Author Topic: Earthcaches, and not the rest?  (Read 215 times)

Offline Griff Grof

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Earthcaches, and not the rest?
« on: July 06, 2012, 10:59:27 pm »
It's about a year since they realeased Geocaching Challenges, and I think we can all agree they never really took off. I personally don't like them very much, it doesn't fit with my view of the game.

All this made me think - We know what happened to Virtuals, Webcams and Locationless caches - they made their way over to Waymarking.com from Geocaching.com... We all demanded Virtuals to come back, and they gave us challenges - but what about Earthcaches?

If they can keep Earthcaches on Geocaching.com, then why can't they have the rest  of them (Virtuals, Webcams and Locationless), Earthcaches are virtual too  - or is it just a matter of time before Earthcaches move over to Waymarking too?

I can't see why they can't have them all on Geocaching.com, but why Earthcaches and not the rest?

PS - funny how Groundspeak shut the Feedback site down when the Virtual type wasn't re-introduced, and challenges were brought in  :D
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Offline walktall

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Re: Earthcaches, and not the rest?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 11:02:58 am »
Well like a lot of cachers, I took the mickey out of Challenges when they first came out. Even now, they don't fit in with any of the other cache types, even the old ones:
  • You publish a Challenge and then have now control over it, you loose ownership  :o
  • You can't delete logs of people who obviously haven't completed the Challenge  ::) :o
  • You can't PQ for Challenges  ???
  • They have vague dates i.e. don't show the actual date it was created or the date when you completed it  >:(
  • You can't download them  ??? :(
I see that there is potentially going to be two new Challenge cache types: Discover Challenge & QR Challenge (coming soon)  :o :o :o

Otherwise, they are brilliant  :P

Better keep quiet about Earth caches, or they may well move them off Geocaching  :'(
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Offline Griff Grof

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Re: Earthcaches, and not the rest?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 12:26:16 pm »
QR challenge - basically a Munzee  :o (visit link)

Why are they brilliant?  :P I'm sure we'd all prefer to find a virtual - but actually, now that they're Grandfathered, they seem to feel more special when you find them.

Why were all Locationless caches archived? Shouldn't they have been Grandfathered... I believe they are the only cache type to have been wiped out completely - and when people kept on logging them, reviewers locked every single lising  >:(
 
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Offline walktall

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Re: Earthcaches, and not the rest?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 01:28:38 pm »
QR challenge - basically a Munzee  :o (visit link)

Yes, so limited to a few people who have the technology.


Why are they brilliant?  :P

Didn't you notice the tongue? That was sarcasm - failing badly  ::)


Why were all Locationless caches archived?

Because they didn't like them anymore  ???
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Offline Griff Grof

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Re: Earthcaches, and not the rest?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2012, 01:51:34 pm »
I agree.

I didn't notice the sarcasm, now I do  :D.

I wonder why they didn't like them  :-\

This is like Q&A  :D
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Offline Griff Grof

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Re: Earthcaches, and not the rest?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2012, 08:33:21 pm »
We need a reviewer on this forum, one similar thread I started on another forum, and we have Deci posting essays, so I thought I would quote them over here  :D If you can be bothered to read it, it's long!!

Quote
Ok here's some background 

Virtual/Webcam/Locationless caches, were created at a time when there was very few physical caches, to give members something to go and find. Remembering that Geocaching is about hiding and finding a Physical Container and signing the log book when you've found it.

Ok Locationless caches were deemed not to meet the ideals of Geocaching at all. Plus there was a secondary reasoning, in that the Yellow Jeep Locationless cache was killing the Site, at a time when it used to crash multiple times a day, due the the fact it could not handle the traffic*.

Now for those not familiar with Locationless Caches, the Owner selected a Specific object or feature, for example Stone Bridges. and provided a description of that feature and the Coordinates as the location of the Listing. The Finder then had to find their own feature matching that, and go and take coordinates for it, a photograph and a description/history. Each find had to be at a unique location

One of the most Popular Locationless caches, was the Yellow Jeep (not the TB, but real Jeeps yellow in colour). when the Locationless caches were pulled (they were completely removed and not Archived), the Yellow Jeep Locationless cache, had more than 1,100 finds (at that time the busiest caches, were lucky to have 50-75 finds). Now this was at a time, when they system could not cope with the traffic to the site, and the cache page constantly crashed the site.

Webcam Caches, again they were deemed not to meet the ideas of Geocaching again, as there was no physical container holding a log book to find.

Virtual Caches, well it was not just rubbishy locations that killed them off. Two famous unpublished Virtual caches towards the end of them. Were I've left a Sneaker, at xyz in the Woods. To claim a find, email me with the Name of the Manufacturer, and the Color (notice I've used the US spelling as that was where the submission was located), now repeat for Golf Ball/Tennis ball. And yes al 3 examples are true! Despite again a decision that Virtual Caches did not meet the ideals of Geocaching, in that there was not a physical container. A attempt was made to save them   with the Introduction of the WOW! factor. So the Virtual submission had to have a WOW! factor to be published. But just like Power Trails, (the current Power Trails at 0.1 miles under the old Power Trail Guideline would not be publishable) no one could provide a definition of what one was (caches at 0.1 miles or even caches at 0.25 miles), no one could provide a definition of the WOW! factor. This created so much angst and arguments between those submitting Virtual caches, and those Reviewing them, that those Reviewers from that period who are still active Reviewers (this period was late 04 early 05) shudder at the mere mention of Virtuals.

Whilst the above was going on, Groundspeak were working on a replacement for Virtuals/Locationless/Webcam caches, one that was designed to be a Sister Site to GC. That site is Waymarking, which sadly due to other major projects on GC, plans for the site are on the back burner.

Wherigo started off as a joint project between Groundspeak and Garmin  . And Groundspeak did have a more stable Cartridge Creator and Pocket Pc software in testing. But this was not compatible with what Garmin decided to develop (Garmin were at the forefront of Smart Phones, with their Nuvi. But messed up the implementation of it, so sales were poor. So they completely dropped the whole model range. Only for the Smartphone market to take off like a rocket). Groundspeak had no warning, when all of a sudden Garmin Announced to the World, their new models, which featured Wherigo. Now remembering that the Garmin implementation was not compatible with what Groundspeak were developing. Groundspeak were suddenly in the position of creating Wherigo software, that was compatible with Garmins software, in a very short period of time. Sadly that software proved to be very flaky, and as there was no economic reason to develop the whole platform any further at that time. It was put on the back burner as well. Though Jeremy plans at some unknown point in the future, to get back to developing it, into the Platform it could be.

Now we come to Earthcaches, first off please understand. These are not a Groundspeak product, Geocaching.com is just the Host, and provides experienced Volunteers to Review them. Earthcaches are a Project belonging to The Geological Society of America-GSA. geoaware (not to be confused with geoaware UK2, who is a volunteer) and geoawareHQ are GSA employee's, not Groundspeak employee's or Volunteers. GSA are responsible for setting the Educational requirements of Earthcaches, and the educational logging requirements of them

At one point Groundspeak did move Earthcaches to Waymarking.com, but after the move, the logging of Earthcaches, dropped to virtually nothing. After discusions between Groundspeak and GSA, Groundspeak moved Earthcaches back to GC. And a huge revamp of them took place, which resulted in the tougher Educational requirements, with already published EC's being required to be brought up to the new standard, at the Time, I was acting as the Guardian of Billy Twigers** caches, and had to work with a local cacher, to bring Ewans EC's up to the required Standards. Because EC's are a GSA Project and not a Groundspeak one, they can not and should not be compared to Virtual caches.

Because of the clamour to bring back Virtual caches, and because of all the negativity about them, when the type was originally active. Groundspeak decided not to bring back Virtuals in there previous incarnation. And instead created Challenges.

*Ok a potted history of GC. Geocaching.com started off as a list on a usnet discussion group. And from that list which had to be manually updated. Jeremy Irish scratch built a hobby site. As the site got bigger, he enrolled 2 work colleagues in to helping him. At that time they worked for a Promotions company, who kindly let them Screen print 40 T shirts. The sales of these went on the initial development of Grounded Inc, which was to turn into Groundspeak the owners of GC. Originally GC was Hosted on a PC in Jerem'ys Basement, and al lthe coding was scratch created using hobby code. As the site developed, more hobby code and features were added, and the site received more traffic. Issues arose, because the PC the site was Hosted on, nor the scratch coding, could handle the amount of traffic being received. As Groundspeak developed over the years, more powerful Servers were purchased, and even Commercial Software was purchased, this had to then be heavily modified and cobbled to the scratch hobby code at the core of the site. Over time with the growth of the hobby, the site was receiving more unique traffic altering the Database in unique ways, than Major banks recieve in a day (Banks work with constant known variables, Geocaching.com, has a Database constantly being updated by user in unique ways) that it was constantly crashing. Want to log 15 finds from a weekend (when I became a Reviewer, 15 cache submissions for the whole of the UK for a Saturday or Sunday was a busy workload), could take until Wednesday or occasionally Thursday   . With more revenue coming in as the site grew, Groundspeak invested better Commercial Software to repalce the Scratch Hobby code, better servers. Which were eventually moved into a Server Farm. Since then they have continually upgraded the Database Servers, Photograph Server and Email Server. And the outages are now minor ones.


**for those who don't know him. Ewan from the Highlands of Scotland, and a highly respected cacher. Was setting a new cache with his 12 year old. He took a fall off a small cliff face, landing on his neck on a stone. Ewan was casevaced out by helicopter the location was so remote. As a result of his injury he was in a coma, and a Quadriplegic. He spent 3 years in and out of a coma in hospital, and sadly 3 weeks before he was due to come home. He passed away. During that time, due to the respect the community had for him. With the aid of the local community, I kept all his caches active, hoping that he would recover enough to take back on the management of them. At his Fathers request, after he passed away, I worked with Groundspeak arranging for all the caches to be adopted out.

The Original Feedback Site used by Groundspeak, was extremely buggy, and the Customer Service provided to them, was virtually non existent. A small group out for trouble caused the Feedback area to be closed down a number of times, and Groundspeak got poor resolution off the Sites owners, as Groundspeak had no Moderation powers, but were reliant on the Host. Issues escalated. And the departure of Groundspeak and the Host Company, was not on the Best of Terms. Groundspeak had gone to this company, as they were providing In House Feed Back Solutions of top 100 companies.

The next incarnation of Feedback, was brought to it's knees by a group within the community, who were out to cause as many issues for Groundspeak as possible. In that incarnation, Groundspeak were solely responsible for the Moderation of the site. And due to the fact that there was no tools, like used in forums, to allow the explaining of the movement of topics, or the merging of topics. This created further angst. So finally a decision was made to close down that Feedback area, and move back to a Forum based one.

There you go, I hope I've not provided the information in a junk way.

Oh and as to your comments about existing Virtuals being of a high standard, this is because those which were total rubbish, have not survived. And got Archived, so the remaining Virtual caches, are the best of the crop.

Deci
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Offline walktall

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Re: Earthcaches, and not the rest?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2012, 12:54:52 am »
Yes I did read it all, thank you Deci  ;D

Still not much comment on Challenges and how a lot of cachers here in the UK just don't do them. Why are they handled so differently to other cache types  ???
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