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Advice can be harmful

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Advice can be harmful
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 18, 2002 10:04 AM
I think of myself as a beginner to model railroading because I have been away from it for about 10 years and am just getting back into the hobby. I have posted a few questions on this forum and gotten a lot of good advice from many people.A lot of what I did in the past and what I am trying to do now as far a my layout goes is based on old and some new articles from Model Railroader that I have saved over the years and what I visualize in my mind as to what I want to and what something should look like.
This is one of the best forums I have ever been on and I have gotten a lot of useful information not only from my own postings,but from reading other postings and what others have had to say. Recently I have tried to give some of what I thought was helpful advice to a couple of people who asked for help only to find out that what I was saying may have been the wrong thing to say based on replies by others who answered the posting. A lot has changed since I did my last layout and I have a lot to learn. I would really feel bad if someone tried something that I suggested and it got messed up and ruined. I need to learn a lot more about what is going on in model railroading,what with new techniques and products coming out all the time before I try to give advice to others. So I think it best to just read and say nothing. To those that I may have gives the wrong information I want to say I'm sorry. To those who that gave me help with my own layout I want to say thanks for the information. It was appreciated. I will continue to come here and learn from others and to read and try some of the new things that are out there. Thanks again-Bob
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 18, 2002 1:03 PM
Model railroading is a learning experience and thru the forum we all try to minimmize $expenses by sharing with modelers our successes and failures.

We all have a few nuggets of wisdom to share as we mature in this ever changing " World's Greatest Hobby"

Education is the horse, experience is the jockey.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 18, 2002 2:03 PM
Charles-Thanks for the words of encouragement. I agree that this is the Worlds Greatest Hobby.Where else can you let your immagination run wild. I'll try sharing some of my nuggets of wisdom if I feel it will help someone else with their project.I still have that little bit of fear in telling someone how I did something that worked for me and may not work for them possibly resulting in ruining something.That would make me feel a little guilty.
Is that something to be concerned about?To me it matters.But that's just the way I am.
Anyway thanks again for what you said. It helps.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 18, 2002 5:05 PM
Bob,
I think you're needlessly intimidating yourself. Sure, a lot has changed in this hobby in the last 10 years, mostly in the technological areas, but there are a lot of things that haven't changed much from 1992. Most folks still use the same construction techniques and materials to put up benchwork or modules. We still argue over whether Hydrocal and paper towels are better than drywall compound or plaster gauze. Some guys still prefer to handlay track; others still prefer to use flex or even snap track. Some of us debate the relative merits of Floquil as opposed to Polly (or Polly to Ceramcoat). I was reading in another forum recently an on-going debate about DCC and manufacturers; but there were still some fellows who posted their opinions to the effect that DCC wasn't for them and they'd stay with old-fashioned DC, thank you. Are you beginning to catch my drift here?

I think you're worrying too much about your responses. If the topic is an area that you're not comfortable with or know little about, don't post; just read and learn. I'll use myself as an example here. While there are several areas of the hobby I know a good deal about (enough to be considered an "expert"), there are others I know almost nothing about. Operations happens to be one of those. There is a forum devoted to Ops at another model rr site; I spend a lot of time there reading and learning from the others. Occasionally, I post a question, but the regulars there know I'm inexperienced and they help me along.

In short, don't be afraid to speak up. There are whole facets to this hobby where your knowledge from 10 years ago is still quite "up-to-date."
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Posted by ReadingBob on Thursday, April 18, 2002 8:21 PM
Interesting topic. I've posted a few suggestions out here myself only to have someone follow up a with a reply that was politely sarcastic of my idea. Thankfully no downright nasty flames or anything of the sort but still the kind of response that indicates "this is the way it should be done and all others are way off base."

Then again I remember a few years back when I proudly took a craftsman kit structure I had just finished to a model railroad club where I was member of to show the guys. I constructed in on a base of plywood/homesote (and a frame under that to prevent warping). Scenery from edge to edge, streets, hand-laid track, carefully weathered, figures, details, vehicles, the works! Almost everyone commented on how nice it was, etc. etc. except for one fellow. He asked how I was ever going to mount it on a layout (with a great deal of sarcasm I might add) when I got around to building one. I guess he thought every structure should be constructed in place on the layout or something. Whatever. There's one (at a minimum) in every crowd!

Keep posting! If it's a topic I'm interested in I want to hear everyone's ideas, thoughts, etc. You may not be as wrong as you think. That, by the way, happens to be an idea that businesses are picking up on when evaluating potential managers - don't overlook the people that question themselves, a lot of times they turn out to be much better managers then those that are so darned sure of themselves!

Bob
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 18, 2002 8:41 PM
I didn't post this earlier, but you guys might be interested in trying the forums at Railroad-Line.com.

The membership there is really friendly, very helpful, and free - as far as I know - from the "putdowns" you all are describing. There are many different forums ranging from general bull-sessions ("Off The Topic") to very specific forums on model photography and DCC. There are also a number of railfan and "fallen flag" forums. The only rancorous or nit-picky responses I've seen have been in the DCC forum, but it has been of an intellectual, ("let's debate because we enjoy it") variety rather than personal. Give it a try sometime.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 18, 2002 10:30 PM
Bob,
I feel much the same as you. I was away from my railroad for 30 years chasing a career. About a year ago when I reactivated, I asked some questions, such as - what is code 83? Most responses were very helpful, but there's always the wise guy. Just ignore him and keep on keeping on. The hobby is far bigger than a few sour grapes.
Overall, model railroaders are the best people anywhere.
polyjim
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 19, 2002 12:42 AM
Hi,

Ahh yes, the wise-guy.

I have to admit that does happen. Just the other day there was a post on here about "rail joiners" and if they should use plastic or metal rail joiners. Well, I bet there were a great many out there that had to hold their tongue in their cheeks for that question. Myself, I saw it as a legitimate question from "truly" a beginner, and instead of posting the smart-butt type of response, I took time to explain the differences of each, and when you would use the plastic joiners.

Though they would have learned sooner or later, I felt that my response to their question helped increase their learning time in the hobby. We should all take that idea to heart, when we make our responses. It makes me feel good to give back here, what a lot of guys have done for me over the years. Remember, we were ALL there once, and as for the "know-it-alls", sooner or later they will have to consent to the fact that there is someone else out there that ALWAYS knows more than they do.

As for posting and responding to questions...don't ever stop! That is all part of the learning process in this hobby.

-Wolv33

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, April 19, 2002 8:34 AM
On the topic of can advice be harmful -- as a rule of course not BUT do be careful if reading old old model railroad magazines (which otherwise have tons of great ideas and projects and are well worth what they cost at swap meets). Back in the 1950s and into the 1960s it was routine advice to suggest making scenery out of shredded asbestos, clear your track or wheels with carbon tetrachloride, some home built trottles had 110 volt connections that look pretty hair-raising, spray painting articles never mentioned masks, and the list goes on. We won't even mention how chemicals were to be disposed of!
It was a different world.
This is why some of us older model railroaders seem a bit brain dead now and then -- we are!
Dave Nelson
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Posted by GerFust on Friday, April 19, 2002 11:38 AM
Good news / bad news. The good news is that these discussion forums are a great way to learn. The information is informative, and even though gruff at times, does point out various options.

The bad news is that these discussion forums are unfortunately the best source of information sometime. I have to echo the experience of a couple authors in Model Railroader recently. They tried to join local clubs and were received very well. Lacking social skills and cliques were what they encountered. Just a little too far away we have two groups - one was very open and friendly at a public display of their modular layout. The other had a demonstration layout and wouldn't give me the time of day. I haven't joined either group, since even the "good" group had some pretty strong expectations, and are a little far to drive home after the meets. However, if I do join one I know which one it will be.

Until then, this forum and others like it are the best source I've found, especially for the "finely-tuned" question on a very narrow topic.
[ ]===^=====xx o o O O O O o o The Northern-er (info on the layout, http://www.msu.edu/~fust/)
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 19, 2002 3:10 PM
Thanks to all those who posted responses to this posting.They were well received and just what I needed to hear. Call it a big confidence builder.
I feel a lot better about myself and my involvement in the hobby. As I said this is a good forum and I have learned a lot from many of the postings and replies. I will say this-when I mentioned using old articles from Model Railroader as a sorce of information for kitbashing,scenery,etc. I only starting saving articles from the 70's. That's when I built my first layout. The information was good them and it is a help now. It never hurts to see how some things were done back then and if they can be adapted for today's layouts.
Again thanks to all of you. Bob
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 19, 2002 3:38 PM
Bob, Glad you feel better about all this. All I want to add is NOT to stop asking and answering questions in the forum. Even if one of your answers are for 10 years ago. A lot of very good advise and the good old "this is how I do it" comes from people of various ages and experiances. So, I read how everyone else does it, put them all together and use the technique(s) that work for me. Sometimes the NEW way of doing something isn't always the best for ME. Just thought I'd add this opinion in........Jamie
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Posted by dknelson on Monday, April 22, 2002 8:35 AM
Don't let my prior post scare you off from exploring Model Railroader (and RMC for that matter) from the 1950s and 1960s. The track plans are of an older era -- with exceptions -- and some of the methods are no longer advisable but there were some great projects back then, particularly structures and freight cars, that were designed to cost very little money yet even now look pretty good. Check out the Eric Stevens "Dollar Model" cars in the 1950s and the E.L. Moore structures in the 1960s -- anyone would be pleased to match their level of craftsmanship at a bargain price. I started reading MR in 1964 but now have a complete set back to 1950 with isolated issues all the way back to 1934. The very oldest issues are mostly just quaint but starting around 1950 some very good articles appear -- and I have seen older issues almost be given away at swap meets.
Dave Nelson
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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, April 23, 2002 9:54 AM
Bob,when I frist stated doing forums in oct of last year I was a little timid even with 50 years in the hobby.Even after 50 years I consider myself a average modler,how be it with great and sometimes not so great knowage.I have also worked on the railroads,I work part time in a hobby shop..My spelling and grammer is awfull at times!But,on one forum I have over 1300 post! The other around 200.I have no idea how many on this forum.Listen jump right in with what you know,give your thought and ideas and let the reader short them out on what he/she can used.Now,If I think the question as been answered I will not make a reply.Questions on DCC I past up as I do not use DCC,but still know somethings about and still I past them up.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 9:34 AM
I have gotten a number of tips from older issues of MR dating back to the late 70's and early 80's.
These include using the bonded ballast method for adhearing the roadbed material as well as scenery material,making wooden grade crossings plus I have gotten some good ideas for small structures like a repair shed from an old boxcar and a sand tower which I have incorperated in my current switching layout which is now under construction. Althought I agree that some techniques are no longer practiced, some can updated to todays standards.Back then I was in awe of people like Bill McClanahan,Malcolm Furlow,Dave Frary,Bob Hayden,John Allen and others for what they gave to the hobby. Granted much has changed but we can all learn from what these people did and I think it is still possible to incorperate some of their techniques into todays model railroads. Bob
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 10:47 AM
Brakie, as I read your post, said to myself, "this has got to be Brakie." And I was right.

Bob, Brakie's advice is right on target. And it always is. I'm learning a lot about operations from Brakie and a couple of other guys on one of the other forums that Brakie mentioned.

His advice to jump right in when you know something or have a solid opinion but to read and learn when you don't is golden.
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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 10:10 PM
Hi Mike,It is I.Thanks for the nice comments! Deeply apprenticed! Always glad to help out!

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 25, 2002 9:59 AM
Another advantage to offering your opinion/knowledge on a forum or in "real life" is that you can conifrm to yourself that you do know what you think you know.

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