I would like to address a trend I have been seeing over the last many months that I feel can be destructive. The trend I am talking about is that we are seeing an ever increasing number of negative posts on this forum.  Now...before some of you decide that the reason for my post is to defend any particular manufacturer or member, let me say that it is contrary to common sense and reasoning for OGR to show favoritism for some very good reasons when you really think about it.  The main reason for my concern is that the forum is being used much like other social media sites to vent personal comments in which some are down right nonconstructive, rude, petty, and in some cases not based on fact.  Yes...I know...the forum is a blog and thus some of you think you can just come on here and make any accusation or comment you want regardless of whether it affects the other side unfairly or if that other side is fully responsible in a particular situation being discussed.  This would be a good time to remind folks of our Terms of Service and how we deal with such situations asking the membership to abide by those terms.  Over the months I have seen too many threads that have turned into war zones where anything goes as far as making personal comments about employees of companies, the products they produce, and in some cases down right defamation that in today's world is going to open more and more folks to legal troubles especially when that defamation can be proven.  When you make an accusation that can have a negative impact on a person or business, you open yourself in today's climate to perhaps finding yourself in an expensive situation just by the fact that you may have to spend money on legal counsel.  You can win in court but still end up paying out of your own pocket in personal expenses and time.  So....be selective in how you say things....

OK... getting back to the forum specific reasons why I am concerned about this negative trend.  First, I understand customer's frustrations with product that does not meet their expectations.  I think we can safely say this is not limited to our hobby.  As product gets more sophisticated and complicated, history shows that in general there are more problems with that product.  In the past, folks had rather limited ways to deal with problems concerning their purchases...mainly they took the product back for an exchange or refund.  They could complain to the store where they bought the product or directly to the manufacturer.  Today, we have a very powerful new way to deal with these problems and we call that...social media.  The strength of social media of which this forum is considered, comes to play when someone posts their complaint, comment, accusation, or whatever, and it goes out to thousands or millions of folks who get only one side of the story initially. It naturally draws other folks that may have similar or totally unrelated experiences to post and then under certain circumstances can turn into an unfair characterization of the product or person being discussed.  The "pile it on" mentality many times takes over.  We have seen this on the forum and many of the comments made are not constructive....they are meant to make as negative impact as possible.  Now...don't get me wrong as I am not against pointing out product insufficiencies but when multitudes of folks feel like they have to have their own thread about the same problem that is already being discussed in a dozen other threads....well, this is just too much.   If you expect the manufacturer to invest the time trying to search the internet forums for all of the different posts about their product, then you need to think again.  Time and resource investment will always be directed first to their own contact avenues and that is why I have always said that if one has made a purchase of a product with which they are not happy, then contact the place you made the purchase and demand (nicely at first) satisfaction.  AND...there is nothing wrong with contacting the manufacturer via phone, customer service, and if that doesn't work email them repeatedly.  You will get a response but it may not be as quickly as you expect.

One thing that we all should be thankful for is some of our manufacturers and advertisers have been very responsive on the OGR forum.  They have taken time to address certain issues whenever they had an answer and we have had updates over the years about topics discussed on our forum.  I think all of us want that to continue but when we can not discuss issues without making snide personal comments, it makes it easier for silence to take over. 

So....in an effort to restore some sanity and at the same time allow our forum members to express themselves in a civil manner about product concerns, we are going to ask that you post to threads that already exist concerning your particular situation.  Excessive threads about the same topic in multiple categories on the forum are going to either be closed, edited, or deleted.  Lets get a little more balance here so we do not self destruct our particular little world.  There is much more good than bad in this hobby so lets try to work together to be fair to all sides without being so personal.  If you have a problem with a purchase and/or product, rather than coming to the forum first to air it out, how about doing everything you can to come to a positive conclusion with the vendor/manufacturer and then tell us about it so we get the whole story from the beginning to hopefully positive ending.

I would like to think that all of our advertisers, manufacturers, readers, and subscribers want the best for each other through good times and bad.  Thanks for your consideration and support....

All My Best,


Alan Arnold
O Gauge Railroading magazine
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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