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Worked really hard on our first AL and tried to send people to cool unusual places and now the gripes are coming in because there is no Bonus.

We could not place a physical cache in a Nat'l Park, nor did we want to place one as part of the AL. One thing that attracted us to AL is that the creator doesn't have to deal with the physical thing and its endless maintenance – we've placed several of those over the past 5 years and it's getting expensive, as we buy very nice containers and toys and they get washed away occasionally. Also with AL the user doesn't have to touch anything infectious or worry about muggles. We are in a very cache-congested area and there aren't many spots left to put a physical cache along the river for 50 miles. It's so freeing to have the AL able to go anywhere!

Pretty sure some others feel the same, we wish the Bonus Cache could be disallowed and keep the AL virtual.  And, a difficulty and terrain rating would help the users not be disappointed or frustrated. I guess we could add our own, but if users aren't expecting such things, they may miss that information.

Just some gripes of my own as I read the gripes.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, FairmountWaterWorks said:

We could not place a physical cache in a Nat'l Park, nor did we want to place one as part of the AL

You can't place Adventure Labs in National Parks either if those require a fee, although Groundspeak isn't doing anything about the ones that were set up there. It looks like your adventure lab requires no fee, which is great!  I saw the activity logs from people who found your Adventure Lab. I think you have been clear in the description about the terrain that's expected. When I get feedback like that indicating a question was really hard I take a look to see if I can make it easier to understand. 

Edited by Max and 99
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1 minute ago, Max and 99 said:

You can't place Adventure Labs in National Parks either since those require a fee.

 

I don't know what the situation is like where the OP lives, but I thought I saw somewhere in the forums that there are some free-access NPs in the USA. Most national parks in Australia are free to enter on foot (I can only think of one that isn't and that's only for a small section of the park), and only a few of the more popular ones charge a parking fee.

 

I share the OP's feelings about bonuses as the expectation that there should be one takes away one of the big benefits of ALs and really just turns them into multis with virtual waypoints. One of my ALs is in a national park (which has free parking as well as free entry) and it was a bit of a struggle to find somewhere to put the bonus as I didn't want to go through the formal process of getting permission for a physical cache inside the park (I'll do it for a stand-alone cache that everyone can enjoy but not for an AL bonus), but luckily there was a small area of bushland between the park and the road zoned Public Recreation where I was able to put it. It's not a particularly inspiring location and is not somewhere I'd put a stand-alone cache (there's no real reason to bring people to that particular spot) but as a bonus to the AL for people to get that extra smiley they must have, it suffices.

 

About the only real positive I see for bonuses is that they're somewhere you can write a decent-sized log and post photos of your adventure, plus the CO gets notifications for bonus logs but not for AL logs (you might as well be talking to thin air in those). For a lot of the ones I've done, the bonus has been something of a letdown after completing an excellent AL and is often just a micro stuffed under a rock or in a guard rail. I've at least used decent-sized rugged containers for my two, even if the locations aren't overly special.

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Posted (edited)

I do think the griping about the lack of a bonus cache is unfair to the creator of the AL. Those who complete the Adventure Lab are entitled to their opinion, but I don't think you should expect a bonus for every Adventure Lab. 

Edit: It disappoints me to see geocachers taking off points for an Adventure Lab just because it doesn't have a bonus cache. Because five or ten smileys for each AL are just not enough

Edited by Max and 99
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I can understand people not being happy with ALs with no bonus cache, because the bonus cache allows the geocacher to wrote a nice log and point out any problems with the AL. ALs are VERY disappointing in that there is nowhere to write a nice log that the CO will see. ALs are so 'airy-fairy'. Because I have been told the CO won't see most logs, I often don't bother to write a log at all, or rate it.

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16 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I can understand people not being happy with ALs with no bonus cache, because the bonus cache allows the geocacher to wrote a nice log and point out any problems with the AL.

I highly doubt that's why they're unhappy. They want another smiley and are mad they didn't get it so they deduct a star from the rating. 

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Thanks for the discussion, everyone.

Yes, the Nat'l Park in question is free, to park and to enter.

Max and 99, yes I did go back to my descriptions and make it more obvious that a couple of locations have some overgrowth this time of year. Also I suggested that instead of randomly bursting through the brush they should look for existing side paths, as there are plenty. But, to answer Question #2 they would encounter some poison ivy right now, so I don't mind them commenting on it just to warn others.

I do read the logs (or will I only see the first ten?) but wish there was a way to respond to the loggers to ask followup questions about their concerns. Not "why are you a dope crashing through the poison ivy in shorts"  but "what route did you take and how could we make it better."  I tried to add a waypoint just to keep them on the trail, but couldn't figure out to do that.

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26 minutes ago, FairmountWaterWorks said:

Thanks for the discussion, everyone.

Yes, the Nat'l Park in question is free, to park and to enter.

Max and 99, yes I did go back to my descriptions and make it more obvious that a couple of locations have some overgrowth this time of year. Also I suggested that instead of randomly bursting through the brush they should look for existing side paths, as there are plenty. But, to answer Question #2 they would encounter some poison ivy right now, so I don't mind them commenting on it just to warn others.

I do read the logs (or will I only see the first ten?) but wish there was a way to respond to the loggers to ask followup questions about their concerns. Not "why are you a dope crashing through the poison ivy in shorts"  but "what route did you take and how could we make it better."  I tried to add a waypoint just to keep them on the trail, but couldn't figure out to do that.

I think you did everything right! 

You can contact all of those who left an activity log,  through their geocaching profile. You see all activity logs. 

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On 6/2/2021 at 1:40 PM, barefootjeff said:

About the only real positive I see for bonuses is that they're somewhere you can write a decent-sized log and post photos of your adventure, plus the CO gets notifications for bonus logs but not for AL logs (you might as well be talking to thin air in those).

This is the main reason we placed bonuses with ours, that and the fact that people will actually spot there is a nearby AL....

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1 minute ago, lee737 said:

This is the main reason we placed bonuses with ours, that and the fact that people will actually spot there is a nearby AL....

 

Yep, the same for me. Finding somewhere for the bonus for my first AL (Wreck of the Maitland) was a pain as the AL itself is inside a national park, with ocean on one side and mostly residental/rural private property on the other. Hmm, maybe I should have gone for an off-shore T5 bonus on that one :laughing:.

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On 6/1/2021 at 7:05 PM, FairmountWaterWorks said:

Worked really hard on our first AL and tried to send people to cool unusual places and now the gripes are coming in because there is no Bonus.

I have had my share of gripes about no bonus on my first AL, and had points deducted because of it.  Whatever.  I didn't see the "need" for a bonus cache when I placed mine.  Now I see many are doing so, and sometimes I will seek out the bonus cache and sometimes I won't.  Why?  I've seen some bonuses that were well done, in theme with the adventure, clever container and a hiding spot that added to the whole adventure.  THAT's enjoyable, smilie count (for me) is beside the point.  I've also found some bonuses that were just a baisc LPC or centrifuge tube at the bottom of a sign, with no connection to the lab adventure at all, except the clues were given somewhere in the journal location write ups (C=7, write this down!)

 

On 6/2/2021 at 5:31 AM, Goldenwattle said:

ALs are VERY disappointing in that there is nowhere to write a nice log that the CO will see. ALs are so 'airy-fairy'. Because I have been told the CO won't see most logs, I often don't bother to write a log at all, or rate it.

I may be an exception, but specifically because I know I don't get notified about "finds" on my AL, I DO go to the activity tab on the app and I DO read the logs folks leave and I check it about once a week or so.  I have geocaches hidden near most of the stops on my AL, and I mention those in the write up, so if I see a find logged on one of those caches, I'll also double check the AL to see if that was part of the finder's caching day.  I also have messaged cachers when they mention any difficulty encountered, and I have changed the wording on one of my questions to make it more clear due to confusion on the part of one cacher.

 

I can say all I need to say for an AL in the characters allotted, for the most part.  I can always message the CO if I have more to add.  A bonus cache , if I find it, probably isn't going to be where I'd say much about the adventure itself - that would go in the comments that I leave when completing the lab.  

 

I still have an Adventure lab credit, and with the time extension granted I am woring to make it unique, and more of a challenge to actually EARN those 5 smilies, and located in an area where there is an absence of AL's!  If I do include a bonus (not decided on that yet...) it will be in theme, and definitely part of the whole adventure.

 

A BONUS is just that, a bonus.  Should not be required or expected, IMO, but others in our area EXPECT a bonus cache to be associated with every AL.  And they let it be known that they are disappointed when you DON'T include a bonus with your AL!!

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2 hours ago, CAVinoGal said:

Now I see many are doing so, and sometimes I will seek out the bonus cache and sometimes I won't.  Why?  I've seen some bonuses that were well done, in theme with the adventure, clever container and a hiding spot that added to the whole adventure.  THAT's enjoyable, smilie count (for me) is beside the point.  I've also found some bonuses that were just a baisc LPC or centrifuge tube at the bottom of a sign, with no connection to the lab adventure at all, except the clues were given somewhere in the journal location write ups (C=7, write this down!)

 

Yes, most of the bonus caches I've done have been pretty mediocre, like a micro in a guard rail or a bison tube hanging on a fence post. A few have been a substantial drive (half an hour or more) from the final stage of the AL, making me wish I hadn't bothered with it. I'm not really happy with the bonus on my Wreck of the Maitland AL as I was stymied by a very limited range of hiding places within easy walk of the AL's parking area, but I was at least able to use a fairly decent half-litre small-sized Sistema container that's concealed inside a deep tree hollow even if there's nothing special or significant about that particular tree's location.

 

Bonus.jpg.46a2bf2ca40e0652d47a7096ad15a8bc.jpg

 

I was a bit luckier with my second AL as I was able to find a neat hiding place for the bonus close to the final AL stage that dovetailed pretty well with the theme of the Adventure. That's also a Sistema, this time a regular-sized one litre one, and offers a good view back over most of the AL's course.

 

Headland.jpg.ac048652d995d450bda4413638745c37.jpg

 

 

2 hours ago, CAVinoGal said:

I may be an exception, but specifically because I know I don't get notified about "finds" on my AL, I DO go to the activity tab on the app and I DO read the logs folks leave and I check it about once a week or so.

 

There's not much AL activity around here now, with the last new one going live in early December, so mine don't get enough visits for me to be regularly checking for activity logs. The last log on Wreck of the Maitland was in January, and while Broken Bay Sands has had four logs this month, that's about the most activity it's seen all year. I expect that by next year they'll be all but forgotten by everyone, having been just a passing fad of late 2020.

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On 6/1/2021 at 7:05 PM, FairmountWaterWorks said:

Worked really hard on our first AL and tried to send people to cool unusual places and now the gripes are coming in because there is no Bonus.

By "gripes", do you mean "Too bad there's no bonus cache" or "I wasted my time on your stupid AL that didn't even have a bonus cache"?

 

If people are rude about your AL for whatever reason, then I understand why you're upset, but you should be upset about them being rude, not about them wanting a bonus cache. The good news is that no one reads the activity logs, so you're the only one that will notice the complaint.

 

If someone just suggested a bonus cache because they like them, that's not a gripe, and, like any advice, you are free to ignore it. Unfortunately, the nature of ALs makes it difficult to explain why you don't have a bonus -- so, in this case, both because you couldn't and you didn't want to -- because people doing the AL would tend to scan over anything not related to following the adventure, so you'll just have to ignore the never ending requests for a bonus cache.

 

As it happens, I'm a big fan of bonus caches on ALs because it attaches the AL to geocaching, in particular, providing a real log where people can share their experience instead of just putting them in the AL "review" where no one (except maybe the AL owner) will see them. So I admit I've mentioned that in my AL log once or twice because there's so much more I'd like to say about my experience, but I'm not going to try to do it out in the field with a dumb phone interface.

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5 hours ago, dprovan said:

As it happens, I'm a big fan of bonus caches on ALs because it attaches the AL to geocaching, in particular, providing a real log where people can share their experience instead of just putting them in the AL "review" where no one (except maybe the AL owner) will see them.

This, and the fact it helps advertise the presence of the AL (not so much now that a map icon appears in the main apps). AL's without a bonus seem to be a non-event, they don't appear in your caching history at all, just a gap in the find numbers....

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7 hours ago, dprovan said:

As it happens, I'm a big fan of bonus caches on ALs because it attaches the AL to geocaching, in particular, providing a real log where people can share their experience instead of just putting them in the AL "review" where no one (except maybe the AL owner) will see them. So I admit I've mentioned that in my AL log once or twice because there's so much more I'd like to say about my experience, but I'm not going to try to do it out in the field with a dumb phone interface.

 

The average length of my logs on the 15 AL bonus caches I've found is 851 characters, over twice the 400 character limit on AL activity logs. My longest is 1743 characters, so the 400 character limit wouldn't have got me far on that one, plus on many of them I've posted photos of my adventure, something you can't do in activity logs. Maybe 400 characters is enough for ALs that are just about reading sign posts along a city block but most of the ones I've done have had a lot more meat to them than that. So yes, the big plus of bonus caches is the ability to write proper logs.

Edited by barefootjeff
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On 6/14/2021 at 8:36 PM, CAVinoGal said:

 

 

I may be an exception, but specifically because I know I don't get notified about "finds" on my AL, I DO go to the activity tab on the app and I DO read the logs folks leave and I check it about once a week or so. 

 

Thanks for your post. Same here. I've changed my AL to reflect some of the complaints and suggestions.

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On 6/15/2021 at 10:02 PM, barefootjeff said:

 

The average length of my logs on the 15 AL bonus caches I've found is 851 characters, over twice the 400 character limit on AL activity logs. My longest is 1743 characters, so the 400 character limit wouldn't have got me far on that one, plus on many of them I've posted photos of my adventure, something you can't do in activity logs. Maybe 400 characters is enough for ALs that are just about reading sign posts along a city block but most of the ones I've done have had a lot more meat to them than that. So yes, the big plus of bonus caches is the ability to write proper logs.

 

Thanks for explaining, I didn't know all that. It would be great if AL logs could be as substantial as regular logs. However, some of the AL logs I get are far more substantial than some of the TFTC logs we get on the geocaches. I still think AL should just be AL and not try to be a quasi-geocache or excuse for a geocache.

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On 6/15/2021 at 2:20 PM, dprovan said:

By "gripes", do you mean "Too bad there's no bonus cache" or "I wasted my time on your stupid AL that didn't even have a bonus cache"?

 

If people are rude about your AL for whatever reason, then I understand why you're upset, but you should be upset about them being rude, not about them wanting a bonus cache. The good news is that no one reads the activity logs, so you're the only one that will notice the complaint.

 

If someone just suggested a bonus cache because they like them, that's not a gripe, and, like any advice, you are free to ignore it. Unfortunately, the nature of ALs makes it difficult to explain why you don't have a bonus -- so, in this case, both because you couldn't and you didn't want to -- because people doing the AL would tend to scan over anything not related to following the adventure, so you'll just have to ignore the never ending requests for a bonus cache.

 

As it happens, I'm a big fan of bonus caches on ALs because it attaches the AL to geocaching, in particular, providing a real log where people can share their experience instead of just putting them in the AL "review" where no one (except maybe the AL owner) will see them. So I admit I've mentioned that in my AL log once or twice because there's so much more I'd like to say about my experience, but I'm not going to try to do it out in the field with a dumb phone interface.

 

Hi, sorry for delay responding. Just realized I didn't have my email notifications set. Had a big deadline the last month and didn't think to go checking the forum.

Anyway, no, the commenters weren't rude, just disappointed. And I wasn't upset, just disappointed that they were disappointed. It doesn't seem like we can see which commenter gave less than 5 stars, so I don't know if one person gave one or two stars to bring it all down, or many people gave 4 stars, or what. I probably made a mistake starting this AL in May. It would be all 5 stars if it started in November after the foliage calmed down! B) But I hated to waste a summer, especially when our Interpretive Center still isn't open to the public. And, some people don't seem to enjoy challenging questions as much as others might. In defense of AL, the app does say that we should make the questions easy to answer. I get that and should probably edit two of my questions to give hints. Wish we could put a difficulty rating so people aren't disappointed though. Just want everyone to be happy!

Regarding the bonus, my area is absolutely clogged with physical caches. So I had two constraints with this AL - can't place inside a Nat'l Park, and can't find a decent open spot along the Schuylkill River. So the AL format is wonderfully freeing for the CO. I mean, the ALO.

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12 hours ago, FairmountWaterWorks said:

Anyway, no, the commenters weren't rude, just disappointed. And I wasn't upset, just disappointed that they were disappointed.

Even if someone said, "I'm disappointed there was no bonus cache," I would take them as merely suggesting an improvement, not saying they were honestly disappointed in the experience.

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11 hours ago, dprovan said:

Even if someone said, "I'm disappointed there was no bonus cache," I would take them as merely suggesting an improvement, not saying they were honestly disappointed in the experience.

 

If the average score were 5 stars, I might agree with that. But it's four stars, and I can't tell how many of the 20+ people downgraded, nor why. Suggestion for app improvement: put the stars next to the logs. If there were a couple of 2-star votes bringing it down, I wouldn't take it as seriously as if there were 20 4-star votes.

This isn't a huge deal or deal-killer for us, as I"m about to work on my second AL (yay a new credit came yesterday!), but I do think the ALs should be purely virtual for reasons I've detailed.  Probably won't put a bonus on the next one either, because of the high amount of muggles in the two or three spots I could squeeze one in (already checked), very cache-clogged area.

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40 minutes ago, FairmountWaterWorks said:

If the average score were 5 stars, I might agree with that. But it's four stars, and I can't tell how many of the 20+ people downgraded, nor why. Suggestion for app improvement: put the stars next to the logs. If there were a couple of 2-star votes bringing it down, I wouldn't take it as seriously as if there were 20 4-star votes.

I've never paid any attention to the AL ratings, so I don't know how ALs tend to be rated. I don't rate ALs myself -- I hope that doesn't mean they get zero stars! -- but if I did, I'd probably reserve 5s for ALs that I thought were truly exceptional -- so none I've done so far, I don't think -- and tend to give 4s for the other ALs that were very good and I had no complaints about. Could there be a couple people that found your AL that might be of that school? That strikes me as more likely then anyone rating the AL down because of the somewhat tangential issue of it not having a bonus cache.

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2 hours ago, dprovan said:

I've never paid any attention to the AL ratings, so I don't know how ALs tend to be rated. I don't rate ALs myself -- I hope that doesn't mean they get zero stars! -- but if I did, I'd probably reserve 5s for ALs that I thought were truly exceptional -- so none I've done so far, I don't think -- and tend to give 4s for the other ALs that were very good and I had no complaints about. Could there be a couple people that found your AL that might be of that school? That strikes me as more likely then anyone rating the AL down because of the somewhat tangential issue of it not having a bonus cache.

 

Yes, that's pretty much how I view the rating system too, with three stars being enjoyable but unremarkable, four being particularly good and five reserved for exceptional ALs that would have gotten FPs if they were caches. However, HQ have never published a scale for the ratings so there are no doubt some who consider everything should get five stars unless there's something wrong with it. Earlier this year, several nearby cachers received emails from HQ advising that they'd been awarded an additional credit and in it, it said that part of the criteria was that their existing AL had to have received at least ten ratings with an average rating of 4.7 or higher, so it seems HQ might be in the anything less than five stars is deficient camp.

 

Quote
Congratulations! Thanks to the success of your first Adventure, Geocaching HQ is giving you the opportunity to create another Adventure for the global community.
Selection is based in part on the following criteria:
• Creator has:
o An active Premium membership
o Has found at least 10 Adventure Lab Caches
• The Adventure has:
o At least 4.7 average rating
o At least 10 ratings
o At least 10 Activity logs

 

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Thanks for the discussion guys. I agree that 5 stars should be exceptional, but it seems not to be, kind of like airbnb where hosts pressure you to leave 5 stars and only praise. There is no pressure from GC HQ when I've done ALs, but they were mostly averaging 5 stars before I went on them, even though their content definitely was not (in my view, of course). So again my only problem here is that _probably_ some people would have rated our Historic Schuylkill Infrastructure higher (even a 4 instead of a 3, for example) if there had been a bonus or if they had worn long pants.  :)

So it is interesting that we weren't supposed to get another credit unless we were 4.7 or higher? We were only at 4.0. Well, thanks for the credit anyway, this one will be fun and easy without any poison ivy. And oh yeah without any bonus. What can ya do.

Cheers, FWW

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