The devaluation of trip reports

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The devaluation of trip reports

Sean
Cucamonga Man
Sean
Cucamonga Man
Joined: July 27th, 2011, 6:32 pm

May 2nd, 2018, 4:40 pm #1

Film director Martin Scorsese recently expressed concern about an alleged "devaluation of cinema" resulting from the focus on content over value. In a speech at the TCM festival, he said an interesting thing:
[People] can ... turn a picture off and go straight to the next piece of content. If there’s no sense of value tied to a given movie, of course, it can be sampled in bits and pieces and just forgotten.
This observation can also be applied to trip reports. If there is no sense of value tied to a given trip report, it can be sampled in bits and pieces and just forgotten.

Of course there are good and bad movies, just like there are good and bad TRs. By "sense of value" Scorsese is not referring to the evaluated content of a particular movie, nor am I in regard to TRs. The "sense of value" here refers to the form in which the content is presented. For example, on YouTube one can experience a bit of almost any movie, then immediately click on the next bit of content, which might be a how-to video on making coffee. Or, on Facebook, one can view the first few sentences and pictures of a trip report, then immediately scroll down to the next bit of content, which might be some meme about cats.

Scorsese's point is that we are devaluing cinema, the art form itself, by lumping it piecemeal with lesser forms of video. And I guess my point is that we are devaluing trip reports, the article form itself, by lumping it with lesser forms of writing.

Unlike other social media, this forum preserves much of the classic article form. Trip reports here can be given a title and are contained on their own individual pages in their own separate category. They can be stylized and presented as integrated works, with pictures placed logically between paragraphs. In this way there is a strong focus on form over content, and the value of the form itself is generally respected. Whereas platforms like Facebook have generally dispensed with the article form in favor of something I would call the "random snapshot" form, in which the consumer is presented with an endless scroll of uncategorized short posts or snapshots of longer ones, a practice that formalizes the equating of all types of written and visual content. It represents the death of critical judgment--the end of serious valuing. The most important content is the one with the most "likes." Trending things replace valuable things because, as a culture, we don't think and value anymore. We emote and click buttons. This is the effect of egalitarianism in media.
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Joined: November 15th, 2017, 9:18 pm

May 3rd, 2018, 2:04 am #2

Sean wrote: Unlike other social media, this forum preserves much of the classic article form.
This is definitely one of the best things about this forum and others like it. I appreciate that detail is encouraged and it creates a fantastic resource even after the immediate discussion has faded away. Despite the dominance of facebook/instagram etc, dedicated forums like this will hopefully always have a place, at least among a minority of hikers/outdoors people, because it allows for deeper engagement and isn't just one more thing in your feed (as much as I do enjoy cat pics).

I spend a fair bit of time on /r/socalhiking as well because it has a larger member base and geographical coverage, but I always find myself wishing there was a bit more discussion and fewer one-off summit pics with little to no trip report or even basic info. One of the best comments I've gotten there was "You are one of the few posters here that provide a useable trip report. I know these take a great deal of effort compared to the Instagram quality posts." I try to encourage others to post more info as well, but it's always an uphill battle, especially on a platform like reddit where there are a million other things to distract you with. I'm certainly guilty of this in other areas, but at least I try to write useful trip reports that I'd want to find if I was researching a route.
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Sean
Cucamonga Man
Sean
Cucamonga Man
Joined: July 27th, 2011, 6:32 pm

May 4th, 2018, 3:43 pm #3

headsizeburrito wrote:I spend a fair bit of time on /r/socalhiking as well because it has a larger member base and geographical coverage, but I always find myself wishing there was a bit more discussion and fewer one-off summit pics with little to no trip report or even basic info.
I use FB because that's where my trail crew friends post. Some hiking friends also use Reddit, but I struggle to find the basic appeal of it. I'm generally put off by the up-down voting system, which I believe formalizes non-objective evaluation. I believe it encourages casual users to view up-voted posts first and to consider them more valuable simply because they were up-voted. And also it encourages serious users to make spontaneous up-down votes over and over again to affect the message placement. This rewards impulsive, simple reactions over considered, complex opinions.
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Sean
Cucamonga Man
Sean
Cucamonga Man
Joined: July 27th, 2011, 6:32 pm

May 4th, 2018, 4:45 pm #4

More about Reddit...

I went to r/socalhiking and noticed that your amazing TR on Peak 7465 received 18 up-votes and 4 comments. Meanwhile someone calling himself "fuckyeahhiking" received 118 up-votes and 38 comments for gossiping and complaining about a specific hiking organization. He complains about hikers playing loud music and spoiling his wilderness experience. Yet he imposes pointlessly obscene language on the entire group every time he posts, since his vulgar screen name appears at the top of each one of his messages. This is the sort of garbage which Reddit apparently values and prioritizes more than your TRs.
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HikeUp
Likes Beer
HikeUp
Likes Beer
Joined: September 28th, 2007, 3:21 am

May 4th, 2018, 5:28 pm #5

Somewhat related...

Having to follow a link to another site, blog, etc. to read a TR also runs the risk of have a useful TR disappearing as opposed to being cut-n-paste into a topic hosted on this forum. Just like hosted picture sites (flickr, photophucket, etc.) can go defunct, so can blogs. At some point when I croak or go broke, all of the links to my flickr pics will go dead. Regrettable but inevitable/unavoidable.
Hike up! The world's about to end. Flickr.
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Joined: November 15th, 2017, 9:18 pm

May 5th, 2018, 6:37 am #6

The voting system of reddit definitely has some disadvantages, plus the fact that any one subreddit (like /r/socalhiking) still exists within the larger context of the site as a whole. It's still more text based than something like instagram, so discussion is possible and happens, but it's easy to get distracted by whatever else you are doing on reddit (cat pics, the hottest new memes, etc) which work against people full engaging with one thing and getting into deeper discussions instead just upvoting the millionth Cucamonga Peak selfie. Being a dedicated forum to one subject is a huge strength here in comparison.

HikeUp - Yeah, I suppose that's a risk of anything online, nothing lasts forever. Aside from wanting to actually have some discussion, that's part of why I post my reports in full both here and on /r/socalhiking. I've thought about copying them over to a blog as well just to put everything in one place and make it easier to find for people doing random searching, then linking back to the forums to try and get more members and more discussion.
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Joined: November 28th, 2010, 3:09 pm

May 6th, 2018, 2:39 am #7

Burrito dude, you said it well in talking about engaging. As I see it, that’s the big thing that technology has done for/against us. We don’t need to have discussions or opinions or even wonder about things because we can just look them up and end the conversation right there.
Sean, I have the same kind of thoughts about the devaluation of the album in music. Playing songs randomly can be fun since I like lots of different genres - but it doesn’t compare to a well-crafted album. I might be old school with vinyl, I also am now with listening to full CDs while driving.


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"Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours"
(Donald Shimoda)
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jfr
Joined: December 12th, 2009, 11:01 pm

May 7th, 2018, 2:19 am #8

headsizeburrito wrote: HikeUp - Yeah, I suppose that's a risk of anything online, nothing lasts forever. Aside from wanting to actually have some discussion, that's part of why I post my reports in full both here and on /r/socalhiking. I've thought about copying them over to a blog as well just to put everything in one place and make it easier to find for people doing random searching, then linking back to the forums to try and get more members and more discussion.
You definitely should copy your TR's into a blog of some sort.  That's what I did.  Why?  Well, I'm a member of several different forums, and I've always tried to post my trip reports to the appropriate place.  San Gabe stuff here, San Jacinto stuff there, and Sierra stuff over yonder.  But in past years I also posted stuff to the old San Gorgonio forum, and didn't realize that all the posts automatically disappeared after two year's time.  Argh!  Then there was Taco's brief foray into calimountains.com, which also went bust.  All that work I did writing trip reports: Poof!  It made me mad, but what could I do?  It was like wishing my old, primitive, geocities website didn't get wiped off the face of the earth.  (Don't worry; that one ain't coming back, as I don't have the energy to resurrect it elsewhere.)

But a blog is easier.  (At least that's what I thought.)  And I have some degree of control over whether it continues to exist or not.  So I copied the bbcode I'd written for the now-defunct TR's and ported it into my new blog.  I felt better immediately.  Luckily, I'd saved copies of the original bbcode, so it was fairly easy, although bbcode isn't html by any means.  And over the past two years I've gradually gotten all of my TR's into the new location.

And now I write one trip report for the appropriate forum, to give the forum peeps something fun to read, and write a much longer and more detailed report for my blog (which no one reads except my poor wife who has to proofread it for me). 😃

Anyway, I enjoy both reading and writing them.  Long Live Trip Reports!
My hiking trip reports: http://hikingtales.com/
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

May 7th, 2018, 2:41 am #9

I'm going to suggest the opposite: please don't copy your TRs into a blog of some sort. The reason: instead of 50 incomplete, scattered and disorganized places to find trip reports, I'd much rather have 1 GOOD place. I think this forum, for all its warts, is a better choice than reddit, but either one is better than yet-another random blog.

Backups are a separate issue, and you should have backups of your stuff regardless of where it lives.
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Sean
Cucamonga Man
Sean
Cucamonga Man
Joined: July 27th, 2011, 6:32 pm

May 7th, 2018, 3:52 am #10


JeffH wrote: Sean, I have the same kind of thoughts about the devaluation of the album in music. Playing songs randomly can be fun since I like lots of different genres - but it doesn’t compare to a well-crafted album. I might be old school with vinyl, I also am now with listening to full CDs while driving.
I've always appreciated the album form of music, especially concept albums, and I recently renewed my interest in vinyl, but mainly for 70s-80s rock that I don't have on CD. My mom has all the Beatles records, which is awesome, and I have a bunch of later stuff like Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, BTO, Doobie Brothers. My dad was into a bunch of female singers like Streisand and Melanie, so I have that stuff too.
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