The Effect of the MR Forum Closing

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SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I am depressed.

The MR forum was the impetus for my diving into the model railroading hobby and what kept me driving forward on seemingly huge obstacles. I have friends I have never met that I go to when I need help or encouragement. Friends like Tom and Randy and Crandell and countless others. Likewise, I learn by helping others. I really enjoy critiquing track plans. Beginners I think I can help--sophisticated well designed plans sometimes elude me.

But as a beginner, I found MR first, and time after time I see newbies coming in with their train set, like I did, wanting to go to the next level. I belong to several forums and several listserves. None fill the role the MR forum does.

This is not a criticism of this board by any means. Quite frankly it looks quite well thought out. But it is difficult for me to read the posts. It is not my home.

I think that closing the MR forum was a mistake in the short run and even bigger mistake in the long run. I've seen this before. Print media unable to understand the culture of the information age. And it cost them, just as it will cost MR if that is what they choose. Still, companies make mistakes.

What do you think?
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
SpaceMouse said:
What do you think?
Honestly, I'm not depressed over an internet forum. I love Model Railroader magazine and have been reading it off and on most of my life. More importantly, LGM and I enjoy it together. I'll miss the MR forum. That said, this is a much more advanced forum. There's alway been some great folks here but now, with old friends from trains.com here (and, quite frankly, not many of the less desireable trains.commers. Don't know how to say that and it sound nice), this is the ultimate model railroad forum. Also, there's no industry pressure like the folks at Kalmbach must deal with. It all adds up to a great place to be. As I see it, today is a great day.

>edited for clarity<
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Steve B

Firefighter
Chip it look's very strange at first glance but it soon fall's into place, practice is all it takes. I have accidentally knocked the forum off a couple of times by clicking the wrong button, but it's all coming together now,
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
Grande,

Don't get me wrong, I understand that this might be a better forum. It has nothing to do with quality. It has to do with it being my introduction to the hobby. It was my support structure as a beginner and although I've learned a lot, there is still much for me to learn.

And I have been here before. I joined a non-affiliated board when things got crazy on the board run by a corporation and ended up become first a moderator and shortly there after super-moderator. So I know that this place can be much better. we certainly thought ours was better. The way it was organized is so close to this one it's not funny.

But I feel like an infant that lost his first blankee.
 
D

dthurman

Guest
Chip

I too was a little lost and I am what I would consider an Internet expert, well trying to forget all that stuff nowadays, what I have found to be really interesting/helpful, is the New Post link at the upper middle. It let's you really track what is going on across a lot of forums. The one item I do miss, is the auto resize feature at MR, that is one of the only forums I personally have been on that had that feature.

All is not lost, there are quite a few MR heavy's here now, and if MR stays shut down, hopefully some word of mouth, I persoanlly sent emails out to others I had spoken with in the past and most have been, borged ;)
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
SpaceMouse said:
Grande,

Don't get me wrong, I understand that this might be a better forum. It has nothing to do with quality. It has to do with it being my introduction to the hobby. It was my support structure as a beginner and although I've learned a lot, there is still much for me to learn.
I understand.

You've been talking about upgrading your layout lately, right? Maybe there's a silver lining for you here. Could it be time to shift gears, get motivated in a new way, and build a basement empire? Just a thought, I'm thinking along those lines more and more myself. ;)
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
dthurman said:
I too was a little lost and I am what I would consider an Internet expert, well trying to forget all that stuff nowadays, what I have found to be really interesting/helpful, is the New Post link at the upper middle. It let's you really track what is going on across a lot of forums. The one item I do miss, is the auto resize feature at MR, that is one of the only forums I personally have been on that had that feature.

All is not lost, there are quite a few MR heavy's here now, and if MR stays shut down, hopefully some word of mouth, I persoanlly sent emails out to others I had spoken with in the past and most have been, borged ;)
Has everyone checked out the links at the top of each page yet? Also, the photo gallery has great possibilities. :)
 
It's too bad about the MR forum, but I think it's to MY advantage, because I'm here now, and I like it. It sure is the best, if not best known, forum on the web. Thanks for bringing me here.
Matthew
 

GrandpaCoyote

Wiley Old Dog
SpaceMouse said:
I am depressed.

The MR forum was the impetus for my diving into the model railroading hobby and what kept me driving forward on seemingly huge obstacles. I have friends I have never met that I go to when I need help or encouragement. Friends like Tom and Randy and Crandell and countless others. Likewise, I learn by helping others. I really enjoy critiquing track plans. Beginners I think I can help--sophisticated well designed plans sometimes elude me.

But as a beginner, I found MR first, and time after time I see newbies coming in with their train set, like I did, wanting to go to the next level. I belong to several forums and several listserves. None fill the role the MR forum does.

This is not a criticism of this board by any means. Quite frankly it looks quite well thought out. But it is difficult for me to read the posts. It is not my home.

I think that closing the MR forum was a mistake in the short run and even bigger mistake in the long run. I've seen this before. Print media unable to understand the culture of the information age. And it cost them, just as it will cost MR if that is what they choose. Still, companies make mistakes.

What do you think?

Chip,
My friend, I say this because you are one of a few that I have met through this hobby that although we have never met personaly I consider you a friend and not an associate, well wisher or colleague, that being said... I am with you 100% percent on this one!

Yes, this is a wonderful place and the people here have welcomed us with such kindness and enthusiasm... and Grande Man has been a real champ for us all... yet it isnt home is it?

I know it sounds silly or even foolishly sentimental to some, yet I too feel that something important to me is gone; the first place I found when I got into Model Railroading, my first Model buddies, first picture I ever posted anywhere to anyone of something I made... boy quite a lot of "I's" there... which speaks of where this feeling is coming from, mild selfishness perhaps yes... can another place fill the same bill, yes of course, I am sure of it and this is a grand place. But let me say this if I wasnt seeing you here or Grande Man, or any of the others who I have come to think of as my pals, I wouldn't be long lingering... again perhaps old fashionedly sentimental but I feel like our gang got broke up, and this time it wasn't because we all discovered girls.
 

jfugate

Modeling SP in the 1980s
I'm of a mind that the internet in general is being squandered ... it's largely a visual medium, and with digital cameras, etc these days, there's just not much excuse for a purely text based forum.

This forum here is on the right track, and I've mentioned to the MR brass that they need to think more visually. Maybe the new DVD "magazine" will help?

I do know from offline conversations I've had with them they are starting to ask all the right questions.

Maybe we'll look back on this whole episode and see how it was the beginning of some refreshing changes in MR and Kalmbach?

We'll see. Somebody will bring the hobby media into the 21st century if they don't.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
jfugate said:
I do know from offline conversations I've had with them they are starting to ask all the right questions.

Maybe we'll look back on this whole episode and see how it was the beginning of some refreshing changes in MR and Kalmbach?

We'll see. Somebody will bring the hobby media into the 21st century if they don't.
That's good to hear. The other forum I spoke of took two years to figure it out.

As for the advertisors putting pressure on Kalmbach, they don't get it either. They are missing on a powerful resource. IF there is a bad perception of their comapny, whether it be right or wrong, it is a perception and it is not going to go away by pressuring moderatoris to stiffle comments. Rather their PR person should join the dialog, state the company's point of view and work with the consumers to improve their image.

I've also seen this happen and it is very powerful.
 
D

dthurman

Guest
On the Atlas and TrainBoard.Com forums, alot of the little guys post all the time, BLMA or is it BMLA, and some others, they seem to get a good response, as well as they listen to what people are asking for, now mind you they are little companies, but still...
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
dthurman said:
On the Atlas and TrainBoard.Com forums, alot of the little guys post all the time, BLMA or is it BMLA, and some others, they seem to get a good response, as well as they listen to what people are asking for, now mind you they are little companies, but still...
Little guys have to be more creative. Often big guys become to complacent in their domination of the market. In the vitamin business, Twinlab used to be the king and they were cocky. They would not make deals with distributors or stores because the perception was that they were the best. But other companies listened to consumers and adapted. Twinlab crumbled was sold, went public, filed Chapter 11, was resold and resold and now they are a ghost of what they have been. I believe it was their position of arrogance that brought them down.
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
There was a post I didn't see that talked about pressure from manufacturers, but what seems to be the breaking straw was a troll attack.
 

GrandpaCoyote

Wiley Old Dog
SpaceMouse said:
There was a post I didn't see that talked about pressure from manufacturers, but what seems to be the breaking straw was a troll attack.
Chip,

Here is that post in its entirety:

Dear forum participants,

We’ve had some threads and actions in the forums lately that we at Kalmbach Publishing Co. believe to be out of place, including off-color posts, off-topic posts, flame wars, and unsubstantiated claims about various companies both inside and outside our hobby. Because of these actions, the forums are requiring more and more of our time to maintain. The forums are also straying farther and farther from our original goals for them, which were to provide a place for model railroaders to exchange helpful information about the hobby and to provide a place for newcomers to get advice about our hobby.

First of all, we'd like to apologize to our loyal users who haven't taken part in these threads. We're sorry that you had to put up with this behavior, and we thank you for using the forums appropriately.

Our company’s investment in these forums, in both time and money, is substantial. As long as we believe that this time pays off for our customers, the hobby, and our firm, we will continue to devote resources to these forums. Recent events have led us to have serious doubts about the value of this commitment, however.

The options open to us include deleting topics much more frequently than we have, closing the forums to new registrants, limiting the forums to subscribers, deleting selected forums to conserve our time, and closing the forums temporarily or permanently. None of these options are very attractive to us, but it’s even less attractive to have inappropriate forums out there representing our magazines and our hobby.

We haven’t made our decision yet. But if the next time you try to visit the forums you find that they’re more limited than they are now or closed entirely, you’ll know why.

Thanks for your time, and thanks especially for reading Garden Railways, Classic Toy Trains, and Model Railroader.

Sincerely,
Terry Thompson
Publisher



This post was revomed sometime later, why I can not fathom.
 
D

dthurman

Guest
Well when Student of the Big Blue Sky posted his feelings about the MR mag, they seemed to have right then yanked it, and within an hour it was locked. I don't think he was out of line with his post, he made some very good points, some I agreed with, others I was on the fence. But I think that MR is looking for a sugary/sweet type of forum, were we are all happy and no one has dirty track. What is odd, the Trains forum, when you read the posts, are more flaming, they have members that will belittle a person. tell them to go away, stuff that never happened at MR, so I am also wondering the real reason, or what was the straw that the trolls broke.
 




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