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Rock Chalk

Community conversation about geocache quality

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I didn't read from the beginning so may be repeating something already stated. My reply is in regards to the app so feel free to skip this if ya want. ;)

 

My opinion is that a lot of the problems have come with the introduction of the app. I've said it before and I believe wholeheartedly, that because it is an app, people treat it like an app. Too many people, myself included, download apps and try to figure them out on the fly. Not a big deal most of the time because most are applications that don't affect anyone else. The geocaching app is different of course. I would bet money that most people download and commence to caching without any form of instruction. Because of this, they end up making mistakes and never realize there is some geocaching etiquette that needs to be adhered to. 

 

The other thing about the app is the limitation it imposes on non paying people. It stands to reason there's a good chance either of two things are going to happen when people only encounter easy to find caches. They either grow bored quickly and leave, or they get enthused for a short while and maybe hide something very similar to what they've found. Too many people just never realize that geocaching can be more than just simple to grab micro sized containers.

 

I do agree, the app is very helpful and allows more people to geocache. But at the same time, it's caused some of the problems we have today. 

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3 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

 

Or report the CO’s comment to GCHQ. If we do nothing then in some areas the COs and players who are left playing are those that think the geocache does not matter, only an active listing counts. 

 

I guess if a CO was continually gaming the system, and being a rotten apple in the basket, that would be my go to action, luckily we don't have those people in my area. :)

 

 

But they had to be REALLY bad for the community for me to consider that, though.

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From Insights...

many cache owners (me first) have modified to 1.5 the difficulty rating of all their caches that had a difficulty of 2, 2.5, or even 3, so that their caches continue to be accessible to beginners.


This makes you lose the quality of the cache record and it does not reflect the D/T difficulty reality of the cache, but to choose between slightly false information and cutting yourself off from a majority of players, the choice is quickly made.
I understand the need for Geocaching HQ to push towards premium regular players, but I think it would be better to put a limit on the number of difficult caches per day, this would avoid owners having to underrate the rating.

 

We also know of COs rating their lower D/T caches much higher in an attempt to keep new basic members away.

We always understood that D/T was to be as accurate as possible, but have seen some "creative" examples to simply help with some challenge too.

 - A 3 Difficulty cache lowered to 1.5 isn't just "slightly" false...

 

We had the opportunity to experience new basic members receiving a "temp PM" of some sort, and our 5T tree hide had screw steps screwed into that old oak.

 -  Neither the landowner or I thought that okay, and something that we and all others we know learned in Geocaching 101.

The same group hit one of our ammo can hides nearby, and I found  it not only had it out in the open, but the lid open too. 

No, all caches shouldn't be available to all, and feel that "maybe" paying for a PM might get one to at least want to experience as much as they can with that investment,  which hopefully would include learning at least the most basic rules.

 

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6 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

We also know of COs rating their lower D/T caches much higher in an attempt to keep new basic members away.

We always understood that D/T was to be as accurate as possible, but have seen some "creative" examples to simply help with some challenge too.

 - A 3 Difficulty cache lowered to 1.5 isn't just "slightly" false...

 

We had the opportunity to experience new basic members receiving a "temp PM" of some sort, and our 5T tree hide had screw steps screwed into that old oak.

 -  Neither the landowner or I thought that okay, and something that we and all others we know learned in Geocaching 101.

The same group hit one of our ammo can hides nearby, and I found  it not only had it out in the open, but the lid open too. 

No, all caches shouldn't be available to all, and feel that "maybe" paying for a PM might get one to at least want to experience as much as they can with that investment,  which hopefully would include learning at least the most basic rules.

Maybe it would be better to offer codes that disable the basic member restrictions of Groundspeak's app, rather than offering codes that give a free premium membership. Or maybe it would be better just to get rid of the basic member restrictions of Groundspeak's app.

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3 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

We always understood that D/T was to be as accurate as possible, but have seen some "creative" examples to simply help with some challenge too.

 - A 3 Difficulty cache lowered to 1.5 isn't just "slightly" false...

 

D ratings are highly subjective. No doubt a D1 or 1.5 are easy for just about anyone but we have found D4 and D4.5 in a blink of an eye while trying to find a D2 for over 30 minutes (and sometimes fail). A high D rating can be easy if you just happen to have the same ideas as the CO while just being on the wrong track from the beginning for that easy one. Especially D ratings for mysteries can be far off for individual cachers.

Example we solved a while back: Link to Youtube to solve a mystery. there was a series of pictures, a series of sounds, a fixed background for 90% of the time with sudden spots popping up. While many tried to identify the sounds and/or stills I immediately noticed the background picture and it's not so often used code.It took just minutes to get the coordinates. It was a D4. Another mystery, same CO but D2 is still on my "to solve" list. I would have switched both D ratings ;)

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38 minutes ago, niraD said:

Maybe it would be better to offer codes that disable the basic member restrictions of Groundspeak's app, rather than offering codes that give a free premium membership. Or maybe it would be better just to get rid of the basic member restrictions of Groundspeak's app.

 

I have thought that offering only easy caches for beginners is the way to get them hooked. I have no idea is this approach effective. Anyway, if this is the reason, then it is not practical to allow difficult caches for any reason until the player is willing to pay for them.

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2 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

I do agree, the app is very helpful and allows more people to geocache. But at the same time, it's caused some of the problems we have today. 

Logs such as "TFTC" - "Found" - "good" - ":)"   Pity they can't be deleted:rolleyes:!

Edited by Goldenwattle

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37 minutes ago, arisoft said:

 

I have thought that offering only easy caches for beginners is the way to get them hooked. I have no idea is this approach effective. Anyway, if this is the reason, then it is not practical to allow difficult caches for any reason until the player is willing to pay for them.

 

The offering of easy caches makes it easy to get new people into the hobby but I don't see how it can possibly be effective in keeping them hooked. I'd say that most beginners are only going to be hooked for about 1 to 10 cache finds before growing bored. Beginners probably don't want something challenging but they do want more than those micros hidden in typical fashion that the app allows them so see..

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The best way to tackle the problem of wrongly rated difficulty and terrain, is to allow finders to rate this, again, but back to the suggestion of a minimum number of cache finds before you can give a score. Only allow loggers with a minimum number of finds to rate the cache and this be averaged out. Otherwise the beginners who couldn't find the small sized cache in the road guard rail, the mintie tin stuck to the back of a sign, the rock keyholder in full view, would say this is real hard and rate it a 5.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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On 6/18/2018 at 3:18 PM, Rock Chalk said:

Today, we're opening threads in the User Insights forum to gather community feedback about geocache quality. We're hoping the answers will help inform Geocaching HQ's future efforts related to cache quality.

 

Since User Insights threads are designed to gather answers to specific questions, rather than for a back-and-forth conversation, we're opening this thread for any feedback about the project.

 

Yes, a thread about a thread :P

I have a suggestion for improving the thread in the user insights forum. Stop allowing users to make multiple posts to it. According to this post that thread is not for back and forth discussion, and yet much of that is occurring. It adds significantly to what one must read through to see what has already been suggested before attempting to contribute.

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5 minutes ago, mraudrey said:

I have a suggestion for improving the thread in the user insights forum. Stop allowing users to make multiple posts to it. According to this post that thread is not for back and forth discussion, and yet much of that is occurring. It adds significantly to what one must read through to see what has already been suggested before attempting to contribute.

 

The Insights thread OP already says, " Please keep the conversation on topic and constructive. Any off-topic or non-constructive posts will be removed".   :)

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54 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

The Insights thread OP already says, " Please keep the conversation on topic and constructive. Any off-topic or non-constructive posts will be removed".   :)

Thanks for the insight. I'm suggesting that that isn't enough. It clearly hasn't stopped several people from posting multiple times, going well beyond answering the questions originally put forth. At least you only posted four times that I can see. I lost count on some.

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A number of posts have been hidden from view in both this thread and in the User Insights forum thread.  Even in this more open discussion thread, the regular forum guidelines apply.  That includes avoiding protracted back and forth discussions among a small handful of community members.

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6 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

The best way to tackle the problem of wrongly rated difficulty and terrain, is to allow finders to rate this, again, but back to the suggestion of a minimum number of cache finds before you can give a score. Only allow loggers with a minimum number of finds to rate the cache and this be averaged out. Otherwise the beginners who couldn't find the small sized cache in the road guard rail, the mintie tin stuck to the back of a sign, the rock keyholder in full view, would say this is real hard and rate it a 5.

 

The problem with that is the ratings of all caches would fluctuate, especially early in its life, making anything related to the matrix81 useless/impossible to control. But I agree there might be an issue with badly rated caches. We tend to only use 5-10 minutes on D1-2 caches. If we don't find them by that time, we usually check logs to see if if the D rating might be off, if there is no such evidence we assume it is muggled, and log the DNF.

 

The solution for this one is not an obvious one, but my best suggestion is having some sort of mentor/community involvement when new hiders make their first hides. That could also help the problem with new hiders using containers not suitable for the local weather.

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1 hour ago, Keystone said:

A number of posts have been hidden from view in both this thread and in the User Insights forum thread.  Even in this more open discussion thread, the regular forum guidelines apply.  That includes avoiding protracted back and forth discussions among a small handful of community members.

 

Thank you!

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2 hours ago, mraudrey said:

Thanks for the insight. I'm suggesting that that isn't enough. It clearly hasn't stopped several people from posting multiple times, going well beyond answering the questions originally put forth. At least you only posted four times that I can see. I lost count on some.

 

Yeah I am one of the guilty of that, apologies. :)

 

I had no intention to engage in a discussion, but just putting my input in the pile. So after I made my post, I just read through the post to see what the popular opinions were. I saw so many posts that wanted to ruin the game for the majority of people, that I felt I had to present counter arguments for their ideas.

 

Since I had no intention in a discussion when I read the OP in that thread, the mention of a discussion thread was not something I paid any attention to when reading the OP.

 

Entirely my fault, but it was an honest mistake. :anicute:

 

 

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1 hour ago, MAS83 said:

I had no intention to engage in a discussion, but just putting my input in the pile. So after I made my post, I just read through the post to see what the popular opinions were. I saw so many posts that wanted to ruin the game for the majority of people, that I felt I had to present counter arguments for their ideas.

 

 

Which was precisely the opposite of what was requested.

 

I don't recall any ideas which I felt would ruin the game so I'd be interested to hear about them and also by what process(es) you've ascertained the wishes of the majority of people :)

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14 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

My opinion is that a lot of the problems have come with the introduction of the app. I've said it before and I believe wholeheartedly, that because it is an app, people treat it like an app. Too many people, myself included, download apps and try to figure them out on the fly. Not a big deal most of the time because most are applications that don't affect anyone else. The geocaching app is different of course. I would bet money that most people download and commence to caching without any form of instruction. Because of this, they end up making mistakes and never realize there is some geocaching etiquette that needs to be adhered to. 

I know it's popular to blame newcomers, but I've seen zero evidence that app users are a significant problem. I see mistakes once in a while, but not frequently enough to consider it any kind of problem even if I thought app users made more mistakes than anyone else. And, frankly, I think the serious etiquette problems are much more common from people that think they know what they're doing than from newbies. Newbies are rarely arrogant, and arrogance is what drives more etiquette problems in my experience.

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19 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

 

The offering of easy caches makes it easy to get new people into the hobby but I don't see how it can possibly be effective in keeping them hooked. I'd say that most beginners are only going to be hooked for about 1 to 10 cache finds before growing bored. Beginners probably don't want something challenging but they do want more than those micros hidden in typical fashion that the app allows them so see..

As I see it,  limiting the difficulty rating for basic (new) members isn't to get new people hooked but is an attempt to avoid having new people get discouraged from attempting to find caches that are, by design,  difficult to find.  What makes less sense to me, is limiting the terrain rating.  Caches with a low terrain rating tend to be near places one can park a vehicle then walk a very short distance to GZ.   IF GS wants to hook new players, allowing caches with a higher T rating, where one might go for a walk in the woods and away from parking lots would seem to make more sense. 

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1 hour ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

As I see it,  limiting the difficulty rating for basic (new) members isn't to get new people hooked but is an attempt to avoid having new people get discouraged from attempting to find caches that are, by design,  difficult to find.  What makes less sense to me, is limiting the terrain rating.  Caches with a low terrain rating tend to be near places one can park a vehicle then walk a very short distance to GZ.   IF GS wants to hook new players, allowing caches with a higher T rating, where one might go for a walk in the woods and away from parking lots would seem to make more sense. 

 

1 hour ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

As I see it,  limiting the difficulty rating for basic (new) members isn't to get new people hooked but is an attempt to avoid having new people get discouraged from attempting to find caches that are, by design,  difficult to find.  What makes less sense to me, is limiting the terrain rating.  Caches with a low terrain rating tend to be near places one can park a vehicle then walk a very short distance to GZ.   IF GS wants to hook new players, allowing caches with a higher T rating, where one might go for a walk in the woods and away from parking lots would seem to make more sense. 

 

If the intent is to 'hook' new players, how about limiting access to caches with a high(ish) favorites percentage or attributes indicating quality; scenic view for example.  And conversely, restricting access to caches with recent no-finds or needs maintenance/archived attributes.

 

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10 minutes ago, badlands said:

If the intent is to 'hook' new players, how about limiting access to caches with a high(ish) favorites percentage or attributes indicating quality; scenic view for example.  And conversely, restricting access to caches with recent no-finds or needs maintenance/archived attributes.

 

Bad idea, imagine a first timer walking up to a gadget cache having no idea how to use a magnet to open a lock, use UV and look into a hole to find the lock code, seeing a tube and not realizing they need 2 liters of water or a cache that needs a battery to open. That would get you a lot of broken caches. OTOH, if newbies see HQ caches it may be inclined to stay in the hobby longer.

 

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20 minutes ago, on4bam said:

 

Bad idea, imagine a first timer walking up to a gadget cache having no idea how to use a magnet to open a lock, use UV and look into a hole to find the lock code, seeing a tube and not realizing they need 2 liters of water or a cache that needs a battery to open. That would get you a lot of broken caches. OTOH, if newbies see HQ caches it may be inclined to stay in the hobby longer.

 

 

Bad idea or and idea needs to be refined?  Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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44 minutes ago, badlands said:

If the intent is to 'hook' new players, how about limiting access to caches with a high(ish) favorites percentage or attributes indicating quality; scenic view for example.  And conversely, restricting access to caches with recent no-finds or needs maintenance/archived attributes.

 

28 minutes ago, on4bam said:

Bad idea, imagine a first timer walking up to a gadget cache having no idea how to use a magnet to open a lock, use UV and look into a hole to find the lock code, seeing a tube and not realizing they need 2 liters of water or a cache that needs a battery to open. That would get you a lot of broken caches. OTOH, if newbies see HQ caches it may be inclined to stay in the hobby longer.

 

Both of these are good observations. I think showing funny caches to new players will improve the likelihood of them becoming regulars in this game, but the really "weird" gadget caches is probably not something you should be exposed to on your first trip. Without knowing the in and outs of this game, they might not know what to do. I have a gadget cache with a false room. It's a birdhouse with a handle and hinges, when you open that "door" an empty room appears. An experienced cacher would see the D rating, and figure out that is not where the cache is supposed to be, and keep looking. I have had 2 geocachers saying the cache was missing, one even left an emergency log in the red herring room. Both of those cachers were relatively new to the game, and I ended up writing them telling there is more to this cache, and if they ever came back to the area give it another go, to get the full experience, but I didn't delete their log.

 

That is why I think it would be neat with a Mentor program, where an experienced cacher could sign up to be one, then when someone new makes an account, they can see there are mentors available in the area, and then the mentors can tell the new players all of the "secrets" of geocaching, including showing them a good variety of caches. If they only get shown gadget caches, they might think that is all geocaching is, or if they are only shown magnetic micros in the city, that is all they think geocaching is.

Edited by MAS83
Spelling mistakes everywhere in this one!

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4 minutes ago, badlands said:

Bad idea or and idea needs to be refined?  Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

 

OK, refine...

Get newbies to HQ caches AND make sure they don't destroy them.

 

Maybe a progressive system might be better. Start with P&G, find a few, get next level, find a few, get next level or maybe get a "bonus HQ cache" after xx caches or xx time.

Maybe CO's can opt-in (certainly not opt out) to give newbies access to their HQ/high favorite caches.

 

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43 minutes ago, badlands said:

 

 

If the intent is to 'hook' new players, how about limiting access to caches with a high(ish) favorites percentage or attributes indicating quality; scenic view for example.  And conversely, restricting access to caches with recent no-finds or needs maintenance/archived attributes.

 

 

Not sure when the idea of "intent to hook new players" came up. I don't believe that's the reason the limitation came into play. My opinion is that limiting caches in the app is mainly a marketing strategy aimed at getting more people to pay. I'm sure the strategy works but I have a feeling it's not doing as well as expected since many new people never make it to the point where they actually realize there's better stuff out there to pay for.

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8 hours ago, dprovan said:

I know it's popular to blame newcomers, but I've seen zero evidence that app users are a significant problem. I see mistakes once in a while, but not frequently enough to consider it any kind of problem even if I thought app users made more mistakes than anyone else. And, frankly, I think the serious etiquette problems are much more common from people that think they know what they're doing than from newbies. Newbies are rarely arrogant, and arrogance is what drives more etiquette problems in my experience.

 

My replies are based on what I've seen and experienced. I agree, new players using an app are not a significant problem. But at the same time, i'd bet money that most everyone who were already caching when the app came out, noticed an increase in mistakes and problems. Arrogance comes from everywhere and does add problems but from what I've seen, more issues arise from newer cachers that haven't taken the time to learn about our hobby.

Edited by Mudfrog

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39 minutes ago, MAS83 said:

That is why I think it would be neat with a Mentor program, where an experienced cacher could sign up to be one, then when someone new makes an account, they can see there are mentors available in the area, and then the mentors can tell the new players all of the "secrets" of geocaching, including showing them a good variety of caches. If they only get shown gadget caches, they might think that is all geocaching is, or if they are only shown magnetic micros in the city, that is all they think geocaching is.

 

Who is going to finance this?

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3 minutes ago, Mudfrog said:

 

My replies are based on what I've seen and experienced. I agree, new players using an app are not a significant problem. But at the same time, i'd bet money that most everyone who were already caching when the app came out, noticed an increase in mistakes and problems. Arrogance comes from everywhere but I disagree with you that it's more an issue with experienced cachers. It is across the board but I feel it shows up more often from newer cachers that haven't taken the time to learn about our hobby.

 

I think the main issue is the people that download the app, makes an account, finds 1-2 caches, then goes home finds a bunch of not ideal containers, go out placing them, get the caches published, then lose interest a week later.

 

How to fix that, without causing collateral damage, is a tricky one, and I don't think anyone in this thread has come up with a perfect idea for that yet.

 

I think the best idea so far has been putting in a delay on how long after you find your cache you can start hiding caches. That has a potential to prevent a few "mayflies" from passing by and dropping a few caches on their way through, with a minimum effect on genuine new cachers.

 

Personally we placed our first cache after around 500 finds and 6 months, and for us it was still nerve wrecking, because we still felt like we were the new kids in class. Fun fact: I kind of still think of us as the new kids, even though we just passed 5 years, mainly because we are still the among the newest, highly active, geocachers in our area.

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50 minutes ago, Team Microdot said:

 

Who is going to finance this?

 

Why would it need financing?  Are you assuming the mentors would get paid?  I'm not, but I could be reading the idea wrong.

 

As I understand the concept, it's a volunteer program for older/experienced cachers to sign up in some new "program" offered by GS.  When a new cacher signs up, a list of nearby "mentor" cachers is provided as a resource for the new user and they can opt to contact them, or not.  I can't imagine that it would cost much to incorporate something like this.  There's already a "find nearby caches" tab on your profile page.  Why couldn't there be a "find nearby cachers" tab that links to those cachers who have offered up their services to be a mentor (or whatever) to newer cachers?  I'm assuming the default tab for cachers would be to opt OUT of this, thereby putting the initial count of mentors at 0, and then by opting in, the find count would increase based on those who opt in.  You could always opt out if the experience wasn't what you hoped and/or you don't have the time because life has gotten in the way.

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3 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

 

Why would it need financing?  Are you assuming the mentors would get paid?  I'm not, but I could be reading the idea wrong.

 

As I understand the concept, it's a volunteer program for older/experienced cachers to sign up in some new "program" offered by GS.  When a new cacher signs up, a list of nearby "mentor" cachers is provided as a resource for the new user and they can opt to contact them, or not.  I can't imagine that it would cost much to incorporate something like this.  There's already a "find nearby caches" tab on your profile page.  Why couldn't there be a "find nearby cachers" tab that links to those cachers who have offered up their services to be a mentor (or whatever) to newer cachers?  I'm assuming the default tab for cachers would be to opt OUT of this, thereby putting the initial count of mentors at 0, and then by opting in, the find count would increase based on those who opt in.  You could always opt out if the experience wasn't what you hoped and/or you don't have the time because life has gotten in the way.

 

This. In a game where we already have volunteer reviewers, I was obviously thinking of volunteer mentors.

 

And yes, the mentors would need to opt in. There should either be some requirements to who can be a mentor, no use in a mentor that has only been caching for a week and found 5 caches, or the reviewers/community should appoint the mentors. Meaning that you apply to be a mentor, and either the reviewer decides who gets to be a mentor, or in the case where the reviewers are not that familiar with the cachers in the area, they could poll veteran geocachers in each area, and find out who should be a mentor there.

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1 hour ago, MAS83 said:

Both of these are good observations.

 

 

Another suggestion, maybe COs can decide if their cache should be available on the app. Add a "This cache can appear on the app for basic members" checkbox to all listings. 

 

I worry about a mentor program unless those mentors are vetted. Many prolific cachers, admired by the community for their numbers, would not make good mentors because they are also set-em-and-forget, PT-saturation types. 

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Been giving this some more thoughts, and maybe all that is needed, is the official gc.com webpage to offer support for local communities. So that when put in your home coordinates, you automatically join the community for that area. Everyone in the community gets notified by a new member, then each community can welcome them, and offer them guided tours, advice, help and feedback.

 

Each community could have a small discussion forum, community lists with the best beginner caches, best gadget caches etc. in the area. So that each community can be their own little ecosystem, where they know everyone and the caches placed in the area, and therefor better can make guidelines/tips that matches their area.

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3 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

Another suggestion, maybe COs can decide if their cache should be available on the app. Add a "This cache can appear on the app for basic members" checkbox to all listings. 

 

Another excellent idea.

 

3 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

I worry about a mentor program unless those mentors are vetted. Many prolific cachers, admired by the community for their numbers, would not make good mentors because they are also set-em-and-forget, PT-saturation types. 

 

Provide a rating system.  The rating system on eBay weeds out buyers and sellers that create issues.

 

Provide an incentive for excellent mentors, for example offer a Virtual Reward or short list them for the Volunteer Reviewer Pool.  We currently have a reviewer pool based on the 'good ole boys' network.  If you're not friends with a reviewer you will likely not be nominated.

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1 hour ago, Mudfrog said:

My replies are based on what I've seen and experienced. I agree, new players using an app are not a significant problem. But at the same time, i'd bet money that most everyone who were already caching when the app came out, noticed an increase in mistakes and problems.

The app was convenient, so it brought more new people in to try the hobby. It's no surprise the more new people mean more mistakes, but I think it's the number of new players, not the fact that many of them were using the app.

1 hour ago, MAS83 said:

I think the main issue is the people that download the app, makes an account, finds 1-2 caches, then goes home finds a bunch of not ideal containers, go out placing them, get the caches published, then lose interest a week later.

Have you really seen much of that? It does happen, but only a few caches a year. And, man, talk about being discouraged: the newbies that get into it and drop a couple sub-par caches get bored really fast when people complain about bad placement and poor containers, so they rarely plant more than a couple such caches before giving up.

 

Since I don't believe this happens often enough to worry about, I'm against "doing something about it" just in general, but the fact is that some of the best COs in my area started out this way then quickly learned from their mistakes. We'd have missed out on a lot of good caches if the process had discouraged them from trying because they'd fail.

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6 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

 

Another suggestion, maybe COs can decide if their cache should be available on the app. Add a "This cache can appear on the app for basic members" checkbox to all listings. 

 

I worry about a mentor program unless those mentors are vetted. Many prolific cachers, admired by the community for their numbers, would not make good mentors because they are also set-em-and-forget, PT-saturation types. 

 

Yeah, I see your point, the wrong mentor can do more damage than good. But I don't think high numbers equals bad caches, though. :)

 

At least in my area, the people with high numbers, tend to maintain their caches better than those with low amount of finds/hides as they are more invested in the game. Miles may vary depending on region, I guess. But that is why a good rule in one area, will be a bad rule in another.

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2 minutes ago, MAS83 said:

At least in my area, the people with high numbers, tend to maintain their caches better than those with low amount of finds/hides as they are more invested in the game. Miles may vary depending on region, I guess. But that is why a good rule in one area, will be a bad rule in another.

 

Quite.

 

It's also likely to flounder in areas where there are hardly any cachers and hardly any caches.

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5 minutes ago, MAS83 said:

Been giving this some more thoughts, and maybe all that is needed, is the official gc.com webpage to offer support for local communities. So that when put in your home coordinates, you automatically join the community for that area. Everyone in the community gets notified by a new member, then each community can welcome them, and offer them guided tours, advice, help and feedback.

 

Each community could have a small discussion forum, community lists with the best beginner caches, best gadget caches etc. in the area. So that each community can be their own little ecosystem, where they know everyone and the caches placed in the area, and therefor better can make guidelines/tips that matches their area.

A lot of communities have had websites for years, and most of transitioned to facebook now. So I don't think there's a reason for anything new. You just need to encourage people to use it. Everyone in a community can see new geocachers when they start logging finds and are free to welcome them already and offer them whatever they want. I don't see how a centralized mechanism helps that any.

 

(Having said that, I think there are some centralized mechanisms for helping communities come together, it's just that no one uses them. At least, that's my impression: I've never used them, either.)

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7 minutes ago, MAS83 said:

At least in my area, the people with high numbers, tend to maintain their caches better than those with low amount of finds/hides as they are more invested in the game. Miles may vary depending on region, I guess. But that is why a good rule in one area, will be a bad rule in another.

 

Just the opposite here.  Prolific hiders expect the community to maintain their caches by 'replacing as needed'.  This leads to a LOT of drive by caches that will never be archived.

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3 minutes ago, dprovan said:

The app was convenient, so it brought more new people in to try the hobby. It's no surprise the more new people mean more mistakes, but I think it's the number of new players, not the fact that many of them were using the app.

Have you really seen much of that? It does happen, but only a few caches a year. And, man, talk about being discouraged: the newbies that get into it and drop a couple sub-par caches get bored really fast when people complain about bad placement and poor containers, so they rarely plant more than a couple such caches before giving up.

 

Since I don't believe this happens often enough to worry about, I'm against "doing something about it" just in general, but the fact is that some of the best COs in my area started out this way then quickly learned from their mistakes. We'd have missed out on a lot of good caches if the process had discouraged them from trying because they'd fail.

 

I think you are right that it was the amount of new people instead of the app it self that caused that. And we have had a few new hiders in my area doing the the whole geocaching thing for a week, and then never to be seen again. And that is in an area with ~20 or so active geocachers, and another 10-20 irregular geocachers. An example is this one gyu, who found 2 caches, then a few days later he published 3 caches. One got muggled after 3 logs, and archived. He never found his third cache, and hasn't logged in since last august or something like that.

 

In regard to being discouraged by negative feedback is actually one of the reasons I think new hiders should wait/get help with hiding their first caches. You can't stop negative feedback on subpar caches, there are too many negative people out there, so reducing the chance of negative (and I don't mean constructive feedback, just regular none helping negative feedback) for their first hides, are a way to making them a regular in the geocaching scene.

 

In a perfect world, a new geocacher could place an awful container, in a bad spot, 50 meters off, and only receive helpful and friendly feedback, to help them get it right next time, but we don't live in a perfect world. :)

 

It's a about finding the right balance between scaring people off with strict rules, and keeping them from making mistakes that can cause negative feedback that also scares them off. It's a tricky one.

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4 minutes ago, badlands said:

 

Just the opposite here.  Prolific hiders expect the community to maintain their caches by 'replacing as needed'.  This leads to a LOT of drive by caches that will never be archived.

 

Same here and yet they keep getting published.

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6 minutes ago, dprovan said:

A lot of communities have had websites for years, and most of transitioned to facebook now. So I don't think there's a reason for anything new. You just need to encourage people to use it. Everyone in a community can see new geocachers when they start logging finds and are free to welcome them already and offer them whatever they want. I don't see how a centralized mechanism helps that any.

 

(Having said that, I think there are some centralized mechanisms for helping communities come together, it's just that no one uses them. At least, that's my impression: I've never used them, either.)

 

A lot of people doesn't use facebook, I rarely do. Also how are the new players supposed to know what the local geocaching club goes by on facebook? That is why having that community front and center on their dashboard (or wherever it fits better) provides a much greater chance of the new players to engage in their community. I think we cached for about 2 before feeling like we were part of a community. And that was by meeting the local geocachers at events several times, to the point where someone finally made the decision to make a mystery solve group. Fun fact, our group is named after the small village where the old school we meet up is located. That town has like 10 houses, and our group covers 4 Municipals, and no one would ever think to search for that village to find the local group.

 

On the part about actively seeking out new players when they log your caches. That would mean that every time someone you don't recognize logs one of your caches, you would have to look them up to see their find count. And that only tells you they are new, not that they are local, you have no way to tell if someone is local, unless they put that information in their profile, which very few do. We found out first 5 caches at an family get together 2-300 kms from home, so you can't just assume that because someone is new, they are local when they log your caches.

 

That is why having the webpage direct you to the local community will increase the likelihood of them joining the community, getting the proper help getting started, getting hints and tricks, and thereby increasing the chance they become regular geocachers. At least that is my opinion. :)

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13 minutes ago, badlands said:

 

Just the opposite here.  Prolific hiders expect the community to maintain their caches by 'replacing as needed'.  This leads to a LOT of drive by caches that will never be archived.

 

That is why one rule for everyone might fix a problem in one region, but causes a lot of damage in another. If you had a community in your area, you could figure out what your local rules regarding that should be. Either you only fix your caches, or if most people are fine with doing maintenance on each other caches, then that is fine too, as long as it is the local community that gets to decide the local standards, and not someone halfway across the world, that are trying to fix a problem specific to their own region.

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12 minutes ago, badlands said:

Provide a rating system.  The rating system on eBay weeds out buyers and sellers that create issues.

 

Provide an incentive for excellent mentors, for example offer a Virtual Reward or short list them for the Volunteer Reviewer Pool.  We currently have a reviewer pool based on the 'good ole boys' network.  If you're not friends with a reviewer you will likely not be nominated.

 

I was kinda along with this "mentor" thing until seeing this...    

 - Why do folks think everything has to be rated ?   "Good ole boys" network?  

My Reviewers don't seem pompous.  Hopefully that thinking is limited to certain areas...

 

We've taken new folks under wing for years.  Most are still caching today. 

We've met them at Events, and casual conversation progressed to heading somewhere together, usually making plans for a future meet.

We've brought new folks along on 5T hides, and I've trained dozens on rope use.

 - But we've also had a couple that simply weren't interested in the hobby.

One man (same age as me) became annoying like the kid in the back asking "are we there yet?".  Didn't bring water or any other basics,  so we had to equip and feed this guy to keep him  interested, like he was a little kid, until we were done (he rode with us too...).     I only average around two caches a day...

Another, no finds, thought this was one of those augmented  things like pokemon ... and "is it always outdoors?".

 

I wouldn't want to be rated by either thanks... 

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26 minutes ago, MAS83 said:

if most people are fine with doing maintenance on each other caches, then that is fine too,

 

I disagree. That is the case in my area. It means more and more set-em-and-forget-em caches. Pushes out the small-numbers or new hiders. Saturation everywhere by a few hiders. Poor quality cheap pocket caches (the kind that gets carried in a pocket to throw down at any opportunity) everywhere. The community maintenance is sub-par. 

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12 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

I was kinda along with this "mentor" thing until seeing this...    

 - Why do folks think everything has to be rated ?   "Good ole boys" network?  

My Reviewers don't seem pompous.  Hopefully that thinking is limited to certain areas...

 

Poor choice of words on my part.

 

The reviewers in my area are generally considered to be excellent and I agree with that sentiment.

 

When the reviewer pool needs to expand for what ever reason, a lot of very good people are overlooked because they don't know a reviewer personally.  This is not a knock on anyone, it's just how it's done today.  Mentoring, and rating of those mentors would simply give GS a way to identify people who may make excellent reviewers.

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10 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

I was kinda along with this "mentor" thing until seeing this...    

 - Why do folks think everything has to be rated ?   "Good ole boys" network?  

My Reviewers don't seem pompous.  Hopefully that thinking is limited to certain areas...

 

We've taken new folks under wing for years.  Most are still caching today. 

We've met them at Events, and casual conversation progressed to heading somewhere together, usually making plans for a future meet.

We've brought new folks along on 5T hides, and I've trained dozens on rope use.

 - But we've also had a couple that simply weren't interested in the hobby.

One man (same age as me) became annoying like the kid in the back asking "are we there yet?".  Didn't bring water or any other basics,  so we had to equip and feed this guy to keep him  interested, like he was a little kid, until we were done (he rode with us too...).     I only average around two caches a day...

Another, no finds, thought this was one of those augmented  things like pokemon ... and "is it always outdoors?".

 

I wouldn't want to be rated by either thanks... 

 

Ye, I agree. Rating systems rarely works unless it's a upvote only system. Grudges and just plain simple difference of opinions will lead to unwarranted downvotes just "to get back at them" and therefor provide useless data.

 

In regard to the reviewer selection progress, we are blessed with some really good objective reviewers here, that usually reviews twice a day, meaning you almost always have a reply within a few hours. All of our reviewers I believe are located in the Capital (we have anonymous reviewers in Denmark) and they chose their replacement, so it is sort of a "ole boys network" but I rather have them chose someone they know will be a good reviewer, than someone who might not gel with the other reviewers, and cause drama.

 

I think it is great you can single out newcomers at event and help them out, making them a part of your community. I guess that is probably a culture thing, here we tend to need to meet people a few times before starting a conversation with them, unless we "forced" into it, by being part of a group with them to solve a mystery or similar. Or maybe it is just me that is weird like that, I don't know. :)

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2 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

 

I disagree. That is the case in my area. It means more and more set-em-and-forget-em caches. Pushes out the small-numbers or new hiders. Saturation everywhere by a few hiders. Poor quality cheap pocket caches (the kind that gets carried in a pocket to throw down at any opportunity) everywhere. The community maintenance is sub-par. 

 

It is hard for me to evaluate how your situation are from here. You make it sound the area it filled to the brim with caches, and they are all "bad" and it's the work of a few hiders, and they don't want to maintain them. Or you could be exaggerating, I know you probably aren't, but because we don't see that problem here, it is hard for me to imagine it could be like that.

 

Again a pointer to why global rules will do more damage than good.

 

But if you had a Groundspeak provided community forum, where everyone who has Home Coordinates in your area was a member, you could take the discussion on what to do. If it is only a handful of people doing it, it should be no problem to get support for a local guideline, that states don't perform maintenance for other COs. Especially if the local reviewers are part of said forums, or could be alerted about a topic, then you could make local rules that maybe prevented people from owning a lot of caches and never doing maintenance on them, and the reviewers would stop publishing new caches from them (or something like that)

 

I don't want to reviewers to get more jobs to do, as they are already carrying the game on their shoulders for free, but at least it's a base for more discussion, maybe someone can come with a solution without burdening the reviewers anymore.

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1 hour ago, dprovan said:
2 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

My replies are based on what I've seen and experienced. I agree, new players using an app are not a significant problem. But at the same time, i'd bet money that most everyone who were already caching when the app came out, noticed an increase in mistakes and problems.

The app was convenient, so it brought more new people in to try the hobby. It's no surprise the more new people mean more mistakes, but I think it's the number of new players, not the fact that many of them were using the app.

 

2 hours ago, MAS83 said:

I think the main issue is the people that download the app, makes an account, finds 1-2 caches, then goes home finds a bunch of not ideal containers, go out placing them, get the caches published, then lose interest a week later.

Have you really seen much of that? It does happen, but only a few caches a year. And, man, talk about being discouraged: the newbies that get into it and drop a couple sub-par caches get bored really fast when people complain about bad placement and poor containers, so they rarely plant more than a couple such caches before giving up.

 

Since I don't believe this happens often enough to worry about, I'm against "doing something about it" just in general, but the fact is that some of the best COs in my area started out this way then quickly learned from their mistakes. We'd have missed out on a lot of good caches if the process had discouraged them from trying because they'd fail.

 

More new players, more problems makes sense. But, the ratio is different between the groups. Lets say we get 100 people that stumble upon the app and 100 stumbling upon an article in a magazine or newspaper. It stands to reason that more app users will make mistakes because they download and immediately try to play. At the same time, the article readers get more information right off the bat and thereby tend to make less mistakes. 

 

Mas38's statement is certainly what's happening in my area.  The vast majority of new app owners only stay with us for a short time. New names pop up once or twice and then they're gone never to be heard from again. We are lucky though that they don't tend to place caches in the short time they're interested. 

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3 hours ago, MAS83 said:

 

That is why I think it would be neat with a Mentor program, where an experienced cacher could sign up to be one, then when someone new makes an account, they can see there are mentors available in the area, and then the mentors can tell the new players all of the "secrets" of geocaching, including showing them a good variety of caches. If they only get shown gadget caches, they might think that is all geocaching is, or if they are only shown magnetic micros in the city, that is all they think geocaching is.

 

I suspect that for a Mentor program to work there would have to be a fairly well established local community.   A well established community likely has a fair number of events, some of which cater to beginners, so an "official" Mentor program may not be needed.   

 

Most places in the world don't have well established communities and it is those area which could benefit the most from newer, knowledgeable players.   

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