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Satellite Web Sites Policies


stringcachers

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This issue has been talked about a lot in the past, so I've been hesitant to address this topic. But I'll just regurgitate some previous text I've used in the past to try to address the questions in this topic.

 

On scraping or mining the site for data:

 

The official answer:

 

Even though the TOU says to contact us for permission, we don't give permission to scrape the site. Its not supported, and we don't want anyone doing it.

 

The unofficial answer:

 

We know people scrape the site. We know that there are a number of sites that use the scraped data to provide a useful and legitimate service to the community. But we can't enforce what we don't see. So if we don't see you scraping the site, we look the other way.

 

On IP blocking:

 

There are two kinds of "blocks" used on the site. One is a fully automated system that institutes temporary IP bans when the web servers detect a "suspicious" amount of traffic from one IP. Some time after the traffic stops, the ban is lifted. The second is a manual blocking that we periodically do based on hourly traffic reports that are emailed to a special mailbox. Those reports give us traffic statistics for the top x-number of IP addresses. Addresses generating traffic that is way out of whack with what is normal is manually blocked. The only checks we do on the IPs is an ARIN check to make sure we're not blocking a search engine like Google. Otherwise, we have no idea who the IP belongs to. Surprisingly, we rarely get emailed when the servers serve up the manual "IP Blocked" page.

 

We almost never target and block specific sites. But when we do, we send out an email to that site asking that they stop.

 

The best way to get a response from us to a specific question like this is to email us at: admin at Groundspeak dot com. I think I read in this topic that a couple of people have. If so, if you send me a PM with the ticket number assigned by our customer service software, I'll look into those for you.

 

:huh: Elias

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Rather than tolerating and looking the other way, why not try to convert this aspect into part of your business model?

 

Perhaps the reason it keeps coming up is because there is a fundamental problem in the geocaching community that needs to be addressed - the desire for localized customizations of data. :huh:

 

Andy

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.....There's nothing wrong with statistics and there's nothing detrimental about them to games (e.g., see 'Baseball', pg. 42)....

Side note: I don't like basebal either - too many stats [so what - Joe hits lefthanded at night on artifical turf in October better than he does after 3 road games in canada] - just because you "can" and "want to" compute such things doesn't mean you "Have to".

 

So go build yourself a server, open a listing site, invite us all to post there and run stats to your hearts content. What do I care. I was just offering an opinion as to why stats aren't run here.

 

I think the concern is that stats make it sound more and more competitive and more and more sportslike and that just begs for regulations.

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It's not just stats - it's about providing data in specific or customized ways, ways that gc.com doesn't offer, mostly with a local angle. Whether it is mapping or special searches or ratings or a huge list of things. Stats IMO is just one part.

 

Andy

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...just because you "can" and "want to" compute such things doesn't mean you "Have to".

 

I think the concern is that stats make it sound more and more competitive and more and more sportslike and that just begs for regulations.

Au contraire...because I can and want to is exactly why I have to. It's what motivates me to do it and enables me to do so...thus giving me the need to be satisfied.

 

It's competitive for some just because there's a tally. The competitiveness of anyone's participation in this game isn't the result of the stats (and the stats aren't necessarily the result of competitiveness). Stats can be used simply to express the health of the game.

 

I'd pay Groundspeak money to get a license to the data for statistical purposes. Unfortunately, I just don't think I have that kind of money. I would also then need to charge for use of my site in order to pay the license and bandwidth for those who want to get the stats from me. Setting up web businesses just isn't my bag.

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You'll find that the many of the state and non US sites listing stats, are approved by Groundspeak. And collect their data in a approved maner and at approved times, using a log in to the site, and so can be tracked very easily. In the case of the UK stats site, they have very stict rules on what, when and how they collect data, so as not to affect the running of the site. Dave

 

Is this true? :huh:

Wouldn't that be something you could find out easiest by popping over to the uk forum or even the website they're referring too???(I'm guessing http://www.geocacheuk.com/)

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On scraping or mining the site for data:

 

The official answer:

 

Even though the TOU says to contact us for permission, we don't give permission to scrape the site. Its not supported, and we don't want anyone doing it.

 

The unofficial answer:

 

We know people scrape the site. We know that there are a number of sites that use the scraped data to provide a useful and legitimate service to the community. But we can't enforce what we don't see. So if we don't see you scraping the site, we look the other way.

 

:rolleyes: Elias,

Thank you for your response. It did clarify a few things for me.

 

A couple of things:

 

First:

QUOTE (Mancunian Pyrocacher @ Feb 25 2004, 05:16 PM)

You'll find that the many of the state and non US sites listing stats, are approved by Groundspeak.

Is this true?

 

Second:

Is GC open to some official way to share data? Is this in the "works" now or in the future? Something like a "super PQ". Scraping the site is very inefficient whereas PQs are very efficient. For both sides.

 

Thanks again. I am so very glad you have responded.

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Just out of curiosity. My pocket queries have not been running this week, and I just checked on them. I had to revalidate the fact that I accepted the license agreeement first before I could go into that page. Did this happen to anybody else, or just me?

 

Was Groundspeak giving me a not so suble hint? :rolleyes:

 

Just to make this very clear. I do not personally have a scraping site. I do not share my PQs. I do not publish them. Do I use them personally? Yes.

 

My position in this discussion is as a self proclaimed proxy for local sites that want to provide value to the local community, but have been blocked.

 

A positive method of providing this service to fellow players would be greatly desired by all these sites. But has the previously pointed out thread about Buxleys shows, there were suggestions a year ago that something might happen, and then it was dropped. (I did not know this before starting this thread - FYI). As such - Bump?

 

One of the expressed concerns that GC had with this data sharing was archiving caches, and the fact that other sites might not get these updates. Well, that is true with my PQs as well. Since players like myself agraegate them in GSAK, caches that have been archived are not getting updated because the PQs do not list them. Not even just to show that they are archived. So, my personal GSAK database of PQs from GC is now out of date. Would it not be wise to at least list the demise of caches in a PQ?

 

Elias, I understand you are busy. But is there something that can be done? :huh:

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Is GC open to some official way to share data? Is this in the "works" now or in the future?

This is something that we do want to do. Its one of the reasons we have the Gpx Application Developers topic pinned to the top of this forum. Unfortunately, due to other factors, it hasn't received much attention and I really can't estimate when we'll be able to formally pick it up.

 

:rolleyes: Elias

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Is GC open to some official way to share data? Is this in the "works" now or in the future?

This is something that we do want to do.

Thanks for that. That statement together with the previous one makes this whole thread worthwhile for me.

 

I know it may take some time, but at least you are not against the idea.

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What you are failing to grasp here is that TPTB have concluded that overt amounts of statistics are in fact detrimental to caching. No matter how much you want them or think it is an opportunity.

 

You own your data. I own mine. They own the aggregate.

 

I personally don't care to have my activities over-analyzed by random groups and I know many other cachers feel that way too.

Horsecrap.

 

Just because you're prejudiced against them doesn't mean they ruin caching.

 

I can show you a great thread on statistics that hasn't kept you up at night crying over how your caches have been included in the data and had you lamenting the oncoming death of geocaching.

 

TPTB have concluded that providing overt amounts of statistics aren't of interest to them and therefore they put everything else on their agenda for fixing/improving the site above it. They're not going to program what they're not interested in. This is why Waymarking.com has a greater number of statistical implementations planned. The person responsible for that package is interested in stats and Jeremy has let them work towards that end. Some of that *may* at some point even be brought over to GC.com. Who knows, time will tell...but even if you have a "Stats" tab on your profile pages, it won't be the death toll of caching. Even if there were to be *competitive* stats implemented in the future, it wouldn't impact you if *you* don't want it to (even without an opt-out/opt-in policy!).

 

The fact is that you own your information only in so much as I can't copy it without permission. You don't own a pair of coordinates. GS only owns the aggregate in so much as how it's stored, presented for use, and the access to it. They don't own the fact that 40 people have visited a certain cache or that a state has been increasing in cache total faster than its neighbor. Because the dataset is so large, it's very difficult to abide by the terms of use of the site to generate the statistics, but that information and analysis is free (as in "speech", not as in "beer").

 

In fact, I wish I had time to put up a webpage with an in-depth analysis of your caching, including time-find linear regression and your yearly/monthly/weekly average and everything else. I could do it without breaking the TOU/TOS and then they'd be there for everyone to see!

 

If you truly don't care, then stats aren't detrimental to anything and are interesting to those that like to see them. Maybe you meant to say "I personally hate to have my activities over-analyzed...". At that point, I have to wonder how you cope with people comparing themselves to your yardwork, your driving, your childcare, your job performance...people don't need geocaching to have random others analyzing them. There's nothing wrong with statistics and there's nothing detrimental about them to games (e.g., see 'Baseball', pg. 42).

 

EDIT: BBcode not HTML...duh.

<ECHO>

I couldn't have said it better.

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