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(mj451at2) - M

Locale: Somewhere out hiking!!!
Jake, to be fair... on 12/03/2012 18:40:58 MST Print View

I know you did not start that thread on WB, Eugene "Leaftye" did... I get ur frustration about being able to edit, but without having to pay, but I just let them do it for me, gratis... lol.. lets look at what he (Eugene) had to say, to put some of ur posts, maybe into context... They are from the same thread on WhiteBlaze...
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?88864-BPL-is-dying&highlight=bpl+is+dying

Keep in mind these are leaftye posts from just the first 3 pages...

For years I've used Backpacking Light and this forum. BPL more for technical discussions, and this forum more for discussion long distance hiking techniques. Unfortunately spam at BPL has grown worse over the past year, and much more so in the past week. It looks like the owner and administration there is completely unwilling to take even the most basic, free and effective steps to save their forum.

I know quite a few people here participate there too, and I suspect more people will sign up here as the fallout at BPL continues. While the primary purpose of Whiteblaze is for the AT, I hope it can accommodate BPL refugees as well.

There is no reason to believe these attacks are going to stop. I don't see why membership will continue when the spam is dominating the forum during and after the attacks. I also don't believe Ryan Jordan cares enough about BPL to operate it in the red if membership does indeed decline.

ere's an example. The username of the spammer has been changed by Roger, the moderator, to "SPAM". I believe this is an indication that the spammer has been banned, and this has somewhat been confirmed. Why is this banned spammer still able to post?

In any case, I hope Whiteblaze is preemptively learning from BPL how NOT to respond to spam because I'd hate to lose both forums.

As expected, a bone headed move. Instead of even trying to add another moderator at zero cost, Ryan has...well, read on.

Originally Posted by Ryan Jordan
In recent days, backpackinglight.com, along with forums across the internet during the same time, has been hit with an automated forum spam attack from newly upgraded spamming software that is becoming increasingly sophisticated at circumventing anti-bot measures. The attacks on backpackinglight.com resulted in a level of spam that makes it nearly impossible to moderate manually with human moderators.
Consequently, we will be limiting forum postings and the creation of new threads to members only (M or MLIFE).

This is intended to be a short term change in policy while we evaluate a number of options as we move forward. One of the options we will evaluate is whether or not to maintain this restriction indefinitely, or at least until we are able to upgrade to new forum software.

My hope with this change in policy is that our forums will return to a very high level of quality, even at the sacrifice of some quantity from those users who have contributed in the past but have not been members of our website. To those of you specifically, I'm grateful for your contributions and will continue to explore options that allow for your participation in the future.

We will continue to make the forums publicly available so that the rich resource here can be read by the public.

I wanted to thank Roger Caffin for being an incredibly patient and persistent moderator during this time. Roger did a terrific job of keeping the impacts of the attacks to a minimum, of keeping me and our web developer informed, and working with our web developer to create tools for helping us efficiently deal with large quantities of spam.

Thanks for your patience with the spammers and with us this past week.

I didn't actually volunteer to moderate or provide technical assistance. All I did was make some threads reappear and try to pressure them to do something to make things better. Instead Ryan found a solution that's worse. In any case, if Ryan has been paying attention to my posts, he probably wouldn't want my help because I accused him of lacking the technical prowess to stop spam, much less ensure the security of my account and payment information. At that time I said I would not consider renewing my membership unless I could pay via Paypal or some other intermediary.

Okay, he did stop spam. So if we're going to be literal, I was wrong.

Originally Posted by deadbox
I certainly hope that another venue to blocking spam is pursued post haste before valuable members of the BPL community permanently “move on”.
Several of us have been strongly suggesting over the last year that more moderators should be added. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, then it could be said that BPL was insane to expect the spam issue to go away by doing absolutely nothing different to address the problem. Had Ryan allowed at least a second moderator to be added, BPL might not be such a favored target for spammers.

Adding more moderators certainly isn't the end-all for spam, but it's free and easy, and the logical stop gap measure until more expensive and technical solutions can be implemented. Ryan's stop gap measure is to destroy BPL before a more expensive and technical solution can be implemented. If BPL has any chance of surviving, it'll only be if no other good alternative ultralight backpacking site starts gaining any momentum whatsoever.

I think that's another example of insanity. Many people have paid, including some that no longer pay. Some have paid for a lifetime. What has Ryan Jordan done differently to show for it? He restricted Gear Swap, added ads to the forum, closed down the gear shop, didn't find a temporary replacement for Addie, he didn't add another free moderator, and he effectively banned anyone that isn't currently paying. In all but one way, members are getting less for their money.

I strongly disagree that anyone should pay for a continually degrading service and magically hope it gets better. That's insane.

I've already mentioned on BPL and here that I don't trust Ryan. That I would absolutely not pay him for a membership in a way that gives him access to my payment information, and that a payment service like Paypal is mandatory. I don't trust a website operator that can't remotely grasp how to address spam to be able to securely handle my payment information. Will Ryan make that change? Probably not, especially since it's a logical move and also because it might cost him 3%. Nevermind that it might draw more members.

As others have said in the thread I linked to, the forums are a way to draw people towards membership. Now more than ever, the primary benefit of membership is access to the articles. I doubt very many would have paid for access to the articles if it wasn't for the forum.

Originally Posted by jakedatc
spending money to help was the mistake of the people who paid for MLife's last time... i highly doubt they will get that support again.
Exactly. Extra memberships paid for a degradation of services. Every indication is that service will degrade further. Trying the same thing again is insanity. It'd be better to withhold payment and force Ryan to earn memberships. It's a business after all, not a charity. Some people seem to forget that.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Whiteblaze.net is Anti-ultralight on 12/06/2012 17:10:55 MST Print View

I have never visited WB. But I would treat it like any other business or service. If I am unhappy I go somewhere else. Pretty simple.

Also here on BPL some folks get pretty zealous over gear that is not uber-light.

They are just websites. Nothing to get excited about.

Go for a hike instead :)

Perhaps we take ourselves too seriously.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Whiteblaze.net is Anti-ultralight on 12/06/2012 17:33:48 MST Print View

+1 Nick

If you don't like WB or BPL or whatever, then don't go there

If you paid for something and they didn't deliver what you expected, maybe you deserve to b**** about it a little first

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Spam? on 12/06/2012 17:56:15 MST Print View

I personally feel that people got too freaked out about the spam posts and although BPL were a little slow to address it, I didn't find it so annoying and I had checked a few time a day.

There were some people who were trying to make something out of it by saying that these posts can infect computers. But of course they can not and are really quite harmless.

These same people really got in a huff about it and posted all over the internet about how people shouldnt use the BPL formus because it will infect their computers with a virus.
I don't remeber who it was, and don't really care. Some of you know who these people are.
I try to ignore the trolls when I can.

I advise others to remember, do NOT feed the trolls. They are looking for replies, if you ignore their posts, they usually go away, or at kleast find a new method to annoy.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Elite on 12/06/2012 20:57:34 MST Print View

I paid up to be a member for life because I was grateful for the opportunity to support this forum.

You see I started out as an "ultralight" backpacker in 1970 wearing converse all stars and carrying a standard "frame less" boy scout canvas pack. I think I had some instant rice, a few cans of potted meat and some candy bars,a cheap aluminum pot and an ensolite pad. I hitched from Chapel Hill to Cherokee and got a ride up to Clingmans Dome and headed north. The first night at Collins I shared the hut with a doctoral candidate from Duke studying the red spruce blight. The next day I found out there was food to be purchased on LeConte. Hot meals! I can still remember walking out the Boulevard under the mature red spruce canopy with a visibility of a couple hundred yards at least and the ground carpeted with ferns; a sight you won't see again in this universe.. along with giant hemlocks and chestnuts and who knows what's next. Took me 4 days to make Davenport Gap so I guess that was fast and light but that wasn't on the radar in those days. I was 18 and hooked and the soles of my feet were really sore! but I digress

When I look back at some of the stuff we thought was "light" in the 70's 80's and 90's it almost funny. I remember going to Jack Stephenson's house on Hatteras Court in Woodland Hills, CA like it was a shrine back in 1974. Nobody was running around naked. The original Campmor store in Paramus NJ. Aspen Alpine in Aspen. Camp 7......

So whats the point of all this reminiscing and story telling except to to pull rank from experience due mostly to longevity? Well there's that and plus it's fun to reminisce! But more to the point there's hopefully some perspective.

Walk 2 moons. Who knows what Ryan is going through. Maybe BPL is winding down. Maybe there's a financial pinch. Certainly looks like it. Well let me tell you folks who don't have mortgages, payrolls, car payments, children (maybe in college or private school, or double yikes private college! You do what you have to to get by and sometimes things get squeaky. The last 6 years I've seen some hard men and women go down.

But what has BPL accomplished? I can tell you this. There was nothing remotely like this blog before. I can also make what I will assert are the following statements of fact.
1. Before the internet there basically were no "cottage" gear manufacturers and retailers. Couldn't build enough of a market.
2. Without the internet there would be none pretty soon.The very nature of much of the gear we classify as ultra-light; it's light weight and inherent degree of fragility; it's esoteric appeal and lack of a widespread, mainstream market, mean it will not be made and sold by larger, "general" mainstream retailers. The internet made the lightweight market or opened the niches that made the diversity and creativity of the products possible.

3. BPL had something to do with this and no small thing. I am indebted. and grateful.

BTW I met Teepee Walter on Bob Stratton and along with a couple of "lightweights" from Atlanta (they had a regular coffee press and had once hauled a keg up the same mountain) We spent a fun day and evening and had some great expresso. Walter was mighty skeptical of my gear (lots of cuben) and I could see how he could be a bit obdurate in his views but hey my hats off to someone who lugs a pack that big up the ball buster and he was good company. You spend your days spinning around the sun on this ball with the cast of characters before you. Cherish them!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Elite on 12/06/2012 21:05:58 MST Print View

"You spend your days spinning around the sun on this ball with the cast of characters before you. Cherish them!"

Both the days and the people, my friend. You never know when either, or both, will be gone.

Thanks for the post. Made me smile. And I needed a smile this week. Timing is a wonderful thing.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Give them the benefit of the doubt on 12/06/2012 21:26:05 MST Print View

I was resisting posting after some of the comments because frankly I thought this thread needed to just be forgotten but since its active again I'll speak my peace.

I don't have a dog in the fight over WB not my site, or my problem. I would like us to quit trashing people from either WB or BPL. I don't see how it helps.

I don't know why BPL leadership have made all the decisions they have but I give them the benefit of the doubt because I don't know all the relevant facts. I remember working for an organization that was (and is) going through a number of major changes. Everyone pretty much assumed the worst and assumed the boss was stupid. Since I knew him well I learned some details that for various reasons not everyone could hear. In the end the choices made perfect sense.

Now maybe there are reasons behind the choices made at BPL and maybe not but I'm not going to question another man's good character just because he doesn't tell me all the details of his business.

I joined BPL for the forums and articles and we still get those. Some of the more creative ideas were interesting but not what I joined for.

Edited by Cameron on 12/06/2012 21:28:13 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Elite on 12/07/2012 16:56:52 MST Print View

"You spend your days spinning around the sun on this ball with the cast of characters before you. Cherish them!"

Wisely and eloquently put! What a great post, a shining light in an otherwise dismal, depressing thread. Thanks, Cola.

Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
Re: on 12/08/2012 15:36:33 MST Print View

+1 on Cola's eloquence.

I've been on WB for a little more than a year, and I've not seen much of any indications in any of the fora that its administration is "anti" anything (save for the usual obscenities, vulgarity, abuse, spam, etc.). Of course, I'm not as active in its fora as I could be, and haven't attempted to persuade anyone to agree with me (yet).

I think the BPL, while supposedly the place for all things lightweight/UL/SUL, seems to be a little more open to differences of opinion than WB. On WB, I've not seen much discussion of backpacking in general. Instead there is discussion of a particular kind of trek (like "thru-hiking"), a particular trail (like the AT), a particular speed (like "15-20 miles a day") and a particular goal (like "summit Katahdin before the snow falls"). Most everything on WB, in one way or another, comes back to hiking the AT, doing it as completely as possible, being as safe in that pursuit as one can be, and above all else, remembering (or rather, believing) that the AT is a place to be revered unto itself.

That's not "anti." It's more like "dogmatically focused, and therefore ignorant of and unwilling to admit diversity." That makes any difference of view seem foreign, radical, distasteful, or "wrong." On BPL I've seen plenty of open discussions, differences of opinion, and diverse means, goals, and interests. Discussions revolve around backpacking-- any kind, anywhere, for any reason. All that we're adamant about is the general idea that "carrying less weight makes it better"-- and that everyone is here to really help everyone else have a better time backpacking.

It's hard to get dogmatic about that, since everyone's likes/dislikes are different-- and that's easy to see if you open your mind to it.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
White Blaze on 12/08/2012 16:37:50 MST Print View

Here's a white blaze for ya. Lets see yours!Small Rhodo Tunnel AT near Carters Gap 12-09
Just north of Carter's Gap near Standing Indian.

I have others but must leave for a pressing engagement!

Edited by obxcola on 12/08/2012 16:39:57 MST.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: on 12/08/2012 17:04:04 MST Print View

Harrison, I agree with most of that. It seems on BPL people show/tell you how something can be done. How to make a quilt, how to shave ounces from pack, how to bring lighter food etc etc. If something new comes along folks want to know more and how it could help them.


WB they would rather tell you that you can't. "you can't thru hike with <10lb base weight" "you can't be safe with sub x baseweight" "you can't enjoy yourself at x miles/day" New ideas seem to scare and intimidate WB members and push them away.

You can only go so long in a place where everyone tells you that the activity that you do is wrong and not fun. With no respect or moderation by the administrators it is a pretty frustrating thing.


(Cola, i never said i did not like or appreciate the posts and posters here, i just did not find that the way Ryan handled the spam issue was the best method. It is because of the posts and posters that this place stays alive, despite the shortfallings. Content and contributors will always be the most important piece)

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Re: Re: Re: on 12/08/2012 17:53:25 MST Print View

If the folk on Whiteblaze want to be like that then leave them off drinking the Kool Aid, Bpl is still the best gig in town, its not perfect, but if it was it would not be Bpl.

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Elite on 12/09/2012 03:31:41 MST Print View

"But what has BPL accomplished? I can tell you this. There was nothing remotely like this blog before."

Well to be fair ..... there was TLB, which some here are also still active on.

Edited by Arapiles on 12/09/2012 03:33:30 MST.

Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
Re: Re: Re: on 12/09/2012 08:19:31 MST Print View

Dare I say that everyone gets intimidated by any new ideas? Especially if those ideas aren't presented as alternatives, but as "the right way?" And isn't it so much easier for anyone to tell you what you can't/shouldn't do than to help you understand how to arrive at a decision?

Someone who says something like "you won't enjoy yourself if you do this" is assuming their audience will follow exactly along with their point of view, will find exactly what they find enjoyable to be enjoyable as well, and to find them an indisputable source of direction. But if you think about it, someone who responds negatively to someone else's suggestions, and then can't explain why they are responding negatively-- why the suggestions don't mesh with their view, their ideas, their feelings, their knowledge, etc.-- suddenly, they are the ones starting the conflict.

It's perfectly fine to "agree to disagree," but the disagreements have to be explained. Otherwise, it's just "head butting." The bottom line is that if someone responds dogmatically to someone's dogmatic suggestions, both are equally responsible for any disagreement, misunderstanding, and/or conflict.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Re: on 12/09/2012 12:54:01 MST Print View

The most common thing i saw was people wanting to X miles a day or a trip in X days and people would immediately jump on them and say to slow down and enjoy themselves. As if going their speed is somehow prevents them from having fun.

WB'ers have an inability to comprehend that someone could be having fun while doing something other than their exact idea of a hike. Things like this were seen in the Speed hiking and also the ultralight forums so it's not like OP's aren't trying to narrow the focus with like minded people. just folks can't keep their mouth shut and have to butt into every thread and be disruptive.

so it's not just one idea arguing with another. it is one idea disrupting people trying to discuss another idea. I don't sleep in a hammock, so i have no reason to be in the hammock forum telling people they should sleep in a tent.. Just like people who hike 8 miles in a day have no reason to post in a thread about hiking 20mpd. it should be clear the views are not going to match.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: on 12/09/2012 13:11:22 MST Print View

Jake D -
You've going on for a week about a culture which you can not change.

What do you expect to accomplish here, or anywhere, with such a constant negative diatribe?

Just wondering ....

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: on 12/09/2012 13:21:25 MST Print View

really, to me it seems i didnt say a thing for 5 days and was responding to Harrison.

a b
(Ice-axe)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: on 12/09/2012 13:35:17 MST Print View

I understand your frustration Jake.

That is why i suggested listening to that song.. as a reminder that the trail and people you meet out on the actual AT are totally different than those you meet online.

I got some pretty negative responses and even a few PM's from Whiteblaze because I hiked the AT in 100 days with a 7 1/2 lb pack.
Even though i never posted that, some folks figured it out from my journal and felt the need to send me mesages telling me i was going too fast and could not be safe carrying only 7 1/2 lbs.

I responded as politely as i could. (Something that does not come easily to me..)
The type of people i work with as a plumber are not exactly "gentle" folks and some of that attitude transfers over to other parts of my life.

But put me on a trail.. Then i am a totally different person.
I am kinder, and friendlier.
Wish it wasn't so but i tend to revert back to my "city" persona after a long hike quite quickly.

Just can't wear my feelings on my sleeve in the field i work in. They would tear me up.

I think what you are experiencing is a similar phenomenon.
A lot of White Blaze regualrs are writing out of their city personas.
On the AT itself I only met a few jerks. Almost every single person i met on that great trail was kind and non confrontational.

The most crap i ever got on trail was for carrying my umbrella.
Even that completely did a 180 when they saw me using it in the rain.

Know i am not going to change your mind here.. just wanted to share.
.AT

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: on 12/09/2012 13:51:10 MST Print View

I am perfectly fine on the trail. I can generally choose who i'll be around and the people that think I am doing something wrong are usually still asleep when i move in the morning and won't see them again.

i do think i should be allowed to vent some online when I got a ton of crap from multiple users on there with no response from the ass admin but a few steps near the line and i get watched with a microscope. then given no chance to discuss things. When the single person with the ability wants kick you off, he will find a way to do it.

if this gives folks a heads up what kind of attitude is over there, then i'll be happy.

Harrison Carpenter
(carpenh) - M

Locale: St. Vrain River Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: on 12/09/2012 18:39:22 MST Print View

Forgive me, all, for keeping the discussion going. I'll shut up now. Carry on. :-)