I dedicate the present article to the stunning POTD/POTW of Mont-Blanc, Trango Towers, arches, mushrooms, foxes, butterflies and garden flowers that every day inspired me to climb
the office stairs instead of taking the lift.
Footnote (on the top)This article is pure fiction. Any resemblance to events or individuals having existed is purely coincidental.
I hope that this article will not hurt anybody’s feeling. I think that we should just be able to laugh about ourselves once in a while. And, most important, please keep voting on my pictures, as I would also have a chance to savour the incomparable taste of being POTW once in my life… Here my latest submission
Introduction: the quest for the Holy Grail
Each SP member has been dreaming about reaching the immortality by accessing to the exclusive club of the POTD award winners
Regularly, heated forum threads have sprung up like mushrooms
after the rain. Just to mention three amongst the main challengers, Ganesh
, the Hindu God of wisdom, almost lost his temper in several occasions; Dalton
(Joe), the famous irascible brother in the Lucky Luck comics, shot his last bullets instead of shooting pictures, and Dow
(Jones), the famous Big Wall (Street) climber, made a nasty fall while free-soloing the dangerous “Contestation route
But these complaints usually vanish a few days later after the wise intervention of Archangel Gabriele
. For the people attacked, one simple strategy: let pass the storm, and return soon to the sacred mission of accumulating POTD for the posterity…
However, these photographic disputes have left deep wounds in the heart of many SPers, with accusations of voting clans
, vote begging
and system manipulation
still floating in the thin atmosphere of the high altitude. Some disappointed members left, other tried to adapt and swapped their ice axes for a mushroom basket (if you can’t beat them, join them…), while other have literally drown their sorrow
All these allegations are clearly wrong.
A detailed analysis of the last 525 POTD clearly show that there are no such things like manipulation
or voting clans
. Still, some kind of... climbing aid
is required: the harder the route to POTD (means the lower the quality of your picture), the more aid climbing you will need. Every photo has the potential to become the next POTD, it is just a question of confidence and strategy!
Do you really think that John Hunt, leader of the first successful Everest expedition, just asked Tenzing and Hillary in a Kathmandu café to climb that snowy hill and bring back a summit picture so that he could also become POTD? No, an elaborated strategy is the key to every mountaineering success!
Take the last example of SP Picture of the Decade
: though almost unanimously praised by the SP community as the best photographic work ever posted in SP (or even in the whole web)
, it miserably failed in the POTD race due to a clear lack of strategy.
|SP Picture of the Decade: |
a masterwork which miserably failed to become POTD due to a lack of strategy
The present article will unveil the ultimate strategy to guaranty 100% success
in accessing the crown of mountaineering achievement, compared to which the 14 8000ers represents a beginners’ challenge, I mean: the quest for the POTD award!
A statistical analysis
After years of intensive research, the (in)famous website adventurestats.com
is publishing in exclusivity in this article the results of their statistical analysis.
compiled a comparative list of attempts and summiteers for Everest, K2, Nanga Parbat and SP POTD. For POTD, all 11’841 members who logged in between 23 August 2007 and 7 February 2009 have been considered as attempts, as it is well known that the sole purpose of SP is the POTD contest. Multiple attempts and summiteers have been counted only once.
| Mountain || Summiteers || Attempts || Success rate |
|Nanga Parbat |
| SP PTOD |
also evaluated the fatality rate, including drop out and suicide amongst SPer who failed. Some uncertainty remains regarding the overall members' drop out (some estimation goes up to several thousands…), but it is sure that the fatality rate for POTD is well above 100%
, making it the most dangerous endeavour in contemporary mountaineering!
Between 23 August 2007 and 5 February 2009, a total of 137’815 photo have been posted over a period of 533 days (258.6 pictures per day), which means that 533 POTD have been awarded. The crude probability to become POTD is therefore 0.39%.
A detailed analysis was made on the 525 POTD (out of 533) which could be traced using the most sophisticated computer software. In total, 120 SPers have reached POTD at least once
: as mentioned above, this is only 1% of the members who have logged in during the period.
The statistics showed that one single member reached the POTD summit no less than 133 times (25% of all summits)
, including dozens of winter ascents. The brave second reached a respectable total of 62 POTD, largely ahead of the third with only 22 summits. Speed climber Number 5 reached his current ranking in just 3 months (16 POTD between 29 November 2008 and 3rd February 2009), an incredible achievement!
The Top 5 members remarkably achieved 48% of all POTD!!!
Here below the detailed statistics:
| No of POTD || No of members|| Total POTD || % of all POTD || Total POTD |
| % of all POTD |
|>100 POTD |
|50-99 POTD |
|16-49 POTD |
|10-15 POTD |
|5-9 POTD |
|2-4 POTD |
|1 POTD |
| Total || 120 || 525 || 100% || 525|| 100% |
Then, the research team decided to analyse the voting behaviour of the members, and discovered some remarkable patterns, as shown in the table below:
Note: The “Top 5” is a simplified concept for statistical purposed. Some additional partnerships have been observed in the analysis.
| || Number of POTD || Voted by the “Top 5”|
on submission day
| Voted by the “Top 5”|
after nomination as POTD
| POTD by the Top 5 |
|85.9% (4 votes)|
|94.3% (4 votes)|
| POTD by the Rest of the World |
|11.3% (5 votes)|
|27.6% (5 votes)|
The team contacted mountain psychologist Prof. Reinhold Messner and confronted him with a clear question: why do the Top 5 vote systematically for the pictures submitted by their peers?
Is this due to an aristocratic reflex amongst top mountaineers?
The answer given by Prof. Messner was extremely clear: “Top mountaineers are genetically doted with super-human faculties, and are more able to evaluate the extraordinary achievements of their peers”. According to Prof. Messner, the Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons members should acknowledge the superior artistic taste of the Alphas
, and SP programming code should be modified in order to give voting rights only to the Alphas. The current system with as many as 1588 members having voting weight over 40% will inexorably lead SP to the decadence.
However, Prof. Messner outlined that with sufficient mental training and an appropriate strategy
, every SP member may reach POTD.
| Mushroom climbing |
With an appropriate strategy, every picture may become POTD
(Photo from the album: Mushrooms of the Californian Streets)
How to become POTD – Step by step guideline
By following strictly the instructions below, it is guaranteed that you will harvest at least of dozen POTD within the next two years.
- Join a C.L.A.N. (Common Love for Amazing Nature). Unfortunately, the acronym C.L.A.N. may lead some evil spirit to the conclusion that this is a voting clan, but we saw above that this is not true.
- As a member of the C.L.A.N., you need to vote systematically for every photo posted by another member of the C.L.A.N., whatever the quality of the submission. Glacier pool, butterfly, or a blurred picture of El Capitan, doesn’t matter.
- If you haven’t yet a camera, you need to buy a digital one with a lot of memory cards. Don’t forget the batteries.
- Drive to a hill or mountain area. Getting out of the car is not absolutely necessary, but it is recommended to lower the window (even in winter) in order to get glint-free pictures. Other recommended options are Karakoram treks, “Les Aiguilles du Midi” cable car , Yosemite, Utah and Central European Forests.
- You don’t need great photographic skills (some members of the C.L.A.N. are excellent photographers, but it in not a condition to join the club). However, remember that the photos must be outdoor-related: mountains, tree, canyon, hills, butterfly, arch, goat, lake, flowers, mushrooms and of course kittens are all welcome. There is debate whether climbers (and 4WD cars) belong or not to SP, and the current trend is that such pictures should rather be avoided, unless the climber is naked.
- Shoot as many pictures as you have space in your memory cards. A few hundred pictures for a day trip is a minimum, and will ensure you several months of posting.
- Post 2-3 pictures per day between midnight and 2am. A detailed statistical survey of the last 50 POTD (18 December – 6 February) has shown that 98% were posted in the morning hours, with a median posting time at 1:39am. The only POTD posted in the afternoon was the most recent one (6 February 2:39pm), a probable consequence of the recent discussion threads…
- Don’t forget to insert a description such as wonderful sunset or amazing landscape. You don’t need to bother inserting the Lat/Long coordinates, this is just a loss of time, as only climbers need some beta, and this site is not primarily for climber, or is it?
- As mentioned above, vote with a lot of discipline for every photo posted by another member of the C.L.A.N.
- Overload the server with nice comments on your peers’ submission (great composition, thank for sharing, amazing shot or magic mushroom); this will give an additional exposure to the picture in the “What’s new” section. Don't forget to reply to all comments posted on your pictures with great modesty.
- Don’t vote on non-C.L.A.N. members pictures in the morning hours, especially if the picture is nice, in order to avoid unnecessary competition with C.L.A.N. members submissions. Wait until the late evening (or the day after), as you can vote once they don’t represent any danger anymore. Notable exception, you should vote systematically on new members’ submissions. Don’t forget to post a nice welcome comment, so that the new member will always remember you.
- Just observe how your pictures' score grows steadily. Don’t feel discouraged if POTD is won by another C.L.A.N. member: just repeat steps 7 to 11, until you also become POTD. Congratulations!
| Example of a picture with great POTD potential |
Butter-flies are much appreciated within the SP community.
A well-known trick used by professional photographers
to have a sharper caption is to put the butter-fly a few minutes in the freezer,
and then delicately put it back on a flower. POTD guaranteed!
- Never, never vote any page lower than 10/10. This is the biggest offence on SP, and the victim of a low vote, if not the whole community, will remember your crime.
- Occasionally, some irascible self-proclaimed “climbers” will express their anger by shooting at every flying butterflies or crashing your nice mushroom with their dirty hiking boots. Some may even criticize your 10th POTD of the same mountain on the same day from the same location, under the pretext that you never climbed it... Just ignore them, they are jealous.
- Regarding the comments: post a lot of comments, tons of comments, even on non-C.L.A.N. members. This has a triple purpose:
a) it will drag attention on your name in the ‘What’s new” section
b) the receiver will feel flattered and will instinctively click your profile, and hopefully on your new pictures.
c) Posting comments will give you some extra power points. The more voting weight, the more appreciated you will be in your C.L.A.N., the more POTD you will get.
- If you venture to PnP forum, be careful to be nice with everybody and do not post any controversial comment. Do not take position about the ultra-sensitive issues such as global warming, religion, intelligent design versus evolution, liberals versus conservatives. You may post in the moderate PnP threads, this is harmless.
- Don’t look at range, mountain or route pages, this is not the purpose of SummitPhotopost.org. Folks who spend time in this section are anyway antisocial elements jealous of your success in POTD.
- If one of your photos becomes POTD, wait a couple of weeks before submitting again the same picture. There is no limit in the number of repetitions, as long as you change slightly the angle, zoom, or crop the picture.
- For the ones who do not succeed in getting POTD despite following the above instructions, join MbPost.com. Submit again the same picture of your kitten: even it is posted at 11:30pm and receives no vote, you will probably still make the POTD trophy as the sole contributor.
Future evolution of SummitPost
If too many people put in practice these guidelines, there is an important risk that the server will be overloaded between midnight and 1am. Could the site owner (if I understood well, his name is Josh Lewis) consider the purchase of a last generation supercomputer?
Alternatively, the programming codes could be modified in order to create a personal Front Page for each member (recognised by your usual IP address), featuring automatically the member’s own pictures, mountains, routes, articles and trip reports.
Short summaryA. Join a C.L.A.N.
B. Post 2-3 pictures per day between midnight and 2am
C. Vote 10/10 on everything posted by other C.L.A.N. members
D. Be patient and you will be soon rewarded with your fist POTD
|And another... |