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jaysway
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jaysway
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PostTue Oct 05, 2021 11:19 am 
Just curious, has there ever been discussion on creating another trip reports forum that is restricted to registered users only and is not indexed by search engines? I know that there has been a lot of awareness around posting TRs to social media, and while NWH is small potatoes compared to Instagram, WH&C, or WTA, I get the sense that a lot of people here aren't posting TRs here for fear of places becoming overrun. Which I totally get. I'm wondering if having such a forum that gets a bit less traffic and isn't indexed by search engines would be of interest to some folks who are hesitant to post TRs to our current TRs forum?

I have mixed thoughts on doing something like this, and as a newer member I'm worried that even suggesting this is going against the ethos of this website. And if it is, please feel free to shut me down. I'm curious if doing something like this has been discussed or is of interest, or if people would rather just stick with the way things are.

Also, I want to express that this website is a fantastic resource. I've learned a lot here, and much prefer it to the places listed above. I'm still a newbie both on this forum and as a PNW hiker, so while I haven't felt like I've had much to contribute, I hope that changes over time.

zimmertr
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Tom
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PostTue Oct 05, 2021 11:44 am 
If the information is otherwise available online not sure hiding a TR from google would do much other than direct searches elsewhere.  One impact of TRs is focusing impact, which google doesn't necessarily do in contrast to trending TRs here or on social media.  That's not to say there isn't an impact from google, just different, and I would think those with concerns wouldn't be any more likely to post.

jaysway
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neek
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neek
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PostTue Oct 05, 2021 11:46 am 
It's always great to see people discover and "get" nwhikers.  I can't comment on the feasibility of your suggestion, although I think there's a good discussion to be had, if somewhat fraught with peril.  There are private email lists, obscure personal blogs, and even Strava networks where an ad-hoc version of this exists, to some degree--and peakbagger, if you dig beneath the surface.  And while I love to hate on social media, I've noticed a few people have learned to use it responsibly, giving obscure teasers in public, and limiting details to private conversations.

Looking forward to your reports from Colchuck Lake and Lake Valhalla smile.gif

zimmertr, jaysway
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zimmertr
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zimmertr
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PostTue Oct 05, 2021 12:05 pm 
I, for one, think this is a good idea. It would encourage me to discuss specific areas more openly. I can understand the reasoning against this however. Gatekeeping never really feels good. Maybe it would be more tasteful if it were a donors-only forum? That would help with server costs too, of course.

https://hilakers.org has a members-only forum that isn't indexed by search engines. Though it's pretty dead. I signed up and paid for a membership specifically to access their trip reports but I don't think that data is made public even to members? Just the site admins?

Looks like php-bb supports both members-only and specific-members-only forums.

Tom wrote:
If the information is otherwise available online not sure hiding a TR from google would do much other than direct searches elsewhere.

In a lot of circumstances, the information isn't available otherwise online. Nwhikers is a gold mine of beta unlike anything else in the country. Let alone the state. Though no refuting how easy it is to find gpx files on Peakbagger or by searching Google like so:
Code:
site:caltopo.com $query

--------------
Flickr | Strava

jaysway
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jaysway
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jaysway
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PostTue Oct 05, 2021 12:15 pm 
neek wrote:
It's always great to see people discover and "get" nwhikers.  I can't comment on the feasibility of your suggestion, although I think there's a good discussion to be had, if somewhat fraught with peril.  There are private email lists, obscure personal blogs, and even Strava networks where an ad-hoc version of this exists, to some degree--and peakbagger, if you dig beneath the surface.  And while I love to hate on social media, I've noticed a few people have learned to use it responsibly, giving obscure teasers in public, and limiting details to private conversations.

Looking forward to your reports from Colchuck Lake and Lake Valhalla smile.gif

Good points. To me, there is a spectrum of sharing ranging from personal blogs, which have low reach but probably high quality engagement (detailed reports that can include nuance/LNT stuff, often found by people seeking out specific information), to something like Instagram which has high reach but lower quality engagement. NWH is very far to the former side, whereas WH&C probably falls somewhere in the middle? I guess this idea of a private forum would create a space within NWH that would push it even further towards the left side of this spectrum? But is that even necessary? If I or someone else is worried about increasing traffic to a place, is the solution just to not post about it?

Sorting through my own feelings: I just posted a TR yesterday for Maple Pass. The secret is out, and I can't imagine anyone reading my TR on NWH and not already knowing about Maple Pass. I only posted it because I wanted to share some of the photos I took, and figured the current conditions might be helpful to others in some very small way. On the other hand, I did a short trip to NCNP the previous weekend and I only posted a TR in the lazy TR thread. I did this because this hike isn't too well known (in fact, if you Google it, NWH shows up) and there hadn't been a NWH TR for it since January, and I figured the lazy TR thread sees less eyeballs than posting a full blown TR. I'm torn though because while I knew this hike existed before NWH, reading NWH TRs pointed towards a neat scramble that completely elevated the experience, and it feels selfish to benefit from other TRs but not contribute my own  confused.gif . Also, since permits are required and it is a challenging day hike, there is already an infrastructure in place to control crowding, so maybe by not sharing my TR more broadly all I am doing is making it a tiny, tiny bit easier for people to get permits for that place?

Clearly, I'm still working through my own feelings on this topic. I appreciate the discussion here.

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Tom
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PostTue Oct 05, 2021 12:18 pm 
It would require a separate TR forum which isn't going to happen.  One thing I've considered implementing over the years, but never did, was private threads.  Basically private topics that you could add anyone to, that otherwise would show up just like topics in the forum.  A lot easier to organize trips, etc. and better than the PM feature.  It could also work as private TRs with the option to include all members.  However, given social media trends and the overall decline in popularity of forums I figured it wasn't worth the investment.

kw, jaysway
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jaysway
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jaysway
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PostTue Oct 05, 2021 12:18 pm 
zimmertr wrote:
I, for one, think this is a good idea. It would encourage me to discuss specific areas more openly. I can understand the reasoning against this however. Gatekeeping never really feels good. Maybe it would be more tasteful if it were a donors-only forum? That would help with server costs too, of course.

That's certainly something I would be happy to pay for, although I agree about the feelings of gatekeeping and how that does not feel good. If we remove money from the equation, you would also imagine something like accounts over 30 days old or with 10 or more posts being allowed access, or something along those lines. Or just do any registered accounts?

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jaysway
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jaysway
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PostTue Oct 05, 2021 4:25 pm 
Tom wrote:
It would require a separate TR forum which isn't going to happen.  One thing I've considered implementing over the years, but never did, was private threads.  Basically private topics that you could add anyone to, that otherwise would show up just like topics in the forum.  A lot easier to organize trips, etc. and better than the PM feature.  It could also work as private TRs with the option to include all members.  However, given social media trends and the overall decline in popularity of forums I figured it wasn't worth the investment.

Private topics that can be used as de facto private TRs sounds good to me but I understand how the implementation might not be worth the time/monetary investment.

If you are comfortable sharing this, what do the trends look like as far as traffic to NWH? I'm not surprised that forums are becoming less popular, but for NWH specifically I could see that counteracted by increased interest in PNW hiking. I'm still a big fan of forums, they tend to facilitate better discussions than social media. Back in middle school and high school I created forums for discussing Runescape and later Halo  biggrin.gif (not that those forums had many members) this is embarrassing but I used to have strong opinions that Invision Power Board was better than phpBB or vBulletin in the same vein that people would argue about Xbox being better than Playstation, or vice versa. That was a while ago!

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cdestroyer
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PostSun Oct 10, 2021 1:43 pm 
I am always curious as to why people have personal secrets. Did you do something illegal? Are you planning to do something illegal.Is someone after you for something you did? Why do you not want someone to know you crapped on the th at so and so place? Do you think any cares that you did? You dont want more people walking on your special trail? Do you have a mine claim you dont want people to know about, Did you stash something you dont want people to know about......NO. then why the big secret!!!!!!!!!!!   oh and to pay to know those secrets, I dont think so!!

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Tom
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Tom
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PostSun Oct 10, 2021 2:11 pm 
jaysway wrote:
what do the trends look like as far as traffic to NWH

The only statistic I tend to look at over time is the number of members returning in a 24 hour period (displayed at the bottom of the forum index).

Here is Aug 5, 2013 showing 532 members:

https://web.archive.org/web/20130806135104/http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/

Compare to Aug 6, 2020, showing 327 members:

https://web.archive.org/web/20200805100629/http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/

jaysway
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cdestroyer
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PostSun Oct 10, 2021 3:29 pm 
op says something about a site not indexed by search engines.... google has this thing about knowing all seeing all hearing all and posting it freely on the internet. you fart google will know it, believe me. thats why the name of their corporate headquarters is called the googleplex. oh sorry i guess now it is alphabet.

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neek
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neek
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PostSun Oct 10, 2021 4:04 pm 
cdestroyer wrote:
you fart google will know it, believe me

You'll start getting ads for Beano the next day. Guaranteed.

But seriously, meta noindex.

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