What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Tasmania specific bushwalking discussion.
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Tasmania specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Bill P » Tue 09 Nov, 2021 1:53 pm

Nek minnet my favourite youtubes are all gone! :(
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby crollsurf » Tue 09 Nov, 2021 3:14 pm

Bender is a member here. I forget what name he goes by. He might pop up and say something. I subscribed to their youtube channel but I can't find them anymore. No longer on facebook either. I'd say they were getting harassed and got tired of it. Shame, their vids were really good.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby tastrax » Tue 09 Nov, 2021 7:56 pm

Cheers - Phil

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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby headwerkn » Fri 12 Nov, 2021 12:37 pm

We decided to shut things down due a bunch of personal and private reasons earlier in the year. Xing has reworked the blog posts into her own site as linked to before.

crollsurf wrote:I'd say they were getting harassed and got tired of it.


The persistent naysaying/bullying from a handful of individuals was annoying/frustrating/disappointing at times, but easily ignored when it became clear their opinions were not of the vast majority of the Tasmanian bushwalking community. Nor those of PWS and the other land authorities we maintain regular communication with.

We appreciate the kind comments guys. We've had a lot of people reach out to say how much they enjoyed our efforts and how they're missing the videos etc. It means a lot.

We're still bushwalking and chasing Abels. We've been discussing maybe giving it another go, sometime next year perhaps, but for now there's a bit too much going on in life to dedicate the time required to do it the way we'd want. I dare say most people don't appreciate just how much time and energy goes into a semi-decent YouTube video or blog post.

Cheers, Ben.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby doogs » Mon 15 Nov, 2021 11:01 am

headwerkn wrote:
The persistent naysaying/bullying from a handful of individuals was annoying/frustrating/disappointing at times, but easily ignored when it became clear their opinions were not of the vast majority of the Tasmanian bushwalking community. Nor those of PWS and the other land authorities we maintain regular communication with.

Cheers, Ben.


Sorry Ben I can't let this statement stand without a reply.

As far as I have read online, noone has an issue with you making bushwalking YouTube films. It is the active promotion of walks in off track walks in sensitive areas that people have had an issue with. In fact, I have seen a lot of pointing towards the rules set out on this forum as suitable guidelines to follow. It's a credit to the way Nik set up is site that these rules are seen as the standard to follow.
I have spoken to Parks and Wildlife employees and they don't like the way you promote sensitive areas. They might have been the select few who don't and none were bureaucratic office staff.
The statement that most bushwalkers agree with your opinion is a complete fallacy (see pic).
A much more accurate statement would be 'some people including some Parks staff like what we do and some people and Parks staff don't. We are deciding what we deem to be sensitive/off track rather than just posting stuff from recognised tracks even if it clearly upsets many within the bushwalking community. '
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby headwerkn » Mon 15 Nov, 2021 1:49 pm

Sorry Doogs, but your version of the situation deviates markedly from the reality - understandable, given you only ever saw one small aspect of it.

Not once in our numerous, regular and to this day ongoing conversations will all levels of PWS, from senior management, to area managers, to the media management unit to every single ranger we ever come across (and we always take the time to talk with them) have we received negative feedback. Now obviously I'm not going to claim to have spoken personally with every single ranger in the system, but if there were individuals who were critical, they never made their views known to us (or identified themselves as such).

In one instance, Parks asked we not publish anything on a particular, well-known/worn but non-gazetted track within the Cradle area, to which we complied without question. Knowing it might be crossing the line, we asked the question first.

Overall their collective response was not only supportive but very encouraging, as we pushed the walker safety aspect hard. Something even our harshest critics agreed was "a good thing".

Two former senior staff of PWS did get in contact early on to express their concerns. One, to his credit and for which I am very grateful for, spent a good deal of time with me discussing these issues at length, providing useful data and information, which helped shape our approach to what we shared (and didn't share) as our walks ventured into more remote, less-travelled areas.

This kind of - for want of a better term - "self reflection" was ongoing as we questioned what was appropriate to share and what information served a positive purpose. We kept counsel with literally dozens of prominent and senior members of Tasmania's bushwalking community. Again, support was broad and encouraging, often strongly so. If it hadn't been, we would have ceased publishing immediately.

The badgering and harassment of both Scott and admins of other popular Bushwalking groups of Facebook was quite shameful in my opinion. So much for the use of real names improving online civility. As those poll numbers clearly state, a majority of the membership were against a black-banning of publishing of off track and/or sensitive areas. "It depends" really did/still does speak to the heart of the matter. Almost all bushwalks in Tasmania can be considered "sensitive" - we certainly treat them as such, which is why we used our platform to hammer home LNT at every opportunity - and what constitutes "off track" far from black and white either.

For all the bleating of "Rule 24" being the hard gold standard for sharing on social media, I do find it rather ironic that Bushwalk Australia actually published our Mt Emmett trip in an issue of the magazine. This is, of course, an off track walk. Near Cradle Mountain, no less.

Contrary to what some might believe, Bender and Xing wasn't an egotistical flight of fancy. A huge amount of planning and thought went into it. We even got a lawyer involved to make sure what we were sharing wouldn't open us up to legal liability (be careful sharing your GPX files, folks).

For all the supposed controversy/noise, B&X didn't break any new ground. We only discussed routes that had been published numerous time before, both in print and online. We attempted to update out-of-date information and wrap it in useful walker safety for newcomers, with a level of environmental/social awareness that quite frankly isn't shown in your typical travel blog. If that wasn't good enough for some people, well... you didn't have to read/watch it if you didn't want to.

Anyway, the trolls got what they wanted in the end.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby johnrs » Mon 15 Nov, 2021 3:19 pm

Cancelled?
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 5:30 am

Wow. Really?? Ok so I gotta ask. What is your interpretation of "depending on the circumstances"? Because the way I read those stats is "clearly" against.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Son of a Beach » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 7:32 am

headwerkn wrote: I do find it rather ironic that Bushwalk Australia actually published our Mt Emmett trip in an issue of the magazine. This is, of course, an off track walk. Near Cradle Mountain, no less.


I haven't seen your work, so I don't know what all the fuss is about, and therefore don't have much of an opinion one way or the other. I've also not climbed Emmett. But I did write "the rule" back in the day. So hopefully I can just provide some clarification of its original intention (although I'm not a moderator of this site any more, so I don't claim to speak for the current team).

My guess (based on nearby off-track areas that I have walked, and on photos I've seen from others' walks) is that the route to Mt Emmett is not terribly sensitive, for the purposes of that rule. Eg, The off-track portion of the walk does not have an unavoidable abundance of cushion plants, or other sensitive vegetation that cannot cope with people trampling on them each year. There would be others here who know it much better then I do, of course, and they may tell me that I'm wrong. I think Mt Emmett gets quite a few visitors and if the route has not already formed a track that is becoming a quagmire by now, then it is probably not "sensitive" (and, no, I'm not suggesting that this is the only measure).

Note that the rule (for this site) was NOT intended to be about off-track and/or sensitive areas. It was intended strictly for areas that are both off-track AND sensitive. Ie, on-track and sensitive is fair game and off-track and non-sensitive is fair game (according to the original spirit of the rule, for this site). And (again for the purposes of this site) if there was any debate about whether an area fitted the description, and the moderators were unfamiliar with the location in question, then they would (at least in the past) take advice from experienced walkers who did know the area well, and then err on the side of caution if they were still unsure.

On a side note, it looks like the link to the rules page is broken! :-)
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby icefest » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 9:38 am

Son of a Beach wrote: It was intended strictly for areas that are both off-track AND sensitive. )

I like this, though for the activities I do, I would say off-track AND (sensitive OR dangerous).
Though canyoning is a whole different ball game :)
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby headwerkn » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 10:37 am

ILUVSWTAS wrote:What is your interpretation of "depending on the circumstances"? Because the way I read those stats is "clearly" against.


Umm. 162 is a bigger number than 155. Even more so if you add 43 to it. But anyway...

"Depending on the circumstances":

- Track/pad is well established/marked, historically known, contemporarily published but not officially gazetted.
- Track/pad is not officially gazetted or published but is established/marked/historically known and regularly used.
- Route is published and known but not established or shows minimal pad (human or animal).
- Route is not historically published but contemporarily well known and utilised.
- Current gazetted track of rating T4-T5.
- Historically marked/gazetted track which exists on some maps but has since been 'disappeared' from current Tasmanian Topo Basemap for environmental/re-routing/damage/maintenance resourcing/other reasons.
- Minor established/known but unofficial pad or off track route off an existing marked, official track.
- Track/pad is well established/marked, historically known but unofficial and within a heavy visitation area.
- Track is well established, historically known, officially gazetted/maintained but for whatever reasons of heavy visitation and environmental impacts, promotion/discussion is questioned and/or discouraged by some individuals.

There's undoubtedly other permutations, but you get the idea. Far from a simple black and white situation.

Early on it was suggested that using the official Topo Basemap as the "line" between tracked and off track walks, which made sense but even that became tricky as one delves into track ratings (which aren't widely published). It also rarely aligned with what was happening on the ground.

I think we all understand and respect the concept of "off track walking in a sensitive area", but in terms of a quantifiable measure of "This is where we draw the line... this is OK, and this is not" they are essentially just weasel words (and were certainly used as such in that debate). All of Tasmania is a sensitive area IMHO, and needs to be treated accordingly, whether it's the path to Wineglass Bay or the top of the Du Cane Range.

Similarly, if a track/pad/route has been used by generations of countless walkers, its blessing on ListMap or the presence of an official PWS sign at the trailhead is functionally superfluous. Every Tasmanian bushwalker is painfully aware of how underfunded PWS is, they can't manage and maintain every track that exists. Would be great - nay, it should be the minimum accepted level - if they could, but let's not ignore reality for ideology.

FWIW I strongly encouraged PWS to develop a social media policy to help guide bloggers and other 'content creators' (urgh, such a terrible term) in their work. The LNT Social Media Policy is a good start, and something we adopted, but is pretty wishy-washy, open to much interpretation and obviously not region-specific.

"Where" matters a lot: think Little Horn versus Mt Proteus/Inglis for example; same NP, both officially 'off track' with debatable vegetation sensitivity, yet the former's close proximity to the main visitor circuit within Cradle Mountain makes public promotion highly undesirable. Even if every local knows exactly where the pad is.

Ideally the policy would have set some quantifiable or agreed boundaries on what walks/areas should either not be published, or be done so in vaguer/less instructional language. They admitted it was something they should've been doing, but the feeling I got was simply they had too many far more pressing issues to deal with their limited resources.

Anyway, this argument that has been going on for decades. Chapman dealt with it in the 1970s. Wilkinson dealt with it in the 1990s. We've got 20 years of old Wild Magazines here with the same debate in almost every issue. As has this forum and others like it. I would not be at all surprised if even Olegas Truchanas copped criticism from some of his contemporaries for shining a public light on 'their secrets' in his slideshows, and encouraging the masses to explore, understand and care for their wilderness.

I try and stay away from hardline, combative statements on the topic, but I will say this and stand by it 100%:

Social media is here to stay. It presents a lot of very real and present issues, especially in the nature-tourism space, but also the potential for powerful, reaching solutions too. Either way, it's not going anywhere and we're but a couple of generations away from everyone not knowing any different. Bemoan the situation if you want, but that's the reality. Education has long been the central pillar of an improved humanity, whether it's fighting racial inequity or explaining why you don't bury poo in an alpine lake bowl. You don't better people's behaviour by stifling debate, shouting down at people or driving discussion into private circles.

If you want the next generation of bushwalkers to tread softly, consider their impacts and advocate passionately for our wild spaces... Talk to them. Explain to them. Guide them. Show them.

The boots are already coming. The cats are out of the bags, the gates have long been swung wide open, yada yada. Discouragement or pretending places do not exist is neither conservation nor reality. Education and proper management will be what will preserve our trails into our wilderness areas for future generations. Secrets won't.

I've said my bit and will leave it at that. If anyone wants to have a rational, respectful debate on any of the points raised pleaes feel free to PM me.

Son of a Beach wrote:Note that the rule (for this site) was NOT intended to be about off-track and/or sensitive areas. It was intended strictly for areas that are both off-track AND sensitive. Ie, on-track and sensitive is fair game and off-track and non-sensitive is fair game (according to the original spirit of the rule, for this site) *snip*


Thank Son for the clarification. Some people have definitely taken it to mean more than that, both here and elsewhere. For the record Mt Emmett is, by Tasmanian standards, a pretty durable route (mostly rock and gravel) with impacts on alpine vegetation limited to a single, reasonably defined pad typical of a well utilised walk. That said it will always be a somewhat of a touchy area of debate, being within Cradle Mountain NP and the visitation pressures that area receives.

icefest wrote:I like this, though for the activities I do, I would say off-track AND (sensitive OR dangerous).
Though canyoning is a whole different ball game :)


Wholeheartedly agreed. Alpine walking is inherently risky, especially in Tasmania where time of year has zero bearing on what the weather can bring. Too many inexperienced walkers - be they local or visitors - fail to account for these conditions. Also some popular walks do have genuine, serious exposure/fall risks that need to be properly considered.

Perhaps the nicest/most meaningful feedback we ever received was, curiously enough, from an early and decidedly harsh critic, who said our video series on the Western Arthurs was by far the best they'd seen. Namely because we portrayed the area in its true nature and difficulty - ie. harsh, difficult, variable and uncompromising - and ironically, by 'promoting' it as such, we probably scared off a good many people from attempting it! Not so sure about that, but I was glad for those who'd did get in touch and thanked us for helping them adjust their plans accordingly :-)
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby north-north-west » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 10:40 am

Son of a Beach wrote: It was intended strictly for areas that are both off-track AND sensitive. )


Yep. And Emmett definitely doesn't qualify. There's good hard ground almost all the way to the boulder field, and then you spend an eternity rock hopping.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Nuts » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 11:27 am

It's good to see writers try to engage with the park service, their direction in recent years appears to have been a focus on supporting revenue sources rather than much care for conservation, individual walkers, scrappy un-packaged walks. Which also puts their support in perspective. As does popular support from a community of largely new walkers, even in their 000's. Opinions don't alter the fundamental questions, or barely address them.

Smart enough for independent thinking is seems.

A blog makes the author feel good.

People: It's arguable whether easing minds, changing mindsets is just as much robbing experience. There's not much to be gleaned from a blog to a new area if the reader is already reading beyond their level of experience in the bush. Scare them away based on your opinion. Direct them elsewhere based on your opinion. Feel just as good having them jog on a beach in the city? They'll be relatively safe and healthy and your & their world will still be a better place?

Place: We seem to be building popular support for groomed tracks and development. When does the often used excuse of building 'popular support for saving wild places' kick in? Slightly less groomed than a city park (an environment with which many new walkers can relate or compare)?

Personally I don't care a lot what people do but it does wear thin when wilderness bloggers barrel ahead thinking all is good, while deciding for us 'minority' what is good for our parks, especially those of us who have never had any other mindset than wilderness First.

There's no clear reason why bloggers aren't charged and regulated, like any commercial user, apply for a permit. Even if there's no traditional product -price involved, many new ways to increase personal wealth or perceived standing. No reasonable excuse other than an inability to police. A constraint just as easily seen as the level of negligence we accept. That is the situation under which bloggers exist, not necessarily some sort of studied, progressive or vital role.

PS, nothing personal, watched one or two, never commented anywhere on.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby headwerkn » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 1:26 pm

Nuts wrote:It's good to see writers try to engage with the park service, their direction in recent years appears to have been a focus on supporting revenue sources rather than much care for conservation, individual walkers, scrappy un-packaged walks. Which also puts their support in perspective.


That's the public perception but I'm not sure it's an entirely fair appraisal. They're trying to manage an enormous asset (greatly expanded since the demise of Forestry Tas) on a meagre, inappropriate budget. From the top down I've not met/talked to anyone in the organisation I felt wasn't wholly, utterly committed to doing their all, but without resources there's only so much you can do. The issue, at least as far as I can gather, isn't successive governments simply failing to provide an adequate annual budget, but failing to recognise how much the state's tourism industry - and thus, economy - the organisation underpins. But this was an argument that was lost on the powers that be 20 years ago (back when I actually some direct involvement in the Dept.) when the then-premier attempted in vain to get Tourism Tasmania to work hand in hand with Parks.

As nice and easy as it is to just "blame the government" and despair at the state of everything, I do also question why all the supposed advocacy has failed to change the situation? After all, if the government of the day can't see the problem, then isn't the onus on the community to help them join the dots? Whinging about the poor state of things achieves zip. You gotta get your hands dirty and work with those already tasked to manage the system.

Nuts wrote:There's no clear reason why bloggers aren't charged and regulated, like any commercial user, apply for a permit.


We actually discussed this at length with PWS's Media Unit. In the end, despite questioning every potential future avenue for what we were doing to earn Adsense or other revenue etc. we were deemed personal/non-commercial in nature. I'm not sure I entirely agreed (!) but Parks even got their legal team on it to cross reference with their own framework, which clearly defines commercial intent, and that was their ruling. In the end we just gave the $300 to Wildcare, Westpac Heli Rescue etc.

(To this day I still tithe some of my pay each fortnight to the Rescue Heli service. I sure as hell hope I never need them, but if I ever do, I want to make damn sure my karmic balance is well in the green.)

I know a couple of other YouTube channels do have commercial filming permits (Scotty's Gone Walkabouts, for example) for their work and totally agree if you're out to making a living from it, you should absolutely pay your dues. However, this is only ever going to work with local bloggers/videographers. International/visiting travel bloggers etc. would be utterly impossible to regulate or control.

Nuts wrote:PS, nothing personal


No offense taken ;-) Always up for friendly debate on serious matters.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby xing » Tue 16 Nov, 2021 2:00 pm

doogs wrote:
headwerkn wrote:
The persistent naysaying/bullying from a handful of individuals was annoying/frustrating/disappointing at times, but easily ignored when it became clear their opinions were not of the vast majority of the Tasmanian bushwalking community. Nor those of PWS and the other land authorities we maintain regular communication with.

Cheers, Ben.


Sorry Ben I can't let this statement stand without a reply.

As far as I have read online, noone has an issue with you making bushwalking YouTube films. It is the active promotion of walks in off track walks in sensitive areas that people have had an issue with. In fact, I have seen a lot of pointing towards the rules set out on this forum as suitable guidelines to follow. It's a credit to the way Nik set up is site that these rules are seen as the standard to follow.
I have spoken to Parks and Wildlife employees and they don't like the way you promote sensitive areas. They might have been the select few who don't and none were bureaucratic office staff.
The statement that most bushwalkers agree with your opinion is a complete fallacy (see pic).
A much more accurate statement would be 'some people including some Parks staff like what we do and some people and Parks staff don't. We are deciding what we deem to be sensitive/off track rather than just posting stuff from recognised tracks even if it clearly upsets many within the bushwalking community. '
Screenshot_20211115-113228.png


I have found a small number of people are antagonistic towards Bender & Xing. While I get that many are passionate about conservation, that does not justify what felt like a somewhat relentless campaign by a handful of people to constantly harass us. Just because your belief is that certain information should not be shared does not mean that we (or anyone else for that matter) have to share your beliefs or follow your directives. I personally tried on every post where there was negative engagement with us to address your concerns and have frank discussions - every single time. None of that mattered and we had online bullying under the guise of "passion" and "conservation". It wasn't either of those, it was just shameful bullying. Passive aggressive nastiness.

Where we chose to share is frankly up to no one but us. What we shared was carefully considered and always already out in the public forum. I have in the past spent countless hours of my time replying politely and respectfully to the handful of people that seemed to enjoy the mini-hate campaign you had going. Oh, and claiming innocence on the whole social media debate thing is wrong. We were made aware by at least two of the admins of social media pages that certain members had in boxed them asking for us to be banned. They sent us the screen shots of the messages including the members names. I find adult men acting in this way and having little inbox tantrums pretty appalling really.

We once again chose the higher road and offered to these social media pages to stop posting or leave the groups - not one single group asked us to do that, in fact they asked us to stay and continue to post. During that same poll we had so many inboxes from lovely strangers to say that they loved our stuff but were too intimidated by those vocal few of you to comment lest they be turned upon. What a sad reflection on you and the others involved in your "passion" to save "Bender & Xing" destroying Tasmania.

I do not intend to spend any more of my life playing "lets keep the haters happy" but nor will I be silent on what was nothing short of online bullying by adult men that should know better. When I immigrated to Australia I was raised to see that sharing knowledge is the highest form of friendship and kindness. Only through education does society grow. Our blog and videos were just that - knowledge sharing. I come from a country where coveting knowledge was used as a control measure and to increase the power of those who had it. Wrap it up in conservation but it's not that - it's a handful of bushwalking elitists that are happy to share among themselves but not the greater community.

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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 6:24 am

Ummmmmm I'd suggest the majority of the 162 would fall in the 155 category severely outweighing the minority at 43
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Thornbill » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 6:48 am

ILUVSWTAS wrote:Ummmmmm I'd suggest the majority of the 162 would fall in the 155 category severely outweighing the minority at 43

Hang on. That clearly can't be the case. Otherwise they would have selected that option. Neither of us know the reason, or how strongly the feelings, of those 162 people for selecting "depends on the circumstances". And any attempt to suggest that we do is pure conjecture.

For what it's worth, I have little interest in reading blogs and watching videos. But I do agree with what Ben has said, like it or not social media and posts/blogs about Tassie's wild places are here to stay. Pretending that they're not is fanciful. So let's give a bit of kudos to the one's who are coming from the right place and trying to do the right thing.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 7:24 am

But if they thought it was ok they'd have selected the minority amount surely?

My point was you have to ignore that group because clearly they can't decide. Leaving just the yes or no groups which was 3to1 no.

Saying SM is here to stay isn't necessarily a good thing. Covid is here to stay. Yes we have to live with it but it doesn't make it ok.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Nuts » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 7:56 am

headwerkn wrote:
Nuts wrote:It's good to see writers try to engage with the park service, their direction in recent years appears to have been a focus on supporting revenue sources rather than much care for conservation, individual walkers, scrappy un-packaged walks. Which also puts their support in perspective.


That's the public perception but I'm not sure it's an entirely fair appraisal. They're trying to manage an enormous asset (greatly expanded since the demise of Forestry Tas) on a meagre, inappropriate budget. From the top down I've not met/talked to anyone in the organisation I felt wasn't wholly, utterly committed to doing their all, but without resources there's only so much you can do. The issue, at least as far as I can gather, isn't successive governments simply failing to provide an adequate annual budget, but failing to recognise how much the state's tourism industry - and thus, economy - the organisation underpins. But this was an argument that was lost on the powers that be 20 years ago (back when I actually some direct involvement in the Dept.).

As nice and easy as it is to just "blame the government" and despair at the state of everything, I do also question why all the supposed advocacy has failed to change the situation? After all, if the government of the day can't see the problem, then isn't the onus on the community to help them join the dots? Whinging about the poor state of things achieves zip. You gotta get your hands dirty and work with those already tasked to manage the system.


I've always heard the park service has been underfunded, but then short of an audit (and maybe driving around seeing if anyone's leaning on a shovel).. how would you Really be satisfied they were?

Jo Public definitely won't think so given the multi-millions being spent on certain projects (regardless of bean source).

Been a long time since my P&W experience or 9-5. I'm sure there's some blamable individuals but no, not the public service, appears very much on their direction by the current Liberal state government who have done nothing notable (in regards to national parks) but stir the pot. Prior to that, conservation-wize, we appeared to be bumbling along quite nicely.

However, it seems to me the only sustainable solution here is through the park service. I actually find it quite bizarre that social media groups are deciding for themselves. I'd expect parks have a set of guidelines somewhere at least? Guidelines for amateur writers and photographers?
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby headwerkn » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 8:34 am

ILUVSWTAS wrote:Ummmmmm I'd suggest the majority of the 162 would fall in the 155 category severely outweighing the minority at 43


How you interpret those numbers for yourself is your business, but based on the entirety of the feedback we received over the years, I'd suggest your assumption is incorrect.
And yes, before you ask, we did seek constructive criticism far and wide outside our own 'fanbase'. As already mentioned ad nauseum, we got plenty of suggestions/ideas and took them on board. Actual sustained dissent was limited to a handful of individuals. If there were others - and I'm sure there were - they obviously weren't aggrieved enough to make their feelings known.

ILUVSWTAS wrote:But if they thought it was ok they'd have selected the minority amount surely?


No, because "it depends" was what they thought, likely for one or more of the reasons I mentioned previously. It's what I voted. I don't think sharing a highly detailed, step by step three-week off track trek and and around the south west widely across generalist bushwalking and travel groups is a particularly wise idea. I think a short video stopping more people going the wrong up way Sharlands Peak (the video that started this whole argument) and putting themselves at a serious safety risk shared on relevant groups full of people asking the exact question is a good idea.

It's not a black-and-white argument.

ILUVSWTAS wrote:Saying SM is here to stay isn't necessarily a good thing. Covid is here to stay. Yes we have to live with it but it doesn't make it ok.


I agree. I don't particularly like Facebook either (I don't use it myself) but we're in the extreme minority. It's become the go-to place for bushwalkers seeking information these days; sadly bushwalk.com isn't nearly as lively these days as it was when I first joined. Online posts and blogs have become the personal diaries and club slide nights of yore. My first recommendation to newbies looking to learn is to join a bushwalking club, but the truth is 99% go straight to YouTube and start their education there.

Not saying it's right or ideal (it isn't) but dismissing it is ignoring reality. Railing against it is fighting a war thoroughly lost a decade ago. If you want to improve the content out there, you need to embrace it and steer it in a better path.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby doogs » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 9:06 am

headwerkn wrote:Sorry Doogs...

..regular and to this day ongoing conversations will all levels of PWS...

...This kind of - for want of a better term - "self reflection" was ongoing as we questioned what was appropriate to share and what information served a positive purpose. We kept counsel with literally dozens of prominent and senior members of Tasmania's bushwalking community. Again, support was broad and encouraging, often strongly so. If it hadn't been, we would have ceased publishing immediately....

....The badgering and harassment of both Scott and admins of other popular Bushwalking groups of Facebook was quite shameful in my opinion.....

....Contrary to what some might believe, Bender and Xing wasn't an egotistical flight of fancy. A huge amount of planning and thought went into it. We even got a lawyer involved to make sure what we were sharing wouldn't open us up to legal liability (be careful sharing your GPX files, folks).


Thanks for your reply Ben.

I do think that the changes of the direction of governance within the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife service has played a part in how this has unfolded. There is a large opposition to the way in which the management plans are being manipulated, for example, the attempted the introduction of private leases and businesses within our Reserved estate. These changes have coincided with your films and you have bore some of the antagonism and mistrust that should have been directed at them. That is clearly unfair as you don't write the policies for them. An appropriate 'content creator' policy should be in place, enforced, and hopefully faith in the system can be restored. I'm certainly very cynical about the direction Jason Jacobi is taking Parks, whether it's him steering the ship or directives from above.

I'm glad that you have consulted widely. I hope it was with a considered unbiased approach, including seasoned parks staff, walking clubs and academics. Not just from those who would give you the answers that you want hear. This is really hard to successfully achieve as we all (yup me definitely included!) tend to surround ourselves with like minded people.

Harrassing FB/forum admins isn't cool. Reporting is a last resort, I guess, if someone feels that they themselves are being bullied, the post doesn't comply with the groups guidelines or even if the group itself is seen to be improper. Harrassing? unacceptable.

It's really hard to see anything that we do as non-egotistic*. The whole idea of peak bagging, such as The Abels, is outlandishly egotistical**. Making a film to improve on something that is already available because you think you can better it is egotistic too. I am not pointing this out to be a negative trait, it is far from that, it makes us who we are and how we interact with the world. If we cannot compare ourselves to others how are we supposed to improve ourselves, help others, be compassionate etc. I'm diverging on the semantics of language a little here, but ego is something to both embrace and temper. It is clearly something that has driven you to make your 'content' and it is something that you were/are passionate about as that is reflected in the quality and time put in to producing them. They are honestly good films.
*I completely get that the effort you put in far outweighed the gains when making your YouTube films.
**I have for some years gone through a period of self reflection about the whole concept 'peak bagging' and there have been periods of more than a year that I have looked at a list. I guess it's kind of like a habit that I'm trying to break!!

xing wrote:
I have found a small number of people are antagonistic towards Bender & Xing..... bullying under the guise of "passion" and "conservation". It wasn't either of those, it was just shameful bullying....

Where we chose to share is frankly up to no one but us. What we shared was carefully considered and always already out in the public forum. I have in the past spent countless hours of my time replying politely and respectfully to the handful of people that seemed to enjoy the mini-hate campaign you had going. Oh, and claiming innocence on the whole social media debate thing is wrong. We were made aware by at least two of the admins of social media pages that certain members had in boxed them asking for us to be banned. They sent us the screen shots of the messages including the members names. I find adult men acting in this way and having little inbox tantrums pretty appalling really.

We once again chose the higher road and offered to these social media pages to stop posting or leave the groups - not one single group asked us to do that, in fact they asked us to stay and continue to post. During that same poll we had so many inboxes from lovely strangers to say that they loved our stuff but were too intimidated by those vocal few of you to comment lest they be turned upon. What a sad reflection on you and the others involved in your "passion" to save "Bender & Xing" destroying Tasmania.

...When I immigrated to Australia I was raised to see that sharing knowledge is the highest form of friendship and kindness. Only through education does society grow. Our blog and videos were just that - knowledge sharing. I come from a country where coveting knowledge was used as a control measure and to increase the power of those who had it. Wrap it up in conservation but it's not that - it's a handful of bushwalking elitists that are happy to share among themselves but not the greater community.
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Naysaying? probably. Bullying? No. If someone has a difference of opinion it is not bullying. It is perfectly understandable that after the effort that you put in to produce a film, when someone suggests that it may have crossed the line of what is accepted as 'sensitive area' and that maybe you shouldn't be actively promoting that particular film on social media you feel hurt. I am sorry that this has occurred. It is purely an opinion, at some point when entering grey areas, other interested parties are going to stick their hand up and say "whoaah .. I feel the line has been crossed". It's not a black and white issue. It's something that should be discussed, try and understand the OP position and reasoning behind their views. I understand others have had issues with you giving gear advice, I can't really comment on that as people ask for advice about EVERYTHING online!

I find it quite shameful that an admin of a Facebook group would share screenshots with someone, it has surely only led to as escalation of ill will.

I posted that screenshot purely to highlight that the sharing of information on social media is a contentious issue that many people are passionate about, I am not to say 'I'm right and you're wrong'. The results are clearly as inconclusive as the questions are vague.

I too am an immigrant to Australia. Where I come from the National Parks are rubbish compared to Tasmania. There are only tiny pockets of native forests in Scotland, tracks aren't maintained and funding is chronically poor. It's still beautiful, but nothing compared to Tasmania. I am passionate about letting people know how special the places that we have here are and what could become of them if we don't look after them.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Nuts » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 10:12 am

Sorry, missed some of the content above.

I gather this is the LNT guideline mentioned:
https://www.theoutbound.com/brandon-dew ... -media-age
And TP&W Commercial Guidelines:
https://parks.tas.gov.au/Documents/Comm ... elines.pdf
(Here's a good effort for photogs: https://nrmsouth.org.au/wp-content/uplo ... OUTPUT.pdf )

Even the list for 'depends' (above) is covering more relevant ground so far than what I can find from P&W. Coming from a 5-9, Covid affected world, I don't accept that this oversight is a lack of funding or better things to do (ayee Leave at 10 past rather than 10 too?). Maybe harsh, they're just as likely constrained by political interference here too, right..

It's not that an amateur list can't be impressive (good effort) but without knowing how those factors apply to the situation on any given track or area or the host of reasons to promote tracks or not it can only be a token effort. A lack of hard lines only due to the limits of effective knowledge? It is black and white to publish or not. Some conservation issues, combined with the host of management constraints, require actions that would also be very much black and white (but no sense keeping them secret? )
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby north-north-west » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 1:44 pm

I'm going to leave a lot of this argument to one side and just focus on one particular problem, which forms part of my reservations about the whole social media exposure issue.

You can control your content, and you do that. You do a reasonable job of it, with plenty of emphasis on safety.
What you can't control is the way people absorb and use that content. Once it's out, it's out, and people will take in what they want. Many will ignore advice about times and limits and gear and conditions because they think they know better. That has always been a problem and it's one that SM has worsened.
And that means more people going into places and/or ending up in situations where they can't cope. It not only means more damage for the environment, but more risk for the people, more injuries, potentially more deaths, greater strain on rescue services.

Frankly, that's not a responsibility I would be comfortable bearing. It's one reason why I generally minimise information on my photos about locations and rarely give out details on routes.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby north-north-west » Wed 17 Nov, 2021 1:54 pm

Nuts:

Having spent five years -- admittedly a long time ago - in the administrative division of TasPAWS, I can assure you that there have always been serious funding constraints.
Staff are never sufficient for the work that needs to be done, because full-time staff are a major cost.
More and more work is done by commercial contractors instead of TasPAWS staff mainly because of political ideology. This is less financially efficient because there always has to be an allowance for profit.

The political interference has existed as long as the service. Back in my time we were a separate department - the fastest growing department in the state at that stage - with our own minister and a director largely focused on conservation. TasPAWS was subsumed into the Lands Dept (plans were being made when I left, which was 40 years ago) to limit our power. It was purely political, a way of diluting bureaucratic representation for conservation. The current director (or whatever the equivalent is) is a purely political appointee, chosen because of his support for, and promotion of, commercial exploitation of reserves.

The field staff are usually really good. The lower levels of management are usually pretty good. Above that, it is all politics and always has been.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Scottyk » Thu 02 Dec, 2021 8:05 pm

What happened to Bender and Xing?.....
I think it just didn't end up paying. Making videos that are that polished takes a heap of time, lots of people try it and don't fully appreciate the time that goes into it. The views/subscribers just didn't grow.
For what its worth I think they make great videos but the content was not good, the video that included the best way to climb Sharlands Peak was terrible.
Once you start getting bad feedback from sharing your videos on facebook pages it gets even harder.
If it was paying they would still be making it.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby xing » Thu 02 Dec, 2021 8:58 pm

Scottyk wrote:I think it just didn't end up paying. Making videos that are that polished takes a heap of time, lots of people try it and don't fully appreciate the time that goes into it. The views/subscribers just didn't grow.


Hi Scott King who doesn't hide behind the internet - your assumptions are completely incorrect. Understandable given you don't actually know either of us.

I'm lucky enough (and worked very hard from a young age, mind you) to be semi-retired at 48 years of age, so don't need to make a buck from YouTube. If I did I'd be recording myself playing video games, much bigger market apparently...

Believe it or not we actually just enjoyed sharing our experiences with the bushwalking community and hopefully helped a few people along the way.

Glad I could clear that up for you - Xing :-D
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Nuts » Fri 03 Dec, 2021 8:23 am

NNW, I was (mostly) far from an office and even my short time needed a positive reality.

The downside of a few decades of involvement is in seeing how fleeting attitudes actually are. Especially when subject to much younger recruitment. And that even the reserve system is relatively young .. and anything is still possible..So on one hand it's great to see some passion around the webs, at the same time it's obviously corrosive in the cropped opinion snapshots of social media. And anger appears to be bubbling along all over the place.

Personally I'm just as concerned about any little visited, camped, blogged spot just off The Overland Track as promoting somewhere like Greystone Bluff. And there is no clear direction or involvement from the service for something that wouldn't exactly need another public asset sell-off to fix, or try to fix, or at least not a park service starting their own version of 'the game', happy to avoid the wider web.

It seems, from what Bender has said, that they (bender & Xing) have at least tried to involve parks management. That's great.

Above all this i'm seething at the actions/inactions of our current government (of which this is just one), and I can't remember seething for a very long time... To spite all the individual passion, through the park service, they seem intent to be the derro in the room. If the funds aren't in place to prevent a free-for-all they are hardly in the right place for (overt and covert) advertising & endless growth.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby lefroy » Fri 03 Dec, 2021 12:03 pm

I love that we can have this debate here as it's an important one. I just hope that for every post here ranting about this that there are three being sent to state MPs etc who are the real problem here. I'd rather YouTube videos of tracks over them being privatised any day. Write to Jacquie Petrusma, Gutwein etc. Talk to them about these concerns and maybe give the whole bender and xing thing a rest...
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Nuts » Fri 03 Dec, 2021 3:43 pm

lefroy wrote:II just hope that for every post here ranting about this that there are three being sent to state MPs etc who are the real problem here. .


Well, not for 'every post'.. and not three. The last response, from the highest office, was a bare-faced lie! In writing.
I wonder, when a government has that sort of confidence, how anyone can consider they have advice 'on good authority'.

It is one of very few actions that can be taken though, so better out than in.
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Re: What Happened to Bender and Xing?

Postby Tazz81 » Fri 03 Dec, 2021 6:00 pm

Maybe I’m old fashioned - but why can’t people just go on a walk, enjoy it and remember it themselves? Why do they have to broadcast to the world “look at me, I went on a bushwalk! How awesome am I!” Or maybe without the bragging element they probably wouldn’t feel the need to go on a walk anyway.
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