This article was originally published on Cache Up NB. It has been mirrored here for archive purposes only.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2015!
To kick off this new year, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the things you may or may not know about what goes on with Cache Up NB. From our origins, to who is actually involved with this site and what we do, to the specifics of what Cache Up NB is really about.
In this segment, you’ll read the detailed history of how CUNB came into existence and how we made ourselves different from everyone else.
It was winter time 2009. Geocaching in New Brunswick was going strong. Cache Up NB didn’t exist and most folks from the province spent their online time on a website called “The Maritime Geocaching Association”, also know as the MGA.
By all accounts, the MGA started out as a Yahoo newsgroup and then eventually transferred to a standalone website hosted and managed by a geocacher named FarsideX. This website ran for many years and in 2009, was still quite active by NB based cachers. There’s a long and complicated story about how there was the MGA and the ACGA (Atlantic Canada Geocaching Association). Without getting into that long story (which you can ask any of the oldtimers about), the jist of it was that most NB cachers hung out on the MGA site, while NS cachers hung out on the ACGA. Yes, there was activity from both provinces on both sites but generally speaking, one was NB centric while the other was NS centric.
By late 2009, the MGA website can become quite stagnant. Not much in the way of new posts. The website itself hadn’t been updated in years. The forum was quite often filled with a lot of spam and inappropriate content. Pa was a champion of the forum and did his best to get conversations going, but at that time, it seemed the MGA was dying. The most active portion of it was the shoutbox.
Pa actually started a forum thread about possibly getting someone to either take over the site from Farside, or do something new. That conversation led to other conversations and a poll was actually listed. Turns out most people at that time wanted something new. There were a few who wanted to try and keep the MGA alive, but it seemed the community was looking for something else.
Me and Rev Slippery sat at Damascus coffee and talked about the future of geocaching associations. It was that conversation that eventually led me to create a website called Cache Up NB. The site was actually started in January of 2010 but me and Rev spent a lot of time filling it with content so that when we did launch it, there was plenty to read about.
In starting something new for geocaching in NB, I was very adamant about a few things, particularly the format of the site. I spent a lot of time looking at a lot of different geocaching association websites. It became very clear that they all had the same cookie cutter format. Main page, bunch of links, and a forum. They were all the same. That right there told me that whatever new site I was going to create could not be like everything else. It had to be different.
Instead of using the same approach that had been done to death, I modeled Cache Up NB after a news site I had been visiting for years. One that evulc had introduced me to years ago. Slashdot.
Slashdot was a tech news site that followed a typical blog style news format. Each news item contained a blurb about whatever article was, and you could then click on the article, read the whole thing, and comment on it. The “community” was created through the comments and not through forum postings. I thought this was a great way to try something new for geocaching and hence the “news/blog” format for Cache Up NB was born.
There were also a few rules I set in place with regards to content:
- At least 90% of our content had to be original. In fact, it was probably closer to 95% or maybe even 98%. I wanted to insure that if you came to our site, you’d find articles you had never seen before. Even if they were inspired by other things you’d read, they were unique, and written by someone from NB.
- There would never be a forum. Forums have their place and they’ve been in a lot (pretty much all) of geocaching websites, and if we were going to stand out, we had to be different and go against the grain. I wholeheartedly didn’t want a forum to become the hub of energy on the site. The comments were to drive the community. Not a forum that was hidden in some menu. It is for this reason that even to this day, we do not have an official forum.
- A new article had to be posted to the newsreel at least once every 7 days. In almost 5 years of running Cache Up NB, there have only been a handful of times I haven’t insured there was something new to read every week. I have stuck by this rule as best as I can. This is the reason why this very article you are reading is the 4th one I have written tonite.
- Cache Up NB was not an association. We were a website. Associations had been done to death, and at least at that time, there was a lot of animosity and bad blood amongst geocachers about the whole “association” thing. Because of the MGA vs ACGA battle, I wanted to insure that Cache Up NB didn’t get into the middle of it. We were starting as a “news and information site” for geocaching.
In March of 2010, Cache Up NB was officially “launched”. The site had been leaked by a few people who learned about it beforehand but the first breakfast in March had me announcing the release of this new community based website. It took a bit of getting used to as the format was different than most had been used to. But over time, Cache Up NB grew to be a true community of cachers in our province.
Since then, Cache Up NB has branched out beyond being just a news and information website. But that didn’t happen overnight. It took at least a year before I was willing to let Cache Up NB go beyond being just a website. But the details of all that will have to wait for part 2 of this series.