Railway Preservation News

RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)
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Author:  Scranton Yard [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

OP has generated five pages of thoughtful feedback so, I'd say as to RYPN, "Not quite dead yet."

As my Dad used to say, the human condition is that no one person is perfect so no group of people can be perfect - that goes for families, religious groups, governments, and yes, I guess internet boards.

The platform is a bit clunky (which is being worked on by an apparent volunteer effort at an upgrade - thank you very much to those folks) but the content is great.

Mr. Lisowski and Mr. Wilkins are correct - bullies should not be tolerated. The rules and expectations for conduct are clearly posted. Active moderation is necessary to both keep order so everyone can understand the twists and turns of threads and to keep the discourse civil and enjoyable for all. Every sane person wants to have a nice day. It is appalling that Mr. Lisowski is no longer a moderator. The forum has not been the same since he left as witnessed by the slower than normal elimination of the most recent Len incarnation.

Everyone posting information should be realistic that their posts will be subject to scrutiny. Using the board as a public relations platform for a for-profit business or to raise awareness of your project to increase charitable donations is all well and good but the flip side is that the poster can not run and hide when questions are raised. Transparency and a mature exchange of facts, successes, and challenges is paramount. I will not call it peer review as some posters are much more knowledgable than others, but the concept is the same. Maybe community review is a better phrase.

There is a big difference between what Mr. Anderson posts (great stuff) and what is put up by some other posters. I do not care, nor is it relevant from a rail preservation perspective, how big a poster's house is or how tall his Christmas tree is. That is just blatant bragging and self promotion.

Mr. Rowland, I am sorry to hear you are having difficulty recollecting the particulars of your actions of only about a decade ago regarding this board. Memory loss is a difficult challenge as we age. Hope the docs can help you with that.

Author:  superheater [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)


"If there are threads or discussions that don't interest you, don't read them."

Excellent advice, but file under the too late for that.

One of the things that made this interesting was the annual 4-1 bacchanalia-harmless exercises in impossible, wishful thinking that gave us fantasies (operating Big Boy) that in some cases came true.

Yet, the joyless pharaisiacal types that in more dangerous manifestations are HOA board members issuing diktats couldn't pass by a thread with a blue googly eyed face UP 4000 without arching their back, and expressing their angst at such an obvious affront to serious preservation.

One year I posted a story about Steamtown's NKP 514 being rebuilt as a GP-22eco; in part because I KNEW that the Guardians Of Original Fabric Society would buy it hook line and sinker in their never ending search for Altered Special Stuff

The better part was the next time I walked into the crew room at S. Washington Ave and one that engine's operators called me a blue name and said "I believed that crap" with me responding that's the kind of the idea of a prank.


As their are some truly creative people who only got to display their skills one per year here, is too bad that the Perpetually Indignant Guys couldn't avoid being triggered one day per year.

Author:  JR May [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

I have been struggling to ignore this topic, but then I tend to be a strong supporter of the RyPN concept so actually took the time to read most of the comments. I was a subscriber to L&RP magazine back in the day (I have a full set in the library here) and discovered RyPN back when I really first started to search the web for “live steam” at the time. I have moved RR equipment, run RR equipment - steam and diesel, have my own small shop today, have managed a small museum, and owned my own equipment. To this day, I do what I can to avoid being an arm chair quarterback.

With that said, I feel I am somewhat qualified to make a few points. One is that RyPN has worked well in the past, and can do so in the future if we keep the focus on actual projects. Kelly’s inputs are one of the remaining bright spots as to relevant posts. Rick Rowland and a handful of others chime in with relevant posts as well. I have not seen another site that has come close to the real preservation content as found on RyPN. What comes close? The NGDF tends to do well (within their focus area) as does the Chaski live steam related board (again within those confines).

I would change very little within RyPN other than to work to attract additional updates from the people behind the projects that are underway out there. Those of us doing real work in this field can appreciate and learn from one another. I see no other site which really comes close in this regard.

The RyPN archives I feel have real value and have been helpful to me, and I am sure others, in the past. It would be interesting to see how those archives and nuggets of valuable data can be captured and preserved long term.

Out of all this is the need for moderation. I do some self moderation in an effort to weed out the junk already. No one is forcing anyone here to log in nor to read every post and response. If I see a topic which is not of interest, I pass over it. If I see a name of a poster who I know has nothing really to add, I pass over his post. If I see one poster take a cheap shot at another, I remember that and just don’t bother with their input in the future. It says a lot about a person when a cheap shot is taken at the expense of another. I have no use for it, no tolerance for it. Especially anonymous cheap shots.

So, we have a good forum here. We have some solid contributors. Its independence from other groups works to its advantage. Key then is moderation. Its needed, desperately needed. Even within this topic, a few comments or remarks really need to be removed. The cheap shots in particular.

Oh, and use real names. Yes, that is a pet peeve of mine as well. If you have something to really add to a conversation, you can use your real name. If you are unable to use your real name to talk about a project, then chances are you should not be talking about that project.

To sum it up, I suppose I would look at making the board a bit more professional in nature. Use of real names. Focus on active projects. Solid support/responses to topic areas. Heavy moderation to cut back on the cheap shots. Use of real names.

Success of RyPN should not be measured by the quantity of people who post or are members. It should be the quality of the posts, the usefulness of the posts. If it was only Kelly, Rick, Scott, and five others contributing solid information useful in our field, that would be a success to me. And I am sure that would attract additional members as well.
J.R. May

Author:  Evan [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

As a person who reads here frequently, but posts infrequently, I certainly would like to see the RYPN forums continue in some form. My preference is for moderators to have a light touch, and forum participators to not self-moderate. The most useless posts in my opinion are those that question the applicability of a thread to railway preservation. Sure, there can be blatant cases like starting a thread on how to grow tomatoes, but those cases are pretty uncommon here and that would be when a moderator would step in to lock or move the thread.

If the specific technology used needs to change (Facebook or something else), I'll probably follow it however it morphs. RYPN fills a gap -- interactive discussions in railway preservation -- that isn't quite duplicated on sites like railroad.net or ATRRM.org.

Author:  Ed Kapuscinski [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

This thread alone is enough to make me want to delete my RYPN bookmark.


I've never seen so many people so negative about something so good.

Author:  superheater [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

"Oh, and use real names. Yes, that is a pet peeve of mine as well. If you have something to really add to a conversation, you can use your real name."

And right on cue, the HOA board comes out with another decree to begin beating the deadest horse (yet again), when we know there'll be no flesh left on the skeleton after the 23rd exhumation.

Nobody, and I mean nobody who is on the internet should EVER use their real name anywhere it can be "scraped", unless their livelihood depends upon or notoriety. Every disclosure entails risk.

I realize there are vast numbers of people on Facebook, Twitter and the like doing exactly that, but at least there is some control on who sees what there, even if the Facebook team is targeting you with algo-driven clickbait, instinct predation and profile construction and NSA back doors. They might figure out you like Cheetos, but the Cheetos Cheetah isn't going to spam you or visit your house.

Putting your name here is akin to putting a public post on facebook, "Woo-hoo, going on vacation to far away place for three weeks". It never leaves. It never changes, even if you change. Potential employers can see it, so can less honorable people.

If you don't understand others' privacy concerns, too bad. Pet your peeve in private, please.

Oh and by the way, unless your last name is Ewing, your real name isn't "J.R.". (young people, google the TV show "Dallas") Pot. Kettle. Black.

It was yammering like this that stopped me from the continued posting of the organizational goings on of the Iron Horse Society at Steamtown here. It's also why two other projects I am assisting with-one of which will likely involve very complicated issues arising from a desperate acquisition with a white knight helper will also go unreported.

Author:  JR May [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

Tempted to tell Superheater to shove it. My name is JR May. Period. Yes, the JR is a nick name, short for Junior actually. And everyone knows me by that name. Some one calls me on the phone using my real name, I know to hang up on them. Its no different than Bill for William. Your sir, are the problem with tis board!!!!!!!!!!!
J.R. May

Author:  superheater [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

@J.R. May

For the benefit of the other readers and my personal amusement, I'll let you do that in person.

If you aren't leading by example.....

Author:  Bobharbison [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

Oh, and use real names. Yes, that is a pet peeve of mine as well. If you have something to really add to a conversation, you can use your real name."

Two questions.

1) How would you enforce such a requirement? Make everyone provide a credit card and two forms of ID to prove who they really are?

2) Whether somebody uses a real name, a fake name or an alias, you still get a pretty good idea of their bias and credibility after they've posted a while. Since there's really no way to establish actual author ID, it's silly to keep tilting at this particular windmill.

Abe Lincoln

Author:  hotbox [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

Mr. Wilkins,

I feel like your characterization of my comment as "screaming" is a bit dramatic, but none the less I will acknowledge your perspective. I do ask however, that you acknowledge mine.

As someone who has been involved in civil litigation over matters similar to the front runner incident, it does strike a nerve when quotes or "professional opinions" are cited based on conjecture from forums such as this. Sadly, it doesn't take much to influence a jury.

I understand your desire to attain the facts around current events and safety as they may relate to preservation topics. I'm not offended by that at all but, soliciting uninformed opinions doesn't further that cause. I have no issue with discussing train wrecks, or other "difficult" parts of railroading, but I just wish the users here would be more considerate of the fact that these cases effect real people and real families. If there is information to be shared that's great but, dragging innocent people through the mud (even if unintentional) seem's unnecessary.

To the same end I did start a preservation, safety and compliance thread to promote the sharing of incident reports and safety bulletins from reliable sources rather than rely on opinions or marginally accurate news media outlets that talk about how "the conductor sounded the whistle but, the locomotive, pulling 6 trains slammed into the truck." That thread has the information in it to help operations determine where they fall in terms of the FRA's scope. A few users here have shown interest.

It is a sad commentary though that the threads filled drama, name calling, and whining seem to get more attention than real preservation topics.

Mr.Wilkins hope the activity and opinions shared throughout this thread will help you to see RYPN's value to many of it's users and perhaps convince you a little, of the irony of the thread's existence.

Best regards,


Author:  co614 [ Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

You're spot on Mr.May. I've been saying for the longest time that we should adopt a policy of real names only and I hope we will someday soon. If you're not willing to sign your real name its not worth posting.

All that silly nonsense that Ms. Superheater lists above as to why she/he can't use a real name is just that....nonsense.

Hope springs eternal.

Ross Rowland

Author:  superheater [ Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

"that silly nonsense that Ms. Superheater lists above as to why she/he can't use a real name is just that....nonsense."

Ross, how would you know? When was the last time you received any IT or security training?

http://www.yellowribbonexpress.com/pdf/ ... ry-new.pdf

Billy Rubin

(I endorse Abe Lincoln)

Author:  Overmod [ Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

Might I humbly suggest that the current trend of this particular thread is not representative of anything about RyPN that shouldn't die?

There's plenty here, both in the 'current' version and in the upcoming reboot, to make it worthwhile continuing. Except for the snarktasms. The pigment formerly known as superheater* now says

"Ross, how would you know? When was the last time you received any IT or security training?

http://www.yellowribbonexpress.com/pdf/ ... ry-new.pdf"

which I ASSume is supposed to be some kind of dig at Mr. Rowland's ability to serve the file properly (since it won't come up from the link Bile Pig* posted), or perhaps that the content hasn't been updated since about 2011. But all that is necessary is to go one level up, to


click the file name from the directory list, and the page loads just fine.

Does anyone really think that using a pseudonym on an Internet board will keep any motivated hacker of even mediocre skill from finding out the secret identity? There are plenty of indications as to who this person is, and just like OTH radar all the clever rationalizations about IT security have nothing to do with either the methodology or access to the secondary sources needed for the task. On the other hand, some hacker mentality and what passes for sense of humor being as it is, it just might irritate someone into 'outing' them.

This doesn't excuse the use of intentionally insulting mockery, an ancient example being an insulting version of a Polish last name and a current one being gender inversion. That stuff might have been clever in fourth grade, but not far beyond that; it's certainly not what I expect from professional adults on a legitimate preservation resource.

I was sent an official PM from one of the site moderators that clearly establishes the ability of posters here to use handles. Between that and the First Amendment, I see no reason to continue the discussion EXCEPT to express the preference that real men and women put their names behind their posts. Personally, I don't care about ego, only the accuracy and relevance of the information ... and as my grandmother said, 'you can learn from the dumbest of people' (specifically including those using pseudonyms who haven't established their bona fides here with peer-reviewed postings).

Something that doesn't exactly "kill" RyPN but I think ought to be self-policed out is the occasional "get out the popcorn" threads where one poster puts up some veiled reference or comment about another's achievement, or predilections, or professional history, and it turns into a clash of 'cet animal est tres mechant' personalities rather than a discussion of fact or sense. There are timeless topics like 1361 and Dickens that frequently diverge quickly into more heat than light, despite many attempts to steer them to some semblance of objectivity. Personally, I don't think this should be stopped with hard moderation in most cases but we should all be better than that. This particularly applies to topics like fillet-welded staybolts or boiler-water treatment, where it really shouldn't be hard to read for objective information but it so often becomes so.

*Note that I'm just making humorous plays on words here, relative to that time-honored RyPN tradition of using someone else's real name and address in post signatures. One humorous turn deserves another...

Author:  PaulWWoodring [ Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)

Kelly Anderson wrote:
I assume that line was aimed at my “Latest from the Strasburg Rail Road Shops” posts. Would you prefer that I cease and desist for the purity of the forum? Since we do work for other organizations, anything we do and anything I post could be construed as an advertisement, while most other organizations could post the same material and it would be applauded since without contract work, for them it wouldn’t be “advertising”.

Kelly: Absolutely, positively NO. Your posts are one of the true bright spots on this forum. I regard the Strasburg as the best run railroad of any size in the U. S.

Author:  superheater [ Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RYPN as a Useful Forum is Dying (A Rambling Rant)


So let me get this straight. I'm not supposed to use a pseudonym of my choosing, but you can hurl gratitous insults names of your choosing?

The point of the link wasn't that it doesn't work or not work, but that it describes something that Ross says will exist, but doesn't exist and has no prospects of existing, in short, his statements require proof.

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