Mostly a lurker here, this is gonna be more words than I've ever said on SF combined. I remember creeping onto SF when I was in college and getting turned off by some of the cruelty I saw, but on balance I've learned a ton here since I began actively reading SF about 2 years ago. And the discussions about fits in the WAYWRN thread were a huge part of that education. I mostly post on another men's style forum and have contemplated starting to post fits here because I think I dress better now and was hoping for constructive feedback. Wanted to offer up a parallel story, maybe someone can draw insight from it, because I feel exactly the way @in stitches does here:
I stopped posting fits on the other forum for two reasons: a) I'm usually in a white coat so when that's off for privacy purposes a shirt + tie sans jacket is badness, and b) even when I do have a chance to dress well, I don't get much in the way of feedback on said other site. I'd like that feedback, especially now that the community here has become friendlier while still retaining much of the same passion from said Golden Age (tbh I like that there are more voices now, even if there isn't one or two "leaders" passing down edicts).
On said other forum I try to post gentle critiques but either run into exactly the issue described here (defensiveness) or it's ignored and so you start feeling like the bad guy even though you're merely trying to start an informed discussion a constellation of clothing on a human form and not characteristics of the person himself (usually) - especially when you're one of the only person who's doing this. The figurehead of that other website even recently wrote "Sometimes an outfit suggestion is just a suggestion, or a WIWT post is just a WIWT post, and thus, no one is asking us armchair stylists for a dissertation on how each item doesn’t work for their tastes, or how they would have worn it, or designed it, or built-it-from-scratch" -- Mind you, I have a decent number of posts on that forum and don't actively hate it, but I disagree with this sort of culture because some things are objectively bad or don't fit, and others are just painfully misguided. Maybe all of this is okay "over there" because it's kind of like a kiddie pool, one step up from Reddit but still largely revolving around getting the "just got into menswear" uniform of a cheap pair of wolverine/red wing replicas, AE seconds, a decent suit, and some slim-fitting shirts (not that there's anything wrong w/ any of this, it's where I started and still am in some ways). Personally I'd like that other forum to move beyond those things and sometimes they do delve into great reviews and substantive discussions but it's the nature of the referring website that will perpetually keep conversations where they are now.
SF is not so far gone -- I can think of at least a couple frequent posters here who have recently received suggestions based on their fits who have explained why they keep things the way they do, and after having a fair discussion the community has largely stopped pressing the issue because it is understood, and many others who have taken suggestions to heart and come back and said "I made change X, most of my clothes are still like Y but how does X look now? I actually like this but it'll take some getting used to" in WAYWRN, but yeah it's just not as frequent as I think it should be. Back to talking about SF and enough bitching about the other place and calling it an interesting parallel...
While it's great to see much better fits on average in WAYWRN, I agree that a lot of it has to do with more and more people doing "the uniform" well. It's a damn nice uniform but it would be a shame if broad swaths of this forum become a better-dressed and slightly more expensive version of that other forum. I think it then becomes a question of giving advice without necessarily stripping away the poster's own tastes and interests (unless they are objectively, abjectly terrible). For example, in the Noodles' thread (which I'm trying to make required reading at the other forum) there's a recent discussion on flowery floral ties - the challenge is not normalizing posters to the "right" answer of a neat floral from Marinella or tiemaker of your choice...it's always tempting when it's a "n00b" because it's the most efficient way to save them from the horror of the sins and this is how the uniform got created...but these particular posters already know the uniform, as well as when their bolder ties are totally unacceptable, so what is the appropriate response then? Take the time to help them find a happy medium they don't find is a total sell-out from the bold floral ties they like but both sides can agree is "better" and still fits to their own tastes, or recommend a neat floral from Marinella and shake our heads when they insist on wearing their wild tie or tomato red blazer.
I know which one I'd do if I was hopping on SF (via my cell phone while hiding in the bathroom) for only a few minutes at a time during a busy day.
Like someone said, the bottom-tier has greatly improved here with certain rules but its posters like Tira and TTO who blow out the top because they still apply individual preferences, and I think the great work this community has done spreading information about good fits has come at the expense of this top end. One can argue that nobody ever told TTO how to dress or helped Tira develop his great taste, but in truth their community and environment shaped and accepted their unique styles. SF is that community for many people now, so when it comes to this thread and to thumbs and the proliferation of one particular outfit... it really becomes about each of us in this discussion and how we see our role in this community, and what we'd like it to be. There's nothing wrong with raising up the bottom, but if that's the role one has taken on then one should understand why fewer fits are truly mindblowing.
Regarding thumbs and this thread: if you're going to critique people for bad fits, what's the reward for a good one? Why shouldn't we give thumbs for executing the uniform correctly if that's what they were being guided toward, it's good operant conditioning, after all (and that's really what goes on in forums like this)?
Two final points: I think NMWA has done as much as anyone for promoting sensible and well-informed individuality and disrupting (ooh buzzy) the MC uniform lately. (Until of course everybody here is in Merino's, Starks, and Inis Meain) And Betel - coming from a nobody - your fits are fine, I tend to like them quite a bit!