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Stop adventure labs

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On 9/2/2020 at 9:01 PM, Max and 99 said:

well constructed means not asking questions that can easily be answered by guessing:

I'm afraid I have to disagree----sort of.

 

The ONLY reason to be concerned whatsoever about guessing is to prevent cheating, which seems to be a far greater concern for some COs rather than the quality of the AdLab experience for those playing it properly.

 

The AdLab "system" is already set up to require the player to be physically present at the GZ to answer the question.  In that light, I don't think the complexity of the answer has any relevance.  In fact, I've had to guess a number of times because the CO either spelled something different from what lay before me (and, blushingly, I've been guilty of misspelling too), and more recently, MY way of counting objects apparently differed from the way the CO counted.  In fact, after finally guessing one answer (after having a seat at the GZ because I knew it would take a while) and then re-looking at the GZ with correct answer in hand, I still couldn't figure how the CO got that answer.  I would have been highly unhappy if I had to leave that AdLab unfinished, and it was at a location far enough away that a return trip would be unlikely anytime soon.

 

Since only a cheating hacker is able to override the "you have to be there" protocol, I think I'd let Groundspeak worry about that and concentrate my efforts on enjoying the game with the vast multitude who play the game as it is. 

 

Then again, that's just my opinion.  If someone wants to lose sleep over not being able to delete someone's log, that's their business.  To me, there are many bigger issues with AdLabs than this, and I'd prefer GS to pay attention to the many recommendations already made rather than getting into fights over who may or may not have cheated---unless GS likes the adjudication business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by TommyGator
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22 hours ago, TommyGator said:

The ONLY reason to be concerned whatsoever about guessing is to prevent cheating, which seems to be a far greater concern for some COs rather than the quality of the AdLab experience for those playing it properly.

 

The AdLab "system" is already set up to require the player to be physically present at the GZ to answer the question.

 

With the first sentence, we agree.  The objective would be to minimize armchair logging.  But the way the questions are constructed doesn't have to detract from the quality of the AL.

 

With the second sentence, we disagree.  There are apps that allow the phone user to spoof a location, and with that, a person need not be at the AL location to answer the question.  Which takes us back to the first sentence.

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There was a lot of guessing involved in a recent AL I completed. "Last name on the marker". The marker has two sides! 

"There's an "" sign nearby. What does it say"? The closest one to the coords had me trying several words. I expanded my search. Two more signs almost within view of the coordinates. Finally guessed right. 

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On 8/31/2020 at 9:04 AM, coachstahly said:

 

I heard from a friend who plays ALCs (at a Community Celebration event) that there's already somewhat of a PT of ALCs up in the northern part of my state.  I think he said something along the line of 100 stops, which means, as I understand them, 20 ALCs published with 5 stops each.  As I haven't downloaded the needed app, I have no idea if what he said is true but I have no reason to doubt him in any way.

 

Follow up.  Apparently it's an ALC trail (power trail?) that follows the Abraham Lincoln Highway that extends across Illinois into Indiana.  Someone just posted that they have some cachers lined up to continue the Ohio portion but wanted some Indiana cachers with ALCs to fill in the stretch across Indiana.

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On 8/31/2020 at 1:06 PM, baer2006 said:

If GS does this (which I'm pretty sure they will not), my crystal ball says that this will happen (at least here in Germany) ...

  • Day 0: GS releases unlimited ALC credits to everyone
  • Day 1: Someone publishes an ALC "power trail" with 50 locations, each 10 meters apart
  • Day 3: Someone else (a sock puppet team account, to share the workload) publishes an ALC power trail with 1000 location, each .001' apart
  • Day 5: Someone publishes a browser script, which automatically creates ALCs from a arbitrarily large CSV file as input
  • Day 6+: Jokers play with this script and create enormous ALC trails all over the place
  • Day 8+: The Adventure Lab app is effectively dead, because it immediately crashes after launch due to data overload.
  • Day 12: GS shuts off the whole Adventure Lab API. THE END!

 

To follow up on what I speculated above, there is now this thread:

Reading that thread, I feel even more convinced that "opening up ALC to every GC account" would quickly result in a lot of stupid AL power trails.

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irk.

What worries me is this: "GCHQ eventually got wind of this grass roots project and to support it, they upgraded all of us from 5-location AL's to 10-location AL's. That made it a lot easier for us to cover the entire 160 mile distance through Illinois."

If it's an exception, I suppose it's understandable to help 'get the word out' about ALs, as it were. But if HQ is willing to not only allow but encourage proliferation of them... not sure where that's going to lead. =/

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I thought it was a great idea at first. But then I realized it really is a power trail and not only that, 10 labs per each Adventure. Now I am not a fan. 

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7 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

I thought it was a great idea at first. But then I realized it really is a power trail and not only that, 10 labs per each Adventure. Now I am not a fan. 

 

We have a similar "power trail", as it were, in Ontario. A single Virtual cache, posted in Ottawa. 25 waypoints to visit from the East to West along Highway 17.  Complete the task - take a selfie at at least 20 of the 25 stops, plus the posted - and earn one cache "Find".

Good to know a drive along Lincoln Highway doing effectively the same thing can earn what... over 100 "Finds"?  Feels like we're losing the meaning of a very commonly understood term of 20 years. :cry:

Edited by thebruce0
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21 hours ago, baer2006 said:

 

To follow up on what I speculated above, there is now this thread:

Reading that thread, I feel even more convinced that "opening up ALC to every GC account" would quickly result in a lot of stupid AL power trails.


This is the one I was talking about.  They've got some Indiana cachers with ALC credits and have also begun to recruit Ohio cachers interested in extending it.

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1 hour ago, coachstahly said:


This is the one I was talking about.  They've got some Indiana cachers with ALC credits and have also begun to recruit Ohio cachers interested in extending it.

Horrors!!!:surprise: Pandering to the muggles with apps. It seems that mentality is the type of geocacher that HQ wants.

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On 8/31/2020 at 1:06 PM, baer2006 said:

 

  • Day 1: Someone publishes an ALC "power trail" with 50 locations, each 10 meters apart

Here in the city center of Munich, Germany a new AL has popped up today, where you can make 5 points in 2 minutes. Brave new world.

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2 hours ago, pipatah said:

Here in the city center of Munich, Germany a new AL has popped up today, where you can make 5 points in 2 minutes. Brave new world.

I completed it this evening. Admittedly just to rate it as only 1 star, and say so in my log :P.

 

But that specific AL also pointed out (again) the problem with the crowded map. I got a notification that a new AL was available, opened the app ... and didn't see any new one. I had to zoom into Munich city center quite a bit until the "badge" of the new adventure was finally visible in the clutter of completed ones around it. If GS is going to push this to the limits, then I would really appreciate two features in the app:

- Hide completed adventures

- An "Ignore List" to hide such nonsense like AL power trails or "5 points in 2 minutes"-style ALs

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On 9/7/2020 at 11:05 AM, baer2006 said:

 

To follow up on what I speculated above, there is now this thread:

Reading that thread, I feel even more convinced that "opening up ALC to every GC account" would quickly result in a lot of stupid AL power trails.

 

I'm a little offended by categorizing this as a power trail, where you find a pill bottle every 528 feet along a bike trail. Every stop in this series brings you to something historic and educational, heralding an event that transformed our country and economy. The longest single AL section of the series is about 30 miles and has 8 stops along the way. Makes for a fun and interesting road trip that can easily be broken up into sections. 

 

Is this classic geocaching? Of course not. Neither are Virtuals, Earth Caches or Events. I think it's a lot closer to many of the GeoTours which are often hosted by a local tourism office. They are mostly interesting and educational but usually are not much more than pill bottles with logs,although some may have a commemorative coin for completion. And yes, there will be frivolous examples such as the Donut Shop Tour that's (I think) in Ohio.

 

I'm not sure where the concern or angst comes from. AL's are not cluttering up the geocaching maps, don't fill up our PQ's or require any extra filtering in GSAK databases. If you're not interested and choose not to participate there is no impact on classic geocaching, except for the occasional bonus cache that shows up. 

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5 minutes ago, JohnCNA said:

I'm not sure where the concern or angst comes from.

"Angst"? I don't think so. "Concern" maybe, that a potentially interesting side-game of geocaching gets hijacked by the numbers crowd. As long as ALs are limited in some way, this won't happen, but in my posts above I say that it could easily happen if ALs were completely "open to everyone".

 

11 minutes ago, JohnCNA said:

AL's are not cluttering up the geocaching maps

Correct. But ALs clutter up the AL map ;). Which is a problem already in my home zone. I'm not against ALs in general, but if the rate of distribution continues like this, then the app will become very hard to use. I'd like the option to hide completed ones, and additionally, if there are more and more to come, I'd like to hide those I'm not interested in (an AL ignore list).

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1 minute ago, baer2006 said:

ALs clutter up the AL map ;). Which is a problem already in my home zone. I'm not against ALs in general, but if the rate of distribution continues like this, then the app will become very hard to use. I'd like the option to hide completed ones, and additionally, if there are more and more to come, I'd like to hide those I'm not interested in (an AL ignore list).

I'll certainly agree with that! We're spoiled with fairly sophisticated search and filter tools in geocaching. And there are none in AL's. We can only hope that some searching and filtering will eventually get added. 

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Interesting would be an "official" statement from Groundspeak about the direction in which the development should continue. Unlimited permission to put ALs for everyone? Or an "upper limit" at least for certain areas?

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1 hour ago, pipatah said:

Or an "upper limit" at least for certain areas?

 

I'm not sure how they'd control that given there's no restriction on how far from home an AL can be placed. In my state (New South Wales), they're starting to build up around central Sydney and the harbour but are pretty sparse everywhere else.

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I enjoy adventure labs but I don't like that they are messing with my statistics.  I care about my FFEDotY; I'm working on finds per day for pyramid challenges; and I am slowly working on having different icons on my milestone caches. My geocaching stats are now different from project-gc.
I also don't like having my total numbers inflated
. I'd like to see one cache counted for completing the adventure, as a fully functioning cache. Or, not count at all.
I wonder if HQ is experimenting with having all caches have a location check on the logging? I would hate to have to use my phone for every cache. I prefer using my GPS.

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1 minute ago, 02Bhkn said:

I enjoy adventure labs but I don't like that they are messing with my statistics.  I care about my FFEDotY; I'm working on finds per day for pyramid challenges; and I am slowly working on having different icons on my milestone caches. My geocaching stats are now different from project-gc.
I also don't like having my total numbers inflated
. I'd like to see one cache counted for completing the adventure, as a fully functioning cache. Or, not count at all.
I wonder if HQ is experimenting with having all caches have a location check on the logging? I would hate to have to use my phone for every cache. I prefer using my GPS.

I also dislike using my phone, and much prefer using my GPS. I am suspicious too about what you write. It would be a sad day if those suspicions are correct. The game would be ruined. It would be another game.

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1 hour ago, 02Bhkn said:

My geocaching stats are now different from project-gc.
I also don't like having my total numbers inflated
.

The Help Center explains how to delete an AL lab, which allows you to adjust your find account.

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1 hour ago, 02Bhkn said:

I wonder if HQ is experimenting with having all caches have a location check on the logging? I would hate to have to use my phone for every cache. I prefer using my GPS.

 

I honestly doubt it. Geocaching is still an outdoor game. There are caches in areas with no phone signal; areas that won't have a signal in the foreseeable future. Geocaching is also an international game. You can't expect people to have phone plans when traveling abroad.

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2 hours ago, 02Bhkn said:

I wonder if HQ is experimenting with having all caches have a location check on the logging? I would hate to have to use my phone for every cache. I prefer using my GPS.

 

If they are caching is over for us. I don't have a (smart)phone.

Even in a well build-up country like Belgium there are places without coverage. What about countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US and many others with large areas without phone coverage?

 

 

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8 hours ago, 02Bhkn said:

I wonder if HQ is experimenting with having all caches have a location check on the logging? I would hate to have to use my phone for every cache. I prefer using my GPS.

 

I hope not, as quite a few of my caches, as well as many of the ones I most enjoy searching for, are in places with no phone coverage. In this part of the world, phones only work around the cities and larger towns and along major highways.

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Simply adding ALs to the existing geocaching map would allow for filtering. However, GS refuses to  do this.

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On 9/16/2020 at 10:31 AM, 02Bhkn said:

I wonder if HQ is experimenting with having all caches have a location check on the logging?

 

I don't see that ever happening.

 

1. Plenty of US areas without reliable cell coverage 

 

2. Plenty of cachers using GPSr, not an app

 

3. Plenty of cachers, like myself, who even when they use a phone and have cell signal often don't field log but instead log when they get home - sometimes weeks later.

 

4. Would probably cause problems with international caching. How many people have a cell plan that works in foreign countries with a surcharge?

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My observations:

  • Lab caches seem to be a combination of multicache, virtual cache and Wherigo cache elements
  • I love the geofencing aspect, but Wherigos have that already
  • Groundspeak grandfathered Virtuals, for good reasons: this game is about finding a box

And, most importantly:

  • Lab caches are hardly integrated into the regular geocaching experience, website and app; this makes it awkward to play, doesn't gain from the favorites system, makes it hard to keep track of them on the map, skews the numbers, etc.

 

Why not rebuild Wherigos into an experience including geofencing, retaining all flexibility (more than 5 locations, not restricting the order), and a box to find in the end? And integrated into the geocaching experience.

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3 minutes ago, BigFurryMonster said:

more than 5 locations, not restricting the order

 

Just as an info:

location are not restricted to 5 and order of stages is not restricted, it is up to the owner

 

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1 minute ago, Mausebiber said:

 

Just as an info:

location are not restricted to 5 and order of stages is not restricted, it is up to the owner

 

 

Good to know about the order being freely configurable. Thanks.

 

About the number of locations: this page https://www.geocaching.com/play/request/adventurelab

mentions: "Geocaching HQ is offering qualified Premium members an opportunity to create an Adventure Lab experience with up to 5 Locations."

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9 minutes ago, BigFurryMonster said:

create an Adventure Lab experience with up to 5 Locations

 

Yes, I was surprised also when I made this Adventure:

.

lab6.thumb.jpg.0c6da59ef34ed0af27d54d5e4979b3d5.jpg

.

lab4.thumb.jpg.4d711d938519477056451fa2a1dfd3b6.jpg

 

Edited by Mausebiber

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On 10/16/2020 at 6:20 AM, JL_HSTRE said:

1. Plenty of US areas without reliable cell coverage 

This is the mobile phone coverage in Australia, by the company with the most coverage. Not everyone uses this company, so many people's coverage is less than shown here. Even the green areas have gaps, and this can be seen if the magnification is increased.

https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/our-coverage

 

Lots of areas without coverage.

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11 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

This is the mobile phone coverage in Australia, by the company with the most coverage. Not everyone uses this company, so many people's coverage is less than shown here. Even the green areas have gaps, and this can be seen if the magnification is increased.

https://www.telstra.com.au/coverage-networks/our-coverage

 

Lots of areas without coverage.

 

We used Telstra on our last trip down under. We had more places without coverage than we with coverage in Tasmania. Even in Victoria we had blank spots along major roads.

Same goes for NZ, Japan, Ecuador and Argentina.  It wouldn't even surprise me if I can find blind spots in Belgium.

 

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1 hour ago, on4bam said:

 

We used Telstra on our last trip down under. We had more places without coverage than we with coverage in Tasmania. Even in Victoria we had blank spots along major roads.

Same goes for NZ, Japan, Ecuador and Argentina.  It wouldn't even surprise me if I can find blind spots in Belgium.

 

 

The are blind spot across the water in East Anglia <waves> - especially if you're looking for 3G or better coverage. Not massive ones anymore, but big enough to be problematic depending on the provider you're with.

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3 hours ago, BigFurryMonster said:

 

Good to know about the order being freely configurable. Thanks.

 

About the number of locations: this page https://www.geocaching.com/play/request/adventurelab

mentions: "Geocaching HQ is offering qualified Premium members an opportunity to create an Adventure Lab experience with up to 5 Locations."

They're offering more than 5 to certain entities.  See for example, "Junior Naturalists Life of a Ranger - Leave No Trace" in the Fort Collins, CO area.  Seven stops.  So some creators are getting special dispensation, regardless of the "up to 5" in the docs.

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7 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

Last year I visited Norfolk Island. Only 2G there, and no data for phones, only the phone.

 

On Lord Howe Island there's no phone coverage at all and the locals want to keep it that way. The only internet access on the island is wifi in the various accommodation lodges and at the museum. I guess there won't be any ALs appearing there.

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4 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

On Lord Howe Island there's no phone coverage at all and the locals want to keep it that way. The only internet access on the island is wifi in the various accommodation lodges and at the museum. I guess there won't be any ALs appearing there.

On Norfolk Island there is one AL, but you need to access Wi-fi to do it. It was published after I left, so I didn't get to attempt it. Maybe if we get a travel bubble, I might consider another visit there, although I have found most of the caches there (56 finds) and there isn't a lot besides that to do on Norfolk Island. Four caches published since I left; one traditional, one puzzle (solved), the AL and the bonus for the AL. Walk I guess and then sit and enjoy a coffee in one of the cafes. No snakes or poisonous spiders there, so that's a bonus. I don't think any leeches either.

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