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Have you changed (i.e. opinions, manner) during your time on the forum?

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Peter C

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I've spent a lot of my time on the forums recently going through older threads and posts to find various bits of information I've been looking for and, during this, I've found a lot of my own posts - many of which I'd say are completely different in both the opinions expressed and the manner in which said opinions were expressed to a post I'd make now. Has anyone else on the forums thought the same? Personally, I've found that in a lot of my older posts, I was much more willing to have an argument with people and would quite happily argue a point for posts on end. I don't think I'm that argumentative now (I hope, at least).

I hope that makes some sort of sense!

-Peter
 
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tbtc

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Are you talking "railway" options or "general" opinions?

A lot of my railway opinions have changed since I joined the Forum

I was instinctively against HS2, without knowing much about the specifics - now, I feel that there's no other realistic way to achieve significant capacity increases without it (although, given the post-coved demand may take a year or two to become evident, I reserve the right to change my mind again, if we find that long distance/ InterCity demand just isn't bouncing back)

I was very pro electrification, but it's become increasingly expensive/ complicated to actually deliver - look at all the things that were meant to be wired up by 2019 (i.e. the end of CP5) - the MML to Sheffield, the "Electric Spine", the GWML to Swansea/ Bristol/ Oxford - look at how we can't even string up wires on the single track Windermere branch - it's becoming harder to keep the faith

I was sympathetic to the various "re-opening" campaigns but it's increasingly like arguing with religious converts rather than having any kind of evidence based discussion - the same "solutions" keep getting brought back to solve different "problems" (e.g. Uckfield - Lewes was the mega-scheme to create a "BML2" but more recently it's all about re-opening it for local demand between Uckfield and Brighton instead... the same people come up with the same answers on a regular basis but the problem that they claim to be solving changes - if arguing about the "diversionary resilience" fails then invent a potential freight flow that could go that way if it ever ran, then it'll all be about re-connecting the one village on the line without a station... people don't really care about *why*, they just want to re-open something - which is why I'm struggling to take most of them seriously

I liked the idea of "making do and mend", upgrading old stock, but difficulties with the ScotRail HSTs, the VivaRail 230s and the like make me think we should just order brand new trains instead of faffing about trying to turn old trains into something suitable for modern standards - I know it's not as "green" to scrap older trains and build new ones but I think that over the expected lifespan of a train, it's a price worth paying (instead of taking a unit out of service for a period, tarting it up to try to get another decade or so out of it - just build a new one and get forty years life span instead)

...but then I joined over a dozen years ago, so it'd be worrying if I hadn't changed my mind about a few things in the time span - plenty of things have changed to make me change my mind (e.g. I believed in a project like the 319/769 conversion when it was theoretical, but the reality has been somewhat disappointing, so I've changed my mind in light of the evidence - the people I distrust are the ones who never change their mind, even when the facts clearly change)

That said, I am always a little nervous when someone re-opens a thread from a couple of years ago that I'd commented on, in case I'm embarrassed at the kind of things I used to be for/against - there's always a danger that I'll quote an idiotic argument on the thread that happens to be one of mine from back at the time!
 

yorksrob

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I joined a long time ago, however in that time:

- I've softened on railway privatisation (even though I still think the original process was a fiasco)
- I was against advanced purchase ticketing, and although I still think the railway relies too much on them, I think they're probably necessary to keep affordable railway transport.
 

Peter C

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Are you talking "railway" options or "general" opinions?

A lot of my railway opinions have changed since I joined the Forum

I was instinctively against HS2, without knowing much about the specifics - now, I feel that there's no other realistic way to achieve significant capacity increases without it (although, given the post-coved demand may take a year or two to become evident, I reserve the right to change my mind again, if we find that long distance/ InterCity demand just isn't bouncing back)

I was very pro electrification, but it's become increasingly expensive/ complicated to actually deliver - look at all the things that were meant to be wired up by 2019 (i.e. the end of CP5) - the MML to Sheffield, the "Electric Spine", the GWML to Swansea/ Bristol/ Oxford - look at how we can't even string up wires on the single track Windermere branch - it's becoming harder to keep the faith

I was sympathetic to the various "re-opening" campaigns but it's increasingly like arguing with religious converts rather than having any kind of evidence based discussion - the same "solutions" keep getting brought back to solve different "problems" (e.g. Uckfield - Lewes was the mega-scheme to create a "BML2" but more recently it's all about re-opening it for local demand between Uckfield and Brighton instead... the same people come up with the same answers on a regular basis but the problem that they claim to be solving changes - if arguing about the "diversionary resilience" fails then invent a potential freight flow that could go that way if it ever ran, then it'll all be about re-connecting the one village on the line without a station... people don't really care about *why*, they just want to re-open something - which is why I'm struggling to take most of them seriously

I liked the idea of "making do and mend", upgrading old stock, but difficulties with the ScotRail HSTs, the VivaRail 230s and the like make me think we should just order brand new trains instead of faffing about trying to turn old trains into something suitable for modern standards - I know it's not as "green" to scrap older trains and build new ones but I think that over the expected lifespan of a train, it's a price worth paying (instead of taking a unit out of service for a period, tarting it up to try to get another decade or so out of it - just build a new one and get forty years life span instead)

...but then I joined over a dozen years ago, so it'd be worrying if I hadn't changed my mind about a few things in the time span - plenty of things have changed to make me change my mind (e.g. I believed in a project like the 319/769 conversion when it was theoretical, but the reality has been somewhat disappointing, so I've changed my mind in light of the evidence - the people I distrust are the ones who never change their mind, even when the facts clearly change)

That said, I am always a little nervous when someone re-opens a thread from a couple of years ago that I'd commented on, in case I'm embarrassed at the kind of things I used to be for/against - there's always a danger that I'll quote an idiotic argument on the thread that happens to be one of mine from back at the time!
I mainly meant "railway" opinions, I suppose - but "general" opinions would be somewhat relevant, given the topic, I suppose.
Some very interesting points made there - thanks for such a detailed response. Your comment about people who never change their mind is also a thought I've had - and one which is often brought up with regards to COVID-19.

I joined a long time ago, however in that time:

- I've softened on railway privatisation (even though I still think the original process was a fiasco)
- I was against advanced purchase ticketing, and although I still think the railway relies too much on them, I think they're probably necessary to keep affordable railway transport.
Again - another interesting response. As @tbtc says, it would be weird for someone who's been on the forums a good while not to have some of their opinions change.

-Peter
 

Cowley

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I've spent a lot of my time on the forums recently going through older threads and posts to find various bits of information I've been looking for and, during this, I've found a lot of my own posts - many of which I'd say are completely different in both the opinions expressed and the manner in which said opinions were expressed to a post I'd make now. Has anyone else on the forums thought the same? Personally, I've found that in a lot of my older posts, I was much more willing to have an argument with people and would quite happily argue a point for posts on end. I don't think I'm that argumentative now (I hope, at least).

I hope that makes some sort of sense!

-Peter

I must admit that I’ve always found questions/threads like this quite interesting, I suppose probably because I’m generally quite interested in what makes people tick.
There’s a couple of related ones here that I started, one not long after joining and one a couple of years later that you might find interesting.



It’s perhaps interesting to note that I hadn’t really been involved with any forums before I decided to stop lurking (which I’d done for some time) and get stuck in.
I certainly come across as quite green in that first thread but I suppose it goes to show that some of my opinions (and definitely my manner) have changed in the last five years due to being on here.
Not who I am generally in life though.
 

Peter C

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I must admit that I’ve always found questions/threads like this quite interesting, I suppose probably because I’m generally quite interested in what makes people tick.
There’s a couple of related ones here that I started, one not long after joining and one a couple of years later that you might find interesting.


I made several different versions of my original post before settling on the published one, and I was going to link to that second thread in one of the many drafts. It was one of the threads I found when on my journeys deep into the past threads of the forums and makes for some interesting reading. I'm yet to have a proper look at that first thread, and I shall rectify that after writing this. :)

It’s perhaps interesting to note that I hadn’t really been involved with any forums before I decided to stop lurking (which I’d done for some time) and get stuck in.
I certainly come across as quite green in that first thread but I suppose it goes to show that some of my opinions (and definitely my manner) have changed in the last five years due to being on here.
Not who I am generally in life though.
I don't think I'd really been on any forums apart from this one before I joined either. My opinions and the manner in which I express them have definitely changed, even in just the past couple of years: as I mentioned in the first post (in one of the various drafts at least), when I joined, I would quite happily argue with people over all sorts of things (at least that's what it seems like now), even if I knew I didn't know everything about the topic at hand. My responses to a lot of posts were also much shorter; nowadays I'd try to link things together or ask a further question but in my first few posts, I tended to just say "Ah OK, thanks very much" and move on.
Sorry - I don't know why this seems to have become me banging on about my time on the forums!

-Peter :)
 

tbtc

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I'll plug my own (closed) thread here, which has some great examples from other posters >> https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...e-you-changed-your-mind-about-in-2020.210835/

- I've softened on railway privatisation (even though I still think the original process was a fiasco)

If we are talking about opinions prior to being a Forum member then I've been on that journey too - I was very against it in the mid '90s - expected Labour to start reversing it in the first term - but have come round to accepting that the "outcome" is more important now than the ownership.

Possibly oddly, I think it was 2010's austerity that made me appreciate the "private" model more (as I saw what happened to various public sector services with all their cuts/ redundancies etc, whilst rail carried on having money thrown at it).

I'm not trying to get into an argument about pros/cons (that isn't what this thread appears to be for - there are plenty of other threads to discuss privatisation/nationalisation on!)

A well funded railway is the important thing (in my eye) - there's no guarantee that you'll get that with public or private - but at least an element of "private" locks some commitments in for the duration of a franchise (whereas a "public" model could see things cut at short notice - as we've seen on a number of lines - e.g. if Arriva had carried out a number of the cancellations/cuts that the "state" operated managers are then there'd be much gnashing of enthusiast teeth) - a well funded state railway is better than a poorly funded private railway, but then a well funded private railway is better than a poorly funded public railway (IMHO) - it's all about the cheques that are being written

However I reserve the right to change my mind again once we see what the "concession" model looks like - my suspicion is that we'll find that things remain just as complicated/ expensive under any system and that many of the things that we thought were the fault of "privatisation" will turn out to be things we'd have to have under any "nationalised" scheme (e.g. the railway is too big to function without lots of cost centres and specialist staffing and the likes, we'd need some element of accounting to attribute "delay minutes" to one particular sector or we'd need more fragmentation than we had in the 1970s), but who knows - I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

As @tbtc says, it would be weird for someone who's been on the forums a good while not to have some of their opinions change

What worries me (as a general "non-railway point) its hat a lot of people are currently (or will increasingly become in future) stuck in "silos", where they get all of their news from sources who tell them what they want to believe, they end up in social circles with people who reinforce their existing views, you end up in an echo chamber and therefore find it hard to accept that the things that they believed were ever wrong or that the facts have changed (and the model that they believed in no longer works).

A generation ago, you didn't have to have an opinion on everything - you could work next to a colleague for a decade and have no idea how they voted - but now we are connected via social media, we all know so much about each other that it becomes hard to be seen to change your mind

Views become tribal - I'm not trying to pick on one particular tribe here - e.g. there are examples on both left and right - but the online world (and the death of relying on "mainstream" media), we are becoming increasingly cultish - you used to believe that the moon was made of cheese, so you only wanted friends who backed your arguments up and only wanted to consume news that fits the worldview you've already decided upon - so it gets hard to ever admit that you no longer believe that it's made of cheese and actually now accept a mainstream view - you'd be ostracised by your old friends if you were seen to be changing your mind - so it becomes hard for people to admit that they were wrong (or that they have changed their mind due to new facts, even if they aren't accepting that they were previously wrong) - admitting that we were wrong about things should be celebrated, rather than something to be embarrassed about. And, anyhow, the moon is made of marshmallows...
 

Peter C

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I'll plug my own (closed) thread here, which has some great examples from other posters >> https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...e-you-changed-your-mind-about-in-2020.210835/
I think I saw that thread a while ago. I'll have a proper read of it after writing this. :)

What worries me (as a general "non-railway point) its hat a lot of people are currently (or will increasingly become in future) stuck in "silos", where they get all of their news from sources who tell them what they want to believe, they end up in social circles with people who reinforce their existing views, you end up in an echo chamber and therefore find it hard to accept that the things that they believed were ever wrong or that the facts have changed (and the model that they believed in no longer works).

A generation ago, you didn't have to have an opinion on everything - you could work next to a colleague for a decade and have no idea how they voted - but now we are connected via social media, we all know so much about each other that it becomes hard to be seen to change your mind

Views become tribal - I'm not trying to pick on one particular tribe here - e.g. there are examples on both left and right - but the online world (and the death of relying on "mainstream" media), we are becoming increasingly cultish - you used to believe that the moon was made of cheese, so you only wanted friends who backed your arguments up and only wanted to consume news that fits the worldview you've already decided upon - so it gets hard to ever admit that you no longer believe that it's made of cheese and actually now accept a mainstream view - you'd be ostracised by your old friends if you were seen to be changing your mind - so it becomes hard for people to admit that they were wrong (or that they have changed their mind due to new facts, even if they aren't accepting that they were previously wrong) - admitting that we were wrong about things should be celebrated, rather than something to be embarrassed about.
We both agree on this subject then. :) A good way of looking at opinions is to not view your opinions as part of what makes you, you and to view them instead as something you carry around with you. It makes you much less likely to not want to change your opinions as otherwise one may think one has to keep the same opinions in order to keep the same personality. This video is where the idea came from:

And, anyhow, the moon is made of marshmallows...
Haha :D

-Peter
 

Cowley

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I made several different versions of my original post before settling on the published one, and I was going to link to that second thread in one of the many drafts. It was one of the threads I found when on my journeys deep into the past threads of the forums and makes for some interesting reading. I'm yet to have a proper look at that first thread, and I shall rectify that after writing this. :)


I don't think I'd really been on any forums apart from this one before I joined either. My opinions and the manner in which I express them have definitely changed, even in just the past couple of years: as I mentioned in the first post (in one of the various drafts at least), when I joined, I would quite happily argue with people over all sorts of things (at least that's what it seems like now), even if I knew I didn't know everything about the topic at hand. My responses to a lot of posts were also much shorter; nowadays I'd try to link things together or ask a further question but in my first few posts, I tended to just say "Ah OK, thanks very much" and move on.
Sorry - I don't know why this seems to have become me banging on about my time on the forums!

-Peter :)

Well it’s an interesting subject isn’t it?
I have a few rules of thumb that have worked for me over the past few years and in no particular order they are:

Don’t talk to anyone in a way that you wouldn’t talk to them face to face.
Sit back and read the posts before wading in unless you’re absolutely sure of how you feel or what you’re talking about.
Don’t instantly react if something/somebody has annoyed you.
Don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t hold onto grudges if someone’s snapped back at you. They may just be having a bad day (although don’t be a walkover either if you believe in something).
Be respectful and be prepared to learn, but also impart knowledge/experience if you can help someone along the way.
Be honest with people.

These are the ways I live my life anyway and I find that they keep my personal life and my life on here the most simple.
 

Peter C

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Well it’s an interesting subject isn’t it?
It definitely is!

I have a few rules of thumb that have worked for me over the past few years and in no particular order they are:

Don’t talk to anyone in a way that you wouldn’t talk to them face to face.
Sit back and read the posts before wading in unless you’re absolutely sure of how you feel or what you’re talking about.
Don’t instantly react if something/somebody has annoyed you.
Don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t hold onto grudges if someone’s snapped back at you. They may just be having a bad day (although don’t be a walkover either if you believe in something).
Be respectful and be prepared to learn, but also impart knowledge/experience if you can help someone along the way.
Be honest with people.

These are the ways I live my life anyway and I find that they keep my personal life and my life on here the most simple.
Those are definitely good ways to live life by. The third is definitely one which I've done a few times; I tend to try and read any post through multiple times to get a better idea of how to respond before doing so, and it seems to work (either that or people can't be bothered to tell me otherwise :)). One of the main things which makes me giggle when reading through the forums is the number of people who take things far too seriously: you say you shouldn't take yourself so seriously, and I'd agree with that and expand it to include not taking the situation at hand too seriously (unless, of course, it's really serious, like brain surgery or something). I like to have a laugh and I've found it's quite easy to not take things as seriously as one might otherwise and to still be respectful and not a proper twerp (good word that - we should use it more often).

-Peter
 

Lucan

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Don’t talk to anyone in a way that you wouldn’t talk to them face to face.
Sit back and read the posts before wading in unless you’re absolutely sure of how you feel or what you’re talking about.
Don’t instantly react if something/somebody has annoyed you.
Don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t hold onto grudges if someone’s snapped back at you. They may just be having a bad day (although don’t be a walkover either if you believe in something).
Be respectful and be prepared to learn, but also impart knowledge/experience if you can help someone along the way.
Be honest with people.

It depends on the forum. Compared with many (even excluding obviously bone-headed ones), RUKF is civilised and polite. It has a high proportion of professionals and those who are not are often very knowledgable anyway. It also has a high percentage of regulars, so we get to recognise and generally respect each other, even though most of our forum names are not identifiable outside of it.

However there are other forums which are much more "knockabout", even technical ones, and in particular some of the primarily USA-based ones which I visit have some quite rude exchanges and strong language. They also have particular members with long-running feuds who will have strong exchanges (on tech matters) running for days. This seems to be in the American tradition of freedom of speech. But I can adjust to the general tone - I have always made an effort to attune myself to whoever I am talking to, whether it is a General Manager or a guy sweeping the floor. I don't get upset by abuse (I hardly see it as abuse anyway) or negative responses, because I do not say things unless i am confident with what I say. When I present something as a "fact" I have often pre-located references to support it, and respond with those if necessary.

While rarely a problem on this forum, I frequently see people on others holding forth when they clearly don't know the subject they are talking about - don't they realise it? But perhaps it is the Dunning-Kruger effect. I worked in an office with a guy who would waffle at length on any subject that came up, like the Inspector in On the Buses, and he could sound plausible to someone who did not know better. But when he happened to turn to a subject I do know about (railways and naval history for example) it was immediately obvious that most of what he said was tripe. I did not bother to correct him, but he was a good example of why you should recognise the limitations of your own knowledge.
 

Cowley

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It depends on the forum. Compared with many (even excluding obviously bone-headed ones), RUKF is civilised and polite. It has a high proportion of professionals and those who are not are often very knowledgable anyway. It also has a high percentage of regulars, so we get to recognise and generally respect each other, even though most of our forum names are not identifiable outside of it.

However there are other forums which are much more "knockabout", even technical ones, and in particular some of the primarily USA-based ones which I visit have some quite rude exchanges and strong language. They also have particular members with long-running feuds who will have strong exchanges (on tech matters) running for days. This seems to be in the American tradition of freedom of speech. But I can adjust to the general tone - I have always made an effort to attune myself to whoever I am talking to, whether it is a General Manager or a guy sweeping the floor. I don't get upset by abuse (I hardly see it as abuse anyway) or negative responses, because I do not say things unless i am confident with what I say. When I present something as a "fact" I have often pre-located references to support it, and respond with those if necessary.

While rarely a problem on this forum, I frequently see people on others holding forth when they clearly don't know the subject they are talking about - don't they realise it? But perhaps it is the Dunning-Kruger effect. I worked in an office with a guy who would waffle at length on any subject that came up, like the Inspector in On the Buses, and he could sound plausible to someone who did not know better. But when he happened to turn to a subject I do know about (railways and naval history for example) it was immediately obvious that most of what he said was tripe. I did not bother to correct him, but he was a good example of why you should recognise the limitations of your own knowledge.

Great post @Lucan. That last point you make is very interesting where it comes to someone giving out a certain point of view on a matter that you actually know particularly well and when you know that they’re talking absolute nonsense on the subject though?
Once you see that in someone you just can’t take anything they say seriously from then on...
With a bit of maturity and life experience you can see how behaving like that makes you look, but unfortunately some people never quite get there.
How complicated does it make life if you’re constantly trying to remember what made up story you’ve told various people..?
 

yorksrob

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I'll plug my own (closed) thread here, which has some great examples from other posters >> https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...e-you-changed-your-mind-about-in-2020.210835/



If we are talking about opinions prior to being a Forum member then I've been on that journey too - I was very against it in the mid '90s - expected Labour to start reversing it in the first term - but have come round to accepting that the "outcome" is more important now than the ownership.

Possibly oddly, I think it was 2010's austerity that made me appreciate the "private" model more (as I saw what happened to various public sector services with all their cuts/ redundancies etc, whilst rail carried on having money thrown at it).

I'm not trying to get into an argument about pros/cons (that isn't what this thread appears to be for - there are plenty of other threads to discuss privatisation/nationalisation on!)

A well funded railway is the important thing (in my eye) - there's no guarantee that you'll get that with public or private - but at least an element of "private" locks some commitments in for the duration of a franchise (whereas a "public" model could see things cut at short notice - as we've seen on a number of lines - e.g. if Arriva had carried out a number of the cancellations/cuts that the "state" operated managers are then there'd be much gnashing of enthusiast teeth) - a well funded state railway is better than a poorly funded private railway, but then a well funded private railway is better than a poorly funded public railway (IMHO) - it's all about the cheques that are being written

However I reserve the right to change my mind again once we see what the "concession" model looks like - my suspicion is that we'll find that things remain just as complicated/ expensive under any system and that many of the things that we thought were the fault of "privatisation" will turn out to be things we'd have to have under any "nationalised" scheme (e.g. the railway is too big to function without lots of cost centres and specialist staffing and the likes, we'd need some element of accounting to attribute "delay minutes" to one particular sector or we'd need more fragmentation than we had in the 1970s), but who knows - I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

I think for me, I'm generally more concerned that the dosh keeps flowing - particularly given current circumstances, than with the method of ownership.

Also, I have to admit that what I admire is sector era British Rail, rather than nationalisation per se. That aside, I think in the new world, our railway will have to work harder to provide value for money for passengers, and there are lessons to be learned from other nationalised railways in terms of national railcards, not relying on advanced purchase fares to provide good value inter city travel etc.

Don’t talk to anyone in a way that you wouldn’t talk to them face to face.
Sit back and read the posts before wading in unless you’re absolutely sure of how you feel or what you’re talking about.
Don’t instantly react if something/somebody has annoyed you.
Don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t hold onto grudges if someone’s snapped back at you. They may just be having a bad day (although don’t be a walkover either if you believe in something).
Be respectful and be prepared to learn, but also impart knowledge/experience if you can help someone along the way.
Be honest with people.

You forgot "Avoid posting on emotive subjects when you're leathered" :)
 

Cowley

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Judging by some of my early posts some years back this should be the number one rule :oops:

Yep definitely.
I’ve had a few ‘erm, what did I post last night?’ moments in the past. :lol:
 

tbtc

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One thing not mentioned above is the evolution of some posters, who maybe joined as argumentative teenagers and have learned a lot about how complicated the railway actually is, appreciate it in a different light now that they are adults who pay thousands of pounds for their season ticket - rail has become a daily necessity rather than an exciting trip a few times a year -

It depends on the forum. Compared with many (even excluding obviously bone-headed ones), RUKF is civilised and polite. It has a high proportion of professionals and those who are not are often very knowledgable anyway. It also has a high percentage of regulars, so we get to recognise and generally respect each other, even though most of our forum names are not identifiable outside of it.

However there are other forums which are much more "knockabout", even technical ones, and in particular some of the primarily USA-based ones which I visit have some quite rude exchanges and strong language. They also have particular members with long-running feuds who will have strong exchanges (on tech matters) running for days. T

There have been a handful of long running feuds on here, I suppose... I may have been involved in a couple of them, but the people I use to debate again most are either banned/ dormant accounts or sadly passed away in a couple of examples - I'm not sure that there are many feuds around at the moment but then I'm much more selective about the threads I read and tend to keep away from certain subjects entirely (whereas in the past I'd have waded in to discussions on things I didn't have particular opinions over just for the sake of debate)

Are there any long running feuds these days that I'm not aware of? (I know of a couple of people who disagree over battery trains, which seems to spill over to other threads, but there aren't so many regular "feuds" these days)
 

Cowley

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There have been a handful of long running feuds on here, I suppose... I may have been involved in a couple of them, but the people I use to debate again most are either banned/ dormant accounts or sadly passed away in a couple of examples - I'm not sure that there are many feuds around at the moment but then I'm much more selective about the threads I read and tend to keep away from certain subjects entirely (whereas in the past I'd have waded in to discussions on things I didn't have particular opinions over just for the sake of debate)

Are there any long running feuds these days that I'm not aware of? (I know of a couple of people who disagree over battery trains, which seems to spill over to other threads, but there aren't so many regular "feuds" these days)

It doesn’t feel like there’s much of that going on. There are people that will always have opposing opinions and they’ll quite often get into the same back and forth arguments over the same topics whenever they come up but on the whole I’d say it’s fairly respectful in that regard.
The thing is that when you get two people tearing strips off each other and taking over a thread it starts to become a bit unreadable and embarrassing so it’s better to stop it once it’s getting to a certain point than to let it get worse from our point of view.
 

greatvoyager

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I've spent a lot of my time on the forums recently going through older threads and posts to find various bits of information I've been looking for and, during this, I've found a lot of my own posts - many of which I'd say are completely different in both the opinions expressed and the manner in which said opinions were expressed to a post I'd make now. Has anyone else on the forums thought the same? Personally, I've found that in a lot of my older posts, I was much more willing to have an argument with people and would quite happily argue a point for posts on end. I don't think I'm that argumentative now (I hope, at least).

I hope that makes some sort of sense!

-Peter
Some of my opinions have changed, but also if I offer an opinion and someone counters it, I try not to think about it.
Having said that, one thing that I have seen is that some people like new ideas, but others don’t.
I try and look at everyone’s opinion and find the merit, as opposed to fault.
 

backontrack

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For starters, I no longer really participate on reopenings threads. And the main one is that I no longer really participate on reopenings threads because - to be quite frank - I'm utterly sick of the constant mischaracterisation and generalisation of those on the pro side. It's just so ineffably patronising and childish, really. What these threads do, and will, always boil down to is a central ideological divide; what more is there to say other than that the same parties will always, always disagree?

I don't really mind whatever your view is on railways (unless you're advocating for line closure), but do we have to belittle people over what is, intrinsically, an immovable clash of ideals? The view I get of a lot of these discussions is that they're quite antagonistic; you get the sense of members typing at each other through gritted teeth, almost. Solid stances won't be dissolved by simple jabs. It's about one-upmanship, and little philosophical victories; whose logic will prevail? (I've got plenty of experience below the fray, so to speak - I'm not discounting myself here.) And it's tiring, because there is so much in the world that matters far more than this.

(And this is coming from someone who always strives to avoid cynicism, by the way. Internet snark really grates on me, but also I think directness is often more effective than irony, which makes it more useful. It doesn't mean there's no place for irony - the two can coexist - but I don't relish cynicism because 1) it makes you feel down and 2) on the internet, when tone is hard to express, it always seems more bitter than it really is.)

So I'm not returning to those threads until the perpetual paragraph-opening strawman has been consigned to the bottom of the horse's bag. (So never, then...)

Less rantishly and more generally, I think I'm involved in fewer heated exchanges (!!!) than I used to be. I think, with teens on this forum in general, there's this attitude of 'you're young and naive, you'll wise up (and gravitate towards the sensible, enlightened golden mean stance)' - but I disagree with the implication there. I think it's more to do with how confident you are in your own right to express your opinions.

I feel I've gained more confidence through my teens. There's a key lesson: you don't have to constantly commit to demonstrating your views - your views are still yours and you can be confident in them without having to restate them. You've got to value your own energy and use it where you want to use it. I also think that the climate emergency has given me more perspective in terms of the hills I'm willing to die (or at least be slightly maimed) on on here. Put the small things in the vicinity of something really big, and they get smaller.

(Thirdly, the ignore list is your friend. Even if you still end up reading all the ignored posts anyway for thread context, it's a good palpable reminder to have up there.)

I don't take myself too seriously, and I wouldn't be saying all this if I did, because - to me at least - it's undercut by my own crippling self-consciousness. What I do feel is more open about expressing myself both emotionally and conversationally. (I've been in too many conversations where I've been too shy to speak up. It gets you nowhere.) So that helps too, because I can talk the hind legs off of several donkeys when I'm in the mood.

Generally, I'm on here less these days... I know that trains, and being interested in trains (we all are, on some level) is socially undesirable, weird and nerdish, and I think I've let that seep in, a little. And you find new interests; you find new pockets of the internet, new avenues for communication, new things to want to talk about and dissect and interact with. When I'm on RailUK, I don't feel young, or energetic, or like a conventional student; I feel a little too aware of that pop-culture image.

But that's OK.

You don't have to demonstrate your affection for/knowledge of/interest in/fanship for it to still be real.

One of the worst parts of 00s internet culture is the notion of the 'fake fan'. There's so much elitism and gatekeeping out there. But it's healthy to participate only when you feel like it, and to flit in and out, because that's the fun thing about having interests; sometimes, they'll grab you.

My connection to the railways is still real; it's a big part of who I am. And true, it's less technical and more emotional, but I defy anyone to tell me that there isn't an emotional spark fuelling it all somewhere. We Brits have a strange relationship with our feelings; emotional repression is literally baked into our national identity, and there's still that instinctive reaction there - to view an emotional response to something as being inherently irrational. (We forget the archaic definition of 'sensible'; it used to mean something we could feel.)

So yes, I've grown and changed, I've reined it in, I've matured, and I use the forum less...but I still like trains. That's the most important thing, isn't it? ;D

You forgot "Avoid posting on emotive subjects when you're leathered" :)
Actually the real rule is "Don't participate at all unless you're leathered". :D
 

HSTEd

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My railway opinions have changed from "Southern Region forever, make do and mend, no need for high speed rail" into "Shinkansen in ALL THE DIRECTIONS!"

Southern Region is still the best Region though!
 

Sad Sprinter

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My railway opinions have changed from "Southern Region forever, make do and mend, no need for high speed rail" into "Shinkansen in ALL THE DIRECTIONS!"

Southern Region is still the best Region though!
Agreed.

My opinions haven't really changed. I'm less sceptical about HS2, but will still fight for a Heathrow spur. What has shocked me is how different the mind of an enthusiast is to someone in industry. You really think, as an enthusiast, you had all the answers. But coming to this forum has highlighted just how much else there is to consider before reopening an old line for freight traffic.
 

johnnychips

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I joined because I could not believe how much a ticket was from Doncaster to Nottingham, so I googled ‘cheap ticket from Doncaster to Nottingham’ and this forum came up. I believe the workaround has now been withdrawn, but I’d better not say what it was in case it hasn’t. I joined and I’ve been hooked since.

I wouldn’t say any great changes in my opinions have happened as I try not to have strong or fixed opinions anyway, but I am so, so much better informed.
 

Busaholic

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I'd argue it's only a small and narrow mind that 's not open to change. A thoughtful mind is open to arguments and opinions, and weighs them up. Certainty of mind allows dictators, superficially charismatic though some may initially appear to the credulous, to hold sway, and this has never been more apparent worldwide in my lifetime than the present time. Directly answering the question posed, yes, and one of the members on this thread, whom I won't name, has caused me to reconsider and change my opinion on a couple of occasions, and may well do so in future.
 

Strathclyder

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It'd be more than fair to say that, yes, I have changed in the near 8 years since I first joined at the oh-so tender age of 17 (will turn 25 in less than 3 weeks. Ye gods, that's frightening once I actually stop and think about it).

There are times when I stumble across some of my earilest posts and think 'Was that really me?' while cringing hard enough to give myself a migraine. Most of my eariler posts, in a nutshell, were largely a result of youthful ignorance (with a dash of arrogance) and simply not knowing any better. More than once, I was (politely) humbled/called out for erroneous posts or plain falsehoods that I was pushing with all the misplaced confidence that I was 101% correct. Most of the time, I was too embarassed (or ignorant, arrogant etc) to even admit I was wrong and issue a correction/retraction.

Those, coupled with general life experience, transformed me from a largely ignorant youth to a much wiser young adult who knows his terminus in life and not to unnecessarily punch above it (in terms of phyiscal capabilites, mental capacity and the breadth of my knowledge). Further to the latter point, I'm now more willing to learn and expand my horizons in regards to my knowledge when such opportunities present themselves than I was back when I was 17. After all, isn't that how one learns and advances oneself?

Deviating slightly here. Pre-2020, 2017 in particular put me through the emotional ringer. I dare-say it made me more cynical, sardonic and hardened than I ever had been previously, more as a defense mechanism than anything else. But, I of course know not to let said traits manifest themselves in my posts if I'm having a off day and someone sharply replies to a post. I stop, take a deep breath, and, if I can't come to a amicable agreement with the responder, move on. It honestly ain't worth the expended energy and boiled blood; life is far too short to be wasted on such trival grievances.

With all of this in mind, I am still a bit wary about expressing my opinions/views etc. in fear of being raked over the coals (pun most certainly intended). Irrational fears come home to roost? Maybe so, but I suppose, deep down, that's just who I am.

And lastly, one thing that has most certainly changed is my grammatical skillset. Safe to say, it has come in leaps and bounds since June 2013. I do still trip up on occasion, but compared to nearly 8 years ago, it's a world removed. And yes, I know this is a slightly odd thing to take a victory lap for, but given how low my self-confidence in this regard often is, I feel that if it helps boost said self-confidence even for a brief moment, it's tolerable. :)
 
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