/ Crag moderators
That should have been thirty four years, not eighteen. Lower Falcon Crag Borrowdale.
Maybe they uploaded all the information correctly to ukc 34 years ago
> Maybe they uploaded all the information correctly to ukc 34 years ago.
>> The moderator hasn't described any of the routes he has done on this crag so how can he be a moderator, with powers to edit what other climbers say about a route?
Although it sounds a bit odd to not have Ben there for 34 years, there's no reason it should affect the ability to moderate it. How do you know it's Ben 34 years anyway?
It's Ian Jones, not Ben
That was a predictive text error, sorry. And you do know that not everyone logs all their climbs on UKc?
Pick a hill to moderate...I did!
I moderate this crag: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1951 There are over 220 routes there. I haven't logged any of them. However, I've done all but about a dozen of them. Could it be that Mr Jones doesn't want to log his routes?
It's not the moderator's job to describe the routes on the crags that they moderate. The idea is that anyone can add a description, and the moderator simply checks that it is correct against the current guidebook. Because of that, there's no real reason that a moderator should have been to any crag that they moderate, as long as they have a copy of the current guide.
I moderate over 90 crags, and I'd guess there are somewhere between 10-20 of them that I've never been to, but are in a copy of a guide I own, so I've been able to moderate them quite successfully using that.
Unless the moderator for the crag you're talking about in your original post isn't actually moderating the crag properly, I'm not sure what your problem is.
That's a useful function, but how do they meaningfully check new routes if all they're doing is checking against the guide(s)?
There must be thousands of crags etc on this site.
If Alan etc had to maintain that information they'd be working 80 hours a day.
UKC is a free resource for everybody.
Being a mod is what some people do to keep the locations up to date voluntarily by being emailed etc with new info.
I'm sure the guidebooks writer haven't climbed every route!!! Who mods Cloggy?!?!
(writing was never one of my strong skills! :-) )
Well I am moderator for several crags I have never been to, but that is just because they needed moderating and no-one else was available to do it.
Moderating a crag isn't that hard and local knowledge isn't essential but is obviously helpful. You are really just putting the routes in order and checking additions are viable, there is no real need to have actually climbed everything at all.
As others have said, if you think you could do a better job then contact the moderator who may well be happy to transfer the moderation over.
If you see a crag where the updates are pending for ages and there is no response from the moderator, then contact us at databases[at]ukclimbing.com and we can switch it over.
I climbed with Ian back in the early 1980s. It was immediately apparent that he was shockingly talented, with killer footwork. Shortly afterwards he was holding his own, even with Jerry. What he's like at grading or moderating, I have no idea. However I'd suggest that folk treat him with a little respect. He's got a huge amount of experience and (one would hope) should be good at grading and moderating.
The OP may have tried to contact Ian before posting. Again I don't know. But, as a general rule, surely it's better to take things (especially complaints) up with the person first, before engaging in social media.
Why would someone's climbing ability bear any relation to their ability to moderate a crag?
I bet James McHaffie is gash at moderating.
I moderate several crags.
Most don't have many new routes put up. When they are, they are usually added to the logbook by the FA, whose opinion I always accept until the next guidebook edition says otherwise. If they are added by someone else, I check the appropriate online resource to get more details, or email the person who added it to the log. If all else fails, I resign as moderator and let someone else take over!
Wow! What a surprise to have this one thrown up.
I would expect climbing experience to bear a relation to ability to grade and responsibly moderate. To repeat: Ian has a lot of experience.
Re climbing ability: Imho, this is usually the next thing to be thrown up here. He's not a f*cking armchair climber.
Why on earth would you think that? Tons of experience. Seems a sensible soul. Mature. Etc, etc. I bet he'd be really good at moderating. If you have reasons otherwise, let's hear 'em.
I was obviously being facetious.
But climbing experience has got absolutely nothing to do with moderating on UKC, all you need is a guidebook and a bit of attention to detail. An ability to grade is irrelevant, as it isn't your job to do so.
As you're a moderator for 59 crags and I've never moderated any, I bow to your experience. I can certainly see that part of the role of a moderator is to collate information. But, being old-fashioned, I suppose I'd like moderators to have a watchful eye in case dodgy routes end up on a database and so become legitimised.
For instance, in the Mournes, in the 1970s, there was systematic undergrading of lower/middle-grade routes. No databases then, of course, but obviously climbing hut logbooks and word of mouth. I argued vehemently against said undergrading, which could have resulted in fatalities (pre cams, then, sod all gear). As an example, the then guidebook writer recommended Citroen to me as, "a nice Mild VS". Sustained 4c climbing, with (then) only two pieces of gear on the route, the first 60 or 70 feet above the ground, as I recall. I think Citroen's now HVS, 4c, even with better gear - which lets you know what you're in for.
If it's hard to get moderators (and, it seems it is), then we should be grateful for anyone. But, given that climbing is dangerous, I'd like the info to be as good as possible.
You're conflating climbing experience, climbing ability and ability to grade. They're not the same thing, although they're certainly not orthogonal. For example I'm pretty experienced, rubbish, and amazing respectively :)
But as with most crags some of "the books" are out of date and their grades frankly wrong! I'd say that having enough knowledge of a crag to offer an informed opinion about the grade is an asset, even if that is at odds with printed material. Grading is not an exact science and with multiple guidebooks disputed grades will always exist. I actually find this helpful, as it tells me that the grade is probably borderline or open to interpretation, and an additional opinion on the UKC logbook helps rather than hinders this.
I would however hope that crag moderators can be sensitive to grade voting and opinions and change grades where required. Just out of interest, which Knapdale grades would you dispute?
As I well know.
There was an odd one recently at a venue I know pretty well (Harmer's Wood) ...I bouldered out a little problem not in the guide or database. Really nice problem, so I added it in with a description - no pretences of it being new, just worth recording. First it popped up in a different area so I let the mod know. It then stayed in the right place in red as unconfirmed for a while. Then it was deleted. Then a bit later bunch of new problems appeared, none of which have any descriptions, and it's unclear where they are. You can only infer that one of them is the problem I added by counting L to R and making assumptions. They all have several ticks and give my little arete 2 stars - it's now got plenty of chalk. It was a good problem after all.
The guidelines for moderators say to use the grades from the current guidebook. It's not the role of the moderator to start changing grades.
Email the moderator offering to take over moderation yourself. They'll either thank you, decline, and update the crag; or more likely, bite your hand off and let you take over.
If you don't get any reply, it's likely because the moderator has changed their email address and no longer uses the one registered on UKC. So used the Contact Us option to email UKC, and ask them to make you moderator.
Happy to give the moderator access to a local if somebody wants it but for now I'll just check the page is true to the guidebook
I think the moderator idea was a good community based way for Rockfax/UKC to quickly and cheaply build a huge database. Some see it as research on the cheap for growing the Rockfax empire but most climbers I know are more relaxed. I've certainly found the route comments useful in my guidebook work, even if the grade voting turned out less helpful than I first thought it might.
I wasn't aware crags should have the latest definitive guidebook grades; in fact I thought the default was Rockfax grades first where they are available. As an example at Birchen the grades seem to be a mix of the BMC and Rockfax grades and even ignoring some lines/problems in the new BMC guide.
Moff and I haven't time to double up comments on our own records and on the logbooks so we only comment on UKC on dangerous stuff or on threads detailing routes where we know something is wrong. I'm sure a lot of other guidebook workers are equally busy and some just refuse, on principle, to put anything on UKC. As a result some crag entries can be sketchy but maybe better that at the start than nothing, when you are collecting such information together. What I really don't like is sketchy information presented as online guides (eg much of wiki-topo).
My personal opinion of climbs that may be a little out are of Razors Edge - now sorted. Captain Ahab is HVS 5a *, similar to Razors Edge, which personally i would say is grading it too hard. Apart from a poweful layback start there's nothing too challenging on it and I'd say it was more VS. Pocket wall at E1 5b has been described by other regulars as being graded a little too stiff also, although i strongly disagree when ever I'm half way up with a run out and shakey legs!
Snap! But I might go back again......
One way round this would be for the moderator to enter the guidebook grades and where they strongly suspect the grade is wrong to put a daggar symbol on the guidebook grade and make a comment in the route description. It seems daft to me if as a moderator you know a grade is wrong not to be able to have some input but equally if you allow wholesale changes some moderators might get carried away and change stuff based on their opinion rather than consensus.
The moderators help page says "Please use the grade for a route/problem from the most recent guidebook, rather than your own personal grade."
In some cases (usually Scotland) that might mean using a grade that is 15 years old and widely known to be wrong!
> In some cases (usually Scotland) that might mean using a grade that is 15 years old and widely known to be wrong!
So be it. If the route is popular enough then the votes and comments will reflect it anyway. If it's more esoteric then as an additional unknown it's kind of part of the fun.
I can't say I've ever used the database to check the grade of a route on UKC - either before or after doing it - to compare with the guide. The grade votes yes, but not the database grade. The clue is in the name - it's a logbook, not a guidebook, and as such route descriptions and 100% accuracy are not really critical.
At the end of the day there's more crags than there are people willing to do this, so it's inevitable some stuff will end up out of line with the guidebook.
Alternatively one could see the voting facility as a means of ensuring that grade re-assessments are current and organic.
True. But I guess you have to try to get some consistency in both method and standard of moderation, or things would become somewhat confusing. And the simplest way to do this - considering any Tom/Dick/Harry can moderate a crag - is to keep it in line with the latest guidebook.
That is at least possible now. Under the old system once the grade changed all the votes were lost. I still think guidebook grades with a daggar from the moderator based on comments/votes and their own experience would work better. The only question then is which guidebook.
I don't make the guidelines, was just pointing out what they are.
On Peak limestone, the grades could be 25 years old and wrong...
> That's a useful function, but how do they meaningfully check new routes if all they're doing is checking against the guide(s)?
The moderator's job is not to make second ascents of new routes, so they're not going to check the grade anyway. It might be a help if you know the crag so you can understand where the new route goes and whether any description is accurate, but you can always email the person who's logged it for more info if needed.
At the end of the day, I'd be more than happy to hand on some of the crags I moderate to others who know them better than I do (and have done so with some crags already), but I took them on to moderate when the system was first set up, and until someone else volunteers to share the load, I'll keep on top of things as best I can.
I was thinking of dodgy new routes, rather than guidebook editing. But I think I'll bow out of this thread. Good luck to all who continue it.
Well ideally I suppose the moderator would climb the new routes. But that would count me out of moderating most of my crags, as the majority of new routes are too hard for me!
I got a hard time on here a while back for changing the grade of Integrity to VS, but I was only following the moderation guidelines of keeping it in line with the current guidebook grade.
I've mostly resisted the temptation to change grades of routes based on my personal opinion, as it seems a bit arrogant to make oneself the arbiter of these things.
Mind you, I have changed one or two that are very blatantly wrong :)
> As you're a moderator for 59 crags and I've never moderated any, I bow to your experience. I can certainly see that part of the role of a moderator is to collate information. But, being old-fashioned, I suppose I'd like moderators to have a watchful eye in case dodgy routes end up on a database and so become legitimised.
Has this actually been a problem on UKC?
Also, as far as I know there's absolutely no claim that information on the UKC databases is complete, accurate or anything else. It's a handy resource for guidebook editors and climbers if they want to look at a route and see what other people think about it or get an idea of how often it gets climbed or whatever, but it's not a replacement for an up to date definitive guide or a proper new routes list that's carefully checked and maintained by the locals. I wouldn't expect a guidebook writer to include a new route purely because it appears on UKC...
< Getting back briefly >
Hmm... I've been climbing long enough (almost 50 years) to recall quite a few examples of 'iffy' routes (e.g. not actually climbed, aid not declared, deliberately under-graded, foolishly under-graded) which did appear in guidebooks. As a beginner, I had a little epic with a guidebook writer in Ireland, checking a route which (it seems) had never been climbed. Both of us could have died. Later I heard of a soloist who fell off a new route which supposedly was brutally under-graded (though it hadn't made the guidebook yet). He did die.
On the other side of the coin, my first contact with these august forums occurred through inferences that some of my early routes on Portland were iffy. A sense of 'not done' hung briefly in the air. I posted when I'd be on the crag, repeating the most 'offending' route. Turned up and repeated it. Of course nobody else bothered to appear. I'd made the most basic of errors - thinking that opinions on here correlated with action on the crags.
Definitely gone now.
The problem is, if a crag moderator were required to climb regularly at the crag, including any new routes, then the vast majority of crags here would go unmoderated.
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