Over the past 11 years, we've built the geocaching.com website and other Groundspeak services based on both our vision and your feedback. It's been a wonderful combination and it's allowed us to find a balance between driving innovation and enhancing core functionality.
We value your feedback — and it's been instrumental in building geocaching to a point where there are now over 5M geocachers — and over 1.5M geocaches — worldwide.
About a year ago, we made a change to the manner in which we obtained feedback from you — our community. We closed a number of Groundspeak discussion forums and added links to UserVoice. We had big plans for UserVoice. It was to be the place for us to get ideas from the community, prioritize those ideas, and implement the ones that bubbled to the top. We hoped to extract and distill the ideas that had been stewing in the forums for years. We were excited and ready to go.
As geocaching continued to grow rapidly (both domestically and internationally), however, the addition of UserVoice created significant challenges for both Groundspeak and for the global Geocaching community.
On the Groundspeak front, we received ideas — many ideas. Almost 5,000 ideas were suggested for Geocaching.com alone in less than a year. This is both good and bad. It's good — in fact it's great — because we have a passionate community who cares deeply about geocaching. It's bad because, quite frankly there is no way that Groundspeak can realistically implement all — or even most — of these ideas. We are still a small company, with limited resources. We're not happy that we're limited in our ability to implement all your ideas, but unfortunately, it's our current reality.
On the community side, there is also good and bad. The good is that everyone has a voice — and can post an idea. The bad is that everyone who posts — or votes on — an idea has come to expect a prompt response from Groundspeak — and an ongoing conversation about their idea until it's implemented. Unfortunately, as a small company, we simply don't have the bandwidth to implement every good idea — or to participate actively in the dialog related to each idea. Again, as a small company, that's just not realistic for us.
And so we find ourselves in a position where we have limited resources to implement ideas, while at the same time trying to address the ongoing needs of an extremely active community and a highly trafficked web site, used by a rapidly expanding number of people, across an expanding number of countries.
As a result, we have decided to turn off UserVoice. This is not being done to avoid feedback, but rather because we believe there's a better way for us to receive feedback.
We feel that the dialogue in the Discussion Forum is an important component of understanding community feedback and from this point forward, we'd like to receive your feedback through that channel.
In the forums, the community can participate in a dialogue regarding a given topic and can discuss the pros and cons of the issues. Groundspeak can also participate in the topic and help identify issues, discuss resource constraints, and set expectations without having to formally 'accept or deny' an idea.
Our hope and expectation is that the dialogue in the forums will result in a clearer understanding of the issues, of their priorities and of Groundspeak's ability to take action.
We are reopening the feedback sections of Groundspeak Discussion Forums effective immediately. As we move forward, we will continue to listen to your ideas and to prioritize our projects through the forums — as well as through user surveys and focus groups. We believe that this change will allow us to direct our limited resources toward the right goal — toward improving the features and functionality of Groundspeak's products to better serve the global geocaching community.
In closing, we'd like to reiterate that we value your feedback — and that it's been instrumental in building geocaching to its current worldwide presence. We look forward to continuing to receive your feedback, to continuing our ongoing dialogue — and to working with you to improve geocaching on an ongoing basis.
The Groundspeak Lackeys & Signal the Frog