It would be nice to see the forums revitalized. I'm guilty of the Facebook diversion too. This forum is how we really got connected with Mt Washington, the Obs community and the White Mountain hiking community. Unlike Views from the Top and other mainly hiking forums (which don't seem to have suffered as much from the Facebook craze even though all the hikers are on FB) there are (or were) lots of good discussions on other subjects here.
I also agree with the previous comments that suggest a broader forum for hiking, mountaineering, etc. That used to happen in the General Discussion forum but a specific place for it would be good.
So, any thoughts on how we bring this thing back to life?
I think one of the reasons that many people (I'm guilty as well) have migrated over to Facebook is that the workflow for uploading/posting pictures is very easy from there. I've actually posted while I'm on the peaks with a live update now and then. That ease of posting content is a plus for me.
WARNING: Techie geek content below.....
Rather than fighting with FB, perhaps we look at ways to work with it. For the techie folks on here... thought on maybe a vBulletin plugin to Facebook? (Quick google search turns up <a href="http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/showthread.php?t=198499">this add-on</a>.) For starters, this will make it easier to grow membership allowing new users to sign up for the forums here using their FB log-in.
vBulletin also offers a why to integrate the forums here into the MWO Fan page on Facebook. So users can interact with the forum content and remain within the Facebook app. (Another link, for the <a href="https://www.vbulletin.com/index.php?do=facebookapp">vB facebookApp</a>)
Blue, The second option you listed would be a very nice way to get to the forums in my opinion. And if we could go straight to the forums without logging in, since we would already be logged into FB, that would be awesome!
I can, fairly easily, copy-and-paste my Trip Reports from VFTT to here. I already do it for Hike-NH and I used to do it for Rocks on Top (I think pretty much everyone on RoT is also on VFTT or Hike-NH and since it is the lowest volume of the three (or four, counting this one) I don't post there any more.) The "issue" was (for me) they were off-topic for this forum. No offense to anyone here, but things like STP are not interesting to me. I.e., the focus is too narrow to compete with the wider focus of something like VFTT.
As easily as I can cross-post TRs, I can cross-link to them, or folks can read the other boards for Trip Reports if they wish.
Well... STP is basically a hike forum about a single hike. If you're not interested in STP, I can understand. I'm from VA so my TR are generally not in the Whites, which is why I've posted them in General in the past. That's perfectly fine.
As far as cross-posting... I think there might be a wider, but smaller, audience here. I've popped into VFTT and its a pretty localized group, plus they keep it locked down so that if you want to participate in the forum you need to know someone who knows someone in order to get the secret password. (In my experience, that's usually a forum killer. If you make it too hard to join, people won't) However... to me a TR is not a TR unless its got pics. I tend to gloss over pages and pages of text. The think that really makes it are the pictures.
I can definitely say that I have been checking this forum less often these days, just due to the activity level here. It is noticeably down. I'm certainly on FB a lot but it has never been a substitute for reading good trip reports. Honestly, the last few trip reports I have posted have received only one or two responses or none all together. That's a deal breaker for me as I feel like I'm not adding value. Either they are really boring (pictures included) or no one is reading them :). I realize that them being really boring is a likely possibility.
For instance, I hiked Mount Stanton and Pickering a month or so back and posted in the Whites section...not one reply...I can't be that boring (right...right...???)! http://www.mountwashington.org/forum...ng-Trip-Report
When there's that little activity when you're trying to be an active and value added forum member, it's hard to make it your go-to forum. It certainly used to be my go-to forum and I think I've met more great people on this forum than any other for sure.
I'm going to try to make a better effort to visit daily again and reply to more postings. If everyone makes that effort, the forum could be revitalize!
I check in on both this forum and VFTT to see the trip reports. When planning a hike, I always like to see first hand accounts. I feel that VFTT had a lot of more hard core hiking junkies on there than myself, so it's hard to get a feel for how a hike will be when someone blew through it in record time, which would not be realistic to me. I can kind of figure at this point who is more at the same 'speed' as myself, although I do still like to read what the 'crazy' ones are doing as well. I always felt like there was a good mix on OBS, and really enjoy seeing who's doing what. I took a year off of hiking when I was pregnant, and checked in constantly to try to live through everyone else. I noticed, and was sad, that the volume was so low : ( I always found it a great resource, and got a lot of questions about hikes, equipment, etc answered from all sides. I still check in all the time, just haven't had much to post without being out there : (
It's probably true that most people are posting their hikes on FB instead of a forum.
For those who like statistics, here are the numbers for trip reports on hiking forums that we follow for the last 12 months, in the northeast.
MWO forum is #8 in for hiking trip reports.
#) Reports TrailsNH Code: Website
1) 3,070 NETC: New England Trail Conditions
2) 1,522 VFTT: Views From The Top
3) 1,349 ADKHP: ADK High Peaks
4) 368 H-NH: Hike-NH
5) 315 OTR: Outdoor Trip Report
6) 229 ROT: Rocks On top
7) 145 ADKF: ADK Forum
8) 130 MWO: MW OBS
. . .
13) 58 BCA: Backcountry Agenda Community
. . .
22) 23 AZ: AlpineZone
. . .
25) 20 AMC: AMC BBS Trail Conditions
I also calculate a list of where people post trip reports for the most (Northern Presidentials is the most popular):
It's def. much easier to post pictures on FB, here I have to upload to another site first.