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 Post subject: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:22 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Youngstown, OH
No that is not a typo. That is an exact quote from Randy Hees as he locked the thread on Saginaw Timber No.2.

We just had a seven page thread on RYPN as a "dying" forum and following right on its heels comes the ST No.2 topic which is the latest "hot" news in railway preservation. Many of us are discussing this issue both in person and on other media platforms, but here on RYPN that topic is now verboten. This forum has a reputation of cutting off any conversation that is of great interest because one or two members posted comments that ran afoul of the rules.

There are a couple of problems with a blanket locking of threads, and I will illustrate using this latest thread locking. First, Mr. Hees did not spell out where the violation occurred. I think it is imperative that if a violation of the rules takes place, that the violation be quoted and the violated rule also be listed. This allows the member to learn what is proper and is improper.

Secondly, locking an entire thread is an extreme action using a chainsaw when the skills of using a scalpel are more appropriate. If a certain post makes a statement that is in violation of the rules, the moderator can either remove that post or send a PM to the member listing the violation and request the member edit his/her post to remove the offensive material. If this is not done then the moderator could step in.

Moderators should also keep a record of violations and who is committing the violations. Perhaps with a "three strikes" rule implemented. If a certain member makes three violations his/her posting privileges would be revoked for a certain period of time. There are numerous ways to tackle the problem without resorting to thread locking and causing another member to dig up an older thread just so he can continue the conversation.

Locking entire threads sends the signal that the topic itself is not welcome for discussion. Taking actions against those who actually violate the rules sends the signal that the bad actors need to modify their behavior. Please punish the violator, not the issue being discussed.

As I do not wish to place more burden on the backs of our current moderators, I hereby offer to become a moderator if asked. I would develop and implement, with the other moderators' concurrence, a system for fairly and firmly deal with forum infractions. I have great love for this forum and very much want to see it once again grow and prosper. And I am willing to put the time into doing that.

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Rick Rowlands
Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:35 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 1:15 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: Henderson Nevada
That particular thread was locked because it was fast becoming a pitchfork and torch gathering, primarily by persons not connected with the project and did not contribute to discussions about railroad preservation (except to show how good we are at eating our own young.)

An earlier thread on the same subject locomotive, with good information about work preformed and some questions about the other issues continues to be open for discussion.

About the time a poster starts to demand the resignation of a museum board, I will block if not delete the thread in question...

Your friendly moderator....

Randy

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Randy Hees
Director, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City, Nevada
http://museums.nevadaculture.org/nsrmbc
http://www.nevadasouthern.com/
https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfNevadaSouthernRailway


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:43 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2439
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Randy Hees wrote:
That particular thread was locked because it was fast becoming a pitchfork and torch gathering, primarily by persons not connected with the project and did not contribute to discussions about railroad preservation (except to show how good we are at eating our own young.)

An earlier thread on the same subject locomotive, with good information about work preformed and some questions about the other issues continues to be open for discussion.

About the time a poster starts to demand the resignation of a museum board, I will block if not delete the thread in question...

Your friendly moderator....

Randy


Nothing better highlights the point I made about how we are incapable of discussing difficult subjects on RYPN like having the moderator, namely Randy, lock threads for nebulous reasons, such as "not having all of the information" (which would apply to about 99.999999% of RYPN threads. Such "standards" only increase the possibility for moderator abuse, and limiting of discussion.

Locking the thread is akin to amputating a person's arm because they got a paper cut on their thumb. You could delete offending posts, edit offending posts, or warn other parties that the discussion is drifting off thread.

Instead, the self-appointed arbiter of what we can and cannot discuss decides to silence discussion, and it's part of a general pattern of abuse from the same moderator.

We cannot discuss "difficult" issues on RYPN because a moderator or two will not let us. This forum is dying not because of quantity, but because of quality. One area that the quality is lacking, is that we cannot be trusted to have a discussion about difficult subjects. It has to be all "sunshine and roses" because we might make railway preservation look bad. Truth be told, railway preservation often makes itself look bad without any "help" from RYPN. To further the sunshine and roses approach, the petty tyrany of moderators will keep us in line from thoughtcrime, either locking threads or sending them down the memory hole.

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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:48 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Youngstown, OH
Randy Hees wrote:
About the time a poster starts to demand the resignation of a museum board, I will block if not delete the thread in question...
Randy


Which is exactly the problem with your moderation practices Randy. Reprimand the poster, not the entire discussion.

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Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:42 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

Most moderators are volunteer. Making more demands on their time should mean you want to reimburse them for their extra effort.

Just another way to look at things.

Locking threads are less work on the volunteer moderators.

Maybe you want to moderate the board the way you say you want it run and see how much time you have left over for preservation?

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2439
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Dougvv wrote:
Hi,

Most moderators are volunteer. Making more demands on their time should mean you want to reimburse them for their extra effort.

Just another way to look at things.

Locking threads are less work on the volunteer moderators.

Maybe you want to moderate the board the way you say you want it run and see how much time you have left over for preservation?

Doug vV


If a volunteer doesn't have time to do their job properly, then maybe they shouldn't be volunteering, or look into duties that aren't as time-consuming.

By your argument, we can excuse any egregious, bad behavior by a moderator because they are a volunteer. Think about applying that argument to your organization. Conductor has bad customer service skills, curses in front of the guests, smells bad? Well, he's just a volunteer, doesn't have time to clean up his attitude or launder his uniform, so we should just excuse it.

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David M. Wilkins

"They Love Him for the Enemies He Has Made!"


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1241
Location: Strasburg, PA
wilkinsd wrote:
If a volunteer doesn't have time to do their job properly, then maybe they shouldn't be volunteering...

Be careful what you wish for. You may very well get it, and do a disservice to us all.

Your post should have included an offer to become a moderator yourself, if you are that passionate about it. But don't denigrate volunteers who are doing the best they can providing us all a huge service.

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Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:19 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:04 pm
Posts: 3
Ironically enough he did volunteer to be a moderator. Unless I read the original post incorrectly.


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:38 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8358
Location: Baltimore, MD
The problem here is that BOTH sides are correct, IN THIS CASE.

I, too, view the "locking of threads" and deletion of posts as counter-productive and overkill. About the only excuse for such practices, in my eye, are the flinging of insults and personal attacks (admittedly nebulous in interpretation), outright spam, or drifting completely off-topic (what kind of wood to smoke your salmon with at the end of a thread on trolley controllers, for example). When it comes to the expression of views online, I'm about as libertarian as they come, from the belief that it's easier to let an idiot discredit himself and let him show himself to be the fool he is than to have others explain it to him.

Having said that..........

....... that locked thread on MCRM and #2 not only derailed, but went running across the fields towards a crowd of people. I would have put the kibosh on that thread and/or deleted posts far sooner, for exactly the same reasons--the posts in question were dancing dangerously towards actionable libel, in my opinion, about as close as they've ever come on RyPN in ages.

Brother Terry took a similar, proactive approach towards the now-bizarre-looking BLE 643 thread that got tossed over to "Railfanning" in an apparent attempt to kill it, deleting numerous posts by the new member that hurled direct insults at other forum members.

The truth is that there's no "one size fits all" answer. And that's why moderators, like editors and publishers, need to exercise human judgement. And what can make or break any source--a newspaper, a news channel, a publishing house, a magazine, or an online forum--is not just the degree of control, but the inherent biases and discretion and judgement (or lack thereof) evidenced by such decisions. Fox News long ago decided to adopt a "right"-leaning viewpoint, while by contrast the Huffington Post, MSNBC, etc. decided to go leftist. And the Washington Post has, effectively, declared Trump Public Enemy #1 and a scourge upon humankind. These approaches, and the decisions to pursue them, directly affect their credibility and popularity with certain audiences.

It's apparent from reactions that the degree of moderation being exercised--for want of a better way to put it, an itchy trigger finger on the "kill" button--doesn't sit well with some people who are making their voices heard here. The critical question is whether these negative views are really representative, or whether they're as reactionary, emotional, and counterproductive as black-clad, mask-wearing rioters smashing windows and burning cars because someone they dislike now occupies the White House, while the vast majority of the rest of us just seethe quietly at the whole thing and just walk away..........


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:46 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Youngstown, OH
My offer to assist the moderators by become a moderator myself still stands.

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Rick Rowlands
Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:03 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:01 pm
Posts: 12
I VERY rarely post on any web board. No matter if I'm a subject matter expert on the subject by having worked at the location discussed or operated a particular type of equipment, some troll saddles up the highchair and dives in. Don't know if it's due to a mental condition or some other reason. All it does is keep old guys like myself from posting something which might actually be of value.


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:12 am
Posts: 655
Location: cheyenne
I vote for Hot Metal to accepted as a moderator, any help on this forum is desperately needed, and no i didnt bother reading the disputed thread for the normal reasons including lack of moderation of individual posts.

Mike Pannell


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 365
I further echo the nomination of Rick as a potential moderator. This is NOT to say that I take ANY issue with any of the current moderators or their moderating skills or abilities. I for one do not want such a position nor do I have the time for it. Perhaps sharing the moderating burden will help. It is a difficult if not thankless position. Like Kelly said earlier, I also do not support attacking volunteer moderators here or anywhere. That will not lead to anything better in the long run. Bullying tactics also will not encourage any new potential posters from getting involved for fear of how they will be treated. That is unhealthy and harmful to the greater good.

IMHO, a good moderator needs to be polite, professional, firm, yet tactful. I believe Rick possesses all of those qualities and he knows the "Rules of the Road" too. How much you know or what code or law you can recite is all good information and useful in a lot of situations, but not always helpful if it's delivered with a barb attached to the end of it. Remember, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

We need to stop "eating our own" and using that kind of decorum as a justification for unkind behavior or to fulfill a need for pushing the "discussion of difficult topics". The wise man understands that not every topic is fodder for a public forum, especially when it gets into areas of personal attack or calling for the resignation of people in organizations you have absolutely nothing to do with. Yes, we can and should be able to learn from the decisions and consequences of our fellow preservationists and their organizations, whatever those outcomes may be, but I would hope we are all adult enough to keep the conversation respectful in the process.

Rob Gardner


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

This "Both sides are correct" is always valid in any political argument.

I used to work for government political candidates in the 1970s and 1980s. Yes, everyone has a right to speak their mind. Also, just because they speak, I do not have to listen.

When someone tried to tell me that this politician or that was doing a bad job, I'd always ask if they voted in the last election. If the answer was no, I would not listen to their griping. The had had the right to vote back then and by not voting, they were saying I'll accept whatever ya'll decide.

Some are like my sister who believes she is right all the time. A very self-centered person that I do not enjoy being around.

So I always try to find what we agree upon and go from there. I will leave this thread now having said my piece. You may continue the political argument. Thanks to the moderators for volunteering.

'Nuff said by me.

Which way to the railroads?

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: "The tread is lockied"
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:45 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 331
With respect,

I prefer the current more heavy handed moderation and moderators. It is part of what makes the board special. With that said, I don't have the technical skill to discuss with credibility either a steam locomotive overhaul or the management of a large organization like the MCM. I DO have the technical ability to discuss the FedEx- commuter train collision from the RYPN is dying thread, but I actually didn't think it belonged on here either (which is: he was pulling doubles which cannot be backed up for even a foot, he was on very slick conditions that trucks can't deal with and so any loss of momentum would have made him stall, so he had his hands full and asking him to make allowances for the unlikely possibility of the grade crossing gates not functioning is too much to ask). But I didn't because one of the things I like about here is that no one seems to say I HAVE SPOKEN to shut everyone else up if they have more personal experience. Although in general I agree with Mr. Wilkins' other points, I just didn't think it was that good of an example.

Don't forget, just a few weeks ago one moderator quit when someone came on here threatening to sue the board (which has exactly zero resources to defend itself) because he perceived a poster (not one of the moderators) said something that could hurt his business. Now, someone mentioned in a previous post banning permanently anyone who threatens legal action (against a freaking free message board) and I would be in favor of that, too.


Last edited by PMC on Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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