Grampian Group at Aberdeen

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David Thorpe
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Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby David Thorpe » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:11 am

Due to a number of unavoidable absences the Grampian area group was a bit short staffed for the Aberdeen MRC Show last weekend where we were crewing the Society stand and supporting Alistair Dickson and Colinton. In the event we just about coped. On Saturday morning John Duffy and I arrived bright and early to find Peter Heald already there – as a member of the Aberdeen club, he was on general exhibition duties. Colinton was all set up and looked terrific and was running well. Alistair gave us some guidance as to operation of the layout, but having noted that it is primarily a shunting layout employing three-link couplings I decided (probably to Alistair's relief) that I'd concentrate on building trackwork on the stand while John and Peter assisted Alistair with the layout when necessary.

On Sunday John Duffy was replaced by John Anderson, and he and and Peter again assisted Alistair with Colinton. Even with an Aberdeen based audience there were quite a number of visitors who recognised the location and a number of tales and reminiscences were exchanged. I meanwhile continued to demonstrate track construction on the stand – I've got nine points to build for my proposed layout. There was quite a lot of interest from the passing public, at least half of whom had never heard of P4. Everyone thought the trackwork looked lovely - “just like the real thing” - but sadly no-one expressed any interest whatever in converting to P4 or joining the Society (“too difficult” and “too committed to 00” being the main reasons). However, we were all really pleased that through the stand and an excellent Scottish layout we had been able to introduce P4 to a public many of whom had never seen it before.

Next event for the group will be a workshop at my house on 16th November, with our regular monthly meeting at John Andersons a fortnight later.

DT

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Paul Willis » Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:13 pm

DaveyTee wrote:There was quite a lot of interest from the passing public, at least half of whom had never heard of P4. Everyone thought the trackwork looked lovely - “just like the real thing” - but sadly no-one expressed any interest whatever in converting to P4 or joining the Society (“too difficult” and “too committed to 00” being the main reasons). However, we were all really pleased that through the stand and an excellent Scottish layout we had been able to introduce P4 to a public many of whom had never seen it before.

On behalf of the Committee, many thanks for showing what finescale modelling is all about. The explanation of being too committed to OO is a common one, and there are many modellers that faced with a cupboard full of RTR stock would be put off with the sheer expense of replacement wheels for it all.

However you never know that you haven't planted the seed of an idea to try a little test track in P4 in the back of their minds...

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Terry Bendall » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:10 am

Flymo748 wrote:The explanation of being too committed to OO is a common one,


Yes it is, and I have heard it many times when staffing the Society stand at a show. One way is to suggest that is someone is looking for a new project, especially if it is a different period, that they try P4 for a new project.

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby billbedford » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:22 am

Flymo748 wrote:On behalf of the Committee, many thanks for showing what finescale modelling is all about. The explanation of being too committed to OO is a common one, and there are many modellers that faced with a cupboard full of RTR stock would be put off with the sheer expense of replacement wheels for it all.


Maybe the Society should offer to 'recycle' all this obsolete stock. for a small fee of course.
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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby John Duffy » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:41 am

The Scalefour stand at Aberdeen;

Image

Image

Along with Colinton;

Image

A good couple of days and hopefully some encouragement for the group.

On looking again at the stand it is noticeable that much of the stock on display is converted 00, including diesels, a Hornby Black 5 and a good selection of wagons. Perhaps we should be thinking about some of the comments below and making the conversion of 00 stock a specific theme, even for a short period, for promoting the Society. A future challenge perhaps?

John

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Paul Willis » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:26 am

sulzer27 wrote:The Scalefour stand at Aberdeen;

On looking again at the stand it is noticeable that much of the stock on display is converted 00, including diesels, a Hornby Black 5 and a good selection of wagons. Perhaps we should be thinking about some of the comments below and making the conversion of 00 stock a specific theme, even for a short period, for promoting the Society. A future challenge perhaps?

John

Hi John,

It's a good point that you make, and there are many conversations that we have with OO modellers at shows that explain about the conversions route.

You have just planted a small germ of an idea in the back of my head, which won't happen overnight but may in future.

In the meantime, can you add any more thoughts on what you might have in mind that we can do further as promotion in this way? I'm afraid that I'm very much out of touch of the RTR scene with my own modelling.

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby LesGros » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:49 am

Flymo748 wrote:
...It's a good point that you make, and there are many conversations that we have with OO modellers at shows that explain about the conversions route... ...In the meantime, can you add any more thoughts on what you might have in mind that we can do further as promotion in this way? ...


Paul,
:idea: There is a fair amount of guidance around, but it would be useful to collect it all in one place. Where comprehensive material is available on other sites, a brief description and a link could suffice. Stage one could be a listing of known conversion documents, stage two could be contributions from members who have made successful conversions. One aspect which seems to cause some problems, is how to remove bodies from running gear when the method of fixing is not easily visible, or when glue has been used.

A bit more food for thought.
LesG

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Natalie Graham » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:23 am

sulzer27 wrote:
On looking again at the stand it is noticeable that much of the stock on display is converted 00, including diesels, a Hornby Black 5 and a good selection of wagons. Perhaps we should be thinking about some of the comments below and making the conversion of 00 stock a specific theme, even for a short period, for promoting the Society. A future challenge perhaps?



Or could it be that a preponderance of converted 00 stock is putting people off? After all a rtr diesel with P4 wheels looks pretty much the same as a standard one unless you tip it upside down. Could it be that people don't see the advantage of going to the trouble of converting something only to have it look little different from how it was when they started? Perhaps the angle to attract new interest is to emphasise what Scalefour can offer that is different rather than how easy it is to convert the ordinary. This is not a criticism of the stand as it looks very smart and well presented, but modern prototypes where the wheels are mostly hidden standing on a flat surface don't really show to best advantage the far more realistic appearance of the true to scale track gauge and wheel profile.Indeed I wonder just how much P4 does offer the modeller who wants to run long trains of rtr stock. A train of well detailed and finished 00 stock is probably going to look better when seen from the viewing side of a layout than a train of basic stock converted with drop-in wheelsets. The point I think I am aiming for is that perhaps it is not enough to show people how easily they can convert their 00 stock unless we also show them why they should want to.

That said I do think that developing interest in the 'finescale' side of the hobby is a long road up here. Maybe it is just that with a smaller population there is less opportunity for finescale modellers to reach a kind of critical mass but the attitude in Scotland does seem historically to have been very much of the 'take it out of the box and watch it run round the club tail-chaser' way of thinking. I could not get to the show, which is a shame as it is the most local to me, but it is good to see that the Society had a presence, and an impressive one at that. Hopefully I will make it next year.

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby John Duffy » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:43 pm

Natalie Graham wrote:
Or could it be that a preponderance of converted 00 stock is putting people off? After all a rtr diesel with P4 wheels looks pretty much the same as a standard one unless you tip it upside down. Could it be that people don't see the advantage of going to the trouble of converting something only to have it look little different from how it was when they started?


There is a degree of truth in what you say, but it does perhaps lead to a less obvious answer. That being the biggest advantage of converting your RTR diesels is not in fact anything to do with the loco but the fact that your track looks right. I have personally experienced that over the last few years where I ran mainline trains with blue diesels but made the mistake of "saving time" by using proprietary track.

Apart from the display of stock (which was not all RTR and included a North Staffs loco and coaches) we also had DaveyTee building some pointwork. This is where I think the Society can take advantage as there are a number of modellers with good looking stock running on track that looks rather like a train set. I think there is something to be said for extolling the virtues of improving your track modelling, so that your finely detailed rolling stock has a fitting display.

Natalie Graham

Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Natalie Graham » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:22 pm

sulzer27 wrote: This is where I think the Society can take advantage as there are a number of modellers with good looking stock running on track that looks rather like a train set. I think there is something to be said for extolling the virtues of improving your track modelling, so that your finely detailed rolling stock has a fitting display.


I agree with that, that is what I was thinking of when I posted earlier that maybe modern prototypes on a static display perhaps don't show this to best advantage. I don't claim any knowledge or experience in recruiting to P4 but reading the comments about converting rtr stock set me thinking that maybe emphasising how easy it was to get started needed to be balanced with what people can look to achieve once they have. Converting stock can be a good way to get something going quickly as a staring point but if someone is going to be satisfied with only rtr stock they probably will be equally happy with rtr track. I was wondering if the answer to people saying they have too much 00 stock to convert is not to tell them how easy it would be to do but to let them see that joining the society and moving to P4 is an opportunity to do something different than run the same 00 gauge stuff If after showing people it is straightforward to convert stock, they still cite having to convert it as a reason not to switch maybe a different approach is called for. After all if we were trying to get people to adopt 2mm FS or Scaleseven we would not be trying to tell them they can convert their existing 00 stock.

I am not meaning to appear argumentative or critical of anyone's efforts, far from it as the stand and the layout at the show both look very impressive and it does seem we are thinking along similar lines anyway, more wondering aloud, (or rather in print) about possible alternative strategies to put across the advantages of Scalefour.

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby David Thorpe » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:56 pm

As you yourself said, Natalie, "the attitude in Scotland does seem historically to have been very much of the 'take it out of the box and watch it run round the club tail-chaser' way of thinking". I quite agree, not because the Scots are poor modellers, but because the exhibition situation up here is organised in such a way that very few P4 layouts are ever seen. No Scottish model railway club, so far as I am aware, shows any interest in P4. Add to that the fact that the mainstream magazines virtually ignore P4, and one can perhaps understand why such a surprising number of those who stopped at the stand had never heard of P4 or, if they had, did not really know what it is. Now I don't know about you, but the primary reason I model P4 is because the track looks so much better. Because of the track, the wheels are also more accurate, but even then RTR 00 wheels are now much better than they are. Apart from that, there isn't an awful lot of difference between P4 and 00 and so I'm not sure what you mean when you suggest that we should be emphasising to people what they can achieve if they move to P4 because they can in fact achieve all of it in 00 except for the track and wheel standards.

Speaking personally, the current crop of RTR models are now so good that I'm more than happy to run them, suitably converted, on my layout. My Hornby Black 5 is my best running steam loco - I'd be a bit ashamed to say that except that it is really excellent. I wanted a Black 5 for my proposed layout and if I was to build one from a kit it would take me ages and there's no guarantee that it would run as well. I have to ration my time and the Hornby model means that I can have a Black 5 and get on with track building and preparing the new layout.

Getting back to the Aberdeen Show, those who stopped at the stand actually paid little attention to the static models. By and large, they were much more interested in the track and were also extremely impressed with it. They could therefore see and comprehend the essence of P4, especially as there was a P4 layout next door to the stand using track built in the same way, and they realised that it was much more realistic than standard 00 track. We also had P4 wheels on display, along with Gibson 00/EM wheels and Bachmann 00 ones. But for most people, it was still a step too far and i can fully understand why. Their time and finances are probably limited. The thought of having to convert all their RTR pacifics and build the track for them to run on, unaided, would be too much for most people - even apart from the question of the necessary skill, how much would it cost to convert even one pacific? Quite frankly, if I did not have the support of my friends in our local group (one of only three P4 groups in Scotland) and the Society Webforum, I'm not sure I'd still be working in P4.

Anyway Natalie, why don't you come to one of our group meetings to discuss this further? It's only a 40 mile trip for you, which is 20 miles less than I have to travel!

DT

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby David Knight » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:49 am

If you think explaining P4 to a Scottish audience is hard you should try explaining it to a Canadian one :lol: . The track is the thing that most people notice first and the thing that provokes the most questions. Even the most hardened 00 type in our local society will admit that P4 track is a thing of beauty. Then when you show them the wheels and suspension methods they start to get scared, as in "Oh, I could never do that". That is where the conversions can be brought into play especially the diesel and RTR changes which can be accomplished without a big time and money commitment.

Cheers,

David

Natalie Graham

Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Natalie Graham » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:06 am

I think the Glasgow show probably had a big influence on things as for a long time they rarely had any guest layouts and all the member clubs had the right to show their own layout and it did become as Cyril Freezer once wrote n his editorial almost entirely 'lowest common denominator club tail-chasers' The excellent finescale show at New Lanark didn't survive that long despite being in an excellent venue and having some superb layouts. I don't know the reasons for its demise but I suspect that lack of finescale modellers in Scotland contributed to both lack of available layouts and lack of support.

As you say the current rtr models are excellent and a good starting point for moving to P4. But they are also good as they are. For people with limited time then detailing or scenic work would possibly be more effective in improving realism than switching to P4. Especially if the interest is in running trains and the layout is viewed from near eye level. Maybe saying we should emphasis what people could achieve was not the best way to put it, rather that if they want to 'achieve' something other than using the available rtr models then P4 is an excellent way to go to get something that stands out from the run of the mill. Returning to exhibitions again the last time I was at the Glasgow show there was one UK prototype layout with rolling stock which pre-nationalisation. Excellent as the rrtr stuff is I can't be the only one who gets fed up of seeing the same locos pulling the same stock round numerous layouts at a show.

My line of thinking is the same as you found at the show. If people don't want to have to convert stock, if only for the expense, then telling them how to do it or making it easier is probably not going to sway them, so maybe there is another approach to be found to encourage people to take up P4. As I have said I'm not claiming to have all the answers or being critical of the approach of others. I was just struck by the disappointing response you reported from the show despite what looks like an excellent presence and trying to think of what might encourage people to join up and model in P4

It is little steps I suppose, maybe one of those people who were impressed by the track at the show will remember it next time they fancy a new project and will add another P4 layout to the available pool up here.

I will pm you about the meetings.

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Paul Willis » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:41 am

Hi all,

Thank you very much for the helpful comments, and the reasoned discussions of the subject. Whilst we definitely are not "evangelical" about it, attracting modellers towards finescale is clearly one of the most useful things about showing the Society Stand at exhibitions.

The main thing that attracts us to model in P4 (I think that it's fair to say that for almost all of us it is the appearance of the track) may not be the main stumbling block perceived by (typically) OO modellers. Even if they like the appearance of the track, the two comments generally heard are:

- "I couldn't do that. I don't have the skills/time"

- "I have too much OO stock to convert"

We can't magic up skills/time/cash for them in itself unfortunately. However the RTR route is a way of dipping a toe in the finescale water, which means that they only have to concentrate on the track aspects. And they can do that with a small test track and maybe convert one or two items of their existing stock to see how it goes.

Of course, the decision process is completely different for awkward beggars (can't think who...) that choose to model pre-Grouping/obscure prototypes. They will probably be building from kits anyway in the absence of RTR, so a discussion tends to be more on the technical aspects of springing/compensation and what that involves.

Returning to a couple of the earlier comments here, yes, collecting all of the information on RTR conversions in one place, and making it accessible is a great idea. I'll see what can be done as an information-gathering exercise of what we have already as a start.

Thanks again for all of your thoughts,
Paul Willis
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Natalie Graham

Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Natalie Graham » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:54 am

Flymo748 wrote:Of course, the decision process is completely different for awkward beggars (can't think who...) that choose to model pre-Grouping/obscure prototypes.


Whatever can he mean? Aren't the LMS and LNER Modern Image?

They will probably be building from kits anyway in the absence of RTR,


Shakes head sadly and wonders whatever happened to scratch building.


the two comments generally heard are:

- "I couldn't do that. I don't have the skills/time"

- "I have too much OO stock to convert"


It was the second of those comments reported by Davey Tee and which seems to be a common reason (excuse?) for not moving to P4 that set me wondering if pursuing the entirely laudable and welcome aim of making conversion of rtr stock simple and showing how this can be done is, inadvertently, maybe giving the impression that this was the only way to go, hence the amount of existing stock then becomes a deterrent to taking the plunge. Could it be that people see conversion of rtr models and immediately make the connection with their existing collection? I don't suppose we are ever going to the most popular scale and gauge combination but it is disappointing to read that no-one at all at an exhibition with what looks like a splendid Scalefour presence was open to the idea of giving it a go.

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:21 am

The irony of the "too much stock to convert" argument is that many OO modellers seem to build new layouts every so often and continue to buy more OO RTR stuff. Sometimes they also model in/change to N gauge. In reality I think they are really saying that they can't be bothered to do something different, more challenging or that requires learning some new skills.

Getting people to try something different is the starting point. If they won't even try building a wagon kit, then getting them to consider something more difficult.is going to be very different. There are many very good OO modellers whose kit/scratch building abilities match those that model in EM or P4. In their case, having probably built a collection of models over many years then it is easier to understand why they wouldn't want to move to different track/wheel standards.

Perhaps we have to accept that, for many, collecting ready made models is what their idea of "modelling" is all about.

Jol

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby David Thorpe » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:30 pm

Jol Wilkinson wrote:Getting people to try something different is the starting point.

I think that's right. On reflection, I don't think it should be a question of getting anyone to change - the best way seems to me to be to get them to keep their 00 layout, but try a small P4 one as well. Track making is easier than it ever has been, and they could convert a couple of their 00 locos and a few wagons and see how they like it. That, and a visit to one of the Society shows and membership of this forum should do the trick.

But, of course, the seed has to be sown in the first place. Although no-one joined the society at Aberdeen, they nevertheless (perhaps for the first time) saw what could be done and how much better it looked. That needs to be fostered and I'd like to think that there might be a society presence at as many Scottish shows as possible, preferably with a demonstration, ideally with an accompanying layout. I still don't understand why Perth, Scotland's major railway modelling show, has had no P4 layout for the last couple of years. In 2012 I complained and was told that P4 layouts were on their list for future years, but when in 2013 I remarked that there was no P4 layout for that year either, I was told that they were "actively seeking something suitable" for that year's show. I find it hard to believe that there was nothing available.

DT

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Andy W » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:33 pm

"attracting modellers towards finescale is clearly one of the most useful things about showing the Society Stand at exhibitions."

Indeed it is. Whilst this has little impact on the society - i.e. no effect on membership figures - I'm sure the advent of P4 and indeed EM has had a marked effect on attitudes in OO etc. The fact that there is a "finescale" awareness out there is surely a direct result of the S4/EM/S7 etc presence. The "trickle down" effect cannot be under-estimated, even on those out-of-the-box modellers who are benefiting from the manufacturers' response to this change of attitude.

I think societies like ours should be proud of this.

"....awkward beggars (can't think who...) that choose to model pre-Grouping/obscure prototypes." Ha, ha, ..... do I feel a finger pointing in my direction, young Flymo?
Because I was interested in the Victorian/Edwardian scene I had to build kits or scratchbuild stock, and If you have to build the stock, you may as well build to P4 standards. Hence my never treading on OO soil. It's was a lucky move on my part. Not because of the gauge of the track, or the scale of flanges etc, but because I actually like the people that get involved in this area of the hobby.

I hope that had I collected sheds full of OO stock, I'd still have an adventurous enough spirit to build a plank and try this P4 malarky with a small selection of wagons and a loco. It's the learning curve that attracts me to this approach. Opening a box and flicking a switch has no appeal. I think that's what ultimately unites us.
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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby John Donnelly » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:36 pm

I don't have the answer but, to quote a phrase from this current thread on RMWeb: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index. ... mp4-forum/ there does still seem to be an impression that what we do is still too 'hairy chested'...

John

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Tim V » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:23 pm

It looks like Clutton's visit to the Glasgow show in 2014 may be off.

In which case, there is an "opportunity" to invite it to Scotland in 2014.....
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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Paul Willis » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:35 pm

DaveyTee wrote:
Jol Wilkinson wrote:Getting people to try something different is the starting point.

I think that's right. On reflection, I don't think it should be a question of getting anyone to change - the best way seems to me to be to get them to keep their 00 layout, but try a small P4 one as well. Track making is easier than it ever has been, and they could convert a couple of their 00 locos and a few wagons and see how they like it. That, and a visit to one of the Society shows and membership of this forum should do the trick.


When talking with OO modellers that are interested in taking a more finescale approach, that is always what I have heard those manning the Society Stand say.

The proof of the effectiveness of that approach can be shown countless times right here, and undoubtedly will again in future under Ian's initiative of the Standard Gauge Workbench.

Regretably, as Jol comments, there are a significant number of "modellers" that really are just "collectors"/"box-openers" (depending on how charitably you view their activity). They still derive pleasure from that, which is good, and they provide much needed volume to the RTR manufacturers which has beneficial effects for us, but they will remain stony ground if they are afraid of a scalpel or a soldering iron.

Cheers
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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby John Duffy » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:27 am

johndon wrote:I don't have the answer but, to quote a phrase from this current thread on RMWeb: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index. ... mp4-forum/ there does still seem to be an impression that what we do is still too 'hairy chested'...

John


Quite noticeable that we on this forum have been able to discuss and debate this topic without falling out.

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby Paul Willis » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:40 am

sulzer27 wrote:
johndon wrote:I don't have the answer but, to quote a phrase from this current thread on RMWeb: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index. ... mp4-forum/ there does still seem to be an impression that what we do is still too 'hairy chested'...

John


Quite noticeable that we on this forum have been able to discuss and debate this topic without falling out.

I've said it before, and I'll repeat it again as it merits it...

In the five years that this Society Forum has been active, there has never once been a need to "moderate" a message or a member for their inconsiderate behaviour. That is a credit to all members of the Society, and long may it continue.

Although there are moderators (Danny and Peter for this sub-forum, as you can see at the bottom of the page) their primary role is house-keeping to keep the Forum running smoothly.

Cheers
Paul Willis
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John Donnelly
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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby John Donnelly » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:21 am

I hadn't even noticed that we had moderators :)

John

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Re: Grampian Group at Aberdeen

Postby dcockling » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:40 pm

johndon wrote:I hadn't even noticed that we had moderators :)

John


Good :D


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