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New Geocaching Challenges Feature...
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Sharknose Bunnies
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Jun 2009

Posts: 303

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:54 am    Post subject: New Geocaching Challenges Feature... Reply with quote

I've been interested to see how Groundspeak was going to implement the new "virtuals" that they've been talking about for nearly a year now, and today the announcement came: Geocaching Challenges. Here's the direct copy from their newsletter:

Introducing Geocaching Challenges

The mission of Groundspeak is to inspire outdoor play using location-based technology. ...

But there are some places that still don't allow physical geocaches. Among these locations are many parks and historical sites that are meant to be discovered and explored. The new Geocaching Challenges feature brings these locations into the world of geocaching.

Go somewhere, do something. That's the basic idea behind Geocaching Challenges. You might be challenged to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, sing a song in the middle of Times Square, or take a picture of yourself walking through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Premium Members can issue one Challenge per 24-hour period. Anyone can accept and complete a Challenge and weigh-in on whether it deserves a thumbs up or thumbs down.


Thoughts?

I'd start off by wondering why they chose the word "Challenges." Does this mean traditional challenge caches, which up to now have gone in the puzzle/unknown icon category, will now go in this category? If so, that kind of makes sense. If not, then I think choosing the word "challenge" for this new category is about as stupid as you can get. One term in a system shouldn't mean two different things. That's just silly.

Also, will these count as caches in stats, or are they like benchmarks?

Also, I wonder if "location where you can't have a traditional cache" is a requirement of a new challenge cache category?

I think the potential for new virtuals was to bring someone to a cool place where you couldn't really have a cache, and show them something interesting. My fear with bringing back virtuals was that they could involve too much of the silliness of waymarking, which was to bring people to places like a random Burger King and have them buy a hamburger. I'm not sure the new "Challenges" rules out that silliness, and I wonder how it will impact future traditional challenges of "finding 100 multicaches", for example.
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bflentje
Geocacher


Joined: 29 May 2006

Posts: 4019

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At first I wanted virtuals brought back and then did a 180. And I am now relieved that "traditional" virtuals will be left alone. I think the Geocaching Challenges sounds a bit like sanctioned ALR caches where quite possibly you don't get a smiley for completing. I'll have to take a closer look but on the surface, it does not sound like it's for me.
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JJnTJ
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Aug 2010

Posts: 218

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't sound like anything I'd care about at first blush, but if it doesn't use that awful waymarking site I'll at least take a look at it. Calling them "Challenges" is dumb, but it sounds like the frog's typical deafness. They don't seem to pay any attention to what people are actually doing with their site.

But maybe I'm just sore because this new virtuals-that-are-not-virtuals feature is taking developer time that could be better spent doing... oh, I don't know... things like finishing the beta maps so that you can actually use them with PQs? Evil or Very Mad

Has groundspeak always been this bad at finishing what they start?
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Sharknose Bunnies
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Jun 2009

Posts: 303

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More info, from a post somewhere by Jeremy:

To me, this is the most exciting project that we've worked on in years, but it will take some time to iterate through the idea and I know we'll get some things wrong, but the framework is solid. We'll be investing a substantial amount of effort with this project moving forward.

Some points:

* It will be on Geocaching.com, not a new web site. It will be a separate section in the beta, but I expect it to be integrated into a joined search at some point.
* Currently they will not go towards your find count, but it might at some point. It won't at the beginning though.
* It will be a visible statistic, so you will see them on the profile, on the logs, etc.
* We'll be hopefully launching with mobile applications to compliment the activity. I expect that the majority of participants will be using smartphones, but we will have components (Pocket Queries, GPX file downloads, etc) for traditional GPS devices.


JJnTJ wrote:
Has groundspeak always been this bad at finishing what they start?


You crazy or what? Just look at how well they have supported Wherigos! It's only been in beta for, um, three years. The last update was in 2008. And the Builder is in Alpha already. Quality takes time.
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Sharknose Bunnies
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Jun 2009

Posts: 303

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the double post, but this is an interesting discussion with Groundspeak officials about virtuals and the new challenges:
Podcacher

At about the 20-minute mark, they talk about whether challenges will be included in your find count. The answer, if I understand it correctly, is both yes and no. If I understood it correctly, on a profile page the totals are separate, but on the log page for a cache, it'll be combined. Hovering over a cache log total will reveal a breakdown of totals. Maybe someone else can listen to it and see if I've misunderstood it.

It sounds like the new challenges will have nothing to do with existing geocaching challenges except to pointlessly confuse the distinction.
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JJnTJ
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Joined: 23 Aug 2010

Posts: 218

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sharknose Bunnies wrote:
You crazy or what? Just look at how well they have supported Wherigos! It's only been in beta for, um, three years. The last update was in 2008. And the Builder is in Alpha already. Quality takes time.


Heh. They seem to have corporate ADHD. They come out with some good stuff when they're pushed, but the number of things they've just left to rot is amazing. Wherigo, Waymarks, benchmarking, buggy phone apps with months between releases...

But they sure got them Souvenirs complete! Rolling Eyes Shocked




cacher1: "Did you see that new Challenge that came out in Fridley?"
cacher2: "No, who hid it, KB?"
cacher1: "No, it's the new Challenge; there's no cache... uh... it's kinda like waymarking..."
cacher2: *falls asleep*
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RudeRat
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 09 Jul 2008

Posts: 788

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JJnTJ wrote:
But maybe I'm just sore because this new virtuals-that-are-not-virtuals feature is taking developer time that could be better spent doing... oh, I don't know... things like finishing the beta maps so that you can actually use them with PQs?

Yep, I miss being able to view maps on my Andriod. I used that a lot before they messed it up.

I find the challenge idea interesting, but can see plenty of ways it can fall flat on it's face. I bet the reviewers are asking what challenges can they publish. Can I challenge you to go to a national park and drive a stake into the ground? Can I challenge you to take your photo in the middle of a busy intersection? What about a challenge to go find a specific cache(2 smileys for the price of one)? Can I challenge you to go to a location and do nothing? Doing nothing is something. Example would be a location on I494. If you drive past the coords you get a smiley. Because there is no physical cache, I could stack 200 of those on the same spot or spread them .1 miles apart on 169. Id drive 20 miles for 200 smileys. If you need to do something rather than nothing, then honk your horn.

I see the potential for some really great challenges as well, but just like that stupid virtual where you have to sit and watch the light go round and round, there is plenty of room for stupid challenges. Id love to see the discussion going on in the reviewer forum right now.
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EPMinnesota
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 13 Apr 2006

Posts: 1941

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My initial take on it was that perhaps you could post a picture and cachers had to find out where it was taken by being there in person. Not sure how that would fit the ALR rule. I have some cool pictures I've taken of places I've cached like a specific historic fountain that could be identified but wouldn't be something you'd easily find online. Perhaps there would be some type of clues and you could prove you found it by marking the coordinates. That sounds more like fun to me than what it might turn out to be.
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Sharknose Bunnies
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Joined: 29 Jun 2009

Posts: 303

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like the update is complete. My number just went to 3950 found/completed, so challenges do show up in the overall finds number.

Like it or not, the game just changed.
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Sharknose Bunnies
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Jun 2009

Posts: 303

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I'll play: first photo challenge:
Bite the Cherry!

I can already see a problem with it. You can't edit the listing once a challenge has been accepted. My coords are "loose" on the above challenge, but now that SID has accepted it, I can't do anything to fix them. Crying or Very sad


Last edited by Sharknose Bunnies on Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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timewellspent
Geocacher


Joined: 19 Mar 2008

Posts: 700
Location: Chanhassen, MN

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sharknose Bunnies wrote:
Like it or not, the game just changed.


I'm going with NOT
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Red_Devil35
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 26 Apr 2006

Posts: 3090
Location: Practically South Dakota!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

timewellspent wrote:
Sharknose Bunnies wrote:
Like it or not, the game just changed.


I'm going with NOT


Caches you can 'find' without leaving your house?
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JJnTJ
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Aug 2010

Posts: 218

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sharknose Bunnies wrote:
Ok, I'll play: first photo challenge:
Bite the Cherry!


What do you see from your position as the challenge owner? Can you delete "completed" logs?
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Sharknose Bunnies
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Jun 2009

Posts: 303

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope can't delete logs. Can't edit after publishing. Can't change coords. Nothing. It's gone into the wild.

Pretty stupid that you can't change coords, at least. Or fix typos. Or like, clarify wording, etc.

Apparently you can't even delete your own log after you complete a challenge. SID put up a fake photo of someone else biting the cherry, and now he can't delete it.
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JJnTJ
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Aug 2010

Posts: 218

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you can't even "revoke" a challenge in case you accidentally goober up the description?

Shocked
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