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BPL is changing
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Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
BPL is changing on 12/23/2011 11:37:10 MST Print View

Maybe it's just me.
I like a bit of fun included in threads, even if it is a serious subject.
Recently, every other thread seems to be about useless traditional drivel, a moan about this or that, and even (shock horror) traditional backpacking!
A recent member even posted that you should carry a sleeping bag rated to the lowest temps you could expect, and don't include your clothing in your sleeping system!
What is happening?
Folk are moaning about gear selling, but if BPL goes traditional, i'm gone. The beauty of BPL is that it caters to the fringe.
Please don't ever become just another forum.

Edited by MikefaeDundee on 12/23/2011 11:37:41 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
moan on 12/23/2011 11:47:05 MST Print View

and this isnt another moan about something ;)

people vote with their feet, if i dont like it, i vote ...

or you could tell the mods to censor anything that smacks of "traditional" backpacking

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re BPL is changing on 12/23/2011 11:50:16 MST Print View

I think you've proved my point.

I'll say no more.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
sweet on 12/23/2011 11:54:28 MST Print View

no more threads about moaning ;)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: BPL is changing on 12/23/2011 12:13:41 MST Print View

You're right Mike, it is changing. Of course, it always has been (we've all lamented the absence of folks like Roman Dial and the like who used to be active here). But perhaps the changes are becoming more pronounced, and in ways that make long-time members a bit discouraged.

There is, of course, still a fair amount of UL info/discussion, but it is getting harder to find among the, well, chaff, which isn't just in chaff. (I am, of course, one of the chaff abusers, perhaps a bit too prolific a poster of nonsense. I apologize.).

I think at least two things are at play.

1. BPL wants to grow. As it grows, the membership becomes more diverse, which means less fringe. It's a natural progression, really, that many fringe-that-want-to-stay-fringe groups have wrestled with. No easy answers, it's hard to stop that train if you want to grow.

2. Long time members perhaps are finding it difficult to find something new (in the UL area) to talk about, outside of new gear. Most of it has been discussed ad infinitum. I think that's partially to blame for the explosion in chaff postings. People are just talking about any old thing that strikes their fancy with an outdoor tie. Again, I think a natural progression.

Corollary: As some folks have mentioned, there is often, or at least has been in recent history, long spells between UL articles on the site that could be discussed. But people still gather here, and so they just start throwing things out there to chat about. And, truly not to throw stones, but the silence from BPL on high is often what keeps the moaning threads going so long (that and the inability of us humans to not respond - if we'd, collectively, stop just having to respond to some of the threads that start, they'd die quickly).

I'm not saying any of it is good or bad, just offering my own perspective (which could be entirely wrong) on why we might be seeing the changes we are. If I had to try my hand at an analogy, I'd say that this place used to be a bunch of folks chatting and sharing around the campfire. Now it's becoming a place where folks chat and share around the water cooler. The question, of course, is how do we get it back out to the campfire. I have ideas, but no easy answers.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
ide. on 12/23/2011 12:21:51 MST Print View

"If I had to try my hand at an analogy, I'd say that this place used to be a bunch of folks chatting and sharing around the campfire. Now it's becoming a place where folks chat and share around the water cooler. The question, of course, is how do we get it back out to the campfire."

Big +1 to that, and your whole post. Spot on.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re on 12/23/2011 12:24:33 MST Print View

Well thought out reply Doug, but i want to see a 3 page thread on what is the best guyline to use with our Cuben Trailstars. :)

Seriously, i've been backpacking for years, but i was amazed at the knowledge on this site when i first started lurking. You couldn't read or converse with folk who cut their toothbrush in half before BPL. The 'toothbrush thing' may now be a standing joke, but it was a novel idea at one time.

Merry Saturnalia everyone.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: BPL is changing on 12/23/2011 13:14:13 MST Print View

Hi Mike (and others)

> if BPL goes traditional, i'm gone.
Aint gunna happen! No way!

But this is Chaff and it's winter time in the northern hemisphere: so what do you expect?

PS: Australian summer - absolutely pouring with rain right now ... Sigh

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: BPL is changing on 12/23/2011 13:19:24 MST Print View

Hey Mike,

Dont leave buddy as I will be all lonely when I move to Michigan :-)

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re on 12/23/2011 13:25:55 MST Print View

Don't worry Stephen, i won't be leaving.
But i want to know the chemical make up in those pants Roger is wearing. :)

BTW, Stephen. Don't worry too much about to your move to Michigan. Your apprenticeship in the UK will have served you well. What we call a typical nights weather is a hurricane across the pond. ;)

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Oops. on 12/23/2011 13:51:10 MST Print View

Oops, wrong thread

Edited by Rod_Lawlor on 12/23/2011 13:52:41 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
BPL is changing on 12/23/2011 15:36:11 MST Print View

Really good post, Doug, thanks!

I've noticed some changes in the 5 years I've been around (just lurking for the first 3). Some for the better, some not. Of course the first year after I became a member I read most of the articles in the archives, so it's a bit hard to see patterns since that first year doesn't count. I do notice a lot fewer articles devoted to techniques in the past few years, and more weeks with only one article posted. And, has often been remarked, there appears to be much less visible involvement from management--although it sounds as though management is now hearing that message.

One item that is probably an issue on the forums for some--we have a lot of folks come in here who are just starting out. Their frame of reference (gotten from Backpacker Magazine and trips to REI) is that of traditional backpacking. If they google "backpacking," the first items that come up are Backpacker Magazine, a Wikipedia article (defining "backpacking" in the European context of international budget travel, without any reference to wilderness trekking), (weird site, not a lot of activity there, IMHO nothing to explain its position in google rankings) and then BPL (which just recently got ahead of my other favorite site, alias The Lightweight Backpacker). If they read the other stuff first and then come here, they are obviously going to be thinking in "traditional" terms. These beginners need our help! Unfortunately, from the beginners it's going to be the same questions and same answers, over and over again. It may be dull, but IMHO it's our responsiblity to help these folks, and that's where new BPL members will come from. Over on my other favorite site, there is a body of free articles to help the beginner, so many of those beginner questions can be answered with a simple link to them. Unfortunately, BPL doesn't have such a thing, and IMHO, we badly need it!

Mike, in the past 60-some years I've been caught in many situations where the thermometer dropped 15-20 degrees below the "normal" temperature for that time of year (basically an average). I want my sleeping bag to be for the "normal" low so that with my clothing I can stay warm during those temperature drops. I was on one long trip, in August, during which it snowed and went down to 10* twice during the trip. The difference between a 20* and a 30* Western Mountaineering bag is only 6 ounces (it helps to be short!), and to me it's worth the 6 ounces not to be shivering when the weather pulls such an act. This may be "traditional" (about the only area where I still am in that mode) but at least I will be comfy!

Roger, Oregon is having a dry winter. Only 0.5 inches (1.27 cm to you) rain so far since the beginning of December. Send some of that rain our way! Please face northeast and huff and puff really hard!

Stephen, just go north in Michigan. Even though I've lived most of my life in the Rockies and Cascades, I found Michigan beautiful, especially in the UP. It's just a different kind of beauty than the alpine.

A very happy Christmas, Hanukah, whatever holiday you celebrate, and a Merry New Year!

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/23/2011 15:50:42 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: BPL is changing on 12/24/2011 10:22:35 MST Print View

Hi Mary,

I will look forward to visiting the UP, as I will the Rockies and East Coast Mountains :-)

Happy holidays,


USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
well said on 12/24/2011 22:04:43 MST Print View

Well said Douglas. I've gotten lighter gear over the years when I have replaced it, still a long ways to go by BPL standards. A computer the last 8 years or so has really opened my eyes to what gear is available, not just what my now closed local bp store offered.