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Thread: Do you hunt in packs?

  1. #1
    Mini Goon
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    Having used the site for the last twelve months, I would like to make an observation and ask a question of it's members.

    There seems to be a hardcore group who hunt in packs on the various threads of the let's just say the not-so-comiited contributer.

    The common theme runs like this:

    Ignore the specifics of the question asked, preach there own virtues/product etc, confuse the thread owner even more and then turn the thread into their own private chat-room with playground bulls@*t that the vast majority have no knowledge and ultimately no desire to understand.

    If you want evidence just look at the threads; the most memorable being the thread that started off seriously and ended up comparing how hard their respective fathers were etc.

    To you it's funny, to me it aint!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
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    Jonathan, I can see where you're coming from.

    It's difficult - you can only do so much to keep people on topic - but basically the idea of the Soapbox section is that people can be as daft as they like, if that's their thing. In the other sections of the forum, drifting off topic tends to make it harder to get access to what is often very useful information.

    Some of it, I think, is inherent in the nature of forums. People use them in different ways, some people want pure information, others use them for chat and banter as well. We do have a forum code of conduct one of the points of which is...

    not to: Hijack and wilfully destroy threads. The forum?s a big place and thread titles and descriptions are there to help you filter what you?re interested in, so please let more serious threads run broadly on topic.

    Hard to enforce, but I'd ask people to make an effort to respect relevance and other forum users and think before you post. It's also in the nature of forums that some people post without thinking things through.

    The last thing I'd want would be for the forum to become hostile and / or overly cliquey and, I have to say, that in comparison to some forums I've used, we've mainly managed that. Or at least I hope we have.

    Jon (site editor)

  3. #3
    Ultra King Cath Sullivan's Avatar
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    I think you've raised some interesting issues here, Jonathon.

    Some of the things you've observed are probably characteristics of social interaction that would be likely to occur in any relatively unregulated context. So, yes, maybe to some extent forum members do 'hunt in packs' but this is not necessarily a conscious strategy or one that is designed operate in a group in a way that excludes or irritates anyone else. I would also observe that this forum is, *in my experience*, very easy to join (I mean in a social sense, not that it is easy to register and log on or whatever) and that although there is a certain amount of 'in-joke' content this does not make it hard to join in. Surely, it is natural that those members who know each other better will engage in this type of thing more often? They would probably find it quite hard not to.

    I agree that sometimes threads do go 'off-topic', either temporarily or permanently. Perhaps the fact that some threads don't get dragged back on topic, or very easily go off topic, suggests that there is not a particularly large amount of interest in them. This, of course, does not mean that they are not valuable or will not give the thread originator (personally I prefer this term to 'owner') the answer/information/opinions that they seek. I've usually found that interesting and/or useful opinions and information are still there in amongst the 'jokes' or 'banter' (or perhaps the jokes are in amongst the information/opinions). It is easy enough to skip over the bits that don't interest you (for whatever reason) and pick out the bits that do.

  4. #4
    ‹bermensch Si's Avatar
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    Hi Jonathan.

    Yep, some threads go off topic. Yep, some people are more "agressive" in their disagreement with a point of view than others.

    The thread you mention didn't END with people disussing how tough their dads were, or indeed whether or not Tony does wear a skirt. It finished with a discussion on other soft shell garments; specifically Schoeller trousers, the alternatives and where they might be purchased cheaply.

    Have a thorough re-read of the thread, and I think you'll agree that it went "off topic" was that Tony tried to inject a bit of humour - which at that point was needed to help calm everyone down. And it seemed to work. A bit.

    If you feel that two or more people agreeing on something, or backing someone else up in a discussion is "hunting in packs" then, yeah, I guess I'm as guilty of that as anyone.

    Lastly, you forgot to put your question in your post. What was it btw?

    Si(C)

  5. #5
    Mini Goon
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    Jon & Cath, thanks for your prompt response and intial thoughts. I concur with both of your threads and I fully appreciate the difficulties encountered within a forum arena.

    My thoughts and observations were from the point of view that having taken an active interest in all topics put forward as threads, by logging on daily, an 'audit' trail has presented itself where there are individuals who are habitually guilty of degrading the content and quality of the threads.

    Is is not a forums aim to encourage and nuture appropriate topics and comment from the masses and not just a small minority? The quieter, less informed members should be encouraged to contribute without the fear of feeling insignificant or ill-informed. This is not including the visitors to the site who may be put-off but child-like references etc.

    I also fully appreciate that there are members who know each other socially and probably spend leisure time with each other enjoying what we are all members of this site for. But if they wish to enter into personal dialogue that is relevant to them and is not conducive or relevant to the thread ie. taking it totally off track, pardon the pun, then would it not be appropriate to start their own thread to do so. In turn, it will not p*%s off Mr Average who is asking a personal and very salient question in respect of routes/clothing/whatever.

    Sorry for using Mr Average, that's not meant to be taken as a put-down to anyone and sorry for excluding the female members.

  6. #6
    Mini Goon
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    Simon, the question was the thread.

    btw.

  7. #7
    ‹bermensch Si's Avatar
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    Oh, ok. I tried to give an answer of sorts to that one already.

    Interesting that you feel that the "hardcore group" pick on new/less frequent posters and that this is discouraging them from posting.

    It does seem that the majority of the postings come from a relatively small group of posters (compared to the overall number of members of OM). Obviously the more people that post their experiences / opinions etc, then the more successful and useful the site will become.

    To be truthful, I've no noticed that newer contributors are treated worse than established ones. In fact I would like to think that the established ones are MORE likely to come in for some banter, due to other contributors feeling they know them better. If that makes sense?

    I'm not saying that this is all undisputable fact btw, just some observations from my perspective.

    Si(C)




  8. #8
    Ultra King Cath Sullivan's Avatar
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    Jonathon

    I'm not sure I would call your methodology an 'audit' - this term suggests some kind of representative and objective review. I think what we're really dealing with here are your opinions about the site. Personally, I believe that your opinions are as valid as anybody else's but questions of quality and relevance are highly subjective. I shall try to illustrate my point. I *could* say that I have done an audit of the forum and concluded that you are *clearly* 'trolling'. However, others might not agree and me saying that I've done an audit and presenting this statement as if it were an inarguable fact would not actually elevate it above the status of an opinion.

    Similarly, your last post implies that determining what counts as appropriate, conducive to useful discussion or relevant is a simple matter. You might see something in a post that you think is uninteresting, not relevant, childish or uninformative but other people might not share your view. It is not realistic to think that the forum content will be seen as relevant, interesting, appropriate, funny and useful by all people at all times. You are free to ignore the bits that you're not keen on.

    I couldn't agree more that it would be undesirable if people were deterred from posting because they felt nervous about the extent of their knowledge and experience or because they perceived the forum to be cliquey. However, to reiterate what I said earlier, surely this is part of life in any social context? When I started to use this site it was apparent, from my point of view, that there was a fairly well established group of people who posted very regularly and seemed to know one another quite well. If I were to start a new job, move to a new town, join a 'real-life' club of some sort I would expect to encounter something similar. However, once I started posting, I was pleased to see that people were welcoming and respectful to me (even if they didn't always agree with what I said). You don't seem to have been deterred from posting and I'm wondering how you know that there are a significant number of people who are put off specifically by the nature of the interaction on the forum (rather than some natural shyness and reticence to 'expose themselves' on the internet).

    It is interesting in the context of your concern about people being excluded, that rather than go back and change a bit of your post that you thought might be seen as excluding women forum members, you simply added a disclaimer. If you thought it might get up our noses, why didn't you go back and change it to 'the average person' or whatever? Not that it did particularly offend me, mind you. I just think it's an interesting use of language in the context of your argument!

    Also, I think that Si has made a useful point about Tony's attempt to diffuse a potentially conflictual situation with his ‚??my Dad's bigger than yours' post. I also interpreted it in that way at the time and felt it was quite a good thing to have done (perhaps Tony didn't consciously intend this, mind you). Like you, I didn't find that section of postings to be a particularly gripping or insightful exchange but I don't think that it therefore has no legitimate place in the forum.

    I'd like to reiterate that I think this is a useful debate to have and I would hate for you to feel that by disagreeing with you I am trying to imply that your viewpoint is not legitimate.

  9. #9
    Goon Boris!!'s Avatar
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    Jonathan
    I agree that some threads do tend to drift off topic and yes some of us know each other in a social context which means that 'in'jokes and comments are made, But overall I have found this site to be a wealth of information. Take a look at some of the other forums on other sites and you will see that this is actually one of the Most informative sites around and most friendly.
    Difficult to get a balance as there will always be someone who doesnt like someone elses views or threads, but that is just life.

  10. #10
    Initiate Mark Phillips's Avatar
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    I can only speak for myself but if someone I don't know starts a thread then I will generally keep my replies sane.... with the odd smilie face.

    : )

    However, if there's the chance to inject a bit of humour to a thead that one of "the usual suspects" has started then, to me, that's open season.

    The thing that gets my goat is people that hide behind the faceless-ness of a forum to be agressive towards people where as in a face-to-face situation they would never say what they say on-line. When I post something, write an e-mail, etc.... I say exactly what I would say if I was sat around a table with everyone or face-to-face.

    Here endeth the lesson.....

    ; )

    M

  11. #11
    Mini Goon
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    Cath

    The nature of a forum is develop discussion whether in agreement or disagreement, and each individuals viewpoint is valid as it is personal to them. As far as my methodology is concerned, the term audit is used in the looses of terms to identified a common and regular theme. If my use of audit offends you, then I do apologise.

    We are certainly not dealing with my personal opinions of the site, as I would post a thread under a different title ie. What do you think/like about the site?

    What I am offering is my personal opinion based on my interactive experiences as a site user and not the opinions of others.
    Ultimatley I have no idea what other members may think. Likewise, I would hope that we have more contributors to this thread, other the current contributors we have had to date to proport their opions to this debate.

    As far as the disclamier is concerned, take it in the context that it was meant, as a similar light-hearted diffusion previously mentioned.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
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    Er, what does 'proport' mean? It's not a word I've come across knowingly, so I'm not entirely sure what you're saying there.

  13. #13
    Mini Goon
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    Are we likely to get any responses other than from the 'Usual Suspects'?

    Is that testimony to the debate

    Is there anyone out there who has provided very little to the forum that would like to now?

    Keyser Soze is after me!

  14. #14
    Mini Goon
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    Sorry Jon,

    Propose not proport. Spelling mistake


  15. #15
    ‹bermensch Si's Avatar
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    So far this thread hasn't had any in jokes, random off thread postings or spats, so if others don't post then maybe the "Usual Suspects" arent putting them off with their presence?

    Take a look at Jons "Spring Amnesty" thread.

    If you listen carefully you can almost hear the wind blowing the tumbleweed across the screen...

    Surely we are ALL posting our own opinions and not those of others?

    I don't claim to speak for anyone else, just me. Thats not to say that you can't agree with someone (or disagree with them for that matter). As long as you d oit nicely....

    Si(C)

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
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    I deleted Keyser Sose as a member, he was trouble. Meanwhile I'm a little confused as to what your point actually is. It seems to be partly that threads sometimes go off topic, partly that the forum is a little cliquey and partly that some people post more than others. All of which are arguably true, then again there's nothing to stop anyone posting as much as they like within reason, provided they broadly adhere to the forum guidelines.

    I guess, what I'm saying from an editorial standpoint, is what would you suggest we could do to make the forum more welcoming without introducing draconian moderation and posting quotas. I'm not sure that all the things you mention aren't just inherent in any forum. On balance I'd say that the OM forum is a pretty friendly place to be.

    Have a look at some of the climbing site forums if you want a comparison.

  17. #17
    Ultra King Ninja Marmot's Avatar
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    I agree, Jon. I lurked on UKClimbing for months before I dared post, all those people on there swearing at each other as a matter of course or arranging to meet in pub XXXX for a punch-up....

    Here, I dared to post after about a week. I know that threads go off-topic and some of us are a bit bonkers at times but I glean a hell of a lot of useful stuff from this site about gear, routes etc. I don't think I'd like OM so much if it was too regimented.

  18. #18
    ‹bermensch Guy...'s Avatar
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    "The nature of a forum is to develop discussion" I agree Jonathan.

    And just like any other type of discussion it is bound to move about, or even away from the original debate at times. And all the better for that I say.

    There are times when the forum is not a great place to be (virtualy) but for the most it is a happy and welcoming place, and a great source of info as well. Just have a look at the reception new posters get, they are for the most part received warmly.

    three cheers for the forum.

    Anyway what about the football eh ?





    I'll get my coat

  19. #19
    Ultra King Cath Sullivan's Avatar
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    Is it worth considering for a moment why other people haven't posted to this thread? Perhaps they don't find this debate sufficiently interesting to join in - which would obviously be their perogative. Perhaps they are too busy with the 'real world' and will join in later. Maybe they agree with Jonathon but are too intimidated to say so. I wonder - and hope it's not the latter.

  20. #20
    Initiate pete morley 1's Avatar
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    I'm somewhat noted for my direct approach , which has in the past ruffled a few feathers.
    this "clique" you discribe hasn't made me feel that I shouldn't post and if I feel that I can add to or start a valid thread I will. I am the member of quite a few fell walking clubs and their are members who p*** me off and I them, I have at times had to walk away from internal arguments because the next move would be classed as assault !!But thats life.My ethic is if it brass's you off do something about it, .POST.
    I have gleaned some top information from this site ,and I hope provided a wee bit to.
    The members of this site come for all walks of life , I myself am a self employed joiner, I've no degree's but I don't feel inferior to anyone , because I don't have the command of the english language of others or the ability to climb K2, we all continue to learn no matter what age we are.
    As for off topics ,don't all conversations end that way ?
    I'm off down me shed!

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