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Posts posted by Teasel

  1. Cool, it looks like another method of rating caches is going to appear to run alongside Teasel's and we will have another yardstick of enjoyment factor measurement. It will be interesting to see if there are differences.

    Oooh goodie, lots of new stats! Then we could have extra stats such as "top 100 largest differences between Teasel's subjective scores and Dave's objective scores". So you could look for caches which have everything going for them, but which are somehow unfulfilling; or those which on paper should be dead boring, but for which the "x-factor" is actually so extraordinarily high that it overrides all the negatives. Sounds like fun!


    (edit: those who think me sad should objectively consider the fact that they use a multi $Bn satelite navigation system to find McToys under piles of sticks, before commenting too loudly :ph34r::lol::ph34r:

  2. So where is the actual rule?  Not seen anything on G:UK that sates this criteria!

    This ratings page says "Stars should be awarded according to how much you enjoyed the cache". The MyStats page says "Please consider rating these caches according to enjoyment factor".


    I sometimes rate friends' caches higher than I otherwise would. There, I've said it (again!). I've already mentioned that I rated Jayne's cache higher than I otherwise would. I also now admit to rating Round Turn & Two Half Hitches Pass extra high because it was placed by Mark and that added to my caching experience in a way that it would not have if someone else had placed the cache. What's the problem with that?


    [edit] HH obviously has faster fingers than me!

  3. To answer the question: the user should set his/her GPSr to magnetic bearings if s/he is using a compass to measure direction.

    True enough in theory. But in the UK, magnetic variation seldom matters as it's so small. For geocaching, the best use for a compass (other than the often embarassing task of finding the right way out of the car park) is for the last 20m under tree cover. The arrow is jumping around like mad, and you can't zoom in to the map far enough to get a feel for which way the cache is, so you end up slowly wandering around at random, hoping you can get the distance to go down. But with a compass you have a much better idea of which way to wander! No need for magnetic variation though -- nearest 45deg is good enough!


    IMHO, when walking in good weather, if you're relying on compensating for magnetic declination to keep your errors low, then you'd probably be better off shortening each leg of the journey and finding some intermediate features to look for. In bad weather, if you think you can hold a bearing to within 2deg, even with a friend to send ahead, you're certainly better than I'll ever be!

  4. Or even that their mate placed it so rated higher than it really deserved.

    The only "rule" is that people award a score based on how much they enjoyed the cache. For example this cache was placed by my wife. The fact that I was searching for a cache placed by Jayne made the cache genuinely more enjoyable for me, and that was reflected in my score. Sorry, but I don't see that as a problem. Similarly, I've noticed a tendancy in myself to rate more highly when the weather is either extremely good or extremely foul, whereas caches found on anonymous damp, grey days often score a little lower. But that's fine too because I'm not trying to predict how much another, average cacher would enjoy the cache on another, average day; I'm saying how much I enjoyed myself on my caching trip.


    As Flyfishermanbob points out, all the scoring system tells you is how much other people enjoyed themselves. Not even that, but only the people who found the cache - those who couldn't find it because it was a cr*p cache and the coordinates were 50m out don't even get the chance to have their say! Given all that, if you still find the relative scores interesting, then G:UK is the site for you. If you don't think a scoring system has any merit unless it's objective, then how about replying to Dave's original question, rather than re-stating the same complaints about the existing system which prompted this thread in the first place?!

  5. Because there are no guidelines is the reason why the scores could be considered wholly inaccurate

    Ummm, since he hasn't actually written the site yet, how can you say there are no guidelines?!


    Off topic: there are rules for the G:UK scoring system! Users are instructed that Stars should be awarded according to how much you enjoyed the cache. Unless you can honestly say that you have enjoyed equally every cache you have ever found, that makes you the only person I'm aware of who is deliberately breaking the rules!


    If you can honestly say that you have gained exactly the same enjoyment out of each cache you have ever found, then I'm afraid that's not a scenario which I considered when designing the G:UK system. From the sound of it, a more varied and objective rating system, like the one Dave is proposing, is more your cup of tea.

  6. I'd be interested in reading what people think.  Viable?  Needs more categories?


    Provided the system doesn't get ridiculously complicated, then I'd be happy to knock together and host a web page/script to allow people to calculate ratings online.

    The trade-off is of course between quality and quantity. For G:UK, I went for lots of low-quality ratings because there are lots of caches and lots of cachers in the UK and I wanted opinions from a broad cross-section of both.


    If you go for a questionnaire approach, you will have better data, but less of it. One problem of this is that "outliers" (scores from vandals, or people who haven't followed your scoring guidelines) may start to have more effect. Another problem is that a large proportion of caches may well not have any ratings. So, with that in mind, who is your target audience?


    I have a couple of specific issues with your proposed list of criteria:

    Firstly a high muggleability is bad, so for your "muggle potential" score, you'll need to make it abundantly clear whether lots of stars means a good chance of being muggled, or good protection against being muggled. I would strongly suggest that you word all your categories in such a way that more stars indicates a "better" cache. (Sure, you could always flip the scores in the averaging calculation, but it'd confuse the hell out of everyone!)


    Secondly, I don't much like the "distance/terrain" category. All your other scores have a definite good end and bad end of the scale. But a high distance just makes a cache different, not better or worse. Having said that, I do like the idea of getting people to rate distance / terrain, in order to provide an independent confirmation of the cache placer's ratings. I just don't think they should be averaged in to an overall score.


    Don't be discouraged by the replies above which criticise the usefulness of any/all scoring systems. If you build it, they will come, and if you enjoy building it, that's surely good enough!

  7. Hazelhurst woods (Wardley) Rated 69%, 1.5 Stars, both which I personally do not think gives them any credit. 

    A 69% rating roughly translates to "pick any three caches at random and this cache will probably be more enjoyable than at least one of them". Remember, half the caches in the UK are below average! (So are half of all school children, though you'd never guess it to look at their GCSE results! :( ) Maybe the problem is we live in a world where "6 out of 10" often means "I'll be polite but it was actually pretty dire", rather than "better than most"; whereas the G:UK ratings spread caches evenly across the full range of scores?


    But, at the end of the day, Hazelhurst woods is an easy cache, less than 500' from the car and right next to a motorway. Does it really come as a surprise that people gained far more enjoyment from some of your other caches, such as the multicache and puzzle cache? My guess, also, is that the high scores some of your caches achieve reflects the greater thought and effort which you put into their placement, compared to those placed "Cos I was bored"!


    I can't get my head around the contradictions here... You obviously feel that the ratings system gives a useful indication of cache quality, or you'd not have referred to it in the first sentence of this thread. And you're actively encouraging other cachers to contribute their scores to G:UK by placing "please rate this cache" links on all your caches -- even the less enjoyable ones. Yet at the same time you're trying to dilute the utility of that very system by refusing to differentiate between any of the caches that you've found, even though you clearly do hold opinions as to what makes a good cache. If you have a point to make, then I'm afraid I've missed it! :lol:

  8. Perhaps it would be better if we just listed them in this thread instead.  Kinda voting without the guilt of putting a number to it, I guess. :lol:

    Often it works the other way around - people feel guilty about putting their thoughts in writing, but are more honest with an "anonymous" score. Eg take a look at all the short "TFTC" comments, and many "great cache" comments (usually from newbies!) on this cache. Yet based on no less than 24 different teams' ratings, this cache is in the least enjoyable 1% of caches in the country!

  9. Anyone can say what they want, it still will not change my mind about the way I rate caches!

    Actually, you appear to have two accounts on GeocacheUK. The first gives useful, considered scores to caches found; the second behaves as you describe above.


    Maybe you're already in two minds about the guidance you offer to the geocaching community? :lol:

  10. Mad :(  :lol:  and I think you may have just said this to stir the pot up a little bit  :(  :)

    Well, I'm certainly glad that he did because it prompted me to have a look at the scores in more detail. As would be expected, the vast majority of geocachers who use the feature do so constructively, and the vast majority of people who disagree with the concept of a single-figure rating system simply do not enter ratings. A big "thank you" to both groups! :D


    There are a small but significant number of people whose scoring is very skewed towards very high or very low ratings. A very few may indeed be due to deliberate vandalism, but I think most are due to individual scoring strategies people may have (eg most people give an average cache a middling score, but some seem to give half a star for being average then award extra stars for extra wow-factor, whereas others may give 5 stars for setting the cache then dock marks for any annoyances).


    For example, this is the score breakdown (in half stars) of one cacher, whose average score is higher than 99% of us usually give:

    1 10

    2 2

    7 1

    8 1

    9 74

    10 128

    Clearly they are giving thought to the ratings they give, and are acting in good faith. However they do seem to gain far more enjoyment from geocaching than the average person does! :(


    I'll look into some sort of normalisation system to bring everyone's effective average score into the same range. It won't stop the odd vandal out there - who will just change tactics and maybe just award random, or inverted scores - but it will make more use of the figures from well-meaning people with unusual scoring habits.

  11. Yep, nothing sinister, just pure incompetence! :mad:


    The web form I wrote for sending emails to the committee was exploited by spammers who used it to notify thousands of AOLers about several "exciting investment opportunities" they might be interested in. I'd muse about why they seem to be targeting AOL users, but I'm already on pretty thin ice myself right now!


    I've deleted the offending script and asked Lunarpages to let us have our website back, but from past experience, they could drag their heels somewhat...


    Sorry for the inconvenience!



  12. I have a HOLUX 236, which also use the SiRFstar III chipset, amazing performance.

    I'm looking for a bluetooth GPS which I can leave permanently on in the car boot, which rules out the BT338 as i) it has a software power switch and ii) it powers down after a few minutes if it loses the bluetooth connection.


    Do you think the Holux 236 would be suitable, or does it have annoying habits of automatically switching off if it feels lonely? Have you ever needed to switch it off and on again due to a lock-up?


    Basically, I'm looking for something with the robustness of a wired GPS, but which I can grab and stick in a rucksac when I leave the car. Any suggestions?




  13. Some people share their pocket queries with other premium members. This is possibly against some TOU but people do it and if it means that the server processes my queries quicker, then I'm not going to complain! I remember a debate a while back about some difficulty of importing other people's files into an offline database (may have been GSAK), which went beyond the obvious "hey not all my logs are in there!" complaint. I didn't pay much attention at the time other than to make a mental note "if the XML is user-specific, why isn't the username in there?"


    Anyway, if swapping PQs is tolerated by TPTB, I can try to dig out the posts and see what it was that the username would be useful for. If not, it's a non-starter so I won't waste my time looking! ;)

  14. What does seem unfair (in my complete quantitative ignorance) is that x% of the PMs should not be able to download find information At All.

    Well, if you're in pursuit of quantitative fairness, consider that of the 217 countries for which GC.com lists geocaches, benchmarks are not suppported At All in 216 of them :laughing:

  15. But for those PQs that are turned into offline databases, I assume that the total bandwidth for retrieving the images is the same, irrespective of the the eventual timing

    Not if the pocket query is run more than once, surely? Consider someone who has a daily PQ of the 500 nearest caches to them. One of the caches has a spoiler, plus 24 other photos, averaging 50kb each, taken from a camera which was left in the cache. In a year, including the photos in the cache in the PQs would take 25*50*365KB, which is around 450MB for that single cache. Hotlinking, on the other hand, would download about 50kb in total.


    There are two main reasons why the T&Cs ban automata from accessing GC.com. The first is that, since GC.com have no copyright on submitted materials, they must protect themselves from data theft by T&Cs. The second is that they need to protect their servers from overload. Only if everyone downloaded every single cache photo every day, would the URL option put as much strain on the servers as the binary option. In the above, not particularly contrived example, it's about 9000 times more bandwidth efficient!

  16. I admit that mail size might be an issue.

    Not half! And your approach would see the GC.com servers sending out hundreds, perhaps thousands of images to every user, every day!!!(*) And all because they want the option of grabbing a single spoiler pic if they get stuck! No, I think URLs are the way to go.


    Photos don't actually change that often, so sending them out time after time is a complete waste of bandwidth. The fact that the GC.com servers can choose the best time doesn't get over the fact that your scheme would require hundreds, perhaps thousands of times as much server resources in total.


    Other programs like SpoilerSync grab their images in a manner which is sympathetic to the GC.com server (lots of pauses, lots of caching, lots of filters so you can only use bandwidth where the description contains the word "SPOILER" etc, etc). I'm sure Clyde can upgrade GSAK to make it equally so. (With bells on, if past experience is anything to go by! :huh: )


    But here, an automatic resize to typical PDA resolutions (e.g. this can be configured at the PQ's setup page) might help to reduce file sizes.

    It'd need to be configurable - just because you chose a device with a tiny screen, doesn't mean we all did! And anyway some photos need to be zoomed in order to be useful.


    My vote is for new tags in Groundspeak:cache and Groundspeak:log, which contain the URL, width, height, filesize and description of both thumbnail and full-size photo.





    (*) well, OK, only those who set up unnecessarily large PQs which run unnecessarily frequently. Which is most people, from what I can tell :unsure:

  17. Of the 45 threads on the first page, 4 are congratulations threads. I don't call that unmanageable.

    Statistically at this point in time you might be correct, but still there is an increase

    Ooh, someone said the "s" word! I'm up... :)


    So long as we only congratulate regular forum users, the proportion of congratulations threads shouldn't increase. And I doubt the total number would increase too much, because the use of this forum is growing much more slowly than geocaching itself.


    Geocaching in the UK is growing pretty much exponentially at the moment, which is great! But we'd really run into problems if people started posting a congratulations thread every time any UK cacher reached a milestone. The following graph shows how many threads we'd need each month :o:):D


  18. Something that happens far too many times on these forums is that people berate others for their grammar

    That wasn't a criticism of grammar, but of writing style. I sincerely doubt that anyone who can master a qwerty keyboard and spell "achieving" is incapable of using a full stop. If someone decides to make themselves stand out from the crowd by writing stylised prose, without punctuation and with deliberate mis-spellings, then they should not be surprised when they are criticised for doing so!








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