UK Caving

NEWS, NOTICES & THE FORUM => Caving Chat => Topic started by: Keris82 on March 27, 2019, 04:53:12 pm

Title: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 27, 2019, 04:53:12 pm
I'm probably going to cause some controversy with these comments but it saddens me that it exists in this community  :down:

I have noticed that there seems to be so much beurocracy and exclusivity between clubs. There should be more collaboration and encouragement to join several clubs and networking should be encouraged. And we should encourage younger people to join. If they continue in this old fashioned manner the sport could be all but lost in 10 years  would be very sad as caving is a dying sport.

I understand that some clubs want to restrict access for the sake of conservation which is fine. But why not welcome members from other clubs to join trips? Why aren't there more reciprocal agreements to stay at other clubs around the country?  :-\

I'm not pointing fingers or blaming anyone in particular. I just want to provoke some thought around the subject.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: blackshiver on March 27, 2019, 05:34:49 pm
I have seen many changes in caving since 1974. There have been post SRT driven peaks and education driven (legal influenced) declines.
But quite frankly I think Caving at this point in time is at a high point.
Witness the explosion in exploration, university clubs coming back into the scene and the excellent Eurospeleo UK. The recent sell out of the Northern Explorers Forum is also case in point.
I'll also cite York Caving Club and its relationship with the NPC / YUCPC (and Imperial) as a fantastic example with trips all over the country, healthy relationships with other clubs, use of many caving clubs huts over booked weekends and a mixture of youngsters + oldies having great fun both above and below ground. This makes a very pleasant change from the era (late 80's) where myself and another guy were quietly ticking off SRT trips alone with little involvement in the wider caving community.
Just my opinion - hopefully positive.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: droid on March 27, 2019, 06:00:17 pm
Generalising from a specific experience, blackshiver.

My recollections of the mid-late 80's (which include YUPCP) are very different. YUCPC and other clubs were very welcoming even then.


But there was a lot less national/regional beurocracy.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Pitlamp on March 27, 2019, 06:04:48 pm
I'm with Blackshiver on this; I think you're wrong Keris82 - certainly as far as the north of England is concerned.

He mentions the close association between the NPC and the York folk - but this sort of thing has always been the case (e.g. the NPC has also had excellent relations with Imperial College, Cambridge Uni, Coventry Uni, Nottingham Uni - and several others, over several decades. Only this weekend just gone I was chatting with some students from Newcastle Uni staying at the NPC and they confirmed they'd felt very welcome.

The CPC and BPC have a joint meet on their meets lists each year. In fact folk from different clubs routinely cave with each other, without even thinking about it. It's the norm.

So I'm perplexed by your post Keris. Out of interest, which area do you mainly cave in?
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 27, 2019, 06:22:00 pm
I'm glad to see some positive comments on the subject. It might just be my perspective but I'm just going by my own observations. I mainly cave down saaf where I have seen a lot of beurocracy.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 27, 2019, 06:29:20 pm
I just want to make clear that this isn't aimed at anyone in particular and not my club. I love my club! I have experienced difficulties gaining access to some caves down south.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Pitlamp on March 27, 2019, 06:46:23 pm
Thanks Keris - I'm less familiar with how things happen down south. All I  can say is my experience of Mendip cavers is they're genuine folk and always very welcoming to me at least.

If you've experienced a disproportionate amount of difficulty with access in the south, maybe make contact with the access controlling body directly, to see what can be done. Just be aware though that they'll be volunteers - and trying to do their best against constraints which you may not be aware of. Best of luck!   :thumbsup:
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Dave Tyson on March 27, 2019, 06:59:13 pm
North Wales is one caving area where there have been problems with information flow. In the
past various clubs have done a lot of exploration, but kept the information and surveys strictly
for their membership and this still seems to be the case.

Cris Ebbs site 'Caves of North Wales' provides useful information. UCET also have a knowledge bank
with more info, but finding surveys and mine exploration plans is hard...

I cannot see the situation changing anytime soon...

Dave
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 27, 2019, 08:45:51 pm
North Wales is one caving area where there have been problems with information flow.

Yes i have heard there have been some access issues and secrecy around certain parts if Wales too. However saying that we got on some great trips with UCET last year and have made some friends we have regular contact with now
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: NewStuff on March 27, 2019, 08:50:22 pm
North Wales is one caving area where there have been problems with information flow.

I'll echo Daves experience of issues like this in North Wales. Dave is far more polite about the situation than I am though. It's problematic, and sadly, appears to be trickling down to newer members of clubs that are, shall we say, less enthusiastic about exchanging information and access. UCET are a good bunch. Other clubs would do well to take some ideas and attitudes on board.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: PeteHall on March 27, 2019, 09:01:05 pm
I'm probably going to cause some controversy with these comments but it saddens me that it exists in this community  :down:

I have noticed that there seems to be so much beurocracy and exclusivity between clubs. There should be more collaboration and encouragement to join several clubs and networking should be encouraged. And we should encourage younger people to join. If they continue in this old fashioned manner the sport could be all but lost in 10 years  would be very sad as caving is a dying sport.

I understand that some clubs want to restrict access for the sake of conservation which is fine. But why not welcome members from other clubs to join trips? Why aren't there more reciprocal agreements to stay at other clubs around the country?  :-\

I'm not pointing fingers or blaming anyone in particular. I just want to provoke some thought around the subject.

Sorry Keris, but I just can't agree with any of this.

Loads of people are members of several clubs, particularly if they regularly cave in different regions. I've never heard of anyone being dissuaded from joining another club, the suggestion seems pretty far fetched.
Sure, there might be rivalries (normally friendly), between different clubs in one region, but there's no hurt in that.

Most clubs with a hut have reciprocal arrangements with at least one other club in each region.

I can't speak for every region, but on Mendip, there are many cross-club events and socials. Wessex Challenge, Digfest, Mendip Migration etc.
Then of course there is the CHECC forum, not to mention Hidden Earth and now Cavefest.

As for encouraging young people, the BCA youth and development working group are doing loads on this front, as are CHECC, all supported by many regional clubs.

As for control of caves by particular clubs, I don't like this sort of thing, but I've never had an issue getting access to a cave. They might ask you to jump through a few hoops, but I've never heard of access to a cave being barred to other clubs. Perhaps active dig sites, but that is another matter and to be honest, I've never heard a digger turn away an offer of help.

The only exception I can think of is that there seems to be a lot of secrecy with some mine explorers, perhaps because they are worried about mineral collectors?

I'd be interested to hear what unfortunate experience you have had to form the view above. Appreciate that you don't want to name names, but perhaps at least the cave, or region would help others understand where you are coming from and hopefully rectify the situation for next time you visit.

PS. I should caveat the above by saying that I have never caved in North Wales (are there even any caves there?), but I did go to a slate mine once... Sounds like things might be a bit different there...
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: chunky on March 27, 2019, 09:23:48 pm
I too have only ever found other clubs to be welcoming and have gate crashed the TSG's Christmas party, Red Rose's BBQ's, invited ourselves along to Digfest to name just a few. Often we have had members of other clubs join us on 'our' trips and vice versa.

We aren't backward in contacting others and drink beer.....erm I mean networking, when staying in the various caving area's and at socials like Hidden Earth and very much take the approach you don't get if you don't ask.

Perhaps your perception is justified when taken in relation to your own experiences, but also perhaps you haven't pushed yourself forward?
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: alastairgott on March 28, 2019, 12:03:57 am
I've recently moved to a (slightly) different area, I put a form into the local club in question and within a week or so I (think) I've been accepted. Despite one of the members saying they would "black Ball" me. which took some working out...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackballing

The comment was definitely in Jest.

It does help that I knew quite a few members before joining, and those that didn't know me might have at least seen me. I think I listed at least 10 names of members on my application.

In my mind Reciprocals are a red herring, I'd say it's how you feel like you've been treated when your there that is the main thing.

I think i'm an honorary member of the Guscott pot digging crew or that could be the laziest member, I can't remember...
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on March 28, 2019, 01:45:52 am
And we should encourage younger people to join. If they continue in this old fashioned manner the sport could be all but lost in 10 years  would be very sad as caving is a dying sport.

I'm always interested in hearing the reasoning behind these sort of comments. What is The Sport? And why should we be concerned about it's future?

Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 28, 2019, 08:05:11 am


I'm always interested in hearing the reasoning behind these sort of comments. What is The Sport? And why should we be concerned about it's future?



I'm not naming any names here. By 'the sport' i mean caving. I've had conversations with many cavers who have said it is a dying sport because there are less younger people being introduced to it in some areas and it would be a great shame to see access lost because the legacy hasn't been passed on to younger generations. As i said earlier on I'm just going by my own observations.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2019, 08:49:20 am
One of the reasons there are so many clubs in each area is that someone disagreed with members of others... things are generally a lot friendlier nowadays.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 28, 2019, 09:06:01 am
There was a survey recently which showed the age of the majority of cavers is over 50. It would be great to see more younger people get in to caving. I'm glad to hear that up north there are uni students who are encourage to cave  :)
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: The Old Ruminator on March 28, 2019, 09:32:52 am
To my surprise the Wessex Caving Club recently accepted me as a new member without any sort of iniation ceremony or references from my bank manager. Joining a club is less restictive now than it has ever been. Possibly the university clubs have dwindled a bit as have clubs associated with a large profession like the police. Yes, we had a local police and college caving group many years ago. This is understandable as anyone with a long term caving interest usually joins a club relative to their area of interest. Others move away from college or rise within their profession. In saying all of that I am not a typical club person. I cant think that I have ever been on a club trip or dig. ( The Wessex no longer have what is called " Club Digs " ) . My caving and digging has been with like minded friends who belong to various clubs. Back in the early 70's I was a club chairman and editor for a while but cannot say that I enjoyed it. Same with the diving club where I was the boat officer. ( That meant wrecking the clutch on my car dragging the club inflatable up the steep hill at Lyme Regis and panicking when the wheel fell off the trailor. Any sort of responsibility is not really for me ).
I am not at all keen on burocracy but in this day and age it is sadly a necessity. Landowners, conservation bodies etc can only be dealt with by such a route. The days of scruffy individuals knocking on a farmers door for access permission are long gone. Dog and stick farming has gone also to be replaced by a business model whose members wish to know the legal ramification of your proposed endeavours. Now people like Longleat Estates ( who partly own Cheddar Gorge including Reservoir Hole ) see such things as caves as an asset. The same goes for Hobb's Quarries who still own Fairy Cave Quarry. I get fed up hearing that Reservoir Hole is a " closed shop ". It is not but we have been entrusted by the landowner to look after their " asset " so some guidelines must apply. ( note well those that do not like gated caves.) Mendip is mainly private farm land so down here we have a differant scenario than up norf. We still have closed caves like Lamb Leer and Twin Titties because of land owner refusal for access. Fairy Cave Quarry was closed to cavers for many years until a minor local " burocracy " was formed to contol access on behalf of the landowner.
I have an odd attachment with clubs. On the whole I find them restrictive as they have rules . ( Rules are for Fools in my book but of course a necessity ). I remember when BSAC put a limit on Sports Divers at 30m. I hated that as some very good Sports Divers never wanted to be Dive Leaders and take novices on dives. My mate could not drive the club inflatable as he did not have the the BSAC qualification but was a qualified yacht rigger with a big boat of his own. Well, perhaps things have changed for the better since then.
I am not so sure about exclusivity. Yes, it does exist in certain instances. Certainly within our group at Vurley as we still do not allow visitors to the cave or co opt other diggers. You do get that with some digging groups on Mendip. Vurley has about 15 members of a consortium from various clubs who have funded the project by thousands of pounds. We have a new landowner and are in an SSSI. Lets say that we are still treading carefully though at the moment there is no rush as we are investigating a long term problem with CO2 which has meant no digging since Summer last year. If there is such a thing as " exclusivity " there is usually a good reason for it. As for access controlled caves on Mendip exclusivity is a bit of a myth. Maybe there are a few ground rules like BCA insurance, experience or party size but I feel there is no harm in that. If a cave has a " leader " ( I would rather say " Conservation Warden ") thats fine too. Unrestricted access to fragile cave environments can only be a bad thing in terms of conservation ( So yup, The cave has a gate. How else can such a thing be achieved ? ). Other digging groups like that at Cutlers welcome any help on digging evenings and often advertise as such on social media. Secrecy may be a myth also. Yes there are some very interesting finds on Mendip recently but it would not be my right to mention them here. Cave diggers have the right to introduce their efforts in the way of their own choosing. Hopefully by club journsl, Mendip Cave Registry , Digging Awards or Hidden Earth. Ultimately such things a very short term.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2019, 10:32:07 am
Just as many uni clubs in the south as the north:
https://checc.org/member-clubs/
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: andrewmc on March 28, 2019, 12:45:10 pm
Just as many uni clubs in the south as the north:
https://checc.org/member-clubs/

13 in the Southern list, 10 in the Northern, although Nottingham appear in both lists so if you put them in the North (just for balance purposes) it would be 12-10 :)
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on March 28, 2019, 01:35:02 pm
Aberystwyth is North Wales 11-11.... :ang:
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on March 29, 2019, 09:54:07 am


I'm always interested in hearing the reasoning behind these sort of comments. What is The Sport? And why should we be concerned about it's future?



I'm not naming any names here. By 'the sport' i mean caving. I've had conversations with many cavers who have said it is a dying sport because there are less younger people being introduced to it in some areas and it would be a great shame to see access lost because the legacy hasn't been passed on to younger generations. As i said earlier on I'm just going by my own observations.

Caving is an activity. What do you mean by "the sport"?
Caving cannot die because caves aren't going away and people aren't going to stop wanting to explore them, with or without encouragement. If fewer people go in caves, why is that a problem? If clubs disintegrate, who suffers? If access is lost to anyone, it's their responsibility to regain it if they want it, especially younger generations, who would rather whine than do anything for themselves. You're expecting a "legacy" and the power of a mob to make your activity responsibility-free.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on March 29, 2019, 10:31:11 am
Caving is an activity. What do you mean by "the sport"?
It's not a sport in the competitive sense but is a legacy of all pastimes being called sports back in the day - UK caving expeditions were even supported by the Sports Council.

& caves here are in danger of being demolished or filled in by landowners, due to the crowded nature of our isles...
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: BradW on March 29, 2019, 10:32:31 am
Very philosophical, Kenilworth, and I can't help but agree with you. But Keris82 was primarily asking something else (albeit expressing concern about a dying sport): our experience of interactions with other clubs and groups than our own. And as in all walks of life, experience will depend entirely on which groups you interact with.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: droid on March 29, 2019, 11:03:46 am
caves here are in danger of being demolished or filled in by landowners, due to the crowded nature of our isles...

I'd suggest that's not just 'crowding' but also the attitude of some cave users.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on March 29, 2019, 11:42:06 am
Indeed, but that factor also applies in the US
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: droid on March 29, 2019, 12:10:50 pm
Absolutely Mike.

But there does appear to be an element of 'entitlement' creeping in to the access attitude here. Which is understandable on CRoW areas, but misplaced on private land....
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 29, 2019, 12:53:50 pm
Very philosophical, Kenilworth, and I can't help but agree with you. But Keris82 was primarily asking something else (albeit expressing concern about a dying sport): our experience of interactions with other clubs and groups than our own. And as in all walks of life, experience will depend entirely on which groups you interact with.

Yes thank you for the clarification. I think my point got a bit lost and deviated from my original comment. And i agree with mikem too
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: nearlywhite on March 29, 2019, 01:04:45 pm
It's not 'the sport' so much as the community that people are worried about. Our huts, our events, our organisations that help cavers achieve so much more than having to reinvent the wheel. So the 'young people these days want everything for free', 'is nonsense from boomers who had so much given to them anyway.

I think we're in a good situation, but there are quite a few clubs that still keep to themselves. If you help run a club and want to know how to broaden your intake and be more approachable, I (and other members of BCA Youth and Development) are more than happy to help so please do get in touch.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: PaulW on March 29, 2019, 01:27:27 pm
as an update.

Keris hope you have a great trip on saturday to the cave you were after a leader for...

and also caving with members from 2 other clubs on the trip

enjoy
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on March 29, 2019, 01:51:30 pm
But there does appear to be an element of 'entitlement' creeping in to the access attitude here. Which is understandable on CRoW areas, but misplaced on private land....
Some people have always taken more liberties than they were "entitled" to & others have allowed themselves to be more restricted than the "rules" stipulated, the problem now is that larger numbers are competing for limited resources, so more conflict is almost inevitable. And, as people get more rights they assume they "deserve" even more...
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 29, 2019, 02:08:36 pm
as an update.

Keris hope you have a great trip on saturday to the cave you were after a leader for...

and also caving with members from 2 other clubs on the trip

enjoy

Yes I'm looking forward to it! Thank you for putting me in touch with him  ;D
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on March 29, 2019, 02:11:38 pm
It's not 'the sport' so much as the community that people are worried about. Our huts, our events, our organisations that help cavers achieve so much more than having to reinvent the wheel. So the 'young people these days want everything for free', 'is nonsense from boomers who had so much given to them anyway.

I think we're in a good situation, but there are quite a few clubs that still keep to themselves. If you help run a club and want to know how to broaden your intake and be more approachable, I (and other members of BCA Youth and Development) are more than happy to help so please do get in touch.

Great comments here and fantastic to hear you want to help clubs broaden their horizons  :clap2:
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on March 29, 2019, 02:24:44 pm
Rostam is also part of the BCA vision & reform working group, with some info here:
http://british-caving.org.uk/wiki3/doku.php?id=news_events:jan19

Mike
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 05, 2019, 09:22:22 pm
It's not 'the sport' so much as the community that people are worried about. Our huts, our events, our organisations that help cavers achieve so much more than having to reinvent the wheel. So the 'young people these days want everything for free', 'is nonsense from boomers who had so much given to them anyway.

I think we're in a good situation, but there are quite a few clubs that still keep to themselves. If you help run a club and want to know how to broaden your intake and be more approachable, I (and other members of BCA Youth and Development) are more than happy to help so please do get in touch.

Perhaps you are in a good position to help me understand what is being threatened. Let me say plainly what appears true to me:
1. Older cavers, who have worked hard for a long time to establish access, to create, nurture and operate clubs, to push and discover and dig, and to in some sense care for, perceive a decline in the number of new, young cavers, especially ones with the initiative to do the work needed to maintain their cherished and very personal establishment, or with the interest in and appreciation for their "legacy" of work and discovery that makes them feel fulfilled.
2. Younger cavers, who have a great enthusiasm for the act of caving, perceive a decline in the health of the establishment that allows them duty-free enjoyment of their passion.
Both sets express concerns about the loss of the sport or community, but in both cases it boils down to selfishness.

Older cavers should have been acting within the understanding that they would be forgotten, that the caves, the people on hand, the present, were the rewards for their work. It is not wrong to give a gift to future generations, but it is blindness to overinflate the value of what was simply a period of personal recreational activity.

It is not wrong for younger cavers to accept a gift from past generations, but they should realize that the greatest gift is not an establishment but an example of joyful work. If they are ignorant of and uninspired by the past, they have little right to its fruitage. If they understand the best legacy of the past, they won't panic even at the absolute downfall of all establishment, but will go joyfully into work and reward, just another line in the field of time.

It is foolish to call self-motivation and personal responsibility "reinventing the wheel". Caving is simple. The most cumbersome and complex and irriplacable aspects of the so-called caving community are also the least valuable. Everything done by past organizations and individuals could be wiped out overnight and the best and only important things would remain.

It's a hole in the ground.

Go in.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: nearlywhite on April 05, 2019, 11:49:50 pm
Perhaps you are in a good position to help me understand what is being threatened. Let me say plainly what appears true to me:

I see little point in engaging with someone who has already made his mind up.

Put simply: 1) Access is controversial, a lot of older cavers in times of empire building put these Draconian controls to restrict others exploration of a system to ensure that they'd get the glory and relish in the selfish solitude that features so often in your soliloquies to narcissism. Perhaps this quote will underline my contempt for trope against the 'feckless youth'.

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint. Hesiod 8th century BC

2. It doesn't boil down to selfishness, it boils down to wanting to protect their community. They express concern and actually try and change things because they want others to experience the joy they had.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 06, 2019, 01:12:10 am
Perhaps you are in a good position to help me understand what is being threatened. Let me say plainly what appears true to me:

Put simply: 1) Access is controversial, a lot of older cavers in times of empire building put these Draconian controls to restrict others exploration of a system to ensure that they'd get the glory and relish in the selfish solitude that features so often in your soliloquies to narcissism. Perhaps this quote will underline my contempt for trope against the 'feckless youth'.

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint. Hesiod 8th century BC

2. It doesn't boil down to selfishness, it boils down to wanting to protect their community. They express concern and actually try and change things because they want others to experience the joy they had.

I don't know if I understand all of your response, but I criticize youth and elders equally. To what end is "the community" to be protected? The joy they had depended on themselves, a few of their friends, and the caves. Nothing needs to be changed to protect that joy.

To put more simply the selfishness apparent in this myth of community, these are the things threatened: Glory. Convenience.

Both are unimportant.

Real communities involve careful memory, respect, interdependence, restraint. Caving, both in theory and in fact, requires none of the above. Communities are more than a common interest, more than a club. When they are broken, the homeless parts become a diminished record of what was lost. In the breakdown of a hobby organization there is no such loss.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 06, 2019, 07:42:55 am
The villain of the peace is the opening posit that includes the misconception "caving community"; there are vibrant, yet isolated, pockets of caving. The belief in a community is a long-standing myth.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: 2xw on April 06, 2019, 08:14:36 am
Kenilworth it is obvious from your comment that you are commenting merely on your own fictions and the realities of the situation are lost to you.

I'm sorry that you are not a member of a caving community where you live. You are welcome to come and experience ours. 
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: paul on April 06, 2019, 08:46:39 am
Often when cavers are asked "Why do you go caving?" besides the expected answers "To see the beauties underground", "To maybe find cave passage no one has seen before", "the physical challenge", etc., etc., usually they include "the companionship of others", "the shared experience", "talking about the trip with your pals in the pub afterwards".
For most cavers, caving is a shared experience whether an official Club or just a loose group who cave (or maybe even used to go caving) together.
And this is what they are trying to preserve as well as the caves themselves.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Fulk on April 06, 2019, 10:08:41 am
Quote from Cap'n Chris:
Quote
The villain of the peace is the opening posit that includes the misconception "caving community";

I think that you make a very valid point here; I'm often bemused when people talk about 'The Gay Community', 'The Muslim Community', the this or that or the other community as though gays, Muslims, etc. are homogeneoous groups of people who all think the same and share the same hopes and aspirations.

By the way, in 1695, Robert Russel wrote in A Little Book for Children and Youth (subtitled Being Good Counsel and Instructions for Your Children, Earnestly Exhorting Them to Resist the Temptation of the Devil...):
... I find by sad Experience how the Towns and Streets are filled with lewd wicked Children, and many Children as they have played about the Streets have been heard to curse and swear and call one another Nick-names, and it would grieve ones Heart to hear what bawdy and filthy Communications proceeds from the Mouths of such...

Sounds like a weekend at the caving hut.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: nearlywhite on April 06, 2019, 11:19:41 am

Real communities involve careful memory, respect, interdependence, restraint. Caving, both in theory and in fact, requires none of the above. Communities are more than a common interest, more than a club. When they are broken, the homeless parts become a diminished record of what was lost.

This is where you are wrong. Thank you for putting an end to the argument. There is a caving community, stop being obtuse and verbose just because you don't want to participate.

Go to a GG winch meet, sing the songs, hell - just actually go to a club and see how many couples and families there are. But never mind, I've been told by a load of armchair activists that my community doesn't exist. I guess I should just stop trying.

Oh no wait I couldn't give a toss
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: NewStuff on April 06, 2019, 02:00:43 pm
The belief in a community is a long-standing myth.

Now, call me cynical, but you seem to be in a very small minority that thinks in that fashion. This very site is evidence you're wrong. The people we go underground with are more.
A community is what you make of it. It doesn't mean that everyone will get a long all the time, it just means there's a community of cavers/explorers that like going underground.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on April 06, 2019, 02:47:06 pm
Often when cavers are asked "Why do you go caving?" besides the expected answers "To see the beauties underground", "To maybe find cave passage no one has seen before", "the physical challenge", etc., etc., usually they include "the companionship of others", "the shared experience", "talking about the trip with your pals in the pub afterwards".
For most cavers, caving is a shared experience whether an official Club or just a loose group who cave (or maybe even used to go caving) together.
And this is what they are trying to preserve as well as the caves themselves.

I couldn't agree with you more Paul. I think most of us would agree that there is a caving community. Look at all the people here. And my partner and I are members of 3 clubs because we want to get the most out of the communities in which we have made friends in this past year.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Martin Laverty on April 06, 2019, 06:39:50 pm
I would say that it may be valid to talk of a 'caving world' made up of people who value caves, but that world is made up of many communities with different sets of values held in common ('sport' in the sense of enjoyed activity, 'speleology', photography,..). Sometimes these communities can be more or less closely identified with organisations (which is where bureaucracy comes in), otherwise they are ephemeral groups formed through proximity and/or friendship. There are also individual cavers who may interact with organisations or (the bane of organisations) see them as anathema.

I recognise all these from the International body (UIS) which has member organisations from many (but not all, and sometimes with national arguments over representation) countries with caves, to the UK national body, BCA, which has most (but not all) clubs and by no means all individuals who might classify themselves as cavers. This forum is, nominally, UK Caving, but embraces regular posters from the USA, Belgium, and elsewhere, while excluding some earlier prominent posters and officials of caving organisations, while being anathema to many other cavers...

Do the organisations cooperate? By and large, yes, but there are also vicious personal feuds which can, and do, percolate up from individuals (and occasionally groups) to infect and fracture organisations. I would suggest that most cavers have a tendency to anarchy: bureaucracy is aimed at taming this, but it will only work under wise leadership...(cf many other threads)...otherwise organisations fracture (cf history of British Speleological Association, England's first national body).
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: NewStuff on April 06, 2019, 08:19:57 pm
As with any community, you have "good" and "bad". Lurkers, and those who hog the limelight. Those with constructive input, and those that want to do it differently. A Community does not mean that all parts must mix in a homogenous mixture, and hopefully we'll never have that thrust upon us.

Example:- My club want naff all to do with the BCA in it's current form, and we believe that that caving/exploring needs to move forwards into the modern era, we also believe that it needs some sort of cohesive "governing" body. There are others that believe the BCA is set on a pillar, immutable, and that funny handsakes and permits in triplicate should rule forever more. We may not agree with each other, we may even vociferously disagree with each other, but we make up 2 facets of the larger UK caving community. There are many more facets to it, we're certainly not the biggest, brightest, or even the naughtiest.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 06, 2019, 09:44:07 pm
The villain of the peace is the opening posit that includes the misconception "caving community"; there are vibrant, yet isolated, pockets of caving. The belief in a community is a long-standing myth.

This very site is evidence you're wrong.

I'm 100% convinced this very site proves the case admirably.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Fulk on April 06, 2019, 11:36:52 pm
NewStuff: I've no axe to grind re the BCA . . . but I am interested in what you mean by:
Quote
and we believe that that caving/exploring needs to move forwards into the modern era

Would you care to expand on this?
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: nearlywhite on April 07, 2019, 01:12:57 am
The villain of the peace is the opening posit that includes the misconception "caving community"; there are vibrant, yet isolated, pockets of caving. The belief in a community is a long-standing myth.

This very site is evidence you're wrong.

I'm 100% convinced this very site proves the case admirably.

Everyone else in the thread seems to think you're wrong.

I like this debate style
Title: Re: bureaucracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 07, 2019, 06:53:13 am
Everyone else in the thread seems to think you're wrong.

That may well be true but it isn't the whole truth, however, since this forum does not comprise the totality of the nation's cavers and those that don't visit/use this site, by definition, support my view as correct by their very absence.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: JasonC on April 07, 2019, 09:41:09 am
Fulk is of course right that it is foolish to talk about a caving community as if it were a homogeneous entity with common views on everything.

But anyone who has been to Hidden Earth, Eurospeleo, CHECC etc cannot doubt the existence of some sort of community of cavers.  When two reasonably keen cavers meet for the first time, they will find plenty to talk about, even to agree on, I'd call this a community.

I think the disagreement come from the different meanings different people attach to the same word - as usual in many heated arguments :)
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: cavemanmike on April 07, 2019, 01:13:48 pm
 I've seen"the caving community" change for the better and this is mostly (in my experience)down to younger people getting involved and being pro active.
The old empire building attitudes are falling by the wayside which painters a brighter future for are wonderful sport/pastime/hobby/bla bla bla.
Not that I'm blowing smoke up rodrams arse but I think he's doing a sterling job
Title: Re: bureaucracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: nearlywhite on April 07, 2019, 02:52:46 pm
Everyone else in the thread seems to think you're wrong.

That may well be true but it isn't the whole truth, however, since this forum does not comprise the totality of the nation's cavers and those that don't visit/use this site, by definition, support my view as correct by their very absence.

Quote of the year.  :clap2:

This is only AN instance of the caving community at work - they can oppose your views elsewhere too. And they do. When asserting something doesn't exist, and given some evidence that counters it, you can't then say but I have an infinite amount of no evidence.

And cheers Mike, I'm just trying to counter the usual defeatist bilge that comes out - people don't realise that it makes my job harder because other people get scared to volunteer because they don't want to have to face the negative grumblings of a very vocal minority. They don't realise they're hurting their own community.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: NewStuff on April 07, 2019, 03:23:33 pm
Would you care to expand on this?
Sure. A lot of the way things are done by and for the BCA (and other aspects of caving, clubs) are firmly rooted in the past. Just because things were done in a particular way in the past and worked, doesn't mean they should continue to be done that way, nor that they still work now. It's changing, but there's still a few that seem to have a mental block that it could possible work any other way than the way it has always been. Sadly, some of those are in a position they can apply a large braking force to the inevitable changes happening. The old ways are still there, in a lot of places, though thankfully less "in your face" than it has been in the past, for the most part at least.

Chris - yet again, I can't decide if you're trolling, drunk, or have a genuine learning difficulty. I'll humor you, just in case it's the latter.
What about this thread "proves" your point?
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Fulk on April 07, 2019, 04:07:15 pm
Thanks, NewStuff
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: droid on April 07, 2019, 05:24:27 pm
Do the organisations cooperate? By and large, yes, but there are also vicious personal feuds which can, and do, percolate up from individuals (and occasionally groups) to infect and fracture organisations. I would suggest that most cavers have a tendency to anarchy: bureaucracy is aimed at taming this, but it will only work under wise leadership...(cf many other threads)...otherwise organisations fracture (cf history of British Speleological Association, England's first national body).

This is very true.

I often think that in discussions on this forum, people put more stake on the author of a post rather than the contents.

This ad hominem approach by individuals, elevated to the level of * members of organisations* rather than a self-elected forum, is where the problem lies, IMHO.


Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: cavemanmike on April 07, 2019, 05:30:24 pm
 Good to see a strong positive debate without to many fireworks  :clap2:
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Fulk on April 07, 2019, 07:42:29 pm
NewStuff: I got broken off while typing my previous post. I figured that I understood what you were getting at in principle, but I was going to go on to ask you if you would be prepared to provide specific examples of what you're getting at.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 07, 2019, 07:45:40 pm
There's just one caving community then. So I must be in it. Is this correct?

Or are there many caving communities (e.g. clubs, regions, non-club groups)? Which is it?

Both?
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: NewStuff on April 08, 2019, 06:04:49 am
Fulk - Recent stuff, see Jane/Pegasus resignation letter and the current BCA sec thread.

There's just one caving community then. So I must be in it. Is this correct?

Or are there many caving communities (e.g. clubs, regions, non-club groups)? Which is it?

Both?
Should be rather obvious it's both.
Title: Re: bureaucracy and exclusivity in caving communities
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 08, 2019, 07:39:26 am
Happy that's clarified. The thread now makes proper sense with its correct title.

And, yes, there is; but it's not surprising and not particularly onerous and that's just the way it is. In fact it's barely perceptible unless you're a non-BCA member, under 18 or a professional (whole new multi-page thread for each of these subcategories perhaps); networking helps since it's generally who you know, not what you know, that counts but t'internet has made access to caves the easiest it has ever been, ever, to adult club members. CNCC has made massive improvements as well and is a shining example to other regions.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Fulk on April 08, 2019, 08:47:04 am
Thank you.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 12, 2019, 12:19:06 pm
I well know that there are active and healthy caving clubs and organizations. I'm talking about a different kind of community. In the traditional and ideal sense, a community is based on literal common ground. An actual specific physical piece of earth. The community would then include the ground and all of the things, including people, that it can support. People making up such a community must acknowledge a responsibility of care and mutual support of one another and of their common ground. In a good community, the place is the context for existence. The interdependency is complex and complete. The place cannot be damaged without damaging the community. The people cannot be hurt without hurting it. Every instance of shortsightedness, selfishness, greed, ambition, or violence will reciprocate into the ground or the people, thus the whole community. Such communities are careful and fragile and they are easily lost into the cowardice of "progress".

This is the concept I think of when I hear the word community. It's an idea that is important to me. I understand that there are looser definitions by which there certainly is a caving community. But those looser communities cannot hope to be anything rich and real and valuable without common ground. They can be powerful, certainly, but not sacred.

In order to say the truth more clearly, why can't we use other words than some diminished version of "community". The caving community is lots of things: organizations, clubs, events, freindships, projects, ambitions, love-affairs. Take some time, say what you mean.

I think we overuse the word community for reasons that have nothing to do with linguistic evolution. "Bicycling" "gay" "caving" "workout" "coffee-drinking" "cancer" and on and on, I think people simply want a place to belong. But a shared interest or condition is not enough to make the sort of place that we consciously or subconsciously want, that we need.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on April 12, 2019, 12:42:46 pm
OED 2nd definition - the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

We are a community, end of.

Mike
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: alastairgott on April 12, 2019, 05:55:16 pm
Can I read this thread in a flow chart, so I can see who's arguing with who.  :blink:
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on April 12, 2019, 06:38:40 pm
Lol! Seems I caused a fair bit of controversy!  :-\
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on April 12, 2019, 08:19:49 pm
Did I mention you can't spell bureaucracy....  ;)
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: droid on April 12, 2019, 08:20:27 pm
I'm probably going to cause some controversy with these comments


 :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 12, 2019, 11:01:42 pm
OED 2nd definition - the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

We are a community, end of.

Mike

The good ol' dictionary can be used to support almost anything. My argument is not about definitions, but that the word may suggest a reality that does not exist. Definitions as free as the above allow for silliness. For example, you and I, Mike, are members of the Male Community. We are both part of the Nose-Having Community, as is the possum smashed on the road out front (we should be mourning this loss of one of our comrades).

It is easy to draw forth the OED and take aimless slices at an argument you don't like, but a definition that reduces a word to meaninglessness is not sufficient to decapitate your opponent.

A common interest in caving, like a common interest in fishing, or tacos, or breasts, is too trivial a thing to support a community worth fighting for, or even referring to as a community.

Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on April 13, 2019, 07:51:24 am
Having a nose is hardly an attitude or interest. There are c. 6,OOO card-carrying cavers in the UK, that's less than 1 in 1O,OOO of the population & they are starting to emerge from the club tribalism of the last few decades into a more aligned "community" (the size of a large village or small town)...
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 13, 2019, 09:20:48 am
Having a nose is hardly an attitude or interest. There are c. 6,OOO card-carrying cavers in the UK, that's less than 1 in 1O,OOO of the population & they are starting to emerge from the club tribalism of the last few decades into a more aligned "community" (the size of a large village or small town)...

Most dictionaries (I haven't got an OED but probably it too) have a first definition something like:
"A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common." Noses are a characteristic I think. Anyway I bet there are more people interested in tacos than in caves.

National alignment is a step away from community, not toward it. A tribe is more of a community than a nation. The demands upon a community come from the place, not from a greater culture. Culture has to grow out of the place. Contempt for small places is the ruin of community.

I have witnessed small and close and active and interdependent and conscientious groups of cavers acting within and by their places in a way that comes close to the sort of community I'm talking about. They are not part of a larger "caving community" because they have no common physical ground with it, they do not need it, it does not need them. They would be amused to be called a community of themselves. They are best described as a group of friends, or even a family. Families are important building blocks of community, but a community cannot be made of families scattered over a country because a country is not a place it is a label. At its richest, the community is an ecological concept, not a political or cultural one. Cultural alignment approaches monoculturalism, one of the most powerful, destructive, and vulnerable ecological conditions.

I am in love with three pieces of ground, one where I live, one where my grandparents live, and one where they used to live. In all of these places there are many caves but almost no cavers. Alone or with my family, I explore and dig and survey and write in these places. We are not part of any caving community, no matter what the dictionary says. When I was an NSS member, and traveled to projects with caving clubs, I was not a member of a community. What am I?

Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on April 13, 2019, 09:47:58 am
Whilst Britain has only a limited number of caving areas, which are all quite small, & most of the cavers congregate in those - there are 3 club huts within about 1km of each other on top of Mendip & they do intermingle nowadays! Different to your experience I know...
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Ed on April 13, 2019, 10:57:46 am
Whilst Britain has only a limited number of caving areas, which are all quite small, & most of the cavers congregate in those - there are 3 club huts within about 1km of each other on top of Mendip & they do intermingle nowadays! Different to your experience I know...

Intermingle.......they've even been know to interbreed, even BPC and CPC  :o
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 13, 2019, 01:02:06 pm
Which are also ecogical functions that might have something useful to teach.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: 2xw on April 13, 2019, 06:46:48 pm
What you are Kenilworth is an American who has no clue what he is talking about. The lessons you have learnt in the states do not work here.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 13, 2019, 08:14:10 pm
What you are Kenilworth is an American who has no clue what he is talking about. The lessons you have learnt in the states do not work here.

I'm searching for clues. I'm but not attempting to apply lessons to the UK, or the US. I can only apply them to myself and my own activity. What I am trying to do is to illustrate the relatively low value of The Entity of caving, and to understand the panic that some seem to feel when they perceive a threat to its health. Caving is not as different here as many seem to believe. Nearly identical conversations about the "dying community", about access, about bureaucracy, have been happening here for decades. It's all static that focuses on the least important parts of caving, and runs on ego, not legitimate concern for valuable things.

The simplest question, and one that has never been thoughtfully answered here is, "What would happen if all formal caving organizations vanished overnight?" The stock answer is that they would all gradually reappear. But what would be lost in the meanwhile? Identify those things and I think you'll find that they aren't anything like a community, and could stand to stay lost (with one exception).

I'm always amused at the use of the term American as an insult. I'm not sure if it's meant to excite some idiotic patriotic retaliation or to attack me based on my own stated distaste for American culture. Either way, I was born here. I'm doing the best I can.


Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Cap'n Chris on April 13, 2019, 08:28:22 pm
What you are Kenilworth is an American who has no clue what he is talking about.

FWIW I believe Kenilworth to be probably the most thoughtful, incisive and deep-thinking contributor to this forum; perhaps the "no clue what he is talking about" epithet is better attributed to other less meditative, yet shouty and arm-wavy, people, of which there appear to be many; weight of numbers (i.e. democracy/mob rule) does not equal correctness.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on April 13, 2019, 09:57:37 pm
Democracy is the worst form of government, apart from all the others... (unless you find a truly benign dictator)
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: 2xw on April 13, 2019, 11:32:07 pm
American isn't an insult in this context, just that you have clearly no experience of caving here, or our various groups and organisations. The cultures are very different. The very fact that if formal organisations died they would gradually reappear affirms that there is a cogent and relatively tight knit community. Something would arise again to serve its needs.

You would think him deep and incisive Cap'n, I've found you both equally vapid. Verbosity isn't a substitute for meaning.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 14, 2019, 01:22:23 am
American isn't an insult in this context, just that you have clearly no experience of caving here...

None to speak of. My UK caving was done much like my US caving is... find a cave and go in. Certainly I have no first-hand knowledge of caving culture there. This forum is the only such education I've had, whatever good that is. Your invitation to come and witness the community leaves me wondering how my caving experience would be enhanced by my doing so.

Quote
The very fact that if formal organisations died they would gradually reappear affirms that there is a cogent and relatively tight knit community. Something would arise again to serve its needs.
The persistence of such organizations would not necessarily affirm the existence of a quality community. The question is, what needs are being served? I believe they are the needs for glory (or control, influence, affirmation) and convenience. These are needs I do not care about, that I in fact oppose.

Quote
  You would think him deep and incisive Cap'n, I've found you both equally vapid. Verbosity isn't a substitute for meaning

I'm certainly not deep or incisive... or vapid. I haven't got the rhetorical or linguistic skill to write tidily and powerfully but I'll persist in meandering if that's the only way I can express myself. While I don't always, or even often, agree with Chris, I do find him to be thoughtful and relatively unfettered, which is refreshing. This is a pretty bland forum, with usually no more than two opposing sides each taking seven thousand turns at saying the same two things.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Keris82 on April 14, 2019, 07:27:58 am
I'm glad to see that people here are so passionate about caving. I wasn't expecting to have sparked so much debate but it's good to have got people talking
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: 2xw on April 14, 2019, 07:48:12 am
Quote
Your invitation to come and witness the community leaves me wondering how my caving experience would be enhanced by my doing so
.

You never know, you might have a laugh!

Quote
These are needs I do not care about, that I in fact oppose.

Cool

It's just, I'm wondering what you're actually getting at.
I like to cave. I think other people like to cave. I'd like to facilitate other people in visiting caves, for whatever reason. Beaurocracy can hamper this. Some people are worried that in the future, because of all the beaurocracy and other assorted clart, people who want to visit caves won't be able to.


You don't care. That's fine. But your posts seem to present some sort of existential defeatist nihilism. Should we give up on life now? Concrete the caves? Bulldoze the library? Set the belfry on fire? Yes I get it, there's no value in what we do, we go down holes in the ground and care about it a great deal and it's all for nothing. And I understand that you want to question the meaning we attach to these things but your probing and incisive questioning just feels like you're performing an autopsy on some soup. Because no matter how meaningless you might find my community, or my hobby or my ego driven need to look at the inside of a hole, to me it's better than sitting at home wanking myself into a sock and staring into the distance which is what I'd be doing anyways.

So what is it that drives your constant need to have us justify ourselves to you?
What is it that makes you think so critically of people who organise themselves into groups to do a hobby thousands of miles away?
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Kenilworth on April 14, 2019, 10:34:24 am
I think caving has enormous personal and cultural value, I would never criticize someone for wanting to do it. I'm not questioning the value of caving, the activity, but the nature of an organization large enough or powerful enough to even be capable of bureaucracy.

The fact that organizational exclusivity can currently prevent some people from seeing some caves some of the time is no reason to fear a future wherein caves are generally unavailable to us. There is a major difference too between opposition to facilitating responsibility-free caving and the desire to restrict caving.

My stance is the opposite of defeatist. It removes satisfaction from dependency on wavering organizations and places it with the individual, the group, the family, within initiative and care.

I do not care about glory or convenience but I care deeply about caves and caving. While ego and competition can play a role in the activity of caving, the formation of indiscriminate groups beyond the natural processes of friendship is the greater manifestation of a lust for influence. Study the organic formation of clubs, from childhood on.

I'm nobody. I don't deserve or demand attention or justifications from anyone. While I am critical, on an ecological, spiritual basis, to the way caving is often done, caving is undeniably good. My criticism is driven by love for people and for places.

Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: mikem on April 14, 2019, 11:57:31 am
It's actually individuals that have restricted access to some caves, rather than organisations, although the club structure has occasionally extended this beyond necessity. The British caving association has no say over how things are controlled, but does provide information, insurance & liaison with larger organisations.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: NewStuff on April 14, 2019, 03:14:03 pm
FWIW I believe Kenilworth to be probably the most thoughtful, incisive and deep-thinking contributor to this forum; perhaps the "no clue what he is talking about" epithet is better attributed to other less meditative, yet shouty and arm-wavy, people, of which there appear to be many; weight of numbers (i.e. democracy/mob rule) does not equal correctness.

The bloke that had to have sock puppet accounts (not to mention a fake disability) to try to bolster his weight of numbers, eh, 'Smiley Alan'? Taking the high ground? Surely not.  ;)

Even if you don't think he's a troll, (as many do), Kenilworth appears to be unable to grasp how the UK caving community works, for better or worse. The US seems to have a very different way of doing things. Talking to a few other American cavers seem to bear this out.
Title: Re: beurocracy and exclusivity in the caving community
Post by: Jenny P on April 14, 2019, 05:55:35 pm
It's actually individuals that have restricted access to some caves, rather than organisations, although the club structure has occasionally extended this beyond necessity. The British caving association has no say over how things are controlled, but does provide information, insurance & liaison with larger organisations.

To be fair, on the whole most cavers want to be able access caves with the minimum of fuss.  It's just that this isn't always possible for various reasons.

Sometimes the landowner puts up restrictions, such as requiring the cave entrance to be gated and locked, or requirements for insurance, which in turn means that cavers have to band together to come up with a way of satisfying the landowner that they can "manage" the cave for him with minimum hassle to him.  This may mean more hassle for the cavers and the "managing group" but, if it's that or nowt, that's what you have to do.

Other landowners are much easier to deal with but just want to be sure that no damage is done to their interests and that there is no danger to the public which might come back to cost them money or end in a court case.  In which case the local cavers will help all  they can by keeping an eye out for damage or problems and fixing things a.s.a.p. if anything goes wrong.

It's the local "community" of cavers, usually through their regional council, which take on the task of satisfying the landowners' requirements and trying to enable cavers to go caving with the least possible hassle.  The BCA provides public liability insurance for cavers as part of its membership package and the landowners understand that this insurance also protects their interests, hence cavers having BCA insurance usually means that the landowner is more likely to grant access.

That's how it generally works if all goes well - it's just that sometimes it takes lengthy negotiations to achieve and maintain access.