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Webmaster
Hi everyone,

I've been sneaking new stuff onto the site lately. A few weeks ago, we added phone number for campgrounds. About 60% of the campgrounds in the system now have phone number, and hopefully all of them will be in there by the end of the year.

Today I moved Sewer and WiFi up in the ammenities, so that electric, water, sewer, and wifi were together.

Today I also added the ability to view other a users other reviews, and changed it so that campground links as well as the other reviews links will open in new windows or tabs depending on your web browser. The reviews without these links are either from one-hit-wonders, or are too old to have the required information to link them in.

Viewing users other reviews will help everyone to weed out bad reviews or bad reviewers. Some people aren't happy anywhere, and this will show those people. I'm sure you will also find some campground owners that have posted reviews, and some will stick out like sore thumbs when you view all their reviews together. (If you find any of these, please email me the CGID of the campground and the text of the the reviewers review.)

Your reviews are what makes the site great, and hopefully these new additions will make your experience even better on the site.

More coming soon!
bumsky2
Great new feature addition to the postings. I have often wondered exactly what type person rated our favorite park low when all the other ratings were 10 of 10. Tonight I looked at the other 72 reviews this person posted on this particular park and as I thought,,,,maybe 5 out of 72 postings were 10/10, with most being 6 or less without much explanation. Like you said some people will never be happy and this clearly let you know the hard to please camper from the ones that come for a great visit rather than to nit pick a place to pieces. Thank you for adding the option to see what type person we're hearing from.
DXSMac
Fantastic! Now we can see how many reviews each reviewer has done.

JJ
BBear
Great additions!!!
Cheryl
Great feature and you were still able to keep the reviewers anonymous!

Definitely no webmaster abuse needed here!!!!!
wprigge
Webmaster, you did it again! Made an already top site even better. Thanks for the good job!
OldSoldier
I think I should say "ditto" for all the changes. This is just great. I love the ability to see other reviews posted by a particular rater. Sometimes if there is an anomalous rating in a string of ratings now you can get some perspective from previous (or lack of) posts by the anomalous poster.

Actually, it's easy to categorize the basher as well as the one-time owner trying to save his CGs ratings with a rebuttal.

GOOD WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! biggrin.gif

CHEER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ohmy.gif

WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! cool.gif
Texasrvers
Looks like all the early risers voiced my thoughts long before I opened my eyes this morning so I will just say ditto to all the other comments. Also thanks to the webmaster. You done good!!!!!
Butch
Changes-changes-changes, but all for the good of the website.
Thank you,
gwbischoff
I'm giddy...

Just an idea going forward. The addition of a picture(s) would be great. I don;t know how it would affect the site's bandwidth, etc. But if a user were able to upload a picture of their site (and not have to depend on the campground's website or brochure) that would be great.

But, again, great job!
Texasrvers
I have spent all afternoon reading and comparing reviews. It has been both a lot of fun and very informative. It has confirmed some of the things that I (and probably others) suspected. For instance, I was looking at one reviewerís posts and discovered that he/she gave a lot of 1ís and 2ís to places that normally got 8-10ís. But the really interesting thing was that I could also see that this person had reviewed the same places again a few months later with pretty much the same ratings and comments. I canít believe this person stayed at all these parks a second time after blasting them the first time so I can only assume he/she added a second review to make the place look really bad. Being able to see that the bad reviews were from the same person certainly affects my consideration of staying at the place. This is just one example how this new feature will be valuable to us, and Iím sure there will be other ways also. In addition I hope this will help keep reviewers a little more honest and objective so that campgrounds will truly get the ratings they deserveógood or bad.
gwbischoff
Yeah, no kidding.

I just was looking at a few that rated about a dozen or so parks with every one rated at a 1 or a 2.

I'm trying to figure out if they just use this site as a b!7ch-board, the campgrounds are really that bad, or if they're just angry people.

Man, if you're having that bad of a time everytime you go out just sell the dang thing.
jojolima
Great Improvement. If a person has made only a few reviews about the same park, the reviews do not have much value.

Most of the reviewers do an OUTSTANDING job. I really learn from the comments.

Keep up the good work. I do not think that the picture idea will work. Slow load when you are "on the road".

Keep up the good work!!!!!!
Testudo
Way to go, "Webmaster" !!!

I _like_ the new feature. It provides good evidence of the reviewer's general point of view...

QUOTE
Some people aren't happy anywhere, and this will show those people. I'm sure you will also find some campground owners that have posted reviews, and some will stick out like sore thumbs when you view all their reviews together.


No kidding! After spotting the new feature, I quickly went and checked out an example review -- someone with a good number of posts, and, found that the chosen individual was _never_ happy with _anyplace_ he/she had ever stayed [grin!]. I had stayed at one of the places on the resulting comparison output page and I found the review both harsh and focused on issues that the campground management had no control over (eg. -- the weather !!!). Don't get me wrong, _commenting_ on the weather or the cleanlines of the bathrooms when you were _there_ is one thing but 'scoring' the management on the weather is something else [grin!].

To some extent, everybody is going to have a different concept of the point scoring. Some people are going to be minimalists (if it seemed like a campground, it gets a 'half-star') and some people are going to assign a '10' to every campground that they find merely 'adequate'. Personally, I think I would be shooting for an objective scoring system that would tend to average around '6' or '7' points. I've been using a system ("scoring at home") based on campground "attractiveness"; area attractions; campground facilities; attitude of owners and staff; and big-rig accessibility (...which I could care less about, but, big-rig owners are the dominant users here). I use a simple averaging system based on either 'average', 'below average', and 'above average', appraisals and find the results to be consistent with my overall sense of my campground experiences.

QUOTE
Great feature and you were still able to keep the reviewers anonymous!


You lost me, there, 'Cheryl' (if that _really_ is your name [grin!]). Why do the reviews need to be "anonymous"??? Since the 'user name' is "made-up" (anonymous), if you want it to be, why is that a problem? I don't believe 'Cheryl Fuller' is really Cheryl Fuller, for example. Probably just a made-up name for commercial purposes, like "Tom Cruise" or "George Bush" [grin!].

While I find the new feature _very_ useful, I would still like to see the user name appended to the review. Other than limitations of the database, I can't really see why this would be a problem or a 'bad thing'. If someone is using their real name (not really a good idea, online!) and would prefer anonymity, it seems to me they could simply start a new (anonymous) user name and go forward with that.

QUOTE
Just an idea going forward. The addition of a picture(s) would be great. I don;t know how it would affect the site's bandwidth, etc. But if a user were able to upload a picture of their site (and not have to depend on the campground's website or brochure) that would be great.


A picture that conveyed the feeling of a campground, would be nice -- especially for non-commercial campgrounds where pictures are seldom otherwise available. Pictures stored off site (eg. PHOTOBUCKET) would have no real impact as far as phpBB is concerned. I don't see why the review screen _couldn't_ generate a picture (supplied as a JPEG path). A lot of phpBB webmasters don't like to have HTML turned _on_ (thus necessitating the use of JPEG images stored on sharing sites like PHOTOBUCKET) because of the security hastles. This makes it more difficult for end users to successfully deal with pictures. Also, there is the problem of getting useful and appropriate pictures that are properly sized for the review output page. 'Deceased' JPEG pathways would generate a lot of 'noise' in the body of the review page and/or result in a considerable maintenance chore (prunning the 'dead' paths).

QUOTE
I do not think that the picture idea will work. Slow load when you are "on the road".


This is not a problem since phpBB allows the end user to 'turn off' pictures for use in low bandwidth applications. Still, I think there are probably too many 'look and feel' issues that would sway 'Webmaster' away from allowing pictures in the body of the review. Not the same thing, but if somebody really wanted to share pictures, they could do so in a Forum topic and maybe 'Webmaster' would see fit to allow a reference in the review to pictures available in the Forum.
gwbischoff
I think that the reviews should still remain anonymous.

There's too much potential for a war of words based on a review and then it can become personal.

I found out something about myself, too. I looked over the collection of my reviews and noticed that the vast majority were in the 6-8 range. I was wondering if that was due to the fact that I'm easily pleased or if it is because I try to do my homework and don't take a huge amount of risks when picking a CG.
Cheryl
QUOTE
Why do the reviews need to be "anonymous"??

I think having to put a name (real or your user name) on your review would stop some people from submitting reviews. If you gave a bad review to a place that some people love, they would really jump all over you on this forum. Nobody should have to be attacked for giving their personal opinion on a place.
Yes, it really is my name.
Texasrvers
I am also on the side of keeping reviews anonymous.

GW: I think you probably rate places in the 6-8 range for both of the reasons you mention. You probably are easy to please and you do your homework so that you know you are picking a good park. Both of these things make for a much more pleasant stay.
gwbischoff
QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Oct 25 2007, 07:14 PM) *

I am also on the side of keeping reviews anonymous.

GW: I think you probably rate places in the 6-8 range for both of the reasons you mention. You probably are easy to please and you do your homework so that you know you are picking a good park. Both of these things make for a much more pleasant stay.


Yeah, I'd agree. I think that there are a lot of people who make their camping choice based on price alone. Some on necessity and I understand that.

We're also the type of campers who do a lot of activities while on vacation. Frankly, we don't spend a heckuva lot of time in the campground itself. Once our kids are older and on their own and my wife and I are in a position to spend more time "at camp" I might get a little more super-critical of campsites. But, for right now, if a CG meets our basic needs and is relatively quiet, it's a 7.
rodman
QUOTE(gwbischoff @ Oct 26 2007, 11:20 AM) *

QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Oct 25 2007, 07:14 PM) *

I am also on the side of keeping reviews anonymous.

GW: I think you probably rate places in the 6-8 range for both of the reasons you mention. You probably are easy to please and you do your homework so that you know you are picking a good park. Both of these things make for a much more pleasant stay.


Yeah, I'd agree. I think that there are a lot of people who make their camping choice based on price alone. Some on necessity and I understand that.

We're also the type of campers who do a lot of activities while on vacation. Frankly, we don't spend a heckuva lot of time in the campground itself. Once our kids are older and on their own and my wife and I are in a position to spend more time "at camp" I might get a little more super-critical of campsites. But, for right now, if a CG meets our basic needs and is relatively quiet, it's a 7.



I"m with you. Our kids are grown but We also do our homework and try and visit good campgrounds. We really haven't been out of the state, our jobs don't allow the time needed yet so we are used to paying higher prices here in California. We like the coast and most places are $65 and up. Compare that to a hotel room right on the beach at $200+ it's a bargain. My ratings are around 7 or 8's. Haven't had the pleasure yet of a 1 or 2.

Just my opinion
gwbischoff
QUOTE(rodman @ Oct 26 2007, 02:54 PM) *

QUOTE(gwbischoff @ Oct 26 2007, 11:20 AM) *

QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Oct 25 2007, 07:14 PM) *

I am also on the side of keeping reviews anonymous.

GW: I think you probably rate places in the 6-8 range for both of the reasons you mention. You probably are easy to please and you do your homework so that you know you are picking a good park. Both of these things make for a much more pleasant stay.


Yeah, I'd agree. I think that there are a lot of people who make their camping choice based on price alone. Some on necessity and I understand that.

We're also the type of campers who do a lot of activities while on vacation. Frankly, we don't spend a heckuva lot of time in the campground itself. Once our kids are older and on their own and my wife and I are in a position to spend more time "at camp" I might get a little more super-critical of campsites. But, for right now, if a CG meets our basic needs and is relatively quiet, it's a 7.



I"m with you. Our kids are grown but We also do our homework and try and visit good campgrounds. We really haven't been out of the state, our jobs don't allow the time needed yet so we are used to paying higher prices here in California. We like the coast and most places are $65 and up. Compare that to a hotel room right on the beach at $200+ it's a bargain. My ratings are around 7 or 8's. Haven't had the pleasure yet of a 1 or 2.

Just my opinion


I hear you. When I see people complaining about spending $25 for a campsite I immediately think to myself "You don't stay in California much, do you?". Everything's relative. If you can find a good $20/night place out here tell me...

But I digress...

Keep up the good work with the upgrades...
DXSMac
QUOTE(gwbischoff @ Oct 25 2007, 11:29 AM) *

I found out something about myself, too. I looked over the collection of my reviews and noticed that the vast majority were in the 6-8 range. I was wondering if that was due to the fact that I'm easily pleased or if it is because I try to do my homework and don't take a huge amount of risks when picking a CG.


Yepper, I tend to average 5-8 myself. I think I start with a "5", and work up or down.

As for the "should they or should they not" be annonymous...... Let's test this out. I'll volunteer to be a "guinea pig." I'll reveal a review that I did, and then you will see all other reviews I did. My favorite review that I posted, and I'm proud of how I worded it, is Paradise Point State Park in Ridgefield, WA. Ok, you all look at that one, and you will see my other reviews!

Then, we can decide if we want to stay "anonymous." tongue.gif

JJ
LRebich
I would be a nice feature to include a Google Earth link with each park/campground. For example link to this one:

http://www.buygold.net/tripusa2007/GoogleE...RV%20Resort.kml

The park I'm staying at now.

Cheers,
Larry
Parkview
biggrin.gif

I love the new feature. It allows me to look at other reviews of people that have posted reviews of our park. That puts their review of our park in much greater perspective.

Thanks! Doug
Texasrvers
LRebich,

Someone else on this forum posted this site quite some time ago.

www.epgsoft.com/CampgroundMap/


Course this is not an individual link with the actual review, but at least you can look up the CG/park on a Google Earth map.
Testudo
QUOTE(gwbischoff @ Oct 25 2007, 01:29 PM) *

I think that the reviews should still remain anonymous.

There's too much potential for a war of words based on a review and then it can become personal.


Well, actually, I would welcome people exploring the reasons for the numbers that I come up with or other notions about the campground I might put in the text of the review. It really isn't clear to me how that would start a proverbial 'food fight'. I would welcome people paying heed to my reviews because they feel I'm consistent. I would welcome people PMing me in regard to questions about the campground reviewed because some concern of theirs didn't make it into the body of the review.

Of course, people that are inconsistent or who become known for downgrading a campground based on the weather, the tides, or the phases of the moon, are going to tend to be ignored. But wouldn't that be justice ??? After all, right now, they pretty much get away with wasting everyone else time with their useless reviews. Most of my time, now, is spent trying to filter out the wheat from the chaff. I know there are honest reviews out there but it can sometimes be hard to determine if a campground is really that bad or if a couple of people who are mad at the world have just managed to trash it. The corallary is the same: I have been to campgrounds that nearly everyone rates a '10' but where I would objectively rate the campground significantly lower. I can see how this can legitimately happen, but I'd like to have the chance to discount those inconsistant reviewers during my analysis.
Testudo
QUOTE
I hear you. When I see people complaining about spending $25 for a campsite I immediately think to myself "You don't stay in California much, do you?". Everything's relative. If you can find a good $20/night place out here tell me...

I certainly think that it's fair to comment on the pricing in the review but I don't think it should ever figure into the rating. All of us have different pain thresholds when it comes to camping fees. It is service enough to objectively rate the campground and then let the user decide if it merits the cost. If I feel something is a particularly good or bad value, however, I'm not going to hesitate to mention that in the text of the review.

One thing that I figured out when I bought an RV was that a lot of people counted on 'life' being free from there on out (after they dropped a hundred thousand dollars on the RV). Of course, their troubles were just beginning. The bottom line is, though, that a surprising number of RVers feel that it is their _right_ to have a free place to camp. They really get bent out of shape when they hear that some municipality is 'taking in the welcome mat' at the local WALMART.
Testudo
QUOTE(Cheryl @ Oct 25 2007, 04:36 PM) *

QUOTE
Why do the reviews need to be "anonymous"??

I think having to put a name (real or your user name) on your review would stop some people from submitting reviews. If you gave a bad review to a place that some people love, they would really jump all over you on this forum. Nobody should have to be attacked for giving their personal opinion on a place.
Yes, it really is my name.

But (it really is your name) and you are are pretty much naked here in the forum -- yet you still post. Couldn't someone just as easily jump all over you here ??? Actually, more easily since this forum is a give and take sort of medium while the reviews are in a database -- there is no way to directly comment on a review -- save for following it with a direct comment in another review (which can happen _now_, anyway). It seems to me that it would be easy enough to make a rule against that. If you took exception to a comment directed at your review by a following review, you could press the 'panic button' so that the 'webmaster' could edit out those 'illegal' comments.

There are lots of people in the world that know who 'Testudo' is but they are mostly 'grownups' so I'm not too worried. I _would_ be a little worried if I had pasted my real name up there. It is hard to predict in this day and age how that information might be used. A little bit of a veil goes a long way and is a good thing. I would think that the 'webmaster' would be very amenable to having people change their (real) screen names to some fictional screen name if they were so inclined and had second thougths about using their real names. Having a transparent screen name just makes good sense regardless of whether or not the screen name of the submitter is being displayed in the reviews.
igor2brvn
The ability to easily see a reviewer's other reviews is a very helpful tool. Thanks, Webmaster!
RLM
Thanks to the generosity of the Webmaster, I have been allowed to post a lot of reviews on this site. Some of those reviews have conflicted with other opinions on a campground and I have said as much in the review. I made every attempt to be tactful and anti-inflammatory in doing so. I am not interested in being right, but rather giving the right information that may be helpful to someone looking into a particular campground. We all have a personal standard for any stay at a campground, but that should not be the criteria for any rating. When giving a review, if we can detach ourselves from personal preferences and comfort, then the ratings will be mostly accurate. It is also appropriate to remember that we have different rigs. What may be important for the luxury coach is not so for the tent camper. Think about both parties when providing a review.

I donít know where my number average is in the rating process, but it doesnít matter. I suspect that itís higher than most despite the fact that Iím a hard rater. That is because I seek out the better campgrounds in the first place. Thanks to those on this site who do accurate ratings, include info about the basics and additional amenities, and leave out the non-essential personal opinions, Iíve been happy with most of my choices of places to stay. I thank all of you for that input.

As for the anonymity issue, I would respectfully suggest this Ė The best way to win an argument is not to participate in it. I love the DELETE button.
Butch
RLM you started me thinking and wondering what the average rating number was for the reviews we had done. We have an average of just shy of seven, (6.78). We have not reviewed a great number of Cgs, fourteen, as we have chosen to return to the same local acceptable establishments. We do not have the time off, at this point, to travel longer distances, the wife is still working. We keep telling ourselves, "some day" !! But we do spend the month of September traveling and visiting points of interests within the State of Maine. We have visited Maine every year for the last twenty.
Cheryl
QUOTE
But (it really is your name) and you are are pretty much naked here in the forum -- yet you still post. Couldn't someone just as easily jump all over you here ???

Yes it is easy to get "jumped on" here. That's why I usually just post if I have helpful information and very rarely do I post in threads that have a lot of "personal" opinions.
mastercraft
I like the new features. It really helped when deciding on a campground for our upcoming trip in December. I happened to find a reviewer who had stayed at some of the same type of campgrounds we use and rated them similar to us. I have also found we frequent the same campgrounds every year like Butch, so our ratings average out to be around 8. I am also like several others in that I do my homework, so we tend to stay at some of the better campgrounds and resorts.
I would also like to commend the webmaster on a job well done. Due to this site, we had an outstanding month long trip this summer because we were able to pick campgrounds and parks that suited our needs.
FosterImposters
--------------------
QUOTE(Webmaster @ Oct 23 2007, 05:38 PM) *

Hi everyone,

I've been sneaking new stuff onto the site lately... More coming soon!

--------------------

I am loving this site! Very cool to click on all the other places a reviewer has made postings. Thanks for a great place to do research AND the chance to share ideas with the FORUM feature.
Jerry S.
Like many others, I am getting a kick out of being able to peruse all the reviews of any poster. I particularly enjoy checking out the reviews of of some of the more active (30+ reviews) members. I was originally interested in seeing how their opinions of parks I have been to compare to mine. While doing this I began to notice some minor, but interesting, inconsistencies in some of the reviews of some of these reviewers. One said "never give a 10" but had given several 10s 6-12 months earlier. Another said "doesn't give many 10s", but had given almost 20 before that and about 25 overall. Having personally been to 14 of those 25 parks, I was curious about why my 8s and 9s were 10s to him/her. It seems to boil down to them having a big rig with satellite TV and phone WIFI, thus not needing park provided Cable or WIFI. They also seem not to care about recreational facilities (pool, playground, etc.) . As long as the park and its' sites can handle their rig and they have no problems, the park can get a 10. Another example of differnt strokes.
Big Ben
Jerry, I feel the same way. It would have to be an awwsome park to rate a 10. There are many that give 10s just because they have a good time. Maybe we need a fun rating.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Big Ben @ Dec 5 2007, 08:28 AM) *

Jerry, I feel the same way. It would have to be an awwsome park to rate a 10. There are many that give 10s just because they have a good time. Maybe we need a fun rating.


I think, among the many "individual things" we have to say yes or no to, the webmaster should add.... "staff helpful?"

To me, a great staff that bends over backwards to help you out deserves a point or two.....

JJ
dog bone
i like seeing all the reviews. good idea and good job webmaster. this is a great site.
the idea about putting the campground staff up in individual things is another good idea.
Capper
Hi folks

Just put some reviews on the site this afternoon. Love the new addition of seeing how many reviews a person has done as it helps judge the review.
However the new addition of a split screen on the listing of the reviews under a campground makes it very difficult to read the reviews easily. What do other people think or is it me?

Capper in snowy Colorado
Texasrvers
Stupid me. I thought the new format for the reviews screen was a hugh goof-up. Now that I realize this was done on purpose I have to say no no no no no! This is not good. You constantly have to scroll back and forth as well as up and down. A huge inconvenience.

Webmaster, I know you were trying to make an improvement and I still appreciate your time and effort to make this a good site. But this newest change is not for the better. Perhaps you could explain why you made this change and how it was supposed to be an improvement.
RLM
QUOTE(Butch @ Nov 9 2007, 07:23 AM) *

RLM you started me thinking and wondering what the average rating number was for the reviews we had done. We have an average of just shy of seven, (6.78). We have not reviewed a great number of Cgs, fourteen, as we have chosen to return to the same local acceptable establishments. We do not have the time off, at this point, to travel longer distances, the wife is still working. We keep telling ourselves, "some day" !! But we do spend the month of September traveling and visiting points of interests within the State of Maine. We have visited Maine every year for the last twenty.


Butch> You are making me jealous. I have wanted to do Maine for several years now, but for one reason or the other, it hasn't happened. When it does, I'll be asking for your opinions on where and what to do.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Dec 7 2007, 06:15 PM) *

Stupid me. I thought the new format for the reviews screen was a hugh goof-up. Now that I realize this was done on purpose I have to say no no no no no! This is not good. You constantly have to scroll back and forth as well as up and down. A huge inconvenience.

Webmaster, I know you were trying to make an improvement and I still appreciate your time and effort to make this a good site. But this newest change is not for the better. Perhaps you could explain why you made this change and how it was supposed to be an improvement.


I didn't like it, either! Perhaps this change saves space or saves bytes or something...... I can only guess that the Webmaster was "saving" something......... At first I thought, "But that campground had more reviews than that, where did they go?" Then I realized it was a scrolling thing.

JJ
FosterImposters
-----------------------------
'Capper' date='Dec 7 2007:
...However the new addition of a split screen on the listing of the reviews under a campground makes it very difficult to read the reviews easily. What do other people think or is it me?

------------------------------

I'm with Capper...thought I had 'diminished' or somehow 'weirded out' my fonts...thus have to scroll right/left to read the actual review.

Webmaster: is there a screen setting you are using that keeps the review portion from wrapping with a scroll-bar?
wprigge
Looks like I'm a minority of one, but I actually like the new split screen. It means I don't have to scroll down the 37 posts for one particular campground to have a quick look at all the campgrounds in popular places where there are several parks.
Texasrvers
wprigge,

I see what you are talking about and I agree that the new format makes it easier to scroll down through all the different campgrounds listed for one city. But that back and forth scrolling of the actual review drives me crazy! What if the reviews were still in up and down scroll format under the city, but make them a full screen width instead of the half screen. Wouldn't that be the best of both formats?

How about it webmaster? Is that possible?
Texasrvers
Thanks for going back to a more readable format!
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