You make an excellent observation.
Boards of this type only receive (by definition) problem posts.
If you talk with Duff Wilson, the head FTM developer who attends many conferences in the USA, he talks about the numerous people that come to him and tell him how much they like FTM.
New folk to FTM often see a board like this full of problems and come to the conclusion that there are major issues with the program. The error they make is the nature of the board. No one writes and says how good the program is.
We mainly grizzle and complain rarely praise. It is the same on similar boards for other programs and products of course. That I guess is human nature?
I have used FTM for 20 years, starting with FTM 3.0 for Windows. I currently use both FTM 2012 and FTM for Mac 2. I have responded to literally thousands of questions over this time on various FTM boards the oldest being FTM-Tech started by Paul Burchfield in 1995. http://lists.rootsweb.ancestry.com/index/other/Software/FTM-...
A lot of the high-end users hang out on this board and there are a lot more people responding to FTM issues.
I have run numerous FTM workshops here in Melbourne as well as writing over 160 articles on FTM. Incidentally, my list of really good links for FTM help etc., is http://www.vicgum.asn.au/downloads/FTM-UsefulHelpLinksSep201...
My conclusions are that the problem is often anything but FTM. I am amazed how many people have no real idea about Windows or how to do basic things in it, even although Windows is over 20 years old. Using FTM in Windows (or Mac for that matter) is driving a car. FTM is how to drive the car and Windows (or Mac) are the road rules. You need to know both to successfully survive.
Often it is their computer with software or hardware problems or simply trying to make FTM work in a computer that comes nowhere near the minimum requirements to run the program properly. To get FTM to work well in Windows 7 etc with a big file is 4 GB of RAM.
The other thing that needs repeating on this list and similar is how to post a message assuming that a person is seeking help.
Firstly the subject line should very succinctly summarize the problem. Any one reading the subject line should immediately grasp what the issue is about. Words like “Help” or “Urgent”, whilst they may be accurate are useless and tend to be ignored by a person who may be able to answer the problem. So the person seeking information is doing themselves a disservice by not posting clear subject line information.
Computer FTM Details
Then the first line of the post should state what version of FTM the person users, what version of Windows (or Mac), the file size and other relevant data, e.g. if it is about media then how many media items are linked to the file. I have given up on people who don’t even indicate what version of FTM they are using. FTM has changed so much between versions it is usually critical that the poster advise the version. To not do so is like going to the doctor saying you are sick, but then not telling the doctor what your symptoms are. How would you expect to get better? Would be responders cannot see the poster’s screen, so there needs to be some accurate words. I have lost count of how many times one has to get back to the person with the simple question. “What version of FTM/Windows etc are you using?” It just wastes everyone’s time!
Then the post should summarize the problem. Preferably in logical steps giving details of any messages on screen (the full text) not “I saw a message”… what message???
I did this then this, then this, and this happened etc.
Details of how the problem started, suddenly, the last 4 weeks, after the person made a change to their computer??? Again, paint a clear picture if you want quick help.
Recognize that FTM and the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) are different programs and behave differently, even although they are both owned by Ancestry.com and are linked in certain ways. The leaf hint search algorithms are different in each program and won’t always return the same hints.
This is not rocket science but simple suggestions to solve a problem in the best possible way. Maybe worth considering?