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Groundspeak Puts A Sock In Uservoice

The lights have gone out on the Geocaching.com feedback forum powered by Uservoice. In a lengthy letter from the Lackeys and Signal, posted where the forum once stood, they explain that they did not have the resources to implement the massive amount of feedback.

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.

They also indicate that all the extra time and attention that amount of feedback required was impossible to keep up with.

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.

So Uservoice has been turned off. But before the haters start screaming that the mothership doesn’t care…

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.

My first thought is that the loss of Uservoice is a real shame. The sheer number of ideas and the transparency of the communication between the users and Groundspeak was excellent. And, even though Groundspeak used the speed of implementation expectations as a downside, it was great to see what was going to happen and what stage it was at.

But I also understand some of the difficulty that Groundspeak faced. It seems that geocachers are not just an enthusiastic and involved bunch, but that we can also be strongly opinionated and slightly unreasonable. And others are simply bonkers.

Keeping up with the volume of ideas must have been difficult but the potential for damage to Groundspeaks reputation must have been an ongoing PR nightmare. Having it there would have been like living with a ticking time bomb.

So I might be disappointed but I understand. And now we are back at the forums again.

If anything can be learned from the Uservoice experience it’s that keeping the troops informed about what changes are coming and what is in the works is really valuable. The reintroduction of the forum feedback section might help to reduce the sheer volume of feedback received but it does lack this ability to easily monitor the progress of feedback ideas. I know I’d love to see the introduction of something to address this, even if that were simply a locked announcement thread on adopted ideas that they could update when things progressed.

Groundspeak have shown in recent years that they are very responsive and trying to progress the game in lots of areas, including the website. With the loss of the very transparent Uservoice feedback forum I think the emphasis for Groundspeak now is to ensure that the momentum of the last few years is not lost, and is actively communicated, to ensure geocachers don’t feel that the love was thrown out along with Uservoice.

5 comments

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  1. TeamVoyagr

    I’m sure they will be able to mine sufficient ideas out of all the feedback that the site will continue to improve for years to come. That’s my hope anyway.

  2. Dan Flye on Facebook

    “La la la, we can’t hear you” is about all I’m taking away from this.

  3. Frank

    The strange thing is that I suggested the just released “corrected coordinate” feature a couple of times in the forums (before UserVoice was used) and the reactions I got from users was basically “why bother, use gsak” and never a response from anyone of GS. And in the UserVoice is was picked up and on top of the list for months.

    A lot of good ideas were posted in UserVoice and were implemented because many people voted for it.

    Although I understand the downside UserVoice had to GS, I think it is a pity they stopped using it. It biggest problem with the forum is that when an good idea no longer is on the the first page it will most likely be forgotten about.

  4. James Finger on Facebook

    … and the Trolls and ignorant can dominate a good suggestion thread single handedly. On User Voice, the votes allowed it to be seen based on its original merit and community acceptance. This is just another example of GS trying to ignore their community and doing it their own way. Not enough resources to manage user voice? Here’s an idea. Stop wasting time and money on projects NO ONE asked for like “Geo-What-Challenges?” and try listening for a change.

  5. Sony

    In the user’s voice, let people see votes on its original merit and communities to accept. This is just another example GS trying to ignore their community and their own way of doing this.

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