Open/closed forums

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rue_d_etropal
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Open/closed forums

Postby rue_d_etropal » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:10 am

One of the great things about this forum is that you can read most of it without becoming a member, and do not need to log on to read all the interesting things being said.
Unfortunately not all forums are like this. There is one which I would like to check out and have been told by several people at exhibitions that I should be able to read it as a guest, but every time I try it says I need to join as a member.
Now I have also been told various reasons for this, and yes I could join, but I prefer to look before joining. There is also other issues. For a start I don't want to talk to just a select few but potentially everyone, to promote the hobby, secondly others have posted comments(favourable) about what I am doing with 3D printing. I was asked beforehand and said I did not mind, but I don't know what other comments might have been posted. Given the way problems can be caused by a little misunderstanding here, I think it is important to make forums open to read by anyone without having to become a member.
There is another issue, which has happened on a couple of (non railway ) forums where the forum has been bought out by a commercial organisation to get hold of its membership list and also control comments about other commercial activities which might impact on the company which bought the forum. In practice this actually resulted in most of the members quitting and someone setting up another forum. Luckily I have not come across this in our hobby, although some do have commercial connections, but it did make me weary.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby Simon » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:56 pm

My biggest issue with a certain closed forum is that I can never remember my log-in so I can't see it at work.

TBH, I don't see any advantage to keeping it closed, but I guess if it's their forum then they get to do what they want and if the punters are happy they'll use it, if not they'll vote with their feet. Apart from the above issue I'm happy using it and often forget that it is closed to passing viewers.

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rue_d_etropal
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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby rue_d_etropal » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:26 pm

Most members of private clubs tend to be happy with that. I know quite a few people who have read the Gnatterbox over the years, but are not members. It is a pity they are not taking part, but no matter it does mean they might see something I write about an event , so then actually visit that event, or try out an idea that is being suggested. that is the power of open forums.
There has been a discussion on another forum about publicising the hobby. I think we should all be doing something to help the hobby if we can. Not everyone can help, but there should be the opportunity for those that do want to, and getting the message across to as many people as possible. Reducing that market does not make sense . Imagine being told you had to join a club just to go into a model shop, most people would not bother. Guests are allowed in some private clubs, and some might then join that club. That is all I am suggesting for any online forum promoting our hobby.
Chances are that if guests could see what was on a forum, then I would have a look, and join. I find it difficult not to comment on what some say.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby KEG » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:15 am

I don't want to talk to just a select few but potentially everyone, to promote the hobby,


I translate "to promote the hobby" with: You want to sell them something. So it does not really make a difference, if the broad audience or a selected few bring the money.

Compared to magazines, forums only have very few readers. Maybe a few hundred at the most, if they have to offer something worth reading.

Personally I prefer closed forums. They seem to have less rubbish than the open forums and seem to take the hobby more seriously.

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby fatmac » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:11 am

I think closed forums tend to keep out spammers because their users report them very quickly.
(I am neither for nor against.)
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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby rue_d_etropal » Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:40 pm

Throwing out the baby with the bath water then. :roll:
Spammers are a problem but other forums cope.Anyway, you still have to join to send spam, even if you are then banned. At least the only way to post a message on this and similar type of forums is to log on. Yahoo forums can receive messages via email, so are easier target for spam.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby Simon » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:12 pm

Well anyone is free to set up a forum and run it the way that they want to. No one is being forced to join a certain closed forum, and no one is being stopped from joining or setting up other forums because of a certain closed forum. Thus, while we might prefer it to be open, one has to say that it existing in its current form is better than it not existing in any form as it does bring pleasure to a lot of people (otherwise they wouldn't use it).

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby Thorness » Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:20 pm

I do wonder why any forum feels the need to be closed, as Simon D has pointed out you have to join to post comments, spam or a sales pitch. The secrecy can lead to others thinking that it is something a bit odd or even to be ashamed of and maybe even be seen as a cover for something very unsavoury.

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rue_d_etropal
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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby rue_d_etropal » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:02 pm

I have now got a bit confused as I have found two narrow forums, both of which seem to be members only.
http://ngrm-online.com/forums/index.php and http://ngrm-online.com/forums/index.php
and I am not sure which one I was able to look at a couple of years ago, or which is the one that a couple of people at exhibitions have told me I should be able to view.
Thing is , narrow gauge modelling needs publicity. Far too few narrow gauge layouts at exhibitions, apart from the specialist ones. I think that when Bachmann eventually get their new OO9 out it wil become more popular, and other narro gauges will also benefit.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby tebee » Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:50 pm

rue_d_etropal wrote:I have now got a bit confused as I have found two narrow forums, both of which seem to be members only.
http://ngrm-online.com/forums/index.php and http://ngrm-online.com/forums/index.php
and I am not sure which one I was able to look at a couple of years ago, or which is the one that a couple of people at exhibitions have told me I should be able to view.


Er...... that appears to be the same forum twice - are you sure you are not seeing double Simon?
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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby rue_d_etropal » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:24 am

its late, and I thought I had copied the second one as well , http://www.009.cd2.com/phpBB3/index.php
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby fatmac » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:51 am

Just Playing Trains!

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rue_d_etropal
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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby rue_d_etropal » Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:27 am

aren't those all visible to non members. Even club websites/forums give some info to entice new members. Imagine a club stall at an exhibition, which would only give you info about the club when you signed up for it(not necessarily paying membership though). If you saw an advert in a magazine that just said it sold narrow gauge railways, and an email to ask for more info, would you actually send an email, as this is not far off junk/spam/dodgy email to entrap you. Openness is always the most secure way long term.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby fatmac » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:39 pm

Not sure if outsiders can view much on the websites, (I've been a registered member on them for some time).
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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby rue_d_etropal » Wed Mar 25, 2015 2:40 pm

I could certainly look at the 16mm site. I am a member of the society but as far as I know am not logged in. I could read the 7mm narrow gauge site, and I am not a member or registered there. As far as I know RMwed is open to all, but I am logged in anyway.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby Simon » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:05 am

I will start by repeating what I said before just so that you don't think I'm arguing strongly against you - like you I'd prefer that the forums were open so that passing browsers could get a look before signing up and so that they'd have a better search engine rating.

But I'm still thinking: the forum belongs to whoever set it up. It is not their job to promote the hobby. Thus I don't think that we can criticise them for playing with their toys (that they have paid for, and invested time and effort setting up) in the way that they have chosen to. Otherwise why are we not criticising ourselves for not putting the effort in to setting up equally popular open forums? At least they have gone to the effort of setting up a forum - _most_ of us have done squat on that front.

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby rue_d_etropal » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:06 pm

I appreciate the time(and money) some put into the hobby by those setting up forums, but there others like me who build layouts for exhibitions, write articles for magazines, and try and promote the hobby in our own way. I also have my own website (paid for) which I use to publish photos to illustrate what I am saying and spend quite a bit of time researching things that interest me and then happily tell others about them.
If everyone said it was their hobby to do what they wanted and kept it private then we would have no exhibitions and no magazines. There has been a lot of discussion about how to promote the hobby, and best way is to properly educate those outside about how it is not just playing trains(although that is what some do) and is a very creative activity that should be considered alongside other creative activities such as painting, sculpture, writing and drama (to name just a few).
On the whole we don't receive the type of public funding other creative activities get, but I think what is often put there in public view at exhibitions is as good as much that which does get funding, and I keep telling people how professional most exhibitions are organised. Maybe it is the lack of the public funding and strings attached that results in a better job being done.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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Re: Open/closed forums

Postby KEG » Sun Mar 29, 2015 12:50 pm

Users of Model Railroad Forums (Fora) do not really need "Promotion for the hobby". In most ceses, they seem to be hooked already.

It is the dealers and maker who need the promotion or advertising, so readers know, where they can spend their money.

It is not too difficult, to read in closed forums. Either register to become a member (you can always cancel your membership anytime) or borrow a password from soneone who is a member.

At the gnatterbox I´d prefer, if contributions refer mainly to the various Gn15 scales. Of course, I don´t mind occasionally looks over my own tea cup.

Have Fun

Juergen


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