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Why are you not a Member of BPL?
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Diana Vann
(DianaV) - MLife

Locale: Wandering
Do you want to be sponsored as a new member of BPL? on 08/01/2011 11:00:33 MDT Print View

Hi, Justin.

Thanks for your honest feedback on why you haven't become a member of BPL. I'm a lifetime member, and I'm very interested in helping the effort to reorganize BPL. Ryan has been very honest with us about the state of BPL, and I've been considering making a donation during this time of transition (lost revenue as a result of reorganizing and closing the gear shop).

One of my favorite things about the lifetime membership is that when I go on a long trip, I don't come back home to find that my membership has lapsed in my absence. I appreciate the information and the sense of community at BPL. I also appreciate the many people (both paid and unpaid) who spend so much time keeping it going. The forums alone are well worth the price of membership.

So I'd like to sponsor you for a one-year membership. If you agree to this offer, I'll contact Addie to make it happen. Are there others out there who would like to become members of BPL? I would be willing to fund 3 additional (for a total of 4) memberships.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Do you want to be sponsored as a new member of BPL? on 08/01/2011 11:07:46 MDT Print View

Wow Diana. That's awesome!! Kudos to you for going that extra mile.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Do you want to be sponsored as a new member of BPL? on 08/01/2011 11:16:25 MDT Print View

Wow, Diana, very cool. Good on ya.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Do you want to be sponsored as a new member of BPL? on 08/01/2011 11:54:11 MDT Print View

Extremely generous and a great idea. Diana, if you find a college student or an educator who needs a boost I'd be happy to sponsor them as well.

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Incredible on 08/01/2011 12:24:20 MDT Print View

Being a part of this community blesses me to my toes. So many that I get to interact with are generous, thoughtful gems.

Diana Vann
(DianaV) - MLife

Locale: Wandering
Re: Do you want to be sponsored as a new member of BPL? on 08/01/2011 13:12:54 MDT Print View

Thanks, Curtis, for the offer to help. Just want to say that anyone who would like to be sponsored can feel free to send a PM, and be sponsored anoymously if you'd prefer.

(rps76) - F
Re: Why are you not a Member of BPL? on 08/03/2011 16:01:19 MDT Print View

I'm in Justin's shoes. Struggling economy has "forced" me to go back to school. I wished someone would have told me that a college degree wasn't going to be worth a d**n after I graduated high school in 94. I would have had a lot more fun during those years.

Josh Platt
(EasternBox) - F

Locale: Southeast
same... on 08/04/2011 13:31:34 MDT Print View

Feeling the same here. Not back in school yet, but I am planning on going back in the winter just to get some grant money and not struggle. Been selling a bunch of stuff to get backpacking gear, which has been nice I must admit. More backpacking and less clutter in the house!

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
kindness on 08/04/2011 13:58:51 MDT Print View

Diana thank you so much for your generosity. It won't be wasted.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Why are you not a Member of BPL? on 08/04/2011 20:42:31 MDT Print View

I guess I'm late to the conversation. Why am I not a member? Once in a while there was an article I wanted to read and I thought about it but I put it off and never joined. Other than reading the articles, I don't think any of the other membership benefits are of interest to me and I didn't even know about them until now.

It does sort of sound like, even though BPL doesn't have a big Donate button, that they are treating their memberships like a donation. If you like the forums then you should be a member. Why don't you just go ahead and put a big donation button on the site then?

I tend to avoid purchasing memberships as a general rule. I pop in here every now and then and try to contribute positively. I stop short of purchasing a membership because I do not want to be punished for making a donation/purchasing a membership by being put on sucker lists that get sold over and over. As a result of past purchases and donations, I've been plagued with solicitations by snail mail, email and telephone. I might quit the Sierra Club and every other thing I belong to because of this. I'm certainly not going to join anything else. They all promise not to sell your name but they all do it.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Why are you not a Member of BPL? on 08/04/2011 20:59:21 MDT Print View

"I might quit the Sierra Club..."

That won't help

Once you're on their list they keep sending you donation requests

Based on my own experience

I generally have a favorable opinion of the Sierra Club and other similar organizations, but I fear that any money I've contributed is more than offset by the cost of them sending me requests to donate.

Kat ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Lists on 08/04/2011 21:00:16 MDT Print View

I don't know about anybody else, but name has not been sold to any list. I can see the dangers of signing up on for some online offers and cards, but I cannot imagine BPL doing that. Anyone else ?

Jeffrey McConnell
I have my reasons on 08/05/2011 00:15:32 MDT Print View

I just read through the entire post and my brain is a little foggy so hopefully this makes sense...

Well, compared to a lot of you I'm a "newer" member. I've been around for about two years. Like most, I found the site through the forums. I learned a lot reading through the posts and posting questions. I felt I received a lot of value and I wanted to contribute, so I did. Then I realized the site wasn't limited to the forums and they were articles. That was a bit of a bonus. Some of them seemed dated, but they were still interesting. I learned a lot.

A year later I didn't renew. There's really two reasons for this. The first is financial. I had just graduated law school (think loan payments) and I was unemployed. At the time, I really couldn't afford it. Nothing BPL can really do about that.

The second is the value of the site was not as great as before. Through the forums I learned a lot about gear and techniques and the information started becoming repetitive. My traffic to the site started becoming less frequent. Then, I read a great article on someone's PCT experience. It was actually a series of articles I think. I loved it! It was very well written and had some cool pictures. I learned a lot about the hike. More articles like that is what I'm willing to pay for. I like dropping in the forums every so often, but I'm looking for some good article content. You can also through me in the camp that hates the forum software. Even some small improvements in that area would be great.

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Selling names on 08/05/2011 19:15:06 MDT Print View

Never never never never NEVER.

I hate that garbage, and I have multiple aliases with valid email and street addresses with BackpackingLight (for testing purposes). I wouldn't dream of such things if I knew my information would be sold. We hate that practice as much as you do. The only way someone is going to get your email or street address from our site is if YOU display it. I regularly counsel folks to change a username from their email address to something else, especially if they ever think they'll comment in the forums.

We're not a non-profit, so donate buttons are a non-starter, unless you think donate can also be spelled "subscribe". :)

As mentioned earlier in this thread, I'm off for the weekend. Thanks to Diana V., I got to square up four folks with annual subscriptions. Thanks to "Anonymous," I got to set up two avid forum users with lifetime subscriptions. It's been a good week.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Membership, BPL, Forums, My Oh My on 08/20/2011 20:10:48 MDT Print View

Just returned a few days ago from the JMT and had a chance to jump back onto the forums.

Wanted to know if Ryan Jordan had an opportunity to comment further about the comments here and the future of BPL.


Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Further comment on 08/20/2011 22:07:05 MDT Print View

Not right now. We've been busy taking care of the nitty-gritty of closing the Bozeman office location (see Twitter and FB about the garage sale yesterday and Thursday). The only reason I am working right this moment is to catch up on support issues for those same days. Until we can sew up the office details (in the midst of regular work duties and Ryan's UL Bootcamp Course and Trek), take care of personal things like kids starting school, and actually have a meaningful meeting, further comment will be frivolous. RJ has ideas up the ying-yang (I have a few too!), but just spouting them off without plans for implementation won't be helpful. Give us a bit of time to come up with ideas that make sense, matter, and can actually be effected reasonably (reasonable = soon + affordable). I'm keeping an eye on this thread and an email exchange along the same lines. I won't leave you hanging!

Thanks, on to support issues. Then on to bed. Oh, sweet bed. I love sleep.

adam spates
(adamspates) - F

Locale: southeast
its just American's today on 08/20/2011 23:27:12 MDT Print View

People in America want not just freedom, but free things. The same people who won't pay for this site gripe about paying ANY taxes. Sure, none of us want our tax money to pay for Mrs Obama's obesity campaign, Pres Obama's golf game, welfare abusers etc etc......however we sure like our military! Well it takes money for our military to operate to defend the freedom we all cherish. Just because you may not EVER read a member article you receive benefits from using this very forum everyday if for nothing else just pure entertainment. So just like our military the forums are worth the $2 a month (just give up one coke or starbucks or whatever your luxury choice a month) this site charges. Don't be the welfare recipient who doesn't strive for achievement and just reaps the benefits of everyone elses taxes. Chip in with the rest of us and maybe, just maybe the staff will have more monitary resources to write the very articles you wish for!

If for nothing else, me being new to UL backpacking.....greatly benefit from this site! I would think that most of you are like the other hikers I've met on the trail over the years and would like to grow this sport for future generations. This site is an educator for young folks with kids like me. The more people who hike, the more voices and resources exist to help preserve our places of escape we enjoy so much! always this is just MHO!

Thanks to the staff and everyone who has contributed knowledge on this site!

Edited by adamspates on 08/20/2011 23:42:39 MDT.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: no point in paying on 08/21/2011 09:29:41 MDT Print View

I've actually decided NOT to renew my membership. I think the deal breaker for me was the MLife program which decidedly segreggated the membership even though some of us (like me) had been paying members for 5 years. Where was the benefit of loyalty? The company obviously needed a cash injection for a re-organization. It implied that the company needed a large cash injection to assist in divestiture of the company's assets and left a bad tast in my mouth. Now the store is gone. I will still participate in the forums occasionally but for now I am heading to the hills.

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F

Wow... on 08/21/2011 10:40:01 MDT Print View

Adam, your post is incorrect on so many levels, that writing a though out response is just outside the scope of this site and conversation. I'm not going to go into your hook for the politics and all, but it's a good idea to not mix a simple idea of paying/not paying for site membership with military, taxes, freedoms and everything else.

Lets just say that those who are not paying either : 1- can't afford, 2- don't see the value. Why that's the case is different for everyone and some have put in the time to explain it. Appealing to emotions, guilt, etc is not going to convince many (if anyone) to pay.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Membership, BPL, Forums, My Oh My on 08/21/2011 11:39:57 MDT Print View

I've been continuing to read this thread and thinking a lot about the direction that BPL needs to head in now, especially since the focus on selling gear has gone. For my part as soon as I have more time after the summer vacation and beginning of the autumn semester teaching schedule, I'd like to offer something for the articles: trip reports, etc, and possibly, if it's accepted, a cartoon series.

One thing that has really stood out is the necessity to strengthen the community much further, to keep the interest up by participation rather than just passive reading. That means somehow providing platforms for members to contribute directly to the main site, rather than just the forums. The entire BPL website should grow into a worldwide community effort, with the emphasis on "community" rather than just a reader's educational site. There should be an element of fun and anticipation that lures people here and makes them feel they are part of something. There should still be an "experts'" section, but why not also a more visible members' photo gallery, or a MYOG workshop section with rotating instructors, or a podcast station with interviews of both famous ULers, but also of members, weekly or bi-weekly columns that are regularly and consistently published so that a following is built up and people look forward to the output of a popular writer or artist, a regular food and recipe section for a notoriously difficult subject in UL backpacking to get one's head around, or even a local chapters section where members can coordinate and set up BPL gatherings in the local areas, but managed under one roof.

The community is what makes BPL what it is. So much potential is lost by not fully recognizing that. Use its potential and energy. There's so much talent and knowledge among members. And so much knowledge that is forever lost because, 1) of the time sensitivity of forum posts 2) of the clunkiness of the forum search engine. That one single change, a better search engine, would transform the forums into a place of easily sought out wealth of knowledge.

But if members are going to be segregated and deprived of incentive and not given value for becoming members, what's the point? And if the leaders are unwilling or unable to see this, and don't want to participate in the group effort, then how can there be a revival of the spirit of the whole site? People need leadership and vision, but they also need to feel that they are actually doing something, too. Otherwise they are just spectators, and the initial dazzle eventually dies away with the same old same old.

What makes a group trip in the mountains so exciting and that entices people to come back again and again? If it's just the leaders having all the fun, then eventually the others will lose interest and go somewhere else. It's the same thing here. Appeal to the emotions, beyond just the intellect. Make it fun and exciting here. Create a sense of belonging.