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Cloudbirders Trip Reports - getting taken over by Tour Reports

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Old Sunday 18th November 2018, 17:46   #1
wolfbirder
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Cloudbirders Trip Reports - getting taken over by Tour Reports

Good or bad?

There are literally hordes of reports now swamping Cloudbirders, its not up to me to say whether this enhances the site or brings it down, just wondered what people's thoughts were?

Of course you can still filter out, but I don't find the Tour Guide reports as useful as generally they want to be more vague about information. So I would have to say I feel negative about them being added.

But I accept I may be on my own here. What are your thoughts?
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Old Sunday 18th November 2018, 17:54   #2
Jos Stratford
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More or less, with you on this one, but don't really have an issue with them being there, just I almost always filter them out. Seems a few tour companies use Cloudbirders as convenient advertising locality.
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Old Sunday 18th November 2018, 17:56   #3
Gordon
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They are undoubtedly another exercise in advertising. Look how big our list is.

Largely undestandable I suppose as they won't want to give away details that would make it easier to go it alone or check the actual cost of the accommodation they use.

I feel they are useful though and would rather have them and use the filters than not have them.
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Old Sunday 18th November 2018, 20:08   #4
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I find that Tour Operators' trip reports are also swamping BF in some places. If you take the Spain forum in the "local patches" sub-forum, you'll mostly find advertising masquerading as trip reports. Personally I found it very annoying when I was browsing BF for info prior to our trip to Spain earlier this year. This because, as said above, while boasting about the great numbers and variety of species, they remain extremely vague about the how and where. It's not a big issue as Jos says, but they are mostly useless IMHO.
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Old Sunday 18th November 2018, 20:13   #5
Jos Stratford
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Yes - Spanish tour operators especially abuse the Bird Forum trip reports section. Forum rules do mention that tour companies can't put links in their actual posts directing readers to their website, but certain guys do this very frequently.
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Old Sunday 18th November 2018, 21:24   #6
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I agree that trip reports put by tour operators are waste of space and advertisement.

From my experience of maintaining a website about birding in Poland, providing information for free returns more people going for an organized tour, not fewer. I had a website (long defunct) where I put all the sites for free. To my surprise, people started mailing me asking to guide them.

It seems that for every person who reads the information and goes independently, there are five people who read the information, get excited but cannot be bothered to organize things by themselves.

Another issue, and more serious one, is quality of information in trip reports. I was several times led on a wild goose chase by a trip report which was obviously wrong. Wrong habitat, wrong site, no chance of the species.
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Old Sunday 18th November 2018, 21:41   #7
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I agree with you all in that the tour trip reports are not particularly helpful, and the relatively large number of them on cloudbirders is an annoyance when trying to find more detailed trip reports. That said, I do often scan through a few tour reports just to get a broad overview of the "standard circuit", hotspots and expected species, and best time of year to go, before delving in and doing more detailed research for putting together an independent trip.
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Old Monday 19th November 2018, 15:44   #8
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The reason cloudbirders is sometimes being flooded by trip reports of one particular tour company, is either automatic or manual uploading of a batch reports that were not previously uploaded or automatic uploading through direct integration (websites that load a batch of reports, result in those reports being automatically loaded on cloudbirders through an application programming interface (API)).

Cloudbirders is set up to include all reports. If a portal site like cloudbirders provides pre-filtered content, it takes away potentially interesting information for the end user. Cloudbirders has good filter options for those that prefer non-tour company reports.

So as a user, you can easily filter what you want. On top of that, every logged in user can rate reports to identify the more useful reports.
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Old Monday 19th November 2018, 19:12   #9
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Reports by tour operators can be usufull for preparation as well, e.g. to give you an overview of what species can be seen in what general location. They also can give some up to date information on that, when no recent reports by individual birders are available.

They are mostly useless for practical information, but can be easily filered out if that is the main aim, so no problem I think.
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Old Wednesday 21st November 2018, 16:11   #10
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I periodically view Cloudbirders and increasingly see tour company reports loaded en-mass for say the past 6 months so if they run 30 tours across the world in that time its 30 reports uploaded, then another tour company does the same and so on. A recent tour company has uploaded many years worth of back catalogue and then a UK company uploads 20 or so from there past few months. I think I had to reach page 3 before I found an independent report and then page 5 for the next.

Most of the reports are on here just as a plug for their company only and serve no purpose to independent travellers who look for specific information.

Of course there are those who are looking for a country to visit and which tour company can take them and show them the birds and that's the purpose of these reports. Depending on whose written them they can be either an entertaining read or a bland list of birds.

Those from the likes of FieldGuides are largely useless as they give a single paragraph of 'overview' and then a species seen list. This means it's nothing more than 'that' plug for their company and is not an insightful or entertaining read.

My own reports always detail sites, with maps, co-ordinates, what was seen there, best time, what to do and so on where as tour groups will often detail sites as 'our special site' such as 'we then visited our special site which we visit each year and saw XYZ' but neglect to mention the name of the site because its well known. Thus a ploy to make people think they have access to more private areas than they actually do have access to.

That being said there are so called trip reports from independent birders which are nothing more than a list of what they saw and offer even less than the 'tour' reports.

I hate to see Cloudbirders become a repository for just 'tours' reports because individuals reports are being crowded out.

Whilst the filters are helpful they don't go as far as being able to remove 'tour' reports from the list, just resort them.
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Old Wednesday 21st November 2018, 16:47   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Arlow View Post

Those from the likes of FieldGuides are largely useless as they give a single paragraph of 'overview' and then a species seen list.
I've actually found that of the tour company reports, those by Field Guides are among the more useful ones since the annotated species lists often have some very interesting taxonomic nuggets, though I guess a lot depends on who the leader writing the report is.

I also find their website to be useful in the early pre-trip planning stages as their tour itineraries give very good overviews of the areas they visit, and they have a number of pioneering trips to areas few birders/tour groups visit (this is especially true of Brazil). Granted there is essentially no practical information but it really does help in terms of choosing and fine-tuning itineraries for independent trips.
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Old Wednesday 21st November 2018, 17:48   #12
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Steve Arlow's reports are simply fantastic, as are Jos Stratfords.

Probably the best around on the net anywhere. Thank goodness people like these genuinely go to great length to help fellow birders.
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Old Wednesday 21st November 2018, 20:30   #13
Jos Stratford
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Originally Posted by wolfbirder View Post
Steve Arlow's reports are simply fantastic, as are Jos Stratfords.

Probably the best around on the net anywhere. Thank goodness people like these genuinely go to great length to help fellow birders.
Many thanks, praise indeed, and I'll return the compliment - yours are also both engaging to read and highly useable.

You'll be happy to hear, another trip report of mine is about to see the light of day - been writing it for a few weeks, approaching the end.
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Old Wednesday 21st November 2018, 21:12   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Arlow View Post
I periodically view Cloudbirders and increasingly see tour company reports loaded en-mass for say the past 6 months so if they run 30 tours across the world in that time its 30 reports uploaded, then another tour company does the same and so on. A recent tour company has uploaded many years worth of back catalogue and then a UK company uploads 20 or so from there past few months. I think I had to reach page 3 before I found an independent report and then page 5 for the next.

Most of the reports are on here just as a plug for their company only and serve no purpose to independent travellers who look for specific information.

Of course there are those who are looking for a country to visit and which tour company can take them and show them the birds and that's the purpose of these reports. Depending on whose written them they can be either an entertaining read or a bland list of birds.

Those from the likes of FieldGuides are largely useless as they give a single paragraph of 'overview' and then a species seen list. This means it's nothing more than 'that' plug for their company and is not an insightful or entertaining read.

My own reports always detail sites, with maps, co-ordinates, what was seen there, best time, what to do and so on where as tour groups will often detail sites as 'our special site' such as 'we then visited our special site which we visit each year and saw XYZ' but neglect to mention the name of the site because its well known. Thus a ploy to make people think they have access to more private areas than they actually do have access to.

That being said there are so called trip reports from independent birders which are nothing more than a list of what they saw and offer even less than the 'tour' reports.

I hate to see Cloudbirders become a repository for just 'tours' reports because individuals reports are being crowded out.

Whilst the filters are helpful they don't go as far as being able to remove 'tour' reports from the list, just resort them.
I echo all the views expressed here and had a moan at Surfbirds quite some years ago but it's become much worse since.

Maybe a group letter to Cloudbiders et al, voicing our collective umbridge?

Perhaps they could have a separate section for purely commercial reports?
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Old Wednesday 21st November 2018, 22:11   #15
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Many thanks for the comments on my reports, I do try to give something that will help others if I can.

There are a number of great reports out there, several recent Alaskan trip reports have been repeatedly viewed whilst planning a potential trip, one day I’ll make the planning reality.

I’m not against tour reports on Cloudbirders site as some can be useful, to a degree, but it would be great if they could be split into how they could be selected; such as independent / tour / all so it could make sifting easier.

All being said I’d prefer Cloudbirders site with the over stuffed full of tour reports to nothing at all and glad the guys took up the batten following the demise of Travellingbirder website.
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Old Thursday 22nd November 2018, 06:38   #16
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Hi Steve, again, the cloudbirder’s policy for reports is ‘all in’, you filter out.
I hope you have seen the filter option ‘independent’, ‘local tour company’, and ‘tour company’?
So with literally one click, you can filter independent reports.
Bookmark your filter option and you’ll never see one report written by a tour company as you’ll go straight to your customized, filtered version of cloudbirders.

Volunteers at cloudbirders (I did a very, very small part uploading maybe 100 reports before the boredom struck) manually insert all those filter options, so please use them :-)
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Old Thursday 22nd November 2018, 07:46   #17
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Hi Steve, again, the cloudbirder’s policy for reports is ‘all in’, you filter out.
I hope you have seen the filter option ‘independent’, ‘local tour company’, and ‘tour company’?
So with literally one click, you can filter independent reports.
Bookmark your filter option and you’ll never see one report written by a tour company as you’ll go straight to your customized, filtered version of cloudbirders.

Volunteers at cloudbirders (I did a very, very small part uploading maybe 100 reports before the boredom struck) manually insert all those filter options, so please use them :-)
I see it now. I was originally looking across the title bar for the reports listed beneath but now I have 'unhide' the other filters I can see further options.
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Old Thursday 22nd November 2018, 07:54   #18
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I see it now. I was originally looking across the title bar for the reports listed beneath but now I have 'unhide' the other filters I can see further options.


If anybody wants the direct link to a filter query that you made, go the the 'link' symbol just to the right of the 'reset all filters' text under the search field

e.g. for independent reports, you will get this:
https://www.cloudbirders.com/triprep...ry?trvmode=ind

If you only want independent reports in English with annotated checklist from Spain, with pictures, from april to june, you will get the following link (etcetera):
https://www.cloudbirders.com/triprep...nd&cl=al&pix=1
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Old Thursday 22nd November 2018, 10:15   #19
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Many thanks, praise indeed, and I'll return the compliment - yours are also both engaging to read and highly useable.

You'll be happy to hear, another trip report of mine is about to see the light of day - been writing it for a few weeks, approaching the end.
Looking forward to it Jos, as always. I try, but yours are different class - you’re on a different intellectual plain to me, though not aloof.

Hope you publish a book one day about your journeys. Of little relevance, but I have just published my own local history book and that cost me about 800 quid in total, with a reputable company.

Your book would make a cracking Xmas stocking filler and would sell very well I’m sure.
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Old Thursday 22nd November 2018, 10:37   #20
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To be fair to Cloudbirders the filter does work well I’ve discovered, I think it’s just first impressions that count and unless you locate and use the filter, your first impression can often be of just a load of reports from a single tour company.
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