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DT
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I
received an email at the close of business yesterday afternoon that stated the
Bachmann will no longer provide press, news and announcement facilities to
website based publications

This has come about after a series of arguments and 'mud slinging' on
RMWeb,
another British online model railway hobby forum.

Bachmann say that they will continue to provide information to paper based model
railway publications. I suppose that advertising revenues play a part in that
argument.

I am personally rather saddened that one loosely moderated online forum has
caused a major manufacturer to turn it's back on the fastest growing method of
communication and a large segment of it's client base

I am even more saddened that Bachmann, instead of trying to find a solution to
this, is just 'sticking it's head in the sand'. It's shortsighted in my opinion
as the Internet is not going away and even the readers of the magazines will
turn to the Internet to find more detailed information about their hobby.

So Pat Hammond's
MRE Mag,
our forum and a few others will now have to trawl for info on Bachmann products.
Right now I'm not inclined to do so. I hope that whoever made this decision at
Bachmann has a good re-think over the long week-end and changes his mind next
week.
 

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What a sad state of affairs, i don't know what or was or not said in another forum, to make Bachman take this decision, but i can see it doing bachman no good at all. I would have thought that a well established company would rise above any mud slinging. I for one, hope that they reverse their decision!!!
 

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DT
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Just a note on moderation. Andy York from RMWeb has publicly stated that he prefers that his forum is not over moderated and that he prefers a bit of banter. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes when a topic gets out of hand, it needs to be brought under control and shut off.

On Model Rail Forum we have not needed to do much moderating. We have a good bunch of members and have not required to edit or delete posts so far. On our Sister forum (SlotForum) we have had many issues, but this is probably because it is more established and is quite a bit bigger. We have found with experience that any problem that is likely to escalate into chaos is best cut and closed at the start.

The issues at RMWeb dragged on and still do. There seem to be members there who take pleasure in perpetuating arguments that should really be put to rest.
 

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The blanket withdrawal of any contact by Bachmann with the online community does make one think that Bachmann put no value on the internet as a communications channel.

And to be blunt rmweb has little value in its current form so it would be understandable if support to that site was withdrawn by Bachmann until changes are made. They have managed to upset Hornby's Simon Kohler on many an occasion and he won't communicate with that site. And their members constantly bitch about Pat Hammond's mremag and even MRF at times and so it can get personal. There were personal comments made about the Bachmann representative that went unmoderated. What has any of this to do with model railways?


I'm being pretty hard talking here but I feel very angry about the whole situation as my efforts to build bridges to date may have been in vain all becuase of the ill considered remarks of others on a site where the moderators seem to have lost control of the loose cannons.


Look folks, you simply cannot say what you like in a public place!

And to be fair Model Rail Forum members do realise this so well done!


You make moderation simple!


Loosely moderated and destructive sites time and time again set back the efforts of those constructive websites who are genuinely making efforts to build a rapore between their members/visitors and the manufacturers.

Lets hope its not too late to repair the damage.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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The problem stems from Bachmann feeling very touchy about any criticisms levelled by their customers. To be fair to Dennis Lovett, Public Relations Manager, he went to great lengths to address an issue that had been discussed publicly rather than the customer taking the product back to the retailer or communicating directly with Bachmann. However the responses given by Dennis were contested by others.

After that event there was problem with the logos on their most recent 57 issue, 57011, publicly stating that Bachmann were correct despite photographic evidence to the contrary followed by a delayed retraction unfortunately implicating indirectly an innocent 3rd party. This was debated at length recently on Pat Hammond's MREmag rather than rmweb initially.

Some comments made were unnecessarily vitriolic and this was dealt with accordingly. Basically it comes down to Bachmann not liking a medium that permits criticism which they do not have a degree of control or influence over. As forum users we may only be a small minority of buyers overall but membership of all forums is steadily increasing, such an approach is not conducive to a balanced relationship. In recent discussions with Dennis Lovett I have continually shown an open hand; however I am not going to shoot the messenger as the stance comes from elsewhere in the organisation.

I agree with Doug's sentiments but feel that it is unnecessary to make rmweb the villain of the piece; it is an issue that could have affected any website which allows the public to comment about manufacturers. I am sure that this forum would also afford freedom of expression to its members. Bachmann by choosing to only communicate directly with the printed media only reinforces the comments above. I feel it a great shame when there is a lot of forward looking talent within Bachmann to see such regressive policies.

The nature of our medium means that any important information will still come to light and opinions will still be expressed. Similarly to Doug, I am not inclined to search for information they have chosen not to provide.

QUOTE Hornby's Simon Kohler ….. won't communicate with that site. Unfortunately Gary, an incorrect statement, I've had a number of communications. Obviously you are entitled to an opinion but serves little in the 'mud slinging' context referred to above. There are many positive attributes to rmweb.co.uk and it is a shame you concentrate on a personal perception of negative elements.

QUOTE I feel very angry about the whole situation as my efforts to build bridges to date may have been in vain all becuase of the ill considered remarks of others on a site where the moderators seem to have lost control Gary, I have faced similar frustrations that Bachmann do not view any internet forums more postively, can I remind you that QUOTE Bachmann Europe Plc will no longer provide facilities to website based publications and not just offender(s).

Should anyone wish to I would like to extend a right to reply directly on our site.
 

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DT
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Thanks for replying Andy. I agree that it could have been any site, but unfortunately it was yours where it sparked. I think that you were away when some of the issues came up, perhaps a reason to find a couple of other mods to help you manage the site.

I also agree that it was probably not Dennis Lovett's decision to take these steps, but I hope that he doesn't end up being the companies in house webmaster.

I am trying to get Bachmann to re-think their decision. I say to them and all other manufacturers that if news and announcement are sent, they will be published on the forums. We will be fair and open-minded in our opinions and we will be polite and respectful.

We will continue to review products from all companies and we will continue to talk about products from all companies. I urge manufacturers to embrace the Internet and to work with us, not to alienate us.
 

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QUOTE Gary, I have faced similar frustrations that Bachmann do not view any internet forums more postively, can I remind you that

Bachmann on the face of the evidence are not the villains here and its a bit unfair to imply that they are.

QUOTE .....feel that it is unnecessary to make rmweb the villain of the piece

Would we have had an email from Bachmann if it had been a MRF or mremag discussion?


I don't know but if Bachmann were thinking about this move anyway then they needed a catalyst or an excuse.

Andy. I'm not saying we are holier than thou however Doug, Pat and myself have years of experiance of working with manufacturers and we believe we understand when to draw the line although I agree it can be a fine line at times!


And again we will hand it to our members when we say that they appear to know aswell.


Doug has reminded me that we are in a holiday period and his idea of more moderator cover is a good one.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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It is a shame that it came to head this way and it perhaps best for all parties to get together and try find a solution that all would be happy with. "Bachmann Bashing" is not new in fact it's quite old and if you had been a member of the Bachmann US forum a few years ago it was pretty rife back then when the Consolidation and light mountain were introduced. The PC boards suppled in the models were non interchangeable which meant that tender swapping was very difficult and quite a few adverse comments were aimed directly at Bachmann. Also the running qualities of the Light mountain left a lot to be desired. But Bachmann made note of these comments and over time solved most of the problems without feeling the need to run and hide. I have been a fairly heavy user of Bachmann products over the years and their models have had their fair share of problems as have other makes. But in most cases these problems can be solved without have to make derisive comments aimed at an individual. This is a fun hobby that doesn't need the sort of comments that went on in that other forum.

Ozzie21
 

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Gary. I'm a memebr of RMWEB and there are one or two items which need clarifying. I certainly don't want to start a us and them punch up


'And to be blunt rmweb has little value in its current form'
I respect your opinion here but the two forums are very different in their content. I''ve 'lurked' here for quite a time on and off so feel I can comment reasonably on this point. RMWEB has specific section which deal with members layouts and what they have, and are building on their workbenches. There are no similar areas, and rarely are there threads here which go into depth on the more hands on modelling side, like there is on RMWEB. Thats not a criticism, just a reflection of the different nature of our two forums. If you wanted to find out a good technique to weather (for example), something, then there are threads and contributors on RMWEB hwo are willing to help and advise. I'm not saying thats not the case here, but they are certainly not as apparent. That to me is one of the strengths of RMWEB. Recently there has been a review forum started where members review something they have bought or already own to the benefit of other readers. Again there is no specific forum here for that. Not a criticism, just underlines the fact the two forums are very very different. So your comment of 'little value' is I feel at best, misguided and unfair.

'ill considered remarks of others on a site where the moderators seem to have lost control of the loose cannons.'
Andy was away on holiday when one or two members made comments that were potentially libelous. AY had no reason to suspect that the issues would be discussed the way they were, it had never happened in the past as far as I'm aware. Yes perhaps more moderation would have helped, but hindsights always the the most exact science isn't it?

Would we have had an email from Bachmann if it had been a MRF or mremag discussion?
Not from MREmag, no, because Pat vets everything before publication.
MRF yes possibly. If the statement was made while mods were on holiday, or ill, then yes you can have the same problem, don't kid yourself otherwise. Once the item is there and someone see's it and 'records' it the potential damage is done. Until you moderate every posting you are still at risk.

'Look folks, you simply cannot say what you like in a public place!

And to be fair Model Rail Forum members do realise this so well done! '

One could get the impression from this that you are implying that RMWEB members are not aware of this. However I've cut and pasted a post I made as soon as I realised what had been written and its potential implications. Its fair to say the majority of RMWebbers are probably in agreement with what I said, unfortunately it took a while for the message to sink in. With one person I think the message may not be entirely understood yet!
The discussion did go on perhaps than may have been appropriate, but only caused by a couple who couldnt' understand the following issue. Note the following posting was made very early on in the debate on RMWEB, and was supported and endorsed by a good number of members, so by far the majority of RMwebbers realise this too, and not as I fear you may be implying, only by memebers of your forum. Of which I now am one.


More importantly to state that someone/company is lieing is a potentially libelous statement. Therefore that individual/company if so minded could quite easily force Andy to remove threads and in extremeis force the site to close with legal action. There are precendents for this. Another 'Professional' forum I am a member of has had in the past to respond to legal enforcement, due to people not thinking how they say something. They are fortunate that they have revenue which has assisted them when they have had to respond to legal threats and enforcement. My concern is that recently we have seen allegations of companies and therefore those individuals concerned lieing. Needless to say I don't imagine Andy has budgeted for a legal fighting fund in the costs of this site. Please before you press the send button think about what you are 'saying'. I would not like to see this site closed or restricted because someone gobbed off like the pub moron. I've seen it happen on other forums, and it could happen here if the current allegations of lieing etc continue. Needless to say there are frequently requests and wishes for manufacturers to get closer involved. These recent outbursts do nothing to promote the site, and the mutual benefit that could be developed between manufacturers of all sizes, and the modelling community as a whole. Remember the internet does not give you carte blanche to say what you want, and how you want. It also puts Andy in an unenviable position as 'publisher' of these statements and being responsible legally for the content of this site.

BTW you do have better smilies

If any of your members want to see some of my stuff, and indeed quite a lot of it has been used when discussing techniques, and showing 'on my workbench' and 'on my layout' forums in RMWEB, my fotopic site is
http://greengoscalerail.fotopic.net/

The last thing we need is a hesaidyousaidtheysaidiheardisaw internet punchup between forums. That will not help the prevailing situation and only provide the internet objectors with 'I told you so' ammo. The two forums are very different, there's no reason why we shouldnt exist side by side. I'm not sure theres much crssover between the forums form what I've seen of the format and content of each. I note we appear to have similar numbers of members too. I wonder how many 'dual nationalities' there are amongst us?
 

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I would like to echo PMP's comments (Oh, and welcome to the forum, fellow dual citizen!). Comparing MRF and RMWeb, and turning this particular thread into a pointless debate about which is better, is meaningless. I am a member of both forums and there are aspects about each of them that I like, or that I prefer above the other forum. If you look down the MRF members' list, and compare it with the RMWeb members' list, you'll notice a lot of names appear twice! So, one could argue that a vast number of members have DEFINITELY no interest in a pointless slanging match, since they don't care. Furthermore, I cannot pretend that there are a tiny minority of RMWeb members who decry MRF for whatever reason, and MRF members saying that RMWeb is no good, a load of junk, poorly moderated et cetera will only provide more oxygen for a needless fire!

Finally, I must admit that Bachmann's response, will, in truth, do them few favours. Those (fortunately few) troublesome members of RMWeb will protest that "Bachmann can't hack criticism/know that we're right/are obviously as bad as we thought," whilst other forums will protest that they haven't done anything, and will bemoan Bachmann for taking, what they see to be, unfair action. I can only hope, though, that Bachmann and the internet community work to resolve this problem, as I am an avid purchaser of Bachmann (about 1 in every 2 of my models is Bachmann- this considering the presence of Hornby, Lima, Tri-ang, Airfix and others!), and I think that the sheer convenience of the internet is negated by this action.

CIG
 

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QUOTE Originally posted by chubber
[br]See todays lead article in Model Rail Forum.....honestly, my finger slipped when I logged on..

Chubber
Not meaning to stir things but they complaining about us, If they truely did cause this they should be sorry for this problem not having a go at other modellers.
 

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I am a member of this forum Rmweb forum and Demu forum and I have to say that I take exception to the laying of the blame in Rmwebs corner I think the "row" as such actually started on the Mremag site and spread to other forii . I believe Bachmans descision stems more from the potential for more egg on face scenarios like the 57011 incident than the actual postings.

All 3 forums are differant in both style and content this one is the quitest and most "formal" of the three it therefore follows that the more controvertial postings are less likely to appear on here. The internet has enabled spontaneous debate and will therefore be less easy to control editorially and i think it is all the better for it I agree that the language does get a bit OTTat times but as the saying goes if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen which is what bachman have done

I would also like to defend Andy Y's moderating policy I think it works just fine and enables the debates to flow which makes for a far more exciting and enjoyable forum so give credit where it is due he does do a good job
there is absolutely no point in Rmweb being a clone of any other forum likewise this one it is unique and should stay that way

I would also like to point out that if postings are made which are OTT then the poster usually gets posted down in flames
by other forum members so if Andy does go on holiday it is NOT OUT OF CONTROL far from it modt of the members of rmweb are sensible and intelligent people and by the way there are a lot of regular contributors on this forum who are also contributors on Rmweb forum

lastly I have to say that the idea of the internet forum is as a place to discuss issues. If railway modellers have issues with Bachman modelling forums are the ideal place for that debate. To suggest they should be censored so as not to offend Bachman Hornby heljan etc is nonsense what is the point of telling them what they want to hear how will that bring about the improvements to their products we all want ? I run my own business and yes i get flak from customers but at the end of the day that keeps you on your toes and makes you less complacent I don't run away from it

I only came back into this hobby 2 years ago after dabbling with it in my teens I knew next to nothing about modelling but thanks to forii like rmweb mrf and demu I have learned a great deal even 10 years ago this would not have been possible. Internet forums ARE the future of the hobby they provide a level of contact within the hobby unprecedented in it's long history and are a great place to learn about the hobby and debate issues within the hobby. If Bachman and Hornby don't wish to get involved well thats their loss not ours sooner or later they WILL REGRET IT
 

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DT
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I and Pat Hammond will be talking to Bachmann next week after the long week-end. Perhaps Andy York can join us. Hopefully we'll be able to make them understand that they have everything to gain by embracing the web and working with online sites like our own.

Perhaps they need a couple of young Internet savvy people who can patrol the web and represent the company online answering questions and putting forward company policy when required.

I don't think it is the job of the PR Manager to do this himself, but I'm sure Bachmann could give him an assistant to work with him and do this sort of thing.
 

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QUOTE I and Pat Hammond will be talking to Bachmann next week after the long week-end. Perhaps Andy York can join us. Hopefully we'll be able to make them understand that they have everything to gain by embracing the web and working with online sites like our own.

I agree with the sentiments Doug and I am happy to discuss such matters openly between us for the good of the hobby. This issue is not about point scoring between ourselves but about the future of communication within the hobby. I've discussed at length with Dennis about the benefits of being inclusive and then a decision to exclude has been taken.
 

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We need to find out from Bachmann what their concerns are and then take action to address these concerns. These concerns are very likely linked in some way to the thoughts expressed below.

When reviewing a new model the paper based magazines normally make the same observations that are made among the online community. Copy deadlines normally dictate that reviews are prepared before the models appear at stockists and so magazine reviewers cannot be influenced by the observations of the online community.

So if something is innacurate it gets picked up whatever.

Bachmann, Hornby, Dapol, Peco and everybody else enjoy the same scrutiny of all new products.

Therefore is does seem odd that a company should favour one medium of communication over another.

However the online community does contain its fair share of armchair critics who want to make a name for themselves and who get a kick out of winding things up a knotch. They hide behind the cloak of anonimity.

This is something that a paper based magazine cannot do.

I suspect it is this lack of accountability for their actions among the members of the online community that is of concern to Bachmann, and probably others.

So how can these concerns be addressed?


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 26 Aug 2006, 20:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>However the online community does contain its fair share of armchair critics who want to make a name for themselves and who get a kick out of winding things up a knotch. They hide behind the cloak of anonimity.

So how can these concerns be addressed?


Happy modelling
Gary

I would disagree with that the critics are not generally "armchair" people they are usually very much hands on modellers with quite a lot of knowledge of their subject. The internet is almost instant so people are able to say what they think and feel without drafting and reddrafting their response with the consequent watering down of their words which most of us do after reflecting on what we've written.

The only way to address the concerns of manufacturers is to offer them some measure of control over forum content this would be UNACCEPTABLE to many forum members and could result in starving a forum of it's lifeblood i.e. talented modellers wanting to share their thoughts and knowledge with other modellers of all skill and knowledge levels
 

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QUOTE And to be blunt rmweb has little value in its current form Whether this is true or not, it is somewhat surprising that Andy York does not see that Bachmann are merely protecting their business interests as they should.

Like many others I watched the whole mess develop on the rmweb and I was appalled by the immature nature of those driving the issue, whether the the webmaster prefers not to have an overmoderated forum is immaterial, the harm has been done.

Those who will diasgree with my comments will no doubt quote the freedom of speech or their perceived version of Bachmann's failings however the outcome has hurt all forums, maybe a little moderation was required at the outset?
 

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DT
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If you notice someone trying to upset others or to score a few points by shouting down a manufacturer, it is advisable to act quickly. It is amazing how fast a situation can escalate into general chaos.

Quite often a topic could get to be quite a few pages long - quite a few people then feel that it is too much effort to read all what has been said and end up just tacking on a 'me too' post to the end.

MRF is not moderated much. We kick out the spammers and Viagra pushers on a weekly basis, but we have not had to moderate members. We do though have 4 people that look after the board and any disruption is quickly dealt with.

On SlotForum, our sister slot car forum (www.slotforum.com) with over 4100 members we have 9 moderators and 23 club section mods to look after everyone. We find that with holidays and time zones that 2 or 3 mods per 1000 members is a safe choice.
 

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Good evening gentlemen

Confessions first off - I have joined as a direct result of this debate, but that doesnt mean I wont stick around. I dont wish to unduly labour the points made already in RMweb's defence, by PMP and others, but I think I have comments that may be useful

QUOTE (Ben Manicom @ 26 Aug 2006, 18:10) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Not meaning to stir things but they complaining about us, If they truely did cause this they should be sorry for this problem not having a go at other modellers.
I'd rather we weren't all lumped together as 'they', please Ben; we dont think and speak with one voice. The flippant comment you quoted about this forum was made by a very new RMweb member, I suspect it was tongue in cheek but in any case he wasnt one of the irresponsible element involved in the Bachmann debates (quite the opposite in fact)

With his particular insights, Andy Y may have different views, but from where I'm standing, I'd sense Bachmann's disquiet to have been caused by 1. gross over-reaction to a simple coupling problem, which they (Dennis Lovett) tried to resolve, 2. certain libellous accusations, which I obviously wont repeat, and 3. the pooh-poohing of their open apology for an error on MREMag forum. The most serious of these actions (2) was down to a mere handful of members


QUOTE (bangerblueed @ 26 Aug 2006, 19:07) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...I would also like to point out that if postings are made which are OTT then the poster usually gets posted down in flames
by other forum members so if Andy does go on holiday it is NOT OUT OF CONTROL far from it modt of the members of rmweb are sensible and intelligent people ...
Ed makes a very good point here. We have a broad spectrum of opinion and some lively debates; there are a few people who tend to predictably rub each other up the wrong way
but hey, that's life. We're usually adult enough to backpedal a bit or agree to differ

QUOTE (Gary @ 26 Aug 2006, 20:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...However the online community does contain its fair share of armchair critics who want to make a name for themselves and who get a kick out of winding things up a knotch. They hide behind the cloak of anonimity.

This is something that a paper based magazine cannot do..
Hmmm. A staffer on a paper-based mag can easily join a web forum, under the 'cloak of anonymity', and fuel controversial debates. Of course, I'm speaking hypothetically now


Anyway, that's enough for tonight
. Whoever of you are involved with Andy on talks to find some way forward, I wish you all luck
 

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I have read the postings on this topic with some dismay and feel the time has come for common sense to prevail, so I'll not add any comments to those already made.

I will however add a few comments of my own to sum up the situation as I se it.
1) One of the forums published some over the top criticism of Bachmann. --- It doesn't matter which forum, it could have happened on any one of the three. We all make mistakes / miss something vital from time to time, so nobody should say "it couldn't happen to us".
2) Somebody went "over the top" and let their comments become libellous. --- I suppose there are idiots in all walks of life, but just because you are typing away at your keyboard in your own environment doesn't mean the rest of us should have to suffer when you hit "send" before letting your brain send the "engage common sense" command.
3) Some posters are Blaming Bachmann for being over sensitive, some are saying less than complimentary things about other forums. --- So far nobody has really ripped into the real culprits, the originator/originators of the offending posts, so allow me. If you are a member of this forum, get the F*** out of here, we don't need you. If not allow me to give you some advice, DON'T JOIN, WE DON'T WANT YOU. To our members, may I say "don't blame the messenger", there is a place for all 3 forums and each bring a different and valid approach to the hobby.

Finally to Bachmann --- Please be aware that 99.9% of us are supporters of the ongoing improvements you are making to our models. Please be aware that 99.9% of us point out inaccuracies only because we want to help make your models as close to perfect as they can be. Please be aware that 99.999% of us have no desire to upset you in any way and would rather like to continue knowing about your new releases.
So please could you get over your strop as soon as possible and start talking again to the people who are your friends ( and customers ). In other words, WE'LL TRY TO PLAY IN A FAIR MANNER, IF YOU'LL PROMISE NOT TO TAKE YOUR BALL HOME.
 
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