Subjective list of hills
Currently in order for summits to be included on a MountainViews list it has to meet certain objective, measurable criteria. Each list on MV has its own criteria including height & prominence etc. This objective approach makes organising lists a mathematical and logical task and a summit either meets the criteria or does not.
This objective approach can be criticised as it is cold and clinical in how it decides what gets included and what doesn’t. It does not allow a subjective approach to include summits. Many summits that are superior in their appearance, culture or challenge do not make it into MV’s lists if they don’t meet the logical criteria. Equally, some truly appalling summits DO make it into the MV lists by virtue of the fact that they meet the logical criteria.
MV has always stuck to the logical approach. This has resulted in a current list of 1025 summits. All of them either meet plain mathematical criteria or are the high point of a county. MV has always attracted criticism for the summits we leave out. For years we have heard the various solid arguments for why other summits of beauty, historical or physical importance, local interest or challenge should be included. Some suggest that there should be NO criteria at all – that if someone feels it should be on MV, well then it should be.
It takes an enormous amount of work to prepare a hill for inclusion on MV. We can’t just put up a mountain or hill with no accompanying data. We know from member activity on the site, as well as from the comprehensive feedback we received during a three month survey in 2010, that members want and need data. Lots of data. Map coordinates, access start and finish points, information about parking, gps tracks, photos and descriptions, information on mountain range, county, height, prominence, summit name in English AND Irish...the list goes on. Therefore before we list a summit we must gather all of this information. Do we have gaps in some information, or get some things wrong? – you bet we do! AS a group of volunteers relying solely on the goodwill and time of our background team, as well as the incredible contribution of all our members, it’s natural that things get left out or included in error. MountainViews is open to correction and we make any changes that are deemed (by the MV committee) to have enough evidence to support such a change. The flip side is that we don’t make every change suggested by members – we need those members to provide sufficient evidence or justification for change that makes it worthwhile to prioritise it.
Members have long called for a subjective list of hills – summits that deserve to be included for their intrinsic value and not based on cold logic such as prominence etc. The call for having a subjective list of summits has been consistent over the years. A perusal of the General and Suggestion Forums throws up some typical and valid suggestions from ’09 & ‘10:
Marymac on the Hill of Tara: http://mountainviews.ie/motleyviews/general/comment/1529/ ,
Padodes re Bray Head: http://mountainviews.ie/motleyviews/general/comment/1418/
Reidyden re Stacks Mountains: http://mountainviews.ie/motleyviews/general/comment/1288/
Bryanmccabe re Knockeyon: http://mountainviews.ie/motleyviews/suggestions/comment/1325/
The MV committee began looking at the issue of a subjective hills list in earnest earlier this year. We are nearing completion of a separate two year project that we hope will add over 300 smaller summits to MV in the New Year. As this nears completion we had begun to look ahead and to see what was next on our extensive to-do list. To this end we have focussed on a ‘Hills of Cultural. Historical, Physical and Local interest.’ This is the working title for what will be a purely subjective list. This is where members can nominate a summit they feel should be included, and which doesn’t currently exist on MV or meet traditional requirements. In line with the data available for all MV listed summits, we will need to gather relevant information for new summits such as coordinates, access points, mountain range or area, county etc.
For critics who feel such information is irrelevant we can only say that this is what the vast majority of members want and we don’t intend to just list summit names without the other necessary information to go with them. We have an initial working list and are doing the extensive background work to gather the data needed. We hope this will finally meet the consistent call for such a list and we look forward to rolling it out soon. We also hope that members will not only propose hills for inclusion in such a list, but will also provide decent justification and relevant data too. We will provide more information on this exciting new project later in October. It can take time to make changes, but we do listen to our members!