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The BackpackGearTest.org Bylaws
v. 0609

This document changes over time. Please check back frequently if you have questions. If your questions are not addressed in this document, please send your questions to the group or to the Moderators for answers.  If you have suggestions for changes in this document, or would like to recommend a policy change, please email the Moderators.

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OTHER DOCUMENTS

The BGT Survival Guide
How to Become a Tester in Three Easy Steps

CONTENTS

Introduction: What is BackpackGearTest? 
Chapter 1: Requirements for participation

Chapter 2: Mailing Lists
Chapter 3: Owner Review requirements
Chapter 4: Tester applications
Chapter 5: Test report requirements
Chapter 6: Minimum Report and Review Requirements
Chapter 7: Sending files to the list
Chapter 8: Editing Reports
Chapter 9: Uploading files to the site
Chapter 10: Test Monitor Requirements
Chapter 11: Including Pictures in your Reviews 
Chapter 12: Beta Testing 
Chapter 13: Miscellaneous Rules and Regulations 
Appendices


Chapter 2: Mailing Lists

BackpackGearTest is embodied in cyberspace by the BackpackGearTest.org website, where the body of reviews is available to the public.  A number of email lists (also known as Groups or EGroups) are used by members and other interested persons to communicate with one another.  Please follow the protocols outlined below.  By making sure your subject line complies with the protocol, everyone will be able to read and manage the list efficiently.

The management lists are high-volume lists. You are strongly encouraged to read Appendix 9 - Reading and Managing High Volume Group Mail before joining any of these lists.  If you know how to manage your email properly, your participation in the process will be much more pleasant and less daunting. 

1) The Owner Review Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BackpackGearTest/
Before you are eligible for testing you need to write, and have published, a minimum of two Owner Reviews.  The Owner Review group is reserved for the administration of Owner Reviews.  This is our 'welcome' group, and if you are just learning about BackpackGearTest.org, this is the group you should join first.  New persons can ask questions on this group and will be steered to the appropriate assistance, if required.  New persons are encouraged to 'lurk' on this list for a time to achieve an appreciation of how things are managed.  This is a high volume list.  You can also sign up to receive it in digest form or read it in the online web archive.  The following messages should go to this list:

  1. New Persons' ("newbie's") questions.
    1. Will have 'QUESTION' in the subject line.
    2. If you don't know what a 'newbie' is, then you are one.
  2. Owner Reviews.
    1. Will have 'OWNER REVIEW', the name of the item reviewed, and the reviewer's name in the subject line.
    2. Be sure to include your name, the name of the item, and the name of the manufacturer in the first line of the body of your message as well.  This facilitates list management, and it is best to include this information in every post in regards to your Owner Review.
  3. Owner Review Revisions. 
    1. If you wish to revise your Owner Review before it has been edited, repost the entire report with 'REVISED' added to the subject line.
  4. Owner Review Reposts. 
    1. After you incorporate the required edits, you should repost your Owner Review with 'REPOST' added to the subject line.
  5. Owner Review Acknowledgements. 
    1. When you post an Owner Review, you should watch for your Acknowledgement.
  6. Owner Review Edit Queue.
    1. This will show you how many Owner Reviews are awaiting edit, and your position in the Queue.
  7. Edits of Owner Reviews by the Edit Moderators. 
    1. Will have 'EDIT' in the subject line.
    2. You should watch the list closely for your edit, and follow up with the Editor in a timely fashion.
  8. Reader comments on an Owner Review. 
    1. Will have 'COMMENT' in the subject line.
  9. Approval messages.
    1. Editor approval of an Owner Review for upload will have 'APPROVAL' added to the front of the Subject line of an Owner Review posting.
    2. This message will have instructions on uploading your Owner Review to the website.  Please follow these instructions closely.
  10. Any messages related to the administration of Owner Reviews, including those involving the resolution of issues.
  11. Memos and Reminders from the Moderators, including notifications about policies and procedures.
  12. Any message that the List Moderator deems appropriate to the administration of the list.
2) The Testers Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/backpackgeartesters/
This group is used solely for the administration of gear tests, and all approved testers should join this list.  This is a high volume list.  You can also sign up to receive it in digest form or read it in the online web archive. 

When posting a message to the list, the subject line should include, when possible, four things:  A message type flag (i.e. 'APPLICATION' or 'INITIAL REPORT'), the name of the manufacturer, the name of the item, and the name of the tester.  The subject line should be repeated as the first line in the body of your message.  This facilitates list management.  You should always clearly indicate who you are when posting to the list by using your first and last name. 

The following messages should go to this list:

  1. Test Calls 
    1. Will have 'TEST CALL' in the subject line.
  2. Test Applications
    1. Will have 'APPLICATION', manufacturer, item name, and applicant name in the subject line.
  3. Selection Notifications
    1. Will have 'SELECTED', manufacturer, and item name in the subject line.
  4. Arrival Notifications. 
    1. Will have "ARRIVED", manufacturer, item name, and tester name in the subject line.
  5. Test Reports
    1. Initial Reports, Field Reports, and Long Term Reports
    2. Will have the report type, manufacturer, item, and tester's name in the subject line.
  6. Edits of Test Reports by the test monitors.
    1. Will have 'EDIT' in the subject line.
    2. Only official monitors should post EDITS to Test Reports. 
      1. If you wish to note a problem and you are not the official monitor, post a COMMENT.
  7. Reader comments on a Test Report. 
    1. Will have 'COMMENT' in the subject line.
  8. Questions about a particular ongoing test series.
  9. Any messages related to the administration of a test series, including those involving the resolution of issues.
  10. Memos and Reminders from the Moderators, including notifications about policies and procedures.
  11. Any message that the List Moderator deems appropriate to the administration of the list.

3) The Upload Help Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGTFileUploadHelp/
This group is manned by knowledgeable volunteers to help you with any problems you might have uploading your reports, or otherwise interfacing with the BackpackGearTest.org website. Our goal is to get good gear testers that produce good reports. We wish to provide help to those people who do not have a lot of computer experience, and might be scared of trying to learn HTML. This group is a much lower volume than our main list. The following messages should go to this list:

  1. Questions involving difficulty using, accessing, or uploading reports to the BackpackGearTest.org site. 
    1. You should use a subject line that indicates your problem.  EXAMPLE: 'Trouble with Images'
    2. Include your name in the subject line.
  2. Questions involving technical difficulties with HTML or images in reports.
    1. See notes for #1 above.
  3. Memos and Reminders from the Moderators, including notifications about policies and procedures.
  4. Any message that the List Moderator deems appropriate to the administration of the list.

4) The BackpackingTalk Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BackpackingTalk/
This group is maintained for the purpose of all other communication that does not involve the actual administration of Owner Reviews or a Test Series.  The BackpackingTalk group is a 'chat' group where you can interface with other gear testers in a social context if you wish.  Participation in this list is not required.  Group volume is variable.  Topics of conversation should remain in the context of hiking and backpacking.  The following messages should go to this list:

  1. Questions, comments, and discussions dealing with hiking, backpacking, and outdoor related activities of interest to the group.
  2. Trip Reports.
  3. Any post that does not 'fit' into the context of one of the other lists.
  4. Links to other websites that might be of interest to the group.
  5. Memos and Reminders from the Moderators, including notifications about policies and procedures.
  6. Any message that the List Moderator(s) deems appropriate to the administration of the list.

5) The BGT Web Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BGTWeb/
The BGTWeb group is for those who have an interest in contributing to the design of the web site, technical writing, technical issues, GUI, or other aspects of the group. It is also used to discuss technical and managerial aspects of running BackpackGearTest.  It is generally of little interest except to those of us working on the site.  Matters of policy are also directed to this list, when appropriate.

6) The Upload Notification Group: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/mailman/listinfo/upload-notify_backpackgeartest.org
This is a broadcast only list.  Members cannot post to this list.  It is used to send out notifications that a new report has been uploaded to the website. You may subscribe to this list either as individual notices or as a daily digest. You do not need to be a member of the main list to join this list, and members of the main list are not required to join this one.

7) Administration Lists
There are several private lists used for Administration purposes.  Among these are the Moderator's List, Editor's List, Test Manager's List, and Mentor's List.  The Moderator's List is sometimes referred to as The Oracle.  These lists are not open to the general membership.  When you volunteer and are accepted for a role that requires your membership in one of these Administration lists, you will be invited to join them as appropriate. 

REQUIRED LIST ETIQUETTE

  1. If you use quoting in your reply, please trim the original post as much as possible so as to cut down on list volume. 

COMMON ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS

  • BGT - BackpackGearTest.org
  • BIP - Back In Pocket (See OOP)
  • BYLAWS - This document.
  • FR - Field Report
  • IR - Initial Report
  • LTR - Long Term Report
  • MSRP - Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price
  • OOP - Out of Pocket (also Out on Patrol).  A term used when a Tester is going to be out of contact - like out hiking! - and away from the group.  A Tester should post an OOP notice to the list (or to the List Moderator) when he or she leaves, and a BIP notice when he or she returns.
  • OR - Owner Review
  • SG - Survival Guide
Chapter 1: Requirements for participation

BACK TO CONTENTS

Chapter 3: Owner Review requirements



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


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BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson