Model Railroad ethics

arbomambo Feb 26, 2019

  1. Flak

    Flak TrainBoard Member

    Sharing your craftsmanship and passion with others is literally how a hobby works and grows, though. No one is making money spending 800 hours on a scratch built model, they do it because they enjoy it. Competitions are a great way to get people actively involved and improving their skills and pushing boundaries for the hobby at large, it also showcases talent and possibilities to new people. Magazines are the same thing, you're competing to get featured.
    Randy Clark likes this.
  2. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

    Seems to me the competition aspect is a hobby unto itself. I 'll leave it at that as the thread seems to have acquired the dreaded 'Thread Drift.'
  3. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

    Yes... thread drift.
    Most folks seem to be concentrating on the judging/competition aspect of my original post. Judging contests is always subjective and doesn’t bother me in the least as I remove myself from all judging. I’m not ‘in it for that’.
    My issue is someone exploiting someone else’s work for their personal gain i.e. the significant prizes/awards other’s work is garnering for them.
    gjslsffan likes this.
  4. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

    Humans are just competitive by nature. However, I got over it long time ago and try to just have fun. Half the stuff I do, nobody will ever see. Like putting all the fixtures in a passenger car bathroom and a then put frosted glazing in the window so you can't see in. :p
    Onizukachan, brokemoto and Hardcoaler like this.
  5. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    What has put the proverbial bee in your bonnet?
    Is it a module that you made and that someone else now owns or did you lose out in a contest to someone with a module actually made by an undisclosed third party?

    Some people will only voluntarily provide as much information about a contest entry as is required by the rules.
    If the rules don't conform to your sense of propriety, then don't enter that particular contest.

    Others may be so desperate to win a prize that they will shade the truth about the provenance of their entry.
    Everyone has different scruples and more or less of a conscience - just look at the political arena.
  6. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

    Here's a thought from the other side. A number of years ago, I had an exhibit of photos I took in Italy. I received a call from the person putting on the show, and said that a person had expressed interest in one, but wanted to frame it in a way that my signature was covered, so they could take credit for it. My response was, if they pay for it and the check clears, I don't care what they do. Apparently, the customer had an attack of ethics, and the photo was not purchased.

    I would have rather had the money.
    brokemoto, RBrodzinsky and Hardcoaler like this.
  7. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

    I didn’t lose ‘out’ to anyone in any contest...
    As I stated above, I remove myself/modules/models from all competition.
    Again, it is someone, using someone else’s work, to gain recognition/awards and prizes.
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    From where I sit, this is the very definition of UNethical.
    Trains and Hardcoaler like this.
  9. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

    Hey, isn't that like taking someone else's term paper and putting your name on it? :LOL::ROFLMAO::D (n)(n)(n)(n)
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  10. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Personally I think it is unethical to take credit for someone else's work. When you tell someone an item is your work when it is not, it's a lie. If you just say an item is yours, then it is true. It should really come down to playing by the rules, whatever they may be for the situation or contest but seems like more and more these days, the rules are becoming guidelines that can just be ignored when they are not convenient. :(
    BarstowRick, Hardcoaler and MK like this.
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Also known as "cheating". Which is why taking undue credit is unethical.
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  12. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Supporter

    We already had this thread from the builder and designer of the module last week, why is a third party rehashing it?
    On multiple forums?
    jtomstarr likes this.
  13. WM183

    WM183 TrainBoard Member

    The term we use in academia is "plagiarism".
  14. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    Do you have a vested interest in this situation or are you just an 'amicus curiae' and your posts here (and elsewhere) are your way of filing a 'brief' relevant to the 'case'?
    How does the module's builder view this situation?
    Have you confronted the module's present owner with your concerns?
  15. Randy Clark

    Randy Clark TrainBoard Member

    Back in the beginning of N-Trak, "we" built a pair of corner modules that were quite impressive and dynamic in their constriction. The relief in the modules from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the edge was so deep that it nearly didn't for through doors. Even though I used the modules in my layout and transported them from event to event, we made it well know that it was a collaboration and gave credit to all who participated in the build. Gary Kline
    and I built the modules and did all the plaster carving painting, etc and Kirk Butler built a magnificent curved bridge our of over 2,000 pieces of balsa.

    We would have never thought of taking credit for the collaboration. The 2 models are gone now but we still have the multiple ribbons they were awarded. Gary has retired from model railroading, Kirk still dabbles and I'm still all in but only at home.

    The real point is we did the shows and modules purely for the comradery and need for the club. Shows were just a place to go buy and play. Shoot, DCC had not even come to n-trak in those days. I've still got an AC-12 that has bulled untold miles around the Nashville N-Trak shows. It's pulled so much it wobbles like a duck!
  16. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Time to revisit the Ethic's Committee. Time to look at the definition one more time. You'll find it in my original post.

    Is it morally wrong to purchase a painting from a well known artist and claim it's your work? Yes, that would be morally wrong. It's called lying, which makes it unethical. Think about one O. Winston Link and what a former wife did to him?

    Noting: Most paintings or prints are copyrighted or if they are old enough registered. There are experts on the subject who will tell you a fake from the original. Something we don't have in the world of model railroading.

    Right now there is a layout that is being torn down and the buildings are being used to make diorama's. It would be unethical should someone take one these to a train show and enter it into competition as their own. See Toy Man Television, for details.

    I built a layout for a clown. After it was finished he was showing it off to someone he meant in a bar. I happen to be there. He showed it off as being a layout he built. Really?!?!

    So, to answer Bruce's original question and the one he's posed here above. Yes, it is unethical.
    Never mind...a shame someone would stoop that low.

    Ducking for cover! Incoming!
  17. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

    we're, clearly, not talking about the same thing.
  18. bman

    bman TrainBoard Member

    I'll agree they are buying their awards. Is it it unethical? They are pushing the at best. You do say they fess up to not be the builder when pressed. Do they name the builder? If they don't that to me is unethical. But if they are not misrepresenting themselves in any other way is it still unethical other than just being given an award of some sort I'm not sure. It's not something I'd do. But I'm by no means an expert on ethics. I can see where it would get old real fast though. Of course I'd be ribbing this individual all day long asking who printed the decals to decorate that money. But that's just me. Maybe I need more sensitivity training.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
    mtntrainman likes this.
  19. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Depends on the rules. If just the item is up for competition and the item wins the award. That's Ethical.

    On the other hand if the item is based on the presenters talents and his or her handy-work and the person wins the award. An award, for someone else's craftsmanship... (we all said together), "That's Unethical." Said another way that just smacks of being wrong.

    Ethics are based on what's morally right or wrong.
    The idea of it's okay as long as you don't get caught doesn't work here.

    Competition should be set up so the items presented are properly categorized and proof or prove-ability of one's craftsmanship should be evident.
    See NMRA's competition or competitive shows and note how they do things. You won't get with much.

    Does that help?

    I've got a big desk and I can duck under it, if I need to. Grin!
  20. brokemoto

    brokemoto TrainBoard Member

    If you are taking credit for someone else's work as your own, that is not ethical. That applies across the board.

    One thing to consider. Many of us know enough people in this hobby that we know what each other is up to, locally and even in a wider area. Most people in this area know what this or that guy can do. If some guy whom everyone knew to be a Pennsylvania diesel modeller suddenly entered a
    Texas and Pacific 2-8-0 into a contest, there would be questions. Someone would be bound to know that he got it from someone. If he were, in fact, building it just because it was unusual and caught his fancy, odds are that more than one person would know about the ongoing project (T&P had only ten consolidateds).

    If someone were collecting awards for a module that someone else built, and, were showing the work as his own, odds are that more than one person would know that someone else built the module and he would see to it that this was circulated in modelling circles. Even if he lived in Baltimore and took it to New Jersey for a contest, someone there would know. If he took it to Idaho, perhaps people there might not know, but, when he came back to Baltimore to show off his award, the people there would know that it was not his work.

    The credit-taker knows that the work is not his. The people with whom he associates know that the work is not his. He knows that people know that the work is not his. He knows that he does not deserve the awards. The people with whom he associates know that he does not deserve the awards. He knows that these people know that he does not deserve the awards. The point of all of this is that the awards would be empty in such a case for all involved, including the recipient. If there were some significant financial gains possible, I might understand it, but, the cash prizes, when there are some, are not that large in this hobby. I know that people do this, but, i would not, if for no other reason than the awards would be empty: I would know it, everyone else would know it and. I would know that everyone knows it.
    Onizukachan and BarstowRick like this.

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