/ Should UKC employ someone to develop the Logbook database

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colin struthers - on 18 Apr 2012
In common with a lot of my climbing mates I find myself making increasing use of the UKC logbooks to plan my climbing objectives and to share info about routes I have done. As the detail within the database expands it is becoming increasingly useful.

There are similar information sources on the web originating from other countries eg Mountain Project in the USA but, although good, they are a lot less comprehensive.

I would imagine that at some point there will be a Google moment when one of these databases will achieve pre-eminence and its competitors will lose traffic to this one site.

That's fine by me - a one stop site for all the crag info I want anywhere in the World would be awesome.

It seems to me that UKC has the best chance of becoming that site - but the dependence on volunteer moderators ( a good thing IMO) inevitably slows progress. Some professional support might make a big difference.

Given the commercial value (presumably through advertising etc) of becoming the World number one site for route info would it be worth UKC investing in a salary for someone to get them there

Over to you Mick?

PS I'm not looking for a job, I've already got a good one.
johnj on 19 Apr 2012 - 88-104-134-128.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to colin struthers:

Eyup.

On chuckin' my two-penneth in, as like you say I'm not looking for a job either, I've got a good one and I still get asked to do other work which is often flattering but eats into my free time.

Is becoming the so called world number one a good thing, for example look at the shonky coded, buggy, in-flexable, (at least its open source) password protected social network that currently holds the top spot.

Surely these titles are transient and if that is part of the plan it would be better to concentrate on building a world class application instead.

Jonny2vests - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to colin struthers)
>

> Is becoming the so called world number one a good thing, for example look at the shonky coded, buggy, in-flexable, (at least its open source) password protected social network that currently holds the top spot.

So shonky coding billionaires vs moderately well off professionals. Hmmmm.
johnj on 19 Apr 2012 - 88-104-134-128.dynamic.dsl.as9105.com
In reply to jonny2vests:

That wasn't the point, what may be seen to some as success maybe not be seen to others as success. Yes if you're in the place at the right time you can become a billionaire with a relatively basic skill-set, its all down to the numbers game really.

As Colin mentioned Google in his OP that is a different kettle of fish (and I'd think it would have a much longer life-cycle), some dudes get a few servers running in a California garage write some sweet algorithms and take the world on. It sure beats them old skool Cal look dub tuners searching for the big numbers out of them air cooled blocks.

Its all comes back to the old hypothetical question that these billionaires probably discuss daily, food for the masses or the concept of total quality for those that remain

I'm off topic as usual at silly o clock.
SCrossley on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:
Thats one possible, but another would be for the CC, FRCC, Les Ainswoths gang to get together with the BMC and create a Database with OUR information before it`s too late.
Alarms go off at Mordor, the eye opens, hand reaches out and thread is deleted.
Nick Russell on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:

Or maybe what we need is for the various sites offering such a service to conform to a standard data format. I'm not saying that all logbook entries (for example) should look the same; just that they can easily be exported/shared between the sites, and the process could be automated. So say UKC gets into financial trouble, people can export their logbook, ticklists (maybe even the route data for their favourite crag) onto whatever new website seems to be taking its place.

Open standards are the best way to keep data robust over long (10+ year) timescales on the web, but also one of the worst ways to keep customers... I wonder why they're not more common!
Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:

I don't follow. Do you think they need database support or moderator support. I'd say the former happens well enough already and the latter is impossible to afford unless volunteer based.
Monk - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc:
> (In reply to colin struthers)
> Thats one possible, but another would be for the CC, FRCC, Les Ainswoths gang to get together with the BMC and create a Database with OUR information before it`s too late.
> Alarms go off at Mordor, the eye opens, hand reaches out and thread is deleted.

You (we) do not own the routes or the route names, just as an author or group of authors cannot claim to have ownership of a library catalogue.

Actually, I take that back - the BMC do actually own quite a few of the routes.
Bulls Crack - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:


WOould you be prepared to pay for this service?
In reply to colin struthers:

Hi Colin

Over the years we have spent thousands in the Logbook system. We have one employee Paul Phillips who looks after the crag moderators, and we also sub-contract out the technical development work to Nick Smith. Both Paul and Nick do lots of work on other parts of the site as well, but they do certainly offer 'professional support' to the Logbook system.

We are frankly miles away from being able to afford a dedicated Logbook development staff though. I would anticipate that the business would need to double in size before I could contemplate something like that.

I think you are also wrong in your assessment that the volunteer moderators have slowed it down. Having the data added by volunteers has been the best way possible to have huge amount of data added to the system. Admittedly it is sometimes added in a rather sporadic and random way, but the data gets in the database far faster than a full time employee could add it I reckon - 197,720 routes at the last count which started at only 24,000 or so mainly Rockfax route data initially back in 2006.

But thanks for the suggestion. We are planning some developments with the Logbooks in the next few months but I have said that before as well. Hopefully this time it will happen.

Alan
Monk - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:
> It seems to me that UKC has the best chance of becoming that site - but the dependence on volunteer moderators ( a good thing IMO) inevitably slows progress. Some professional support might make a big difference.
>
> Given the commercial value (presumably through advertising etc) of becoming the World number one site for route info would it be worth UKC investing in a salary for someone to get them there
>

Interesting point. I'm moderator for several crags, and hope that I have improved the information since I took over, but I know that there is a lot more to be done. For example, very view of the routes I look after have a route description. I would love to address this, but the time required would be enormous. I chip away at it occasionally, but barely make a dent. Very rarely someone else will fill in a route description, but that happens about 4 times a year. If everyone made a commitment to contribute one route description every time we have a day out climbing, things would happen faster. Perhaps some sort of awareness campaign might help?

As for employing someone to do this - I think it would get it done faster but is still a mammoth task. An alternative might be a hybrid between crowd sourcing and freelancing on a fee/reward basis. I'd do it for a guidebook/hundred pitches or similar.
The Ivanator - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers: The volunteer moderators are (as you would expect) a completely mixed bag. It is frustrating when you spend time compiling good information, send it to a moderator and it gets ignored - I have had this experience this on several occasions. I would offer to take over moderation, but that seems a bit of a "Well you're pretty useless, let me show you how it's done" position.
In reply to The Ivanator:

We are happy to change moderators for crags and we have a 'last edited' and 'updates pending' dates in our admin which makes this decision easier. Please let us know if good feedback is being ignored.

One of the problems with trying to get people to add descriptions is that this is not such a straightforward skill. Many people add their personal experience by mistake and others give way too much detail. Others do straight copies from guidebooks which is well-meaning but not something we can condone (unless it is a Rockfax).

One of the things we are going to work on with the next stage of improvements is tying the UKC data closer together with the Rockfax data. UKC will then become the place for logging personal experiences, and Rockfax will become the place for guidebook information and feedback. This should mean that you can do both via a single interface either on UKC, or on Rockfax and there won't be two sets of votes, etc.

Alan
Monk - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
>
> We are happy to change moderators for crags and we have a 'last edited' and 'updates pending' dates in our admin which makes this decision easier. Please let us know if good feedback is being ignored.

I had the same worries and offered to take some crags on, even temporarily. It turned out that the incumbent moderator was more than happy to let me take over. It's worth asking.

> One of the problems with trying to get people to add descriptions is that this is not such a straightforward skill. Many people add their personal experience by mistake and others give way too much detail. Others do straight copies from guidebooks which is well-meaning but not something we can condone (unless it is a Rockfax).

I've found that a few times. I always try to edit where necessary but this obviously requires my time. One of my biggest problems is that I am often at the computer and receive an update when I am nowhere near a guidebook to check things out.

> One of the things we are going to work on with the next stage of improvements is tying the UKC data closer together with the Rockfax data. UKC will then become the place for logging personal experiences, and Rockfax will become the place for guidebook information and feedback. This should mean that you can do both via a single interface either on UKC, or on Rockfax and there won't be two sets of votes, etc.
>

That sounds a great idea. I used to always vote and comment on Rockfax, but rarely do these days since it requires extra time. Rockfax does seem very quiet these days - I think that a couple of my comments on Avon routes are still in the 'most recent' box even though I made them last year!

mav - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Alan,

I'd agree with the sentiment expressed by the original poster, in that its a resource I use more and more. At the risk of taking thi thread off-topic, (well, its a UKC tradition), there are two developments I'd like to see.

First, the addition of certain bits of info about the route that guidebooks are beginning to cut, namely dates and names of first ascents, as I like knowing a bit about these things.

And second, given that I frequently use it as way of browsing through possible destinations, some sort of way of uploading crag photos, as opposed to route photos, which might help visualise the crag better. This might include topos, whatever.

Andrew
Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to mav:

Yeh Alan! why are you not putting free topos up on line like wiki topo are ;-)
Monk - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to mav:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
>

>
> First, the addition of certain bits of info about the route that guidebooks are beginning to cut, namely dates and names of first ascents, as I like knowing a bit about these things.

Feel free to spend an evening or two inputting this info - anyone can do it. Then you can bask in the warm glow of having contributed to a resource you love.

> And second, given that I frequently use it as way of browsing through possible destinations, some sort of way of uploading crag photos, as opposed to route photos, which might help visualise the crag better. This might include topos, whatever.
>

Can't you already do this? Simply upload your photos to the 'Crag shots' gallery.

Chris the Tall - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
Are you planning to address the issue of grade changing ?

I get lots of update requests telling me that a particular grade is wrong. Now even when Rockfax and BMC agree, and disagree with the UKC grade, I still don't want to change the grade because it will delete all the voting data, and I don't like deleting data.
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> I get lots of update requests telling me that a particular grade is wrong. Now even when Rockfax and BMC agree, and disagree with the UKC grade, I still don't want to change the grade because it will delete all the voting data, and I don't like deleting data.

We are working on a few ideas to solve this. The grades will be synced between the two databases though which will probably mean Rockfax data over-riding UKC data where the route exists in both. We are also proposing to bolt grades down a little more to avoid yo-yo grades on certain routes.

Changing grades too often just leads to increased grade creep as people start to demand changes instantly which shouldn't be how it works. Grades should be reviewed periodically and then an assessment made. My preference is for crag moderators to keep the grades in line with the most popular up-to-date guidebook for the area they cover and make changes in accordance with this when a new edition comes out. That way areas have timed grade reviews and not willy-nilly changes which can mean that routes have three or four different grades depending on where you look. Obviously this is difficult on crags where there are more than one popular guidebook.

Alan
Offwidth - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

"Obviously this is difficult on crags where there are more than one popular guidebook."

Just state the default order...can't see anyone complaining sensibly if you prioritise your own books first.

In the peak I know of routes where the definitive and Rockfax grades for the same route are clearly wrong....eg sometimes an error or sometimes a hold has broken. It would be perverse not to change such grades.

A consistent V to font grade convertor would also be useful.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Simon Caldwell - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

To me, the problem with changing grades is purely that all the voting is immediately lost. Are you planning on addressing this as well?
Captain Gear - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
>
> We are happy to change moderators for crags and we have a 'last edited' and 'updates pending' dates in our admin which makes this decision easier. Please let us know if good feedback is being ignored.
>
Hi Alan,

The Craig Blwch Y Moch modorator hasn't updated it for ages?

Half the good routes are marked in red.

Cheers, Tom
Dave 88 - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:

I think the volunteer/open database format works well. As has been said above, something could probably be done to highlight how helpful it is for everyone to be more active in contributing info. Yes there is a danger of over waffly route descriptions (I am dreadful for this!) but I'd far rather that than just a route name and grade. Something which seems to be annoyingly prevalent with new routes, and is as good as useless.

On another note- Alan can we get a 'ground up' option in style of ascent please?
The Ivanator - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
>
> We are happy to change moderators for crags and we have a 'last edited' and 'updates pending' dates in our admin which makes this decision easier. Please let us know if good feedback is being ignored.

Thanks for the reply Alan. Will email you regarding a specific crag.

Ivan
In reply to Toreador:
> To me, the problem with changing grades is purely that all the voting is immediately lost. Are you planning on addressing this as well?

Yes, definitely. We will not be throwing data away with the new system.

Alan
In reply to Captain Gear:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
> The Craig Blwch Y Moch modorator hasn't updated it for ages?

Ok, sorted - http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=221

Can someone with a new guidebook and more intimate knowledge apply to be moderator now and sort out those final routes at the bottom which I can't place.

Alan
Kipper - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc:
> (In reply to colin struthers)
> Thats one possible, but another would be for the CC, FRCC, Les Ainswoths gang to get together with the BMC and create a Database with OUR information before it`s too late.

This, to me, seems the right idea (which I'd suggested on here and to the BMC many years ago).

A national, openly accesible,database of all UK route information.
ERU - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to Captain Gear)
> [...]
>
> Ok, sorted - http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=221
>
> Can someone with a new guidebook ... sort out those final routes at the bottom which I can't place.
>
> Alan
New guidebook? Are you suggesting to lift it all from the CC guide? Is this legal?

In reply to colin struthers:
> Given the commercial value (presumably through advertising etc) of becoming the World number one site for route info would it be worth UKC investing in a salary for someone to get them there
>
I just think there are too many big presumptions here. How big is the supossed presumed commercial value you talk of? How much would the salary need to be to get someone who could definitely get it to world number one? More pertinently, it may be a nice sounding idea to become number one, but that is not a guaranteed achievement, any expansion of the site in outlay (this salary you talk of) has to be paid for....I don't know much about how websites' bank balances are, but I doubt UKC's bank account is sitting on the disposable cash each month to pay a professional web improver'ss alary.

A nice idea, but does UKC need to become world number one? Does it actually want to be that? Does that make business sense? Can the salary actually be paid each month from the bank balalnce? I just don't see that the answer to any of those is likely to be yes.
remus - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to ERU:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
> [...]
> New guidebook? Are you suggesting to lift it all from the CC guide? Is this legal?

I suspect Alan mentioned it so that the moderator can keep the grades in line with the CC guide. It is expressly mentioned in the logbook guidelines that route descriptions shouldn't be lifted straight from the guide.

The difference being that grades are (broadly speaking) an expression of fact whereas route descriptions are creative works and are thus subject to copyright.
jimtitt - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:

So climbers and volunteer moderators spend their spare time putting in the info for all the worlds routes so the owners of the No. 1 website get rich, a fine business model if you can get it to work!
Chris the Tall - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to jimtitt:
Meanwhile back on planet earth we have a great resource that is free to use and which a lot of people are happy to put in the odd hour each week to improve.

The fact that Alan gets sufficient advertising revenue to feed his kids is irrelevant
mav - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to mav)
>
> Feel free to spend an evening or two inputting this info - anyone can do it. Then you can bask in the warm glow of having contributed to a resource you love.
>

I take it you mean add it in the description? I know you can do this, but I meant as a field, so that someone could, if they wanted, search the database for Robin Smith routes, or sort a crag by year of first ascent, giving a history of the crag at a glance.
remus - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to mav: There is a separate field for first ascent details. I guess the problem is that often people add routes because they want to log it and it's not currently on the crag, so it's done as a spur of the moment thing and details are kept to a minimum.
In reply to remus:
> I suspect Alan mentioned it so that the moderator can keep the grades in line with the CC guide. It is expressly mentioned in the logbook guidelines that route descriptions shouldn't be lifted straight from the guide.

This is correct. The idea is to get the core UKC data - route name, grade - inline with the current latest guidebook - this is factual data. Stars can also agree but this is more subjective and less important. Route descriptions shouldn't be copied unless they are from a Rockfax.

Colin (VoM) has taken over the moderation of ByM now so it should all be sorted soon. There were just a bunch of routes that had been added that I couldn't place since they weren't in any of the guidebooks I had. To be honest I reckon several of them aren't even on Bwlch y Moch but then that does happen rather a lot.

Alan
mav - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to remus:
So there is. If you click on 'edit climb' the fields are there. I stand corrected. (red face)

I have never seen it displayed on the screen though, eg when looking at a crag or route. Does this mean its never shown, or never completed? Perhaps if the heading was shown as blank on the normal display screen, people like me might be inclined to add it in.

I'll have a play with it next time I'm at a pc with a guidebook in my hand.
Monk - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to mav:

If the data is there, then it is shown in light grey beneath the route description. E.g. http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=31395
Dave Musgrove - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on this thread about route descriptions. The way I use the logbooks this is a minor and secondary point and in most cases no description should be necessary.

I use the system to log routes that I've done or occasionally to read through comments made by others about their experiences for routes in an area I hope to visit, or compare experiences on routes I've done. I never think of using the logbooks to locate a route or its exact line - That is the job of the guidebook. The only time adding a description is useful is when adding a new route not in the latest guidebook for the benefit of the moderator so he/she can locate it correctly amongst the existing routes.

Dave
mav - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Monk:
Ah, I knew there had to be a route somewhere with it completed.

If it was used more, it would be nice to sort a crag on that basis, eg by first ascent. You'd get a potted history of the development of a crag at a glance.
In reply to Dave Musgrove:
> There seems to be a lot of emphasis on this thread about route descriptions. The way I use the logbooks this is a minor and secondary point and in most cases no description should be necessary.

Yes, this is exactly what is intended as well. UKC Logbooks isn't going to be developed as a guidebook, all that development will be from our own data on the Rockfax site. When we do get round to syncing the UKC and RF Databases then the routes with a Rockfax description will have that displayed anyway but it will be uneditable by moderators. Many routes already have this of course from the initial set up.

Having said that, it is extremely useful for moderators that some description is included when people upload new additions (not just new routes). This makes it much easier and faster to position the route correctly if it is related to a route that has already been uploaded. e.g. "Next line right of Blah Blah Route"

As a minor grumble, it would be great if some people could view Logbooks more as a global resource than a personal database. We have a few routes added like "Second Route we did on Tuesday", or "random HVS on the right" being added. I would prefer that routes are only added when you actually have good data for them, especially on popular crags where the route is almost certainly in the database and people just can't be bothered to find it.

Alan
ads.ukclimbing.com
Darren Jackson - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I can still balance spoons on my nose... I'm doing it now.
Monk - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> (In reply to Dave Musgrove)
> [...]
>
> Yes, this is exactly what is intended as well. UKC Logbooks isn't going to be developed as a guidebook, all that development will be from our own data on the Rockfax site. When we do get round to syncing the UKC and RF Databases then the routes with a Rockfax description will have that displayed anyway but it will be uneditable by moderators. Many routes already have this of course from the initial set up.
>

Will we be able to request changes or add notes after the Rockfax description? Only Rockfax do make the occasional mistake, and routes do change between guides (e.g. holds break, pegs vanish etc) which moderators tend to add to the route description as useful extra information.

Simon Caldwell - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
> We have a few routes added like "Second Route we did on Tuesday", or "random HVS on the right" being added. I would prefer that routes are only added when you actually have good data for them, especially on popular crags where the route is almost certainly in the database and people just can't be bothered to find it.

When this happens, I'll email the person who submitted it to get more info. They usually don't reply, so I either delete it or rename it as "Unknown".

It is quite rare though. If it happened more often then I'd probably just delete them all :-)

A bigger pain is where people can't be bothered to check the spelling of a route - it's "gully" not "gulley"! It doesn't help that the dropdown route name parser isn't clever enough to know that "No 2 Gully" is the same thing as "Number Two Gully".

As a suggestion - how about removing the direct 'add missing route' link from the dropdown list of routes, make it available from the crag page only. If you're already on the crag page then people might be more likely to check properly that the route really doesn't exist before adding it.
victim of mathematics - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Toreador:
> As a suggestion - how about removing the direct 'add missing route' link from the dropdown list of routes, make it available from the crag page only. If you're already on the crag page then people might be more likely to check properly that the route really doesn't exist before adding it.

That's quite a good idea. People adding routes because they just can't spell the actual route is pretty much the most irratating thing about being a moderator. That and people editing routes with personal comments like "I thought this was well hard" or putting in insanely detailed beta-intensive decriptions (like the one that some mentalist put up for Broad Stand). Grumble grumble.

Anyway, as Alan said, I'll finish sorting Bwlch y Moch out one evening next week.
DerwentDiluted - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to colin struthers:

I'm a moderator for about 15 crags, some big some small, and also have a chunky logbbook, and to me the point is that a Moderator should be someone with good local knowledge of the crag and the ability to go and see for themselves if something changes. I moderate a few peak crags and some minor crags in Torridon where I visit frequently, surely expecting 1 person on a salary to develop this level of knowledge across even the UK is impossible, and if it is possible I wouldn't want to foot the diesel bill! I think the price of erratically moderated crags is reasonable for such a good resource.
In reply to Monk:
> Will we be able to request changes or add notes after the Rockfax description? Only Rockfax do make the occasional mistake, and routes do change between guides (e.g. holds break, pegs vanish etc) which moderators tend to add to the route description as useful extra information.

My intention is to create a clearer division between guidebook information and logbook data so that both appear on the same page on UKC when you are logging your routes. The guidebook information will probably consist of a single description field that will be uneditable if it is a linked Rockfax route, but not if it isn't linked. Below this though will be route feedback comments (as on the current RF database) so that any changes can be noted there and this data will be updated with each Rockfax guide. Other non-Rockfax area routes will need to be updated manually by moderators but, as Dave M suggests, this 'route description' information isn't crucial.

I hope to make the Logbook and Route feedback available from interfaces on UKC and on the Rockfax site, with linked votes. This should encourage more feedback on route information and hopefully benefit all guidebook writers.

Alan
In reply to Toreador:
> As a suggestion - how about removing the direct 'add missing route' link from the dropdown list of routes, make it available from the crag page only. If you're already on the crag page then people might be more likely to check properly that the route really doesn't exist before adding it.

This is a good suggestion.

I will certainly be looking at this closely since I have felt for a long time that the 'add a route' system isn't working very well. I always add routes via the crag interface myself which makes it easier and less error prone as others have noted. We are also able to do more intelligent searching these days I think hence sorting your 'Number 2' - 'Number two' problem.

This page for example, could be far better - http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/addlog.html

Alan
colin struthers - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to DerwentDiluted:
> (In reply to colin struthers)
>
> I'm a moderator for about 15 crags, some big some small, and also have a chunky logbbook, and to me the point is that a Moderator should be someone with good local knowledge of the crag and the ability to go and see for themselves if something changes. I moderate a few peak crags and some minor crags in Torridon where I visit frequently, surely expecting 1 person on a salary to develop this level of knowledge across even the UK is impossible, and if it is possible I wouldn't want to foot the diesel bill! I think the price of erratically moderated crags is reasonable for such a good resource.

I wasn't suggesting that volunteers would stop being the most important link in the chain (as I thought my OP made clear) It's just that sometimes moderators might need information/advice/encouragement and that it would also be great if someone could put time into promoting/recruiting more moderators so that the database becomes much more comprehensive.

That's perhaps a role for a paid employee - resources permitting as they say.

And whilst I'm back on the thread perhaps I should just clarify the fact that I am not criticising either UKC or any of the moderators. I think the whole Logbook thing is an excellent idea and I'm grateful to those who have made it happen. My intention in starting the thread was simply to raise a question about how we can get it to the next level.
valentinesbabe - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
I'd be happy to invest some time adding route descriptions from Rockfax to any routes that are missing but surely you must have the electronic versions somewhere which would make it far easier. Maybe you could ask for volunteers for this task and provide them with the electronic version then it's simply a cut and paste job?
Pythonist on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

A quick second for the removal of the "quick add" functionality. Not only does it enable the "add-without-check" mentality mentioned by Toreador, but also flippant values in the fields just to get a tick at the grade logged.

Over the years I've really come to like the csv upload as the easiest way to add a day's routes into the database - I find it makes you think more about filling in all the fields for a given climb and doing a proper double-check before upload.

My 2c (but given I've just switched from dollars to euros, I have no idea what that's worth)

Pythonist
(Moderator who, after four years, is still trying to clean up the Red Rocks entries...)
In reply to valentinesbabe:
> I'd be happy to invest some time adding route descriptions from Rockfax to any routes that are missing but surely you must have the electronic versions somewhere which would make it far easier. Maybe you could ask for volunteers for this task and provide them with the electronic version then it's simply a cut and paste job?

Yes, it would be a pointless exercise to tap in loads of Rockfax descriptions - don't do it. We will do it ourselves for all RF routes soon enough.

I was using this just to illustrate the copyright point, and someone might want to do it for the odd route maybe.

Alan
Stuart S - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> When we do get round to syncing the UKC and RF Databases then the routes with a Rockfax description will have that displayed anyway but it will be uneditable by moderators. Many routes already have this of course from the initial set up.

I can understand why you'd do this, but it would be a shame to lose this ability completely. I've updated the UKC Logbook RF descriptions to Forada, which I moderate, because those in the current guide are in places either inaccurate (e.g. due to new additions since the guide was written), or just too vague to be helpful (e.g. "Follow the bulge-laden line" on a sector covered in bulge laden lines).
In reply to Stuart S:
> I can understand why you'd do this, but it would be a shame to lose this ability completely. I've updated the UKC Logbook RF descriptions to Forada, which I moderate, because those in the current guide are in places either inaccurate (e.g. due to new additions since the guide was written), or just too vague to be helpful (e.g. "Follow the bulge-laden line" on a sector covered in bulge laden lines).

But you will be able to write this kind of information in the feedback comments which will appear with the route listing on both UKC and Rockfax.

Alan
lithos on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

I think the logbooks are great (flawed but still great!) Re Dave M suggestions of route
descriptions, not all routes are in all guidebooks so it helps to tie up what has been done.
Also I ve suggested before (maybe on a list but you dont have a forum for development!)
and option to make individual comments visible (or better a beta field where you can
add private notes/beta)

BTW this should be a RF one but is a mess !
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1707


<ramblings>
this makes interesting reading and i think there are many good issues raised here.
One thing that i think holds stuff back is your system is closed (maybe for business
reasons but maybe for security, consistency or ...) This ties in with the open data model
and stds as mentioned above, but the development (to pick an example) of offline
facilities (apps/downloads/...) would be more rapid varied and interesting and useful
and could be maybe funded/provide an income stream in some form. These would
require access to the data in some manner (along with all the related security /
performance / copyright /... issues)
</ramblings>

remus - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to lithos:
> (In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH)
>
> <ramblings>
> this makes interesting reading and i think there are many good issues raised here.
> One thing that i think holds stuff back is your system is closed (maybe for business
> reasons but maybe for security, consistency or ...) This ties in with the open data model
> and stds as mentioned above, but the development (to pick an example) of offline
> facilities (apps/downloads/...) would be more rapid varied and interesting and useful
> and could be maybe funded/provide an income stream in some form. These would
> require access to the data in some manner (along with all the related security /
> performance / copyright /... issues)
> </ramblings>

I really like the idea of having this data freely available, but I don't think it will happen for a long time. As it stands the strength of an online logbook system is largely based on how complete it's database is (as no one has anything like a complete database of all the routes in the world, yet.) I think it's probably safe to say UKC has the best coverage over the UK and a pretty reasonable coverage over a lot of Europe. To let anyone and everyone have free access to that data would be to lose a major commercial advantage.
Stuart Hurworth - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH: Lots of good stuff here, looking forward to the route updates.

My personal wish would be for a total distance climbed per grade/style of ascent etc on the personal logbook stats page instead of just the number of climbs. Most climbs have a distance on the entry (or should do!) so must be relatively simple to add these up to give you a much better example of your actual experience. ie 10 climbs at VS that are 100m means you've got 1,000m of VS experience, compared to someone else who might have 10 VS climbs that are 10m having only 100m of VS experience.

I guess not that useful in the grand scheme of things but I think it'd be a cool way to see what you've done at each grade, you could compare how far you'd soloed etc and you could see if you've climbed the total height of Everest or whatever you fancy!
In reply to lithos:
> BTW this should be a RF one but is a mess !
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1707

This is a problem which we intend to address with syncing the data. The old system dumped that data into the UKC DB and then it got added to and sometimes not really maintained (as in this case). The Rockfax efforts are concentrated on new guidebooks so when the new Costa Blanca book comes out later this year, the Rockfax database will be amended to reflect that. Our intention is to have this tied to the UKC version as well.

> <ramblings>
> this makes interesting reading and i think there are many good issues raised here.
> One thing that i think holds stuff back is your system is closed (maybe for business
> reasons but maybe for security, consistency or ...) This ties in with the open data model
> and stds as mentioned above, but the development (to pick an example) of offline
> facilities (apps/downloads/...) would be more rapid varied and interesting and useful
> and could be maybe funded/provide an income stream in some form. These would
> require access to the data in some manner (along with all the related security /
> performance / copyright /... issues)
> </ramblings>

This isn't something we intend to do at the moment.

Alan

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