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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    The WSR messaging is falling victim to its own contradictory goals:
    • Reassure people that all's well with the new/current mgmt, and under them, things are going well
    • Get people worried about a major threat, so they'll donate
    The current mgmt's own history is also their foe now; if they'd come out, as soon as they took over, with 'there's big trouble in Zumerset, we need to raise millions to repair our infrastructure', they might have gotten somewhere; now, having done the 'we took over and turned everything around' line for a while, they can hardly do a 180 to 'we're in deep trouble' without making it seem like this came about on their watch (i.e. it's their fault). (The true roots, of course, go back a long ways but...)

    And people outside are looking at the whole recent WSR history, and concluding that:
    • The current mgmt are inept (see above, and a lot more, such as the LC fiasco; and they seem to think that PR can paper over any inconvenient facts), and more interested in making themselves look good
    • They're more focused on their own power and control (hence the need to look good; the SDRT fiasco; throwing out volunteers who have the temerity to challenge them) than on what's best for the railway
    • That all being the case, any money donated to the WSR will be like throwing it down a rathole
    Very sad, but what can one do? Like Afghanistan (an incomparably larger disaster; in its current go-around, it has odd echoes of stages in the 19th C), if the locals can't get themselves straightened away, there's really not much that can be done from outside.

    Noel
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  2. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Oh dear. What was published, with permission, was clearly marked as a "letter from the chairman to staff and volunteers". Only here on NP do people read that as "and it applies to the whole world" because it is "in the public domain". Try reading things in context to the stated audience. It'll save a lot of bother. If a similar scenario presents itself in future, I will do the same again - even if it upsets a few people on NP. Thanks.

    Added to the wsr.org.uk news page a few days ago as soon as information reached me.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
    Mike West, mdewell, 35B and 4 others like this.
  3. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Strange how Bob Meanley gets a good press usually on NP; but not on the WSR thread! He is on the board.
     
  4. gwilialan

    gwilialan Part of the furniture

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    Seems to me that if there is no one on any of the management structure that can produce a regular newsletter for general consumption it's a pretty poor reflection on the quality of the management.

    On the other hand if there is someone there who could do this but is not permitted to do so that's a very poor reflection on the senior management

    And if it's only a single person that controls all of what should be done and what should be told then that's a dictatorship

    Is everyone else up there in the dizzying heights of management afraid to speak up, other than to just tout the official line?
     
  5. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    That wasn’t what I meant. If the letter is for volunteers & members, where is an update for the potential donator? To my knowledge there hasn’t been one, which was my point…
     
  6. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Are not 'staff and volunteers' also potential donors too ?
     
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  7. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    Didn't somebody put it into the public domain?
     
  8. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    [With all the patience I can muster] Putting something in the public domain does not change anything. For example, the RNLI recently made several statements about its rescues of migrants in the Channel but I did not read anything in these RNLI statements that addressed other RNLI matters that might interest me, nor did it bother me as it clearly bothers you.

    For the umpteenth (and hopefully last) time, the letter itself, and the news item, was clearly addressed to staff and volunteers, and made available to them via HOPS. If you and others (only here on NP it seems) feel it was addressed to those who are not staff and volunteers then I can do nothing about that.

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  9. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    You're in the wrong "discussion" for positive comments. If the railway suddenly won the lottery, there would be a number on here who would somehow find fault with it.. Unfortunately, they don't seem to realise that their continual whinging and criticism could have a longer-term negative effect on the railway which they claim to love so much.
     
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  10. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Again. Wrong. The letter was for "staff and volunteers" not "volunteers and members". There is a difference.

    Could you explain your "point" about an "update"? What are you looking for?

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  11. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    That's being disingenuous. Having the newsletter clearly marked as "letter from the chairman to staff and volunteers", doesn't imply its for their eyes only, nor was it, as you were given permission to publish it. Saying that the information is a letter to staff and volunteers isn't giving its context to the general public reading it, because the general public don't necessarily know the context that the staff and volunteers know, that a profit in June doesn't necessarily mean that the railway is no longer in deep financial doo-doo. If you put something in the public domain, it may not apply to the whole world, but it certainly can be read by the whole world and may be, to them, the only information on the subject that they have or can be bothered to find out.
    This is just another of the many many arguments here on Nat Pres which go like this:
    "This is how things seem to be to the general public (and potential donors)."
    "It's not like that, it's like this, you don't know the full story"
    "I don't need to know the full story, I just need to see how things appear to be from the outside, and it is like I said"
    "But that's not how they are, so why can't you just shut up?"
    "Because it's how the railway looks from the outside that matters when you are asking for a lot of money in donations"
    "If people aren't donating, it's because of the likes of you, slagging the railway off on Nat Pres"
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  12. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    They don't realise it because it is a much-cherished myth only believed by you and a few others like you. Do try to comprehend the logical mismatch between your statements that it's pointless moaning on Nat Pres as no-one takes any notice and that moaning on Nat Pres has a "longer-term negative effect on the railway".
    I presume you have blocked @Aberdare and @Paul42 and all the others who come on Nat Pres from time to time to show what a grand job the volunteers are doing with the railway, or do your eyes just slide past positive comments, seeking only the ones that support your myth of general NatPres hostility?
     
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  13. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    It doesn't matter who it was addressed to, it matters who is reading it. If it was only meant to be read by staff and volunteers, who understood the context, it should not have been put in the public domain. Just because it was addressed to people who knew the context doesn't mean that other readers will know what that context is.
     
  14. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Eh? So I make the effort to point out in the news item that the letter was to "staff and volunteers" and you seem to have a problem with understanding that. Not much I can do about (some) people's skills in determining context even when that context is the first thing they read. I'll continue to publish, when permitted, details of other ring-fenced documents (such as information sent out to shareholders or to members, or loco roster stuff), or do you not want people to see those either?

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  15. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Just use HOPS to send information to ''your'' people which you don't want the whole population to know.
     
  16. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    But who put it in the "public domain"? Just because something is reposted to a wider audience, doesn't mean that this audience has any right to know more about it.
     
  17. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    @Steve Edge. Do exactly what you are allowed or choose to do. It's your site. What continues to surprise me though is that there just isn't any single point of entry for those interested in the WSR. You have:

    https://www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk/
    http://www.wsr.org.uk/
    https://wsra.org.uk/
    http://www.wsrht.co.uk/

    If anyone needed more evidence about the fragmented world that is the WSR then go to a comparable set up. I've chosen the SVR.

    1. Single point of entry - https://www.svr.co.uk/. Everything in one place.
    2. Click on 'Support Us' and you are taken directly to the Trust - https://www.svrtrust.org.uk/.

    Try the same on the WSR. It's a maze. Nothing is simple, it would seem, even the simple!
     
  18. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    This ping-pong about who the letter was addressed to, who can now see, it, how either audience might understand it, etc misses the original major point that there is a little bit of good news but serious bad news. Assuming that the Board's statements about their financial situation are accurate (big assumption?) the WSR needs a lot of new money to survive at all and even more to upgrade the infrastructure, but the latest appeal is bringing in money very slowly indeed. Meanwhile the Board's reputation remains abysmal for both ethics and competence.

    What would be good, but seems unlikely, would be a statement from the Board making several points:
    1. We've made some bad mistakes, for which we apologise.
    2. We really do want the WSR to survive and prosper.
    3. We have no intention to let the PLC founder and take it over as a private fiefdom.
    4. Money is needed urgently for X, Y and Z.
    5. All donated funds will be used for the specific purposes for which they are donated, nothing else.

    Edited with minor corrections to the syntax

    Anyone feel free to add to those desiderata.
     
  19. Steve Edge

    Steve Edge Member

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    Indeed. Thus it has always been so. And your example is a good one. Now, if there was only a single, membership-based charity (with its commercial arm) for the WSR ;)

    Steve
    wsr.org.uk
     
  20. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Have you any idea how to get there despite the intransigence of some interested parties?
     

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