If you are a member of the Atlas Model Railroad forums, you already know this—Atlas will be discontinuing its model railroad forums as of May 1.
The reason given was “the ever-increasing amount of time and other valuable resources expended to monitor and administer the forums,” according to Atlas CEO, Tom Haedrich. “Besides the monthly costs of bandwidth, software and service providers, Atlas dedicates a significant amount of precious R&D staff time responding both on and offline to forum based issues and problems. It’s time that Atlas reestablished these limited resources, in particular valued R&D employee time, toward increased efforts at developing new and innovative model railroad products.”
Atlas began its forum pages about 15 years ago; the archive section of the forums will remain available to users for the near future.
Personally, I will miss the forums. I was semi-active on the HO forum, and enjoyed reading the N and O scale forums now and then. I picked up some good tips, saw photos of some great layouts and modeling, and mostly enjoyed the discussion. The forums were also a good source of traffic for this blog.
On the other hand, there were times when the forums could drive you crazy—some people simply didn’t understand the meaning of the word “civility,” or know when it was time to stop typing. In this regard, I sympathize with Atlas; I’m sure it took far too much of their time and attention dealing with those few individuals who abused their privilege of using the forums.
(I sit on the board of small community newspaper; one of the issues we struggle with constantly is how to deal with the few people who insist on being rude and uncivil, or who simply don’t know when a topic has run its course.)
So, sorry to see you go, Atlas forums. You provided a great service to the hobby.