Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Brian_R

Waymarking - Another Generic Container?

Recommended Posts

I've spent a lot of time thinking about Waymarking and geocaching, and how Waymarking is supposed to be the home for virtuals, locationless, webcam caches, basically everything that's not in a container. The problem I come up with this whole Waymarking idea is that now there's a second generic, let's call it a "program", that still will unfortunately be too generic to properly serve each type of cache as is the case today (perceived or not perceived). Perhaps my relative lack of experience with locationless caches makes this more confusing for me personally, but here are the questions I have:

 

a) What were the system flaws that made virtuals not ideal for the system? Locationless caches? etc?

 

<_< Other than separating them into their own site, how does Waymarking.com systematically resolve each of these issues described in a for each type of cache?

 

c) Will Waymarking.com work for all of these different types of caches, or are we still just stuffing various angle-shaped pegs into a round hole, but a different, shinier round hole? how?

 

I've read the FAQs and they're nice generic answers, but they still don't answer the down and dirty ?s that underly the whole shift. I'm still on the fence so to speak, but a clearer understanding of these questions / answers I think will if nothing else, make things much clearer for me.

Share this post


Link to post

As far as I know, the big problem with locationless caches was that it was hard for the owner to prevent duplicate logings of the same thing and it was hard for the finders to then go visit was others had logged. For this I think Waymarking is a good fix.

 

For virtuals it was that the definition and guidelines were too vague with the whole WOW factor thus people were getting really torqued when the virtuals they submitted were denied. For this Waymarking has not fixed because rather than having more defined guidelines to define them, we now have a free for all and will likely have the very "garbage" they were trying to avoid with the WOW factor.

 

Web cam... well I don't think there was a problem but since the TPTB stated that no container means no cache, they kind of had to more them along.

 

We'll have to see just how much baggage gets dragged over from geocaching.com to Waymarking.com. But we all need to keep it in perspective... it is just a game/sport/hobby/etc

Share this post


Link to post

I think you've got the point that Waymarking is meant to be a more generic solution than geocaching.com. Originally the geocaching database was set up to handle traditional caches. Virtuals, webcams, events, multis, mystery/puzzle, locationless and earthcaches came later and the database had to be modified to support these to various degrees of success. I think Waymarking was a chance to start over. Whether or not is solves all the problems is an opened question.

 

a)  What were the system flaws that made virtuals not ideal for the system?  Locationless caches? etc?

For traditional caches you have location, short description, long description container size, difficulty, terrain, date placed, and attributes. You can find, DNF, write note or Should be archived, and you can leave or take travel bugs.

 

For locationless - location doesn't apply, terrain does apply, container size doesn't apply, and some attributes don't apply. Date placed is meaningless but is interpreted to mean date listed. To claim a find you must meet certain requirements. This usually includes that no one else has found this location before. Its not clear if you can log DNF. You cannot trade travel bugs.

 

For virtuals, webcams, and earthcaches - There is no container size (a special value of virtual was added as a kludge for this) Date placed is usually interpreted to mean date listed (or submitted for listing). to claim a find you must meet certain requirements. To get a cache approved it must meet addtional requiremsnts. You can trade travel bugs, but there are some who think this shouldn't be allowed.

 

For events and CITO - there should be a date and time as well as location. Currently this is reported in the description and I have seen event approved where this information was missing.

 

For multi caches and mystery/puzzle - location is not the location of the final cache. In order to help the reviewers enforce the guideline the database should have the capability of storing the location of the intermediate stages and the final cache.

 

b )  Other than separating them into their own site, how does Waymarking.com systematically resolve each of these issues described in a for each type of cache?

Locationless - Waymarking replaces locationless with categories. The Waymarking site organizes categories in a directory using a hierarchical taxonomy. This provides a mechanism to find a category that was missing for locationless. When a user "finds" or reports a waymark, that waymark can now be visited by other users. It becomes a sort of virtual.

 

Webcams and Earthcaches - These fit very nicely into Waymarking categories. Categories can specify the special logging requirments for visiting waymarks in the category with the waymark description providing additional details as needed. Categories can define metadata (variables) specific to the category. You need to have difficulty, terrain, container size, etc. if it makes sense. And you can add new variables it they make sense for that cache type.

 

Virtuals - Here's where I'm not sure if Waymarking solves the main problem. In order to be listed on geocaching.com, virtuals needed to have a "Wow" factor. This meant that most virtuals that were submitted were turned down. In Waymarking, virtuals (now called waymarks) simply have to belong to some category. Between special requirements that a category manager may place on their category and the fact that no category might exist that the "virtual" reporter thinks is appropriate, it may be harder getting some virtuals approved as waymarks than as virtuals. From the finders perspective, Waymarking makes more work. Before, you could just look for virtuals in your area and figure there was a good chance that there would be something interesting to see. You must now look through categories to see if they waymarks might be interesting.

 

Events/CITO/Multis/Mystery - are staying on geocaching.com. It seem that the plan is to eventually migrate geocaching.com to use the new generic codebase of Waymarking as that matures. Perhaps as part of that maturing, the issues with these caches will be addressed.

 

c)  Will Waymarking.com work for all of these different types of caches, or are we still just stuffing various angle-shaped pegs into a round hole, but a different, shinier round hole? how?

While it looks like Waymarking has done a good job of addressing the short comings of the existing geocaching codebase, only time will tell if this is the correct solution. I think one indication will be how easy it is to accomodate new variations/cache/waymark types in this code.

Share this post


Link to post
a) What were the system flaws that made virtuals not ideal for the system? Locationless caches? etc?

 

b Other than separating them into their own site, how does Waymarking.com systematically resolve each of these issues described in a for each type of cache?

 

c) Will Waymarking.com work for all of these different types of caches, or are we still just stuffing various angle-shaped pegs into a round hole, but a different, shinier round hole? how?

a - Virtuals were forced to be so extra-ordinary that it became nearly impossible to get even moderately good ones approved. This is due to GC.com's philosophy on what makes "geocaching" geocaching...but in order to populate the original caching database quickly, they wanted to allow "places" to be found without needing a cache necessarily (at least that's their story and they're sticking to it). Now that there are thousands of physical caches, they've curtailed the virtual activity in favor of what they really want in the database...but the genie is out of the bottle...some people really like virtual-style caching. On top of that, there was the fact that only approvers were allowed to determine what was truly extra-ordinary which is just bad logic, since the extra-ordinary for one is not extra-ordinary for another and vice versa but until now, they didn't have a better option.

 

Locationless caches were another idea that helped draw attention to the website but really didn't fit the model. Unfortunately, even though the idea was to reverse geocaching on its head (let the "finders" tell the "hider" where the "geocache" is), the geocache system (let the "hider" tell the "finders" where it is to log) wasn't turned on its head to implement it and you end up having a good idea destroyed by implementing it inside of the wrong kind of system. Finders can't see if they've found something original after the first few dozen "finds". Common locationless ideas stacking up thousands and thousands of logs that the system wasn't built to handle.

 

b - By using a managed category system, locationless are easily resolved. So long as the system is built to service thousands of waymarks in a common category (and it sounds like the system is prepared), then one problem solved. The code cross-references locations within a category to alert finder (waymark creator) and hider (category manager) when two waymarks are on top or near each other in the same category (suggesting a dupe). The "category container/waymark creation" system is exactly what locationless needed instead of the logged visit list like a normal geocache.

 

Virtuals are also solved by this system. To create a virtual here, you use the next level down in the system -- "waymark creation/visit logging". Creating a waymark is creating a virtual. The only person who says it's okay to create the virtual is the category manager (and he's already turned on to your "extra-ordinary" definition for this virtual since he's running the equivalent of a locationless looking for your very same thing). In this way, there's no wagging finger telling you you're not good enough at "placing" virtuals. You can still log virtuals with "visits" if you liked finding virtuals before. There's also not a semantical/philosophical battle here over the appropriateness of a "virtual cache"...now it's a "waymark" and just like the generic "waypoint"...anything can be marked and it's no longer a red-headed stepchild to a physical container with a logbook and trade items.

 

c - There are a few things that need to be finished up before it will work nearly seamlessly for everything. For example, hiding a virtual didn't require a "category" before. Now, if the category's not there yet to encapsulate my new idea for a virtual then it has to be made or I have to be forced into at best, a more generic category...at worst, a similar (yet not well-fitting) category. There may need to be a sorta "other" or "catch-all" category that waymarks are put into until a better fit comes along later and then it can be put into the tree in a better place (this is *VERY* common among hierarchical classification schema and maybe it deserves its own topic). There may also need to be a way here to define categories or waymarks that are of a high quality and well-maintained as compared to those where they are catching anything submitted without heavy curation. This will enable those that want to play a more conservative game with tracked statistics to have a more meaningful set of data to work with. As this is a work in progress, I don't think everything will fit perfectly from the start, but I do think that it's a matter of getting certain features implemented here and that's not something that would have satisified either of these "angled pegs" in the round hole of Geocaching.com.

Share this post


Link to post

I pretty much agree with ju66l3r (although I would have listed additional problems). This is interesting because I am a Groundspeak site volunteer who has enjoyed debating opposite sides of many issues with ju66l3r over the years -- including virtual caches. That suggests to me that our shared perspective on Waymarking means that there's promise in the concept as a solution to prior problems. When you see bootlicking Groundspeak lackeys readily agreeing with the loyal opposition, something must be right.

Share this post


Link to post
There may also need to be a way here to define categories or waymarks that are of a high quality and well-maintained as compared to those where they are catching anything submitted without heavy curation. This will enable those that want to play a more conservative game with tracked statistics to have a more meaningful set of data to work with.

I find this statement rather interesting. That sounds like it would lead to the same problems that they claim about virtuals. Now we'd have category owners all torqued about why their category isn't "high quality".

Share this post


Link to post
I find this statement rather interesting. That sounds like it would lead to the same problems that they claim about virtuals. Now we'd have category owners all torqued about why their category isn't "high quality".

 

This would be a flag set by the category manager (think your category's good enough to be a part of the game, flip the flag yourself) and would indicate their desire to be included in "game-like" statistics as opposed to only site-wide statistics.

 

This would enable people to differentiate between the "i've seen every business on main st" visits and the "i found this and took a picture with my gps" manager-validated logs.

 

It's hardly fool-proof but it would reduce noise for those looking to maintain a GC.com-like approach to the virtual/locationless validation scheme in order to *really* know that the user had been there.

Edited by ju66l3r

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not trying to argue here... but I don't understand. Why would a category manager NOT want their category part of the game? I thought being the category manager meant that you had at least some interest in the category. I can't imagine many of them looking at the category they manage and saying "Hmmm, this is really crap. Clearly it should not be part of the game". If not even the category manager thinks its good, then maybe it just ought not be there.

 

But I'm not sure what you mean by "game-like statistics as opposed to only site-wide statistics".

Share this post


Link to post
This would be a flag set by the category manager (think your category's good enough to be a part of the game, flip the flag yourself) and would indicate their desire to be included in "game-like" statistics as opposed to only site-wide statistics.

Another option would be to have two different kinds of logs: visted for I visited your waymark but I didn't have a camera or GPS to take a picture or didn't really want to look for the answer to your stupid verification question, and found for I visited your waymark and complied with all the requirements to log this as a virtual cache. Of course, the category manager would have to set the "virtual cache / game statistic flag" to allow for found logs.

Share this post


Link to post
Another option would be to have two different kinds of logs: visted for I visited your waymark but I didn't have a camera or GPS to take a picture or didn't really want to look for the answer to your stupid verification question, and found for I visited your waymark and complied with all the requirements to log this as a virtual cache. Of course, the category manager would have to set the "virtual cache / game statistic flag" to allow for found logs.

Oh I like this idea. You could also incorporate this into a points/ stats part of this site too, since stats are going to be a part of this.

Edited by Tsegi Mike and Desert Viking

Share this post


Link to post
This would be a flag set by the category manager (think your category's good enough to be a part of the game, flip the flag yourself) and would indicate their desire to be included in "game-like" statistics as opposed to only site-wide statistics.

Another option would be to have two different kinds of logs: visted for I visited your waymark but I didn't have a camera or GPS to take a picture or didn't really want to look for the answer to your stupid verification question, and found for I visited your waymark and complied with all the requirements to log this as a virtual cache. Of course, the category manager would have to set the "virtual cache / game statistic flag" to allow for found logs.

I lkie this idea very much. Unfortunately not everyone owns a Digital Camera for uploading pics. This may discourage visitors from visitng an interesting place.

Share this post


Link to post
This would be a flag set by the category manager (think your category's good enough to be a part of the game, flip the flag yourself) and would indicate their desire to be included in "game-like" statistics as opposed to only site-wide statistics.

Another option would be to have two different kinds of logs: visted for I visited your waymark but I didn't have a camera or GPS to take a picture or didn't really want to look for the answer to your stupid verification question, and found for I visited your waymark and complied with all the requirements to log this as a virtual cache. Of course, the category manager would have to set the "virtual cache / game statistic flag" to allow for found logs.

Kind of like "changing Note to a Found" in Geocaching. The visitor can choose to meet the requirements later, and the "visit" can be a placeholder/reminder.

 

I like the idea.

Share this post


Link to post

I can see how Waymarking will be able to accomodate Locationless, Webcams, and Earthcaches (I thought caches = container + log book. Shouldn't they be renamed Earthmarks?)

 

I'm with tozainamboku - I'm uncertain if Waymarking will be able to recreate or enhance some of the Virtual's surprise effect - "The WOW!"

 

There should be no problems making the Virtuals fit with Waymarking. There will be categories for historical marker & plaque, vista point, celebrity cemetry, guided tour, etc. to accomodate many of the awesome ones I've found.

 

However, this doesn't address the adventure/surprise part of Virtuals. I want to stumble upon these locations on a very short notice, instead of researching a category to hunt for them. I believe that's the key to WOW!

 

Allowing us to search for Waymarks without first clicking on a subcategory might be one solution, since this will allow us to focus on proximity, instead of category as the basis of the journey.

 

In any case, I still want to see many of the Virtuals grandfathered to make sure the WOW factor that's established can be passed on to future cachers without losing their effect. And who says they can't co-exist on Waymarking?

Share this post


Link to post
I'm not trying to argue here... but I don't understand. Why would a category manager NOT want their category part of the game? I thought being the category manager meant that you had at least some interest in the category. I can't imagine many of them looking at the category they manage and saying "Hmmm, this is really crap. Clearly it should not be part of the game". If not even the category manager thinks its good, then maybe it just ought not be there.

 

But I'm not sure what you mean by "game-like statistics as opposed to only site-wide statistics".

It's not about the quality of the category that makes it part of the game or not. It's about the stringency in logging requirements to prove visits actually happened. Some people want to hold over logging requirements (GPSr in pic submitted) from the days of validating a "find" on GC.com for virtuals and locationless. To them, it keeps the statistics of waymark visiting "honest" and doesn't allow for "armchair Waymarking". Unfortunately (for them...and those of us that are going to have to see all the whiner threads), this isn't how the *entire* site is going to operate. Therefore, any statistics that this site generates are going to be null and void according to the Old Schoolers. For them to have their fun with Waymarking, they'll need a way to flag strict requirement waymarks/categories from New Schoolers (like Brewpubs and others, where you don't have to have a picture or anything, just submit and be happy to see a good list of brewpubs).

 

This flag is for waving and saying "my logging requirements are strict and I really check everything for validity and so on". It may be more useful to do it on a logging level (except then people will have to log their own waymarks created or the system will need to have an extra way of denoting waymarks created vs waymarks found-created).

 

But this is really starting to get away from the original post.

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

×
×
  • Create New...