Advanced Topics

HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
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.

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slalomboy96RezSkiJayMattPGaryWilkinsonaswinter05ralBulldogMarcusBrownSkoot1123[Deleted User]6ballsalex38ricoBradyBHarwood
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Comments

  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 2,342 Crazy Baller
    It is taking every inch of my self control to not post a thread about basking sharks in the new subforum.
  • testtest Posts: 29
    @BraceMaker
    I am way ahead of you. Go ahead and try
    This is the site dev account.
    BraceMaker
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 2,342 Crazy Baller
    Tried from mobile. No drop down for advanced topics on mobile version.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    @BraceMaker then my settings are working

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  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,295 Mega Baller
    as someone with young adults in the household I'd say a good amount of the "noise" here I dont care for seems to be snickering about excess alcohol consumption and any photo video or comment that has anything to do with women wearing bikinis cut back on that if you want a thread or section to be taken serious
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,410 Mega Baller
    Should be some good reading.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    @mwetskier
    I agree and am as guilty as anyone on both accounts

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    Broussard
  • GaryWilkinsonGaryWilkinson Posts: 283 Baller
    Great idea my webmaster friend. Sometimes threads get off track and "diluted" and we're all less likely to continue to read them. That's why god invented pandas and thread input deletes.

    The increase in off-topic chatter might be a result of a long cold winter as I find the spring and summer content to be on- topic and relevant.

    I wouldn't go as far as heavy handed banning, but having an area where the thread and contributors are focused is I think, a good idea.
    I need to ski back to the handle obviously.
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 1,761 Mega Baller
    @Horton - it has indeed been a long winter! Most of us that still can't ski are going stir crazy! I haven't been around long enough to know the discussion that occurs during most of the summer, but what I do know is that it was MOSTLY skiing related.

    With all that said - I love this site. It has become my defacto website and is my outlet for my Slalom Addiction. Thanks for the great work!
    kmenardBulldog
  • jayskijayski Posts: 562 Crazy Baller
    @aswinter05 first off no offence intended but...anyone can regurgitate 'tips' they hear from a coach's mouth or that was read but to implement, actually be able to realize what your doing in the course in those split seconds, self coach because of that ability, have an eye for errors in other skiers, ability to give the "how to" keys and not just say "carry direction out bound" takes time on the water and ACTUAL experience...every skier out there will babble the hot phrases but until a person actually runs 38 and beyond they really have no clear understanding of what is being said, @Horton is correct in saying 38 and beyond, it's totally different from there and you HAVE to know/understand and be able to apply what's required to achieve passes of those lengths. I agree it still may not make you the best coach or best at communicating of what's going on but at least you have a better insight and undersanding of what's required. In regards to your statement of "advanced skers not postign to general forum", it already isn't happening as this is why @Horton is creating a new category to try to draw those back in or allow those that do not want to deal with debating with long line-32 off skiers about proper technique (no offence to those).
    scotchipmanHorton
  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    @jayski , There are a decent number of active BOS users who run 38-off that currently post to the general forum. To be exact there are at least 61 (according to the "Who Are You" thread).

    I understand that this is an attempt to attract advanced skiers back to the site. That's a great idea. Maybe this plan will work.

    But..... I wonder if those 61 users mentioned above who run 38-off will continue posting and responding to topics in the general forum as they have. I see a lot of names on that list that have contributed valuable and appreciated information to some of my discussions.

    I like the Advanced Topics idea a lot. Just as long as it's best for this site as a whole.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    A few quick points:

    This new section will be a very small portion of the whole site

    It is an experiment

    This does not change how the rest of the site works

    Everyone can read it but posting will be limited to shortline skiers.

    The real winners are the non-short line skiers because there will be this new area of concentrated posted from skiers you can trust.

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    GroovyGrantBradyKlundell
  • WishWish Posts: 7,109 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Horton all skiers can read the catigory but how will questions folks need answers to on the topic/cancepts be adressed? Itemes perhapes in need of some explination for the reader to understand the concepts, techniques being discussed. I know I've learned a great deal by asking for clarification.
    Also agree that winter content gets a bit broader but seems to become more focused during the summer months. Great site and change is always difficult and the fact that you keep thinking of ways to better it is testament to its success. Well done!! And thank you!
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    aswinter05Skoot11239400Brady
  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    I agree @wish , it would be nice to ask questions/clarify. I guess a PM would have to work for now
    Skoot1123
  • jackskijackski Posts: 263 Baller
    @ Horton - good idea go with it
    (I'm not a deep 38 skier but want to be even though I'm old)
    Jack
  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    edited March 2013
    Questions and answers are asked and answered the same as always. Everyone does everything the same. The only change is that a few threads have limited contributors and are more heavily moderated.

    Try this analogy: The whole site is a petting zoo. We now have a tiger encloser. If I can’t keep the fence around the tigers they will just run away and maybe eat a few Midwest skiers.

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  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,220 Mega Baller
    @Horton my only issue is what if I have a question regarding something posted in that section. I am fine with my not giving advice or coaching in that section. I haven't run 35 and never been behind the boat at 38 so I certainly don't feel like I can comment on that. I could see wanting to ask a question about something that is posted in that section and the prohibition on posting in those threads would prevent that.
    Mark Shaffer
    9400
  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    edited March 2013
    One possible outcome is that the section becomes popular and I then widen access but continue to moderate with an iron fist. There are zero posts in there yet and I have only granted access to a few skiers so far. It is going to take me a while to get organized and build momentum.

    Please keep in mind the idea is provide better content for all to read.

    I can’t say this enough times, this will be just one small corner of the site.

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    Skoot1123Nick Sullivan
  • scotchipmanscotchipman Posts: 3,827
    I like the idea @Horton. Can you tell us who has been granted access?
    - President of the Utah Water Ski Club
    - Owner at Still Water Lake Estates
  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    @scotchipman
    I just started. .. so no and I do not want to frame it as a status symbol.

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    @crashman funny but be nice

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  • aswinter05aswinter05 Posts: 363 Baller
    @horton start posting to the new thread already! I'm ready to read some useful stuff. No offense guys but some of these winter posts have been worse than dinner at the mother-in-law's.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    It will take some time to get it going. ..

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  • thagerthager Posts: 4,054 Mega Baller
    edited March 2013
    Just a comment as I think this will be interesting! Maybe the "allowed" commenters should be limited to coaches that make an actual living teaching waterskiing technique. Maybe not, as not many can. Just because someone skis into -39 or -41 or -43 does not necessarily mean that they can coach. I can think of many in fact that couldn't teach a dog to pass gas. I know other people who can't get through -32 but are fantastic coaches. There's a special nuance required, not just ability. Of all my sports coaches growing up the best did not reach a high level in the sport concerned. What they did have in common was fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
    Skoot1123Wish
  • ntxntx Posts: 802 Crazy Baller
    Could be good but could also be bad. Like @thager I also know some VERY good coaches that have not been on, or touched a ski in a good number of years. When was the last time Jay Bennett strapped on a ski. I also know a good number of guys that get into -39 that I wonder if they can get the bindings on without getting hurt. They ski with brute strenrth but have limited technique. Always out of control.

    I have not been on a ski in several years but still remain active in the sport. Did ski Nationals many years ago. I do coach a pretty good overall skier.
  • Mateo VargasMateo Vargas Posts: 772 Mega Baller
    How will the Panda be enclosed in this section?
    Success is failure that just hasn't happened yet
  • HortonHorton Posts: 24,861 Administrator
    There will be no Panda. Delete only

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  • ScaredOfCorbetsScaredOfCorbets Posts: 87 Baller
    edited March 2013
    I don't like it. Just because a skier does not run 38, it doesn't mean he/she does not have valuable opinion to add to a thread. I experienced on other forums where certain sections are for 'pros' only. It most definitely creates an elite club over there.

    Plus I like to go to one place, not multiple tabs/sections. I'd think most people read everything anyway. So, why make folks perform unnecessary clicks?
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