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Number of new caches decreasing?


brendan714
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hal-an-tow, thanks for taking the time to present all this data.

Some of the recent decline for the countries you queried, I'd guess is cold winter in Europe.  This time of year increased activity in the southern hemisphere, and the warm climates north of the equator.   I live in Florida, USA, where winter is the prime caching time. ( Though cache numbers in Florida have continued to drop because of the major hurricane here of late fall; it affected the state broadly).

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Thanks - yes I know I picked stats for N. Hemisphere only, and Europe mainly, but as that's where I am, that's where my interest lies.  I did screenshot the USA stats, but missed uploading them so will add them here.

I don't think the 'last week' or 'last month' stats are particularly useful to give a picture of the situation (PGC data refresh rate, late logging etc etc.) but the annual statistics do suggest trends. There's a lot of red in the 'caches hidden' sections.

Captureusa.JPG

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These stats go hand in hand, and I think for the most part are subjective. Despite all the cache categories being in the red, means very little (to me). I still have an abundance of caches to be found in my area and new caches are popping up just about weekly in my emails; two or three at a time sometimes. Some areas haven't seen a new cache for a few months where other areas have constant growth.

Geoaching is a hobby among all else. Some people like to find them during certain times of the year and others like to cache year round. And since it's a hobby, some folks try it while other people have been caching for years. Maybe off and on, little by little, they find a few caches a month and stop for a while. The patterns from those who cache are all of different varieties.

There are areas on the map that are absolutely saturated with caches, and have little to no room for more. There are places on the map that are wide open with little or zero interest from anyone to place any. I see one specific stat, "Active Cachers in and from the United States": Last Month 61169 as opposed to 2016 67065. That's a difference of 5,896 cachers who what, didn't find a cache? Deleted their account?

The Caches Hidden portion, as you pointed out " lots of red" could be a multitude of reasons as to why cache placement is down. One reason could very well be that people have lost interest, as people do with hobbies. Or that the areas of the world are so saturated with easy Park n' Grabs, Light Post caches and Guardrails that there simply isn't room for anything else. My stats page on my profile surely represents that cache placements are, for the most part, easy grabs. I do not discriminate when it comes to going after caches.

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14 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

 My stats page on my profile surely represents that cache placements are, for the most part, easy grabs. I do not discriminate when it comes to going after caches.

I've known many cachers that stated this very same thing, that every cache was a good cache. They went for everything they could, park and grabs were their favorites, when they were active. Thing is, most of those folks are long gone, or like me, have slowed way down. There are different reasons for why people quit but i figure a good many of them give it up because finding so many easy micros became too boring for them. But who knows, you may be one of the few that keeps on going.

Granted, the stats above don't tell the whole story. However, there's a really good chance they're giving us an indication of what's happening with geocaching as a whole.

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15 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

These stats go hand in hand, and I think for the most part are subjective. Despite all the cache categories being in the red, means very little (to me). I still have an abundance of caches to be found in my area and new caches are popping up just about weekly in my emails; two or three at a time sometimes. Some areas haven't seen a new cache for a few months where other areas have constant growth.

The statistics are objective  definition 3 - "expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations ".

Anything we say based on our own point of view, experience or judgement is subjective definition 4a - "peculiar to a particular individual ... modified or affected by personal views, experience, or background"

Objectively the statistics give us a snapshot of the country wide situation as it was on December 31st 2017 with regard to cache publication, finds and numbers of participants , taken from groundspeaks database and collated by project GC. They are dispassionate facts, like them or not !

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3 hours ago, hal-an-tow said:

Objectively the statistics give us a snapshot of the country wide situation as it was on December 31st 2017 with regard to cache publication, finds and numbers of participants , taken from groundspeaks database and collated by project GC. They are dispassionate facts, like them or not !

Indeed, but interpretation of the facts is highly subjective. Considering which factors that affects the stats - which are relevant or not - is subjective. Context, influences, constraints, all pretty subjective. It's also subjective to merely say "look at the numbers, they don't lie, geocaching is dying" because you're subjectively dismissing any contextual reasoning, and implying a definition of "dying".  Numbers are numbers, and that's objective. These numbers are essentially global. So what do the numbers mean, that is the question.

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2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Indeed, but interpretation of the facts is highly subjective. Considering which factors that affects the stats - which are relevant or not - is subjective. Context, influences, constraints, all pretty subjective.

Yep, that's what I said in my post

2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

 It's also subjective to merely say "look at the numbers, they don't lie, geocaching is dying" because you're subjectively dismissing any contextual reasoning, and implying a definition of "dying".

You may infer all of that if you wish, but it's nowhere in the post you are replying to !

2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

  Numbers are numbers, and that's objective. These numbers are essentially global. So what do the numbers mean, that is the question.

Not actually global, but only national data for parts of Western Europe and the USA. As I said,  I didn't have time to include most of the world. I missed out Canada, a huge proportion of Europe, all of Asia , and the entire Southern Hemisphere I'm afraid.

My aim in posting them is to give folk the wherewithal to make an informed assessment of the situation for themselves from objective data.

 

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2 hours ago, hal-an-tow said:

My aim in posting them is to give folk the wherewithal to make an informed assessment of the situation for themselves from objective data.

Yep, that's good, I wasn't sure if you were implying something 'bad' or 'good' based on looking at the numeric stats you supplied.  That would be subjective. If not, then great, that's objective :)

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I live in a vacation area so I see more caches all the time. Visitors hiding caches all over theplace.   Unfortunately most are just Bison Tubes hung in a tree.   NO thought in how they place the cache or where they place it.   To me , its NOT about searching for a green tube inside a pine tree.  Its being taken to an area thats new to me.  Finding a medium size cache thats hidden in a special way, something new and interesting.  I havent cached for a few years because I got tired of the same old thing....

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Project.gc shows daily placement rates, also seasonal ups and downs (less new caches in cold/wet season) and the trend in various countries.

France seems to be a late starter.

histo.thumb.jpg.f60ce6db36004515c10eb34a14823a2a.jpg

Yes, numbers of new geocaches go down in most countries, but these numbers don't tell whether that is good or bad.

You can see different trends in various countries, maybe also influenced by stricter placement policy and restrictions, saturation issues etc.

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An archival rate graph might prove informative as well.  In those regions where placement is down, it may be that the archival rate is also down, which implies a saturation  (active cache) increase.  Placement rate may be higher when there are more places cachers may gravitate to placing. So when there's a higher archival rate, there may also be a higher placement rate.  That relative turnover could also be depicted as a periodic ratio of archives to published within a week or a month.  We may see that in time periods where placement and active cache saturation are down, there's still a generous activity rate as people are keeping the rate geocaches high, as opposed to a stagnation or decline in all areas of owner activity.

If caches are being archived, and no new caches are being placed, then that would be a better indication of declining interest in a particular region.

What about including reasons for archival? Reviewer archival logs vs owner archival logs could be an interesting metric to incorporate in the archival stats.

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On 1/20/2018 at 4:08 PM, themagician said:

I live in a vacation area so I see more caches all the time. Visitors hiding caches all over theplace.   Unfortunately most are just Bison Tubes hung in a tree.   NO thought in how they place the cache or where they place it.   To me , its NOT about searching for a green tube inside a pine tree.  Its being taken to an area thats new to me.  Finding a medium size cache thats hidden in a special way, something new and interesting.  I havent cached for a few years because I got tired of the same old thing....

That's unfortunate that GC.com would allow vacationers to place a cache knowing full well their maintenance plan might be that of hoping other cachers take care of it. 

 

I vacation all over the world. I couldn't imagine hiding a cache in Bermuda knowing full well it might be 4-5 years before I return. But then again. Maybe these are vacationers who frequent their favorite vacation spot 3-4 times a year. Who knows. 

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On 1/20/2018 at 7:03 AM, hal-an-tow said:

They are dispassionate facts, like them or not !

It's not that I like them or don't like them. I just don't think they matter much because, as most hobbies go, interest among the hobby fluctuates. Just look at sporting event attendance for major sports teams throughout the years. 

It's up to GC.com to keep people interested and attract new members. I think they do a fine job.

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On 1/22/2018 at 6:31 AM, thebruce0 said:

 

What about including reasons for archival? Reviewer archival logs vs owner archival logs could be an interesting metric to incorporate in the archival stats.

This. If there's any information that needs to be paid attention to and dissected, it's this. Why are people archiving their caches? 

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1 hour ago, SeattleWayne said:

This. If there's any information that needs to be paid attention to and dissected, it's this. Why are people archiving their caches? 

I'd really like to see the global stats comparing reviewer archival to owner archival.

Observations in my area, most people don't archive their caches. Reviewers do it.

Some active cache owners postpone reviewer archival by responding to NAs with "I'll fix it next week", then don't do anything.

And some cache owners--I've noticed an increase in this behavior in the last 6 months--respond to a reviewer disable with an OM log that says, "I'll fix it next week". Then the cache sits around for months, a reviewer doesn't archive the cache, I assume because they didn't notice the OM log isn't actually an OM. It takes another few months of broken cache reports,  DNFs, NMs and an NA before the reviewer ends up archiving it.

The majority of cache owners that archive their own cache, usually do it when it's gone missing, after a string of DNFs and an NA have been posted. 

Does Project GC have stats on reviewer vs. owner archival?

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I don't expect to see global stats about archivals, for various reasons.

How could we get an idea of hide/archive rates and owner/reviewer archival ratios at least for a well known region/country/state? 
 
You might want to identify also (all or at least most of) the already archived geocaches for the given region/country, for example via dedicated bookmark lists. 
 
Placed date is given in geocache listings.
 
For most archived geocaches (in Austria >99%) there is an archive log, for the rest only owners/watchers/Groundspeak know who archived them.
 
Knowing the reviewer history of a region that has/had very few reviewers (for Austria erik88l-r for the first years, 2 now active and 2 no longer active reviewers) lets 
 
guessing whether a geocache was archived by a (then) reviewer seem reasonably reliable. You would probably miss a few vacation replacement archivals by other reviewers. Reviewers also archive own geocaches, but sometimes after NA. ;)
 
Events are gone anyway after the event date, to me it doesn't seem important who archives them.
 
Hide and archive rates might vary considerably between regions/countries, also the arichval ratio owner/reviewer might vary considerably between regions/countries. 
 
Here a short overview for Austria:
 
hide-archive-rates.thumb.jpg.93ed03f39addafc410993183ed8f5164.jpg
  • Until now in each year more geocaches were hidden than archived in Austria, but net growth is getting considerably smaller.
  • 24% of all archivals (non-event geocaches) in Austria 2012-2017 were done by reviewers/HQ.

 

 

 

recently-archived-by-placement-year.thumb.jpg.e23fe27de4901e4801a2155710a9c3e8.jpg

  • Since January 1, 2017 0.0-6.8% of all geocaches in Austria of any given placement year were archived by owners, 0.0-2.1% by a reviewer.
  • Remaining geocaches from early placement years (2001-2004) in Austria tend to have considerably lower archive rates recently than 1-5 year old geocaches.

 


 

cache-status-by-year-of-placement.thumb.jpg.a4f18db1f4195d881a34619b7dff5b52.jpg

  • More than 50% (51.6-58.9%) of geocaches placed in the years 2001 to 2005 in Austria are  still active
  • less than 50% (43.9-49.1%) of geocaches placed in the years 2006 to 2011 in Austria are still active
  • Rates go up again for still active geocaches in Austria from 52.2% for geocaches placed in 2012 to 86.8% for geocaches placed 2016 and >96% for geocaches placed 2017.
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Nice analyses, Anna.

Another interesting view might be 'age' of cache owners when they place caches. For each publish log, one could data mine to find out how long the owner has been caching, how many caches have been published prior, and how many are active at publish. Various views of that could also indicate most common experience rates of COs placing caches, over the years. If there's an uptick of 'newbie' cachers placing caches and a downtick in veteran cachers doing so, that could be indicative of a trend.

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5 hours ago, AnnaMoritz said:
  • Until now in each year more geocaches were hidden than archived in Austria, but net growth is getting considerably smaller.
  • 24% of all archivals (non-event geocaches) in Austria 2012-2017 were done by reviewers/HQ.
  • Since January 1, 2017 0.0-6.8% of all geocaches in Austria of any given placement year were archived by owners, 0.0-2.1% by a reviewer.

 

Just a few of the many interesting bullet points in your analysis. Nice to see that reviewer archivals are not the norm in your country.

Loved the charts and appreciate all the work that you put into this.  Thank You!

 

8 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

That's unfortunate that GC.com would allow vacationers to place a cache knowing full well their maintenance plan might be that of hoping other cachers take care of it.

I vacation all over the world. I couldn't imagine hiding a cache in Bermuda knowing full well it might be 4-5 years before I return. But then again. Maybe these are vacationers who frequent their favorite vacation spot 3-4 times a year. Who knows. 

Groundspeak allows vacation caches with a defined policy:  Help Center article on vacation caches

In some places, no caches would exist at all if they could not be placed by cachers that are on vacation. In some locales, caches will be maintained by a local resident, as part of the noted policy. That local resident may have absolutely no problem with maintaining and watching over the cache. They may even think that geocaching is a very cool hobby, but it's just not something that has taken off in their area. There are plenty of places in this wide, wide world where a hobby like geocaching is not going to be anyone's priority. Plus, if there are only a handful of caches in a country, then even if someone learned about the hobby and started caching, they would lose interest really quickly when all caching options are exhausted after only a a few days of caching.

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7 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

Observations in my area, most people don't archive their caches. Reviewers do it.

The majority of cache owners that archive their own cache, usually do it when it's gone missing, after a string of DNFs and an NA have been posted.

Do you have any numbers on this, or is this just your general sense? It would be great to see more analysis like what AnnaMoritz created for Austria.

I get alerts for Archivals in my immediate area, but I tend to delete the emails after looking through them. I'll need to keep better track of these going forward.  EDIT : Just looked through my email and trash, looks like 30% of archivals in my immediate area were done by Reviewers, the majority (70%) were archived by CO's themselves. A small area and a small sample of just recent emails.

 

7 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

And some cache owners--I've noticed an increase in this behavior in the last 6 months--respond to a reviewer disable with an OM log that says, "I'll fix it next week". Then the cache sits around for months, a reviewer doesn't archive the cache, I assume because they didn't notice the OM log isn't actually an OM. It takes another few months of broken cache reports,  DNFs, NMs and an NA before the reviewer ends up archiving it.

As was noted in another thread, some of these 'premature' OM logs could be due to the new logging page, where OM is the default log type when a CO clicks to enter a log on their cache and the log type cannot be changed once submitted. I was going to expound on that here, but this isn't the appropriate thread to discuss 'premature' OM logs. So, I posted in that other thread instead.

 

Edited by noncentric
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7 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

I'd really like to see the global stats comparing reviewer archival to owner archival.

Observations in my area, most people don't archive their caches. Reviewers do it.

Some active cache owners postpone reviewer archival by responding to NAs with "I'll fix it next week", then don't do anything.

And some cache owners--I've noticed an increase in this behavior in the last 6 months--respond to a reviewer disable with an OM log that says, "I'll fix it next week". Then the cache sits around for months, a reviewer doesn't archive the cache, I assume because they didn't notice the OM log isn't actually an OM. It takes another few months of broken cache reports,  DNFs, NMs and an NA before the reviewer ends up archiving it.

The majority of cache owners that archive their own cache, usually do it when it's gone missing, after a string of DNFs and an NA have been posted. 

Does Project GC have stats on reviewer vs. owner archival?

I can't help with global stats, but my own, of the 74 caches I've logged (any log type) or owned that have subsequently been archived, 45 were archived by the CO, 26 by reviewers (either in response to an NA or due to the cache being left disabled for too long) and 3 by HQ (moving caches). I don't think I've ever seen a "fix it next week" in response to an NA - by the time they get to that stage the CO's no longer responsive. The "disabled for too long" warning occasionally brings a response, either a repair and re-enable or CO archival.

Of the ones archived by the CO, about two-thirds had gone missing, the other third generally removed by the CO when he or she moved away or if the cache location became problematic. There were only 4 where it wasn't clear from the logs whether the cache had actually been physically removed.

These numbers might be skewed though by a very prolific hider from around here who removed and archived all her caches about six months ago when she moved interstate.

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1 hour ago, noncentric said:

As was noted in another thread, some of these 'premature' OM logs could be due to the new logging page, where OM is the default log type when a CO clicks to enter a log on their cache

I just checked the GC app a few minutes ago. I tapped the green Log bar and got a choice of 3 log types: Owner Maintenance, Write Note, and Disable. And below the 3 options is a Cancel bar. OM is the first choice but it's not a default log. 

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1 hour ago, noncentric said:

I get alerts for Archivals in my immediate area

Sounds interesting. How do sign up for alerts on archivals?

I tried to use Project-GC to look at archived caches within 10km of my home location but can't figure out how to use Map Compare (I'm a PM there, but haven't used Map Compare in months and can't figure it out now).

My observations are based on my cache logs.

In 2016 I logged 106 NAs. 92 were archived by a reviewer.  87% were archived by a reviewer.  
(That was the turning point for me. I took a geocaching vacation for a few days and ended up logging NMs/NAs on mostly abandoned vacation-cache-style junk. The first day only one of 35 cache finds had a container that was in good shape. I lost the passion for finding caches that weekend.)

2017 I logged 31 NAs. 17 archived by a reviewer. 9 disable by reviewer (not yet archived).  2 were cache owner disabled, no fix yet. One was OM'd by the owner but the log is still missing. 1 was fixed by a friend of the CO (no response from the CO) after my NA log, and the reviewer has allowed the surrogate maintenance. 

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1 hour ago, L0ne.R said:
3 hours ago, noncentric said:

As was noted in another thread, some of these 'premature' OM logs could be due to the new logging page, where OM is the default log type when a CO clicks to enter a log on their cache

I just checked the GC app a few minutes ago. I tapped the green Log bar and got a choice of 3 log types: Owner Maintenance, Write Note, and Disable. And below the 3 options is a Cancel bar. OM is the first choice but it's not a default log. 

The "new logging page" on the website. When you go to a cache and click the green Log Geocache button. If you've opted out, then you'll get the old logging page, otherwise you'll get the new logging page.

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44 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

Sounds interesting. How do sign up for alerts on archivals?

Set up an Instant Notification and choose "Archive" logs and/or other log types if you want. You'd then select a location and a radius (max of 50 miles). You can only select one cache type in each notification, so you'd need to create a notification for Traditionals, then another for Multis, then another for Letterbox Hybrids, etc.

 

44 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

I tried to use Project-GC to look at archived caches within 10km of my home location but can't figure out how to use Map Compare (I'm a PM there, but haven't used Map Compare in months and can't figure it out now).

The MapCompare doesn't require PGC Premium. How I have used it is:

  • Profile name = mine
  • Compare with = leave blank
  • Cache location = select your desired country, state/province, locality
  • Show = None found & One found
  • Center/radius = enter your desired coords and distance
  • Add filter --> Show Disabled/Archived = select Archived
  • Add additional filters if desired, then click blue Filter button

 

44 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

My observations are based on my cache logs.

In 2016 I logged 106 NAs. 92 were archived by a reviewer.  87% were archived by a reviewer.  
(That was the turning point for me. I took a geocaching vacation for a few days and ended up logging NMs/NAs on mostly abandoned vacation-cache-style junk. The first day only one of 35 cache finds had a container that was in good shape. I lost the passion for finding caches that weekend.)

2017 I logged 31 NAs. 17 archived by a reviewer. 9 disable by reviewer (not yet archived).  2 were cache owner disabled, no fix yet. One was OM'd by the owner but the log is still missing. 1 was fixed by a friend of the CO (no response from the CO) after my NA log, and the reviewer has allowed the surrogate maintenance. 

It's too bad that your area had/has a higher Reviewer Archived ratio. As has been mentioned in these forums before, it could be that the geocaching culture in your area is just 'worse' than in other areas? Not sure how or why that type of culture would develop.

I think it's important we all realize that what we see in our own corner of the globe doesn't necessarily represent what's happening everywhere else. This is why I favor Reviewers having discretion when applying the guidelines, rather than having hard-and-fast rules that might be necessary in some locales but is stifling in others.

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There is a lot of discussion about the number of caches, but what really matters when trying to assess the health of geocaching is the number of logs from distinct cachers.

If the number of distinct active cachers is increasing, then geocaching is growing, despite the decrease in new caches.  If it is decreasing (and I believe I saw data to that effect recently) then geocaching has peaked and is dying.

I suspect that geocaching has peaked, which is hardly surprising given that the Groundspeak business model seems to be focused on acquiring new cachers while paying minimal attention to retaining existing cachers.

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21 minutes ago, fizzymagic said:

There is a lot of discussion about the number of caches, but what really matters when trying to assess the health of geocaching is the number of logs from distinct cachers.

If the number of distinct active cachers is increasing, then geocaching is growing, despite the decrease in new caches.  If it is decreasing (and I believe I saw data to that effect recently) then geocaching has peaked and is dying.

I suspect that geocaching has peaked, which is hardly surprising given that the Groundspeak business model seems to be focused on acquiring new cachers while paying minimal attention to retaining existing cachers.

What I'm seeing here is a lot of new distinct cachers, but they find maybe a dozen 1.5/1.5 P&G caches then vanish. The higher D/T caches might just as well not be there for all the activity they're getting, except perhaps during the school holidays when there are a few out of town visitors about.

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15 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

It's not that I like them or don't like them. I just don't think they matter much because, as most hobbies go, interest among the hobby fluctuates. Just look at sporting event attendance for major sports teams throughout the years. 

It's up to GC.com to keep people interested and attract new members. I think they do a fine job.

It's certainly good to be optimistic but the data we're seeing in the graphs.posted is a good indication of what's happening with geocaching as a whole. There is some fluctuation but for the most part, geocaching's popularity is on a steady decline.

My opinion is that Groundspeak has NOT done a fine job. Some of their business decisions are what has caused a lot of this.

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On 1/26/2018 at 9:39 AM, SeattleWayne said:

That's unfortunate that GC.com would allow vacationers to place a cache knowing full well their maintenance plan might be that of hoping other cachers take care of it. 

 

I vacation all over the world. I couldn't imagine hiding a cache in Bermuda knowing full well it might be 4-5 years before I return. But then again. Maybe these are vacationers who frequent their favorite vacation spot 3-4 times a year. Who knows. 

many years ago we some days had to drive 50 or more miles , and into other states to find caches.   I found a nice park about 100 Miles from home,  GC questioned me about putting a cache there.   I told them it WAS in my line of travel  , now it just seems anyone can put one anywhere with no regard that they may live 1000 miles away.

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23 hours ago, barefootjeff said:
On 1/27/2018 at 0:24 AM, fizzymagic said:

There is a lot of discussion about the number of caches, but what really matters when trying to assess the health of geocaching is the number of logs from distinct cachers.

If the number of distinct active cachers is increasing, then geocaching is growing, despite the decrease in new caches.  If it is decreasing (and I believe I saw data to that effect recently) then geocaching has peaked and is dying.

I suspect that geocaching has peaked, which is hardly surprising given that the Groundspeak business model seems to be focused on acquiring new cachers while paying minimal attention to retaining existing cachers.

What I'm seeing here is a lot of new distinct cachers, but they find maybe a dozen 1.5/1.5 P&G caches then vanish. The higher D/T caches might just as well not be there for all the activity they're getting, except perhaps during the school holidays when there are a few out of town visitors about.

An interesting metric would be the number of first logs for new cachers. That in itself would show the increase of new users, just not the length of time they've cached.

Assuming ideally the algorithm has access to all logs, it would also be possible to date each user's last log, and how long it's been since the last log.  That would provide how long a user has been caching, whether they're "active" by how recent the last log is, and after a threshold assume a drop out and produce an account cycle rate, new users to [as of analysis] gone users.

If the claim that GS is only focusing on short-term adoption users is true, then we should see an increase of first logs (new users), and of idle/gone users where there are more short-life idle/gone users than older users.

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9 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

If the claim that GS is only focusing on short-term adoption users is true, then we should see an increase of first logs (new users), and of idle/gone users where there are more short-life idle/gone users than older users.

I'm not sure anyone is claiming that GS is purposely focusing on short term users. I believe though, their focus on presenting geocaching via a phone app has unintentionally caused some of the problem. It makes sense to come up with an app to bring in more customers but there are some side effects. Most apps, especially games, don't last very long on a person's phone. It's the nature of the beast. Unfortunately, this short termness is hastened because of the boring stuff the app brings people to these days.

GS needs to bring their focus back into getting people to realize that quality is where it's at. Quantity may be great for the short term but it's not going to be good long term for the business, or our hobby.

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6 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

I'm not sure anyone is claiming that GS is purposely focusing on short term users.

I am. Well, almost.  I am claiming that GS is focusing on acquiring new users to the detriment of retaining existing users. It has been true for some time, but is much more apparent now that Jeremy has left.

Edited by fizzymagic
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1 hour ago, fizzymagic said:

I am. Well, almost.  I am claiming that GS is focusing on acquiring new users to the detriment of retaining existing users. It has been true for some time, but is much more apparent now that Jeremy has left.

And maybe you're right about this. GS had pretty much forgotten about its existing members when they began focusing their efforts on recruiting the masses. Our concerns were not important and it didn't matter how or if any of this affected existing members. I actually get the feeling they don't care if an existing member leaves since they think someone else will just step into our place. Thing is, i don't believe this is working out the way they were thinking it would.

 

 

1 hour ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Biggest single mistake: putting the interesting caches behind a paywall.

Hey kids, look at all the easy caches!

How long does easy stay interesting?

Maybe not the biggest but yes, one of those business decisions that helped to steer geocaching the direction it's heading now.

Edited by Mudfrog
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2 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Biggest single mistake: putting the interesting caches behind a paywall.

Just so we're clear, the more difficult caches are only "paywalled" in the official app. They're still accessible on the website for those GPS users, though with the "Send to GPS function essentially dead, it does put basic members in a bit of a bind. They're still available through 3rd party API apps. They're trying to encourage premium memberships while still sticking to the promise that geocaching would always remain free.

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9 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Biggest single mistake: putting the interesting caches behind a paywall.

Hey kids, look at all the easy caches!

How long does easy stay interesting?

I guess you are talking about the official app. Count in PMO caches that are often just PMO to keep the "Hey, this sounds like fun and it's free (but I*m not really interested)" people away.

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11 hours ago, Mineral2 said:

Just so we're clear, the more difficult caches are only "paywalled" in the official app. They're still accessible on the website for those GPS users, though with the "Send to GPS function essentially dead, it does put basic members in a bit of a bind. They're still available through 3rd party API apps. They're trying to encourage premium memberships while still sticking to the promise that geocaching would always remain free.

The problem is, the official app is probably the only app new cachers ever end up seeing and trying. I figure the app probably has a pop up stating something to the effect, "buy premium to see more caches" but i doubt it gives anyone a "heads up" that they can see those caches via 3rd party apps or the website.

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17 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Biggest single mistake: putting the interesting caches behind a paywall.

Hey kids, look at all the easy caches!

How long does easy stay interesting?

I don't agree.   The other 2/3rds has played games on her phone for years.  Games have a free version, but if you ever wanted to expand beyond the basic (extra in-game cash, better equipment, more tanks,  etc.)  you paid for it.  

I don't see why this "game" should be any different.  The free phone app version gives the user no real skin in the game/hobby otherwise.

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On 1/27/2018 at 1:53 PM, themagician said:

many years ago we some days had to drive 50 or more miles , and into other states to find caches.   I found a nice park about 100 Miles from home,  GC questioned me about putting a cache there.   I told them it WAS in my line of travel  , now it just seems anyone can put one anywhere with no regard that they may live 1000 miles away.

Really?  I've heard that cachers are still having problems placing caches far (100+ miles) away from their home area if it's not evident from their caching history that they visit that 'far' area regularly, or if they don't explain to their Reviewer that they visit that area regularly, or if they don't provide their Reviewer with a maintenance plan (in the case of 'vacation caches').

 

19 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

The problem is, the official app is probably the only app new cachers ever end up seeing and trying. I figure the app probably has a pop up stating something to the effect, "buy premium to see more caches" but i doubt it gives anyone a "heads up" that they can see those caches via 3rd party apps or the website.

I think this is a good point. I'm curious how many cachers, whose first interaction with the hobby is via an app, even know that geocaching.com (website) exists?  And if they don't know about the website, then will they ever hide a cache themselves?  And do they even realize that caches are placed by 'regular' cachers, and not by the creators of the app?

I think the app should have some breadcrumbs that lead users to the website. The only links to the website seems to be the individual cache pages, with the "open in browser" option. But I don't see web links in the "Help and About" section, or any other mentions of the website in the app. And there's nothing in the app that mentions 'How to hide a cache', which I still think should "require" going to the website. I do not support creating cache pages via the app.

 

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On 1/28/2018 at 2:39 PM, fizzymagic said:

I am. Well, almost.  I am claiming that GS is focusing on acquiring new users to the detriment of retaining existing users. It has been true for some time, but is much more apparent now that Jeremy has left.

When did Jeremy 'leave'?  Jeremy moved from 'President' to Senior VP last year, with Bryan moving into the President role, but I hadn't heard that Jeremy had since "left" GS. In fact, Jeremy's announcement about the org change included him stating that his new role would allow him to "have some time (and resources) to work on smaller projects to help the core team improve the game".

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5 hours ago, noncentric said:

 ...  I'm curious how many cachers, whose first interaction with the hobby is via an app, even know that geocaching.com (website) exists?  And if they don't know about the website, then will they ever hide a cache themselves?  And do they even realize that caches are placed by 'regular' cachers, and not by the creators of the app?

I believe that's part of "keeping the hobby free".   Like there are options other than pm to access hides with higher D/T, but they need to find how.   We knew immediately years ago because we had to access the site using a handheld GPSr.  Phones don't need that requirement. 

Some odd reason (like the other 2/3rds and games she plays), some here are entering as PMs, maybe thinking that most app games have added costs to them later anyway.  Not sure about their payment options, but (to me) thirty bucks is a steep start...  At an event a few months ago, I met a couple who still didn't understand the basics, but started as premium members.  Nice folks that just didn't look past that video, and I cached all day with them for the walk  (already found the hides).  We see that sometimes here in the forums, PMs with no finds asking basic questions.     

When the "Intro" app came out, we had some take our ammo cans, try to "re-hide them", and two did think the site placed them for the game.  It seems this newer app explains things much better than that one.      :)

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On 1/30/2018 at 2:32 AM, noncentric said:

When did Jeremy 'leave'?  Jeremy moved from 'President' to Senior VP last year, with Bryan moving into the President role, but I hadn't heard that Jeremy had since "left" GS. In fact, Jeremy's announcement about the org change included him stating that his new role would allow him to "have some time (and resources) to work on smaller projects to help the core team improve the game".

 

Does anyone have any additional info about Jeremy?  This is news to me.

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27 minutes ago, MRC1925T said:

Does anyone have any additional info about Jeremy?  This is news to me.

Just to clarify, I'm including my post that you quoted in full context below.  My post that you quoted was in response to fizzymagic's comment that "Jeremy has left".  As I responded, Jeremy did not leave.  Both Jeremy and Bryan are still at GS, they just re-organized the management structure.  You can read  HERE  for more background.

 

 

On 1/30/2018 at 2:32 AM, noncentric said:
On 1/28/2018 at 2:39 PM, fizzymagic said:

I am. Well, almost.  I am claiming that GS is focusing on acquiring new users to the detriment of retaining existing users. It has been true for some time, but is much more apparent now that Jeremy has left.

When did Jeremy 'leave'?  Jeremy moved from 'President' to Senior VP last year, with Bryan moving into the President role, but I hadn't heard that Jeremy had since "left" GS. In fact, Jeremy's announcement about the org change included him stating that his new role would allow him to "have some time (and resources) to work on smaller projects to help the core team improve the game".

 

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On 11/11/2017 at 7:04 AM, Mudfrog said:

Yep! The types of caches i enjoy finding/placing are not caches people these days want to find. Out of the 154 active caches we have going, about 3 get found somewhat routinely. These are easy to find traditionals placed in areas that have a lot of traffic. The other 151 are rarely found because they are more physically and/or mentally challenging. Newer cachers view our hobby totally differently than how i do and [DON'T READ THIS IF YOU'RE TIRED OF HEARING THIS FROM ME] i blame it on the app.

 

We need a better way to publicize great caches.

 

This summer I've found two I've dubbed "epic" caches (suggest a better name if you'd like) Neither were easy nor PNG. The first has 52 favorites out of 75 finds in 8 years with a terrain of 4.5, It requires going down a steep embankment, fording a river and a short hike. The second was a mile and a half hike up Mt. Hood to 6800 foot level is a T5 Earthcache has 19 favorites out of 31 finds in 7 years.  My point is these don't show up easily when searching for most favorited which in my area is the Original Stash with 3457 and counting. 

 

Any suggestions for finding those great caches, not necessarily T4+. Favorite points really only showcase the popular caches.

 

As for the subject of this thread the same trend is happening in my area. Though my speculation is as follows:

1) Area is very saturated 8000+ in 30 mile radius.

2) Focus more on quality vs place just because. Most of the good spots are taken.

3) Prolific hiders are being discourage/prohibited to hide more unless they follow the maintenance rules.

4) Getting started in hiding in a saturated area is not easy with the tools and conditions today. Discourages folks.

 

Maybe caches should have an expiration date, and then if it is well maintained, area has not turned into a homeless camp, cachers are liking/finding the cache (not just the same 6 people 4 years ago), then they get an extension. Jasmir challenge folks won't like it but things need to change and evolve to keep this thing going. The tools need to upgrade as the kids today are not impressed with a compass and bearing to a point on a map any more. What motivates them to get out, this week my daughter requested to do a climbing cache so she was 50 feet up and loving it, I would have gone too but I had to let her stand on my shoulders just to get to the first branch. Really appreciate the focus on quality they are trying now. Can't wait till the next thing to make things better. The old farts will always complain but change is inevitable.

 

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1 hour ago, MNTA said:

Any suggestions for finding those great caches, not necessarily T4+. Favorite points really only showcase the popular caches.

Sometimes when I've planned a geocaching trip, I've started by restricting my search before sorting by the number of Favorites points. For example, I'll create a list of caches of a particular type, or a list of caches rated with at least a certain terrain/difficulty level. That gets closer to comparing "apples to apples" since the high-volume Favorites don't appear in the restricted search, so they don't appear in the sorted version of the restricted search.

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On 7/11/2018 at 7:23 AM, MNTA said:

Maybe caches should have an expiration date, and then if it is well maintained, area has not turned into a homeless camp, cachers are liking/finding the cache (not just the same 6 people 4 years ago), then they get an extension. Jasmir challenge folks won't like it but things need to change and evolve to keep this thing going. The tools need to upgrade as the kids today are not impressed with a compass and bearing to a point on a map any more. What motivates them to get out, this week my daughter requested to do a climbing cache so she was 50 feet up and loving it, I would have gone too but I had to let her stand on my shoulders just to get to the first branch. Really appreciate the focus on quality they are trying now. Can't wait till the next thing to make things better. The old farts will always complain but change is inevitable.

 

Globally, cache saturation is only a problem in a relatively small number of areas. An expiration date would effectively kill off caching around here. In the NSW Central Coast region, spanning 1680 square kilometres with a muggle population of 325,000, there's a grand total of 589 caches, 68% of which were hidden prior to 2016. Last year there were 58 new caches and so far this year there've been 26 (not counting the one-off geoart puzzles associated with the recent mega). Expiring the older caches wouldn't leave much for people to find. I find it sad that just about every suggestion for improving caching involves removing existing caches and making it harder for people to hide new ones.

 

As for kids not being impressed with a compass and bearing to a point on a map, I wonder if those kids are what we really need in the hobby. I don't have any qualms about adding new facets to the game as the technology evolves (the current AR experimentation is a good example) but I'd hope that, at its core, caching would still be about using a published set of coordinates to find a container and sign a logbook. I'm not opposed to change, just change for sake of change that ends up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Edited by barefootjeff
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Numbers of new caches has increased DRAMATICALLY in Canberra and surrounds, where I live. The radius of my query load area has now decreased perhaps 50plus kms because of this. I think too many, as it's overwhelming, but I guess many like this. Most of this happened while I was away on a 6 week road trip and then I return to find this :0

Poor busy reviewer!

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20 hours ago, noncentric said:

 

On 1/30/2018 at 2:32 AM, noncentric said:
On 1/28/2018 at 2:39 PM, fizzymagic said:

I am. Well, almost.  I am claiming that GS is focusing on acquiring new users to the detriment of retaining existing users. It has been true for some time, but is much more apparent now that Jeremy has left.

When did Jeremy 'leave'?  Jeremy moved from 'President' to Senior VP last year, with Bryan moving into the President role, but I hadn't heard that Jeremy had since "left" GS. In fact, Jeremy's announcement about the org change included him stating that his new role would allow him to "have some time (and resources) to work on smaller projects to help the core team improve the game".

 

 

If we're going to get picky about history. what I meant in my original statement was that Jeremy had "left" the position of president, where he set much of the direction of the company.  Since then, others have (as far as I can tell) a great deal more influence; in that respect, Jeremy "left."  In no way did I mean to imply he had left the company.

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Back to numbers. I note that as of this morning, 12 October 2018, the total number of caches in Florida is 41,927

That's a +1000 cache drop since the last time I posted to this thread, Jan 9 of this year ( 9 January 2018, the total number of caches in Florida is 42,954.)

 

In Florida, cache numbers are now on the decline after several years of being flat.  

Caches that require a walk or are not near urban populations once archived  are not replaced.  (With the occasional exception for a powertrail of hiking or paddling caches. Generally near an event. ) And hurricanes have not been good for Florida caching. 

 

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