Favorite Points

What are Favorite Points?  It’s a newer feature to the Geocaching website.  Some don’t care about it, while others see potential in it.  How can it be useful for you?We need to start by pointing out that this is currently a feature for Premium Members only.  While any member can see which caches have favorite points, only Premium Members can apply favorite points.

Users have long been asking for some kind of feature that allows them to visibly rate caches.  There are arguments for both sides of the coin.  Allowing a rating system can easily open the doors for people to negatively rate caches because they don’t like the owner, or because they don’t like that style of cache.  Yet a rating system can help people more easily find popular caches to find.

Favorite points can address both of these items.  Points are like a thumbs up.  You can award caches you’ve enjoyed with points, but you can’t use them negatively.  Plus, since points are awarded based on the number of finds, you sort of earn them.  This discourages people from using them willy-nilly.  And this brings up my first and only real problem with them.  They are earned too easily.  You get 1 point for every 10 caches you find.  For newer cachers, this can seem like a blessing.  But for those of us with a higher number of finds, this provides an almost unneeded number of points.  I personally find this diminishes the value of the points.  I have over 3300 finds, thus 330 points.  I will never use that many.  I’d rather see 1 point for every 50 or 100 finds.  At that rate, favorites would be applied less willfully and thus a cache with a lot of favorite points would imply that it has really earned that rating.

Okay.  The soap-box has been put away.  Now on to the features of the points.  As we go through this, feel free to visit GC37 Missouri’s First – Watts Mill.  I’ll use this cache to discuss the system.

When logged into the site, you can see how many favorite points you have by going to your profile page.  Not your public profile page, but the main page through which you can access all of your profile details.  On the right side of the screen, where various info boxes are located, scroll down to the one labeled “Favorites”.  It will look like the image to the left.

This view will show you the number of points remaining, how many finds you need for the next point, and how many total points you have.  You can to a page where you can manage your list.

If you click on “Manage Favorites”, you’ll be taken to a basic list page.  There, you’ll see a list of all the caches you have awarded a favorite point to and a checkbox for each.  It is there that you can remove caches from the list.

So how do you award a favorite point?  First, determine a cache that you would like to award a point to and visit that cache’s page.  You’ll find the option to add favorites points under the Navigation menu in the upper right.    Just click on “Add to your Favorites” to award the points.  You’ll notice in the view to the right that there is also a “Favorite points remaining” link.  This will take you to the same page as “Manage Favorites”, where you can remove items from the list.  This has been provided in case a user finds they have not points remaining but still want to award a cache with a point.  You can go in, remove something that you, say, liked less than the cache you want to add.

When you choose to add to your favorites list, you’ll see the points reflected next to the Navigation Menu, as seen here for GC37:

You’ll notice the small arrow under the number 59.  This arrow can be clicked on to reveal additional details.  Go ahead and click on it.  You’ll find three items.  The third one takes you to the Knowledge Base page that explains Favorites, so we’ll skip that one (if you really want to read it, you can access it from this link or the one on your profile page).

The first option is a percentage.  The number reflects the percentage of all premium members who have logged the cache that have awarded a favorite point to that cache.  On GC37, only 13% of all premium member finders have marked it as a favorite.

The second options will take you to a page with a list of everyone who have the cache on their favorites list.  From there you can access their profiles, view their log for that cache, send them messages and friend requests.  It can be a useful tool if you want to see if someone you know has also picked that cache to be a favorite.

So how can seeing the number of favorite points a cache has be useful?  This question can have different answers for different people.  The way I see it, if a cache has one or two favorite points, then it likely has a good memory for someone.  If a cache has a lot of favorite points, then it is well likely for some reason.  I’m going to want to visit one that has a lot of points before one with only a few points.  Yet a cache with only a few points might still be interesting to visit.  If I am going to an area to cache and don’t have time to hit a lot of caches, the # of points might help me pick some caches to visit.

There is one other feature about favorites to point out.  Sorting.  If you are looking at a list of caches, any list, you can not only identify which ones have favorite points, but sort based on that as well.  If you look at this image, you’ll see the Ribbon icon amongst the list of caches on a search page.  The column reflects the number of favorite points each cache has.  If you click on the Ribbon, the list will be resorted based on those numbers, as was done for this image.  A great tool if you not only want to see all the favorited caches in an area, but also which ones seem to be the most favorite.  Very useful if you are traveling and want to pick popular caches to hit while visiting an area.

That about does it for how to use the favorites feature.  Could there be some additions in the future?  Sure.  But based on the current implementation, any additions are likely to only be tweaks to how the system works.

Hopefully, this helps to fill in some questions about this feature.  If you know of another way to use the feature, or thoughts about the feature, feel free to share.



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2 Responses to Favorite Points

  1. ErikaJean says:

    I’m with you on too easy to get the points. I think it should be more like every 25. Unfortunately it’s just not realistic that one in ever 10 caches is awesome and deserves a point! I still have 20 unused points. I wont just give them to any ol’ cache – which I’ve noticed a lot of people doing (some of those with the high numbers). I think they really need to stress that just because you have the points, doesn’t mean you should use them all ;-P

  2. ghhs72 says:

    I just used the above sort on a trip to San Diego and it helped me to look for caches that I would never have otherwise gone after. For the most part the ratings were justified.

    I also did the same with puzzle caches. Sometimes the effort isn’t worth it, but with the ratings I was able to focus on some more than others in San Diego.

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