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Thread: Sites similar to VFTT

  1. #16
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    Should we consider being more accessible? Do we owe the hiking community more access? i don't mind being an online close knit group either, just asking the questions and stirring the pot. Alos realizing the Mods would be busier too.
    I am open to suggestions. I've tried a few times to give the site away to others who have either been strong supporters or strong critics, but have not had any takers. I am still open to that if anyone is interested - I do want to know your plans for the site before I do.

    We offer membership to anyone who asks - there really isn't a bar higher than simply asking. If we opened up to anyone at all, it would easily be 99.9% spam and bots and nobody wants that.

    Content is king. If people offer trips and events, maybe more people will come. If there are more trip reports with pictures, maybe more people will come. It's a very difficult sell compared to social media sites. I've looked at newer forum software but even that doesn't convince me anything will change. You all have been good enough to ring the bell when I ask and we're paid up for 2+ more years at this time.



    Tim
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  2. #17
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Anyone who asks? I knw at one time it was referral from an existing member. I might be able to find a few new members.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  3. #18
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Anyone who asks. Spammers and scammers don't ask. Does not mean new users will post, however. If you want to promote the site, then write compelling content with beautiful pictures and share links tirelessly on every social media channel you have. That's the competition.



    Tim
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    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 12-20-2020 at 02:40 PM.
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  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Anyone who asks. Spammers and scammers don't ask. Does not mean new users will post, however. If you want to promote the site, then write compelling content with beautiful pictures and share links tirelessly on every social media channel you have. That's the competition.
    As a new user, I think this site is one of the best around. Quite a wealth of information, and more active than others I have found. As far as posting though, to be honest, it can be quite intimidating. I acheived a personal best in my first post in which I was called ignorant, stupid and insane. For what it's worth, I was a bit ignorant about the particular subject, and did learn quite a lot through that thread. I continue to read, but I don't post much.

  5. #20
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    The Catskill situation

    We have our own web page, which has useful information about the club and the peaks, along with a discussion area (google IO) and a facebook page.

    Other Facebook things:

    'Aspiring Catskill 35ers'

    'Catskills Trails Conditions'

    'Catskills All Trails Challenge'

    'Future Catskill 3500 Members'

    Other entities:

    http://catskillhiker.net
    Tom Rankin
    Web Master - NY Forest Fire Lookout Association
    Volunteer - Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President - Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO - Views and Brews

  6. #21
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Hey Tim,

    You and the other mods do a wonderful job and deserve our thanks. THANKS!!

    Idea: On Trip Reports and Trail Condx: Somehow encourage viewers to post as a service to their fellows trampers.

    As a new VFTT user the candy that drew me into the site was often Trip Reports and Trail Conditions. Being nosy I wanted to see who was hiking where and with whom. Trip Reports was how I kept track. Being cautious in Winter I never went out without checking Trail Condx to see if anyone had done my planned route and what they might have encountered. These days there is not a lot of activity on these pages.

    I'll start posting to them again. (By the by: What were the condx you encountered on Ammo the other day? And did you solo or go with a group?
    Last edited by ChrisB; 12-21-2020 at 08:07 AM.
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  7. #22
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    Rocket 21 (A VFTT) member blew away the VFTT trail conditions with his site, as his is a lot easier to use. No need to copy and paste. I do on occasion post the longer trail reports but think I am one of the rare folks who do.

    I do agree with Chris that long ago VFTT was the place for posting winter trail conditions in the whites . The peak was definitely the months after the January 1998 ice storm. It got to the point where the USFS after months of promising, adopted VFTT as the "unofficial official" place to post USFS trail conditions as their crews got out in the field. Given how badly the woods were trashed it wasn't optional, many trails were totally impassable. Of course there were less of us winter hikers out there so the chances of finding a unbroken trail was higher. My guess is these days within 24 hours of storm every 4k trail is broken out. Thus the most important info on the trail report is if the parking lot is plowed. Almost guaranteed, the trails will be chopped up with postholes and more under equipped folks will be out and about.

  8. #23
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    There are many reasons why the strengths of VFTT became its weakness.

    - It attracted hardcore people which gave it a reputation of non-inclusion
    - It spawned Trail Conditions which has been replaced by many other much-easier-to-use sites like newenglandtrailconditions.com and trailsnh.com
    - It promoted Trip Reports which was a big draw for years, especially for pictures, which social media completely obliterated with its popularity and ease of use
    - Trips and Events was a great way to meet new people but ultimately folks would build a cabal of compatible hikers and then organize private trips. There are a few posters that continued to use Trips and Events (BIGEarl comes to mind) for a long time.
    - Q & A has also moved largely to sites such as Facebook. It could be daunting to post here because of the first bullet.

    So, not only is the technology moving past vBulletin at light speed, the not-for-profit model means nobody is working full-time to promote and grow the site. If someone out there has a good plan to promote it and grow it, I am still open to handing it over or at least forming a partnership. Otherwise, it is not a lot of time for us to keep it running, as long as the membership makes the requested donations every few years.

    I belong to half a dozen private groups of hikers - everyone has their circle(s) (including me) and many overlap.

    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 12-21-2020 at 11:02 AM.
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  9. #24
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    The other technology that VFTT does not use thankfully is instant notifications when someone replies to a thread. That tends to accelerate the illusion of activity on a thread and generally the "cocaine" of social media. I want access to media when I want it, not when it wants me. I think many media users want that constant stream of notifications and standard addiction theory is folks get conditioned to want that feedback faster and faster to get the same buzz.

  10. #25
    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    I've been a member of my share of message boards over the years. The longest being one centered around the band Phish which I've been a member of for almost twenty years. I still visit that site daily. Much like this board, that one is much quieter than it was back in the early aughts when the posts and threads came hot and heavy. We're now old friends and while we still communicate every day through that site, new members are few and far between. It's become more of a hangout spot rather than a means to obsess over the band and their music.

    I don't thinks message boards are quite extinct yet. There's plenty of them still going strong based on the topic and members. But I agree that Facebook has definitely carved out a large chunk users who might otherwise find their way to a board like this one. The convenience of joining a group where on an app you use regularly probably appeals to a lot of people more than these traditional message boards which require new logins and new websites to visit.

    Everything's eventual, even sites on the internet.

  11. #26
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I prefer being here as a user and contributor as opposed to being on Facebook and being their product. As others said, its nice not to be pinged when someone comments on a thread I have posted on or started. I can certainly start promoting in BSA circles that have been taking up my time. Hachi, if I was part of the group that gave you grief, I'll apologize now and check later.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  12. #27
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    You all know you can shut off Facebook notifications to your phone, right? And likewise you can subscribe to threads her and receive email notifications on your phone for updates,m if you'd like...

    And no, they are not extinct yet, but they are probably below critical mass.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  13. #28
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hachi View Post
    As a new user, I think this site is one of the best around. Quite a wealth of information, and more active than others I have found. As far as posting though, to be honest, it can be quite intimidating. I acheived a personal best in my first post in which I was called ignorant, stupid and insane. For what it's worth, I was a bit ignorant about the particular subject, and did learn quite a lot through that thread. I continue to read, but I don't post much.
    As a relative newbie to this forum (around 2013 or 2014 I believe) my advice to you is to ask all the stupid questions you can think of and never concern yourself with your perceived status with the members. I literally knew no one on this site when I was added and still to this day don't believe I have met anyone here. I knew next to nothing about "serious" hiking and asked tons of questions that were an obvious indication of how little I knew about pretty much anything.

    I got my share of snide comments and eyerolling but I also received TONS of outstanding advice, gear recommendations and locations to check out for hiking, backpacking and even every day life issues. The knowledge base on this forum is vast and comprehensive. Their seems to be an expert in virtually any subject matter you can think of. It has had a tremendous positive impact on my hiking. There are many people here who will give you extremely detailed answers to your questions, message you privately, etc. I wouldn't waste too much time worrying about how you are perceived here. If you ask specific questions that demonstrate you've put the basic information into your question beyond the lazy Facebook style stuff (i.e. how long is the Zealand Trail?) you will benefit greatly from it, even if we all think you're a jack ass.
    Last edited by DayTrip; 12-21-2020 at 01:38 PM.
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  14. #29
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I prefer being here as a user and contributor as opposed to being on Facebook and being their product. As others said, its nice not to be pinged when someone comments on a thread I have posted on or started. I can certainly start promoting in BSA circles that have been taking up my time. Hachi, if I was part of the group that gave you grief, I'll apologize now and check later.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  15. #30
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The other technology that VFTT does not use thankfully is instant notifications when someone replies to a thread. That tends to accelerate the illusion of activity on a thread and generally the "cocaine" of social media. I want access to media when I want it, not when it wants me. I think many media users want that constant stream of notifications and standard addiction theory is folks get conditioned to want that feedback faster and faster to get the same buzz.
    I agree with that completely but that also has the advantage of providing near real time information because of the large base of users who can't wait to answer questions and be useful/achieve recognition as the "first responder". That was one of the few regrets I had about leaving the Facebook forums. You could ask a question like "Is the 19MB lot plowed yet" and have answers in minutes, maybe even seconds, from somebody who lives near there, just drove by, etc. Or maybe you're buying a stove online and want some quick feedback before pulling the trigger. That was a real benefit.
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

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