Grading of trip reports

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Johan du Preez's picture
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Joined: 2007/06/20

Points: 13

Please allow me to bring a different perspective to the topic of grading of trip reports.

Personally I do not think that trip reports should be graded or that monthy prizes should be given to the best trip report. The mere fact that someone took the time to write a trip report (and had the courage to post it!) already is praiseworthy.

The grading of trip reports may result in the following:

  • Less experienced writers may feel reluctant to write trip reports as they will now be "competing" with more experienced writers. This means that we will be losing contributions.
  • Trip reports on more "interesting" destinations may draw more votes than other "less interesting" trips, although the latter may be equally well or even better written than the first.

Which brings me to the problem of subjectivety. Are we grading a trip report based on the writer's style and experience of writing, on the nature of the trip, or on what the trip report meant to me as the reader? Different readers vote on trip reports for different reasons.

To me the real value of a trip report lies in the readers' responses, interaction and sharing based on what had been written. This extends the significance of the report and makes us all a part of it.

Let's encourage our members to write their trip reports and not make a competition of it. If the trip was important and enjoyable even for only one rider, then it is important enough to share it with the rest of us to also enjoy and to learn from it.

I therefore suggest:

  • That we reconsider the grading of trip reports.
  • That we do not give prizes to what we consider to be the best reports.

On a more constructive note, I suggest a monthly lucky draw for all of those who posted trip reports during that month. This, together with perhaps a small sponsored prize, will not only encourage all of us to contribute, but will certainly acknowledge everyone's effort to become part of this very important club activity.

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Yolandi Hewitt's picture
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Joined: 2012/07/30

I could not have said it better or ageed more!  I also think the lucky draw is a great idea.

 

Biker Chick

R1200GS

Charles Oertel's picture
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Joined: 2007/04/14

The original intent of the prize donated by Rusty was to reward the effort it took to write a trip report - uploading of images is a mission, and it takes quite a few hours to do the writing also.  We also wanted to encourage more people to do it.

Originally, it was based on the highest number of reads.  But this also has its flaws and could be manipulated.  Then I would select the best one (and yes, it is subjective also).  I tried to make it based on minimum standards (pictures and text, not just a link to some other site), and reward as fairly as possible - with a view to driving people to produce better reports (e.g. ones you could refer to for info about a road or places to stay etc).

The upvoting etc is a way of finding reports that should go on the list of top ten reports of all time or whatever.  A side-effect might be its use as a means of allocating the trophy.  But a lucky draw is also a valid mechanism, and if eligibility to the draw requires certain criteria then it will get more contributions.

At the office we are running a cupcake baking competition.  The problem is that everyone's taste is different, so in effect they are giving random scores (though they don't realise it).  I have taken it to the next level and use a random number generator to evaluate my colleagues' cakes.  I am not very popular...

Committee: Webmaster / Ride Captain

Johan du Preez's picture
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Joined: 2007/06/20

Charles, I like your idea to have certain trip report criteria or guidelines. These need not (only) be to qualify for the monthly draw, but can especially help the writer to draw up a framework of what to include and what to focus on. This will make the writing process easier as the writer will now know that he or she is giving the readers what they are looking for. It will also help to further improve the standard of trip reports in general. (I'm not saying that the standard is currently low. I'm using the words "...to FURTHER improve..." Smile)

In the end each trip report will still be unique as each person's style of writing and trip experiences are unique. However, there will be a golden thread of desired content running through all the trip reports.

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Joined: 2011/01/27

Fully agree with you Johan. I have done a roadies Karoo trip and also a roadies Botswana/Namibia trip earlier in the year. As I was not given the gift of "good writing skills" I was not prepared to compete with the rest. If the reports are not judged on those skills I may do some reports in future.

Tony's picture
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Joined: 2008/08/24

is a time consuming task.

As the last trophy winner in the pre-voter button era (only because no-one else was there to accept the trophy) here's my 2c worth.

I do it solely for personal reasons. I'm documenting the experiences so that when I'm sitting on the stoep at the old age home (and no longer able to ride) I have some context for the 1000's of photos stored on my media server.

OK, seriously now. Writing trip reports is fun and just another way of giving something back. Hopefully readers find the report useful, inspiring or even just plain entertaining. I find the comments (and chirps) encouraging and reward enough.

I don't think that there should be a howto or guidelines how to write a trip report.  Sometimes you want to write about what happened (the experience), or where you went (the route/ride), sometimes you just want to tell a story.

Here's to seeing lots of new, 1st time trip report writers. Come on, you know you want to give it a go.

PS Charles, surely you mean pseudo-random number generator Tongue Out.

A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown

GeelKameel's picture
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Joined: 2007/06/21

I fully agree with Johan, Tony and others - no trip report should be rewarded as a single "winner" or be rated to some set of criteria. Each trip report is a winner because the writer made the effort to write it down (it takes a lot of time to do!) and he/she shared it with like-minded friends.

The comments and number of hits rates the popularity, but the most important aspect is how the writer feels afterwards. Is he happy that other people shared his experiences and has he written something that he himself would like to re-read in future. 

Each individual that reads a trip report has his/her own set of likes and he/she experiences the report in his/her own way. One should not read a report in a judging way  --- read with a smile and not with a frown.

I find that the more I enjoy a trip, the easier it is for me to write a report. I do a tripreport 80% for my own reference and  20% for sharing with like-minded people. I really enjoy reading old trip reports, re-living each trip, being reminded of incidents, cameraderie and emotions.

To me a good report is a report that I can see comes from the heart of the writer. He tells his story the way he feels to tell it. Some writers are gifted with words and phrases - a bonus in a report.

Generally I like a report that has many photos and enough text to enlighten the reader about the photo. I like to read where did they travel, what exiting incidents happened, recommend places to eat/sleep/visit, bits about the history and the local people etc.

A good report to me is one that, after reading it, I feel two things:

a) the writer obviously enjoyed this trip and has lasting memories

b) I need to put this route/trip/destination on my bucket list 

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