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Geocache Quality Rating?


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I don't frequent the forums very often, so I may be bringing up an old topic. If so, I apologize. Anyway, I live in a rural area where the density of caches is pretty low. After a year of geocaching I have to drive at least 50 miles to log a find. With that kind of investment in my time and gas money, it would be nice to know in advance which caches are really outstanding and worth the trip.

 

I'm thinking of a rating system where when one logs a find they could click on a scale to show how much they liked their experience. Maybe a simple number system like 0 to 10. The average score could be posted next to D/T.

 

With this system, when I plan my next outing I can concentrate on finding the best caches and skip the mundane ones. This might also lead to an overall improvement in the quality of new caches. Some people might actually strive to place caches that will get high user ratings. It might also lead to the early archival of the worst caches, as owners might be embarrassed at having stuck a film canister in a pipe along the interstate and calling it a cache.

 

Is this an idea worth pursuing?

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Yes, this has been brought up several times before. There is a cache rating system at Keen People, along with other stats stuff and map utilities.

I put the rating link on this cache, but it hasn't really been used.

I think the idea has merit, but if you have someone that doesn't like your cache you will have a low ranking for quite a while untill several others rank it higher.

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There are systems that have been discussed. It's not really as simple a problem as it first seems.

 

For one thing people have different tasts. One persons lame urban micro is anothers clever and worthy hide that they enjoyed figuring out.

 

The more you try to accomodate the subjective side of the problem the more complex the solution becomes. The more complex the solution the less workable it really is.

 

The first problem out of the gate is that if I really think your cache sucks the big one I may not want to be branded by posting a rating first. If I'm a FTF on your cache and suddenly your rating is a Zero guess who you will blame. Now that means you have to have some number of ratings to average together so that the raters can rate honestly without fear of reprisal.

 

That's just problem number one. There are more.

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There is a whole school of thought, of which I'm a member, that says we already have a nice mechanism to rate the quality of caches. It's called the "log."

 

If you read the online log entries of prior finders, you can often get a pretty good idea about what kind of experience you'll have. Great caches tend to generate long logs, describing the wonderful view, the steepness of the climb, the wildlife encountered, the clever hiding technique and so forth. Lame caches tend to generate short logs like "TNLNSL, TFTC." Comments of my fellow geocachers mean more to me than any numbers. For instance, I enjoy finding urban micros AND long hikes in the back woods. If I am in the mood for an urban micro, I'll look for log entries by the other geocachers in my area who like hiding and finding micros... not the ones who don't enjoy micros. For a cache requiring a 3 mile hike, I will give greater weight to an experienced back woods geocacher's rave review than I will give to the log entry of a newbie who complained that the cache was too difficult.

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We have been considering a nomination feature where geocachers can pick, say, their top 10 favorite overall geocaches.

 

I do think some kind of notable rating would be nice for folks who don't have much time and want to hit a neat cache in a location they are visiting. Many of my favorite caches were ones recommended by other users through logs or at the picnics.

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The cache: Standard ammo box hidden in a ditch just off a soccer field. (I think we've all seen this one before).

 

Any time before this week, I might have wondered why this cache was even here.

 

This week: 2+ feet of snow on the ground and I've managed to get an extended lunch to "go for a walk". (I needed it. I was fried.)

 

This cache will be one I'll never forget. It was the perfect cache for me at a time when the kind of challenge I normally enjoy would be impossible for me to find.

 

Every cache has it's day.

Edited by bons
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We have been considering a nomination feature where geocachers can pick, say, their top 10 favorite overall geocaches.

 

Now thats a good idea. but what happens when you have picked your 10 then find a better one ?? would you have to drop one of the others?

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What about an opportunity to give it a "gold star" without it being a subjective ranking? That way, if anyone wanted to say "this one's extra special" then all they'd have to do is to give it an extra click...that would be a kind of reward to people who put a lot of effort into their caches (or who have made someone's day for being available at a critical moment...like Bons mentioned).

 

I don't know that a "negative" rating would help the sport that much, though...only cause resentment. The logs would convey enough info by what they say (or don't) IMO.

Edited by calvinrtvp
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I'm not in favor of this idea for the reasons already discussed.

 

First, its way too subjective. In the Nashville area, many people enjoy easy micros. Since these are enjoyed, they will get a higher rating than a more traditional 1/4-mile walk in the woods cache. Someone who is passing through the area would not necessary know about this data skew.

 

Also, the rankings will often be that of the cacher, not the cache. Cachers will rate the caches of their friends high. Also, cachers who are known to take retribution for any and all perceived slights will tend to get higher ratings.

 

I agree that the best way to identify a good cache is to read the cache page and logs. I don't see how this proposed feature is needed.

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We have been considering a nomination feature where geocachers can pick, say, their top 10 favorite overall geocaches.

If you're going to go with this instead of a straightforward review system I'd hope you'd have a sliding scale of how many you can rate as favorites. Perhaps allow 1% of caches found or something.

 

By allowing 10 to everyone you let the newer cachers have greater say in what is an above average cache. Which is probably the opposite of what I'd want. I'd rather know what caches Moun10Bike or CCCooperAgency think are above par than Joe Schmo only found 10 caches thinks.

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I organized the Best of Los Angeles 2003 geocaches. I took nominations from cachers and then votes for the best in a variety of categories. It wasn't a perfect objective contest, but I got tons of great feedback from folks who expressed great appreciation for it. Even some naysayers who I didn't think would get into it ended up participating. As a result, we have a list of truly great caches to visit around L.A.

 

No system is perfect. Get over it. For those who don't like it. Don't use it. For those who do want some way of recognizing great caches, keep asking for it. Jeremy, this would be a great addition to GC.com!

 

In the meantime, check out my profile page for some of our personal all-time favorites. I encourage others to do the same, although it would be a lot easier if we had tools to promote our favorite caches instead of having to code things manually.

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I generally agree with Lep on finding the quality caches in our area. The long logs tend to tell me more about the quality than anything else. I'll spend a fair amount of time writing up my own logs (sometimes fictionalized) so that people that come after me can get a good idea whether it was worthwhile or not.

 

I'm kind of torn on the rating idea. It could be useful, but it is subjective by nature. I'm not averse to having a bit of a surprise in my caching adventures. I've certainly passed on some caches that didn't suit my taste.

 

However, when I was a newbie (sorta still am) I did find lists kind of helpful. In our area AltDotAir has a list on his profile that I used for quite some time. The only problem was he didn't include any of his own caches, which are very worthwhile hitting. :unsure:

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There is a whole school of thought, of which I'm a member, that says we already have a nice mechanism to rate the quality of caches. It's called the "log."..............I will give greater weight to an experienced.........geocacher's rave review than I will give to the log entry of a newbie who complained that the cache was too difficult.

That just about says it all right there. Thanks for the reminder as that is exactly how I rate the caches now and this system is working quite well. Log entries by experienced GCers carry much more weigh as they've been too a wide variety of hides. I'd like to add that by looking at the "originally contained" list one can also get a good idea of how much TLC went into the cache.

 

Yeah, the log entries are still the best and most dynamic way (for the experienced) for most of us to rate a cache.

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A simple cache rating system could work like this: with every 'found' cache log, the finder gets to rate the cache using a number between 1 and 5. The overall rating for the cache is averaged using the numbers provided by the finders. I don't believe that it needs to be more complicated than that.

 

Just like movie ratings (a la NetFlix) provided by the viewers, such a system does not discriminate between so-called "experienced" cachers and the not-so "experienced" ones. Anyone finding the cache has the same voting power. For those who want to dig deeper into it, the logs would suffice.

 

Regards,

Fabien.

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We have been considering a nomination feature where geocachers can pick, say, their top 10 favorite overall geocaches.

 

I do think some kind of notable rating would be nice for folks who don't have much time and want to hit a neat cache in a location they are visiting. Many of my favorite caches were ones recommended by other users through logs or at the picnics.

Jeremy reading the previous logs is the simple best solution. Any sort of rating system turns into a popularity contest. It's human nature to give the highest ratings to cachers we like and perhaps even low ones to cachers we don't.

 

I placed a simple not real difficult cache in a pretty spot. On a scale of 0-10 I would have rated it a 7. I had cachers rating it a 10 and others rating it a 1.

 

I'd let cachers just read previous logs.

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Clearly, if logs were enough, cachers wouldn't keep bringing up the request for ratings. Yes, we know that logs are there are are useful. For some cachers, logs are sufficient. But for others, they are not. You may not be able to relate to the need, but that's OK. Once we have ratings, everyone will have the option whether or not to use them.

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Sounds good to me. We have a guy in Minnesota who calls himself the "Cleaner" and he is going around and stealing the caches that he deems as trash. A rating system would maybe help eliminate some of the bad ones if they get a bunch of bad marks.

 

murph

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Clearly, if logs were enough, cachers wouldn't keep bringing up the request for ratings. Yes, we know that logs are there are are useful. For some cachers, logs are sufficient. But for others, they are not.  You may not be able to relate to the need, but that's OK. Once we have ratings, everyone will have the option whether or not to use them.

I may be confusing myself, but if the local cachers in your area aren't leaving logs that indicate much and they don't gather together and discuss cool caches either online or in person, I don't think that a log rating system is going to change that behavior.

 

I'm sorry, but while this is a popular proposed solution, it looks to me like a worldwide technological solution to a local non-technical problem. (ie. local cachers not communicating with each other).

 

If TPTB want to implement it, that's cool with me, but I don't think it will solve the problem you want it to solve.

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Jeremy reading the previous logs is the simple best solution.

Unfortunately, there are too often spoilers and hints in the logs. There's even a warning above the logs. I usually don't read logs until after I've done the cache or if I'm having a hard time finding it.

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Maybe there can be a voluntary check box on the page where you can rate the cache 1 through 4 (1 = do not recommend, 2=recommend with reservations, 3=Recommend, 4=Highly recommend). The page would have an average of the ratings in stars (kind of like the movies). It won't kick in until at least 3 people have found it. Until there are 3 finds, the page could say "Not yet rated" or something like that.

Edited by briansnat
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