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Good descriptions vs. bad descriptions
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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Nov 1, 2010
I've often been frustrated by the occasionally low quality of descriptions, ranging from bad beta (eg gear suggestions that don't actually apply to the climb in question) to purposefully empty descriptions to induce users to buy the guidebook. Is there any way we can develop a system that can control how much content you can add if your previous content is of low enough quality? That's not to say that I'd like to see a simple cutoff, but rather additions from low ranked users get automatically flagged so they can be evaluated before it locks up the route for all users?

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Nov 1, 2010
my foot
I'd think a moderated wiki type format would be good. I saw this entry for a local crag-

mountainproject.com/v/connecti...

It is completely useless info.

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By ConorD
From Monf***ingtana
Nov 1, 2010
blodgett canyon
I think it would be nice to be able to edit some areas that have not been posted well. Or to have multiple people be able to contribute to a description

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By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Nov 1, 2010
Courtright Reservoir, September 2013
This has been discussed several times in the Administrator forum. With over 208K routes. areas and comments pertaining to them, not everything can be outstanding. Contact your local Administrator for a specific request about a route that you may have climbed and can add to the quality of the description, or about something similar to the example posted above.

-Adam


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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Nov 1, 2010
Right. I'm not asking you guys to individually review every single submission. I'm asking if something like a simple "was this useful?" question could appear on any given route, and those who consistently get a "not useful" rating get flagged in the future. I understand how to change what's already posted, I was looking to see if there were ideas to prevent the issue in the future.

Assuming you understood me correctly, then I guess your response settles that.

Incidentally, mobley, that usually happens when the user hasn't finished entering that data (for instance, if there was a mid-session crash). The system posts the climbing route before the rest of the information is even entered.

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By Greg D
From Here
Nov 2, 2010
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Brian, I agree with your op. Recently, I saw a route posted by someone that tr'd it once. Then, gave a bunch of beta on the gear and how to climb it. I believe in order to post a route and describe it to a leader, one must lead it first. Otherwise, you are just making uneducated assumptions. Leading a route should be the bare minimum before posting it, imo.

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By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Nov 2, 2010
Courtright Reservoir, September 2013
Brian Scoggins wrote:
I'm asking if something like a simple "was this useful?" question could appear on any given route, and those who consistently get a "not useful" rating get flagged in the future.


I think this feature already exists. Not so sure about "flagging" users for less than stellar entries. We routinely get complaints that some route descriptions have too much beta. I have seen where the FA party has posted their route to the database that involved a 2 word description (8 bolts) Some would argue, that since its being posted by the person who actually put up the route that it can be described with as much or as little detail as they'd like. And for the most part, I tend to agree, so much so that I'd apply that same notion to every user.

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Nov 2, 2010
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
Brian Scoggins wrote:
I'm not asking you guys to individually review every single submission.

Actually, we do review and approve every single route submission! I don't know about other admins, but before I approve a new route submission, I'll cross check with any guidebooks I have to make sure whatever details are included (route name, FA, location, etc.) are accurate and not plagiarized from another source. If there's anything incomplete, I'll fix it myself or email the user to fix it. And if a route submission is complete junk or copied word-for-word from a guidebook, I'll just delete it without warning.

Sometimes when I see a route description that I don't think is worthwhile, I'll ask someone else who has climbed the route to take ownership of it and rewrite the description. So if you feel strongly about a low-quality route submission, I think you should feel free to contact the area admin for that area and ask if you can fix it.

JL

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Nov 2, 2010
Bucky
saxfiend wrote:
If there's anything incomplete, I'll fix it myself or email the user to fix it. JL


I think that this can be a little heavy handed. I write, what are IMHO, fairly complete entries. Recently, I had an admin edit my words without my consent. When I very politely contacted the admin about the changes, the admin essentially told me "tough sh*t" and quoted the MP terms and conditions; not particularly polite in my opinion.

I think this is a tough issue because I actually subscribe to both sides of the argument. I agree with Brian that some entries are total crap and add little to the content at MP while at the same time, they prevent anyone else from adding actual useful info. On the other hand, I am pretty protective of my writing. If I take the time and effort to post a useful and helpful description, I get a little pissed when some admin swoops in, and without asking, changes my words. Now, I understand that the admins are in a tough spot because they have a lot of content to revise (in your free time no less) and asking every single person about changing their entries can be a little cumbersome.

I think that unless an entry is truly useless or inaccurate, it should probably be left alone. However, I would agree that there are circumstances that justify editing. I'm just not sure how to do this correctly, and overall, I think the admins do a pretty good job.

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Nov 2, 2010
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
J. Albers wrote:
I think that this can be a little heavy handed. I write, what are IMHO, fairly complete entries. Recently, I had an admin edit my words without my consent. When I very politely contacted the admin about the changes, the admin essentially told me "tough sh*t" and quoted the MP terms and conditions; not particularly polite in my opinion.

Your experience is unfortunate and wasn't handled as it should have been, in my opinion. I'm like you in being protective of my writing; I didn't like having my phrasing tinkered with by editors when I was a professional journalist, and I'm even less tolerant of it being done by amateurs now. Recently, I was unpleasantly surprised to find that a route I submitted here for an area I'm not an admin for had been revised without my knowledge. So I definitely sympathize with your irritation.

I don't generally concern myself with the editorial content of a route description; I just don't have the time to "touch" every submission that comes through. But if a route description is particularly skimpy or inaccurate, my usual preference is to contact the person who submitted it and get them to fix it, rather than doing any rewrite myself. Unfortunately, the response I typically get (if I get a response at all) tends to be pissy, no matter how nicely I ask. So between the time I have to put in on this stuff when there's more fun things I could be doing, and the aggravation of dealing with unpleasant users, sometimes I'll just take the path of least resistance.

JL

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Nov 2, 2010
my foot
Greg D wrote:
Brian, I agree with your op. Recently, I saw a route posted by someone that tr'd it once. Then, gave a bunch of beta on the gear and how to climb it. I believe in order to post a route and describe it to a leader, one must lead it first. Otherwise, you are just making uneducated assumptions. Leading a route should be the bare minimum before posting it, imo.


ha, that would eliminate most of the descriptions for most of CT(not that too many people would care). Too bad, when Ken Nichols was placing bolts and getting FAs all over CT, then chopping the bolts, he could have been a huge contributor to Mtn Project.

"20' up and left is your first hook, 6 more feet up and left is your second hook, then 2 equalized micro nuts in suspect rock that wont ever come out if you fall but might break, 6 more hooks to the right and a chopped bolt to finish"

local ethics...

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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Nov 2, 2010
Bucky
saxfiend wrote:
Unfortunately, the response I typically get (if I get a response at all) tends to be pissy, no matter how nicely I ask. So between the time I have to put in on this stuff when there's more fun things I could be doing, and the aggravation of dealing with unpleasant users, sometimes I'll just take the path of least resistance. JL


Very understandable. Your experience is exactly why I stated that I am not sure how to deal with this problem, i.e. the problem of monitoring poor descriptions does not lend itself to an easy solution. It seems like the best you can do is have admins that are good at knowing what battles are worth picking.

In response to the OP, Brian, I can only say what I do. As a non-admin, I try and monitor new routes for areas (maybe ten or so regions/areas) where I have spent a significant enough amount of time to have "locals knowledge". I then simply try and needle people into fixing their route descriptions by leaving a comment gently pointing out that their content is lacking (e.g. quoting SuperTopo is NOT a useful addition to MP).

Also, in defense of the admin that I mentioned earlier, he contacted me at a later date and apologized for his original response; very gracious and big of him. Exactly the type of interaction that makes MP infinitely better than junk sites like 8a.

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Nov 2, 2010
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "...
Wow...
1) Are we solving problems here?
2) Do they actually exist?

How in the past bad route descriptions got fixed was that the protagonist would post an alternate description as a comment, perhaps along with a description of what is wrong with the original post...

Then you notify the area admin. If the are admin has sufficient knowledge of the area to agree, they can do the swap or vacate the description for the protagonist to do so. If not, they can contact other area users to do so.

By way of example, I was contacted by the RRG admin who'd been alerted to some poor submissions there, knew I climbed there a lot, and asked me to rewrite them. He simply swapped 'ownership' to me and I edited them. This was not difficult. For routes I said were too fuzzy in my mind to describe well, he checked the 'tick list' of people that had done it and found someone else to take on that task.

As for the comment that someone MUST have lead the route to describe it... eh... that sounds like a better guideline than a rule. Seriously, let's say I solo some route and pay heed to the gear potential. I'd say someone in my shoes is going to make pretty good judgements or if not, disclaim that and let a later commenter seed the database with the info later. IE- lets say I do Supercrack...
Do I need to have lead it to know that it's a smaller cam followed by 3" - #3 camalots and maybe a larger placement up top? Probably not.
And what about following? Afterall, on a multipitch climb, I'm probably not going to lead every pitch, right?

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Nov 2, 2010
Colonel Mustard
As suggested, contacting the local admin seems like a fair solution. Also, just put your beta in the comments. Beta often differs wildly between climbers anyway. Rating other users' contributions will probably just lead to a drama queen shit storm.

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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Nov 3, 2010
Zeke wrote:
As suggested, contacting the local admin seems like a fair solution. Also, just put your beta in the comments. Beta often differs wildly between climbers anyway. Rating other users' contributions will probably just lead to a drama queen shit storm.


To be clear, what I suggested would be a semi-automated means to prevent habitually lousy contributors from locking down the content in the future. I'm actually pretty happy with the post-a-comment fix for after the fact. Its just that typically the contributors who habitually post crappy descriptions will continue to even after they've had half a dozen route descriptions corrected out from under them. Wouldn't an automatic "was this useful?" question at least help focus our efforts onto specific problem users? The results needn't be visible to everyday users and indeed, to prevent it being used as a cudgel against people you don't like, probably shouldn't be visible to everyday users.

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By Greg D
From Here
Nov 3, 2010
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
saxfiend wrote:
If there's anything incomplete, I'll fix it myself


Disturbing to hear this. So much for built by the community... as long as it suits you.

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By Greg D
From Here
Nov 3, 2010
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Tony B wrote:
As for the comment that someone MUST have lead the route to describe it... eh... that sounds like a better guideline than a rule. Seriously, let's say I solo some route and pay heed to the gear potential. I'd say someone in my shoes is going to make pretty good judgements or if not, disclaim that and let a later commenter seed the database with the info later. IE- lets say I do Supercrack... Do I need to have lead it to know that it's a smaller cam followed by 3" - #3 camalots and maybe a larger placement up top? Probably not. And what about following? Afterall, on a multipitch climb, I'm probably not going to lead every pitch, right?


Fair enough. But my comment about having lead a route was more in opposition to someone that simply tr's a route. Not follow and clean. I think you know the difference. And yes, this may be better as a guideline vs a rule.

But, a splitter crack as your example. Not a good choice. I suspect a very small percentage of routes worldwide are splitter cracks. 1" cam, 2" cam, 3" cam, etc. And placing gear on lead may be a world of a difference from what you think you may place from the security of a tr, especially near your limit.

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By Greg D
From Here
Nov 3, 2010
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
Tony B wrote:
Seriously, let's say I solo some route and pay heed to the gear potential.


Hey guys, I just soloed this route and got the gear beta down. Now, I'm totally gonna send that bitch on gear this time! I think they call it a Magenta Point.

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Nov 3, 2010
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
Greg D wrote:
Disturbing to hear this. So much for built by the community... as long as it suits you.

I'm baffled that you'd find it disturbing for an admin to fill in blanks like FA information, location, number of pitches, etc.

JL

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Nov 3, 2010
my foot
johnL wrote:
Some people are rather quick to declare efforts to clarify a route description as an infringement on their "writing" and "intellectual property". Changing a route length from 20 to 25 meters or mentioning a loose flake surely enslaves us all. To sympathize with Greg D though, I never check route descriptions here prior to climbing them. The primary reason for this is that I don't want the move by move breakdown. I don't need half the internet telling me it's soft, the other half telling me it's sandbagged, and somehow a third half telling me it's chipped. A good route description, paper or electronic, gets you to the route with gear and descent beta. A route description mentioning actual kinesthetic beta is equally bad and sometimes not recognized as bad. It's all about the details Example 1; difficult to read crystal crimping VS Example 2; at the third bolt, palm left to balance into a right hand foot match and rock over to the gray inclusion just below the 4th bolt. Had I written 1 and someone changed it to 2 with my name still attached, I'd be livid.

this is one of the top trad climbs in CT and this guy wants to tell you all about every move-
mountainproject.com/v/connecti...

I commented to him that it was quite the description and maybe he ought to not give the whole climb away. He told me to go F'myself basically, maybe in a nicer way but still the same.

oh well, no onsite for anyone who reads Mtn Project.

and he is an admin...

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By john strand
From southern colo
Nov 3, 2010
How about erasing move by move beta ?

I posted up a climb in NH a while back - Budapest, one of the best pitches on Cathedral and caught some shit for it. It's a straight up hands to tips crack. How much info does one need ?

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By Greg D
From Here
Nov 3, 2010
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W.
saxfiend wrote:
I'm baffled that you'd find it disturbing for an admin to fill in blanks like FA information, location, number of pitches, etc. JL


Just the part where you edit without notifying the "author".

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By john strand
From southern colo
Nov 3, 2010
I have always said that the f/a info is/should be important, some people don't think so but why ?....

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Nov 3, 2010
Colonel Mustard
Brian Scoggins wrote:
Its just that typically the contributors who habitually post crappy descriptions will continue to even after they've had half a dozen route descriptions corrected out from under them. Wouldn't an automatic "was this useful?" question at least help focus our efforts onto specific problem users? The results needn't be visible to everyday users and indeed, to prevent it being used as a cudgel against people you don't like, probably shouldn't be visible to everyday users.


Keeping it internal seems a little more reasonable. Point Master General, Blitzo, is the route scourge on the West Coast. Route after route, he's posting incomplete, inaccurate, and, generally, pretty useless route descriptions. Then again, you kind of get used to his zen koan style and people do the post a beta fix for more popular routes. It would take serious effort to clean up his mess at this point.

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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Nov 3, 2010
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumblin...
Greg D wrote:
Just the part where you edit without notifying the "author".

Well, I guess you're going to have to remain disturbed, Greg. I'll notify the author if there's any need for change of his/her editorial content (route description, etc.), but not for basic stuff like correct route name, missing FA, etc. There's just not enough hours in the day. Sorry.

JL

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