Once upon a time I played the Terracaching game. I bowed out years ago when AK abandoned the site. I congratulate you on attempting to revive the game.
I read your post highlighting some of the troubles you are experiencing launching the site. Perhaps some insight from someone outside the process will provide perspective.
In the data conversion and the equations we are having an issue with LC_TPS, and UCR, and naturally MCE won’t match current site because we switched to only cache finders.
Interestingly, on this date in 2007 I wrote:
Terracaching is still wrestling with the quality issues on its site. It seems like the man behind the curtain AK has put the rating system on the table. Immediately, the loud voices began speaking about how finders should “out-rate” non-finders. Of course, that is nonsense as my experience with the Geology Is Fun terracache showed. I traveled three hours to find a cache that was not maintained. Upon reporting that the first stage was ruined and there was no way to complete the multi, I received absolutely zero feedback from (my sponsor) the cache owner. He turned around and gave the coordinates to the final stage to another cacher to log a few days later. Now, if all the bloviators have their way, my experience with this would matter little. Their feeling is that my thoughts on this cache would be as important as someone in the Netherlands who happened to look at the cache page. That hardly seems fair. Then again, the system isn’t fair. As I have pointed out any number of times, as long as the formulae working there are kept secretive, it doesn’t matter what the criteria are. One cannot effectively play a game if he doesn’t know the rules.
MCE, UCR & OTHER FORMULAMATIC ISSUES
You also wrote:
“So the MCE is getting a revamp as it was using UCR and a rating pattern from the raters, in addition to giving weights to people that lived closer to the cache vs people that lived further away….then if you take into consideration, that if a user has not been active on the site over x time, then their rating, does not count or has a different modifier., then various factors that are not the same on the new site (badges).. AND of course the MCE of a cache impacts the UCR of the cache… then you see part of the problem,… “
Which all comes down to a bunch of garbled nonsense as no one knows what any of that will result in.
In one of the updates ag08 posted, it was stated, “Cash108 and ScottO have also dedicated many hours to figuring out how MCE and UCR work to try to make an effective transfer.” That pretty much tells the community that you don’t even know how the points system works. That was one of the issues AK experienced. He took a tried-and-true system, Skydiver’s Geocaching Point System, and attempted to add other metrics to it. In the end, those additions failed.
I teach elementary school students. One of the projects we complete is for the students to create a board game based on a historical figure. One of the most basic tenets of the project is that the student establishes a clear objective for the players (first one to get to the end, etc.). To that end, students also write rules for others to follow while playing the game. One of the criteria for grading the students is how easily their classmates can follow the rules of the game.
The introduction of MCE and UCR at Terracaching.com muddied the game. The metrics did not measure what they purported to measure, had problems functioning, and were never adequately explained to the customers. The players of the game could not follow the game because it made no sense.
I encourage you to address this. I am a proponent of simplicity. That presents two approaches: 1. scrap MCE and UCR, or 2. be transparent. Share the formulae with the players (customers) so they can at least see what is going on. The players will see things much differently than the architects. Don’t be scared to have a business model that embraces your customers.
While it’s been more than three years since you took over and I am certain you are feeling the pressure, I truly believe the release of the blog and the store have done a disservice to your brand. The blog is full of placeholder text. It looks as though a few posts were thrown together. It does not show three year’s work. The store is disappointing. I expected to see a new brand image. I see the same items from 2005. It looks like leftover stock.
It was stated you are going to move over all the old data. I know that is a difficult decision. I had ~500 logs, most with links to photographs as the listings required. In 2008, through no fault of my own, I lost control of the domain those images were hosted on. AK had long stopped working on the site and refused to run a simple search and replace to update the images. In the six years since, the file structure on my site has changed and no search and replace would be possible now as I long stopped designing anything for what I thought was a dead site.
With you wanting to migrate all the data, I wonder how you are going to handle such data. As it stands now, and has for years, the cache pages present long lost information. A new site with a new skin is going to continue to present long lost data.
Why? To preserve the points? That is the only reason to do so. That can be legitimate, but it also keeps someone like me from ever re-joining as I wouldn’t use that account. I don’t want to be associated with 500 crappy logs (because of the broken links) that serve as a reminder of a dated system. If I join with a new account, I will be precluded from loggingthose same caches as it will throw the points off. If I re-join and don’t log previously logged caches, then why play? It is about the points afterall. Terracaching’s appeal is because there is something different. If that is removed, there is no reason to play.
Most of what I wrote here was shared in the forums. You undoubtedly read all that and everyone else’s thoughts too. You crafted a path that you felt was in your best interest as owner of the site. As it is seen, that does not include me.
This has been an interesting journey for me. I will not share this letter for I recognize there is chance of gain for me. One thing I do see that is promising are the challenges. I could join under the alias “Grass Stains” and complete the 2014 Challenge.