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Beta in the description: How much is too much?


Original Post
Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 11,290

Curious as to people’s thoughts on this. I log a fair amount of boulder problems into this place and usually stick to the old rule to provide enough info to get someone onto the route, but not enough to ruin the on-site for the next ascentionist. Sometimes a fine line, sure.

my standard is usually the way they do it in Font. Start here, go there. Sit or stand. Less is more. 

I’m seeing problems getting logged all over the country that not only call out starting holds, but describe the movements and holds all the way to the top. It doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe I’m not open enough to the new thinking?

Comment section is for the beta, no?

Sandy Crimp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 15

Read what you need.  You are, probably, taking this too seriously.

Mobes Mobesely · · Granite island · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
Tim McGivern wrote:

Curious as to people’s thoughts on this. I log a fair amount of boulder problems into this place and usually stick to the old rule to provide enough info to get someone onto the route, but not enough to ruin the on-site for the next ascentionist. Sometimes a fine line, sure.

my standard is usually the way they do it in Font. Start here, go there. Sit or stand. Less is more. 

I’m seeing problems getting logged all over the country that not only call out starting holds, but describe the movements and holds all the way to the top. It doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe I’m not open enough to the new thinking?

Comment section is for the beta, no?

Yeah, directions to the boulder and the start and finish is all I want. The new generation seems to want a video description and guidebook for every move or they wont even go.

BTW nice work on all the problems you have added to MA


Max Tepfer · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 1,655

It might be different for bouldering, (something I know relatively little about) but I'd say that specific move by move descriptions of a sequence shouldn't ever be on MP.com. (though now that I think about it, once I did add a comment with exactly that) I think one thing that can make a good description is general descriptions of the pacing of a route where you might generally describe the technique(s) or holds for given section.  'Start off with easy movement on good pockets, execute a desperate stemming crux in the hanging dihedral, and sprint up good edges to the chains' or something like that.  I think this is more fun to read and gives me a better idea of the route I'm trying to experience vicariously through the database than 'start here, end there.'  That being said, some people appreciate more of this and some less and you can't please all the people all the time.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 124

I think a lot of the time, more detail is an indication of a contrived problem. They're giving you a lot of detail on which holds to grab because grabbing other holds makes the problem a lot easier.

I really don't like contrived problems. Part of the joy of climbing outdoors for me is routefinding. If the route I find is easier than what the first ascentionist did, then it makes more sense to downgrade the problem than to say my route is wrong (what does it even mean for a route to be wrong?). Human-invented problems are for the gym (and I do appreciate good routesetting).

An aesthetic line to me is one where the route is clear, maybe not immediately, but once you try it.

That said, I cut my teeth with outdoor bouldering in Manhattan's Central Park, and there wouldn't be very many problems there if there weren't contrived problems. It does make sense to me to invent some problems if there aren't many naturally available.

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 11,290
T Roper wrote:

Yeah, directions to the boulder and the start and finish is all I want. The new generation seems to want a video description and guidebook for every move or they wont even go.

BTW nice work on all the problems you have added to MA


Thanks. Loads of goodies in dem woods....

Tim McGivern · · Medford, ma · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 11,290
Sandy Crimp wrote:

Read what you need.  You are, probably, taking this too seriously.

None of this is all that serious now is it? Just a game we all play!

Dan Knisell · · Townsend, MA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 2,599
Tim McGivern wrote:

Curious as to people’s thoughts on this. I log a fair amount of boulder problems into this place and usually stick to the old rule to provide enough info to get someone onto the route, but not enough to ruin the on-site for the next ascentionist. Sometimes a fine line, sure.

my standard is usually the way they do it in Font. Start here, go there. Sit or stand. Less is more. 

I’m seeing problems getting logged all over the country that not only call out starting holds, but describe the movements and holds all the way to the top. It doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe I’m not open enough to the new thinking?

Comment section is for the beta, no?

The more I look at it I tend to agree with you Tim. (Tim and I had a conversation about this.) Yes I’m guilty of giving away beta. I think that it stems from going bouldering (on established routes) and getting utterly frustrated trying to figure out where to even start. Believe me I’m all for route finding. My favorite climbing expierence is finding something dirty and undone then putting in the work to clean and send it. There’s no guide, no beta, no trail map. It turns the climbing expierence into something unique. Yet when I go to P-way (or other established places) and I can’t even find the start of a problem because there’s a lack of info I get frustrated. To me start holds and where to finish are key. The whole “find, clean, send” expierence already happened with someone else. Now it’s others turn to repeat the send portion. Tell me where to start and where you finished so I can enjoy it too. I have after posting many routes decided to go over my old routes and revamp them to be less beta intensive so others can enjoy them properly. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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