• Hello From Descent

    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

    New Descent board here:

Has Facebook Won ?

mrodoc

Well-known member
. . . and the tragedy is valuable information then gets lost.

The one constant is paper. It doesn't suffer from any of the above, or compatilibilty issues, or version problems when people make tweaks electronically. It's not at the mercy of the Zucherbergs and Musks of this world.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a fan of electronic media and use it all the time (not Facebook). But there needs to be physical copies, which will always be there.
So true John.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
I will admit there is a general apathy towards this forum within the Mendip caving fraternity.
Among some perhaps, but if you look at the members list, you'll see that a reasonable proportion of the "top" users are Mendip based (even when you ignore those few who are no longer active).

Even among the Mendip old timers, in the last week, where did Chris Castle look for help when he lost his hearing aid? Where did Andy Sparrow look for help with OFD access?

Sure, there does seem to be a stronger representation from the north, but you do a good job of keeping Mendip (or the Quantocks) on the front page (y)
 

mikem

Well-known member
Facebook is losing out to even more ephemeral media like tiktok (who wants to be on the same platform as their parents?)
 

mikem

Well-known member
Not sure about a comeback, as that FB page seems to have given up a year & a half after they shut down the website
(having gone from being valued at £175 million in 2005 to only £5m by 2011)
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
It's all very complicated isn't it?
How much of this will still be accessible in years to come, I wonder?

A printed journal is for ever, not just for Christmas. ;-)
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
It's all very complicated isn't it?
How much of this will still be accessible in years to come, I wonder?

A printed journal is for ever, not just for Christmas. ;-)
All the old EUSS newsletters and documents that the Exeter Uni library chucked away a few years would disagree, sadly... (although there are some in the BCL)

Fundamentally stuff survives if people make an effort - first to produce it, then to store it. It doesn't really matter if it's printed or digital.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
There are no formatting problems with printed publications. That's what is sometimes the problem for electronic media.

You make a good point about the need for people to make an effort to look after stuff (physical or electronic). Even if Exeter Uni library saw fit to dispose of the EUSS material, there's a pretty good chance much of it still exists in private collections and / or caving libraries. If relying solely on an electronic format, once it's gone, it's gone.

We had exactly this problem a few years ago when the present CDG website superseded the former website. All the valuable member discussion in the former website was lost. It still exists apparently but in an old format which no-one (who has the expertise) is willing to devote the necessary [considerable amount of] time to manipulate it into a form which can be accessed. So you're right - because it relies on someone having to put in effort, sometimes it just doesn't happen in practice, sadly.

As said above, the best situation is usually when both formats are used in harmony.
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
Regarding the CDG, as Pitlamp will remember Edmunds Chamber in Wookey Hole would probably still be waiting to be visited if I hadn't spotted a on line report in the Sump Index and followed it up.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Yep - but any such gems in the former forum are evidently now lost.
Edmunds Chamber is a very fine place!
 

The Old Ruminator

Well-known member
I can only hope that the Descent Caving Group on Facebook has nothing to do with the magazine. The image near the start of this thread came from there. Today we have a video of some idiot tearing down a cave ( or mine ) on a mountain bike. The trouble with Facebook etc is that it seems that conservation is low on the list of priorities. Its a " look at me " thing ( says he who has posted more caving selfies than anyone else ). So journals and this forum take a more positive approach to conservation ( or the poster gets a verbal kicking ). Social media is more lax because its less edited or censored. Social media tends to trivialise everything. Like TV now it bends to the lowest common denominator. You could say that social media has ruined photography with its numerous in phone camera apps and endless post image editing. Very few images I see are " real " anymore. Of course I can only comment thus because I look at social media a fair bit. I do find the groups of use but they have proliferated to such an extent that I miss most of what gets posted. ( try it when you have many hobbies like me ). Even if you do want to publicise something on Facebook where do you put it ? Your own personal page ? Your club page ? Anyone of a myriad of groups many of which are closed to non members. Is just become so diverse as to be rendered meaningless. Thats why a singular forum like this can be the go to place for updated information. To my mind it does not get the support that it deserves hence my numerous blatherings. No there are still not enough new find reports of photographs I bet that Facebook has " won " in that respect. ( if you could trawl for hours to find it all ). Forums could actually still be in decline. We lost a bottle collectors forum and a wreck diving forum in recent years so its no good sitting back on ones laurels thinking that permanency is a feature. My many photos here are supported by Flickr and Photobucket funded by subscription. I guess you can kiss goodbye to all of that when I stop paying. ( No I dont like attachments ). But. Would anyone pay for a more permament platform where images can be added internally ? If a forum has a weakness its the reliance on third party hosting. Now all of this brings us back to good old paper as the only way of preserving data for a long while. I asked a group I did a talk to how much a first class stamp cost. ( Only one person knew - do you ? ) An ounce letter remained at one old penny for 75 years ( 1840 - 1915 ). Today journals and magazines are feeling the pinch with mailing costs particularly that which goes overseas. Clubs have to prioritise their printed matter rather than try to reduce it with PDF's etc. The will has to come from the bottom up. More write ups from members and more rescources for journals. Well as stated Mr O' Doc is the Belfry Bullitin editor so I hear his issues ( a poor pun ) on our weekly drives up to the dig sites. He is to be thanked for home producing the history of digging and exploration at Reservoir Hole. Perhaps we could see more stuff like that.
My diving hobby was ( and still is ) poorly served by wreck research. Its all on Facebook rather than the central sourse of information Wrecksite. So much in regards of shipwreck information is going to be lost. Ahh but you have to pay to be on Wrecksite whilst social media is free.
 

tomferry

Active member
The site 28dl hosts about 670k of images I believe aditnow had just passed the 100k mark when it closed, on my Flickr pro I host 4k including personal ones.
 

Steve Clark

Active member
[ Pitlamp - I totally accept your point that the most active exploratory cavers are likely to be the best at recording things. ]

For information, availability, ease of use, searching, free, longevity and just about anything else, the wikipedia model is hard to beat.

It would be FAR better if the info on Wrecksite was on wikipedia instead. It's essentially the same, but open and 'free'.

It does however go back to my earlier point that not everyone is a 'journalist'. With facebook et. al. we are in a position where there's less formal recording happening, but a lot more postings, updates and particularly photos of caving activity. To be blunt, a lot of this is purely motivated by folks addicted to the mini-endorphin rush of a 'like' - an active and immediate sense of acknowledgment by their peers. These likes are coming not just from cavers, but it exposes caving to people who aren't currently cavers.

Here's a real life example. What's people's thoughts on the best way to publish this :

We've been surveying a underwater cave in France, St Georges. A relatively popular site, multiple divers visiting most days of the year. I'd say most cave divers visiting the area for a week long trip would include it in their itinerary, say one of the 20 most popular in France. The aim of project was to improve what was available and make it available for divers to use.

Once we had something worthy of publishing, it wasn't immediately obvious what to do with it(!). As divers we are not a club, we don't have a journal. We are not involved with the CDG. We didn't really want to have to build and maintain a website just to host a couple of documents. We sent copies out to the local dive centres, Oli& Harold. We sent a copy to plongee-sout, and it's hidden away in there somewhere.

What really did work was starting a facebook group for the project. We now have 360 people who follow the group, mostly international and we do check they are actually divers to avoid spam. It's very easy to find and they can just download whatever survey they need, even without joining the group. We get regular vis & line condition reports & photos posted. If there's a problem with access, parking, litter or something similar, it gets posted up there. If we update the survey, all these people immediately get notified.

Could or should we have done something different? What other platform exists that can share information, and feedback, so easily to an international audience?
 

mikem

Well-known member
Descent caving group has absolutely nothing to do with the magazine - it's one person's page.

An amazing amount of the internet is archived (unfortunately not the actual discussions here from 2000): https://web.archive.org/web/20001018232450/http://www.cavedivinggroup.org.uk/cgi-bin/Main

Modern lives (even libraries, which are selling off books / putting them into storage) don't have space for all the printed material & are increasingly relying on electronic formats (room costs)...
 

Steve Clark

Active member
Another excellent site that has been lost, but archived is the guide to diving all the lakes & tarns of the Lake District. This was lost when Tiscali was taken over by TalkTalk. It still exists on archive.org without its photos, but it took me a good 15mins to remember the name and find it and I knew what I was looking for.


I haven't seen another version of this data anywhere.
 

Flotsam

Member
I think Facebook/Meta is a dreadful site/company. The lack of control and the use of personal data is obvious and well known. As regards the rest of the internet it's increasingly obvious that a combination of Governments, their legal systems and big business will take control of the internet. Censorship, control and income generation considerations will ensure that only "approved" content will be accessible and searchable. Facebook is at the forefront of the destruction of truly open access.
 

mrodoc

Well-known member
The problem is that we are in the middle of a revolution and during that period it is often hard to know which way to go. The revolution is the electronic storage and manipulation of information (the IT revolution). The industrial revolution spanned a period of something 60 years. This one has been going for about 30 so where will we be in another 30. Nobody knows which will be tomorrow's Betamax so paper records are a good idea until we have a rock solid system to record and store data over a long time span. When I was in practice and we introduced computers I was hoping there would be a rapid shake down of systems but opted for one that was a pioneer. It was overtaken by other systems necessitating practices having to transfer data from one to another usually with issues about keeping the information stable. Paper records are still kept in GP practices for that reason even if they are now in stasis. There are still a number of competing systems which is why trying to get an NHS wide system up was so hard. So I think you will find that the forums we have now will alter and disappear to be replaced by who knows what. We are not living in an era of permanence I'm afraid. However I do like the idea of the Wikipedia and subscribe to it on the basis it is the best thing we have in terms of a free online encyclopedia.
 
Top