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John S.
Well. I have seen traffic slow down here. Now over on vr.net there is a thread going about deferred and changed reviews. I guess selling the site adjusted the review process to the new owners taste. Sad the see a fine site start to die. Sure you can say it is not, but there is a Facebook page that has lots of reviews and other places on iPhone apps. I can say I went here first to check but since I have found the reviews to be bland I have started checking other places. I want to know if management is a pain or is ok. I want to know if the place is a 10 or a dump. I care if wifi is working or how well. I want the flavor as well as the numbers. Just a heads up from a long time member that you are losing your audience and you might look to change that.
dalsgal
Funny how people see chat about problems on this site but only see them on other sites. I think it is just people that are trying to stir up trouble. I don't see that we are loosing any members here. The only complaints I have seen are from people that are new here and didn't bother to read the rules first and then come and complain about that. IMHO this is the best ratings site out there.
A.E.Michell
QUOTE(dalsgal @ Apr 19 2014, 08:54 PM) *

Funny how people see chat about problems on this site but only see them on other sites. I think it is just people that are trying to stir up trouble. I don't see that we are loosing any members here. The only complaints I have seen are from people that are new here and didn't bother to read the rules first and then come and complain about that. IMHO this is the best ratings site out there.

This is a great forum and girl many like me the first place I look to stay. I will continue to do so and hope others do as well.
Andy R
John, thanks for taking the time to post your feedback. You are correct that there is an awful lot of competition springing up across the web. I have been a fan of RVPR for many many years and expressed the same concern to the previous owner. He finally realized he didn't have the resources available to push things to the next level so he bestowed that honor on me.

We take user feedback very seriously and I appreciate your taking the time to give us your feedback. I agree that allowing our members to leave more data on other aspects of the park is important. We plan to roll out a new version of the website in the coming months. At that time users will be able to rate campgrounds on Value, Service, Campsites & Cleanliness. It's very possible that we might have some campgrounds that have great facilities, offer an exceptional value but have very poor service. That is important information when researching campgrounds and we want to make sure and collect more info so everyone can make an informed decision.

As for Wifi, we plan to roll out some smartphone apps which will include some features to better understand connectivity options and how well they work. That's a biggies these days!

To set the record strait, numbers are not on the decline here. The number of submitted reviews is on par or slightly up from the past and we plan to make some changes that should help us increase the submission of data significantly.

We also plan to be a little more lenient when it comes to deferring reviews based on grammatical issues. That being said, we will continue to have clear guidelines outlining our standards and reviews which do not meet out standards will be deferred. RVPR is intended to be an informational site with high quality reviews about the campgrounds.

RVPR is not intended as a dispute resolution service. Sometimes members encounter a terrible experience at a park and come here to "get even" by posting about their experience and not an actual review of the campground, facilities, etc. In very limited cases we will defer the user and suggest they take their issue to the Better Business Bureau. I suspect it's often in these cases where this person then runs to another site to start a discussion to make us look bad for deferring their complaint.

We understand that poor customer service is an important attribute to track and will allow users to rate service in the next release.

Lastly, to address some rumors that float around on RV.net, I own this site and I have never owned a campground in my life. The previous owner never owned a campground either.

Thanks for being a long time members & thanks again for voicing your concerns. We are working diligently to make sure RVPR can evolve and remain the #1 place for RVers to research for campgrounds.

Kind Regards,

Andy R
GandJ
QUOTE(Andy R @ Apr 21 2014, 10:51 AM) *


...To set the record strait...

We also plan to be a little more lenient when it comes to deferring reviews based on grammatical issues. That being said, we will continue to have clear guidelines outlining our standards and reviews which do not meet out standards will be deferred. RVPR is intended to be an informational site with high quality reviews about the campgrounds.


I really don't mind corrections to grammar and/or spelling. ('strait'? really???). But when you reject reviews that include who/what entity owns a campground, it diminishes the usefulness and honesty of the review.

Let the facts flow, eh?

docj
QUOTE(GandJ @ Apr 21 2014, 01:58 PM) *

I really don't mind corrections to grammar and/or spelling. ('strait'? really???). But when you reject reviews that include who/what entity owns a campground, it diminishes the usefulness and honesty of the review.

Let the facts flow, eh?


If you are referring to the discussion on rv.net about an RV park that is owned by a medical marijuana support group and whether or not that fact can be included in a review, my sense of the discussion is that most people agreed that the ownership is less important than the impact that ownership has on your use of the park.

To put it another way, it shouldn't matter to anyone who actually owns a park and whether or not that owner has any affiliations or beliefs that you do or do not agree with. All that should really matter is whether the owner's beliefs, philosophy, or other actions impact your stay at the park.

Very rarely when I stay at a park do I know who actually owns it. Sometimes the nice managing couples I meet are owners and sometimes it turns out they are just employees. I honestly don't care and I don't see why anyone else should either.

If we permit people to post comments regarding ownership we will very quickly run into a gray area. Should we permit people to post whether a park is owned by Baptists, Quakers or Jews? What about whether the park is owned by white, brown or yellow people? You can see why this would be problematic.

If, on the other hand, ownership of a park impacts your enjoyment of staying there, feel free to comment on it. If the medical marijuana owners permit or encourage use of pot on their premises, I agree that should be mentioned. Similarly, if an owner forbids the consumption of alcoholic beverages on his property because of his religious beliefs that is also something that others would want to know.
Luvtheroad
Frankly, I don't care if the park owners paint themselves blue and dance around a campfire naked on Midsummer's Eve smoking exotic herbs as long as they don't wake me up, their campfire doesn't smoke up my camper and their dogs don't bark all night. Oh, and I want their Wi-Fi to work, too.
GandJ
QUOTE(docj @ Apr 21 2014, 02:01 PM) *


If we permit people to post comments regarding ownership we will very quickly run into a gray area. Should we permit people to post whether a park is owned by Baptists, Quakers or Jews? What about whether the park is owned by white, brown or yellow people? You can see why this would be problematic.


No, actually, I cannot see why this is problematic for you. It seems as if there is way too much fear of running into some imaginary "gray area".

You're not allowing people to post the reviews they write without them first being sanitized, happied up or made your version of p.c. That has upset people.

It didn't used to be like this.

And, you're right: This is regarding what's being posted at RV.net. And in private messages. And e-mails. It's being repeatedly expressed on numerous fronts and forums and it's been going on for awhile.

People are frustrated. I didn't really understand why until now.




Andy R
QUOTE(GandJ @ Apr 21 2014, 07:50 PM) *
You're not allowing people to post the reviews they write without them first being sanitized, happied up or made your version of p.c. That has upset people.
That's incorrect. If you don't mind, please provide me some specific examples (excluding the one about who owns a park, Joel has already provided you the reason we have that policy). We would be happy to discuss the issues with you. If you don't feel comfortable posting them here in public feel free to send me a private message.

You stated:
QUOTE(GandJ @ Apr 21 2014, 07:50 PM) *
It didn't used to be like this.

Then you go on to say:
QUOTE(GandJ @ Apr 21 2014, 07:50 PM) *
And, you're right: This is regarding what's being posted at RV.net. And in private messages. And e-mails. It's being repeatedly expressed on numerous fronts and forums and it's been going on for awhile.

People are frustrated. I didn't really understand why until now.

So it didn't used to be like this but it's been going on a while. Point noted.

Once again, I look forward to you providing some clear examples that you have heard from RV.net, private messages and emails. It sounds like there should be plenty of example for us to investigate.
t
Thanks again for your feedback. We really do want to ensure RV Park Reviews remains the #1 campground review site on the internet. We understand not everyone will like all of our policies but we try hard to find a reasonable balance and I think we've done a fine job.

Lastly, this discussion brought to mind something that I am going to discuss with the team. It appears that we have differences in expectations that are not being met. I just walked through the new review process and I think we can do a better job outlining what is acceptable and what is not acceptable with specific examples. So thanks for pushing on this. I don't know if we will see eye-to-eye on how to handle certain issues but I do appreciate your bringing this issue to our attention.
HappiestCamper
The admins here do a great job of wading through all the reviews. There was an instance where they changed a score from a 3 to a 7, because they felt the reviewer made a mistake - and according to the thread, it appears they did that without contacting the reviewer first to get clarification. I feel that instance was handled wrong.

Thread where review score was changed from 3 to a 7 by an admin
Andy R
HappiestCamper,

Thank you very much for linking me to the above discussion. It was very helpful to read. The changing of a rating by anyone on our team is against our policy & I will make sure everyone on our team understand this and it does not happen again. My apologies for that happening a couple years before I acquired the site.

I'd like to take this time to update you all on what we (the Admin team) have been working on and solutions we are working on for the new platform for RVPR which we are almost complete building. We started this project last fall and it will contain many front end improvements as well as back end tools for our team to helps us ensure more consistency.

The current platform is antiquated and offers few tools for managing the site which means more complex human processes which unfortunately means less consistency. For example, we have a policy that one person can only leave a single review on a campground every 6 months. Right now our team has to cross compare to check for this where the new==system will simply pop-up a message at review time letting the member know. That will help the users understand before taking the time to submit another review that would not be accepted.

Since there was an ownership change, that also means that we are digesting all the feedback from our users including those mentioned in this thread and those linked to in the link that HappyCamper provided above. We want to move RVPR forward and stay relevant and take the feedback very seriously. Some policy changes will happen and some new tools to help address why those policies are in place will be released.

One issue has been the deferral of reviews for grammatical issues. In the past month we changed our policy on this internally, the team has been instructed to be more lenient on grammar issues and should only defer them when they are unreadable. The team is empowered to make minor edits such as adding a comma to a run on sentence or add a period to the end of a sentence. Our policy is that a review should never be edited to change the meaning of the review.

We also plan to add some more fields for leaving specific feedback about a campground. The fields that were added are value, service, cleanliness and campsites.

Since more reviews will be making it through the pipeline, we want to ensure there is a balance so someone who is trying to use the site to "get even" would benefit more by reporting their issue to the Better Business Bureau. We plan to use a more sophisticated method to show the top reviews on the main campground page and then have a link to "View All" to see every single review. The reason for this is that we have people who sign up to try and influence the reviews so we have to find ways to identify which are the highest quality reviews from our most trusted members.

A person who signs up, posts a few reviews on the same campground and then never logs in again will not be as trusted as a long time member who's left hundreds of reviews. We also plan to have a tool similar to Amazon.com where members can mark reviews as helpful or not. This will be another feature which can be abused so we plan to find systematic ways to identify people unnatural behavior and include that in our trust scores so we don't get a dozen users with zero reviews trying to influence the rankings. We'll even be able to spot swarming by long time members and can manually review them to make sure a group of friends are not trying to do something unethical. It's a shame that we even have to consider things like that but we do.

Another feature we plan to offer is for the campgrounds to respond to reviews in a similar way that Trip Advisor does. This allows them to provide their side of the story in instances where a user left a review that might only represent their side of the story. I don't know if many campgrounds will use this feature but it gives them a chance to be part of our community.

We also have some new features that will allow you to see a distribution graph on what kind of reviews a user normally leaves. For example, if you see a review that is unusually harsh you can hover over the users name or avatar and see if that person seems to only leave negative reviews, positive reviews, etc. This is helpful when trying to determine how much weight you want to give any specific review. If the users has 4 reviews and they are all very low, it's possible this person likes to use RVPR to get even when they have a bad experience but doesn't take the time to post positive reviews, that might mean that you weigh their reviews with less importance. The important thing is that it's up to you to decide how to weigh a review, not us!

I also noted that we had very little information available for users on why reviews are deferred. On the submit a review page we have 9 bullets, 8 of them are about formatting and only one briefly mentions what is allowed or what is not allowed in a review. We'll be working to clearly outline our policies so there is less confusion and everyone's expectations can be clearly set.

I am sincerely grateful to our users who are voicing their concerns, we are listening. We might not ever see eye-to-eye on every single policy but we do want to ensure that RVPR continues to evolve and meet the needs of our members. Please keep the great feedback coming and if you have specific examples of issues, please post them for us to review.

Andy
NYDutch
The changes sound quite good to me, Andy, and I'm looking forward to them. Out of curiosity, how will you be handling an obviously glowing review that only has a "1" or so rating applied? I've seen situations like that on occasion, and I can only surmise that the reviewer either made an error or didn't understand the rating system.
Andy R
QUOTE(Dutch_12078 @ Apr 22 2014, 11:52 AM) *

The changes sound quite good to me, Andy, and I'm looking forward to them. Out of curiosity, how will you be handling an obviously glowing review that only has a "1" or so rating applied? I've seen situations like that on occasion, and I can only surmise that the reviewer either made an error or didn't understand the rating system.

I think the right way to handle that is to message the reviewer, let them know and find out if that is what they intended or not. We'll have a feature that allows all RVPR users to report a review if you see something like that, please let us know.
NYDutch
QUOTE(Andy R @ Apr 22 2014, 01:23 PM) *

I think the right way to handle that is to message the reviewer, let them know and find out if that is what they intended or not. We'll have a feature that allows all RVPR users to report a review if you see something like that, please let us know.

Ok, that sounds good. I like the the idea of the reporting function for errors.
GandJ
QUOTE(Andy R @ Apr 21 2014, 10:32 PM) *

If you don't mind, please provide me some specific examples (excluding the one about who owns a park, Joel has already provided you the reason we have that policy). We would be happy to discuss the issues with you. If you don't feel comfortable posting them here in public feel free to send me a private message.


Hi, Andy-

I have been in contact with the two people whom I personally know have had recent issues with the review process and passed along your kind offer to discuss their respective matters either in this forum or by PM. I hope they will take the opportunity to do so. I know both of them had strong feelings on the matter.

Would you please also provide the e-mail address where you prefer to be contacted?

Sadly, it is the issue you are dismissing which most concerns me. I found the prior responses to be rather in the vein of "because I said so, end of story" and lacking any type of valid reasoning for excluding information as to who/what entity owns a campground.

Personally, I like knowing if an RV park is owned by a family, run by a church, is part of a gun club, is headquarters for marijuana enthusiasts or an eco-conservative group, etc. This information is very useful to me and may impact my decision to stay in that park versus elsewhere.

If you're not going to allow reviewers to say a park is owned by <insert any religious/ethnic/lifestyle choice entity here>, then perhaps, in the interest of fairness and equality, you should also defer reviews that say parks are owned by Encore or RPI or C2C?

And if the imaginary "gray area" you are concerned about is that it may become a legal issue if someone factually notes that a campground is "owned by Baptists" or "caters to gay couples", (neither of which I find in any way offensive, btw, and which some may find to be a plus) perhaps you can run this past the Social Knowledge legal department.

(*inaccuracies have been edited and deleted from my post)
mdcamping
Sounds like were starting to split hairs... are talking about deferring a review because of a causal mention of a certain type of ownership or deferring a review because most of the review is the focus on the ownership.

This all said I guess I'm in the minority, I'm looking for stuff like security/enforced policies, level sites, ease of access to sites, clean restrooms, hookups in good working order, professional staff, etc etc... rolleyes.gif

Mike
Andy R
PM sent with my email address.

I see your point with the campground ownership info. Unfortunately at this point, that is not a policy we are planning to change. Maybe at a future date we will reconsider that policy but for now we need to remain focused on building & going live with the new system. We'll have lots of training to do, it's going to be a busy couple months. Once settled we'll be in a better position to consider a request like that.

Andy
GandJ
QUOTE(Andy R @ Apr 23 2014, 12:28 AM) *

PM sent with my email address.

I see your point with the campground ownership info. Unfortunately at this point, that is not a policy we are planning to change. Maybe at a future date we will reconsider that policy but for now we need to remain focused on building & going live with the new system. We'll have lots of training to do, it's going to be a busy couple months. Once settled we'll be in a better position to consider a request like that.

Andy


So for now, it's "Censored Knowledge" instead of "Social Knowledge".
Andy R
Cute one!

The fact we have guidelines in place to define what we allow does not constitute censorship. That's our prerogative as extended to us by the First Amendment provisions for Freedom of Speech.

Censorship happens when a person is denied the right to self-publish. A person who submits a review to our service is not self-publishing. Instead they are putting their review into our system to publish (or not) on their behalf. According to our rules we might choose not to publish a review, but censorship didn't occur because you still have the right to self-publish.

No private citizen, including me, has any capability whatsoever to "censor" another person, because I can't stop someone from going else where to publish. If a newspaper chooses not to publish your letter to the editor, you haven't been "censored." If you're denied the ability to start your own newspaper, then that is censorship. It's the same thing online.

From Wikipedia:
QUOTE
Censorship differs from editorial selection. For example, a publisher cannot usually publish all books presented to it, and a library cannot usually contain all books published. Consequently, they choose what to accept, either for its potential profitability, in the case of a for-profit book publisher, or according to its materials collection policy, in the case of a library.

It sounds like the issue at hand regarding our policy to not allow reviews to include certain ownership information is actually our right to editorial selection, not censorship.
USMCRET
Andy, I absolutely applaud you and the direction you are taking this valuable service. As you know, you are not going to be able to satisfy 100% of the people 100% of the time, so there will always be a few casualties along the way. Their loss.

I think this site has a very bright future ahead of it, and I do not foresee any competitor gaining a substantial foothold in your market. This site has been around too long and we as travelers and reviewers have too much equity in it to allow that to happen.

Best of luck with the roll out! Can't wait to see and experience it!

//Ed//
Andy R
Thanks Ed!
DXSMac
QUOTE(dalsgal @ Apr 19 2014, 05:54 PM) *

The only complaints I have seen are from people that are new here and didn't bother to read the rules first and then come and complain about that. IMHO this is the best ratings site out there.


I recently worked for a park that would get all hung up over comments on Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor has NO STANDARDS. I kept telling them not to get hung up over Trip Advisor. The SERIOUS RV travelers use this web site.
docj
QUOTE(DXSMac @ Apr 24 2014, 06:55 PM) *

I recently worked for a park that would get all hung up over comments on Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor has NO STANDARDS. I kept telling them not to get hung up over Trip Advisor. The SERIOUS RV travelers use this web site.


Even though I don't use TripAdvisor for RV Park Reviews, we do use it quite a bit for "Things to do" and restaurants. Despite the repeated criticism of that site on this forum, we have yet to be disappointed by places we have selected in either of those two categories. I recognize that there have been accusations of false reviews, but maybe those are less likely in the "things to do" section and we probably don't patronize fancy enough restaurants to encounter those that would either plant false favorable reviews or be harmed by false negatives.

As for the language of the reviews, I find nothing objectionable in those that I have read. I read them the same way I do with RVPR, I look for the average sentiment of the reviews posted. I am more concerned about restaurants that have a large number of negatives than I am with those that have but a few. Everyone ticks someone off once in a while!
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