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Ranger Fox

The Wherigo Foundation

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On 1/17/2019 at 8:56 PM, Ranger Fox said:

As far as I can tell, geocaches mentioning any of our work aren't supposed to be published. 

 

I don't know what the official position of the Foundation is supposed to be from Groundspeak but I can tell you with zero uncertainty that my Wherigo caches weren't publishable until I removed references I had to the Wherigo Foundation. I don't get it... it's keeping the THEIR product alive. Why do you think I am not allowed to the reference?

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I propose we create a petition for Groundspeak to update the Wherigo website and also allow the community to move forward with the Wherigo foundation. I have noticed most of Groundspeak’s actions seem to be based upon what is popular in the community so if we could get enough people to support the petition than maybe they would finally allow some changes.

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bjlentje: It's a very strange situation, which is why I joke with people that the Wherigo Foundation is Fight Club.  This stance makes one wonder if everyone's work is just barely tolerated instead of appreciated.

 

Forest-Ghost: Well, we could try that, but it might not be a good idea for me to champion it as it might be better if Groundspeak doesn't think it's just one of us stirring up the community.  The other tactic is for us to do what Project GC probably had done: become so big and useful that Groundspeak just had to acknowledge them.  But for Wherigo, that's a little difficult as that means we'd take the Wherigo spec and begin making changes, which, unless we're careful, would result in cartridges not being able to be downloaded from Wherigo.com (and this is a requirement for cartridge caches to be listed on gc.com).  If a significant percentage of the player base began using these new features, Groundspeak would have to do something.  The trick is that that something shouldn't eventually result in the discontinuation of the Wherigo cache type.

 

Anyway, I wonder what would be more interesting and useful for the community to have as a new feature for cartridges: video, multiplayer, or online state management?  With video, it would likely be streaming, so would impact people's data plans.  With multiplayer, events could happen globally across all cartridges or just players in a certain group.  With online state management, you could store the state of objects across all cartridges (e.g. only the first people to pass a bridge in a cartridge can take it that day, whereas others would have to go around).

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I'm inclined to see Wherigo as an unloved child left with a parent that doesn't know what to do with them after the messy divorce from garmin.

GS seems to take the 'look away and ignore it' path as the easiest , cheapest one.

 

With all the turmoil elsewhere over GS apps, maps, website changes etc requiring firefighting, and with the GS Wherigo tools moribund (and I imagine their developers either long gone or on the other side of the divorce ) it's easy to push Wherigo to the back of a very long queue for attention. Why that is preferred to ceding some responsibility to  expert volunteers who know the setup intimately, care about it and work selflessly to keep it updated and relevant  (look, two apps that just WORK ! A simple builder that just WORKS ! A complicated builder I cannot get the hang of, but apparently if you are smarter at this sort of thing than me, yep, it just works ! ) only Groundspeak can know. And they aren't telling.

 

I think that any pressure brought to bear on them to actually do something with Wherigo would result in them deciding to simply kill it off. Too much trouble. Like interesting challenges, or travelling virtuals, or webcams or camping events. All popular with folk, all either gone or with dwindling numbers, grandathered in and fading fast. This is no democracy. Some other listing sites are, and have some of  those cache types available . I'd suggest the best tactic is to set and publish new wherigos, make them fun, make them fairly easy, make them with 'Kit' so they are unlikely to fail on smartphones, make them near population centres. Get more cachers finding and enjoying them, therefore wanting to set them. If wherigos become a more significant element of the GS database it becomes more important to them in $ terms, which is what they are interested in. Then they might pay some attention to it.

 

If Wherigo was a child left in this situation after a divorce, no court would do other than have it adopted by a trusted , experienced family.I have no doubt that Wherigo Foundation is that family, I just doubt that the neglectful parent with custody will do the right thing.

Edited by hal-an-tow

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On 1/19/2019 at 8:39 PM, hal-an-tow said:

Ranger Fox,

Wherigo caches are really appreciated by cachers in my area, my one was built with your Wherigo kit, and I've pointed several folk to the kit to get started on building a Wherigo without having their brain explode due to the complexity of the other builders .So thank you (again) for your efforts,  with the Foundation, the  'kit' and your unfailingly helpful work here in the forum.: TPTB may not value it, but plenty of cachers do.

 

I know that's not any practical help , and I'd better not say what I think of how Wherigo has been left to  decay : as you say. best not precipitate the destruction of something ... unlike GeoGorkum : I DO see a reason for GS to give support to get issues fixed, and the infrastructure improved : every cache they list is an asset to their business, a plus on the database they sell us access to, and here they have a novel cache type and a dedicated expert giving his time and expertise freely to something he cares for. Not supporting him is , frankly, madness.

 

 

I mistakenly left out a word

Quote

I see no reason for Groundspeak to give support, like resources, to get issues fixed and the whole infrastructure improved.


 

I don't see

apologies for the confusion.

 

Personally I have been part of communities working with others to improve things and solve issues.

It is a pity GS doesn't

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I updated the WF site to use Groundspeak's new API.  Let me know if anyone experiences any issues.

 

Here's something funny: I was asked if I wanted to list Kit (and perhaps the WF site) in the list of API partners.  Uhh... Groundspeak, not unless you want to thoroughly confuse the mess out of the community, listing third-party Wherigo services as a partner on one hand and reviewers saying you can't talk about it on the other.  That might not be the best of ideas until you lift the reviewer ban.

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Works well for me. Thank you for updating Wherigo foundation!

 

That is interesting about the API listing. Any possibility of re-asking them if we could start using Wherigo foundation as a listing service? I wonder if they would have a change of heart about allowing WF. Near the end of HQ podcast #18, Brian mentioned "wanting to get beyond Wherigo" with the new lab adventures. I wonder if they might be more open now to handing off Wherigo to the community. 

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I could ask at Geowoodstock, I guess.  I just don't want to keep being strung along, so haven't approached Groundspeak about it for a year.  It's tiring.

 

By the way, if anyone is attending Geowoodstock, say hi to me.  As always for large events, I try to wear orange, tan, and my hat and have a black messenger bag with me.

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Yeah that is really frustrating. :-(  I am not 100% certain I will be at GW yet, but if I am I will for sure look for you again. If you want I could be a wing man if you want to talk to them.

 

 

 

 

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On my latest Wherigo-Listing on Geocaching.com there was a link to Wherigo Foundation. Some days ago I was told by an approver that I have to remove this link and it is not allowed to even mention Wherigo Foundation. They told me, that there is a hidden ban list at Groundspeak.

Does anybody knows something about this?

 

Greetings

Eranna

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Several other people have posted about receiving similar notes on their cache listings as well. Groundspeak has always been clear that a Wherigo geocache has to be hosted on Wherigo.com and it appears now they are enforcing the rules about this. I'm not sure why they won't allow anyone to host a Wherigo on the Foundation website, but it is unfortunate as much of Wherigo.com is out of date and does not work well, and the Foundation website works very well. It has long been the running joke in this forum, Wherigo Foundation is like Fight Club, "No one talk about Wherigo Foundation." For what it's worth you could try contacting them to see why the Wherigo Foundation is not allowed as a hosting website.

 

 

 

Edited by Forest-Ghost

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9 hours ago, Forest-Ghost said:

For what it's worth you could try contacting them to see why the Wherigo Foundation is not allowed as a hosting website.

 

Some theories.

  1. Technical Support. Groundspeak staff are not able to provide technical support for the Wherigo Foundation's website (though Groundspeak is, admittedly, unresponsive when it comes to the Wherigo site too.)
  2. Upkeep. What happens if the Wherigo Foundation shuts down? What happens to all the Wherigos? Are they migrated? How?
  3. Security. What happens if someone re-uses the same password on the Wherigo Foundation website as Geocaching.com? What happens if someone unintentionally enters their Geocaching.com credentials into the Wherigo Foundation website? Though I suspect that those folks are trustworthy, you never know...
  4. Security, server-side. What happens if the Wherigo Foundation's website gets hacked, and begins serving malicious cartridges (though I doubt this is possible; perhaps disguised .exe files) to users? Groundspeak can ensure the security of their own services, but not of others.

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It's because the Wherigo Foundation site is an alternate listing service.  It was supposed to demonstrate to Groundspeak what we were intending to do with Wherigo so we could run Wherigo for Groundspeak, free of charge for everyone involved.

 

The other Wherigo player apps and builders are on Groundspeak's ban list because of the same reason: they're an alternate to something else--their PocketPC app and their builder, respectively.

 

Though I worked to get community work officially recognized, those at the top of Groundspeak never communicated any of their verbal support to those enforcing Groundspeak's guidelines.  Throughout Wherigo's lifetime, regardless of individual intentions at the company, Groundspeak's apparent attitude has always felt one of apathy and passive hostility towards anyone attempting to make their product more accessible to the community.  I coined the term "the Wherigo Foundation is Fight Club".  They've always told their reviewers not to allow any mention of the Wherigo Foundation or other non-Groundspeak Wherigo applications in cache listings.  It's just that the reviewers aren't consistent with each other that caches in some areas were published and others not.

 

Part of the partnership agreement I was reviewing did state that, if the Wherigo Foundation site were to be discontinued, all cartridge files would be provided to Groundspeak for dispersal to community members.  I was planning to do that, anyway, so that was fine.  There was one other clause I haven't before talked openly about.  Suffice it to say, the way I interpreted it, if I ever walked away from Wherigo and did not transition its running to others, the entire game would come to an end.  I did not like that Wherigo would then seem to rely on one person's continued health, existence, and interest.  The partnership agreement never panned out because Groundspeak took too long in replying, which further showed their apathy (I'd say nine months, several times, classifies as too long, regardless of how patient you are--while waiting for one such reply, I had a house built and moved into it).

 

An odd quirk to all this is this Wherigo forum.  Why can we openly talk about these applications?  The answer is a combination of me and Groundspeak's apathy.  Back when matejcik and charlenni first presented their applications, the forum rule was that moderators needed to clear through Groundspeak talk of new applications.  So, as the moderator, I hid the threads and sought approval.  Groundspeak did not reply for a month, so I unhid the thread.  When that second application was announced, I hid the thread again and asked Groundspeak.  I again didn't hear a reply and unhid the thread.  Later, I did get a reply, saying it was fine and that there wasn't anyone at Groundspeak who could speak for authorizing these, so that's why it took so long.  I asked, then, for something no other moderator has: the authority to make these decisions on my own.  It was granted.  Ever since then, so long as something wasn't commercial, I allowed it.  Now, mind you, Groundspeak's employees have definitely changed since then, so no one there remembers that this responsibility was delegated, so would likely take it away.

 

Another odd footnote is Wherigo\\kit.  I am able to use Groundspeak's API for authentication, which does require approval and a review.  More recently, when I had to submit an updated overview of this application, I was asked by someone at Groundspeak if I wanted Kit to appear in the list of official Groundspeak partners.  I guffawed, pointing out that Groundspeak's reviewers do not allow caches to be published if they mention Kit, the Wherigo Foundation, or any other application, so listing Kit as an official Groundspeak partner would thoroughly confuse the situation, so Groundspeak should really consider its stance on the matter.  This was about two years ago.

 

Finally, something that irritates me.  Groundspeak allows cachers to mention GSAK and Project GC in their cache listings.  Both are commercial applications--GSAK was up until recently and Project GC pushes a subscription model.  Groundspeak also allows mention of other commercial applications in cache listings.  But, yet, when it comes to everything the community has done to help Groundspeak with Wherigo--and everything we have has always been free, with the individual developer shouldering 100% of the continued cost--Groundspeak has this as their official position.  And, believe me, there are ongoing costs.  I average about $200/month for hosting, storage, SSL/TLS license, and domain registrations between Kit, the Wherigo Foundation site, DevOps/TFS, and the staging areas I use when publishing.  I could decrease the cost by doing a shared hosting plan, I suppose.

 

I suppose I could have still continued to create things.  But there comes a time when one needs a solid support group to provide feedback and motivation.  I don't have that.  And you'd figure people in my own area would be really supportive of my endeavors, be it Wherigo or having found almost 95K caches.  They're not.  There's a distinct anti-Wherigo feeling in my area.  There have been some that would like it if I quit geocaching altogether.  So, no support there.  One can continue only so long against the flow and apathy before exhausting oneself.  So, later, my job became the beneficiary of some of my free time.  I worked uncompensated overtime 300 hours last year and 400 hours this year (and no time off).  You'd think they'd be grateful, but instead I get managers telling me they're not asking me to work extra hours and they're apathetic about all the things I'm doing to fix their aging application single-handedly.  No encouragement, no support, no appreciation from there.  Sigh.

 

So, anyway, that's my view on the matter.  There are always other sides to it, though I've tried to be neutral.

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Hi Ranger Fox,

 

Thank you for your response, it was really good to hear from you. I am really sorry there has been so much difficulty in trying to get Wherigo to move forward. You shouldn’t have to feel so unappreciated, especially after all you have done for so many people. I am extremely grateful for all that you have done for the Wherigo community over the years. I believe the geocaching community has seen a tremendous benefit from all of the tools and support that you have provided. It has been my hope, and I believe the hope of many others like you, that Wherigo would one day get an update. It has so much potential.

 

Are there any future plans to continue negotiations with Groundspeak regarding the Wherigo Foundation?  It would be a huge benefit to so many people if the community could have a supported Wherigo website. How can we support you in this effort? Perhaps we could nag Groundspeak about continuing the negotiations? What other ideas do you have?  I’ve wanted to help out for a long time, and I am sure there are others who feel the same. Thanks again for all that you have done.

 

 

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