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Idea: Rating Interesting Caches


ncbeisers
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I'm a relatively new cacher and I really enjoy this hobby/sport. I've found dozens of caches and some of those have been in some very interesting places that I never would have found otherwise. This is the part of caching that I enjoy the most.

 

The problem is how to identify the really interesting cache destinations from the run-of-the-mill (but still fun) walks in the woods. My idea (which may not be new) is to rate caches based on interest just like they are now rated on difficulty and terrain. Perhaps cache loggers could rate the cache and geocaching.com could post an average score or something (similar to rating books at Amazon). Rating guidelines could be posted to keep it somewhat uniform. This rating would be subjective of course, but it would give cachers a better idea of which caches they'd like to search for.

 

Just a thought, what do you think?

NCBeisers

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The eye of the beholder is the determinant of beauty. I found a clever cache made out of a Mason Jar last weekend. Wouldn't be truthful of me to say that a bunch of caches made this way would be a good idea, but this one works great.

 

What is interesting to me may be boring to you. What works in the Elms cache would be a terrible idea in any of mine.

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I entirely agree on the rating system, mainly because of my desire to have a fun time finding caches when I travel anywhere. On a trip I have limited time and would want to hit the really fun, interesting caches.

 

Here is an example: Suppose someone visited my house and only had time for one cache. There are 2 caches within walking distance. One is a nice cache in a very small park. The other is a nice cache in a beautiful little hollow. Since I live in the area I have hit them both and they were both worth going to. But for a visitor I would strongly recommend the second cache over the first. For a traveller who doesn't have a geocaching friend in the area ratings would be very useful. You can get a good idea of how fun the cache was by reading logs, but that also takes hours.

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I agree with BigRedMed. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. A rating system on them would be subjective. If there was one, then you would need to rate several different elements for each cache and then it would be hard to get an overall rating. I could see more of a system where the caches are listed as historic, artistic, and etc. That way people who are interested in different types of things around could sort them and go after them.

 

But the best way to figure out if a cache is halfway decent for the most part is to read the previous cache logs. Sometimes they give some great info as to whether the people enjoyed the cache or area. Sometimes they are lacking any info. I think perhaps better online cache logs would help out others. We (Woodsters) need to work on ours more from now on, even on the TNLN.

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Umm, I don't know if you guys have heard of this or not, but KeenPeople now offers a html thing you can put on your cache page so that people can rate it, I've seen it on a few caches, and it seems to work great...

I use it on some of my caches...

its simple, only rating the cache overall on a scale of 1 to 10.

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Unfortunately what makes a good cache is somewhat subjective. Set aside beautiful locations and interesting cache hides for a moment. If I am traveling I have to consider several things: How much time do I have to cache, will I have kids with me, will I have a stroller, what's the weather predicted to be, are there caches near the places I will be visiting, do I have or need transportation. Will I be able to take any special equipment with me on the trip. Etc, etc.

 

I find it far easier to look for a local active cacher in that area, send them an email explaining my situation and the kind of caches I would like to find. I have always received a positive reply, recommending caches to look for.

 

I recently vacationed in San Francisco. I found a cacher with several hides, explained that I had the kids with me, we did have a car and would like caches that would take us to nearby tourist attractions. They sent me a list of about 15 caches I could do!

 

We are a community, enjoy the benefits.

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Great post Teamx40. I was just thinking that weather could be a big factor as well. If it's terrible weather when your out caching, it may give a difference appearance and experience than at other times. Also depends on the type of day you are having too I imagine. Another thing, someone could of left the cache out in the opne for instance and one might not think it was a good cache because it was out in the open or not rehidden back into it's appropriate place. A lot of factors could come into play to sway peoples minds one way or the other for an overall rating. Even the difficulty and terrain ratings we use are somewhat subjective. But for those who would like their own caches rated and are willing to bite the bullet if they get bad reviews, then I guess the system from keenpeople would be ideal for them.

 

I just went to one of Doc Deans cache pages and I could vote for the cache whether or not I had not logged a find. So those ratings need to be taken with a grain of salt. One could easily go and manipulate the ratings to include the owner. Didn't vote, but I'm not sure if I could go and vote more than once. If one could then that would mess it up even more.

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Maybe I should refine my idea of "interesting". I am thinking more of the journey and destination versus the cache itself. I'm looking for a way to differentiate caches that take you someplace "interesting" versus those that take you to a box of trinkets. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the searching for either. But as was mentioned, if you have a long list of possible caches and a short amount of time it would be great to hit those that took you to someplace memorable.

 

http://www.keenpeople.com/ is very interesting, I had not been there, but I couldn't find a way to easily locate the highest rated caches that are closest to me. This rating would be much more useful if it was built into the cache logging process and available as search criteria for pocket queries, etc.

 

Good point about actually talking to people Teamx40, perhaps there are other solutions besides using computers and data!!

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To be fair and accomodate bigredmed's very valid point (we agree?) you would have to split ratings into several catagories. One for eacy eye beholding the cache.

 

One for technial merit. Some caches are great hides and the challenge was the fun.

 

One for the hike. Some caches are the journey.

 

One for the location. Sometimes it's not the journey it's the destination.

 

One for the puzzle challenge. Sometimes it's not anything but figuring out where to look.

 

One for the gipper... you get the picture.

 

Plus when rating a suck cache, who wants to paint it first? You have to have a delay so the fist 10 or so raters average out before anybody see's the results. That way those who would slam the cache can do so without branding themselves as local traitors.

 

This is a good idea in principal, but the logistics to make it work are difficult.

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Check out how Chicago handled it. Unfortunately, it's a local thing handled by local cachers, but if you've got a local group, it might be what you're looking for.

 

Wisconsin does a "cache of the month" as does St. Louis.

 

There are so many factors involved with whether or not I personally like a cache, it's hard for me to even weed it down if someone asked me my favorite (that's why I do a top 10% on my profile page).

 

As others have said, beauty is in the eye...

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Check out how Chicago handled it. Unfortunately, it's a local thing handled by local cachers, but if you've got a local group, it might be what you're looking for.

 

Wisconsin does a "cache of the month" as does St. Louis.

 

There are so many factors involved with whether or not I personally like a cache, it's hard for me to even weed it down if someone asked me my favorite (that's why I do a top 10% on my profile page).

 

As others have said, beauty is in the eye...

I like the Chicago solution. Different catagories. You just need to be able to keep up the nominations as new caches keep on coming along and pull the archived ones off the list.

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For me part of the fun is the suprise.

For me part of the fun is reading the logs, even though it is time consuming. I'd rather read cache logs than watch yet another re-run of the Golden Girls. Or watch any reality show, but I shouldn't go there here ;).

 

I don't know that I would trust another cacher's score unless I knew them. If I know the cacher they are probably local, which means the cache is local which means I will go for the cache any way. :blink:

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The problem with keenpeople's rating system is a cacher that only likes 1/1 caches will rate anything with a harder difficulty poorly and there is no way of telling why. I think a better rating system could be made by GC.com if they forced a rating selection when you log a find. Then other cachers can see the comments from those that liked or disliked the cache. No rating should be allowed for DNFs. I used keenpeople's rating until the number of votes outweighed the number of finds by twofold, then I removed it. A cache owner can also bump up their ratings too.

 

Not trying to bash keenpeople they do some great stuff. I just think rating caches should not be anonymous because it is so subjective.

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Various ratings systems have been discussed before but I think that there has been something of a consensus so far that it would be pretty difficult to implement any system that would work effectively without discouraging some people and offending others. I would like for there to be some kind of system better than reading through a bazillion logs to find the winners when I travel but I don't know how that would work if my taste in geocaches runs contrary to the norm. I think that one system that could work and has been considered by Jeremy in the past is for each geocacher to create a list of recommended caches in a special section in their profile. People would recommend say 5 or 10 percent of the caches they found according to some unofficial rule of etiquette that would not have to be strictly enforced. Individual geocachers could choose their degree of participation in the rating system by recommending many or no caches. Some geocachers already do this even though there is not an official section in the profile page for this purpose. It would be great if the search page would display the number of times a cache was recommended and I would also like for there to be a link on the cache page which would give a list of the geocachers who recommended it. One should be able to quickly match their likes and dislikes to one or two other cachers to get a pretty good idea of which caches they might enjoy the most.

 

I don't know if such a system could be implemented because I am not that computer savvy nor do I pretend to have the wisdom to know whether such a system would not create a lot of bickering and politics. It just seems like it could work and be useful.

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I agree there should be a cache rating system. When you log a cache you rate it on a scale of 1-10 (or whatever). Books are highly subjective as well and it works great on Amazon. I don't see any need to seperate the ratings regarding different types.

 

One that's a good hide and another that's a great location would both get high ratings. If you only like one type of cache you should be able to tell which is which by their description. If you can't then you wouldn't have known before anyway so no harm done.

 

Not only would this allow people to know the best caches in the area but it would make people improve their own. Who'd want to own a cache that's rated a 2? It would be a big incentive for people to not place lame caches. I have one that I admit is fairly lame (I have my reasons) but if there were a cache rating system I I would improve it, slightly.

 

Oh and I agree that you should only be able to rate it when you log a find. How does a DNFer know how good the cache is.

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I really don't understand all the pessimism about rating caches!

 

Either you enjoyed the cache or you did not. If you enjoyed it would you recommend it to others? Would you revisit the area the cache is in?

 

Did you find the cache exceptional? Don't forget the log page tells what kind of cache it is and it's rating for hide and terrain.

 

What it boils down to is did you find you really liked that cache experience?

 

If you enjoyed it then it is probably a safe bet others would enjoy it also.

 

If you over-analyze everything you end up taking all the fun out it. If you chose not to use that type of rating that's fine, but why insist on nobody else having the opportunity to try it?

 

Just my simplistic view of things.

 

John

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Pessimism? No, I don't think ratings would have an adverse effect. I'm all for stating what would generally be an cache worth finding.

 

I think people basically want to know what cache THEY can find, with a minimum amout of research. i.e. when traveling to a new area. What does the best cache in the area tell you? Is it for people who scuba dive? mountain climb? families with stollers? business travelers with an evening to spare? night cachers? snowmobile cachers? wheel-chair bound people? I need more than if people liked it or not.

 

Top ratings for journey and destination is one thing, but there is a huge difference between the continental divide and the plains of Nebraska.

Edited by TeamX40
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I like the Chicago solution. Different catagories. You just need to be able to keep up the nominations as new caches keep on coming along and pull the archived ones off the list.

And I do just that. I update the information periodically through an offline database. If a cache is temporarily disabled or archived, a cacher's vote is reverted to "No Opinion" for wherever they voted for that cache.

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It won't make people make their caches better.

Why not? It's a great incentive to make sure your caches are good and not simply thrown into the brush in some lame neighborhood park. Why hide something that few people will go find because of the low rating?

Many people who place caches won't care what people rate it at. Many let their caches go to you know what. Many don't respond to emails. It won't change the aspect of the caches. It may however slow down placing of caches.

 

There's a thing that you can use from Texas Geocaching, which I have used on my caches pages that lets you tell if caches are kid friendly, steep climbs, restroom facilities and etc. These are some of the things that people mentioned. Whatever you get out of it will vary though from person to person. I did 5 this past sunday with my son. We had 2 total different aspects. I enjoyed all of them. I enjoy every cache. Some not so much as others and some much more than others. I mostly enjoy the caches that are either in the middle of something historical and/or micro caches. Personally I am starting to get bored of ammo boxes. How I would rate caches on those parts would differ from many others. I don't care too much for multi's, but many do. I think peoples own biased opinions could sway others into something that they will not see that good. Also as I stated earlier, if you have are having a bad day, then even the greatest cache will not be that great.

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(that's why I do a top 10% on my profile page).

Maxwell,

 

Suppose over the next week or two, you find ten more caches. Technically, your top 10% should increase by one. Let's say you didn't particularly enjoy any of those latest ten. Would you go back and find one of the older caches that just missed the cut and add that?

 

Jamie

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Many people who place caches won't care what people rate it at. Many let their caches go to you know what. Many don't respond to emails. It won't change the aspect of the caches.

 

Yeah, wouldn't it be awesome to know about these caches before you go visit them? And the others that do care will make there's even better so more people visit and they can get the pride of having excellently reviewed caches.

 

How I would rate caches on those parts would differ from many others.

 

What's wrong with that? If it's boring to you it's probably boring to a lot of other cachers. Now everyone would know the cache is nothing special.

 

As far as reading the logs I prefer not to do that. Too much is given away unintentionally in them. Plus, if I'm going to a new area and can only do 5 and there are 300 of them I don't really have time to read 20 logs on each one of them... :blink:

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In my opinion, a rating system is problematic for the many reasons discussed above. In addition, It may be redundant because many times you can tell from the reactions of the cachers before you what the cache is like from reading the online logs... Reading the logs is part of the research you do before you go on the cache hunt, IMHO....I feel it's not necessary and would be too subjective and hard to implement.

 

One way you could do it is write more rules and require that a cache have certain elements (No, No, Please, God, No-- not more rules) and then have people rate how the site did on those elements. but that would suck all the joy out of everything, and it would still be too subjective...so it shouldn't be done.

:blink:

Edited by mozartman
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Actually, a simple rating system would probably work out just fine in practice. Assume it were voluntary. People who were 'wowed' by a cache would rate it highly. Those who were not would not bother. Just like the informal "TNLN thanks" method, perfunctory caches would not have many positive ratings. People would rate them highly if they were well executed examples of cache categories that they liked. Ie, a good micro, or a good location, or a good puzzle. Thus, a puzzle cache with no positive ratings out of many finds is probably not well regarded by puzzle-loving cachers who attempted it, never mind those who don't like puzzles (who need not offer any opinion at all.)

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The ratings would matter to people who are selective. There are many cachers who will find all of the caches in their area, regardless of quality. That's their goal. Ratings would help the traveler, and newbie to find a cache that was worth finding. After all, if newbies find trash in a bush, then when they place a cache, they will assume that is a quality cache. Ratings would help to denote quality caches.

 

The ratings idea has been brought up many times over the past 2 years. I would love to see this feature implemented, on a voluntary basis. Cache hiders could elect to have their cache exempt from ratings by checking a box. That way they could avoid the issue entirely, if they so chose.

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I should clarify what I said before. I actually think a rating system is a good idea in theory, but problematic in practice...

 

How would you rate a cache? what are the standards? How is it quantified? I just think it's too vague to be of much use... or if you make it complex enough to be useful, who's going to take the time? I dunno...

 

would the rating system be like this?

 

5 stars-- my brain almost exploded with joy

4 stars--pretty darn nice

3 stars--didn't make me that happy. but it wasn't bad.

2 stars-- you can do better than this.

1 star--- you're lucky I didn't destroy it myself in a righteous geo-rage.

 

:blink:

 

I also agree with what outsid4ever said, that this would help newbies and others ID a better-quality cache over a lesser-quality one-- the very first one I did was pretty lame... but I didn't know that at the time.

 

like someone else has said, caches are like pizza-- even when they're bad, they're still pretty good. or something.

:bad:

Edited by mozartman
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I should clarify what I said before. I actually think a rating system is a good idea in theory, but problematic in practice...

 

How would you rate a cache? what are the standards? How is it quantified? I just think it's too vague to be of much use... or if you make it complex enough to be useful, who's going to take the time? I dunno...

 

would the rating system be like this?

 

5 stars-- my brain almost exploded with joy

4 stars--pretty darn nice

3 stars--didn't make me that happy. but it wasn't bad.

2 stars-- you can do better than this.

1 star--- you're lucky I didn't destroy it myself in a righteous geo-rage.

 

:blink:

 

I also agree with what outsid4ever said, that this would help newbies and others ID a better-quality cache over a lesser-quality one-- the very first one I did was pretty lame... but I didn't know that at the time.

 

like someone else has said, caches are like pizza-- even when they're bad, they're still pretty good. or something.

:bad:

I would think that the simplest method of rating a cache would be a check box for "Would you reccomend this cache to others?"

 

A simple yes or no would suffice. If you liked the cache and think others would also you'd check 'yes'. Nice and simple.

 

John

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try reading the darn logs to see how much people enjoyed it. 75 "Found it thanks!" means a not so wonderful cache.........8 paragraph essays dealing with one leg of a multi might be more interesting

This log isn't about just one leg of a multi, It covers the complete cache. Will he recommend it to others? Without a doubt.

 

Like you said, reading the logs says it all.

 

John

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2oldfarts, sorry, I must've missed your first post on this. I think your idea is a good one... as usual I was trying to over-complicate it. along with the number of visits a cache had, you could also have the number of reccommends it has as well. Not everybody who visits a cache would vote, of course...

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