Routes with not much info, create them or not?


Original Post
Ron Birk · · Boston, MA · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 3,467

Sometimes you may not have much more info about a route other than the name, location and grade for a route. You would like it to be part of the MP database so people know about it, you can tick it off and so on. But until you actually climbed it and taken notes about it, you may not have detailed info, pictures and so on.

Is there an appropriate way for this? I can see a few options:

  • Not do anything
  • Write it up and post it with not much info in it. When you have more you can update it. Problem is, no one else can easily add the info if they know much more about it.
  • Ask area owner to add it to the area info description. Result may be a list with non-clickable routes there.

If all you need is to be able to tick it off, you can use the newly created "Generic Area" in the "In Progress" area and tick off the generic routes there. But if you have the basic info such as name, grade and location it's nice to create a place holder for it that someone (or you) can later update.
Micah Klesick · · Vancouver, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 3,894

Yea, what's the point in having it up there to tick if you aren't climbing it? And if you are climbing it, then you should have enough Info to post a decent route description. Don't clutter and degrade the quality of the route submissions. Post meaningful info, or don't post it.

Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

this is a discussion I want to have to. I spent a lot of time improving the Germany page, adding lots of regions, crags, descriptions, directions etc only be to called out because I hadn't climbed much of the areas. The admin was super nice about it and discussed it with other admins before getting back to me.

What's the point of having a website that's useless?

Let's say I'm an American who is going to Germany and wants to climb, I'll probably check MP. But if there's nothing there, I can't even begin to plan or consider what to do. And chances are I don't speak German either so guidebooks are out. For most users except those who speak German, MP becomes totally worthless. In fact, thecrag.com is WAAAY better for Germany for example because it's an open source guidebook.

Why doesn't MP want to be an open source guidebook? From a user's perspective, it's indisputably better to have bare bones areas/descriptions etc that can be fleshed out once people climb than to have NOTHING. You wouldn't even know these areas exist as far as MP is concerned.

MP SHOULD be an open source guidebook, a wiki where people can come together and improve/add things together for everyone's benefit.

Micah Klesick · · Vancouver, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 3,894
SwabianAmi wrote:this is a discussion I want to have to. I spent a lot of time improving the Germany page, adding lots of regions, crags, descriptions, directions etc only be to called out because I hadn't climbed much of the areas. The admin was super nice about it and discussed it with other admins before getting back to me. What's the point of having a website that's useless? .
I disagree. MP isn't meant to be a stand alone guidebook, it's meant to be used in addition, thus featuring more information that isn't in the guidebooks. Guidebooks are copyrighted, and when people start adding info to areas without having climbed there, it means you are copying from a guidebook, and that pushes on legal and ethical boundaries, even if you aren't adding any description at all. I've certainly added routes I haven't climbed to MP, but it's because I was there, at the base of the route, climbed other routes around it, and felt I could add an accurate description to the route.
Mark O'Neal · · Nicholson, GA · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 1,285

I think that's one of the reasons that MP.com flourished while RC.com died.

The route descriptions on RC.com were often times very spartan with little information and no pictures

Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

To be clear, I wasn't copying from guidebooks. I realize thats against the guidelines and in specific cases infringement. However, the basic info is free (location, directions etc). I used a combo of guidebooks, websites and various German language sources, google and my own local knowledge to add in lots of areas. I didnt steal pictures, topo etc.

I think that's one of the reasons that MP.com flourished while RC.com died.

What you think and what the truth is are 2 different things, but its irrelevant here.

So, is there an official mission statement or something of MP? I like it for the forums and social aspect, but it's not that great for the climbing info. Thecrag.com is waay better in that regard (though the overall design is shit).

And besides, my point is that especially for international destinations, users wont have acess to the guidebooks NOR speak the language. So MP may be all they have which is why my original point still stands.

JFM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,828

A wiki style MP is a utopian dream. So many opinions abound (just read the comments) that surely many descriptions would become inundated with ethics discussions, wang slapping, etc, in the absence of very heavy moderation from the MP admin crew. Also, Nick has brought up the point that sometimes a cranky/spiteful submitter will delete large amounts of content (my aside: even though we agree that this content becomes part of / owned by MP when we hit the submit button)-- this requires somewhat robust backup strategies apparently, in order to be able to reverse nefarious changes. While I would be all for an open source model, I don't think we as a MP online community can handle it. Alas.

As for the Germany example, I'd say that if you've done the research and integrated the info into original wording and structure, go for it (at region/area levels; maybe not route level). People will add pics and comments. Make sure you're willing to change your original content to include these additions and you're doing a service to add a basic structure to the site. I wouldn't go through the trouble to add whole regions or areas or formations for one route, but if the structure was there, I might be more inclined to add route info.

Ron Birk · · Boston, MA · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 3,467

My main reason I would like to add routes with not much info is to let people know that the route exist. There are many areas which don't have guide books and it's nice to have a place holder with the name, location and grade and the very basic info. Even a pic of the start. That way people can get to it, even climb it and add more info. That you can also tick it off is extra bonus (which many really like).

The problem I see it is that the original submitter is now the owner and the later more knowledgeable user may have a little harder time adding info. It's a little cumbersome in some cases. Maybe having it say "draft mode" and a "please, adopt me" button.

Micah Klesick · · Vancouver, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 3,894
SwabianAmi wrote: So, is there an official mission statement or something of MP? I like it for the forums and social aspect, but it's not that great for the climbing info.
Quote from MP: "Mountain Project aims to take climbing beta beyond the guidebook, and deliver personalization and community features for climbers across the globe."
You won't have any trouble with addition if you stick to a few general points (and I'm not saying you did any of these, just that these are overall good points to stick to when adding an area or route):
1. Know the area well enough to add meaningful information. Generally we will delete (or at least contact you to fix, prior to deleting) areas that don't have good information, good directions, and overall helpful data.
2. Don't plagerize. That includes reading a description in a guidebook or online, and then posting your own description based off that guide's text. You're pretty much stealing from the author by doing that, even if you don't copy it directly. And when someone adds an entire area, and it doesn't look personalized, we are probably going to assume it was plagiarized and look further into it, and delete routes that we feel don't meet the standards of MP.
3. Preferably have climbed the route, or have first hand knowledge of the route. i.e. You belayed someone on it, or you climbed the route next to it. While there are a few times where adding a route that you don't have much info on is ok, its typically very discouraged. (an example of an ok to post route that you have't climbed would be an unknown route that isn't in a guidebook, and you think it's new, and so you post it as "Unknown route... etc, or a route that has obvious danger issues (big loose block, etc).

Anyway, in summery: Have fun, climb some routes, and then add them so the community can benefit! :)
Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

You didnt answer my question, you quote the contribution guidelines, NOT a mission statement that says something like "MP's goal is to be the world's open source guidebook for everyone" or something like that, or "MPs aim is only to be a place for persona contributions and social contact OR a guidebook supplement"

Also, compiling info from multiple sources, particularly those not accessible to most (i.e. foreign language) is not plagiarism. In fact, the guidebooks themselves do exactly that in the first place, going off previous ones, talking to people, pics etc.

Also, the fact that there's rock in place X, its climbable, google map diretions how to get there, GPS coords and the name of the place is FREE for everyone. It's not copyrighted.

The current policy intentionally keeps MP less useful and with huge gaps in information. Since there doesn't seem to be an official goal of what MP Is supposed to be (that I've found, maybe that's my fault) I don't know if its bad policy or really intent. Because I can't imagine why you'd intentionally want the website to be LESS useful than it could be.

Nick Wilder · · The Bubble · Joined Jan 2005 · Points: 2,386

We don't have an official policy on this because it seems to depend on so many factors.

For example, if there's a short sport climb that you didn't climb, but you did climb the one next to it and can easily describe it's obvious features, you should probably go ahead and add it. But if it's a 5 pitch trad classic, obviously you couldn't do that route justice without real experience, and you should let someone else add that route.

In general, if you have good knowledge of an area, building out AREA pages (even if you don't add routes) is extremely helpful so people have proper places to add routes.

Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

To be clear I was adding stuff in my region which I'm familiar with (i.e. not other side of the country) but haven't necessarily climbed. Also, from MP itself:

MountainProject wrote: First, a word about copyrights: facts are not copyrightable and you can use information you find elsewhere, such as location, difficulty, first ascent, length, etc. But the TEXT DESCRIPTION you find in guidebooks and other web sites is someone else's property and you can NOT copy it. Don't steal text descriptions from guidebooks! You need to be familiar with the area and climb so that you can describe it in your own words.
Ron Birk · · Boston, MA · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 3,467

What would be the appropriate way to let people know that a route exist in an area? I have name, location, grade and many times a picture of the start. But I cannot submit it as I have not climbed the route.

Micah Klesick · · Vancouver, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 3,894
Ron Birk wrote:What would be the appropriate way to let people know that a route exist in an area? I have name, location, grade and many times a picture of the start. But I cannot submit it as I have not climbed the route.
Your question was answered up above. But to emphasize it again, if you can provide a description that you know is accurate (and that doesn't come from a guidebook), then post it. If not, then don't. I don't get why it's complicated.
If it's a brand new route that's not in a guide, then that's a little different, and I'd say post what you know and ask for more info.
Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 735
Micah Klesick wrote: Your question was answered up above. But to emphasize it again, if you can provide a description that you know is accurate (and that doesn't come from a guidebook), then post it. If not, then don't. I don't get why it's complicated. If it's a brand new route that's not in a guide, then that's a little different, and I'd say post what you know and ask for more info.
Not that there is anything wrong with playing to win
But in my humble opinion:
This, Mountain Project,
is what comes from offering "point",score for submissions
(A posters ' drive for numbers....??)

Now that the medium is 'secure' having plenty of avid fans maybe it's time
to do away with the meaningless, 'points for posts' Malarkey?
Climb Germany · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 2,510

The point thing is part of hte overall gamification trend everywhere. Like it or not, it's proven to be very effective in driving user activity.

The problem IMO is the unclear overall purpose of MP. Still haven't gotten an answer on my points.

Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 735
SwabianAmi wrote:The point thing is part of hte overall gamification trend everywhere. Like it or not, it's proven to be very effective in driving user activity. The problem IMO is the unclear overall purpose of MP. Still haven't gotten an answer on my points.
He or she who has the most is. . . . "winning'
Life = competition, / competition for life!
Ron Birk · · Boston, MA · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 3,467
Micah Klesick wrote: Your question was answered up above. But to emphasize it again, if you can provide a description that you know is accurate (and that doesn't come from a guidebook), then post it. If not, then don't. I don't get why it's complicated. If it's a brand new route that's not in a guide, then that's a little different, and I'd say post what you know and ask for more info.
I don't understand this. First, this thread is about routes with little or no description.

Are you saying that if the route has been mentioned anywhere else whether it's another online forum, an out of print guide book, an old magazine or whatever, we should not write it up or mention it anywhere. MP is not in the business of helping people orient themselves at the crag.

It's only if the route is brand new and there is no mention of it anywhere, then you may mention it, but still preferably not.

So if I understand this, MP is about telling stories about routes you climbed. Not to help people find routes or know what exist. You may see a list of routes and though there may be ten more routes between the three you see, we cannot mention they exist until someone climbed it, has the full description and written them up?
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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