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KBLAST

Opening up my website for constructive criticism

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I built a geocaching website a while ago. I've been tweaking and hopefully improving it over the past few years and have enjoyed doing it, but I reached a bit of an impasse inside my own head, so I'm looking for feedback from the community.

This scares me a little, as I know how people can be on the forum, but I haven't touched my site in quite a few months and I'm hoping discussion will inspire me or help me past this mental block. I'm interested in how useable the website is, how helpful, how much you like it, anything. Feel free to be negative, too - I've prepared myself for whatever gets posted.

I understand the whole, "If you like doing it, don't worry what anyone else says about it." My issue with this statement is, I like doing stuff that people enjoy, so what people say affects my enjoyment - so I'm hoping this will help me make the site more enjoyable for others so I can enjoy it more.

Anyway, enough setup. The website is here: Epic Geocaching - Time for me to quit talking and listen.

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41 minutes ago, Manville Possum said:

Is it a blog site or a geocache listing service? 

Absolutely a blog. Just highlighting geocaches on geocaching.com. I got approval from Groundspeak before diving in too deeply.

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29 minutes ago, KBLAST said:

Absolutely a blog. Just highlighting geocaches on geocaching.com. I got approval from Groundspeak before diving in too deeply.

 

Okay, so it's a new blog site where people brag about their epic geocaching adventures. No thanks. 

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Seemed odd (to me)  to click on "start exploring", thinking it would open something, when it simply scrolled down.  I'd have to scroll the rest anyway... 

Liked the "oldest" section.  No offense, but someone's else's opinion on the hobby (blogs) doesn't interest me much.   :)

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1 hour ago, justintim1999 said:

I think it's a great idea.   What is your vision for this site?  What do you hope to accomplish?     

The goal was/is to create a place where you can find the awesome caches from far away. It was inspired by some geocaching events where we sit and bring up "local favorites" - where people are talking and say, "You HAVE to do this cache!" Favorite points could bring up some of those, but caches that are truly what I call "Epic" often don't have that many finders (because they're so difficult), so I wanted to highlight those. I also want to point out caches and areas that really DO live up to the hype, and draw attention to places you might not have noticed otherwise.

I was also hoping it would allow others to point out caches I've never seen or heard of - I obviously haven't been everywhere. That's why I created the area where people could log in and share their "Epic" cache stories.

I also, as cerberus1 pointed out, really wanted a quick and easy way to find the oldies. I have fun finding those when I do vacations, so I wanted a "one stop shop" for those, too.

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15 minutes ago, KBLAST said:

The goal was/is to create a place where you can find the awesome caches from far away. It was inspired by some geocaching events where we sit and bring up "local favorites" - where people are talking and say, "You HAVE to do this cache!" Favorite points could bring up some of those, but caches that are truly what I call "Epic" often don't have that many finders (because they're so difficult), so I wanted to highlight those. I also want to point out caches and areas that really DO live up to the hype, and draw attention to places you might not have noticed otherwise.

I was also hoping it would allow others to point out caches I've never seen or heard of - I obviously haven't been everywhere. That's why I created the area where people could log in and share their "Epic" cache stories.

I also, as cerberus1 pointed out, really wanted a quick and easy way to find the oldies. I have fun finding those when I do vacations, so I wanted a "one stop shop" for those, too.

Your right on the money about favorite points not telling the whole story.    I went through my favorite points and many of the caches I'd consider epic had less than 10. 

Another thing I like is the recognition for cache owners who take the time and effort to find great places or design great caches.  Who knows,  if your site takes off it may become sort of a badge of honor to appear on it.  It may also inspire people to up their game.     

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31 minutes ago, KBLAST said:

I also, as cerberus1 pointed out, really wanted a quick and easy way to find the oldies. I have fun finding those when I do vacations, so I wanted a "one stop shop" for those, too.

 

Those are interesting, but there are already several existing bookmarks for the oldest cache by State, which normally spells ownerless community maintained caches. 

Sorry to disrespect your blog site, but geocaching is not a YouTube spectator sport, and if you have seen one, you have seen them all. ;)

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On 12/18/2017 at 1:46 PM, Manville Possum said:

 

Those are interesting, but there are already several existing bookmarks for the oldest cache by State, which normally spells ownerless community maintained caches. 

Sorry to disrespect your blog site, but geocaching is not a YouTube spectator sport, and if you have seen one, you have seen them all. ;)

Sometimes the toughest thing to do is to know when not to respond.

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7 hours ago, bflentje said:

Sometimes the toughest thing to do is to know when not to respond.

I don't mind so much. I get his arguments. I'm not sure where else you find the 50 oldest caches in each state (2500 caches listed), how Youtube is involved, or even spoiling caches. My goal is to GET people to do these caches because they are "Epic", but I guess reading about awesome caches to enjoy could be considered "spectator". I also understand the point about community maintained, but I personally have really enjoyed doing the old ones in Ohio. Maybe we're just lucky in this state. Like I said, I prepped for potential criticism... I just wish it were more specific about my site and less about "sites like this in general".

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33 minutes ago, KBLAST said:

I don't mind so much. I get his arguments. I'm not sure where else you find the 50 oldest caches in each state (2500 caches listed), how Youtube is involved, or even spoiling caches. My goal is to GET people to do these caches because they are "Epic", but I guess reading about awesome caches to enjoy could be considered "spectator". I also understand the point about community maintained, but I personally have really enjoyed doing the old ones in Ohio. Maybe we're just lucky in this state. Like I said, I prepped for potential criticism... I just wish it were more specific about my site and less about "sites like this in general".

 

I would be fair enough to allow you to explain more if you feel it will help me understand your site better. From my point, I already have access in most caches to the oldest caches by state from bookmarks. No, I really don't enjoy reading about other peoples epic adventures. If I do, I read cache pages, not a blogger site. Spectator, I guess I saw just one YouTube video of a blogger, ..... and I... no comment. Just too silly for me.

But others be fair and let me offer my opinion because it was asked. Thank you.

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I really like the epic Geocaches section, once you have more caches listed, it would be nice to add the possibility to filter the caches by the boxes they tick.

In the Super map section the possibility to select the filters won't close on mobile Firefox.

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It was interesting looking at the oldest caches in my state (Minnesota). Though I noticed what should be the oldest one, which is the only cache from 2000, is listed at 5th on the list for some reason. Also, I might suggest that on those listings the age (layer ID) should be the default setting, not the alphabetical order.

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On 12/18/2017 at 9:01 AM, KBLAST said:

I built a geocaching website a while ago. I've been tweaking and hopefully improving it over the past few years and have enjoyed doing it, but I reached a bit of an impasse inside my own head, so I'm looking for feedback from the community.

This scares me a little, as I know how people can be on the forum, but I haven't touched my site in quite a few months and I'm hoping discussion will inspire me or help me past this mental block. I'm interested in how useable the website is, how helpful, how much you like it, anything. Feel free to be negative, too - I've prepared myself for whatever gets posted.

I understand the whole, "If you like doing it, don't worry what anyone else says about it." My issue with this statement is, I like doing stuff that people enjoy, so what people say affects my enjoyment - so I'm hoping this will help me make the site more enjoyable for others so I can enjoy it more.

Anyway, enough setup. The website is here: Epic Geocaching - Time for me to quit talking and listen.

Apparently Marist University just released the results of their annual "Most annoying words or phrases" poll a couple of days ago.  "Whatever" topped the list for the 9th years in a row.  In any case, I was listening to a radio show this morning and they were talking about the poll, then asked each other for their vote.  One of them suggested "Epic".

Just an FYI.

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4 hours ago, citizensnipsreborn said:

It was interesting looking at the oldest caches in my state (Minnesota). Though I noticed what should be the oldest one, which is the only cache from 2000, is listed at 5th on the list for some reason. Also, I might suggest that on those listings the age (layer ID) should be the default setting, not the alphabetical order.

Thank you for looking it over! As far as the date, the site went through and picked out the caches based on GC code - so "age" is determined by GC, not by the date listed at the top. People can change the date something is hidden, so I had them ordered by when they were added to the geocaching.com. You'll notice that the oldest log is May 12, 2001. I had to choose either GC code or date, and I figured the GC code would prompt more investigation and conversation (one of the goals of the site).

I completely agree with you as far as the default setting for old caches. Unfortunately, the company that built the map functionality did not make the default setting programmable per map - it's a sitewide default. Unfortunately, layer ID makes almost no sense when put in context with the epic maps, super maps, etc.

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10 hours ago, pingurus said:

I really like the epic Geocaches section, once you have more caches listed, it would be nice to add the possibility to filter the caches by the boxes they tick.

In the Super map section the possibility to select the filters won't close on mobile Firefox.

It should filter that way - if the box is unchecked, it doesn't show those caches. If that's not the case for you, could you tell me what browser you are using? 

And you were correct - I updated the site and fixed it so the filters close. Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

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16 hours ago, Manville Possum said:

 

I would be fair enough to allow you to explain more if you feel it will help me understand your site better. From my point, I already have access in most caches to the oldest caches by state from bookmarks. No, I really don't enjoy reading about other peoples epic adventures. If I do, I read cache pages, not a blogger site. Spectator, I guess I saw just one YouTube video of a blogger, ..... and I... no comment. Just too silly for me.

But others be fair and let me offer my opinion because it was asked. Thank you.

The purpose of the site is not to share my adventures or anyone's adventures. I just wanted to help people know where they can find some of the best adventures. I agree, old does not guarantee a good adventure because some of the oldies are poorly maintained, but the old ones always interested me - they're from the beginning of geocaching... what geocaching was (sort of) like when it first started.

My only issue with your statement, which you graciously are allowing me to respond to, was that you considered the site another, "look at what I did!" site. My GOAL was for the site to be more of a, "look what you could do!" and a, "look what this cacher created!" The goal is to give just enough information to help you determine if it's something you'd agree is worth checking out. I built the site because I always wanted to know where the "epic" caches are - where I'd like to plan a trip because the cache is worth it. So I built the site to give others what I've always wanted. I'm hoping others will let me know other caches that I "can't miss" eventually, but for now, I can only offer what I've experienced.

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2 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Apparently Marist University just released the results of their annual "Most annoying words or phrases" poll a couple of days ago.  "Whatever" topped the list for the 9th years in a row.  In any case, I was listening to a radio show this morning and they were talking about the poll, then asked each other for their vote.  One of them suggested "Epic".

Just an FYI.

I hate when my teenage daughter says, "Whatever", when she's really saying, "Screw you." I believe people can say whatever they'd like and the words in context can be acceptable or annoying. See? I just used whatever in what I think is a reasonable way. Same with Epic. On one hand I meant it to be using the term "epic" as it was intended - heroic, majestic, spectacular - while on the other hand I completely agree that the term has been overused and may be misunderstood and my site dismissed before people even give it a chance. I hope, though, that people who give the site a shot will recognize it as it was meant, and not as a, "Dude! This cache hidden in a lamppost is EPIC!" 

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1 hour ago, KBLAST said:

The purpose of the site is not to share my adventures or anyone's adventures. I just wanted to help people know where they can find some of the best adventures. I agree, old does not guarantee a good adventure because some of the oldies are poorly maintained, but the old ones always interested me - they're from the beginning of geocaching... what geocaching was (sort of) like when it first started.

My only issue with your statement, which you graciously are allowing me to respond to, was that you considered the site another, "look at what I did!" site. My GOAL was for the site to be more of a, "look what you could do!" and a, "look what this cacher created!" The goal is to give just enough information to help you determine if it's something you'd agree is worth checking out. I built the site because I always wanted to know where the "epic" caches are - where I'd like to plan a trip because the cache is worth it. So I built the site to give others what I've always wanted. I'm hoping others will let me know other caches that I "can't miss" eventually, but for now, I can only offer what I've experienced.

 

I will have to take a better look because I thought it was just another "look at what I achieved" blog site for uber cachers. :(

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12 hours ago, KBLAST said:

It should filter that way - if the box is unchecked, it doesn't show those caches. If that's not the case for you, could you tell me what browser you are using? 

And you were correct - I updated the site and fixed it so the filters close. Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

I'm sorry, I can't find any place to filter the epic caches, except for Events / Puzzles / experiences / epic Geocaches. Still using mobile Firefox

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5 hours ago, pingurus said:

I'm sorry, I can't find any place to filter the epic caches, except for Events / Puzzles / experiences / epic Geocaches. Still using mobile Firefox

Oh - that's the only way they are filtered - by Events, Puzzles, Experiences, or Epic. What other filters are you suggesting?

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4 hours ago, pingurus said:

How are new experiences published?

Everything is published the same. If it's a single cache that is "epic" by our standards, it is listed as an Epic cache. An epic event is published because it's an event. Puzzle is also self-explanatory. Experience is meant to be something that has a large group or series that when taken all together is an amazing experience. I hope that helps clarify.

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44 minutes ago, KBLAST said:

Oh - that's the only way they are filtered - by Events, Puzzles, Experiences, or Epic. What other filters are you suggesting?

I should have looked on multiple Cache reviews.. The one in Ireland has an "epic Cache checklist", I thought each one had this. So I expand my feature suggestion to putting this checklist on top of each epic Cache and allow filtering for it.

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45 minutes ago, KBLAST said:

Everything is published the same. If it's a single cache that is "epic" by our standards, it is listed as an Epic cache. An epic event is published because it's an event. Puzzle is also self-explanatory. Experience is meant to be something that has a large group or series that when taken all together is an amazing experience. I hope that helps clarify.

So anyone can put up suggestions for epic caches and you select which ones are published?

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58 minutes ago, KBLAST said:

Everything is published the same. If it's a single cache that is "epic" by our standards, it is listed as an Epic cache.

 

Are epic caches from other geocache listing services considered, or is your site limited to geocaching.com listings?

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On 12/22/2017 at 9:58 AM, pingurus said:

So anyone can put up suggestions for epic caches and you select which ones are published?

No - there's just a place where people who sign up for the site can list their favorites. These are not included on the map, but are a chance for people to share what they think is epic. The Epic caches are chosen by us - as of right now, they are caches we've done that fit the somewhat intangible requirements we created to be "epic". 

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On 12/22/2017 at 10:13 AM, Manville Possum said:

 

Are epic caches from other geocache listing services considered, or is your site limited to geocaching.com listings?

Only geocaching.com listings. 

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7 minutes ago, KBLAST said:

Only geocaching.com listings. 

 

Too bad for your site. :) I don't list my epic caches here. B)

I did look over your site again, and I enjoy the old caches list, but it is a bit too much of a "look what I did" blog site and I just don't enjoy that aspect other than reading logs posted to caches.

I did notice some members of your site that have attempted a few of my epic caches. Maybe they will blog about some of them there. :P

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19 hours ago, Manville Possum said:

 

Too bad for your site. :) I don't list my epic caches here. B)

I did look over your site again, and I enjoy the old caches list, but it is a bit too much of a "look what I did" blog site and I just don't enjoy that aspect other than reading logs posted to caches.

I did notice some members of your site that have attempted a few of my epic caches. Maybe they will blog about some of them there. :P

Thanks a ton for looking it over again! Is there any way I could make it less about, "look what I did" and make it feel more like what I want it to be? Or is it just the fact that the concept feels like a "look what I did" no matter how I approach it? 

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1 hour ago, KBLAST said:

Thanks a ton for looking it over again! Is there any way I could make it less about, "look what I did" and make it feel more like what I want it to be? Or is it just the fact that the concept feels like a "look what I did" no matter how I approach it? 

 

I have to say that I found it interesting enough that I took a close look because I first thought it was place to list those "epic" caches like lonely mountain top hides and the oldest caches in a State. But are you more interested in me blogging about planning a vacation cache run to find one of those type caches and riding a Mule and fighting a bear to the cache site?

Another issue I see is that you limited your site to only caches listed here. You excluded a few epic geocachers by doing so.:ph34r:

 

I'm guessing that you are the only site admin, so it's YOUR blog site. It will be what YOU make it. 

I wish you the best. Keep up the good work. :)

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4 hours ago, KBLAST said:

Thanks a ton for looking it over again! Is there any way I could make it less about, "look what I did" and make it feel more like what I want it to be? Or is it just the fact that the concept feels like a "look what I did" no matter how I approach it?

I think it would help if you would make it a site which collects epic caches and selectively publishes them, no matter who found them. But that would be more time consuming for you as administrator. Still, I think it would make your site great and be worth it.

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I think it's a great idea and undertaking.

I also think it'll be a tough sell. "Epic" (or quality) is such a subjective thing in this community, and with millions of caches worldwide,  it could get very muddy.

Review sites are not for everyone. But that's the thing with reviewers and such - you really only follow and pay attention to someone whose reviews you generally agree with or find insightful. Movie reviewers and websites are a dime a dozen, but no one follows every one of them. General cache quality is already indicated with the very vague favourite point system, as are lists of old caches handled by bookmark lists. Personal geocaching blogs are everywhere.  So, I'd suggest rather than being completely flexible in letting people submit their own 'epic adventures' with essentially no threshold or standard, find a niche. Set a standard in some manner, some minimum requirement, or a theme, something that would make your site stand out as a resource that has more signal than noise (for people looking for such a signal).  And accept that to the rest it'll be noise :)

Maybe a little more "About" the owners of the site, so people know by what standards KBLAST and blandestk are choosing which caches get listed. eg, if you're only listing 5/5's, or only remote caches, or high terrains, etc.  What are -you- looking for to define as "Epic" in this context?  That helps for people deciding what to submit, but also helps readers decide how much weight they want to put on your site's recommendations for their own adventures.

Just some thoughts :)

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I like your site design and concept, and I'd like to see it do more so that your traffic increases.  (Including visits from me!)

Here is a marketing angle:  The Geocaching Blog often publishes a Geocache of the Week.  With lots of great caches all over the world, it's pretty hard to get featured there.  You should consider marketing your site as:  "Where YOU name the Geocache of the Week."

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Doesn't work at at all without JavaScript. Pick a page, any page. All you get is:

WHEN FINDING

TUPPERWARE IN

THE WOODS JUST

ISN'T GOOD

ENOUGH.

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It's rare someone will be browsing without javascript - the entire internet would break :P But it would be good practice to add a NOSCRIPT tag with a disclaimer that scripting must be enabled for a proper experience.

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If you use the NoScript plugin for Firefox (for security), then you'll likely be browsing any new site without JavaScript.

It's a pain when browsing around unfamiliar sites, yes, but worth the hassle, much like locking your door every time you go out.  Hmm, this site needs JS [rolls eyes].  Do I need to see this site badly enough to bother with "Temporarily allow all this page"?  Do I trust it enough to do that?

Edited by Viajero Perdido

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

It's rare someone will be browsing without javascript - the entire internet would break :P

Plugins like NoScript and ScriptSafe aren't that rare.

2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

But it would be good practice to add a NOSCRIPT tag with a disclaimer that scripting must be enabled for a proper experience.

Better yet, give me a reason to stay at the site. A "proper experience" and $5 will buy me a fancy latte at the shop down the street.

I open a lot of links in new tabs. If I open a link, and then the tab has no content when I view it, I'm much more likely to just close the tab than to temporarily whitelist the site to see what happens.

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9 hours ago, msrubble said:

Doesn't work at at all without JavaScript.

I just tried with javascript disabled and the website loaded fine; some content not completing, but definitely not just the text you described.  Has it changed since you last tried?  Does it work now for you?

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11 hours ago, msrubble said:

Doesn't work at at all without JavaScript. Pick a page, any page. All you get is:

WHEN FINDING

TUPPERWARE IN

THE WOODS JUST

ISN'T GOOD

ENOUGH.

I fixed it. Thanks for pointing this out. Give it a shot now (may need to clear cache, but someone with a javascript blocker would know that!) ;)

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I like it!

Sure, there are other ways to get pretty much the same information, but this is an easy way to find some stuff all together.

Checking out the old caches reminded me that I need 3 months in 2000 to complete my "caches in every month" and now I'm figuring out how to get to them.

Especially during a cold week like this one I am inclined to do more reading about caching than actually going out. Your website provides some nice fireside reading. Thanks!

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This has completely degraded. I am throwing a yellow card here.

 

If you are not discussing the topic, stay out of the discussion altogether.

 

If you are discussing the topic, be polite. Failure to do so will be a forum time out. I have hid many posts that have nothing to do with the topic. Other mods or myself may still action previous comments.

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Just saw this post and thought I'd check out the site. The layout looks clean, although I didn't get a sense of what the site was about when I landed on the main page. Maybe have an "About" item in the top menu that has more info about the purpose of the site?  I did see the About us panel down the main page, but would've liked to have a more direct of finding that section.

I'm not a big consumer of geocaching commentary sites, like blogs or youtube videos, so not sure if there's anything I can add in regards to whether your site's content is appealing to such consumers or not.

One thing I noticed though:

  • Regional Antiquities shows the 50 oldest caches, which includes caches more recent that 2000.  That page has a link above the map to "Oldest Caches in the World", which goes to the Year 2000 Caches page.
    • I thought that clicking on "Oldest Caches in the World" would show me the oldest X caches in each country or even continent, but it's really showing caches placed in 2000.  The "Oldest Caches in the World" label seems likes a misnomer. It's not show It might be cool to have that page show the oldest caches in Brazil or Japan or Spain, even if the first cache in those countries was 2002.

Good luck with your project. It's great to see there are geocachers passionate enough about the hobby to create related side projects.

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Yeah if you highlight "the world" you could show the oldest 5 caches in some of the more major countries, rather than just doing a query for the oldest 50 caches.  Highlight what makes them worth checking out, as that seems to be the intent of the website, yes?  Be more intentional with those top lists.

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I think it's a great idea, if it makes you happy to do it. I understand you want feedback and I am sorry that so many people feel it necessary to go off topic or be negative or rude but that is the status quo around here.

Anyway, i registered though I am not sure what I get for that. It did not tell me "if you register you will be in the running for this brand new car! Carol Merrill, show us what else you can win" J/K it would be nice if it said what the benefit of registering is.

Might want to figure out how to automatically have archived and disabled caches show, such as this one which has been archived. https://coord.info/GCAE

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Thanks all for your feedback, and thanks for the suggestions! Thanks for letting me know about the archived cache - I'm going to mark it off here in the near future. I'm not getting this information dynamically, so yeah, some of the caches that get archived are going to be on there, sadly, until I get notified somehow. I found Sleepy Hollow - so I'm sad to see that one go - that's a super cool oldie! 

I'm happy making information available to folks that they will find useful. So while I'm happy to make a website and show off caches, if no one else likes it, I am much less happy. So I appreciate the negative, positive, and neutral comments. Hopefully with all of this I'm going to make some improvements and even add some new features that I've really enjoyed (that some of you suggested!) 

Registration is going to change for sure soon - I think I'm going to take that a different direction than I originally did. Sorry you didn't win the car, hallycat, someone else did who registered JUST before you did!!! ;)

I can see how "the world" is misleading. I did put in the about us that currently the site is VERY America-centric - not because America is better than everyone else, just because it's where I live. It took me weeks of work to get the 50 oldest in each state, I can only imagine what trying to do every country would be like!!! 

 

It'd be super cool if there were a way for me to have API access to the geocaching website... then some of these suggestions would be way easier and more up-to-date. Maybe someday that'll be a possibility. Until then I can't say enough about how thankful I am for Project-GC.

Edited by KBLAST
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