WhiteBlaze Pages 2024
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
AVAILABLE NOW. $4 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 62
  1. #1

    Question Is WhiteBlaze dying?

    This was my first stop as an aspiring AT Thru Hiker on recommendation from another hiker I met on trail. Since then, it seems this forum has become less and less active. I don't see many of the "regulars" posting here anymore either. There's so much information here about the trail I'd hate to see it all go to waste. Are there any other active forums for the AT out there besides Reddit? I'm not a fan of that. Thanks to everyone who has kept this place going over so many years. I hope it continues.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-01-2014
    Location
    bronx
    Age
    61
    Posts
    514

    Default

    I agree that the site is less active comparing to, let say, ten years ago or even five years but it is still a great resource for all AT things. It seems to me that the older users are slowly fading, as it is the nature of the world and the site fails to attract the younger generations. Just my opinion.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by stephanD View Post
    I agree that the site is less active comparing to, let say, ten years ago or even five years but it is still a great resource for all AT things. It seems to me that the older users are slowly fading, as it is the nature of the world and the site fails to attract the younger generations. Just my opinion.
    I've seen it happen in a lot of forums. Some kill themselves from within with bickering and personal attacks. Social Media has also caused another shift in where people go for information. I find it interesting on Social Media, how quickly people are getting frustrated with repeating questions. That used to happen here but the polite response to "Which Stove is better" could be handled with a "go to the top and put in a search...there are 20+ discussion threads about choices already". On SM, it seems to me they foster "just ask again and again and again".
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
    Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes. - sargevining on HF

  4. #4
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-07-2017
    Location
    Georgia
    Age
    31
    Posts
    382

    Default

    This topic comes up every few months lol. Other than Reddit, there are Facebook groups like rhjanes said. But frankly, the discussion there is like 95% geared towards beginners asking the exact same question as other beginners over and over again. I find most of the discussion lacking any nuance. And the search functionality sucks.

    WB seems about as active as it was 5 years ago to me, though. Maybe 7+ years ago I would say it was noticeably more active. I personally think this forum is over-moderated and I believe that drove off some of the regulars that actually had some personality.

    I frequent WB because I find the quality of discussion to be as good as it gets on the internet and because the search tool is so useful. I will also say that you have been a member here for over 3 years now but only have 31 posts. Be the change.
    Appalachian Trail ‘16-
    678/2198
    Pinhoti Trail ‘17-‘20
    321/321
    Benton MacKaye Trail ‘17-‘21
    286/286
    Bartram Trail ‘22
    116/116
    Foothills Trail ‘21
    78/78
    Palmetto Trail ‘22-
    22/380

  5. #5
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    12-13-2004
    Location
    Central Vermont
    Age
    69
    Posts
    2,670

    Default

    Might be my imagination, but it seems to me like there's some seasonality to WB. A lot more posts in the winter when people are dreaming about hiking, fewer posts when people actually get out and hike.

    I still find WB and Hammock Forums worth checking at least weekly, and there's lots of good information to be found.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-01-2017
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Age
    74
    Posts
    224
    Images
    1

    Default

    Dot nets”
    Are the shizznizzle for information. Often easily from the biggest brains on any given subject.

    I’m sure many don’t mind the same questions to a point; on here as it hashes out more info and more newer info. (Someone needs to design a tempest for fb).
    And the searching for past post informations is so much better, easier and, quicker than fake books quagmire of posts inside of posts that you couldn’t find days later anyhow.

    Guess people like wasting their time when they could spend it making money for better gear or…..

  7. #7
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-28-2015
    Location
    Leonardtown, Maryland
    Age
    55
    Posts
    653
    Journal Entries
    57
    Images
    19

    Default

    I have found this site to be very informative and the forum responses to questions typically are pretty specific and detailed, coming from people with years of experience. The only other forum that comes close, in my opinion, is Backpacking Light, and it comes with its own set of characters and technical anomalies.
    Plaid is fast! Ticks suck, literally... It’s ok, bologna hoses off…
    Follow my hiking adventures: https://www.youtube.com/user/KrizAkoni
    Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alphagalhikes/

  8. #8

    Default

    I started in 2020, after lurking for a few months. I think there was more activity during Covid, as all but the most determined reined in their hiking. Also agree on the seasonality, which makes sense. Reddit users might be a bit more up to date on gear, but seem a little more West Coast oriented and definitely snarkier.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    06-25-2012
    Location
    Lurkerville, East Tn
    Age
    64
    Posts
    3,725
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    We finished the AT in 2020, and have less need of intel from locals about various parts of the trail. An ankle fracture in Nov '22 slowed me down for a while. Now we're gearing up and learning about the PCT. Won't do the whole thing, but we'll do a few select pieces of it. There's a lot of info here even if you have to dig in the zombie threads.

    Agree with comments about the Facebook groups. Hard to find good info, and really really tiresome reading the same stuff over and over. Plus there's so many people in the group that you don't develop relationships with anyone. Very impersonal. WB is a ton better in that respect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nanatuk View Post
    I used to check WB daily, 5 years ago. in 2020 I got "moderated" because I failed to toe the line on the corona narrative. Who knew that health was a political issue. WB is still a great resource but Reddit is more current and useful these days.
    Yep, same here, but I still check at least once a week.

  10. #10

    Default

    To further Rhjanes comments, while it can be tiring reading the same questions repeatedly it can be a useful resource in finding new products or emerging technologies that may not have been discussed without some of these repeated questions. Typically the forum manages these questions pretty well, avoiding the pitfall of hazing new members who may not know or fully understand how to use the search function or have an interesting depiction of a common but little discussed problem needing resolution.

    The ebb and flow of seasonal activity has an impact on forum activity as well which occur at predictable times like end of winter/early spring, mid summer, and mid Autum. This can make the forum seem to suffer from lack of interest when its likely many members are out and about stirring up new adventures and learning wisdom laden techniques of navigation or two log crossings. Some people may not comment on a topic if the issue has been well covered by others, conversely addressing a comment to a well trod issue in support a point of view, etiquette, or issues in search of consensus.

    The value of this forum is in its overall decorum and the literally hundreds of years of experience that is passed on to others which enhances experiences across the continent. Few other forums can make this observation and is what keeps me coming back regularly to hear what is new, hear of trail activity in certain areas, see who mistook an opossum for a cat, and politics with regard to the organizations that are responsible for care taking of these wonderful trails we trudge year after year.

  11. #11

    Default

    It would be interesting to have hard statistics of number of posts per month over the last ten years. To me it does feel like things have slowed down progressively, but I don't have anything concrete to back that up.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nanatuk View Post
    I used to check WB daily, 5 years ago. in 2020 I got "moderated" because I failed to toe the line on the corona narrative. Who knew that health was a political issue. WB is still a great resource but Reddit is more current and useful these days.

    Funny, I checked the Reddit for the AT just after this and the Moderator is posting a sort of AT wiki, with 2 links to WhiteBlaze. https://www.reddit.com/r/Appalachian...ttles_permits/

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    This topic comes up every few months lol. Other than Reddit, there are Facebook groups like rhjanes said. But frankly, the discussion there is like 95% geared towards beginners asking the exact same question as other beginners over and over again. I find most of the discussion lacking any nuance. And the search functionality sucks.
    WB seems about as active as it was 5 years ago to me, though. Maybe 7+ years ago I would say it was noticeably more active. I personally think this forum is over-moderated and I believe that drove off some of the regulars that actually had some personality.
    I frequent WB because I find the quality of discussion to be as good as it gets on the internet and because the search tool is so useful. I will also say that you have been a member here for over 3 years now but only have 31 posts. Be the change.
    Nailed it. Facebook has more or less consumed the internet audience for most activities; its not a whiteblaze thing, or a hiking thing...its a platform thing.
    We also have to look at how these platforms are presented vs the devices we are using to access them. Cell phones. Platforms like Facebook, redditt etc have apps. People are using cell phones as a huge majority to access their internet and with forums not having this accessibility they naturally fall off in use.

    I have been what I would call a 2nd gen WB user. 1st gen being its 2003-2004 start. However, when I joined in 2012 (2011 first account, lost access) there was significant activity on here. I would just leave the "what's new" up all day at work and it would be a constant flow of dialogue. There were also threads created just to generate dialogue..."Coffee rooms, campfire talk" etc

    I got out of the habit of starting threads directly related to my "pre trip questions" because I found that I received so much info that was either not realistic in the moment or I just got criticism for what my trip SHOULD look like vs what I had planned, and when MY plan would work without a hitch time and time again, it became annoying to receive this information. I also found that not asking the pre trip questions lent itself to myself growing more as a long distance hiker vs going through the routine directed by others.

    What kind of threads do I try and create? I try to create 3 types of threads these days.

    -Informative - Trip Reports & gear reviews
    &
    -Thought Provoking


    Here is a troubling concept.
    The forum isn't growing at the rate that members are dropping off. I feel like the majority of WB members experience is aging, perhaps they did a thru hike in years past and stick around to keep the "dream" alive? But the trail changes over the years. Reroutes, shelter closures, new hostels open, old ones close, shuttle drivers are the same. I know I do not contribute as much on AT relates because my information is now dated. Example: Someone asks for a shuttle driver in SoVa, well my shuttle driver for SoVa is dead now so that would be a pretty crappy suggestion. Where is the most current information? Facebook. But as Slugg said, searching for info is nonexistent in FB groups so its a very "I have a question, answer it now and move on" style of platform where as WB is more of a database of data.


    I will personally stay on WB for its lifetime. It was dear to my heart thru my AT completion and I hold on to that by trying to contribute and keep it alive.
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 04-19-2024 at 10:43.
    Trail Miles: 5,125.9
    AT Map 1: Completed 13-21'
    Sheltowee Trace: Completed 20-23'
    Pinhoti Trail: Completed 23-24'
    GSMNP900: 134.7(16.8%)
    Foothills Trail: 47.9
    AT Map 2: 279.4
    CDT: 210.9
    BMT: 52.7

  14. #14
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-07-2017
    Location
    Georgia
    Age
    31
    Posts
    382

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Nailed it. Facebook has more or less consumed the internet audience for most activities; its not a whiteblaze thing, or a hiking thing...its a platform thing.
    We also have to look at how these platforms are presented vs the devices we are using to access them. Cell phones. Platforms like Facebook, redditt etc have apps. People are using cell phones as a huge majority to access their internet and with forums not having this accessibility they naturally fall off in use. .
    I have often thought about the “how we access these sites” factor but somehow forgot to mention it in my reply. I think that might actually be the biggest factor of all - most people these days access the internet from their phones. Facebook and Reddit are designed to be optimized for your phone - WB is, frankly, terrible to use on a phone compared to those apps. WB is awesome for a desktop but that’s not how most people browse the internet anymore. Typing on a computer is much easier than on a phone or tablet as well so the trend away from desktops has also brought on shorter, less thoughtful posts.
    Appalachian Trail ‘16-
    678/2198
    Pinhoti Trail ‘17-‘20
    321/321
    Benton MacKaye Trail ‘17-‘21
    286/286
    Bartram Trail ‘22
    116/116
    Foothills Trail ‘21
    78/78
    Palmetto Trail ‘22-
    22/380

  15. #15
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-10-2007
    Location
    Morganton, North Carolina
    Age
    46
    Posts
    3,619
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    242

    Default

    I am an almost daily visitor since 2007 while hiking and maintaining.

    The one problem I have with those FB and social media hiking groups are the "Can Someone Recommend a ...Overnighter...backpack...how much food should I carry" posts. A lot of its personal choice or asking questions without doing any sort of research, testing, or experimenting.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
    Mountains to Sea Trail Hiker & Maintainer
    Former TEHCC (AT) Maintainer

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-01-2017
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Age
    74
    Posts
    224
    Images
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    I have often thought about the “how we access these sites” factor but somehow forgot to mention it in my reply. I think that might actually be the biggest factor of all - most people these days access the internet from their phones. Facebook and Reddit are designed to be optimized for your phone - WB is, frankly, terrible to use on a phone compared to those apps. WB is awesome for a desktop but that’s not how most people browse the internet anymore. Typing on a computer is much easier than on a phone or tablet as well so the trend away from desktops has also brought on shorter, less thoughtful posts.

    I discovered a button on wb shortly ago that changes the way it appears on your phone.
    Don’t remember where.
    Maybe someone can point it out.

  17. #17
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-07-2017
    Location
    Georgia
    Age
    31
    Posts
    382

    Default

    Bottom left-hand corner. But the mobile option isn’t much better imo.
    Appalachian Trail ‘16-
    678/2198
    Pinhoti Trail ‘17-‘20
    321/321
    Benton MacKaye Trail ‘17-‘21
    286/286
    Bartram Trail ‘22
    116/116
    Foothills Trail ‘21
    78/78
    Palmetto Trail ‘22-
    22/380

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    Bottom left-hand corner. But the mobile option isn’t much better imo.
    Honestly I find the mobile version far worse to use. It's possible the people complaining are seeing that - I believe it's the default.

  19. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-14-2015
    Location
    Rome, Georgia
    Posts
    464

    Default

    I love WB and have been here since the start (by a slightly different name for the first decade or more).

    Use is way down and probably will continue to dwindle, but like Gambit I'll be here to the end.

    I've never had a phone, so the WB format on a PC is what I've been accustomed to for about 22 years. I've never been to FB or any other social media. But I am an anomaly and an anachronism, so I know my preferences are far out of date.

    I had some posts flagged by the moderator during the Covid era. They were legit and I was disappointed, but the mod did a good job of preventing WB from descending into the vitriolic polarization that divided just about every other place, real and electronic.

    Love you guys. Thank you (and your WB "ancestors") for making something worthwile, entertaining, informative, and unusually congenial for a score years.

  20. #20

    Default

    Maybe i am part of the problem. I read all the time,before I post I always ask myself if I am adding anything new or useful to the discussion. Usually the answer is no,so I don't post much..

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •