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Thread: Quality caches. What are they?

  1. #1

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    Default Quality caches. What are they?

    People on this forum and the GC.com forum often bang on about "quality" caches (usually when proposing yet another rating system). Quite arrogantly (IMHO), they often assume that everyone will know what they mean about a "quality" cache.

    Well, I don't know exactly what they mean; it seems to depend on who is using the term at the time. I have no idea how a rating system could work when there's no clear definition of "quality" in this context.

    I invite GAGB forum contributions from anyone who thinks they know what a "quality" cache is, with a view to defining the term for future use (if that proves possible!). It's no use just saying what type of cache you prefer; I'm after a general definition.

    The only reasonable definition I've seen so far is that it's a cache that's well-maintained, with a clean and dry log book and good coordinates.

  2. #2

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    A bit of effort on the listing helps - its nice when someone puts some effort into 'selling' their cache.

    It could be an explanation as to why they've placed the cache where they have, a bit of information about a nearby historical tidbit, that sort of thing - you know, something that helps the cache stand out from the crowd when you're planning a day out.

    Call me an elitist is you will , but running things through spellchecker never hurts either...

    A good/quirky cache title is also a nice attention grabber.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by von-horst View Post
    A bit of effort on the listing helps - its nice when someone puts some effort into 'selling' their cache.

    It could be an explanation as to why they've placed the cache where they have, a bit of information about a nearby historical tidbit, that sort of thing - you know, something that helps the cache stand out from the crowd when you're planning a day out.

    Call me an elitist is you will , but running things through spellchecker never hurts either...

    A good/quirky cache title is also a nice attention grabber.
    I agree... :socool:

    - plus a pleasant walk or great view is always appreciated.
    - an unusual or clever hide.

    The size or cache type does not matter (too much) if other factors raise the cache from the mundane.
    Happy Caching

    Gazooks

    - Setting a good example for children takes all the fun out of middle age.

  4. #4

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    I appreciate the replies, and such things as a well-written cache description and good location certainly help make a cache more appealing, but I was really after a concise definition of "quality".

    But perhaps that's impossible, and what we need is a checklist of major selling points. Then, if you're rating a cache (for whatever purpose) you'd be able to give points based on a number of factors; eliminating any that are too much a matter of opinion.

    For example, you could rate a cache as between one and five stars after taking into account the following;

    Location (poor = 1* to amazing = 5*)
    Condition of the cache (Neglected to well-maintained)
    Cache description (Useless to entertaining/informative)
    Creativity (Mundane to brilliant)
    Collectibility (Pointless to must-do)

    Possibly the last one is most controversial, but in reality there are many caches that people want to "collect" (for various reasons) and cachers will put up with other "quality" factors being low in these cases (caches in a series, for instance, or caches with some notoriety, or historic/unusual caches).

    The idea would be to give an overall rating by adding up the stars awarded for each factor then dividing by the number of factors (so if a cache is average for each of the five detailed above, it's 15 divided by five so it's a three-star cache). This would improve consistency, and reduce the personal preference factor.

  5. #5
    keehotee Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    Location (poor = 1* to amazing = 5*)
    Condition of the cache (Neglected to well-maintained)
    Cache description (Useless to entertaining/informative)
    Creativity (Mundane to brilliant)
    Collectibility (Pointless to must-do)
    I think this is going to prove impossible.
    To take the (seemingly) easiest category..

    1. Location. If you're a wheelchair user, this is going to be 1 terrain, with a reasonable view. If you're a mountain leader type person, this is going to be a 4 terrain on the top of a mountain - with a reasonable view.

    2. Condition of the cache. The box might be spotless - with no swaps left. It needs maintenance to add swaps - but does this affect the condition?

    3. cache description - some of my favourites have utterly cryptic wording, with no description of the surroundings at all....

    4. Creativity. Hmmmm - tricky.

    5. Collectibility. As in series? Or individual caches?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by keehotee View Post
    I think this is going to prove impossible.
    To take the (seemingly) easiest category..

    1. Location. If you're a wheelchair user, this is going to be 1 terrain, with a reasonable view. If you're a mountain leader type person, this is going to be a 4 terrain on the top of a mountain - with a reasonable view.

    2. Condition of the cache. The box might be spotless - with no swaps left. It needs maintenance to add swaps - but does this affect the condition?

    3. cache description - some of my favourites have utterly cryptic wording, with no description of the surroundings at all....

    4. Creativity. Hmmmm - tricky.

    5. Collectibility. As in series? Or individual caches?
    Yes, maybe there would have to be some help text to explain further.

    1. Location: is it well-sited, in a spot that seems worth visiting? A wheelchair user might not like it if it's up a flight of steps, but then if it's given Terrain 2 then he/she won't be judging it on wheelchair accessibility, and could still give it full marks for being a great spot to visit (if he/she is finally able to log the cache). You might have a preference for mountain caches, but you should be capable of appreciating a well-thought-out urban hide in a historic city-centre location.
    2. Condition of the cache. If it's in good condition and well-maintained, then there will be appropriate swaps. If not; it might not be the cache owner's fault, but it will be marked down slightly. You might not actually want swaps but a big empty box doesn't look good.
    3. Cache description. Yes, the description might seem utterly meaningless at first, only to reveal its clever secret after careful study. But what I meant was that it might actually be totally useless (NOT in any deliberate way!), and/or sloppily put together.
    4. Creativity. Not that tricky; if you think that it's generally humdrum and run-of-the-mill then mark it low. If the cache made you feel like laughing and applauding (an unusual hide, or some surprises along the way, for instance) then give it more stars. It could also be defined as entertainment value.
    5. Collectibility. If you really feel the need to collect this individual cache for any reason, then give it more stars. Perhaps it's one of a series, or it's the oldest cache in the county, or it's the highest (most southern/western...) in the country, or it's the only Wherigo in the county, or it's notorious (etc.). It's a pity if it turns out to be otherwise a bit lame, but the fact is that it does have drawing power and this is an asset which adds "quality".

  7. #7

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    I think trying to define "quality" is an impossible pursuit. However I recognise a "quality" cache as one where I feel better AFTER looking for it than I did before.

    How a cache makes me feel better doesn't really matter as much as the fact that it just does.

    I guess some people feel better for having clocked up one more find, some people feel better for having solved a puzzle, some feel better for having discovered a good walk or view, some might feel better for having learned an interesting fact. We're all different but we all recognise what is important to US.

  8. #8

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    I can sympathise with that, but surely it's possible to analyse what makes certain "good" caches work for you?

    Of course, that doesn't matter most of the time, but when we're trying to discuss cache quality it would be nice to know whether everyone understands "quality" in the same way. Which is why I was trying to define it to some extent.

    I see many attempts at rating caches. But how can people judge objectively using only their personal feelgood factor? We need some guidelines, at least to encourage consistency and not least to discourage assumptions such as that a five minute cache is bound to be inferior to one that takes all day.

  9. #9

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    Cache name
    D2.5 T3

    Cache description:
    In a hole in a tree covered by wood and leaves. You should not wear shorts.
    Very average size, tupperware. Over the style, on the right by the big tree.
    Quality cache?
    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

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear and Ragged View Post
    Quality cache?
    Who can tell, from that little snippet. But the typo suggests that it's not going to be great!

  11. #11

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    Surely any simple rating system (such as GCVote) would 'level out' over time as differnet styles of cachers rate it. Those that do not like it rate it down and those that do like it rate it up.
    Eventually you would end up with a median rating for that cache - good or bad or average.
    Happy Caching

    Gazooks

    - Setting a good example for children takes all the fun out of middle age.

  12. #12

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    That depends on how many rate it good only because they liked the location, how many rated it good only because it was a nice clean and dry box and how many rated it bad because it didn't have many swaps (and so on). If there were two visits a month, the rating could be pretty random after a year or so. With some guidelines, the rating could be quite accurate based on the criteria given.

    I haven't looked at GCVote, but obviously it must have some sort of basic guidelines for rating?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    That depends on how many rate it good only because they liked the location, how many rated it good only because it was a nice clean and dry box and how many rated it bad because it didn't have many swaps (and so on). If there were two visits a month, the rating could be pretty random after a year or so. With some guidelines, the rating could be quite accurate based on the criteria given.

    I haven't looked at GCVote, but obviously it must have some sort of basic guidelines for rating?

    Thats the point with a simple scoring system it is open to interpretation because everyones views are different - but the overall effect of a high/low score is still the same. A complex scoring system might put people off scoring. On the other hand a complex system with various elements would be of use to the owner, who would then know where his cache is lacking.
    Of course any marking system is optional anyway.

    This is from the GCVOte site on rating explanation:
    <<<<<< >>>>>>>
    Meaning of the quality rating:

    ? - not rated yet
    1 - poor
    2 - below average
    3 - average
    4 - better than average
    5 - awesome


    There is no detailed guidance on how to rate a geocache, but please rate in a kind of common sense so that any fellow cacher can see where you felt a detour is really rewarding.
    <<<<<< >>>>>>

    I think that says it all .
    Happy Caching

    Gazooks

    - Setting a good example for children takes all the fun out of middle age.

  14. #14
    keehotee Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by gazooks View Post
    Meaning of the quality rating:

    ? - not rated yet
    1 - poor
    2 - below average
    3 - average
    4 - better than average
    5 - awesome


    There is no detailed guidance on how to rate a geocache, but please rate in a kind of common sense so that any fellow cacher can see where you felt a detour is really rewarding.
    <<<<<< >>>>>>
    We use this at home, and try to rate any caches we do (eventually).
    However - I try to be subjective. So although I hate micros in hedges, if a cache is honest about being a micro in a hedge, and the container and log are in good nick, and it's where it says it is, I'll rate it as average - much as it galls me.
    A camoed micro would get above average from me.
    The system will fail though when people rate caches according to what they like, as opposed to what the cache is like...

  15. #15

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    We use this as well and would rate an average box hidden in an nice location as a 3 but if the owner has gone to some lengths to camo up the box and make the hide more ineteresting it would get a 4, did some caches on Dartmoor recently and they all got 2's, why? because they were all micros hidden in old quarry areas and the like, so to me they were all below average and only got a 2 because of the walk.

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