Developer's Updates

 
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
The re-platforming of the system work has started.  Given how busy I am at the moment perhaps a committee approach might be of assistance?
Will any of this bring back the informative posters who have left? I suspect not. I find very little of interest here these days.
Graham4405
Graham, I'm fully across updates that need to happen to the site. Our priority is obviously the stability of the site - but what would make you interested? What would make you keep coming back?

It's all well and good to criticise - the site as it is now is a problem for sure - but please, provide some insight as to what you would change. We are in a position now where things can be fixed, changed, updated, etc.

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  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Don't get me wrong. The community here is fantastic and I'd probably miss everyone if the site were to go offline. But I get much more interesting discussions on the RMTransit discord server than I do here - even with the amount of foamers that has.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: In exile
The re-platforming of the system work has started.  Given how busy I am at the moment perhaps a committee approach might be of assistance?
Will any of this bring back the informative posters who have left? I suspect not. I find very little of interest here these days.
Graham, I'm fully across updates that need to happen to the site. Our priority is obviously the stability of the site - but what would make you interested? What would make you keep coming back?

It's all well and good to criticise - the site as it is now is a problem for sure - but please, provide some insight as to what you would change. We are in a position now where things can be fixed, changed, updated, etc.
s3_gunzel
Happy to provide input. What I'm looking for is a resource that is informative on topics that I'm interested in. This rarely happens these days. Go back to 2005 when I joined, the Queensland Forum was a hive of activity, with many knowledgeable posters providing useful information. Today barely anyone posts in the Queensland Forum. Just an example of what is missing today.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
The re-platforming of the system work has started.  Given how busy I am at the moment perhaps a committee approach might be of assistance?
Will any of this bring back the informative posters who have left? I suspect not. I find very little of interest here these days.
Graham, I'm fully across updates that need to happen to the site. Our priority is obviously the stability of the site - but what would make you interested? What would make you keep coming back?

It's all well and good to criticise - the site as it is now is a problem for sure - but please, provide some insight as to what you would change. We are in a position now where things can be fixed, changed, updated, etc.
Happy to provide input. What I'm looking for is a resource that is informative on topics that I'm interested in. This rarely happens these days. Go back to 2005 when I joined, the Queensland Forum was a hive of activity, with many knowledgeable posters providing useful information. Today barely anyone posts in the Queensland Forum. Just an example of what is missing today.
Graham4405
Fantastic, I'm looking to, at least in part, provide an informative website that provides (or provides the ability to post) topics people are interested in. I am hoping this, in part, draws some people back to the site.

Lots to do to get the site there though. I do hope you'll assist me with your patience and insight.
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The re-platforming of the system work has started.  Given how busy I am at the moment perhaps a committee approach might be of assistance?
Will any of this bring back the informative posters who have left? I suspect not. I find very little of interest here these days.
Graham, I'm fully across updates that need to happen to the site. Our priority is obviously the stability of the site - but what would make you interested? What would make you keep coming back?

It's all well and good to criticise - the site as it is now is a problem for sure - but please, provide some insight as to what you would change. We are in a position now where things can be fixed, changed, updated, etc.
Happy to provide input. What I'm looking for is a resource that is informative on topics that I'm interested in. This rarely happens these days. Go back to 2005 when I joined, the Queensland Forum was a hive of activity, with many knowledgeable posters providing useful information. Today barely anyone posts in the Queensland Forum. Just an example of what is missing today.
Graham4405
Pretty much sums up a lot of things these days Graham.

Some of us get older whilst the rest of the world gets younger, less experienced and certainly less willing (or able) to communicate. Nevertheless, there remain some notable exceptions to this generalisation.

At the risk of being accused of harping on the subject, my main wish from a RP enhancement perspective would be the ability to  easily insert photos in threads and gallery etc without the need for a third party. I have raised this wish many times before and will not do so again. Ships Nostalgia and Shipping History (where I also post) both allow this. Even the infamous Railbastard has this facility.

A good photo often leads to intelligent comments/questions.

End of rant and wish list. I will shut up now! I have said too much on RP today.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
At the risk of being accused of harping on the subject, my main wish from a RP enhancement perspective would be the ability to  easily insert photos in threads and gallery etc without the need for a third party. I have raised this wish many times before and will not do so again. Ships Nostalgia and Shipping History (where I also post) both allow this. Even the infamous Railbastard has this facility.
YM-Mundrabilla


Wholly concur, and this is a planned feature for an update to the site. I do not currently have an ETA for the feature though, sorry.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: In exile
I'm looking to, at least in part, provide an informative website that provides (or provides the ability to post) topics people are interested in. I am hoping this, in part, draws some people back to the site.
s3_gunzel
I don't think this particular problem has its roots in this site per se. We used to have a lot of input from those in the rail industry and this was fantastic. I believe that in the main these have left due to three reasons:
  1. Their employers have either discouraged or forbidden them to be involved here.
  2. Like so many today there are far too many distractions and people are kept busy earning a living.
  3. The advent of Facebook groups etc.
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
At the risk of being accused of harping on the subject, my main wish from a RP enhancement perspective would be the ability to  easily insert photos in threads and gallery etc without the need for a third party. I have raised this wish many times before and will not do so again. Ships Nostalgia and Shipping History (where I also post) both allow this. Even the infamous Railbastard has this facility.


Wholly concur, and this is a planned feature for an update to the site. I do not currently have an ETA for the feature though, sorry.
s3_gunzel
Thanks S3 ...
An acknowledgement that it's on the list is a big step forward. Smile
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
A few interesting comments and thanks for feedback Bevans.

- YM, I don't want to see the site handed over to big corp, you are perfectly correct.

- YM, yes agree on the personal attack BS. Too many resort to this and why I took 3mths off from the site to think about my involvement and focus on other things for a while. For now I'm avoiding the Lounge. This is where some good active moderators help keep things cool.

- Graham, I feel your pain and totally agree if it was easier to upload photos there would be more chatter on all things rail as you can see photos and video's frequently inspires convo.

- Yes I appreciate it that if the site is being funded privately to keep it running.

- Would I be prepared to donate, yes, do I, no (for now). Why because I don't see how it would improve as the site is struggling, then needs to be a plan. As most of us have commented, the site is in limbo and potentially dying.


Suggestions for discussion

- Moderators, @bevans surely you and the few remaining active Mods acknowledge that the long list of non contributing Mods needs a purge and replacement with others who actually would better support the site and help control some of the BS faster. If a Mod cannot support the site for more than a 6mth, then ok thanks but lets move on and that position becomes vacant.

- Folders, surely there needs to be a restructure. Remove the rubbish folders that no one posts on. Maybe have like
- NSW, Regional, Commuter, Trams, infrastructure, Sightings, other NSW specific/General etc
- Vic, Regional, Commuter, Trams, infrastructure, Sightings, other Vic specific/General etc
- Qld, Regional, Commuter, Trams, infrastructure, Sightings, other Qld specific/General etc
etc

- Add a folder for NZ.

- Photos, needing a Flicka account or other to upload, outdated, if nothing else this needs to be fixed.

- Android postings, prior to CV I used to travel internationally a few times a year and I seek out all things rail, but from my phone its so painful to make a post, I don't bother.

- Funding to improve, set up Gofundme or something similar to fix specific issues. i.e. "donate here to fix photos" for example. If insufficient funds are generated after say a year then either return or donate to a rail specific organization. If people see improvements actually happening they will be more interest to support the site. Right now, for me, not a chance, the site has advertising, where would my money go?
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
- Folders, surely there needs to be a restructure. Remove the rubbish folders that no one posts on. Maybe have like
- NSW, Regional, Commuter, Trams, infrastructure, Sightings, other NSW specific/General etc
- Vic, Regional, Commuter, Trams, infrastructure, Sightings, other Vic specific/General etc
- Qld, Regional, Commuter, Trams, infrastructure, Sightings, other Qld specific/General etc
etc
 
RTT_Rules
Apart from the above suggestion, we must keep old railway themed threads as, despite not being used for many years, they do contain the extremely valuable and now non replaceable research and rail employment material from sadly now long dead Railpage members.

History is too important to be dumped, especially as many here recall some of our sadly departed members whose posts formed the backbone of the forums. Otherwise their research follows them to the grave!

Especially must keep the Railway Archaeology section.

Otherwise agree with RTT's suggestion in restructing as a few threads were just duplicates of other threads anyway.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
- Yes I appreciate it that if the site is being funded privately to keep it running.

- Would I be prepared to donate, yes, do I, no (for now). Why because I don't see how it would improve as the site is struggling, then needs to be a plan. As most of us have commented, the site is in limbo and potentially dying.

- Funding to improve, set up Gofundme or something similar to fix specific issues. i.e. "donate here to fix photos" for example. If insufficient funds are generated after say a year then either return or donate to a rail specific organization. If people see improvements actually happening they will be more interest to support the site. Right now, for me, not a chance, the site has advertising, where would my money go?
RTT_Rules
Following on from RTTs post above I would like to add my 2c for what it's worth

For me there are 2 major problems which may or may not be interconnected. The first is that the site seems to be losing active posters at a rate of knots. The second is that the site obviously needs a lot of work

The first problem may well be out of RP's control as younger folk prefer FB, Insta etc and seem to regard sites like this as old people's stuff so as older members drop off they aren't being replaced. However the difference that I see is that information is easier to access on a site like this as opposed to trawling through FB posts which I find irritating in the extreme. I think that if the site could be cleaned up a bit, made more functional and better presented it might be able to attract some more younger posters (yes DD707, I know there are some of you, just not enough!)

As an aside and as I have posted elsewhere I think that The Lounge needs a BIG tidy up and should be split into a separate part of the site so that there is a Rail and non rail section to make it more inclusive to newbies

On to the second point. If RP is or seeks to be a money making venture then the owner has every right and indeed an obligation to run it as he/she sees fit. If however as I suspect it is costing the owner $$$ to keep it going then I think that there is a place for those of us who use and enjoy the site to contribute to the cost of running it. I know from my own experience in business how expensive these things can be and posters would have seen many rail sites come and go over the years due to the high cost of upkeep (both time and $$$)

So then how does RP achieve such a thing? Does it get opened up to a committee style of management as @bevans has suggested, are there Gold Class memberships offered @justapassenger style, does the site seek to fundraise as @rttrules has posted above or is there some other way?

Whatever the answer I think it is really healthy that we are having this discussion, I know there is work going on in the background but to those of us not in the loop it often seems like nothing has changed in years and constantly logging in to see the railcam last updated 2/3 years ago message is hardly encouraging

Anyway, all power to those in charge, I hope the site stays up and relevant for years to come
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic

On to the second point. If RP is or seeks to be a money making venture then the owner has every right and indeed an obligation to run it as he/she sees fit. If however as I suspect it is costing the owner $$$ to keep it going then I think that there is a place for those of us who use and enjoy the site to contribute to the cost of running it. I know from my own experience in business how expensive these things can be and posters would have seen many rail sites come and go over the years due to the high cost of upkeep (both time and $$$)
BrentonGolding
agree with you here. I expect that if the site was break even @bevans and whoever else directly funds the site would be happy, but doubt it is that. giving those willing to, easier options to contribute to the operations would be good. Patreon would be one option, as well as better options around paypal, which i've never had luck to work when able to contribute, so gave up.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
Keep the comments coming guys, I am noting them down. I'll have a more detailed reply soon but:

as well as better options around paypal
Galron
Would you mind clarifying what you mean by this? As I understand it, one can go to /static-donate.htm and can set the amount they donate to the site. I'm not sure the PayPal experience is going to get much better than that.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Happy to provide input. What I'm looking for is a resource that is informative on topics that I'm interested in. This rarely happens these days. Go back to 2005 when I joined, the Queensland Forum was a hive of activity, with many knowledgeable posters providing useful information. Today barely anyone posts in the Queensland Forum. Just an example of what is missing today.
Graham4405
Speaking of Qld I had a look at some former forums I used to use.

- QRIG, started by a guy called Dean in early 2000's, was a booming site with at time hundreds of posts a day and was always a ahead of RP Qld section at one point. I actually met personally a number of people there or posted there over a few years and still remain in regular contact and actually meet a guy (and former wife) from Sweden who stayed with us in Australia and we have caught up with a few times in Dubai. I sort of fell of using this one regularly from around 2013-2015 as traffic started to decline and not living in Australia and appears there has been no posts this year with less than 50 posts last year. I note that it appeared Dean had moved on to other things and I don't recall being a regular for sometime which I think may have contributed to its downfall. Also a change in platforms.

QRIG's social media sites which appears to be an effort by Dean to save the forum appears to have also died about 2-3 years ago. It would appear QRIG which had its own website etc is only a matter of time to formal closure.

- Wheelsonsteel was a spin off by some people I think fell out with Qrig owner/moderators, was never booming by did ok. There is an official closure announcement in 2017 after lackluster usage in the previous 1-2 years.

- Rail back on track, a Qld focused group but has forums for the whole country. It was started by a guy who is very active including doing frequent media interviews in promoting PT mostly in SEQ, but does have forums for the whole country. His group, his rules, don't agree with his politics and you are out. Probably calmed down abit since LNP got dumped in 2015. He didn't tolerate any reference to groups like RP. I left around 2014-15.

They had a real "Peak Oil" theory support base there at one point.

However it would appear in many of the sub folders, the last posts are actually mine from 7 years ago and the still active forums most of the new posts are threads by the owner with a small band of loyal followers and contributors.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: In exile
- QRIG, started by a guy called Dean in early 2000's
RTT_Rules
Dean was also a RP moderator for a time. I e-mailed Dean a couple of years ago regarding QRIG and the lack of updates to the website. He promised to get onto it, but never has. The discussion group (not really a forum) was fairly inactive before the demise of Yahoo! Groups when it moved to groups.io.

- Wheelsonsteel was a spin off by some people I think fell out with Qrig owner/moderators, was never booming by did ok. There is an official closure announcement in 2017 after lackluster usage in the previous 1-2 years.
RTT_Rules
WoS was formed not because of a falling out with QRIG, but because of the despicable actions of a Qld based RP member and his band of loyal followers. It was a place to have reasonable discussion without f-wits. It was ultimately made read-only at my request due to the lack of ongoing interest. It's still there, but I've forgotten my password.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
- QRIG, started by a guy called Dean in early 2000's
Dean was also a RP moderator for a time. I e-mailed Dean a couple of years ago regarding QRIG and the lack of updates to the website. He promised to get onto it, but never has. The discussion group (not really a forum) was fairly inactive before the demise of Yahoo! Groups when it moved to groups.io.

- Wheelsonsteel was a spin off by some people I think fell out with Qrig owner/moderators, was never booming by did ok. There is an official closure announcement in 2017 after lackluster usage in the previous 1-2 years.
WoS was formed not because of a falling out with QRIG, but because of the despicable actions of a Qld based RP member and his band of loyal followers. It was a place to have reasonable discussion without f-wits. It was ultimately made read-only at my request due to the lack of ongoing interest. It's still there, but I've forgotten my password.
Graham4405
Hi Graham
Thanks for that didn't know (forgot) about some of the more detailed history.

Yeah I read through some of his more "recent" posts in Twitter etc and for a few years promises of a future upgrade, obviously a while ago.

Dean was I think in his 20's during the first 10 years, I'd heard he'd hooked a GF that I thought was wheelchair bound and I assume (probably incorrectly) that like the rest of us life, career, mortgage, family etc took over.

I stopped being a regular, in part due to declining content but also just busy with my life in UAE before the big move from Yahoo groups which is unfortunate as I was member of a few other groups, Tassie Rail, miniature rail etc at the time and they are now all lost.  I've re-registered so maybe we can spur some life in the old girl, Laughing (I'm kidding, but I did register).

One of the main guys from WoS (name escapes me) by pure chance I sat next too on the DMU industrial tour of Brisbane not long after it was first started. We got chatting and he invited me into the group. Yes it was small, but pretty good.  WoS was closed to new content in mid 2017, I've also lost my password, I tried my usual but no go.

Overall for Qld, I feel the big issue driving down interest all round is the cutting of the "Quirky" lines and most of QR's former "Quirky" freight that survived +20 years beyond most other states. Also very few mainline heritage operations, even the last time I took the boys to Ipswich train museum it was starting to look unloved and we left somewhat disappointed after a few hours. Not sure if this assumption is correct but the collapse of Rail based forums in Qld including those in FB and Twitter appears fairly broad.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
My 2 cents I think the cost of running systems now is very high. I would love to see RP keep going (not suggesting it would not) because it a wonderful place to come and talk and post and ask any question you want.

The site needs work. It I reckon it would be an expensive investment. Need to know more so we can all get together and help out.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

An advantage of FB for group owners/organisers is the ease of setting up, but they have little control over the management of the content, whereas FB does stick their oar in and there's nought anyone can do about it.

Forums, such as our RP, are more work but the owners/organisers have far more control.

I'm a member of and enjoy quite a few FB rail interest groups, but would lament the loss of RP.
Very few people seem willing to write long(ish) and informative posts in FB, whereas it is normal on RP. Sure, there are plenty of one liners on RP, but far more on FB.
Most of the comments on FB are of the me too variety, very few are witty or contribute further knowledge.

While I don't have any original ideas to improve RP, I would mourn its loss. In the past I wasn't wanting to make financial contribution to RP, but see things differently now.
  Galron Chief Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic
Keep the comments coming guys, I am noting them down. I'll have a more detailed reply soon but:

as well as better options around paypal
Would you mind clarifying what you mean by this? As I understand it, one can go to /static-donate.htm and can set the amount they donate to the site. I'm not sure the PayPal experience is going to get much better than that.
s3_gunzel
Several times over the years I attempted to make either single donations or small regular contributions and every time the system rejected it saying it couldn’t send the money or it was rejected for some reason. I in the end gave up. It may very well work now, but when it doesn’t work after a few tries you don’t bother to try again. The errors I was getting where suggestive the problem was not on mine or PayPals.
  lkernan Chief Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
An advantage of FB for group owners/organisers is the ease of setting up, but they have little control over the management of the content, whereas FB does stick their oar in and there's nought anyone can do about it.

Forums, such as our RP, are more work but the owners/organisers have far more control.

I'm a member of and enjoy quite a few FB rail interest groups, but would lament the loss of RP.
Very few people seem willing to write long(ish) and informative posts in FB, whereas it is normal on RP. Sure, there are plenty of one liners on RP, but far more on FB.
Most of the comments on FB are of the me too variety, very few are witty or contribute further knowledge.

While I don't have any original ideas to improve RP, I would mourn its loss. In the past I wasn't wanting to make financial contribution to RP, but see things differently now.
Lockspike
As someone who won't have a Facebook login, it can feel very lonely when all these groups move into their little walled community.

I used to follow the Queensland modellers group on there since they were still publicly viewable without a login, but they've closed off recently and it sucks.  They were probably the main narrow gauge forum available.

The more alternatives we have to the Zuckerberg empire the better.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
As someone who won't have a Facebook login, it can feel very lonely when all these groups move into their little walled community.
lkernan


Trust me, you don't want to be a part of a lot of those groups which are, at the end of the day, echo chambers for people who invite their friends into the group.

I can count on one hand the amount of times I've had a useful, fruitful conversation with people in a walled group.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

As someone who won't have a Facebook login, it can feel very lonely when all these groups move into their little walled community.


Trust me, you don't want to be a part of a lot of those groups which are, at the end of the day, echo chambers for people who invite their friends into the group.

I can count on one hand the amount of times I've had a useful, fruitful conversation with people in a walled group.
s3_gunzel
I reckon you're not in the right groups then.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
As someone who won't have a Facebook login, it can feel very lonely when all these groups move into their little walled community.


Trust me, you don't want to be a part of a lot of those groups which are, at the end of the day, echo chambers for people who invite their friends into the group.

I can count on one hand the amount of times I've had a useful, fruitful conversation with people in a walled group.
I reckon you're not in the right groups then.
duttonbay
I reckon I'm probably not too - but finding a decent group on Facebook is like finding a needle in a haystack!
  8502 Assistant Commissioner

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The work was completed last week and will now make it possible to use the DAMS for:

1. HTTPS based access to the asset library
2. New API availability
3. Ingestion now of the railcam images and video into the new instance

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