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New Functionality : User Ratings


ReadyOrNot
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Hi!

 

Some very useful functionality would be to allow users to rate caches. Either a single 1-10 rating system or ratings on different criteria such as : a) Originality <_< Quality c) Scenary, etc.

 

I got this idea after visiting a cache recently that was hidden in a old tire in the middle of a muddy swamp. People are too nice to say in the logs that a cache is crappy. The ratings should also be anonymous.

 

Thanks!

ReadyorNot

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I'm not sure there would be a benefit.

 

In a game such as this, where everyone can play it their own way and find specifically the types of caches that they want to enjoy, I believe one person's rating would be meaningless to someone else - whether positive or negative.

 

For example: If I prefer to go hiking and I don't particulary care for urban micros, I would probably not rate an urban micro as highly as a nice long hike to a cache. If Person B likes urban micros and doesn't like to hike, I would think the tendency would be to rate the hikes lower.

 

Further, just placing a ranking value on a cache wouldn't necessarily tell me why it was given that rating. However, in the log itself you can explain why you liked or disliked the cache.

 

Better yet - if you dislike the cache, email the owner privately and see if there is something about the concern with which they agree. Maybe they can improve it for the next cacher. If you don't particulary like the cache, just leave your log with the ubiqutous "TFTC". Likewise, ifyou enjoyed it, let them know that also.

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I agree with Scouting WV. It already goes on today without a system for ratings. Just read the logs on caches you know are very poorly placed for nothing but a quick grab and end up being behind a dumpster. The owners friends with all say how great it was and leave the rest of us wondering where they were looking.

 

If we get any type of ratings it would have to be known how you rated it, just another type of feedback, and would tend to make people more honest rather than bashing or praising just because of who the cache owner was instead of the actual cache quality. I wouldn't mind seeing a system set up where you could check off several cachers names (like the watchlist of cachers that was talked about elsewhere) and be able to see how those 9 (or whatever number) cachers rated a cache. This would give me a better idea of how I will enjoy this cache versus a popularity contest. It might even be able to use the bookmarks list, but would be more precise than a thumbs up or down thing. This is a simple idea of what I would envision to be a nice system, but no matter what GC does, someone will find flaws with it. Personally I think this is more of a fine tuned approach as people can choose for themselves as to what factors are going into the quality score rather than a blanket that includes people who like a whole different game than I do.

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I like ReadyorNot's suggestion. If you've met someone at an event, you're not very anonymous anymore.

 

So ? If you have an opinion you think others should know, you should have guts enough to say it visibly rather than hiding behind anonymous ratings/logs/etc if your opinion happens to be negative.

 

I've posted a number of logs that were less than glowing about caches I thought were (1) lame, or more importantly (2) dangerous. Many hiders/finders took exception, but if the idea is to log your feedback, then I try to give them accurate feedback positive or negative.

 

My main complaint is hints that aren't hints, but in general I have no tolerance for thorns, broken glass, and paths routing through homeless encampments. Safety matters most, for me at least.

 

I posted a DNF for one cache in Tacoma a couple years ago saying that I didn't really look too hard because of safety concerns, there was eye-high razor wire and much broken glass all over the ground. Intent of the log was to (1) warn other cachers not to do this one, especially at night and (2) ask the hider to hide it someplace else, as there were many other safe places in the same park. The cacher went semi-nuclear in email, and deleted my log. Next day some other poor cacher walked right into the concertina wire and wound up with many stitches and an emergency room visit. Pathetic.

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... but in general I have no tolerance for thorns, broken glass, and paths routing through homeless encampments. Safety matters most, for me at least.

 

 

I'll give ya an amen. I fail to see why so many people think junkyards and homeless camps are good cache locations.

 

As for the ratings...I'll pass. WAY too subjective to be of any real use. Look at how varied the results are when you rely solely on the Diff/Terr ratings. One persons 1/1 is another's 2/3.

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I have to apologize. I actually thought this was a rating system for users, not caches.

 

Here's my thought of the matter (or rethink, if you will). In my opinion creating a bunch of different ratings is nice but isn't really necessary. What I would propose instead is a way for users to rate individual caches for their overall experience and use an algorithm to compare your opinion to other users instead of just averaging the rating out. Once we get enough ratings we can say that based on your ratings of caches you found you would probably be interested in x cache that someone else with similar interests found.

 

We had a similar discussion on the Waymarking site to see what categories you may like.

 

The rating system would be linked to waymarks, waymark categories, geocaches, and possibly even photos you like to see if there are any ways to compare your ratings of say, a geocache, to ratings of individual waymarks (or even an entire category). Make sense?

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Here's my thought of the matter (or rethink, if you will). In my opinion creating a bunch of different ratings is nice but isn't really necessary. What I would propose instead is a way for users to rate individual caches for their overall experience and use an algorithm to compare your opinion to other users instead of just averaging the rating out. Once we get enough ratings we can say that based on your ratings of caches you found you would probably be interested in x cache that someone else with similar interests found.

 

We had a similar discussion on the Waymarking site to see what categories you may like.

 

The rating system would be linked to waymarks, waymark categories, geocaches, and possibly even photos you like to see if there are any ways to compare your ratings of say, a geocache, to ratings of individual waymarks (or even an entire category). Make sense?

 

Question?

 

Is that like a mini dating/myspace survey - you first complete a page of likes and dislikes and input the data into the system The system and other users work the magic - after some churning it will puke out the most likely caches you would enjoy.

 

Then have a link pop up after you posted your find and then check the boxes that most suited the cache to add your information the the system

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Sounds good, Jeremy.

Would this still be anonymous?

If not the results could still be skewed by peoples desire to avoid hurting the cache hiders feelings.

I like the idea that the results would show how others that rate cache the way you do felt about a cache.

 

Personally, if you don't like some thing about my cache I want to know.

One of my first caches, well, frankly it sucked. I got some good honest feed back from a couple of the experienced locals and decided to archive it. My feelings weren't hurt and I learned. I think my caches have improved, thanks to a couple of "negative" logs.

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Sounds good, Jeremy.

Would this still be anonymous?

If not the results could still be skewed by peoples desire to avoid hurting the cache hiders feelings.

I like the idea that the results would show how others that rate cache the way you do felt about a cache.

 

 

Nobody sees it. It just makes recommendations based on your ratings. I still think there should be better ways to separate the wheat from the chaff - I just don't think it is necessary to stomp on the chaff when you really want the wheat anyway. Now that's abusing an analogy.

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Don't we already have a way of noting those caches we think are good? I do believe it is called "Bookmarks". I have a public bookmark called Favorites and so do many other cachers.

 

I see many caches with bookmarks notes on them. I can follow the link to find other caches that those cachers found interesting.

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So ? If you have an opinion you think others should know, you should have guts enough to say it visibly rather than hiding behind anonymous ratings/logs/etc if your opinion happens to be negative.

But then there is too much leeway given to the cache owner. We have people deleting logs here in this area because they don't like anything negative being said on their cache pages. I went as far as to write verbatim what one owner said on the paper log of my cache and he promptly deleted it on his page. When someone actuals posts a true and honest log, it's hard to say if it will survive.

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<snip> Here's my thought of the matter (or rethink, if you will). In my opinion creating a bunch of different ratings is nice but isn't really necessary. What I would propose instead is a way for users to rate individual caches for their overall experience and use an algorithm to compare your opinion to other users instead of just averaging the rating out. Once we get enough ratings we can say that based on your ratings of caches you found you would probably be interested in x cache that someone else with similar interests found.

 

<snip>

Make sense?

 

Jeremy,

 

This sounds rather amazon.com-ish, and I like the way it works over there. Based on what I have done in the past, recommendations are made for some future activities.

 

If you need someone to help with the pilot please let me know.

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Jeremy,

 

You made some great points and I agree. The purpose should be geared towards making finding caches that you like easier, as opposed to putting a black-mark on a cache.

 

So a user would rate the cache based on certain criteria, or better yet, a survey of sorts (not sure what the criteria would be). The results would be stored, but not necessarily displayed on the cache page (to avoid the popularity contest mentioned above). In my search for caches, I would specify "Scenic" caches or "Caches with a view" and those matching my criteria would be displayed?

 

Oh, don't forget the "Muddy mess, hidden in an old tire" criteria. or "Homeless Camp" for those that enjoy those caches <_<

 

I'm an asp.net programmer and would love to help out in any way if you need it.

 

Thanks!

ReadyOrNot

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I think the idea is simpler than that.

You rate a cache from 1 to 5.

The system takes that info and compares it to how others have rated the cache.

What comes back is some thing like "Other cachers who have rated this cache at 4 or above also liked GCxxxx and GCyyyy."

The idea, I think, is to have your rating compared to those of others.

If you rate long hikes and large containers high, then the system would show you more of those caches.

If you rate urban micros high then those are the caches that are recommended.

If every one rates a cache low then it wont get recommended to any one.

If you rate a cache high that every one else rated low they send out the guys with the butterfly nets.

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I let my account expire over there. Never used it. My take is if it isn't built into geocaching.com, most folks won't use it.

 

My thoughts on a rating system? It is too subjective and too easy to be abused for any number of reasons. I think Jeremy's idea of an algorithm is good, but it can end up filtering out some hides that just might be gems.

 

If I end up at a cache location that makes me uneasy for any reason, I'll simply walk away from it. A fifth of my finds are micros, but as a rule I don't intentionally go looking for them. About half of my finds are urban, but I have a preference for big hikes. When I first started hiking for caches, I'm fairly certain the algorithm would have made my preference level at a point I wouldn't have gone after this cache early on. It would have kept me in my safe little bubble of a comfort zone and not encourage me to get out and exercise my wings.

 

My preference for this kind of thing if it ever comes about is to make it an opt in option. I like doing my own research and going after what intrigues me. Do I make mistakes? You can bet on it! However, sometimes those mistakes turn out to be the biggest and most welcome surprises too.

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I let my account expire over there. Never used it. My take is if it isn't built into geocaching.com, most folks won't use it.

 

My thoughts on a rating system? It is too subjective and too easy to be abused for any number of reasons. I think Jeremy's idea of an algorithm is good, but it can end up filtering out some hides that just might be gems.

 

If I end up at a cache location that makes me uneasy for any reason, I'll simply walk away from it. A fifth of my finds are micros, but as a rule I don't intentionally go looking for them. About half of my finds are urban, but I have a preference for big hikes. When I first started hiking for caches, I'm fairly certain the algorithm would have made my preference level at a point I wouldn't have gone after this cache early on. It would have kept me in my safe little bubble of a comfort zone and not encourage me to get out and exercise my wings.

 

My preference for this kind of thing if it ever comes about is to make it an opt in option. I like doing my own research and going after what intrigues me. Do I make mistakes? You can bet on it! However, sometimes those mistakes turn out to be the biggest and most welcome surprises too.

 

If I do a cache that I absolutely love, it would be cool to be able to hit a button on the cache page, "Show me caches like this" (to use the amazon example). Somedays I might be interested in doing micros, some days hikes, etc. Basically it's just another way of searching for caches in addition to the current methods. A note on using a 3rd party solution: The functionality is very limited. The rating system doesn't really do anything for me in finding caches that I might want to do on any given day. I agree that reading through the logs would probably give me a good idea of what the cache will be like. But when I'm clicking through the cache pages looking for the ones I'm going to do for the day, reading the logs would take way too much time.

 

Thanks!

ReadyOrNot

Edited by ReadyOrNot
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Personally, I'm gearing more towards not even listing any kind of ratings on the page. Give people an option of rating the cache or filling out a survey of the cache and store the information behind the scenes. The information would only be used for the purpose of comparing to others ratings or finding caches similar to other caches. (I guess this would be the algorithm option). Anything that would flag a cache as "Bad" or "Good" is not a good idea. For example, I just did a cache where it took me 30 minutes of searching to find the dreaded thing. I LOVED IT! I read the logs later and someone else also took 30 minutes to find the thing and they hated the experience. The difficulty and terrain ratings are great, but like said above, it is very subjective.

 

It's not subjective to ask, "Was the area scenic?" True or False. A false doesn't flag the cache as bad, but if I just did a scenic cache and click "Show me more like this", other scenic caches might come up. Depending on many other factors of course. I've been dying for a way to find caches that can be done at night, because it adds a whole new dimension of difficulty when you hunt at night (and more first to find's that way :D)

 

Thanks!

ReadyOrNot

Edited by ReadyOrNot
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See here for a good implementation of a cache rating system in the UK.

 

Basically, the Rank is calculated in such a way that one or two extreme ratings don't effect the ratings too much. If, however everyone thinks it's a good cache, then its obvious. Also the emphasis is on which caches are the best, rather than picking on the bad ones.

 

T

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If I do a cache that I absolutely love, it would be cool to be able to hit a button on the cache page, "Show me caches like this" (to use the amazon example). ...edited for brevity...

 

Thanks!

ReadyOrNot

 

There is a link at the end of each cache description that does something similar to what you are looking for (emphasis is mine):

 

Find...

...other caches hidden or found by this user

...nearby caches of this type, that I haven't found

...all nearby caches, that I haven't found

...all nearby waymarks on Waymarking.com

...all nearby placenames

...all nearby benchmarks

...all nearby hiking trails from Trails.com

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Even though Jeremy's first responses were based on a mis-understanding of the question, i think they still hold.

 

- We use "handle's" and "nicknames", how much more anonymous can you be.

 

- What I like in a cache, many others will not. A good example is I really prefer hunting micros, especially urban ones however rural and forest ones are fun too. I think the ammo boxes are fine for me as a finder, but overkill when the purpose is the find, not the McToys. Want me rating your ammo box in the middle of a forest based on the above criteria after I had a bad day? :D I read a log recently of someone who didn't even look for the cache because the park looked like it might have too many dogs, so he logged it as a no find.

 

- Everybody wants to be anonymous, which in some ways is good but also allows for, IMHO, too many opportunities for abuse on a rating system such as this. Then, when flame wars do start, and they will, the rating system will be abused even more.

 

- The logs work well for ratings. In all but the newest cache, you can get a feel for the type of cache.

 

- Often, going out on a cache that you might not have otherwise gone out on because of a "rating" may introduce you to something you find you really do enjoy.

 

- I can see people pulling caches because those that liked it stayed silent while those who disliked it were vocal. Anyone that owns a business knows the latter are always more vocal.

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