Why an off-topic post got locked down Locked

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Why an off-topic post got locked down
Posted by Steve Sweeney on Thursday, August 08, 2019 11:07 AM

Howdy:

One of our fellow forum members suggested I make a sticky note regarding the recent lockdown of the off-topic Warbird thread. So here we go: 

From another thread that has been locked:

"Folks:

I'll be plain. We received a recent complaint about the Warbird thread.

Because it's not a railroad topic, it's against the forum rules and I locked it.

Four years is a good long time for an off-topic post to stick around and under the radar — pun intended. Kuddos to all of you who kept it clean and above board.

And so you know, the editors are NOT out prowling to lock things down or get heavy handed, as one might suggest. No, the way I see it, we're doing the best we can and applying the rules as circumstances present themselves.

I certainly hope you understand.

All the best, 

Steve S."

On the same thread this got posted on, more forum members posted more off-topic posts, boldly, while my name was still in the headline. I can't ignore that so I locked that thread too. [Please see Brian Schmidt's post on Forum rules and terms of service for specific reasons.]

But to be more clear, and, respectfully: If a topic is not at least somehow connected to trains and railroads, it doesn't belong in this forum. Warbirds didn't belong under Trains, but it might belong here: http://cs.finescale.com/f/

Let me know what questions you have.

Steve

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Posted by selector on Thursday, August 08, 2019 1:57 PM

"He that pays the piper..."

I'll just offer my opinion on this, with the caveat that I volunteered to act as a moderator years ago, and did so willingly complying with my instructions to follow the posted forum rules myself, as well as demanding it from others.

Mr. Sweeney's post sounds to me to be both explanatory and conciliatory.  The message is, "We were indulgent and showed restraint in not axing this off-topic thread for many hundreds of times longer than any other off-topic thread to date.  After some time, we received a complaint that it was obviously 'old' and threadbare, and was outside of the parameters for topics anyway." We agreed amongst ourselves and we stopped the thread.

This, ironically, has become a case of 'no good deed shall go unpunished' because, as the wisdom goes, possession is nine points of the law.  By having let the thread go so long afoul of the posted rules, the denizens there-in felt that they owned the topic and the thread that provided its life to them.  Perhaps the rules, if posted for any valid reason, ought to be adhered to rigourously and impartially without regard for the authors, participants, or the topic.  If it is outside the scope of the forum, it should not be permitted.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 08, 2019 2:19 PM

Question - 

In our daily communications with our friends - How many conversations 'stay on point'?  Communications between individuals illuminate various points that each participant MAY FEEL will add content and further explain the topic being discussed - many topics have parallels in in other than the exact topic being discussed.

Conversations go where they go as each individual in the conversation progresses the conversation - for someone, anyone to arbitrarily terminate a conversation that has no degenerated into a flame war or a vendetta action is just that ARBITRARY!  Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

If the purpose of the forums is not to create a FUN and EDUCATIONAL enviornment for the participants as well as throwing tons of advertising into the face of the participants  - something is WRONG!.

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Posted by Convicted One on Thursday, August 08, 2019 6:20 PM

FWIW, The Warbirds thread did not bother me,  but it doesn't really bother me that the thread got locked either.

It's Kalmbach's forum, they may certainly run it as they see fit, If I had any problem with that I would not be here.

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Posted by selector on Thursday, August 08, 2019 6:31 PM

BaltACD

Question - 

In our daily communications with our friends - How many conversations 'stay on point'?  Communications between individuals illuminate various points that each participant MAY FEEL will add content and further explain the topic being discussed - many topics have parallels in in other than the exact topic being discussed.

...

 - something is WRONG!.

 

Several hobby fora I frequent have 'off topic' subs where people can post their poetry, rant and rave about X ^ n-1, pretty much anything goes that doesn't turn overtly hostile, illegal, or unethical.  I doubt our hosts have an appetite for such a thing, but that would be where 'conversations' that wander could be hosted.  Otherwise...

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 08, 2019 9:39 PM

selector
 
BaltACD

Question - 

In our daily communications with our friends - How many conversations 'stay on point'?  Communications between individuals illuminate various points that each participant MAY FEEL will add content and further explain the topic being discussed - many topics have parallels in in other than the exact topic being discussed.

...

 - something is WRONG!. 

Several hobby fora I frequent have 'off topic' subs where people can post their poetry, rant and rave about X ^ n-1, pretty much anything goes that doesn't turn overtly hostile, illegal, or unethical.  I doubt our hosts have an appetite for such a thing, but that would be where 'conversations' that wander could be hosted.  Otherwise...

Take the FUN out of the site then why participate?

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, August 08, 2019 10:10 PM

Selector and Balt-- Well there is the Chatterbox here. You know.. mow the swamp, chores to do, dishes and such. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 08, 2019 10:23 PM

Miningman
Selector and Balt-- Well there is the Chatterbox here. You know.. mow the swamp, chores to do, dishes and such. 

Not much fun there in those activities!

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, August 08, 2019 10:27 PM

Just saying use the Chatterbox for off topic issues.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, August 08, 2019 10:30 PM

BaltACD

 

 
selector
 
BaltACD

Question - 

In our daily communications with our friends - How many conversations 'stay on point'?  Communications between individuals illuminate various points that each participant MAY FEEL will add content and further explain the topic being discussed - many topics have parallels in in other than the exact topic being discussed.

...

 - something is WRONG!. 

Several hobby fora I frequent have 'off topic' subs where people can post their poetry, rant and rave about X ^ n-1, pretty much anything goes that doesn't turn overtly hostile, illegal, or unethical.  I doubt our hosts have an appetite for such a thing, but that would be where 'conversations' that wander could be hosted.  Otherwise...

 

Take the FUN out of the site then why participate?

 

No point except to placate the person who decided we were having too much fun and reported.   I think we all know  what that's about.  Yet other threads that are off topic continue. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, August 08, 2019 10:37 PM

Miningman
Just saying use the Chatterbox for off topic issues.

It is not the off topic issues - it is conversations that get switched in route as various interlocking topics radiate from the control points - routes from the control points that then get involved in block swapping as they continue on to the next control points.  Thread are a lot like Engineers that think they can dispatch a railroad better from their locomotive with only knowledge of their own train to the detriment of all the other trains that are on the territory.  Of course there is no Dispatcher control of the control points as no specific destinations are identified at those control points.

In the locked Historic Warbirds thread there were a number of seconds of trains viewed from the air in some of the videos involved in the thread.

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Posted by zardoz on Friday, August 09, 2019 11:44 AM

My 2 Cents

In my original post (since altered by the editors), the very first question I asked was, "Why?" The various answers I saw largely revolved around the ownership of the forums by Kalmbach; the technical point that the threads are not specific to most aspects of railroad business; etc. The lament that "I don't care if the thread got locked, because it didn't interest me" rather misses the point. If a train hits a car, and that discussion drifts towards that person suddenly wants to exchange views or discuss with their forum friends (for example) a classic car they just bought or want to restore, or if someday a storm disrupts a railroad's operations, and I post about it, and somewhere along the line the discussion drifts towards the weather's impact on golfing, or sailing, or baseball, is the thread going to get locked? Such fun!

What is the harm in having a few off-railroad topics? Is there an incremental cost to Kalmbach? Does the presense of something non-railroad gets some foamer's knickers in a bunch? It's not like there was a plethora of off-topics. I just don't get it. 

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Posted by Steve Sweeney on Friday, August 09, 2019 12:15 PM

zardoz

My 2 Cents

In my original post (since altered by the editors), the very first question I asked was, "Why?" The various answers I saw largely revolved around the ownership of the forums by Kalmbach; the technical point that the threads are not specific to most aspects of railroad business; etc. The lament that "I don't care if the thread got locked, because it didn't interest me" rather misses the point. If a train hits a car, and that discussion drifts towards that person suddenly wants to exchange views or discuss with their forum friends (for example) a classic car they just bought or want to restore, or if someday a storm disrupts a railroad's operations, and I post about it, and somewhere along the line the discussion drifts towards the weather's impact on golfing, or sailing, or baseball, is the thread going to get locked? Such fun!

What is the harm in having a few off-railroad topics? Is there an incremental cost to Kalmbach? Does the presense of something non-railroad gets some foamer's knickers in a bunch? It's not like there was a plethora of off-topics. I just don't get it. 

 

 

Zardoz: 

First, please check carefully. I think I only changed your headline and did not alter the text. I welcome correction for any error in my statement.

Second, Warbirds was off-topic and years in the making. It didn't relate to railroading and wasn't about to. Locking the thread was not a difficult call to make.

Saying that topics will stray from their original purposes, or that friends who otherwise like trains should have their fun and so Warbirds or any similar off-topic thread should be left alone — is a straw man argument.

The forums have pretty specific purposes and rules that govern them, even if they are enforced loosely here.

Off-topic posts are not equivalent to three or four years of an off-topic thread. I think I can speak for most of the editors that a page or two non-rail content won't bother us. But dozens of pages? Over several years? Yes, we can shut it down, and will.

ADD: 

After the fact, I remembered something else: Editors and moderators are supposed to enforce the rules. It is part of our jobs. How often, how much, and when is up to us. With regard to the Trains forums, we've moderated it very little of late. And the empassioned responses to one act of moderation, in this thread alone, appear disproportionate to the action.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, August 09, 2019 12:17 PM

NFL - No Fun League

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, August 09, 2019 12:49 PM

More succinctly put: Kalmbach makes the rules and we will enforce them (with exceptions WE deem fit).  Complain and we will lock more threads and start banishing. 

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, August 09, 2019 1:16 PM

Steve Sweeney's response seems perfectly reasonable to me. It is not heavy handed. 

Anyone is free as a bird to start their own website and talk about whatever you want, or go to one that specializes in that topic.

Now about bringing Wanswheel back from banishment...that would be a favourable thing. 

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Posted by selector on Friday, August 09, 2019 1:22 PM

Steve Sweeney

... the empassioned responses to one act of moderation, in this thread alone, appear disproportionate to the action.

Should we moderate more?

 

I don't see the purpose of the last question.  It sounds to me like the rhetorical threat, "Do you want something to cry about?"

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Posted by Steve Sweeney on Friday, August 09, 2019 1:35 PM

selector

 

 
Steve Sweeney

... the empassioned responses to one act of moderation, in this thread alone, appear disproportionate to the action.

Should we moderate more?

 

 

 

I don't see the purpose of the last question.  It sounds to me like the rhetorical threat, "Do you want something to cry about?"

 

Fair point. It was an unnecessary jab. Re-edited earlier post.

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Posted by csxns on Friday, August 09, 2019 1:40 PM

Steve Sweeney
Should we moderate more?

Yes.

Russell

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, August 09, 2019 1:45 PM

csxns
 
Steve Sweeney
Should we moderate more? 

Yes.

Yep - moderate more and decrease magazine subscribers - that is the way to financial health for a publishing company. [/sarcasm]

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Posted by csxns on Friday, August 09, 2019 1:48 PM

BaltACD
Yep - moderate more and decrease magazine subscribers - that is the way to financial health for a publishing company. [/sarcasm]

So you think so.

Russell

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, August 09, 2019 2:45 PM

csxns
 
BaltACD
Yep - moderate more and decrease magazine subscribers - that is the way to financial health for a publishing company. [/sarcasm] 

So you think so.

A business that PO's customers and potential customers is soon looking for customers or bankruptcy lawyers (and you know ONLY the lawyers will get paid).

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Posted by csxns on Friday, August 09, 2019 3:02 PM

BaltACD
A business that PO's customers and potential customers is soon looking for customers or bankruptcy lawyers (and you know ONLY the lawyers will get paid).

I don't think that will happen anytime soon for Kalmbach but instead lets talk about the CSX line between Charlotte NC and Bostic NC.

Russell

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, August 09, 2019 3:05 PM

csxns
BaltACD
A business that PO's customers and potential customers is soon looking for customers or bankruptcy lawyers (and you know ONLY the lawyers will get paid).

I don't think that will happen anytime soon for Kalmbach but instead lets talk about the CSX line between Charlotte NC and Bostic NC.

You should start a thread on that, wouldn't want to go off-topic on this one...

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, August 09, 2019 3:16 PM

csxns

 

 
Steve Sweeney
Should we moderate more?

 

Yes.

 

 

Only if the discussions turn into name-calling nasty dogfights, and if everone here acts as a gentleman there's no reason for that to happen.

Remember, this is "General Discussion," not "General Disgustion."

And remember the words of the late, great General Robert E. Lee, a gallant soldier and a Christian gentleman, even referred to as so by his opponents.

When he was president of Washington College after the Civil War Lee was asked by a new student where he could get a copy of the college rulebook.  (Lee wasn't a remote presense, can you image that nowadays at any college?)  Lee replied...

"We only have one rule here son, that every student be a gentleman." 

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, August 09, 2019 3:59 PM

Doggone it, you guys have a lot more fun over here than we do over there on the Model Railroader forum.

I will offer this bit of consolation over the locking of the Historic Warbirds thread. While it may have been off topic from start to finish, it started on September 2, 2015. It would still be an active thread had some anonymous do-gooder not clicked the Report Abuse button forcing the moderators to take action.

In legal terms, the doctrine of custom and usage would prevail. A practice that was in place and customary for a period of time of such length would now have the effect of law. Under that theory, if the moderators didn't see fit to lock the thread for nearly four years, why do so now?

Rich

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Friday, August 09, 2019 6:32 PM

csxns

 the CSX line between Charlotte NC and Bostic NC.

 

What does this refer to? What is significant about this line?

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, August 09, 2019 7:02 PM

csxns
 
BaltACD
A business that PO's customers and potential customers is soon looking for customers or bankruptcy lawyers (and you know ONLY the lawyers will get paid). 

I don't think that will happen anytime soon for Kalmbach but instead lets talk about the CSX line between Charlotte NC and Bostic NC.

Never heard any of the Dispatchers that had the territory say anything complementary about it.

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Posted by Convicted One on Friday, August 09, 2019 7:11 PM

zardoz
The lament that "I don't care if the thread got locked, because it didn't interest me" rather misses the point.

If that comment was fostered by my above post, let me say this: I had never once opened the "historic warbirds" thread at anytime during it's existence, until I saw the "locked" icon.....seeing that it had been locked caught my interest.....until I started reading the thread...it was a yawner IMO, I won't miss it.

But mostly, it just seems foolish and pointless to bump heads with the forum owners over a matter of policy such as this...a waste of time.....and that some members now appear to be pursuing an agenda of defiance in other threads...well Sigh    <------pretty much says it all.

Having been been placed on "restricted" posting status at one time  and then eventually reinstated..... gave me perspective.  Perhaps there are others currently crying the loudest who might benefit similarly by a visit to the penalty box?  My 2 Cents

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Posted by csxns on Friday, August 09, 2019 7:19 PM

Lithonia Operator
What does this refer to? What is significant about this line?

This is the line that i lived near Shelby and Cherryville NC growing up now i stay 30 miles from it.

Russell

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