Questions for Trip Reporters - Spin-off to DCSki
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Scott - DCSki Editor
December 24, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
First, happy holidays to everyone!

I have begun working on a spin-off site to DCSki that will be focused specifically on allowing readers to share experiences about ski trips (across the nation and world, not just focused on the mid-Atlantic region). The concept will be somewhat similar to TripAdvisor, which allows you to describe experiences at hotels, but will be geared specifically to ski resorts -- encouraging people to file quick reports (perhaps from their cell phone, right on the slopes), as well as detailed reports. The site probably won't launch until next winter; there is a lot of work and planning to do. It will have a very clean, very simple design, making it easy to quickly view recent reports from your favorite resort. There might also be an iPhone application that integrates with it.

From time to time, I might ask DCSki readers to chime in with their thoughts on certain design considerations related to this new site.

The first questions relate to identity and accuracy. On this new site, I want trip reports to be objective, honest, and professional and mature (similar to the reports you all post on DCSki). If you look at a site like YouTube, you'll see all kinds of childish discussions, and I don't want any of those.

To encourage this, I'm considering a few things:

- To register as a trip reporter, you must be invited by someone who is already a trip reporter. (Anyone can read trip reports without registering). This would have the benefit of a "trusted friends" network, but could significantly limit the number of people posting trip reports.

- To register, you must use your real name -- no aliases. Research shows that people are much more professional in their Internet postings when they use their name and aren't hiding behind an alias. On the downside, some people might not feel comfortable posting with their real name.

- All trip reports might be reviewed by an editor before they are publicly posted. This would filter out bad/inaccurate reports, but adds overhead and a delay, and many reports are time-sensitive. (An alternative might be to allow readers to click on a button to identify a problematic report, and if enough people did this, the report would automatically be pulled.)

Any thoughts on these issues?

Thanks!

- Scott
GRK
December 24, 2008
Member since 12/19/2007 🔗
404 posts
I like these ideas Scott. Big problem with Tripadvisor is there is always negative feedback on even the best properties/places. Since you cannot tell who is posting it, you really cannot trust them.

I like the idea of mobile connectivity/posting. It would be nice to see a real time conditions report in some cases...I think simple is the key.

All in all, I think this would be a great service!
David
December 24, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Great idea. It sounds like something that I would love to be apart of. It would also be a great chance to learn the ins and outs of resorts that are both local and distant, making the decisions of where to go a lot easier. Good Luck!!!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 24, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Sounds like a winner. I've used Tripadvisor sometimes but frankly, find some of the advice here just as good.

As far as the negativity of some of the reports somewhere else, it depends. Yes, you look at Youtube and some other sites and reviews deteriorate into name calling. But that can be culled out.

Both positive and negative aspects can be attributed to what people want. I've heard some negative comments here towards, say, Deer Valley. However, for me, Deer Valley is the ultimate ski area, state location notwithstanding. There are indeed people who look towards having a concierge take their boots, warm them up and wax their skis as well, in addition to being pampered from arrival to departure. In the East, someone may like Killington for its brashness and size, someone else may like Stowe for its quiet New England class. Someone's negative comments towards Mad River Glen for not allowing boarders may be the salient positive reason for someone else going TO Mad River Glen.

I guess the richness of any new site depends on the variety of the reporting and I hope you seek that same variety in the new site.
Clay
December 24, 2008
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
I'm all for it as well, and if you need some editing, I'm up for it!
skier219
December 24, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Interesting idea. If you need help with the iPhone app, let me know -- I've got 6 (soon 7) up on iTunes right now, and have done contract development work on a couple others.
Scott - DCSki Editor
December 24, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
Originally Posted By: skier219
Interesting idea. If you need help with the iPhone app, let me know -- I've got 6 (soon 7) up on iTunes right now, and have done contract development work on a couple others.




Will do. If you don't mind me asking, which apps do you have up? I'm starting to fill up lots of screens with apps on my iPhone.

I used to develop quite a bit for the Mac in pre-Mac OS X days (and even designed and taught a Mac programming class in college), but haven't quite found the time to master Cocoa yet. I look forward to diving in at some point.
BushwackerinPA
December 25, 2008
Member since 12/9/2004 🔗
649 posts
well Ill be honest I will be honest I hate DV and think its the bane of amercian skiing.

but considering I should of been posting TR on here all the time and that I actually take pictures of people's ski and not just sitting around I nominate myself to be on there.



















so yeah, but I would still say to anyone in person or on the net that if you go to Deer Valley over Snowbird you are not a skier. Immature as it maybe its truth a tough truth to swallow for some apparently.
Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
December 25, 2008
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,857 posts
I wish you would just say what you mean instead of whacking around the bush.
skier219
December 25, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Originally Posted By: Scott
Originally Posted By: skier219
Interesting idea. If you need help with the iPhone app, let me know -- I've got 6 (soon 7) up on iTunes right now, and have done contract development work on a couple others.




Will do. If you don't mind me asking, which apps do you have up? I'm starting to fill up lots of screens with apps on my iPhone.

I used to develop quite a bit for the Mac in pre-Mac OS X days (and even designed and taught a Mac programming class in college), but haven't quite found the time to master Cocoa yet. I look forward to diving in at some point.


You can see my current apps here:

http://hunter.pairsite.com/

One more game is in the pipeline.

iPhone development is a blast -- Apple really put together a great SDK. It's a lot of fun, and I think this is a gold mine for all kinds of opportunities. I have batted around a couple ski-related ideas, including a game, but nothing I am ready to commit resources to yet. I have found that my iPhone developer time is valuable, and I want to focus it more. Rather than spending weeks playing with many general ideas, it now makes more sense to focus on one high-payoff project at a time.
MangyMarmot
December 26, 2008
Member since 12/25/2002 🔗
183 posts
Great Idea!
I'm a full-time journalist and your site is one of the few that seems to get the right balance and isn't just trashing or boosting places. Anytime an editor asks me what sites I regularly visit, yours is the first I mention.
One suggestion: add video capability. It's easy enough to shoot a video with a cell phone (I did a couple with actual sequences) and cut together and post within an hour or two. Heck, check out Lonely Planet's video site to see a neat model for generating content -- they have WAAAAY better stuff than youtube.
If you need a contributor... let me know. I do some ski trip writing for AP.
mm
Roger Z
December 29, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Quote:
I would still say to anyone in person or on the net that if you go to Deer Valley over Snowbird you are not a skier.


Bush- Opinions aobut a ski area are one thing, when you personalize it like in the quote above- even if the personalization is still general- there is nothing "truthful" about a statement like that. If you want to be "truthful" you may want to discuss what you think is good and bad about skiing at DV.

Incidentally, I'm not a big fan of DV either. I think it's icier than the other PC resorts (except for Empire Canyon) and the best intermediate runs seem to get chewed up- maybe because they're further east and thus in that "icier" area. I aim for snow quality first, so I put that above expert terrain even though I dig that too. Thus- Grand Targhee, Solitude, Wolf Creek- are all high on my list. I don't place high quality service high on my priority list, but Lou does so he's going to have a different list than I do. Okay, that's cool. I mean, I enjoy high quality service when it's around, but it's not the thing that turns my opinion one way or another about my experience at a resort.

But people that choose to go to DV over Snowbird aren't skiers? That's just immature, and maybe ignorant too. After all, Stein Eriksen is the director of the ski school at DV. Tell us he's not a real skier.
Crush
December 30, 2008
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,022 posts
omg - gee i guess i'm not a judgmental d1ck after all ! wow - bonus ! someone actually agrees with me ... ooohh watch out RZ - ya never know: you might not be a real skier :-)
Scott - DCSki Editor
December 30, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
I'm not quite sure how this thread go hijacked, but it's not about skiing in Utah. (Maybe something was posted in this thread by accident?) Nothing wrong with discussing Utah, but I'd appreciate it if it were taken to a different thread. wink
Bumps
December 30, 2008
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
Add a forum page and it comes very close to your current DCSKI layout.
I think skiers like to be interactive. I would a blog section to the detailed reports. I would also suggest you stick with the editor review by exception. Not sure what the focus will be. If it is lodging, service, etc.. I don't think cell phone reports really add a lot. If you are trying to capture up to minute ski and trail reports I can see cell phone reports having value. I am sure there is software for blog portion that can censor posts that use profanity to help with the first order review. If you are doing an up to minute report, I think you may need to unleash it some and let a larger group of folks input. I would also suggest a rating of 1-5 stars is required for every input. Then if you had a search capability that someone could look for resorts by distance and being able to sort by rating. I could see that being something folks would use. I don't know how you generally do your design concepts but I work on sophisticated military systems and have found that doing system level use cases really help focus the design to meet the operator(users) needs. Here are use cases I see:
User is looking for clean economic lodging for week.
User is looking for resort with best potential trail conditions for ( A. today, b. Week, c. Month) for trip planning.
User is looking for best Après Ski Conditions for ( A. today, B . near future. C. on Average). (I think this would help catch special events etc...)
User is looking for comfort and service with cost as separate variable.
User is looking for best group deals
Depending on your focus you could expand cut these down and then start determining how you will design the system to gather the needed data and human interfaces for gathering and displaying.
More thoughts but need to run to take kid to music lessons.
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