Wednesday, 30 December 2009

My big willy dot and you

I have registrations on various climbing websites. Registrations usually give you more options, and they allow you to use the forum. Another recurrent interactive feature is the climbing log. Users can set up a profile and then log onto their climbing log, where they can record their latest ascents. Of course it depends on the website. For instance, Bleau Info will only allow you to record ascents you made in the French forest, because the log tool is based on the website's database.

In some cases the system is more flexible, allowing you to create new entries for new ascents. On UK Climbing for example, you can become a crag moderator and enter all the info about your climbs if it is missing. Obviously this poses some ethical problems and the limit between showing-off and providing actual information is often blurred but if things are done properly, it is in my opinion a very good way to share info amongst climbers.
Where it pleases me less is when the webmaster puts you under pressure to participate in the emulation by sharing your ascent details with other users, notably encouraging an escalation of grades by creating so-called 'score-cards' which allocate points to climbing grades. This process is sometimes referred to as 'measuring willies'. I will not go any further in my description, we all have the same reference in mind. Let's call it My big willy dot and You.
Some will say that on My big willy dot and You, score-cards are optional and you can check out of the competition list and only use the log as a record of your ascents. Although this is true, your log is still not hidden and people can actually find your details especially when your log includes first ascents in a small country. I tried to keep a low profile by not filling in my name. I also stopped using the log options like FA as this tends to send local news updates every time you use it, but I was nonetheless discovered and I had to shamefully explain to my mates that I was using My big willy dot and You only because it was the only website allowing me to record all my ascents.
That was until I got fed up with My big willy dot and You 's webmaster, who kept insisting that I should fill in my name and asked me to use the score-card. I explained I was not really the showing-off type. I don't take off my top at the wall because I'm afraid to catch a cold and my size 0 features would hardly make me look like a beast anyway. But the webmaster of My big willy dot and You insisted on me using my real name because if everyone was like me, he argued, it would ruin the whole purpose of his website.

I think his comment was fair. How can you compare willies if no one is willing to put what they have on the measuring scale? Since my willy was not big enough to go on that scale, I cancelled my registration with My big willy dot and You. A few weeks later 8b+ became the synonym of warming up, which means achievement really starts at 9a now. I guess the webmaster of My big willy dot and You will eventually have to update its domain name.