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Release Notes (Message Center out of beta) - July 7, 2015


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Release Notes - July 7, 2015

 

Hello everyone!

 

Today is an exciting day for us: we are finally removing the beta banner from Geocaching.com’s Message Center! We have been hard at work on this project since late last year from both a development and design perspective (even longer when you take into account the user insight gathering and testing we did before that). We are proud of what we've accomplished. The best part is that the results of the survey we conducted through the Message Center banner and other usage statistics confirm what we hoped: the overwhelming majority of geocachers use it and like it.

 

Since first releasing Message Center beta, we’ve added a few things and tweaked a few others based on your feedback:

 


  •  

  • The envelope icon in the header now updates every 15 seconds to alert you that you have updated conversations.
  • You can contact another player just by clicking the link on their profile or you can access their profile by clicking a player’s avatar image from the Message Center.
  • Messages now display the content of the message that triggered an email notification in the email itself.
  • You can contact a geocache owner directly from the geocache page. The GC code and name will be automatically inserted into the message.

That being said, there are still many suggestions that we have not yet addressed. Let me assure you that we are NOT done with the Message Center on web or mobile. There are new features we’d like to add and existing features we plan to update, including getting email notifications up to par with expectations (both yours and ours), making it easier to contact other players from across Geocaching.com, increasing the character count limit per single message, and improving usability with more mobile browsers and other usability concerns (I'm looking at YOU, text entry box that doesn't expand while typing).

 

I just wanted to publicly say thank you to my brilliant team (meet a few of them in

about the making-of Message Center), the volunteers, our beta and usability testers and to our players for helping shape the Message Center into something that makes it easier to connect with other geocachers around the world, on any platform they choose. I promise that we'll continue to look at ways to make it more usable, useful, and intuitive for the majority of our community as time goes on.

 

- seandynamite

Product Owner for the Discovery Team

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...the overwhelming majority of geocachers use it and like it.

I'd love to see the data that supports both of these statements. While it may be the case that lots of cachers use it (how could they not, since it's given significant bias over the old email system), anecdotal evidence both online and in the real world indicates that people do not like it.

 

It's good to hear that you plan on continuing to improve it, but understand that your past track-record doesn't give people much hope that this will actually occur. Some of the fairly recent changes like the HTML emails, the new search tool, or the site re-design are examples where some initial changes were made, but then follow-up never occurred and the developers moved on to another new project, effectively abandoning the previous projects. What we're left with in the end is a partially-complete, partially-usable solution that doesn't meet the needs of the members. From the outside, the Message Center development also seems to have stalled, with few to no changes over the last month or two. I'm hoping there's actually been lots of work going on behind-the-scenes and we'll see lots of big changes migrated to production shortly.

 

There have also been some big mistakes made in the design phase that have led to fundamentally-flawed solutions (e.g. unintuitive search tool, HTML emails) or wasted developer time (e.g. redundant messaging tool rather than simply requiring email validation), but I'm hoping lessons have been learned and more public community consultation will occur throughout the design and development phases going forward.

 

Kudos to the team for putting in so much hard work, even if it hasn't resulted in what the membership wants or needs. They generally do a good job, but they sometimes lose sight of the end-goal and need to remember the following mantra: "Work smarter, not harder"! :laughing:

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Thanks for the work you have done, I only really use it when people message me (I still prefer the ol' fashioned email) but I am sure others really appreciate it. One more thing that could be added, to make the message center a more suitable substitute to Facebook or email, is user activity. It would be nice to see when other users are online so I can actually have a conversation with them.

 

There are a couple of other things (like seeing when people are typing a response or replying through email) which could be useful but a bit of a stretch for the time being...

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Hello,

 

I have noticed that all coordinates for waypoints are now showing up in decimal format in the listing.

Was that intentional?

I would strongly prefer the MinDec format as it used to be and still is for the listing coords of the cache.

 

Best regards,

Lineflyer

Edited by Lineflyer
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I have noticed that all coordinates for waypoints are now showing up in decimal format in the listing.

Was that intentional?

 

I bet this has to do with the app users.

Apparently it's a bug which will be fixed.

 

That would be really appreciated.

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I really like the message center on my Mac...and it's great that it's been added to the Intro app, is there a plan to include it in an update of the paid app? I would be more likely to use it regularly if it was. Right now I have to either wait until I am home to use it, or download the intro app which is inconvenient as my phone has limited memory and another app just for messaging is not my idea of useful.

 

Thanks.

Team Stieney

Edited by TeamStieney
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I have noticed that all coordinates for waypoints are now showing up in decimal format in the listing.

Was that intentional?

 

I bet this has to do with the app users.

Apparently it's a bug which will be fixed.

 

That would be really appreciated.

 

It IS a bug that is being fixed! Should be out soon!

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Thank you for all the hard work on the project. I didn't see any mention of user deletion of messages so I hope that is on the list of things you will be adding in the near future.

 

Thanks again.

 

That is on the list for investigation, but in the ultimate order of priority based on our user insights and the surveys, it fell pretty far down the list. That said, we ARE aware of it as a request and will be investigating what we can do in the future!

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Thanks for the work you have done, I only really use it when people message me (I still prefer the ol' fashioned email) but I am sure others really appreciate it. One more thing that could be added, to make the message center a more suitable substitute to Facebook or email, is user activity. It would be nice to see when other users are online so I can actually have a conversation with them.

 

There are a couple of other things (like seeing when people are typing a response or replying through email) which could be useful but a bit of a stretch for the time being...

 

This is something we have talked about adding if and when we are ever able to make the Message Center a fully instant system (in other words, removing the "asynchronous" aspect of it). Thank you for the suggestion!

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The best part is that the results of the survey we conducted through the Message Center banner and other usage statistics confirm what we hoped: the overwhelming majority of geocachers use it and like it.

 

The good news is that it now works on my Android tablet.

 

The bad news is that it still doesn't let me filter and segregate messages in the same way as my e-mail client.

 

The sentiment quoted above is based on a false assumption - that because someone uses the Message Centre they must like it.

 

I've just downloaded the Intro App to test it and discovered that there is no way to send a message via the e-mail system. The MC is the only option. So, let's eliminate all Intro App users from the equation.

 

Secondly, there is no way to use e-mail from a Cache listing. E-mail is not offered as an option. So, lets eliminate all messages sent from a cache listing.

 

That leaves messages sent from the only place an option is given, the public user profile.

 

I wonder what proportion of messages sent from a Public User Profile are e-mail and how many are via the MC.

 

I'll bet, if you gave the user a free choice, that a significant number would choose to opt out of the MC and use e-mail.

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The best part is that the results of the survey we conducted through the Message Center banner and other usage statistics confirm what we hoped: the overwhelming majority of geocachers use it and like it.

 

The good news is that it now works on my Android tablet.

 

The bad news is that it still doesn't let me filter and segregate messages in the same way as my e-mail client.

 

The sentiment quoted above is based on a false assumption - that because someone uses the Message Centre they must like it.

 

I've just downloaded the Intro App to test it and discovered that there is no way to send a message via the e-mail system. The MC is the only option. So, let's eliminate all Intro App users from the equation.

 

Secondly, there is no way to use e-mail from a Cache listing. E-mail is not offered as an option. So, lets eliminate all messages sent from a cache listing.

 

That leaves messages sent from the only place an option is given, the public user profile.

 

I wonder what proportion of messages sent from a Public User Profile are e-mail and how many are via the MC.

 

I'll bet, if you gave the user a free choice, that a significant number would choose to opt out of the MC and use e-mail.

 

Is this true? Message Center is that skewed in application accessibility? Is it the ONLY available option in the Intro App? Really? No e-mail available from the cache page? Really? How can any HONEST assessment be made if these things are true? UNBELIEVABLE!

 

Of all the 'Not Ready for Primetime' updates, this one is now on top! It is a real pity that you guys didn't finish the Search Function before finishing this BETA before calling it a true release. It isn't even available on the PAID APP?!?!?!?! REALLY?? A touted feature isn't a part of the app that people paid almost 5 times the average app cost out there? AND YOU DON'T INCLUDE THIS?!?!?! Someone there (the person leading) needs to be replaced.

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I'm a little concerned about how obvious they're being that they now consider forum input completely bogus. Since the input they're getting is nearly 180° from the forum comments, I can't help but wonder where the heck it's coming from.

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I'm a little concerned about how obvious they're being that they now consider forum input completely bogus. Since the input they're getting is nearly 180° from the forum comments, I can't help but wonder where the heck it's coming from.

 

I guess it's about the same as with Internet Explorer and Outlook Express many years ago. People used it because it was already there and they didn't wonder if there's anything else. Since many are using "the app" (again not wondering if there's something else) they will just use MC as they may not even know they can send emails. Statistics will then of course show a high percentage of MC users. Claiming that this high percentage is because people like it is a completely wrong conclusion.

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I'm a little concerned about how obvious they're being that they now consider forum input completely bogus. Since the input they're getting is nearly 180° from the forum comments, I can't help but wonder where the heck it's coming from.

 

I think what's behind is a combination of many aspects.

 

First, by changing the setup of the profile page and having the send message link be directed to the MC makes many users who have always used the old system before now use the MC because they do not even realize that there exists something else. This of course will skew the usage statistics. Something similar happens for old vs new search. Everyone who wants to use the old search and goes there via the link to the old search on the search page also creates one usage of the new search.

 

I wonder what would happen if the profile page looked differently and send e-mail message would be the first link and the second link would direct to the message center and be called message via message center, and if in addition either both options or no option at all would be available at the cache pages to contact the cache owner. As it's now it clearly has a bias towards pushing people to use the message center.

 

Second, I think that those who comment on social media about the MC and those who filled in the survey are not a good sample of the community at large (the same is true for attendants of mega events). Again a bias is introduced.

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including getting email notifications up to par with expectations (both yours and ours)

 

Can you elaborate more on what your plans are with email notifications?

 

For me, the ideal system would:

- email me every time I got a message, not just the first time a new one came in

- allow me to specify frequency of notification like forums have: immediate, daily, never, ...

- include a reply-to in the email sent that included a GUID that would allow me to reply using my email client of choice and have the message go into the message center. This way I can stay in email (which I prefer) or go to the message center (some others may prefer), or both.

 

Don't forget about visually impaired players, who may have their email client already set up with the proper font type and size, colors, and screen readers that have been optimized to their email client. My job requires all user interfaces to comply with the 508 compliance laws (https://www.section508.gov/) so I tend to be sensitive to this, even though I don't have a need myself. We lose sales to the US government if we aren't compliant, but obviously sales to the government isn't a factor with geocaching. :D

 

I'm looking at YOU, text entry box that doesn't expand while typing

 

Yup, that's the #1 usability problem I have with the MC - I can't imagine using the MC until this tiny text box is fixed in some manner, other than having short "Yup" sort of replies. Glad this is being looked at.

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I really think that there should be a way to disable this feature if we are not interested in using it. I DO NOT want anyone to be contacting me by this method. Is this an option that is being considered?

 

+1 I have no interest in it and will not use it. I would like to be able to opt out of it. Send me e-mail, not through the Message Center.

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No use for me....and it isn't even a part of the $10.00 paid app? Why would the Message Center (used without permission from HarryDolphin) not have that feature, if it is a featured part of the Free Intro App?

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Sorry to break in amongst the complaints about the message center, but something in the change to the access token has broken how GSAK interacts with the site. I imagine y'all will be hearing from Clyde et al. soon for the fix.

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Sorry to break in amongst the complaints about the message center, but something in the change to the access token has broken how GSAK interacts with the site. I imagine y'all will be hearing from Clyde et al. soon for the fix.

 

That was already fixed in GSAK a while ago. Update to the latest version and in the geocaching.com menu chose "get another access token".

Tokens are now valid only 90 days and default you get a warning 5 days in advance (adjustable in ConfigOther.txt).

 

[Groundspeak api] http://gsak.net/board/index.php?showtopic=25158&view=findpost&p=188943

#TokenExpireDays=5 http://gsak.net/board/index.php?showtopic=29643&view=findpost&p=223955

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I really think that there should be a way to disable this feature if we are not interested in using it. I DO NOT want anyone to be contacting me by this method. Is this an option that is being considered?

 

+1 I have no interest in it and will not use it. I would like to be able to opt out of it. Send me e-mail, not through the Message Center.

 

+1 Please give us the option to opt out of MC. I don't like the message center, not even a little bit.

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I saw this elsewhere

I want control of my messages. I want to be able to search through them, sort them, delete them, save them, forward them, cc and bcc them... my email allows me to do that. I don't see what the MC adds to that... all it does is subtract. I don't know how many messages you now have in your MC, but try searching through them to find something from a few weeks ago. Good luck.

 

I wonder if the developers of the 'Message Center' can answer these questions?

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I am never informed that I have an Instant Message until I go to the PC and log into the website. I saw that I had a message and replied. My message had too many characters in the reply message. Can only send 1/2 of message.

 

Have un-ticked Message Center Send me Message Center email notifications. hoping that this would force the user to use email instead.

I have the paid application on my mobile devices, but the IM will only work on the intro app according to your news letter. Why would a company degrade a paid service/subscription????

 

Thanks for a worthless feature.

 

I want to BLOCK the message center and want email ONLY. Please fix or DISCONTINUE the service.

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The best part is that the results of the survey we conducted through the Message Center banner and other usage statistics confirm what we hoped: the overwhelming majority of geocachers use it and like it.

 

The sentiment quoted above is based on a false assumption - that because someone uses the Message Centre they must like it.

 

 

As I stated, that "sentiment" is not based off usage alone - it's also based off the survey results, where the majority of players did express that they would recommend it to a friend and that they thought it would make communication with other players easier. I understand that it may not match the views of some of the players HERE on the forums. And while we take all feedback we get into account, it is a point of fact that the survey provided a sampling size that was MUCH larger than that of the forum participants (one of the main reasons we use other ways to gather this feedback). This is a data-driven statement, not a sentiment based on conjecture.

 

I will also take this opportunity to state that we are not exploring an "opt-out" to the Message Center. We are also not entertaining the idea of removing the contact-via-email system at this time either.

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I am never informed that I have an Instant Message until I go to the PC and log into the website. I saw that I had a message and replied. My message had too many characters in the reply message. Can only send 1/2 of message.

 

Have un-ticked Message Center Send me Message Center email notifications. hoping that this would force the user to use email instead.

I have the paid application on my mobile devices, but the IM will only work on the intro app according to your news letter. Why would a company degrade a paid service/subscription????

 

Thanks for a worthless feature.

 

I want to BLOCK the message center and want email ONLY. Please fix or DISCONTINUE the service.

 

You can send as many messages as you'd like (each up to 1000 characters - we are looking at expanding that amount soon).

You won't get notifications of new messages if you have un-ticked the email notifications.

The feature has increased communication across the website, so I'd hardly call it worthless.

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I saw this elsewhere

I want control of my messages. I want to be able to search through them, sort them, delete them, save them, forward them, cc and bcc them... my email allows me to do that. I don't see what the MC adds to that... all it does is subtract. I don't know how many messages you now have in your MC, but try searching through them to find something from a few weeks ago. Good luck.

 

I wonder if the developers of the 'Message Center' can answer these questions?

 

Searching is something that a number of folks have requested. We are exploring options into that. Are you searching for text from someone in all your messages or within a specific conversation?

Save them - where are you looking to save them? Since there is no permanent delete option for messages, they are always available to you.

Forward them - right now copy/paste is the best option but good idea! We'll throw that into the hat of new feature ideas!

CC and BCC them - this would infer that there was group messaging (which we are also looking at for the future of the Message Center).

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Are you searching for text from someone in all your messages or within a specific conversation?
I occasionally search for text in a specific thread, but usually I'm searching my entire message archive. Common searches include one or more keywords, or a specific multi-word string, or a sender/recipient, or the presence of an attachment, or a particular folder, or some combination of two or three of these criteria.
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I saw this elsewhere

I want control of my messages. I want to be able to search through them, sort them, delete them, save them, forward them, cc and bcc them... my email allows me to do that. I don't see what the MC adds to that... all it does is subtract. I don't know how many messages you now have in your MC, but try searching through them to find something from a few weeks ago. Good luck.

 

I wonder if the developers of the 'Message Center' can answer these questions?

 

Searching is something that a number of folks have requested. We are exploring options into that. Are you searching for text from someone in all your messages or within a specific conversation?

Save them - where are you looking to save them? Since there is no permanent delete option for messages, they are always available to you.

Forward them - right now copy/paste is the best option but good idea! We'll throw that into the hat of new feature ideas!

CC and BCC them - this would infer that there was group messaging (which we are also looking at for the future of the Message Center).

 

I want people to see the email link along side the Message Center link everywhere on the website, ESPECIALLY MY CACHE PAGE. IN FACT, ALLOW ME TO CHOOSE WHICH METHOD TO CONTACT ME ON MY CACHE PAGE!!

 

I want to be able to search for any message related to a specific cache, regardless of the sender or recipient. This will allow me to help those who ask for a hint regarding a certain cache.

 

I want to be able to sort and group ALL MESSAGES related to a specific cache into ONE folder or area. I want to be able to sort and group all messages related to a specific topic other than a cache into one folder. This will allow me to answer questions from other cachers more easily.

 

I want to be able to message ALL "Will Attends" to an event I am hosting, while I am also messaging a group of others who haven't yet posted their "Will Attend" logs. (CC)

 

I want to be able to send a message to a cache finder or three, and send the same message to the cache owner without their knowledge (BCC).

 

If this is too much to ask, please allow me to opt out and force all communication through the current email system that allows most all of the above things.

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The best part is that the results of the survey we conducted through the Message Center banner and other usage statistics confirm what we hoped: the overwhelming majority of geocachers use it and like it.

 

The sentiment quoted above is based on a false assumption - that because someone uses the Message Centre they must like it.

 

 

As I stated, that "sentiment" is not based off usage alone - it's also based off the survey results, where the majority of players did express that they would recommend it to a friend and that they thought it would make communication with other players easier. I understand that it may not match the views of some of the players HERE on the forums. And while we take all feedback we get into account, it is a point of fact that the survey provided a sampling size that was MUCH larger than that of the forum participants (one of the main reasons we use other ways to gather this feedback). This is a data-driven statement, not a sentiment based on conjecture.

 

I will also take this opportunity to state that we are not exploring an "opt-out" to the Message Center. We are also not entertaining the idea of removing the contact-via-email system at this time either.

Survey data is good. Being aware of blind spots in a survey is paramount.

 

What are the demographics of respondents? What is the reliability of the survey in previous iterations? Who is responding?

 

Before waving survey statistics in support of a hypothesis, one should really address the basis of the survey and any reliability issues of survey research.

 

Also, merely using "would recommend to a friend" as a metric of appreciation and continued use is not relatable. Whether or not it might improve communication is related to far more than simply saying people overwhelmingly "like it"; for example, I think that it will improve communication with unvalidated users, and users of the Intro App. But I don't think that it will improve the overall communication in the game because of the myriad of examples presented above about why email is the better choice for how Groundspeak and Geocaching.com do business.

 

The site was designed around email and notifications and sortability. Now we are left with a "convenience item" which does not help in the grand scheme, but apparently is lauded as a great success because of inappropriate survey result analysis.

 

My advice? Ask a survey professional to set up a survey that captures the question you are trying to answer more accurately. One can test for reliability on a test group before sending to the masses, and response rate (what was the N for this Message Center survey, anyway?) will need to be included in any discussion or analysis about the validity of the results.

 

So far this survey process educated guy sees immense piles of reliability and validity issues in the lauded survey results.

 

...And I'm not just saying this because I don't really like the MC.

 

Heck, if the MC could be an opt-in, that would be an improvement. If the MC in the Intro App would open a browser to go to the Geocaching.com website, we'd immediately be able to handle the unvalidated email issue (the unvalidated would HAVE to log in and validate to be able to see the message, but you could still have the incoming messages ping the user to know it's there. The user can send messages to owners via the MC on the App, but to read one via the App people should be bumped to a browser window instead of within the App. And then, all MC messages should come with the same process as any other log or notification from Geocaching.com so it can be sorted within personal email accounts.

 

You see, I think it can improve communication, but the survey didn't capture what I mean when I click that check box on the survey. I would also recommend it, but not for the reasons one might guess based on the invalid and unreliable survey being touted as a big MC Beta win.

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The best part is that the results of the survey we conducted through the Message Center banner and other usage statistics confirm what we hoped: the overwhelming majority of geocachers use it and like it.

 

The sentiment quoted above is based on a false assumption - that because someone uses the Message Centre they must like it.

 

 

As I stated, that "sentiment" is not based off usage alone - it's also based off the survey results, where the majority of players did express that they would recommend it to a friend and that they thought it would make communication with other players easier. I understand that it may not match the views of some of the players HERE on the forums. And while we take all feedback we get into account, it is a point of fact that the survey provided a sampling size that was MUCH larger than that of the forum participants (one of the main reasons we use other ways to gather this feedback). This is a data-driven statement, not a sentiment based on conjecture.

 

I will also take this opportunity to state that we are not exploring an "opt-out" to the Message Center. We are also not entertaining the idea of removing the contact-via-email system at this time either.

 

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Not having seen that data I have to accept that the majority of cachers like it. However, that leads me to the question: If you are so certain that folk like it, why do you make it so difficult to use the alternative? Intro App users cannot use the old e-mail system and the cache description page doesn't have the option. Why not give both options a fair go? At least restore the "send email" link to the cache description page. I'm sure, from your survey data, that it wouldn't impact much on the MC usage stats, would it? Also, I'm still interested in the ratio of MC to E-mail messages sent from the Public User Profile page.

 

This whole MC scenario reminds me of being part of a team rebuilding an old software package. The Data Centre Manager sent the users a survey asking what was wrong with the existing system and what new features were needed. He decided decided to rewrite the software from scratch. There's always a good excuse for not fixing the original: "the team who wrote the original was no longer with the company and no-one really understood the internals", "the old software didn't meet their new programming standards", "no-one likes doing maintenance". Anyway, the new software was installed and the users hated it. They called it unusable. The Data Centre Manager had failed to ask what the users liked about the old system and what features were essential. The new system had all the new features requested and had squashed all the bugs, but lacked the core features the users needed.

After a year of cobbling fixes into the new system, it was withdrawn and I was contracted as part of the team to rewrite the original system.

 

I see parallels with the Message Centre. The users asked for the ability to contact unverified members and the ability to add images. Both are in the MC. However, the basic fundamental features of the old system are missing. With e-mails I can reply with one click, I can set up folders for different message types (earth cache answers in their own folders, GC.com Newsletters in their folder etc.) I can search all messages, just those messages in a specific folder, I can send messages to all attendees of my event, the list is endless.

 

It's not that I don't like the MC, per se, it's just that it simply doesn't do what I want a messaging system to do. I wonder how many developer resources have been poured into this system and how that would have compared with forcing validation, and adding a couple of features to the old system.

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\

I will also take this opportunity to state that we are not exploring an "opt-out" to the Message Center. We are also not entertaining the idea of removing the contact-via-email system at this time either.

Are you exploring the idea of making the MC two-way compatible with email? Such that email replies to email notifications of MC messages end up back in the MC?

 

If not, can you please do so? It would address many (not all, but many) of the gripes people have about the current MC implementation.

 

Thanks.....

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I saw this elsewhere

I want control of my messages. I want to be able to search through them, sort them, delete them, save them, forward them, cc and bcc them... my email allows me to do that. I don't see what the MC adds to that... all it does is subtract. I don't know how many messages you now have in your MC, but try searching through them to find something from a few weeks ago. Good luck.

 

I wonder if the developers of the 'Message Center' can answer these questions?

 

Searching is something that a number of folks have requested. We are exploring options into that. Are you searching for text from someone in all your messages or within a specific conversation?

Save them - where are you looking to save them? Since there is no permanent delete option for messages, they are always available to you.

Forward them - right now copy/paste is the best option but good idea! We'll throw that into the hat of new feature ideas!

CC and BCC them - this would infer that there was group messaging (which we are also looking at for the future of the Message Center).

 

But... why? Why are you exploring these things, and trying to figure out how to do what we can already do with email? What is the advantage? I seriously do not get it.

 

I, for one, want to be able to search for anything that I can search for in my email. I want to be able to do everything that I can do with my email, and hopefully somehow, more. I can't imagine what "more", but without that, I keep coming back to "why?"

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As I stated, that "sentiment" is not based off usage alone - it's also based off the survey results, where the majority of players did express that they would recommend it to a friend and that they thought it would make communication with other players easier. I understand that it may not match the views of some of the players HERE on the forums. And while we take all feedback we get into account, it is a point of fact that the survey provided a sampling size that was MUCH larger than that of the forum participants (one of the main reasons we use other ways to gather this feedback). This is a data-driven statement, not a sentiment based on conjecture.

 

I will also take this opportunity to state that we are not exploring an "opt-out" to the Message Center. We are also not entertaining the idea of removing the contact-via-email system at this time either.

I used to know someone that worked in radio & TV, and she told me that, for everyone that wrote them (this is pre-email days) about a show or an issue, that there were x people that felt the same way but did not write in.

 

I know from talking to them that the majority of my local geocachers will NOT use these forums. Just because they aren't here posting their opinions does not mean that they don't have one, and there is a good chance that many of us that do post here are echoing the unspoken opinions of others. So please, do not minimize the opinions that you get from those that are willing to write their opinions here. We speak for more than ourselves.

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Save them - where are you looking to save them? Since there is no permanent delete option for messages, they are always available to you.

 

E-mail systems allows saving in an organized manner - e.g. a separate folder for each cache one owns or one has questions about.

To organize communication with respect to the sender is not the most natural way in many contexts.

 

Forward them - right now copy/paste is the best option but good idea! We'll throw that into the hat of new feature ideas!

CC and BCC them - this would infer that there was group messaging (which we are also looking at for the future of the Message Center).

 

That's a workaround that never will reach what e-mail systems offer already now. forward, bc and bcc might be directed to e-mail addresses not used for geocaching and might be directed to persons who are not registered at gc.com.

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I want to be able to search for any message related to a specific cache, regardless of the sender or recipient. This will allow me to help those who ask for a hint regarding a certain cache.

 

I agree a search feature would be generally useful for the Message Center, but I'm not sure I understand your example here. If you give out hints frequently for the same cache just leave some notes to yourself on the cache page's "Personal Cache Note" section. No need to search anywhere.

 

I want to be able to sort and group ALL MESSAGES related to a specific cache into ONE folder or area. I want to be able to sort and group all messages related to a specific topic other than a cache into one folder. This will allow me to answer questions from other cachers more easily.

 

What caches/topics are you saving lots of messages about? I see the "I can do this with my email so why can't I do it with the message center?" logic, but I would be curious to hear some actual examples of doing this. I've been caching for 5 years and I don't think I've ever kept a bunch of emails on any geocaching topic, much less on a specific cache.

 

Event planning maybe? But really if you're going to do something elaborate like event planning I don't think that's really intended for the Message Center.

 

I want to be able to message ALL "Will Attends" to an event I am hosting...

 

It's called an Announcement log; it already exists.

 

...while I am also messaging a group of others who haven't yet posted their "Will Attend" logs. (CC)

 

Giving geocachers the ability to send one message to many other users at once is a great way to open up the message center so spamming other cachers

 

I want to be able to send a message to a cache finder or three, and send the same message to the cache owner without their knowledge (BCC).

 

Can I get an example of why you would want to do this? Asking for a hint?

 

I don't think the "I can do it with my email; why can't I do it with the message center?" argument even truly applies here because you can't usually do this with email currently either. Sure, you can send an email to multiple recipients and BCC an addition recipient, but for geocaching this requires you to know the email of all the finders you want to contact and the email of the CO.

 

I don't think the Message Center is intended to handle 100% of cacher-to-cacher communication. It allows cachers to easily exchange messages without revealing their email addresses to each other while linking them together, keeps the messages somewhere Groundspeak can review them if there are claims of harassment or other disputes, and keeps the messages somewhere that their contents and notifications are not potentially lost in Spam folders (you see notifications via the app and when you're logged on to the website).

Edited by Joshism
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It has occurred to me that Groundspeak have two sets of customers. Some folk are almost exclusively in one set or the other, the rest will be in one set some of the time and the other some of the time.

 

Set one are smart phone users. They are used to sending short messages via SMS or MMS, the messages usually don't need to be kept for a long time and conversations on one specific subject tend to be short. Unfortunately, to send a SMS or MMS message you need the recipient's phone number. I see the Message centre as being the perfect way to send a short message to someone whose contact details you don't have. A perfect SMS/MMS replacement.

 

Set two are computer users - desktop, laptop, Windows, Mac, it doesn't matter. They are used to sending messages via e-mail and having all the advantages that e-mail clients give over SMS/MMS. Sorting, searching, filtering, filing etc. I see the old PM system as being the perfect platform for e-mail based messaging.

 

I believe that it would be a mistake for Groundspeak to try to reinvent the wheel and try to turn the Message Centre into a fully-fledged e-mail client. What I would really love to see is for Groundspeak to concentrate on making the MC into the best MMS/SMS replacement they can and making the PM system into the best e-mail gateway they can.

 

Then we would have three ways to contact folk. MC for short SMS/MMS type communication, PM without sending your e-mail address if you feel the whole conversation should be available for Groundspeak to review and PM-initiated e-mail conversations when you don't need to clutter up Groundspeak's servers with normal e-mails.

 

My wish list...

 

1. Make both options available everywhere

2. Allow each user to have a preference for receiving messages - this is not intended to stop the other method, just to show a preference. The preference should be highlighted in some way when someone chooses to send a message.

3. The ability to have multiple conversations with another user inside the MC. In other words, if I send a message to someone, they reply, I reply to that, then this is one conversation. If either one sends a message which is not a reply then this starts a new conversation with the same user.

4. Have a user-definable time-based criterion for automatic deletion of MC conversations and the ability to lock a conversation from deletion. In other words, I might choose 3 months. Any conversation whose most recent message is older than three months would be deleted, unless I had locked the conversation.

5. Add the ability to attach a file to a PM message.

 

There may be other things, but those would satisfy my needs. I believe that this would be a lot cheaper than trying to convert the MC into an e-mail client. Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla have all spent huge amounts of time and money developing e-mail clients over the years and not one satisfies every need. I reckon that this is a hill that Groundspeak don't need to climb

 

edit for spelling

Edited by Gill & Tony
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1. Make both options available everywhere

2. Allow each user to have a preference for receiving messages - this is not intended to stop the other method, just to show a preference. The preference should be highlighted in some way when someone chooses to send a message.

3. The ability to have multiple conversations with another user inside the MC. In other words, if I send a message to someone, they reply, I reply to that, then this is one conversation. If either one sends a message which is not a reply then this starts a new conversation with the same user.

4. Have a user-definable time-based criterion for automatic deletion of MC conversations and the ability to lock a conversation from deletion. In other words, I might choose 3 months. Any conversation whose most recent message is older than three months would be deleted, unless I had locked the conversation.

5. Add the ability to attach a file to a PM message.

 

Very well Put! I have used both, and will probably continue to do so. I am mainly a PC user, as I do not use the "official app" that much (only to log trackables in the field), but I still have used the MC and it works well for my purposes.

 

These suggestions would certainly make them both better products all around.

 

-TWT

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