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Testudo
I was trying to update my RV log and used the RV PARK REVIEWS site to recall basic information. I have used the site before but as a lurker -- not a member. I decided it was time that I joined and started submitting reviews if I was going to earn my keep.

I have submitted one review which you might not see for a while because of the recent policy changes for posting reviews. I didn't note any guidelines with repect to the character length of comments so I made what I thought were terse comments regarding what I thought were useful observations concerning the RV park in question. I tried to avoid editorializing. The result undoubtedly exceeds this post in length by two or three times.

After completing the review, I went back to my log entry project and noted that most review comments, here, are _very_ terse (usually one short paragraph) and tend to editorialize rather than giving useful information. My concern is that I am going to put significant effort into contributing to this site and then my efforts are going to be rejected or highly edited. In the best case, I'm wondering if my extensive comments will be unappreciated by the rank and file members who might be looking for a more simple formula approach (like 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down'). I can't help but note that reviews are often subjective to the point that parks will receive both '10's and '1's -- without any clear differentiation as to the reviewer's point of view.

If my efforts will probably not be of any use, I would rather not get involved (I have better things to do and would rather keep my camping secrets to myself, anyway). So my question to the members, is, in your experience, do you think my lengthy comments are likely to be highly edited because of that length, or, do you think extensive observations are unwanted by the members, anyway?
Beastdriver
It has been my experience that little editing is done by the webmaster who generally lets people tell it like it is. I have had paragraphs run together (to save space, I presume), but no major changes. I believe that as long as comments are salient, the webmaster is very liberal. On the other hand, if you submit a piece that would qualify as a novel, then not only are you wasting your time, but also the time of most of us who review this site daily. I know that I hesitate to read anything over several hundred words. This post is 632 characters, and you are allowed a maximum post of 1,024,000 characters. Hope this is helpful.
Cheryl
I read a review on here that was a little lengthy of Petit Jean State in Arizona. If you go to the reviews, it is in Morrilton and it is the last review for the park. It was this review that made me want to visit this park. We had a great time there. It is a beautiful campground that I would have never visited if it weren't for that reviewer. (so thanks to whomever you are!) After your reviews finally get posted, you'll be able to tell if the webmaster did any editing.
Anyway, to get to my point, I appreciate more details as long as they are about the campground. It is so hard to find a good campground just based on a numerical rating - what some rate a 2 others may rate an 8 - just depends on your personal needs/wants. I always read the comments and base my decisions on those not just the numbers.
Cheryl Fuller
Testudo....glad you decided to stop lurking and join in. Welcome and I look forward to reading your posts. As for reviews, I too appreciate valuable info. If it was too long, I might just scan it and not read every word though. biggrin.gif
Browzin
Testudo

This is just my opinion, I personally prefer if posters would condense there comments to what is important and leave out all the unimportant information. (ie. leave out all the how great the leaves looked etc.) But like I already stated this just what I prefer to read.
John Blue
I also write up only information that a person would need to know. We all need information about any parks, roads, sites, bad water or power problems, hard turns, poor office people, pool full of junk, bathrooms not clean, road noise, places to eat close by is nice to know, and etc. info. I read post that say " park very nice" or " we will come back" this type of information is useless. Most people do not take the time to go out and look around to see what is in a park and they write up a report. We do not need pages of information in the comment, think about the good and bad points of that park then write your report.

The Webmaster has not changed any information we have sent in yet.
Cheryl
Wow, 1,024,000 characters. With my hunt and peck typing, it would take me all day to finish one post.

Beastdriver,
Just curious, did you count your characters in your post or do you have some kind of automated counter on your computer? If so, is it something you downloaded and do you care to share where from? I'm always interested in new stuff to play with. biggrin.gif
Texasrvers
I think it is good to go into a little detail when writing a review because as someone else said we don't all like the same things in a park. Some like a very quiet natural setting with picnic tables and fire rings and no concrete anywhere in sight. Others prefer a resort atmosphere with a pool, spa, golf course and manicured sites. Someone could give a park a high rating if it was the kind of park they like to stay at. Another person may give the same park a low rating because it was not their kind of park. But if there is no description about the park readers still have no idea what the park is like or if it is right for them. I have seen very nice parks get a bad rating because "it was an RV park, not a campground," and vice versa. If the review at least describes the park then I can make a better decision about whether or not I want to stay there.

I have posted some longer reviews, and none of them have ever been edited. I try to be fair, but I'm sure my reviews are somewhat biased because I too have a vision of the ideal park. I think it is very unfair to slam a park because it rained all weekend, or the sun was too hot, so I try to mention things like safety, cleanliness (including restrooms and showers even if we don't use them), staff attitude and competence, and site basics (size, level, surface, patio, etc.), and amenities (pool, TV, WiFi). I then try to tell a little bit about the general atmosphere (quiet or party city, wooded or open, secluded or under an interstate overpass). If I can accurately describe what I observed about a place then readers can decide if this is a park they want to visit. Sometimes I add information about the local area if I think it was special. If I go into too much detail readers can always stop reading, but hopefully I have included just the right information to help someone else.

Besides if we all stuck to just basic info and ratings this site would be no better than our two beloved campground directories.

PS Sorry to correct you Cheryl, but I think Jean Petit State Park is in Arkansas not Arizona.
Cheryl
Texasrver,
You are absolutely right. It is in Arkansas. My mistake! Just more proof of my hunt and peck typing - sometimes I'm concentrating too hard on finding the letters and not paying enough attention to the words. (Where's the embarrassed icon when you need it).
Beastdriver
Cheryl:

When you post something on this site, at the bottom of the page, you will find a box that allows you to check the length of your post. It tells you how many characters long your post is and the maximum number of characters the site will accept.
Texasrvers
"It is in Arkansas."

Cheryl, you almost got away with it because I really had no idea where Jean Petit SP was. But after you mentioned it in your earlier post I did try to read the review and couldn't find it anywhere in Arizona. I then did a search and found it in Arkansas. Sounds like a pretty place, but a little different from the desert settings in AZ. Happy travels!
Testudo
QUOTE
It has been my experience that little editing is done by the webmaster who generally lets people tell it like it is... I believe that as long as comments are salient, the webmaster is very liberal.


Yeah, this is good to hear. While I couldn't find any indication of a length restriction on comments (something small, anyway, like 2,000 characters) I was a little concerned that there might be an editorial policy to cut off "inches" of copy like a newspaper would do ("All the news that fits").

QUOTE
On the other hand, if you submit a piece that would qualify as a novel, then not only are you wasting your time, but also the time of most of us who review this site daily. I know that I hesitate to read anything over several hundred words.


My bigger concern was that the readers would find the details unimportant. For example, we are not self contained and I need a hot shower in the morning like I need a hot cup of coffee. Without those two things my day is ruined and everybody best stay out of my way. On the other hand, just looking at the rigs everyone here has, I can see that there are a lot of hard-core RVers that have probably never seen the inside of a camp ground's sanitary facilities (maybe never even stepped out of the RV). While this is exactly the information that _I_ want, I have to be prepared to forgive folks that would never think of checking out the bathrooms let alone being able to convey any information about them in a review.


QUOTE
This post is 632 characters, and you are allowed a maximum post of 1,024,000 characters. Hope this is helpful.


I _did_ see the post limitations. I think I can stay within that parameter [grin!].
Testudo
QUOTE
I think it is good to go into a little detail when writing a review because as someone else said we don't all like the same things in a park.


Yeah, everyone is interested in something different. I was at an RV park that was wonderful to me and seemed like big-rig heaven but, when I looked at other reviews, I realized the incline of the terrain and the (relatively) narrow drives, made it less than suitable for big rigs. The bathrooms don't get any better than the ones in this park but I was usually the only one in there (people with big rigs could care less).

Before I wrote my first review, I could see that I needed to frame my reviews to help a wider audience make decisions rather than just conveying superlatives with regard to my own gratification. Because we spent four nights at that particular RV park (kind of rare for us) I had scrutinized it from top to bottom so I was in a better position to think in terms of what a big rig owner would care about. In most cases, it would probably be difficult for me to recount issues to warn a big rig owner about since I wouldn't have paid attention to those aspects of the park in the first place.

Further, I can appreciate the problem with phony reviews -- reviews that might sneak in from people that have a financial interest in the park. Avoiding superlatives and sticking to facts would tend to mitigate this pit fall. Of course, if everybody just says, "Park was fantastic!", there isn't much there to validate the reasons for their satisfaction. Everybody is different and one person's heaven might be another's nightmare.
Cheryl
QUOTE
Cheryl, you almost got away with it because I really had no idea where Jean Petit SP was. But after you mentioned it in your earlier post I did try to read the review and couldn't find it anywhere in Arizona. I then did a search and found it in Arkansas. Sounds like a pretty place, but a little different from the desert settings in AZ. Happy travels!

Well, I'm sure glad you did catch it. Now if anybody is interested in the park, they will be able to find it.

Beastdriver,
I'm not seeing it, maybe it doesn't work for Netscape. Oh well, it's not really important, I doubt if I will ever use anywhere near that many characters. Thanks anyway.
John Blue
Cheryl,

Look at bottom right side of replaying box and you will see box that has "Check Post Length". cool.gif That is the trick.
Cheryl
It's just not there. Do you use Netscape? When they first put spell check on, it wasn't there in Netscape, so maybe the same thing is true for the check post length.
John Blue
Cheryl,

I see your problem. OK, do the steps below and see if this will fix the problem.

1. Go to "My Controls"

2. Pick "Options"

3. Under options pick "Board Setting"

4. Go to bottom and find "Rich Text Editor"

5. Pick "Standard Editor"

6. They pick "Change My Account Options"

7. Now go back and see if that will fix the "check post length" problem.

8. If not, no charge for the information. If it fixed problem, mail my check.
Texasrvers
Cheryl,

I'm not computer savvy at all, but for what it's worth I used Netscape 8.0 to open this site (I usually use Internet Explorer) and the "Check Post Length" box was there--on the right at the bottom of the typing box next to "Guided Mode Off" box. Do you get that box? I didn't check to see if my controls were already set as John Blue suggested because I didn't want to screw up something that was already working. At least we know it does work with Netscape. But like you said if you don't need to use it, you don't need to worry about it. BTW my advice isn't worth sending a check. Save your $$ for the gas pump.
Cheryl
John Blue,
The check is in the mail. biggrin.gif

Thanks!
COWolfPack
I think the best thing you can do is review the park from your point of view. I just recently stayed at a park that had pretty low ratings. Looking at the reviews most of them were done by people in big trailers or motor homes. A lot of them were complaining of the cramped spaces and lack of shade for the bigger RV's and I would tend to agree with them from what I saw. However, when I stayed I was in a small pop-up and stayed in one of the rustic sites. There were shade trees and the sites were a lot nicer which is why I gave it a little higher rating. It is good to get a overall picture of the park from different points of view. People can then read through the reviews and decide which points will be more important to them.
jmo
QUOTE
If my efforts will probably not be of any use, I would rather not get involved (I have better things to do and would rather keep my camping secrets to myself, anyway)


I enjoy writing my review and do it for others.

When I stop enjoying it, I will stop.

jmo
Murf
There really needs to be a notation, catagory, or something to separate "PRIVATE / MEMBERS ONLY PARKS" from those that just any "ordinary joe' can pull into. Parks that are not open to the general public ought to have a web site of their own.
Crittercove
I am brand new to both this site and to travel trailer camping. I would have to say, as a newbie, that the more details, the better. For example, we will be traveling with four not-so-friendly dogs, so what is important to us is different than what is important to someone with furless children or someone who swims, fishes, etc. Our dogs are not aggressive, but they were abused and thus afraid of people. So for me, I want a campsite that is private, quiet, with lots of woods. So I would want lots of details.

Thank you for asking. I think that was a good question.
COWolfPack
Got to agree with Crittercove, the devil is in the details. A review, good or bad, does not really help if all the reviewer says is the they liked/hated the park and they will/won't stay there again. The more details someone can put into a review as to why the liked/disliked a park the more useful it will be to other RV'ers.
Goose
I'm going to join Cheryl in the "Reviews I don't understand" category. I just read latest the review
of Buckhorn Lake RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas. It states:

QUOTE
This is by far the nicest park we have stayed at, and would deserve a 10, but the last two visits have demonstrated to us that management thinks they are doing you a favor letting you stay in their park. I have reviewed this park each of the 3 times I've stayed, and the numbers are going down. It is beautiful, the grounds are well kept, the facilities are great (although we all miss the Irish Pub), but I really notice the "attitude". And, as my wife says, if I notice it, it must be really bad. We camped here in a Motorhome.


Some detail of managment's attitude would be helpful in letting me know what the writer is talking about, especially since the physical aspects of the RV park are rated highly.
COWolfPack
I have noticed that in some reviews any detail would be helpful. I just read a review that was posted for Country Living Mobile Home and RV Park in Madera California that rated it as a 3 and read as follows

QUOTE

Major Dump, avoid if at all possible. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.



Granted that I probably would not want to stay in a mobile home/RV park but some detail as to why the reviewer thinks this place is a dump would be helpful. If this place is such a dump why didn't it get a 1 instead of a 3. Perhaps the reviewer thought it has some redeeming qualities where it didn't justify a 1 rating. This review just doesn't really give any information that I would find particularly useful.
Cheryl
Here's a review posted today, the reviewer gave the park an 8.
QUOTE
I know from personal discussions with members and comments made here that this park is highly rated (all most worshiped) but I'm less enthralled. It has a worn look; not enough monies going back into maintaining the infrastructure i.e. roads,sites,clubhouse,etc. The large number of park homes detracts from parks inherent treed campground ambiance. It's location is certainly very good. I was not impressed by the front desk person; rather solemn and certainly not one to lighten your day. Lack of wireless Internet was a negative as well. It's on my OK list if visiting area but not one to rave about and/or look forward to being there. We camped here in a Motorhome.

Based on those comments, I would have given it a 2 or 3. Just another example why detailed comments (and not just the numerical rating) are very important.
Beastdriver
What would it have taken for this person to rate this park a 2 or a 3? Perhaps being located in a mudhole, in the median of an interstate highway, with no hookups whatsoever, and a manager who looked like Frankenstein? Geesh. Comments are, indeed, so important as ratings tend to go off the scale. unsure.gif
woodman
About the review of the park in Kerrville, I think I know the circumstances. It was at the time of the Datastorm rally, and I think that was a person who was asked to leave the park, which would explain why the reviewer didn't go into detail.

I also would LOVE a separate category for membership parks. In fact, I wish there were a search function to allow them to be displayed separately. We have three memberships, but we don't use them all the time. On the other hand, when we do use them, we find that half of them are dumps. We'd love to be able to find that out ahead of time (and help others do the same.)

J&J
Jerry S
I just registered on this site after several days and too many hours perusing comments - both reviews and discussions. I must admit that, in general, my impression of most of the reviews I read (maybe 100 covering about 25 different parks) was not favorable. The myopic view of most reviewers made many of the reviews worthless. Until I read some of the topics in the discussion sections, I wondered if anyone else had this problem with the reviews. Fortunately some of your members do recognize the main problem with most reviews: the inate subjectivity of the reviewer. Our personal opinions are controlled by our own needs/wants/likes, etc. I just wish more of the reviewers could be more objective.

An area which could use some clarification is "what is a campground?". In today's world , an RV park is almost not a "campground". I spent 15+ years tent camping in state and national parks in the 70's and 80's. Those were campgrounds - natural setting, no utilities, campfires, etc. I have been RVing since 1990. I stay in RV parks - hookups, ammenities, civilization. Big difference. I enjoyed my years of tenting but now enjoy the creature comforts. Few RV parks can give you that back to nature, get-away-from-it-all experience. On the other hand, public campgrounds generally don't give you a pool, full hookups, cable, WIFI, cement pads, etc.

Remember, RV park owners need to offer enough ammenities to draw enough customers. Just because you don't do laundry, use the pool, want cable, etc. doesn't mean the park can survive without these ammenities. Most northern parks that do/can not stay open all year need these facilities to draw vacationers who stay for a week or two every summer.

A few of my pet peeves concerning reviews:

Cost: Although I can see some merit in both the add on costs and I do not use the facilities complaints, most of it sounds like whinning. Don't go to those parks.

Pets: Don't blame the parks or non-dog lovers, blame other pet owners.

Noise: I have often camped near an interstate, a busy rail line, even several airports. Many parks are in this situation. If this is a problem for you, you need to be well away from these. Call ahead.

1-10: I liked the idea of starting at 5 as an acceptable rating. Adequate might be full hookups, good sites and access, and nice bathrooms. Subtract for the things you don't like and add for the things you do. Every little thing does not have to add or subtract a full point.

Weather/Location: Rain, heat, or snow is no reflection on the campground. A great park in Nebraska can get a 9 or 10 without a mountain or ocean view. On the other side, a crummy park in the rockies doesn't get a 10 just because you can see the mountains.

Experience: Take into account your level of camping experience. Mine: 16 years, 200, 000 miles, over 100 different parks, 49 states, all of Canada, 150 nights a year since 1995.

Thanks for reading my rantings.

Jerry S.
Texasrvers
Jerry S,

I agree with some of your comments. I have always believed that there is (or should be) a distinction between the terms campground, RV park, and RV resort. To me a campground is more natural. It definitely allows campfires. It might have hook ups at least in some sections, but there probably won’t be many amenities such as a pool or wifi. An RV park will have hook ups and might allow campfires. It will be a bit more landscaped and have some amenities. A resort will be a destination park with lots of amenities and activities and will be well landscaped with cement pads. Unfortunately owners do not follow my guidelines when they name their place. (Imagine that!)

I also believe that how a person likes to camp affects his/her review. If someone likes a campground and ends up at an RV park or resort (or vice versa) they are not going to like their experience. Because of this some people will give the place a bad review, and I do not think that is fair. I also do not think it is fair to down grade a place because the weather was bad or for some other reason that was beyond the owner’s control.

All that said I think you will find that most people on this forum do write fair reviews, and I also think most of us can see right through a “sour grapes” review. If you will take time to read all (or most) of the reviews for a place you will probably get a fairly accurate picture of what it is like, and then you can make a decision to stay there or not.

Finally, since you are concerned about fair reviews, I’m sure that you will do a good job with yours and that they will provide good information for the rest of us.
Jerry S
QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Jan 10 2007, 12:01 AM) *

Jerry S,

I agree with some of your comments. I have always believed that there is (or should be) a distinction between the terms campground, RV park, and RV resort. To me a campground is more natural. It definitely allows campfires. It might have hook ups at least in some sections, but there probably won’t be many amenities such as a pool or wifi. An RV park will have hook ups and might allow campfires. It will be a bit more landscaped and have some amenities. A resort will be a destination park with lots of amenities and activities and will be well landscaped with cement pads. Unfortunately owners do not follow my guidelines when they name their place. (Imagine that!)

I also believe that how a person likes to camp affects his/her review. If someone likes a campground and ends up at an RV park or resort (or vice versa) they are not going to like their experience. Because of this some people will give the place a bad review, and I do not think that is fair. I also do not think it is fair to down grade a place because the weather was bad or for some other reason that was beyond the owner’s control.

All that said I think you will find that most people on this forum do write fair reviews, and I also think most of us can see right through a “sour grapes” review. If you will take time to read all (or most) of the reviews for a place you will probably get a fairly accurate picture of what it is like, and then you can make a decision to stay there or not.

Finally, since you are concerned about fair reviews, I’m sure that you will do a good job with yours and that they will provide good information for the rest of us.


Texasrvers,

Thanks for the agreement with some of my points. I've waited a few extra days to see if anyone else would comment.

I was happy that you mentioned a further distinction between RV parks and Resorts. Since I did not want my first posting so long as to overload any readers, I left that point and some other issues out. It is bad enough when we are comparing apples (public) and oranges (private) parks. Now we have to consider cherries (resorts) too. Somebody might suggest more subsets such as overnight and destination parks. In general, these could just be other names for regular RV parks and Resort RV parks. For now, let's leave it at three categories: campgrounds, parks, and resorts. Back to the problem: How does a new/inexperienced RVer understand the substantial differences when each potential destination is getting all 9's and 10's from reviewers. I've read enough of the reviews on this site to lead me to believe that there are a lot of people out there who do not know know the three diffent categories.

Another issue I would like to expand on is the apparent ease of getting a 9 or 10. A lot of reviews start with stayed overnight, first time at park, there just one day, etc. Then they rave about everthing and give the park a 10. Ever had a first date that went downhill from there? I checked a number of review of parks that I have stayed at numerous times over the years. Because I have seen most of these parks at their best and worst, I sometimes chuckle at review that call some of these parks perfect 10's. Basically, I don't see one night at a park can justify a high rating. As noted in the previous paragraph new/inexperienced RVers will think these parks are flawless. One "sour grapes" review is easy to overlook, but 5 reviews with 9's and 10's from "too easy" reviewers can be very misleading.

Getting late. That's it for now.
Texasrvers
Jerry S,

You have some valid points. Here’s more of what I think (my opinion only).

You are right. While you and I (and probably many others) recognize a difference in the terms campground, RV park, and RV resort (along with some possible subsets), these are not widely standardized terms so a new RVer will have trouble understanding the distinction. That is how this site can be helpful. If a review is nothing more than a number then none of us would have a true idea of what a place is like. Fortunately this site provides a comments area which allows a reviewer to describe the place and give reasons for his rating. Hopefully these comments will make the distinction.

Additionally you asked, “How does a new/inexperienced RVer understand the substantial differences when each potential destination is getting all 9's and 10's from reviewers.” It sort of sounds like you think some of the categories of places should never get a 9 or 10 simply because of their category. If I’m hearing you correctly I do not go along with this. I believe each category is equally capable of having places rated as 9's or 10’s. For instance a “campground” should not be rated lower or higher on just the fact that it is in that category. There are both good and bad campgrounds just as there are good and bad RV parks and resorts. Any place regardless of its category should receive high marks when it meets its intended purpose and low marks when it doesn’t.

Furthermore what a person expects from a camping experience will greatly affect his rating as to whether or not a particular place provided that experience. As I stated before, the problem comes, for example, when someone stays at an RV park and is not allowed to have a campfire or thinks there is too much concrete. Because their expectation of camping is not accommodated by this place they will tend to give it a lower rating. I have read several reviews when someone with a 40’ class A gave a place a low rating because the roads were narrow and the sites were not level and too small for the rig while someone with a smaller unit (trailer or pop-up) gave it a high rating because it was heavily wooded and had “natural” campsites. Who is right? They each gave an honest review that reflected their expected experience. Although I try to be fair when I write a review I have probably shown some bias. I know there have been times that my review did not agree with the others, but it was based on our preferences and experience. That is how one place sometimes (but not always) winds up with both 10’s and 2’s. None of us is a professional reviewer. We are not trained to look for certain characteristics and then provide a point value based on the presence or absence or quality of those things. This, however, does not make our reviews any less accurate or honest—just less standardized.

Also your analogy of a first date is great (been there, done that many years ago), but if someone had an easy, courteous check in; was provided a nice, level, long enough spot for a descent price; and if the park was clean and safe, and the person’s needs were met, doesn’t that warrant a high rating regardless of the time spent there? (Besides I wonder just how long the professional reviewers actually spend at a place.) Overnight needs are different from those of a long term stay. Some places are good at meeting one type of needs, but not necessarily the other. If a reviewer states that he was there only one or two nights, it simply lets the reader know that the rating was based on a particular set of circumstances. In some ways (right or wrong) it’s not the place that got the 10, it is the experience that was a 10. Either way the reader has gained information.

There will always be disagreement over the ratings of some places. Some ratings will be fair and some won’t be. For sure they will not all be the same. Quite frankly I don’t think that will change, and maybe we really don’t want it to. We can all read the cookie cutter listings in the well known directories which list all the basic facts, but they do not give the personal information and experiences which I find far more valuable.

Again thanks for allowing me to express my opinion.
Jerry S
Texasrvers,

Last time I responded by choosing "Reply" at the end of your post which resulted in your post being repeated before my reply. This time I chose "add reply" at the end of the topic string to see how that would work. I am guessing that your post will not show up before my reply. The downside is that I now don't have your post to easily refer to as I respond. Forgive me if I do not remember perfectly your comments as I respond without your post in front of me.

Now, back to our discussion. I really think the category issue is important enough that everybody who uses this site should be made aware of it. Would it be possible for the webmaster to add this to the list of choises at the beginning of each review page. Right after the reviewer answers the question about "I camped here in a", there could be a question along the lines of "This park is a". The choices could be campground, rv park, rv resort, or other. There could be a brief, general description of each category. For example, Campground: Usually public, natural setting, limited facilities, few ammenities. Since all reviews end with "I camped here in a" from the choice the reviewer at the start, maybe the review could start with, "This park is a" based on the reviewers choice of one of the above categories.

The rest of the discussion really centers on what the 1 to 10 scale means. Personally I am a firm believer in the 5 means average concept. If you expect full hookups, a decent site, a pool, etc. and that's what the park delivers, that's a 5 not a 10. If there is also cable and WIFI, the sites are roomy, and the pool is huge, then the rating goes up several points. Inadequate utilities, lousy site, dirty pool and the rating goes down. I know many of these reviewers think they are being honest, accurate, informative, etc. Honest -probably, accurate -maybe, informative - too often, not. This is where I have a problem with so many 9 and 10 ratings. In my book, a park would have to be exceptional in every way. Used in conjunction with the categories noted above, any camground could all get high ratings if it left little to be desired for that type of park. Even allowing personal expectations and experiences into the picture, how many of these reviers who give a 9 or 10 so easily don't leave a place saying they could have had this or that was quite right. If there are a few things lacking or wrong, then it is definitely not a 10.

We both know that, in the RV world, there is no such thing as the perfect park. Somethings that many excellent parks have (cement pads, no fires, lots of kids) turn off some people. I have read enough reviews to where these issues were positives to some and negatives to others. I even saw one whre a women basically said that she did't care about cable or WIFI, but she gave a high mark because they offered coffee in the morning. Is that really a good reason to give a park a 9? Unfortunately, I don't see her as an exception.

Two asides: Dating is also in my distant past. I just though it was an appropriate, easily understood analogy. Secondly, I have actually seen Woodall's reviewers at two parks over the years.

It's dinner time - until next time.
Beastdriver
Jerry S: A quick question about the two times you actually saw Woodall's representatives in a campground. Tell me, were they walking with white canes, or did they have big seeing-eye dogs with them?
Cheryl Fuller
QUOTE(Beastdriver @ Jan 16 2007, 08:19 AM) *
Jerry S: A quick question about the two times you actually saw Woodall's representatives in a campground. Tell me, were they walking with white canes, or did they have big seeing-eye dogs with them?




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Jerry S
Hi Beastdriver and Cheryl,

I'm glad to see that there are others following this string. From reading other posts the the Forum, I know both of you are regular contributors.

Unfortunately, I can not come up with a witty response to your question. I understand the joke/complaint concering commercial campground directories. Seriously, though, I think the pros do a credible job of letting us know the basics of a park. I've been pretty much a Woodall's Directory (WD) user for 15+ years. I've occasionaly used Trailer Life in park offices, but I feel more comfortable with WD. All of us who have camped at a lot of different parks have had some problems with WD's rankings of park facilities and recreation, but they usually get the basics right. It would be nice if they could review every park (at least the commercial ones) every year. I don't know how many reps WD has, but they would probably need 10 times as many to meet that goal. Additionally, to supply the specifics many of this site's readers sometimes want, the size of the actual campground directory would probably triple at the very least. For example, WD shows just two words (fire rings) on the subject of campfires. From reviews and posts I have read on this site, some customers are also concerned with: What is the ring made of?, Where is the ring located on the site?, How many and which sites have rings?, Are the any restrictions? And so on. To cover all these interests, WD would have to go from 2 words to what? 20, 30, 40? Do this with every item in the listing and you have a half page listing for each park.

The first time I saw a WD rep was years ago and the second was 7/06 at the KOA in Bismarck, ND. I saw not canes or dogs, but their toad was white with Woodall's emblazened on the side of the vehicle. They have a checklist for the physical aspects of the park and try to rate the subjective items such as cleanliness of the bathroom. Not easy to do in just one or two days.

Later,

Jerry S.
Texasrvers
Jerry S,

All I can add is that in a perfect world not only would there be perfect RV parks, but also everyone would write a perfect review, and everyone's rating and opinion of a park would be the same. But that is not (and never will be) the case. Even though RV park directories have an extensive standardized point system to determine their ratings the best they provide is a basic listing of the features and amenities. They do not really describe the overall atmosphere of the place or what it's like to stay there. The reviews on this site usually do provide insight into that even if the actual ratings are different. A good example of this would be how many reviews mention if the staff was friendly and helpful. Likewise road, train, or airplane noise is sometimes mentioned. You won't find those things mentioned in a directory, and yet this is something that can have a big effect on the quality of someone's stay.

Also remember that we each have different ideas of what makes a perfect RV park. You said it best when you talked about what one person sees as a positive may be seen as a negative by the next person. Each person rates a place on how well it meets his needs. If a free cup of coffee, or a pool, or playground equipment, or wifi or whatever is important to someone and if a park provides that amenity then that person will rate that park higher. The best we can do is read the comments and try to decided if this park provides the type of experience we would like.

Some standardization is nice. However, if we take it too far we will be no better than the directories. This site lets people say what they really feel about a place and that, more than anything else, is what makes it good.
Jerry S
Texasrvrs,

I have enjoyed our discussion and hope more than a few people have followed it and gotten something out it. After all, the site is called RVparkreviews. Facilities. amenities, atmosphere, customer service, etc. are all part of what we should be reviewing. Again, we seem to agree that there is no such thing as a perfect park. I guess it would have to have at least three separate sections: a rustic,woodsy campground, an overnight area with just the basic hookups, and the full amenity resort. Even then, somebody won't like it.

On a more personal note, I noticed reading some other topics that you are from San Antonio and have been to Las Vegas a number of times. Based on these facts, I was wondering if you have ever been to Coushatta or Paragon Casinos in Louisiana. If you have, I have posted reviews on both RV parks and am curious as to what you think of my reviews. Did I "walk the walk"? Ditto the three parks in Tunica, Mississippi if you have been there. Recognizing my reviews should be easy. They all start by mentioning that I have been going to these parks for 10 years.

Finally, I'd really like to hear from other members concerning my three main issues: the three categories of parks, the 5 is average concept, and misleading, over-inflated ratings.
Texasrvers
Jerry,

I had read your reviews on the Coushatta and Paragon parks and the ones in Tunica even before I knew they were yours (although I could tell they were by the same person.) I always keep tabs on places we like to go. However, we have not been to Paragon yet, and we only drove through Hollywood and Sam's Town in Tunica b/c we stayed at the Grand Casino Park. I do think your reviews of the parks we have been to were right on the money. The only one that did not match our rating was the Grand. You were lower, but you mentioned why, and so your rating seemed justified. We were there last May over the Memorial Day weekend and did not notice any of the reduced services you mentioned. We also stayed there about 2 years ago, and I honestly can't remember if the services were any better then or not. From what we saw at that time I still think I would choose the Grand, but the others would probably accommodate us just fine also.

Funny you mentioned this. I think we just might head over to Lake Charles, Kinder and Marksville in February. From there we are thinking of going on over the the Hollywood Casino (formerly Casino Magic) in Bay St. Louis, MS. From there we'll hit the casinos that are open in Biloxi. If we don't go that way we'll probably head to Shreveport. But we were there recently so we need to spread our money around a little. biggrin.gif We have gone to Las Vegas in January five times since 2001, but decided not to make the trip this year. Maybe we'll go in the fall.

I don't suppose you had any luck at the casinos you visited? We think there should be a box just as you start to go in to a casino so that you can just drop your money in and get it over with. laugh.gif But then that wouldn't be as much fun would it, so we'll just keep on giving it to them the regular way.
Jerry S
Texasrvrs,

All those casinos and RV parks were buit in the early to mid-90's and I have bee going to thems regulaly since I retired in '95. That's why I remember what they were like from almost the beginning. Cutbacks in things like lodge and pool hours are obviously to save money on staff, etc. For a regular park I could accept that but not for a large casino complex that makes tens of thousands of dollars a day in profit. FYI: Coushatta and Paragon used to be Grand's in conjunction with the native american tribe involved. By agreement, the tribes took control maybe 5-6 years ago. So, in case you didn't know, you can expect the same kind of RV facilities at Paragon as are at Coushatta. For what it is worth, Paragon has no fishing pond, tennis courts, or basketball court. They do have a golf course next door that is part of the resort. Like Coushatta, there are also lots of chalets (and cabins) in the RV park. Even if the construction is not yet complete, the distance from the lodge to the casino is about half that at Coushatta. The resort is on the southern edge of Marksville(not much there) and there is a Super Walmart a mile south of the casino. Paragon is a smaller casino than Coushatta.

I lose my share at the casinos but not enough for them to love me. I am a throwback to the "little old ladies" that helped make gambling almost national in the 90's. I play the "old fashion" nickel slots. You know, 1-3 coins, center line pays. None of this 9 line, 20+ coin machines for me. Unfortunately, my machines are a dying, if not dead breed many places. I don't mind losing $20, 40, even 60 a day if I can play 4-6 hours. Fortunately there is usually a day or two that I win a little or break even during a 5 day stay. It wouldn't be any fun or affordable to lose $50 the first hour or hundred's a day. These personally imposed restrictions are the only way I can afford to stay at and gamble 20 days each May and October.

One other suggestion: either call ahead or check availability online for Bay St. Louis Isle of Capri. Back in October, they were fully booked each time I tried. So few of the coastal parks have reopened.

Good Luck!
Texasrvers
Thanks for all the info about the casino parks--especially at Bay St. Louis. It was always pretty full before Katrina and now that it is just about the only decent one in that area I imagine they are fully booked most of the time.

Your gambling habits sound just about like ours. We used to play the single line quarter and nickel machines a lot. But then I discovered the penny machines, and found out I could lose a lot slower and therefore play a lot longer on them. I do like the penny 9 liners, but I very rarely bet over $.75-1.00 at a time and that's only when I get a little ahead. We look at gambling as entertainment, so if we play for 4-5 hours and don't lose more than a hundred (for both of us) then we feel like we have had a fun day. Course if we just happen to win that hundred it is even better.

If we do head on over there I'll try to remember to let you know what I think of the Paragon and the new/rebuilt ones over on the Mississippi gulf coast.
Jerry S
Texasrvrs,

Just reread my last post before reading your reply - 3 or 4 typos in the first few lines. I guess I shouldn't be writing after 10PM. Plus, for some reason, I called the Bay St. Loius casino Isle of Capri instead of Hollywood.

Whenever I explain my gambling style/philosophy, I wonder whether or not the listener is thinking "This guy is either poor or cheap." I guess a little bit of both: relatively poor compared to your typical retired RVer and I definitely watch my pennies. It is the only way I can be on the road 5 months out of the year. For example, I averaged over 18,000 miles a year on my previous RV. I have average less than 12,000 miles a year on my current (4 year old) RV. That has saved me almost $2,000 a year since the big jump in gas prices the last few years. By driving 1/3rd less I am spending about the same amount on gas as I did 5 years ago. OK, I'm cheap.

Take care.

Jerry
Texasrvers
Jerry,

Wee all get ous fingures on tha wronj kez for time to tim. I knew what you meant--even the name of the casino at Bay St. Louis.

Cheap (I prefer frugal) people are the ones that become millionaires because they know how to hold on to a dollar. At least that's what I've heard, and I sure hope it's true.

You take care, too, and leave some $$$$ at those casinos for when we get there.
Jerry S
QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Jan 20 2007, 09:27 PM) *

Jerry,

Wee all get ous fingures on tha wronj kez for time to tim. I knew what you meant--even the name of the casino at Bay St. Louis.

Cheap (I prefer frugal) people are the ones that become millionaires because they know how to hold on to a dollar. At least that's what I've heard, and I sure hope it's true.

You take care, too, and leave some $$$$ at those casinos for when we get there.
Jerry S
Tacksezareveerz,

Tanx fur da chukl. Dis gyy wil haf 2 wate fur de lotoe fer hz milyuns.
COWolfPack
I think I finally figured out why a lot of people disagree with the ratings in Woodall's and Trailer Life.

Jerry S. wrote:

QUOTE

The first time I saw a WD rep was years ago and the second was 7/06 at the KOA in Bismarck, ND. I saw not canes or dogs, but their toad was white with Woodall's emblazened on the side of the vehicle. They have a checklist for the physical aspects of the park and try to rate the subjective items such as cleanliness of the bathroom. Not easy to do in just one or two days.


What campground owner in their right mind, when they saw a toad with Woodall's emblazened on the side pull into their campground, would not send their employees out to get everything clean or to try and cover up problems. wacko.gif Granted there are some things that would be difficult to cover up but there are also a lot of things that could be taken care off or explained away. In order to get a truthful review they should be doing them covertly. Driving in with the big Woodall's vehicle will all but guarantee that the campground is going to kiss their butt to try and get a good review.

I also have to agree about making a distinction for private/member only parks. Perhaps a line under the Camp Information section on the review could be added to designate a park as such. It might even include information as to what discount clubs the park will accept. Just my 2 cents worth.

I have another distinction that will separate RV Resorts from parks or campgrounds. RV resorts will probably never allow tent camping. Heck, there are some resorts that won't even allow you in if your rig is too old or shabby.
ontheroadagain
QUOTE(Texasrvers @ Jan 19 2007, 09:38 PM) *

Jerry,


Funny you mentioned this. I think we just might head over to Lake Charles, Kinder and Marksville in February. From there we are thinking of going on over the the Hollywood Casino (formerly Casino Magic) in Bay St. Louis, MS From there we'll hit the casinos that are open in Biloxi. .



Don't know if you are aware that the bridge across Bay Of Saint Louis is not open and you have to go back to the I-10 to get to Biloxi
dbnck
texasrvers wrote:

> I have read several reviews when someone with a 40’ class A gave a
> place a low rating because the roads were narrow and the sites were not
> level and too small for the rig while someone with a smaller unit (trailer
> or pop-up) gave it a high rating because it was heavily wooded and had
> “natural” campsites. Who is right? They each gave an honest review that
> reflected their expected experience.

You answered your own question--they're both right. And it points to the real value of the reviews on here--they can (and should) be more than just a numerical rating like is found in the big campground guides. Knowing WHY someone feels they way they do about a campground is invaluable.

I have a 40-foot motorhome that is very tall. It's a deal-breaker if I can't fit in a campground's spaces, or if I can't maneuver this beast to the space in the first place. I will note any such difficulties in any review, with full knowledge that not everyone needs this information, but that those who DO need it will really appreciate it.

And I have to admit that my rating of the campground will be influenced by vexing with getting into the space if I had reason to believe the campground was big-rig friendly. However, such a situation would never turn a campground that would otherwise be a 7 into a 3. Or wouldn't for me, anyway.

Personally, I'd be in favor of doing away with numerical ratings entirely simply because they are affected by so many factors that may or may not be relevant to anybody else. Look at the big campground guides--they have all these supposedly objective considerations and standards for each of their categories, and still a lot of us wonder how in the world they came up with a particular rating for a campground we've been to.

Of course, they have to have some sort of grading system, and it has to be succinct. But on rvparkreviews, anyway, there's a wonderful opportunity for people to explain why they feel the way they do about a campground, and thereby let the readers decide whether the reviewer's concerns or praise have any resonance for them.
Texasrvers
ontheroad again,

We just got back from a trip to Louisiana, but we didn't make it over as far as Bay St. Louis, MS. We did know the bridge was out, but thanks for the heads up anyway. We heard the railroad bridge across the bay has been replaced because it was done with private money. However, the vehicle bridge is using federal money so it is not done yet. (Have they even started on it?) Typical government bureaucracy!


dbnck,

Well said! (referring to your post on Feb. 18)



Jerry S,

Now would be a good time for you to go to the Coushatta and Paragon Casinos. Rumor has it a couple from Texas donated a lot of money to them and it's just waiting for someone else to take it back.

Also now that we have been to both places we think we like Coushatta a little better. Both parks (and casinos) had some pluses and minuses in our book, but were generally very nice and we would (and probably will) stay at either one again.
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