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15→16→17→1800 Members

Glenn MacGrady

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Our site registered its 1,500th member this morning. We have had about 250 new members join since our migration to Xenforo eight months ago on August 30, 2021.

Just about eight years ago, Robin, who was then administrator, announced 400 members in THIS THREAD. At the time, he wrote:

"Although most new members are not active, it's good to know there is an audience out there and we appreciate the support.
Thanks to those who have made Canoetripping.net an interesting place to visit. There are a lot of options out there for those interested in paddling and this site is not about being the biggest or most popular, just a friendly little Canoe site with interesting threads.
Thanks"


I would reiterate what Robin said at the time with one exception. It is still true, unfortunately, that most members are not active and do not post. It is still true that this is a friendly site with interesting threads.

However, goals have evolved. I do now want CanoeTripping.net to be the most popular internet discussion site dedicated to canoes. We are still not the largest in terms of raw membership numbers and may never be, considering the inflated membership counts on some social media groups.

However and more importantly, I believe we already are the most popular traditional discussion site dedicated to canoes, measured by various things such as Google rankings, the number words per post, the number of posts per thread, the vastly greater number of photos and videos we post, and the in-depth nature of many discussion threads. I believe this site already has many hundreds, if not thousands, of threads that will be valuable sources of information and research for future generations of canoeists, read over and over and over again, instead of just disappearing into the transitory winds of superficial commentary.

Thanks to all of you who have supported this site with your many types of contributions. My future hope is that the non-posting members will increasingly begin to post, and the posting members will increasingly often create new threads.
 
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1,500 members, That’s great Glenn, well done. I was happy to just keep the site on line every morning and when we hit 400, well that was a big deal to me.
Thanks to you and all those who make this site so interesting and friendly every day. In the age of so many options, it’s great that we are continually growing yet keeping that “campfire” atmosphere.
 
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We are still not the largest in terms of raw membership numbers and may never be, considering the inflated membership counts on some social media groups.”

There are paddling boards with many thousands of members, kept afloat by the same 30-40 semi-regular contributors. Raw numbers are just that, raw; the total number of people who ever joined the forum, and not indicative of the current contributions.

And, honestly, being the biggest doesn’t always equate with being the best source of bona fide tried and true information.


However and more importantly, I believe we already are the most popular traditional discussion site dedicated to canoes, measured by various things such as Google rankings, the number words per post

Wait, the number of words per post has measured value? Glenn, you have my address, please send my trophy forthwith.
 
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Is bigger better?

The Northeast Paddling Message Board had at least a few thousand members at its peak. Today it is a dead zone.

Canadian Canoe Routes has almost 15,000 members. While still a valuable resource with quality information the number of regular posters may be a few dozen.

Paddling.com boasts 500,000 “unique views each month”. The quality of information there declined in inverse proportion to the numbers.

What was it Yogi Berra said? “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”
 
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I only found Paddling.com fairly recently and it wasn’t really… satisfactory. I didn’t like the way the forum portion displayed on mobile, and the info portion seems like one of those Amazon review aggregators. This site is far superior, and well, I’m here not there.
 
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I only found Paddling.com fairly recently and it wasn’t really… satisfactory. I didn’t like the way the forum portion displayed on mobile, and the info portion seems like one of those Amazon review aggregators. This site is far superior, and well, I’m here not there.
Perhaps I lack curiosity, but I have no interest in looking at other sites such as Paddling.com. I am completely satisfied here. Have been since day one. I once read a story about Paul Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward. Apparently, unlike most Hollywood stars, Paul did not have affairs. When asked about it, Paul responded, “Why would I go out for hamburger, when I have steak at home?”

I don’t have those devilishly blue eyes or the handsome looks of Paul Newman. Even so, to me, canoetripping.net is the Joanne Woowdward of paddling sites.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Most of us who have been around what used to be called bulletin boards, then discussion forums, and now community platforms (see the Xenforo copyright notice at the bottom of this page), have posted on many paddling boards, and some still do.

Some of those sites have died. Some are on very old software platforms. Some are dominated by kayakers. Some are fully commercialized and focus on ads and pushing products. Some are even owned by larger aggregation organizations that are focused solely on profits. Some have administrators who are not participants in the forum's subject matter. None is perfect.

Canadian Canoe Routes has almost 15,000 members. While still a valuable resource with quality information the number of regular posters may be a few dozen.

And if one particular member were to disappear, a large percentage of its word and picture count might go with him. (Wink.) CCR these days seems most valuable to me for its large historical repository of Canadian routes, most of which have few accompanying pictures or videos. It was purchased in 2007 by the Wilderness Canoe Association and it seems that the administrator has to deal with and review lots of even simple things with that organization's bureaucracy and budget.

Paddling.com boasts 500,000 “unique views each month”. The quality of information there declined in inverse proportion to the numbers.

If there has been a decline at p.com (I'm not sure), I don't think it has to do with an increased number of members.

It has been kayak dominant for at least 15 years, which is a distraction to many canoeist posters. A lot of strong posters left when the site went to a new and somewhat complicated, business-oriented software platform several years ago. Recently, the original owners sold the site to VerticalScope, which is the largest forum buyer-upper and profit aggregator, which a lot of members didn't like. I've been approached by an aggregator, too, but have no interest.

Of internet sites dedicated to canoes, even though we are one of the newest, I'd like to think we are the one with the best combination of member activity, modern software, a helpful community atmosphere with no trolling or other rudeness, and a complete absence of commercialization. Or if we aren't yet, I'll keep trying my best to become the best.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Another 100 members added in exactly two months, to 1600 today, even though I rejected quite a few as possible spammers over that time period. But the same phenomenon holds that very few of the new members post with regularity.

We probably would have had a lot more new members but for the fact that many (maybe most) of our Xenforo confirmation emails, which are part of the automated registration process, were getting blocked for some reason by some big email services such as Gmail. I solved that problem in late March by having our webmaster send the site's emails out via his email service. Confirmed registrations jumped up right away.
 
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If there has been a decline at p.com (I'm not sure), I don't think it has to do with an increased number of members.

It has been kayak dominant for at least 15 years, which is a distraction to many canoeist posters. A lot of strong posters left when the site went to a new and somewhat complicated, business-oriented software platform several years ago. Recently, the original owners sold the site to VerticalScope, which is the largest forum buyer-upper and profit aggregator, which a lot of members didn't like. I've been approached by an aggregator, too, but have no interest.
Some years ago I interviewed with VerticalScope for an IT position. Suffice it to say, I'm happy I did not accept the offer. At least at the time, it was a horribly toxic workplace, which I found out later. The main reason was that they had a rather concerning head-in-the-sand approach to a couple of major security breaches they fell victim to when I asked about them.

They've since been bought by Torstar (publisher of the Toronto Star, a major Toronto daily, among others), who I also worked for for a time, and whom I have nothing but good things to say about, so the situation may have improved since.

Of internet sites dedicated to canoes, even though we are one of the newest, I'd like to think we are the one with the best combination of member activity, modern software, a helpful community atmosphere with no trolling or other rudeness, and a complete absence of commercialization. Or if we aren't yet, I'll keep trying my best to become the best.
Having recently singed up here, I definitely notice the active and near daily participation of the administration, looking for interesting things to post and discuss. It's obvious that this is done not just as another participant, but as a caretaker actively looking to promote lively discussion.

As for the complete lack of commercialization, that does concern me slightly. Websites cost real money to run, maintain, and upgrade. That money has to come from somewhere. Without some kind of stable revenue, a site is always vulnerable to running out of funding. Generally, that "stable revenue" comes in the form of sponsored ads. A few well placed, thoughtful, and non-targeted ads, or vendor forums, would not be an egregious intrusion, IMO, but opinions on that matter span the entire spectrum.
 
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Glenn MacGrady

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As for the complete lack of commercialization, that does concern me slightly. Websites cost real money to run, maintain, and upgrade. That money has to come from somewhere. Without some kind of stable revenue, a site is always vulnerable to running out of funding. Generally, that "stable revenue" comes in the form of sponsored ads. A few well placed, thoughtful, and non-targeted ads, or vendor forums, would not be an egregious intrusion, IMO, but opinions on that matter span the entire spectrum.

PacketFlend, in its 11 years this site has never had an advertisement and has always been self-supported by voluntary contributions from the membership via periodic fund raising drives, approximately annually.

Upon becoming administrator a year ago, I managed the site through a complex migration from the very buggy vBulletin software platform to our now very stable Xenforo platform, reorganized a lot of things, and cut all costs substantially. To do that, I had to dip into some personal funds temporarily, but it was more than recouped by a very successful post-migration fundraiser. The financial report can be read in this thread:


I do not expect to need another fund raiser for about another year, and may say more about that on our Xenforo anniversary in a few days.
 
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The lack of commercialization is becoming rare. I’d be happy to contribute to keep it ad free. I use an ad blocker on sites that do commercialize, or I just stay away from them. Especially the ones with the gross bizarro click-baity ads.
 
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