Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Irish Bouldering forum?

Someone, Chris I think, commented on this post about the Irish bouldering scene that what we need is a decent message board. The current message board is pretty minimalist in terms of features and doesn't see a whole lot of traffic.

Would people think it would be a good idea to set up a Simple Machines Forum in the style of UkBouldering?

For starter we could keep the structure of it pretty simple and expand as necessary but it would allow people to PM, get notified of new replies, only see new messages all that stuff.

What do people think?


  1. Hey Dave,

    Yep, I think that a forum is a good idea and the UK bouldering style forum does appear to be pretty good. Also, how about a new style of database for new problems, similar to bleauinfo, where users can register repeats and, over time, a consensus on grades can be reached.

    My tuppence and I do appreciate that the set up of the above might be an arduous task.


  2. Barry I think you brought up this idea before? My feeling would be that it wouldn't be that instructive. Sure about a dozen problem might attract a few votes on their grades but the vast majority of problems would have one or two at best. Also I don't think grading shoul nessacarily be a democratic process. For me all opinions on grades aren't equal, compare the opinion of Fred Nicole to that of someone who has only every climbed indoors.

    There are existing website like 27crags that seem to do what you are talking about (not sure if they do grade voting though). Now there is nothing to stop anyone adding Irish problems to do this. And it may well be a good idea.

    Also the simple machine forum would allow polls which could be created for any problems people where interested in.

    To create a clone from scratch would be a big job alright.

  3. YES to a forum - great idea and much needed!

    YES to a more interactive route database too. I think grading SHOULD be democratic or at least open to peoples opinion. Who better to grade Font grade 5's than the people who are at that level? Likewise for every grade. Leaving the grading to a closed set of people will result in a very narrow window of experience from which the grades are thrown out. The RockFax database for example has the option for viewers to vote on each route's grade and quality. Only one or two grades either way. There is no obligation on the admin to alter subsequent guides based on the votes but they usually do.

    I also like Barry's mention of first ascentionist and repeaters info. The Margalef Guide for example records the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ascent of all the routes 8a and above at the back. I think a list of first ascents is worthy of inclusion in any guide. Granted the first few drafts online may throw up some questions but once things settle it's done and can be added to with relative ease. The longer its left the more difficult the task becomes. Plus it makes unrepeated problems stand out a mile. I for one would be more inclined to go the extra mile for a first repeat instead of a trade route as a project.

    Just my two cents

  4. Dunno. I got it in an email so here it is

    "I'm not sure that putting in a feature rich forum is going to solve your problems Dave. There was some classic banter on your message board in the past but it seems to have quietened down now. The question is why...

    I don't for a minute think that folks have jumped ship to - is run in a certain style (i.e. my style) and nothing has changed there in years in those terms. Like it or hate it :-)

    I rather think that there has been a trend towards Facebook and Blogs. I don't need to name names but there's a few folk out there that write great blog articles with photos but seem reticent to share beyond their own space. Nothing wrong with that at all. I scour the internet for stuff I think is suitable for and if I see something interesting I link it on a forum post on I'm under no illusion that they will come to me. In that way at least I drive the conversation and content, down side is time, the sheer number of posts by smcmullan above all others.

    I wonder if you'd be put in a similar position with your new forum?

    Witness also the northern climbers forum - its very quiet also because nobody is driving content through it.

    Even the Irish Climbers facebook group I set up is very quiet and I really do take a hands off approach with that. I thought FB might be a more amenable medium these days. Folks seem to be a lot more confident with FB because anyone commenting can be well identified as a general rule.

    On that note you probably will lose the anonymous comments if you go to SMF - that can be a good and a bad thing. Folks have to register to post and yet another excuse not to.

    I own and that forum is hopping. I also read the MAD and Epic mountain bike forum and there is a plethora of posts every day. Those activitys are a lot more gear focussed. You could argue that the biggest section of is the Buy and Sell.

    So I'm just as stumped as you are. Good luck whatever you do and if you want to trial it out with a dedicated bouldering forum section on just shout or if you need a hand setting up SMF just ask. "

  5. Cheers Dave. Thought I'd been McMullan'd there for a sec ;-)

  6. Steve.

    You have a point and I'm not convinced that post the initial enthusiasm that it would see a lot of posts but there is no harm trying.

    I'm not on Facebook so I can't comment how much interesting discussion and information sharing goes on there.

    I think it's unfair to single out the bloggers as they are the ones already contributing something.

    I would just be another poster on the forum I won't do any driving, if it needs that I would consider it a failed experiment.

    Yes having to sign up is a barrier to people that was one of the things I like about the current message board, you can just stumble across it and post up immediately.

    Thanks for the offers I will get in touch if I need help.

  7. Yeah sorry don't mean to blame bloggers for anything, bad wording, hopefully not bad sentiment. Its just a general/curious phenomenon that folks seem a bit more secure/confident in their own blogspace rather than writing on a general forum. No offence intended to anyone.

  8. I agree with Steve, after the intial excitment wears off it will still be quiet. I dont see how changing it will make people post more.
    it could just be that very few people post so no one checks so no one posts and you get a circle of non activity.
    The imra forum is busy but its always got a new event. i think its more content than a new forum.

  9. i think regardless of how quiet or otherwise the forum stays it is the primary bouldering message board for the country and should be more user friendly, eg newer posts to the top, readable threads etc. Taking into account the quietness, avoid having 15 different categories of conversation like ukb has, you'd only need a couple. I know it's work for you but i've always felt it would be worth it.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I agree with the fat Londoner, it's not very user friendly in current format, sometime clicking on a post within a thread won't link to the next in chronological order. Newest posts to the top and maybe a search function instead having to use the browser's own....

  11. So the consensus, such as it is, seems to be that it might or might not be popular but the existing one isn't that userfriendly.

    The dicussion about grading and FA info can be taken in the new forum. I will get to work.

  12. late now as the upgrade has happened but I think modernizing the forum is a worthwhile step at the very least. as regards content/traffic, UKB is busier but there's more climbers in the UK - if you read the UK forums it's still a relatively small number of people writing on it. so fingers crossed more people get involved in writing up on the new forum!
    interesting point about 'gear' and 'events' driving other forums, I've noticed a lot of traffic on FB MI page when there's an event on. is the other driver the training-method section on UKB? That's not something that is discussed regularly in Ireland, not on most people's radar yet - although I'm noticing an uptick in requests for info since I came back (through private emails and chats) so perhaps that is changing. these's also renewed vibe around Wicklow and through new walls so might generate new visitors to forums (if they before aware of the forums of course!).

    as for the blogs, one of my own personal reasons was to keep my own rambling on a separate site to the forums purely so I wasn't filling the forum with crap (which lets face it, much of my writing is :).