This is an entirely honest question, if the title sounded sarcastic please just read through before you judge.
To start, I'm not at all saying that other meanings aren't valid, more than enough people use it in other ways than "forcing unfairly", I'm more just curious as to why that meaning exists at all for you.
For some additional context, I see a ton of posts that seem to just be people talking past each other due to not realizing that various buzzwords and phrases have a huge range of meanings and can be very context-dependent, which is often entirely lost in the world of memes and vent posts. One person has heard "railroad" to mean "any kind of guidance", then sees a meme that "railroading sucks" and assumes that "any kind of guidance sucks" since that's their understanding, resulting in the often "I'm worried I'm railroading because I have a somewhat linear storyline" posts where the person is definitely not doing anything wrong but believes they may be due to that mismatch of understandings.
As such, I feel that at least investigating this mismatch would help people to better communicate by, at least hopefully, getting people to be more conscious of which they are using and be more clear to others when they notice that there may just be a miscommunication happening.
From what I've seen, railroading is used to mean anything from "gentle guidance" to "completely forcing something", but I was curious why it seems that the first definition only exists in TTRPG discussion, at least from what I've seen. "Railroading" isn't only used when describing DM stuff, it's a pretty common phrase, Cambridge defines it as
I was curious if there was a reason why "railroading" somehow caught a positive meaning in the TTRPG community when, again as far as I know, it's essentially universally negative otherwise. For example, if your SO came home and said "they railroaded me into signing that contract", would you assume that it was just a gentle guidance and your SO was actually talking about a positive experience where they were nicely guided to the contract, or does that definition only cover TTRPG stuff to the people who use it that way?
> Joining of the rails at Promontory Point, photograph by Andrew J. Russell, May 10, 1869 (Gilder Lehrman Collection)This iconic photograph records the celebration marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad lines at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, when Leland Stanford, co-founder of the Central Pacific Railroad, connected the eastern and western sections of the railroad with a golden spike. This “joining of the rails” was the culmination of work commenced in 1863 when the Central Pacific began laying track eastward from Sacramento, California, and the Union Pacific started laying track westward from Omaha, Nebraska, in July of 1865. To meet its manpower needs, the Central Pacific hired 15,000 laborers, of whom more than 13,000 were Chinese immigrants. These immigrants were paid less than white workers, and, unlike whites, had to provide their own lodging. The crew had the formidable task of laying the track across California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, blasting fifteen tunnels to cover 1,776 miles with 4,814 feet of new track.
> A close study of the photograph reveals that the Chinese workers who were present that day have been excluded. This absence encourages students to consider that all photographs reflect choices made by the artist—and to question accepting photographs as complete or comprehensive records of historical events.
Asian male erasure in America is World Historic.
I know this is just a game but man, I decided to join with the Brotherhood and they made me raid the railroad headquarters. I had to kill them all and I feel bad for these people, they were nice to me after all