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Member Activity and Contributing Info - Chat

SteveJackson

Moderator & Supporting Member
Staff member
Supporter
I'd like to think I could be a contributor here, but I'll probably just be a consumer. An option to "contribute or donate" is a good idea. Enforcement would be difficult, but nothing a few good mods couldn't handle.

One of the big barriers is information format and consistency. You want a long term archive. Are randomly formatted trip reports going to get the best results? What info is required in a trip report? What about including a map of the trip or GPS coordinates. As I read trip reports here, I'm often wondering where the photo was taken or how to get to a particular spot being described. Yeah, it'd be nice if we could all discover these areas on our own, but not everyone gets 2000 miles in the dirt each year.

I will concern myself with the technical aspects of the information that is intended to be "stored" here, and allow others to focus on the social issues of the site (membership, growth, etc).

What about making the site invite only in addition to the other requirements suggested? New users could be invited by "proven" existing users, or nominated? I don't know.

I still think using the wiki software is a better platform for what you're trying to accomplish. Take what dirtopia.com tried to do and expand on the idea to be more user friendly.
 

Brett

Moderator
I do like the idea of using a preset trip report format. Take the idea that RME uses for Trip Maps, and just expand that into something we could use here.

Example:
http://www.rockymountainextreme.com/showthread.php?t=45120

We could add something along the lines of GPS points for photo's, trail markers, intersections and such, then just gloss out the details of the trip and the trail, if that makes sense.

IE, take our reports we have now, add ratings, GPS and just more info for those who want to follow in our footprints/tireprints.


:eek:
 

IntrepidXJ

Supporting Member
Supporter
One of the big barriers is information format and consistency. You want a long term archive. Are randomly formatted trip reports going to get the best results? What info is required in a trip report? What about including a map of the trip or GPS coordinates. As I read trip reports here, I'm often wondering where the photo was taken or how to get to a particular spot being described. Yeah, it'd be nice if we could all discover these areas on our own, but not everyone gets 2000 miles in the dirt each year.
I agree to a point. over on the CO forum, I added a Trails database which requires info a certain way before it is approved: http://expeditioncolorado.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=15

However, I feel that trip reports are a more expressive thing written by the person on the trip and should not be confined into a rigid structure.
 

CanuckMariner

New Member
Trip Reports

Perhaps an initial page/thread from the site owner, to express what is the minimum for the trip report and a guideline of the format it should be in prior to approval. Hence not too restrictive and still leaves room for the artist, expressive and writing style of the author(s).
 

Paul R

Supporting Member
Supporter
OSC
I like the idea of having a general outline of what should be included but I don't have a clue how to easily add maps to a trip report... maybe there could be a tutorial on how to create a trip report i.e. how to open/create gpx files etc. and I know some will have issues on how to link photos so that could be included to.

Another problem is caching the photos that are linked so that if a hosint company goes away or someone accidently deletes or reorginizes their pictures that the pictures won't be lost.
 
We could add something along the lines of GPS points for photo's, trail markers, intersections and such, then just gloss out the details of the trip and the trail, if that makes sense.
I think if a trip report has to resort to a formula like that, then we're creating the wrong board. It's the lazy way to write up a trip and takes all the fun out of individual discovery and adventure out of the trip. You squeeze all of the personality out of a trip report like that and debase it into a string of data. Might as well go to Disneyland and get on a ride.
 
I

iceaxe

Unregistered Guest
It feels to me like the site is set up to please both sides already.

First we have the "Utah Regional Information" section. This area makes sense as a structured organized place to find information. Have a set or preferred way of presenting trail information here minus the fluff of a trip report so to speak. Directions, GPS, maps, routefinding tips and tricks, brief point of interest descriptions. A condensed version of a trip report but with just the facts. These perhaps should be more trail or area of interest specific wheras a regular trip report often covers several trails or multiple areas. Rather than multiple reports of the same trail, share all information for one trail on one thread here? The RME trails section is a decent example but I'd like to see more information. Like a big online guidebook is one way to look at it.

Second we have the "trip report" section. Go crazy with your writing skills and photography here IMHO, perhaps some rules such as a standard approach to the title of a trip report thread. Trip Name/Date/club etc... and a header at the beginning done a certain way. For exampe I like the way Kurt throws out the Individual trails and Points of interest covered during a trip right at the beginning of a report. After that, no restrictions on creativity. These are fun to read and pump us up to go on our own adventure but when looking for facts or tips can be troublesome to wade through some times.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

cruiseroutfit

Moderator & Supporting Member
Supporter
Great ideas and thoughts everyone.

One thing that is really going to "standardize" a big portion of the site is the trail database I am working on. It will likely be a downloadable PDF or excel file. It will maintain a consistent set of parameters for each trail (rating, start, stop, length, book references) and lastly links to all the references and trip reports here on ExpeditionUtah. I'd prefer that trip reports stay just the way they are, individualistic. Research threads might be cleaned up and standardized a bit more in the future, if nothing more to help with searches.

I think one of the most important things about reading a trip report... its not that you know exactly where to go to see the "good stuff" rather you know have a sample of the "good stuff" that is available if you go. Everyone needs to discover the sites and scenery in their own way. Let the trip reports of others be a inspirational tool, not an itinerary. Make sense??
 

Alex

Trailbait
Kurt, my vote goes to a pdf file over the excel format. Acrobat Reader is free! :)

I also think for geographical information nothing beats a .gpx file, although users need to buy a mapping program to make use of it.
 

CanuckMariner

New Member
Trip Reports

Good see so much discussion, generally everyone agreeing. Individualism, creativity and imagination abound. Makes for a good read and you still find out enough to make you want to go see for yourself.

Great ideas, seems we are all generally on the same page.
 

SteveJackson

Moderator & Supporting Member
Staff member
Supporter
Let the trip reports of others be a inspirational tool, not an itinerary. Make sense??
Not to me, but I'm just a consumer seeking a product I can use and discard. :)

I guess I'm not the audience. Nothing irks me more than a multiple year-old trip report that shows pictures of the "coolest mine ever" without any reference to where it is other than "in mountain range X." I'm starting to see what the "overland expedition" is all about.
 

Skylinerider

Moderator & Supporting Member
Not to me, but I'm just a consumer seeking a product I can use and discard. :)

I guess I'm not the audience. Nothing irks me more than a multiple year-old trip report that shows pictures of the "coolest mine ever" without any reference to where it is other than "in mountain range X." I'm starting to see what the "overland expedition" is all about.
I think this is where the regional forum comes in to provide exact coordinates for a mine or a ghost town. To get more specific than a travel log, and if you want more info post up saying "WANTED: Info for XXXX". Just my .02 take it for what it's worth.
 

cruiseroutfit

Moderator & Supporting Member
Supporter
Not to me, but I'm just a consumer seeking a product I can use and discard. :)

I guess I'm not the audience. Nothing irks me more than a multiple year-old trip report that shows pictures of the "coolest mine ever" without any reference to where it is other than "in mountain range X." I'm starting to see what the "overland expedition" is all about.
I know what your referring to... but hopefully between the research tools already implemented and a quantity of trip reports, you'll be able to connect the dots.

I really don't want to market to a "consumer", that might be a project that spins off of the the data from ExpeditionUtah, ie a trail guide or website with consumer trail information in a format easily followed, downloaded, etc. But at this point I don't plan to take it that direction and even then, I don't think all the neat spots deserve the publicity of a book sold to randoms.

One can contribute to ExpeditionUtah without ever having been in the state in all reality. Pick a place you want to explore, and research it... internet, call land managers, call old-timers, find books, etc. Can't think of a subject, pick on from the list I've been compiling .

Lastly, the ideal thing about a "tight-knit" group of contributing members, I'm not leary to offer information about the "coolest mine ever" or the "best camping spot". I trust that it won't be copy/pasted in a general access forum or email list (read the ExpeditionUtah rules about such). You lose that trust and openness when you turn it into a consumer driven venture. Again this format is not intended to do anything of the sort.
 

Brett

Moderator
I think if a trip report has to resort to a formula like that, then we're creating the wrong board. It's the lazy way to write up a trip and takes all the fun out of individual discovery and adventure out of the trip. You squeeze all of the personality out of a trip report like that and debase it into a string of data. Might as well go to Disneyland and get on a ride.
Well, I meant that this could be the basic starting point. That way everyone would get the basic info on the trail and then the person writing the report would do their normal write up.
 
Well, I meant that this could be the basic starting point. That way everyone would get the basic info on the trail and then the person writing the report would do their normal write up.
Oh I know what you mean. It's a good idea.

There's this joke among photographers whenever we go to the 'famous' places, i.e. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Moab, etc...

We see tourists with huge camera bags, fancy photo vests and monster tripods wandering around. We make fun of them 'looking for Ansel's tripod holes'. It seems a large portion of the population wants that much hand-holding, and I am really anti-hand holding.

Even people who know my project and where I want to go don't hold my hand. The 'best' map I've ever gotten was scribbled on a napkin in about 30 seconds. I found the location immediately just from the napkin. It was a spot I had been looking for on my own for about 2 years.

PS I don't own a photo vest either. ;)
 

cruiseroutfit

Moderator & Supporting Member
Supporter
Just a reminder, contribute or face the consequences :D

The mods are working out a policy for member activity and contributions, after they are set in place expect the first axe to swing and inactive members will be cut. Don't let it be you :D
 

bh4rnnr

New Member
Just a reminder, contribute or face the consequences :D

The mods are working out a policy for member activity and contributions, after they are set in place expect the first axe to swing and inactive members will be cut. Don't let it be you :D

Boy,

I hope my non artical posts will be enough to keep me in this great place......
 
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