IntroductionNews, New Year's Eve, 2011:: Well, I guess we discussed this to death, and it was a literal death too. At the end of the day fear of undermining what makes Summitpost special prevented us from doing anything at all. It even came out that if some people optionally had the ability to "wiki-ize" their own pages...that would be a threat too. So...next time you think about a big change, maybe read this. Maybe it's a laundry list of what not to do, or how not to approach things, or what not to say. I'm not sure. I only know a lot of energy went into it, from probably two dozen strong voices on different sides of the issue. This was good! It did teach me that Summitpost will never change. That lesson has positive and negative aspects. Happy New Year 2012 :). --Michael
Note (November, 2011): Thanks everybody for the feedback and votes. BTW, I promise not to interpret a good vote for this page as support for the idea :D.
The central rationale for this idea:
As a technical climber, I deal in lots of small but important details. I don't have time to create full pages, and am more interested in up to date valid information. If I can provide small chunks of it here and there I would find the site more useful.
For years, we've recognized that the high bar for creating Summitpost pages keeps away many people with valuable information to contribute. Lately, we've recognized that technical/trad/advanced climbers are the most put off by this. There are several reasons, not completely agreed on but they might include:
- Technical routes are poorly represented on SP. This makes SP unattractive for technical climbers.
- The standard for a very good page on SP is high, and has risen over time. Technical climbers are less concerned with ownership than sharing and gathering information. They don't care to climb the "ownership" ladder and accumulate points. So they resist making "good" pages, and quit. Nobody likes to be a "bad actor" in a given environment.
- Resistence to recording information available in books (topos, and copyright issues...it's hard to make your own topo).
- Resistences to rulez, man!
- Difficult to upload photos
- Too much non-climbing content is off-putting
- Other sites have more relevant and recent information
I think the 2nd reason above is something we can work on. This forum thread has a good member and technical climber saying goodbye after venting some frustrations, with a long discussion following that gave birth to these ideas below.
Largely, this idea represents what I've wanted for a long time in Summitpost. I'm not much of a page creator, though I have plenty to say and write. The problem is I'd rather contribute with little nuggest of information here and there on mountains and routes that I know. I don't want ownership. Somebody who values page ownership should have it. But with Collaborative Summitpost I would be able to add my 2 cents in a way that enhances the page, and allows me to contribute the relevant and recent knowledge I have, then get back out to climb some more.
What is it?This list of features is not set in stone, it arises from an initial idea and a negotiation in the "Wheat vs. Chaff" thread.
Users with >= 20 Power Points can attempt to edit any page. When they press the edit button on a page they don't have admin rights to, they get edit boxes with the sections that are publicly editable. They can change these at will.
Specifically, there would be:
- A new Check Box on every page section indicating Public or Not.
- A mode of the edit screen which only displays those sections which are publicly available for edit.
- Notifications on page edits sent by email.
- (Nice to have: a "diff" view to highlight differences between pages)
- A new text field list of users in the Content-Change-Ban field of the user profile.
User ScenariosScenario A:
You just returned from a popular but remote climb in Red Rocks. You got your information from the climb from Summitpost combined with a xeroxed topo. You come back with some pictures and a story. You re-read the route description on Summitpost and notice that the 3rd pitch is described as needing large cams. As it turns out there is a bolt now at the wide crack, and you didn't need the #4 Camelot. You edit the page to add this remark.
Very few climbers on Summitpost know about the Martinswand. You just discovered it, and did two 8 pitch wall routes, coming back with a pile of photos and good memories. You'd like to share them, but the thought of making a high standard page about it makes you decide to watch TV instead. But you are a good chap. You make a basic page, 3-4 pictures. You don't describe every route, just a decent description of the two you did, and a request for others with more info to add it here. Two Summitpost members take you up on it, each describing one more wall route. Over the next two years you curate new content, and eventually the page is very high quality, containing information you didn't know about before.
You own a very important page: Mount Fuji. You don't have much time for it these days, and the page has gotten stale. You hope to come back to it but just don't have the time. You heard about Collaborative Summitpost, so you go and open the page up to edits. Coming back two weeks later, you are appalled: the page is a mess! The problem is the page just has more activity than you care to keep up with. Sadly, you revert most of the edits, and lock the page back down again. Sigh. It's important that an owner can opt out.
Two climbers on the site are great contributors, but they hate each other. High in Power Points, they create page after page, but snipe at each other in the forums. One of them gets the idea to make subtle and sarcastic changes to the other ones public page sections. "Heh!" Eventually the transgression is discovered. They end up banning each other from making edits to each others pages via the new edit box on the profile settings page. This is the correct outcome: an "edit war" has been nipped in the bud.
Special thanksThanks to Bob Sihler, ExcitableBoy, Mrchad9, and Fletch for helping develop the ideas!
Comment IntegrationI've received comments on this page chock full of ideas, here I'll try to incorporate them in a way that the ideas can be browsed and considered. I'd like to orient them towards action, perhaps like a menu of implementation choices. That said, some of the comments are rather negative on the whole idea. I'll try to preserve the gist of those complaints, so they can be considered as well. I don't want to sweep concerns under the rug, I'd like everyone to have the full story in order to decide. At the same time I have to make clear that I have a bias towards action and change.
|Overall idea||Support wiki-like editing on pages where the owner allows it||mvs, many||> 3 (rationale: I don't have time to create full pages, and am more interested in up to date valid information. If I can provide small chunks here and there I would find the site more useful)||> 1 (ownership is the central idea here. It sets us apart from wikis. It's responsible for high quality.)|
|Defaults||Default for a new route page: open||Bruno||1|
|Barriers||Minimum Power points to edit = 20||mvs||1|
|Copyright/ownership||Owner becomes Maintainer, public domain copyright||Bruno||1|
|Public pages with public content can't be deleted by the maintainer||mvs|
|Upgrading||Existing route pages become open after 1 year, unless marked private||Bruno||1|
|Any route page can remain private indefinitely||mvs||1|
|Granularity||Individual sections are public/private||mvs||1||1 (too complex)|
|Start with routes only as an option for public/private||Chugach mtn boy||1 (increments are safe)||1 (not bold enough?)|
|Not only routes, but mountains, areas, etc. can be publicly editable||Bruno||1||1 (some caution on rollout is required…don't alter the sauce too much)|
|The whole page is public/private||Bruno||1||1 (some text is special, should be immune to change)|
|Internationalization||Route grades in UIAA, French, British, etc. with conversion between them all||?||lots (>3)|
|Metric or English unit of measurement as a preference||Bruno||1 (This whole feature likely involves a db change for more preferences, why not do this too)|
|Reality checks||This isn't our problem. Unrelated albums, too much hiking content, that is the issue||?||considerable, I think||Also considerable|
|Ownership is what drives this whole thing. Wreck that, and wreck Summitpost||?||Unknown, but strongly felt||This comes up again and again, there must be an issue here|
|Content creators will be nitpicked to death by uneducated, petty edits||Redwic||> 1||1 (The feature is optional, and the nightmare scenario is overdrawn for the size of the site and the nature of > 20 pp contributors)|
|"Scenario C" is plausible, likely (ie, good content creators fighting unseemly turf battles in page edits)||Redwic||?||1 (It will happen, but most people are reasonable.)|
|If people would use Additions and Corrections we wouldn't be here. Why not focus attention there instead?||rgg||1||1 (Personal (mvs) opinion: on any web site the opportunity to submit additional feedback just seems like an opportunity to waste time. You can't expect it to be acted on in any kind of near time frame)|
|Why not just make Routes be technical climbing only (YDS >= 5.0)||yatsek||1 (former member knoback?)||1 (doesn't address the central point)|
Comments on the table:
- When I use the phrase "not bold enough," what I mean is that if we limit the scope to this action, then it'll just be like a small wave at the beach...quickly forgotten and the basic problem might remain. I also recognize we can be too bold and wreck something important.
- My personal opinion colors the rationales on the support and detraction of an issue...it's not too hard to tell where my sympathy lies. I'll try to be aware of this and try to be fair. Ultimately, we have to rely on the Elves and Matt to sift these ideas and deploy something that balances competing needs. If we can present cohesive visions that can be accepted or rejected because their true content is fully visible then we've done our job. That is the goal of this page.