Saturday, 20 August 2011

That was quick

Here is a little update. I just published a new challenge with the words mentioned below. It got archived within 2 minutes. I must say I am quite impressed by the speed of groundspeak's censorship. Since the spam-tactics obviously don't work, I choose to be a bit more constructive. Here are the things which don't work with challenges:
  • There are no rules and guidelines which state what is acceptable as a challenge and what is not. Archiving challenges is more an arbitrary act than anything else. At least there should be a reason why this challenge got archived. The big advantage of Groundspeak over every other listing-site is the reviewing process.
  • Links don't get parsed and you can't use BB code / html.
  • Uploaded pictures can't be deleted even before you publish it.
  • Fake logs can't be deleted.
  • There is no map or listing to search for them.
  • Once you completed a challenge and it got archived, you can't delete your log anymore.
  • The challenges count as a find but they are clearly not a geocache. They shouldn't count or make it a separate statistic
  • There is no identifier who did set-up the challenge
  • There is no email notification what happened with your challenge
  • There is no opt-out option for everyone who doesn't want to participate which removes everything challenge related for the this cacher
  • ...
I will continue to publish challenges but they will be really really dumb like "find a seashell / some sand on the beach".

Friday, 19 August 2011

Vote them down - Geocaching Challenges

"That's just wrong in so many ways." This sentence was the first thing which came to my mind when I had a look at the new Geocaching Challenges. The huge difference between any geocache and these is that they weren't supposed to be reviewed. So you could basically come up with any stupid task and make it a challenge. The idea was that by a voting and flagging system the boring and dumb challenges get filtered out.

Too bad the whole concept is a flaw. Geocaching itself is defined by Groundspeak as the following:
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
That clearly doesn't work well with the non-physical nature of challenges.If geocaching is too boring for you then you might want to try waymarking or other outdoor games and sports. But let's face it - there are two reasons why this whole debacle happened. First Groundspeak didn't want to create a second waymarking which gets barely used because it is not part of geocaching.com. The only option was to implement it into the old geocaching website. And second they wanted to release it before the Geocaching Block Party which is tomorrow (20.08.2011).

Instead of releasing an elaborate concept, they made it somehow work and unleashed a beta-version which has so many programming and conceptual errors that I don't even start to name them. Right after the release a lot of old-school cachers (a cache is a box at a nice location) went berserk and raided the feedback forum like a London mob. Within minutes the suggestion to remove challenges from the site gained over 1400 votes and a very short answer from Jeremy:
It is staying on Geocaching.com. If you don't like the new activity, don't participate.
That answer didn't went down so well with the crowds and I must admit that I am one of them. I don't see the point of defacing this hobby. Maybe Garmin will use their chance and make opencaching.com work within the next few days - now is the perfect opportunity to release something which works, listens to the community and is in the spirit of the game. But again: this is probably not going to happen. Do we have to accept this stupid change?

Of course not! Here are a three things everyone (with a premium account) can do. If Groundspeak doesn't want to listen to their customers like a little prima donna we have to make them feel:
  • Change your geocaching avatar to the following pictureWith the avatar showing up before every log that will deface the site pretty fast.

  • Vote down each and every challenge you can find - just click on the thumbs down button. The idea of this feature was to filter the good from the bad challenges. If every challenge is bad the whole thing will be reduced to absurdity.

  • Create a new challenge every single day with the following text. Try to use a harmless title for the challenge so it makes it more difficult to pick (like find 5 seashells at this beach).

    Your Challenge is to Create a Challenge... one a day, every day, until Groundspeak realise how utterly ridiculous this is. No doubt this Challenge will be censored and archived quickly, so you have to act fast. You may log this from anywhere in the World at any time as there is nothing I can do to check or stop that anyway... and there in lies the heart of the issue.

    Each Challenge should contain the following text...

    "Groundspeak. This idea had so much potential and possibility, but the execution has been beyond woeful. This is not Geocaching. This is not "Go somewhere, Do something". This is rubbish. Even the old locationless had accountability, and the old virtuals were much better as they had owners and checks in place and got you out to interesting places. You need to roll back this blight and go back to the drawing board... do it properly, and re-release it when it is ready."

    I am sorry I had to resort to a Spam Attack, but as you are DELETING all negative feedback in favour of "We are right, you are Wrong" tactics I found little other option.

    Regards, a PAYING member of your community who does not want to see this game destroyed.
  • Log CX3 with a frog-eating picture. I know this is very childish behaviour ... but hey it's fun! Google might be able to help you find some.
Dear Groundspeak: Thanks but no thanks. You can have your challenges back. I don't want them.