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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 4 of 6. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 114
Author
ACA call for Blood!!!

pmonks
17/09/2009
6:42:27 AM
On 17/09/2009 wallwombat wrote:
>Why not have everyone focused on the festival? To be honest, what else
>do you have to do? What other pressing issues are pressing the ACA?

FWIW I'd rather see the focus move to the route database - that's a lasting asset for all climbers.
cogsy
17/09/2009
9:28:48 AM
I wonder if it might be worth setting a time for a meeting so that a new committee could be formed.
I think it might be a good job for the old committee to organize the meeting. It really only needs time and a place.

The concrete aims of the ACA at this stage seem to be only 2...
1). Maintain the route database.
2). Organize a 2011 Climbing festival.

That sounds pretty straightforward (but maybe not so simple!).

PS.. Monday night is better for me, or perhaps weekend nights in Blackheath? Might be hard for the Victorians and Qlders to get to the Ivanhoe in Blackheath on a Friday night, but they might be able to treat it as a little climbing trip!... Much more fun to have an AGM in Blackheath than in Parramatta.

nmonteith
17/09/2009
9:33:52 AM
Yep, lets do it! Give me a time and place (in NSW) and i'll be there. I'm particularity keen to keep the route database up and running as well as help with the festival in some capacity.

wallwombat
17/09/2009
9:37:05 AM
On 17/09/2009 cogsy wrote:

>The concrete aims of the ACA at this stage seem to be only 2...
>1). Maintain the route database.
>2). Organize a 2011 Climbing festival.
>
>That sounds pretty straightforward (but maybe not so simple!).

That's exactly how I see it, Cogsy.

It has already been stated that the data base isn't going anywhere in the near future and it is going to be maintained.

The webmaster isn't on the commitee, so he needs something to do iff he can't go to all those meetings ; )
kieranl
17/09/2009
10:10:58 AM
On 15/09/2009 BA wrote:
>Being an honorary member of the VCC some of what I'm about to say might
>be criticised as being parochial, biased or wrong.
So you're one of those freeloaders we financial members are supporting :)
>
>My main criticism of web based data bases is that people can get in and
>edit them so that a climb changes its original name and description. This
>has happened before the web and is a process that can only accelerate.
Granted. It is both a strength and a weakness of the web. However, "submitting" routes to the VCC for entry does not eliminate the problem of information loss, it just confers arbiter status on some other individual. That individual will bring their own editing bias to the job.
As to security, The ACA site does allow cliffs and climb descriptions to be locked down to individual users (and groups I think). A better system would be to use a source development repository approach where descriptions have to be "checked out" for modification and "checked in" when updated. That preserves a full history of the climb description and clearly shows who changed what, which is some protection against a malicious hacker. That should be reasonable functionality to add to the ACA site.

>What the VCC is/was trying to set up is a data base where the original
>write-up stays intact and people can add their own "corrections" or clarifications
>or additions or warnings but everyone would know what the original write-up
>said. ..
While it's laudable in some respects, maintaining the original write-ups can obscure the purpose of descriptions which is to "guide" people. A good example is the description of Diane and its variants in Chris Baxter's South-East Grampians guide. He's maintained the original write-up and the description of the direct finish separately and it isn't clear to people using the guide what they should do to get the best climb. Sticking too close to the original sources is running counter to the purpose of the guide.
Another side of this is that language changes. The style of route description in the Arapiles Green Guide is quite different to what people use today.
Yet another is that the original route description supplied often needs serious editing. Descriptions are often clumsy or overblown (Whose? Mine?) and need to be modified by someone else who understands the cliff in question.

>..This means that it is not simply doing a copy and paste of what is
>in a guidebook (as ACA has done), it is going back to the original source
>material.
I cannot speak for other people contributing to the ACA site but all of the sections that I have worked on (Rosea, Stapylton Amphitheatre, Organ Pipes, Tiger Wall, Watchtower, Northern Group, Western Side) have not been straight copies from the guide. All have used all existing texts that I can find plus my past experience, feedback from others and field trips. All the usual stuff for guidebooks.
>
>This is not an isolated case. A lot of the Tempest/Smith write-ups in
>the original South East Vic guide for Sugarloaf and the Jawbones were also
>re-written and re-aligned. The same thing has been done at Arapiles on
>various climbs, "we'll take the best bit of this climb and combine it with
>the best bit of the climb next door and write it up as if it was the way
>the route was originally done", it wasn't. History has been altered by
>these actions, but I doubt if anyone out in Chockstone-land cares.
>
>I do. Am I wrong to care?
No. I think you're right to care. While I write up the route that people do now I try to preserve the original information, whether successfully or not is another matter. You can also note, if you look at the ACA Watchtower Face pages that it is "The Watchtower Crack" and "The Mantle".

The fatal flaw, to me, of the VCC routes database is that itís missed the boat. The ACA database is out there and growing. Itís not perfect but it has a lot of good features (favourites, email notifications). The VCC site has only new routes, and not all of them. You have to plough through various documents to find everything. The ACA site has comprehensive guides to a lot of Victorian cliffs. Itís not complete by any means but itís growing. A few more people coming on board would help.
And the VCC site performance Ö Click on the ďRoutesĒ link - wait 5 minutes. When you click on a link, it might come back with something or it might not. It might just collapse the cliff list for some unknown reason. I canít see the point in putting time into getting the VCC database up to scratch when then ACA one is working.


VCC
17/09/2009
10:25:05 AM
On 17/09/2009 kieranl wrote:
>And the VCC site performance...

For the last few days our hosting provider is having some database performance issues. They're looking into it at the moment.

jkane
17/09/2009
2:07:15 PM
On 17/09/2009 kieranl wrote:

>The fatal flaw, to me, of the VCC routes database is that itís missed
>the boat. The ACA database is out there and growing. Itís not perfect but
>it has a lot of good features (favourites, email notifications). The VCC
>site has only new routes, and not all of them. You have to plough through
>various documents to find everything.

Maybe someone from the current Committee should answer this but the original concept of the VCC database was only somewhere to be able to log new routes. We never intended to create a comprehensive online guide. It was supposed to be somewhere to get hold of stuff not yet published in a printed guide, and make comment on it e.g if you thought it was actually a repeat etc.

Both ACA and VCC databases would be a resource for guidebook editors.
kieranl
17/09/2009
2:55:49 PM
On 17/09/2009 jkane wrote:

>Maybe someone from the current Committee should answer this but the original
>concept of the VCC database was only somewhere to be able to log new routes.
> We never intended to create a comprehensive online guide. It was supposed
>to be somewhere to get hold of stuff not yet published in a printed guide,
>and make comment on it e.g if you thought it was actually a repeat etc.
>
>Both ACA and VCC databases would be a resource for guidebook editors.
I guess that's the second fatal flaw with the VCC site, that the concept was to maintain the existing publishing model and the web side was perceived as a minor element, useless on its own. I understand the VCC wanting to preserve its guidebook publishing investment but I think that model is not sustainable.
I think people will pay for specialist, targeted productions, either productions like the Mentz/Tempest guides or low-cost PDFs off the web built from the web-databases.
I don't think that it will be possible to make money out of comprhensive guidbooks.

ajfclark
17/09/2009
3:10:38 PM
On 17/09/2009 kieranl wrote:
>I think people will pay for specialist, targeted productions, either productions like the Mentz/Tempest guides or low-cost PDFs off the web built from the web-databases.

>I don't think that it will be possible to make money out of comprehensive guidebooks.

What's supporting the running costs of the website itself? Thesarvo/lulu style printed guides from PDFs? Some form of membership allowing access?

pmonks
17/09/2009
4:28:20 PM
On 17/09/2009 ajfclark wrote:
>What's supporting the running costs of the website itself?

As I mentioned earlier, I reckon the clubs [c|sh]ould band together and fund an online national database, with the payout (such as it is) being that they get first dibs on publishing printed editions of that same data.

In other words the clubs can continue to try to make money out of printed guides if they wish, without having the overhead of managing the data collection process. It's a win-win, as Bob Slydell might say.

I also agree with keiranl (I think?) who said that versioning would help avoid data loss due to vandalism. Disallowing anonymous updates would help with that problem too - nothing like a bit of accountability to deter the casual vandal.
egosan
17/09/2009
4:57:40 PM
On 17/09/2009 pmonks wrote:
>I also agree with keiranl (I think?) who said that versioning would help
>avoid data loss due to vandalism. Disallowing anonymous updates would
>help with that problem too - nothing like a bit of accountability to deter
>the casual vandal.

why reinvent the wheel http://www.mediawiki.org versioning, authentication the works.
easy to edit and use. gold.

pmonks
17/09/2009
5:17:22 PM
On 17/09/2009 egosan wrote:
>why reinvent the wheel http://www.mediawiki.org versioning, authentication
>the works. easy to edit and use. gold.

The technology piece is easy - it's the stumbling blocks Kyle and others have mentioned (finances, motivation, etc.) that are the real problem here...
egosan
17/09/2009
5:24:32 PM
*Puts hand up*

Though I am not a webadmin in title, I can do a lot with a little. Happy to help with either
the ACA or the VCC.

nmonteith
17/09/2009
5:25:25 PM
On 17/09/2009 pmonks wrote:
>On 17/09/2009 ajfclark wrote:
>>What's supporting the running costs of the website itself?
>
>As I mentioned earlier, I reckon the clubs [c|sh]ould band together and
>fund an online national database, with the payout (such as it is) being
>that they get first dibs on publishing printed editions of that same data.
>
>In other words the clubs can continue to try to make money out of printed
>guides if they wish, without having the overhead of managing the data collection
>process. It's a win-win, as Bob Slydell might say.

I disagree with this a lot! I don't want to see my personal work (writing, topos and photos on the ACA) used without my direct permission in print guides I have no control over. That's a bit like saying if you upload an image to Facebook then Facebook Corp can do what they want with it, including on-selling it to third parties for profit. Very suss...
hotgemini
17/09/2009
6:32:48 PM
Let me apologise in advance, this is going to be a bit long.

Secondly, I'd like to thank everyone for their input into this thread, it is important, in fact absolutely critical (IMHO) to have healthy discussions about how to approach community issues such as this.

For those who aren't aware, I'm a queensland climber and amongst other things I was the founding president of the ACAQ. The ACAQ being the Queensland state chapter of the ACA, we're seperately incorporated with our own constitution, documentation, representatives and finances but very much intended to be a state body operating under the national umbrella of the ACA.

For further background, Queensland has simply never had one club which took on an effective statewide representative role for climbers in the way the VCC and to perhaps a lesser degree (no disrespect intended, merely an assessment of the relative scale of the operations) the SRC has. For a variety of reasons the BRC largely opted out of such a role and quite reasonably focussed on a minimum adminstration and maximum climbing model.

With that as the backdrop and the closure of Mt. Flinders as the catalyst, the ACA (Qld) Inc was formed. The cornerstone of the ACAQ model is the crag representative, a single nominated person responsible for keeping abreast of issues at a given crag. The Crag reps, the president, secretary and treasurer make up the management committee with the option of adding additional roles (thus far the volunteer co-ordinator and media rep). This means the vast majority of activity can happen at the crag rep level, eg. if someone wants to report graffiti at a crag (as recently happened with tibro, maroon and greville).

Given that in the early days, there is little guarantee of tangible returns, the decision was made to set membership costs quite low, with the figure of $15/annum selected as this still gives some funding to support the organisation but keeps the cost within the threshold that the majority of climbers would be happy to view as a 'donation' with the goal of improved access, representation etc.

Furthermore we approached the existing clubs with the offer to affiliate (following the BMC model) whereby their members would receive a discounted rate of membership of $10/annum. There is a couple of reasons for this, firstly it helps to establish the body both in terms of member numbers and basic operating finance. Secondly it helps the clubs feel included in the organisation, avoiding any feeling that the ACAQ was seeking to exclude or otherwise overlook the fantastic contribution to climbing made by the numerous clubs in Queensland. Thirdly it simplifies the membership process for the people involved, they aren't chased up twice for money, forms etc.

I personally am a believer in the benefit of a national representative structure for climbers, however I also believe that the vast bulk of issues facing climbing happen at the state or local level. Because of this, I'd like to see the national body of the ACA do the minimum of tasks, basically where it is necessary or expedient to avoid duplication, with the vast bulk of the operational activities taking place at the state level.

I think in the longest term, it makes sense to seek to bring all clubs under that umbrella, but it is also crucial to understand such things will take time and the structure of the organisation has to be viable and sustainable at all stages in that evolution, so you can't rely on that support from day one.

I'd be interested in having a dialogue with the SRC, SURMC, NUMC and others (UTSOAC?) to try to understand how they feel about such a structure and to see if we can work collaboratively to establish a way for those organisations to interact with an ACA (NSW) body. Similarly with Tasmania and then SA and so on. I conciously omitted Victoria there as I believe that they're very much in the best place in terms of australian representation of climbers as it stands and as such there needs to be no urgency to develop it, but also I'd still be interested to have similar discussion in victoria with the VCC (and WVCC, LUMC and MUMC etc) but perhaps working on a 5 or even 10 year plan.

For the national organisation, my thoughts would be to simply draw its executives from the state executives, either by a rotating roster or by an election, whatever is deemed to be more suitable by the states, I don't imagine it being a contentious issue in the next decade at least.

-Adam Gibson
ACA (Qld) Kangaroo Point Crag Rep.
BA
17/09/2009
6:52:14 PM
There are two things:

1) What Neil said.

2) What Tony was trying to do with the database. Have the original write-up and people can post comments about grade, quality and suggest better route alternatives/combinations ... and that can become the basis for whatever format the information is published in, hard copy/pdf or straight off the web. When I was Argus editor 5-10 years ago I fielded questions about "What's that route with the bolt just right of ..." People were using a 'selected' guide and didn't 'realise' it didn't contain ALL the recorded routes at Araps. "Has any climbing been recorded on cliff BBB?" 'Yes, 30 years ago'.

A lot of it was based on the fact that I've been involved with climbing for over 40 years, have a reasonable collection of old copies of Argus, Rock (as well as Flash, Splat, Australian Rockclimber, some old Thrutches and write-ups of Australian climbs in OS mags, oh, and something called Crux) that contain mentions of routes, their histories, their repeats and trip reports. In fact I'm pretty sure (not that my memory is infallible these days) that I had to sort out somebodies route description of a variation on an existing climb, which just happened to describe where the original route went and that the subsequent variation is now the accepted way to do the climb. How do you sort out all that if the original write-up(s) has been lost?

That's what I mean when I say "the history will be lost". People who have come into climbing quite recently, the last 15-20 years or so don't have that history and a lot of them don't have that interest in history, in "getting it straight".

And a third thing:

3) What Kieran said about Diane "A good example is the description of Diane and its variants in Chris Baxter's South-East Grampians guide. He's maintained the original write-up and the description of the direct finish separately and it isn't clear to people using the guide what they should do to get the best climb." That's an editing problem, (along with not having the first pitch length). See 2) what Tony was trying to do - above.

nmonteith
17/09/2009
7:22:34 PM
What always annoyed me about the 'new route only' database concept is the basis of what it's built around. It implies that it records new routes, but once they are in the database for 10 years they aren't exactly new anymore. Someone said that they stay in the new route database until the next print guide comes out, but then that guide will go out of date just as quickly... or never actually gets published even though people wait 10+ years....

After a few years its just a jumble of thousands of routes that have some vague connection to an assortment of print guides (there is something like 10+ print guides if you want the full comprehensive print guides for the Grampians for example!).

I think a comprehensive online guide, that every new route is immediately added into is by the far the best solution for keeping accurate records.

garbie
17/09/2009
8:05:08 PM
On 17/09/2009 nmonteith wrote:

>I think a comprehensive online guide, that every new route is immediately
>added into is by the far the best solution for keeping accurate records.

Yes! seems obvious to me. Tried to get my head around all the acronyms and politics, but if we start from
this premise with the ACA database looking the best candidate, progress can be made. But can all those
clubs etc be convinced,,,? If thats all the ACA does and does it well, its already relevant and anything
else like the festival is a bonus.

rodw
18/09/2009
7:22:03 AM
Why do the state clubs have to be involved in the online database...currently the guide is being filled in my general climbers about local areas they have knowledge of...to me it seems once it gets critcial mass it will become the default reference anyway????

The clubs have showed there hand..... they would rather keep things in house under their control....fine let it be so...but the rest of the 95% of the climbing population can help with the ACA datbase and make it a free resource not owned by anyone.

If hosting costs start to be an issue call for donations if ACA membships cant cover it for the future....or maybe some corporate sponsorship? it wouldn't cost much......if its a good resource people will pay.

I agree with Neil, re seeding control..info is being entered under open source style arrangement and Id be a bit pissed off if someone or organisation sweeps in and profits off something I provide for free.






ajfclark
18/09/2009
7:42:55 AM
On 18/09/2009 rodw wrote:
>I agree with Neil, re seeding control..info is being entered under open source style arrangement and Id be a bit pissed off if someone or organisation sweeps in and profits off something I provide for free.

Even if it's the ACA? As someone who prefers books over handfuls of paper, I'd like to see a route database similar to thesarvo's stuff. It's about the only income stream I can see to support a route database too.

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