Jan 1, 2008 at 5:54 pm #1226551
[Why Are We Even Still Here? was "A Very Thorough MYOG Site"]
Yes, I am talking about this site.
There is a lot of really good stuff here and I am not just talking about the MYOG area of the Forums. The big problem is trying to find it and new folks don't even know enough to look for it. They don't even know it is out there hiding someplace.
This place needs a REAL and Complete overhaul if they are going to keep charging a membership fee. The free sites have a much better organized forums section and that is about all I ever look at anymore.
The weekly articles have not interested me much for some time and the last Pod Cast I tried to listen to was so bad I stopped it.
The list of links to my MYOG threads here – that I made is just that, I list I made with active links so I can find them. I have thought about starting a thread with just links to my stuff but never got around to it. I havn't because it would just get buried like everything else here in a couple of weeks.
My Blog has a lot of the same projects but not all of them. I havn't transfered all of them. I am busy doing other things.Jan 1, 2008 at 6:03 pm #1414479
Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
I couldn't agree more.
I don't think the forums are all that hard to search for something but where you begin and what comes out of the searches when you are really trying to dig something up becomes next to impossible.
There is so much information here though that's it's hard to even begin to start the processing of how to make it more simple.
The recent changes have made it easier to navigate for someone like you and I, but yes, I can see it being quite hard for a new person at the site.
Maybe this can be a forum on suggestions on how to do just that.Jan 1, 2008 at 7:12 pm #1414488
I agree that there is a lot here that keeps me, not as happy as I could be about it but still here.
The really old articles were the most important for me when I first joined. That old stuff is what the new folks should be reading. But finding it like you say is next to impossible for them. The new articles don't come close to the old articles by Ryan and gang. They all seem to be gone. All those old articles could be updated and reposted with current thinking and gear. Most are 3 years old or maybe older.
We can search and usually find stuff since we know it is out there and remember reading it.
I don't expect to see the kind of changes I would like. This is a "Make Your Own Web Site" (MYOWS) and changes seem to be beyond the current skill level of anyone here. I don't know how to do it or I would have had what this place needs long ago.
Had to go do a copy / paste and run this through spell check. Some forums I am on now even have a spell check and a preview funtion.Jan 1, 2008 at 7:22 pm #1414491
Forums overhaul has been the bulk of my web projects in the last few years. The fastest way to get all those forum features we enjoy on other sites is to install one of the popular forums and import the posts. Where it gets tricky is dealing with login and membership details. It's not trivial, but it's worth the effort to stay relevant.Jan 1, 2008 at 7:48 pm #1414494
Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
Still couldn't agree with you more, but don't go away just because of this.
BLP is always interested in making things better for the community.
You were also the pinnacle person for me to be as SUL as I am today.
That and you were the one who first got me started in MYOG.
You also made me see the "Bill Way" instead of the "Ray Way".Jan 1, 2008 at 7:51 pm #1414496
@fperkinsLocale: North East
I agree with David. The websites I work on get over a million page views a day and we partner with another company to host and moderate the forums. This is what backpacker.com just did, although, I'm not sure if the new software is that much better.Jan 2, 2008 at 12:42 am #1414514
I am not ready to go anywhere – there is nowhere else.
I have been thinking about a name for a new web site.
"Your Ultralight Gear Online" or YUGO for short.Jan 2, 2008 at 3:20 am #1414517
george carrBPL Member
@hammer-oneLocale: Walking With The Son
YUGO just screams small, no frills, and short lived. If your going to use a foriegn car acronym at least come up with something for Audi or Mercedes, or at the very least Hyundai or Toyota :P !Jan 2, 2008 at 5:57 am #1414523
Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
I like to hear the constructive criticism coming from this thread. I too find myself stumbling through much of the functionality of BPL and it is obvious the site's technology is from times gone by.
It is a very daunting task to successfully transfer a forums database from one piece of software to another so keep on reminding yourself what it is about BPL that you like and reassure yourself that when the overhaul does take place it will bring all those things you like into a more manageable package.
The recent update to the site's look and feel was a welcome change and an overhaul to the forums, article database and e-commerce will be a change I welcome with very open arms.Jan 2, 2008 at 6:42 am #1414528
sticky threads.Jan 2, 2008 at 7:21 am #1414533
Bill, much like you (though I don't go back nearly so far as you I have a list of links I particularly like.
PS – for everyone, I find that googling "search term(s) site:backpackinglight.com" is far superior to the built in site search…Jan 2, 2008 at 9:13 am #1414545
Douglas FrickBPL Member
I'm _not_ still here. I left for a two-week trip last summer, came back to 500+ new posts, left for another two weeks, and when faced with the nearly 1000 new posts and no truly easy way to read them all (by the time I get half-way through, all the other new posts are no longer 'new'; you know how it is) I just couldn't get through them. So I left.
I now just look for interesting threads in the Forum Heat in the newsletter (that's how I found this one). Otherwise I only come back to BPL for the occasional new article. It's a bit of a drag, but I'm getting almost an hour a day back in my life.
The post volume on BPL is fairly high, but the biggest problem is the effort and time needed to work through the BPL forum interface. Several things could be improved: keeping "show all posts" as a global preference, so I don't have to keep paging to somewhere near the last page to see new posts; automatically going to the first new post when I view a thread; being able to hide threads I'm not interested in following, leaving only the threads of interest and new threads; etc. Good forum software isn't rocket science, but it's not easy, either.
I miss the community, and I miss the learning. But I got some of my life back. It's unfortunate that the BPL forum software itself is what forced the choice.Jan 2, 2008 at 10:06 am #1414552
Ron BellBPL Member
One thing BPL forum users can do to make it this unique resource even more useful is to name the first post with a clear descriptive title and for all replys to use the exact same title when possible.
That could make it easier to scan and then to view the ones you are interested in.
Anyone have any other ideas users could do?Jan 2, 2008 at 10:33 am #1414556
@fperkinsLocale: North East
I 2nd Grahamn. Sticky threads would make a world of difference. Then, each forum category could have it's own FAQ.
Maybe we would call them Carbon Fiber Threads though.Jan 2, 2008 at 10:53 am #1414563
George MatthewsBPL Member
If you look at the number of posts by forum, then you see the issue. Of the 33 forums, G Spot has about 35,000 posts. None of the other forums come close.
The G Spot forum relies on thread titles. I'd like to see specific forums under G Spot. For example, one for MLD. Then someone like me could start a thread about MLD poncho tarps. Experienced users and Ron could easily spot my thread and post answers or additional related questions.Jan 2, 2008 at 11:20 am #1414570
Siegmund BeimfohrBPL Member
As Ron said (and I proposed a long time ago) if the listing of "New Posts Since Your Last Visit" included the original, descriptive title of the thread subject, it would be much easier to view threads of interest. When I look at the list of unviewed posts, I go down the list and open new tabs for each post that appears to belong to a different thread (using Firefox), then read. Because the user-furnished heading for each thread varies wildly relative to the thread subject, I end up with many duplicate tabs.
This is one place where Practical Backpacking forums are superior (although I agree with most that the rules there are very restrictive and unfortunately also somewhat mysterious). When the "new Posts" link is clicked, the result is a list of THREADS with unviewed posts, not individual posts; this makes it easy to go to threads of interest. There are some problems in that you are not immediately taken to the first unread post and, if you don't view a thread, it remains on a lengthening list of unviewed threads with unread posts. However, this list is much shorter than BPL's (thread titles only, not individual posts) and is subject-defined through the thread title, not the user-provided heading.
A totally different problem here is the off-topic wanderings that frequently provide very useful info but are very difficult to find later. I use the "Scrapbook" Firefox extension to catagorize info I find on the web and either capture pages or store links to them (as with many BPL forum threads) under appropriate category folders so I can return to them without the problems of searching.
I've other thoughts but this is long enough; I agree that BPL's forum structure needs upgrading.Jan 2, 2008 at 11:52 am #1414573
Jim ColtenBPL Member
Is this a case of the phenomenon Yogi Berra was thinking of when he said Nobody goes there any more, it's too crowded. ??Jan 2, 2008 at 4:14 pm #1414605
Ryan FaulknerBPL Member
Too true Bill, I am glad I found BPL when I did, I have read through all the old articles, and they have done much in teaching me about UL backpacking.
In addition, a few years ago, these forums were used by a much smaller crowd of people… very intelligent, and enlightened backpackers, who, including myself, have been posting less and less on the site. In my case, I have still been active in reading through the forums and articles, but like bill said, they have not interested me enough lately to comment. There seems there is not much left I can learn here, and with so many other posters, my opinions and suggestions will be repeated, so I dont even bother.
Even the great, and now old articles, on which this site were originally based, have now become outdated, new gear and gear advances have changed once accepted ultralight methods.
I am calling for a revival of some of the old, now outdated articles, of which we are seeing less and less. I think the reason for this is because, since most of the topics have already been written on, there seems no reason to write another.
however… Like I said before.. they are old, and at the bottom of lists of article pages, so… unless you know they are there, like myself, and long time BPL posters, you wont find them, and it is the new site members that really need to read them
so.. RJ.. do you mind getting out the old Pen, and writing some more articles and gearlists in keeping with your current views, techniques, and UL style????
Im sure some of your peer reveiwers, and long time site members would not mind helping with this project
Being a member of this site for a few years, It is hard to avoid being exposed to alot of different ideas and views in these forums and articles. Alot of people would be prepared to write solid articles, covering many view points.
a new Lightweight Backpacking and camping book may bee in order as well…Jan 3, 2008 at 7:32 am #1414686
Once you hit that 5 lb baseweight and/or below 5lbs …. then the fun kinda goes out of this site.
I mean … I already own too many stoves, too many shelters, too many packs … etc.
I've gone off in a different direction these days …. I'm working more on simplification of my kit. How few items can I carry and be comfortable with? How much stuff do I really need to haul around?
At what point does carrying more stuff become counterproductive to my outdoors experience?
I've found that my enjoyment of the outdoors goes up with each piece of gear I can leave at home.Jan 3, 2008 at 9:12 am #1414699
.Jan 3, 2008 at 10:03 am #1414712
@mad777Locale: South Florida
Let me state first that I have been a very pleased member here for a few years and I haven't found a more informative and knowledgeable group of backpacking enthusiasts anywhere!
That said, I fully agree that the forum structure here is antiquated. Threads should be held together, not, disconnected posts. Most other forums manage this. Again, we as users could certainly help within the existing structure if we always referenced the original post in a thread, not, "That's cool!"
The "gear" section should probably be subdivided into stoves, shelters, etc. For example, I am amazed at the depth of knowledge in these forums on insulation. Can you imagine what a benefit it would be to a new user in particular, to be able to find in one place, everything they wanted to know about clo, but was afraid to ask?
Agree, sticky threads. These are common in the forum world for good reason.
And finally, old articles. Some of those old articles are the pinacle of knowledge on a subject, or, at least were. An update of those benchmark articles would be extremely valuable and not as hard as creating a new one from scratch.Jan 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm #1414887
This is a heck of a thread for me to make my first post in, or perhaps it's a great thread for me to make my first post in. I'm new here, having joined recently after getting back into backpacking after many years. A multi day hike on the Pinhoti trail here in Alabama with a WAY too heavy pack left me hobbled up for a few days, and had me seriously questioning my ability.
So began my lightening up quest that landed me here. I've learned an incredible amount from this place, having spent several weeks reading gear reviews, articles and forum posts. The folks on this forum and at BPL have been a tremendous asset to me. I owe all of you a lot.
Being in IT, and being a member of several other forums, I have to say the search function here is sorely lacking. You guys that have been here a while may get bored; if so, take a break for a while – but don't leave – your boring chatter are words of wisdom to others.Jan 5, 2008 at 6:06 am #1414910
David LewisBPL Member
@davidlewisLocale: Nova Scotia, Canada
The recent "overhaul" was just a case of "lipstick on a pig". It needs to be completely rebuilt. The guts are identical. The good news is, you can do a LOT these days with open source software. You don't have to build everything from scratch… which would be prohibitively expensive… and probably not make economic sense for a site the size of BPL.
p.s. on a different but related point… here is a good read for people who build websites:
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/designingforflowJan 5, 2008 at 7:45 am #1414917
Steven EvansBPL Member
Timothy wrote: "You guys that have been here a while may get bored; if so, take a break for a while – but don't leave – your boring chatter are words of wisdom to others"
…this is a good point. Take off for a bit and come back in say a few weeks/months or so. I find if I troll the site for days on end, which I do, it can get a little boring at times…however, I rely on you guys and I'm still learning tons so I'll be here for a while!Jan 5, 2008 at 10:15 pm #1414998
Franco DarioliBPL Member
Last year ( or was it 06 ?) I let my subscription expire for a few weeks. Then the Winter Outdoor show came up. After seeing all those M rated bits of news, I caved in and re-joined. ( I am terrible with dates, so it could have been a few days and the Summer show, but you get the point) There are a lot of other sites but the info here is generally way ahead of all the others. Also I like the quality and depth of the member's input . Yes we all get bored with the same questions but as new gear comes along there is always something else to learn and to be tempted by.
I understand that people like Bill are more interested in MYOG than most other topics, occasionally I also get the urge to make something but past stoves and tinkering with tent design, most other projects are too complex for my very short attention span and non existent sewing/cutting skills. A site fully or mostly dedicated to MYOB would not sustain (IMHO) a large membership.
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