The FOCUS Modelling Forum
Focus Modelling Forum is now active and full of good advice and some great modelling from members at all skill levels.
1000 plus members already, our Forum is already gaining a reputation as a well-managed and pleasant place to be for all who love the hobby, as well as THE place to come to for good advice and specific modelling help.
If you have not already joined us, consider yourself invited!
For those who want to read more before you click… We have some thoughts as to what a forum should and should not be, and so I have laid them out in plain English below…
Focus will offer you exactly what its name implies:
– The FOCUS will be on modelling, teaching, learning and advice.
– We will value contributions from modellers at ALL levels.
– The forum will, case-by-case, provide the potential self-moderated space and an unlimited gallery space to those modellers who join to help others, teach and share their modelling progress and skills.
– In a separate space that does not impose itself on the forums independence, we will also use the forum as a way of giving interactive product advice, in a way that shares the experiences of others with our product to create a more interactive form of FAQ.
Focus is a forum for hands-on modellers, those making things or being creative, and those who are hungry for more… more information, more ideas, more help and perhaps just a little more inspiration.
Basically, Focus Modelling is for anyone who wants to showcase their modelling, teach, learn, or just do it right.
It doesn’t matter if your skills are at their peak or just evolving, because in modelling, it is attitude that matters, so if you really want to, you can. What matters more than anything is that you care about your modelling!
Focus is also for helping, sharing and teaching.
All those who model well have learned so much from others – just as we have. We really do feel that there is a responsibility to pass that information to others…. We really DO want to encourage the sharing of ideas and techniques.
Advice and help is, of course, also about innovation – not all great models use old methods – new materials are found, techniques evolve using modern technology and very often, new modellers find new ideas. We should absorb those things too… and share them.
Lastly, Focus Modelling is about being both a mirror and a guide… providing specific feedback, advice and ideas.
In modelling areas… We encourage modellers to display their work. We expect members to respond in context …and honestly. Praise can be motivational but guiding and giving an honest, helpful appraisal of published efforts can be valuable.
Criticism is OK providing it is fair and constructively intended… hopefully accompanied with teaching or techniques to help. It is OK to point out inaccuracy, providing the correction is also explained properly and a suggestion for improvement is also offered.
What is modelled isn’t an issue – Quality is valued, variety of prototype adds interest and fine detail and accuracy are really appreciated, but any prototype, and any scale T to Gauge 1 is welcome. We love the subject, not its size ☺.
What Focus Will Offer:
Most importantly, consistency.
Focus Modelling will not be distracted or be allowed to wander into mediocrity. It will remain the way it is being planned – as a place to focus on the modelling.
We will not welcome the “Serial Stirrers” that infest every forum.
Which brings us to “attitudes”: The attitude of moderators is at the root of all forum management. No matter who manages them… Forums are not a virtual “Hyde Park” where any soap box speech or attitude (or rudeness) must be tolerated… they are benevolently managed areas with the standards of the owners as their ten commandments. So… in a more pragmatic sense, we will also try hard to offer you the following:
– A pleasant place to feel truly involved in the hobby. Focus is intended as a place for people with common interests, who want to share and learn or with a passion for the hobby.
– We will offer absolute, up front but almost invisible moderation:
– Moderation will be, for want of a better phrase, “Hand of God”. We will impose a similar set of rules to football… Yellow and red cards with the same intent. Rudeness will simply disappear, argument will be simply be deleted and serial offenders will be judged, warned and if needed, executed without discussion.
– We also understand that commitment to a serious modelling thread needs effort and some form of comfort that efforts will be managed to keep things on track. Nobody understands a detailed modelling thread better than its creator, so, in a couple of areas, we will also offer consistent contributors a large degree of “self-moderation”…. Letting the thread owner control its content and limit distraction.
– We will make occasional offers exclusively for Focus members. These will usually involve the products designed, made or distributed by DCCconcepts / Focus Modelling supporters from the press or retail sectors.
– Focus will NOT support third party advertising, pop ups or other intrusions.
What will FOCUS look like?
Take a look: We have chosen a respected well-maintained software base, so it will evolve to be whatever members wish over time…
However: Most importantly to YOU – Focus will always remain what it started as – a place to focus on the modelling!
How not to act on Focus Modelling…
Honesty in relation to modelling is encouraged, but personal comments are not. We really don’t much care about political correctness but keep discussions focussed on the models, and not the modellers.
Others will be either well behind your experience or skills, equivalent, or even ahead of you.
Think about responses, because what is something in definite need of improvement to you may well be something the poster is proud of.
Avoid gratuitous negatives – it’s a good idea to balance things a bit!
It is OK to be grumpy, happy or whatever – as long as you are not yelling at people ☺.
Riding your pet hobbyhorse is fine too… Ride it if you wish – but state your point once and reinforce it if you must, without just dominating the conversation… and don’t expect others to just ride along.
Others have their own approach within the hobby – and their wishes are at least equal in their eyes. Stay frosty ☺.
The other basics – just common sense really.
Ownership matters: Outside materials such as images should be appropriately credited or used with permission. Ideas should be appropriately credited to their creator if known.
Commercial issues need some self-restraint in the general forum. By all means make valid praise or criticisms of models, services or the like, but remember that there are rules. The web is global but not above the law. If we feel threatened by the way a commercially oriented thread is developing, we may well censor it.
Show respect. When you write, do it in the clear.
Talk in black and white, honestly, with nothing between the lines. Praise honestly or not at all. Criticise carefully and constructively. Don’t bite and you will not be bitten ☺.
And things you should know…
Not all disagreements are arguments.
Modellers who really care can become passionate about their subject.
Don’t bother moderators because of heated discussions, providing that they do not become personal or rude or offensive. Sometimes two people can be right at the same time too… providing it stays on subject and adds the odd bit of useful information as it progresses, a vigorous debate is just fine with us.
We love our hobby, and love without passion isn’t much fun!
And… here are some phrases that REALLY annoy most modellers who care about what they do. Avoid them please. Here are a few of them… there are more.
It’s just a train set. Yes and no… Some modellers use it in a self-deprecating way with a smile and that’s OK, but it is more often used as a negative comment or to deprecate the posting of others.
Let’s face it though, we love our hobby, so in reality, to most, it’s about as much “just a train set” as your first ever girlfriend was just any girl… So: use it wisely – or not at all please.
Rivet counter. It is used so often as an intended “dismissive insult” that is a no-no. One of those strange phrases that a modeller can call himself, but nobody can call him without offence.
(Anyway a real modeller doesn’t count rivets – he just knows when they are missing)
It’s your model railway, just run / do what you want… Very true of course, but when it is said as an answer when a specific question has been asked about specific issues, then it is ignoring the question or just being dismissive of the skills, wants and needs of others.
It annoys many who DO care about the detail – Just don’t go there.
How the moderators will act:
A simple approach, simple rules and maturity in management actions is our intent!
Forums are public spaces and each is in its own way a small closed society.
While the principal of free speech exists, it is free within the scope and subject of the group/society and the rules of that group/society.
Participation in the forum is encouraged, even “robust” discussion is seen positively – but limits exist. Keep discussions civil and about subjects, not people.
Any and all rules will cover all equally and while it would be foolish to think that they will not evolve positively over time, whilst any rule is in place, it will not be negotiable.
– Invisibly is the word: (We hope)
Good moderation should be all but invisible. Good moderators are important and can be known by members, however that will not necessarily mean direct access for any member to any moderator.
It is not necessary that all people agree on all things, but there is a clear difference between discussion and abuse. On or off forum abuse of any moderator will result in immediate suspension.
– The Snug : A place to say it as it is.
On another forum, we created a space called “The Snug” and in the same tradition and with the same intent, the snug will exist on the Focus forum. It will be a space for questions about admin, grumbles not appropriate anywhere else or just baying at the moon if it will make you feel better. Providing maturity is maintained and personal attacks are not involved then The Snug is the space to sit down over a virtual beer and talk it over.
– Self-Moderation for some important thread areas: Keeping things on track!
Once we have some awareness of specific members, whether from other sources on the web, personal meetings or the growth of general respect through forum involvement, selected members or those who request it may well be able to moderate their own threads in the layout, hands-on modelling and prototype knowledge areas.
For some this could be immediate… for others it may be by request.
Self-moderation will be available as long as common sense is used and it is restricted to keeping personal threads tidy and on-track.
The instant that it is used wrongly, it will be evaluated and second-guessed by the overall moderating team, and if “wrongful use” issues continue, that privilege will be removed.
– There is be a global moderation team:
Each general modelling section will have a lead moderator and there will be one global administrator.
– Moderator actions will not be discussed in threads:
There WILL be a specific moderator thread area where actions will be documented and recorded for future reference. It is possible that on rare occasions, those involved in dispute may be given access to a specific thread within that area.
– Where any individual actions draw our attention, “football rules” will apply:
A fair warning will be issued and there may on occasion be opportunity to discuss sensibly or comment directly off-forum, but apart from that, think yellow and red cards ☺ ☺.
That’s it really. We’d love to have you as a member