Jun 5, 2015
Shifty, your opinion is absolutely welcome and as valid as any in the thread. Thank you for sharing.
Are manufacturers allowed to be part of the rulemaking committees with NMRA?
Eagle, I couldn't agree more. The standards issue has been and continues to be its strongest selling point and best achievement. It's a shame your point on groups is also on the mark.
On a plus for your idea, new groups (like young people) tend to be more dynamic, open-minded and innovative. Perfect examples being such as NTrack, TTrack and fremo. The trick, I guess, is to keep that initial flexibility.
N-Trak might be new, when compared with the NMRA. But next year it will already be forty years old.
That is primarily because the enemaray is so blasted arrogant. MOST 0 scalers want nothing to do with them. The vast majority of large scalers wish they'd fall off the planet. Seriously.
Generate standards..because they can. Change RP's not because it's a good thing, but because they have to change to meet some new product...check why RP-25 was changed.
Attitudes that have hurt the hobby.....0 scale, wrong scale to gauge, but oh, no, we can't have two different scales on one gauge, so 17/64ths was deep sixed, then the morons allow Proto48, which irrevocably split that part of the hobby...and ignored the mandate of interchangeability....then you have H0 scale and 0n30 scale on once track...then you have 5 major scale on #1 gauge...and they can't keep the story straight.
Why would I ever want to join any organization, especially one like that?
BECAUSE they support dcc, I will never, ever use it with my equipment.
BECAUSE they support KD's, I rip them off of my equipment.
To the point of putting Mantua couplers on my Half Zero equipment.
And because they have folks who act like union activists who try to "organize" other scales and gauges, even though existing, in use standards exist...I quit allowing nmra tours through here. No Longer Interested.
I would have to watch a "new" organization long and hard before I changed my view. I might, but it best not be anything as arrogant as the enemaray.
Rant mode: off.
Dave, I get your frustration, but I'm not looking for why one org or another sucks, I want to know what would get you interested in a new one. Thanks for sharing though.
As a person under the age of 40 (im 30) I left the hobby when I was around 20 and took a 6 year hiatus. I've been in this hobby for ever. The reason I left was there was nobody my age around to connect with, talk trains with etc. I was always stuck around the salty cussing over 60 crowd. I never joined the NMRA because it offered me nothing and still feel that it does not. My re entry into this hobby was I got older had spare time and seeing all the technological advantages, it drew me back in. What again turns me away from it is the older generation that doesn't understand dcc, computers etc. There are still a salty few that look down upon or frown ANYONE under the age of 40 in the hobby. If you don't have gray hairs your oppinion is little to nothing. I've experienced this alot and now that im older I know now how to handle the situation.lol
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Interesting points J. There is a powerful message in your perspective, that regardless of individual interest, we must each be open to the interests of others, especially in a social setting.
J, what would an organization include that would appeal to younger Railroad modelers like yourself?
The new organization would need to include a wing that promoted new ideas independent of the current state of the hobby. It would need to have a public Vision-for-the-Future that would reach out to and draw new and younger people into the hobby.
I am old but new to the hobby, and from my very limited point of view the existing organizations appear to be protecting a complex and expensive electronics approach to the hobby that is way out of date with today’s technology. This approach is a big turn-off to most of the younger would be hobbies. I found the DCC standards to be very misleading and was surprised that DCC products from a major manufacture (with NMRA DCC logo) were not even compatible with each other.
No matter what group is formed or already there, it will not suit everyone. Maybe what is needed is a group that competes with the current group. I have read about the Radio Control of trains with battery packs in the engines or a car close to the engines. With the exception of N and Z with the current battery developments, this is a possibility and much better than DCC. No track wiring, etc. Would a new group push the frontiers or just want things to stay whatever their wants are for permanency? One other item to consider is that younger people do not join anything-churches-business groups like Lions/Kiwanis/Moose-anything else. Why is that? I have spoken with some NMRA haters and when asked why, it comes down to they (whoever they are) do not think like I do and therefore they are completely wrong and must admit this before we can go forward. It is the national political scene brought to an organization near you. We must all think alike or we must not be in contact with those who think differently. With that mind set, no organization can survive. Think about it.
Thanks Bob and Craig. Great points. Young people love tech, it can be easier to get into and develop than a physical layout. I would hope a new org would embrace technology in all forms; especially virtual railroading. It's an amazing new arm of the hobby.
The reason people choose not to join anything is as much about perceived value as cost. If I thought I was getting more than my money's worth in an org, I would join. If I do not perceive value, it could be free and while I might be a member at "free" I will ultimately choose not to participate.
Any alternative organization should concentrate on outreach, especially to the younger ones. Having a demo layout is good, but having a demo layout geared towards the younger crowd is better. You don't need to awe them with a venue-filling empire (not sure that's even possible considering today's video games), but something small and interactive. Highlighting things like construction using basic hand tools (kids love using real tools). Use Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's to accomplish effects. Prototype history, especially local stuff. And always, always, always be willing to cheerfully answer questions and provide advice and guidance.
Do a 20 minute group activity to make simple trees, then let the kids plant "their" tree into a hillside above a stretch of track (half completed diorama?). They'll take pictures with their phones as the train rolls through, past the forest they helped create. Those pictures wind up on Facebook and Twitter and emailed to all their friends and relatives.
Get away from the idea that bigger is always better. Get away from the idea that super-detailed is always better. Put the emphasis on fun and interesting activities, and the rest will follow.
Great thoughts RJ. A post of yours I read talks about difficulty finding information to support a current interest you have, I think much can be made of that point. Perhaps a new org should create a living database where members can go and get answers to their questions, not just in FAQ form, but live chat with a follow modeler.
Another point you make that can't be overlooked is that bigger isn't always better. I know in my case, the RGW is massive and I know most of my railroading friends couldn't build anything that size, nor would they want to. I get to the point, often, where it seems a daunting task. Young people in their 20's, 30's and up to about mid-40's have limited resources and many needs (children, mortgage) for those resources. We need to find a way to get them into the hobby at minimal expense so they remain active. So for my money smaller may be much better than bigger.
That's what I said. Look at the "why" folks won't join that group. Find the issues (arrogant p....ooops...for one) and do it bass-ackwards.
For heaven's sake, don't build a new headquarters in Tennessee that the members get to pay for.
Ask folks specifically why they won't join...write it all down...collate the data, come up with oh, top ten, and never, ever do any of those things in your new organization.
As my Brother of the 'phin, scalecraft alluded to. there comes a point where the arrogance breeds greed. When you start catering and thus, kissing the booties of the bigger names, best modelers, richest players in the hobby... Your organization just headed south...
My lil ol opinion is that a good and strong organization not only includes all facets of skills and levels in the hobby, but one that ecourages volunteers on all levels, noob to vet. And, yes. find and document those why nots! multitudes of great info comes from that.
I am 39, I get it. I know one model railroader living in the same city as me and he is in his 70's. I thought about going to check out the local NMRA region convention, then I realized that I would be the youngest one there, by at least 20 years. Most model railroad groups are aimed to be a social club for senior citizens, or so it seems. Finding a local model railroader is hard enough. Finding one in your generation is harder.