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Is forum and web feedback representative of the feelings within the hobby generally?

It is sometines said that those who participate in forums represent the most dedicated hobbyists.

If this is the case are the viewpoints expressed in forums representative of the thoughts of hobbyists generally?

You could argue that an editorial of the editor in a magazine represents a viewpoint of one!

However the editor will have had a lot of discussion with readership and manufacturers and may be putting the thoughts of many into his own words.

The same could be said of those forum members who have regular contact with other hobbyists and members of the public.

So how seriously should Hornby and Bachmann and others view comment made in forums and on the web generally given the low levels of circulation of such comment relative to other media?

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Actually I will answer my own question by saying that forum comment should be viewed very seriously by Hornby and Bachmann and others as somebody reads something and will probably mention that to a third party fellow club member or hobbyist or family member or whoever.

And before long "off piste" the word spreads like wildfire.

How often has somebody mentioned something to you that they spotted on the internet?

With more than 80% of the population having access to the web at home it is serious stuff!

And forum comment is there for life, not just for 1 month!

To be picked up by Google or whatever when a search is done. So a comment seen as negative by the manufacturers who subsequently take corrective action will still be picked up by search engines such as Google years later!

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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The big thing about forums are that they are two way communication. No longer do we have to endure the opinions of someone we might totally disagree with.
We can express our own tilted ideals and dogmas. Forum members frequently engage in wolf pack like techniques, where extreme behaviour eggs on others to even more extreme opinions and beliefs. Frequently this can start as a minor issue but can end up as a major problem for manufacturers and those involved in our hobby. Members of a forum can become ostracised simply for disagreeing with a majority view. However forums do an excellent job of spreading the knowledge base, providing assistance almost when needed, and forming opinions. I view forums as highly beneficial particularity for lone modellers and those without the advantage of a good local club. Forums like this one help spread specialist knowledge manufactures who discount their value do so at the risk failing to gauge what the public / members expect from their hobby. Forums have accelerated the pace of change and demand. It's a new world a good product review in a forum can make or break a product. Manufactures should take notice, product success is all about determining trend.
 

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Does 'representative' always matter? At least one manufacturer has realised that publically offering for review the look of a product while still in software is a good way to go. That the 'reviewers' are a very small segment of the hobby is irrelevant, the benefit accrues to both manufacturer and all purchasers.
QUOTE (Makemineadouble @ 10 Jul 2007, 13:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The big thing about forums are that they are two way communication.
This cannot be stressed enough. It is a rare print review that doesn't leave some significant unanswered questions. Can it pull a prototype train? Oh, and does it sound like a sack of spanners while doing so? Where does this new product stand in the hierarchy of existing offerings? Are there compatibility issues? Online it is possible to ask these questions and gauge the reliability of the answers received.
QUOTE Manufacturers should take notice, product success is all about determining trend.
Absolutely. Online discussions do seem to indicate which products are 'hot', and also what, if any, problems exist with a product. For a manufacturer it should be possible to test whether there is a relation between these online volumes of activity, and achieved sales and faulty product returns. If such a relation exists, then there is the possibility of extrapolating from non-product related 'area of interest' type discussion to potential products that would serve that interest.
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 10 Jul 2007, 11:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Is forum and web feedback representative of the feelings within the hobby generally?
In general probably but people who have strong opinions not necessarily held by the majority are the ones most motivated to be active posters on foums as opposed to just silent readers of the content. The MRF has 1000+ members but we certainly don't get 1000+ posts a day (thank goodness!!)

QUOTE (Gary @ 10 Jul 2007, 11:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It is sometines said that those who participate in forums represent the most dedicated hobbyists.
Probably not! The most dedicated are the ones that just get on and do it, who don't spend much time discussing and posting etc. on forums. Think how much time we spend a year on the forum - say 20 mins a day as a conservative estimate - how many hours a year extra could be spent modelling/repainting/exhibiting?! This is not to say that socialising is an unimportant part of the hobby but this is much better done and more rewarding in person face-to-face. It is true however that this is constrained by geography and were I to amble down to my local model railway club and start asking questions about modelling Swiss and Austrian outline I'd get some funny looks...however the Internet is great for this.

It's all 'bread and circuses' as they say...
...I think I mean 'swings and roundabouts' - until the child-safety-police make them illegal that is for being so much fun.

Goedel
 

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QUOTE (goedel @ 10 Jul 2007, 16:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think I mean 'swings and roundabouts' - until the child-safety-police make them illegal that is for being so much fun.

Down here in the South East there is a woman who is trying to get the third rails boxed in on the grounds that her daughter was killed while walking home along the track!

Regards

John
 

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QUOTE (BRITHO @ 10 Jul 2007, 17:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Down here in the South East there is a woman who is trying to get the third rails boxed in on the grounds that her daughter was killed while walking home along the track!
The mind boggles at the stupidity of modern youth, and the derangement of its parents parent drug dealer social worker. I wonder how long it will be before you need to present a biometric passport in Sainsburys to buy a kitchen knife, which will undoubtedly have a label attached saying, although by definition a knife is a sharp object for cutting: "CAUTION! This knife is sharp and can cut! Do not slit your wrists with it, do not microwave your dog, do not scald yourself with boiling water, do not eat weed-killer etc."

Hornby will need to add a warning to models with traction tyres: When the tyres fall off, please store them out of reach of pets such as hamsters which could be strangled by putting their heads into them.

Goedel
 

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QUOTE (goedel @ 10 Jul 2007, 18:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hornby will need to add a warning to models with traction tyres: When the tyres fall off, please store them out of reach of pets such as hamsters which could be strangled by putting their heads into them.

Goedel

Or in the case of LGB large rats !
 

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Internet forums offer the opportunity for everyone to put forward their views. Previously you could have written into a magazine but then your letter would be vetted and if it was too antagonistic towards a major advertiser would not be printed. This meant that only sycophantic and unopinionated letters would make it through the censor. Internet forums allow these people to make their views heard and gives a more accurate representative view. Obviously any given forum taken on it's own will not be representative but if you look at all the different opinions presenmted on forums and magazines you can gain a reasonable picture of the entire modelling world.

As to how seriously to take any form of feedback, it depends on how many people are saying the same thing.
 
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