From time to time I enjoy joining a Buddhist form like Zen Forum International and Newbuddhist, just to see how long it takes me to get kicked off or suspended from the forum for posting either academic material or passages from the Pali canon which cut against the grain of sham Buddhism whose project it is to substitute a kinder and more gentle form of materialism in the guise of Buddhism.
Recently, I was suspended for answering the question of a newbie who wanted to know, “If Buddhism denies the self then what reaches nirvana?” I responded with, “It is the very self (paccatta) that reaches nirvana (cp. S. iii. 53—54) (actually the pericope reads: “in the very self (paccatta) he attains complete nirvana). In everyday English the Buddha is saying that you attain nirvana. What else might attain it except the deepest part of you?
Probably the straw that broke the camels back on this particular forum was posting some material from the American Oriental Society which laid to rest the modern Buddhist belief that consciousness doesn’t transmigrate when in fact it does, although never self-same (anaññam). In other words, our consciousness fares on and continues after death but it is a serious error in Buddhism to maintain that it fares on and continues "without change of identity." Incidentally, this is very consistent with the Mahayana canon.
Such forums are better for debates. The mistake they all make is when moderators try to tell people this is the way Buddhism is. The only realistic function of a moderator is to make sure debates don’t turn into name calling. Moderators shouldn’t become thought police but they usually do.
Beginners face an uphill battle trying to learn Buddhism on a forum or even on a blog. Beginners are greatly encumbered because they have not read the Pali canon or very much of the Mahayana canon. But more to the point, they lack insight into absolute Mind. On a personal note, it wasn’t until I had a profound insight into Mind, itself, that Buddhism started to make perfect sense.
A word of caution, academic freedom or freedom of speech doesn’t extend to Buddhist forums. They are cliques headed by an autocrat who fancies that he knows all there is to know about Buddhism. But more than often he doesn’t know beans about Buddhism when it comes to its essence. Take my word for it, all the pop Buddhists have Buddhism wrong. A beginner would learn more about Buddhism by studying the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali than a pop Buddhist writer like Stephen Batchelor.