History Interlude: BackpackGearTest
Dealing with those who do not complete tests
There was a problem identified and corrected in Late May 2003 on the BackpackGearTest group. The following message was posted as #32224 and is useful for those interested in testing gear to read and understand.
After many hours of debate, struggle, and agony, your Humble Servants, otherwise known as Moderators, and His Lordship, otherwise known as Jerry, have come up with a cunning plan to address some of the problems we've recently had (and always had) with gear that goes missing.
Every tester will be required to sign an agreement - a promise, if you will - that defines every Tester's relationship with BGT. It will outline your responsibility as a tester, and sort of make this whole process official.
The document will be released tomorrow, and every Tester will have an opportunity to review it and comment on it at that time. All such discussions should take place in the BGTWeb forum, and NOT on the main list.
Before anyone actually sees the document, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what it is, what it does, and why it is necessary so that there isn't any confusion tomorrow in the melee that will probably take place. We don't want to loose anybody in this process.
You aren't going to be required to sign your life away, or even to relinquish any rights. Nothing will really change. Testers will test, editors will edit, and moderators will moderate. Our relationship will just be slightly more formal, and we'll have a little more information about how to get in touch with you. Often we only have one contact number, and if you get killed in a rockslide or something, we'd really like to be able to find out what happened to you.
The problem, as
discussed, is explained by this list of statistics compiled by Stephanie.
SUMMARY OF DATA:
Number of testers we've had ever post an official test report: 154
Number of testers who've filed an official test report since 12/1/02: 77
Number of testers who've ever missed or filed late reports: 16
Total number of tests: 111
Number of tests with late or missing reports: 24
% tests affected: 21.6%
Number of tests with missing reports: 21
% tests affected: 18.9%
Total number if missing items: 25
A detailed list of things gone missing can be found at the end of this email. As you can imagine, since the manufactures give us gear on good faith, any breach of that faith hurts BGT - and in the end that hurts all of us.
As things stand now, that gear is just gone. Stolen. We don't have any recourse really. There isn't any agreement between BGT and the testers, just a promise on good faith.
Starting tomorrow, there will be an official agreement between BGT and the testers. If you sort through all the mumbo jumbo that's necessary to say it, the agreement boils down to this:
You promise to take gear, test it, and file your reports on time. If you don't, then you can be banned from testing. If you get banned, or if you simply cannot finish a test for whatever reason, then you promise to return the gear at your own expense. Life happens. Nobody is going to call your mother and tell her that you are a bad person if you can't complete a test. Every tester should have the honor and integrity to do their best to fulfill the promise they made when they took the gear. When we take gear from a manufacturer, we have made a promise. When you take it from us, you're making a promise both for yourself and for us. If you can't keep the promise, then please don't ruin the system for everyone else - send the gear back to us so that we can complete the tests. Otherwise BGT will die.
This agreement will be your promise.
In reality, we'd really MUCH rather have the reports than get the gear back.
So, watch for it tomorrow some time, and think about it in the mean time. We'd like to have everyone complete the form and send it in quickly so that we can get back on track, and back on mission. The summer is here, and the backpacking should be great. Please excuse the road bump.
If anybody is wondering, this message applies to everyone, newbies and long timers alike. Moderators too. The only person that doesn't have to fill one out is Jerry. (If you don't know why Jerry doesn't have to fill one out, ask him. He'll tell you.) ;)
Remember! Take this discussion to BGT!
Thank you for your time.
List of things gone missing or reports not filed:
In alphabetical order, they are:
1) Adventure Medical Bivvy - Reanne Hamel - Initial/Field Report not filed
2) Adventure Medical Extremity Warmers - Reanne Hamel - Initial/Field report not filed
3) Black Diamond Ion - Deanne Piskura - Field Report not filed
4) Brasslite Micro - Chris Parton - Field Report not filed, issue resolved honorably.
5) Brasslite Solo - John Burnet - Field Report not filed, purchased stove
6) Golite Trek - Susan Davis - Long Term Report not filed
7) Granite Gear Aurora - John Meyer - Initial Report not filed
8) Hennessy Explorer Ultralite Asym - John Burnet - Long Term Report not filed
9) Hennessy Safari Deluxe - David Spellman - Long Term Report Not filed (old test)
10) Hennessy Safari Deluxe - James Ball - Field Report not filed (old test)
11) Hennessy Safari Deluxe - Mike Welch - Field Report not filed (old test)
12) HSSC Dyno - John Meyer - Initial Report not filed
13) Lowe Ophir - Jerome Smith - Field Report not filed (old test)
14) Lowe Ophir - Jim Thompson - Long Term Report not filed (old test)
15) Maptech Terrain Navigator - Roy Massena - Long Term Report not filed (old test)
16) Moonbow Gearskin - John Burnet - Long Term Report not filed
17) Mt Washington Foam Pad - Brad Baker - Long Term Report not filed (old test)
18) Mt Washington Foam Pad - Emily Durrell - Long Term Report not filed (old test)
19) NEOS Navigator 5 - Susan Davis - Field Report not filed
20) Pac Flat Backpackers Grill - John Finston - Long Term Report not filed
21) Rain Shield Rain Gear - Alan Dixon - Long Term Report not filed (old test)
22) Red Ledge Thunderlight - Alan Dixon - Long Term Report not filed (old test)
23) Tektite Mini Trek - John Meyer - Initial Report not filed
24) Travel Medicine Insect Repellants - Deanne Piskura - Long Term Reort not filed
25) Wild Roses P Tights - Reanne Hamel - Initial Report not filed