Re: [BackpackGearTest] REVISED: OR - Moab Ventilator - Michael Dax
I'm stepping in here wearing both my Editor hat and my Moderator hat,
since it seems obvious that you're feeling put-upon by this whole
process, and I'd like to help.
I understand that the process sometimes seems unusual and complicated;
that's part of the reason for our recommendation that new people "lurk"
and read list traffic for a while before posting. Most things become
pretty clear after you read a few rounds of edits.
I assume that you were making a joke when you wrote that spell checking
"only found one actually spelling error", since I'm sure you know that
"actual" would be a more appropriate word in that grammatical context.
This brings up an important point: spell checking is an important part
of proofreading, but it is not the only part. You should read your
entire review at least one before posting it; if you typically miss
errors, you should consider asking a friend to read it.
Editors are there to catch the mistakes that your proofreading lets
through, to enforce compliance with BGT standards, and to make sure that
your review says something of value to the readers. While I understand
your frustration, please remember that the Editors have been at this
longer than you have, and they probably know the rules better.
No one is forcing you to get a Mentor; it was an offer of help, not an
Similarly, Andrew is not asking you to remove the detail about your
trips. He's asking that you focus your description on the shoes, since
they're what you're reviewing, and that you attend to the reader's
desire for information about the shoes. Readers want specific
information about things, not generalizations. Your shoes performed well
off-trail? Great. Why? What made them great? How did you measure that
performance and determine that they're wonderful?
As for the bio, make sure it's under 100 words. Andrew's recommendations
are good ones, since they help to make sure your bio is useful to the
readers. Take the time to write a good bio and you won't have to
continue having this argument.
And that brings me to your complaint that other shoe reviews suck. If
that's true, why are you asking for permission to suck just as much? If
you have such a negative opinion of their worth, you should be pleased
to have your prose undergo more thorough scrutiny, since it will help
keep your name from the kind of shame you've heaped on our other
But in the end, this is how we do things. It's how we've done things for
years, and it works pretty well. At some point, you need to decide
whether that's something you want to participate in, now that you
understand the process a little bit better. Most people find our editing
system to be straightforward and friendly--which I know because they've
told me, without being asked. And as a parting note, I'll remind you
that tone is a very important part of email communication; you might
find that things worked better if you wrote less in anger and more in
Yours in BackpackGearTest,
Hollis Easter, Documentation Moderator and Editor
On Fri, May 21, 2010 at 11:12:37AM -0600, Michael Dax wrote:
> I appreciate the fact that you grade ORs on a curve for new members.
> Considering this policy is not communicated anywhere on the website and
> never personally communicated to me, I would hope you understand my
> frustration when my first two OR's are accepted under a certain standard
> then that standard is not good enough for my third OR. If this had been
> communicated prior, much of my frustration could have been avoided.
> When I looked through my first edition of this OR, I only found one
> spelling error. In all the other instances, the errors were with tenses or
> other formatting issues in which the word was spelled correctly, but it
> not the correct word for the sentence. Spell Check does not pick up these
> errors. Additionally, I ran the spell check application that is on the BGT
> Report Writer after I did my most recent round of edits and it did not
> up a number of actual spelling errors. I am not sure if you are aware of
> this or who is responsible for the computer program, but I think it may
> some revising.
> If you believe I need a mentor for this OR, that is fine. However, if this
> was the agreed consensus, I would have appreciated if this had been stated
> right away, as opposed to having to go through this ordeal to obtain this
> information. It is fine if it is not the job of the editor to guide the
> reviewer, but considering my previous experiences, one of which you know
> personally, I would hope you would understand from where my confusion is
> Both of you have mentioned that I talked to much about my specific trips.
> believe that I talked about two specific trips in my review and neither of
> these descriptions took up more than a sentence each without mentioning
> information that directly pertained to my shoe. Is two too many?
> As you did not comment on my objection to having my biography edited, I
> assume you did not have a problem with this objection. Is this wrong? If
> it is, I would like to know as soon as possible, so that it does not come
> again at a later time.
> I have taken the time to look over other reviews of similar shoes to
> and improve my review. I am not intending to throw anyone under the bus,
> but in my opinion, many of the other owner reviews were very similar to
> mine. Clearly, these were approved and posted, so I do not understand why
> my review drew such scrutiny. Just the same, I took the time to examine
> these other reviews and revised my review in light of the others.
> - Michael Dax
> MERRELL MOAB VENTILATOR
> BY MICHAEL DAX
> May 20, 2010
> TESTER INFORMATION
> NAME: Michael Dax
> EMAIL: mjdax30@...
> AGE: 23
> LOCATION: Old Faithful, WY
> GENDER: M
> HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
> WEIGHT: 210 lb (95.30 kg)
> I grew up hiking, backpacking, and cross country skiing in the Northeast
> including New York, New Hampshire and Maine. For a short while I lived at
> the Grand Canyon and I now live in Yellowstone. I am not fanatical about
> light weight hiking, but I am starting to be more mindful of my gear.
> PRODUCT INFORMATION
> Manufacturer: Merrell
> Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.merrell.com">>
> MSRP: $ 80
> Listed Weight: 24 oz (680 g)
> Measured Weight: 24 oz (680 g)
> Size: 13 (US)
> The Merrell Moab Ventilator is a low cut light weight hiking shoe. The
> majority of the shoe is leather and mesh making it very breathable and
> weight. The back half of the outside of the shoe is leather and rubber.
> The sole comes up about an inch and a half which is met by a piece of
> meant to protect the shoe from rocks and tree roots. The front half of the
> shoe is split between leather and mesh in alternating strips of material.
> There is another strip of rubber, similar to the one in the back, that
> covers the toe area which is meant to protect the shoe from rocks, tree
> roots, and other common hazards. There is a good amount of padding along
> the tops of the shoe that hug the ankle including the tongue. On the back
> of the shoe, there is a loop of nylon for pulling the shoe both on and off
> of the foot. The shoe has five nylon eyelets and two plastic eyelets at
> top for lacing the round laces through the shoe. In addition, there is a
> piece of nylon attached to the tongue for lacing through to prevent the
> tongue from slipping down. The shoes have Vibram soles. The three pairs of
> Ventilator's that I have owned have all been tan, but they are now offered
> in an array of colors. Depending on shoe sizes I generally wear a 12.5 to
> 13. Every pair of Ventilators I have owned have been a size 13 and have
> perfectly. From this, I have deduced that they run true to size or
> slightly larger. Also, I have a high arch, and I was able to use to foot
> bed provided without any problems.
> FIELD USE
> I bought my first pair of Moab Ventilators for a three month trip to
> Scotland in the summer of 2007. I was looking for a light weight shoe that
> I would be able to wear both on the trail and walking around town. The
> Ventilator seemed like a good choice. As it turned out, it was a terrible
> choice for the rainy climate of northern Scotland. Just as the name
> 'Ventilator' suggests, this shoe is meant to breath and keep the users
> cool. This was my own fault, and I certainly paid the price as my feet
> drenched by the end of every hike. Despite this downfall, which was
> my vault, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed many other features of the
> shoe. I found that it required practically no break in time and that my
> foot felt comfortable almost immediately. I took the shoe on many long and
> difficult day hikes, one of which was Ben Nevis, which is the tallest
> mountain on Great Britain at 4,409 feet (1,344 m). The trail, which
> ascended the backside of the mountain, proved to have some off trail
> sections that were very steep followed by a knife edge walk across a
> scree field. Besides for the fact that my feet were pretty wet, the shoe
> held up great in the unstable conditions. After the three months of use,
> which I wore the shoes almost every day in addition to the hikes I took
> on, the shoes were still comfortable and very well in tact. While I was
> hiking, I would usually wear thick styled hiking crew socks. While I was
> wearing them around town or for short walks, I would usually wear thinner
> running socks. I have narrow feet, and I found that I was able to wear the
> shoe comfortably with either type of sock.
> In the summer of 2008, my Ventilators and I moved to the Grand Canyon.
> the next six months, I wore my Ventilators on every hike in the Grand
> ranging from three miles (5 km) to twenty miles (32 km) while carrying a
> pack from 10 pounds (4.5 kg) to 40 pounds (18.1 kg) with as much elevation
> change as 4500 feet (1370 m). I went on a serious day hikes or backpacking
> trips two to three times a month. Many of the hikes were off trail or on
> unmaintained trails. The dry arid climate of Arizona proved to be much
> suitable to the Ventilators. The high level of breath-ability of the shoe
> became a much valued feature. During this time period, I thoroughly put
> this shoe to the test, and time and time again, it passed. The Vibram
> gripped as well as any shoe I have ever owned. I can specifically recall a
> moment on the Upper Miner's Route, which connects the Tonto Trail to the
> South Kaibab Trail on a narrow coulouir that looks just as bad as it is.
> one point on this route, I had the specific thought of 'there is no way my
> shoe will grip this rock with the amount of weight I'm putting on it', but
> sure enough, it held. I have never had a problem with the gripping
> capability of the shoes. Throughout the six months that I wore these shoes
> in the Canyon and the surrounding areas, I put hundreds of miles on them.
> Through cactus fields and scree slopes, the Ventilator held up very well.
> Even though it is a low-cut shoe and I was often on uneven surfaces, I
> experienced any problems with the amount of ankle support provided by the
> shoe. In my opinion, and it could just be my perception, the Ventilator
> a very wide base which helps in its ability to properly support its user.
> When they finally began to wear out at the end of six months, I ordered a
> new pair because I liked them so much. My new pair arrived just after I
> finished my last hike in the Canyon as I was about to move. Even up until
> my last hike, during which the shoe almost completely fell apart, my first
> pair of Ventilators were comfortable and performed just as well as they
> when I bought them a year and a half earlier. However, over the shoes that
> three months of use, there was noticeable wear to them. Some of the strips
> of leather on the front of the shoe became loose and the stitching around
> the rubber on the toe came undone. Despite these minor cosmetic problems,
> the shoe continued to perform well up until I threw them out.
> <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "My old pair next
> to my new pair">>
> I returned for a three day backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon the
> following spring with my second pair of Moab Ventilators. In my
> trails in the Grand Canyon are tougher on shoes and feet than any other.
> They are filled with rocks, cactus, agave, awkward slopes, and other
> features that make it hard for a hiker to walk freely. On this trip, the
> front rubber toe piece developed a crack which grew throughout the trip. I
> had not worn this pair very many times before this trip, so this flaw was
> definitely disappointing. Besides for this defect, this second pair fit as
> comfortably and performed as well as my first pair. However, because of
> quick cracking of the rubber toe piece, I returned them.
> Although I found the second pair's quick destruction disconcerting, I
> quickly ordered a new pair. Just as my first two pairs did, my third pair
> broke in very quickly and were immediately comfortable. From May of 2009
> until the end of August, I put about 250 hiking miles on these shoes which
> does not include any miles I put on them while not hiking. By the end of
> the summer, there was noticeable wear on them. (Some of the wear came from
> me sticking them slightly too close to a camp fire one night in an attempt
> to dry them.) Still, they continued to perform well and provide my foot
> with the stability, support and comfort that I had appreciated from my
> pair. I retired them at the end of the summer, but I still wear them for
> work and while riding my bike. As of writing this report, many of the
> leather strips have come undone around the sides, the sticthing around the
> toe rubber piece is coming loose, and the tread is worn down. Despite
> signs of wear, the shoes are just as comfortable as they were when they
> When I bought my first pair, I was worried about them wearing out quickly.
> My first pair last about a year and a half of very strenuous hiking which
> was a lot longer than expected. My second pair lasted a painfully short
> stretch of a few months (many of which were non-hiking months). My last
> pair has lasted just about a year, which I am pleased with. Although I
> could still hike in them, I only wear them in casual situations now, but
> still enjoy their comfort.
> With every pair of Ventilator's I've owned, the shoes have long outlasted
> the shoelaces provided. The shoe laces provided were always sufficient and
> worked well. Because I have a narrow foot, I have to tie my laces
> especially tight to get the desired snugness in the shoe. I attribute this
> to one of the reasons why I go through shoe laces rather quickly. On my
> current pair of Ventilators, I think I am on my third pair of laces.
> <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2">>
> Overall, I am a very big fan of the Merrell Moab Ventilators. I feel great
> about them and would recommend them to almost anyone. For a light weight
> hiking shoe, as opposed to a boot, I have been very pleased with how they
> have performed. Previous to owning the Ventilator, I had owned full
> leather, high top hiking boots, and I have found that I can do just as
> miles, on just as hard terrain in the Ventilators as I could in the boots.
> They grip well and provide my foot with good stability on uneven surfaces.
> They did not prove to be waterproof as the name would suggest, and in
> certain climates, such as the desert southwest, this is just fine. In
> with the extreme temperatures of the Grand Canyon, the high breath-ability
> of the shoe was much welcomed. The Vibram soles have provided me great
> gripping on a wide variety of rock and stone surfaces that has not been
> equaled in my experience and even though the tread has worn down over
> the ability of the shoe to grip to rock has remained strong. They are
> comfortable and required almost no break-in time, which I very much
> appreciate. They have also shown surprising durability, with the exception
> of the second pair I owned, which I chalked up to a manufacturer's defect.
> My other two pairs have each lasted at least year and have given me
> of hiking miles.
> THINGS I LIKE
> Good gripping soles
> THINGS I DON'T LIKE
> Not Waterproof
> Michael Dax
> This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
> Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Dear Michael,
Hiking and backpacking are, on some level, tests of self-reliance, tenacity, and observation. So, appropriately enough, it is with BGT. We do not (and cannot) spell out every nuance of the reviewing process. We do expect that our reviewers will use common sense and example to orientate themselves to the BGT "landscape."
Having said that, you seem to be doing just fine, based on what you have written below. You are clearly articulate, and you have now looked at other ORs of shoes (a good idea when writing about an article of gear you have not previously reviewed). I'm sure all will be well. Do understand that each of the editors has their own take on the edit process; we are not editing to some ubiquitous standard, although there is certainly broad consistency on a variety of issues.
One point of which I will make you aware. Certain items of gear (packs, electronics, and tents come to mind) are challenging. I'd hold off on those until you are more comfortable with the review writing. And please, never feel--as you apparently did with Andrew's edit--that any of the editors has an axe to grind. It was a sensible and appropriate edit, based on a clear consensus after discussion among the editors that your OR had less specificity than is desirable.
Senior Edit Moderator