My own experience of camera clubs is about the same - people that like to play politics and "organise" the club. Then there are the people that like to gossip and back-stab. Sure - we get all this kind of garbage in the average workplace and the average children's playground. Who needs this in their relaxation interests?
Similarly internet forums are like this. I don't know how many I have tried over the years. They are all the same. A hardcore clique that eventually causes so much hassle to new members that new members just do not remain. My sole use for forums was to try to spread news of my blogs, even if that meant joining some rather odious forums and making a few dozen posts.
One of the popular discussions was "what would be your ideal camera" to which the answer should be "the one I have in my hand that I have paid for". It very rarely is the answer given which is bizarre. The usual thing is for somebody to post a question then for just about everybody to debate tangents off the original question. Then tangents off the tangents. Very rarely are discussions that go over about 5 posts worth reading.
If people did anything other than discuss garbage endlessly and indulge in bitching, whining, moaning and complaining then forums might be worthwhile. An old work colleague summed them up as "maximum time soak, minimum technical accuracy, maximum noise". Perhaps the whole problem is that forums are not based around photography but rather around discussion. On discussion groups, people like to talk and will talk about anything. Bring back the photography! All these forums do is drive people to drink!