I think everyone who joins this and everyone who goes out should be doing it on a hope of making a living, but no when to draw the line and cut their losses, and move in a different direction There should be no such thing as recreational prospecting. Otherwise, the Mining Laws of 1872 just don't apply. I do think very, very few will become successful with this, nut that's fine, its like a learning thing. Use those contacts to go off to bigger and better things and grow the community. At least that's my plan.
Even the crappy claims you learn something every time you go out. Now locally, I avoid the claims that seem to have 2000 feet of alley fill before bedrock. With some of the valley fill as deep as 7000 feet to bedrock in the Phoenix valley, if the claim is located in a very flat area, miles from any peaks, that is a big signal to avoid as much as possible. Use those crappy claims as much as you can to make contacts, and hopefully someday you'll be able to get a working one. If you fail, at least tried living the dream for a while.