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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 5: Test Report Requirements

There are usually three reports required for each test series; an Initial Report, a Field Test Report, and a Long-Term Report.  Please note that these tests are now to be combined into a single report, with separate sections for Initial, Field, and Long-Term Test data. 

This chapter covers the following topics:

  1. Descriptions of each report section
    1. Initial Report section
    2. Field Report section
    3. Long Term Report section
  2. Information relevant to all Test Reports, including Owner Reviews

Descriptions of each report

Initial Report

The Initial Report is the first report of a test series, and must be posted within seven days of receiving the item from the manufacturer.  The Initial Report is the only Report of a Test Series that stands on its own.  Field and Long-Term Report information are added to the end of the Initial Report to form a combined report.

Requirements

  1. You must notify the BackpackGearTesters List within 48 hours of the item's arrival. 
    1. The subject of your message should be: "ARRIVED", manufacturer, item name, tester name.
      1. Example: ARRIVED: Hennessy Hammock, Explorer Deluxe, Shane Steinkamp
    2. The body of your message should include the same information as the subject line, and include the date of arrival.
    3. Other relevant information, if any, should be included in the body of your message.
    4. You should keep the original shipping container and product packaging until the conclusion of the Long-Term Report.
  2. The Initial Report is due within seven days of receiving the item.
  3. The Initial Report must meet all the requirements in Chapter 6: Minimum Report and Review Requirements.
  4. The Initial Report must contain the following information in addition to the requirements in Chapter 6. It should be noted that while this information is required, when applicable, the list below does not constitute a template or a required format of any kind. Formatting is left to the discretion of the tester, but the information should be presented in a way that is logical and easy to understand.
    1. When the item was received.
    2. Its condition.
    3. Its completeness.
    4. Your understanding of the setup or usage instructions, if applicable.
    5. The item's weight and other measurements, if applicable.
      1. When appropriate, include the weights and measures of individual components.
    6. An image of the item.
      1. For more information about including photographs, please see Chapter 11.
    7. If the item meets your expectations based on viewing the manufacturer's website.
    8. Any brief comments you have about the company's website. (Optional)
    9. Your initial and general impressions of the item.
      1. Avoid Projecting.
        1. Projecting is making any positive future statement, such as, "This is going to break before I make two miles."  You cannot know this until you actually test the item.  "I have concerns about the short-term durability of this item.", may be appropriate.
        2. Projecting is making any statement of expectation on the part of a third party, such as, "You can easily make the adjustment."  While the adjustment may be easy for you, it may not be easy for another.
        3. For an explanation of the Policy regarding Projecting, see Appendix 2.
    10. Any problems or concerns you have at this point.
    11. How any local (at home) setup and/or Initial Trial of the item went, if any.
      1. Field type information should be left for the Field Report, however, any trial run should be commented on.  It would be helpful to label these 'Trial Runs' in the body of your Report.
      2. Examples
        1. Setting up a tent in the back-yard for the first time to ensure completeness and suitability before taking it into the field.
        2. Trying on footwear for size and fit and taking a walk in the neighborhood to check for initial problems.
        3. Firing up a stove in the back-yard to check function before taking it into the field.
    12. Your strategy for testing the item.
    13. Your Initial Report section should conclude with, "This concludes my Initial Report.  The Field Report will be amended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report .  Please check back then for further information.

Field Report Section

The Field Test Report is the second report of a Test Series, and must be posted by the specified reporting date. Reporting dates are set by the List Moderator and a notice to this effect is posted to the BackpackGearTesters list. The Field Report is normally due two months after the Initial Reports are posted.

Please note that the report format has changed.  Testers are now required to integrate their reports into a single page.  The Field Test will no longer be posted as a stand alone report.  Testers should append their Field Test information in a clearly delineated section, as detailed below, to the Initial Report.  Testers will then upload that integrated report as a Test Report.

Requirements

  1. Leave the entire body of the Initial Report as it stands, and add the Field Report Section to the bottom.
    1. The Field Report Section should be clearly titled with FIELD REPORT and the date of the Field Report.
    2. If you are using the BGT Report Writer, the reports will be integrated for you automatically.
  2. This report must be based on field trials of the item during the test period.
  3. The Field Test is due by the date set by the List Moderator.  This is normally two months after the Initial Reports are posted.
    1. Some Report Series are extended or shortened. 
  4. The Field Report must meet all the requirements in Chapter 6: Minimum Report and Review Requirements.
  5. The Field Report must contain the following information in addition to the requirements in Chapter 6. It should be noted that while this information is required, when applicable, the list below does not constitute a template or a required format of any kind. Formatting is left to the discretion of the tester, but the information should be presented in a way that is logical and easy to understand.
    1. Field information
      1. Length of the trip(s).
      2. Weather conditions, such as temperatures and general weather conditions.
        1. You are not required to carry thermometers or any other scientific device to measure weather conditions. Just be as accurate as you can.
        2. Use your best judgment when including weather related information. For some items, like tents or sleeping bags, such information will be critical. For other items weather information may not be important or applicable.
      3. Location and general description of the test area.
        1. Mountains with approximate elevations, flats, desert, bottomland hardwoods, etc.
        2. Use your best judgment when including test area information. For some items, like boots and hiking poles, terrain information (and even soil conditions) will be very important. For other items, such information may not be important or applicable.
      4. Detailed descriptions of the items' basic function, and how well or poorly the item performed.
        1. This report should give your impressions of the item in general and its intended use in particular. Feel free to make any comments you please, positive or negative, but a reasonably detailed statement of why you feel that way must support all evaluations. If you have an improvement to the product to propose or a problem with it that needs solving, give details as to what and why.
      5. Remember that you are writing a Test Report, not a Trip Report.  Focus on how the item performed, not on your trip.
    2. Your Field Report Section should conclude with, "This concludes my Field Report.  The Long-Term Report should be completed by [date].  Please check back then for further information."
      1. Some Report Series do not have a Long-Term Report.  If no Long-Term Report is required, then simply conclude the report with a statement of completion.  "This concludes my report.", or similar.

Long Term Report Section

The Long-term Report is the third report of a Test Series, and must be posted by the specified reporting date. Reporting dates are set by the List Moderator and a notice to this effect is posted to the BackpackGearTesters list. The Long-term Report is normally due four months after the Initial Reports are posted. This report gives a review of the tester's experiences with the item over the last four months; to include trips taken, where, how used, and results.

Please note that the report format has changed.  Testers are now required to integrate their reports into a single page.  The Long-Term Test will no longer be posted as a stand alone report.  Testers should append their Long-Term Test information, as detailed below, to the Initial and Field Report as described above.  Testers will then upload that integrated report as a Test Report.

Requirements

  1. Leave the entire body of the combined Initial and Field Report as it stands, and add the Long-Term Report Section to the bottom.
    1. The Long-Term Report Section should be clearly titled with LONG-TERM REPORT and the date of the Long-Term Report.
    2. If you are using the BGT Report Writer, the reports will be integrated for you automatically.
  2. This report must be based on continued field trials of the item during the test period.
  3. The Long-Term Test is due by the date set by the List Moderator.  This is normally four months after the Initial Reports are posted.
    1. Some Report Series are extended or shortened. 
  4. The Long Term Report must meet all the requirements in Chapter 6: Minimum Report and Review Requirements.
  5. The Long Term Report must contain the following information in addition to the requirements in Chapter 6. It should be noted that while this information is required, when applicable, the list below does not constitute a template or a required format of any kind. Formatting is left to the discretion of the tester, but the information should be presented in a way that is logical and easy to understand.
    1. Field information
      1. Information of a similar nature as that detailed in the Field Test Report Requirements section.
        1. Trips taken, where, how used, and results.
    2. If the item is no longer being used then you must explain why you no longer use the item.
      1. If the item being tested is season sensitive (snow shoes, crampons, etc.) then this report may be required at the end of that season as determined by the Moderators.
    3. This report should give your impressions of the item in general and its intended use in particular. Feel free to make any comments you please, positive or negative, but a reasonably detailed statement of why you feel that way must support all evaluations. If you have an improvement to the product to propose or a problem with it that needs solving, give details as to what and why. 
      1. You should specifically comment on durability of the item after four months of testing, if appropriate.

Information Relevant to all Test Reports

Recommendations

  1. It is better to include too much information rather than not enough.
  2. You should always use your best judgment as to how much information to include, how detailed that information is, and how that information is presented.
  3. Remember that you are writing a Test Report, not a Trip Report.  Focus on how the item performed, not on your trip.

Requirements

  1. Testers must agree to the conditions, requests, and requirements of any given test series as defined by the manufacturer or Moderator.
  2. Reports must be posted in plain text (preferred) or simple HTML (no images) to the main list for editing prior to being uploaded.
    1. Reports must also be uploaded to the Test folder of the BackpackGearTest.org website at the same time. 
  3. The size limits for all reports (Owner Reviews or an entire Report Series now on one page) are as follows:
    1. HTML file size limit: 200,000 kilobytes.
    2. Images: 15 images maximum, with a maximum file size of 100 kilobytes for each image.
  4. Once edited, reports must be uploaded, in HTML format, to the proper folder.
    1. The Test Moderator will notify you of the folder location.
    2. Testers can delete their own reports (to upload a new report) for a maximum of 90 days.  After that time, you will have to ask a Moderator to do it for you.  This can be done on the main list. 
      1. The subject line should be: 'DELETE REQUEST' and your name.
      2. The body of the message should include your request, your name, the report name, and include a link to the report. 
  5. Testers that do not successfully complete a gear test series completely but keep the item anyway may be banned from participation in BackpackGearTest.org and all associated discussion lists.  See Chapter 4 for more information.
  6. You may post the Field Report and Long Term Report up to two weeks early, if necessary.
  7. If for any reason, you report more than two weeks early, please include an explanation as to why you are unable to test the item over the full time period specified.
  8. If for any reason, you must be late, please get permission ahead of time from the Moderators and notify your Monitor so the weekly reports can note the change. Remember, we have an obligation to the manufacturer and must be able to gain their permission and account for the gear for the duration of the test.
  9. Timeliness is very important to the Testing process.  A late test is a breach of faith with a manufacturer, and with BackpackGearTest.org.  You should strive to complete reports on time.  While we understand that emergencies and circumstances sometimes force reports to be late, this understanding should not be abused.
    1. Being chronically late with Reports can prevent you from being chosen for tests.
  10. You are responsible for normal and routine maintenance of test gear at your own expense.
    1. Failure to perform maintenance is an act of willful neglect.
    2. Routine maintenance performed, if applicable, should be noted in your reports.
    3. Routine maintenance may include minor repairs.
      1. For further clarification, please see Appendix
  11. Depending on the test, you are responsible for procuring additional consumables that may be required to operate the gear.
    1. The easiest example of this is stove fuel.  The manufacturer may or may not provide a supply of fuel for the stove.  You are responsible for procuring fuel (or additional fuel if the original supply runs out) for the stove at your own expense.
    2. Batteries for any electronic gear are another example.
    3. Reports on food, such as energy bars, or other 'gear' that is specifically consumable, will not require additional purchase.  The manufacturer will provide the entire supply for the test period.  If you consume the entire supply, you can finalize your report at that time.
    4. Consumption should be noted in your reports.
  12. If your gear arrives broken, incomplete, of the wrong size, or otherwise unserviceable, contact the Test Moderator immediately.
    1. Gear color is never guaranteed.  You may not get the color you asked for.  A color you do not like does not make the gear unserviceable.
  13. If you have a problem with the gear during the test, please bring it to the attention of the Test Monitor.  If the Test Monitor cannot resolve your issue, the Test Monitor will contact the Test Moderator, who will in turn contact the company.  You may be asked to contact the manufacturer yourself at the end of this process.  Some manufacturers prefer to have a single point of contact. Also, in some cases, if the same problem arises from multiple testers, it will be best if a Moderator can work with the manufacturer to deal with the problem without the manufacturer needing to deal with each individual tester.

  14. Warranty issues should be brought to the attention of the Monitor or Moderator, who may direct you to contact the manufacturer.
    1. You should always contact the Moderator before contacting the manufacturer on your own.
    2. The Test Moderator may act as your Advocate with a manufacturer when appropriate.
  15. You are entirely responsible for the gear during the test period.
    1. Lost gear must be replaced at your expense. 
    2. Gear broken or destroyed through accident, neglect, misuse, or any willful act, must be replaced at your expense.
      1. You should test the gear in its intended use. 
      2. You should care for gear as though you paid for it.
      3. Destructive gear testing is not encouraged.
Chapter 4: Tester applications

BACK TO CONTENTS

Chapter 6: Minimum Report and 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.

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BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson