Saturday, 24 March 2018

Saturday Ramble

I've been hanging around one of the forums for a couple of years. I find the whole thing fascinating on one hand and worrying on the other. The general reaction to a post swing from 'nice work Dave' to something less friendly. Recently I noodled into a couple of FB groups. It seems to be worse, with people getting upset all over the place. I had to tacitly agree with one commenter yesterday who said that experience counts for nothing. This is an online problem only it seems. People are more than happy to turn up at a show and talk to say Gordon Gravett over a demo table, nod, take any advice on modelling and leave. Online people post photos of layouts, I assume for some sort of reaction, but when they get 'improvement suggestions' the fire starts.
There are generally two types of modeller these days: the home worker and the exhibition worker. The later takes his work out and expects reaction good and bad. The former doesn't. The exhibition managers are the filter for this. The internet doesn't filter and the home worker is free to publicly display, but without the filter gets upset when the reaction isn't purely heaps of praise. The exhibitor is used to a bit of flack and being ignored at times.
The reason FB is worse (and I'm about to be a grumpy old man here) is possibly because it is inhabited by a younger modeller possibly one who is used to being told that there is no such thing as failure. The older hands know that at least 50% fails and will take the advice. I'm generalising of course, but we do seem to be less forgiving and less able to learn. Maybe it is just too easy now to get a basic layout together and say 'look at me aren't I clever' without the struggle period of learning the craft. The older hands have done this, know the pitfalls and have made the mistakes. We can all learn from experience.


  1. Similar issue with writing groups and I think the reasons are similar to those you mention, with one difference.

    The difference is that most writers aim for publication (ie, exhibiting) but a lot of them have no clue of either the likelihood of success or the standard needed to be considered for publication. They write in a bubble of hope, combined with sometimes absurd self-belief in the quality of their work. Thus, offering critical advice can sometimes go down like a lead balloon because they already think they are just waiting to be noticed.

    Those who do have an idea of where they are, ability wise, and know where they want to get to, are much more respective.

    There are also those who purely write for their own pleasure and for whom it's a form of therapy (the home modeller) and again their receptiveness to advice can vary.

    But I'm not sure it's wholly down to the arrogance of youth as I've seen that same imperviousness to advice from all ages and I think it's more down to a lack of experience of doing and a lack of observation, real observation, of the work of others and of the prototype (ie, real life).

    Referring to the Gravetts, Maggie related to me why the chose French metre gauge. It came from reaction at an exhibition where their previous layout was getting its usual crowd of onlookers while a nicely modelled NG/foreign prototype next to it was ignored. So one of their aims with Pempoul was to challenge the average British railway modellers insularity and prejudices and force them to pay attention just by the quality of the modelling.

  2. One of the problems with commenting on someone's work online is with putting your comment/observation/criticism across without giving offence. I do believe that most commenters do so in the right spirit, to help the poster build a better model. However, any comment needs to be carefully phrased, and perhaps more importantly the original poster needs to keep an open mind regarding their work.
    I'm always very wary of giving advice or commenting on someone's work online, unless I either know the poster or get the impression that any criticism is welcome.

    From my own observations its the yoof that are willing to learn and improve, and the grumpy old men that are most easily offended. And some of those grumpy old men are very offensive...

  3. Chris, there's two things going on here, in my humble but invariably accurate opinion:
    1) The internet is the written word and therefore lacks two vital aspects of conversation; intonation and body language. It's therefore much easier to be misunderstood and to cause offence. Also, I suspect because of its immediacy, words are somewhat less well considered before they're typed.
    2) Face to face we tend to be rather more careful in what we say and how we say it, not least because we're within arms reach. Separated by the width of two keyboards and an immeasurable distance of copper wire, a smack in the mouth is a significantly less likely occurrence!
    It could be said that these are two sides of the same coin. Either way, the internet is not a particularly friendly place. As to Facebook, well that's the school playground of our youth!