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Author Topic: 🛣 Changes to the California Highways Website – August (well, late July) 2020  (Read 320 times)

cahwyguy

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    • California Highways

Perhaps it is a return to normalcy. Perhaps not -- are any of us normal these days? In any case, I've just uploaded what I'm calling the August update (although it is really late July) to my California Highways site. This is a somewhat normal update: updates from headlines, from discussions here, from Tom's posts, from review of legislation, and from review of the CTC minutes. There is some interesting stuff, particularly in the CTC minutes (such as I learned a lot about the Shoemaker bridge).

Pretty version (change log on the site): https://www.cahighways.org/changes.html (which will always be the most current updates)
Blog post version: https://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=15928 (which is just the August 2020 updates)

One thing from the post that I would like to highlight, as it is a question for the community:

One additional introductory note: As I was working on this update, a few kerfuffles occurred on the Facebook groups Freeways of Los Angeles and Historic US Highway 99, as a result of people sharing pictures from Michael Ballard's excellent site without giving credit to Michael's site (something those of us with long-time sites are sensitive to, as many in the "Internet generation" believe that if something is posted on the net, it is there for the taking)*. Related to this is the disappearance of the FB group California's Historic Highways** and the self-ghosting of Joel Windmiller. I don't want to open up the credit debate -- credit should always be given, and hopefully I'm getting better on that (and if I err, let me know and I'll correct); further, with appropriate credit, I believe much of our use is fair use and educational, especially when only a focused portion of an image is used or a segment or summary of text from a site is used with credit and a pointer. Here's the real question in all of this ⇒ Facebook would allow me to create a group to go along with the page I already have for California Highways. Should I? I would ensure there is moderation that insists on credit and no political discussions; I would attempt to recruit some co-administrators that also have pages on the net, are roadgeeks of long-standing, and who understand the issue. However, having experienced attempting to moderate a FB group in another area (I attempted to move my Mail.Liberal-Judaism Mailing List to a FB group), I know their moderation system is not to my liking (for example, you can't moderate those leaving comments, and you can't easily send mail back with the message requesting specific changes). Moderation also takes a fair amount of time (which will be an issue when the world returns to normal), and opens one up to liability issues largely due to the cluelessness or carelessness of others. Please let me know your thoughts via email to webmaster@cahighways.org; and as always when you post on FB or elsewhere, credit your sources.
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[*: Note that these were not formal copyright complaints, and that no one is looking for payment or planning to involve the legal system. That's why I didn't use "free for the taking", as I'm not looking for payment. This is, in a sense, like the Gnu Copyleft, only the basic term is: give credit to the original source. ❚ **: Or at least I can't see it, which means I was kicked out with no message or reason, which is equally problematic]

Related to the above, and seeing that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are in mid-September this year, possibly before the next big round of updates: If I have used material from your website or a post, and have neither credited you at the point of use or recognized your contribution on my sources page, I sincerely apologize and want to make things right. Please let me know the occurrence, and I'll make sure that credit is given, or remove or rework the offending material. If you have lifted material from my website, don't worry. I won't be coming after you. All I ask is that you credit (by name, and by URL link) to the original source so that readers can investigate my site for the most up-to-date information.

Daniel
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

Max Rockatansky

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Regarding fair use I’m on the same page with you.  I snip extensively from old CHPW volumes and pretty much every map source I can find, but I do credit the source (and often insert hyperlinks to the specific host pages).  From what I can tell California Historic Highways is still around but under a different moderator.  To that end with Gribblenation we have all private groups which tends to lessen the chance of things like a copyright claim or conversation that spirals out of control.  My take would be to test the water with a private group given California Highways is decidedly fact and history oriented compared to most of the public highway groups. 
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cahwyguy

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From what I can tell California Historic Highways is still around but under a different moderator.

Interesting. From what I can tell, if it exists, I can no longer see it. Attempting to go to the links that I had for it give me a non-existent group. So if it is there, I must have been blackballed from it for reasons I can't fathom (I've never had a beef with Joel, although Michael has).

When I moderated mail.liberal-judaism, I was fairly strong on enforcing the rules regarding civility. Not 100% I want to do that again, but we may need it. I'm less familiar with the private group structure. Can people find the group if it is private?

I'm open to opinions. The latter half of July has been a strange month in some of the California highway groups on Facebook (with an even messier backstory, as I can tease out). Ever the peacemaker, I'm trying to stay on the good side of all sides and hopefully mediate the issues.
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

Max Rockatansky

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From what I can tell California Historic Highways is still around but under a different moderator.

Interesting. From what I can tell, if it exists, I can no longer see it. Attempting to go to the links that I had for it give me a non-existent group. So if it is there, I must have been blackballed from it for reasons I can't fathom (I've never had a beef with Joel, although Michael has).

When I moderated mail.liberal-judaism, I was fairly strong on enforcing the rules regarding civility. Not 100% I want to do that again, but we may need it. I'm less familiar with the private group structure. Can people find the group if it is private?

I'm open to opinions. The latter half of July has been a strange month in some of the California highway groups on Facebook (with an even messier backstory, as I can tease out). Ever the peacemaker, I'm trying to stay on the good side of all sides and hopefully mediate the issues.

I’ve noticed the new Mod on the California’s Historic Highways Facebook group kind of has a quick temper and pushed out a lot of the more tenured contributors.  Steve had a similar issue a couple months back where he was removed from California’s Historic Highways without explanation.  I’ve found the active in the group to be in significant decline this past year while other groups like Historic US Route 99 and Freeways of Los Angeles began to become more active.  Really I wanted to stay out of the back and forth on the public Facebook groups until it cleared up.  Historic US Route 99 recently went private and their group numbers stabilized.  Given the same group runs the Historic Columbia River Highway group as private I think they’ll be ultimately a happier lot going that way with the 99 group. 

Regarding searching for groups that are private we get requests all the time and I was able to search for them myself before I joined the ones on Gribblenation.  Our groups are also visible from the Gribblenation main page as well. 
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cahwyguy

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    • California Highways

Historic 99 went private as an overreaction to the kerfuffle with Michael, which was itself a follow-on kefuffle to his issues with Joel, which led to the problems with California's Historic Highways. There are a few life lessons to learn:

(1) When you, umm, borrow  :D material from another webpage, ALWAYS credit the source and give a link for more information. Most of us are not looking to make money off our pages, nor do we want to enforce copyright. However, we are continually updating our pages, and so want people to get the right information. Additionally, we want some credit for the hours of research we've put into our pages.

(2) It is wonderful to be friends with roadgeeks, but when that friendship goes south... Financial entanglements are never a good thing. Always be quick to forgive, and follow my motto: never ascribe to malice what you can to [Assignment: stupidity, ineptitude, being naive, ...].

(3) Let's dispute ideas and discuss history. Our roadgeek forums are no place for personal attacks.

If you look at what happened on the Facebook groups in July, problems with those three rules underlie what went wrong. Isn't it great that can't happen here on AAroads  :popcorn:

But seriously, that's one reason why I'm hesitant to create a group, and I think you're confirming why that hesitancy is warranted. I may just keep things the way they are. If there are recommended FB groups for California Highway History, without the drama, please pass on the links.
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

Max Rockatansky

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To that end I’ve left some groups in the past when things like this have started up, they just aren’t worth hanging around for often.  I hope the 99 group doesn’t go down the drain but it certainly seems like it might be on the brink of implosion.  I threw in my two cents towards the end after it seemed like they tried to over regulate Ridge Route posts.  You found a good group with Bay Area Roads for sure, that’s always been pretty laid back.  I do like Lincoln Highway in the Golden State but I think Joel was an admin there too, so I don’t know if they any additional people to keep that group going. 
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J N Winkler

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Regarding the California highway groups on Facebook:

*  For Freeways of Los Angeles, my understanding is that the dispute concerned attribution of old Caltrans photos that had in fact been sourced through parallel routes.

*  On Historic US Highway 99, there has been a lot of smoke-blowing about what actually is at dispute.  Michael Ballard prevailed on the admin to post an open letter in which he said Joel Windmiller had posted recent photos he, Michael, had taken, without permission or attribution.  In turn, Joel had the admin post an open letter of his own, in which he said the disagreement was about old Caltrans photos.  There has since been a concerted effort to sweep things under the carpet, with both open letters and a couple of threads discussing the issue being now no longer visible.

I am not aware of any controversies on California's Historic Highways, and I don't think I have been booted off since I still see posts.  Mind you, one of the first things I do when I join a Facebook group is to cancel post notifications, to avoid feeling pressed to read posts in it just to keep my notifications zeroed out.

Facebook road-related groups in general tend to attract people who are at most lightly attached to the road hobby.  This is why I would suggest that you, Cahwyguy, not feel obliged to create or administer one.  (The diplomacy you have done is enough of a job!)  Additionally, I think there is a bit of a urban/rural divide going on between Freeways of Los Angeles and Historic US Highway 99, in that members of the former are reasonably road-savvy, while the other has many people who are motivated by sentimental connections (hence posts along the lines of "Mom drove it in 1949" or "Here's Grandpappy next to [sign]").
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cahwyguy

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A few comments:

*  For Freeways of Los Angeles, my understanding is that the dispute concerned attribution of old Caltrans photos that had in fact been sourced through parallel routes.

Actually, the dispute was similar: People using photos from Michael's website without credit. Most were photos he took (which was more the source of the problem). I think one or two might have been photos Michael found through digging in the Caltrans library and for which he got permission to post, and he thought Arturo took them from his site (whereas he didn't know Arturo was a long-time Caltrans employee and got them independently. But it really was an issue of credit -- but as Michael doesn't have a FB account (and is blocked from getting one thanks to Joel), he couldn't contact Arturo to clear it up other than using FB's mechanisms, which were overly draconian. I think that's settled down, and I've offered to comment for him / make contact in the future.

*  On Historic US Highway 99, there has been a lot of smoke-blowing about what actually is at dispute.  Michael Ballard prevailed on the admin to post an open letter in which he said Joel Windmiller had posted recent photos he, Michael, had taken, without permission or attribution.  In turn, Joel had the admin post an open letter of his own, in which he said the disagreement was about old Caltrans photos.  There has since been a concerted effort to sweep things under the carpet, with both open letters and a couple of threads discussing the issue being now no longer visible.

It a bit worse. Suffice it to say there's some bad feelings between Michael and Joel relating to personal stuff, and issues between the Ridge Route group and the Lincoln highway group. I think that admins in the US 99 group overreacted, but I don't post there much.

I am not aware of any controversies on California's Historic Highways, and I don't think I have been booted off since I still see posts.  Mind you, one of the first things I do when I join a Facebook group is to cancel post notifications, to avoid feeling pressed to read posts in it just to keep my notifications zeroed out.

What's interesting is that I cannot see that group no matter how I search, and if I use link's from Joel's era, I get "The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed." This makes me think I've been expunged from that group, which is odd because I never really did much there (unless they didn't like my link to the LA Times article about the Jefferson Davis Highway monument in Bakersfield being removed).


Facebook road-related groups in general tend to attract people who are at most lightly attached to the road hobby.  This is why I would suggest that you, Cahwyguy, not feel obliged to create or administer one.  (The diplomacy you have done is enough of a job!)  Additionally, I think there is a bit of a urban/rural divide going on between Freeways of Los Angeles and Historic US Highway 99, in that members of the former are reasonably road-savvy, while the other has many people who are motivated by sentimental connections (hence posts along the lines of "Mom drove it in 1949" or "Here's Grandpappy next to [sign]").

The clueless noobs on the FB groups frustrate me to no end, and I have to quell the urge to constantly post links to my pages. That said, unless there is a groundswell for me to create a group, I probably won't do it.

Daniel
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

Occidental Tourist

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I’ve enjoyed both a Michael’s and Joel’s sites since the late 90’s. I have no history on the Facebook groups (I gave up Facebook a long time ago), but I do hope people get in the right frame of mind about these things and be less cliquey with how they administer them.  We’re not exactly overrun with fellow roadgeeks, and I’d hate rivalries to create unnecessary schisms, particularly when it comes to dissemination of historical information.
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J N Winkler

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What's interesting is that I cannot see that group no matter how I search, and if I use link's from Joel's era, I get "The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed." This makes me think I've been expunged from that group, which is odd because I never really did much there (unless they didn't like my link to the LA Times article about the Jefferson Davis Highway monument in Bakersfield being removed).

Thank you very much for your comments--they do add insight as to what has been going on, though I realize there are limits on what can be said in a publicly visible setting.

The direct link for the California's Historic Highways group that works for me (as of right now) is this:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/calhighways/

The clueless noobs on the FB groups frustrate me to no end, and I have to quell the urge to constantly post links to my pages. That said, unless there is a groundswell for me to create a group, I probably won't do it.

I think Facebook has been very much a mixed blessing for this hobby.  The use of AI to identify subject matter groups of potential interest for pimping to users has brought in people who might not otherwise have been aware of us, but by the same token, it also attracts individuals who are less willing to adapt their approach to integrate smoothly with the epistemic community as it exists.

Probably the biggest surprise for me about the credit/attribution war in the California groups was the existence of a large floating population of what I call "photo magpies":  people who find photos on the Internet that interest them, save them locally, forget where they found them in the first place (let alone who might have taken them originally), and feel balked when reposting on Facebook groups is made contingent on credit.  This goes totally against what I have been socialized to do as an academic researcher in history--I bookmark the location (if it is on the Internet) because you never let go of a producing well, and I try always to save what I would need to build an appropriately formatted citation.  But relatively few people share this type of background.
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cahwyguy

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The direct link for the California's Historic Highways group that works for me (as of right now) is this:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/calhighways/


Interesting. When I try to go to that link, I get: Sorry, this content isn't available right now
The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you're not in.

I must have been excluded from the group, for a reason they never said. Says a lot about some of the moderators, as I go out of my way not to offend.

I agree with you on the photo magpies.
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

jdbx

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I don't have a whole lot to add to this conversation other than to mention that I was glad when I saw that Daniel joined some of those Facebook groups, and I think that it's petty and counterproductive to kick somebody out without a proper explanation.  I always enjoy the historic photos, and seeing familiar names and members in these groups is a guarantee of quality content. I have mostly been a lurker in this hobby ever since I discovered misc.transport.road 20+ years ago, and still have a multitude of bookmarks to various contributors' pages, and the Facebook groups offer one more outlet to enjoy the hobby.  One thing I would love to find is a decent list of quality Facebook groups where historic highway content is shared.
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Max Rockatansky

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I don't have a whole lot to add to this conversation other than to mention that I was glad when I saw that Daniel joined some of those Facebook groups, and I think that it's petty and counterproductive to kick somebody out without a proper explanation.  I always enjoy the historic photos, and seeing familiar names and members in these groups is a guarantee of quality content. I have mostly been a lurker in this hobby ever since I discovered misc.transport.road 20+ years ago, and still have a multitude of bookmarks to various contributors' pages, and the Facebook groups offer one more outlet to enjoy the hobby.  One thing I would love to find is a decent list of quality Facebook groups where historic highway content is shared.

For what it’s worth California’s Historic Highways has lost a lot of members and isn’t over 10,000 anymore.  From what I can tell the new Admin is the wife of the guy who used to run the page.  I’m not sure what happened to the original Admin, he’s still listed but hasn’t been active in a very long time.
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The direct link for the California's Historic Highways group that works for me (as of right now) is this:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/calhighways/


Interesting. When I try to go to that link, I get: Sorry, this content isn't available right now
The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you're not in.

I must have been excluded from the group, for a reason they never said. Says a lot about some of the moderators, as I go out of my way not to offend.

I agree with you on the photo magpies.

Interesting.

I was able to access the group but I had to...

 * Do so I did a search on "calhighways" from the home page
 * Scroll down and click on "See all groups for 'calhighways'"
 * Click on "California's Historic Highways"

If I tried to follow the link above, I could not get Facebook to load anything (I got a blank browser window)
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cahwyguy

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Doesn't show for me with that search. So I guess they really want it to be private. Oh well.
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Daniel - California Highway Guy ● Highway Site: http://www.cahighways.org/ ●  Blog: http://blog.cahighways.org/ ● Follow California Highways on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cahighways

jdbx

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I don't have a whole lot to add to this conversation other than to mention that I was glad when I saw that Daniel joined some of those Facebook groups, and I think that it's petty and counterproductive to kick somebody out without a proper explanation.  I always enjoy the historic photos, and seeing familiar names and members in these groups is a guarantee of quality content. I have mostly been a lurker in this hobby ever since I discovered misc.transport.road 20+ years ago, and still have a multitude of bookmarks to various contributors' pages, and the Facebook groups offer one more outlet to enjoy the hobby.  One thing I would love to find is a decent list of quality Facebook groups where historic highway content is shared.

For what it’s worth California’s Historic Highways has lost a lot of members and isn’t over 10,000 anymore.  From what I can tell the new Admin is the wife of the guy who used to run the page.  I’m not sure what happened to the original Admin, he’s still listed but hasn’t been active in a very long time.

I'm not sure how relevant it is to people outside of my little corner of Contra Costa County, but there is an excellent group called "680/24 Corridor History" which is not strictly road content, but the admin of that group has access to the Les Sipes Caltrans photo collection and posts a lot of images of I-680/CA-21 and CA-24 going way back. It's a private group, but worth checking out if you are interested.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/68024History/

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