter Brand, or even a Kenny Vail, who put in the sweat equity and go the extra mile to excavate the facts as far as they can be determined.
"It was the best of times, it was the west of times". The Boyer wars, as they played out on this forum were informative, mentally stimulating and cringe worthy. Maybe it was all necessary to expose fraud... more