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Author Topic: Really useful industry posts on the Coffee Shop - a thank you to our experts  (Read 826 times)
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« on: November 28, 2023, 11:59:17 »

Much of the value of our Coffee Shop is the ability for us to exchange and share information across many different locations, skills, experiences and roles right across the Thames Valley, South West England and South Wales.  And one of those sets of roles have been skilled technical staff who give a great deal of time to explaining things to the rest of us.  I like to think that most of us posting on the forum are pretty bright, but we are not - nothing like - as informed in the detail as our specialists.  A huge "Thank you" - not often enough said - to those technical experts; you are read, probably more than you realise, but it's a characteristic of our board that appreciation via "like"s tend to come on short follow ups and not on the posts into which the hard work has gone.

The rail industry, at present, feels to many of us to be in a worse condition and more hostile political environment than I can ever recall. And that makes it especially tough for specialist advocates to remain motivated.  Indirectly, that motivation's not helped by some of us members getting frustrated.  At times it feels that every day I'm posting about services that aren't running through Melksham, or are not running their full route, and that's not easy to read for the people who are doing their best with the tools they have, especially where the frustration of the people who want to travel by train or do so in a repeatedly disturbed way.

I have some personal misgivings about repeatedly flagging failures.  It's a depressing worn record and cannot make pleasant reading to those of our members and guests who work in the industry - indeed it must frustrate them. But our passenger and wannabe passenger members are between a rock and a hard place; I continue logging failures of services through Melksham, and others do so for other locations.  My reasoning is that it keeps the issue live and visible; although the forum has been overtaken in places by social media and nationwide coverage, we still have almost 100 members here and logged in each day, and the latest log file records would suggest that there are a substantial number - between 150 and 400 - guests each day.  Very hard indeed to get an accurate estimate with large numbers of automata visiting but as an exercise I have filtered the log file and would be shocked if the total of real forum visitors is below 250 or over 500.

Concern was expressed recently about the relatively small number of rail industry posters.  The number is actually around double the numbers mentioned, but not everyone is obvious or has a handle to declare themselves.  There are other sources too who feed members of our team, and quite a few of us with professional contact through which we remain very much more than just a grouch-fest of sofa surfers. All of these routes to an informed forum remain valuable, and I would remind all members to post criticisms and tough questions and nags with care. I am, though, absolutely NOT asking member to refrain from "stupid" questions - one man's stupid question is a dozen other's "I wondered that too but dared not ask".

There has been an active discussion on this topic around / between moderators over the last 24 hours, reflected in this post - a complex balance which I really hope I have reflected right.

Coffee Shop Admin, Acting Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, Option 24/7 Melksham Rep
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

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