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Moderating routes without notification

Original Post
Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 1,006

A few friends and I have noticed MP moderators will edit routes we've submitted without notification.

Sometimes, the edits are helpful, such as linking adjacent routes or adding some history. Other times, the edits are arguable/pedantic grammar preferences, such as changing "10 bolts + 2 bolt anchor" to "10 bolts + a 2 bolt anchor." Or they'll add useless or incorrect location info.

Can moderators stop with the pedantic edits or go back to a system where we can see you tinkering with our contributions? Or, if you consider our contributions yours, we can remove them and submit to other platforms. 

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450

Well, the other side of this is all the lousy route descriptions that have been improved. I think the mods generally do a good job managing the database. 

IF you’re really upset by it, stop adding routes. I stopped a few years ago. It felt pretty good. 

PS, REI owns Mp, so you should consider any submission as rei property. 

Furthermore · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2001 · Points: 4,106

While I see the reason to fix small typos and other small items, I've had location descriptions added that I didn't type. Now this may not seem to be a problem except when they add “4th bolted line from the left” when all the routes at a crag are not included on MP. In actually the 4th line from the left was significantly harder than the route I added. As I see it, that becomes a safety issue.

If moderators are going to make such changes, it be nice to just have the courtesy of a notification when they decide to edit or add such items.

I also see the small grammatical preference editing very annoying (not just the simple typo). 

Josh Janes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 8,910

Admins should notify you of errors and empower you to make changes yourself, or at the very least notify you if they’ve made changes (apart from minor corrections to spelling or grammar or something).

I’m an admin and I’ve had other admins alter my descriptions without notification and I understand how frustrating this is when your time, effort, and (especially) name are attached to content. 

That said the site is expanding so rapidly that some growing pains are to be expected. I’d suggest reaching out to the specific admin(s) for the area you’ve submitted to and let them know your concerns. There are few rules governing admin decision making but I assure you, admins, like you, are just climbers trying to help.

James Schroeder · · Sauk County, WI · Joined May 2002 · Points: 3,108

Honestly it depends on the administrator. Some of us are a bit more heavy-handed than others, each of us is a fallible human being, and most of us are 100% volunteer. Admins are not trying to hose you, and they're almost certainly making changes in good faith. Making MP a usable, consistent, and functional resource for the community takes a lot of work and it's certain that mistakes will be made. When it comes to "arguable/pedantic grammar preferences" I can think of a myriad of valid reasons to make the change, some intentional some not. Perhaps the Admin was making the change for consistency's sake across a number of routes, or maybe he/she was doing a technical reorganization of the database, accidentally deleted the protection section in the process, and replaced to the best of his or her memory, or maybe the Admin was simply making a pedantic and arguable change wantonly. In any event the addition of a single indefinite article to a sentence hardly seems worth getting too upset about - screwing up location information is another story. I'd have to believe that those changes were "suggested" by another user, and the admin made the change accordingly - or maybe they just made a mistake. It's probably best to send the Admin(s) for the area in question an email with your specific concerns highlighted and ask them for an explanation, I'd imagine that one would be forthcoming.

I don't make a lot of unnotified changes, but when I do make them I don't feel like typing a one page email and waiting for a response every time I think a comma needs to be added, or a sentence structure needs a minor change for clarity, or a duplicated photo needs to be deleted, etc. In fact I've unilaterally reorganized entire areas to make them far more useful to users from out of town - and why not? Admins are the front line of editors for content on this site, and we're usually thankful for contributions, but we also take a lot of pride in our areas (usually both on-and-offline), so we want them to look great and be easy to use. I can't speak to the specific situations you're all addressing, but in general being an Admin is a good faith labor of love - it's not like there's a complimentary scotch decanter and a luxury MP Admin washroom and lounge hidden in the back of every REI (though that gets me thinking...maybe there should be. Nick can we make this happen?)

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

yeah, one of the things i see quite a bit is moderators "correcting" a route name when they don't realize the original route name had a pun or some other play on words.

JSH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 1,006

I also see the small grammatical preference editing very annoying (not just the simple typo)

I prefer complete sentences.  They are much, much easier to read. I see readability as a main objective of route administration.  

We've been taught to parse complete sentences since birth.  Incoherent jumbles of phrases and clauses and adjectives and verbs missing a subject, and ...... I dunno ... .kinda ok .... right fork cam ...... while Presidential (TM), are annoying as fuck and I edit them quite liberally.  

Once upon a time, word count and white space in mattered in guidebook layout, so you got entries like "P1 Up crack then right; P2 to ledge; P3 traverse, P4 roof".  The interwebs have changed that, thank goodness. 

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 15,852

My experience is that the average quality of new route descriptions on MP is not very good. Seems like lots of times someone does only the minimal amount of work needed to get the route up -- so there's a place to record that all-important Tick.

My opinion is that MP generally gives too much deference to the "first poster" of a new route page.
. . . (contrast with, the closest Western Europe equivalent of MP).

So while there are a few silly changes made by MP Admins, most of the modifications are improvements.

. . . (I do wish Admins were quicker to intervene when the original "first poster" of a page just ignores an "Improve This Page" request).

I'm sympathetic with the request that modifications by Admins trigger a notification to the page author. On the other hand I'm sympathetic to an Admin just "doing what needs to be done" to fix a route description, without needing to take the time to justify it and perhaps argue about it.
. . . (on CampToCamp, for modifications to routes by someone other than the "first poster", there is No notification).


Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 1,006

A lot of the justifications for changing stuff without notification thus far are preferential and arguable. Some of the justifications are weirdly entitled. Either way, simple courtesy is ignored for convenience and might turn people away from contributing.

That's why a simple notification that a change is being made should be standard so that the contributor can approve or disapprove the change to ensure it doesn't compromise the accuracy of the information. No, we don't need some dramatic one-page email. Just a simple note. If the poster actually ignores the change and doesn't simply disagree with you, then sure, modify but still inform.

-Of course some contributions are shit and need help. Perhaps the admins should focus on those instead of forcing a comma haphazardly into a sentence because they think it clarifies things.

-While you prefer complete sentences, others may not. Some prefer: "P1. up over the crux bulge then right a few feet at the ledge." It's simple, easy to read on the fly with a quick glance at the cell phone screen. Your preference isn't a valid reason to start re-writing another's work.

-I don't particularly care about what western Europe uses. If you do, cool.

-"Admins are the front line of editors for content on this site, and we're usually thankful for contributions, but we also take a lot of pride in our areas (usually both on-and-offline), so we want them to look great and be easy to use." 


caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450

I think it’s a mistake to think of a route entry in a database as something you own. It’s bad enough that people think they own a route they put up.

If you’re really that chuffed, edit it back to what you want. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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