Endorse or verify people on MP


Original Post
Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,486

For the purpose of better partner finding, there should be some way to endorse or verify people on MP.  For example, all my climbing partners can go on my profile and hit some kind of button to endorse me telling others that yes, I am an actual climber and am safe and competent with sport, trad, aid, etc.  Every once in a while, I'll see a forum post like "need a partner for el cap" and that sounds like a super risky way to meet a partner unless they have a ton of endorsements in aid and they're legit.   I understand that there will always be a risk in climbing with new partners, but this could be an easy way to lessen the risk.  Thoughts?

Kedron Silsbee · · Princeton, NJ · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0

So what do you do if your semi-sketchy friends ask you to endorse them?  I don't want to put someone else in a dangerous situation by telling them my friend is competent when he isn't, but at the same time I don't want to directly tell my friend I think he's incompetent.  I'd be more comfortable being put in contact with someone where I can discuss my friend's strengths and shortcomings with a bit more nuance than a simple yes/no endorsement.  It also strikes me as not a terrible idea to do something other than el cap as your first date so you can see for yourself, given that someone's "very safe and methodical" is someone else's "maddeningly slow and by-the-book".

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 650

Nah.

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250

I think RC.com used to have an option of marking people as "climbing partners"-- e.i. if you climb with them, you link their username on your profile under partners. And also an option of mark someone as " friend" This isn't endorsing anyone as competent/incompetent, just saying, I know this person/I climbed with this person.

I don't know that many people bothered to go through and mark their friends/partners as such... and I don't think a lot of people would bother to do so now, either. And what if someone mostly climbs with old-school guys who never bothered with the whole online community thing? You are still left with some guessing game... if this person doesn't list anyone as their climbing partner on this site, is it because they haven't bothered to? because their partners aren't on MP? or because they don't have any?

So basically, either way you are left with guessing... 

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 1970 · Points: 0

I'm sure MP wants no part of the potential liability of vetting partners.

I have to climb with new people all the time, because I scare everyone away.  I'm safe, but I can't climb 5.10.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 958
Kedron Silsbee wrote:

 I don't want to directly tell my friend I think he's incompetent. 

Why not?  

I've had sketchball partners in the past and had no issue with letting them know why they are sketchy. If they weren't into correcting the sketchy behavior then it is a pretty simple choice not to climb with them. Continuing to climb with sketchy people indicates that your risk management skills are sub par.  Good luck with that.

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250
Jason Todd wrote:

Why not?  

I've had sketchball partners in the past and had no issue with letting them know why they are sketchy. If they weren't into correcting the sketchy behavior then it is a pretty simple choice not to climb with them. Continuing to climb with sketchy people indicates that your risk management skills are sub par.  Good luck with that.

I would tell someone if they are doing something I'm not comfortable with, and also not climb with them if they aren't open to changing that behavior.

But I do not necessarily want to get into formally rating people. Because sometimes I have qualifications, maybe it's someone I would totally climb with, they are, to my best knowledge/observation, safe belayers and competent climbers, I wouldn't be climbing with them at all otherwise... But... I have never taken a fall with them. Because my princess lead-head screams TAKE long before I get into a falling situation with this person. Because there are only a very small handful of people whom i trust on a gut level. So do I rate the remaining wast number of perfectly competent climbers the same as I rate my gut-level-trust partners? That would be a lie. But if I rate therm differently, then we have a lot of awkward explaining to do...

And also, one person's fast-and-light is another person's reckless-and-dangerous.

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,486

MP has yet to have anything like this - where you can really communicate with others besides PM and forums, so I knew bring this up would be kind of controversial.  I was just thinking of how couchsurfing has something like this and how MP does not and what the MP community thought.  I think you can even leave comments (like on ebay saying great seller!) though that may not be needed on here.  

Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 650

I agree with not having the "endorse" part of this but the "verify" is a good idea.  I frequently see people posting looking for a climbing partner and when you go look at their profile it is totally blank and they have some anonymous screen name.  Who, especially a female, would go climbing with some random person on MP who doesn't even post a profile with any information?  And in the bigger scheme of things, maybe if MP required user verification people would be nicer to each other.  

Kedron Silsbee · · Princeton, NJ · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0
Jason Todd wrote:

Why not?  

I've had sketchball partners in the past and had no issue with letting them know why they are sketchy. If they weren't into correcting the sketchy behavior then it is a pretty simple choice not to climb with them. Continuing to climb with sketchy people indicates that your risk management skills are sub par.  Good luck with that.

Because sketchy is a context-dependent thing, and because I'm willing to take some extra risk to climb with people I like, even if that means dialing back what I would want to do.  Someone can have the skills to go spend a day at the crag, but not be someone you'd be comfortable doing a committing alpine route with.  At what point do you check the "competent trad climber" box?  My risk management skills may well be sub-par, but I don't think picking an arbitrary line and dividing my friends into "competent" and "incompetent" groups and ditching the latter is going to help very much.

Jeremy Justus · · Steamboat Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0

I like the idea of some kind of a verify tag that could be out under usernames that would show up on their forum posts and whatnot. Also maybe a flake tag that could be added after say like 2-5 other users have been left partnerless. Texted a guy the other day who said "let's hook up tomorrow" and then I made the 3 hour drive to wait for a no show. (Apparently other MP members have experienced this with the same guy) Thankfully found a guy in a mcdonalds parking lot the next day so the trip wasn't a total bust but it would be nice to prevent that from happening.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 958
Kedron Silsbee wrote:

Because sketchy is a context-dependent thing, and because I'm willing to take some extra risk to climb with people I like, even if that means dialing back what I would want to do.  Someone can have the skills to go spend a day at the crag, but not be someone you'd be comfortable doing a committing alpine route with.  At what point do you check the "competent trad climber" box?  My risk management skills may well be sub-par, but I don't think picking an arbitrary line and dividing my friends into "competent" and "incompetent" groups and ditching the latter is going to help very much.

Fair enough.   I've simply become a bit more selective with who I trust to hold the rope as I've aged. 

I think the concept of endorsing or verification wouldn't generally be helpful, due to the wide number of variables and perceptions. Although a reliability/shows up on time rating could have merit.

Daniel Joder · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Although not perfect, I have seen this...someone posts asking for a partner. Then someone else posts on the thread something like: "I climbed with this guy/gay and he was solid and very safe--knew his/her stuff. Don't hesitate to hit the crag with him/her!" So, if you see someone you know posting for a partner, maybe chime in if you think the person is solid. If the person is sketchy, well...hmmm...like I say, not a perfect solution.

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 1970 · Points: 0

MP does a point-rank based on contributions to the site.  Maybe it could somehow also do a badge system: a badge for good belayer, a badge for sport leader, a badge for good anchors.  I have no idea how you'd earn them, though.  I mean, clearly a demonstration of good anchor building gets you the anchor badge, but I don't know how that gets verified.  I no this sounds silly, but even though I never cared for boy scouts, I think it would be fun to try to earn all the MP badges.

Let the flaming commence!

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871
Kedron Silsbee wrote:

  but at the same time I don't want to directly tell my friend I think he's incompetent. 

Yeah, just wait until after he drops someone.  

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 45

No thanks. There are already enough sites that take a bunch of factors and try to reduce them to a single number in the world.

Any metric that becomes a goal becomes useless, because people find ways to optimize for that metric without actually doing the thing that was intended to be measured.

A good example of this is Amazon seller ratings. When I buy something from a seller, I want to pay my money, get my product, and that's it, simple. But a lot of sellers with good ratings spam you with messages asking you to review their service. If you write a negative review saying they spammed you until you wrote a review, they find excuses to get the review removed. The end result is that sellers with positive reviews are often some of the most unpleasant sellers to deal with.

If you want to get good information about climbing partners, do what people have done to form trusted partnerships since the dawn of civilization. Meet new people through people you already trust, talk to them, start on simple stuff where a screw-up can't do too much damage, and build trust through repeated interactions with the person. A quick hack to get around healthy adult social interaction doesn't exist.

EDIT: See also the episode of the show Black Mirror called Nosedive.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

A little foreplay with new partners is a good idea before getting down to the business. No rating system is ever going to change that.

Steve Sangdahl · · eldo sprngs,co · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 735

How do you verify that the folks doing the endorsing are even safe or know what safe climbing practices are?

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871

I think it is good idea in a way, yet difficult to accomplish.  A simple system with a few simple check boxes could do it:

Have you climbed with this person before?  Yes  No

Did this person represent their experience/ability accurately?  Yes  No

Did this person appear to be a safe partner?  Yes  No

Would you climb with this person again?  Yes  No

Would you recommend this person to a friend?  Yes  No

Note:  You could respond No to not climbing with this person again, but, that doesn't mean that person is unsafe or incompetent.  Sometimes partners are just not a good match based on personalities or climbing goals and desires.  In this case, you may still recommend them for others to climb with.  

One thing I would like to see in profiles in addition to their lead grade is their onsite grade.  This, in my opinion, is a better gauge of ability.  And, as someone in another thread suggested, one's onsite grade is the grade that one can onsite at least 70% of the time.  

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 1970 · Points: 0

All members of MP that go on dates should be required to wear a body-cam at all times and then upload the un-edited footage.  Now you can just watch other people's body-cam footage to get a good idea of whether or not you want to climb with them.  (You only need the body-cam rolling when you're actually climbing with someone.)

Jplotz · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 955

It's a blind date. You get what you get when you petition for strangers.  Be pleasantly surprised when your unknown partner doesn't flake out or scare you.  I'd be against any partner scoring system because there's always two sides to the horror story. 

Or you can just increase your inner circle of reliable climber friends and never have to be let down by MP partners again. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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