Author Topic: Descent Magazine  (Read 17187 times)

Offline Hughie

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Descent Magazine
« on: June 23, 2005, 10:59:56 am »
Your suggestion, Andy!
I think Descent magazine is fine. Way better than anything BCA have yet produced.

Offline paul

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Re: Descent Magazine
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2005, 12:12:24 pm »
Quote from: "Hughie"
I think Descent magazine is fine. Way better than anything BCA have yet produced.


I also like Descent, having a subscription since it was in the old smaller format.

It SHOULD be better than anything the BCA produce. The BCA is staffed by volunteers and Descent is produced by a publishing company.
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline Andy Sparrow

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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2005, 09:04:41 pm »
Quote
It SHOULD be better than anything the BCA produce. The BCA is staffed by volunteers and Descent is produced by a publishing company.


Yes and no.  Descent is a commercial product but it is effectively written by volunteers because the payment rates are minimal and do not motivate the better and more informed writers to contribute.   Why should anyone spend hours at the keyboard for the financial benefit of a third party?

I have subscribed to Descent for nearly 35 years but in recent years I have been consistently dissapointed by the content.  I find it to be dull in the extreme, lacking in useful information and very much focussed on the past.  It may have been generally superior to the alternatives that have come and gone over the years but it does not compare favourably to the publications available to climbers and ramblers.
Andy Sparrow



darkplaces

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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2005, 10:03:20 pm »
Magazines like Decent are doomed or vastly reduced in effectiveness with the internet and forums like this around. Without horrid adverts we have a community based! exchange of views and info without having to go out and buy it.

To us this forum is free thanks to bubba to pays out cuz he likes us so... Cheers man!

Why publish the STOP artical in decent, its published already publicly. Anyone without a computer can go to the local library and get online, for free apparently. Just needs a net capable friend to go with them and help them out and go read the articals.

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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2005, 10:05:26 pm »
You can hardly compare Descent to mags such as Trail, CLIMB, Climber etc when it must be run on a tiny fraction of the budget. Compare the amount of money Wild Country, or Berghaus will be able to spend on magazine advertising compared to folk like Bernies or Speleoshitenics. I agree that to get the best writers you need to pay them something, but where is the money going to come from?

The distinct lack of big discoveries in the UK in the last couple of years cannot have helped produced interesting articles either I guess - hopefully this will improve shortly though when the DUSA dig breaks through into caverns measureless....         :lol:

I wasn't aware that Chris Howes was lording it up in a castle somewhere getting rich off the efforts of his contributors either :wink:

Offline Hughie

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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2005, 08:00:42 am »
Quote
Why publish the STOP artical in decent, its published already publicly. Anyone without a computer can go to the local library and get online, for free apparently. Just needs a net capable friend to go with them and help them out and go read the articals.


Good idea - but explain how people without pc's/internet would even have heard of this debate. Have mixed with many cavers in the last few days and not heard the Petzl stop thread mentioned at all.

Offline Hughie

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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2005, 08:00:58 am »
Quote
Why publish the STOP artical in decent, its published already publicly. Anyone without a computer can go to the local library and get online, for free apparently. Just needs a net capable friend to go with them and help them out and go read the articals.


Good idea - but explain how people without pc's/internet would even have heard of this debate. Have mixed with many cavers in the last few days and not heard the Petzl stop thread mentioned at all.

Offline bubba

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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2005, 09:26:11 am »
Quote from: "c**tplaces"
To us this forum is free thanks to bubba to pays out cuz he likes us so... Cheers man!


no worries :)

Though now I'm jobless I'll have to find the money from somewhere...boo hoo!!
=:blubba:=

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Offline bubba

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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2005, 09:28:00 am »
Quote from: "Hughie"
Good idea - but explain how people without pc's/internet would even have heard of this debate. Have mixed with many cavers in the last few days and not heard the Petzl stop thread mentioned at all.


I don't think that this forum is all that widely known as yet so that doesn't surprise me at all. Tell yer friends, etc, etc....
=:blubba:=

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Offline Cave_Troll

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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2005, 10:05:53 am »
the internet is not a replacement for the written word. there are all sorts of problems if you beleive this to be the case.
1) access - you can't read a "webzine" while sat in a car in the dales waiting for your mates to come out.
1.5) forcing people with no access to go down the library is not fair.
2) permenance - the web is constantly changing and is not backed up. in 3 years time when this forum is shut down, all the info will be lost. at the moment you can look up in an index and pick up a copy of descent from 10 years ago and read a report on the discoveries in such and such a cave. This is also a problem that people are starting to notice with club newsletters. It used to be common to have a club newsletter at least once a year. this would contain a mixture of trip reports, gossip and surverys/discovery notes etc. with the advent of email and internet discussion groups, a lot of stuff is conducted by email. this _IS_ a problem. if nobody writes the newsletter then people in 5 years time will have no idea what we've been doing. the knowledge we be lost. a good example of that was last night, down P6 I was asked who had the SUSS library at the moment. they wanted to look up the orgional exploration notes to find out why a chamber was not dug.
I can publish on my website all about the Robins Shaft dig but i doubt that info will be avaialble in 10 years time.

We need to continue the printed word. Even "electronic books" are probably not going to replace the magazine properly.
producing a montly magazine is a big job and i do not begrudge a few people making it their living. If you don't like something change it. If you think the articles are crap, write some better ones. I fail to see why some people seem to be happy to write articles for webzines and websites for free but not for magazines.

As for the comparisons with the Outdoors mags. there is no comparison. the walkign anf climbing world is huge business with hundreds of thousands of people interested enoghe to buy a magainze. How many specialist caving shops can you thjink of nationally ? less than 10? caving is a niche market and will never be as big brash and sexy as hiking.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2005, 10:25:30 am »
Quote
Have mixed with many cavers in the last few days and not heard the Petzl stop thread mentioned at all.


Yes, Hugh, but remember:...

a) On Mendip is it frowned upon to own (let alone use) a mobile phone.
2) Therefore a computer is bound to be considered a contraption of the devil.
a2) A straw (no pun intended) poll suggests that there are only three Mendip cavers who know what a Petzl Stop is (you, Andy Sparrow and me) so it's hardly surprising if no-one's talking about them.
2a) Luxury items like ice cubes and light bulbs are in short supply.
2.1a) Glastonbury is a wash-out.
9Z) What percentage of cavers round here can read?  
3.141592) All of the above is misleading and I'm just messing around.

Offline bubba

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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2005, 10:27:09 am »
Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
the internet is not a replacement for the written word. there are all sorts of problems if you beleive this to be the case.

It is for me - I never buy magazines or newspapers any more, unless I'm going on holiday or something.

Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
1) access - you can't read a "webzine" while sat in a car in the dales waiting for your mates to come out.

No, but you can print the zine from the website and take that instead. Best of both worlds. Sites like guardian.co.uk mirror all the content from the paper online, a forward thinking magazine would do the same.

Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
1.5) forcing people with no access to go down the library is not fair.

No less fair than "forcing" them to go to the newsagents.

Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
2) permenance - the web is constantly changing and is not backed up. in 3 years time when this forum is shut down, all the info will be lost.

The web *is* backed up to a large extent. Why should this forum be shut down in 3 years? :lol:
I back everything up and have always stated that if I am unable to run this place any longer, then the database will be made available to whoever wants to carry it on.

Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
at the moment you can look up in an index and pick up a copy of descent from 10 years ago and read a report on the discoveries in such and such a cave.

I'd have no idea where to get a 10 year old descent from.

Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
I fail to see why some people seem to be happy to write articles for webzines and websites for free but not for magazines.

It's give and take - you get the website for free, so why not contribute for free?
Also, web-publishing is so easy these days - you don't even need to know html any more.

Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
and sexy as hiking.

Hiking isn't sexy ;)
=:blubba:=

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Dave H

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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2005, 11:43:39 am »
Quote
The web *is* backed up to a large extent.

There are archive sites that take a snap-shot of the web every so often.

Quote
I'd have no idea where to get a 10 year old descent from.

The BCRA library in Matlock would be a good place to start. Which would also be geographically handy for you, but not for Mendip based cavers.

Quote
3.141592) All of the above is misleading

So it's PI in the sky? :roll:

Offline Cave_Troll

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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2005, 11:49:05 am »
digital media is not permenant. Its one of the huge problems of the web that many very clever are trying solve. there are projects to take snapshots of bits of the web at important events eg 9/11.
Web pages that i wrote 10 years ago are no longer available.
CDROMS do degrade over time (at a quicker and more significant level then paper) and information is lost.
you can say that you back everything up, but who knows what the future holds. fried servers. lack of cash, horrendus car crashes. Paper is zero maintenance. You can find copies of caving books or journals from 100 years ago. I can guarentee that this website will not be available in 40 years. you'll make the database available (assumign you're not dead) but will we find anyone bothered to host the archives?
Remember the BBC doomsday project a few years ago? timed to coincide with some aniversary of the orgional doomsday book, the laser disks are now unreadable because the hardware to read them has died a death.

Caves of the peak district is now out of print. ask around and you'll find someone who has a copy. a friend even managed to buy one recently. try that with a version on the web. for example if (god forbid) Hitch'n'hike went bankrupt, their online guide they are trying to write, will probably die as well. thats another point. even when the site is free its hard to get people to write. maybe this is part of the new modern apathy ("someone else will do it for me and i'll get it for free off the net")

As for paying. everythign costs. there is no such thing as a freebie. if everyone started readign the newspapers on the web and didn't buy the paper versions, they'd probably go bust, and you'd end up with BBC/ITN online and some blogs. even Bubba said earlier that he's jobless. why shouldn't he ask us all to contribute a few quid a year to pay for hosting/ sever costs?
the peak / dales P-Bolting project and the Dick'n'Dave spitting project were both funded by the sale of guidebooks.

"you get the website for free, so why not contribute for free"
indeed. why not write for descent for free as well? i'm sure these people don't make a huge living from the magazine. as I said before, if you think something is lacking in exciting articles, write them. If we had to pay £5 per year each for this website, woudl we all suddnely stop writing for it on the basis that someone is making a huge amount of cash off our free labour?


As for finding a 20 year old copy of descent or club journal, just do a big of digging and ask around and you'll find it.

I'm not knockingn this site at all, its one of my main distractions from paid work, but lets face it, its not much more than a replacement for conversations at the pub for the digital age.

MSD

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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2005, 11:49:38 am »
Coontent from any old caving magaizne like Descent can be obtained from various places:

- any copyright library
- the BCA library
- the many club libraries that subscribe
- various other public libraries

OK, it will take a bit of effort and maybe some small amount of money, but it is possible. That's the point about archiving. In the future we can of course hope that digital archiving will improve. Eventually we could expect all the old issues to be scanned in and mad available. But there are problems of copyright and payment etc. which have to be solved. Not impossible, but it takes some work.

In terms of archiving this forum, OK the database might still be around, but what's important is whether anybody can find it. i.e. what references and links point to it.

The other fact is that the information in this forum, interesting as it may be, is not a finished product in my view. The Petzl Stop debate is 10 sides long and branches out into all sort of things. Ideally the material would be edited into a coherent whole, which would be easier to understand and give a summary of recommendations for best practice. That's hard to achieve through a democratic web forum, it needs someone to take responsibility. Now, it doesn't have to happen, but it would be nice if it did.

Offline Cave_Troll

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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2005, 12:07:03 pm »
MSD : i thin kyou're now talking about an open source "how not to kill yourself undergound" webite/eBook.
chapter 1 - how Self locking abseil devices can kill you
chapter 2 - how everyother abseil device can kill you
chapter 3 - how bolts can kill you
chapter 4 - how to deal with sheep

:-)
of course if it were done well enough , we'd put Mr Sparrow out of business :-)

MSD

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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2005, 12:21:36 pm »
The idea of an open source caving manual on the web is actually pretty cool :-)

It might be difficult to find volunteers for writing chaper 4....

darkplaces

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« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2005, 12:22:41 pm »
Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
... but lets face it, its not much more than a replacement for conversations at the pub for the digital age.
OUTCH!

SO its BETTER then a magazine then! People learn a huge amount just talking to each other, then, make that discussion public and you have yourself a perfect mag replacment.

A forum conforms to the needs of the members and is very importantly two way! Output and input is quickly achived.

A written magazine, while helping to kill trees in the process of using paper, which burns, rotts, etc is (once published) a one way output of something as it was only just correct on a single date and you could say as soon as a mag is published its out of date before you read it.

The point about changing hardware and 'will the forum be readable' in 10 years+  is slowly becoming less valid. Everything has been changing in the computer untill recently things are becoming to standardize, formats have settled. Now with standarization and open software the mySQL database this forum sits on can be moved to virtually any modern platform, Linux, Windows, Intel compatable, Alpha, RISC. Open software also allows the fact that a converter can be written if a next generation database becomes the standard.

You could I spose, print the whole forum out every 5 years or so...
Anyone can print pages from the forum to take away to read or store for safe keeping for the next 100 years.

Offline paul

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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2005, 12:39:55 pm »
I have to agree with cave_troll.

Did you know that P8 in Derbyshire used to have 2 fixed ladders: one bypassing the second pitch, which was only removed a few years ago and a second on the first pitch?

Did you know that Garlands pitch in Giants Hole also used to have a fixed ladder?

OK - not all that useful, but these little bits of information were gleaned from old Orpheus CC newsletters from the 60's (no - I'm not a sad git poring over old newsletters - my girlfriend is helping prepare a 50th Anniversary publication for the Club - probably just in time for the 57th Anniversary! This involves going over old pulications, newsletters and getting information on the Club's history.).

There is a wealth of information in periodicals, journals, newletters, etc. etc. which are catalogued and accesible, some easier than others.

Yes, pages from the Internet are archived in some manner (at least some of them) and you can search using Google, etc but all this infomration is very disparate and could easily be lost.

Search for "petzl stop clutch and plummet" on Google and you get exactly one hit:
BURTON SNOWBOARDS
Burton Clutch BagColor Shown:DuneFeatures:Rip-Stop Patterned Corduroy Magnetic
... of Thermacore™ that’ll keep you stoked when the temperatures plummet. ...
www.muddybootsmercantile.com/ USOUTDOOR/BURTON-SNOWBOARDS.html - 120k - Cached - Similar pages

I recently came across an article on SRT using natrural belays, writen in the US and available on a web site. It quoted a letter from myself to Descent written in 1986 (Descent has an index of articles, letters, etc). How likely is it that this message I am writing now could be found if necessary in 2024 (19 years hence) if anybody had a use for it (pretty unlikely!)? But I bet you could still trace that letter from Descent...
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline Cave_Troll

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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2005, 12:45:56 pm »
its different to a magazine. there is a place for both.
you don't get articles on here on expeditions to china.
surveys, descriptions of new caves etc.


computers consume resources and burn just as well as paper.
Hard drives have quoted MTBFs and CDs degrade even when stored in optimum conditions.
I'm sure the BBC thought that the doomesday project was going to be a reference for many years to come.
You may like reading articles on the web, but there are many who don't.
the technology exists now for totally electronic books that i download onto my iPAQ. i admit that i do it. but its so much more effort than pickign up a real book.
Andy's orgional comment against Descent was, i think, somehting along the lines of
1) nobody writes good stuff for it any more
2) why should i write stuff for descent when they're not goign to pay me much. I'm going to put the articles on my website for free

Offline bubba

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« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2005, 12:48:05 pm »
Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
MSD : i thin kyou're now talking about an open source "how not to kill yourself undergound" webite/eBook.


Life on a line is pretty damn fine free resource:

http://www.draftlight.net/lifeonaline/
=:blubba:=

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Offline paul

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« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2005, 12:51:39 pm »
Quote from: "bubba"
Quote from: "Cave_Troll"
MSD : i thin kyou're now talking about an open source "how not to kill yourself undergound" webite/eBook.


Life on a line is pretty damn fine free resource:

http://www.draftlight.net/lifeonaline/


And where's the chapter about sheep?  :wink:
I'm not a complete idiot: some parts are missing!

Offline Cave_Troll

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« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2005, 01:01:11 pm »
indeed. sorry forgot compeltely about life on a line.
Still printed my own copy out though. Even then because it was printed out on a4 rather than niceley bound book with a glossy cover, I suspect my copy is slulking around underneath my bookcase along side the the folder of PBolt checking and isntallation records

Offline Cap'n Chris

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« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2005, 03:00:21 pm »
This debate about printed sheets versus internet seems to have left out the obvious: compromise (i.e. both). There does not need to a victor where one or other medium is vanquished. Magazines serve specific purposes and so do internet forums. The original thread was about Descent magazine and although some VERY GOOD POINTS have been made about the longevity of digital archives things seem to have digressed; mind you, whom I am to talk? - chunks of my life are digressions.

I would be very interested to know what maths/finance is involved in small print run magazines; I expect it provides an OK living without much luxury for no more than one person who would still be wise to keep their day job. What's the circulation in accurate figures? - 2,000 copies, 1,000 copies,.... less?

Offline bubba

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« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2005, 04:55:31 pm »
I'd love to debate this one but I'm off on holiday shortly but just like to say this - paper archives are no more reliable than electronic archives unless the appropriate care is taken in their storage.

In fact, a local caving club is finding that many of it's archives are almost unusable due to the fact that they weren't stored properly. Look after disc backups and I can't see why they will last as long as any other media. Well, ok, probably not as long as carved stone or something, but I guess we've moved on from there.
=:blubba:=

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