/ should the BMC launch an independent version of UKC?
Well, no reason really Alan, if that's how you want your site to operate i.e. not as an the host of a positively regarded 'open' forum for discussion but rather as a selectively censored vehicle for the promotion of your own company. None of us really knows how much you manipulate the content of the site do we?
However, if that's how you operate things then maybe we need our representative body to step up to the plate and produce a genuinely open forum in which all things climbing can be freely discussed without being distorted by the editorial decisions of vested interests.
Wonder how long this post will survive?
There might be problems for the 'Representative Body for Climbers, Mountaineers and Hillwalkers' to host some of the opinions expressed on UKC? There may well be a need for stricter moderation?
I can see some of the new stuff at the BMC - BMCTV for example - having an impact but for scurrilous gossip, unsubstantiated rumour, and plain wrong opinions there is no better place than UKC. Is there?
I believe that there are other forums that are not allied to a particular commercial enterprise? Why are they not as popular?
The BMC had it's own forum years ago, maybe 10 years ago, during my time working for them (2000-2007). It was quickly shelved for the reason I have mentioned.
Firstly - "unsubstantiated..."
Quite within their rights then.
Secondly - you've made a heck of a leap from UKC refusing to allow some (libellous?) posts to them being some crazed fascist dictatorship.
Thirdly - go somewhere else and stop crying round here if you don't like it.
Could I just ask - how recent was this thread Colin?
Are we talking about the last few days? Weeks?
Or perhaps this is a muck raking attempt from a thread that ran months ago.
Who pays the piper calls the tune.
Feel free to ask this question on Monday when I will be online all day on a Q and A specifically about the forums.
If Alan thinks a comment/attack is unsubstantiated, why should he accept it?!?
I could say Colin S is a $%^*%$%£, with no backup, you'd want the post removed.
Compared to other forums, UKC is extremely easy going. :-)
> Could I just ask - how recent was this thread Colin?
> Are we talking about the last few days? Weeks?
> Or perhaps this is a muck raking attempt from a thread that ran months ago.
I would guess is this one - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=566806&v=1#x7538461
Pretty current I'd have thought.
> If Alan thinks a comment/attack is unsubstantiated, why should he accept it?!?
Because it is a forum for discussion rather than a marketing tool? Because Alan is not supposed to be the final arbiter of what appears on UKC? Bloody hell - the number of posts on here that are unsubstantiated blox is unbelievable. But they are accepted.
You actually believe Alan should allow unsubstantiated digs at his own business interests to stand?
That has been said before :-)
I suspect everyone knows that UKC is owned by the owner of Rockfax. It's not a massive surprise that the one thing that Alan might get annoyed by is people using the website he owns to criticize his other business, but even having said that - I've seen massive discussions on Rockfax here, with plenty of strong criticism, regularly ever since I started using the site in 1999 or maybe 2000 - a long time back anyway. You can say a lot of negative things about Rockfax without having any problems at all if you keep it reasonable, people always have done. Beyond that, there's not much you can't say on UKC and it provides a valuable service to thousands of people and has done for over a decade at no cost to the users.
In all honesty the key word is "unsubstantiated"
That swings it.
Reasonable criticism is fine but what could effectively amount to libel is too much.
You say unsubstantiated, but what the op actually said was "what he considers to be unsubstantiated". That's a whole world of difference (I recall Alan referring to a statement of opinion as libellous in a previous discussion despite supporting evidence being provided) from something that's provably unsubstantiated.
> You actually believe Alan should allow unsubstantiated digs at his own business interests to stand?
Very. I'm often surprised at how much AJ lets go and for how long.
Given that you have frequently used the UKC forums to make unsubstantiated and possibly libellous accusations against the BMC, it seems odd that you would want a BMC forum to make similar statements about UKC.
Surely we need someone completely independent to host such a forum, someone who would not seek nor accept grubby money from advertisers either. Someone fearless enough to take the risk that they could be taken to court.
Good luck finding them, but please don't drag the BMC down your rabbit hole, they have far more important things to do.
> Given that you have frequently used the UKC forums to make unsubstantiated and possibly libellous accusations against the BMC, it seems odd that you would want a BMC forum to make similar statements about UKC.
Good point. Was it the North West Area that once asked Alan to leave their meeting?
> Good point. Was it the North West Area that once asked Alan to leave their meeting?
Actually not a good point at all. As NW Area Chairman I never, ever asked anyone to leave a meeting - the idea of doing so would have appalled me.
Indeed I would happily have put up with someone like you making comments as stupid as this.
No the BMC couldn't do it for the reasons already given. I'll keep the rest I want to say on this for Monday.
> Feel free to ask this question on Monday when I will be online all day on a Q and A specifically about the forums.
I'll not be on line on Monday, (off to Font, poor me!). So here's my 2ps worth now.
Rockfax and UKC provide a really useful resource (and much entertainment) for climbers in the UK (and elsewhere). I'm very much in favour of definitive guidebooks and can see the problems with selective guides "cherry-picking", but that needs to be balanced out with some of the positives - for example, rockfax effectively opened up Portland.
For the record, I'm a CC member, and am involved in guidebook work (North Devon and Cornwall). The logbook system is proving very useful to us, and Alan is happy for us to make use of it and for various authors to take over moderating some of the crags etc.
I hope the Q & As will be archived and I look forward to reading them.
> Actually not a good point at all. As NW Area Chairman I never, ever asked anyone to leave a meeting - the idea of doing so would have appalled me.
Maybe before your day, maybe a different area, maybe Alan will let us know.
As you know, I was a voluntary officer of the BMC for quite a few years and the free time and effort i put into supporting its activities hardly makes me anti BMC (as your post seeks to suggest).
A forum is supposed to be a place where a variety of opinions and ideas are freely expressed and discussed. The idea that I would want an independent forum to "make statements" is therefore just plain silly.
Please try to confine your criticism to the things I actually said in my original post rather than to the opinions that you seem to want to ascribe to me (although I appreciate that it will be easier for you to 'win' in a fantasy discussion where you get to write both sides of the argument).
I raised this post because Alan James has acknowledged that he has removed posts and threads that he personally deems to be 'unsubstantiated'. Its his website and of course he can do what he wants with it. But the point I was making was whether UKC should continue to be our, the wider climbing community's, default website. You see there is actually a potential conflict of interest between UKC/Rockfax and the interests of ordinary climbers. Here is the obvious example:
A new voluntary guide to the Ormes and N. Wales coast has been in preparation for some time. The authors of this guide have agreed that all profits accruing from what will be a major publication, will go to the bolt fund that pays for the equipping of these crags. A jolly good thing I'm sure you will agree.
Latterly however, Rockfax have published a commercial guidebook covering the main crags due to feature in the original independent guidebook. A large proportion of the independent guidebook sales that would have helped to fund the equipping of these crags may well be lost because of this. Rockfax were prevailed upon not to publish their rival guidebook because of the negative impact that doing so would probably have on the bolt fund. They went ahead anyway.
A lot of people were angry about this. Some of them said so on UKC. I imagine some of their posts were deleted.
Is it a good thing that one of the parties in this debate gets to delete opinions he considers to be unsubstantiated?
Are you staring to get the point?
> However, if that's how you operate things then maybe we need our representative body to step up to the plate and produce a genuinely open forum in which all things climbing can be freely discussed without being distorted by the editorial decisions of vested interests.
If it bothers you that much, set up your own forum and run it however you want to. If you disagree with how UKC is run then vote with your feet.
I personally think tha the mods do a pretty good job of running it, especially when you consider how much time it must take.
I'm afraid your post comes across to me as bitter, anti Rockfax muck raking.
Go elsewhere if you're not happy - UKC is NOT independent.
My personal view is that AJ is entirely within his rights to run this forum as he sees fit. It's his sandbox, he's not charging us entry. He is giving his time freely to us to run this site and we all benefit from it (well, I certainly do).
However, I have crossed swords a number of times with him over the forums and the way relatively innocuous material is deleted when certain other material and behaviour (e.g. internet bullying and highly unpleasant sexist posts) is allowed to remain. My fiancee (a climber), for example, doesn't use this forum because of this kind of content.
I know of another high profile forum where a substitute forum *was* set up by users and the decent people defected en masse, leaving only the whiners and abusers on the original. Like others have said here, its not hard, and if I didn't have a full time job I'd do it.
But, the thing is, I do have a full time job. I don't have the time. There isn't a substitute. Hence my view is that the current forum is the best we've got until something else comes along. However if something else does come along then I'll be a (if necessary) paid up member in seconds. Sorry AJ.
Why not go to UKB? I think UKB's long lasting existence shows it is a viable alternative to UKC, but the fact that loads of UKC users don't go there shows that plenty of people get enough out of UKC for that to outweigh being bothered over occasional posts being cut - normally because of some criticism of Rockfax.
> Why not go to UKB? I think UKB's long lasting existence shows it is a viable alternative to UKC, but the fact that loads of UKC users don't go there shows that plenty of people get enough out of UKC for that to outweigh being bothered over occasional posts being cut - normally because of some criticism of Rockfax.
Do they all wear beanies and say "dude"? Don't think I could cope...
> I'm afraid your post comes across to me as bitter, anti Rockfax muck raking.
I don't agree.
- Undermining the imminent comprehensive guide to North Wales Limestone and funding of it's bolt provision
- Threat to access to slate by inclusion of Dali's Hole
- Delay or threat to publication of the vitally important (if you care about one of the UK's premier adventure climbing areas) Gogarth South, including undermining of Ground Up's selective guide, which would help to fund Gogarth South.
> plenty of people get enough out of UKC for that to outweigh being bothered over occasional posts being cut - normally because of some criticism of Rockfax.
Post get cut, people get banned, for all sorts of reasons, I doubt it is 'normally' anything to do with criticising Rockfax.
> Do they all wear beanies and say "dude"? Don't think I could cope...
They don't say dude, and they do get along famously, and it's not just bouldering. I go there for the banter which is fantastic but I don't post much cos I'm shy and its a little cliquey to penetrate.
Many of them utterly despise the UKC forums, mostly for all the right reasons, but perhaps they fail to recognise that UKB is largely impenetrable for the average beginner who will naturally gravitate to UKC and that tends to carry baggage.
Basically, they haven't got time for lots of questions from beginners asking whether this VD is a sandbag or which way up a clove hitch goes, that sort of conversation doesn't really occur, they take their climbing seriously. People who talk shite are given short shrift, so arguments are far less common. And there's little ambiguity when things are obviously wrong, no one for instance would stick up for the Millstone drytooling idiots, and there isn't really any trolling (that I've seen). Its also very male.
There are a fair few people that post on both channels. Shark jointly owns UKB for instance.
People are arguing up and down this thread that this is Alan's party and he can throw his toys out the pram and delete posts if he wants to -- in which case there should be efforts to break the monopoly and provide alternative places for these discussions. Personally I can see a role for the BMC here, either as mediator or as an alternative provider. If the kiddies at UKB would grow up for a minute then...
FWIW I've a copy of the deleted thread in question and at the expense of crossing Alan's first rule of fight club it was pretty mild to the point of being even more boring than the average UKC thread.
UKBouldering? Sorry the name is enough to stop me.
I was never asked to leave any BMC meeting. In fact I have always felt very welcome at BMC meetings, including ones in the NW.
As for the other points: I don't really want to get into the North Wales Limestone thing again, that was done to death on a thread here http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=552134
In reply to Mark Kemball: I appreciate your questions about Rockfax and guidebooks, however the QandA on Monday is about the UKC Forums so I won't be answering questions on Rockfax, guidebooks and bolt funds. Perhaps that could be a topic for another QandA some time.
I don't think you quite understand what a monopoly is... Theoretically you're free to start your own oil business in Russia, but I'm not sure you'd have much luck if you tried.
There is certainly space for a friendly, usable online forum that is free from such profit concerns. It needs to be integrated with news and photo galleries - easy enough. I'm half tempted to try myself... The problem lies in UKC's logbook feature though. This is so much information, produced by so many thousands of people, that you will never be able to compete with that. And what you have there is a very solid website that people don't want to do without.
UKB may be a joke of a forum, full of sexist louts in an unusable format. But even if it wasn't, the average punter sees nothing wrong with UKC. Perhaps you could have something with more up-to-date news, as UKC is a bit detached from what's going on sometimes. Perhaps a little more regional? But it would take ages for people to start going over there. I mean, how would people find out about it? On UKC?!
From your profile - "Regard UKC forums as a tragic waste of time and wish I could stop myself from posting".
Perhaps you need to heed your own advice, in order for you to get the point?
Generally to defend myself from loutish or incorrect information, or 'farnellisms' as I like to call them.
I think you may need to reread my post again - you've missed at least one word. For reference, for practical purposes in Europe, market dominance (monopoly position) is >38% of the market share so, unless UKB is way bigger than I think, "near monopoly" is a fair and accurate description.
> Generally to defend myself from loutish or incorrect information, or 'farnellisms' as I like to call them.
Had a little snigger at that. Nice answer Franco.
And in case you missed the earlier question, why should the BMC use our resources to provide a forum for you to bitch and moan?
> UKBouldering? Sorry the name is enough to stop me.
Right. Well done you.
> Andy F
Well, there's lots of fit burd type stuff, although I admit to ploughing through those at length. Simon seems to have reigned all that in though.
You see that is going to upset the owners. But no, not really.
"And how is ukc preventing a competitor from competing?" - I didn't say it was preventing a competitor from competing I said it was abusing its near monopoly position.
"why should the BMC use our resources to provide a forum" - I didn't say it should- I did say I could see a role for the BMC to mediate or provide an alternative (so as to help fix the abuse of the monopoly position).
However, to answer your question directly - perhaps the BMC should provide a neutral forum for all aspects of climbing to be freely discussed without fear of censorship due to commercial or vested interests. I'd certainly like to see an alternative logbook system that would divorce logbooks from the threat of account suspension if you wish to criticise UKC or Rockfax. In doing so I would see the BMC supporting the climbing community which is well within its remit.
And remind me which large rock climbing, mountaineering & hill-walking organisation was considering buying UKB before Shark did.
> UKBouldering? Sorry the name is enough to stop me.
Don't bother with Supertopo either, it's all about crag diagrams.
> Don't bother with Supertopo either, it's all about crag diagrams.
And 8a.nu, it's purely for those who climb uberhard.
But obviously Jens is the main reason to not use 8a.poo
If anything, I'd actually be more worried about a forum where the BMC had the last word on what stays up and what gets pulled than one where Rockfax do. Because sometimes the BMC does contentious stuff, too, and, although I've got no issues with them at the moment, if they did go crazy then the stakes would potentially be much higher than just a guidebook.
In any case, the Stalinist suppression of dissent doesn't seem that thorough at the moment - the thread that Alan linked to above has some fairly robust criticism in it, for instance.
Imagine all of the various climbing & the Olympics threads being hosted on a BMC run forum.
" don't waste the BMC's time and resources"
I'll have to disagree with you here - I don't think it would be a waste of time and money - much like the RAD.
Well, they're exactly the kind of contentious threads which I would expect to be *allowed* on a forum operated the BMC: they reflect an important debate. Are you suggesting they wouldn't/shouldn't be?
There shouldn't be any censorship of the *issues* involved - that's the point.
The BMC aren't independent when it comes to guidebook publishing, are they ?
> Well, they're exactly the kind of contentious threads which I would expect to be *allowed* on a forum operated the BMC: they reflect an important debate. Are you suggesting they wouldn't/shouldn't be?
If a shadowy cabal of Vested Interests in the BMC really had been trying to railroad the olympic thing through against everyone's best interests without properly consulting the membership then yes, I'd expect that vanishing forum posts and dissenters getting banned for "abusive behaviour" wouldn't have been beyond them either.
Now if this was hosted on a BMC forum this 'evidence' would be used as evidence. Not good.
> Don't bother with Supertopo either, it's all about crag diagrams.
Lots of interesting climbing stuff on The Taco. Believe it or not something that I'm interested in. The trip reports are inspiring.
The moderating is good too - however even Chris Mac had to draw the line when the "Boobs" thread reached 2000 posts which was a shame.
You might be right.
> Many of them [ukb] utterly despise the UKC forums, mostly for all the right reasons,
I think I have an explanation for this hatred in story form.
Mike and Steve were bouldering, in the great wilderness, Mike was working his project, frustrated he yells, "Jesus how could johnny dawes do this without hands, that crazy dude". It was at late as early september but conditions were still not on his side. Steve says 'it's alright dude, try it without your beanie on', he takes a moment to look at those imposing bare cliffs and notices a trad climber at least 5 or maybe even 6 metres above the ground on a VS crack route. Something catches his eye, the gleam of a the single gold bead on a camalot x4. 'It cannot be, they're barely out yet!' Steve thinks to himself. A lump forms in his throat and he chants to himself 'I am a boulderer, I am a boulderer'. A tear wells up and he turns, wiping it away. Mike asks him, 'everything okay dude?' and Steve replies, 'yeah dude I'm fine, lets crush this man'.
To be continued...
Typed on my mobile phone.
" You can disagree if you like, it's a free country."
Here lies the crux of the issue - I can disagree if I like but not if it conflicts with UKC interests I can't because my post may be deleted and my account may be suspended. So the question is how to balance the interests of the individual member, the climbing community and free speech against the commercial interests of UKC and Rockfax?
I think it is self evident that there is concern about this problem - I don't think we'd be having this discussion if people weren't worried.
The vast majority of the content of UKC, including the forums, crag database and logbooks was created by the community. I don't know who legally owns this content but I don't consider that UKC owns my additions to the crag database, my contributions to the forums or my logbook but it exerts a powerful control over all of them. When I post I consider my content goes into the public domain and ownership reverts to the community - just like an entry in a new routes book.
Before you (SC) start back on "start your "setup your own website then" type arguments, the problem here is that any privately owned site might exert similar controls around similar vested interests and that what is needed is an independent community body with democratic representation - a bit like the BMC maybe - to arbitrate when it comes to this form of censorship. There is certainly space for the reform of UKC in this respect - don't get me wrong the site has many fine features but this censorship issue is a real problem.
I look forward to your unmoderated forum though - you do mean unmoderated don't you? No censorship?
what happened next???
I need to Know!
This simply isn't true.
We do have a policy here which hasn't been made very public, hence Monday's QandA, but I'll flag it up here so that people are aware. We have been practicing this policy pretty much ever since UKC took on advertising, with a slight modification recently.
The UKC and UKH editorial forums are very heavily moderated in general and minor things will be removed there for a variety of reasons.
The Gear Forum has a similar level of heavy moderation due to many of the posts being linked to people paying for advertising presence on the site.
All the other forums have light moderation which at times can be inconsistent due to the volume of posts.
The Pub has even lighter moderation and is sometimes used to move other posts to in order to keep them alive.
Up until a month or so ago we actually operated a different rule for criticism of Rockfax and UKC. We were less likely to remove criticism of RF/UKC on all forums due to perceived bias. We have now changed this to offer UKC/RF the same level of protection as everyone else.
As evidence of this policy in action, there are certain posts on this thread which may have been removed had they been on a UKC editorial or Gear thread, but are still present here.
As further evidence, you can do a searches of the Forums to find many threads critical of UKC and/or Rockfax, far more than any other business/organisation. Obviously the searching is tricky but try phrases like 'bolt fund', or key brands in the message content box and see what you get if you want to try it.
I really don't want to get too more involved in this thread since I think I could end up repeating myself on Monday, however this is a good discussion I think so it seems a shame not to contribute here now.
> In reply to Mark Kemball: I appreciate your questions about Rockfax and guidebooks, however the QandA on Monday is about the UKC Forums so I won't be answering questions on Rockfax, guidebooks and bolt funds. Perhaps that could be a topic for another QandA some time.
If these things can't be discussed during your 'open' Q & A session (very 'controlling' of you btw) then maybe now's the time for a Q & A session for those things we can't discuss on Monday i.e. whilst it's current. Somehow I doubt this will happen though and certainly not now with the imminent release of the controversial North Wales guide, which in my opinion is shrouded with Bad Karma.
Some people seem to see posts being cut as a big problem, I've never had anything removed in over a decade of being a regular - so lots of people like me who have never been "censored" have no sense at all of how often this happens. The "ghost" postings would show that if nothing else.
Agreed - this is the main attraction of UKC for me. I'd like to see an effort to open up this data via a developer API as, for example, Google or the OS have done with their data. I realize this isn't trivial, nor free.
> - Undermining the imminent comprehensive guide to North Wales Limestone and funding of it's bolt provision
> - Threat to access to slate by inclusion of Dali's Hole
> - Delay or threat to publication of the vitally important (if you care about one of the UK's premier adventure climbing areas) Gogarth South, including undermining of Ground Up's selective guide, which would help to fund Gogarth South.
Well put, hopefully those that don't understand the issues Colin's raised will having read this.
During your well-publicised criticism of Franco's route grading earlier in the year, it was speculated that you might have it in for him. I'd hoped that wasn't the case. I'm now wondering whether I was wrong.
It is more trying to keep it manageable. I suspect there will be a lot of questions so I would prefer to be able to keep it focussed so that I can concentrate on issues around the forums rather than getting side-tracked which will most likely end up with me not able to answer things properly.
If it works then I'd be happy to do another one on RF and guidebook issues at a later date.
Obviously it is difficult to search for post and threads that have been removed so you can only get a very one-sided view of what is permitted and what isn't. All we are left with is observations that posts that criticise UKC are far more likely to be disappear than anything else.
We're in danger degenerating into an argument along the lines of "we're good guys honestly" vs "we're not sure we trust you so why should we believe you when you say you're good guys"?, we'll go around and around in circles like this and nothing will be resolved.
What we do know is you have removed posts and banned users that some people don't think should have been removed / banned. Some people are concerned that this amounts to censorship to protect UKC / Rockfax interests and because you operate a near monopoly on UK climbing forums there is disquiet about it and the chilling effect you exert- hence a call for action.
The are a few ways to deal with this, including, I suppose, banning everyone who doesn't tow the line and deleting all these annoying posts in which case no one will get to read this! However, I'd suggest undertaking not to moderate posts that are critical of UKC or associated commercial interests unless they contain the sort of abuse that would get you banned on a completely irrelevant thread. You could ask the BMC or other neutral body to mediate in a very small number of cases but this would have to involve a public explanation to retain confidence and for good measure you should restore the posts you've deleted and un-ban any accounts banned for these reasons.
What's stopping you from using UKB if there is something you are desperate to discuss but keep getting zapped here? It's there, it's frequented by loads of regular keen climbers. You wont be chilled there will you?
You could even offer to write an article on whatever the issue is for one of the magazines if you feel that writing a blog op-ed it isn't enough.
> There is certainly space for a friendly, usable online forum that is free from such profit concerns. It needs to be integrated with news and photo galleries - easy enough. I'm half tempted to try myself... The problem lies in UKC's logbook feature though. This is so much information, produced by so many thousands of people, that you will never be able to compete with that. And what you have there is a very solid website that people don't want to do without.
A decent forum would always need profit I think, just to pay the wages of the people maintaining it. I don't mind the advertising and actually find some useful.
I do think the Rockfax association is less then ideal, but the only real alternative is for someone to buy the site off Alan.
This isn't aimed at you Franco, just a general comment.... this attitude that the internet should 'morally' operate outside the normal commercial world persists, that stuff should appear for free, be completely independent, but also somehow moderated. Unrealistic.
> Obviously it is difficult to search for post and threads that have been removed so you can only get a very one-sided view of what is permitted and what isn't. All we are left with is observations that posts that criticise UKC are far more likely to be disappear than anything else.
We can see pretty clearly that UKC doesn't shut down all criticism of UKC and/or Rockfax, because we can see a lot of criticism of Rockfax and UKC that hasn't been shut down. For instance, this thread and the Gogarth South thread. Lots of others you can find by searching. If they're trying to operate some sort of Stalinist suppression of dissent, they need to give their secret police a kick up the arse cos they aren't doing a very good job!
To directly answer your question, should the BMC launch an 'independant forum', I think the simple answer is no. I doubt the BMC would want to take on the expense and overhead of running such a forum. Not that a simple discussion forum is massively expensive to run. It's more the overhead of keeping software updated, the forum moderated and spam free. The BMC would have to moderate it as well, it's impossible to run a forum otherwise.
To those who have said it would be impossible to compete with UKC due to the database of routes, I think you're wrong there. There are plenty of examples where a business has gone up against a entrenched competitor and done well. If you were to build a better forums, with integration to social media, better photo sharing, nicer features, so on and so forth, then you could do quite well. However once that's become enough of a business for you not to want criticism, then we're back to square one. Also obviously there's the other channel (UKBouldering) and the other other channel, Facebook. The biggest expense would be images really. Forum databases are small generally and I doubt a routes db would be massive either, as it would just be text. Image storage will take up a lot of space and potentially processing power. I'd be willing to bet that you could run the UKC forums off quite a small server, but that once you put the images in, it becomes a lot bigger.
I've been on the internet for a reasonable while, 15+ years, spent a while on usenet, mailing lists and a number of other communities, I've also run a small forum myself, which had a few hundred active members. In my experience, UKC is quite reasonable in terms of moderation. Generally folk are pretty nice on here and I'm always surprised by those who say that it's a horrible place (go and look on 4chan, b3ta, usenet or lots of technical mailing lists...). But most people don't get subtext on the internet and they've never been on a truly combative forum/mailing list. It's impossible to keep everyone happy with moderation, you'll always have some folk who say you're being heavy handed and strict and some who regard any moderation as evil.
A couple have said that 'ghost posts' would be a good idea, so that a moderated thread doesn't just disappear. They are a good idea, it stops the formation of 'where did my thread go' threads. The post can have a reason for the moderation as well.
That UKC have let this thread stay is pretty good for them. As noted, this is a business and it is not cheap to provide the various facilities that they do provide (easily several hundered a month (but as mentioned most of that is probably image storage)). It's not perfect, but it's not as awful as many folk make out either.
Now we're stuck in another loop one group pointing to posts that they say are critical going, "heh look you can do it" and another pointing to missing posts saying, "Nope you can't" - we could be here for some time!
The point about the BMC being a bad choice is not lost on me - for instance the enthusiasm for Olympic glory vs the criticism posted on UKC - however I do think they'd struggle (with themselves) to censor publicly posted opinions.
> ... I'd certainly like to see an alternative logbook system that would divorce logbooks from the threat of account suspension if you wish to criticise UKC or Rockfax...
You could always keep your own logbook. On Excel or some such. I'm not sure it would be that much more effort even, and it would definitely be divorced from the threat of deletion by the UKC/RockFax bods.
I could imagine that a BMC forum could be absolutely fine for 99% of the time (probably like UKC) until something that is difficult for/critical of the organisation itself comes up. I remember 'scandals' in the past over BMC funds - the funding of the national mountaineering centre/museum or whatever it was for example. Then some people would probably find similar issues around criticizing Rockfax books here.
What we really need is a wealthy sponsor (no needs for ads) who has absolutely no interest in climbing (doesn't care either way about how Gogarth gets a guide, probably best if s/he doesn't know where Gogarth is or even what it is) - its not looking very likely though is it? :)
> this attitude that the internet should 'morally' operate outside the normal commercial world persists, that stuff should appear for free, be completely independent, but also somehow moderated. Unrealistic.
People are used to getting things for 'free' on the internet. Access to Facebook, Google searches etc. It's not surprising that they forget, or may choose to ignore, that providing these services is very far from free.
> You could always keep your own logbook. On Excel or some such. I'm not sure it would be that much more effort even, and it would definitely be divorced from the threat of deletion by the UKC/RockFax bods.
And UKC handily provide you with a .csv download of your logbook if you want it. Not one of the activity diary sadly, but there we go.
My point is that any internet forum will attract a certain number of trolls, nutters or people with an axe to grind. And the owners of the forum have a legal, moral and ethical duty to ensure that anything on their site is reasonable. And they will also inevitably have commercial interests - either their own or their advertisers - to consider.
Given how much anti-Rockfax stuff is allowed on here I don't think AJ is being heavy handed. If the BMC were to host a forum I believe they would have to be far more restrictive, simply because their position as representative body would give any opinion posted on their website more gravitas. All of which would take up valuable time for BMC officers
Anyway, the BMC does have it own forum
Thanks for that post Matt.
This is an interesting graphic that illustrates your point about moderation well taken from our 2013 Readership Survey which had a 10% registered user response (6,200 completed responses).
Bandwidth costs are around £800/month but most of that is photos as you point out.
A ridiculous statement. How can you lump together the huge, complex Usenet hierarchy with individual loony spot-fires like 4chan?
Just to be clear, I don't think it would be trivial at all. I do however think it's possible.
And mostly UKC have deleted is pretty bland and boring - often the most interesting thing about it is that it was chosen for the delete button. That said it shouldn't be happening.
Further up mattrm says "That UKC have let this thread stay is pretty good for them" - well sort of, it is only pretty good because they have a history of deleting stuff like this - it is a bit like praising a puppy for not eating your slippers. If they didn't have a history of doing this then this thread would never exist.
and that is just the last 6 months.
In doing the moderating I see the removed threads as well which are actually just moved to a hidden forum. In those 6 months there were two removed threads which you might think didn't need to be removed. Neither had any discussion.
Well obviously not in the last 6 months then.
I'm not sure I understand your last post... I presume you are listing posts you see as demonstrating a tolerance to criticism - I get that.
The bit I'm lost with is marrying up:
"there were two removed threads which you might think didn't need to be removed" and the fact we're here because you deleted a thread and posts in the last few days
"Well obviously not in the last 6 months then"
because this seems to be a contradiction - maybe I'm being thick?
In my search using UKC and Rockfax in the thread title box I found two threads which we had removed which you might think I should have let run. One was the thread that you refer to which was a 'where did it go thread' and had no replies - we have always removed 'where did it go' threads. The other was someone slagging our news coverage with a kind of 'UKC news is shit' statement and not much else.
Obviously posts are different and I can't easily find how many of those have been removed but it isn't a great number. I think my statement of our policy about posts covers most of that though. The posts we removed the other day were on a Product News item in the Gear Forum hence a place where we moderate much more strictly.
My quick search revealed to me that we haven't removed anything apart from two one-post threads in the last 6 months, and I easily found 8 threads with loads of discussion and that was only searching on thread title.
I wouldn't call that a history of removing discussion.
Do we have to wait until Monday to ask questions for the forum Q&A session? I'm quite intrigued about the moderation of the gear forum, as I didn't know it was happening and tend(ed) to trust advice given there.
Well I see no reason that you shouldn't trust the advice on the Gear Forum, but yes, I would prefer to keep this sort of stuff for Monday.
Ok - I think (but correct me if I'm wrong) you are saying
"we haven't deleted very much that you would worry about but we have delete some stuff" and that you wouldn't call that "a history of removing discussion" .
I'd counter that although at a low level in terms of the fraction of posts deleted out of the vast number undeleted it does amount to a history of removing discussion and that this history is widely know and has a chilling effect on discussion.
This was very clear in my mind when I wrote a post you removed in the last few days and was clearly evident in the minds of many other people posting in the same thread which was also removed. I realise I'm in danger of discussing a deleted thread here against the UKC "fight club rule" but I hope you'll let that stand.
> [> This thread is much less about "unsubstantiated digs at Rockfax" than the right to discuss three genuinely held concerns held by passionate UK climbers about the perceived impact of Rockfax's new North Wales Guide, specifically:
> Well put, hopefully those that don't understand the issues Colin's raised will having read this.
No, this points to the confusion of the OP.
What has the BMC got to do with all this? That's a big question, currently unanswered but is the thrust of the OP.
We can dig out from the OP that the problem is 'How should we talk about RockFax without being censored' but the OP just obscures it.
> What has the BMC got to do with all this? That's a big question, currently unanswered but is the thrust of the OP.
Ok to clarify, what I meant was that these are 'probably' the reasons behind the OP posting in the first place.
I do not think it's the BMCs job to run an alternative to UKC. Perhaps on access, ethics, and similar, but on 'which book to read', politics, humour and general banter? Cycling? Running? Forget it. And there is still the issue that they are a commercial guidebook provider as well.
Cost would also be an issue for them. Would they cover it from membership, or sponsorship? Would sponsors be allowed to call themselves 'official providor to....'? Swearing, offensive posts would all be problems for a national body forum
I think Alan does a good job moderating. You might not like it, but I don't think you're going to get much better. And almost any other site will ban a lot more people
"What's stopping you from using UKB if there is something you are desperate to discuss but keep getting zapped here?"
Maybe because UKB isnt an open soapbox to critisise UKC. If people are going to do this on UKB they need to build a profile there and be within that sites guidelines and practices.
(a) UKC stops being so defensive and protective about itself and associated interests - tbh most of what I've seen removed is so bland and would be unremarkable if it wasn't removed.
(b) Potentially controversial moderating should take place through a publicly accessible / visible mechanism (akin to the "talk" page on wikipedia) - this does not prohibit one-one discussions but does lift the veil of secrecy without jamming up the forums with tedious arguments.
(c) an independant dispute mechanism is put in place for times when the UKC and members can't agree.
(a) would mean most things never got to be a bother, (b) would give confidence that abuse wasn't taking place and (c) would be very rarely used but back up (b) and (c).
Is it not simply possible to divorce peoples logbook access and activity from forum moderation and possible penalty time outs?
If someone is so out of order they are to be excluded, give them the opportunity to download their logbook in a useable format?
people seem Concerned about forum moderation and Potential consequences Regarding their logbooks.
That should Free up both users and forum moderators to be more Frank?
> (a) UKC stops being so defensive and protective about itself and associated interests
Given the fairly energetic criticism in the threads that people keep linking to, which is clearly still there, how much less defensive do you want them to be? Does Alan need to jump in and say "yeah, we're a bunch of bastards actually, here's a photo of Jack Geldard kicking a puppy" every time or something?
> Well I see no reason that you shouldn't trust the advice on the Gear Forum
I must be confused about this then - earlier you said: "The Gear Forum has a similar level of heavy moderation due to many of the posts being linked to people paying for advertising presence on the site."
Seems like a fairly good reason not to take it as objective advice, unless I'm missing the point.
Hopefully this can be covered then - no idea if I'll be available during the official session.
By the way, thanks for a great website.
> I must be confused about this then - earlier you said: "The Gear Forum has a similar level of heavy moderation due to many of the posts being linked to people paying for advertising presence on the site."
> Seems like a fairly good reason not to take it as objective advice, unless I'm missing the point.
Yes, if we believe that negative comments regarding gear are being deleted, what faith do we have in positive comments being a true reflection of the quality of the gear? Five positive postings praising new gear could simply mean that 10 negative ones had been deleted due to commercial pressure from the manufacturer/advertiser.
> Seems like a fairly good reason not to take it as objective advice, unless I'm missing the point.
I can understand your impression. To clarify, I am talking about heavy moderating on threads like this (preceded by PRODUCT NEWS or something like that):
and not on threads like this:
Toby and Simon state in the FAQs that they have a very light moderating policy and I'm not aware of threads getting zapped because a newbie has started them? When I write "UK" in to my address bar the third thing that is in the drop down menu is the UKB "Screwed over by Wrongfax" thread which is 16 pages long, so it's not like UKB users are scared of discussing these issues!
I saw that photo - it was a ravenous wolf and self defence clearly!!!
oh, and -> ;-) obviously.
I wasn't sure it it was a rhetorical or ironic question but in case not:
"why...should ukc ... go to the bother of an ... independent dispute mechanism?"
Errm - to solve things like this thread?
Maybe like this - the members of UKC elect 1/2 dozen members to "sit" on the dispute panel. Should a serious dispute occur like a disputed banning or post removal, and this can't be resolved amicably on a talk page, these lucky few get to see everything and if they agree it was reasonable of UKC to act then they write one sentence each why for public consumption and the ban is enforced. Otherwise the ban is lifted. I suppose the panel might also offer a half way house whereby the substantive content is left after editing. A statement explaining the adjudication is placed in the forum either way.
> "why...should ukc ... go to the bother of an ... independent dispute mechanism?"
> Errm - to solve things like this thread?
Why does this thread need 'solving'? It is going along just fine thanks. Lots of decent discussion, no insults, people making their point. Okay it may end up going round in circles, but that is the nature of debate isn't it?
Ok there is a missing word:
"solve the problem that this thread was about"
I know, that was hilarious! Talk about taking something that's not important and trying to make it like some pseudo-legal process. Seriously some people here need to get over themselves. It's climbing, and this is a commercial climbing website, neither of which are that important. It does a great job and is fun and useful to use and read. Of course a few controversial threads are going to be pulled (and quite a few less than some people would have us think) - just get over it, there's so many places you can go and ahve your say elsewhere.
Come on Alan, stop being so nice, grow a toothbrush moustache and start behaving like a proper dictator..
(need some PS expert to do the deed...)
"Toby and Simon state in the FAQs that they have a very light moderating policy and I'm not aware of threads getting zapped because a newbie has started them? When I write "UK" in to my address bar the third thing that is in the drop down menu is the UKB "Screwed over by Wrongfax" thread which is 16 pages long, so it's not like UKB users are scared of discussing these issues!"
That's the North Wales Limestone thread which is arguably the biggest issue with Rockfax that has ever arisen in the site history with mainly regulars posting. I stand by my impression that if its just moaning about UKC from a newbie on nothing important it's not especially welcome (at least not from what Simon has said over there). Thats not the same as it being zapped, more peer pressure, which we could do with more of over here.
Quote "Can you guys quit the whining about UKC and Mick Ryan. It causes Toby and I an inordinate amount of hassle and isnt very interesting." I won't link it because of what else the thread contains.
Hi Frank. Yes I agree that there is a political dimension to how the BMC operates and I do think the organisation has been swayed by vested interests in the past. However, it is still the nearest thing we have to an independent organisation charged with promoting the interests of all climbers. By and large I think the paid and voluntary officers of the BMC subscribe to the ideal of an genuinely independent body acting for the good of its members.
Some posters have pointed out that the key issue here is not about the BMC but rather is about the openness and impartiality, or otherwise, of UKC's forum hosting. I agree.
However others have made the point that it is very difficult to develop alternatives to such a well established provider as UKC. That is why I raised the question of whether the BMC should become involved - to my mind it is the only sufficiently well resourced organisation capable of either creating or encouraging/assisting in the setting up of a properly independent climbing forum.
But that is not to say that there might not be other solutions - I think UKC is an excellent resource and I really only have problems when it seems that important discussions that might be critical of UKC are being censored.
Maybe UKC could consider ways of making their editorial role more transparent so that we all know what has been deleted and why.
Maybe UKC/Rockfax should accept that from time to time they are going to get a good slagging and that putting up with this in a public forum, rather than jumping in to censor stuff they take particular exception to, would actually enhance their reputation.
Most of us can spot stuff that is unfair or prejudicial for ourselves just as most of us can appreciate fair and reasoned criticism - do we really need Alan and his moderators to clandestinely decide which is which on our behalf ?
Have you actually read this thread? If it has done anything surely it has helped dispel this myth?
I refer you to my reply at 12:27
Arrghhhh - they do, as numerous posts above have pointed out at great length!
I'm genuinely interested in what "vested interests" you saw in the BMC. It's a bit of a fuzzy term that could mean a lot of things.
Yes I have read the thread.
I have also read another recent thread in which you quite clearly state that you had removed posts (presumably critical of UKC/Rockfax) which you considered to be unsubstantiated.
Nobody is doubting that over a long period of time you have accepted a great deal of material which is critical of UKC/Rockfax on this forum.
But by your own admission it is also apparent that sometimes you have not.
Whether the users of this site think that is ok is the issue.
It's his sandbox, he's not charging us entry. He is giving his time freely to us to run this site and we all benefit from it (well, I certainly do).
Nobody (well almost) does anything for free.
> Nobody is doubting that over a long period of time you have accepted a great deal of material which is critical of UKC/Rockfax on this forum.
> But by your own admission it is also apparent that sometimes you have not.
The removed threads in question are totally different to critical discussion.
In this case the removed threads and posts were started by a person who works, or worked, for V12 which is linked with Ground Up. They essentially promoted GU guides and denigrated RF guides on a PRODUCT NEWS thread which was announcing the new RF guide - Rockfax being an advertiser ion UKC. In the past we have let these run to avoid stinks like this, our new policy (which I am seriously re-thinking) is that we won't allow them anymore. We have never allowed them with all other advertisers.
I didn't really want to mention this since I have no beef with GU, and I am sure that the person was acting independently, but I think I do now need to state this to at least clarify the debate somewhat.
> I was never asked to leave any BMC meeting. In fact I have always felt very welcome at BMC meetings, including ones in the NW.
Apologies. I'll have to dig through my old stuff and find the event I was referring to (probably related to Rockfax and some sort of dispute over route data).
Well it depends. If the person was an employee of ABC then yes, I think that is fairly understandable. Unfortunately we have had instances where people have been sneaky about it and made comments under new identities to rubbish competitors. So this is why we tend to steer clear of anything like that on PRODUCT NEWS threads which are essentially advertorial on the Forums.
If, on the other hand, it was a review of XYX's widget then comments about alternatives would be welcome on the thread, unless of course we smelt a rat with a dodgy looking profile. Again, this has happened.
I think this is the sort of thing people don't realise when they ask for no censorship, or less moderating.
To give you an idea here is an approximate breakdown of removed threads on the UKC Forums:
60% people trying to fiddle the For Sale forum
30% auto-spam viagra etc.
5% accidental spam from people thinking UKC was a free forum for adverts.
3% rude, abusive, nasty stuff - not work safe etc.
1% forum moderating, 'where has it gone' type threads
1% advertising-related critical threads like we are discussing here
Those figures are based on a quick scan of the first few screens removed threads forum I can see.
Writing that Rockfax is an advertiser in UKC seems a little disingenuous, even if it's technically correct: they're part of the same company.
It's that link - that conflict of interest, perhaps - which is part of the debate here, I think.
If this were only as simple as guidebooks and gear reviews then perhaps, but there is rather a lot more to UKC than that, and that blessing may also be it's curse.
Do you think a % of the revenue from guidebook sales, commercial revenue et al that the BMC generate should be used to pay for bandwidth that goes on religious debates, reading lists , record reviews et al. Incidentally as a commercial organisation that sells guidebooks the BMC would instantly fall into the same pitfalls , with the extra paranoia factor that they are an 'official body'.
Sites cost money, like it or not, and balancing sponsorship and censorship (as some would see it) is not easy. Sponsors should be held to account, but users are not allowed to get away with biased wibble either
> Writing that Rockfax is an advertiser in UKC seems a little disingenuous, even if it's technically correct: they're part of the same company.
> It's that link - that conflict of interest, perhaps - which is part of the debate here, I think.
I think his point is to treat rockfax like anyother advertiser. He has said above that he has changed his policy to this rather than giving more slack to negative comments about rockfax/ukc for fear of being slated for bias.
That's certainly not my experience. I've been negative about plenty of stuff in their follow on gear article threads, I'm not aware of ever being censored.
Here for instance, where DMM ended up getting involved:
> I can understand your impression. To clarify, I am talking about heavy moderating on threads like this (preceded by PRODUCT NEWS or something like that) ...
Thanks, that's reassuring.
What funny goings on, on UKC recently.
Could this be the downfall? Everything has it's time right?
Just seems like there's a lot of people getting annoyed by the owners actions.
I'm off to start my not for profit website (if I had time)
> and not on threads like this:
Unlike humptydumpty, I don't find that reassuring. In fact it seems to me that it points to another problem: you are running 'advertisements' under the guise of 'news articles'.
The various codes of practice of the ASA seem to make it clear that that shouldn't be done, and that "any such material should be prominently labelled as an Advertisement'" - just as it always is in newpapers, for example.
yes it's more product placement than product news
> 60% people trying to fiddle the For Sale forum
> 30% auto-spam viagra etc.
> 5% accidental spam from people thinking UKC was a free forum for adverts.
> 3% rude, abusive, nasty stuff - not work safe etc.
> 1% forum moderating, 'where has it gone' type threads
> 1% advertising-related critical threads like we are discussing here
Seems fair enough to me.
Get a grip young man.
I tend agree with Mick that UKC's approach to moderation is about right. The forums would be a worse place without it.
I'm less sure about product advertising being packaged as "News" - if that is the case i.e. UKC gets any form of payment for the article
This system has been in place for 5 years.
Stories are clearly titled as announcements from manufacturers. There is also explanation text at the bottom, the content is also obviously marketing message.
Thread - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=566341
Product News - http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=5842
Here are links to hundreds of them - http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/list.php?older=6
The various codes of practice of the ASA seem to make it clear that that shouldn't be done, and that "any such material should be prominently labelled as an Advertisement'" - just as it always is in newpapers, for example.
This is part of the footer to the linked article: -
They are not gear reviews and are provided by companies that advertise with UKClimbing Limited.
Doesn't that suffice?
Do you find the wool often get pulled over your eyes that easily?!
It's not about me.
There are clear ASA guidelines in place for this sort of thing.
It might do, or it might not. Similar features in newspapers are always *headlined* as 'Advertisement', for example.
If you want a definitive ruling, ask the ASA.
> If you want a definitive ruling, ask the ASA.
Why don't you ask them? You're the one who appears to be confused.
I agree, it would be good if such advertisements were clearly indicated. Perhaps by including something like "announcement by Petzl" at the top of the article. You know, the way they already are.
Seems to me like there a handful of very vocal people getting annoyed that a free service isn't run in exactly the way they'd like.
And in the meantime don't post any critical comment on this site?
Here's the point you seem to be missing: Rockfax recently produced a new guide to N. Wales that includes the main crags that will feature in the excellent (I have seen some proofs) voluntary guidebook being prepared by local activists. These local activists have put an really quite amazing amount of effort into improving and equipping hundreds of new and existing routes. They had rather hoped that some of the enormous cost of doing so might be recouped from guidebook sales (all profits are designated to go to the bolt fund).
However, these sales, profits and hence the contribution to the bolt fund will inevitably be significantly reduced because Rockfax have decided to press ahead with their own rival for profit guidebook. Rockfax have put precious little into all the actual work that has taken place on these crags.
I, along with a large number of climbers who are active in this area, think that Rockfax's behaviour in this case is utterly shoddy.
We'd like a forum where this can be said.
We don't like the idea that some of the critical comments that have been expressed may have been deleted
That seems perfectly reasonable to me.
It has been said, quite a lot and in no uncertain terms, on this forum. The thread is still there if you want to check. It's also been said in even less uncertain terms on UK Bouldering. What else do you want - someone to pay for you to put an advert in the Times or something?
> These local activists have put an really quite amazing amount of effort into improving and equipping hundreds of new and existing routes.
Sounds terrible, all that time spent on the crags.
So you hoped to make money from the book to help fund your own climbing activities.
Most people don't give a cr@p though.
As has been said, set up your own.
Clearly it must be then.
No one has ever 'made money' out of a voluntary bolt fund.
I see from your profile that you are only 19 so I will put this crass comment down to the fact that you are young and inexperienced, rather than just a selfish pillock who expects to benefit from the efforts of others but give nothing back in return.
Lol, good luck running a stock forum with as much traffic as UKC on a £10/month server, it would last about 5 seconds. Try multiplying that figure by 100 and you'd be a bit closer.
Wow, so bitter and NW Limestone isn't even available to buy yet. If you want to do anything to ensure you maximise 'profit' you need to get it on the shelves ASAP.
On another note, you do realise that every post I see like this makes me less and less willing to buy it, don't you?
at least he's got a profile
Do you think so? I run a couple and use many more, and UKC's in-house offering is streets ahead of them. Which is what you'd expect, as it can be changed to do whatever they want.
Or do you just mean that they have avatars and animated smileys?
> On another note, you do realise that every post I see like this makes me less and less willing to buy it, don't you?
You come across as very angry, childish even. Clearly you are beside yourself, but this incessant ranting and raving cannot be good for your liver.
Why not get out and do some trad or some soloing; obviously fixating on vandalising pieces of rock is not promoting exuberant good spirits in you.
Anyway, nice to see you are mature enough to refrain from using abusive language in your posts.
> Or do you just mean that they have avatars and animated smileys?
The day UKC introduce smileys and avatars is the day that the BMC need to step in and launch an independent climbing forum.
Well done to you and Calder
Don't suppose you'll be contributing to any of the bolt funds either then?
Years ago the climbing world was a sort of community, and a fairly generous and co-operatve one at that
So you mean its not really a rival then? It's the obvious book for the dedicated N Walesian sport climber to buy??
As has been pointed out this has been done to death. The time-line of Rockfax's involvement in North Wales Limestone guides is here for anyone interested in investigating the real state of affairs - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=552134#x7372654
> As has been pointed out this has been done to death. The time-line of Rockfax's involvement in North Wales Limestone guides is here for anyone interested in investigating the real state of affairs - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=552134#x7372654
Has it, I didn't realise. Fascinating link, BTW.
Would you care to comment on the fact that the posting from Colin Struthers and agp appear to be coming from the same person posting via two separate profiles?
> So you hoped to make money from the book to help fund your own climbing activities.
I agree that this has been discussed at length, but those two comments are way off the mark, speak for yourself, not most people.
Might take a while, as it's hard to type quickly with a sock on one hand.
I think you might find that folks of the Ken Wilson era might not have been as generous to bolt funding as you might like to think.
I was being somewhat facetious, although at the same time we aren't seeing hordes of people decrying Rockfax's behaviour as 'utterly shoddy'.
> I was being somewhat facetious, although at the same time we aren't seeing hordes of people decrying Rockfax's behaviour as 'utterly shoddy'.
Then I suggest you read the UKC thread on the subject.
I'd be interested in seeing your stats? However I guess as Alan has already said, most of that is photos? Cause he was quoting £800 just for bandwidth. I guess that's about the cost of a 100mbits 95th percentile link?
I think you could run a stock forum on a fairly small VM and have it coping with 300-400 users online simultaneously. Yeah, you'd have to do a bit of work on it first, but I reckon it'd be possible.
However the moment you get photos/videos involved, I'm sure costs would rocket.
Well compared to the number of people who read the thread, the number expressing strong anti-RF views is pretty small. So yes, most people probably don't really care very much.
ANDDDD... drum roll please... "Post of the day!" goes to David!
I am quite annoyed that I have actually taken seriously a thread from someone questioning our integrity and openness, and yet he has seen fit to sneakily double his voice on a thread by using a second profile.
I think we should draw this sorry thread to a close pretty soon.
In the interests of openness I have banned agp's profile.
> Well compared to the number of people who read the thread, the number expressing strong anti-RF views is pretty small. So yes, most people probably don't really care very much.
You haven't counted them (because its a massive thread), so you have no idea what the numbers are, and you also seem to have concluded that only those commenting care.
Offwidth put it well, its "arguably the biggest issue with Rockfax that has ever arisen in the site history with mainly regulars posting", I'd agree with that. Changes have been made to RFs guide as a result, so Alan James seems to think people care too.
And you have concluded that there is a large contingent of UKCer's who had strong views, but for some reason couldn't be bothered to comment. If they felt so vehemently that RF was in the wrong, then why not comment? Surely you don't really believe that the majority of climbers on UKC, let alone the majority of climbers in the country, really give two hoots who their guidebook is produced by?
> Well done to you and Calder
> Don't suppose you'll be contributing to any of the bolt funds either then?
> Years ago the climbing world was a sort of community, and a fairly generous and co-operatve one at that
> Progress eh?
I might do at some point although I haven't clipped a bolt in my life.
Unfortunately I'm too much of a punter for sport :-)
I don't pretend to know the whole story and I can understand that it's a emotive subject which people feel very strongly about but personally I feel that some on these forums have gone way over the score.
Just my looking from the outside in views.
In any case, as far as this thread the question isn't how widespread or valid the criticism of Rockfax is, it's whether that criticism has been suppressed by commercially motivated UKC mods.
Yeah I realise that Dave, apologies for the thread hijack, but that kid was throwing stuff around, obviously doesn't know what's gone on and needed putting straight. I shall desist from further comment. Perhaps the thread is dead anyway though.
> Yeah I realise that Dave, apologies for the thread hijack, but that kid was throwing stuff around, obviously doesn't know what's gone on and needed putting straight. I shall desist from further comment. Perhaps the thread is dead anyway though.
Well if you want to end it that way then alright, but I don't think you put any 'kid' straight on anything.
The only indication that they're different is the '[Product news]' in the subject line. Otherwise, they look like a normal conversation between individuals. But we know that they're more 'heavily moderated' than are normal threads - so the possibility is that they just become unannounced advertising 'puff pieces.'
I'm not trying to derail this thread, but I hope you can see that there are similar concerns.
That is a stupid and lazy assertion.
> No one has ever 'made money' out of a voluntary bolt fund.
I realise that the 'agp' profile has been locked but it is maybe right to point out that 'you' said - 'They had rather hoped that some of the enormous cost of doing so might be recouped from guidebook sales' which sure as hell suggests that money was to be drawn down from the bolt fund to pay for bolts already put in by the 'activists'. It might not be 'making money' but its 'getting money'.
Is the intention that contributions to the bolt fund will pay for bolts already placed?
I'm not sure I could discuss the stats on here tbh.
The VMs are looking pretty good value for money though and we'll probably go for that option on the next server upgrade. We're on a dedicated server at the mo.
So the title line tells you they're different. And a photo in first post. And that they're posted by "UKC Gear". And you forgot to note that the "PRODUCT NEWS" is all caps. So in other words they leap off the page as something different. Seriously, are you confused by this?
Nope they really don't and it seems very few other people have the problems of confusion you're having.
Except for them being announced by a bloody great "PRODUCT NEWS" all caps banner.
What similar concerns - I say again is there something else that's upsetting you? You say there are similar concerns hence it's not really...
I think it's reasonable for Alan et al to choose not to permit some stuff on the website, it's their site, that said stuff shouldn't be removed without good reason and if the good reason contravenes equality laws then it's not a good reason. You're slagging off my company might be agood enough reason.
I don't know the answer, but does it matter?
Firstly, they needed replacing and if someone has bought bolts with their own money and placed them off their own back, or someone has loaned the bolt fund money, or hoowever it might have worked, it seems relatively fair that the fund should pay them back as and when its able, secondly they'll need replacing again in future, and thirdly I don't think the job is by any means done yet...?
The profile for agp has been locked as it turns out it was a second profile for colin struthers the OP.
He can still reply on that account.
I think it does matter as most bolts funds are for refurbishment / replacement and NOT for funding new routes. So I'm a bit confused about the idea that contributions to a bolt fund might retrospectively be taken by people to pay for bolts they have placed in the past.
I'd be fairly comfortable paying for 'maintainance' but wouldn't pay for the equipping of a new route by the prospective first ascentionist
Let me ask then: suppose a '[Product news]' thread is moderated to remove all negative comments about whatever it is that's being advertised. In
other words it becomes pure advertising puff - despite the appearance of a normal conversation. Would you consider that fair? A reasonable thing to do?
The similar concerns with which this thread was introduced: namely 'if that's how you want your site to operate i.e. not as an the host of a positively regarded 'open' forum for discussion but rather as a selectively censored vehicle for the promotion of your own company. None of us really knows how much you manipulate the content of the site do we?'
You forgot to mention that the 2nd line of every post says
"See all <company name> new and articles"
followed on the 3rd line by
"product news by <company name>"
then at the end
"Gear News and Outdoor Industry News at UKC and UKH presents climbing, walking and mountaineering equipment and stories that will be of interest to UKClimbing.com's readers. They are not gear reviews and are provided by companies that advertise with UKClimbing Limited"
Perhaps they should also include a sound clip shouting "this is an advert"?
But it doesn't happen because I've read plenty of product news posts that, under the advertising post at the top, become discussions on the pros and cons of certain products.
Alan said that he has removed some posts which he reason to believe were for example competitors dissing a product - no problem with that. And if it was removing negative posts on only the Product News threads, no, I wouldn't be that bothered about that either. If Petzl pay to advertise their head torches that way, I'm not that bothered if negative comments were cut from those threads. Like I said, I think its obvious they're an advert because of the title.
People can and do start normal gear forum threads that moan about something breaking or not working well - they don't get zapped for doing that - if you've had petzl head torches fail on you, start a thread about it. You may well even be able to post that criticism under their paid for advert if you are sensible and fair about it: "these new head torches look interesting; does anyone know though if they have redesigned the cable housing in the battery pack though? I've had two older models fail there..." etc. I've seen similar discussion on Product News threads before.
> Alan said that he has removed some posts which he reason to believe were for example competitors dissing a product ...
I won't labour the point any further; I hope the underlying question of 'trust' (and the potential for losing it) is clear enough. As the OP had it, 'None of us really knows how much you manipulate the content of the site do we?'
If this is the case, I'm deeply shocked. Questioning UKC, Rockfax etc, fair enough, if that's what people want to do. Obviously ironic when it's on here but, God knows, life has enough irony.
However there comes a point on here where criticism becomes a spear pointing at a person's integrity. It could be about new routes, style of ascent, commercialism, whatever. But the target inevitably becomes someone's integrity. And, in our tiny climbing world, mud sticks - whether it was deserved or whether it wasn't. People have to live with it.
Obviously Colin has strong feelings. Fair enough. But to have an unstated duplicate identity on this thread (if that is what he has done) is not, in my opinion fair at all.
Colin, I'm sorry but I think you really need to reply to this one.
All you have to do is browse through some of the old Outdoor News threads, and you'll see that if any censorship does go on, it's not terribly efficient as most adverse comments are still there.
The point has already been made above: whether it's an 'ad' thread or any other, we can't see which posts - if any - have been removed, edited, etc. We just don't know.
Whether any such editing is 'efficient' or not is another question. But I myself don't really care about that.
Now if I may return to the suggestion that I am in some sense trying to 'make money' out of a guide book which aims to give its profits to the bolt fund, a few facts might not go amiss
- I am not involved in the publication of the guidebook, except that I have provided the authors with information about new routes I have done
- I have never received a single penny from any bolt fund
- I have never received any free bolts from a bolt fund (although I did get a little bit of help with replacing the lower offs at the Gallery from the BMC Better Bolts Campaign)
- Over the last 15 years I have put up quite a few bolted routes, entirely at my own expense
- I estimate that I have probably spent the thick end of £1000
- This morning I put an order in for 10 sets of lower off bolts to be used on new routes I am hoping to do - total cost £173. I don't expect any help from anyone with the cost of this kit.
I am fortunate that I can afford to fund my own new routing but not everyone else can - that's why we have bolt funds.
Some good people have put a lot of free time and effort into creating a whole raft of new routes and what I'm confident will be an outstanding guide book to the Ormes and the N. Wales coast. They have, uniquely in the UK I think, pledged all the profits from this guidebook to the bolt fund.
I think it is a shame that Rockfax, although fully aware of this fact, have seen fit to undercut their efforts by producing a rival guidebook whose sole motive is profit.
I know whose book I will be buying.
> I am fortunate that I can afford to fund my own new routing but not everyone else can - that's why we have bolt funds.
Colin, I'm not sure that that is why we have bolt funds. See my post above.
Well if you still stand by them presumably you stood by them when you posted. So you should have signed them. Then your integrity would not have been tarnished as it has now.
Especially as the content of your alter egos posts are different to your other posts on here.
(BTW I used to post under 2 accounts, 1 was called Graeme Alderson, and one was GraemeA at home, both had profiles which were more or less the same.)
Well it was earlier today; you didn't just put Colin, or CS, or Colin on another computer at the bottom as loads of people occasionally do. And you did do it a number of times.
Once, then fair enough - benefit of the doubt and all that. But three was it? And lengthy posts on a controversial subject at that? It just looks like some rapid backpedaling after getting caught.
Just rude, belittling and judgemental instead??
sorry you are doing no favours to your cause Colin
BTW what do you think about the actual issues?
Your response was unusually rude for Colin Struthers. As someone who has had the odd joust with I did not associate the rude response with you. Hence my saying that there was a different posting style. Hence you were being sneaky.
What was absurd and offensive about the bolt fund??
You're confusing two separate issues - new routing, and the timing of maintenance and the donations which fund the maintenance.
If you haven't been following the details, vast amounts of cash, time and bolts have been used to reequip LPT in recent years, to install a handline down to the diamond, to reequip the existing routes on the diamond, to reequip dozens of other routes in all sorts of random areas - the list goes on. This is maintenance of a high-maintenance area where said maintenance was long overdue, hence there's been a huge amount of it to do.
So if that's your only objection to the bolt fund paying, if it even does, for bolts that have already been put in then I think you've got very little to worry about.
In theory maybe, but often the people who are going out to restore existing fixed gear are also putting up new routes. In the real world bolt funded gear does sometimes end up on new routes.
Is this really such a big deal?
Does Gary Gibson really have to pay for every single bolt he places on the 4000 routes he has created which are then enjoyed by tens of thousands of other climbers.
In most European countries new routes get put up with the support of bolt funds.
Why not here?
As you well know European bolting is often paid for by local councils etc. They are totally different from what we have here.
Your argument seems to confirm the accusation that you would like others to contribute to your new routing activity and by comparing to the Euro model you seem at odds with your previously stated objections to the commercialisation
my suggestion is that you & TobyA stick to the day jobs ad don't work in interface design!
Q: is this always NEWS about new PRODUCTS or is it sometimes adverts for existing PRODUCTS on the market (ie not NEWS!) ?
As anyone who knows me will confirm to you, I have never spent a penny of bolt fund money on a new route and whats more, its highly unlikely I ever will.
However, there are people putting up great new routes that we will all enjoy who would benefit from a bit of support from the wider climbing community. What's wrong with that you stupid ar*e? (had to put that in because you also accused me of being unwilling to be rude under my own name)
There is nowt wrong with supporting people, my company does quite a lot. But be up front about it you stupid tw@t. After all you started this whole thread about not being up front about things.
> As anyone who knows me will confirm to you, I have never spent a penny of bolt fund money on a new route and whats more, its highly unlikely I ever will.
Ah but unless we meet them in person how will we know it isn't you masquerading under yet another profile?
Hey everyone! Thanks to this thread I've just discovered UK Bouldering's website. It's miles better. Lets all go there
> As anyone who knows me will confirm to you, I have never spent a penny of bolt fund money on a new route and whats more, its highly unlikely I ever will.
> However, there are people putting up great new routes that we will all enjoy who would benefit from a bit of support from the wider climbing community. What's wrong with that you stupid ar*e? (had to put that in because you also accused me of being unwilling to be rude under my own name)
Under you're own name you are strangely apologetic. Bolt funds are for safety. If an existing route becomes unsafe then it is quite understandable that the person restoring that route isn't out of pocket.
New routing and getting your name in a guidebook should not eat up funds that would be better used to keeping existing routes safe. If people want their name in a guidebook, then they can pay for it.
No I never accused you of that, I said it was uncharacteristic of you. I think that you have been sussed as deliberately posting on this thread under 2 names. Naughty Colin.
If you start posting on UKB with this kind of double standards you will get ripped apart. Go ahead and enjoy.
> Hey everyone! Thanks to this thread I've just discovered UK Bouldering's website. It's miles better. Lets all go there
i've not been following this issue particularly closely till now, but on the basis of your contributions to this thread tonight, don't let the door catch your arse on the way out,
I said that I thought a BMC forum would be great for 99% of the time and then run into difficulties the other 1%, just like here.
You never answered my question either as to what vested interests you saw at work swaying BMC policy? As I said above, I'm genuinely interested.
Obviously you should have made it clear that you were AGP. But, if it was the heat of the moment (in a very heated thread), then fair enough.
Although I've never met you, I've never imagined you as an underhand person.
People who are banned or have their posts deleted can always post elsewhere and it will be referred here... this site will still help to propagate that persons view.
I really don't think there is a problem ( as in your OP).
Regarding gear reviews.... that's the nature of the beast. Where the internet has made a difference to consumers is user feedback sites, which realistically this site can't do. So yeah, i'd say there is room for a site that did that.
my day job involves interface design :-)
but it's aimed at people who can read, apparently not the case here.
Do you have evidence of this alleged theft? Or are you making it up?
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