Roughly 10 years ago BallOfSpray was called the “Slalom Tweakers Forum”. I started that forum because none of the other web forms were focused on slalom. I had questions and wanted answers. We soon had 50 core guys mostly talking about the most esoteric details of skiing and skis. A lot of that group was involved with the 3 years of “Independent Ski Tests” I wrote for WaterSkiMag.
Today, more than 2000 skiers visit BallOfSpray every day. The site has become the world wide hub of slalom and 3 event skiing. Skiers of all levels share ideas and offer advice every day. The success of the site has unfortunately created a signal to noise problem. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal-to-noise_ratio
) If highest priority is to be a resource for skiers, I must address this in some way.
The problem is how do I continue to provide a forum where everyone is welcome but that also provides the highest possible level of content? To put it a different way how do I lure the really smart guys back out of the shadows and into the conversation? I have considered a number of solutions. I was looking for the one that alienates the least number of readers. You guys all got ridiculously upset over stars and my other attempts to gameify the quality of content (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification
The solution is a new category on the set site called “Advanced Topics”.
“Advanced Topics” will be much more heavily moderated. Posts that are silly or off topic will be deleted without hesitation. Everyone will be able to read “Advanced Topics” but only skiers who are clearly very knowledgeable will be able to post. With a few exceptions skiers will need to have scores deep into 38off to post. Skiers will also need to have their user profile filled out with their real name and other details.
I can imagine the distress of a few of you already. This is not discrimination. This is not elitism or cronyism. This is an attempt to raise the quality of content in one small corner of the site without impacting the rest of the site. I have written almost 400 words to explain this because I expect some of you to complain. I will read the complaints for a day or two and then will most likely delete them.