Do we do harm by discussing places on blogs/forums/websites?

Urban exploring has been around a long time, but it was always a hidden, secretive thing. People didn’t have digital cameras to document everything with, nor did they have websites to share their experiences in. They didn’t have magazines to write to, or to show them new places. It was localized. Your experiences were shared only amongst your local friends, and you explored local places.

That’s all changed thanks to digital technology and internet. With the popularity of magazines like Weird NJ, urban exploration has become more fashionable and cool. There’s a downside. That information can be read by anyone, anywhere, and you can’t control what they do with it. Were there kids cruising midgetville before the Weird NJ article? Of course, that’s why they wrote about it to begin with. People told them what they had seen or experienced. But once that article hit, people started coming to midgetville from as far away as Pennsylvania hoping to see midgets. Also consider the Dutch church, which was torched mere weeks after being published in Weird NJ.

Criminals destroy and vandalize. They spray graffitti. They attract attention and draw tighter security. Not to mention that they give all UE’ers a bad name. Locals don’t know the difference between the good UE who take only pictures and who wouldn’t vandalize a thing and the not a very nice persons who who go there just to be destructive. I created my original website shortly after I got hooked on WNJ & UE. I wanted to share what i had seen with those who hadn’t, and hopefully get intel on good places from people out there with similar interests. I’ve mad a lot of friends because of my website and forums, and I’m sure otger website owners have too. All well and good, but what about the sharing of info? Does it really hurt the places we love to explore?

That’s a tough question. I think it is true that the more exposure places get, the harder it is to explore. I know of a not-so-abandoned-nursing home that was profiled near my dads house. Theres really only 2 places to park, and whenever the locals see a car parked there that doesn’t belong, they call the cops, assuming that its UE’ers. Greystone is much tighter with security. So is Ancora.

I will continue to publish my adventures and explorations with photos. I will not be as casual with posting locations or directions. I had removed some pages from my site when people started getting in trouble after pics were found on their websites. I will be putting them back on in the redesign, but with less info on where they are or how to get there. I put disclaimers on the site and in the forums telling people that I provide this information for their enjoyment, but that bad behavior will make it worse for all of us. Someone said that good UE’ers “take only pictures, and leave only footprints”. Cliched, but true. I can only hope that people act appropriately. If they don’t I may have to scale back some stuff. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

What do you think?

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