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 Post subject: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:04 pm 
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Location: Eagan, MN
Catchy title, no? On March 23rd, 2018 Rick Rowlands, a gentleman whom I respect, started a thread entitled "Why Aren't We Discussing Exhaust Nozzles Here?" In it, he raised a number of issues around the status, content and future of RyPN. The thread fizzled to an end and floated downwards to the end of the second page of the Interchange.

During the six days that Rick's thread was active, it garnered 52 posts, and significantly not one (!) of those replies was from an Administrator or Moderator. Rick's assertion that RyPN is operating on autopilot is precise, accurate and a bit thought provoking.

Are we on autopilot? Absolutely. David, who holds the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, last logged on to RyPN six or seven weeks ago. Our moderators (with one or two exceptions) are equally non-present (gad what awful grammar).

Reviewing the Moderator Log to see whether we've been heavy handed in moderating dear old RyPN was instructive. Basically, we haven't. A few railfanny threads moved to Railfanning, a couple of odd message deleted for whatever reason. Our site visitors are far more draconian. When you delete your own message, it ends up in the Moderator Log, which is appropriate since you're doing a sort of self-moderation in deleting your own message(s).

Is running on autopilot a good or bad thing? I don't know. When I flew airliners, autopilot was a good friend, but it did have its limits. I will leave the assessment of this to those of you who care to respond.

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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:12 pm
Posts: 75
I am relatively new here, but the assistance I have received from members has been outstanding. As some of you know, we are restoring a GE 23 ton switcher. I have never worked on a engine, and my copilot is a diesel mechanic and all around handy guy.
We would be lost without the manuals and references we have been sent by other members.
.


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1243
Location: Youngstown, OH
I'm not sure what I've done to earn Mr. Bailey's respect, but I appreciate it!

I think RYPN has the potential to be a driving force promoting and advancing the cause of railway preservation. It has widespread recognition, shows up in Google searches, has been a trusted source of good information and is frequented by many rail preservation professionals. But for it to maintain its position, it must continue to grow. The software does need updating. Additional features should be added and some such as flimsies and articles need to be reinstated. Perhaps a files section added where digitized documents can be kept as reference material for current and future preservationists to consult.

Our industry does need a place where information, advice and wisdom can freely be exchanged between the "old heads" and the younger preservationists. I think at one time RYPN was that place, but that has been eroding away. The earlier thread on exhaust nozzles was an attempt to point out that we are losing the status of being the place to go to ask such questions, and as its usefulness declines we are also losing the people who have th knowledge to answer those questions.

Doug is right in his observation. Where are the moderators? If the moderators no longer want to fulfill that role, why not turn over those duties to those who want to do that job and lead the way toward bringing RYPN back? What purpose does it serve to just sit on this resource and keep it from becoming what it can be?

Jim Wrinn's editorial in this month's issue of Trains is rather timely. Will we flourish or will we flounder?


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J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
"The shortest and narrowest Railroad in Ohio"
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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:48 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2377
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
A lot of good points are made here. I am one of the mostly non-participating moderators. In the time that I have been moderator I have picked up increasing duties in rail preservation at my beloved Wilmington & Western RR and my ability to help out here has become impacted. As for bringing in new people, all one needs to do is PM Doug and express an interest in helping out. The help is always welcome.

RYPN is still a great resource for sharing news and technical information. Many projects have moved ahead because of the RYPN community. I see this being relevant into the future.

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Tom Gears
Wilmington, DE

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:14 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:00 pm
Posts: 783
Location: NJ
While I agree with many of the comments above, I still contend that some former members that contributed much to the site have cut back with the attacks made on them by those arm chair quarterbacks who know nothing about the preservation industry. Those individuals are quick to criticize what those in the industry are doing even though they have no clue as to what it takes to restore/preserve railway rolling stock.

Just my two cents.

Later!
Mr. Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:29 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1315
Given the fact that “Exhaust nozzles” was a metaphor for a more constructive use of RPN, it remains unclear on how we are to take collective action to solve such a generalized problem. Calls for donations and volunteering are fine, but that seems to address only a small part of the generally stated problem.

Maybe it would help to develop a list of specific calls to action such as the call for updating RPN software, as has been suggested. In regard to that, I believe photo attachment limitation was cited, but what else should the software do better?

It has been implied that the role of moderators is inadequate. In a perfect world, what would RPN moderators be doing differently?


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1243
Location: Youngstown, OH
Mr. Ed wrote:
While I agree with many of the comments above, I still contend that some former members that contributed much to the site have cut back with the attacks made on them by those arm chair quarterbacks who know nothing about the preservation industry. Those individuals are quick to criticize what those in the industry are doing even though they have no clue as to what it takes to restore/preserve railway rolling stock.

Just my two cents.

Later!
Mr. Ed


I agree that is a problem that I have encountered myself with friends who would have much useful knowledge to contribute but do not do so because of the fear of personal attacks. Much of that is unavoidable but creating a culture of zero tolerance for personal attacks may help people to self police.

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Rick Rowlands
J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
"The shortest and narrowest Railroad in Ohio"


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:37 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:55 am
Posts: 88
steaminfo wrote:
Catchy title, no? On March 23rd, 2018 Rick Rowlands, a gentleman whom I respect, started a thread entitled "Why Aren't We Discussing Exhaust Nozzles Here?" In it, he raised a number of issues around the status, content and future of RyPN. The thread fizzled to an end and floated downwards to the end of the second page of the Interchange.

During the six days that Rick's thread was active, it garnered 52 posts, and significantly not one (!) of those replies was from an Administrator or Moderator. Rick's assertion that RyPN is operating on autopilot is precise, accurate and a bit thought provoking.

Are we on autopilot? Absolutely. David, who holds the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, last logged on to RyPN six or seven weeks ago. Our moderators (with one or two exceptions) are equally non-present (gad what awful grammar).

Reviewing the Moderator Log to see whether we've been heavy handed in moderating dear old RyPN was instructive. Basically, we haven't. A few railfanny threads moved to Railfanning, a couple of odd message deleted for whatever reason. Our site visitors are far more draconian. When you delete your own message, it ends up in the Moderator Log, which is appropriate since you're doing a sort of self-moderation in deleting your own message(s).

Is running on autopilot a good or bad thing? I don't know. When I flew airliners, autopilot was a good friend, but it did have its limits. I will leave the assessment of this to those of you who care to respond.


The fact that this forum runs that long on autopilot without bigger issues shows the cilivity of the participants. Civilized western people!

What I read out of your posting is a sort of concern about the absence of fellow moderators.

I participate in another forum (not RR related) which runs absolutely unmoderated since years! I have no complaints about how RyPN is running. A bit of skirmish here and there, usually this fades away by itself, otherwise I draw quite a bit of info from here, so may be this is the place and the moment to thank the men who initiated this place!

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8691
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
While I understand the premise and reasoning behind the general concept of a ban on "personal attacks," far too often the concept labeling an attack "personal" is simply a form of "political correctness," which in this age is too often a shrouded attempt to simply shut down debate or negativity. After a certain stage of commercial success and celebritydom, the "public figure" premise kicks in. If you don't have a moderately thick skin, you really shouldn't be allowed online outside, say, AOL.

Mind you, this is not a defense of personal attacks. It's a criticism of using the "personal attack" excuse to cut off what could be legitimate criticism. I'm not up for "attacks" on an all-volunteer organization that's just doing the best they can. Union Pacific, Amtrak, Hunter Harrison, etc., on the other hand........ and, yeah, if someone wants to "call out" the next "Gettysburg RR" before a boiler explosion or derailment kills the entire industry as well as someone beside/on it, have at it.

I've seen forums in other fields where, for want of a better way to phrase it, "attacks" are all moderated away and criticism, negativity, etc. not permitted. You know what it looks like? It reminds me of that kindly old aunt or whoever whose house is filled with kitschy stuff on display shelves, vinyl-covered upholstery on the furniture, and all those cutesy and "inspirational" posters and plaques. It's nice that she's such a sweet old lady and whatnot, but you literally wonder if she ever leaves the house and experiences the real world........

I've offered years ago to be a moderator of this forum, with a background that includes training on libel and slander, but at this point someone needs to step forward and find a way for this site to survive beyond the whims and pleasures of a single individual first.


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 254
Location: Orrville, OH
Autopilot? Well, not unless the moderators don't bother to even look at the posts. But, I don't think that's the case. Lack of moderation means we're relatively civil. Differing opinions and criticism, expressed in a way that doesn't devolve into a digital drunken bar fight with keypads is a good thing. Bar fights are not.

How to stay relevant? Upgrade to mobile-friendly. Again publish articles by folks waaay smarter than me (that should be easy). Update the forum. Integrate PayPal to get donations to offset the cost. How about the ultimate repository for manuals and how-to articles? Good look, easy navigation, relevant content with continuous additions will help RyPN stand out. There are different, easy desktop web builders out there that can be used to develop so you're not beholding to someone or some company for custom coding. Unlimited web space with decent bandwidth is pretty cheap nowadays. When you're done, get the word out about the update.

Yup, it'll take some thought and time but can be done.

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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1876
In my preferred reality, RyPN will become a service/benefit/outreach project under the auspices of the fledgling Heritage Rail Alliance (merger of TRAIN and ARM).

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:27 am
Posts: 471
Location: Winters, TX
The old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind. Is RYPN perfect? No, but it is far better than most of the forums out there. And the number of success stories is pretty impressive. In addition to the one Bowmore mentioned, the fact that Jason found out about the plight of KCS 503 through this forum and took action is a major example. While I have a few quibbles about things and I agree with Mr. Ed's comments, overall this forum seems to be doing okay the way it is. While I'd like to see the Articles and Briefs sections come back as they are what drew me to this site in the first place, I'm satisfied with the status quo. Just my two cents worth.


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:03 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 497
I agree with Charlie and Jayrod, if it ain't broke don't fix it, and we don't want rancor here. I think the moderators here have reached the Goldilocks level quite well. A lot of facebook closed railroad groups have barfights all the time about trivial issues, and I unsubscribe as soon as that happens.


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8691
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Charlie wrote:
The old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind. Is RYPN perfect? No, but it is far better than most of the forums out there.


The lack of articles, briefs, etc. is a "broken" situation. It needs to be fixed, as well as assuring its continued survival.

wesp wrote:
In my preferred reality, RyPN will become a service/benefit/outreach project under the auspices of the fledgling Heritage Rail Alliance (merger of TRAIN and ARM).


The potential problem I see with this is a potential loss of independence that could affect the perception of neutrality. As excellent a source of information and news as TrainLine and the ARM newsletter were/are, they are still "house organs." Even if they are handled in a "hands-off" fashion, there will still be perceptions of bias towards HRA and against "constructive" discussion/debate.

I suspect the same would be true if RyPN were to fall under the wing of the NRHS or R&LHS.

Would it be possible for RyPN to be set up in such a way so as to receive financial and logistical support from all three of these major players, as well as from contributions from the likes of Kalmbach, operators, and "viewers like you--thank you!"?


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 Post subject: Re: Preserving RyPN?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:49 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 359
Great to see Rick Rowlands as a moderator. Thank you and good luck to you in this endeavor, Rick.

I also miss Mr. Jeff Lisowski's moderation. He often had the patience to excise an offending post or posts without deleting entire threads, including the worthwhile and appropriate posts. He also often took the time to explain where a deleted post went afoul of the guidelines, which makes the enforcement of the guidelines more constructive to the long-term quality of the board.


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