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Introducing Virtual Rewards!

290 posts in this topic

16 minutes ago, irisisleuk said:

You're missing the point I was trying to make. Saying you picked them randomly doesn't mean actually picking them randomly

 

So you're saying it would be better if Groundspeak just lied outright about it -  yeah right.

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13 minutes ago, Team Microdot said:

If anyone is missing your point I can see why.

Perhaps saying what you mean and meaning what you say would work better?

I thought I did, because I wrote: If they would just have said: we picked randomly  (which is an algorithm as well by the way) 4000 cache owners all over the world who we think might make a nice virtual cache, because we want to thank the whole community for putting so much effort in making and maintaining caches. 

Picking randomly out of the group of cache owners all over the world who we think might make a nice virtual cache, isn't as random as barefootjeff suggests and sure is not the lying that MartyBartfast is defining such a selection.

But it's clear my communication skills in English aren't good enough for this discussion, so for me it ends here. I just sincerely hope someone at Groundspeak agrees with me that using (undefined) statistics to define who should get a reward and who not, leads to emotions (in some cultures) that have a negative effect on geocaching communities. In my humble opinion its better to leave statistics out of the game as much as possible, especially with respect to communication that can easily be misinterpreted with such a diverse group as geocachers.

 

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4 minutes ago, irisisleuk said:

I just sincerely hope someone at Groundspeak agrees with me that using (undefined) statistics to define who should get a reward and who not, leads to emotions (in some cultures) that have a negative effect on geocaching communities. In my humble opinion its better to leave statistics out of the game as much as possible, especially with respect to communication that can easily be misinterpreted with such a diverse group as geocachers.

Speaking as someone who didn't get selected for a Virtual Award I would bet money that no matter what selection criteria had been applied, someone would be upset.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, irisisleuk said:

If they would just have said: we picked randomly  (which is an algorithm as well by the way) 4000 cache owners all over the world who we think might make a nice virtual cache, because we want to thank the whole community for putting so much effort in making and maintaining caches. Then nobody would have been upset, disappointed maybe, but not upset thinking they are not appreciated by Groundspeak although the known statistics show they are cache owners with caches which are appreciated by other cachers.

...

You're missing the point I was trying to make. Saying you picked them randomly doesn't mean actually picking them randomly (as I said "who we think can make a nice virtual"), but would avoid misunderstandings based on (unknown) statistics.

How do you know that there wasn't any 'randomness' involved in the 4000? What if the algorithm landed with 50,000 qualifiers, and #3900-#5500 all had the same score? Only 100 of those 1600 equally qualified users could receive the reward. Random selection. Guaranteed there weren't exactly, precisely, spot on 4000 qualified recipients.

You don't know the algorithm. No one does. There's no way to reliably determine from the results who the algorithm has actually determined to be "worthy" of receiving a Virtual Reward, if assuming that those who didn't aren't.

---

Another point people seem to be forgetting is that there are reward counts limited to each country. In Europe that may be even more dividing... one country could have received 10 listings, and a neighbour only 2, meaning that one recipient who didn't get one might compare themselves to one of the 10 that did, and everyone they ask may agree that (all things being equal) they should have received one. Point only being, limitations per country boundary were a factor as well, which has absolutely nothing to do with the relative 'quality' of a cache hider in the grand scheme of the 4000.

Edited by thebruce0
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But I will say... stating "the top 1%" in the announcement was probably a Bad Idea. :ph34r::laughing:

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3 hours ago, irisisleuk said:

It doesn't matter if the caches are good or not (by what standard/algorithm). What does matter is that cachers got upset, so upset that they disabled their caches although they put their heart and soul into the hobby. There was no need for making cachers that upset, if just the statement 1% was left out.

If they would just have said: we picked randomly  (which is an algorithm as well by the way) 4000 cache owners all over the world who we think might make a nice virtual cache, because we want to thank the whole community for putting so much effort in making and maintaining caches. Then nobody would have been upset, disappointed maybe, but not upset thinking they are not appreciated by Groundspeak although the known statistics show they are cache owners with caches which are appreciated by other cachers.

I seriously doubt Groundspeak purposely tried to upset people regarding the new Virtual Caches thing. I'm sure when this thing was to be rolled out, most already had some foresight that people were going to be mad that they didn't get a reward. It is what it is. 

Complaining to HQ about it, disabling and archiving your own caches is childish. 

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11 hours ago, IslesPunkFan said:

Am I personally not satisfied? Yes, but that was due to them just giving me prepared responses without answering any of my questions posed to them. I would have loved one. I am expressing frustration from within our community by the way it was dealt with. It rewarded someone that manipulates stats and begs for FPs. Personally, I think another round, this time giving them out due to merit would be nice.

They are the ones that brought up a flawed algorithm to begin with. Probably would have been best for them to just say who they felt deserved it and that was it.

 

I bet if you were one of the 4,000 that received a Virtual award you'd be saying the Algorithm was perfect, and the email Groundspeak sent out was magical and explained everything you needed/wanted to know. 

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Posted (edited)

I am posting another reminder that there is a separate thread for speculating about the criteria used for the Virtual Rewards selection algorithm, and/or for complaining about its results.

A number of posts relating to or complaining about the algorithm criteria have been moved from here to that other thread.

Edited by Keystone
Movin' posts and takin' names
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And let the reviewers select only the best ones to be published.

This is a non-starter. The volunteer reviewers don't want to be put in a position where they have to tell people that their "babies" are ugly.

Or so I hear.

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Unfortunate side effect of the Virtual Rewards program....  Starting to notice cachers archiving caches that have no history of DNF's, I assume to increase their Favorite Point ratio for the chance at another round of Virtuals.

Wouldn't be surprised if active caches fall below 3 million.

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3 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

Complaining to HQ about it, disabling and archiving your own caches is childish. 

I agree.

But the good thing is that those archived caches will make room for new caches by cache owners who aren't going to pout and commit self-geocide.

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I wasn't selected and as I hadn't even thought that I might be, I'm fine with it. What is disappointing though is seeing the sniping and moaning about it. I genuinely do not give a toss how people were chosen and it's a big shame that there's such ill-feeling towards some of the people who have been. 

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3 hours ago, Sanders_Sooners said:

Unfortunate side effect of the Virtual Rewards program....  Starting to notice cachers archiving caches that have no history of DNF's, I assume to increase their Favorite Point ratio for the chance at another round of Virtuals.

Wouldn't be surprised if active caches fall below 3 million.

Why do you think it's unfortunate? I see it as a positive effect.

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1 hour ago, Cachez said:

I wasn't selected and as I hadn't even thought that I might be, I'm fine with it. What is disappointing though is seeing the sniping and moaning about it. I genuinely do not give a toss how people were chosen and it's a big shame that there's such ill-feeling towards some of the people who have been. 

Ditto.

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Very glad to see this update on the blog:

August 30, 2017 Update:

Geocaching HQ values all cache hiders for the amazing contributions they make to this game. We apologize for any offense this promotion has caused you or any others in the community. It was certainly not our intent to upset anyone. In fact, it was our intent to do something positive for the global geocaching community. Based on feedback we’ve received, we have updated this blog post to remove the emphasis on “top 1% of cache hiders” and replaced it with “the top 1% of the results from our algorithm” as this description more accurately describes the selected group of geocache hiders. Using the phrase “top 1% of cache hiders” was inaccurate and unfortunately caused confusion among geocachers worldwide. We regret this choice of words and have adjusted the language in this blog post to more clearly describe the process.  

For this promotion, we used an algorithm that selected a very small number of cache hiders who fit a specific set of cache quality criteria. We’re hoping that by only releasing 4,000 Virtual Rewards we can help minimize the previous problems with Virtual Caches while still giving the community more Virtuals. For 12 years, the community has asked for Virtuals to return. Because of the many previous problems with Virtuals, we cannot open Virtuals up for all cache hiders. But we did want to find a creative solution to offer some Virtuals.  We have never done anything like this before. If it is successful, we may consider a similar project for the future. If we do something similar, we will change the algorithm to offer a new set of cache hiders an opportunity. Hopefully you will be one of them!

Cache quality means many things to a hider, a finder, and the community. For this promotion, the algorithm included many factors but it heavily favored cache quality over quantity. Among these factors were percentage of Favorite points on active caches (not the total number of Favorite points) and current geocache Health Score.

We know there are many more amazing hiders in the geocaching community than those chosen to receive a Virtual Reward. Your contribution to the game is highly valued by us and the geocaching community alike. Just because your username or a friend’s username wasn’t selected by the algorithm doesn’t mean that you are not a great hider and we apologize for giving anyone this impression.

We will continue to do our best to serve the global geocaching community and game of geocaching and we appreciate your support and understanding. Thank you for your contributions to the game we all love!

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for this clarification.  I hope it reduces the angst felt by a small proportion of the community.

Personally, I want to repeat my thanks for the way in which you have managed to bring virtual caches back to the community.

Edited by Gill & Tony
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On 30/08/2017 at 11:04 AM, noncentric said:

I don't think the arguments made in the 'protest' log are well thought out.

The cacher says it would've been better to let every cacher submit a Virtual cache and then let the Reviewers decide which ones are 'best' to be published. -- That was a huge issue that caused Virtuals to be banned in the first place. Why should the reviewers have to make those judgment calls? Did the 'protesters' ask reviewers whether that's something the reviewers would want? I'm pretty sure they didn't.

 

From my cursory look, I see two cachers that have disabled some of their caches. One of those cachers still has 96 enabled caches, while the other has 175 still enabled. Both of these cachers opened their accounts several years after the Virtual ban was implemented in 2005, so maybe that's why they don't understand the problems with the proposal that Volunteer Reviewers be forced into the tough position of judging Virtual cache submissions.

 

Besides, who's going to review this all? Imagine a team of reviewers has.. say 30 caches in their review territory each day. And now there are 200 extra from all those people that would normally not publish a cache but want to have a virtual, from those that want to do whacky things they'd never be able to get away with with normal caches, etc. Those reviewers are doing this in their free time, next to a job. So how is this going to work?

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On 8/31/2017 at 0:49 AM, irisisleuk said:

Very glad to see this update on the blog:

August 30, 2017 Update:

we have updated this blog post to remove the emphasis on “top 1% of cache hiders” and replaced it with “the top 1% of the results from our algorithm” as this description more accurately describes the selected group of geocache hiders. Using the phrase “top 1% of cache hiders” was inaccurate and unfortunately caused confusion among geocachers worldwide. We regret this choice of words and have adjusted the language in this blog post to more clearly describe the process. 

Cache quality means many things to a hider, a finder, and the community. For this promotion, the algorithm included many factors but it heavily favored cache quality over quantity. Among these factors were percentage of Favorite points on active caches (not the total number of Favorite points) and current geocache Health Score.

 

I would have assumed that the top 1% would have had extremely healthy caches. I also assume that cache health pertains, at least partially, to having long-lived caches. Which brings me to one of that 1%. He has hidden less than 30 caches 13 years, with 5 active at this writing. The others were archived with an overall average lifespan of 2.6 years. 

I think I understand why he now refers to himself as a "top cacher"

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2 hours ago, Shop99er said:

I would have assumed that the top 1% would have had extremely healthy caches. I also assume that cache health pertains, at least partially, to having long-lived caches. Which brings me to one of that 1%. He has hidden less than 30 caches 13 years, with 5 active at this writing. The others were archived with an overall average lifespan of 2.6 years. 

I think I understand why he now refers to himself as a "top cacher"

If someone refers to himself as a top cacher, to me this would mean he isn't one (without even knowing which algorithm is used to define "top" ;)).

But if there is someone you know who got a virtual reward and you wonder how the algorithm could have chosen this CO, then don't forgot that also volunteers got this virtual reward. Reviewers, moderators, translators etc., and they are often not the best (whatever that means) cache owners. Some of them don't even want anyone to know they are volunteer, so they might just say they were chosen by the algorithm.

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8 hours ago, Shop99er said:

I would have assumed that the top 1% would have had extremely healthy caches. I also assume that cache health pertains, at least partially, to having long-lived caches. Which brings me to one of that 1%. He has hidden less than 30 caches 13 years, with 5 active at this writing. The others were archived with an overall average lifespan of 2.6 years. 

I think I understand why he now refers to himself as a "top cacher"

 

He may also be a community volunteer?!

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28 minutes ago, RuideAlmeida said:
9 hours ago, Shop99er said:

I would have assumed that the top 1% would have had extremely healthy caches. I also assume that cache health pertains, at least partially, to having long-lived caches. Which brings me to one of that 1%. He has hidden less than 30 caches 13 years, with 5 active at this writing. The others were archived with an overall average lifespan of 2.6 years. 

I think I understand why he now refers to himself as a "top cacher"

 

He may also be a community volunteer?!

Which I understand includes reviewers (which usually have a separate player account), forum moderators, and translators.  

 

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16 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Which I understand includes reviewers (which usually have a separate player account), forum moderators, and translators.  

 

 

Exactly... but the VR was granted to our player account.

Under this scenario, a player with few caches, may appear unfairly granted... only because the reason he got a VR is for his volunteer role (with a different nickname)... and not the 1% factor.

Edited by RuideAlmeida
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A new one came out in our area SF Bay Area. Cacher from 2010, 7 hides (all named after their caching name) about 4700 finds. Put it in the middle of a reservoir and you have to measure the depth (which changes).  No history of the lake. And named the same as their other caches with no mention of the lake. 

Edited by jellis
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On 9/2/2017 at 7:20 AM, RuideAlmeida said:

 

Exactly... but the VR was granted to our player account.

Under this scenario, a player with few caches, may appear unfairly granted... only because the reason he got a VR is for his volunteer role (with a different nickname)... and not the 1% factor.

I don't mind someone who has few get it as long it was following the reason we want them back. Like well placed with some history of the location and why it is special. Title it for the location. One I just mentioned was named Masa-8 with no mention of the lake they put it in. 

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1 hour ago, jellis said:

A new one came out in our area SF Bay Area. Cacher from 2010, 7 hides (all named after their caching name) about 4700 finds. Put it in the middle of a reservoir and you have to measure the depth (which changes).  No history of the lake. And named the same as their other caches with no mention of the lake. 

Not to my taste and, in my view, a shame that there's no detail, but...

27 minutes ago, jellis said:

I don't mind someone who has few get it as long it was following the reason we want them back. Like well placed with some history of the location and why it is special. Title it for the location. One I just mentioned was named Masa-8 with no mention of the lake they put it in. 

It's inevitable that an algorithm will produce results that some people don't necessarily agree with. The cacher has a bunch of favourite points on their caches. They might not be to my taste and I'll admit that some of the new virtuals that I've looked at I might well not bother looking for, but there's enough variety of caches being set to mean that I can pick and choose the ones that I'm interested in. Of the 19 that have been set in my part of the world so far there are certainly five or six that I'd deliberately make a journey to go and find, a couple that I know I wouldn't be able to find (terrain related) and some that I know that I won't be doing.

That's fine. I know that what I like isn't necessarily what other people like - in my area there are a whole pile of caches that I consider to be 90% really, really lame, but many of those caches have favourite points and there are people who write logs which suggest that they love the same style that I find boring.

It's shruggable when it comes down to it.

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23 hours ago, jellis said:

A new one came out in our area SF Bay Area. Cacher from 2010, 7 hides (all named after their caching name) about 4700 finds. Put it in the middle of a reservoir and you have to measure the depth (which changes).  No history of the lake. And named the same as their other caches with no mention of the lake. 

Sounds amazing - not :unsure:

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23 hours ago, jellis said:

I don't mind someone who has few get it as long it was following the reason we want them back. Like well placed with some history of the location and why it is special. Title it for the location. One I just mentioned was named Masa-8 with no mention of the lake they put it in. 

 

I'm glad to see that the volunteer reviewers here got one because as a Virtual Geocacher on another site where I was once part of the cache review team, I can not stand to see what people want listed and call it a virtual geocache. :( Hopefully the volunteer reviewers here have a better understanding of what a virtual geocache should be, and not just silly POI's that require a photo. I do that too on the Waymarking site where we have phone booths, McDonald's and cool stuff like that. :lol: That's why Waymarking is so popular. ;)

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23 hours ago, jellis said:

I don't mind someone who has few get it as long it was following the reason we want them back. Like well placed with some history of the location and why it is special. Title it for the location. One I just mentioned was named Masa-8 with no mention of the lake they put it in. 

Sounds like a vote for the return of the "Wow Factor", which we are all aware, led to the ultimate demise of the cache type, and noticeably absent in the official VR Guidelines.

Link for reference:

 

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=127&pgid=899

 

 

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On 9/3/2017 at 7:10 AM, jellis said:

A new one came out in our area SF Bay Area. Cacher from 2010, 7 hides (all named after their caching name) about 4700 finds. Put it in the middle of a reservoir and you have to measure the depth (which changes).  No history of the lake. And named the same as their other caches with no mention of the lake. 

The profile seems to be in line with others I have seen - nothing that really stands out about the past hides or their caching experience; nothing that indicates any particular interest in virtuals.  

I have long hoped that if people had one virtual to place, it would be a good one.   We'll see how it plays out out.   I don't think the initial ones are necessarily representative of what virtuals can be or what the "rewards" can bring to the game.   If I had been chosen it would have taken me a few months to settle on the right place.

On our most recent trip I did three virtuals in the area near where we stayed, including one new one.  None of them were remarkable, although the new one was better than the older ones and the older ones offered little guidance to someone whose experience with virtuals did not go beyond them.  

The next day we visited a location deep in cultural history and beauty - a bucket list type of destination where a regular cache would not have been appropriate or allowed.  I did not know about it during a previous trip and almost missed it now.   There were no caches in the immediate vicinity.  In other words, it was the type of location where I would have been tempted to use a single virtual.  But was not selecting it a missed opportunity for the rewarded person or simply a reflection that our interests in this game (and in life) varies? 

If I had been designing an algorithm, I might have focused on interest in virtuals.     But I am glad that Groundspeak has kept them as part of the game and hope to find some in places that expand my experience.

Edited by geodarts
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20 minutes ago, geodarts said:

The profile seems to be in line with others I have seen - nothing that really stands out about the past hides or their caching experience; nothing that indicates any particular interest in virtuals. 

I haven't really filtered them out but here in Belgium the closest one is about 30 Km from here and is located at the Ghent train station which is a historic building with special murals. There used to be a Letterbox hybrid there using the same murals to calculate the cache location which was also "special".

There's one at Leuven town hall, a special historic building (15th century) another at the Menin Gate in Ypres (WW I monument).

It looks like at least these are "worthy" of a virtual.

 

 

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I was gifted one f these virtual caches. TBH, I think virtuals are stupid and GS should have just removed them back when they were grandfathered like they did with locationless caches. When I was gifted the virtual, I was very tempted to simply post the coords to a McDonalds sign and require the finders to tell me how many arches were on the sign in order to get the smiley. Or getting a virtual pubilshed and then archiving it right away and making a snide comment about how there are now only 3,999 new virtuals. Ultimately, I decided to use it the "right" way and it's been a headache ever since.

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45 minutes ago, simpjkee said:

I was gifted one f these virtual caches. TBH, I think virtuals are stupid and GS should have just removed them back when they were grandfathered like they did with locationless caches. When I was gifted the virtual, I was very tempted to simply post the coords to a McDonalds sign and require the finders to tell me how many arches were on the sign in order to get the smiley. Or getting a virtual pubilshed and then archiving it right away and making a snide comment about how there are now only 3,999 new virtuals. Ultimately, I decided to use it the "right" way and it's been a headache ever since.

 

I viewed your new virtual listing and your old Waymark there and find them interesting. I'm sorry to see your new virt causing you problems, but it's just some of the people here.

With that said, I don't believe I would be interested in owning a new virt here myself. EC's were too much trouble for me and I archived about 7, but I'm aware about your case. I would be upset too.

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2 hours ago, simpjkee said:

I was gifted one f these virtual caches. TBH, I think virtuals are stupid and GS should have just removed them back when they were grandfathered like they did with locationless caches. When I was gifted the virtual, I was very tempted to simply post the coords to a McDonalds sign and require the finders to tell me how many arches were on the sign in order to get the smiley. Or getting a virtual pubilshed and then archiving it right away and making a snide comment about how there are now only 3,999 new virtuals. Ultimately, I decided to use it the "right" way and it's been a headache ever since.

Ignore the negativity. The 'cachers who have found your virt seem honored to have been invited to the spot you chose, as would I if ever I find myself in Arizona. 

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I was thrilled at the news that there would be 4000 new virtuals in the world, thanks to this new Virtual Rewards program (maybe a bad title, considering all the negative forum posts?). I love virtuals, and always seek them out when I travel, because they take me to (mostly) amazing locations. Anyway, I never considered that some of those "rewarded" might choose not to take advantage of this, and choose never to activate their virtual. What happens then? If only 500 virtuals are placed in the next year, is that it? Or will those unactivated VRs be given to the next folks on the list, until the geocaching community does indeed have 4000 new virtuals added to the game?

Edited by TrueRed06
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2 hours ago, TrueRed06 said:

Or will those unactivated VRs be given to the next folks on the list, until the geocaching community does indeed have 4000 new virtuals added to the game?

The announcement doesn't make any reference to this.  The intent was to give 4,000 cachers the opportunity to publish a virtual cache, not to get 4,000 virtual caches published.

That said, with all of the butt-hurt folks who have been gnashing their teeth about not getting picked, it would be a heck of a wasted opportunity for those who did get picked to not bother putting one together.

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26 minutes ago, hzoi said:

butt-hurt folks

What a lovely turn of phrase.

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21 minutes ago, hzoi said:

That said, with all of the butt-hurt folks who have been gnashing their teeth about not getting picked, it would be a heck of a wasted opportunity for those who did get picked to not bother putting one together.

And yet, I think it's almost certain that some of those 4000 virtual caches will remain unpublished. For one thing, not everyone is interested in owning a virtual cache. For another, some who are interested in owning a virtual cache may be reluctant to expose themselves as one of the lucky 4000 to those who are gnashing their teeth.

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11 minutes ago, niraD said:

And yet, I think it's almost certain that some of those 4000 virtual caches will remain unpublished. For one thing, not everyone is interested in owning a virtual cache. For another, some who are interested in owning a virtual cache may be reluctant to expose themselves as one of the lucky 4000 to those who are gnashing their teeth.

I kinda agree...

Attention now called to them, deleting google-pic fakers and such was tough enough for some COs with the older ones. 

Cheaters pushing the limits of "rules", arguing that their fake log should fly.  With all the awesome ideas I had for this cache type, not sure I'd wanna go through that either.

Add in the "Why you?" at events (we've heard worse for less...) and I could see quite a few feeling it's just not worth the hassle. 

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8 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

Attention now called to them, deleting google-pic fakers and such was tough enough for some COs with the older ones. 

Cheaters pushing the limits of "rules", arguing that their fake log should fly.  With all the awesome ideas I had for this cache type, not sure I'd wanna go through that either.

Add in the "Why you?" at events (we've heard worse for less...) and I could see quite a few feeling it's just not worth the hassle. 

I guess, like many things, much depends upon your location and your local community.

I was at an event last month at which one of the locals (who I'd just met recently in person) revealed that he'd been selected for a Virtual Reward.   The reaction of the gathered crowd was warm and welcoming.   No second guessing the choice, or trying to back-figure the criteria that selected him, or expressions of jealousy, or anything else negative.   He asked for suggestions on where to place his virtual cache, and many were offered.   He ultimately chose to place it in a newly-opened national cemetery in the area, as a tribute to his past service in the military.   I haven't logged the cache yet, but I expect it will be a fine example of what a virtual cache should be.

But I'll be the first to admit that our community of cachers may not be representative of other communities.  We've been spared much of the conflict that seems to plague other communities.

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Two words: "Virtual" and "Rewards"

Virtual
Introducing a limited number of new Virtual Caches is appreciated by most geocachers, thank you Geocaching HQ!

Rewards
Maybe the intentions were good, but the solution was not.
Out of respect for the current thread, I will not discuss the algorithm here but rather on this separate thread.

Regards!

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