The Geocaching Australia Rating System has been designed with simplicity in mind.
You have the ability to optionally provide a rating of any cache you find with the proviso that a "Found" or "Did Not Find" log must have been recorded against the cache. ie. You cannot rate a cache that you have not yet attempted and logged.
There is initially one rating system as agreed by the Geocaching Australia community, being Overall Experience.
Rather than get bogged down into details about the area, the cache container, various swaps that may degrade over time, the style of hide, etc, the community has agreed that rating the Overall Experience of the cache should be sufficient.
There is a 5 level rating system that applies with starting at 1 for lesser experience, up to 5 for an outstanding experience.
The 5 levels are:
1 would be used where you felt that there was some significant feedback about the cache that should be provided to the cache owner. A takeaway style container, next to a dumpster in the back of a shopping centre may be a reason to give a rating of 1.
2 would be used where you felt that the cache "added to your find count" but there was little else praiseworthy about the cache, the way it was hidden or the environment in which it is hidden.
3 would be used where you felt that you have a good overall experience. The cache was of good quality, it was in a nice area or the hide was just that little bit different and you enjoyed the cache. For people who were visiting an area, a cache rating of 3 would be reason enough to stop by without being disappointed.
4 would be used to rate a cache that you thought was a top cache. It's not the best cache you have ever attempted, but the view or hike was top notch, it was a sturdy cache container hidden well, or hidden in a very usual manner, the puzzle on the cache was well thought out but didn't require an advanced degree in maths to solve. Overall, it's a top cache.
5 would be used to rate a cache that you thought was outstanding. This is essentially the same as a recommendation on a cache. You are saying that anyone who comes near this cache should stop by and have a crack at it. It could be cunningly concealed, a mind boggling puzzle that was just so satisfying to complete, sensational views or hike to the area, an area of great historical interest, etc. Overall, the cache is outstanding.
You can assign a rating to the cache in the following ways:
- When you make your log at Geocaching Australia (for a GAxxxx Geocaching Australia cache). You first make your log and then on the next screen you will be offered the ability to rate the cache. A simple click and your rating is accepted.
- When your log has made its way across from geocaching.com (remember you can't rate a cache until a find or DNF is registered against the cache) you can go to the cache page and on the right hand side in the actions section you can assign your rating.
- In your log at geocaching.com include the following: *Overall Experience: n* where n is a number between 1 and 5. Include the *'s and the colon, so type it exactly as it's seen here. The daily feed will interpret your log and assign the rating you assigned. Please note that the rating will only be applied once. If you change your rating after the initial application, it will not update your rating. You will need to do this manually by going to the cache page and editing your rating.
Ratings are assigned to your log on the cache page, so there is no anonymity. It also means that people can see your comments in your log about your experience which is summarised by your rating.
Cache ratings are not intended to be a 'tit-for-tat' or revenge attack on a cacher or cache. You should feel genuine about your cache rating.
A FTF, Rating or Recommendation will ONLY be applied ONCE. It will ONLY be applied the FIRST time a log is loaded.
This stops the potential issue of: A cacher giving a rating of 3. Coming in and editing the rating directly, changing it to 4. Someone else loading an old GPX file which would change the rating back to a 3.
So even if you edit a log on GC, because the log has already been loaded, the FTF, rating or recommendation will not be applied as we cannot guarantee it's not going to overwrite a manual update.