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Partner Jeff
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Oct 31, 2013, 4:07 AM
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Hi--I'm the new RockClimbing.com owner--ask me anything
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Hey All,
As of last Thursday, my wife and I are the new site owners.

We are still coming up to speed on things--we just got the last half of the login credentials Monday, and so most of our time so far has just been resetting passwords, updating contact info, and exploring how the software that runs this site is architected. A lot more exploring left to do on that front...

The primary thing I wanted to say in this post is that my wife and I *care* about creating a good experience for users and staff, and starting right now, we are here to support you.

I'm not sure exactly what a good experience for users and staff looks like long term--a lot of questions that need answers first--but in the short term, the obvious highest priority thing is implementing better anti-spam measures. Spam sucks. We haven't ever tried to architect anti-spam features before so if you have suggestions on what to do, use this thread: http://www.rockclimbing.com/...ost=2637993;#2637993

My wife and I both work full time, so it's not all going to get fixed tomorrow or next week or even this coming year, but we're gonna start chipping away at things.

I have a bunch of questions for you guys about the history of the site and where you'd like to see the site go in the future. I would love your help, but I also totally understand if anyone decides to hit the eject button because there's a new owner.

Right now, the plan is:
1) finish the technical aspects of the site transfer
2) get spam under control
3) understand current site staff structure & remove people who no longer want to be involved
4) Have a discussion with the community about where we are now and where we want to take this site--I've got lots of ideas, and I've no problem being a benevolent dictator when needed, but setting future direction of the site is a conversation, not me showing up in my dilbert costume saying "I'm the new owner, now we do things my way" (at least not too often)
5) start to evaluate the current software platform--what parts can we modify, what parts need to be completely swapped out (have you seen http://www.discourse.org? it's light years better than our current forum software, although integrating it with the other parts of the site would be a very complex project)

Regarding site culture:
There are just a couple of things that are non-negotiable based on who I am as a person and what kind of site I want to be associated with. You can sum most of them up as be friendly, treat people, including women, with respect, don't be a jerk, and treat others how you'd want to be treated. The rockclimbing community tends to be a little rough around the edges, thrill-seeking, rules-pushing, heart-pounding awesomeness. No problems there--I was the kid growing up who drove the town roundabout backwards every so often just to feel like a rebel. But I'm not going to tolerate sexually crude remarks or slamming n00bs. People who want to do those things can go find another site. I haven't seen problems with these things so far, but just wanted to set the ground rules.

As far as who are we--my wife and I love the outdoors, particularly the mountains.

I first got exposed to rock climbing when I took the Mountaineers Basic Climbing Course in highschool. My current favorite climb is probably the summit pyramid on Mount Challenger, which is only rated at 5.7 if I remember right, but climbing 5.7 in plastic mountaineering boots is a whole different level of difficulty than doing it in rock shoes. Plus it was a difficult two-day approach through some of the most heavily glaciated terrain in the lower 48, so my friends and I definitely felt legit on that one.

If you have questions for me/us, post them in this thread.

Cheers,

Jeff

Addendum #1:
A number of folks asked about our plans for the site.
My answer Part 1:http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2638121;#2638121
Part 2: http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2638388#2638388

Addendum #2:
A number of people asked if we purchased the site as a hobby or as a for-profit business.
My answer: http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2638629#2638629


(This post was edited by Jeff on Mar 8, 2014, 10:40 PM)


granite_grrl


Oct 31, 2013, 5:14 AM
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Well this is an interesting turn of events.


mojomonkey


Oct 31, 2013, 5:48 AM
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Re: [Jeff] Hi--I'm the new RockClimbing.com owner--ask me anything [In reply to]
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Jeff wrote:
Hey All,
My name is Jeff and as of last Thursday, my wife Kristen and I are the new site owners.

We are still coming up to speed on things--we just got the last half of the login credentials Monday, and so most of our time so far has just been resetting passwords, updating contact info, and exploring how the software that runs this site is architected. A lot more exploring left to do on that front...

The primary thing I wanted to say in this post is that my wife and I *care* about creating a good experience for users and staff, and starting right now, we are here to support you.

I'm not sure exactly what a good experience for users and staff looks like long term--a lot of questions that need answers first--but in the short term, the obvious highest priority thing is implementing better anti-spam measures. Spam sucks. We haven't ever tried to architect anti-spam features before so if you have suggestions on what to do, use this thread: http://www.rockclimbing.com/...ost=2637993;#2637993

My wife and I both work full time, so it's not all going to get fixed tomorrow or next week or even this coming year, but we're gonna start chipping away at things.

I have a bunch of questions for you guys about the history of the site and where you'd like to see the site go in the future. I would love your help, but I also totally understand if anyone decides to hit the eject button because there's a new owner.

Right now, the plan is:
1) finish the technical aspects of the site transfer
2) get spam under control
3) understand current site staff structure & remove people who no longer want to be involved
4) Have a discussion with the community about where we are now and where we want to take this site--I've got lots of ideas, and I've no problem being a benevolent dictator when needed, but setting future direction of the site is a conversation, not me showing up in my dilbert costume saying "I'm the new owner, now we do things my way" (at least not too often)
5) start to evaluate the current software platform--what parts can we modify, what parts need to be completely swapped out (have you seen http://www.discourse.org? it's light years better than our current forum software, although integrating it with the other parts of the site would be a very complex project)

Regarding site culture:
There are just a couple of things that are non-negotiable based on who I am as a person and what kind of site I want to be associated with. You can sum most of them up as be friendly, treat people, including women, with respect, don't be a jerk, and treat others how you'd want to be treated. The rockclimbing community tends to be a little rough around the edges, thrill-seeking, rules-pushing, heart-pounding awesomeness. No problems there--I was the kid growing up who drove the town roundabout backwards every so often just to feel like a rebel. But I'm not going to tolerate sexually crude remarks or slamming n00bs. People who want to do those things can go find another site. I haven't seen problems with these things so far, but just wanted to set the ground rules.

As far as who are we--my wife and I love the outdoors, particularly the mountains--I grew up in the North Cascades north of Seattle, and my wife grew up in the Rockies of Colorado and although we currently live in Silicon Valley, our hearts pine for real mountains with rock and snow. We're also both pretty nerdy and we like to push ourselves physically and mentally. Kristen's done a half Ironman and I've hiked 50 miles in 24 hours.

[image]http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_attachment;postatt_id=6667;[/image]

I first got exposed to rock climbing when I took the Mountaineers Basic Climbing Course in highschool. My current favorite climb is probably the summit pyramid on Mount Challenger, which is only rated at 5.6 if I remember right, but climbing 5.6 in plastic mountaineering boots is a whole different level of difficulty than doing it in rock shoes. Plus it was a difficult two-day approach through some of the most heavily glaciated terrain in the lower 48, so my friends and I definitely felt legit on that one.

If you have questions for me/us, post them in this thread.

Cheers,

Jeff and Kristen

I hope you can turn this place around! We seem to be using gossamer threads to manage the forum - are we on the latest version? Maybe checking out their forums for anti-spam methods used.

As for suggestions, hopefully you check out the suggestion forum on this site. There are lots of ideas in there that have been neglected while ownership was uncertain.


(This post was edited by mojomonkey on Oct 31, 2013, 5:49 AM)


ncrockclimber


Oct 31, 2013, 1:09 PM
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Hi Jeff.

I sincerely hope that you are able to turn this site around, but I am not optimistic about your chances. This site has gone from being a thriving community resource to a wasteland. The majority of the moderators haven't logged on in months and the quality of the discourse in the forum is extremely low. There are other climbing sites that are working great at this time and getting users to come back to RC.com is going to be a challenge. I will look forward to seeing what you can do for this site and wish you much success.

Edit to add -
It has been over 9 hours since the OP and you have had 4 responses. That speaks volumes about the state of this site...


(This post was edited by ncrockclimber on Oct 31, 2013, 1:48 PM)


marc801


Oct 31, 2013, 2:08 PM
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Re: [ncrockclimber] Hi--I'm the new RockClimbing.com owner--ask me anything [In reply to]
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ncrockclimber wrote:
Hi Jeff.

I sincerely hope that you are able to turn this site around, but I am not optimistic about your chances. This site has gone from being a thriving community resource to a wasteland. The majority of the moderators haven't logged on in months and the quality of the discourse in the forum is extremely low. There are other climbing sites that are working great at this time and getting users to come back to RC.com is going to be a challenge. I will look forward to seeing what you can do for this site and wish you much success.

Edit to add -
It has been over 9 hours since the OP and you have had 4 responses. That speaks volumes about the state of this site...
IMHO the key reason a lot of people fled - or at least aren't logging on - was the massive flood of spam posts in a relatively short time span. If that can be prevented from happening again, we'll likely see a return of folks, provided they know about it. Some kind of marketing push will probably be needed.


meanandugly


Oct 31, 2013, 4:46 PM
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The spam almost ended it for me.


gblauer
Moderator

Oct 31, 2013, 6:07 PM
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Delighted to have the new ownership.

There are a bunch of moderators (including me) who would love to give you some input.

Congrats on your purchase.


shockabuku


Oct 31, 2013, 7:28 PM
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Did you pay (in cash) for it? Hopefully you were paying attention and got a good deal.


Partner j_ung


Nov 1, 2013, 7:25 AM
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Re: [Jeff] Hi--I'm the new RockClimbing.com owner--ask me anything [In reply to]
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Hi Jeff,

Once upon a time, I ran the day-to-day RC.com operations. I don't have a question, but I do have a suggestion. Don't try to be everything to everybody. Initiate your rules to bring about your goals and the enforce them mercilessly. Don't waste time explaining your decisions to people. Ban anybody who gets in your way. In short, don't be the nice guy. Be the guy for whom his vision of what the site can be is far more important than any one person (or small group of people).

Counter intuitive? Yes. Stands a chance of being effective? Yes. The alternative is to slip into the same trap that everybody who came before you fell for, including me.

Best of luck!
Jay


boymeetsrock


Nov 1, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Welcome Jeff and Kristen! Wish you the best for this site. I really don't come here much any more, but I'd love to come back.

What ruined the site for me was:
1) management's complete lack of interest in the site
2) the users who realized there was no one running the show and took advantage.
3) ad hominem attacks
4) ultimate loss of content as most users left

A few years ago, as it became all to evident that management was absent, the tone of the site became sophomoric and aggressive. It really wasn't fun to be a part of anymore.

J_ung makes some great points. He was well on his way to making this site a better place when he had the rug pulled out from under him.

With a little TLC, I'd wager this site has a good chance of growing again. You have a great domain name! Just need to keep the "jerkz" et al in check.


curt


Nov 1, 2013, 11:23 AM
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j_ung wrote:
Hi Jeff,

Once upon a time, I ran the day-to-day RC.com operations. I don't have a question, but I do have a suggestion. Don't try to be everything to everybody. Initiate your rules to bring about your goals and the enforce them mercilessly. Don't waste time explaining your decisions to people. Ban anybody who gets in your way. In short, don't be the nice guy. Be the guy for whom his vision of what the site can be is far more important than any one person (or small group of people).

Counter intuitive? Yes. Stands a chance of being effective? Yes. The alternative is to slip into the same trap that everybody who came before you fell for, including me.

Best of luck!
Jay

And that advice would result in creating another "Mountain Project" type site, complete with its heavy-handed moderation and censorship. If that's Jeff's vision, I suppose it's fine to go that route, but this website has always struck an interesting (and I think proper) balance between anything goes and excessive moderation. I think there is some risk in radically altering that balance, in terms of losing long time users who make meaningful contributions.

Curt


Gmburns2000


Nov 1, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Jeff,

I think a lot of people would like the site to return to something respectable. I still hang around on occasion, but less so due to the complete lack of care the past regime had for this site (and the fact that so many mods either stopped logging in or just didn't do anything).

I think you can make great strides on this site by updating a lot of the databases and "how things are organized" so to speak. You said you live in hell Silicon Valley. What's your software background and can you bring more physical changes to the site?

Honestly, a few years ago, this place was pretty well run by the inmates. It wasn't perfect, but no one actually died. Fixing some of the technical stuff and allowing for a return to reasonably-led asylum content could breathe the life back into it. There are a lot of people who like the site (me included) enough to see it through.

Best...
Greg


arrettinator


Nov 1, 2013, 2:22 PM
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Re: You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. [In reply to]
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I can't believe nobody else has written this, so I will.

STFU n00b.

Tongue

Kidding, of course. Angelic

Long time user. First time poster. (outside of the campground for a while)

I for one welcome our new rc.com overlords.


(This post was edited by arrettinator on Nov 1, 2013, 2:23 PM)


shockabuku


Nov 1, 2013, 3:08 PM
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curt wrote:
j_ung wrote:
Hi Jeff,

Once upon a time, I ran the day-to-day RC.com operations. I don't have a question, but I do have a suggestion. Don't try to be everything to everybody. Initiate your rules to bring about your goals and the enforce them mercilessly. Don't waste time explaining your decisions to people. Ban anybody who gets in your way. In short, don't be the nice guy. Be the guy for whom his vision of what the site can be is far more important than any one person (or small group of people).

Counter intuitive? Yes. Stands a chance of being effective? Yes. The alternative is to slip into the same trap that everybody who came before you fell for, including me.

Best of luck!
Jay

And that advice would result in creating another "Mountain Project" type site, complete with its heavy-handed moderation and censorship. If that's Jeff's vision, I suppose it's fine to go that route, but this website has always struck an interesting (and I think proper) balance between anything goes and excessive moderation. I think there is some risk in radically altering that balance, in terms of losing long time users who make meaningful contributions.

Curt


Gotta second Curt - I go to Mountain Project to buy used gear and look at their route data base but otherwise it's kind of boring. I come here because it's entertaining and mostly about climbing (at least tangentially).


Partner happiegrrrl


Nov 1, 2013, 3:13 PM
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Good luck with the project!

Hopefully you have some concepts in mind for bringing up the levels of interrelatedness with the various social platforms. Seems to me that rc could have brought back to life some interaction had they leveraged those connections(367 Twitter Followers, 1872 on FB, last posted to on, humorously enough, April 1st. No Pinterest or YouTube/Vimeo profiles...).

Another thing I see as having the potential for improving people's experiences would be the ability to develop feeds through the use of network groups.

What RC currently is, is hanging on by a string, as was said earlier. Not a go-to place anymore. Hell, nobody even posted about the El Cap Pirate's accident, and I am pretty sure that nobody reading this post hasn't heard about it. Made page 1 of Reddit, there are Response videos to Ammon's video of the carnage being created on YouTube and it went unspoken about here.


(This post was edited by happiegrrrl on Nov 1, 2013, 3:15 PM)


Partner macherry


Nov 1, 2013, 3:57 PM
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happiegrrrl wrote:
Good luck with the project!

Hopefully you have some concepts in mind for bringing up the levels of interrelatedness with the various social platforms. Seems to me that rc could have brought back to life some interaction had they leveraged those connections(367 Twitter Followers, 1872 on FB, last posted to on, humorously enough, April 1st. No Pinterest or YouTube/Vimeo profiles...).

Another thing I see as having the potential for improving people's experiences would be the ability to develop feeds through the use of network groups.

What RC currently is, is hanging on by a string, as was said earlier. Not a go-to place anymore. Hell, nobody even posted about the El Cap Pirate's accident, and I am pretty sure that nobody reading this post hasn't heard about it. Made page 1 of Reddit, there are Response videos to Ammon's video of the carnage being created on YouTube and it went unspoken about here.

i think a lot of people heard about the accident but feel no need to discuss it on rc.com. it's not the community it used to be


Partner happiegrrrl


Nov 1, 2013, 4:05 PM
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yes - that was my point.


lofstromc


Nov 1, 2013, 4:19 PM
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My biggest reason for not checking this site is/was the amount of spam. As for the conversations, I pick and choose what I care about.
I hope you can change the direction of this site, I've always enjoyed it.


Partner macherry


Nov 1, 2013, 6:01 PM
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happiegrrrl wrote:
yes - that was my point.


i misread your post


my mistakeBlush


Partner happiegrrrl


Nov 1, 2013, 7:05 PM
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not a problem, macherry.


moose_droppings


Nov 1, 2013, 7:35 PM
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meanandugly wrote:
The spam almost ended it for me.

+1

Some days that's all there is.
Hope you get a handle on it.


dagibbs


Nov 1, 2013, 9:33 PM
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Of the climbing discussion sites I'm on (ontarioclimbing.com, rockclimbing.com, ukclimbing.com, mountainproject.com, supertopo.com), this one has the best UI for the forums. I really appreciate the tracking of read/unread, and the "mark all read" ability, along with going to the most-recent un-read message in any thread I go to. That makes this forum, despite the recent spam and lack of content, still my favourite. Please do NOT lose this usefulness and readability in the forums.

Beyond that, keep the spam out. And make it clear that someone cares. Hopefully that will be enough to encourage people to trickle back.

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