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jshults (Rally Dude)

INTRO APP users are killing the hobby

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These hundreds and thousands of INTRO user are killing the hobby....

 

They are stealing caches, hiding caches without ever FINDING one.

They show up for a few days and reek havoc and they are GONE....

 

I'm tempter to go make all 900 of my hides into PREMIUM to keep INTRO people from finding the...

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Yes, it has been argued for and against the idea that smartphone cachers have hurt this hobby. If nothing else, I will agree that they hurt the trackables aspect of the game.

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I see a lot of smartphone users who are newbies and have never logged on to the website. Therefore, I doubt they have any familiarity with the rules or guidelines of caching. Probably have no idea about how to hide a cache except for the guard rail and lamp post hides they have found. This is why I am not surprised about the proliferation of crappy containers and locations for their hides. So yes, I agree with the OP.

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I would argue that, whilst the seagull cachers, (swoop in, make racket, poop everywhere, fly away), are certainly detrimental to the hobby, Groundspeak's love affair with the numbers oriented cacher is the true downfall.

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Yes, it has been argued for and against the idea that smartphone cachers have hurt this hobby. If nothing else, I will agree that they hurt the trackables aspect of the game.

 

Number of Geocaching accounts in February, 2010 (early in the "smartphone era"): 3,000,000

 

Number of Geocaching.com accounts today: 8,400,000

 

Yup, I think there's a lot of them. I'm not quite ready to endorse the doomsday scenario exhibited in the OP though. I see quite a few, but really not a heck of a lot of "I found this cache with the Intro to Geocaching App. TFTC" logs. And I don't know how we know they are stealing caches. And placing them without finding any is quite the rare occurance.

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I wouldn't put it quite as dramatically as you, but I agree. I have recently made most of my caches PMO. I don't have time to run around doing maintenance/replacing caches for people who don't have a clue what they're doing and quite probably aren't logging their finds online.

 

I've introduced alot of people to the game. Most newbies don't realize how to properly rehide a cache or even why there is a need to cover it up. A couple people I took out asked if you were supposed to take the cache home. One mother regularly let her kids take swag without trading (yes, she knew they were supposed to bring stuff). I've seen what people do even when there is an experienced cacher to guide them. I'd shudder to think what they'd do if they installed an app on a whim and went out without doing any reading on the website and with no one to guide them.

Edited by The_Incredibles_

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I see a lot of smartphone users who are newbies and have never logged on to the website.

But you don't know they haven't. If they log on through their smartphone's browser it doesn't show they logged in.

What I think they need to change mostly is not allowing them to find caches until they validate their email. I've seen one for example. Cache hasn't been found for a year and the CO hasn't either with numerous DNFs and then an Intro cacher comes in and says they found it. Now this is a traditional and the new cacher says "great puzzle". Sure they either mixed up the cache with a puzzle, or they didn't find the cache at all. I had gone out there and checked and it's not there. Now it will take longer for the cache to get archived because they claimed the find. I can't contact the cacher to ask if they made a mistake or not.

There has been other issues with new Intro App cachers not having validated their email. I think GC should not allow them to find any without an email address.

Edited by jellis

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I can't see cache details on geocaching.com unless I log in, and to have an account to log in with I had to provide an email address. There is no way that someone not logging in and not even using a real GPS and should be able to see cache information!

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The first step is recognizing the issue. The next step is coming up with how to make it better.

 

How do we, as a Geocaching community, get Intro app/app only users to learn more about the game?

 

There is little encouragement to go to an event if you don't understand why you might want to go to an event. There's little incentive to try a multi if you don't understand how they work. There's even less reason to try an unknown cache if you don't understand how they work. And don't even get me started on Letterbox Hybrids and how uninitiated users might unintentionally mess one of those up. Then there's travel bugs and geocoins...those are going to disappear at an alarming rate.

 

So, how do you engage a new user in the ways of the game? What are our alternatives if the App is how Groundspeak chooses to get people to play and buy into memberships?

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I can't see cache details on geocaching.com unless I log in, and to have an account to log in with I had to provide an email address. There is no way that someone not logging in and not even using a real GPS and should be able to see cache information!

 

What, did you join in 2002 or something? :ph34r:

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I would argue that, whilst the seagull cachers, (swoop in, make racket, poop everywhere, fly away), are certainly detrimental to the hobby, Groundspeak's love affair with the numbers oriented cacher is the true downfall.

+1

I've been a big defender of GS over the years, but I do believe throwing fish guts to the gulls is hurting, and will eventually kill, the game.

I see the two parts of your post as amounting to the same thing (seagulls and numbers.)

Ironically, catering to the numbers oriented cachers without a clue has finally made the numbers truly meaningless. Jeremy got what he wished for in a way that many of us never saw coming.

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I can't see cache details on geocaching.com unless I log in, and to have an account to log in with I had to provide an email address. There is no way that someone not logging in and not even using a real GPS and should be able to see cache information!

 

I have to agree with this - Groundspeak provides the platform but we're the ones who spend time and money hiding and maintaining the caches - doesn't seem quite right somehow if persons unknown can go out and find them with a free app :huh:

 

Then again - just because someone has handed over a few $$$ doesn't make them a better cacher - if they don't take the time to indoctrinate themselves into the proper practices.

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I have recently made most of my caches PMO. I don't have time to run around doing maintenance/replacing caches for people who don't have a clue what they're doing and quite probably aren't logging their finds online.

 

+1. Although not all of our caches are PMO. But the few that I've put many man-hours into constructing them, are PMO. I want those found by people who have enough of a commitment to the activity that they're willing to create a GC account.

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I have recently made most of my caches PMO. I don't have time to run around doing maintenance/replacing caches for people who don't have a clue what they're doing and quite probably aren't logging their finds online.

 

+1. Although not all of our caches are PMO. But the few that I've put many man-hours into constructing them, are PMO. I want those found by people who have enough of a commitment to the activity that they're willing to create a GC account.

 

One thing I've recently discovered: if the cache is an offset with a relatively easy puzzle to solve to get the final location, it will generally only attract the dedicated cachers. My most recent, though a PMO, was placed in a very nice section of a local park with a significant connection to the state's history. I didn't want a bunch of n00bs searching the spot, though...so I added a very simple puzzle. From checking the audit logs, I see lots of single visits to the page, but those who visit multiple times are all serious cachers who, for the most part, are very responsible. I'm not saying every cache should have a puzzle or be an offset...but in sensitive areas or on caches that you spend a lot of time and effort putting together, it is one effective way to 'separate the wheat from the chaff', so to speak.

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The first step is recognizing the issue. The next step is coming up with how to make it better.

 

How do we, as a Geocaching community, get Intro app/app only users to learn more about the game?

 

Great constructive addition to the conversation, NeverSummer. Let's talk about this, guys. As community members, we are all responsible for bringing up the new generation of geocachers. How can we offer our help or a re-direction when we see someone trying to figure out how to play this incredibly nuanced game? Was there someone who helped you figure out the proper caching etiquette when you started?

 

We are asking questions like these at HQ, as well. How can we offer guidance and instruction to the new folks who want to come play? How can we support the current community with helping them educate and spread the word? To start with, we are working on more informative blog/FB posts, updating and reorganizing the Help Center, and thinking of fun new ways to inform newbies of the fine tuned, community created, social etiquette mores. In addition, I will let you know that the default log text in the Intro App was just supposed to be an example log and not something that they could use to post a log to any cache. We will be following up on this to make sure that the text is not introducing new cachers to bland/lazy logging techniques.

 

Many of you are already AMAZINGLY helpful to the new cachers who ask questions in the forums. As a fellow community member - I want to say a big THANK YOU for that. Since we are all stewards of the game I ask the same question to the rest of the community: What are some other ways that we can guide and teach the newest players on a local level?

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Jayme - We (an assortment of NoisyHikers) would really like to see email validation be required to access cache information. We understand this will hurt the "impulse buy" financial benefits for Groundspeak, but we truly feel that access without knowledge is detrimental to the game. Just like NeverSummer, we try to reach out to new cachers if we notice an error in their online logging - especially when it comes to trackables - but without a viable email, it makes the improbable completely impossible. We can't help them if we can't reach them!

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Jayme - We (an assortment of NoisyHikers) would really like to see email validation be required to access cache information. We understand this will hurt the "impulse buy" financial benefits for Groundspeak, but we truly feel that access without knowledge is detrimental to the game. Just like NeverSummer, we try to reach out to new cachers if we notice an error in their online logging - especially when it comes to trackables - but without a viable email, it makes the improbable completely impossible. We can't help them if we can't reach them!

 

We've been banging the drum on this for a while here, and the plans are in motion to make this change.

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As community members, we are all responsible for bringing up the new generation of geocachers.

 

No

 

We have no bearing on what smartphone users with a free app are doing. You, Groundspeak, created that problem and only you, Groundspeak, can have any influence on it.

 

It is wrong to suggest that geocachers can have any influence on a bored muggle who discovers this treasure hunting app, goes to find a couple, takes the swag for the kids, throws the travelbug in their bag (bye bye bug) and leaves the cache exposed. The crux of this is that these are effectively muggles finding caches. The barrier to entry is TOO LOW for a game that relies on sneakiness, faith, and honor.

 

What does it matter what the blog says, or what the help center says, or facebook says, if these users aren't interested in going beyond the free app that lets them find hidden treasure.

 

Your primary motivation seems to be app sales and the #1 way to achieve that is to give something away free as a carrot. That carrot is seriously hurting the game. At what point does the loss in travel bug sales overtake the gain seen from mobile app sales? I accept lazy cachers who hold onto my trackables for months. I accept thieves who take coins. I don't accept free app smartphone users who swallow up trackables.

 

You want to fix the problem. Dump the free app. Decide that we don't need the follow through from free to paid. Accept only those that are willing to buy the app without the free version.

 

Alternatively, get creative, designate specific caches in popular areas that are to be the only caches that appear on the free app. Convince volunteers to maintain these caches without travelbugs.

 

Until you decide that the mobile profit being generated from the free app follow through is less important than the integrity of the game, there will be no solution to this problem.

 

I don't want to block all of my caches from non premium members but I am leaning that way as well. My saving grace is I only have two caches that intro app users bother with. My frustration comes from my trackables being gobbled up by these persons.

Edited by fbingha

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If a cache is logged as found on the Intro app and there is a trackable in the inventory could a set of screens explaining trackables be presented to the logger? Hopefully this will make it clear the expectation or maybe make them think about whether they really want to pick it up.

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You want to fix the problem. Dump the free app. Decide that we don't need the follow through from free to paid. Accept only those that are willing to buy the app without the free version.

 

I'm not sure this would fix the problem. It would help, but it still wouldn't address the root of the problem. What I would like to see is people being required to do some reading and answer a short quiz before they have access to cache information. At least this will make sure they known the keys points, like what trackables are all about, how to rehide a cache well, why it's important to trade fairly and log their find online.

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Was there someone who helped you figure out the proper caching etiquette when you started?
Yes. A friend introduced me to geocaching, explained many of the basic principles (e.g., replacing the cache as found, trading fairly, moving and logging trackables, not digging or being destructive, using discretion), and then accompanied me (and several others) on a geocaching hike.

 

And I have explained these basic principles to others that I have introduced to geocaching: friends, kids at church, people taking the county parks department's geocaching class. Through that experience, I know for a fact that explanations about trackables (and other things) are easily forgotten by new geocachers in the excitement of finding a cache and examining its contents.

 

But I don't see how to reach out to people who download a free app, download local cache data, and start searching for "hidden treasure" with no more understanding of the game than that. As others have pointed out, you can't even contact them without a validated email address.

 

In addition, I will let you know that the default log text in the Intro App was just supposed to be an example log and not something that they could use to post a log to any cache.
Yeah, I've seen that problem with default text in other situations. Even if you make it incredibly obvious (e.g., "REPLACE THIS TEXT WITH A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR EXPERIENCE"), there will be some who use the default text as-is anyway.

 

 

Jayme - We (an assortment of NoisyHikers) would really like to see email validation be required to access cache information. We understand this will hurt the "impulse buy" financial benefits for Groundspeak, but we truly feel that access without knowledge is detrimental to the game. Just like NeverSummer, we try to reach out to new cachers if we notice an error in their online logging - especially when it comes to trackables - but without a viable email, it makes the improbable completely impossible. We can't help them if we can't reach them!
We've been banging the drum on this for a while here, and the plans are in motion to make this change.
Thank you.

 

Any thoughts about products that come preloaded with geocache data?

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If a cache is logged as found on the Intro app and there is a trackable in the inventory could a set of screens explaining trackables be presented to the logger? Hopefully this will make it clear the expectation or maybe make them think about whether they really want to pick it up.

 

I was just thinking the same. It would certainly add a bit of extra information for the inexperienced.

 

Another thing I'd like to see is a different text in the find log field, something that explains that it would be nice if the cacher is encouraged to log his experience at finding this cache instead of a standard "Found. TFTC"

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I have a number of caches on my watchlist, as well as caches I own.

 

If I see a log that says something like 'woohoo, our first find', or even a name I don't recognize in the area, I often go to the profile, and check out the user.

If I find that they are a newbie, I try to send them a nice 'Welcome to Geocaching' note, congratulating them on their find, wishing them luck and enjoyment, and offering help if they get stuck, and inviting them to the next event. I have actually met up with a few new cachers this way, and I hope that others also do something similar. This way, we have the opportunity to teach and not just complain.

 

So, the key to me is that validated email address, otherwise I don't have good luck contacting them.

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The first step is recognizing the issue. The next step is coming up with how to make it better.

 

How do we, as a Geocaching community, get Intro app/app only users to learn more about the game?

 

Great constructive addition to the conversation, NeverSummer. Let's talk about this, guys. As community members, we are all responsible for bringing up the new generation of geocachers. How can we offer our help or a re-direction when we see someone trying to figure out how to play this incredibly nuanced game? Was there someone who helped you figure out the proper caching etiquette when you started?

 

We are asking questions like these at HQ, as well. How can we offer guidance and instruction to the new folks who want to come play? How can we support the current community with helping them educate and spread the word? To start with, we are working on more informative blog/FB posts, updating and reorganizing the Help Center, and thinking of fun new ways to inform newbies of the fine tuned, community created, social etiquette mores. In addition, I will let you know that the default log text in the Intro App was just supposed to be an example log and not something that they could use to post a log to any cache. We will be following up on this to make sure that the text is not introducing new cachers to bland/lazy logging techniques.

 

Many of you are already AMAZINGLY helpful to the new cachers who ask questions in the forums. As a fellow community member - I want to say a big THANK YOU for that. Since we are all stewards of the game I ask the same question to the rest of the community: What are some other ways that we can guide and teach the newest players on a local level?

 

If you plan on emphasizing the blog, you can also start by making your blog posts consistent with the values and guidelines. Featuring Cache of the Months that depict caches hidden improperly (stuck in the ground, fence posts, 4x4 posts) gives an image contrary to the guidelines. Reviewers do not allow many things we see highlighted in the blog. Either practice what you preach or open it up a bit for reviewer common sense (permission granted).. for newbies AND the rest of us.

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If you plan on emphasizing the blog, you can also start by making your blog posts consistent with the values and guidelines. Featuring Cache of the Months that depict caches hidden improperly (stuck in the ground, fence posts, 4x4 posts) gives an image contrary to the guidelines. Reviewers do not allow many things we see highlighted in the blog. Either practice what you preach or open it up a bit for reviewer common sense (permission granted).. for newbies AND the rest of us.

 

It's true that we have had some instances in the past of "the left hand not talking to the right hand" when it comes to caches highlighted on the blog, but I think you will find that this has improved significantly of late.

 

 

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To add a bit of perspective to this thread: in the past month, there have been 20,239 unarchived find/attended/photo taken logs posted using the default log text present in the intro app. In that same time frame, here have been 7,203,887 unarchived find/attended/photo taken logs posted in total. Those noticeable intro app logs thus account for 0.28% of all logs during the month.

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Just out of interest: how many logs are there containing just a . (dot) or no text at all? This is actually what I see more often.

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Just out of interest: how many logs are there containing just a . (dot) or no text at all? This is actually what I see more often.

 

7,782 total.

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To add a bit of perspective to this thread: in the past month, there have been 20,239 unarchived find/attended/photo taken logs posted using the default log text present in the intro app. In that same time frame, here have been 7,203,887 unarchived find/attended/photo taken logs posted in total. Those noticeable intro app logs thus account for 0.28% of all logs during the month.

 

It's a bit silly to use stats like this when you are talking to the person whose cache wasn't rehidden properly or whose travel bug was taken and never logged.

 

The truth is that new users have been "killing the hobby" for years. (I recall talking with other experienced cachers about a group of newbies that included the OP that were killing geocaching by spewing the area with a bunch of lame caches).

 

It is reasonable to view mishandling of caches and travel bugs a more serious problem than micro spew or even an occasional guideline violation slipping past the reviewers. In one respect the Intro App can help by providing more guidance to new users. On the otherhand, people who download free apps probably are going to include some (usually young males) who are basically going to see what they can get away with in terms of annoying the people who might take the game too seriously. I like the idea of requiring setting up an account and validating email before displaying cache information. It may even make sense to make the intro app $0.99 or $1.99 to reduce the number of mischeif makers. You might be able to offer the full app as an upgrade with a discount.

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Just out of interest: how many logs are there containing just a . (dot) or no text at all? This is actually what I see more often.

 

7,782 total.

While you're at it... How about logs with just "TFTC" or "TFTF". :ph34r:

 

This is getting away from the point, but still very interesting.

 

I think a required email validation for a Geocaching.com account is paramount. From there, the validation confirmation should have a link to the knowledge books and guidelines. Provide links to the YouTube videos about selecting and finding your first geocache.

 

Perhaps the app should have a tutorial that describes cache types and trackables. That, or each time you click within the app from search to seek, a timed "load screen" could play through an information screen describing a cache type, or trackable type. Not unlike what I've seen used in other apps that talk about key parts of the game while it loads content. There may be no content to load, but the new user won't know that. All they see is a quick, randomized load screen with a 5-8 second description of, say, how a multicache works, or how to identify a trackable within a cache.

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As community members, we are all responsible for bringing up the new generation of geocachers.

 

No

 

We have no bearing on what smartphone users with a free app are doing. You, Groundspeak, created that problem and only you, Groundspeak, can have any influence on it.

 

It is wrong to suggest that geocachers can have any influence on a bored muggle who discovers this treasure hunting app, goes to find a couple, takes the swag for the kids, throws the travelbug in their bag (bye bye bug) and leaves the cache exposed. The crux of this is that these are effectively muggles finding caches. The barrier to entry is TOO LOW for a game that relies on sneakiness, faith, and honor.

 

What does it matter what the blog says, or what the help center says, or facebook says, if these users aren't interested in going beyond the free app that lets them find hidden treasure.

 

Your primary motivation seems to be app sales and the #1 way to achieve that is to give something away free as a carrot. That carrot is seriously hurting the game. At what point does the loss in travel bug sales overtake the gain seen from mobile app sales? I accept lazy cachers who hold onto my trackables for months. I accept thieves who take coins. I don't accept free app smartphone users who swallow up trackables.

 

You want to fix the problem. Dump the free app. Decide that we don't need the follow through from free to paid. Accept only those that are willing to buy the app without the free version.

 

Alternatively, get creative, designate specific caches in popular areas that are to be the only caches that appear on the free app. Convince volunteers to maintain these caches without travelbugs.

 

Until you decide that the mobile profit being generated from the free app follow through is less important than the integrity of the game, there will be no solution to this problem.

 

Hear, hear - couldn't have put it better myself B)

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Just out of interest: how many logs are there containing just a . (dot) or no text at all? This is actually what I see more often.

 

7,782 total.

 

Wow, not much. Thanks for these interesting stats :)

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Perhaps the app should have a tutorial that describes cache types and trackables. That, or each time you click within the app from search to seek, a timed "load screen" could play through an information screen describing a cache type, or trackable type. Not unlike what I've seen used in other apps that talk about key parts of the game while it loads content. There may be no content to load, but the new user won't know that. All they see is a quick, randomized load screen with a 5-8 second description of, say, how a multicache works, or how to identify a trackable within a cache.

 

With respect - I would be the tiniest bit miffed to see Groundspeak spending the money collected from paying members on enhancing free applications for non-paying users to this degree.

 

I started a thread a few days ago to try to find out how I might use the site to perform the simple task of searching for a cache name starting with a given string - was summarily pointed toward a non-Groundspeak site and told that Groundspeak's creaking infrastructure couldn't support such 'advanced' functionality - at which point the dialogue promptly dried up :o

 

And yet this thread seems full of ideas of how money can be poured into enhancing a free app to 'educate' non-paying players who can't manage to learn how the game works by reading the extensive material already present on the website?

 

While Groundspeak see fit to ignore requests to add such basic functionality to the PAID app as adding a cache to one's watch list, you won't find me voting for pouring money into free applications.

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How about this?

 

Limit the use of the free intro app to being able to be used to find 5 caches...TOTAL After that it only tells the user to buy the full app and/or go to the website to learn more about geocaching.

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How about this?

 

Limit the use of the free intro app to being able to be used to find 5 caches...TOTAL After that it only tells the user to buy the full app and/or go to the website to learn more about geocaching.

 

Would be a good start.

 

Wouldn't they just un-install and re-install the app and carry on though?

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How about this?

 

Limit the use of the free intro app to being able to be used to find 5 caches...TOTAL After that it only tells the user to buy the full app and/or go to the website to learn more about geocaching.

 

Would be a good start.

 

Wouldn't they just un-install and re-install the app and carry on though?

 

The app could identify itself as being from a particular phone and the person has a GC handle. Either or both could be used to restrict the use. It could also save a bit of data in the phone somewhere. Granted a person could create a new user ID, but to mask the phone ID would take more effort. I don't know phone apps well enough to know how hard or expensive it may be to develop this kind of thing.

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I have recently made most of my caches PMO. I don't have time to run around doing maintenance/replacing caches for people who don't have a clue what they're doing and quite probably aren't logging their finds online.

 

+1. Although not all of our caches are PMO. But the few that I've put many man-hours into constructing them, are PMO. I want those found by people who have enough of a commitment to the activity that they're willing to create a GC account.

 

+3 . It also helps regarding the problem of posted NA and NM logs just because the cache can't be found. Just about all mine are PMO although I'm not fond of the " back door " to PMO caches and the postings telling how to use it.....I enjoy being a PM and think the " back door " should be bolted shut.

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Perhaps the app should have a tutorial that describes cache types and trackables. That, or each time you click within the app from search to seek, a timed "load screen" could play through an information screen describing a cache type, or trackable type. Not unlike what I've seen used in other apps that talk about key parts of the game while it loads content. There may be no content to load, but the new user won't know that. All they see is a quick, randomized load screen with a 5-8 second description of, say, how a multicache works, or how to identify a trackable within a cache.

 

With respect - I would be the tiniest bit miffed to see Groundspeak spending the money collected from paying members on enhancing free applications for non-paying users to this degree.

 

I started a thread a few days ago to try to find out how I might use the site to perform the simple task of searching for a cache name starting with a given string - was summarily pointed toward a non-Groundspeak site and told that Groundspeak's creaking infrastructure couldn't support such 'advanced' functionality - at which point the dialogue promptly dried up :o

 

And yet this thread seems full of ideas of how money can be poured into enhancing a free app to 'educate' non-paying players who can't manage to learn how the game works by reading the extensive material already present on the website?

 

While Groundspeak see fit to ignore requests to add such basic functionality to the PAID app as adding a cache to one's watch list, you won't find me voting for pouring money into free applications.

 

Generally, it is a revenue-generating strategy of information technology to allocate resources this way.

 

My first experience with this was when I worked as a network 'droid for a "content delivery" service. I was surprised to see that the servers with the free preview sites were all connected to a redundant fibre optic 155mbps OC-3 connection. Conversely, the already-have-your-credit-card content servers were all relegated to the singly-connected coax 45mbps DS3 service.

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Generally, it is a revenue-generating strategy of information technology to allocate resources this way.

 

My first experience with this was when I worked as a network 'droid for a "content delivery" service. I was surprised to see that the servers with the free preview sites were all connected to a redundant fibre optic 155mbps OC-3 connection. Conversely, the already-have-your-credit-card content servers were all relegated to the singly-connected coax 45mbps DS3 service.

 

Yep - I'd have put money on it being exactly as you describe - promise Utopia to get them on board, deliver it for a short while and then, once the cash-flow is established and they are settled, deliver them lesser services and ignore any attempts at constructive dialogue for service improvements :ph34r:

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Mandate that new users validate their email PRIOR to being able to use the site, adding their cell number for those mobile apps. Those willing to share that information are not as likely to be the cache-maggot type and may actually follow with a purchase of the app and premium membership.

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Let's talk about this, guys. As community members, we are all responsible for bringing up the new generation of geocachers. How can we offer our help or a re-direction when we see someone trying to figure out how to play this incredibly nuanced game?

Was there someone who helped you figure out the proper caching etiquette when you started?

 

No, there was not and I had no need for it. Of course geocaching became more complex later, but I'm a person who likes to inform myself properly before doing something.

 

How can we offer guidance and instruction to the new folks who want to come play?

 

As hiding caches is regarded (and maybe to a lesser extent also logging finds), I wondered whether Groundspeak could not offer a short quiz with some questions that need to be answered correctly once before the account gets the power for hiding caches and also for logging finds.

One could even require passing the test before one can view coordinates.

Personally I think that such a test would have much more effect than PM-only caches. I know several PMs who become PMs before their 10-th find and know almost nothing about the guidelines, trackables etc and then there are very experienced basic members.

 

 

 

How can we support the current community with helping them educate and spread the word? To start with, we are working on more informative blog/FB posts, updating and reorganizing the Help Center, and thinking of fun new ways to inform newbies of the fine tuned, community created, social etiquette mores.

 

The big majority of new cachers in my area never looks at the blog/FB pages of Groundspeak etc.

Many of them not even visit local forums where they can communicate in their native language.

 

I'm one of the few people in my area who try to contact cachers if I realize that they e.g. take trackables away, but not log them and similar things.

In comparison to earlier years the response rate is quite low and I do not think that smartphones are the major reason. It is just that the type of people and their background has become much more diverse and the information that is available gets more and more overwhelming.

 

When I started to geocache the guidelines were extremely short. I could easily read them through. Now they are spread over many pages in the knowledge book organization which might be fine for someone seeking for something specific, but which is in my opinion not all beginner-friendly. I can read English as fast as my native language and still I think that given the current length of all parts of the guideline is now so long that even I would have stopped to read at some point.

 

 

Many of you are already AMAZINGLY helpful to the new cachers who ask questions in the forums. As a fellow community member - I want to say a big THANK YOU for that. Since we are all stewards of the game I ask the same question to the rest of the community: What are some other ways that we can guide and teach the newest players on a local level?

 

I really do not know. In my own area for example the events are already very large when only relatively well established cachers show up. That will not be the athmosphere were shy newbies will feel well. One probably would need special events, but that takes a lot of time and requires people who want to put time into this and most cachers prefer to invest time into their own caching.

 

This forum is of no help at all to the problems with beginners in my country and neither is the German speaking part of the forum, but there is nothing Groundspeak can do about that.

 

Personally, I feel very far from the typical beginner nowadays in my area as most of them are not people who have a background in hiking, outdoor activities etc, but rather come from the game aspect (geocaching is not a game for me).

 

Cezanne

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although I'm not fond of the " back door " to PMO caches and the postings telling how to use it.....I enjoy being a PM and think the " back door " should be bolted shut.

 

Any reasonably computer-literate person can find out the method for logging PM-only caches anyway (and much more without doing anything illegal).

Many have accounts for their babies, small children, dogs etc and they certainly would not want to pay a PM account for those while still keeping track of the finds.

 

As long there does not exist an anonymous way of becoming PM or if there were a guarantee that Groundspeak does not give out the names of cachers, it would be unthinkable for me to become a PM.

I assure however that I treat the caches I find with a lot of care and I try to educate beginners whenever possible. I think that I've contributed much more to geocaching than the average PM newbie that becomes PM not because they want to contribute, but because they want to use PQs.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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When I started, I was introduced to GeoCaching by someone who didn't log their finds online. They used the paid app. I researched the hobby and found that the way I was introduced to the hobby was wrong. I used C:Geo for a very long time, before getting a dedicated GPS. Now I'm a Premium Member, but I still consider myself a noob. My community REI often holds Geocaching classes, which are well attended. I guess my point is that there are a number of 'free' ways to cache, that are not all regulated by Groundspeak, so the hopes of successfully controlling new cachers with limits placed on Groundspeak products may be misplaced. Promoting geocaching education is one way to do it. You can bet that cachers who attend these classes are more likely to be a positive addition to the hobby. Maybe create GeoCaching Ambassadors who are encouraged to do just that. I think that would be a better use of funds than *another* free geo app. Even paid app users can be doing it wrong. Come to think of it, how many Premium Members do we know who could use a class?

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The first step is recognizing the issue. The next step is coming up with how to make it better.

 

How do we, as a Geocaching community, get Intro app/app only users to learn more about the game?

 

Great constructive addition to the conversation, NeverSummer. Let's talk about this, guys. As community members, we are all responsible for bringing up the new generation of geocachers. How can we offer our help or a re-direction when we see someone trying to figure out how to play this incredibly nuanced game?

 

 

Wait? We are responsible for bringing up the new generation of geocachers? Is that in the TOU? Now I've sent off a PM to a new user welcoming them to the game when I see someone that is obviously new, and have been an active participant in the forums since 2007 and frequently offer advice and answer questions. However, I do that voluntarily, not due to any responsibility as a member of the community. Frankly, as diverse as opinions go regarding issues like various approaches to power trails, the FTF game, and a variety of logging practices, it wouldn't seem that the new generation of geocachers will get a standard education, and there are a lot of common practices that I would rather not see taught to the new generation of geocachers.

 

Was there someone who helped you figure out the proper caching etiquette when you started?

 

No, there wasn't. I live in a relatively small town that doesn't have a large geocaching community. There were only a handful of regular cachers whose names I'd recognize as cache owners or on log sheets, and many of them live 30-40 miles away. We don't have weekly or even monthly events that are common in large communities and often provide education opportunities. I imagine those that live in small countries or remote areas have even fewer opportunities to learn from other geocaches.

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....Groundspeak's love affair with the numbers oriented cacher is the true downfall.

 

+1

 

Case in point: the blog featured the E.T. Highway power trail recently. Part of the bloggers advice - bring about fifty film canisters with logs inside so you can do cache maintenance. (Or perhaps more accurately - to sign and throw out the window as you drive along down the road.)

 

Groundspeak isn't exactly promoting ethics and sportsmanship here.

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Personally, I feel very far from the typical beginner nowadays in my area as most of them are not people who have a background in hiking, outdoor activities etc, but rather come from the game aspect (geocaching is not a game for me).

 

Cezanne

Agreed.

Can't remember when I was able to con a newbie to walk more than 200' out of the parking lot.

The last was playing a game while walking, tripping ocassionally, but not putting that phone away...

This new phone app game that's played now, just kinda resembles the GPSr-based hobby I started with.

 

Just last week in a local forum, the second question from a brand-new member was, "Do you guys have a facebook page?"

We're actually divided now. Same site name, but the "old-timers" are on the site and the newer phone folks are on "the facebook page".

- How are we supposed to help 'em, if they don't even want to be bothered with us?

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Geocoins and trackables I released went missing on a regular basis long before there was an app, let alone an intro app. Some very experienced cachers have failed to properly shut some of my caches. Even people with a number of finds have failed to send me the logging requirements to my earthcaches. And most of the people in my area who discover the game and hide a few containers in poor locations that turn into geotrash were not using the intro app when I ran into them "in the field." Its usually because the game was simply something to do until they went on to discover girls or something more interesting to them.

 

This is not to say there had not been a change in the game as the growth of smartphones have made it accessible . But then again 93% of my caching these days is with my smartphone. With mainstreaming there have been more logs with a single set of initials; more micros in parking lots that are placed because for some reason there was a shocking lack of caches in that area. But considering the various threads complaining about people who roll into town and treat the area as one big repetitive trail, leaving a pile of throw downs in their wake, I doubt that the Intro App is to blame.

 

The Intro App is programmed to focus on a specific type of cache and has limited capabilities, so I doubt that it is even a large factor with some of the problems described in this thread. There are other free apps that could cause more problems if free access is to be blamed. The Intro App may represent the way that the game has grown and been marketed, but I don't see it as a root cause.

Edited by geodarts

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The first step is recognizing the issue. The next step is coming up with how to make it better.

 

How do we, as a Geocaching community, get Intro app/app only users to learn more about the game?

 

Great constructive addition to the conversation, NeverSummer. Let's talk about this, guys. As community members, we are all responsible for bringing up the new generation of geocachers. How can we offer our help or a re-direction when we see someone trying to figure out how to play this incredibly nuanced game? Was there someone who helped you figure out the proper caching etiquette when you started?

 

We are asking questions like these at HQ, as well. How can we offer guidance and instruction to the new folks who want to come play? How can we support the current community with helping them educate and spread the word? To start with, we are working on more informative blog/FB posts, updating and reorganizing the Help Center, and thinking of fun new ways to inform newbies of the fine tuned, community created, social etiquette mores. In addition, I will let you know that the default log text in the Intro App was just supposed to be an example log and not something that they could use to post a log to any cache. We will be following up on this to make sure that the text is not introducing new cachers to bland/lazy logging techniques.

 

Many of you are already AMAZINGLY helpful to the new cachers who ask questions in the forums. As a fellow community member - I want to say a big THANK YOU for that. Since we are all stewards of the game I ask the same question to the rest of the community: What are some other ways that we can guide and teach the newest players on a local level?

 

Jayme,

is there the possibility that there could be a 'helpful tip of the day' added to the intro app? I'm thinking along the lines of what ones sees when GSAK is opened and many other programs, I think even Google Earth. These hints could be short simple tips on some aspect of the game; finding, logging, etc.

 

Karen

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Two cents from a noob...

 

I snagged my first cache with c:geo while visiting my relatives in MN. I needed something to do with the 6 kids that we're bouncing off the walls. I spent about two hours researching on line (mostly looking for free apps and large kid friendly finds), packed the kids in a mini van, stopped at five and dime (remember that phrase?), bought a few dozen $.25 items and off we went to a local park. We even found a TB from Australia on our first day!

 

I'm know we made a ton of mistakes, like placing the pencil in the plastic bag, but the kids had a ton of fun. In retrospect, I think I enjoyed it most.

 

We raced home to research the TB coin as we had no idea what to do with it. It took me about an hour to understand I needed to log the coin, then a second hour to determine how to log it! I dropped it off 2,000 miles away a week later (that seemed like the right thing to do, but I was really still guessing).

 

I struggled to find the smaller hides (I did log my DNFs) and surprise, a local cacher, BraillerCD, offered to give me a tour of some more difficult caches. Wow, how great was that!!!

 

I am clearly addicted now and even convinced another friend to start caching with me during lunch and coffee breaks.

 

As a noob, I really liked a number of the ideas above:

- e-mail registration is a must

- I like the idea of a few more learning videos (the two on the Groundspeak sight seemed to strike a very good balance between too short and too long, so I did listen to both before our first adventure)

- I also like the quiz idea, but it would need to be short

- I also like the concept of, you can only find 10 caches before you must take the quiz, or your free access gets shut off

- I like the idea of offering to help the noobs like me

 

I do like the free apps, I don't really pay for apps in general. But I did sign up for the premium membership!

 

I am trying to decide if it would be more fun and/or more work with a GPS. Of course I want the $600 version, but I probably would never really learn how to use everything (or anything) on it. What has me concerned most about the GPS devices is that it looks like very few allow me to download caches while I am in the field.

 

Every sport, hobby, game, past time, etc. has "users" and "contributors". GeoCaching is no exception. I think many of us came from a generation that was taught to be a contributor in everything we do. Unfortunately, I do not think the the users will be reading anything we write. I will continue to try and learn as many of the rules as possible.

 

I will say, after reading a number of comments over recent weeks, I am becoming reluctant to buy a TB and am more hesitant to create my first cache. The trepidation is probably good on the cache, I really do not want to create something lame. I think I should have a little more experience before creating my first hide. But it's too bad that TBs have become something dreaded my so many players. It sounds like it used to be more fun. But I will keep trying to move them around.

 

FYI, I am now using CacheSense on my blackberry (yes, I know that is inviting a few comments, but I thought I needed to add another comment where I can be lamb-basted).

 

Obviously, some of my commentary is way off point, but I thought it might be helpful in understanding how and why a noob is thinking about this thread.

 

I do have a thick skin, so feel free to throw tomatoes and/or share suggestions. This dog can can learn new tricks.

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