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Thread: So what has happened over there?

  1. #1

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    Default So what has happened over there?

    Have just had the delightful experience of going to the GSP site and finding that my front page has changed and am surprised that there are no postings here. This has prompted me to post this.

    I have watched TPTB at GSP dig them selves into a great big hole over the last few months and tried not to comment, hoping that it would sort its self out.

    We lost two very patient, well balanced reviewers/mods for reasons not explained. We may well lose another, perhaps, as he has taken a step back from modding.

    We now have a "state" system for counties that wasn't, as I rember what most wanted - Rutsons was favourite (not ours, but we would go with the flow). I lost interest when the then reviewers/mods explained the situation and said that GSP wanted a quick solution.

    I checked the forums this evening and found the thread "All change again" Read it and wondered why there was a comment about font change, only to find that the front page colour had changed, but not much else, and our, now added, avitar was distorted.

    My questions are (though I guess I should be asking this elsewhere):

    Why mess about with things if there is no significant improvement?

    Why create the upset, that has resulted in the personnel change here in GB?

    Why introduce a "state" system that has little benefit (using the 80/20 rule) to anyone that doesn't live near an estuary?

    This is posted with sadness, when L & I started in this game it was for fun, a bit of exercise and because we wanted to. We have seen things that we may not have approved of but ignored them, but now feel that things are going too far.

    Moan over, but I do feel better!

    H

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by L8HNB View Post

    We lost two very patient, well balanced reviewers/mods for reasons not explained.

    I feel we both tried to explain our reasons at the time - as far as we were allowed to anyway - it is interesting to note that some of the issues that I,personally, found unacceptable - such as the blocking of consesual adoptions - are now being talked about.

    Then again, my memory is not what it used to be and perhaps I have that bit confused with another

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by L8HNB View Post
    This is posted with sadness, when L & I started in this game it was for fun, a bit of exercise and because we wanted to. We have seen things that we may not have approved of but ignored them, but now feel that things are going too far.

    Moan over, but I do feel better!

    H
    Even through the changes the game is still the same
    we may not like whats going on but caches are still being published and we can still go and find them :socool:
    so vent you frustations by all means but don't let current events spoil you enjoyment of this great pastime

    Just my 2p

  4. #4
    walkergeoff Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger-Eyes View Post
    Even through the changes the game is still the same
    we may not like whats going on but caches are still being published and we can still go and find them :socool:
    so vent you frustations by all means but don't let current events spoil you enjoyment of this great pastime

    Just my 2p
    Couldn't agree more! I still treat the game as I did when I started. I do miss virtuals, but there are plenty of good caches to find, and plenty of exercise to be had.

  5. #5
    sTeamTraen Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by L8HNB View Post
    I have watched TPTB at GSP dig them selves into a great big hole over the last few months and tried not to comment, hoping that it would sort its self out.
    From the point of view of a UK cacher I can see how it might look like that. My take is that a number of different things have happened, all of which have their impact, and all of which affect everybody differently.

    The loss of the reviewers/moderators can be described as "unfortunate" at best. Most people in the GC.com UK forum saw a couple of forum moderating issues where it was clear that Groundspeak's approach was, well, let's leave it at "clumsy". What people didn't see was that at the same time, as Dave has hinted at in his reply, a number of reviewing changes were being proposed or implemented, "behind the scenes" as far as cachers were concerned, which many reviewers didn't agree with. I think that perhaps there was a cumulative effect, but in any case, it wasn't just a UK thing.

    The introduction of some way of subdividing the UK was widely requested. Counties might have been nice but I think it was generally agreed - including by the UK reviewing team at the time - that a list of something like 130+ counties was going to be impractical. So the "regions" (it would be nice if the text "States/Provinces" could be expanded) were a compromise devised in the UK by the UK community. About the only thing you can maybe reproach Groundspeak for on this is that now, when editing a cache page, you have to add the region, which I don't think is a huge burden, especially since if you set your region in your profile, it will be copied to all new cache listings which you create.

    More generally on the code rollout: Groundspeak, like any other software company, releases new code all the time. It's unmanageable to fix bugs every day, so they bundle things together. The main focus of last night's changes was to make it easier for people to pay for things (Premium Memberships or "gear", as I wish they wouln't call it), because it turns out that a lot of people won't use Paypal. { Pause for anyone who wants to have a dig at the evil capitalists who want to make it easier for Jeremy to replace his Vespa (!) with a Ferrari. }

    Another goal is to make the site feel a little more "accessible" for new arrivals. Think about the friends who you tell about geocaching. Maybe they'll try it, maybe they won't. The first visual impression which the site makes, will be a key part of that decision. (It's less important for it to continue to appeal visually to existing members; many regular cachers never see the first page of the site, and if you have a GPSr with field notes you won't always even see the cache page, even for caches which you've found.)

    Groundspeak has a de facto monopoly of the geocache listing business, but they are an extremely small player in both the "outdoor leisure" and "Web traffic" markets. Someone like Facebook will have dozens of programmers, ergonomy consultants, marketing people, etc etc, just working on the "look and feel" of the site. They are in a different league in terms of resources, but from the point of view of someone surfing, their site takes up just as much space on the screen.

    Running a business means treading a fine line between what your existing customers want and what your future customers want. Some existing customers want no change at all, others want lots of new stuff, but at least you can ask them. Trying to keep both of those groups completely happy is hard enough; doing it while also making the site easier to use for newbies is probably impossible. To complicate matters further, your unhappy customers either tell you or walk away, your happy customers tend not to say anything, and your non-customers... er...

    Nick

    PS: I also think that distorting the avatars is a terrible idea (if the site really needs them to be square, it could put some white space to fill out the shorter side). I wouldn't be surprised if this gets changed, given the feedback which it has generated.

    PPS: Dave: again, all this is my personal opinion. Please let me buy you a pint at Harrogate and I'll tell you more.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by sTeamTraen View Post
    From the point of view of a UK cacher I can see how it might look like that. My take is that a number of different things have happened, all of which have their impact, and all of which affect everybody differently.

    The loss of the reviewers/moderators can be described as "unfortunate" at best. Most people in the GC.com UK forum saw a couple of forum moderating issues where it was clear that Groundspeak's approach was, well, let's leave it at "clumsy". What people didn't see was that at the same time, as Dave has hinted at in his reply, a number of reviewing changes were being proposed or implemented, "behind the scenes" as far as cachers were concerned, which many reviewers didn't agree with. I think that perhaps there was a cumulative effect, but in any case, it wasn't just a UK thing.
    So did other countries forums also lose some of thier reviewers? Since all this kicked off i have not and will not go back to the GS forums (out of principle) although i do find it quiet in here

    The introduction of some way of subdividing the UK was widely requested. Counties might have been nice but I think it was generally agreed - including by the UK reviewing team at the time - that a list of something like 130+ counties was going to be impractical. So the "regions" (it would be nice if the text "States/Provinces" could be expanded) were a compromise devised in the UK by the UK community. About the only thing you can maybe reproach Groundspeak for on this is that now, when editing a cache page, you have to add the region, which I don't think is a huge burden, especially since if you set your region in your profile, it will be copied to all new cache listings which you create.
    I still cant get my head around Somerset being in the South and not South west, it is an improvement, but until it is perfected which i don't think it ever will be......i won't be using it! So near and yet so far

    More generally on the code rollout: Groundspeak, like any other software company, releases new code all the time. It's unmanageable to fix bugs every day, so they bundle things together. The main focus of last night's changes was to make it easier for people to pay for things (Premium Memberships or "gear", as I wish they wouln't call it), because it turns out that a lot of people won't use Paypal. { Pause for anyone who wants to have a dig at the evil capitalists who want to make it easier for Jeremy to replace his Vespa (!) with a Ferrari. }

    Another goal is to make the site feel a little more "accessible" for new arrivals. Think about the friends who you tell about geocaching. Maybe they'll try it, maybe they won't. The first visual impression which the site makes, will be a key part of that decision. (It's less important for it to continue to appeal visually to existing members; many regular cachers never see the first page of the site, and if you have a GPSr with field notes you won't always even see the cache page, even for caches which you've found.)
    Since all the "Problems" started in April, i have made a point of not promoting the hobby, why should i give Groundspeak more customers when he treats the ones he has the way he does
    Groundspeak has a de facto monopoly of the geocache listing business, but they are an extremely small player in both the "outdoor leisure" and "Web traffic" markets. Someone like Facebook will have dozens of programmers, ergonomy consultants, marketing people, etc etc, just working on the "look and feel" of the site. They are in a different league in terms of resources, but from the point of view of someone surfing, their site takes up just as much space on the screen.
    I so wish the likes of Terracaching and Navicache would join together and give groundspeak some competition, perhaps then we would not be taken for granted, and would be a more valued asset?

    Running a business means treading a fine line between what your existing customers want and what your future customers want. Some existing customers want no change at all, others want lots of new stuff, but at least you can ask them. Trying to keep both of those groups completely happy is hard enough; doing it while also making the site easier to use for newbies is probably impossible. To complicate matters further, your unhappy customers either tell you or walk away, your happy customers tend not to say anything, and your non-customers... er...
    Personally i think it's about working WITH your customers, not trampling all over them


    Nick

    PS: I also think that distorting the avatars is a terrible idea (if the site really needs them to be square, it could put some white space to fill out the shorter side). I wouldn't be surprised if this gets changed, given the feedback which it has generated.

    PPS: Dave: again, all this is my personal opinion. Please let me buy you a pint at Harrogate and I'll tell you more.
    Good post Nick

    Terry

  7. #7

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    Thanks Nick for a good "semi official" summary of the recent changes. I happen to like the cosmetic changes and I think the UK "states" will help long term. Of course nobody has to use them in searches if they don't want to. Change can be difficult to accept at times, especially as you get older (like me !!) but I hope and believe that the site has been improved by the latest updates.

    As for mine and Dave's leaving back in April, it may not have been a UK thing but there was a lot of flak flying behind the scenes that was most definitely aimed in the UK's direction. To describe it as "unfortunate at best" is a classic understatement. It was a sustained hounding by a certain few people close to, but not necessarily employed by, Groundspeak. The intention appeared at the time to be to force an approach on the long standing UK review team which we felt was not in the best interest of the UK caching community. This involved the way we moderated the UK forum and the way we applied the guidelines to UK caches. Having had time to consider, my views have not changed. This group have certainly achieved their aims but it remains to see how the situation develops longer term. Do I regret leaving? Absolutely, almost every day I wish I were still "in place" however as time goes by I know I did the right thing by making the decision I did, I could not in all conscience work in the way I was being forced to do.

    We now have a new UK forum moderator and by all accounts one or more new reviewers will be along in due course. I wish them all well but I can't see them being allowed to work in the way that Dave and I did over the past 5 years. Maybe I'm wrong, we'll see.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Hornet View Post
    Do I regret leaving? Absolutely, almost every day I wish I were still "in place" however as time goes by I know I did the right thing by making the decision I did, I could not in all conscience work in the way I was being forced to do.
    I know that I miss a lot of things and people in the old forum, but I too am too highly principled to back down. Yes it probably is a case of "cutting off my nose to spite my face" but thats how I live.


    I hope that it gets easier as time goes by Pete, and well done with your conscience

    Terry

  9. #9
    sTeamTraen Guest

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    If the various sites were UK political parties and Groundspeak were Labour or Conservative, then Terracaching would be the Socialist Workers Party and Navicaching would be UKIP.

    That's not to say that they are left- or right-wing, but the reasons they were set up as competition to Groundspeak are almost diametrically opposed. From what I've read it's slightly more likely that one of them would merge with Groundspeak (not very likely) than that they would join forces with each other.

    Completing the triangle of alternative possibilities (think of a Mercedes-Benz logo with Groundspeak at the centre) is Opencaching, which has quite a following in Germany and Poland. However, they're as much about the software ideology as anything else - it's a collaborative, open-source platform for building a geocaching site, and it helps to be a Linux fan. (A lot of the people in the project probably wouldn't be if Groundspeak ran its site on open-source software.) They would have a big problem in countries like the UK, because part of the ideology is to have no reviewers. Germany doesn't seem to have issues with land managers, but in the UK such an approach would have geocaching closed down nationwide pretty quickly.
    Last edited by sTeamTraen; 24th July 2008 at 10:20 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by L8HNB View Post
    Have just had the delightful experience of going to
    My questions are (though I guess I should be asking this elsewhere):

    Why mess about with things if there is no significant improvement?
    There have been improvements (maps, for instance) but this was only another raft of minor changes. People ask for changes, and Groundspeak seem willing to try and implement them.
    Some bugs were introduced at the same time, so they're obviously not perfect: but "TPTB" is only a small room with a handful of developers. Perhaps they should do better, but it's hardly a cause for "sadness".
    Quote Originally Posted by L8HNB View Post
    Why create the upset, that has resulted in the personnel change here in GB?
    The Hornet has addressed that question, and clearly knows a lot more than I do.
    Quote Originally Posted by L8HNB View Post
    Why introduce a "state" system that has little benefit (using the 80/20 rule) to anyone that doesn't live near an estuary?
    As mentioned, Groundspeak only introduced that after a lengthy consultation with the UK Forum and reviewers. What more would you expect?
    Quote Originally Posted by L8HNB View Post
    This is posted with sadness, when L & I started in this game it was for fun, a bit of exercise and because we wanted to. We have seen things that we may not have approved of but ignored them, but now feel that things are going too far.

    Moan over, but I do feel better!

    H
    Glad you feel better: but perhaps you can review your moan and see that only some of it was worth bothering about anyway.

  11. #11
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    Feel free to moan as much as you feel like.

    It's good to talk..... :cheers:

  12. #12

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    Thanks for all you replys over the past few days – I have left it a while to see how things developed and would like to respond accordingly:

    My original post was based on three points, probably not put very well because I was annoyed by what I saw and what, as this shows, had obviously been bugging me for a while.

    Changes to the front and subsequent pages. I still feel that the front page is poor, it does not inspire or convey any particular message, whatever it is, particularly well in IMO. A positive development might have been if the front page was tailored more to the local community it was serving, for example if Europe had a page that reflected news and events that were happening there, I guess that wouldn’t be too expensive in this day and age, perhaps it could be introduced in stages on a user basis. While the old page wasn’t great it did have a colour theme with the rest of the pages, by and large, which was pleasing. We now have a front page that is a miserable shade of green leading to cache pages that have various shades of blue & purple/violet when the links have been accessed, and some of the pages as they always were. This new colour scheme is repeated on the My Account page, which in my opinion, adds absolutly nothing, the TB/coin list had moved to the bottom and now its moved back again! (had to change this as I wrote the first part of this yesterday!) These are just a few things, I’m sure anyone who reads this will be familiar with others comments on the changes. Minor but niggly things and not an improvement, silly little things often cause more annoyance that a major cock-up I my experience.

    As for the maps there doesn’t seem to be any change, the two Google maps are fine on the page, even if they do waste space and ink if you aren’t paperless. The option to see how to get to a cache is something of nothing, if the cache is local I know how to get there, or close enough, if not I will use a map (or TomTom if I remember it!). We rarely do one cache when out, usually daisy-chaining one cache to another, again making this function pointless. Similarly, the map is of no help when we go for a single cache as we are fitting it in while going to or from somewhere, and from what I’ve seen it only directs to the cache not parking waypoints, if there are any. Pretty, but a pure gimmick in our opinion.

    There seems to be a problem printing pages off in .pdf, which has been there since we started caching, and there was a problem when printing a “as seen” cache page that I highlighted some 18 months ago, when we were printing paper, but this fell on deaf ears. The only advice we got was to cut and paste, but really in this day and age that shouldn’t be necessary. That is why we are pretty much paperless now, but still feel that some effort should be put into an abridged print page for beginners and those who chose not to go paperless.

    While not strictly to do with these recent changes I get notification of caches via email that gives a distance from home and then when checking the web page that distance is different. I have emailed Groundspeak, and have had an acknowledgement of the problem, but it still occasionally happens.

    It seems the changes mainly advantaged Groundspeak, bet they got the payment part of the improvements bug free.

    Reviewer changes. Our ex-reviewers have explained why they did what they did “as far as (they) we were allowed to anyway”, entirely to my satisfaction. My posted words were “Why create the upset” – or, if you like, why allow a small but vociferous group to cause such upset and if there are changes mooted to agree them with the guys on the ground. Perhaps that is what happened but as I remember it didn’t come out like that. For whatever reason the impression created left us, and others not active on the forum, somewhat un-impressed with the way things were handled.

    The State system. When this kicked off on the Forum it was under the heading of “List of UK Counties - has anyone got a complete and accurate list”. This thread was started a while after we were trying to decide on what list we would use for our counties records. After discussions with locals and having checked the Big Quest and other forum threads we went for the traditional counties list as these couldn’t change and, we felt, meant something to us. However, with the possibility of a national standard being set we followed the thread with interest until mid February when it was becoming clear that the list was nothing at all to do with counties, more to do with a deadline for V2 software rollout. Deci’s posting on the 14th Feb gave two lists, both with identifiable counties, and we would have been ok with either of them. A couple of days later that option had gone, I’m sure for all the right reasons, and what turned out to be the current state system started to develop. The difinitive map is still not issued, as far as I know, which is of interest to us as we live on the border of two states and want to ensure any new caches we place are in the right one.

    So, the original counties list discussions had been changed into an administrative exercise, and I apologise if I’m missing something here, but other than another layer of bureaucracy and that cachers near estuaries have an easier time, it doesn’t add up to much – or that’s how it seems to me. Deci please feel free to correct me!

    Hopefully that has put my original views into some sort of context. We are not politically close, unlike some perhaps, to what goes on at Groundspeak. My comments were made as a cacher of two and a half years, I have followed the forum, mainly as a lurker and tried not to get involved in some of the more excitable, but IMO, pointless discussions. The above are my observations, Lin broadly agrees but is more interested in getting a life (she works in local government so has enough of politics there).

    Lin and I will continue our hunt for caches all over the UK regardless and will take a step back from the forums, we will just accept changes and get on with it like good cachers should. LOL. I look forward with great expectations to the Mega experience and to having a natter with all those that we meet there, whether we agree on topics or not!

    Henry
    Last edited by L8HNB; 27th July 2008 at 10:13 AM.

  13. #13

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    http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/ind...=199518&st=400

    This is the longest thread ive ever seen after an upgrade.

    I think beta tests are great and ive participated in them voluntarily in the past but beta testing on all your customers ............:socool:

    Can some programing expert tell me in all honesty that they could of spotted none of the problems in this list before they implemented the changes for all users ?

    NB i like the new regions but without back dating or telling all UK users via a simple email to update thier caches it wont be much use in PQ's.

    When we update databases at work with extra fields the entire lot get updated, we hire people to key it all in a super PQ based on co ordinates would get them a list and then you say key these into region one etc etc.
    "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning."

  14. #14
    keehotee Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by markandlynn View Post

    When we update databases at work with extra fields the entire lot get updated, we hire people to key it all in a super PQ based on co ordinates would get them a list and then you say key these into region one etc etc.
    Groundspeak pay somebody to do the work??? But that goes against their very ethos...... why pay somebody to enhance your operation and make it more bankable when you can ask the end users to do it for you for free???hmy::wacko:

    And what's more, we complain about it ...... but we still do it for them (him)!!!

  15. #15

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    They've made the paying easier.
    It works fine.

    Why bother sorting out problems on the rest of the site, once they've got your money?! h34r:
    I have a Geocaching problem...
    Work gets in the way!

    * Cache Walker -Caching by byway, not highway! CacheWalker.co.uk
    Walking and Caching in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire areas

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