Do we wish to have online discussion/debate in Railway Ramblers?

With the introduction of the new website, we have the opportunity to introduce online discussion threads in our own social network.  While the letters page in the magazine has served us well, we can now share information, comments and views in a debate format in real time.  Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming more commonplace, so is this the time right to introduce this within Railway Ramblers on the website?  By trying the concept on the website we can at least restrict the topics to relevant RR matters and overcome the issues we’re finding on the RR Facebook page where users ‘lose’ sight of threads rapidly as new posts push them down.  Will it work for us?  Are there benefits?  Are there risks?  Is it unfair on non-website users? Do we need rules? What do you think?

11 thoughts on “Do we wish to have online discussion/debate in Railway Ramblers?

  1. I would certainly support the idea of a Discussion Forum. In the Members’ Area, it should be safe from intrusive, or unpleasant posts, as RR members are such a nice community of people.
    As to Spam, I don’t know whether there is a technical solution to prevent its appearance and save the manual involvement of our Web Master.

    • Thanks for your comment. Do you think we would get sufficient engagement if we put the Discussion Threads in the Members’ Area? The RR website is deemed our best opportunity to attract new members. We are trying to uncover what are the key factors for people to join RR. We assume that we need to show that we are an active club and could open Discussion Boards demonstrate that?

  2. Most definitely, Its not been easy in the past to make suggestions, by the time letters are published months have moved on. Some time back I suggested a discussion about cycling of suitable routes, it took months for nothing to happen, so in effect I gave up. Since then myself and a few others have cycled 5 or 6 suitable lines, but its not been possible to organise such things through the club.

    • Thats interesting Derek, would you envisage a feature/section on the RR website containing details of cyclable routes – or were you envisaging something interactive where cyclists could collaborate to arrange to cycle routes together?

      • I joined RR a couple of years ago in order to access information about railway paths that might be suitable for cycling along: Although that ambition has not been entirely successful because many of the usable old tracks are quite short (great for walking, less satisfying for cycling) and are often difficult to incorporate into a 30-40 mile ride.
        The news that the National Index of walkable disused lines is underway is very welcome, and would, in my opinion, be greatly enhanced if indicators were added that showed what the surface condition was like and whether passable by bicycle (e.g. mountain, hybrid, road).
        I have continued with my membership because I wish to support such a noble enterprise and enjoy reading the excellent magazine – keep up the good work!

        • Hi Martin – Thanks for your comments. I’ll forward these directly to the committee members actively pursuing the possibility of RR maintaining a National List

  3. I think it’s a good idea in principle. Its success all depends on whether a good number of people engage with it. Future proposals for the Footpath Fund could be aired here first, perhaps, to try and gauge the level of support among members?

  4. Does everyone think all comments should go through moderation or should anyone be able to post comments here – my preference is that we leave the discussion completely open – unless we find we have issues?

    • Based on our experience so far with the Railway Ramblers Facebook page I agree with the proposed approach. Anything we deem to be inappropriate can be quickly and easily removed. If this becomes onerous or problematic in other ways we can also easily and quickly turn on moderation for all contributions.

    • As a closed group of like minded people, I would not envisage any need for moderation and would prefer open and candid debate. However, moderation is there as a fallback should it prove necessary.

      • Hi Dave, Thanks for your comment. Up to now, I have removed 11 ‘spam’ items from this thread (significantly more than actual comments!)

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