Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Discussion about the Geocaching Australia web site
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caughtatwork
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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by caughtatwork » 30 June 15 4:17 pm

mtrax wrote:If you really want to encourage growth you probably need to offer more unique types of features, like trigs but not limited. Most people (not me) can't see why they should look at two sites.
One thing I think CG hasn't really done well, that maybe gca might try is facilitated group finds or tools to engage with other cachers.
Also the performance of current server is a concern.
The gca forums of late seems to be more exclusion because or this rule and that rule.
Perhaps some more effort to engage with events and groups might help.
I hope GCA can weather this storm it would be sad to see it go, but yes we need some changes to encourage growth ..
The forums have pretty much been "no commercialisation" since they were taken over as a board supported by ads and then set up to run without ads. Your point however is accepted.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by nutwood » 30 June 15 9:19 pm

The demise of GCA would probably be the demise of our personal caching.
It seems a bit presumptuous, but if I were to be asked as to why GCA numbers are down, I would suggest a focus on getting cachers to "hide", rather than "find". Bingo I think was a mistake. It focused on the numbers, rather than the cache. I still enjoy finding a cute gnome or frog; they were fun! Ultimately though, I think it's a question of technology. Smart phones don't come with a GCA app. Those of the Apple persuasion struggle to get one, even if they try.
That said though, I think that it'd be well worth GCA to hang in there, if it possibly can. Matters are in flux. GCA has some very genuine advantages over the imported product. Forum, moveables, trigs, general sense of fun, etc, etc.
Of course, some external factor may come in that totally changes the game, but I wouldn't be basing a decision on statistics at this stage.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by fluffyfish » 30 June 15 11:16 pm

Yep a big question. Something I've been pondering as I've been organising a GCA event.

My vote is yes to keep GCA running.

But some questions below.

Firstly, is the site financially viable? No developer should have to dip into their pockets to keep the site running.

A risk I see is that it is reliant on two (?) main developers. If they lose their "passion" then who is able to take over? Maybe some sort of succession plan is something the Senate needs to consider very soon.

I'm a super strong believer in open caching. It was where it started and sadly that point has been lost.

GCA needs more promotion. The rise of Facebook has pulled users from the forums to its groups. GCA needs to advertise on twitter, facebook, etc to make more cachers aware. I don't think gc.com can own the #geocaching hashtag. Sadly when I suggest to new players to try GCA, commonly they say a more experienced cacher warned them off the site. Sigh.

Maybe the stats tell us that GCA is for a mature cacher who is looking for something different. Honestly, I don't think GCA is that great for cachers with 1 to 10 finds. But once you get a few under your belt, GCA can start looking attractive due to its inherent quality. Where does the quality come from? Well the people here care about caching, not about the numbers.

GCA is unique. It would be very sad to see it lost like other cache listing sites.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by 2y'stassies » 01 July 15 12:30 am

Like many others we would be devastated if GCA were to disappear. We particularly enjoy finding remote trig points, some of the old cairns are works of art. We also use GCA stats facilities, map access and forum for current and past information. We have tried to promote GCA at events and on meeting cachers in the field as Tassie has a large number of excellent GCA hides, there are even several GCA trails. There seem to be two main reasons for not looking for GCA caches: "It would mess up my stats "(no one has been able to explain clearly what they mean by this) and "I cant find out how to access GCA" (iphone only users who seem to make up a large proportion of newbies). Not sure how to promote it further. We are not regular facebook users but perhaps if we had a GCA facebook group some of the prolific caching facebook users might join just because it is caching related.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by caughtatwork » 01 July 15 10:23 am

I'm not ignoring the feedback, I'm watching and waiting for more of it. There is more discussion also in the private senate forum where a lot of the points being raised here and via Facebook are also being discussed. To answer a few factual questions, so they don't build up too much.

Financially we're OK. We have a shop which pulls in the minimum required hosting fee each year. That an annual fee of around $1,600.00. We have 2 or 3 years left in the "bank" at the moment, so financially we're OK for the server costs. If we wanted to do other financial things we would need to fund raise.

The new server? We bought it ($8K). We have it. It's essentially built. CraigRat has a horrendous personal work load at the moment. It should be up and running soon (maybe 4 weeks). One of the issues in relying on volunteers. People have a personal life which will take precedence.

iOS (iPhone) app, yes we'd love one. We'd be looking to partner with someone who can build it. Neither CraigRat not I have the developer skills to do this, nor the hardware to test it. https://developer.apple.com/library/ios ... _Language/

Andoid app, we only have one through the good graces of mtrax. GCA doesn't own it, control it or develop for it, but the data is from the GCA DB.

Excluding posts from the forum which is pissing people off. It's a challenge to balance between spammers, commercial sellers and those who are flogging "personal" stuff. A little paragraph of history. GCA was founded on Free and Open. The original forum was ad driven and was taken over and moved to an ad free hosting by i!. When the great split of 2004 happened, the mantra was Free and Open with no rules on cache placements and no cost, ever, to access the data in any way that was possible. This was before the current developers and administration joined, so it goes back a long way. As the drive was to avoid ads on the site (forum and cache pages), the "no-ads" has been at the forefront of any decisions to include or not include content in the forum. This line has been cross, reset, moved, blurred, challenged, argued about, stubbornly enforced, gamed, and a whole host of other things that have contributed to pissing people off. I admit culpability in most of the pissing people off. This situation will never be clear, but unless the overall mantra changes, ads in the forum and on cache pages will not be allowed. The way in which they get treated will have to change though.

Developer passion can become an issue. We have had 4 developers over time. ideology. Ribblit. CraigRat. caughtatwork. Your current developers are CraigRat and caughtatwork. There's a risk in only having two and I would like to have more. Partly for when the current two devs are not available or worst case, lose interest overnight and packup and leave the site in the lurch. We'd be looking to place an ad in the GCA forums and facebook page to recruit a new developer or two to supplement the team and bring new ideas to the site.

GCA does have a facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Geocachi ... 9041697791

I hope I've got all the questions answered. A lot of the discussion is not in the form of question and answer, it will be in the "what if" or "how can" type scenario. As I said, there's a discussion in the senate which sooner or later will need to be brought to the wider community, but for the moment stays there as the senate is the first place for these discussions, as per our non-existent charter.

Please keep providing feedback.
Good or bad.
Positive or negative.
Try to avoid any personal attacks by phrasing them as improvements e.g. "caughtatwork really pisses me off when he does xxx" might become "moderators / administrators / developers could be more considerate of other people feelings when stating a point".
Bring out new ideas.
Brainstorm.
If you think of a thing you would like to do, put it forward (like the recent discussion about radio towers which got a few comments, then sort of died).
If you think the sit should be improved, tell us what.
We know the site navigation needs improvement, so we're not blind to the challenges.
We'd also like to spread the work around, so if you have a talent (developing, designing, sales, marketing, making lots of posts of facebook, media, information packs, technical writing, anything) that you would like to bring to GCA, put it forward and it will be added to the talent pool.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by LouiseAnn » 01 July 15 12:03 pm

Who are the people on the senate you have referred to?

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by caughtatwork » 01 July 15 12:23 pm

Nominally there is one for each state and territory unless there were no nominations in which case they stand empty.

Last appointments were in 2011.
http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopi ... 18#p177918

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By default the two developers are also defacto senators, so add:
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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Team737 » 01 July 15 7:16 pm

To be honest I wasn't even aware of the distinction between GCA and the 'main mob' - I was introduced to geocaching by a friend with the iPhone app, and thought what I was seeing here in terms of caches was really a mirror of the app's caches.....
I am now assuming that there are caches here that aren't locatable with the app - is this correct? If so I'll go out of my way to find GCA caches, as I find the local forums useful.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by mtrax » 01 July 15 7:25 pm

lee738 wrote: I am now assuming that there are caches here that aren't locatable with the app - is this correct? If so I'll go out of my way to find GCA caches, as I find the local forums useful.
As far as I know all GCA caches are downloadable with the android app.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by CraigRat » 01 July 15 7:34 pm

mtrax wrote:
lee738 wrote: I am now assuming that there are caches here that aren't locatable with the app - is this correct? If so I'll go out of my way to find GCA caches, as I find the local forums useful.
As far as I know all GCA caches are downloadable with the android app.
i think they mean the GC app.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by nutwood » 01 July 15 9:26 pm

lee738 wrote:To be honest I wasn't even aware of the distinction between GCA and the 'main mob' - I was introduced to geocaching by a friend with the iPhone app, and thought what I was seeing here in terms of caches was really a mirror of the app's caches.....
I am now assuming that there are caches here that aren't locatable with the app - is this correct? If so I'll go out of my way to find GCA caches, as I find the local forums useful.
That's nice to hear. Personally I prioritise GCA caches. Firstly because they are generally better quality but also because there are less of them. This may seem perverse but when one passes through an area briefly, and are meant to be working, it's nice to have an app on one's phone (thanks M.Trax) that simply brings up a short list of quality caches.
The fact that one is supporting the local product is a nice bonus!

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by roundcircle » 01 July 15 10:50 pm

Recently there was a forum post asking How many people still visit the forums?. Given the question was in the forums, whilst there was a bunch of replies, only one person claimed to never visit. And I'm beginning to wonder if they were serious. So the views of those who don't visit weren't captured.

Your question here is the same. All the people here use GCA and presumably they'd like to keep using it. Those that see no value in the site aren't going to respond.
Caughtatwork wrote: It seems that numbers are the name of the game nowadays rather the journey.
  • The game is what you make of it. That's as true now as it ever was.
"Caughtatwork" asked :
  1. Should GCA persist as a niche provider or should we give it in?
    GCA should persist.

    .
  2. Should we just give it away?
    No, don't give it away
    .
  3. Should we let the biggest fish in the sea be the true monopoly?
    No, GCA provides a service that other sites do not. It should continue.
    .
  4. Should we accept our game is to be controlled by overseas interests?
    The battle to be the largest Geocache listing site was won (or lost, depending on your point of view) long ago. Other listing sites should continue to offer diversity.
    .
  5. Do we want GCA to continue to provide an alternative or not?
    I vote yes. Yes we do.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by pjmpjm » 02 July 15 2:07 am

caughtatwork wrote:I'm not ignoring the feedback, I'm watching and waiting for more of it. There is more discussion also in the private senate forum where a lot of the points being raised here and via Facebook are also being discussed. To answer a few factual questions, so they don't build up too much.
All this response is much appreciated.

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by No_Tomorrow » 02 July 15 4:27 pm

Keep it! There is a lot of treasure in here I'd hate to see lost.

My two cents in case it helps...

When I first started with GCA I found the website much clunkier than the GC one, so, not realising the features of GCA or that there were more geocaches there, I left it for dead. It wasn't until I got really bored after running out of local caches that I turned to GCA to see if there was anything interesting there. I'm glad I did because I actually prefer it now. Site still seems a bit clunky, but I'm getting more used to it with use.

Also, I only just discovered the android app for GCA. Is there an iPhone one too? I think phone apps are important for newbies who don't have GPSs. I have one now. But with accessing the website on the phone being near impossible, without a lot of planning and paper or a GPS, how would you GCA cache whilst on holidays, or a trip, or just when bored? Many times I have hit that GC app when on an impromptu trip, being bored waiting for hubby to stop talking, and trying to sneak in a cache when on a family holiday and no one wants to hear the word geocache, let alone stop for one.

Publicity would help a lot. If there was some way to let the wider geocaching community see there are some pretty cool adventures and views to be had through GCA, that would be awesome. I'm at least trying to do my bit with the video blogs. I try to email people whose geocaches I have found links to my videos so they can share them if they think they are not too much of a spoiler. They are amatuer, but something. If anyone wants to sponsor me, I could do more and better. :wink:

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Re: Is Geocaching Australia worth pursuing?

Post by Team Ladava » 02 July 15 10:44 pm

Some random thoughts, many recycling earlier comments by others.
I thing GCA should not try too hard to be a ‘me too’ site and compete with GC.
I see its future as a ‘boutique’ site built by Australians for Australian Teams.
There is a whole ‘Australian Made’ campaign out there. Try and tap into that.
I only use the two sites and don’t have the add-on software of GSAK, etc. In my opinion GCA has a far better ‘search engine’ for Australian Users, e.g. type in a town and all the local caches are listed so promote it.
It provides a lot of good features and a range of caching opportunities for the remote Teams starved of GC offerings.
Sure, an iPhone ap. would be handy but that would tend to attract the ‘mushroom’ teams that join GC, find a handful of caches then disappear. They log them with ‘tftc’ or worse and think an eclipse tin with a scrap of paper stuffed into it and thrown under a bush in a park is a quality cache.
I am sure many Teams are tiring of the ever growing number of ‘mundane’ caches in the main game.
Try to ‘filter the mundane’ caches and logs as GC seem to be trying to do with ‘Premium Member Only’ caches and make GCA as a superior caching experience.
Try to think of a way of ensuring the average quality of GCA caches continue to be better than GC, e.g. no eclipse tins.
Try to build into the software no ‘TFTC’ logs are accepted.
Try to enhance the ‘club’ or ‘secret society’ feel which is one of the early attractions of Geocaching generally.
Try to capitalise on the weakness of GC which is, to a degree, perceived as an American Corporate cashing in on ‘our’ sport/hobby/obsession.
Just some ramblings of an old man, I hope promote some ideas and are gratifying to the developers who have, and continue to, contribute so much to the Australian Geocaching community.

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