Welcome to the forum Ken. There is no closed shop.
In the past we've had a few bullshitters who caused us a bit of grief. Claiming to be "industry professionals" and giving dodgy information. As a result the "seniors" have a tendency to call the bluff of those who come waving "look at me" flags.
We would like more profesionals to join this forum but recently we had a flood of fake industry pros who only wanted to massage their own egos.
In particular we had problems with a schoolboy who claimed to be a media professional running a production company and gave a lot of bad (and potentially expensive) rubbish advice.
As a result, the previous forum way-of-life which was to give everyone the benefit of the doubt has changed into a more wary and cynical attitude.
However... If you're open and honest with us you'll find a very warm welcome here, no matter what your level of experience is.
I'm not sure about the forum. I think the senior members seem to have a bit of a closed shop. As if they want to suss you out before dealing with you. I'm use to AV Forums which is much more active but less specific to the filming side of Audio Visual.
I hope I become accepted soon as I need a lot of advice as I'm about to shoot my first "real" project. Gulp!
Just Some Bloke