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For months now we have had an overwhelming number of topics posted in the wrong categories.  The mods have patiently been moving them and on occasion reminding posters to become familiar with all of the sub forums / categories that we have.  We realize that sometimes it is not quite clear where to post and there are gray areas but we ask for you to do your best.  The biggest problem is most of these misplaced threads are going into the 3-rail scale category.  We believe this is because those posters are using a smartphone and are simply just posting to the first category that comes up or perhaps just posting and they don't take time to pick the correct category.  Either way, because this is taking up so much time and time is money as you know, we have decided to just delete misplaced threads (takes about half the time as it takes to move them).  So, if you are missing your thread, it is likely it got deleted because of this problem.  PLEASE help all of us by taking the time to post in the correct category or as close as possible.  If you come close, then we won't delete the thread

Thank you!

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First, I very much agree with Paul's comment - the only reason I saw this post was because I just happened to see it in the Recent Posts column on the right side of the page just now.  I don't know that I have knowingly ever perused the "Tech Support for the OGR Forum (not for trains)" subforum (all due respect).  What you are proposing to do is a pretty big deal, seems to me, so it ought to get advertised in all the fora and sub-fora. 

I appreciate the effort to try to keep the various fora "pure" - as I'm sure most readers do.  I have a couple of suggestions that might improve posting accuracy (maybe you've already thought about them ...).  You might consider changing the "post reply" button label to repeat the forum name -- so in this case it would read "post reply to Tech Support for ..."  Well, ok, that's probably too long, but there might be some short hand labels to use.  Seems to me for posters using computers the real estate required for a bigger/longer button isn't much of an issue.  Probably is for posters using smart phones.  If its not possible to pick up the actual forum name, maybe just a general 'warning label' to alert the poster to checking to make sure its to the forum he/she intended.

A second, similar approach would be to have a two-step posting process.  the first step is a "preview" (purgatory) step (a couple of non-train fora that I read and post to have two-step processes) and then a "post" or "submit" step.  The preview/purgatory step could then offer the feedback of saying something like, 'this posting will go to the ZZZZ forum ...  Do you want to change the destination forum?'  Likely some extra coding involved in doing this, but it could save you some of the forum topic purity policing headaches.

Is this an issue for new posts or just for reply posts?  I would have thought that the steps to set up a new post would make most posters think about which forum they are targeting.  Would it be possible to cross-post to one other forum?  The separation between some of the forum topics is ambiguous (a good example is the Electrical sub-forum and any one of the Control System sub-fora - another is the Photo Albums sub-forum and almost any other forum).

All of the above notwithstanding, the OGR forum is one of the most easily navigated sites around and fairly accessible by various topics that don't require you to dig very deep.  I wish some of the woodworking fora that I occasionally tune in to were as transparent and as easy to find topics and read as OGR.  Nice job.

- Rich

 

 

@richs09 posted:
.. You might consider changing the "post reply" button label to repeat the forum name...maybe just a general 'warning label' to alert the poster to checking to make sure its to the forum he/she intended...

...A second, similar approach would be to have a two-step posting process...

...Likely some extra coding involved in doing this, but it could save you some of the forum topic purity policing headaches...

All this would be nice, but we don't write the code that runs this forum. That is handled by Crowdstack, the folks who handle the technical side of things here. The features you mention are not available in the forum code. Consequently we can't implement any of these suggestions.

I will mention this to the Crowdstack Tech Support staff. However, this would likely fall into their "Customization" rate schedule, which is very expensive.

Last edited by Rich Melvin

One thing that I think creates confusion (I wouldn't have known without reading other folks being corrected) is that "3 rail scale" isn't for folks with 3 rail models that are produced to scale size.  I realize that is an industry-wide accepted term for scale models with scale couplers and sometimes scale wheel flanges....BUT I think many are still confused by it just the same.  I know all the different terms and such took me a while to understand and get used to after switching from HO to O.  (Hi-rail, 3 rail scale, conventional, semi scale/027, etc.)  Sometimes we each get so wrapped up in the hobby and what we know, that we forget that others may not have the same knowledge we assume that they do.  Just food for thought.

Well as much I hate seeing threads deleted I guess to help keep cost minimal and keep the staff from wasting time this has to be done.  Some of the work has to be on the end of the folks posting.  That being said I also feel the shear number of "sections" doesn't help in choosing the correct forum as some of them overlap to a degree.  In the "National Club News" section there are 3 sub sections that have less than 100 topics and one of them the last post is 2016.  Even the MTH and Lionel sections seem to have some redundancy or at least sections that could be theoretically merged. 

I encourage the membership to due diligence in selecting the proper forum section so we don't have any good threads lost.

 

Last edited by MartyE

Clear communication about and consistency in application of the categorization would be helpful.  I have had numerous posts regarding MTH products or using MTH engines on Lionel’s FasTrack moved to the MTH forum where they get much less exposure.  Yet the never ending threads of modern Lionel QC issue, modern Lionel Product Issues or Lionel’s miss on colors on modern products remain and proliferate in the Hi-Rail, 027 and Traditional 3 Rail O Gauge forum although there are specific Lionel forums that would be more applicable.

I think people should pay attention where they post as part of being a good forum member.  

That said, a simple fix might be to add a new sub forum called:

“1 - The Basement” 

That would show up in the forum drop down list first when making a new post.  If unchanged it would punish the offenders, keep crap out of the 3-rail scale forum so their lives are easier, and remove the need for the moderators to do so much work. 

Clear communication about and consistency in application of the categorization would be helpful.  I have had numerous posts regarding MTH products or using MTH engines on Lionel’s FasTrack moved to the MTH forum where they get much less exposure.  Yet the never ending threads of modern Lionel QC issue, modern Lionel Product Issues or Lionel’s miss on colors on modern products remain and proliferate in the Hi-Rail, 027 and Traditional 3 Rail O Gauge forum although there are specific Lionel forums that would be more applicable.

Luther...not totally true my friend.  I can tell you that I personally move several threads per day over to one of the Lionel categories.  If you find a thread that you think needs to be moved, then send us an alert.

OK, somebody asked in the REGULAR 3R threads about the shipment of the SCALE 119 and JUPITER.  These items could run on the sharper curves traditional layouts use.  Some of the smaller switchers and the 40 foot Weaver boxcars can do sharp curves.  Some of these items can go either direction.  How do you make the call?

How about if it is a new up-coming Lionel product, it should be posted on a Lionel Forum? What is so difficult to understand about THAT? 

OK, somebody asked in the REGULAR 3R threads about the shipment of the SCALE 119 and JUPITER.  These items could run on the sharper curves traditional layouts use.  Some of the smaller switchers and the 40 foot Weaver boxcars can do sharp curves.  Some of these items can go either direction.  How do you make the call?

My answer to your question is that since the post is about Lionel products, that's the forum they should go in. 

***ETA*** 

Sorry, I see I was a little slow posting again.

Luther...not totally true my friend.  I can tell you that I personally move several threads per day over to one of the Lionel categories.  If you find a thread that you think needs to be moved, then send us an alert.

Rather than send individual alerts, I sent an email with the titles of all the threads that I believe should be moved to the Lionel forums from just the first five pages of the Hi-Rail, O27 and Traditional Forum.

Last edited by GregM

My two cents. Sometimes its not clear exactly what falls into category.  Obviously HONGZ, Electrical and Technical are explanatory.  But what exactly is Tin Plate (its also three rails)?  What is considered scale (exactly 1:48?, how about 1:50 or 1:43?) Etc, etc.  Since Rich says customizing is expensive there is probably no easy way to bring up a definition when you click on forum topic catagory to insure your post is really in right place.

@Scott R posted:

So what about Menards?  When they make a new product announcement about a structure, shouldn't that thread be moved to the scenery and structures forum?  Will those posts be deleted in the furure?  Or should Menards have their own forum like the other manufacturers?  There are lots of other cases of gray area overlap too.

Menards is a Forum Sponsor, and they can post their information wherever they see fit!

IMO, the way to go is to reduce the number of forum categories and sub categories. Judging from the number of topics in each, it's obvious we like to congregate on the hi rail / traditional forum.  But with all the moving and soon to be deleting, there's not much that can be discussed there.  And much of what is posted there should arguably go in one of the other forum sections.  Is there something that's driving all the different forum categories?  Or is it merely self inflicted?  

Maybe, just maybe, if the poster would read and comprehend what the sub forum is REALLY all about, they could then select the "correct" forum. As was previously stated by Alan, way too many folks were posting totally unrelated posts to the 3RS (3-Rail SCALE) Forum, obviously without actually reading what the 3RS Forum is all about.

 

@CBQ_Bill posted:

I have been an OGR Magazine subscriber for over 25 years and an OGR forum member from the its inception.  I plan to become a supporting member soon.  

I really hope that you will not delete my threads if I mistakenly post them in an "wrong" sub-forum.

  However, I will only make this time investment if my posts will be saved.  This time investment is unreasonable if my posts are subject to arbitrary deletion due to my posting them in the "wrong" sub-forum.  

Please advise.  Thanks in advance.

So this forum should be all about you, and not any inconvenience to the moderators, who provide this service without any contribution from 95% of its members.

Unfortunately for all involved this stinks.  It stinks for those posting that have every intention of putting a post in the correct section and either inadvertently put it in the wrong section or put it in the section that doesn't best fit it's subject matter and gets deleted.

It stinks for us as forum users because I feel this could drive away some potentially great posts for fear of a thread being deleted because of the above. What if I put all this work into a post and zap it's gone and especially when there are useful replies that may help everyone that become collateral damage.  It's always bad when folks get frustrated.  

It stinks for the OGR folks who have to make this determination and try to figure out what belongs where and then hear about it if it is deleted for not being in the proper area.   They also have to take a tremendous amount of time to do this.  I'm not sure how many moderators there are for OGR but I'm betting it's not many and with the amount of traffic here it can't be easy.  I'm sure this also takes away from the time needed to focus on other aspects of the OGR business.

It's really a no win situation for most involved.  There are a few I see happy over this decision and ironically they are some of the folks that never go out on that limb to start a thread but are the first to point out that the thread is in the wrong section with a judgmental post rather than just using the "Alert Button" and letting the forum administrators deal with it.

My suggestion is to really pay attention to where you are posting.  If it is a large post, create it in a word type doc so if it is deleted you can re-post to the proper section without losing everything.  

"This is the largest, best and most viewed O Gauge Train Forum on the internet!"

"Uh Oh!  This is the largest, most unmanageable O Gauge Train forum on the internet!"

Maybe it's time for those "one liner" descriptions that show up from the main directory pages to be revisited and /or enhanced a little?  I was surprised at the one mention above of not knowing what HONGZ meant.  But I guess if you were not active on the forum at the moment it was started (and was possibly a sticky thread, I don't recall), it has no description whatsoever under it right now.

Even 3 Rail Scale, the description simply restates the title and uses the 3RS acronym, without saying what it actually is defined as!

-Dave

 

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@Dave45681 posted:

"This is the largest, best and most viewed O Gauge Train Forum on the internet!"

"Uh Oh!  This is the largest, most unmanageable O Gauge Train forum on the internet!"

 

Even 3 Rail Scale, the description simply restates the title and uses the 3RS acronym, without saying what it actually is defined as!

-Dave

On the 3-Rail Scale Forum, there is a "sticky" titled "What is 3-Rail Scale", with 4 pages of discussion. Should be plain enough for any new person visiting that forum.

OK....my attention has been called to this thread and I have read (and deleted) all of the posts so far.  Here is my take:  I understand the frustration of all of the different categories.  Note that the current staff of OGR inherited the forum format some of which can't be changed because it is baked into the software.  I am not so sure we need so many categories but I can tell you that the history of how all of them came to be is because so many folks on this forum requested to have a specific category that could easily be found through searches without having to search through a category that had dozens of unrelated topics.  I think the intent of my moderator that started this post was to call member's attention to the problem and it certainly worked!  I am thinking (and agree with some of you) that perhaps a re-evaluation of the categories needs to take place IF in fact the software allows us to do so without great expense to OGR.  If nothing else, perhaps a more precise definition of each category is in order ... but it seems that some of the categories already have definitions and folks just don't read those definitions!  I think this is going to take an effort on both sides to make it work the way it is intended.  The forum has become a place where folks come, even if they are not members, to do research and that research is much easier when one does not have to wade through a category that is littered with hundreds if not thousands of threads that have little in common with the subject matter of that category.  For now, just do your best and I will make sure that we consider moving a thread first before deleting it.  All that we ask is for you to try a little more to place your threads and posts in the most logical area.  By the way, sponsors are allowed to post in any category other than the for sale/trade.  This is part of their agreement with us in exchange for their paid advertising.  Their main goal is to promote their products and services and so limiting them to one category on the forum defeats the purpose.  Hopefully you understand. 

Thanks to everyone!

Alan

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