A Call for Participation
I’ve been getting feedback. Yes, from time to time someone will approach me and let me know that they like some of the posts I wrote. This feels good; sometimes I think nobody’s reading. However, blog writing is mostly a one way thing, I write, and you read, and sometimes some of you comment.
I was thinking how nice it would be if there was some way to incorporate other voices into the conversation, and I had two ideas.
The first is that it would be nice of someone else’s opinion besides my own could be heard. Now, blogging about SAR is really writing to a very small audience; mostly other SAR people, and some backcountry enthusiasts. And if there’s anything I know about those two groups it’s this; they have opinions, and they don’t all agree with me.
It’s not always easy to write a blog; you may have this one really important thing you want to share, and just not have any other good ideas yet. It might seem like a lot of work to start a blog, only to have this one lonely article on there, and you watching your hit counter while you sit in your basement wondering why nobody wants to read what you’re writing. Not that I do that.
However, if you could write this one article and share it with a ready-made audience, and it’s bundled with other related articles, well that’s a lot like publishing in a magazine or something. The site has readers, subscribers, and daily traffic, and you have something to say.
So I’d like to put this invitation out there; if there’s any of you have have something to contribute I’d like to hear from you. You write something, and if it fits into the general theme of this blog, you can publish it here. You get full credit can can license the work any way you like (currently everything here is covered under Creative Commons), and you get full credit including links to whatever profile web site you want.
Of course if nobody takes me up on this offer, I’ll just keep writing my opinions and you’ll just keep reading them. Forever.
Yes, a forum.
I hate forums. I hate logging in, I hate making up a user name and a password, I hate the ads, I hate how they look. I hate having to search through page after page of flaming, uninformed, ignorant people posting stupid comments in order to find the single gem of information I need to get something done.
On the other hand, they are useful for dialogue, and that’s something I think is lacking in the SAR community. So my second idea is to install some forum software and invite SAR members from all over the province or country to participate.
I know we already have the BCSARA forum, but in my humble opinion it’s under used, difficult and very formal. I am suggesting something simple and a lot less formal, but still useful for interacting for other interested SAR members.
I actually mocked this up a few days back. It actually only took me 45 minutes to install and configure VanillaForums on my server. It doesn’t require you to create an account since you can just use a Google, OpenID, Twitter or Facebook account to authenticate.
Anyway, it’s a suggestion; I could easily host a forum here, but only if I get some feedback telling me it’s worthwhile. I think I’d need between 10 and 20 people who’d “commit” to giving it a try.
So some examples might be good.
SAR in BC also includes road rescue, which teams on the south coast don’t do. I’d like to hear from that aspect of SAR. You might have a particular piece of gear you’d like to review. You might like to send some public feedback to one of the major agencies (like I often do). You might want to point out that there’s a trend or pattern in some of the rescues you do. You might just want to tell the story of one of the more interesting searches you’ve been on.
In the forums, which I envision to be private and not accessible to the general public, you may want to discuss some of the more technical aspects of SAR. What gear to buy, techniques to use, etc. Open up about what your team does and get honest feedback from other teams in order to make SAR safer, and better in BC.
If you’re interested in either of these proposals, contact me.
A NS GSAR volunteer here. I was curious if you ever got feedback on this idea. I’m looking into setting up a forum for Nova Scotia GSAR for mostly the same reasons you are.
Stephen, I got a bit of feedback from a few people, mostly people I already know.
At first I thought about creating a forum and a web site. The issues were how to “vet” SAR volunteers (who’s a member and who isn’t) — and should the site be public or by invitation only. In BC each SAR team is very independent, and is charge of who they take on as members.
The fact is that here in BC there is already a BC Search and Rescue association forum, and even that is not well used. In my opinion it would be better to improve the existing site than to create a “competitor”. That’s why I’ve dropped the issue for now.