View Full Version : It's all about money

Former Admin
10-17-2002, 22:21
I am sorry to bring this up, and if people are offended tough, I am not going to feel like i'm walking on egg shells commenting on something I feel is wrong. I feel this needs to be mentioned and these are my opinions and you don't have to agree.

While surfing the internet tonight I came across an editorial called "It's ALL about money now!" on an Appalachian Trail website.

The article went on to slam the ATC and its publication ATN (Appalachian Trailway News). The main basis for the editorial is an article named "Computerized "flames" lead to ATC donations" in the Greenway (page 26) section of the latest (sept -oct) issue of ATN.
The author went on to say that anyone can get a mention in the ATN for a price and the A-TL list is not worthy of an mention and that in his opinion the AT-L list is comprised of some trouble makers banned from his site.

Now hers my opinion;

AT-L members donated $2,065 dollars to the ATC over the last few months and should not be chastised for their contributions to our trail, instead they should be praised. If you view under the header of the Greenway section you will see the sub-header says, "Land protection and fund raising news". This article is more than appropriate for the ATN and this area in the publication, the area as stated is for fund-raising news. I feel if people donate or organize a successful fund-raising campaign they should be mentioned.
These opinions on the the ATC are extremely damaging and un-called for. There is no other organization that has done more or even come close to doing for the trail than the ATC. I'm sure we can all agree that the ATC should not be citied in such a manner that is damaging.

I could go on and on about this, but the bottom line is that, if we as members here donated $2,500 to the trail we wouldn't like being attacked for it as AT-L is in the editorial mentioned.

This was my opinion and I think the author is wrong for writing the editorial he did. The author on occasion has whined about others attacking him, this recent editorial gives good reason why they do.

SGT Rock
10-17-2002, 23:02
I read the article in ATN and thought "what a good idea!"

I've never been a member of the AT-L but have heard it had a tendency to get way off topic. So I never saw a need to go there. But it sounds like an imaginative way to get the discussions back on topic while doing something good for the trail.

I don't read the editorials by said individual, he often goes off on a tangent about "the true use of the trail" etc etc. Just sounds like sour grapes because someone else is getting mentioned.

BTW he has a mailing list again too. I quit that one because of the same rants about the list members talking about everything but "the proper use of the trail". I found that the list never really talked about hiking and enjoying the trail at all. Then new members were comming in (probably from the AT-L) attacking him. Honestly I don't come to sites or mailing lists looking for that. I sincerly hope the members of this board and the folks (like us) that facilitate it can keep that from becoming the focus.

Former Admin
10-17-2002, 23:39
Rock as I mentioned before I wasn't going to mention this individual anymore. However this editorial was sad to see and really bothered me, especially coming from such a man with so much influence and being the public figure for the AT he has been. He's entitled to his opinion, however this editorial is very wrong in the message its sending to future contributors to the ATC.

SGT Rock
10-18-2002, 00:05
I totally understand your frustration.

Maybe he will shut his site down again if he doesn't get enough positive feedback, or heck - any feedback.

BTW, if you want to read the article, here is a link to the pdf version of ATN http://www.appalachiantrail.org/about/pubs/atn/archive/ATN02Sep.pdf

10-18-2002, 08:46
On the AT-L a while back things had gotten so bad concerning staying on topic that a reward was offered to entice people to stay on topic. Something like a $100 donation to the ATC if people would just cut out the chit-chat. This lead to a bunch of the members of the AT-L making similar pledges. The amount grew and grew. I had figured things had failed because when I returned from the AT in late May, the AT-L was as gossipy as ever.

Former Admin
10-18-2002, 10:18
I am subcribed to AT-L, although I am more a lurker than an active subscriber.

It seems things have turned around in the last couple months. I recommend this list for those who want to join a list. They are the largest most active list on the internet for the AT. They have also been active the longest since 1996.

The claims from the man that wrote the editorial about some of his trouble makers gravitating to this list might be true. However the AT-L list is over 600 members strong and the trouble makers are few. Its unfair to make the claims he has on that small majority. There are many fine people on AT-L that are active in the AT community.

Unlike the list of the author of the editorial, AT-L is uncensored and is more active than the author only wishes his list could be.

My conclusion is that the author wrote his editorial based on resentment and jelousy of AT-L. I find this very sad coming from a public figure. In the best interest for the AT, he should consider closing his site down, for now he is just attacking others, against his own advice that others should not do so. If you can't practice what you preach, you have NO BUISNESS preaching at all.

SGT Rock
10-18-2002, 10:36
Well his site isn't a bad place. The online guidebook has a lot of potential as does the nature sections and other things he is PLANNING on doing - but he always fails to meet his own time scheduels so I would be supprised if the site is 1/2 completed by the end of NEXT year.

I think reading anything on his site is like reading a newspaper like the Washington Post. There are good things and the occasional editorial rant from off in left field that honestly, I expect most people ignore. He has had rants about the non-exsistance of the ECT, thru-hikers that really aren't and others I chuckle at but can't remember right off the top of my head.

Lets face it, some things really bother the guy and he can't help but write about it on his site - so what. It is his site as he loves to remind people, and he at least doesn't put them right on the front page anymore like he did in the presidential elections.

The only opinions he is influencing are the people that already think like he does and a few newbies that probably figure out things pretty quick. The louder he rants about things, the more it highlights other peoples positions. And when his people read what he is getting all irrate about, most likely they are to wonder what the big deal is.

Anyway, sometimes I'm glad he rants the way he does - it was what clued me into what kind of person he can be when he first did it to me. If you (the people other than admin, chris and I) read the article that he rants about after reading his editorial, you will wonder what the big deal is.

Former Admin
10-18-2002, 11:06
Well said, his site is well constructed and does have good information, besides his rants and half truths which are damaging to himself and his site.

10-18-2002, 14:20
Just noticed that the "editorial" is now the funny bone on AT-L.

Former Admin
10-18-2002, 17:38
Originally posted by jensine
Just noticed that the "editorial" is now the funny bone on AT-L.

And for good reasons, I got a kick out of the first message.

The Weasel
10-18-2002, 20:07
Will somebody tell me what the hell is this all about? Chuckle...I stopped reading my ATML messages a while ago when they became just a waste of time. Did I miss something good? Explanations, with URLs and/or copy the fun stuff to my email (russboltz@hotmail.com) would be appreciated.

The Weasel

SGT Rock
10-18-2002, 20:50
I'll try.

Apparently there was a flame war on the AT-L mailing list. The forum host is a hands off guy apparently and doesn't try to interfere with the diologue from what I understand. But because he was tired of the direction of the conversation he aparently offered a positive motivator that if they stayed on topic for 2 weeks he would contribute a certain amount to the ATC. The idea was so good others chipped in - maybe NPR could get in on this act LOL. Anywa, I'm not a member, but their archives are here: http://www.backcountry.net/arch/at/

So when they finally sent the money, there was a write up about the whole thing in the ATN Sep-Oct 2002 edition (page 26) http://www.appalachiantrail.org/about/pubs/atn/archive/ATN02Sep.pdf

I guess some other forum getting mentioned, espically one that particularly annoys a fairly well known web master, raised the ire of this individual. It annoyed him to such an extent that he wrote an editorial about it on his site: Trailplace.Com. It is what I have come to expect as the standard rant about proper use of the trail, then goes on to describe the whole world as going to hell in a handbasket.

BTW, I didn't see any problem listing the links here as it might clue readers into what this whole thread is about. What rule was that about letting someone prove he was an ____ and not trying to point it out yourself :D

10-19-2002, 15:44
I was involved in this. What happened was that a single zealot from Florida was posting about half of all the messages on the board claiming, in effect, the he and a well known gnome from Hot Springs were the only ones who really cared about the trail. A lot of people, me included, argued back that he was basically just trying to get attention by yelling the loudest. I sent in $50.00 for pentance. It was worth every penny!

SGT Rock
10-19-2002, 16:18
So the plot thickens so to speak. A friend of the autor of the editorial was the chief problem maker?

10-19-2002, 17:48
Don't know if they are friends or just MacKaye devotees (not that that is wrong) but the poster was more of a fanatic and everyone else came up short, in his opinion, in following MacKaye's original dream. We will probably hear about this all here since this is no doubt being monitored.:D

10-21-2002, 12:24
I would argue that the AT-L disucssion had been degenerating for quite a while before Ryan offered the incentive. To blame the chit-chat and off topic banter on the two people catching blame above isn't quite fair. What is fair to say is that they fervently defend their positions, just as others fervently defend their own. This did lead to a certain amount of friction that some people found annoying and others entertaining. I would usually read the first few posts in a thread and then just ignore them, so it wasn't a big deal for me. I found the chit-chat far more annoying. When I would get a bunch of messages like, "You should try MA!" or "What are you doing right now?", I tended to lose interest.

Jack Tarlin
10-21-2002, 16:55
The Editorial is unsupported, intemperate, and just plain wrong. And the fact that the public is barred from publicly commenting on it, never mind disagreeing with it on the same Forum--well this renders the comments as ridiculous and insignificant as the source from which they originate. Trailplace's losg-term animosity with ATC and the AT-L mailing list is well known, and is based on petulance, jealousy, and resentment, especially the resentment of the fact that folks are now seeking their trail information from other sources than the self-styled "expert" knowledge of Trailplace, the Center for A.T. studies, and the author of the Thru-Hiker's Handbook, which of course are all one highly questionable source. In short, people are choosing to get their information elsewhere, and as far as the Internet is concerned, they'e more interested in frequenting sites that permit free, open, unfetterred discussion of Trail matters.

There is no need to be overly concerned about this screed masquerading as an editorial. After all, in reputable publications, editorials can be responded to by responsible opposing readers. In short, the Traiplace editorial serves only to discredit the site where it appears, and to yet again give readers reasons to question the authoritative and exalted position that the site and its administration so desperately wishes to occcupy, in spite of the fact that most folks these days are quite wisely looking to other sources and sites for their A.T. information.

The Trailplace editorial is absurd and merits neither attention or respect.

Jack Tarlin
10-21-2002, 19:59
Just wanted to add two cents to my extended comments above: Just for the hell of it, I visited Trailplace to see what the "new" site had to offer, in addition to the ridiculous editorial. And just to see how much TP is genuinely interested in the exchange of useful information, I checked out Trailplace's "Links" section. And what did I discover: There is no, and I mean NO mention of the Appalachian Trail Conference (www.atconf.org) or of the Appalachian Long-Distance Hiker's Association (www.aldha.org) which are inarguably the 2 best Internet resources that presently exist for the prospective thru-hiker.

In short, Trailplace is not interested in sharing any information, knowledge, or opinions except those of its administrator, even if it means depriving hikers of useful material, links to other worthy sites, and pathways to improving their knowledge of the Trail. Trailplace, in being so selective with the information it imparts, is clearly NOT operating in the best interest of the prospective hiker. It exists solely as a means for its administrator and creator to have a "bully pulpit" in which to preach and pontificate to a public that it has no interest in genuinely educating or teaching.

10-21-2002, 23:33
It probably isn't right to "diss" another site on this one (one of the best) but I remember when trailplace served a real purpose other than as a platform for it's administrator's rantings. I think it is a loss to all of us when ego rears it's head. I don't forsee that ever happening here. The administrator of this site comes across as on of us!:)

The Weasel
10-22-2002, 10:38
Regarding most of this thread, I have two thoughts, both borrowed from others (lawyers are a singularly unoriginal group, yes, I know):

(1) As to "The Editorial" and its contents: "Better to remain silent, and be thought a fool, than to speak, and confirm it." -- Poor Richard's Almanac.

(2) As to "dissing" other forums: "Never complain, never explain." -- Henry "Hank the Deuce" Ford II.

Let's move on.

The Weasel
10-22-2002, 10:55
I have an additional comment to my last post, and I pass it on sort of "ex cathedra" (nah, yeah, another damn legal term - although Roman Catholics and Episcopalians should recognize it - that means "from the throne" and no, I'm not sitting on the john as I write this) as one of the moderators here.

Balto Jack is right, and I agree with him in large part: Screeds (look this one up on your own time, folks) tend to get ignored. But he's wrong, too; "comments" are made to respond to those things by voting the age-old way: With one's feet. I feel bad for Trailplace; it is organizing itself out of existence other than as a sterile info source...sort of like Fred and Kathy's site. It's sad to see an "old friend" fade, and I have affection for what Trailplace has given me in the past. But I'd rather look to the future: Continuing, in my own way, to Katahdin, both literally and figuratively.

It's pretty obvious that excusionary policies are unlikely to happen here: Admin is a whole different animal, and rants and their like can be responded to, and will be (I hope!) rare here, and even gear topics (which can get pretty damn feisty, trust me!) will (hint, hint!) continue to be civil in tone.

But as I say, I think it's time to pass on from what Trailplace was, is, and could be, and focus on this forum: What are the strengths and weaknesses of different hostels? Are Gust packs good? How do I get a shuttle to Springer? Is Dinty Moore stew weight-efficient? And so on. Let's do as Jack and Rock (and I hope I) have suggested elsewhere to the "lurkers" that while it's great to watch, and learn, this is an open, friendly, welcoming site that wants participants to ask questions, question answers, and share their true delight in a wondrous rut. And let's let Dan benefit, in such way as he can, from what he now sees in Trailplace; we have this site, and we shall benefit in our way, too.

"And now for something realllly different!" Let's go to other topics.

The Weasel

SGT Rock
10-23-2002, 16:00
The discussion that started here about the Companion vs the Handbook has been split into the Media Forum.