Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Open Letter: Don't make the Gear Swap for members only


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David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
great idea on 12/19/2011 16:23:04 MST Print View

Richard,

I like it. I've watched some of Mike's you-tubes and he has quite of way of explaining light hiking. Maybe it could be incorporated with the stair-step idea. 1 for light / UL / SUL / XSUL

OK, well the homepage has been re-designed, now what? :)



Enjoy,


Dave

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: Wow... on 12/19/2011 16:25:41 MST Print View

Yeah I'm sure you are right, understanding and being nice and all. It's just the audacity of it. Honestly if this was my business/website my response would be 'if you don't like it...leave, I won't miss you because you are not a paying customer, you are a freeloader so it does not upset me that you are no longer going to come here to freeload'.

It just doesn't even make any sense. The OP is saying it is the best of the best, the most wonderful way to buy and sell ultralight gear on the planet...therefore you should give it to me for free otherwise I won't use it.

Why not go to Starbucks and demand a free latte or else you aren't going to come in and use free wifi anymore?

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
New member sale on 12/19/2011 16:31:51 MST Print View

Richard-

That is good thinking.

Just put up coupon sale. Code is "NewBPL".

New members that spend $119 or more get enough back ($25) to pay for your membership for 1 year.

Honor system. This is to encourage new members.

bivysack.com

Coupon good till the end of the year. Shipping will be after the 1st.

Edited by oware on 12/19/2011 16:59:41 MST.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Maybe the "M" will go the way of the BPL Rank on 12/19/2011 16:46:15 MST Print View

Many of you may remember the BPL Rank. If my memory serves me well, there were (very civil) discussions about the need and practicality of having a "rank" in your profile.

Soon, the ranking system disappeared, and nobody gave it another thought.

What if the orange "M" and "MLIFE" labels were simply removed from our avatar/profile? The software would still be able to distinguish who are members and who are not, allowing the paying members to access their paid-for material; but forum users would not know, promoting fairness across the boards.

Then, people upset with policy changes have nowhere to complain but to the management, which is where complaints should be directed. Management can deal with said complaints in a manner they see fit. There would be less of an "Us vs. Them" mentality without any labels to distinguish members.


Personally, I have no problem with the "M" and "MLIFE" designations, and my other opinions on the matter have already been stated. I simply offer this up as a suggestion that I would be ok with.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: New member sale on 12/19/2011 16:59:58 MST Print View

That's nice, David. Very nice!

Unfortunately, BPL is probably like the mafia and won't let life members quit and then sign up again. Besides those tatoos are a dead giveaway ;)

Wonder if there might be an interest among any of the cottage outfits to perhaps institutionalize that kind of offer by authorizing BPL to include a $25 coupon as a new member benefit, to be applied by the new member with a qualifying purchase at any of the participating cottagers.

Seems like everyone might benefit -- new member, BPL, and cottagers who choose to make the benefit coupon available for BPL to issue. There's a natural symbiosis among them all already.

Maybe there's a downside, though. After all, banks stopped giving away toasters for new accounts a long time ago.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
internet. on 12/19/2011 17:01:38 MST Print View

"The OP is saying it is the best of the best, the most wonderful way to buy and sell ultralight gear on the planet...therefore you should give it to me for free otherwise I won't use it."


There is a lot going on in this conversation, and I think to narrowly focus (and/or get upset) about your interpretation (above) is to miss the broader conversation. Things like: People are used to getting content for free on the internet. The member content of BPL is variable and declining. The forum are (now only mostly) free for all to use. If a non-member user puts up 2,000 helpful, content-rich posts, are they a freeloader (or are they, instead, creating valuable "content" for free)? Restricting selling on Gear Swap might reduce the benefit to all. As attempts (scattershot, poorly communicated) to monetize BPL occur (e.g. MLife, user restictions, ads) what will the effect be on usage, the vibe of the place, solvency, etc.? What (if any) is the vision for BPL and a strategy to implement that vision? Should everyone pay for any use of BPL, including free forums, in light of issues above (and many others), and if they don't, is their input to be marginalized or wholly discounted? Etc. etc.

In my opinion, folks who only can view this as "If you can't pay $25 a year, don't complain and/or leave" are missing all the valuable input being offered to BPL management. People are (in my opinion rightly) frustrated that it seems to disappear into a vacuum.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
valuable free content on 12/19/2011 17:07:23 MST Print View

"If a non-member user puts up 2,000 helpful, content-rich posts, are they a freeloader (or are they, instead, creating valuable "content" for free)?"

Good point. I was wondering how to say this.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
who on 12/19/2011 17:08:10 MST Print View

Dave T,

Who is being marginalized ? when someone answers a question that I post - I dont look for a M, I am glad someone took the time to answer me.


Dave

Edited by dmgoody on 12/20/2011 04:55:14 MST.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: New member sale on 12/19/2011 17:13:54 MST Print View

"Maybe there's a downside, though. After all, banks stopped giving away toasters for new accounts a long time ago."

My bank gave me a GPS for a new checking account 2 years ago.

I think there could be a win/win situation. Something transparent.

I'm pretty sure
MLD, Zpacks, Tigoat and others would come on board if the price is right. If the
content is beefed up. And if the search feature would let people find the real gems of
discussions of the past.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Re: Re: New member sale on 12/19/2011 17:31:49 MST Print View

Noting that there's a "survey" link on BPL's main page that asks for suggestions to improve BPL (in case any one hasn't yet found that link already), and maybe someone can put in the "toaster benefit" notion as a suggestion for consideration.

I've already submitted my quota of suggestions (free beer, gear and shuttles).

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: re: the BPL mission on 12/19/2011 17:47:49 MST Print View

"I'd rather see the focus be "What is UL backpacking, and what can I do with it?" In and of itself a light pack is both boring and meaningless."

+1 in spades! A focus on gear rapidly degenerates into an exercise in "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin", IMO.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
what can you do. on 12/19/2011 17:57:17 MST Print View

"I'd rather see the focus be "What is UL backpacking, and what can I do with it?" In and of itself a light pack is both boring and meaningless."


+1 more. I think more of an obvious focus on what you can do with your lighter gear is a lot interesting to (most) people than getting 0.2 oz off your rainjacket weight by replacing the existing cord and cordlocks with slightly lighter ones.

Lightweight backpacking helps cycling, kayaking, packrafting, canoeing, adventure travelling, etc. All this along with more photos, trip reports (with pics/GPS waypoints/tips). More emphasis on what you can do with all this gear! (My apologies to the gear-wonks.)

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
What can you do. on 12/19/2011 18:30:28 MST Print View

Judging by the preponderance of gear talk and gear swap activity and comparative lack of trip reports and notes from the field, I'd say the masses have certainly spoken when it comes to gear vs. what you can do with it.

Why is it that a "What underwear do you use?" thread can actually generate a few more responses than David Chenault's Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic 2011 report (A great report on what can be done with ultralight gear)?

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=9332

vs.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/ak_mountain_wilderness_classic.html?forum_thread_id=52923

Or how about the "Goose Down- Ethical?" completely trumping Skurka's post-trip report "Ultralight in the Nation's Icebox" (a classic on ultralight winter gear and how to really push it).

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=28294

vs.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/ultralight_icebox_post-trip.html


It's for these reasons that I find I am more frequently turning to outdoor blogs than this site for discussion and commentary on the scene, on the nature of actually doing as opposed to endless planning and gear scrutinizing with the actual use of said gear often elusive.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: What can you do. on 12/19/2011 18:37:20 MST Print View

My attempt at doing something for newcomers: Are you new here?

I'm hoping that perhaps some of you will add your own posts to the thread with links to BPL articles/forum threads that you think would benefit someone new to lightweight backpacking. If the thread gets enough helpful posts, perhaps BPL can link to it from the home page.

FWIW.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Re: Re: What can you do. on 12/19/2011 18:41:20 MST Print View

Any way to make Doug's excellent welcome a "sticky" post so it doesn't disappear with all the others?

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: What can you do. on 12/19/2011 19:00:40 MST Print View

Craig,

You make a good point.

I think that in the absence of actually getting out on the trail, there is a natural tendency here to focus on the gear and the number of ounces that people carry.

Gear Porn basically, which can kinda get old once you have figured out your UL/lightweight backpacking setup that works for you.

Can you give a few specific examples of what information you are looking for and finding at other sites/blogs?

I am a big proponent of having discussions and articles on what I call Technique....how to use the gear in the field, best practices for camp site setup and selection, etc.

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but it would be nice to get your input on what you are looking for because you can not be the only one who is tired about gear talk.

-Tony

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Open Letter: Don't make the Gear Swap for members only on 12/19/2011 19:41:19 MST Print View

R C wrote:

>> The BPL Gear Swap is one of the best online classifieds for lightweight backpacking gear that there is. I have bought and sold many items through it and have yet to experience a sour transaction. However, if it is to be for members only, I will never sell any gear through it again.

Hi Robert,

I've extended your membership for a little bit. Please take some time to review what we've published over the past few years since you let your subscription lapse, and if it's worth it, please subscribe. If not, let us know what type of content you'd like to see more of. Please submit this via the contact form, instead of the forums, or put it in the BPL Members forums.

Thanks for taking the time, and feel free to use the Gear Swap as much as you like during your membership trial.

To everyone:

Unfortunately, I'm not able to respond to everything in this thread, but I did read all the posts. I'm currently in Seattle visiting my extended family for a funeral, and then will return to Bozeman to enjoy some downtime for the Christmas holiday with my own family. After Christmas, you can look forward to some new content from me. I'm trying to free up some time in my schedule to do some more writing for BPL, and put three new articles to bed this week.

I do have to respond to one thing - advertising conflicts. As you can see, we're testing out some advertising (automated) in an effort to generate some revenue. This is a really new thing - just a few months old. We have received some money from it, but for now, it's not a lot. However, it is increasing, so I plan to stick with it for a trial period of meaningful length. If it starts out delivering a few dollars a month now and increases at a rate of a few % per month, then within the span of a couple of years, we have a meaningful revenue source, maybe?

Those of you that have been around here for awhile know how sensitive I am to advertising conflicts. We experienced them. We sold advertising in the print magazine. We sold annual contracts to a manufacturers of gear. We wrote reviews about their gear that were less than stellar. In more than one case, a few days after publication, manufacturer's broke their contract claiming that our reviews were "unfair". This happened more than once - it's real. It even happens within our beloved "cottage" industry. Here's a fun exchange we recently had with a cottage manufacturer:

Me to one of our editors: "Do we have a (product name) in the queue for review at BPL?"

The Editor: "Nope. (manufacturer) no longer provides gear for us to review. (Manufacturer's) logic is: if a review of (their) gear gives it less than a Highly Recommended, it hurts (their) business...(Manufacturer) has decided (that they don't) want us to review (their) gear anymore."

So I requested a sample of the gear from the manufacturer. Their response:

(Manufacturer): "It would have to depend on the particulars...I'd kind of like to know who might review the (product name)...and when it publishes...from a strictly (business) standpoint on my end a simple quick hit spotlight type review with no rating would be much preferred...risking a rating other than the (Highly Recommended) is a money loser for (our company)."

This is real stuff. Can you believe it? I could probably make a lot more money writing a tell all book about bad ethics in the outdoor industry rather than trying to sell subscriptions to backpackinglight.com.

Some (including the manufacturer), will say that "it's their right, it's their business", kind of like what some of you have said in this thread about BPL's "right" to do whatever. However, it reflects the continued infection of our business culture that focuses on short term profits above long term credibility, integrity, and sustainability.

And, this type of thing is increasing. Why? Is the world spiraling down the toilet? I suppose at some point, manufacturers will outright refuse to pay, and we can simply afford to be another "customer" for them and buy their products outright, which of course, will totally eliminate conflicts and we can do what we've always wanted to do, which is call people on the carpet and review things without bias or fear of losing revenue, which we've done anyways, but it does make things more challenging, and it makes our relationships with manufacturers a little more tense.

Behind the scenes, we're working on the site's BACK END, including infrastructure upgrades of the forums. It's not going to happen tomorrow, but hang in there. I have no interest in building a reactive business, but one that is sustainable over the long run. For me, "long run" is measured in decades, and I plan on BPL growing to a very old age without advertising conflicts or an IPO. That said, we're still in our infancy and we're still thankfully small and "cottage" ourselves, so thanks for sticking with us.

Take care and happy holidays,
Ryan

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: what can you do. on 12/19/2011 19:46:23 MST Print View

"Lightweight backpacking helps cycling, kayaking, packrafting, canoeing, adventure travelling, etc. All this along with more photos, trip reports (with pics/GPS waypoints/tips). More emphasis on what you can do with all this gear! (My apologies to the gear-wonks.)"

Not to mention lots of gun threads with more photos, trip reports. ;^).

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Open Letter: Don't make the Gear Swap for members only on 12/19/2011 19:50:42 MST Print View

Thank you so much for a response Ryan. Especially at this time. My condolences.

It's the Holidays people. Let's call a cease fire till the New Year.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: What can you do. on 12/19/2011 19:54:05 MST Print View

"Judging by the preponderance of gear talk and gear swap activity and comparative lack of trip reports and notes from the field, I'd say the masses have certainly spoken when it comes to gear vs. what you can do with it."

Unfortunately, I have to agree, particularly about trip reports. If it were otherwise, maybe more of us would post trip reports. They're a lot of work, and if they are read by only a handful of people it is hardly worth the effort. My own feeling is that trip reports in particular are where the rubber meets the road, applied gear and technique if you will, plus a fair bit of judgment. Then there is the sense of aesthetics that comes into destination and route selection. It would be difficult to devise a forum for such intangibles, but in the context of a trip report they can be communicated effectively. I wish they were popular among a wider segment of the community.