25 November 2014

The TGO Awards: If it looks like a duck…




If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Quoting Wikipedia: The duck test is a humorous term for a form of inductive reasoning. The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject's habitual characteristics. It is sometimes used to counter abstruse, or even valid, arguments that something is not what it appears to be.

In the previous two posts about this year’s TGO Outdoor Blogger of the Year award there is general consensus amongst those who have posted comments that the average reader of TGO would not see the winning blog as representative of outdoor blogging. Social media – twitter and Facebook – was buzzing. Most were astonished that this blog, so different in style and content to all the other blogs that were nominated for the award, had won. Something wasn’t right.

The following (seemingly valid arguments) are all true:

  • The blog is about the outdoors. There are many pictures of the delightful blogger as though in a fashion shoot for a piece in a ‘lifestyle’ section of a Sunday supplement. And yes; Invariably, the images are taken outdoors.
  • The blogger is to be found in the hills: There was a delightful piece about a wildcamp beneath Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons National Park, complete with a warming tarn-side fire, guitar music and wild swimming. Strangely, that post seems to have been removed today.
  • The blogger is also seen carrying out rigorous gear tests. The choice of rucksack might not have been to the taste of many TGO readers; it might have been shown to best advantage somewhere in Camden or Soho, but beggars can’t be choosers.
  • There is a fine article on outdoor clothing as well: What to wear in the winter in the country. I’m not sure that wasp-waisted party frocks or ballet pumps are everyone’s idea of typical winter gear, but surely, it ticks the ‘winter country wear’ box.

We’re all agreed then that The Girl Outdoors is an outdoor blog. And yes; The Great Outdoors magazine is an outdoor magazine.


So why all the fuss?

Let’s go back to the duck:

  • It does not come close to what normal TGO readers regard an outdoor blog: It looks like a duck.
  • Every other post seems to be an advertorial piece on gear or services: It swims like a duck.
  • The remaining posts are gear reviews – reviews so cursory that they are in fact advertisements: It quacks like a duck.

So I’m totally satisfied that this is not actually an outdoor blog at all, and nor would any loyal reader of The Great Outdoors magazine either. It is a duck. Hence the plethora of comments on my two preceding posts. It must be particularly galling for the other nominees in the ‘outdoor blog of the year’ category to have lost out to a duck.

It must also be worrying for the winners of the other categories as they are seeing their highly prized awards – for indeed they are – tarnished a little by an unseemly spat in the newest category – a category, as TGO said themselves, that had been brought in by popular demand this year.


So what went wrong?

I’m writing this next section as if walking over eggshells. 

After the nominations had closed it was pointed out to TGO on twitter that there was not a single woman on the ‘Personality of the Year’ category shortlist: see Mirella’s comment 2nd up from the bottom.



Women Climb’ then stepped in asking for the gender balance of the nominations for the awards: (2nd comment from the top in the next screenshot)

DW Screenshot_2014-11-23-21-44-44


There was obviously genuine concern amongst the largely female contributors to this thread that women were not represented in anything approaching a realistic proportion of the gender balance in the outdoor world. This is patently true. A good example of this is the fact that there were just two blogs out of the ten nominated in the outdoor blogger category that were written by women. But what could TGO have done about this? Nothing, of course, as they were the blogs nominated by the public.

The odd thing is that after this conversation took place on twitter (there were other conversations dealing with this topic as well) one of these blogs (the duck) came top in the voting and the other, ‘Two Blondes Walking’, apparently came second. And, the duck won by a considerable margin.

Now we have already seen that hardly any TGO readers (apart it seems from Martin Banfield – read his comment here) were aware of Sian’s blog. So they didn’t vote for it. Yet the two blogs written by women came top of the poll. What are the odds of that happening? Any statisticians out there?

Explain. Draw graphs. Give reasons. Show your ‘workings out’ in the margin.


TGO Towers

When this year’s awards scheme was started, the magazine had its Editor slaving away over a hot keyboard. Sometime later Emily went off on maternity leave, which is a joyous thing. But it did leave Daniel, the Digital Editor, with quite a bit more work to do. Of course he has help but TGO is a small ship and there is still a magazine deadline every month and an increasing digital presence to manage on top of this.

It’s been said elsewhere on the last two blog-posts that it was possible to vote and vote often on this particular poll. Apparently this has been the case for the last three years, and in the past there have been numerous cases of multiple voting, but nothing that materially affected the result of each category.

I’ve been told that this year it was unlikely that voters’ IP Addresses were checked. So: Given all that you have seen here, what do you think has happened?


What next?

This is really up to The Great Outdoors magazine. Already we have seen TGO readers cancel their subscriptions. We have seen a great deal of anger and disbelief at the outcome of this particular poll.

I think it’s right that it should be up to the great unwashed to nominate their choice for the public to vote on. It makes sense to keep the numbers to a manageable size so that people are wiling to trawl through the choices available before picking their own winner. However, I do believe that TGO should have the final say on those going forward to the voting stages. Who knows what might be the outcome if a well organised, ambitious blogger (say) manages to garner a fair few folk to get their blog nominated into the top ten? Perhaps that same blogger could go on and muster an active set of the community to support their effort, in order to balance out some perceived imbalance?

Using this system, TGO might be able to avoid the ducks in future.

What do you think? Have your say below. I know you’ll be civil. This place isn’t like twitter.

Thank you.


EDITED TO ADD: if you want a wise and wonderful take on blog awards, take a peek HERE



  1. Interesting, Alan. Is the IP address data not filed away somewhere? Can it be dug out and checked? Effectively, a re-count that would crown the Two Blondes? :)

    1. To be honest, Paul, it's too late. The damage is done. And I don't think that TGO have the manpower or will (they must be fed up with this by now) to do anything about it this year.
      Daniel's been on twice now saying that it will be done better next year.

      I'm not sure it would 'crown the Two Blondes, because unknowingly to them they might also have benefitted from this rigging. It *could* benefit Fozzie, who came a close third, according to Andy Howell I(who seems to be changing his version of events every five minutes at the moment over at his wildly inaccurate blog posts on this.

  2. I'm not aware of any evidence of multiple voting, Alan, although this was clearly possible. I think the whole point is that TGO should have considered the nominations against some criteria that were related to what the mag stands for to arrive at the final shortlist. Then the great unwashed ie the rest of us could have their vote. TGO really needs to clarify how they reduced the nominations to 10.

    1. I agree that some criteria should have been applied, David. And as I am replying to you later in the day (after Daniel has posted two comments in this thread) we can see that it came down to purely number of nominations.
      IP address checks or IP blocking after voting would certainly be advisable next time.

  3. A well written critique of what has gone on with the TGO award. Clearly something is amiss, it's a shame there is no response from TGO.
    I support everything you say, well done once again for raising the issue.

  4. Seemingly the outdoor branch has found new marketing gigs to promote their stuff.

    Came across a blog from Germany run by two glamper brunettes who walked across the Alps from Munich to Venice last summer. Seemingly not for pure fun. It´s full of advertorial links ...

    Somehow this reeks to high heaven ...


    1. Hi Markus
      Reading stuff like that - with such a massive concentration on monetisation of a great trip just makes one's soul slump a little more.

  5. If, as Andy Howell has stated on his blog, the winner won by a substantial margin of votes, it is surprising that this didn't ring any alarm bells at TGO Towers. However, as you say, Daniel must be very busy, so it appears to be a naive oversight rather than anything sinister. If there are no IP records, then there's very little than can be done. However, if the IP data has been stored, then TGO needs to take a close look to check that the voting process has not been manipulated to ensure the integrity of the awards.

    In all the blog comments and twitter storm, I've yet to see one person who has claimed to have voted for the winning blog. This seems strange if it was the overwhelming winner. You would have thought that some ordinary punters rather than her media buddies would have lept to her defence. Even the "so what" commentors have said it's not a blog they would read.

    You wanted some statistics. I looked at the outdoor blogs that I follow on Digg Reader. Approximately 13% of those are authored by women (and some very good ones too!). This seems to reflect a lower participation rate of women in backpacking. To double check this, I looked at the 2015 TGO Challenge entry. Approximately 23% of the entry are women (approximately because some names, especially foreign ones, are difficult to know whether they are male or female).

    Looking at the blogger award candidates, 2 out of 10, i.e. 20% are authored by women. So, on the face of it, the proportion of women award candidates broadly reflects the demographic of backpacking and backpacking blogs.

    I sincerely hope that gender politics is not going to spill over into the backpacking world. It would be good to attract more women to backpacking, but you can't force them. I can see why women might find backpacking a less attractive as a hobby than others on offer.

    I'm always nervous of the urge for positive discrimination. I can see why in some areas it might be necessary, but in backpacking blogs? I think blogs should be judged on the quality of their content, not the gender of their author. Isn't that what gender equality is all about?

    1. A great comment, Robin and an excellent analysis.
      This comment should be read by Andy Howell, who is flinging all sorts of unpleasant accusations around on his blog about this post being "sexist."
      He obviously cannot read, or has difficulties with comprehension skills.

  6. Very interesting post again Alan, I have noticed own thing though... If the winner is a Duck... That makes me (as a loser) an Ugly Duckling :-)

    In all seriousness though, If they won fair and square then so be it. Hats off to everyone.... I'm not sure if we will ever know what has gone off as it looks immensely fishy. I doubt it would be admitted as I could imagine the controversy now if the suspicions were true. I can't imagine for one second that the media would try and deceive the general public in order to gain extra readership and in the end extra money ;-) who'd do a thing like that (every news outlet)

    1. Thank Dean, from another ugly duckling.
      It's all too late now to put this right, but lets' hope that TGO in that classically overused phrase, "learns lessons from this."

  7. The overwhelming feeling is that the Duck conducted a winning campaign, with or without dirty tricks, for the benefit career progression, whilst the Ugly Ducklings quacked weakly in the background.

    Personally, I feel TGO Towers should appoint Old Mortality as judge and jury in this category. But I would, wouldn't I?

    1. I struggled to vote for your blog Martin, as you do so many walks and backpacking trips - bit like those people who write for TGO. Plus all that leading walks stuff and being nice to people sharing common sense walking advice. Seemed so far from what is an outdoor blog is these days ;) I expect to see fires burning the hill side. Wisdom like going for a night swim after a few drinks in the hills. Plus advice on working abroad and hooking up with people despite being in a relationship. Thats so what the outdoor blogs scene is now with all those paid for features. Glamp a tent up and melt chocolate over a campfire with chums is in. Camping high, watching the stars is so yesterday and cuddly jumpers and wellies are in over sensible boot reviews I am afraid so no vote for you. By the way it took me all of 5 minutes to find those wonderful pearls of wisdom out on the winning blog as I am so "busy" with work and commitments. You know how things so stack up you just don't have the time to check. Anyway hope to catch you sometime and crack on writing that blog of yours as despite the results it will get read by the outdoor community who read TGO unlike I expect the winning blog.

    2. Haha Martin - one day you too may be released from your non outdoors 'busyness". I didn't vote for my blog either - there were more worthy winners (Ducks excluded), and I fully supported your own choice.
      Life will go on. I suspect Emily will have been saddened by all this unwelcome distraction, arguably brought on by TGO magazine's faux pas.

    3. Three cracking comments there from the two Martins.
      It's about career progression and money.

  8. Replies
    1. Perhaps, Dear Heart. Perhaps.
      We will never know, but what we do know is that it stinks to high heaven.

  9. What attracted me, and has kept me, as a TGO reader is that the magazine had a core set of values running through it. An awareness of the need to protect wild land and how one, as a responsible individual, has a part to play in that. Those values are still there today, Roger Smith for example and Chris Townsend. It's often reflected in Daniel and Emily's editorial. Look at the letters page too, it raises proper readers' comments and concerns. There is still in it sensible writing for grown-ups which should make one stop and think about what you do in the outdoors, why you do it and what wild space means in our crowded island. I just think, on the broadest of criteria, the blog awards should reflect. After all, for me, thats what makes TGO stand out from it's rivals.

    To be fair it's the first year they've done this and I know personally that the skeleton TGO staff have many many many commitments in their day job of getting the magazine out every month. But it's important to safeguard a reputation as a serious outdoors publication dealing with serious issues (and yes some of the fun stuff too).

    1. I agree totally with your first paragraph. I'll defend TGO to the hilt as a decent campaigning (as far as the owners will let them) mag. Roger Smith and CT are standard-bearers of decency: Folk who do their utmost to defend the wild places.

      But this is the third year of the awards and I would have hoped for better management of it. Daniel has been on now and explained why and so I accept that and hope it will be sorted for next year.


  10. Thank you for your interest in the TGO Awards. I’d like to respond to it. Firstly, I want to explain how the awards were set up. They were set up to celebrate the outdoors and, yes, help market TGO and connecting our advertisers with the audience. We have a wide audience and of course we want it to be wider. It’s not easy out there, but we’re doing well.

    With all of our reader nominated categories, we asked our readers to nominate blogs. The 10 that received the 10 most nominations were then shortlisted. We then asked readers to vote on the shortlist. The Girl Outdoors got the most votes on the new category of Outdoor Blogger of the Year and thus won. We thought that this was the fairest way to set up all the reader nominated awards.
    Many of the shortlisted parties across all categories promoted the awards and the fact they were nominated. It’s worth also saying that we have a wide and diverse readership and that extends out even further online and social media across many demographics, and to survive as a print magazine in this world, we need and indeed, strive, to have it. But it is, of course, a continuous balancing act.
    As Alan said, TGO is a small ship, and it’s impossible to monitor every Twitter comment, blog comment and vote. (That said, I was surprised and upset at some of the personal comments (to extend the duck analogy – it’s not always water off a duck’s back)).
    So as for the TGO Awards in the future. Will TGO be looking at process and criteria across all categories? Yes. Will TGO continue to create the fairest system we can? Of course. We’re always genuinely trying to do the best we can and underlying all of it is an honest passion and love for the outdoors.
    OK, it is press day tomorrow and I’ve still an editor’s letter to write, a review of an Osprey backpack to finish off and 10 wild walks to proof.
    I hope you have a good day and can enjoy a bit of the outdoors today.

    1. As you say Daniel, TGO has a wide and diverse readership but it is really difficult to see how the majority would be interested in what might be termed a 'countryside lifestyle' blog. I'm afraid that you haven't really addressed the issue of why this anomalous entry was allowed to go through to voting.

    2. Hi Daniel, thank you for taking the time to respond. Re-iterating Ian's question above, I think the TGO community is still genuinely bemused at how the winning blog was included or indeed if she was 'invited'. From what I have read there was some culling of original nominees down to the final 10, which suggests some rudimentary vetting took place. To include a media professionals 'lifestyle' (I'm being polite) blog/advertorial alongside genuine outdoor blogs in the category is in danger of undermining TGO's core values - especially when the aforementioned blogger posts photos of fire-scared NP land from her outdoorsy jaunts and fashion shoots.

  11. This reminds me of the Ant and Dec fiasco (not that I watch it) when it was revealed that votes and money were still being taken well after the closing date. The Nation, who obviously had trusted TV without question up until that point suddenly said ‘eh? Hang on, we’ve been mugged!’

    The result was that everyone in media land had to suddenly (quite rightly) justify the rules and closing dates of said competitions and make things clear so it was a level playing field (something everyone assumed anyway) so they didn’t lose the trust and automatic cash, from the punters. You and I. (Well not me exactly ‘cos, as I said, I wouldn’t vote on Ant and Dec, ‘cos I don’t watch it see)

    So Sian’s blog isn’t to my taste, or the taste of many. But there’s nowhere in the rule book which says what the content should or shouldn’t be. It’s her toy, she can play with as much as she likes, if she wants to monetise it or not that’s her choice, just like Andy, Alan, Martin and everyone else. In fact I can think of 2 popular outdoor bloggers who have used their blogs to gain employment in the Outdoors Media, so lets not throw stones eh?

    The issues which as probably saddened so many people (enough to cancel subscription is a lot of cases) are as follows;

    1) Shortlisting. Did everyone just ‘happen’ to nominate 10 people each category? Doubtful. If a list was short, was it added to? If it was long, who culled it? Either way who made the decisions and why? Was TGO influenced to have ‘more female bias’ via Twitter pressure? It was read by many.

    2) Voting. Certainly, the ability to repeat vote is very, very poor. Winning anything by a long margin, should throw up questions automatically. Especially when there is no evidence (I can find) of that particular category winner promoting or supporting the awards via the blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Very sad.

    3) Content: This is a fine balancing act. To be associated with TGO surely they must check to see if the retailer, personality, blogger is actually an ‘outdoors person’ and not supporting or promoting any sexist, homophobic, sexual, political or anti-establishment posts. But even if they were, what rules and who decides whether, Wild Camping fires, or an anti Wild Farms rant, should, or shouldn’t be allowed into the awards. Very difficult to set the balancing act as the net is full of a conflicting wealth of opinions and to be fair to Daniel, he just wouldn’t have the time to check 10 blogs, 10 shops, 10 personalities etc and still do his job.

    The result it appears is that TGO has lost a lot of assumed trust and viability as the last unbiased bastion of solid, reliable and consistent Outdoor Mags. All of the above are facts, so it would be in their best interest to face the music, do a review of the IP vote (if they can) and assess ALL categories again. That way it’ll rebuild our trust in them.

    However do keep in mind, that Daniel is probably doing the whole thing on his own currently with Emily away on Maternity and the rest being freelance writers. How he manages to keep putting out consistent quality every month beats me, so as much as the TGO supporters feel misled, I do respect the fact that in his world, it is probably done and dusted and he’s already working on February’s edition.

    So if you support TGO magazine, then give them chance to address the issues which I hope they will do over time. Maybe they will make the rules clearer and easy to follow next time. If you don’t then this continual kicking in their direction may have more long term negative effect on the magazine as a whole, due to the pressures it must be creating internally.

    1. Hi Bob.

      An excellent comprehensive comment Sir. I totally agree with everything you have said.
      I would just point out one small inaccuracy that does need correcting. The list of nominees could not have been added to because of twitter pressure because the twitter conversation took place after the list was published.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment here. Appreciated.

  12. Hi Alan, not being particularly eloquent (not one of my many skills, I'm afraid!) I've been trying to formulate a general reply about gender issues for the past hour. Thank goodness Robin has added a well-worded comment on the issue - I can just say I am in totally agreement with him!

    Personally, I have never been in favour of positive discrimination and on a gender-related subject, my mum was a head teacher for many years - getting her first post back in the early 70s when it really was a man's domain. If she had ever thought she'd got where she was because she was female, rather than on her own merit, she'd have been absolutely horrified.

    1. Hi Chrissie and thank you for taking the trouble to tackle this thorny issue. I spent a great deal of time ensuring that this post was fair and could not possibly be accused of sexism.

      However, that has not satisfied Andy Howell, who over at his place has made totally unfounded accusations that this piece is all about sexism.

      Well, I suppose if that's what floats his boat, fine. So I am pleased to see that others in this thread realise that that is rubbish and I have been open, honest then I ma satisfied.

      To say I am disappointed with Mr Howell, though, is an understatement. I note that he is writing that over at his place and not on here.

  13. hi, does anyone know where the toilets are?

  14. I think the reaction from TGO could be positive. And why not? Daniel said that the aim of the awards was to engage. I imagined this category as an opportunity to engage it's readership.

    Why not do a feature in TGO on blogging? Get some of those nominated to do a few hundred words on what/why/how, I'm sure with the quality of some of the blogs you'll get a very readable contribution. This might start some of the wider demographic off and who knows, next years might be more reflective?

    Others have questioned whether this matters, I say it should. It's important to get it right. It's important too to get more blogs from women that really reflect what some women in the outdoors are doing. There's professional alpinists like Squash Falconer, some really hard-core long distance trail runners like Debbi Martin-Consani or the amazing Lorraine McCall (who TGO have covered). I've a pre-teen daughter and my wife and I battle a world which tries to shoe horn girls into boxes. I want a blog from a women in the outdoors that's an example of what women are doing out there.

    We may be reaching, or have reached, the point where more heat than light is being generated but there's a debate which in some parts positive. Does it matter? The outdoors world is full of old b*rstards to whom things matter. What if Benny Rothman had decided it was to much effort, it 'didn't matter' and then just spent his Saturdays watching football instead.

    1. Thank you Mark, for another excellent comment.
      Of course this matters.
      And yes, if Benny Rothman had sat at home, if he had not cared about right and wrong, we wouldn't have a great outdoors to enjoy. We would still be obeying the "Keep off my land" notices.

      Protest, objection, and rights and wrongs are deeply embedded in my psyche and Ii will not stand by and watch a miscarriage of justice take place. I am one of the awkward brigade who won't let others be pushed around.

      It would be so easy to let this float on by and watch Sian enjoy the fruits of the award with not a care in the world.

  15. Hi guys,

    Thank you for your comments. I'd just like to reiterate that the shortlists across all reader nominated and voted categories were simply shortlisted by counting the number of nominations. The ten with the most nominations were in the shortlist. TGO tried hard to make it fair. But I'm sure TGO will look very carefully at this for next, and, of course, all the issues that have been raised.

    (And I appreciate the work comments - we're on deadline tomorrow and also working really hard on the February issue because of the Christmas deadline. I really must get on - we've a nice issue and I still haven't got round to writing the editor's letter!)

    Thanks again,


    1. Thank you for getting back to us Daniel and let's hope that next time we won't be having this conversation again.
      Now then - back to work, Sir - we're waiting for the next edition!

  16. When I look at a blog, read an article, ponder a review, I consider the content and the integrity of the author. That integrity I base on the experience the author demonstrates through their own experiences. Gender is never an issue and plays no role. But still the Political Correctness police have to get involved somewhere along the line and create a problem where there is none.

    Reading through the comments to Alan's posts it is very clear that there is no gender issue. Most comments are balanced and considered. No sexist comments, no demonising of a particular gender, just an outdoor community commenting on an issue.

    My biggest concern about the involvement of the PC police is that they may make the lady bloggers in our community feel uncomfortable and not wish to contribute or be nominated in future awards. I hope not.

    1. Hi Marc, well certainly as far as I'm concerned, I assure you I've not noticed all this being a gender issue in any way and it certainly hasn't made me feel uncomfortable at all, either :)

    2. A POST FROM ANDY HOWELL'S BLOG (in two parts)
      PART ONE:
      My Last Word on Blogger-Gate!
      25/11/2014 by andy 13 Comments
      I hesitate to venture in here again but I think I have set a few hairs running by giving the impression that the winning blog (in the TGO Awards) won by a large margin. I had meant that there was quite a gap between those at the top and those at the bottom of the voting pile!
      I don’t think I’m at liberty to reveal that actual voting figures not do I think I should) but I can say that the winning blog pipped the runner up by a glorious five votes. A spread of 45 votes cover the top four. A spread of 234 votes covered first and last place. While I don’t know the actual numbers of votes cast it looks to me to have been less than 300. The voting was quite tight at the top.
      Now I mention this because of some of the comments being made rather vociferously and a suggestion that somehow the voting here was infleunced by gender considerations, although personally I wouldn’t see anything wrong in that per se. In fact, two men were in the top four and within close reach of the winner and runner up.
      The ten nominations that received the most nominations were there ten that were shortlisted. The last of the nominated 10 received less that 50 votes and so it seems reasonable to me that a blog receiving less support that this probably didn’t merit shortlisting.
      I certainly have never spoken to or heard of the winning blog and I believe that is also the case with TGO staff, although they will make their own position clear.
      I said in my original post on this that I was not a great fan of these things but they are a common occurrence in all parts of life now. If it is the case that somehow people could have voted more than once then this should be dealt with in future, however, given the small number of votes actually cast I would be surprised if this had any real significance.
      Personally, I can’t see any evidence of this being anything other than an open vote. it is, of course, the reality that a celebrity or somebody attached to big audience product will have an advantage over the rest of us. As I said before, it is almost impossible for a pub, B&B or campsite outside of the Lake District to win anything — simply because the Lakes are so popular.
      So, do people encourage people to vote for them? Of course they do. Bloggers take to Facebook and Twitter to ask for support. Organisations and company’s might even have mentioned the vote on their web pages. What else do you expect!
      Across the public vote categories there were two stand out results which suggested many more people voted in these categories than in others. in other words people voted simply once for their chosen champion. In both cases I don’t think anybody would quibble with the result.
      I gave to tell you that this is an extraordinarily common process, even in — or especially in — alternative vote and TV elections for really important things! Considerably numbers only vote once for their preferred candidate or Party, choosing to forge a second or third choice.
      At the end of the day this just isn’t that important, but I will end by reflecting on a few things.
      Firstly, there are many different kinds of outdoor blogs. Some are like mine and Alan’s. These are labours of love and are based on a simple desire to share information and experience. we might see these as pure but there is no reason why everyone has to adopt these tactics. More than one person has tried to generate real income from their site and often it results in something that is almost unreadable — but you know it’s like the Mary Whitehouse thing (for younger readers don’t worry) — you don’t have to red them. I have once blogger friend who I love dearly but who’s site has so many adds on it I can’t read on on my iPad!

    3. A POST FROM ANDY HOWELL'S BLOG (in two parts)
      PART TWO:

      Secondly, we should be aware of new trends in journalism training and, of course, there impact on freelance techniques. Is shall paraphrase Jeff Jarvis an ex mainstream editor and now Professor of Journalism at a New York University. He makes it clear that anyone applying for his course should be writing a blog — if they are not writing and practicing their technique themselves they have to have a good reason why.
      There are a number of blogs in the outdoor sphere that are written by journalists or copy writers with, presumably, the intention of promoting their talents. Does anyone read them? I don’t know but a few people are happy to vote for them.
      Despite everything else these blogs are outdoor blogs it’s just we don’t know who these people are; they are probably too young to take the TGO Challenge seriously
      I hope all of this dies down quickly. I am left with the rather uneasy feeling that the biggest problem this winner has is that she is a woman. i hope I’m wrong about that.
      These votes are not really that important or that serious. they are a bit of fun and allow the readership to have a direct input into things. I’m not sure I would want to see the judges or staff deciding who goes on a short list or not. Taking the top ten nominations for a shortlist seems reasonable to me.
      I shall end with another thought.
      It is very difficult for anyone not famous to win the outdoor personality of the year. I think we have had Ray Mears, Bear Ghylls (or whatever he is called) and Chris Bonnington as winners. Fair enough I think I think in the ways that nobody should be surprised that Alan Hinkes (bless his award Yorshireness) wins book of the year. I have suggested that the judges might consider an Outstanding Contribution to the Outdoors award as a way of promoting those who are no sexy enough or well known enough. We moved in this direction last year with a special award.
      Public votes have to be straightforward and open. And occasionally the public will surprise us.
      So, while I am happy to ridicule this particular blog for this content and approach I don’t think it’s winning is part of some great consipracy; it simply wasn’t.


      andy says:
      25/11/2014 at 6:48 pm
      Ian, it may be a lifestyle blog but it is definitely an outdoor blog. It’s not my cup of tea at all but every post is about something to do with the outdoors. Damn it, she even reviews gear!

      I’ve made clear what I think about these kind of polls but then I am a grey person in their 50s and I understand young people often like this kind of thing.

      I don’t see how you can get these blogs in advance. We are not talking about thousands of votes here but the low hundreds.

      There are men on that shortlist who carry a lot of adds and review all kinds of gear that is sent to them by manufacturers. And I can post you to other walking blogs where the writer seems to do little walking but likes taking pictures of himself wearing the latest jacket. I think these are probably lifestyle as well to some extent.

      This may be superficial blog or it maybe aimed at people who potter outdoors as it were. But people were prepared to vote for it. As I have said many hundreds of other people voted for two other categories, no doubt as a result of some campaign but I think that is life.

      The only way forward from what you have said would be for the judges to receive all of the nominations and then produce the shortlist for you to vote on but somehow I don’t think that would be acceptable either.

      In statistical terms if only 2.5% of those who voted for aye Girl had voted for amethyst Foskett he would have run. We’re talking marginal numbers here.

      What bemuses me is this. A publisher can use all of their muscle and promotion to ask people to vote for their author and nobody bats an eyelid. Some women ask their mates to vote for them and it is an outrage.

      I thought this had gone too far with the suggestion that the girls had been added to the short list for gender balance. It seems quite reasonable to me to assume that they would have been nominated in more numbers than many of those who were well down the list, simply because so few people had nominated them.

      Have views about blogs, but really I don’t think this is worth worrying about. Just be happy in not liking the content!

      alan.sloman says:
      25/11/2014 at 8:31 pm
      You cheeky bastard Andy.
      I did NOT suggest anything of the sort!
      You obviously HAVE NOT READ my piece at all!
      Retract that immediately!

    5. The above three comments are taken from Andrew Howell's blog where he has decided that my argument for saying there is something wrong with the Outdoor Blogger of the year is sexism. He maintains that I have said on my blog that the girls had been added to the list of nominations for "gender balance"

      You'll not that I have not said that anywhere on this blog or the two preceding blogposts. On twitter this afternoon he accused me of sexism.

      What do you all think of this? I would appreciate frank replies, as over on Andy's blog he is now accusing me of "bullying him" for having the temerity to be appalled at his behaviour. To say I am pissed off with his is an understatement.

  17. Why can Andy say this; "I don’t think I’m at liberty to reveal that actual voting figures" how can he know? he does not work for TGO does he, so why has he that information, and has the access to that included emails which would be left as part of the vote?.

    I'm a tad concerned at what has been shared with him and what sort of policies TGO have in information sharing to be frank Alan. His post is appalling and the conclusions he makes have no substance. A bit of a Owen Jones - no research and data to back it up. Poor from him and expected better.

    1. I agree with your points, Martin but I am more angry about him misrepresenting what I have said in away designed to put me in a very bad light (and him, of course, in a very good light - holier than thou)
      He has lied about what I have said on here, called my post sexist and has refused to apologise.
      He's beneath contempt.

  18. Alan i have just read Andy Howell's blog and having read both yours and his comments on both blogs and i say that you have not been in anyway sexist but did you really have to call him a cheeky bastard and lower the tone to that of the school yard you are both better than that and you are as i,m led to believe to be good friends . if anyone one looks at the strong words that have been written by both you and Andy on his blog might come to same conclusion and think that this is getting to be vindictive and you are both going to loose in this because it will lead to nothing but losing a good friend and the respect that comes with it . i hope that you will both put a stop this soon .

    1. Hi Chris
      I think calling someone 'a cheeky bastard' after he had already been shown to be wrong elsewhere for doing the same thing (twitter) and then repeat the accusation on his own blog (not here, where the discussion is taking place) is not too big a deal. Calling someone sexist, when it is clearly not true, and then ascribing to me remarks that I had not said (and then attacking those remarks) is beneath contempt.

      I don't much care how long Andy & I have been friends. He's wrong, he knows he has lied and he refuses to apologise. That is inexcusable.

      I appreciate you trying to step in and calm the situation, but this morning I am still angry about this.

  19. I think it's slightly bemusing that you throw your toys out of the pram over a fairly innocuous post that seems to put this blogger Pulitzer scandal to bed when you've spent the last couple of days whipping the mob into a frenzy over some young woman's temerity to win it.

    1. Hi Wayne.
      Thanks for your comment. It may appear bemusing that I'm 'throwing my toys out of the pram' but if you had been lied about, publicly on his blog and on twitter, I think you would be pretty upset about it too.
      This series of posts is all about fair play, and Andy is certainly not demonstrating fair play - in fact he seems to be going out of his way to distort the truth.
      I'm not sure that your tongue-in-cheek description of this spat over some gerrymandering rates as a 'Pulitzer' scandal or that I have been 'whipping a mob into a frenzy' either, but I'm sure the mob who have commented here will see that they have been manipulated by this evil press baron and comment if they agree with you.
      Thank you for your contribution. It brightened things up, Sir.

  20. I have to say that both me and my husband were both totally bemused by the winning blog, right from the word go. We felt that it was not representative in any way of the ethos of TGO. And before I had noticed any comments on twitter, I had already sent an email to TGO, querying this. (Incidentally, I still have not had a reply to this email.)
    We do not perceive any problem with the winner being female - if this blog had been written by a bloke, in a similar vein, we would still have felt the same and I suspect the others who have been expressing their opinions about it, would have too. I repeat, that neither me nor Geoff have noticed any sexist comments - just comments about the blog content, and total bewilderment that TGO appeared to consider it as representative of their readership.

  21. I haven't found, and never expected to find, any sexist comments either Alan. Christine has more or less said what I was about to say so I'll leave it at that.

  22. I don't see anything sexist in either the tone or content of your posts, or indeed the comments and responses.

    I've hesitated to say this before - for fear of stoking the flames even further - but one of my issues with the style and content of the winning blog is that it is the kind of vacuous tripe that actually does women in general - women bloggers in particular - a disservice.

    There, I've said it out loud now; please don't take it out on Alan.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Dave.
      Over the year both yours and Gibson's blogs have been inspiring. Beautiful photographs and thought provoking writing.
      In my opinion you both should have been on that list and I would encourage readers new to them to have a read.

  23. Response to Andy Howell’s post part 1 (I’ve had to split this into two parts because of the limitations of Blogger)

    I was going to respond to Andy's latest post on his blog, but thought it more appropriate to respond on Alan's blog, as this is where most of the discussion has occurred.

    I found Andy's post “ My Last Word on Blogger-gate!” one of the most distressing posts I've read on an outdoor blog. Instead of drawing a line under the whole issue, it poured petrol on to the fire by introducing the issue of sexism. To quote “I hope all of this dies down quickly. I am left with the rather uneasy feeling that the biggest problem this winner has is that she is a woman. I hope I’m wrong about that.”

    If Andy’s hope is the the affair will die down quickly, why introduce a hitherto absent dimension of the debate , i.e. misogyny? Very skilfully, Andy avoids a direct accusation, but traduces those that have complained or poked fun at the blogger, implying that the real motive for their actions is that she is a woman blogger.

    Having followed both the Twitter exchanges and the comments on blogs, I can see no evidence of people either complaining that the blogger is a woman or poking fun at her because she is a woman.

    I double checked this impression with fellow Twitterer and blogger Chrissie. She agreed that she had seen no element of sexism in the exchanges. Ironically the only time that gender issues were raised is in the exchange of tweets by the blogger and her friends, querying the gender balance of the nominees in the TGO awards.

    Let's recap why people have been upset by this award. 1) The blog seems to be a lifestyle blog, not a outdoor/backpacking blog and out of kilter with the content of TGO magazine and the interests of its readers. 2) The blog featured a post on a wild camp near Pen Y Fan with a charred fire ring (this post has been removed after a complaint to the National Park by a twitterer). 3) The revelation that the voting system was insecure and the concern there might have been manipulation.

    To my knowledge, in none of these areas was there any reference to the problem being that the blogger was a woman. Sure there was a lot of poking fun at yoga mats and yellow wellies, but that was aimed at the blog being a lifestyle blog rather than a true backpacking blog and not at the fact that she is a woman.

  24. Response to Andy Howell’s post part 2

    In the overall scheme of things, like Ebola and Syria, this blog award is a trivial thing. However, it is testament to the high regard and affection that TGO magazine engenders that people have felt so strongly about it.

    While it is fair for people like Andy to say “so what, get a life”, it is totally unacceptable to write a blog post implying that the motive for people criticising the winning blog is misogyny. It was naïve of Andy to expect people to just shrug their shoulders. No wonder Alan has gone ballistic. Others to a greater or lesser extent have lambasted Andy for this smear.

    It is also interesting to note how Andy's position on the size of the winning margin has changed dramatically. In his post “Guys, it's not that important”, one reason he puts forward to suggest that people should stop complaining is that it won by a considerable margin (“ I do know that they won by quite a margin”).

    This suggestion of a large winning margin and the knowledge of an insecure voting process (admitted by a former TGO employee), set alarm bells ringing as to whether the vote had been ramped. The genesis of the conspiracy theory of the vote can be traced to Andy's statement.

    We now find in his latest post, that the winning margin was quite small and that the total number of votes was modest, “less than 300”. Why did Andy wait two days to reveal that people had got the wrong end of the stick when strong concern over the vote was being expressed?

    It wouldn't be too wide of the mark to suggest that the most contentious aspects of “blogger-gate” were actually generated by Andy Howell: firstly his misinformation on the winning margin led to conspiracy theories and secondly, his toxic insinuation of sexism, which led to bitter exchanges on Twitter and his blog.

    So there you have it. What a mess! I don't suppose it will happen, but I think Andy owes people (especially Alan) apologies for the misleading information on the vote and for the insinuation of sexism/misogyny.

    1. Thank you Robin.

      That must have taken quite a bit of time to put together and I appreciate your support. I enjoy all sorts of blogs, but the ones I always come back to are those that display an obvious love of the wild places, thoughtful writing, and above all integrity.

      I wonder if Andy Howell will apologise.

  25. As someone associated with one of the other nominated blogs (not the winning one) I have been disappointed at the rather ungracious reaction from some of those nominated who didn't win.

    1. Hello Anon
      Thank you for commenting.

      Could you let us know whose behaviour has been ungracious? I must have missed it and so I would be obliged if you can let us all know what has been said and why it upsets you so.

      There's no need to remain anonymous on my blog - I know it can be difficult for someone not used to commenting on a Blogger blog. You can simply append your name at the bottom of your comment.

      As a rule, I'm not a fan of anonymous comments, but if they are reasoned, and you have a genuine reason to remain anonymous and can back up what they say then I will *always* publish them.


    2. I am going to have to agree with Anon above. What an appalling waste of time to invest so much energy moaning about who won an award. Really have you nothing better to do? I've just checked out the winning blog for the first time and it is refreshingly free from exactly this kind of nonsense. Actually I think it's rather good. I've been reading TGO for years and guess what? You don't have to be middle aged to write about the outdoors (I am). You don't have to have a beard (I keep toying with the idea but can't quite manage it). You don't have to walk across Scotland or climb all the Munros to qualify. A sense of wonder and enjoyment is a pretty good qualification and if this woman's blog encourages more young people to develop a love for the outdoors then I am all for it. One thing guaranteed to turn them off is the kind of petty nonsense on here. For goodness sakes stop it, it does you a great disservice. TGO are quite at liberty to select who they want as a winner and it doesn't have to represent the 'typical reader' or your view of who that should be. Why shouldn't they use this as an opportunity to engage more people and hopefully turn them onto the outdoors? They are the ones who we need looking after it in years to come. The editor should not have to explain himself to you and anyone cancelling their subscription over this really needs a reality check. I've enjoyed this blog in the past and hope to again in the future. Can we get back to the outdoors and drop this for goodness sakes. It paints no one in a good light.
      Alan (no realtion)

    3. I think you misrepresent the case slightly here, Alan.

      No one has been moaning about who won the award. I am sure that Sian is a fine (if a tad ambitious) woman. And no one is complaining about that fact that she is young. I don't believe anyone has complained that she hasn't managed a beard yet either.

      Again, I can't see anyone here grizzling about her lack of prowess in the hills or her not having walked across Scotland. You see, all the comments have been very measured..

      I agree with you entirely; A sense of wonder and enjoyment is to be cherished. However, whether her advertorials and adverts will actually encourage the young to put down their iPads and drag one another singing and holding hands into the outdoors, I'm not as sure as you seem to be.

      I agree that TGO do need to try and engage with more people and turn them on to the outdoors. And they have been doing a wonderful job of that for almost forty years.

      I am delighted to hear that you have enjoyed this little dimple in the blogosphere and I hope you return soon. I enjoy writing my blog and I would hate to lose a reader who is prepared to hammer away a long comment because he cares.

      Thank you for commenting, Sir, and I can assure you that 'normal service' will be resumed as soon as possible.

    4. Someone remind me since when has giving advice on hooking up with someone while in a relationship, having fires in the hills and advice on going for a swim in the dark in the outdoors after a few drinks been rather good ? I must missed something like the TGO did.

    5. Alan I really don't think I do misrepresent. You are making an awful lot of assumptions about her motivation for creating her blog. How do you have any idea about whether she is ambitious or not.... and what does that have to do with anything? Plenty of quality bloggers and writers have a financial motivation. I very much doubt she makes enough money from her blog in a year to cover the price of decent meal out. Good on her for throwing herself at her project and I hope that next year there are hundreds more who've got into the outdoors for the first time looking for ways to share their new found passion with others. I only hope they find a community welcoming them with open arms, rather than trying to find ways to belittle and berate.
      A lot of the comments here are actually rather demeaning. And I can imagine taking her photo from her linkedin profile (only just seen this post) is actually quite intimidating. I hope she hasn't seen it and I really think you should take that down.
      Martin - I've only glanced through her blog, but it's full of interviews with interesting people and a sense of real excitement about the outdoors.I'll happily put my hands up to making all of those mistakes in the past and a few more besides (fire on a beach in Knoydart though and in the company of mountain guides - swim in the dark down the Wye - as far as hooking up with someone goes, I was 13 years old on in the Lake District so give me a break). Thankfully I didn't have hoardes scouring my hill diary for the smallest error that they could jump on.
      Lay off... quit moaning. This is just a magazine award designed to engage more people. TGO is still the same publication with its heart in the right place. Show a bit of outdoor spirit and be the welcoming party for a new generation of walkers. They might not get everything right first time, but why be the people not introduce them to better ways of doing things? Off for a walk...
      Alan 2

    6. Alan
      Up until now I thought you were genuinely engaging in the discussion, but to suggest she's a quality outdoor blogger stretches credulity.
      Looking at the amount of links, sponsored posts and advertorials I would suggest that she is making considerably more than a "decent meal out"
      I wonder which comments are 'demeaning?'

      You say (paraphrasing a bit) that at the end of the day it is of no matter. Well it is, actually. A vote should be fair and this result has shown that it is not.

      I'm happy for you to continue commenting, but I'm not sure I'll grace you with a reply, as we seem to be so far apart, and in the end it seems we are apart on opinion only.

    7. Thank you for your direct message, Alan.
      Yes. I agree with you.

  26. Alan, I've re-read Andy's post and I can now see why you've got annoyed. Barring that though I still think you went off the deep end over it a bit. I personally didn't find any of your comments misogynistic despite the lady friend of the winner from High Life calling you one. I'm not entirely sure that your use of "gender bending" as a reference to a bunch of women drumming up support was entirely helpful though. :-)
    Robin, how you can end up blaming all the kerfuffle of the last few days on AH is lost on me! Alan's trilogy seemed to be well on the way to Mordor when AH started his blog posts on the matter.
    AH knowing the results hardly seems to have influenced the fact that some ladies in comfortable shoes may have wanted the gender balance shifting.
    That's unfortunate. Walking should be about enjoying the great outdoors, not worrying that that all groups, ethnicities, sexes and sexual orientations are equally out there.
    Maybe you've all got too much time on your hands.

    In the end it turns out it was a simplistic competition, Most nominated 1st 10 in the hat. Then a vote.

    I can hardly wait for next years! :-D

    Have a good evening.

    1. Hi Wayne, without wanting to go forensic on this, I've not blamed everything on Andy if you read my comment carefully, just that he's managed to inflame the situation. Inadvertantly he set the conspiracy ball rolling by misleading people on the voting and didn't correct this misapprehension in a timely way.

      TBH, that's small bananas compared with implying that those that criticised her blog were motivated by misogyny. That's what has really got up people's noses. You can't bandy those kind of smears around without getting a strong reaction. I don't think it's an overraction to ask for an apology for such a slur.

      I agree that "Walking should be about enjoying the great outdoors, not worrying that that all groups, ethnicities, sexes and sexual orientations are equally out there." If you read my earlier comment that's more or less what I've said.

      You may think that I have too much time on my hands, but I am happy to spend a bit of it supporting a mate. It's called friendship.

  27. I guess if you put up a blog called "girl outdoors" any criticism against it could be denounced as "sexism." Think about that for a moment. How the (so called) blog positions itself deliberately as a "girl" blog representing "girl" interests and doing so is somehow protected. If you accept it - you accept a girl blog as opposed to a simple blog about the hills irrespective of gender. And its not a simple blog anyway - it's an advert blog. It doesn't "review" - it advertises. If you don't like it, you're "sexist". You can't win with (so called) political crap which is one reason I despise it. I don't think Scafell Pike cares or notices if you're wearing the latest girly fashion or something for the chaps. Markets however do reflect this. The girl range tends to offer girly colours. Don't like my use of "girl?" - well it's a citation and should be regarded as such.

    1. Thank you James.
      I always find tip-toeing around gender issues to be a minefield, which is why I was particularly careful when writing this post, as I know it can be used to beat you over the head by less well-meaning sort, instead of addressing the argument of the piece.

      And, of course, that is exactly what Andy Howell did. But I, and it seems a host of other commenters, believe he has no case to make: Hence the reasonable demand for an apology (that still has not been forthcoming.)

  28. I haven't seen anything overtly sexist, but at the same time I haven't seen Andy H calling Alan sexist either?

    There has however been implications of wrong doing, implications of a fix, implications of positive discrimination, implications of gender politic skewing the result, implications that the top TWO blogs are undeserving, and implications it was only short listed because of a campaign.

    No evidence supports such claims, but implying it seems to be enough.

    Could the vote be fixed by multiple votes? Yes. Any evidence that this happened? No. In fact the only evidence seems to be 'I don't like it, neither do my friends, therefore it must of been fixed'.

    1. Hi Andy
      Ta for taking the time to comment.

      For the sexism stuff - see Robin Evans' comment above, please? Thank you.

      I don't think anyone has implied that there has been positive discrimination (presumably by the mag, you mean?) have they? Equally, no-one has suggested that two blogs were undeserving - one, certainly. And no one has suggested at all that it was short-listed by TGO because of a campaign - In fact I went out of my way to say that the twitter comments I put up as a screen grab appeared after the nominations had closed.

      I know form speaking to the chao who helped to monitor the first TGO Awards ballot that multiple voting had been a feature, and having spoken with Daniel he certainly gave me the distinct impression that sheer volume of work had meant that the poll hadnt been checked for multiples this year. That coupled with the extraordinary result does lead the reasonable man on the Clapham omnibus to reflect that there may well have been gerrymandering. Especially so after having read quite a lot of very disgruntled tweets - just a couple were shown on the blog - I would have needed to have filled God-only knows how many pages of this blog to have shown all the conversations - If you have a day to spare, take a look yourself. Most of it's still there there. Quite a few have deleted their tweets following this last post however - which I suppose is to be expected, in the circumstances.

      I hope this goes some way to answering the questions you pose.

    2. Hi Andy

      “I haven't seen Andy H calling Alan sexist either”

      From Andy Howell’s blog: “I am left with the rather uneasy feeling that the biggest problem this winner has is that she is a woman.”

      My questions to you are:

      1) Is this not implying that the motivation for criticising or poking fun at her blog are because she is a woman and not because of the content?
      2) Who is Andy suggesting has a problem with the winner being a woman?

      My answers are that Andy is implying that the underlying motivation for comments has been misogyny and the commenters are guilty of sexism. Secondly that Andy is accusing people who have made negative comments on Twitter and blogs. More specifically, without naming him, Andy is accusing Alan, who has been writing blog posts on this.

      That’s my interpretation. Yours might be more generous to Andy H, but it seems pretty black and white to me. As such, I believe that Andy H owes Alan and apology.

    3. Reply to blogpackinglight

      AndyH doesn't call anyone sexist. He says he is uneasy and wonders whether its because the blogger is a women. I can understand why he might think that. I personally feel its more that she is not part of the blogging clique, and people have over reacted to their own favourite not winning.

      There are posts/comments implying that neither the winner or the No2 are worthy winners, but seem happy with the No3? Top 2 are women, No3 is a man, so its easy to see why people start wondering what the underlying motivations are.

    4. Reply to Alan -

      A few of the implied suggestions –

      2 Blogs underserving –

      'I'm not sure it would 'crown the Two Blondes, because unknowingly to them they might also have benefitted from this rigging.'

      'Yet the two blogs written by women came top of the poll. What are the odds of that happening? Any statisticians out there?'

      Short listing campaign –

      'However, I'm pretty certain that there was a concerted effort to get the blog listed (and looking at the individuals' concerned timelines on twitter (and elsewhere) there seems to be some very cosy relationships.'

      ‘It's my belief that the Outdoor Blog list was certainly vetted: Positively’

      ‘I suppose this is the best we can expect from the BBC these days. Cronyism’

      Rigging –

      'Awards are obviously seen as very important to Ms Lewis, the "editor" of the winning outdoor blog, as she has gone to considerable lengths in order to win it; Lengths that other nominees in the category would see as sharp practice and downright underhand.'

      Gender –

      ‘Did gender politics skew the result?’

      That’s the impression I got. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s how it has come across to me.

  29. Please keep on commenting folks, I am loving reading this. It has saved me buying a new book.

    And Robin & James..

    In a nutshell chaps (oh was that sexist?).

    Not intended. Anyway here speaks a chap who had spent the last week in ladies dresses.
    Oh I should clarify, I am in Panto.



  30. Andy Howell in his post "My Last Word on Blogger-gate!" states the following:

    “I can say that the winning blog pipped the runner up by a glorious five votes.”
    “A spread of 45 votes cover the top four.”
    “A spread of 234 votes covered first and last place.”
    “While I don’t know the actual numbers of votes cast it looks to me to have been less than 300.”
    "The last of the nominated 10 received less that [sic] 50 votes"

    However, if the first 3 statements are true, the 4th cannot possibly be so. If we assume the very worst case, that the 10th place blog got 0 votes, this would mean that 1st place got 234 votes (a 1st-10th spread of 234). With 2nd place getting 5 votes less (so 229 votes) than 1st, then combined, the 1st and 2nd place blogs attracted 469 votes, already well exceeding the “less than 300” figure Andy indicates. If the spread from 1st to 4th was 45 then using the same assumption as above, the 4th place blog attracted 189 votes. Thus the total is now at 652 without even counting the 3rd place blog. It’s quite easy to follow this logic through and see that the total number of votes in this category must have been in excess of 1,000.

    Is this important? Probably not, but this sort of misrepresentation really bugs me :-)

  31. Whilst not wanting to add fuel to a fire which seems to have almost gone out....
    Nick, I think Andy meant the winner got "less than 300" votes...not that there were only 300 votes cast in total.
    I may be wrong, and am prepared to be "shot down"...not literally it's not worth that!

    1. Thanks Al, that does make sense, I just felt it was a bit of a misrepresentation as it seemed like Andy was downplaying the number of people who participated (or at least, the number of votes cast). Cheers.

  32. Nick, I had the same interpretation as you. Unfortunately Andy's interventions have made things more muddled than before. I don't see why TGO can't release some details on the votes cast and whether they are happy that there's been no multiple voting.

  33. Just discovered this post. Crikey is all that I can say!
    Let's all go climb some hills and get some fresh air - that's the main thing, surely!

    1. Crikey, indeed.
      And if you really want an extra dose of headbanging numptiness, you can pop over to Fozzie's place where not a lot extra is being pontificated upon ad nauseum!
      It's life Jim but not as...

  34. I'm really saddened by the whole blogger-gate thing for multiple different reasons (they don't include that I didn't win, by the way. I was chuffed to be nominated though.).
    A few points:
    - I like TGO and this is a sad explosion of anger about what should just be "nice folk doing nice stuff outside"
    - I don't think Sian's blog is "the best". What "best" means though is very subjective. I love Trackstersman, for example. And I'm not a woman in my 20's.
    - Nor though would I slag Sian off if I met her on a bothy just because she may know less about "proper outdoor stuff" than me (though she may well actually already know more than me / will know more than me by the time she's my age / may not care about the stuff I know about).
    - Everyone involved in this teacup storm should remember that essentially we are just people who like to be outdoors. It doesn't matter if we are grizzled old men or young women. I think all outdoor blogging and all comments on these blogs should be done as though everyone was sitting in a bothy together: disagree by all means. Be honest and controversial, by all means. But be civil and decent to each other and imagine you were talking to each other face to face.

    I know for a fact that if "grizzled old veteran men" meet "enthusiastic female hikers" in a remote bothy that they would be civil, kind, helpful and decent.

    So I think everyone should behave that way online too.

    [I'm going to post this on Keith, Alan and Sian's blog]


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