I like revolutions, not full blown let’s burn the thing to the ground revolutions, but smaller and more focused ones. Pretty much everyone in the US, and likely worldwide, has heard of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements. Without getting into the politics or the specifics of either group, what I find appealing about these movements is the coming together of people to effect change, that simple.
Do we need, or should we have, an Occupy Z Scale movement any time soon? Aside from having an embarrassingly plagiaristic title, I think the idea of a Z scale revolution has some merit.
While we’re in the midst of seeing a real bumper crop of terrific Z scale products being introduced, something that just a few years ago was unimaginable, I’m not so sure that what we think of as the Z scale community hasn’t taken a kick in the shins.
In my view, the Z scale community suffered a great loss in 2007, a man named Bill Kronenberger passed away. I’m not entirely sure that Z has been the same since, at least the public tone of Z scale. I never actually met Bill, though I did have several conversations with him by phone. Frankly, I’m not an expert on what he did or did not specifically contribute to the scale. What I do know is that Bill often times acted as a moderator on the first Z scale forum, more than that really he was a helpful voice of reason.
Maybe Bill’s passing was not the specific reason for what I see as a defining point in the change in Z scale, but it is a reference point on the map.
All too often now the Z scale public forums are very polarized and unfocused places, not always of course but still too often. We’ve lost too many talented Z scalers from the forums and with them, their passion and willingness to share their knowledge are gone. Back when Bill K. was still us, he would be the first one in line to keep threads focused and keep folks from getting absurdly off top, in an incredibly gracious way. It seems to me that we’ve lost something over the past few years and maybe we need our own Occupy Z Scale movement to get it back.
I know a person who runs a model train website in another scale. This site has lots of great how-to articles, inspiring image galleries and, in my opinion, one of the best user forums out there. It’s also a paid subscription site. I asked him about this, why he chose the subscription road. He told me that since he went subscription, the quality of the material got better and the civility improved and it’s very active. Would a paid subscription site with all these features work for a Z scale site? Hard to say for sure but it’s a thought.
I’ve watched a lot of user submitted videos over on YouTube from the aforementioned Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street folks. One common note I hear is that they feel they are not being listened to, they are not being represented and they want a change. One interesting note, at a recent Occupy protest, some Tea Party folks were invited in to take part in their protest. Cool… a sense of community out of discord.
I’ve written about this topic in the past, I don’t know now if it’s a viable concept but I do sort of like the Occupy Z Scale concept. What do you think?