In light of the apparent overzealous conduct of a railfan in a recently locked thread, and based on many discussions we've had here, I propose we develop—with Otto's blessings—a non-binding Railroad.net Code of Conduct for Railfans. While only advisory in nature, it could serve as a reminder to the members of our hobby who sometimes forget what's appropriate behavior (and those who simply feel the rules don't apply to them).
Please add your short ideas (no more than two or three sentences; we want to make this brief) and we can distill them down to ten basic items. Let's try to make it creative, i.e., "no tresspassing" is a no-brainer and of course to be included, but let's remember about not distracting a brakeman on the ground directing a 20-car move. (Note: This should apply specifically to railfanning, where it would guide people who read most topics on a site such as this, not necessarily to commuting, except where railfanning includes train riding.)
I'll start with a couple:
- If you don't work for the railroad, you don't know more than the people who do, no matter how many years you've hung around the tracks.
- Many railfans, however, are knowledgable about railroading. Put that to good use: Keep the phone numbers of the railroad police handy for when you do see something out the ordinary. (Broken rail, car on tracks.)
- Railroad employees are doing their jobs, they are not entertainers. You try spending a day at work with people following you with cameras.
- Be friendly, but not overbearing to fellow railfans. Understand that not every other railfan wants to listen to everything you know about railroading.