/ Stars and moderating

bpmclimb on 14 Jan 2017
When logging new routes, it's not uncommon for first ascentionists to award their own routes one or more stars, even when they are clearly undeserved. Rose-tinted-spectacles, or a deliberate deception to encourage more traffic? Either way, when the route is obviously of indifferent/poor quality, would it be ok for UKC crag moderators to remove stars?
ericinbristol - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to bpmclimb:

Yes
Offwidth - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to bpmclimb:

Yes if they have climbed it and found it clearly lacking. Leave a comment about the original claim. In my view the same goes for newly claimed grades. Some new routes like Bilberry Cake claimed as an E1 (but in fact probably HS 4c) start to look like they are publicity stunts. I'd ignore trivial variants as well (include them under the main line) as there are in theory many of these for any given route and if we take them seriously the logbooks will get cluttered with crap.
davidbeynon on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I would be tempted to remove the stars on general principles, as they aren't for the FA to give. If the quality is genuinely there then it will get stars on merit later.
Offwidth - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

I need to start a new thread...
davidbeynon on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Make sure you include some sarky comments about the way routes beyond a certain grade automatically get stars just becaue they are hard.
bpmclimb on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> Make sure you include some sarky comments about the way routes beyond a certain grade automatically get stars just becaue they are hard.

Those comments would just be statements of fact, wouldn't they?
davidbeynon on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to bpmclimb:

I have a hypothesis that there is a correlation between the threshold grade and the ability of the guidebook author
The Ivanator - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to bpmclimb:
As I imagine you have Wyndcliff Quarry in mind, here's my ten pence worth (for routes I've climbed):

Currently starred routes that are worth that accolade:
Shin Gi Tai (3) (6b+)
Gone are the Days (6a)
Sometimes I Won't Thrill You (6a+)
Old Men Last Longer (5c) (probably just one star, good, but short lived)
Still Stuck on You (HVS 5a)

Unstarred routes that are IMO worthy of a star:
The Sun is Shining Down (6a+)
THE END (6a+)

Not quite star worthy:
The Big 60 (5a) (long [for the crag] and fairly entertaining, some less than perfect rock)
Not the Arete (6a) (good upper section)
Come to Mother/Hong Kong Wedding (6a+) (If start cleans up with traffic this combination is worth a star, quality moves high up)
It's Ovah for Jehovah (6a) (better up the front face away from the grot that fringes the crystalline rock)
Healing Potion (6a) (Nice, but very short)

No star and should remain so:
Pedestal Route (6a)
Stranded No More (5a)
Come to Mother (5b)
Head Full of Hedda (6a)
Hollow Talk (5c)
Gallions Reach (5c)
Silver-tongued Cavalier (6b)
Thick End of the Wedge (5c)
The Crag of Impossible Dreams (5a)
Stop Hitting Your Sister, Or You Won't Get Any Brioche (4a)
Bonjour Rodney (5a)
Your Magic Is Upon Me (5b)
The Rotten Corner (HS)
Same Old Story (6a) (horrible polish)
Wot! No Eric (6a)
Post edited at 19:13
andrewmc - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> I have a hypothesis that there is a correlation between the threshold grade and the ability of the guidebook author

But is that because they overgrade the routes they can only just climb, or because they can't call bullshit on harder routes that get given 3 stars by the FA?
remus - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> I would be tempted to remove the stars on general principles, as they aren't for the FA to give. If the quality is genuinely there then it will get stars on merit later.

Both stars and grades are meant to give a general indication of the quality/difficulty of a route. Both are always a bit of a stab in the dark.

Why should an fa not be allowed to speculate on the quality as well as the difficulty? After all, I'm sure they have some opinion on both.
davidbeynon on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to remus:

Maybe 1 in 10 routes deserve 1 star, and there should be a handful of 3 star routes in a normal sized guidebook. If an FA gives all their new routes stars, which is quite common then their views can safely be disregarded.
ianstevens - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> they aren't for the FA to give. If the quality is genuinely there then it will get stars on merit later.

This. You are always going to be biased towards your own routes IMO - wait and see what others think. That's the whole point right?
bpmclimb on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> I have a hypothesis that there is a correlation between the threshold grade and the ability of the guidebook author


I think you're on to something there. Fortunately, with the projects I've been involved in, we had a secret weapon to call upon in the form of Guy Percival (Martin Crocker was helpful at times, too), so I don't think the humble level of my own climbing had too much negative impact

davidbeynon on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to bpmclimb:

If you hadn't mentioned that then there would be a massive outlier in my graph and I would consder my hypothesis falsified

Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to remus:

> Both stars and grades are meant to give a general indication of the quality/difficulty of a route. Both are always a bit of a stab in the dark.

> Why should an fa not be allowed to speculate on the quality as well as the difficulty? After all, I'm sure they have some opinion on both.

Exactly. Both the grade and quality are just suggestions from the FA before the route is repeated and consensus starts to emerge. I don't see what's wrong with them offering an opinion.
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> I would be tempted to remove the stars on general principles, as they aren't for the FA to give. If the quality is genuinely there then it will get stars on merit later.

The trouble with that is some brilliant routes on remote crags or rarely visited areas might not see any repeats if they aren't given stars, despite in reality being just as good as better known classics.
remus - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> Maybe 1 in 10 routes deserve 1 star, and there should be a handful of 3 star routes in a normal sized guidebook. If an FA gives all their new routes stars, which is quite common then their views can safely be disregarded.

Depends which 'system' you subscribe to. Does 0* = not worth doing? (rockfax) or is 0* just an average route? To me it doesn't seem that either system is particularly amazing, everybody still flocks to the same 100 routes on the same 10 crags in the eastern peak, despite more guidebooks and rating systems than you can shake a stick at.
bpmclimb on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Exactly. Both the grade and quality are just suggestions from the FA before the route is repeated and consensus starts to emerge. I don't see what's wrong with them offering an opinion.

That's fine if the opinion is a genuine one and within the bounds of reasonableness, but (as I suggested in the OP) the opinion can be ridiculously biased, or even an out-and-out deception. Of course, this is also OK in all but the very short term, if the process you mention (the emerging of consensus) actually takes place: the trouble is, I don't think it does much of the time. On UKC we get some patchy voting at best, which almost never leads to a change in the actual star rating. With my OP, I was hoping to find out if UKC approves the changing of obviously wrong star ratings by moderators (I'm still somewhat in the dark about that).
tjekel - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to bpmclimb:
on FA, there's certain equippers - see recent kalymnos developments for example - who never seem to hit a shit piece of rock, and who consequently give all their - sometimes reasonably nondescript - routes 3 stars. See Arginonta Valley, Miltiadis, Lambda or parts of the Remy industries crags.

good routes, sometimes good lines - but being 1,5 meters apart, leading through very similar featured rock - can they all be THAT special?
Post edited at 21:15
Michael Gordon - on 16 Jan 2017
In reply to bpmclimb:

> With my OP, I was hoping to find out if UKC approves the changing of obviously wrong star ratings by moderators (I'm still somewhat in the dark about that).

I guess I agree with Offwidth that you'd certainly have to have at least climbed the route first. For some reason I'm slightly uneasy about it though. Another option would be to just put a comment in the logbooks when you climbed it which others would see anyway, and perhaps asking others to give their own opinions?
The Ivanator - on 17 Jan 2017
In reply to bpmclimb:

I think (like re-grading routes) this is something that should happen in some cases, but few moderators are probably knowledgeable and conscientious enough in their research to do this beneficially.
I am confident that you are an exception to this rule and know that when you take a crag "under your wing" e.g. Fairy Cave Quarry or more recently Wyndcliff Quarry that you are an authority on the climbs there, but also sensitive to others opinions and likely to reach the best decisions.
davidbeynon on 20 Jan 2017
In reply to remus:

I should have clarified. I was working with the old system where routes without stars are worth doing*, routes with a star are particularly good, 2 stars are good for the area, 3 are national importance etc. Giving routes stars just for showing up seems to be missing the point.

*unless the book says they are crap.