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TomAiello

Locals Database

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We're considering adding some functionality on the new site. I'm wondering what people think of this idea:

We are considering creating a database system that catalogs BASE locals in various areas. Participation would, of course, be entirely voluntary (you'd need to separately register for participation in that database). Basically, it would work like this:

1) You can log in and register as a "local" for a particular area. This puts you in a searchable database for people looking for local contacts. The only data you need to enter is a username and area you'd like to be a contact for.

2) If someone finds your entry in the database, the system allows them to send you a message (while still hiding your actual contact details from them).

3) You decide if you are going to reply to them.



It's been suggested that we need various checks and balances to prevent abuse such as non-jumping groupies who just want to meet jumpers, press inquiries, or law enforcement using the system to investigate jumpers. While we're looking into various ways to do that, it's unlikely we'll be able to actually implement much aside from what I described above in the immediate future.

So, is this a good idea? Bad idea? Has potential, but needs more re-working?

Thoughts?
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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It's been suggested that we need various checks and balances to prevent abuse...



Like other parts of the site, the ability to add oneself to this database could use some sort of reference-based system (that is, you must be "approved" by n other jumpers already registered in the system, with those references available to the moderators of the site). Basically, start off with a core set of hardcore jumpers, and allow them to say "yes I know this other jumper", who then gets added to the main pool. If a bad reference slips in, it is traceable and can be undone as far back up the tree as necessary.

It occurs to me that it might be interesting to see the graphical representation of this reference tree, if it related to genealogy of mentorship. It would be cool for newish jumpers to be able to look up who their grandfather, greatgrandfather etc are, all the way back to the start of the sport...

Does any of that make sense? :)
Looking for newbie rig, all components...

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I like the way it is now. Put a post where you are going...either a local contacts you, or someone who knows you reads your post and puts you in touch with a local.

Sometimes people from two or three different crews respond...great to get all sides of the perspective.

Sometimes people warn you who to stay the fuck away from:| I have received more than one warning from locals on who NOT to jump with - it's a nice system of checks and balances that would not function the same.

The way it is right now seems to work very well...
Get in - Get off - Get away....repeat as neccessary

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It occurs to me that it might be interesting to see the graphical representation of this reference tree,



it is information. it can be used in many ways. it can help jumpers establish contacts as desired. or it can be used in less than beneficial ways...

if you don't expect BASE to be welcomed with open arms, why advertise it's presence?

much of BASE lives in shadows. the idea is NOT to be noticed. when someone shouts "anyone there?" jumpers can choose to remain quiet. the inquiring voice will have no confirmation of local activity.

a database risks notifying the press, law enforcement, wannabees, etc. that jumping occurs in their backyard. heck, they don't even have to ask!

I'd rather have most communities think BASE occurs elsewhere.

p.s.
two observations of human behavior:
1) people fear what they do NOT understand
2) given the choice between educating themselves or banning that which they do not understand, most people will ban. it takes less effort and creates less liability issues.
DON'T PANIC
The lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
sloppy habits -> sloppy jumps -> injury or worse

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1) people fear what they do NOT understand


They don't understand what they don't know.
20 years ago, rock climbing was seen as 'extreme sport' and climbers were seen as dangerous dummies.
Today everyone is climbing, and this sport has become as known as soccer or baseball (well at least on the east side of atlantic :o).
I firmely believe that hiding is not a solution.
The more people practicing a sport and showing it in the media, the more people get used to it and stop getting scared of it.
For base jump, I agree that could take 100 years, but there are already signs showing things are changing, like official courses, instructors, places where base jumpers are welcomed (LB, ITW, bridges in USA, some french valleys, norway...).

Creating such a database seems like a good idea.
This must not be the only one.
Nico

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Ether makes some excellent points. While Tom's suggestion is excellent, and I think would be worthwhile to set up, the idea of law enforcement (or any other organization) having an easy reference to determine how many active jumpers operate in their backyard gives me the heebie-jeebies.

While I think the idea has merit, I'd strongly urge the designer(s) to make sure of the following:

1) There's no way to determine the number of jumpers in an area.
2) Usernames are not displayed.
3) Access should be "by reference only"

If these three points can be dealt with, I'd be all for such a system. If they can't be dealt with, I vote the system never see the light of day.



One possible solution could be the following:

* A registration hierarchy of BASE jumpers is created, as described above.

* Access to the system is voluntary and by reference only.

* Based on their position in the hierarchy (or some other ranking system), each geographical location has a small number of regional ambassadors (i.e., one designated ambassador for Wichita, three for New York, two for Washington DC, two for Madrid, etc.).

* The number of ambassadors would be dependent on the popularity of a location (or the number of locals). As such, LB, even though there are few locals, would have several ambassadors because it's a popular destination.

* Registered users (i.e., verified by reference) can send a contact request to any location's ambassador.

* All ambassadors receive that information request, and can choose to respond or not.

* If one ambassador responds, other ambassadors should be barred from responding (they can always get in contact by other means). As a result, when an info request is sent, either one and only one reply is received, or no reply is received whatsoever.

* The information request form would require some mandatory details including experience and references. In this way, upon receiving a questionable info request, the ambassador would know who to turn to to verify details.



Also, note that sooner or later the administrator is going to be subpoenaed for data from that system. Considering this, neither the server nor the administrator should be located in a country with a privacy-unfriendly court system (i.e. the USA).

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I agree with the use of some kind of "vouche for" system, and not just for the "locals database" (which, like Inzite, kind of freaks me out).

I think the "vouche for" system should be used for posting (or even lurking) in certain forums on the site as well.

It's time now! My time now! Give me mine. Give me my wings! - MJK

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* If one ambassador responds, other ambassadors should be barred from responding (they can always get in contact by other means). As a result, when an info request is sent, either one and only one reply is received, or no reply is received whatsoever.



Why?

This would seem like it would create politics, since if two locals had disagreements, they'd be racing to respond first.
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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Considering this, neither the server nor the administrator should be located in a country with a privacy-unfriendly court system (i.e. the USA).



This will be one of the bigger issues.

I vote No. Do you not think that some countrr's government or other persons will not try to hack in? Sounds silly and unlikely right? But in today's post (I hate to say this) 9/11 world this is very likely.
Leroy


..I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw my bath toys were a toaster and a radio...

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Considering this, neither the server nor the administrator should be located in a country with a privacy-unfriendly court system (i.e. the USA).



This will be one of the bigger issues.




It's a non-issue.

This forum, and that one, have never been hosted in the US. The forums are owned by a corporate entity in Dubai and headquartered in South Africa. The servers are located in Canada.
-- Tom Aiello

Tom@SnakeRiverBASE.com
SnakeRiverBASE.com

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The servers are located in Canada.



not the CANADIANS...
Dubai, o.k.
SA, cool.

CANADIANS, oy vey!
:P
DON'T PANIC
The lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
sloppy habits -> sloppy jumps -> injury or worse

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I'd say a better poll would be "Who would put their name/reference on the list?" Being a software guy I know anything can be hacked. Some of the best hackers work for the Gov. If something high profile happens, say a jumper gets away after jumping off the ESB, it would take the Feds no time to find that person if they were in this database. No matter what system you put in place to prevent it.

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* If one ambassador responds, other ambassadors should be barred from responding (they can always get in contact by other means). As a result, when an info request is sent, either one and only one reply is received, or no reply is received whatsoever.



Why?

This would seem like it would create politics, since if two locals had disagreements, they'd be racing to respond first.



Yes, I realize that this would definitely generate "political" competition. However, my reasoning behind such a restriction is that, without it, it will be easier to gauge how many people jump in a certain region.

Imagine that I want to determine if there is a lot of jumping activity in, say, Butte, Montana. I send an info request to the ambassador(s) from Butte. Without the above restriction, one of three things will happen:

1) I get no reply, and I have received no valuable information.
2) I get one reply, and thus know that there is at least one local. There could be thousands, or there may be just one.
3) I get several replies (say, perhaps, 8). I suddenly know there were at least 8 ambassadors, and hence can assume Butte, Montana is more active than New York, NY, from which I got four responses. As a result, I decide to redirect the bulk of my fun-police task force to monitor jumpable objects in the vicinity of Butte, Montana.

Granted, it's not the end of the world if law enforcement or any other group can determine relative concentrations of BASE jumpers (hell, they can do that using YouTube or by reading the forums). However, it's one extra restriction to help lower the likelihood of such abuse.

Regardless, I expect all of this discussion is purely theoretical, because to develop and debug a system like the one I proposed would take significant time and resources. It's certainly doable, but I doubt anyone will actually step up to code it. That amount of time would be better spent jumping!!!:ph34r:B|;)

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It's been suggested that we need various checks and balances to prevent abuse such as non-jumping groupies who just want to meet jumpers, press inquiries, or law enforcement using the system to investigate jumpers. While we're looking into various ways to do that,



Legal jump database may work.

But illegal?
There is virtually no way, one can prevent law enforcement from accessing a database. Everything that is posted on the net has the possibility of being monitored by the government. Everybody is trackable.
There are many News stories about people being brought down by their emails and posts etc.
Before you accuse me of paranoid, check out this link about the government hacking PC´s.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/27/german_state_hackers/

take care
space

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Considering this, neither the server nor the administrator should be located in a country with a privacy-unfriendly court system (i.e. the USA).



This will be one of the bigger issues.




It's a non-issue.

This forum, and that one, have never been hosted in the US. The forums are owned by a corporate entity in Dubai and headquartered in South Africa. The servers are located in Canada.



I agree with Tom that, at least in the mid-term, government hacking/subpoenas are probably a non-issue. However, given enough years, some government entity is going to want to get in.

Most likely they'll try to do so legally. Believe it or not, government agencies by-and-large aren't too eager to hack into computer systems. They have laws against that. ;)

However, I can easily imagine a situation in which legal authorities would try to via subpoena or warrant get access to such a database. Imagine another ESB incident, or perhaps completely benign BASE jumping in the vicinity of the visiting French president's suite at the New York Hilton. Such incidents have already happened, and will happen again.

Especially considering the current terrorism frenzy, I'd argue law enforcement agencies would have little difficulty convincing a judge to order the server be opened up or surrendered to authorities. Hell, in the USA, they might not even have to convince a judge.

In the short term, this is all very unlikely. However, in the long term I'd argue it's very probable. And Canada (along with most other states) are not immune.

Now, I won't lose any sleep over it. There are already so many other, more important things to worry about than the idea of a government agency having access to a database of BASE jumpers (which doesn't contain any names or personal details, just a city, jump numbers, registration date, alias, and some other minor details).

Of course, if any government agency is willing to go through the trouble to acquire this database, the person they're after is already screwed, with or without the database. Recall the Jeb scenario...with or without some additional circumstantial evidence from a BASE jumper database, Jeb was already pretty much screwed over by the authorities (ignoring the fact that he was never convicted of the charges brought against him.

The real danger is that, once authorities have access to such information, they'll use it to pass legislation or fund additional countermeasures. As the situation exists today, if a legislator wants to pass laws against BASE jumping activity in his district, he has no concrete data to turn to. All his arguments against BASE jumping are based on guesswork and estimation.

Once a legislator has solid evidence (i.e. videos on YouTube, major incidents like the ESB, etc.), or worse, hard factual data (like this database), it becomes much easier to pass such legislation, or to focus countermeasures to be more effective (for example by placing extra security around antennae in high-activity areas).

Anyway, the above are the issues I think such a system would face. I still argue the system would be worthwhile (if anyone wants to build it), but I think it should only exist with some modified version of the restrictions I outlined above.

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What exactly is wrong with the way this works at the moment that this new system is going to cure or improve?

Behind the scenes networking and interaction between jumpers with the odd thread here and there asking for contact information works perfectly well without the added complexity and new issues (and bias) this new system will have. There can only be at most 3 or 4 degrees of seperation in finding someone from an area.

I cant see any advantage of this what so ever, and it seems like an "old school tie club" that will just massage a few egos here and there.

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, you must be "approved"



No way. That again screems old boy network. What about making personal choices on people rather than who a handful of people say is in the club. That to me is controlling and so negative. Next you will be suggesting getting a "Im a local Licence".

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Next you will be suggesting getting a "Im a local Licence".



You mean you don't have one?

Regarding this database, I'm typically all for new and cool technological innovations to organize chaos and make life easier for everyone, but I really don't think it's necessary in this case.. I agree with Mac that it could very easily become a political battleground of the 'in' crowd vs everyone who hasnt been 'approved'. Either it's too hard to be 'approved' and lots of responsible, skilled and knowledgable locals are excluded (causing tension and hostile politics), or its too easy to be approved and the quality of the system gets diluted.

Ambassadors? c'mon... as a whole, BASE jumpers can't even decide who should and shouldn't do this the way things are now.. every time somebody steps up to be a 'spokesman' for base in any way, 30 people pop out of the bushes with spears and skewer them; then 10 of them go and do it themselves, with the same result.

In areas where locals tend to get along as one happy family (cinci?) this would probably be okay... but what about certain areas that are so fragmented that crews end up calling themselves the 'A' team or 'B' team due to local politics?

I think the system works as it is.. post where your going on the forums, get a response or two.. if you dont, then make a few calls. The only people who would use the new system are probably already forum regulars anyway..

:)
P.S. if it's so anonymous, how would you know which ambassador(s) to trust? Also, how would an ambassador know to trust a request from an anonymous user? the whole background check/references thing only works if people use it.. and if history provides any clues, people already don't use it all that effectively when they sell gear nowadays (correct me if I'm wrong?)
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What exactly is wrong with the way this works at the moment that this new system is going to cure or improve?

Behind the scenes networking and interaction between jumpers with the odd thread here and there asking for contact information works perfectly well without the added complexity and new issues (and bias) this new system will have. There can only be at most 3 or 4 degrees of seperation in finding someone from an area.

I cant see any advantage of this what so ever, and it seems like an "old school tie club" that will just massage a few egos here and there.



Agree 100%. the way it works now is perfect. leave it the way it is.

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I think a better idea (if any) would be to set up [many] local databases (by state or major metro areas), accessed by invitation from one local jumper to another they're COMPLETELY private, and serve as a way of passing on information about who's coming to town, who's jumping what when, looking for GC, site-specific updates ("X" has a new security feature, be careful of bird's nest on "Y" etc.). This will help keep local jumping safer, keep more people in touch with each other, and help promote more unified local scenes. That way, the networks are there, and one need only "tap into" any part of it to find a local to jump with, letting the locals themselves sort out the details PRIVATELY and SECURELY.

Then again, it works pretty well the way it is. It's great when I get an email from a friend who says: "hey my buddy is coming to your area--can you arrange some jumps with him/her?"

That system rocks.

whatever. /worthless chatter.
pope

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I think a better idea would be to have a section for each state or country, and locals can sign up to receive messages about their home jumping areas. The locals information and usernames should not be made public. Use of any part of the system could be by reference only.

When a jumper wants to meet locals, they post a message that gets copied to everyone who signed up as a local for that state. Bigger states could get split up.

I think it's a little too obvious when someone posts a public message saying I'm going to be in this city on this date and I'm looking to make a BASE jump at this time. If a cop reads it and cares, they could probably figure out what objects in the city are jumpable and make a bust. Even worse is when someone posts asking about a specific object and then a few weeks or months later we read about a bust there.

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