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Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it?
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Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/06/2007 12:12:44 MST Print View

I recently joined the forums over at PB. Their forums are pretty tightly controlled compared to over here. They do not have any places to give suggestions for technical website changes or "future of the forums" types discussions. Content is tightly focused towards backpacking and not socialization (if it ain't backpacking, then keep it to yourself). Threads are locked when the moderators feel that enough was said, and posts are often edited by moderators.

Thank the lord that BPL isn't so square!!!

Does anyone have an opinion on this?

PB Members: did you feel "claustrophobic" when you first joined, and was it worth it?

(Edited: toned down)

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 12/07/2007 09:13:28 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/06/2007 13:27:52 MST Print View

Do a search for my short rant. Bernie's probably a great guy and perfectionist type, so he likes a tightly run forum. I couldn't hang with it, so just read and don't participate.

Edited by jshann on 12/06/2007 13:30:49 MST.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Re: Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/06/2007 18:12:30 MST Print View

Yeah, in my opinion the forum could use some work, but Bernie seems like a decent guy.

>>"Do a search for my short rant."
I can't find your rant after searching the forums here.

Edited by HechoEnDetroit on 12/06/2007 18:13:32 MST.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/06/2007 18:41:32 MST Print View

He is a decent guy, he just runs a tight ship. Some people don't agree with that and make him out to be a dictator-type who edits every post and deletes others for no reason. If you just play by the rules that are very clear and posted all over you won't have any problems with him.
It is really easy to find information there. A quick search will turn up what you're looking for very quickly without having to wade through a bunch of off-topic banter. I still participate over there, though not as regularly as I used to. I've been over here a bit more because my pack weight keeps getting lower and lower. There are more posters active in UL and SUL here than there are at PBF and its a little easier to get the specific info I'm looking for.
If I want to fool around or engage in anything off-topic there are plenty of other places to do it. You don't have to limit yourself to one forum to participate in.


Edited by aroth87 on 12/06/2007 18:44:16 MST.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
Not a bad site on 12/07/2007 07:23:02 MST Print View

I post there, and haven't had any problems with interference. I've violated a couple of the rules inadvertently (I don't post often enough that I spent the time to learn all the protocols), and I've gotten messages from the moderators indicating that they corrected my posts. The notices were very polite and helpful, and not at all offensive or dictatorial in tone. All in all, a very positive experience.

As far as content, it appears to be a more general audience of backpackers. There's a definite lightweight flavor to it, but there's a strong "traditional" element there, too. All in all, it seems to be good general-purpose forum.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/08/2007 11:35:50 MST Print View

It's like any backpacking site in that it has its own personality.

However, the personality is primarily Reality's, the administrator's. I've had decent experiences there, and can appreciate on-topic focus, but I can't help but get an uncomfortable feeling every time I start to post something, "Will this get deleted? What will get this post pulled? Will, by posting links to specific gear items to help the OP, I wind up having Reality pull my post because he dislikes links to other sites?"

So I quit posting. I'm certainly not alone.

After a little over a year, and having, a number of posts pulled, I decided I had better things to do than worry about if I was wasting my time making a post.

Edited by Bearpaw on 12/08/2007 11:37:20 MST.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Re: Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/08/2007 12:06:23 MST Print View

I use and post in PB a lot. The procol is fairly simple for anyone who takes the few minutes it takes to read. In the past I occasionally linked incorrectly, but the link was usually corrected for me. I'd say my most difficult problem there is occasionally steering posts too much toward UL on a site where not everyone feels that it is a high priority. Personally, I feel that Bernie does an excellent job of keeping the forum on course and intact. If PB ever becomes like WB, then I'd withdraw from it, too... in a heartbeat.
Having said all that I finally left PB because posts were being automatically voided because one of many keywords was included that pointed to it being SPAM. When I spend anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes writing a detailed post or response I want to actually see it reach the forum, not be deleted or ommited by a cyber robot. At the time I withdrew I was very ill and time was a very, very important commodity to me.

Edited by Quoddy on 12/22/2008 06:59:58 MST.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Re: Re: Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/08/2007 12:36:18 MST Print View

--If PB ever becomes like WB, then I'd withdraw from it, too... in a heartbeat.--

I got sick of WB quickly as well. I was never really drawn to the idea of thru hiking the AT, it just seemed to too crowded to me, kind of like Whiteblaze is. I thought I might be able to get some good ideas about long distance UL hiking there but didn't exactly find what I was looking for. Oh well...


Jim Bo
(LongBacker) - F
Practical Backpacking Forum = 3rd Reich on 12/09/2007 13:36:28 MST Print View

Reality is a total micromanager. I've had too many issues with him and his lackeys, so I quit posting there all-together. Forums are meant for discussion and he clearly has a mission to stifle it if it doesn't fit his bill. Even attempting to link to an external website like BPL is unacceptable. His parents apparently didn't teach him how to share.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Re: Practical Backpacking Forum = 3rd Reich on 12/09/2007 13:51:17 MST Print View

And you are? I see that you, a non-member at this forum, decided as your first post to comment about another forum where you are also a non-member. I consider the source when I look at someone's comments, and I'll certainly do that in this case as well.

Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/09/2007 14:18:53 MST Print View

I've known Reality for a few years and he is a good guy.

I can only imagine the huge amount of work he puts in it to keep the site on track and I know that the PBP site is much more of a public service born from his love of backpacking and not much (if any at all) of a money maker. (I'm pretty sure it actually costs him to keep it going.)

The PBP podcasts are unique content and the forums have very very little sniping or anti social posts. The forums cover many different styles of backpacking. The majority of the of the posts are on topic and the vast majority of the posters are trying to positively participate in sharing information.

The great thing about the web and all the various backpacking and outdoor sites/forums is that they create virtual communities of like minded people trying to come together to support each other.

As one previous poster said, every site has it's own personality, and that's a plus in my mind in that it creates diversity. Everyone can find their own place. Most will want content that is informed, on point, non repetitive and not inflamatory. I frequent sites like BPL and PBP because they add to my positive life experience.

Diana L
(mysticmoose) - F

Locale: Great Lakes region
just one real problem... on 12/13/2007 06:57:59 MST Print View

The only real problem I have with PB is that you cannot link to an outside site, even in private messaging. If someone posts a message that they're looking for a specific type or piece of gear at a certain price (i.e. lightweight 20 degree down sleepin bag at $200 or less), and you just saw a for sale post at that matches their search, you cannot let the original poster know. I understand wanting to keep the boards from becoming pages and pages of links, but sometimes there is valuable information at other websites that should be shared. I'd really appreciate it if he'd open it up for PMs, which are designed to be less formal, even if not on the regular boards.

That said, I've found the MYOG section to be very useful. I made my quilt almost exclusively off of information from the PB forums, and the folks there were very helpful.

I post as Diana_of_the_Dunes over there, FYI, so don't flame me please! :)

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: just one real problem... on 12/13/2007 08:26:52 MST Print View

All of Reality's links go to amazon making one wonder if someone can get some kickback for amazon linking...

Edited by jshann on 12/14/2007 13:50:41 MST.

Brian Kelly
(bkelly) - F
can't link? why? on 12/14/2007 12:49:49 MST Print View

I'm with Diana, not being able to link to another site is a bit annoying. I tried twice today to answer a question with a linke to a thread in another board (note: this was not a link to a commercial site). Twice it was deleted. Geez, all I want to do is help a guy out, is that so wrong!?!

I know there is a specific way that they want links posted, but I believe I followed that format. If not, how much trouble is it to fix a link vs. nuking a post? Also, why offer a link button at all if you can't use it?

Joe Johnstone
(entropy) - F
Registrations not accepted at this time on 12/25/2007 11:01:55 MST Print View

You can't seem to register as a memeber there anyway.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Practical Backpacking on 12/25/2007 16:58:53 MST Print View

Practical Backpacking rules about links:

1. You certainly can embed a link in your PM -- or even in your post. You can't just type out the link/address (http.....) but you can embed it. Bernie's theory is that too many webcrawlers are trolling for "http" -- but a link embedded within a post will escape attention.

2. Bernie likes each post to stand on its own. He prefers that you type out your message and all -- and embedding a link within. But if the "message" is nothing more than a short sentence with a link embedded, then he will likely delete the entire post.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/25/2007 22:58:10 MST Print View

I had the same experiences and reactions as Shawn. I really like BPL and gladly resubscribe each year. BPL is far more community friendly and supportive of research as it allows links. It's easier to just provide the link than learn how to embed the links.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Practical Backpacking: Does anyone use it? on 12/26/2007 00:22:04 MST Print View

I had similar experiences, and a polite but surprising exchange with Reality that showed we're of very different opinions regarding his editing of posts. I no longer participate there.

I disagree that it's about "following clearly posted rules" - it's about capricious, subjective and surprisingly frequent decisions regarding what is and isn't "on topic" for a given thread. I had several - in my very reasonable opinion - on-topic, polite and useful posts edited or deleted with no explanation or warning. I also had an affiliate shopping program link added to a mention of an item in one of my posts, apparently to generate revenue for the site, but without my permission and (to anyone other than the forum managers) appearing as if I had put it in there. He did remove that one, at least, when I pointed it out.

Too bad, because it's a fine group overall, and there is occasionally unique information there. I wish him the best, acknowledge it's his group to run as he sees fit, but will not participate.

Edited by slnsf on 12/26/2007 00:23:56 MST.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
in Bernie's defense on 01/02/2008 05:16:25 MST Print View

I do see Bernie's point in not allowing the offsite links to things like trip reports (which I mistakenly did last night). He, very politely I might add, removed the post with the link to a trip report. While it may be a pain (I'll have to copy and paste the text and images) I see the idea behind it... this way if the link ever went down there aren't "holes" in the forum. That has been an occasional issue on my own backpacking forum and it can create extra work.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
I don't have a problem with it on 01/03/2008 14:25:52 MST Print View

I participate in a number of different forums ... PB, WB, BPL, and a few others. I've found at least one great idea on each site I've visited.

The "tone" of PB is focused on backpacking, and it's a tightly run ship.

The "tone" of WB is a number of regular posters that all hang out on WB all the time ... but I've gotten a lot of good advice on my AT hike from there and found most to be very helpful.

As for BPL, well ... the "tone" of this site has changed over the last several years. There's a lot more opinions floating around here now than there used to be and I'd have to say that I've been borderline flamed a time or two by some of the newer members who haven't had the benefit of the long history of some of the other posters on this site.

This site used to be about helping each other become better backpackers ... reducing weight, exchanging ideas, etc. Today we seem to spend a lot of energy rehashing the same ol' same old, and it doesn't seem nearly as friendly as it once was .... perhaps a format change could help? I don't know.

Don't get me wrong ... I still see value in the subscription ... it's just doesn't feel like "home" to me like it used to. A consequence of expansion, I guess.