Mitch - When you said you skimmed you really weren't joking. You've created a strawman to beat up on with your continuation of my pizza analogy. You say:
"But if you come on to this pizza site and ask. "what is the recipe for a pizza?" you're never going to get an absolute answer. "
This is clearly not what I proposed or asked, and repeatedly stated in very clear terms that this is not about an absolute answer.
This is about finding a general definition for a very specialized and specific sub-type of backpacking. So actually my first example of asking a pizza community to generally define pizza, while capturing the gist of things, is not specific enough--as I hope we can agree that UL backpacking is a pretty specific type of backpacking. To continue on the whole pizza comparison with something more accurate, what I am doing would be equivalent of asking asking a Neapolitan pizza forum to define Neapolitan pizza.
And wouldn't you know it? Wikipedia has a general consensus noted on their page on "pizza" regarding Neapolitan pizza:
"According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour (type 0 or 00, or a mixture of both), natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer's yeast, salt and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 millimeters (0.12 in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pizza#Naples_and_Campania)
Obviously not everyone will agree with this set of definitions, and you would be a real jerk if you went to a party where someone tried their best to make a Neapolitan pizza from scratch, only for you to scoff at them for the pizza being 4 millimeters and roll your eyes at the birch-wood fire.
But for someone new to making this particular kind of pizza from scratch, such a definition might be helpful, don't you think? And for veteran pizza makers, surely there is a debate going on about the nuances and gray areas of the definition, and how conditions and circumstances can change a pizza makers process and end result.
If you ask me, btw, the best pizza I have ever had (and I have had quite a lot of pizza in many different places) can be found in NYC and Rome. I can't ever make up my mind which city wins, and have visited both multiple times. South Philly pizza is also pretty good, as are most pizzas you will get in France. I am not a fan of Chicago style pizza, and ironically the worst pizza I ever ate was actually in Rome. I went into an avant-garde type pizza place with all these weird pizzas and people one time, and it was a hoot. A man told me I looked like his husband, something I will never forget. Anyhow, decided to get the most odd looking pizza I saw--root veggies with a white sauce with capers. I could only eat half. It was outright disgusting.
John - I was wondering when you would chime in! Thanks for that, and for your previous efforts that I've already lauded.
I have to say though, I had hoped for a more substantive reply from you. Why 12 over 10lbs I've been wondering about for some time, unless I missed something?
And SXUL was a joke? Hmm. Well, you fooled me. Especially considering that (correct me if I'm wrong) have taken or planned on taking trips with sub 2lb kits? I seem to remember you mentioning a sub 2lb kit in your profile before, and mentioning it in some threads here, but I could be wrong. Or were these jokes too?
Also, you wrote your article on how you define things on September 8, 2012--yet Ross Gilmore wrote the article you quote on August 27, 2013. How is it that you were inspired to make this SXUL/XSUL "joke" based on Gilmore's article nearly a year after your article was published? And I seem to remember SXUL on your definitions article before I read Gilmore's article (I also follow his blog), which would seem to rule out that you edited it in.
I am sorry to hear you feel my poll is skewed. I figured it was better to take action rather than be frustrated by the lack of consensus on a matter I am very interested in. People have asked me after I tell them the common wiki set of weight definitions where that figure comes from, and I say I don't know--that it is just a number most people seem to have unofficially agreed on as the unofficial rules. I still don't see how trying to informally try and figure out a consensus would cause any harm or take away from UL backpacking. Neapolitan pizza definitions don't seem to bother fans and makers of Neapolitan pizza that I am aware of.
I think you make some good points in your last paragraph about how things change. Certainly it would have been very lightweight to take 30lb BPW not just two decades ago, but for centuries before that too, with some exceptions of course.
Anyhow, I hope that's not all you have to say on the matter. And if you want a pizza I would be happy to make you one from scratch, but you'd have to pick it up here in Sweden.