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bjbest
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This issue has been discussed on these forums in various topics for at least a year now, but no action has been taken. So, I feel the need to make one final (for me, anyway) impassioned plea to get some sort of favorites list on the site.

 

Here's how it works: It's just like the watch list. You earn the right to designate one cache as a "favorite" for every 10 (or 15 or 20 or whatever) caches you find. When seekers look at a cache's detail page, it will say "X account(s) have listed this cache as one of their favorites" (much like the page says "X account(s) watching this cache currently). I would imagine this would be pretty easy to implement, just modifying some of the Watch List code, but I am not a programmer so I can't say with certainty.

 

Why is this necessary? Because hiders should be rewarded for placing a particularly good cache (and this would be accomplished by the aura of well-being created when someone lists your cache as one of their favorites), and seekers would like to know which caches their peers consider particularly good, and in all likelihood hunt for them (this also rewards the hider, because a cache that has several people marking it as a favorite will probably be visited more often, generating more logs).

 

Geocaching.com has no quantifiable way to rate the quality of caches, and for many obvious reasons. Reading the logs can give a general concept of the quality, but too often the logs are filled with generalizations and platitudes. (e.g., "Good cache," and that's the entire log.) A favorites list would give probably the best quantifiable measurement we could ask for regarding a cache's quality.

 

Thanks for listening.

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

Take a look at my profile page. Copy what I did.


 

While I like Markwell's idea, and it's very well executed in his profile, it doesn't really accomplish what I have in mind. There's no easy way to determine how many people consider a particular cache as one of their favorites. I don't really want to slog through 50 profiles of everyone who's logged a cache to figure out that only 2 people like it enough to list it as their favorite.

 

The issues here are ubiquity and ease of use--making it like the Watch List, in my opinion, is the only way to achieve the benefits I listed in the first post.

 

However, all that being said, that doesn't mean I'm not going to do exactly what Markwell suggests. I doubt the Favorites List will ever become a reality.

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Yup, I'd like to see what you're describing. This topic has come up in our local geocaching group too. Personally, I'd like the 1/20 ratio, AKA "Top 5% List."

 

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"We never seek things for themselves -- what we seek is the very seeking of things."

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

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The problem I have with the 'X people consider this one of their favorites' approach is the anonymity. For example, there are several caches in this area that were designed with newbies in mind, and they have proved quite popular. So, looking at one of these, you might find 25 people, with no more than 4 finds each, consider it their favorite.

 

The profile page approach, though it may a little unwieldy, has the advantage of offering a overview of what that person considers a good cache. If I'm going to a new area and have limited time, I'd rather base my potential selections on a local cacher with a fondness for mountaintops rather than an equally proficient person whose preferences run to tricky urban caches. This isn't to say I don't enjoy the latter, just that if I have to pick 5 of 50, I'd like more feedback than sheer numbers.

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quote:
Originally posted by asatruar:

The problem I have with the 'X people consider this one of their favorites' approach is the anonymity. For example, there are several caches in this area that were designed with newbies in mind, and they have proved quite popular. So, looking at one of these, you might find 25 people, with no more than 4 finds each, consider it their favorite.


 

sigh....

 

No they would not becuase they would not get to add to the favorites list before they reach the 10th find (for a top 10%) or 20th find (for a top 5%)

 

I do not understand why people are against a central public rating system for the outstanding caches out there. I won't cry if none of my caches never get a nod.

 

DirtRunner.

 

Your not first...But you could be next.

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quote:
Originally posted by asatruar:

The problem I have with the 'X people consider this one of their favorites' approach is the anonymity. For example, there are several caches in this area that were designed with newbies in mind, and they have proved quite popular. So, looking at one of these, you might find 25 people, with no more than 4 finds each, consider it their favorite.

 

The profile page approach, though it may a little unwieldy, has the advantage of offering a overview of what that person considers a good cache. If I'm going to a new area and have limited time, I'd rather base my potential selections on a local cacher with a fondness for mountaintops rather than an equally proficient person whose preferences run to tricky urban caches. This isn't to say I don't enjoy the latter, just that if I have to pick 5 of 50, I'd like more feedback than sheer numbers.


 

I would naturally expect that with the 'X people have this on their favorites list.' there would also be a link to who those people are, and from there a link to what else they each have on their lists. If you then bookmarked a particular persons list that you happen to agree with ... you've got exactly what you're looking for.

 

And Dirtrunner is right. You wouldn't be able to even put one cache on your list, until you've found enough caches.

 

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"We never seek things for themselves -- what we seek is the very seeking of things."

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

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quote:
Originally posted by skydiver:

 

I would naturally expect that with the 'X people have this on their favorites list.' there would also be a link to who those people are, and from there a link to what else they each have on their lists. If you then bookmarked a particular persons list that you happen to agree with ... you've got exactly what you're looking for.


 

Yes, ideally, you would be able to look at it both ways: by username (the profile concept), or by cache (the "X people like this cache" concept).

 

Markwell is right that such numbers will vary by region, and that a really good cache here in Wisconsin might only get 5 votes, while a really good cache in an area where they have a lot of geocachers and fancy things like mountains (e.g., California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, etc.) might get 20 votes. Also, the Chicago favorites page is quite well done. We do have something in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Geocaching Association's Cache of the Month (http://www.wi-geocaching.com/cache_month.shtml ), which is voted on by the proletariat.

 

But, I'm not entirely convinced by the regional argument. All numerical facets of geocaching are regional. Someone with 300 finds living in North Dakota to me is much more impressive than someone with 300 finds who lives in a cache-rich state such as California (only 30 caches in ND according to Buxley, 3,464 in California, ranking last and first by state's total caches, respectively; CA is 8th in the cache density statistic, while ND is 50th). The same argument could be applied to a Swede who was 300 finds (853 caches in Sweden) compared to an American (24,283 caches).

 

Essentially, I think people would quickly learn how many favorite votes constituted a good cache for their region.

 

Also, a regional solution leaves those regions that do not have an active web community outside of geocaching.com out in the cold.

 

Furthermore, a regional solution doesn't really address those cachers who hunt caches off of their "home turf"--on vacations, business trips, etc., and consider a particular cache they found on one of these excursions as a favorite. I, personally, used to live in St. Louis but now live near Milwaukee. Some of my favorite caches are ones I hunted in St. Louis. What do I do with such information? I *could* go to the St. Louis Area Geocachers' Association web site (http://www.geostl.com/ ), but I'm no longer active there, and they don't currently have a page like the Chicago association does. A geocaching.com-wide solution would eliminate this problem.

 

One specific thing I like about Chicago's list is that it's broken into very useful categories--good for kids, good for beginners, definitely don't miss, etc. I think it would be probably too difficult for geocaching.com to do this--at least off the bat. Obviously, people will have to vote for whatever they feel are their favorite caches based on their own criteria. This may lead, somewhat, to the phenomenon asatruar is concerned about. But if there was the capability to look at the users' other favorites, I imagine you could form a pretty reasonably opinion of the other users' ratings.

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quote:
Originally posted by Centaur:

 

Playing devils advocate here...

 

Define: "outstanding" please.


 

In my view of the way this would work, "outstanding" would be completely defined by the person marking a cache as a favorite. Very egalitarian. By looking at a user's complete list of favorite caches, and comparing it to your own mental list of caches you like and caches you didn't, you should be able to evaluate that user's favorites, and determine if the ones that they list that you haven't hunted might be of interest to you.

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quote:
Originally posted by bjbest:

[in my view of the way this would work, "outstanding" would be completely defined by the person marking a cache as a favorite. Very egalitarian. By looking at a user's complete list of favorite caches, and comparing it to your own mental list of caches you like and caches you didn't, you should be able to evaluate that user's favorites, and determine if the ones that they list that you haven't hunted might be of interest to you.


 

Ok, so now we are poking about someone else's list of caches that we have to evaluate to see if we like that person's taste in caches or hunting. Seems like just another layer one step removed from simply reading a caches' description and the logs of people on that page.

 

What I have a hard time with is rating systems that imply competition. I can see classification along the lines of the chicago pages: Best for Kids, Quick in and out, etc. Thats typing a cache. What I cant see is trying to codify quality or hunt any farther then the logs. Doing so could and would lead to competition (a top few percent, and by default the "losers") and I dont believe competition has a place in geocaching. In an organized short term cache event, yes, in day-to-day geocaching, no. Any cache should be just as valued as any other, be it psyical quality or the hunt. True, some are geo-junk, but the Finding is suposed to be the object yes? True, some hunts are more fun than others, but again, you can tell all that from the logs, no?

Just my 2 cents. icon_smile.gif

 

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Centaur raises some interesting issues and makes some reasonable arguments. My thoughts follow his comments.

 

Cenataur:Ok, so now we are poking about someone else's list of caches that we have to evaluate to see if we like that person's taste in caches or hunting. Seems like just another layer one step removed from simply reading a caches' description and the logs of people on that page.

 

This information would ideally be available for those who would like to peruse it. The "X people have listed this cache as their favorite" statistic would be the starting point on the cache description page. You don't need to delve farther if you don't want to.

 

In my opinion, a cache's description often does not give you any clue as to its quality whatsoever, either intentionally or unintentionally. I've also got some concerns about putting unwavering faith in logs--they're later in this message.

 

Centaur:What I have a hard time with is rating systems that imply competition. I can see classification along the lines of the chicago pages: Best for Kids, Quick in and out, etc. Thats typing a cache. What I cant see is trying to codify quality or hunt any farther then the logs. Doing so could and would lead to competition (a top few percent, and by default the "losers") and I dont believe competition has a place in geocaching. In an organized short term cache event, yes, in day-to-day geocaching, no.

 

You certainly have the right to believe that competition doesn't belong in geocaching, but I think you're also ignoring the fact that competition is inherently built, at least in a small way, into the way the fabric of geocaching.com. After every log we post there is our number of caches found. I've found 46, you've found 38, etc. Now, you may say that you could care less about your number of finds, but I would guess the bulk of geocachers are at least somewhat interested in that statistic and how it compares to others' numbers. In this sense, the number of finds makes geocaching competitive. The number of finds (and number of posts in these forums, so dutifully noted at the bottom of every one of our posts) also promotes competition of a social nature in the geocaching.com community. Oversimplifying, you can say that higher your number of finds and number of posts, the higher your rank in the pecking order here (and on the regional websites, I would imagine).

 

I believe the favorites list would promote healthy, capitalist-style competition, encouraging hiders to hide better caches. Now that of course doesn't mean that caches that don't have any favorites votes won't be hunted; the sport has grown far too big and has too many enthusiastic players for that.

 

Centaur:Any cache should be just as valued as any other, be it psyical quality or the hunt.

 

Really? Would you say that some Tupperware box tossed in a local two-acre tract of nondescript forest has the same value as a multi-stage that features clever but fair puzzles, breathtaking views, and creative/unique hiding locations or containers? I simply can't agree. I feel there exist many caches that are, for lack of a better word, boring. Walk through the woods for half a mile, find the box, walk back out. I've done that cache at least 20 times and don't really want to do it again. Now, I'm not saying that those caches aren't valuable (seems to me they are, in fact, the bread-and-butter of the business) and I'm also not saying there aren't people (and it may in fact be the majority, I don't really know) who do enjoy going on exactly that type of hunt. I do understand that people go caching for a wide variety of reasons (just to get outside, to be introduced to an area they've never visited, they're competing in the "numbers race", the thrill and amazement of simply finding this little box hidden in the woods that so (comparatively) few people know about, etc., etc., etc.) My personal opinion is that I need something that is interesting, challenging, very scenic, or ideally all three.

 

Centaur: True, some are geo-junk, but the Finding is suposed to be the object yes? True, some hunts are more fun than others, but again, you can tell all that from the logs, no?

Just my 2 cents.

 

Well, the object is whatever a particular geocacher wants it to be. Simply finding the box is no longer the interesting part of geocaching for me. I've expressed my goals just above.

 

As for being able to discern cache quality in the logs, I think that approach is a little difficult. Rarely, I think, do you get honest comments on the logs, particularly about so-so caches. "This cache was boring." I may think so, but I don't really want to hurt the hider's feelings and I do understand the amount of work it takes to hide even the simplest of caches, and I appreciate that. This sort of handling-with-gloves approach is fine, I think; it keeps people positive about the sport, about hiding another one, about the geocachers as human beings, etc.

 

People are often willing to say things like "excellent cache" in the logs, but again, such recommendations require scrutiny. I think there's also a large group of cachers out there who tend to write brief logs which may not really express their true feelings--good or bad (I'm assigning myself to this category). Other caches may request crypticness in the logs, so it can hard to log your feelings adequately without giving away too much info. And lastly, there are a lot of boring, trite logs out there: "Good cache. Thanks." I've read so many logs like this that they've become meaningless (and, admittedly, have written my share, too), and it's clear the only reason they were written was simply to log the cache as found on the website.

 

Ok, so, to sum up, I think the favorites list would be a positive way to reward hiders for a job well done and to encourage traffic at good caches. In this way, this laissez-faire approach should encourage future hiders to hide good caches as well. I don't think a little competition (and I believe it would be just that, a little competition) would hurt at all.

 

Centaur, I'm not trying to attack you, although it might seem that way since I did just pick through your entire post. I definitely understand your viewpoints but simply disagree with some of them.

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quote:
Originally posted by bjbest:

 

This information would ideally be available for those who would like to peruse it. The "X people have listed this cache as their favorite" statistic would be the starting point on the cache description page. You don't need to delve farther if you don't want to.


 

All I am saying is that I think many good caches will be bypassed because folks will be out hunting the "favorite" caches.

 

quote:

You certainly have the right to believe that competition doesn't belong in geocaching, but I think you're also ignoring the fact that competition is inherently built in....


 

Actually, I'm not. I look at my found number, I mentally campare it to others in the area... I like my caches to be spoken about in glowing terms, etc etc.

But why add more to encurage competition? Thats what I think a favorites list would do. Just because we CAN do something does not always mean we SHOULD do something. icon_smile.gif

 

 

quote:

I believe the favorites list would promote healthy, capitalist-style competition...


 

Capitalist-style competition? icon_wink.gif Next we will be forming big caching companies who will try to fill your 401K with Geo-Junk Stock.

 

quote:

 

_Centaur:_Any cache should be just as valued as any other, be it psyical quality or the hunt.

 

Really? Would you say that some Tupperware box tossed in a local two-acre tract of nondescript forest has the same value as a multi-stage that features clever but fair puzzles, breathtaking views, and creative/unique hiding locations or containers? ...


 

No, but I dont need a favorites list to figure that out. icon_smile.gif

 

quote:

 

 

Ok, so, to sum up, I think the favorites list would be a positive way to reward hiders for a job well done and to encourage traffic at good caches. In this way, this laissez-faire approach should encourage future hiders to hide good caches as well. I don't think a little competition (and I believe it would be just that, a _little_ competition) would hurt at all.

 

Centaur, I'm not trying to attack you, although it might seem that way since I did just pick through your entire post. I definitely understand your viewpoints but simply disagree with some of them.


 

No attack was ever noted. This is a conversation. Thats what these boards are for. icon_smile.gif As for you not agreeing with me, this is a good thing, anyone who agrees with everything I say is either Crazy, or Me. icon_smile.gif

 

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quote:
Originally posted by bjbest:

You certainly have the right to believe that competition doesn't belong in geocaching, but I think you're also ignoring the fact that competition is inherently built, at least in a small way, into the way the fabric of geocaching.com. After every log we post there is our number of caches found. I've found 46, you've found 38, etc. Now, you may say that you could care less about your number of finds, but I would guess the bulk of geocachers are at least somewhat interested in that statistic and how it compares to others' numbers. In this sense, the number of finds makes geocaching competitive.


 

I used to think of it as competition but after evaluating the system, I now think of it as experience level. Assume cacher A has 100 finds and it took him two years to get there. Cacher B has 25 finds in 3 months.

 

In one years time, cacher B will have achieved the same number of finds that it took cacher A two years to find, if he keeps up his average. If you just look at the numbers, cacher A looks to be a better cacher, but in several years he will be eating cacher B's dust.

 

If someone is going to consider the number of finds competitively, it would only make sense to compete starting at the same starting line. Since just looking at the number of finds does not take time into account, it seems kind of silly to compete based on just the number. Add to that the fact that some folks have a ton of caches within 5 miles of their home, where another may need to travel 50 miles to reach the nearest cache.

 

I always considered my number of finds a competition against myself, for example, how long it would take me to hit 100. After reaching my goal, I felt like I won, relaxed a bit, and set a new goal. The one thing that I found that was more true than anything else, is that the more you find, the better you get. That's why I consider it a measure of experience rather than a competition.

 

Now, if someone wants to compete, there are plenty of records out there to break, like the ones by BruceS, JoGPS, etc. to name a couple. Cachers like these belong in the geocaching hall of fame.

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i did not read all the post sorry so if this was said i agree. So the cacher pick's a cache, did he pick it due to the challenge, the sight, the contents? I think that might be a disaster. one cacher could say it was great when another might have strugled and dint like it. If you like a cache put it in the log and the cache owner could quote you and put it in the discription. Or what if that was another part of logging your cache. You give cordinates why not ratings that could show up when searched like the travel bug simble shows up when you have a list of caches? Hope that makes sence

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