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One of the side effects of being reasonably well-known is that you attract the attention of the good old Internet troll or two. I’ve had 3 in my time and the all follow a similar pattern. That being a minor disagreement that most normal people just move on from (and I often have to search to try to track down myself as it was so insignificant at the time) sets them off on their self-imposed moral crusade. They then follow you round the Internet trying to have a pop at everything you do. They also nominate themselves as a voice of the people and take great delight in telling you what everyone thinks (of course this is usually accompanied by a host of messages from ‘the people’ telling you that they don’t think that at all!

My first pet troll told me he “had marked my cards early on as one of those finescale types” that ‘his’ forum didn’t need. And to be fair to him he did a good job of getting me banned from that forum for a single comment deliberately quoted out of context. I must say I had never had any negative feedback from the moderating team at that point and no effort was made to contact me or discuss anything by them. I did contact them and eventually I got some sort of half arsed reason for their decision which they couldn’t really justify!

Troll 2 and 3 decided to work together. Troll 2 made a big fuss about sorting me out but sadly any private correspondence to have an adult discussion were ignored and he continued his attacks on the forum. Troll 2 was quite an unusual one as the supportive feedback I had been mostly from people who had met him an found him to be a bit of a plank in real life too! Troll 2 seemed to delight in trying to get troll 3 to do his work for him and tried to encourage him to post my private messages on the forum for all to see. More of that later

Troll 3 has, I am told via quite a lot of unsolicited messages, a bit of a reputation for his own brand of abusive private messages and seemed to spend a great deal of time on Facebook complaining how everyone in his little village basically hated him!

So since troll 2 thinks it so important that the world sees just what I’m like regarding my private messages il, do him a little favour and post them here for people to make up their own minds. The only edits are to remove names and clues to their identity.

It all started with this post on one of the forums

It depends what you mean by “mega star layouts”? Don’t you feel that by saying this that many of the people who have already exhibited at past exhibitions will feel rather insulted by this remark, as you give the impression that you don’t rate past/current efforts compared to your own unfinished layout?

To which someone with a normal degree of common sense replied

I don’t think this is Jim’s point at all. I think the question he poses is rather, among the general modelling public, which layouts are talked about in ‘must see’ terms? I think he’s claiming to be to close to the problem to see the general public’s view.

The reply came back

I’ll refrain from supporting others here then and posting in general in that case. Jim is known for his dismissive posts about others efforts; the Edited layout thread is a classic example. I’ll also retract my offer to make a free professional promotional film edited as well.

All the best
Troll 3

Not wanting to get into a discussion on the forum I sent the below via private message

Excuse me? What have I done to deserve this?

His response is below

Jim,

You know full well why. I’ve never read a single comment of yours, either here, facebook or anywhere else that doesn’t attempt to put something or someone down. Your recent spat with Troll 2 on the name removed thread is just one such example. You were always attacking my non railway stuff on facebook; (i cant recall this ever happening by the way bu this might be one of those insignificant comments that normal people just move on from as mentioned before) I was always waiting to read one positive thing from you. Your comment today edited was patronising and insensitive and how name removed (or whatever his name is) could decipher a hidden code in your message that us lesser mortals were oblivious to is completely beyond me. Again, you start posting a cynical view about my track on my layout thread; all of this just because of that catenary incident years ago! It’s rather sad don’t you think and babyish? I’ve often posted nice and genuine comments about your layout, but apparently these count for nowt where you’re concerned. Why can’t you show a little more modesty and spiritual generosity towards others? Why does this concept hurt you so much? I find it very weird and abnormal personally.

My reply

Name removed

You admit you have constantly read me wrong then? It is you that bring bring up the catenary thing consistently so it is clear that it’s you that can’t drop it. Yes I’ve had a few disagreements with people but I’m not even close to the amount of people you have routinely pissed off. I suggest you look closer to home before you point the finger and drop this pathetic point scoring agenda.

Jim

His response below

Jim,

OK name all the people I have constantly pissed off and why; the catenary shit was you mentioning it the other day. Other than that I only mentioned it once on RMweb – so twice (the second time because you brought it up). You’ve always had a problem with me; fuck knows why (although I have several ideas) but my advice to you is, do one. Find somebody else like you; sad; desperate for attention; egocentric with a very lonely pathetic life in a grotty basement in the Midlands, to unleash your miserable troll existence on. We don’t all give a shit about your huge sprawling self important layout like you think we should, and we don’t all spend our every waking moment building railways and trying to prove to an uninterested world how great we are(n’t).

Tight lines

My reply

I’m very happily married thank you and I don’t have a basement. You presume to know a lot and consistently get things completely wrong.
As for attention seeking egotists, remind me how many times you repost the exact same pictures you’ve been posting for the last 3 years again. I have said positive things about your layout but not every time you repost the same bloody thing.

Like I said, best not point the finger and prove my point

And that’s it. Not sure what I’ve done to deserve his ranting other than not tell him how great he is often enough! I am very aware that its poor form to post private messages online but since troll 2 is a fan of it and one of his mates did exactly the same to me on a forum I had no access too (even going as far as unlocking a thread just to score points – that’s a fine example of moderation for you!)

I hope I’ve removed enough identifying comments from the above and I must point out that any comments that do identify these people will also be edited. Perhaps trolls stand out because they are so rare and I might even be in a minority of only having 3!

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Chad Bevan
Chad Bevan
5 years ago

I seem to remember another on MRF that kept asking for ‘three cheers for Jim S.W.’. That got a bit annoying fairly quickly! I think you’ve mentioned before that you strive for the best and actively encourage constructive criticism as with your Leyland National that you then replaced the front of. I find this attitude healthy, and it reminds me of my old graphics/woodwork teacher, who had a wall in class for the very best work – that is the cream of the cream! When I got a drawing up there (9 3/4 out of ten!) I understood what he meant, and why he didn’t allow any old rubbish on the wall to make everyone happy. In the same fashion, I tend to see you with your ‘mega star layout’ (:P) as a teacher and something to strive towards. The only people who make negative noise over something so intricate and fascinating are those who are jealous! I’m not sure if this reply addressed the original point, but it’s something I wanted to write to you as well, and something that needn’t be hidden from public view. Keep up the good work, and maybe post us some pictures of P4NS with your next post πŸ˜‰

Paul Cheffus
Paul Cheffus
5 years ago

Hi

I think the previous poster has hit the nail squarely on the head with one word, Jealousy.

Cheers

Paul

Martin
Martin
5 years ago

I hate trolls, I ended up causing a lot of issues for one as I passed his real identity to a victim.

You are still missed on RMWEB too many good modellers are leaving.

Andy Clayton
Andy Clayton
5 years ago

You always get these sort of keyboard warriors around and they really naff me off.

I think I’m right in saying Jim, apart from being married, you have children?
I think that hardly ammounts to spending innordinate ammounts of time modelling.

I have a very understanding wife, who herself has a quite well known modelling Dad – so she grew up with it ( I’m lucky I know ) We also have a young family, but my Wife is happy for me to dissapear down to the shed, because she knows how important it is for me to de-stress from work.

As has been said, jealousy is the factor here. Jealous of how much modelling you produce in the time that you can get to do some whittling and also jealous of the awesomeness of your work.

I have a phrase for these people “Spunk Bubbles” as they present no useful function on the planet.

Keep yer chin up Jim, and keep the modelling updates coming.

cheers

Andy

Derek
Derek
5 years ago

Jim,

I’ve read god knows how many posts from you on your site here and on various forums and you don’t come across anything like described above.

To my mind all you have done is explained what you have done and why you think your ways are the best. You’ve never forced anyone to adopt your methods nor have I seen you dismiss anyone else’s ideas.

I HAVE seen you encourage other people to improve their stuff- but that’s a good thing. I think sometimes you have gone a little far on a project- but that’s the freedom we ALL get.

I have a special interest in watching your work. One evening I found your site by total accident and had no interest in rail- model or real- for 20 years. The following morning I woke up and decided to build my own layout (nothing to P4 in one straight go…)

I for one really appreciate you taking the time to show the rest of us you work.

Derek

Derek
Derek
5 years ago

Sorry Jim, I didn’t write it very well. What I mean is

You have found a way to do things that work for you and you are clearly enthusiastic about them. It is up to us whether we learn from you or ignore you.

For example, whilst I greatly respect the work you did to the 25’s- I doubt that I will cut cabs off, but other bits I would follow (that is what I meant by ‘going too far’- too far for ME!)

PS No, I had absolutely no interest whatsoever in railway modelling before I saw your site- I was actually looking for info. on the REAL station as I had to send one of our coaches to collect passengers the following day and wasn’t sure where to direct the driver. Even when I looked through the site I had no intention of starting up again- it was the following morning when I woke up I “just decided”.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Just a final point to say that I did notice how so many clearly skilled people were showing as “guest” or “deleted” on a certain forum. Now I am beginning to see why.

Bob
Bob
5 years ago

I don’t understand how people have got the time to waste on pestering people like this. It’s a given that not everyone is to everybody’s taste but come on get a life trolls if you don’t like the food then it’s time to move to the next kitchen.

Personally speaking Jim what you’re doing is inspirational.

Terry Lawson
Terry Lawson
5 years ago

Jim,

When I saw your resignation on Scaleforum I knew exactly why from the posts on his layout thread. He clearly has issues as he dropped out of circulation on RMWeb for a while due to his sensitivity to even the slightest criticism. He really needs to grow up and behave like a normal balanced person. I don’t dispute the quality of his modelling but he obviously cannot cope with direct informed critical advice. And thats what it is, Advice! I don’t think the situation was helped by certain people seemingly jumping in to aid him in his line of thinking, you’ll know who I mean Jim. Sadly this seems to be a recurring theme on model railway forums where the modelling experience of very talented individuals is lost because of immature trolling. Personal abuse via the keyboard is as always the mark of a sad, dysfunctional individual. After 30 years dealing with the public at large, if I have anything derogatory to say it will be face to face, I will never hide behind a keyboard.

Whilst a lot of talented modellers have left RMWeb for various reasons it has been apparent for a while that joining other less well know forums is no deterrent from the nasty brigade!

Looking forward to more blog updates. **** the trolls!

Terry Lawson

Richard Sandland
Richard Sandland
5 years ago

Jim

Norman Stanley Fletcher from Porridge had a maxim that works well here:

“Don’t let the bastards grind you down!”

Keep posting your progress; I enjoy reading it.

Martin
Martin
5 years ago

I think my wife would prefer me hacking models around on a table to going off to wacth people kicking bags of wind around.

Most of my hobbies are home based.

Three chikdren so no one can call me lonely!

Keep up the good work Jim

Les G
Les G
5 years ago

Jim,
I was very sad to see that the personal attacks appear to have hounded you from the Fora. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to find the entries for all these personal attacks of which you are accused. I am left thinking that these two characters are following a rather nasty, intolerant, agenda.

When people fall out, I normally avoid taking sides hoping not to make matters worse;
however, do I think you have been given a raw deal.

Sub39h
Sub39h
5 years ago

I quite like your “huge sprawling self important layout”. If you being an arse (not that I think you are) is going to continue producing possibly the finest modern image layout I’ve ever seen, then I’m all for it say!

Graham Plowman
Graham Plowman
5 years ago

Jim,

Firstly, let me say that the quality and standard of your modelling work is what I many many others aspire to. I particularly like your New Street layout because the mid-late 80’s is also my period of interest.
Well done and long may you work continue!

With regards your ‘Trolls’, from my corporate and hobby lives I concluded long ago that, when striving to build/achieve something there are basically 3 types of people:

1) Those who have done what you are doing before and/or are quite capable and/or highly experienced in doing it themselves. These people are usually highly supportive ‘mentors’ and offer much valuable advice. These are the people you want to hang out with.

2) Those who can’t achieve what you are doing but see the value in it and look upon it as something they can get involved with so that they can learn to do it. These people are often very helpful as they are usually good team participators.

3) Those who can’t achieve what you are doing and are determined to ensure that you don’t achieve it either. These people have usually created some kind of image of themselves where others look upon them as an expert. The problem is that when areal expert comes along, it exposes them. These people are your highly destructive ‘Trolls’. They cannot achieve things themselves but they are motivated to retain their image/ego and destroy anything anyone else tries to do. You really don’t want these people around.

My own observation is that this hobby has its far share of egos, many of whom hang around a certain forum.

My own experience of people on that forum was when we ran our last ‘Wishlist Poll’ (we actually ran it for 7 years before anyone else had anything to do with it, yet the ‘victors’ re-wrote history and deliberately removed us).
They were so determined that we were not going to run this poll that slanderous emails were sent around to numerous fora. One individual tried to get our website deregistered, another ran a campaign of deliberate misinformation on several other for a, another threatened us with cleaning out our bank account and another made death threats.
Don’t ever run away with the idea that ‘that’ website is a friendly hobby website!

I have often thought of creating a new forum ‘ExRMWeb’ for everyone who has left or been turfed out (and there are many). Anyone interested in me doing this ?

Tim
Tim
3 years ago

What a great shame to see these trolls in our hobby. The only comfort is they only pick on the people that stand out. In your case it’s obviously your huge talent and brilliant layout.
If your at the top they think your fair game. The further down they can put you the higher they feel about themselves. I am sure there is a Greek based type cast here about willy sizes or breast feeding!
The problem with technology is your only ever a keyboard away from their sad little lives, anytime life is crap for them (often I would guess) your their first thought…….. Sad little humans they are.
I noticed the Facebook founder plans to give millions away! Shame he doesn’t spend it cleaning up his own backyard problem.
My Dad used to say, never argue with an idiot, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!
Please keep up the great work.
Kindest regards
Tim