Add Message Board/Forum Capability
Would be great to have a space where leaders could put up an activity idea and find out if other leaders might be interested in joining up for key swaps, car camps, etc. Leaders could ask for anyone's recent experience with a particular trail or trailhead. On the same space, members could put up a trip that they'd like to do and see if they can interest a leader in doing it; barring that, to find other members who might like to do it privately.
Originally titled: Message board for leaders and members wanting to coordinate an activity
Other uses include general discussion, discussion in committees and courses, and a gear marketplace.
Note that significant discovery is needed to determine our needs and wants for form/message board capbility and where to integrate it into our website (e.g. general message boards, carpooling to activities and events, courses, committees).
It would be nice to add forum-like capability to the contacts for committees and courses so that any of our committee or course administrators can answer questions.
Nathan Derrick commented
A previous idea from a number of years ago (http://feedback.mountaineers.org/forums/273688-general-feedback/suggestions/6783184-add-message-board-forum-capability) alluded to this concept but was more focused on the front-end user interface as the fix, but I think that this concept could be incorporated at no cost using the existing activity front-end by simply adding a filter for formal/informal.
The barrier to entry for many activities is extremely high, not necessarily because of cost but in timing/flexibility. COVID's reduction in the number of activities going on has only further highlighted how difficult it is for people, especially working parents, to get the stars to align to earn some of the more rigorous badges to even be able to do an activity they want to do. Even with equivalency programs, those sometimes only occur a few times a year at most.
As it stands, the only options for members to do activities are either to meet all the highly bureaucratic formal requirements to do formally led activities; or rely upon completely unregulated public forums to find partners. Many people may have social networks that include like-minded people, but for those who may not have any existing activity partners or friends that do outdoor activities, this can be a barrier to getting outdoors at all. A solution for this would be to allow 'most' members to post informal activities for others to collaborate on.
Some options for ensuring that this doesn't become an independent sub-community in itself could be to require some highly-available and no-cost badges, such as stewardship, low-impact recreation, and/or the online leader seminar before having access to post and join informal activities. Adopting this idea doesn't have to mean completely eliminating the core principles of the mountaineers, it just means allowing members to accept the risks of informal activities and have more control over their recreation schedules.
These activities would of course be completely at-your-own-risk with no protections, coverage or other benefits from the mountaineers organization, just as if they had been coordinated through an unregulated venue such as facebook or mountainproject. Participants would have to handle all permitting themselves as a private party. However, the fact that the people who have access to these activities are paying members increases the reliability, and in many cases those individuals will have some activity/course/badge history in their profile, which enable better risk-informed decision making on behalf of all the participants than if they used those unregulated public forums.
This could be as low-impact as adding a check box on the activity posting form, and some adjustment to the way user profile permissions are applied to enable qualified/paid members to post and join informal activities. "Activity clutter" would be easy to manage by enabling the 'formal' filter by default so users wont see the informal activities unless they actively search for them.
I think this would have a significant and positive impact in community accessibility and activity availability, make the organization more alluring to people with demanding schedules, and increase diversity by making it easier for people to find informal activities at no-cost (that historically required a for-cost course to participate in). It would greatly reduce the barrier to entry for backpacking/scrambling/climbing, giving people chances to self-learn and peer-learn when courses are not available.
Joshua Stein commented
Perhaps instead of a message board/forum we use discord.com. Discord is primarily used for real-time communication (think chat room) and would likely be something different from the many message boards and forums we see for various activities.
Discord is pretty easy to setup and mostly free (you can pay for extra features though not required).
Bri Vanderlinden commented
Today received feedback from an older member who wants to get on a backpack trip, but runs into challenge that they are understandably full. "consequently I will take a few solo backpack trips or hope to get some of my non-Mountaineers friends to join. I would like to suggest that the Mountaineers could have a "buddy board" where folks who want to get together for small 1-5 person impromptu hikes or camping trips may get in touch with each other outside the regular sponsored events to arrange a mutually agreeable trek. Thanks for the great job you all do." This message is communicated for Pete Letourneau via Bri Vanderlinden
Tom Unger commented
I've been a proponent of this but also agree with Roland that it is not a magic bullet. many of us are swamped with communication and adding more is not a good solution. But there is a real problem here. At least, here are two real examples I have
1. I would like to communicate with people in the intermediate kayak class. Do they need any clinics? What skills? When? If I knew what people wanted to learn, I would try to teach it.
2. Who are the other kayakers interested in developing intermediate to advanced kayaking skills by going out in rough conditions?
I can always build my own list of partners - we all do - but I would like to seem something more visible with in the club that will include more people.
Brandon Mayer commented
Have a Marketplace for buying/selling gear that requires a % donation of the sell price as a donation to the mountaineers. If a mandatory donation isn't possible, allow sellers to elect a % to donate.
David Sucher commented
I'd like to see some method a way to start a conversation about a future activity. For example, I have an idea for a trip I'd like to do (ski in Japan this coming winter) and would like to chat with people and maybe self-organize a small group (4-6?). And I gather there isn't such a "bulletin board".I think that's unfortunate.PS I prefer NOT to use FaceBook.
Michael Everett commented
We already have a forum site that works in Tacoma Sea Kayaking for at least 5 years. We use a Yahoo groups domain, and open participation to anyone in any chapter interested in kayaking. It didn't cost anything to set up, and requires almost no maintenance. "Moderators" accept applicants, and participants can opt out of the email server if they wish or remove themselves from the list at any time. We can store trip photos, documents, and send out notices of upcoming paddles/clinics so someone doesn't need to go looking for info on the Mounties site. If we wanted a site only for leaders, it would be easy enough to set one up.
Ron Jones commented
At one time I believed a clubwide forum was a great idea and something we really needed. The OMSK Committee began using a google group in 2005. And I used to express to club leadership back then that we needed a clubwide forum.
After managing the google group for the past 13 years and being part of many other forums and social sites, I’m now of the opinion that it may notbethe magic bullet I once thought it was. And that I think most would believe it to be.
It’s been my experience, in every forum, social site and list serve that I’ve belonged to, that it slwYs comes down to the same “10” people actually creating content and following discussions. 20 is an arbitrary number. My point is that it always comes down to a few. The thought that the entire Mountaineers Sea Kayak community will magically subscribe and participate is, in my opinion, not realistic.
Specific forums might work, but those too. Will only be populated by the most passionate.
Frankly, I don’t have time to engage in yet another forum. I suspect many others feel the same. People engage in their favorites, whether that be email, FB, Twitter, various forums.
Case in point. I subscribed to both Slack and Basecamp. And what I see is a select few engaged with the majority on the sidelines. No way to tell if those on the sides even look at the information. I think the same would happen with a club sponsored forum on the Mountaineers website.
The base camp worked good for the summit because it was a project limited in scope and time. So maybe the same for a club version.
I don’t even go to the Mountaineers site to look for trips. At least not frequently. It’s too combrrsome. If anything, we first need a way to subscribe to trips so we know when’s new one has been posted.
And I don’t agree with the comment about encouraging private trips via a club forum. That will only exacerbate that issue, where people meet in the club and go off and do their own thing. Just let that happen on its own without wncotlraging it. You can’t stop it. OMSK actually does not allow adhoc trips via our group because we want those trips posted to the web for all. And it becomes much harder to regulate non-leaders from leading under the umbrella of the Mountaineers.
What I see working the best for communication across branches is for chairs to regularly communicate and the summit. Maybe a 6 month check in, not quite summit would help build community and keep folkscin the loop. True community is built in person much more effectively than virtually.
Just my nickels worth of comments.
Bill Coady commented
I concur with most of the comments going back to 2015 in this discussion. I think we need a method. Would be nice to be within the actual Mountaineers.org website rather than a separate application (like BaseCamp, Slack, etc.).
Charlie Michel commented
We do not have one cross branch means of communicating with our fellow kayakers. We all have our individual silos.
John Green commented
The ability to communicate cross branches for community wide issues, clinics, seminars and programs is lacking. Having a message board or similar would help overcome this problem.
Becca Polglase commented
This idea has come up in climbing and sea kayaking. As we move more towards cross-branch activities, and more and more information thrown at people, we need a way to have channels that people can opt into. For example, a PDW channel for kayakers across all branches, or a Leadership Development channel for cross-branch discussions. Here's one example that could be easy to implement: https://www.websitetoolbox.com/forum/features#custom
colin corbin commented
Provide a newsfeed similar to popular social sites like Strava or Facebook that let you see what fellow members have been up to., post pictures, trip reports, etc.
Also provide the ability for people to connect and coordinate 'private climbs' and other activities
Right now there are Facebook pages associated with each branch that don't appear to be Mountaineers-moderated. They are private groups that serve as a surrogate for the Mountaineers site because the site does not provide social capabilities.
The impact of this is that it drives people away from the club's site, fractures the membership and encourages cliques, and forces people into using social sites like Facebook in order to fully participate. Basically it creates a 'shadow club' that is not managed by the Mountaineers.
Editorially, there may be discomfort with the idea of the club providing social capabilities because it encourages private climbs versus open club climbs. My POV is that most Mountaineers participate in private climbs anyway - there's a place for both open and private climbs. Ultimately climbing and connecting fellow members should be the priority. By encouraging interaction on the Mountaineers site, I believe you will increase interaction and opportunities for everyone, and as an organization we'll collectively have better insight into the activities and needs of our members.
David Geeraerts commented
The Mountaineers needs a discourse instance [https://www.discourse.org/].
I work at Evergreen State College and we use it as the "forum" engine for "Greener Commons".
Shawn Awan commented
Add: Message board associated with an event for coordinating carpooling and Q&A (like they have in Meetup.Com)
Andrea Corage Baden commented
a bulletin board to link up with activity partners (climbing, hiking), sell gear etc
Michael Everett commented
The Tacoma Kayak group uses a Yahoo users group (email@example.com) to promote upcoming training and paddling events. The system works, but it only reaches those people who have requested access to it. It would be better if the system worked for the entire Mountaineers kayaking community within our own system.
Chris Williams commented
From the 2/7/15 Sea Kayak Summit. Create more platforms than the "Shared activity resources" folder on the website to facilitate more dialogue and communication among people with common activity interests. For example, the climbers, kayakers, scramblers, snowshoers, trail runners, etc. etc. could each have a forum to discuss things in.