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Why did you destroy the RESORTS section? - Page 2

post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

It also seems odd to me that the mobile version does not give you access to the resorts tab. I mean where is it more likely that one's only access to the internet would be through a mobile device? When you're on vacation, are you interested on keeping up with the forums or reading the Unofficial Guides about the place you're visiting?

 

Stats on forum access are that MOST access is via mobile devices, 50-90% and increasing.  Dan Gill of Huddler knows the stats, he quotes them in his talks.

post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post

And what's with the staff of the website, from the Site Administrator,Resorts Page Editor and Chief Moderator posting "suggestions".  Who are they addressing in their messages? If the people running the website aren't making decisions and talk to the actual site managers by public forum messages, who is running the website?  The Great and Powerful Oz?

 

 

 

 

 

EP, your posting in the Site Suggestion Forum. Staff is here reading your criticism and ideas and sharing our own ideas with you and each other. I thought the transparency would be appreciated. 

post #33 of 64

Not sure if it is something that recently changed to help alleviate the objections about geographical drilling, but seeing the breadcrumbs along the top of the page by geo helped me the other day.  I didn't recall seeing it last week.

 

On the downside, I went to add a review of a new place I skied last weekend and it took me  some time to find the way to add a new review.  Did that also change?  I thought it was pretty intuitive before.  It seemed hard to find this week.  But, I did find it eventually.  It seemed that "rate product" was all over the place while I tried to find the add a review button though.  If the rate product button lead to an option to choose resorts then drill or search that would be a plus, but having a "review a resort" button right there with the 'rate product" would be ideal.

post #34 of 64

Mobile version does not yet do the Tab content like Galleries or Groups yet either.  It will come in time.  It was a pretty good start.

post #35 of 64

Since we are approaching the shoulder season, having the current operating status of the resort prominently displayed at the top of the page would be useful (to me at least.) Possible choices could be open, open weekends only, open but closed Tuesdays, closed for the season, unknown (default for unmaintained resort pages), etc.

 

To balance uniform status with the nearly unlimited opening permutations, maybe combine a status indicator of fixed values (open, closed, partial - meaning not open every day of the week, NOT percentage of open terrain which would be too time consuming to maintain, unknown) with a free form text box for specific comments. The free form text box would be necessary for special cases (say closed Tues, Wed or Plattekill's power days, etc.) You could search on the status indicator field.

 

Maybe add a text box for planned closing date and upcoming day of week closings. This would have to be free form text.

 

With all that's going on, I doubt Huddler could do it this year. But something to consider for next year, especially for the start-up shoulder season.
 

post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurel Hill Crazie View Post

EP, your posting in the Site Suggestion Forum. Staff is here reading your criticism and ideas and sharing our own ideas with you and each other. I thought the transparency would be appreciated. 

 

Just a bit odd for staff to be suggesting changes to their own website after they just made changes. It sounds very much like someone else is running the website and the staff are spectators.

 

On improvements.  The Resorts page should be a weather page using lots of free weather feeds to create a "Where's it Snowing" Report and then link that to map with resorts on it.  That would be a sellable package to resorts to advertise on the site with the content picking the ads to display.  You offer the viewing content and then dish the relevant advertising.  Hard core skiers on Epic would be the people who would pick up on traveling to a resort to catch a snowfall.

 

The weather map is the content draw from which to dish resort ads.  The EpicSkiers than add value to the content with reviews of the ski areas including lodging etc, another big advertising group in addition to the ski area.  Hey want some new powder skis for that trip...StartHaus and SkiEssentials ads.

 

Current resorts page doesn't seem to have any function other than to show odd ball reviews where back of beyond ski areas are top of the scroll.

post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurel Hill Crazie View Post

EP, your posting in the Site Suggestion Forum. Staff is here reading your criticism and ideas and sharing our own ideas with you and each other. I thought the transparency would be appreciated. 

 

Just a bit odd for staff to be suggesting changes to their own website after they just made changes. It sounds very much like someone else is running the website and the staff are spectators.

 

On improvements.  The Resorts page should be a weather page using lots of free weather feeds to create a "Where's it Snowing" Report and then link that to map with resorts on it.  That would be a sellable package to resorts to advertise on the site with the content picking the ads to display.  You offer the viewing content and then dish the relevant advertising.  Hard core skiers on Epic would be the people who would pick up on traveling to a resort to catch a snowfall.

 

The weather map is the content draw from which to dish resort ads.  The EpicSkiers than add value to the content with reviews of the ski areas including lodging etc, another big advertising group in addition to the ski area.  Hey want some new powder skis for that trip...StartHaus and SkiEssentials ads.

 

Current resorts page doesn't seem to have any function other than to show odd ball reviews where back of beyond ski areas are top of the scroll.

 

From a technology standpoint we are specators. Huddler owns and maintains the platform, we take care of the content. There are a lot of sites on the platform too, so they have to devote time to accommodating all of the sites requests. 

post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

 

From a technology standpoint we are specators. Huddler owns and maintains the platform, we take care of the content. There are a lot of sites on the platform too, so they have to devote time to accommodating all of the sites requests. 

 

Not to belabor the point but the changes made were to the content per the original complaint.

post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post
Not to belabor the point

 

There is a first for everything.  smile.gif

 

No content was harmed in the software push...only the way you see and access it.  The problem is that the Resorts were initially set up on a model intended to show reviews of products, and the one-size fits all model doesn't work.  Fortunately Huddler is in fact very responsive to our concerns and will engineer a solution that is better than what was there before, and likely to be innovative and a leader in the area.  These forums were "destroyed" when we initially came on-board with Huddler in 2009.  We had a perfectly functional vBulletin forum software, but our opportunity to create content and do more things for the members was limited by that particular model of one-size-fits-all.  While we didn't even have the tools to move posts back then, we now have a full-featured forum software as well as the ability to include the content for gear, reviews, group interactions as well as the forums. 

 

It sucks when you take a step backwards, but my expectation based on past experience is that we will progress much farther forward as a result.  The purpose of this thread started to report a problem, and has now evolved to creating the idea for what we would like the Resorts content area to become.  We have great content, created by our members.  It is some of the best impartial guides, reviews and what-to-do of anyplace on the internet.  The complaints are actually a compliment of what was lost with the new organization of the data.  Now we have the opportunity to improve on that, and dwelling on whether Huddler controls the site or not doesn't really get us there.

 

Epicski still strives to the the information source for dedicated skiers by dedicated skiers.  Sometimes we don't land the air.

post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post

 

Not to belabor the point but the changes made were to the content per the original complaint.

The OP (is that the "original complaint?") did not say anything about changes to content because there weren't any.  It was the format that changed, everything is still there.  We're talking about how to present it better.  It's like a new arrangement of a song, same tune but different setting, and we're trying to polish it up. (I know you love those musical analogies, that one's just for you.)

post #41 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

 

No content was harmed in the software push...only the way you see and access it.  Which is what the content is on a forum.  You can't separate the content and the "can".  Never saw the original Restorts but even the staff and super users seem to agree with the critique of the original poster that the change made it much less useful.  In my looking at Resorts for the purpose of booking a Spring break ski trip, it was of no use at all.

 

The problem is that the Resorts were initially set up on a model intended to show reviews of products, and the one-size fits all model doesn't work.  Fortunately Huddler is in fact very responsive to our concerns and will engineer a solution that is better than what was there before, and likely to be innovative and a leader in the area.  These forums were "destroyed" when we initially came on-board with Huddler in 2009.  We had a perfectly functional vBulletin forum software, but our opportunity to create content and do more things for the members was limited by that particular model of one-size-fits-all. 

 

No one in the world of forum software would consider dumping vBulletin a bad move.  They have become the poster child for dysfunctional software and how bad it can get when large corporation buys out an innovative supplier for vertical marketing. 

 

In turn, EpicSki is used by Huddler as its poster child for the good things that happen when forums move to Huddler though Huddler has had it's share of "destroyed" forums.

 

 

It just seemed like all the staff showed up and are saying "Yeah why'd they change it and here's what they should do to fix it".  Typically the staff at the administrator and manager levels are the one's making those decisions in the first place.

post #42 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

 

No content was harmed in the software push...only the way you see and access it.  Which is what the content is on a forum.  You can't separate the content and the "can".  Never saw the original Restorts but even the staff and super users seem to agree with the critique of the original poster that the change made it much less useful.  In my looking at Resorts for the purpose of booking a Spring break ski trip, it was of no use at all.

 

The problem is that the Resorts were initially set up on a model intended to show reviews of products, and the one-size fits all model doesn't work.  Fortunately Huddler is in fact very responsive to our concerns and will engineer a solution that is better than what was there before, and likely to be innovative and a leader in the area.  These forums were "destroyed" when we initially came on-board with Huddler in 2009.  We had a perfectly functional vBulletin forum software, but our opportunity to create content and do more things for the members was limited by that particular model of one-size-fits-all. 

 

No one in the world of forum software would consider dumping vBulletin a bad move.  They have become the poster child for dysfunctional software and how bad it can get when large corporation buys out an innovative supplier for vertical marketing. 

 

In turn, EpicSki is used by Huddler as its poster child for the good things that happen when forums move to Huddler though Huddler has had it's share of "destroyed" forums.

 

 

It just seemed like all the staff showed up and are saying "Yeah why'd they change it and here's what they should do to fix it".  Typically the staff at the administrator and manager levels are the one's making those decisions in the first place.

 Nope, we don't make those decisions. We are staff because we are members that care about the community, not employees that have been searched out. Our feedback is provided just like yours mostly. A few of us have direct communication with Huddler, but in general this is how we give them feedback. 

post #43 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

 Nope, we don't make those decisions. We are staff because we are members that care about the community, not employees that have been searched out. Our feedback is provided just like yours mostly. A few of us have direct communication with Huddler, but in general this is how we give them feedback. 

Exactly!  I for one am very much part time.  Much of what I do is not directly related to my job description, but I like volunteering my time and experience to contributing to the EpicSki community to make it better.

post #44 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

 Nope, we don't make those decisions. We are staff because we are members that care about the community, not employees that have been searched out. Our feedback is provided just like yours mostly. A few of us have direct communication with Huddler, but in general this is how we give them feedback. 


Sweet deal for Huddler.

 

Curious...who was the original founder of EpicSki?

post #45 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

 Nope, we don't make those decisions. We are staff because we are members that care about the community, not employees that have been searched out. Our feedback is provided just like yours mostly. A few of us have direct communication with Huddler, but in general this is how we give them feedback. 


Sweet deal for Huddler.

 

Curious...who was the original founder of EpicSki?

Someone who no longer actively posts here by the name of AC. A few of the staff and mods are long time posters, but the community has evolved over the past 15 years. I've only been here about 3.5, others have been here longer. This may prove helpful to your information quest: http://www.epicski.com/a/epicski-team 

post #46 of 64

A link in the footer of this page leads to Huddler home page and, from there, you can explore any number of other Huddler sites. Frankly, not all of the other sites need a platform that gives equal weight to, say, travel and travel-related experiences (resorts, backcountry destinations, etc,) as it does to consumer goods.  What would be the analogue of the EpicSki Resorts section, for example, on the Home Theater forum or the Denim Blog (the goal of which is "to be The best site on the Internet for Jeans"). Then again if the Smoking Meat Forums had a section called, say, Barbecue Bob's Rib Trips or Chubby's Guide to the Pig Meat Highway or something  like that, I'd sign up in a minute.

 

But there are also a fair number of Huddler sites that would be well served with a platform expansion that didn't try to fit the square peg of destinations, experiences, resorts, and other less tangible topics into the round hole of hard goods and other "stuff."   Cycling Forums, for example, could probably use a section that allows members to list, rate, and review various established bike rides (centuries, road races, scenic multi-day supported tours like Ragbrai and Cycle Oregon), The Sand Trap is another Huddler site that is hobbled by the same product-oriented design that treats Golf Courses as products in the same way that the EpicSki Resorts section treats ski areas as products).  And Stripers Online could probably use a fishing-destinations section. 

 

Hopefully they've got the engineering resources at Huddler to enhance their platform in a way that will improve not only the EpicSki Resorts section but that will also add value to these other sites as well. 

post #47 of 64

Excellent post Gnarlito!  The best way to get Huddler to focus its considerable engineering talent on a problem is the cross-platform applicability of features and function.

post #48 of 64

Strippers Online?

 

smile.gif

post #49 of 64

The change to the organization to the resorts section and some of the feedback you've been getting indicates to me a bit of breakdown in either (or both)  1) How Huddler keeps tracks of the need of a big (but not sole) customer 2) How EpicSki keeps track of how it's users use the system.

 

(I develop software systems for a living so this wouldn't be the first time 1) and 2) have happened.)

 

A fundamental feature (i.e. the pinned maps by state) was taken out. Where did that code go? I can see adding different paths/paradigms in a website, but you also have to keep track of what works and what people like.

post #50 of 64

Ratings/rankings have been fixed -- let me know if you see anything amiss. The maps on the category pages should be back in a couple of weeks.

 

The other suggestions will be compiled and sent along to the powers that be. 

post #51 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Ratings/rankings have been fixed -- let me know if you see anything amiss. The maps on the category pages should be back in a couple of weeks.

 

The other suggestions will be compiled and sent along to the powers that be. 


Could you explain the fix?  It isn't obvious to me.  I see that it's different, but I can't figure out what criteria are used and why a resort with a 95% is in front of one with 100% (of what I'm not sure).

post #52 of 64

We need regional rankings. A quick look at the sort by highest rated has Elk Mountain in Northeast PA ranked above Mad River Glen and both are ranked above Mt. Baker. Now how does a very good Mid-Atlantic resort rank above MRG or Mt. Baker?  You have Suga bush above Mammoth, Jay and Killington above Alpine Meadows and A-basin and we thought that Ski magazine rankings were bogus.There is no conceivable criteria that is relevant to a skier that could possibly explain this. 

post #53 of 64

Why not just state the formula or rationale  for the ranking and let members critique it.

post #54 of 64

We don't have any idea what the formula or criteria is.  Rankings have kinda been this way from the beginning...no rhyme or reason.

post #55 of 64
Quote:
Could you explain the fix?  It isn't obvious to me.  I see that it's different, but I can't figure out what criteria are used and why a resort with a 95% is in front of one with 100% (of what I'm not sure).

The goal is for these ranks to match the sort order you see for "highest rated" in the product's parent category. Highest rated is not just in order of overall stars. There's a bonus for having more reviews. A product that has an overall rating of 4 stars, with 50 reviews, may easily show up above a product that has 5-stars but only 1 review. 

post #56 of 64
Quote:
A fundamental feature (i.e. the pinned maps by state) was taken out. Where did that code go? I can see adding different paths/paradigms in a website, but you also have to keep track of what works and what people like.

 

The category maps will be back in a couple of weeks...

post #57 of 64
Quote:
We need regional rankings. A quick look at the sort by highest rated has Elk Mountain in Northeast PA ranked above Mad River Glen and both are ranked above Mt. Baker. Now how does a very good Mid-Atlantic resort rank above MRG or Mt. Baker?  You have Suga bush above Mammoth, Jay and Killington above Alpine Meadows and A-basin and we thought that Ski magazine rankings were bogus.There is no conceivable criteria that is relevant to a skier that could possibly explain this. 

We have regional rankings. The display has changed but the links are still there. 

From the main page: http://www.epicski.com/products/category/us-resorts scroll down below the featured resorts to the Categories menu and select the region of which you speak:

http://www.epicski.com/products/category/mid-atlantic-us-resorts

 

The items that are featured on the category pages just happen to be the newest reviews anyone wrote. These are displayed in most recent order, just as a forum shows the most recent activity at the top of the list. The top part of the page is not designed to showcase the best, highest rated, or most "mainstream" products in the database, but rather to show what users are writing about now


Edited by nolo - 3/14/13 at 2:04pm
post #58 of 64
Quote:

And what's with the staff of the website, from the Site Administrator,Resorts Page Editor and Chief Moderator posting "suggestions".  Who are they addressing in their messages? If the people running the website aren't making decisions and talk to the actual site managers by public forum messages, who is running the website?  The Great and Powerful Oz?

 

The website is a collaboration, eagles. Huddler handles the technology and we are responsible for keeping the community happy and content organized. I am the conduit between Huddler and EpicSki and that is why I need to get a very clear understanding of what the community wants from our resorts pages. 

post #59 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

We have regional rankings. The display has changed but the links are still there. 

From the main page: http://www.epicski.com/products/category/us-resorts scroll down below the featured resorts to the Categories menu and select the region of which you speak:

http://www.epicski.com/products/category/mid-atlantic-us-resorts

 

The problem is when you select US resorts and the select Highest Rates. The order I described above was from a national ranking. Sugarbush above Snowbasin,Elk above Mt. Baker? It just doesn't ring true to me. The reviews are weight too heavy to be relevant on a national scale. 

 

The items that are featured on the category pages just happen to be the newest reviews anyone wrote. These are displayed in most recent order, just as a forum shows the most recent activity at the top of the list. The top part of the page is not designed to showcase the best, highest rated, or most "mainstream" products in the database, but rather to show what users are writing about now.

 

I realize that but this should not be the first item you see when you begin a search for information about a particular resort. I know we want to feature our own members contributions but I'm afraid that this is a bit much. When I'm searching for resorts, I want factual information about a particular resort. I'll look for reviews after I find basic information first. Information that I did not seek is a distraction and frustrating. I'm inclined to take my search elsewhere when I feel I'm being "sold" something I'm not interested in.

 

To continue the comparison to the forums. When I search or participate in the forums I choose from a menu of items and when I pick the topic I'm interested in the first unread post is displayed on the topic I'm interested in. When I begin a search for resort information using the Resort tab on the home page I expect a geographic listing. Right now the most recent review is displayed and I must search for a menu that isn't even above the fold , so to speak.

post #60 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

 

The website is a collaboration, eagles. Huddler handles the technology and we are responsible for keeping the community happy and content organized. I am the conduit between Huddler and EpicSki and that is why I need to get a very clear understanding of what the community wants from our resorts pages. 

With respect to the rankings, I believe the community wants some combination of the following:

 

  • Rankings that make sense (they never have), or
  • An explanation of how the rankings are determined (previous posts have said nobody knows), or
  • Do away with them altogether (as a last resort)

 

It is very difficult to figure out the relationship between Epicski management and Huddler. It seems like Epicski management should either be the boss or the customer, but in many ways, Huddler seems to be running the show. I hope you aren't paying them very much.

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