Jump to content
TomHall

Is there no interest in group builds at this web site? Is this forum moribund?

Recommended Posts

I don't visit IPMS-USA forums here very often. Maybe once or twice a year.

 

I'm pleasantly surprised to find today that you have licensed the excellent software for discussion forums that is also used at Britmodeller. It easily allows posting of photos. It also provides the opportunity to "like" a message at the lower right of the message. It has a lot of fun features. I think it's the Cadillac of forum software!

 

It is practically ideal for hosting group builds -- IMHO, way better than Fine Scale Modeler group builds, where a lot of space is spent showing us what previous group builds a person participated in.

 

Why don't I see at least three group builds currently in progress here? What am I overlooking? All I can see are cobwebs. (I don't see any announcement saying that the group build forum has been shut down, and if it has, then the Administrator may want to pin this entire forum, starting with a heading that it has been condemned due to lack of use...)

 

Is it that we are lacking helpers? Is it that American modellers (or modelers, if you prefer) flock to Britmodeller to do their group builds, to the detriment of this site? Is it that members are not proposing and moderating group builds? Is it that members are not building models, or are too specialized to make a quorum for having a group build? Please educate me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other sites seem to have it covered but we have tried a few in the past.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking for myself, I do participate in them here on occasion. I'm also currently participating in a WWI group build over on Agape.com

 

I see the "problem" here as two-fold....

 

First, this forum doesn't get the traffic that some of the other more genre specifics sites get. Heck, I've been complaining for years that IPMSUSA doesn't even do a good job of promoting participation here! This forum is like another perk of membership (though membership isn't strictly needed for much of it). It's a way to be a part of the organization at a level outside of just your local club. It's a way to stay in contact with others and enjoy the camaraderie between attending shows and meetings. If we could get a significant spike in participation, I believe it might build upon itself and lead to more activity in general. Then, you might see more group builds and people building for them.

 

The second problem with group builds is more symptomatic of modelers on the whole: we like to build what we want when we want! We have ideas as to what we're going to build for a coming show, or a "project" that we plan to tackle in the immediate future. And, most modelers seem to have somewhat limited time to start with. So, the idea they're going to jump into a group build and add something unplanned and "in addition" to their plate is not likely; unless it coincidentally falls in with their regular plans.

 

The more models you build a year, the more likely you'll participate in a group build, as you'll feel you'll have time to fit it in. If you only build 2-3 a year, and struggle with that, then you're not likely to even look at the group builds, as you're not looking for ideas of what "else" to tackle.

 

That's just my 2 sheckles worth....your mileage may vary!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to both of you for your comments.

 

I agree with what Gil said under "first". These forums are not all that visible from the home page. I think that needs to be worked on.

 

Yes, some people are not "team players", but if it were the case that modelers were simply too independent to participate in group builds, then group builds would generally be unsupportable on any model web site, which is not the case. There is competition on Britmodeller to get one's proposed group build put on the calendar. Britmodeller gets a great deal of traffic. Much of it is by Americans. FSM has group builds, too, but their software does not lend itself to allowing each model its own thread.

 

I also am not so sure about the notion that the more models built in a year, the more likely one would participate in a group build. Group builds can inspire people to build something. Although I am a very low-volume builder, I certainly don't fit the supposition that I wouldn't even look at group builds. Actually, group builds help me be more productive because of the small amount of peer pressure and moderate amount of encouragement to push on with the project. I'll bet I'm not alone in that.

 

I don't build much at all, or maybe I should say I am so occupied with other things that I often can't finish a group build in the too-short time allotted. The software covering the group build has to be good and not waste my time. That excellent software exists here. I think it needs some better advertising and a shot in the arm.

 

If it is the case that IPMS-USA has basically given up on group builds due to plenty of opportunities elsewhere ("other sites seem to have it covered"), then why maintain the category "group builds" on the discussion forums? (By that reasoning, GM should just stop making cars, because there are plenty of other car makers.)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The category is there, if and when members choose to make use of it. It is very democratic. I do not believe it is appropriate to scold the Society for not doing more of what one lone person personally thinks is somehow important! Nick Filippone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good points Thomas!

 

Group builds often motivate me, or provide a direction when I'm between projects. The lack of them here is mostly directly attributable to the general lack of traffic compared to some other sites.

 

I'm also not sure that having a "separate" topic for them is the best way. Personally, I think having a group build "pinned" to the top of the appropriate genre would be a better idea, giving them more exposure to the people who would be most likely interested. All you need is a set of criteria to start; such as someone making a suggestion and then at least 5 people committing to the GB within a week or two before it would be "official" and be pinned in place.

 

As it is now, people have to go looking for a group build further down the page, just like they have to go searching for this website from our IPMSUSA home page!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Hodges, please call me "Tom".

 

Mr. Filippone, I don't think I'm scolding the Society to bring up this topic (but I would be inclined to scold people who stereotype modelers' motivations).

 

Please reread the heading of my question: "Is there no interest...? Is this forum moribund?" Those may be difficult questions, but I don't think they're judgmental. I will let you know when I'm scolding, believe me. A short answer to my question could be, "Yes, Tom, at the moment this forum is obsolete/near death." Or, it could be, "No, there is still an interest in group builds, as seen by the four proposals we received in the last year, but we didn't approve any of them because ____________," or something like that.

 

The rules for group builds seem simple enough. Just put your proposal out there. Not sure what is done or required to get it approved, or by whom, exactly. I do see a September 2014 post by Guest Petrol Gator in a thread titled Group Build Topics that says, "...if the board likes it, we'll use it." That begs questions about who the board is and whether it will like it. Maybe the Society would want to tell us more about that process. If it's democratic, the decision process is out in the open, transparent, and even capable of getting some constructive criticism. For rules, there is this somewhat cryptic comment: "So, this is usually how it's done." That implies there may be other ways it is done, but I can't see what they are. Can you?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what we have here is a "failure to communicate". This could have been a more positive experience for all concerned and with a more positive outcome than I believe will be derived from any continued commenting on this thread.

 

 

 

Tom's appearance on the forum after a self-described average of two visits per 365 days with a question indicates that he has an apparent lack of interest in this forum, matched by a documented lack of participation on this forum. Clearly, those two characteristics (lack of interest, lack of participation) will will bring about the change that Tom seeks.

Lesson # 1: Invest time, treasure, and talent in the change you seek.

 

Tom's post was characterized as a "scold" by one reader, and with a "I agree with your comment" by another member.

Both Gil and Nick routinely post on the forum so they have made that investment of time and talent in the forum as a communication device. (Please note that it is not significant if you agree or disagree with their message, the point is that they spend time and talent by posting in the forum, something which Tom does not currently do.)

 

Clearly, as evidenced by the opposite reactions manifested by Gil and Nick, the original point Tom was trying to make (an assumption on my part that his goal was to get a link to the Forum relocated in a more visible location on the IPMS home page, and to encourage the launch of some form of group build) was re-directed by Nick's post which challenged the language of the post rather than the goal.

Lesson # 2: Stay on topic and don't make the assumption that a person is a forum-terrorist until they prove it.

Lesson # 3: The person making the original post has a small window of opportunity to respond positively, and to redirect the thread back to the original intent. Doing so indicates that they are, indeed more interested in their stated goal and are not about to pull the pin on a forum grenade. Failing to do so will result in a continuation of a tedious, pointless, and mundane argument.

 

Lastly, and most importantly, all current participants and any future participants in this thread can quite simply think be they type, making sure that they focus on Lessons 1 and 2.

 

And now we will see who starts talking about Group Builds and Forum links, and who continues to pointlessly focus on negativity.

 

I'll add to the conversation by stating that:

Regarding the forum link, p

erhaps adding a link to the forum in a more conspicuous location on the Home Page will increase traffic flow on the forum. Perhaps it won't. If it is technologically feasible then what's the harm in experimenting? It will be several months before the numbers indicate any change in forum participation, but change takes time.

 

Regarding a group build............Tom, what do you have in mind as a subject?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Dick, lets have a 'Moribund aircraft of WW2' group build, :blu-plane: :gray-plane: This would include any aircraft that served but was not retained or advanced past WW2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Filippone, it's not particularly that I seek treasure or group builds tailored to my needs. I have no particular needs along that line. My time is pretty well occupied, and as Mr. Morrissette points out, there are other places I can play. (Be careful about sending people to other web sites that you compete with. You may lose members that way.) I was hoping initially that someone would say, "Tom, we actually have three group builds going right now and they can be found here:________" Not the case, apparently.

 

If the answer to my question above is, "Tom, we're too tired to do many more group builds; you will have to do them," I'll accept that and wonder if you could have called for help. If the answer is, "Tom, you barely ever visit, so you have no say in the matter," then I'll accept that answer and wonder if that is the way to deal with polite comment by a dues-paying member.

 

I would say that Britmodeller is currently the gold standard in discussion forums for plastic models in the English language. I say that as an American. There are dozens of Americans playing happily on Britmodeller. I don't see too many of those people here, though. (I have not spent hours searching for them here, but I don't see the prolific ones.) Incidentally, Britmodeller is not limited to British and Commonwealth subjects.

 

You might want to ask yourselves whether you need to lure some of those people over here, along with the good things that they can bring, such as expertise, good fellowship, words of encouragement, dues money, money to spend on your advertisers' products, volunteer services such as moderating, and so on. This is about marketing the IPMS-USA brand.

 

Every time a discussion forum starts a new group build, it creates for a short time a little bit of new enthusiasm. People pop in to see how so-and-so's model is coming along, techniques he/she is using, and so on. Group builds add a little pizzazz to a model club site. If IPMS-USA is not launching new group builds, then it's missing out on that. And so are we, the rank-and-file members who are your customers. (Remember that I don't have to write a check for dues to you every year. I may decide that I don't like your brand well enough to spend the money. Remember also, please, that some people look at group builds even though they don't build models any more or don't build within the chosen theme.)

 

If you want to update the group build forum, then you might want to borrow some pages from Britmodeller, including posting a clear statement of how to propose a group build -- the checklist of items that need to be covered in the proposal, including scale(s), material(s), subject matter, deadline, etc. Help people like Mr. Wise say clearly his proposed class by adding to the little bit of rules that have already been posted. Tell us whether you require a particular number of people to second the proposal. (Britmodeller requires over 30, knowing that some will only be spectators.) Tell us who votes on the proposal. (Can Guest Petrol Gator really have meant that the board of directors approves a group build?) Make it easy for the newcomer to succeed without having to ask a lot of questions. Make it specific.

 

Once I see that management here has added some of the needed framework in a pinned thread about rules and procedures, I will try to propose a new group build and start a new thread for it in the next few days.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom: Brit modeler may have the rules for group builds simply because their traffic there warrants it. I would venture to say that those rules have not been set here because there's been no need to control a large number of group builds.

 

My experience with the group builds here has been 1) someone puts forth an idea for a group build, usually saying "hey, how about a bunch of us try to build ________". 2) Experienced forum members usually know to add the parameters about scale, time period, and what would fit in and what wouldn't; but if they don't it simply leaves it up to any interested person to decide if what they have in mind fits or not. 3) In my experience, the broader the subject and the looser the parameters, the more likely you'll be to attract others to your group build. 4) To my knowledge, it has never been necessary to get anyone's approval for a group build here. Instead, it seems to be up to whomever starts a topic to "drive" it to completion.

 

If you want to promote a group build here, have at it. I wouldn't bother waiting for some action from the forum moderators or the E-board, as they probably won't see the necessity to take actions for a topic area with such low traffic, and also probably have no interest in parroting Brit modeler, no matter how much more successful they may seem to be.

 

By the way, I took your "low numbers" of posts here to mean simply that you were relatively new here, and NOT that you'd had an opportunity to help out here and didn't. Personally, I spend time here and on 3-4 other sites too, but I also realize that THIS site is where my builds will get the LEAST exposure. However, as a continuous member of IPMS since 1977, I figure I'll keep pushing here to (hopefully) see the site grow as time goes by. Also, I've made many, many good friends in IPMS and some of them are here; not elsewhere. Cheers!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thoughts on the initial topic. As far as group builds, I rarely do them for a couple reasons. First and foremost is time. I have enough builds I want to do plus the review items. I suppose if it coincided with the correct group build and the kit matched, I would do it.

 

I suppose second for me is topics. I build things that interest me so that might rule out some items. For me, P-51's, Spitfires, 109's hold no interest but, again, if the topic was good and matched I would be in also.

 

 

We could try one and see what rings out. Looking over the total posts for the last year, I see 3-4 people who build regularly (Mark, Gil and a few others) so I am not sure what the participation would be

 

Dave

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg,

Good idea! A B-P Defiant comes to mind quickly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I recall, we set up Group Builds to try and get more builders here and involved in these Forums. Dave, your situation is unique in that you have review builds to do along with what you like to build. On the other side of the spectrum here, I am able to participate in more Group Builds because many to the things I like to build will fit in one. That being said, sometimes it's even hard for me to find something since I've built so many models it's sometimes hard to find something that fits that I haven't already built. For awhile it seemed to work; we had some good participation. Then many of the builders either left or just stopped posting here, leaving myself, Gil, Mustang and a few others showing our work here. One thing I've noticed is on other Forums; Group Build participants received a badge, or ribbon or something to display at the bottom of their posts or under their names showing the Group Builds they participated in. Many also had a separate thread set up to show all the models completed by the participants. Nothing like that has been done here so maybe; despite the seeming triviality of such "rewards", it could possibly account for many people no longer participating. (Now that I've said that, I'll probably be getting slammed by others who misinterpret that statement.) have noticed that having these little things displayed in everyone's post tends to 'advertise' a Group Build that is happening and thus motivates someone to take part.

 

 

As I recall, the last time a Group Build was proposed, several suggestions were put forth. None were chosen so the whole thing quietly went to sleep. If anyone wishes to try a Group Build, I have a number of suggestions for some Group Builds that I'm participating in on other Forums ( I think I have six or seven GB's currently going now.)

 

 

That's my cent-and-a-half. Your call people.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg,

Good idea! A B-P Defiant comes to mind quickly.

Nope, target tugs saw post-war service for a year or so, I think in India, unsure of any others.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think one of the main issues with group builds at this site is that the IPMS forums were rather late in starting. Many forums began over a decade ago. Forums like Armorama (2001), Fine Scale Modeler (2002), and many aircraft forums are even older. I know Missing Lynx and Hyper Scale showed up in the 1990s.

 

Many active online modelers were already entrenched in those forums long before this one arrived. Group builds are very common and active there, with many modelers participating. Here, there are probably under twenty total active posters with each genre (air, armor, figures, ships, etc.) only represented by a handful each. Therefore, a group build would have to cross multiple genres just to gain enough interest whereas group builds at larger forums can aim for more specific subjects. For example, at a Missing Lynx Braille scale build, just doing a tank destroyer build would get dozens of entries. Here if you have a German build (make a German auto, airplane, ship or armor) and you still might get just a handful of participants here.

 

Another issue is that many forums have declined in recent years. Once upon a time, it used to take hours to read all the new posts. Today, the first page of most forums may have just a handful of new posts. If you go to a forum that caters to multiple genres, there may only be one or two new posts of interest to you, the rest not being in your lane.

 

This forum is rather desolate. It is a good source of IPMS information, but if you discount those posts, the rest of the forum is slow. I try to stop by daily, several times a week at least. I post maybe once every other week.

 

Anyone can suggest a group build, no one would say you can't because you haven't been here long enough. If there is interest, people will join, if not, you'll have crickets chirping to keep you company.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my experience, the lack of interest in group builds is due to the individualistic and independent nature of IPMS-USA members. It's been hard enough to reach a consensus on subjects for group builds within my local chapter.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, gentlemen, thank you very much for your thoughts. I have read them with interest. (I clicked "like" on several replies to thank you, even though I may have some doubts about one or two points you collectively made.)

 

Certainly, the timing of my thread here is bad; many of you are getting ready for Nationals in Las Vegas. I am overdue in saying "thank you" to the people who run this playground for us. I understand the problems of staffing hobby clubs and civic organizations with unpaid volunteers and the tendency for them to be spread very thinly.

 

I am intrigued by the comment that it used to take hours to read all of the new posts. That caused me to spend too much of my life on forums. A high volume of posting would be a pain for moderators and other forum management, but advertisers would love high traffic (with or without posting). I am happy that the volume of discussion is not overwhelming today; I can't afford to spend much time on discussion forums. I can look and chat, or I can build, subject to many other demands on my time.

 

There has not been a drop-off in the discussion at an antique car club forum that I once helped to moderate. The demographics of that club are similar, but it probably has higher per-capita income. I think it has a smaller membership at 7,000, a very stable figure.

 

RGronovius and Mr. Deliduka, what you describe tells me that there is a market for group builds. Six or seven group builds for you currently, Mr. Deliduka. That means you're not burned out on group builds, and that you have some flexibility about subject matter. It seems that IPMS-USA has not been able to tap into the group build market well. That deserves more study.

 

I don't know at what point the market for group builds becomes saturated. Even when a market is saturated, customers still go the market.

 

I am not convinced that there is unbreakable brand loyalty to one or two sites. As to Fine Scale Modeler, it should not be difficult to entice people here from the FSM group builds. Your software is superior. I can't spend the time at FSM to wade through fifteen pages of silly "stickers" that show how many previous group builds Acrylic Adam was in, which appear every time Acrylic Adam posts something. Give me a break! I also won't spend the time to search for the next installment of someone's build. I wanna see an uninterrupted progression for each model, but FSM doesn't offer that. Britmodeller does and is very popular. IPMS-USA can.

 

Mr. Morrissette has some telling words: "...if the topic was good and matched, I would be in, also." This suggests that we're having problems floating the right kind of proposal. It is possible to screw things up with the proposal for the group build, by making it too broad or too narrow. That's where written guidelines and active management come in, to help the person who is trying to float a proposal.

 

Then, too, if we don't get people to these forums, they can't notice group builds. If we've got 9,000 members (or whatever the figure is) and only 150 of them come to any of the IPMS-USA forums, that would be a problem. Has anyone checked into the percentage of members who use the IPMS-USA forums?. Maybe the IPMS-USA Journal needs to advertise the existence of the discussion forums vigorously. (And, forum management should add a tab that says "forums" at the top of the home page.)

 

My questions are probably not answerable without more study and some experimentation in the management of these forums. Even if IPMS-USA did get a late start in setting up discussion forums, that's not the best reason to dump them. There would be a good reason to dump them if there is little demand for them, but first we'd want to know if people are even aware of these forums. I'm confident that IPMS-USA could "come from behind" and put on some fun and successful group builds if it wants to. The question is whether it wants to. On that point I will just say I think in this day and age a nationwide plastic model club would probably have to have several group builds going at once, all year round, to be considered truly "full service" or "world class".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never said to dump the forums. These forums at IPMS USA are one of the more valuable resources. It gives members the "feel" that they can contact those in charge and get speedy responses from knowledgeable individuals.

 

People are creatures of habit. They have developed friendships at various sites and enjoy interacting with one another. Why talk about the same thing here that you are already discussing with your buddies elsewhere where you have time and effort invested. That being said, members leave and join many sites on a daily basis. I participate in four forums on a daily basis and just kind of lurk at several others.

 

Many of those other sites have a number of young modelers. Young modelers often bring a level of excitement into the discussion. When a hot, new kit comes out, they buy it, declare it is the best thing since sliced bread and then immediately decide to build it.

 

Of course, in the age of everyone gets a participation trophy (in this case a group build badge for their signature), they want credit for building their latest find. So they hurry off to the group build forum and start a group build that begins tomorrow and somehow encompasses their latest purchase. That's why there are so many group builds at Fine Scale Modeler with just a few participants. Some are run better than others. It depends on the personality of the lead and also of the subject. Timing is also important with group builds that may piggyback off of whatever the theme of a national show could be.

 

That's the anatomy of many group builds.

 

I'm also seeing some of the confrontational nature others have alluded to.

 

As far as hours to read posts, back in the good old days of rec.models.scale, if you missed a day of reading posts, there was no hope of catching up and you just had to skip. Armorama was the same way in the early 2000s. If you were out of the net for a weekend, it would be nearly impossible to read the missed posts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nationals in Las Vegas? Someone better tell those of us planning the 2016 IPMS/USA National Convention here in Columbia, SC that the venue has changed... ;)

 

Hope to see y'all this August. In Columbia. Vegas is nice, but the Big Show is in Columbia...

 

Ralph Nardone

IPMS/USA # 33984

Seminars Coordinator

2016 IPMS/USA National Convention

"Every Model Tells a Story"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe there could be a "Group Builds" category in the Miscellaneous class of a future IPMS Nationals? It might be interesting to see what the competition was doing as the participants worked on their entries. Certainly the conversations would be really interesting at the Nationals!

Edited by MarkMcGovern

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe there could be a "Group Builds" category in the Miscellaneous class of a future IPMS Nationals? It might be interesting to see what the competition was doing as the participants worked on their entries. Certainly the conversations would be really interesting at the Nationals!

 

That's already sort of done; most shows I've been to, both AMPS and IPMS have a theme. This year's themes are WW1 and ANG planes from the SEC.

http://www.ipmsusa2016.com/the-contest.html

 

In a nutshell, a group build is just a theme. Sometimes the theme is narrow (i.e. build a Mustang), sometimes it is wide (i.e. WW1), sometimes it is all encompassing (build a sci-fi subject). A lot of successful online group builds are ones that piggyback off of upcoming national show themes. People who are going to the shows are more likely to join a group build that includes subjects that are the theme of the annual AMPS or IPMS shows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RG,

 

I've been on forums where the group build was of one specific model. To me, that's the most interesting - it's fascinating to see how many variations different modelers can bring to the same kit. Sure, some people will consider that too limiting, but it's been done on the HobbyTalk Modeling Forum. I don't see how it could hurt to propose such a group build of one particular kit here; the kit would need to be relatively inexpensive, likely to be in most modelers' stashes, or at least readily available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that it is interesting to see a group build with one particular kit. One of my clubs did that and got a bunch of bagged kits from Revell-Monogram. I took part in a starship modeler group build many years ago that was the Babylon 5 Starfury kit by Revell-Monogram. You would find everything from out-of-boxers using kit decals to master modelers who super detailed everything with custom markings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A "same kit" build as a group build would indeed be interesting.....but I agree that with such a narrow parameter you'd have much more limited participation; UNLESS you stretched it out over a longer time frame of 6mos to a year, which would allow more people the time to fit it in.

 

This is usually what a club does when they do a same kit build.....stretch it out for at least several months to give everyone time to get one of them done. Our last same kit build was of the Airfix 1/144 Boeing 737. I built 2 of them......

An airliner....

020.jpg

 

 

And just to be different, a submarine! :P

100_1852.jpg

 

It's all about having FUN!! Any successful group build will have that as the bottom line!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×