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Geocaching HQ

Release Notes - April 7, 2015

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Thanks for your continued work towards improving the tools intended to make Geocaching fun & easy. :D

 

I can see the merit in an in-system chat function but my question here is whether you have a working group of "in the field" (i.e.: not lackeys) geocachers you are working with to understand various important workflows in your development process.

 

We gather insights through a number of different channels. This hasn't always been the case, with the expected missteps, and geocachers have a long memory so I don't blame people for being skeptical. In my 11 years as a Lackey, however, I can say that what is happening now is totally new.

 

The requirements gathering for this project began almost a year ago in this thread. Since then we have gone out into the community to speak to geocachers, hosted innovation games at HQ, ran surveys, invited geocachers to the office for in-person usability testing sessions, and set up a playtester group of active forum participants to help us vet out new features before they are released. I am sure as we mature in this process we'll add other channels as well.

 

It seems a current theme in this thread (with which I agree as it was my #1 concern in testing the tool) is the mismatch between end-user need and developer expectations. Most specifically around the point advertised as the chat system to be used for submitting answers for EarthCaches (and virtuals). So let's take virtuals right out of the discussion for the moment as they are grandfathered ergo the assumption is Geocaching.com would like them to just go away eventually.

 

It seems to me that there would be several of us out here willing to work with your development team (business/process analysts?) to help you understand our expected workflow in not only discovering & logging, but also approving answers for EarthCaches. These are - and assumedly will remain - an important part of the game.

 

Agreed, they are important. Perhaps we jumped the gun by advertising the Message Center as a solution for EC/Virt communication before several planned features are implemented. The release yesterday is only the first phase (a beta) of a multi-phase plan that lays the foundation for a robust system of communication. It's not done, and we're not either. We are setting aside ample time to continue iterating on this new feature until it works for you.

 

Perhaps the bigger question is why there is a feeling from the user community that we are "out here" and not deeper engaged in the development of functional requirements? I thought a role had recently been hired at Geocaching.com to do exactly that? Perhaps we need a bit more exposure to that person and how we can collaborate earlier in the development process.

 

You're talking about Jayme, and she's awesome. We blogged about her a few months back. I appreciate that people want more access and participation in the development process, so we'll keep thinking of ways to be inclusive. One way to participate today is to visit the User Insights subforum and put a watch on it to be notified when there are active threads.

 

Erasing those feelings of being "out here" while HQ is "in there" is one of my top priorities. For some those feelings are deeply imbedded, but I feel like the decisions we're making today and the actions we take tomorrow will create a new historical record that geocachers can look back on and know that we're listening.

 

All that said, I personally am very happy to help however I can in making the game better, so please feel free to contact me if that's of any value.

 

Thanks, and have an awesome week.

 

Cache safely, and cache often.

LANMonkey

(Vancouver, BC)

 

Podcaster, vlogger, & IT Project Manager.

 

Thank you!

 

Nate

Product Manager

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We gather insights through a number of different channels. This hasn't always been the case, with the expected missteps, and geocachers have a long memory so I don't blame people for being skeptical. In my 11 years as a Lackey, however, I can say that what is happening now is totally new.

 

The requirements gathering for this project began almost a year ago in this thread. Since then we have gone out into the community to speak to geocachers, hosted innovation games at HQ, ran surveys, invited geocachers to the office for in-person usability testing sessions, and set up a playtester group of active forum participants to help us vet out new features before they are released.

 

Somehow I just wonder whether with this approach you reach those who prefer to be able to continue to use the tools they have got used to and do not want to be forced to deal with tools which are more complicated for them to use and which do not offer them any advantages as they do not belong to your main target group which apparently seems to be cachers who use smartphones, prefer modern designs and like changes.I do understand that Groundspeak wants to appeal to that group, but I guess it would be important to do so without alienating those who got used to certain tools and want to continue to use them and for whom geocaching is not a technology based activity.

 

Innovation games played at mega events have been brought up before, but do not forget to take into account that a lot of cachers never would attend a mega event and even if they attended one, would not have the slightest interest into taking part into innovation games.

 

Somehow with your approach you have a bias towards people who want something to be changed.

 

Perhaps we jumped the gun by advertising the Message Center as a solution for EC/Virt communication before several planned features are implemented.

The release yesterday is only the first phase (a beta) of a multi-phase plan that lays the foundation for a robust system of communication. It's not done, and we're not either. We are setting aside ample time to continue iterating on this new feature until it works for you.

 

I'm sorry, but I cannot see a way how the new system (even if the app integration is available) should provide a more robust system of communication.

Even if you increased the message length from 1000 up to 5000 characters, there still would exist the major issues of having to log into the system instead of being able to read the messages and reply to them outside of Groundspeak's site and the issue that some users can be blocked.

 

When I receive mails for my virtual, I usually reply very quickly. With the message system it would take me much longer and it could easily happen that I would overlook messages at all.

Please do not turn the site into something Facebook like and offer more choices for the users.

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For me, the new messaging system is overkill and not needed at all.

 

I am running the page with GClittlehelper, that adds a nice envelope next to each username in every place. Clicking that, I am directed to the contact form, with prefilled salutation, the cache/trackable/log I am referring to (incl. URL to that). I just need to type my message, click send and I am done. The rest of the conversation is done via email, a proven and stable way of communication in a very fast and easy way; already done and perfectly working on MANY devices.

 

Please stop investing time in this new messaging system. What we have today is more than enough.

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Rather than criticize the short-comings of the new (beta) messaging system here, I'd like to thank Groundspeak for doing two things :

 

1) not removing the old system immediately.

 

2) seeking feedback in the survey

 

These were lacking in some previous feature roll-outs, and I think many of us appreciate it. I know I do. Thank you.

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I like the new beta messaging system. I have tested it and have also given feedback through the survey.

 

But - I do not get any email notifications since the new release, neither on my caches nor on new publishs.

I have checked my spam folder - there is nothing.

I am just getting nothing anymore.

Why???

:(

 

Please tell me it will come back :o .

Greetings from Germany!

Nicky

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I think there are a couple of major flaws with the current feedback/development process:

1. The feedback process, as pointed out by cezanne, will tend to be biased toward those who are technical or would like to see change. There needs to be more of an effort to engage non-technical users or those who like things the way they are.

2. There needs to be more collaboration after the feedback phase. After you've collected the feedback and come up with some rough concepts (e.g. a chat system, enhanced email system, etc.), bounce those ideas off of the general public and see what they say. If we had been told that one of the potential ideas was a chat system, we could have pointed out that this would not be a viable 1:1 replacement for the current email system and other concepts could be investigated. It would be far better to revisit concepts early in the design phase, rather than develop something that in the end won't be viable, then try to retroactively "fix" it.

 

Here's my opinion regarding this new chat system:

At best, it will be a supplement to the current email system. For the reasons detailed in this discussion, it will never be a viable replacement for the current system, so the current system will need to remain in place for the indefinite future. Personally, I feel it would have been far more productive to either enhance the current system, or replace it with a new - but similar - email system with improvements and using new technology. However, like the new Search tool, I fear too much time and resources have been invested already to throw it away and start again, so it's likely going to stay around. All I ask is that the current system remain in place, and that years from now when you start considering a new communication system again, you collaborate with your members to find out what they really need before running headlong into the development phase.

 

I was lucky enough to snag a seat in one of the feedback sessions before this year's Block Party, and I very much look forward to providing my feedback. Trust me, you're going to get a lot of feedback! :laughing:

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#1 issue for me is: Can we please have a profile setting to deflect incoming messages to email? Thank you. I prefer to live outside the walled garden.

 

+1

+2

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Please send the contents of the message in the email notification, as we'll then have the choice of which way to use the system. As it is, it's clunky and an annoying extra step for those of us not constantly on the site. TPTB seem to be keen on a Facebook or Twitter style social network, but there are plenty of us who aren't interested in that aspect.

 

And for Pete's sake dump the cutesy fluttering envelope white space and make the text box more of a useful size. :blink:

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#1 issue for me is: Can we please have a profile setting to deflect incoming messages to email? Thank you. I prefer to live outside the walled garden.

 

+1

+2

 

+3

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Please send the contents of the message in the email notification, as we'll then have the choice of which way to use the system. As it is, it's clunky and an annoying extra step for those of us not constantly on the site. TPTB seem to be keen on a Facebook or Twitter style social network, but there are plenty of us who aren't interested in that aspect.

 

And for Pete's sake dump the cutesy fluttering envelope white space and make the text box more of a useful size. :blink:

 

+1

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Please send the contents of the message in the email notification, as we'll then have the choice of which way to use the system. As it is, it's clunky and an annoying extra step for those of us not constantly on the site. TPTB seem to be keen on a Facebook or Twitter style social network, but there are plenty of us who aren't interested in that aspect.

 

And for Pete's sake dump the cutesy fluttering envelope white space and make the text box more of a useful size. :blink:

 

+1

 

+2

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I think we've made our thoughts clear. Now, I'd like to hear from someone at Groundspeak about what they think about the new Message Center. Since you're the ones that designed it, I'd like to hear what benefits you feel it has over the current email system, besides the ability to attach images.

 

Come on, sell it to us! Convince us that it's a good thing! :laughing:

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It's being touted as an easier way to send answers for an Earthcache. When I send my verification for one, I'm at my computer, looking at the cache page. I click the CO name which takes me to their profile page. I click to send a message (email) and am taken to the page where I write my message to them. Pretty straight-forward.

To use the new messaging feature, I click the Messaging tab at the top of a page, and am taken to the Message Center. I then have to remember the CO name to start typing in the To: box. I then must select his name from the dropdown list (hoping I have selected the right name) and type a message.

 

The New Message feature requires more clicks and typing before I can start my message, provided I remember the name to type then select. How is this easier?

 

<I won't even get into how unappealing and clumsy the Message Center page looks.>

Edited by K13

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We’ll be the first to admit it: contacting other geocachers hasn’t always been the easiest thing to do on Geocaching.com. We heard your feedback and that’s why we’ve created the brand new Message Center beta.

 

With this new feature, you can send and receive messages from Geocaching.com. It’s still in beta testing, which is why we’d love your feedback for the final release. After you send a few messages, fill out this survey and tell us what you think.

 

Thank you!

 

While this new message center may need some tuning, it is an excellent addition to the website for reasons which should be immediately obvious:

1) Easy to see your message history with another user

2) Sometimes you need to exchange messages with another geocacher but don't want them to have your email address. Repeatedly going to their profile page is a clunkier method.

3) Communication is all logged in case of harassment or other problems.

Edited by Joshism

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I'd like to see a method for disabling it altogether. I have no need of it.

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Just did a quick little test.

 

Too much whitespace

 

the message in my email says I have to log in to get the message sent from another player. The message could have easily been included in the email, saving clicks and time.

 

Why create complexity?

 

Nice to be able to add pictures

 

Cache Happy

Edited by Mockingbird559

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Just did a quick little test.

 

Too much whitespace

 

the message in my email says I have to log in to get the message sent from another player. The message could have easily been included in the email, saving clicks and time.

 

Why create complexity?

 

Nice to be able to add pictures

 

Cache Happy

 

From the FAQ:

 

Why can I not see the content of the message when I receive a notification to my email?

 

Good question. There is a technical limitation on how the notification is triggered. Be sure to tell us what you think in the survey.

 

 

(I do not know what this technical limitation might be, but it seems to me that it should have been a red flag for the developers before continuing. I think that is a serious shortcoming)

 

Speaking of the FAQ, this, to me, speaks volumes:

 

Will Message Center be available in the Geocaching Intro app?

 

Absolutely! We will be launching a beta version of Message Center in the Geocaching Intro app for both iPhone and Android in the near future. So yes! You'll be able to talk with your fellow geocachers on the go.

 

 

May I ask why the free intro app only, and not the app that cost many of us $10? I'm very curious to know if this whole thing was at least, in part, done as an answer to our complaints about free app users without validated emails. Will this let us contact the new kids about TBs and logs and such? Is that why you chose to put it into the free app instead of the paid one?

Edited by knowschad

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#1 issue for me is: Can we please have a profile setting to deflect incoming messages to email? Thank you. I prefer to live outside the walled garden.

 

+1

+2

 

+3

+4 definitely, mail has a complete working infro structure for searching, sorting, archiving

this new messaging is just an additional feature for the phone-geocachers

not for those who work on more elaborate caches using their desktop for preparation or maintenance of their mystery or earth caches.

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I do not understand, why you don't improve existing messaging with new features used in the new center.

 

The new system has the additional benefit:

- Autocompletion Nick, whom I want to write

- Sending pictures

- Autocomplete links to TB, GC or geokeše

- Backup of messages sent and received, if sent to the GS.

 

But you can upgrade existing systems without any problems with these things and for many people the process will be far more beneficial than new "message center".

Do not take our ability to use email to normal communicate! I do not want for each message lengthy to log in to the geocaching.com to use system like "facebook"!

For user only applications surely goes in the email link to answer them in their account at geocaching.com!

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Just a quick comparison between the "old" and the "new".

 

Old:

 

Firefox + Greasemonkeyscript GCLittleHelper

  • go to cachelistng
  • Click envelope
  • Type Text
  • Click Send Message
  • wait for answer in your mailbox

 

Without the script there's 1 extra click (cachelisting >> CO profile >> send message)

 

send_message.jpg

 

New Messagecenter:

 

  • go to cachelisting
  • make a note of the CO name
  • Click Messagecenter
  • Type CO name
  • Choose if more than one result
  • Type message
  • Click send
  • wait for mail that there's a new message
  • Go to website
  • Click messagecenter
  • read message

 

Now, what's more user friendly? <_<

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New Messagecenter:

 

  • go to cachelisting
  • make a note of the CO name
  • ...

Of course, you can't really just "make a note of the CO name", since the "a cache by" field is just text and can be something other than the CO's handle. So really you have to go to the CO's profile, from which you could just click the "send mail" link, making your point even more obvious.

 

To be fair, though, I can't believe they aren't planning on adding a "send message" link to the profile page after they're more satisfied with the main message sending page which is the only part of the feature they've actually rolled out.

 

Still, the FAQ clearly claims this would be easier with the new system, so you'd think they'd at least explain why, in the future, it might be easier, since as you've so carefully shown, currently it's not even remotely easy, let alone easier.

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To be fair, though, I can't believe they aren't planning on adding a "send message" link to the profile page after they're more satisfied with the main message sending page which is the only part of the feature they've actually rolled out.

 

I'm sure that's in the list, and I'd like to also see a quick link on the cache page (at least for earthcaches, if not all) for "Message cache owner" that would take you right to the message center ready to type & send.

 

The "old" way I assume is not going away any time soon, so hopefully people can play with both systems and let the new one improve until the functionality is better and faster than the email option.

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Glad to hear Jayme is still employed, I was concerned when Moun10bike seemed to have taken over the insights forum.

 

Leave the old email method alone! Like some have said why have to log onto site to send answers. This messaging thing should be a whole separate entity from that.

 

ALSO, why only one person can be sent a message, would like the ability to send to multiples. Like hey tom dick and harry, check out the log on this cache we couldn't find last week. What do you guys think??

 

AND, a setting to turn it off it one doesn't want it at all. Not everyone does apparently.

 

I too liked the greasemonkey+Firefox mail to but I stopped using Firefox. I would have like that to be implemented to send email to user that way that worked.

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I noticed two issues:

 

1. I'm not getting the little yellow circle stating that I have # of new mesages. Using the latest Firefox browser.

 

2. My Samsung Galaxy tablet running the latest Jellybean OS doesn't like the message centre at all. It gives me a communication error.

 

BUT - I much prefer this style of messaging platform. As it is in beta, I hope to see a near-future increase in the character limit and the entire message sent with the email notification.

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Thank-you OpinioNate for taking the time to provide such a thorough answer for myself and other readers.

 

It seems clear our comments about using the notification/messaging system for logging/responding to EC/Virt caches has been heard, so hopefully we can leave that one with the development team as accepted feedback.

 

I was speaking of Jayme, and thank-you for the links, I've now followed your advice to get engaged in the User Insights subforum.

 

I'm working with local geocaching friends to continue to test out the new messaging tool in various scenarios, and have found the open discussion in this forum helpful in exploring how others communicate inside and outside of the game.

 

I'm still trying to figure out how to hear about & participate in the innovation games, but hopefully I'll eventually find some information on that.

 

Have an excellent day,

LANMonkey

 

Thanks for your continued work towards improving the tools intended to make Geocaching fun & easy. :D

 

I can see the merit in an in-system chat function but my question here is whether you have a working group of "in the field" (i.e.: not lackeys) geocachers you are working with to understand various important workflows in your development process.

 

We gather insights through a number of different channels. This hasn't always been the case, with the expected missteps, and geocachers have a long memory so I don't blame people for being skeptical. In my 11 years as a Lackey, however, I can say that what is happening now is totally new.

 

The requirements gathering for this project began almost a year ago in this thread. Since then we have gone out into the community to speak to geocachers, hosted innovation games at HQ, ran surveys, invited geocachers to the office for in-person usability testing sessions, and set up a playtester group of active forum participants to help us vet out new features before they are released. I am sure as we mature in this process we'll add other channels as well.

 

It seems a current theme in this thread (with which I agree as it was my #1 concern in testing the tool) is the mismatch between end-user need and developer expectations. Most specifically around the point advertised as the chat system to be used for submitting answers for EarthCaches (and virtuals). So let's take virtuals right out of the discussion for the moment as they are grandfathered ergo the assumption is Geocaching.com would like them to just go away eventually.

 

It seems to me that there would be several of us out here willing to work with your development team (business/process analysts?) to help you understand our expected workflow in not only discovering & logging, but also approving answers for EarthCaches. These are - and assumedly will remain - an important part of the game.

 

Agreed, they are important. Perhaps we jumped the gun by advertising the Message Center as a solution for EC/Virt communication before several planned features are implemented. The release yesterday is only the first phase (a beta) of a multi-phase plan that lays the foundation for a robust system of communication. It's not done, and we're not either. We are setting aside ample time to continue iterating on this new feature until it works for you.

 

Perhaps the bigger question is why there is a feeling from the user community that we are "out here" and not deeper engaged in the development of functional requirements? I thought a role had recently been hired at Geocaching.com to do exactly that? Perhaps we need a bit more exposure to that person and how we can collaborate earlier in the development process.

 

You're talking about Jayme, and she's awesome. We blogged about her a few months back. I appreciate that people want more access and participation in the development process, so we'll keep thinking of ways to be inclusive. One way to participate today is to visit the User Insights subforum and put a watch on it to be notified when there are active threads.

 

Erasing those feelings of being "out here" while HQ is "in there" is one of my top priorities. For some those feelings are deeply imbedded, but I feel like the decisions we're making today and the actions we take tomorrow will create a new historical record that geocachers can look back on and know that we're listening.

 

All that said, I personally am very happy to help however I can in making the game better, so please feel free to contact me if that's of any value.

 

Thanks, and have an awesome week.

 

Cache safely, and cache often.

LANMonkey

(Vancouver, BC)

 

Podcaster, vlogger, & IT Project Manager.

 

Thank you!

 

Nate

Product Manager

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To be fair, though, I can't believe they aren't planning on adding a "send message" link to the profile page after they're more satisfied with the main message sending page which is the only part of the feature they've actually rolled out.

 

I'm sure that's in the list, and I'd like to also see a quick link on the cache page (at least for earthcaches, if not all) for "Message cache owner" that would take you right to the message center ready to type & send.

 

I hope that will not come as it encourages messages via this system which is not compatible with e-mail which is the format preferred by a large group of owners of caches who get regularly mails about their caches.

 

The "old" way I assume is not going away any time soon, so hopefully people can play with both systems and let the new one improve until the functionality is better and faster than the email option.

 

I do hope that the old way will never go away and I'm convinced that the new system can never become better than the old one per design. The mails I receive and sent for my caches are my own beef - they do not belong on Groundspeak's server and it would hardly make sense to invest that much time into a system with folders, filters etc with all the functionality which is already available in modern e-mail systems.

 

I tried some of the shorter ones of the recent mails I got with regard to my caches and which I still have in my folders in the message field and not a single of them fitted.

Edited by cezanne

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I'm sure that's in the list, and I'd like to also see a quick link on the cache page (at least for earthcaches, if not all) for "Message cache owner" that would take you right to the message center ready to type & send.

I'd much rather see a "e-mail cache owner" link that would do the same for sending external e-mail.

 

Indeed, every comment along the lines of "don't worry, this message center will start to seem useful after they get around to adding X" makes me think, "Yeah, but adding X to the existing e-mail system would be even more useful."

 

Thank-you OpinioNate for taking the time to provide such a thorough answer for myself and other readers.

 

It seems clear our comments about using the notification/messaging system for logging/responding to EC/Virt caches has been heard, so hopefully we can leave that one with the development team as accepted feedback.

Not that I want to complain about OpinioNate's contribution, but since my comment was asking for some glimmer of how they could say it will be easier to send in EarthCache responses even taking future plans into account, I disagree that his response shows I've been heard.

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I'd like to see a method for disabling it altogether. I have no need of it.

 

+1

 

I've tested the message center only a little bit, and yes, it's working, but I really don't need it!

I don't want to have to log in to read messages from other cachers: I'm happy with email and it's a much quicker way for me to answer.

 

So is there a way to disable this new system? I've read that one can block other cachers by name, but really: I don't want to have to do this with all registered cachers!

 

I can imagine that this system might be a very nice add-on for some people, and of course they should use it.

 

My intention is to go geocaching and not to use the website as a new communication platform. So please give a way to switch it off to those who don't want to use it! Thanks!

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I've only used the new Message Center once (someone sent me a message) and have not yet responded to the survey.

 

There is no confirmation that the message was sent. Also, there is no e-mail notification to the sender of the message, as there can be with the previously existing e-mail method.

 

I am concerned about the number of half-finished experiments around here.

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I think I'm starting to see what might be going on behind the scenes. Here's my theory, based on evidence found in forum discussions:

 

It's been pretty evident that resources (ie. developer time) are fairly limited. I think what's happening is that to save time, pre-made, third-party modules and libraries are being used so the developers don't have to create functionality completely from scratch. There's been at least one confirmed instance of this happening: the ability to attach a photo to a message in the new Message Center (see this post).

 

While I completely understand why this is done and think it can be a good thing in some cases, it also means there will likely be some compromises. It's very unlikely that any third-party module will do exactly what we or Groundspeak want, but it may be "close enough". This could explain why we see some things that don't quite fit with what people want; it's because that's how the third-party designed it. What we end up with is someone else's solution being shoehorned into this website, sometimes with a square peg/round hole feel.

 

I'm not sure that anything can really be done about this, but I think this could be why we've been seeing what we've been seeing recently with the new search, site layout, and Message Center.

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SO someone sends me a message and I get an email. So why not just send the email and I can respond to it.

 

DIslike.

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An in-site message center was definitely needed. Hopefully in the future when it's on the apps, it'll help with contacting unvalidated users.

 

I guess it will rather demotivate owners of Earthcaches and virtuals and more complicated caches in general. It's inacceptable for me to have to log in to gc.com and to deal with the slowless of the site while the old system allowed me to receive all mails by cachers on my e-mail account and not somewhere inside gc.com.

Note that the notifications do not contain the messages!

 

Again it seems just to be a gimmick for smartphone users (the questions in the survey confirmed that impression).

 

Moreover I just realized that messages can only be 1000 characters - inacceptable for more complex caches and not a reasonable choice to replace the old system.

 

"inacceptable" is not a word. That takes a lot of steam out of your rant.

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"inacceptable" is not a word. That takes a lot of steam out of your rant.

 

Just guessing here, but I bet his English is a WHOLE lote better than your German; in fact his English is a lot better than a lot of native English speakers I've seen post on these forums.

 

Nit picking about a non native English speaker's use of the language doesn't really add to the discussion.

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"inacceptable" is not a word.

 

Take unacceptable instead (btw: inacceptable can be found in the Oxford English dictionary, but is hardly used any longer in English). I was typing in a hurry and mixed languages I'm familiar with. I'm sorry.

Edited by cezanne

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I wonder who asked for a Message Center. I've got email for this. I won't see the message center for weeks at a time.

 

One thing I miss in the remodeling - Breadcrumb Trail. When I'm building Pocket Queries I have to use the browser arrows or go back in from the top. Anyone there in Seattle know how annoying this is? Can you please dedicate some of that great empty white space to restoring the Breadcrumb Trail?

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I noticed two issues:

 

1. I'm not getting the little yellow circle stating that I have # of new mesages. Using the latest Firefox browser.

 

2. My Samsung Galaxy tablet running the latest Jellybean OS doesn't like the message centre at all. It gives me a communication error.

 

BUT - I much prefer this style of messaging platform. As it is in beta, I hope to see a near-future increase in the character limit and the entire message sent with the email notification.

 

1. We had to turn that little bugger off for a bit - it was the culprit of the website slowness on launch day (thus why it's working much zippier now!) - we're working at resolving that and getting an indicator back on there, even if it's just on page load.

 

2. Since this is a beta, we haven't completed all browser testing and tweaking for every platform/browser/OS that we support; but I'll submit this as a bug so they can make sure to pay attention to it while completing our compatibility passes!

 

3. Character limit increase is a possibility; once again, since this is a beta we wanted to look at performance, usage, usability, and storage factors of the size of the messages.

Edited by seandynamite

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3. Character limit increase is a possibility; once again, since this is a beta we wanted to look at performance, usage, usability, and storage factors of the size of the messages.

 

But why all this effort to replace the e-mail based system which works perfectly and let cachers store their message they want to keep themselves and choose the type of e-mail client they like? Modern e-mail systems are so much more powerful than whatever the small Groundspeak team can ever achieve.

 

The character limit increase is only one of many aspects. Of course the current version is a beta version but even with additions and improvements I cannot see that something could come out that can compete with using e-mail and allows much more individuality and will also be independent of the internet connectivity issue with the Groundspeak site that so many cachers in Central Europe experience.

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I seem to be suffering from the android bug as well. Since my Windows PC is dead at the moment I can't play with it on that.

 

However, I would like to express my surprise and concern that the developers' resources are being used on replacing something which wasn't broken in the first place. Surely there are many more important things which need developing.

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OK, I've fired up my netbook and have given it a whirl.

 

First sight is a screen the top half of which is full of the usual space-wasting Groundspeak stuff.

 

Half-way down is a bar with "Add Conversation" on one side and a "To: username" box on the other. Below that is a twee graphic saying "Send a new message"

 

So, I want to send a new message. I click on the send new message graphic and nothing happens. Hmm... Maybe I have to start a new conversation first. So I click on the "Add conversation" button. And nothing happens.

 

OK, I'll try and enter a username. That works. Unfortunately my user's name doesn't appear in the list until I have typed all bar one letter of the name.

 

So now, I click on the send new message button again so I can actually type the message. Nothing happens.

 

Eventually I realise I have to scroll down and find the message box. Then I can actually type a message. The only (?) problem being that as soon as I type a third line the message starts disappearing up the top and I can't review what I have written.

 

So, I send my message and eventually get a reply. On the left is the reply. Looks perfect. Except. When I click on the reply, it expands into the right hand side and I realise that what was on the left is only part of the response. The last bit. With no indication that anything has`been omitted.

 

This is truly awful. It is far less efficient than a simple e-mail system. The survey asks "what is my favourite part of the new scheme?" I have to reply "Nothing". Why do you take something which works really well and invent something which doesn't? Yes, there are a couple of things which could be improved in the e-mail system, but this is one customer who won't be switching to the new scheme.

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Thanks for adding new functionality to the site. It's nice to see effort being put into new features and getting input from the community.

 

I'll echo what's already been said about wanting the contents of the message in an email. Emails are pushed to my phone and are available all the time, even when I'm offline or have bad service.

 

I'd also like to see the ability to respond to a message in email.

 

Ideally this would work by allowing me to use the player's id in a reply. So if Jeremy sent me a message (like he ever would!), I'd get an email with the message text, and the reply-to address would be "51214b3d-6777-4c99-9508-b6107967ff29@messaging.geocaching.com" and if I replied, the contents of my message would be appended to the conversation. Some server side validation would have to be done to make sure the reply came from the email address on file for my account to prevent spam.

 

Or, I could decide to reply right in the message center, but that gives every cacher the choice of how they want to use the message center. Attachments might have to be dropped, and the message would have to be truncated to 1000 characters, but it frees people to use the system of their choice.

 

Possibly even make this a premium member feature?

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I like the new messaging system. It is modern and works well for me in tests with other cachers.

 

I think Groundspeak is being smart in doing this upgrade and also in catering to cachers who use smart phones. I am the moderator of a group of cachers who meet weekly and there are several that use their smart phones to cache. Some even have a real GPSr and don't use it. They like the phone. Your plans to allow them to use the geocaching app and send messages to other cachers is a bit improvement for these people. Noe they will be able to send answersto the CO about their earthcaches and virtuals.

 

Great job. Keep the improvements coming.

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I think Groundspeak is being smart in doing this upgrade and also in catering to cachers who use smart phones. I am the moderator of a group of cachers who meet weekly and there are several that use their smart phones to cache. Some even have a real GPSr and don't use it. They like the phone. Your plans to allow them to use the geocaching app and send messages to other cachers is a bit improvement for these people. Noe they will be able to send answersto the CO about their earthcaches and virtuals.

I would have thought a group like yours, already dependent on smartphones and bound by smartphone communications, would already be using a much more complete messaging system not limited to gc.com. I'd love to hear what you see the gc.com messaging system adding that you don't already have.

 

Yeah, sending answers to COs would be cool, but would it be any less useful if the answers were sent as traditional e-mail?

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If I own an Earthcache or Virtual, currently when someone finds it, they send an email message with answers to me, using the GS email messaging system. I receive an email with their entire message, which I read from my email client of choice.

Under the new message system, they would go through the extra steps needed to send me a message, which I am told does automatically reference the GC number of the cache (a nice plus that should be added to the email messaging system). I would receive an email telling me I have a message in the message center. I now have to log into the GS website to read this message.

HOW IS THIS EASIER FOR EARTHCAHCE OWNERS?!?!?! Am I missing something?

Edited by K13

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If I own an Earthcache or Virtual, currently when someone finds it, they send an email message with answers to me, using the GS email messaging system. I receive an email with their entire message, which I read from my email client of choice.

Under the new message system, they would go through the extra steps needed to send me a message, which I am told does automatically reference the GC number of the cache (a nice plus that should be added to the email messaging system). I would receive an email telling me I have a message in the message center. I now have to log into the GS website to read this message.

HOW IS THIS EASIER FOR EARTHCAHCE OWNERS?!?!?! Am I missing something?

 

I agree with this. Plus I cannot file the answers and look through them every now and then to see if there are problems with specific questions or descriptions.

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Thanks for adding new functionality to the site. It's nice to see effort being put into new features and getting input from the community.

 

I'll echo what's already been said about wanting the contents of the message in an email. Emails are pushed to my phone and are available all the time, even when I'm offline or have bad service.

 

One reason I think that it is desirable to see the contents of the message in the email is to have an idea of how urgent the email is. The way it stands now, the only way to know if it is a frivolous message or one that requires urgent reply or other response is to click the link and log into the website. I may be too busy right now to worry about logging in for frivolous chatter.

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If I own an Earthcache or Virtual, currently when someone finds it, they send an email message with answers to me, using the GS email messaging system. I receive an email with their entire message, which I read from my email client of choice.

Under the new message system, they would go through the extra steps needed to send me a message, which I am told does automatically reference the GC number of the cache (a nice plus that should be added to the email messaging system). I would receive an email telling me I have a message in the message center. I now have to log into the GS website to read this message.

HOW IS THIS EASIER FOR EARTHCAHCE OWNERS?!?!?! Am I missing something?

 

I do not own any Earthcaches, but I would think that, if I did, that I would want to create email folders for each of my ECs and archive the answers for each one in its own folder. Won't be able to do that with this new system, as it stands.

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I do not own any Earthcaches, but I would think that, if I did, that I would want to create email folders for each of my ECs and archive the answers for each one in its own folder. Won't be able to do that with this new system, as it stands.

Correct. That's exactly how I do it for all of my owned caches, which includes two EarthCaches.

 

This weekend, I received a pair of notifications from a pair of cachers who did one of my EarthCaches. They used the new Message Center and I had to visit the website to see what they sent. Since the emails I received didn't include their message content, I forwarded the emails to myself and manually pasted in their content so I can file the information away in my email client.

 

Having seen this in action, I'll be making the following changes this evening:

1. I'll be adding a blurb at the top of my public profile asking* people to not contact me via the Message Center.

2. I'll be adding a blurb in my EarthCaches asking* people to not contact me via the Message Center.

 

If things improve over time, the Message Center may become more viable and I'll remove these blurbs, but at this time I'd prefer to get the normal emails.

 

* "Asking", not requiring.

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I do not own any Earthcaches, but I would think that, if I did, that I would want to create email folders for each of my ECs and archive the answers for each one in its own folder. Won't be able to do that with this new system, as it stands.

Correct. That's exactly how I do it for all of my owned caches, which includes two EarthCaches.

 

This weekend, I received a pair of notifications from a pair of cachers who did one of my EarthCaches. They used the new Message Center and I had to visit the website to see what they sent. Since the emails I received didn't include their message content, I forwarded the emails to myself and manually pasted in their content so I can file the information away in my email client.

 

Having seen this in action, I'll be making the following changes this evening:

1. I'll be adding a blurb at the top of my public profile asking* people to not contact me via the Message Center.

2. I'll be adding a blurb in my EarthCaches asking* people to not contact me via the Message Center.

 

If things improve over time, the Message Center may become more viable and I'll remove these blurbs, but at this time I'd prefer to get the normal emails.

 

* "Asking", not requiring.

Thanks for the idea, I will be doing the same.

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I do not own any Earthcaches, but I would think that, if I did, that I would want to create email folders for each of my ECs and archive the answers for each one in its own folder. Won't be able to do that with this new system, as it stands.

Correct. That's exactly how I do it for all of my owned caches, which includes two EarthCaches.

 

This weekend, I received a pair of notifications from a pair of cachers who did one of my EarthCaches. They used the new Message Center and I had to visit the website to see what they sent. Since the emails I received didn't include their message content, I forwarded the emails to myself and manually pasted in their content so I can file the information away in my email client.

 

Having seen this in action, I'll be making the following changes this evening:

1. I'll be adding a blurb at the top of my public profile asking* people to not contact me via the Message Center.

2. I'll be adding a blurb in my EarthCaches asking* people to not contact me via the Message Center.

 

If things improve over time, the Message Center may become more viable and I'll remove these blurbs, but at this time I'd prefer to get the normal emails.

 

* "Asking", not requiring.

Thanks for the idea, I will be doing the same.

 

+1

Not that our ECs get visited often.

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