Thursday, 24 November 2011

To favorite or not to favorite

With my 300 caches found, I have 31 favorite points to give. So far I have awarded 24 caches with a favorite point. 7 points are still in my pocket, still waiting to be given away. Do I keep them in my pocket for the unlikely event that there will be 7 favoritable caches in my next 10 founds? No, I keep them because all other caches do not match 1 of the following criteria:

1. Well worked out theme;
2. Brilliant in its simplicity;
3. Nice waypoint and/or cache (and all other waypoints at least average).

If a cache fits within 1 of these 3 criteria, it gets one of my favorite points. Maybe most remarkable is that 'extremely beautiful nature' is not in my list. I think beautiful nature can only be a prerequisite for an avarage cache. To make it a favoritable cache everything must be devoted to the beauty of nature, thus the theme of the cache. Another option is to strip it down completely, a cache brilliant in its simplicity in extremely beautiful nature, is always worth a favorite point. Most of the time, less is more.  

What are your favorites criteria? Or do you just give all your favorites to the best caches you have found? Are they really worth it? Or are they just a little less worse than the others?

Hopefully I can award some exceptional geocaches a favorite point this weekend! Looking forward to it!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Bring back the feedback section!

Last release, Groundspeak discontinued the feedback section of the website and moved it back into the forums. On the feedback section they stated they did not have the resources to implement the massive amount of feedback. However, the real reason can be found here. They were unable to shut up some people in the feedback section, ‘restricting posting ability’ as they call it.

Also ‘It’s not about the numbers’ geocaching blog figured out that the feedback section was an ongoing PR nightmare and a reputation risk. But it is not the feedback section which is causing this nightmare, it is Groundspeaks PR policy itself.

Managing your reputation starts with a good PR policy. And restricting posting ability is definitely not part of a good PR policy. These days, managing your reputation is all about good interaction with your community. The feedback section was an excellent platform for community interaction. But how can you interact with your community if you restricted their posting ability? With the many other platforms (twitter, blogs, forums) available these days, restricting posting ability has a contradictory result and is suicide for your reputation. See also ‘It’s not about the numbers’ previous blogpost about the Geocaching Spoilers YouTube channel.

A good PR policy is all about respect for both positive and negative feedback, on your own and other communication channels. Groundspeaks PR policy is the ticking time bomb for their reputation, closing the feedback section doesn't dismantle it.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Cache page quality, also a reviewers task?

Last August, the Dutch reviewer Kruimeldief has waved goodbye. Since then the Belgium reviewers are helping out the other Dutch reviewer GeoGuy. What immediately was noticed, was that the quality of a cache page dropped significantly. With quality I mean things like attribute icons, useful hints and the overall information on the cache page.

Apparently, Kruimeldief was asking cache owners to take a second look at their cache page before publishing them. As opposite, the Belgium reviewers were only looking at the Groundspeak guidelines. Of course, this was immediately noticed by the community.

I think all reviewers should concern about cache page quality and, if needed, ask cache owners to improve their cache page before publishing the cache. Geocaching is so much more fun if you read a cache page with good information, the right attributes and a useful hint. is the only Geocaching website with a reviewing process, so if it is already there, why not use it to improve the quality of a submitted cache page?

At first the Belgium reviewers responded that it is only their job to review a cache against Groundspeak guidelines. Now they understand that cache page quality makes stand out from the other Geocaching websites and they are asking cache owners to take a second look!

What is your cache page like? Do you have the right attributes on the page? Is your hint 'Not needed'? Do you have more then 1 line of text on your page? It is time to change it now!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Trouble in the Dutch community

Two months ago the owner of the largest geocaching website of The Netherlands,, has sacked half of his volunteer staff because of a lack of confidence. Half of the other half of the staff has been loyal to the sacked volunteers and have left the team. How could this happen? A short overview. was founded in 2001. Since I started geocaching in 2004, the forum is the most important part of the site but the atmosphere was not very good at that time. Until last year a lot of discussion was going on about deletion of posts by moderators and banning user from the forum. In the years I have read the forum since 2004, I learned that moderators in stead of having a good discussion about geocaching and listen to the users, were deleting posts which would not fit in their opinion of geocaching. Because of this way of moderation, multiple geocachers in the Netherlands tried to start their own geocaching website, with as one of the most successful.

This made the Dutch geocaching community very diversified. In an act to stop this diversification, and to make the only center of the Dutch Geocaching community, some geocachers decided to join the team to help out. In 2010 the team was almost doubled and ready to strengthen the sites position in the centre of the Dutch geocaching community. Until, suddenly out of nowhere, the forums were taken offline.

The team had decided to do this to get more support from the owner of the site. After a good discussion, the team continued their work. Until two months ago, again the team felt a lack of support from the owner. They wrote a letter and instead of a good discussion, half of them got fired.

The news of the sacked team members spread very fast in the Dutch Geocaching community and as a result many users decided to leave the site. Some joined other existing forums such as globalcaching and the Dutch Groundspeak forums, some stopped posting on forums at all. Also a new forum was created,, but there is not a lot going on at this forum.

Posts on the forum have dropped, although it is still one of the most active forums in The Netherlands. Now, 2 months later, the main spirit is coming back again but most new topics are simple question and answers, mostly about functionality that already has stopped working and can’t be fixed because the knowledge was sacked or has left the team. The ‘Netherlands’ section on the forums as a lot more active now and the new place for people refusing to post on

What will the future of the geocaching community look like in The Netherlands? Will remain the main center of the community, will some other website step up or will the community fall apart into smaller local communities? Or will there only be single geocaching teams without any community to support the Geocaching activity? I just hope a strong leader will step up who is able to create a platform where all geocachers can get together after everything that happened in the past 10 years and share the fun that comes with geocaching.