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.
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