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Suggestion: CO statistic on people searching for your caches


rassilon256
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A recent HQ blog post says

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The “Didn’t find it” log is important because it gives cache owner’s an idea of how many cachers are looking for their cache, and how difficult the cache is to find.

That's a great sentiment and I'm certainly someone who has become much more willing to post DNFs over the years for that reason, as well as just recording my own caching trips more accurately.

However, a lot of people aren't going to bother with DNFs. For some it's a numbers game and you don't get a number for that. Experienced cachers may not want to admit what they perceive as a failure. Newer cachers may be the same or may think that it's an easy find and they just aren't clever enough. And we all sometimes have 10 minutes to duck over to a cache and it turns out that's not enough time, so no DNF because we didn't look hard enough. I had one of those a few weeks ago, though I did leave a WN on it.

 

Anyhow, my suggestion: a function on the CO dashboard to give COs an idea of the unlogged activity on their caches. This could take any number of forms. It could be as simple as 'X people have searched for this cache without logging anything'. Or as complex as 'In the last [select time period], X people have searched for this cache without logging anything. They started navigation from an average of Y metres away and came within an average Z metres of the coordinates. They spent an average of W minutes searching.'

 

I could pick lots of holes in why getting that data accurate would be a problem but some of them apply to the Adventure Labs app so maybe I'm wrong. I also suspect that this data couldn't be retrieved from API apps and would add to the download on any app. But I think it's a nice idea, hopefully I'll get a comment from a Lackey as to it's merit.

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18 minutes ago, rassilon256 said:

A recent HQ blog post says

That's a great sentiment and I'm certainly someone who has become much more willing to post DNFs over the years for that reason, as well as just recording my own caching trips more accurately.

However, a lot of people aren't going to bother with DNFs. For some it's a numbers game and you don't get a number for that. Experienced cachers may not want to admit what they perceive as a failure. Newer cachers may be the same or may think that it's an easy find and they just aren't clever enough. And we all sometimes have 10 minutes to duck over to a cache and it turns out that's not enough time, so no DNF because we didn't look hard enough. I had one of those a few weeks ago, though I did leave a WN on it.

 

Anyhow, my suggestion: a function on the CO dashboard to give COs an idea of the unlogged activity on their caches. This could take any number of forms. It could be as simple as 'X people have searched for this cache without logging anything'. Or as complex as 'In the last [select time period], X people have searched for this cache without logging anything. They started navigation from an average of Y metres away and came within an average Z metres of the coordinates. They spent an average of W minutes searching.'

 

I could pick lots of holes in why getting that data accurate would be a problem but some of them apply to the Adventure Labs app so maybe I'm wrong. I also suspect that this data couldn't be retrieved from API apps and would add to the download on any app. But I think it's a nice idea, hopefully I'll get a comment from a Lackey as to it's merit.

I have absolutely no interest in 95% of the geocaches I look at. I only use them to search for nearby waymarks. My looking at your geocache would provide a meaningless statistic.

 

I'm not sure I understand your suggestion. Do you want Groundspeak to track my location, and know that I'm within a certain feet of a geocache and spent x minutes there? Is that what you're saying? That sounds so creepy to me.

So if I park 20 ft from a geocache and stay there for 45 minutes while I go inside to grab lunch, how does that data mean anything? I was within feet of the geocache but I did zero searching. 

Maybe someone was near a geocache just to enjoy a park? They didn't search they were just sitting there watching their kids play. 

Edited by Max and 99
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I also use my GPSr for caching. And for FTFs or other spontaneously caching I use the Android App that shouldn't be named here.

Many users use not the official app, because the most other apps have more functions.

I think that these statistics will as useful as the DNF logs.

A other point is the privacy. There are many (at least in Germany) who take this far too seriously. (But I also don't want that GS collects my (location) data).

 

But the Idee of such a statistic is interesting. Maybe there is a way to compare a cache with other nearby, similar caches. Founds per day, difficult, terrain, ...

But that is imo something for PGC and not for GS

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I don't like the idea of being tracked to this level of detail, and I'm sure it  would present  a privacy nightmare for Groundspeak so I doubt it will be considered.


Technically:
How will it cope with 3rd party apps, including the one which must not be named, and GPS users?

If I just look at a cache in the app, how will it know whether I'm just browsing or actively looking for it?

How will it cope with me driving up a road "looking" for dozens of drivebys, and getting within 15m but only spending 0.5s at each?
How will it cope with me doing a caching trail but walking past a puzzle which I haven't solved and don't even know it's there?

 

If there was a vote, I'd vote against it.

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A cache once published is like a child grown into adulthood. We can get emails from them now and then telling us how they're going and all the new people they've met, occasionally we can check in on them to make sure they're doing okay and maybe once in a while they'll call out for help and of course we'll respond straight away. But for the rest of the time we have to let them lead their own lives. Once published, your cherished cache belongs to the community, not you, and you can't be fussing over who might be thinking about searching for it or driving past it or whatever. Those things are outside your control now. Best to forget the cache exists and move on to the next project, then be surprised (hopefully pleasantly) when the occasional log comes in.

Edited by barefootjeff
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Well it seems in my effort to keep the concept vague I've made it concerning. My apologies. I don't mean to suggest this is a brilliant idea, I think it's a nice one with flaws, in fact I indicated that there are plenty of potential difficulties. Most of what has been raised is what I was thinking of so maybe I should have just said it myself.

 

5 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

I have absolutely no interest in 95% of the geocaches I look at. I only use them to search for nearby waymarks. My looking at your geocache would provide a meaningless statistic.

 

I'm not sure I understand your suggestion. Do you want Groundspeak to track my location, and know that I'm within a certain feet of a geocache and spent x minutes there? Is that what you're saying? That sounds so creepy to me.

So if I park 20 ft from a geocache and stay there for 45 minutes while I go inside to grab lunch, how does that data mean anything? I was within feet of the geocache but I did zero searching. 

Maybe someone was near a geocache just to enjoy a park? They didn't search they were just sitting there watching their kids play. 

 

There would be no value (to me at least) in telling a CO that someone had looked at the cache page, that was a feature until just over two years ago and as a CO I didn't find it useful.

 

Groundspeak is theoretically capable of tracking your location with their app, though I assume they don't. If this were a workable idea on that basis it would have to be only active while you were actually navigating to the cache, not reading the listing online or on-app, and it would have to be anonymised. GDPR and the ethics it protects see to that being a requirement.

 

As to the 45 minutes point, that's a point that was raised about the information now provided to AL owners and searchers. From my ICT background I'm sure there's ways of minimising the problem statistically but it will always be a problem. But again, it isn't relevant unless you tap 'Navigate' then drop the phone in your pocket and go to lunch. And I think I have done that once or twice.

 

4 hours ago, ChriBli said:

Of course this would only work if you were navigating to the cache using the official app. There is no way to track someone using, say, a hand-held GPSr. Am I the only one doing that these days?

 

Not at all, I have an Explorist 610 which comes out anywhere I think the iPhone won't be up to the challenge (poor signal, on-water, etc) or data-roaming will hit my bank balance. And I know a few people who are still primarily (even solely) using GPSrs. However, I did neglect to mention that even though I referred to probable issues with Geocaching API apps.

 

3 hours ago, capoaira said:

I also use my GPSr for caching. And for FTFs or other spontaneously caching I use the Android App that shouldn't be named here.

Many users use not the official app, because the most other apps have more functions.

I think that these statistics will as useful as the DNF logs.

 

Well yes, that app is about as useful to this concept as a GPSr.

 

I'm interested in this discussion because, perhaps unexpectedly, I'm not sure it would be as useful as DNF logs. The exceptions being raised compromise it, but I pointed out some reasons why the DNF process isn't flawless and the thought exercise is in part about which system has a better chance.

 

1 hour ago, MartyBartfast said:

...

Technically:
How will it cope with 3rd party apps, including the one which must not be named, and GPS users?

If I just look at a cache in the app, how will it know whether I'm just browsing or actively looking for it?

How will it cope with me driving up a road "looking" for dozens of drivebys, and getting within 15m but only spending 0.5s at each?
How will it cope with me doing a caching trail but walking past a puzzle which I haven't solved and don't even know it's there?

 

If there was a vote, I'd vote against it.

 

1. It won't cope with that as far as I can envisage. Depends on what API apps can feed back and the data security that can be enforced on it.

2. You're just browsing. If you tap the 'Navigate' button, then you're more likely to be looking for it. This is another of the issues I referred to which were suggested about ALs - if you start navigating to a location in the app just to have a look, but you're 40km away and then don't actually go there and look for the information you need until an hour/day/week later - does any of that factor into such statistics? As I said before, this problem should be able to be mitigated but I don't know to what extent.

3. Again, if you actually 'navigate' to them the data is compromised in my opinion.

4. If you don't know it's there you're not looking for it and neither is the app.

 

47 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

A cache once published is like a child grown into adulthood. We can get emails from them now and then telling us how they're going and all the new people they've met, occasionally we can check in on them to make sure they're doing okay and maybe once in a while they'll call out for help and of course we'll respond straight away. But for the rest of the time we have to let them lead their own lives. Once published, your cherished cache belongs to the community, not you, and you can't be fussing over who might be thinking about searching for it or driving past it or whatever. Those things are outside your control now. Best to forget the cache exists and move on to the next project, then be surprised (hopefully pleasantly) when the occasional log comes in.

 

Well I just wish I could write something this poetic. But the idea is very true. It doesn't align 100% with what Groundspeak are trying to push with the 'Year of The Hide' things I'm reading but like many things in life I imagine they're pitching for 120% of what they want to achieve, knowing that way they'll have a better chance of getting 100%.

 

Apologies again to those who don't like the concept. Just throwing a little idea into a big discussion, in my experience that's a worthwhile thing to do even if the little idea turns out to be a bad little idea.

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10 hours ago, rassilon256 said:

Anyhow, my suggestion: a function on the CO dashboard to give COs an idea of the unlogged activity on their caches.

This could take any number of forms. It could be as simple as 'X people have searched for this cache without logging anything'. Or as complex as 'In the last [select time period], X people have searched for this cache without logging anything. They started navigation from an average of Y metres away and came within an average Z metres of the coordinates. They spent an average of W minutes searching.'

 

 

 

We act on logs, so we're sure to read them.   Our logs are a basic part of this odd hobby.  :)

Someone fearful of that DNF log could simply do a Write Note.  Curious if these same people leave NM or NA logs as well...

Like the privacy concerns on the PMO audit, someone "blaming" me because I walked past their now-gone cache isn't gonna go well. 

You'd need every app developer on board with this, the many privacy issues included. Good luck with that...    ;)

 - But I'd rather not see something else that's meant to "correct" a fellow cacher's disregard for the basics (this one on action logs).   

Thanks. 

 

 

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On 3/3/2022 at 7:21 AM, rassilon256 said:

A recent HQ blog post says

That's a great sentiment and I'm certainly someone who has become much more willing to post DNFs over the years for that reason, as well as just recording my own caching trips more accurately.

However, a lot of people aren't going to bother with DNFs. For some it's a numbers game and you don't get a number for that. Experienced cachers may not want to admit what they perceive as a failure. Newer cachers may be the same or may think that it's an easy find and they just aren't clever enough. And we all sometimes have 10 minutes to duck over to a cache and it turns out that's not enough time, so no DNF because we didn't look hard enough. I had one of those a few weeks ago, though I did leave a WN on it.

 

Anyhow, my suggestion: a function on the CO dashboard to give COs an idea of the unlogged activity on their caches. This could take any number of forms. It could be as simple as 'X people have searched for this cache without logging anything'. Or as complex as 'In the last [select time period], X people have searched for this cache without logging anything. They started navigation from an average of Y metres away and came within an average Z metres of the coordinates. They spent an average of W minutes searching.'

 

I could pick lots of holes in why getting that data accurate would be a problem but some of them apply to the Adventure Labs app so maybe I'm wrong. I also suspect that this data couldn't be retrieved from API apps and would add to the download on any app. But I think it's a nice idea, hopefully I'll get a comment from a Lackey as to it's merit.

That your idea doesn't really work has been pointed out by others. But your suggestion actually makes a very good point, why it should be considered common courtesy to post a log when you have searched for a cache, even if you have not found it and therefore gain no smiley for it.

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13 hours ago, baer2006 said:

But your suggestion actually makes a very good point, why it should be considered common courtesy to post a log when you have searched for a cache, even if you have not found it and therefore gain no smiley for it.

 

Perhaps it's because the cache is a gift from the CO to the community, and the way we have of repaying that gift is to share our experiences through our logs whether that experience results in a precious smiley or not. Besides, if we didn't log our epic DNFs, what would there be to talk about at events?

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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:
14 hours ago, baer2006 said:

But your suggestion actually makes a very good point, why it should be considered common courtesy to post a log when you have searched for a cache, even if you have not found it and therefore gain no smiley for it.

 

Perhaps it's because the cache is a gift from the CO to the community, and the way we have of repaying that gift is to share our experiences through our logs whether that experience results in a precious smiley or not. Besides, if we didn't log our epic DNFs, what would there be to talk about at events?

 

Points well taken - the only way we have to see activity on our hides is by the logs, and perhaps by communications at events or via the message center.  Seeing unlogged activity (as defined by the OP) is problematic on many levels and is not likely to ever happen:

On 3/2/2022 at 10:21 PM, rassilon256 said:

 It could be as simple as 'X people have searched for this cache without logging anything'. Or as complex as 'In the last [select time period], X people have searched for this cache without logging anything. They started navigation from an average of Y metres away and came within an average Z metres of the coordinates. They spent an average of W minutes searching.'

 

How do you know they are searching for the cache?  I use the app, at times, to check to see if I am too close when I am looking at a potential hiding spot by choosing a cache nearby and hitting Navigate.  I also hit the Navigate to check distances to several that may be in the area - to help plan our spontaneous walk in the park, what's nearby? cache outings.  That will not mean anything to the CO.  And giving folks access to the detailed distance and time factors, I agree with Max and 99, that borders on creepy!

 

More accurate logs are what will give the CO the best idea of activity on his/her hide whether that is a Found It, Write Note, or DNF.  Detailed logs are even better!!  And those logs you get from folks who use the official app, other apps, and plain old GPS units to search for and find caches - a much more accurate picture of what's happening with your cache.

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