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jshults (Rally Dude)

INTRO APP users are killing the hobby

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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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Here's the suggestions I like so far:

 

1. 5 cache limit to the free intro app - then it directs you to sign-up online (with proper email verification) for continued access. I think this is a very fair compromise for both cachers and Groundspeak.

2. Tip of the Day - for all app users and website visitors! One can never learn too much!

3. More how-to videos - maybe it's time to media-tize the Knowledge Books?

 

May I also suggest:

 

4. Community Liaisons - experienced cachers who are willing to be mentors to the community. They would have an special icon next to their name on their cache logs so that other people would know who they could reach out to if they had a question. These liaisons could also be a volunteer Welcoming Committee - sending a "Hello!" email when they notice new names in the caching neighbourhood.

 

We discovered geocaching through a travel magazine and simply took it upon ourselves to learn what we needed to know to do it "right". We are readers. We read the forums, we read the blog, we read the Knowledge Books specific to the questions we want answered. There is no such thing as tl;dr in our family. :lol:

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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.

 

I agree.

 

This situation is due to Groundspeak's basic misunderstanding of why non geocachers muggle caches. When someone finds something easily, they tend to not have the same level of respect than someone else who had to seek it out with some effort. You can never simply expect respect, it is always earned. Selling GPS units with caches preloaded and free apps is a big mistake on Groundspeak's part and there is very little that anyone else can do to fix it. All we can hope for is that these users find a bunch of urban micros and get bored quickly. If they happen upon an ammo box, then there are problems. Groundspeak is not in the business to hide caches, only to list them. Being that these geocaches listed are not their property, they seemingly have mishandled the info, and not shown too much respect to those that have hidden them. This is without any feedback, but only a little box to check off that allows them to do this.

 

Back in the old days the info and coordinates were clearly posted so everyone could access it, but people still had to purchase a GPS to find geocaches. Then it was made a little more difficult by requiring people to sign up to see the coords. Now the location info is freely being given away to smarphone users? I don't think that any amount of education is going to fix it. These users pretty much know that the caches should be rehidden and such, they just don't care. Give away anything valuable, and many will just throw it away. Eventually it will have no value.

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I remembered what else I wanted to say! We have taught a handful of friends and family how to geocache and in doing so, we realized how convoluted the whole thing can sound:

 

So you take your GPS and you load it up with caches.. oh, wait, not real caches, the coordinates for caches, for where they are. Well, you find out by going to the geocaching website and creating a pocket query. It's a file that you can download to your GPS that has up to a thousand caches in it. But you can create lots of pocket queries (queries, not quarries, yes, it's an odd name) but you can only run a few each day. ANYWAY, it's starting to rain so let's go look for something.

 

Watch the arrow, but don't watch too closely because you don't want to fall off a cliff or step in a hole or walk into a pole. Now that we're close to ground zero, start looking for unusual piles of sticks or rocks, maybe check that notch in the tree roots (wink, wink). Hooray! You found it! Yeah, it's Tupperware - isn't that neat? Just flick that slug off. Write your name in the log book to show you were here. And the date. And a nice comment if you want. Hey, let's take a picture! Now go home and log on the website that you found it. Well, you have to look on the map, or look up the GC number, or the first word in the cache name. <_<

 

If you find a trackable, you don't get to keep it. You move it to another cache. It has a secret number that you enter on the "find a trackable" page that will take you to the... trackable page. Then you can log that you retrieved it from the cache, unless it's not listed as being in there. Yes, I know it was in there, but the website doesn't know it's in there until someone logs it into the cache and you have to do that on a separate page from the cache page - except when you drop it in a new cache, then you can do that from the cache page, but you have to go back to the trackable page to edit your log if you want to say something nice about the trackable or upload a picture...

 

Okay, I'll stop. You get my point.

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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?

 

When I started caching in 2008, geocaching seemed like a real community. I don't go to events and I'm not the most social cacher but I still felt part of the geocaching family here. Some of the longtime cachers would reach out if I posted a DNF on a tough cache or they'd write an email if they liked a log I wrote. These days, that feeling has all but disappeared. New cachers today just don't seem to care about connecting with others. It's just a mad dash from one cache to the next, running up their find total as quickly as possible...and those are the ones that stick with it more than a few weeks. They treat the online log as a means to get a smiley and nothing more. When I get a notification that a cache I have on a watchlist or bookmark is found, if it's not a cut-n-paste log, it's usually less than five words in total. I've email cachers when I've enjoyed their log and in the last few years, I haven't gotten a single reply if the cacher is new.

 

There also used to a real sense of pride with cache ownership. Owners wanted to bring you someplace new or unusual and they cared about the cache. Most of the new cache hiders have one goal in mind...keep hiding caches to help boost others find counts and if a cache goes missing...archive it and relist a new cache in the same spot.

 

I would think that emphasizing the spirit of geocaching (finding/exploring new locations, getting outdoors, taking a hike in the woods, being part of a community) over finding hundreds and hundreds of caches would be the best guidance a new cacher could learn. In the geocaching realm, Groundspeak really has no equal and the numbers aren't even close. You have no competition. Pushing quality over quantity isn't going to cost you any customers and will make the game much better for everyone.

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900? How the hell do you keep up with that many?

He has a full-time staff of assistants, including an on-call "maintence man."! :grin:

Maybe there should be a thread called "Managing 100 or More Caches"!

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Forced training wizards on the free app could help:

 

- first time you search with it, make the user walk through a training wizard explaining a few basics about the game. A page about trading, another page about travel bugs, another page about rehiding the cache properly, that sort of thing. Probably 5-6 pages of short paragraphs with a graphic per page would help educate people about the basics.

 

- when the user gets within 30 feet of the cache for the first couple times, open another wizard helping them to search. Explain "stop looking at the GPS, look with your eyes". Maybe customized based on the cache size.

 

- when the user is near a cache with trackables, or logs a cache with trackables, take them to another wizard explaining trackables. Again, another couple pages of text dealing with travel bugs, coins, etc ...

 

- first time they log a cache with the free app, another wizard explains how you should log. "Cache owners are exciting to see you find their cache. A write up of your experience, favorite parts about the cache are appreciated ... your experiences help the cache owners and other cachers enjoy the game to it's fullest."

 

Of course all these wizards would only be shown the first time or few times, but forcing a walk through can help.

 

I've always thought the gc app should have an easy way of hiding a cache too (yes, there will be comments about accuracy of coordinates obtained with a smart phone.) Place a "Hide a cache" option prominently on the app, that would again walk them through a wizard on hiding. If they haven't found any caches yet, don't prevent them from hiding but "strongly encourage" them to find at least a few caches.

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Here's the suggestions I like so far:

 

1. 5 cache limit to the free intro app - then it directs you to sign-up online (with proper email verification) for continued access. I think this is a very fair compromise for both cachers and Groundspeak.

2. Tip of the Day - for all app users and website visitors! One can never learn too much!

3. More how-to videos - maybe it's time to media-tize the Knowledge Books?

 

May I also suggest:

 

4. Community Liaisons - experienced cachers who are willing to be mentors to the community. They would have an special icon next to their name on their cache logs so that other people would know who they could reach out to if they had a question. These liaisons could also be a volunteer Welcoming Committee - sending a "Hello!" email when they notice new names in the caching neighbourhood.

 

We discovered geocaching through a travel magazine and simply took it upon ourselves to learn what we needed to know to do it "right". We are readers. We read the forums, we read the blog, we read the Knowledge Books specific to the questions we want answered. There is no such thing as tl;dr in our family. :lol:

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Forced training wizards on the free app could help:

 

- first time you search with it, make the user walk through a training wizard explaining a few basics about the game. A page about trading, another page about travel bugs, another page about rehiding the cache properly, that sort of thing. Probably 5-6 pages of short paragraphs with a graphic per page would help educate people about the basics.

 

- when the user gets within 30 feet of the cache for the first couple times, open another wizard helping them to search. Explain "stop looking at the GPS, look with your eyes". Maybe customized based on the cache size.

 

- when the user is near a cache with trackables, or logs a cache with trackables, take them to another wizard explaining trackables. Again, another couple pages of text dealing with travel bugs, coins, etc ...

 

- first time they log a cache with the free app, another wizard explains how you should log. "Cache owners are exciting to see you find their cache. A write up of your experience, favorite parts about the cache are appreciated ... your experiences help the cache owners and other cachers enjoy the game to it's fullest."

 

Of course all these wizards would only be shown the first time or few times, but forcing a walk through can help.

 

I've always thought the gc app should have an easy way of hiding a cache too (yes, there will be comments about accuracy of coordinates obtained with a smart phone.) Place a "Hide a cache" option prominently on the app, that would again walk them through a wizard on hiding. If they haven't found any caches yet, don't prevent them from hiding but "strongly encourage" them to find at least a few caches.

 

Not an easy, NO WAY AT ALL!! Require the hiders to go to the website and read the guidelines and recommendations for hiding PRIOR to placing a cache. [ IF any type of cache placing is done through the app, it (the app) should include one of the waypoint averaging apps included. ]

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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.

 

Great post. You clearly put more thought into it all from the start than even I did. I kind of learned by doing...but I didn't "jump in" with both feet. It was more like a toe at a time, slowly getting used to it and finding out the "do's and donts" of the game.

 

I'm also a smartphone-only cacher. I've debated a long time about whether to just bite the bullet and buy a GPSr. At the moment, I just can't justify the expense for something that, in my mind, doesn't add much more to the game. I'm not a backwoods, middle-of-nowhere cacher. I'm an urban/suburban cacher where data connections are plentiful. I would have a very hard time going to a device that requires interfacing with a computer and pre-planning and after-the-fact log writing. I dearly wish I could afford a Monterra-style device with all the bells, whistles and Android apps I could hope for...but for now I'm content with my Galaxy S3. It's helped me find more than 350 caches just fine. It's helped me place almost 20 caches as well with very few hiccups (none since I figured out the averaging stuff and the proper method of obtaining coordinates).

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I do not think any of my caches have been hurt by free app users yet, but I know that over the past few years trackables have been pointless to release and that I have seen more people come and go then come and stay.

 

After reading the first page here's what I suggest:

 

Required email validation (It's good to hear that is coming)

A short video or written instructions on finding a cache before they pull the data on the first one so they are at least somewhat educated. In any game you usually have a walk through before playing level one why should we be any different.

When they click on a cache a tip is displayed for 30 seconds (How to re-hide, What a trackable is, display info on the nearest upcoming event, etc have like 10 of these).

After a certain number of free finds (10) they should either go to the website and fully activate or have to pay for the full app.

 

I understand the importance of quantity, but if that destroys the quality users who hid and maintain excellent caches then you will lose many more users than you hope to gain from the free app. I would be willing to bet that Groundspeak makes most their money from long term cachers who have been around for multiple years, who buy coins, and buy PM every year and should look at how many of these App users last more than a month or two.

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I'm also a smartphone-only cacher. I've debated a long time about whether to just bite the bullet and buy a GPSr. At the moment, I just can't justify the expense for something that, in my mind, doesn't add much more to the game. I'm not a backwoods, middle-of-nowhere cacher. I'm an urban/suburban cacher where data connections are plentiful. I would have a very hard time going to a device that requires interfacing with a computer and pre-planning and after-the-fact log writing. I dearly wish I could afford a Monterra-style device with all the bells, whistles and Android apps I could hope for...but for now I'm content with my Galaxy S3. It's helped me find more than 350 caches just fine. It's helped me place almost 20 caches as well with very few hiccups (none since I figured out the averaging stuff and the proper method of obtaining coordinates).

 

In my experience it plays a much smaller role whether someone searches caches with a smartphone GPS or a dedicated GPS device and also not how this person loads cache data up to their device

than whether this cacher is using the website for informations (guidelines, basic notions like trackables etc) and logs onto his account sufficiently regularly and thus can be reached if there are issues. There are cachers who find and log caches by usins a phone app and which cannot even be contacted by e-mail and who never have logged into the website.

 

I know several respectable cachers in my area that use smartphones for their caching activities, but they know what they do and they are reachable for other cachers. Moreover they do not react annoyed or not at all when someone tells them something they might not have been aware of and they are glad whenever another cacher offers some support in case of problems.

 

The type of cachers that are the real issue are those who do not take any effort to inform themselves and also do not accept any sort of help and assistance. Many, but not all of them, are smartphone cachers, but is not the smartphone usage per se that causes the problem.

 

For that I wrote above I'm very sceptic about the idea of Community Liaisons (do not get me wrong - this certainly can be helpful for those who want to learn and to inform themselves). I think however that a solution is needed that forces those who are not willing to read some basic introduction material without any need to do so in order to be able to continue.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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Just a couple quibbles...

- when the user gets within 30 feet of the cache for the first couple times, open another wizard helping them to search. Explain "stop looking at the GPS, look with your eyes". Maybe customized based on the cache size.

 

- when the user is near a cache with trackables, or logs a cache with trackables, take them to another wizard explaining trackables. Again, another couple pages of text dealing with travel bugs, coins, etc ...

I don't think the right time to show the wizard is when they're approaching or near a cache. I think the right time to show the wizard is when they're first trying to view the cache data. I think that if you display it as they approach GZ, then they're more likely to just click through the wizard so they can get on with the game. You need to catch them at the beginning, rather than interrupting the game that is already in progress.

 

But otherwise, I like the idea of wizards that help explain geocaching to newbies using the Geocaching Intro app (and maybe Groundspeak's other smartphone apps).

 

I've always thought the gc app should have an easy way of hiding a cache too (yes, there will be comments about accuracy of coordinates obtained with a smart phone.)
I have to agree with K13. I don't think making it easier to list caches with the Geocaching Intro app is a good idea. In general, I don't think making it easier for newbies to list caches is a good idea. Cache ownership is a long-term commitment, and I don't mind if it takes a little extra work for newbies to figure out how to list a cache.

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An isolated incident with a new, Intro App user is a bigger issue when it is brought to the forums where the greater caching community takes offense. It's like we're a family or something.

 

When something happens in the field that might make the game worse instead of better, it only takes one example to set off the alert here in the forums. I think there is good reason for this. If TPTB aren't taking into account the ideas or sounded alarm bells the community (albeit a small sampling of) here in the forums has, it is a big missed oppportunity.

 

I really, really like this, from Crow_T_Robot:

I would think that emphasizing the spirit of geocaching (finding/exploring new locations, getting outdoors, taking a hike in the woods, being part of a community) over finding hundreds and hundreds of caches would be the best guidance a new cacher could learn. In the geocaching realm, Groundspeak really has no equal and the numbers aren't even close. You have no competition. Pushing quality over quantity isn't going to cost you any customers and will make the game much better for everyone.

 

Numbers are great, and the more caches you find, the more interesting, new, and fun outdoor experiences one will have. The ET highway is an experience in iteself, yes. And so is a hike to the top of a mountain. So is a smart urban cache with a twist.

 

The bottom line is that this game is not what it was in the beginning. It isn't what it was 8 years ago, or even 6 years ago when iPhones jumped on the market. I learned from a "mentor" in 3 caches on one day. (I was on my own after that, for the most part, but knew that I could always call or email if I had questions.) Others have taken initiative and been involved here in the forums to get more info on "proper" behaviour. However, others have had none of that whatsoever, and it can show.

 

If new cachers come to the game without a mentor, they might just be ok. We can all find someone in our caching communities where that is true. But, for the greater, global community, who comes to Groundspeak for their location-based site listing service, how is more "better" if they aren't of a standard which makes the game better?

 

Is it just the idea of getting more people to play? To get more people to upgrade their free app to a $10 app? Get more of those people to upgrade their basic membership to a Premium? I'm guessing that is all part of the plan. But, why not charge $1.99 for the intro app? Think of the service we geocachers provide to this website. Without our efforts, there are no caches for that newbie to hide. (Yelp has a lawsuit on their hands for a similar reason...) So, why not charge for the intro app?

 

And then, why not offer support for events--not just Megas? If it is more community and more community involvement Groundspeak wants, then that's what they should get. There is no better way to get new cachers involved than events (by some opinions). So, allocate the money from the intro app fee to the general event support fund. That way, if a local geocaching organization, group or individual wants to help Groundspeak educate the masses, they have some support to do so. Fill out a form for the event ahead of time, get your requested support approved or denied, and then get to it.

 

For example, GeocacheAlaska! has regular "EduVents" geared toward educating geocachers about everything from Geocaching 101, to Traveller Ettiquite, to Hiding Caches, to Partnering with Local Agencies. Why not help them educate the very cachers Groundspeak is luring in with their free Intro App, and other outreach actions? It is Groundspeak building the user base and the unpaid, non-contracted, thankless group of geocachers which place the very caches required to have something for these new cachers to find.

 

Educate for Groundspeak? Sure. But help me put on my events so that I can train these cachers in the ways of the game.

 

There's a plethora of PowerPoint presentations in the hands of Geocaching organizations all over the place. Groundspeak could take a peek at them, collaborate on aligning the message, and get a clear, concise, consistent message in presentations to be used by those who put on these educational events for them--currently without support, reimbursement, or recognition.

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Not an easy, NO WAY AT ALL!! Require the hiders to go to the website and read the guidelines and recommendations for hiding PRIOR to placing a cache. [ IF any type of cache placing is done through the app, it (the app) should include one of the waypoint averaging apps included. ]

 

The problem is many people hide caches today without reading the guidelines. If you made a way through the app to do this AND forced a walk through of some basics, it *might* help. At least it would be better than current state.

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I just wanted to say

Welcome chrmdome!

 

Seems you picked up the game well, and are well on your way.

I appreciated your insight in this thread too.

Happy caching!

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I'm with Neversummer and mdplayers: A simple intro screen that encourages newbies to learn a little would be a great addition. (And not too expensive to develop.)

I would also suggest something social in the intro app, to encourage new cachers to connect with the experienced community. The social aspect of signing in and understanding each others' puzzles is part of the nature of geocaching. I would suggest that the social nature of meeting and working with other cachers enhances the game and would really help newbies as well as preventing many of the "seagulls."

Send 'em my way - I'd love to meet some new folks and learn together.

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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.

 

Power Trails are a sub set of the P & G. Park & Grabs have always been with us, in fact the first cache ever placed and the one that started it all was a P & G. I think it is a good thing that geocaching has evolved into a multifaceted game in that there are widely different ways to cache. From the original P & G folks began to hide caches that you had to hike a bit to get to ( my favorites ) and in some cases use a boat or climbing gear in order to grab it. Different types of hides attract different cachers and many cachers like all types. Personally I don't care for puzzles but I chose not to whine about all the purple question marks. If you don't care for a particular type of hide or container or location then don't do them. Regarding power trails its considered good form to help with the trail....over the years I've probably assisted by placing over 100 caches of this sort and was thanked by the owners....you don't have to assist but if you do it keeps the trail in good shape for those that chose to do them.

Regarding Groundspeak catering to the numbers folks, why shouldn't they as they probably constitute a majority of their customers. I've met hundreds of cachers and the vast majority , while not numbers driven, like to find a hat full by the end of the day.

IMO re geocaching, variety is the spice of life.

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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.

 

Yes. In the comments they said:

We used the method where you swap out the container and while we drove from cache to cache, someone stamped our group stamp in the log...the freshly stamped cache would be swapped out at the next cache. We brought 50 film canisters to help with maintaining caches along the way.

 

This is the kind of thing that GC promotes (sigh).

 

And today's blog (power trail ET Highway promotion again, this time the head), has a photo of a partially buried pvc tube to hold a preform.

 

429c528b-433b-4192-981d-7dabcee54eb8.jpg

 

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And today's blog (power trail ET Highway promotion again, this time the head), has a photo of a partially buried pvc tube to hold a preform.

 

429c528b-433b-4192-981d-7dabcee54eb8.jpg

 

That is a very good hide technique.....when camo painted they bled right in to the desert and can be harder to spy out in the open than if covered with a clump of sage. Also being used is the preform, the best micro there is.

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Power Trails are a sub set of the P & G. Park & Grabs have always been with us, in fact the first cache ever placed and the one that started it all was a P & G.

I've heard that phrase tossed around the forums before...and I don't know how it started. I'm not sure how a trek out on random roads to an overgrown corner bend to find a bucket, when nobody else had really done it before makes it a P&G. The cache site certainly has become that today, as it has become a pilgrimage site. But hidden as a P&G? Not quite. You can't really compare that genesis cache to what P&G means nowadays, can you?

 

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled thread banter. :ph34r:

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And today's blog (power trail ET Highway promotion again, this time the head), has a photo of a partially buried pvc tube to hold a preform.

 

429c528b-433b-4192-981d-7dabcee54eb8.jpg

 

That is a very good hide technique.....when camo painted they bled right in to the desert and can be harder to spy out in the open than if covered with a clump of sage. Also being used is the preform, the best micro there is.

 

Yeah...you kinda missed the point...that it is BURIED and thus violates Groundspeak's own published guidelines.

 

It's just proof to me that not everyone, even those within Groundspeak and amongst those who do their media output, are not all on board or completely informed of the rules of the game.

Edited by J Grouchy

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...If you don't care for a particular type of hide or container or location then don't do them...

 

It has nothing to do with what type of hide it is.

 

It's:

1) that the hiders are placing caches they don't intend on maintaining and,

2) it defeats the purpose of having a physical cache with a log.

 

Why bother with 'find it, sign the log' etc, when there's no requirement to find anything? That 'finding' part will just slow you down.

 

Maybe one should get credit for just driving the length of the highway?

 

How about coming up with a 'Groundspeak E-Z Pass' transponder for your car?

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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.

 

Yes. In the comments they said:

We used the method where you swap out the container and while we drove from cache to cache, someone stamped our group stamp in the log...the freshly stamped cache would be swapped out at the next cache. We brought 50 film canisters to help with maintaining caches along the way.

 

This is the kind of thing that GC promotes (sigh).

 

And today's blog (power trail ET Highway promotion again, this time the head), has a photo of a partially buried pvc tube to hold a preform.

 

429c528b-433b-4192-981d-7dabcee54eb8.jpg

 

Wow, can I assume the entire alien head is comprised of preforms in buried PVC pipes. Caches that should be archived are published on the blog?!

 

If you were to create a piece of geo-art, what would it be and why? Tell us in the comments.

 

Great idea. I am going to do this and since I don't want to use puzzle caches to create my art, I am going to use this technique to place traditionals exactly where I need them to be. If it is on the blog, then it still must be okay to push PVC pipe into the ground. Even if that may have been allowed at one time, they wouldn't feature such a hide if they didn't want cachers to continue to do it.

Edited by fbingha

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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.

 

Yes. In the comments they said:

We used the method where you swap out the container and while we drove from cache to cache, someone stamped our group stamp in the log...the freshly stamped cache would be swapped out at the next cache. We brought 50 film canisters to help with maintaining caches along the way.

 

This is the kind of thing that GC promotes (sigh).

 

And today's blog (power trail ET Highway promotion again, this time the head), has a photo of a partially buried pvc tube to hold a preform.

 

429c528b-433b-4192-981d-7dabcee54eb8.jpg

 

Wow, can I assume the entire alien head is comprised of preforms in buried PVC pipes. Caches that should be archived are published on the blog?!

 

If you were to create a piece of geo-art, what would it be and why? Tell us in the comments.

 

Great idea. I am going to do this and since I don't want to use puzzle caches to create my art, I am going to use this technique to place traditionals exactly where I need them to be. If it is on the blog, then it still must be okay to push PVC pipe into the ground. Even if that may have been allowed at one time, they wouldn't feature such a hide if they didn't want cachers to continue to do it.

 

It's a complete communication breakdown. Some reviewers will not publish and archive such hides, while the blog highlights them? When the guidelines are openly ignored, they only serve to annoy those who are honest to their reviewer, and who get caught doing things that many others do. Personally, I don't have a problem with the hides, its the inconsistency that is disturbing. Since this is an off topic tangent perhaps it deserves its own thread.

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And today's blog (power trail ET Highway promotion again, this time the head), has a photo of a partially buried pvc tube to hold a preform.

 

429c528b-433b-4192-981d-7dabcee54eb8.jpg

 

That is a very good hide technique.....when camo painted they bled right in to the desert and can be harder to spy out in the open than if covered with a clump of sage. Also being used is the preform, the best micro there is.

 

Yeah...you kinda missed the point...that it is BURIED and thus violates Groundspeak's own published guidelines.

 

It's just proof to me that not everyone, even those within Groundspeak and amongst those who do their media output, are not all on board or completely informed of the rules of the game.

 

The CONTAINER isn't buried....it's inserted in to a piece of pipe stuck in the ground. If I balanced an ammo can on top of the pipe would the cache be buried ?

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And today's blog (power trail ET Highway promotion again, this time the head), has a photo of a partially buried pvc tube to hold a preform.

 

429c528b-433b-4192-981d-7dabcee54eb8.jpg

 

That is a very good hide technique.....when camo painted they bled right in to the desert and can be harder to spy out in the open than if covered with a clump of sage. Also being used is the preform, the best micro there is.

 

Yeah...you kinda missed the point...that it is BURIED and thus violates Groundspeak's own published guidelines.

 

It's just proof to me that not everyone, even those within Groundspeak and amongst those who do their media output, are not all on board or completely informed of the rules of the game.

 

The CONTAINER isn't buried....it's inserted in to a piece of pipe stuck in the ground. If I balanced an ammo can on top of the pipe would the cache be buried ?

How thick are you? It's not just the container that matters, but also the hide technique.

 

By your arguement, a cache would be just fine if I happened on a site, dug four post holes, erected a deck, and placed the cache on the deck.

 

Aaaaand, this isn't even about the OP. How can we get this back to that? Oh, I know...

 

Not only is the app a possible problem for introducing new cachers to the game, but the publications sent out via direct email campaigns, official facebook posts, and blog entries sends mixed messages about the guidelines. As a federal/state/local land manager, if I saw that blog post with the PVC tube as the installed housing for a geocache, I'd be really, really turned off to the idea of allowing caches on my managed lands. <_<

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Power Trails are a sub set of the P & G. Park & Grabs have always been with us, in fact the first cache ever placed and the one that started it all was a P & G.

I've heard that phrase tossed around the forums before...and I don't know how it started. I'm not sure how a trek out on random roads to an overgrown corner bend to find a bucket, when nobody else had really done it before makes it a P&G. The cache site certainly has become that today, as it has become a pilgrimage site. But hidden as a P&G? Not quite. You can't really compare that genesis cache to what P&G means nowadays, can you?

 

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled thread banter. :ph34r:

 

Really, its just blacktop highway and I left the engine running while we made the grab. Nothing wrong with the cache, I loved it and I will admit by today's standards it would be a P & G +.

What makes it special, I think, is the monument.

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And today's blog (power trail ET Highway promotion again, this time the head), has a photo of a partially buried pvc tube to hold a preform.

 

429c528b-433b-4192-981d-7dabcee54eb8.jpg

 

That is a very good hide technique.....when camo painted they bled right in to the desert and can be harder to spy out in the open than if covered with a clump of sage. Also being used is the preform, the best micro there is.

 

Yeah...you kinda missed the point...that it is BURIED and thus violates Groundspeak's own published guidelines.

 

It's just proof to me that not everyone, even those within Groundspeak and amongst those who do their media output, are not all on board or completely informed of the rules of the game.

 

The CONTAINER isn't buried....it's inserted in to a piece of pipe stuck in the ground. If I balanced an ammo can on top of the pipe would the cache be buried ?

How thick are you? It's not just the container that matters, but also the hide technique.

 

By your arguement, a cache would be just fine if I happened on a site, dug four post holes, erected a deck, and placed the cache on the deck.

 

Aaaaand, this isn't even about the OP. How can we get this back to that? Oh, I know...

 

Not only is the app a possible problem for introducing new cachers to the game, but the publications sent out via direct email campaigns, official facebook posts, and blog entries sends mixed messages about the guidelines. As a federal/state/local land manager, if I saw that blog post with the PVC tube as the installed housing for a geocache, I'd be really, really turned off to the idea of allowing caches on my managed lands. <_<

 

I might be thick ( in fact I kinda am ) but if you feel this depicts burial I'm sure not going to get you to do my funeral.

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I might be thick ( in fact I kinda am ) but if you feel this depicts burial I'm sure not going to get you to do my funeral.

 

We've been through this a million times already. Groundspeak's definition of 'buried' includes caches that are either fully or partially buried. If you have to dig or break ground to hide it, it's not allowed. There's nothing in the guidelines saying it can be buried if the landowner says OK. I think it's crazy that they highlight a cache which breaks the rules. Don't they realize all sorts of copycat caches will spring up?

 

• Geocaches are never buried, neither partially nor completely.

If one has to dig or create a hole in the ground when placing or finding a geocache, it is not allowed.

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I might be thick ( in fact I kinda am ) but if you feel this depicts burial I'm sure not going to get you to do my funeral.

The sad part of the no digging rule is that it means one thing to land managers and another thing to cachers.

 

The rule exist a because a common concern of land managers when decidining to allow geocaching is that caches may be buried. Various park and other aread have legitimate concern of people just arbitrarily digging.

 

Now initially the idea was that caches weren't buried in the ground. Finders would not be coming to a park with shovels, garden tools, or backhoes to dig up the ground looking for caches. In the early days one could partially bury something so long at the finder didn't need to dig to retrieve the cache.

 

Once they thought about it many land managers were not comfortable with even the hider digging. They could still cause damage if they dug in the wrong places. The guideline changed to no digging in order to either hide or find a cache. But the name "no bury" guideline remained.

 

The Alien Head caches appear to involve pushing a piece of PVC pipe into the sand or soft soil and using it as a host for the cache. There is no digging involved. However the most recent version of the "no bury/no digging" guideline says "no creating a hole" and a previous version said "no breaking soil". It may be debateable whether a PVC pipe pushed into sandy soil creates a hole. It is a little clearer that a PVC pipe pushed into the earth breaks soil. Depending on whether the guideline is "no bury", "no digging", "no breaking soil", or "no creating holes" the caches may or may not violate the guideline.

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Power Trails are a sub set of the P & G. Park & Grabs have always been with us, in fact the first cache ever placed and the one that started it all was a P & G.

I've heard that phrase tossed around the forums before...and I don't know how it started. I'm not sure how a trek out on random roads to an overgrown corner bend to find a bucket, when nobody else had really done it before makes it a P&G. The cache site certainly has become that today, as it has become a pilgrimage site. But hidden as a P&G? Not quite. You can't really compare that genesis cache to what P&G means nowadays, can you?

 

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled thread banter. :ph34r:

 

Really, its just blacktop highway and I left the engine running while we made the grab. Nothing wrong with the cache, I loved it and I will admit by today's standards it would be a P & G +.

What makes it special, I think, is the monument.

You clearly aren't familiar with what the area looked like pre-pilgrimage site. <_<

 

If you were, you'd know how you've got it wrong. And, you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to find that even the Tribute Plaque was, in the beginning, quite obscured by ferns and foliage.

 

But, alas, I've been baited in again by trolling... :blink:<_<

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The topic of this thread is the Intro App... not buried caches or park and grabs, we have plenty of threads for those topics. Intro App discussions belong here.

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Power Trails are a sub set of the P & G.

Poop is a sub set of bovines.

That doesn't mean it's an acceptable condiment for a hamburger. <_<

 

That is a very good hide technique.

No. It's a very good container.

The hide technique violates the guidelines.

Ergo, it sucks.

 

Power Trails are a sub set of the P & G. Park & Grabs have always been with us, in fact the first cache ever placed and the one that started it all was a P & G.

I've heard that phrase tossed around the forums before...and I don't know how it started

It was started in a woefully sad and desperate attempt to equate something historic and, at the time, incredibly innovative, with the lowest common denominator in our 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...

 

Can't say it's a problem where we are. Perhaps with the greater population of CA the numbers of offenders is going to be greater.

We have seen a few blow by here. They just seem to do a bit of armchair logging, get bored, then move on. Some may take it up, good for them. I'm not about to rush off and PM all my caches.

For many it will be a 5 second fad then they'll move on and harass someone else, or grow up.

Can't see it killing the hobby but time will tell.

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Here's the suggestions I like so far:

 

1. 5 cache limit to the free intro app - then it directs you to sign-up online (with proper email verification) for continued access. I think this is a very fair compromise for both cachers and Groundspeak.

2. Tip of the Day - for all app users and website visitors! One can never learn too much!

3. More how-to videos - maybe it's time to media-tize the Knowledge Books?

 

May I also suggest:

 

4. Community Liaisons - experienced cachers who are willing to be mentors to the community. They would have an special icon next to their name on their cache logs so that other people would know who they could reach out to if they had a question. These liaisons could also be a volunteer Welcoming Committee - sending a "Hello!" email when they notice new names in the caching neighbourhood.

 

We discovered geocaching through a travel magazine and simply took it upon ourselves to learn what we needed to know to do it "right". We are readers. We read the forums, we read the blog, we read the Knowledge Books specific to the questions we want answered. There is no such thing as tl;dr in our family. :lol:

Think you left off one.

 

4. Can't place a cache until they sign up and get their email verified.

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There is the very rare but highly annoying problem of cache vandals. The app makes it possible to commit "crimes of convenience" - something that would take far more effort if one had to log into the website, make an account, download caches one by one, etc... We had some punk kids steal some caches in the six-block radius their mommies let them play in, but once school started they found other things to do.

 

GeocachingDestroyers

and when that account was locked

GCdestroyersReturn

 

But, it is very rare. I only bring it up because I had an example of unvalidated members causing real grief.

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Groundspeak appears to be run more like a typical office rather than money oriented, as a few people have mentioned. The INTRO APP is just a poor idea in this type of hobby. This is how I picture it:

 

Dwight writes the guidelines

Dwight-Schrute-e1348497114443.jpeg

 

Kevin writes the blog

Kevin+Malone.+OC+by+me_998677_3208149.png

 

Andy releases the INTRO APP

andy-andy-bernard-22624931-380-370.jpg

 

Then Pam comes into the forum and tries to explain things

pam-halpert-1.jpg

Edited by 4wheelin_fool

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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.

 

Um. A business deciding that profits are less important than integrity?

 

Seriously. Groundspeak is a business. They need only 2 things to survive. Profits and a players. I think they have plenty of both

 

I'm one of those players. Smartphone mostly. Found it in the App Store when I got my first iPhone.

With countless pages of free apps, it's silly to think anybody will buy the full right away. (I did). Later on I downloaded the free app to see what it was like and it was horrible. I wouldn't have stayed caching if I couldn't afford the full app. That intro app was awful.

 

I like the email validation

I like more money being put into making the into app look more like the real app

I like a fixed number of hides being available before the upgrade

I like community liaisons

I like that we take some responsibility to upbringing of newbies

 

I started off in a community that was NOT friendly to noobs. At all. If I logged a DNF the next few finders would make mention in their log how easy it was when you're not a newbie, or how real geocachers wouldn't have a problem with this find, or how they can't imagine how anybody could DNF such a cache.

 

It made it really hard for me in the beginning.

 

Back then, the forums said I'd never find a micro with my iPhone, never hid a cache with my iPhone, iPhone users were the death of geocaching, newbies were ruining the game, iPhone users write terrible logs, and so on and so forth.

 

and we wonder why they leave the game right away.

Edited by JesandTodd

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I'm a newbie to Geocaching that came to the "game/sport", not sure which it is, by way of my sons' Cub Scout Pack doing a Geocaching activity. I downloaded the app and out of curiosity to see what's around realized there was one next to my office at work. I was intrigued so on lunch hour I walked to where the phone said it should be. I looked and looked for almost my whole hour and got skunked. I logged the dnf and went back to work. It bugged me that I couldn't find it and went online to learn more about geocaching and this one in particular. I started seeing there were hints on some of the caches. I looked at the hint on this dnf and after work went back and found the cache. That silly rush of the search and find hooked me. That night I took my 1 son to his soccer practice and my other son went looking for nearby caches. My son found his first and was hooked and we found our first TB. I didn't even know what it was but read the verbage on the tb and realized this must be something that gets moved around from cache to cache. That further hooked me. Fast forward a little over a month and I'm in deep. I'm closing in on 100 found and look daily for new caches. I've solved a couple puzzles a couple multis etc and really want to get into it. Right now I use a combination of the phone app, premium version that I bought after about a week, and my Gamin Forerunner 305 that I had from previous running/mountainbiking. It's not always the most accurate but it's what I can afford for now. I have my sights set on a Garmin 62s-stc one day. I hear you guys on your frustration with us new guys but give us a chance to learn. There's a lot to this geocaching stuff that comes from ojt and making mistakes. I try to be considerate of others and use the golden rule when finding, rehiding, trackables, swag etc. I'm not sure if I would have bought the app if it wasn't free so I'm torn on that issue. I see the point of everyone getting it b/c it's free and not learning more about the game but I also know many people will probably become hooked like I did and see it as a good thing. I like the videos on the home page and the 101 section and I'll be honest I haven't explored it as much as I should and will fix that this weekend...lol. I think we should try to be as helpful as possible to new cachers to help grow the sport the right way with people who do it the right way b/c that's the only way they know. I've had an experienced cacher reach out to me and it was very helpful and I did appreciate it. Don't discount the impact you can have in a positive way through a quick message with a tip or hint or welcome. Thank you guys for this awesome game I really dig it and will be playing going forward.

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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.

 

Um - no, Microdot didn't say that.

 

He didn't disagree with it - but he didn't say it.

Edited by Team Microdot

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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.

 

Um - no, Microdot didn't say that.

 

He didn't disagree with it - but he didn't say it.

 

My apologies. I hit the multi quote button and apparently missed the wriong quote tag. I'll fix it...

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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.

 

Um - no, Microdot didn't say that.

 

He didn't disagree with it - but he didn't say it.

 

My apologies. I hit the multi quote button and apparently missed the wriong quote tag. I'll fix it...

 

Thanks for that - I can already get into enough trouble on here all by myself :D

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I gave this one a little thought although I'm not completely convinced that there is an issue. However, if there is an issue then this is my suggestion.

 

Create a new cache type. The INTRO cache. Give it it's own icon. I know, I know, but bear with me. I'm going somewhere good with this. This new cache type will be the only caches that someone using the intro app can see. The INTRO caches will be caches that you would take someone too if you were introducing them to geocaching. An INTRO cache would have no or minimal camouflaging, low terrain and difficulty ratings, a park and grab or a short hike, no special equipment required, etc. This will also allow reviewers to do a sanity check on INTRO caches for things like low terrain and difficulty ratings, and appropriate location for someone who's never found a geocache before.

 

A new icon will be a benefit by encouraging experienced geocachers to hide INTRO caches so that there is a good number of INTRO caches to be found. It will also signal experienced geocachers to the fact that the cache will most likely need a little more TLC than most other caches.

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It seems like a lot of us like the idea of tips or wizards popping up on the intro app. Great idea provided that each one has a link with something like, "More information is available on geocaching.com", which opens up their browser to the relevant help article.

 

Perhaps a one of these tips could be a modification of one of my signature lines. "Geocaching is more than a smartphone game", which links to a page that explains the community aspects of the game that some of us that started years ago have learned to appreciate. It can also be linked to a directory of local upcoming events.

 

The Community Liaison, with an icon next to our name in the logs is a good idea, but we're still stuck with the fact that we need them to go to the web site to see the logs and icons.

 

Email validation sounds like a no brainer, but there is an issue. I have a 20 year old coworker. He spends his entire break and lunch on his smartphone. He keeps in contact with all of his friends through social media, IM and text. I have never once seen him actually make or answer a phone call. He does not own a PC/Mac or a laptop, but he is totally connected through that phone. Since I don't have a smartphone and I abhor texting, especially since it is almost impossible to accomplish with my $20 flip phone, I asked him for his email address so I could email him something. He said he didn't know what it was and that no one that he knows uses email. To him, email is obsolete. The younger generation may never have a need for email except in a business setting and they may not have computers except for tablets and smartphones. If we force them to set up a web mail account to validate their account, what assurances are there that it won't be totally ignored going forward.

Edited by Don_J

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Forced training wizards on the free app could help:

 

- first time you search with it, make the user walk through a training wizard explaining a few basics about the game. A page about trading, another page about travel bugs, another page about rehiding the cache properly, that sort of thing. Probably 5-6 pages of short paragraphs with a graphic per page would help educate people about the basics.

 

- when the user gets within 30 feet of the cache for the first couple times, open another wizard helping them to search. Explain "stop looking at the GPS, look with your eyes". Maybe customized based on the cache size.

 

- when the user is near a cache with trackables, or logs a cache with trackables, take them to another wizard explaining trackables. Again, another couple pages of text dealing with travel bugs, coins, etc ...

 

- first time they log a cache with the free app, another wizard explains how you should log. "Cache owners are exciting to see you find their cache. A write up of your experience, favorite parts about the cache are appreciated ... your experiences help the cache owners and other cachers enjoy the game to it's fullest."

 

Of course all these wizards would only be shown the first time or few times, but forcing a walk through can help.

 

I've always thought the gc app should have an easy way of hiding a cache too (yes, there will be comments about accuracy of coordinates obtained with a smart phone.) Place a "Hide a cache" option prominently on the app, that would again walk them through a wizard on hiding. If they haven't found any caches yet, don't prevent them from hiding but "strongly encourage" them to find at least a few caches.

 

As I was reading the first page of replies, I was thinking to myself that the free app needs to be more of an "Introduction To Geocaching" rather than a limited version of the full feature app. I think ChileHead nailed it beautifully. You are allowing people to find caches in the real world, but you are also breaking things down into important, quick, and easy steps as you move through the process of finding a cache. If I were a newbie, I would MUCH rather do that than to sit through several "How To" movies, or take a short quiz. First impressions are very important. Users are still "reading the rules" but they are reading them as they need to know the information. The wizards should be active on every cache in the free app.

 

I'm certainly no expert in geocaching, but I think that you have two things going on at the same time and they may or may not be related to each other: 1.) there is no doubt that the hobby of geocaching has gained substantial popularity in recent years, and 2.) smartphone use for geocaching will increase as the coverage and technology continues to get better.

 

As a smartphone cacher, I went to my first bash a few months ago and I was blown away at how few smartphone users there were. "You're using THAT to find caches?" (On the other hand, you probably won't find a lot of newbies at a bash either.) Completely removing the free app will alienate a growing segment of geocachers. A simple survey conducted by GS could reveal if there is a correlation between smartphone usage and the amount of time they have been active as a cacher. The data could give you a glimpse at how smartphone users are affecting the game.

 

Other good ideas/points in this thread:

- email verification

- limiting the free "Introduction to Geocaching" to 5 caches

- putting more "How To" movies on the main web site (especially true for trackables). Side note: the whole process of logging trackables is not very intuitive for the newbie)

- Tip of the day

- community liaisons

- the idea that, as users, we are all stewards of the game and emphasize to newbies that it is OK to reach out to other cachers for advice

- a huge number of users (newbies and the experienced) NEVER read the forums, blogs, FB posts, etc.

 

By the way Chilehead, I love the "Hide a Cache" idea in the full feature app, but not in the free one.

 

Looking forward to reading more posts in this thread.

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