Mitch - I am sorry if you feel that I am being argumentative. My intentions are not to upset anyone. I will admit I was a bit frustrated by your replies, but tried my best to give a productive rebuttal. Please try and put yourself in my shoes. Imagine if you spent time and energy on a small project on your blog and with long replies on a thread here, only to have people admit to skimming and then mischaracterize your points.
As for my blog poll reflecting more information, I didn't have enough space on the poll to write very much, which is why it is right to the point. Which is why I wanted a text to accompany the poll, and in my defense I hedged forming a consensus on my blog post with things like:
"I can't stress enough how much I value questioning, re-evaluating, and re-defining ideas"
"here is how I personally define the wonderful world of arbitrary UL weight definitions"
"It's not a magic number, of course, but what I and others have observed is a good approximation of when things significantly improve"
"Obviously people can and will reject whatever set wins, or any other definition they don't agree with or like."
"Granted, this is not 100% scientific or anything, but it's a good approximation of the community's opinion on the matter if enough people vote"
I had assumed that people reading the text would see the above quotes as sign-posts against me suggesting any absolute, single set of numbers to define all of UL/SUL. And here in this thread, I have been abundantly clear about definitions being arbitrary, and not meaning to set anything in stone or an absolute.
John - Thanks for elaborating on the 12lbs UL definition of yours. I was just curious. I encourage you to add this clarification to your post.
The SXUL "joke" I still find confusing. You didn't address my questions about your sub 2lb BPW. You seemed pretty serious about it when you discussed it, unless I am missing something. And when you write about SXUL it really doesn't come off as a joke:
"SXUL – Super Extreme Ultra Light = Anybody with a BPW of under 2 pounds (0.907 kg). This, the most extreme of the extreme, is more about the ultimate test of your hiking and survival skills. While I do not endorse or encourage hiking for the sake of survivalism, you can learn a great deal about yourself and your skills by going on a sub-24, or maybe even a three day hike, with a sub 2 pound setup. It would be, I tend to think, rather difficult to go beyond three days of hiking with a sub 2 pound backpack, unless you are highly skilled in seeking and acquiring natural food and water sources, in all but the best of weather conditions."
You'd think if it was a joke you would have mentioned, alluded to, or linked to Gilmore's post--but you didn't. Honestly, this just comes off like you trying to distance yourself from a very extreme variation of backpacking that people might take issue with.
I don't really understand what you mean with your claim that my post is somehow objectively skewed. I gave 4 options that I felt were the best and most relevant choices for people familiar with UL backpacking. Please don't take offense here, but your counter point for all this I fail to see it as coherent:
"Because as it is, you just have people voting for the "metric" option and not even seriously considering the other options, just on that issue alone. That is called a skewed polling."
I don't have people voting, they vote for themselves. They are welcome to seriously consider the other options however they want. How does this equate to skewed polling? Seriously, I don't understand what you mean here.
As for your point about 200 triple crowners in a room... I don't know what they would say, and neither do you. We'd have to find 200 of them and ask them about this issue and let them express themselves. As for everyone else, I am not saying it is possible to get everyone to contribute to a consensus, but this does not mean we can't try and get something that is close enough.
I know we all have different goals and aspirations when we backpack and pound the miles. Just like everyone has different feelings and experiences when they eat pizza. I will repeat my firm belief that there is no inherent meaning in anything, language included. We as individuals give meaning to things, symbols, and words. But we have to agree on certain things otherwise communication is hindered or not possible. What I think you and everyone else needs to keep in mind is something I have said already several times about being able to answer basic questions about UL backpacking.
I founded and ran an outdoor/backpacking club while I was a grad student a few years ago. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun, and I introduced a lot of people new to the outdoors to backpacking in general. Many times people would ask simple questions like, "What is ultralight backpacking?" when I would say that it was my preferred style of backpacking. This would usually be followed up with questions about who came up with the weights and terms and such--remember, most of the people in my club were inquisitive people, being college students both undergrad and graduate level.
It was this experience that inspired me to try and re-configure the definitions and weights to metric, and the past year seeing a lack of any general explanation/definition on multiple UL forums compounded my interest in trying to solve this admittedly arbitrary, but I feel is a somewhat important issue and useful thing to have for our community and those wishing to join our community. As I expressed earlier, I think this is a pretty tricky community and sub-type of backpacking to get into that requires a lot of initiative from people. That alone I think ought to be addressed, and I think this is a simple way to do so--simple in theory at least, but as this thread has demonstrated, no simple at all in practice.
Which is fine. It's just words, man. :)
Nick - Just wanted to thank you for your continued contributions and for the very kind words you had for me. Know that I think your blog is cool and well executed, and you're one of my favorite personalities around here--even if we don't agree on certain things (but who agrees with everything?). You are asking valuable questions and I too give a big +1 to them, but I also think they can coexist along side a generally agreed upon definition.
Phew! That's all the time I have for now as far as replies go. I'm only half way through the 5th page too, so I need a breather before I get to any more replies. I am not going to be able to address everyone, obviously, but will try and get around to posts directed at me or things I think stand out.
Until next time, the current numbers in the poll are:
23 for Wiki
7 for Abela
10 for Metric
6 for me
I still think if we get to 100 votes it would be worth noting on wikipeida, and regardless of what happens I think that someone ought to update the UL entry there with some of the gems found in this thread. Now if we can only agree on what the gems are...