Well possibly the perceived problems and issues can be fixed quite easily and hinge on everyone accepting that SOTA is not inherently competitve. (I’ll come back to this.)
The two issues that Alan commented on are that when logs are not entered within a short period of an activation then 1) chasers are not seeing the confirmation star in their logs and 2) the possiblity of making some considerable effort to be the 1st activator of a summit is wasted when all outstanding logs are entered the 1st activator crown moves to somebody else.
The first point is really not a problem because you don’t need to confirm QSOs to claim the various awards on offer. Sure you need to have your logs entered in the database for SOTA awards or submit a log for Mike’s S2S awards but you don’t need to collect QSL cards or whatever like you do for DXCC et al. It’s all based on trust. If you want to cheat then I’m sure one day you will be found out and the loss of kudos amongst your peers on here will be crushing. Well it would be for me.
The second point is also easy to deal with. Simply remove the 1st Activated info from the page for each summit. Only 1 person can be 1st to activate a summit and when it’s been done then that’s it, nobody else can ever be 1st. If you are only recently licensed then through no fault of you own you can never be first to activate whole swathes of summits. Removing the 1st Activated info solves the problem. I’d keep the list of the last 5 activators for a good reason. We all know really how fit we are and based on the activations and photos of others we have a good idea of how fit those people are. The list gives an indication of how much effort may be needed to climb it. If a you see a wide range of abilities in the people listed you can guess you won’t need supreme technical skills or physical edurance. Whereas if only Messrs. Tensing & Hillary are listed then it may be a real challenge!
Coming back to inherent competition. No matter what is said and what we want to believe, we are all competitive. However, and perhaps I’m being hypocritical here, the standings are less important than they were to me. This maybe because I doubt I’ll ever move any higher when I look at the physical prowess of those above me. Of course there’ll be fitter younger people coming into the hobby who will overtake me but there is not too much I can do about that. When I was just a few months into activating I was more motivated by choosing summits that would move me up the table quicker. Now, I pick the summits I do (not many recently) based on whether they are a good walk or not. That is partly influenced by my table position but mainly because SOTA has moved me from someone who climbed mountains simply to play radio to someone who enjoys climbing mountains. The fact I get to play radio too is just a fabulous bonus. So arguments in favour of removing all the league tables are a non-starter as they will be compiled and published elsewhere and I think they are useful.
So I’m in favour of the database as it stands, just the removal of the 1st Activated info as that is only item which is absolute. I’d be interested to know how many people agree with me on this.