Ok, Time for a comment I feel. da_snoop and tgsnoopy are the same person, me. da_snoop is my Groundspeak volunteer cache reviewer account, tgsnoopy my personal account. The other geocacher who was until very recently also a Groundspeak volunteer approver was rediguana, his Groundspeak reviewers account nzmoderator1 was closed within the last two weeks, before this incident.
New Zealand is a small country and the bunch of geocachers is quite close knit near our geocaching capital of Christchurch. A small number of geocachers where fascinated by a new geocacher whom was impressing all of us with the speed they were able to find geocaches.
One of the local geocachers down near our Geocaching Capital was curious as to who the new geocachers were, he started a topic asking if anyone knew.
The second post on the topic, was from our societies president no less. He made a comment revealing the two first names the new geocachers had signed the log of one of the caches with.
The third post was from a highly thought of geocaching couple, who posted portions of two e-mails they had received from the new geocacher, this revealed some personal information and also gave an impression they were intending to reveal their identity to a geocacher they knew after they had reached a certain number of finds.
The fourth post, was from myself, using my personal account (tgsnoopy), I revealed no details of the new geocachers (I do not know who they are!). I do not have the ability to identify them, but based on the descriptions the new geocachers gave in the e-mails, provided in the third post, I suggested another geocacher be contacted as I thought he might be able to identify them.
At no stage did I obtain, nor can I obtain information of a private nature about any geocacher from the geocaching website. All I can do, is the same as any member of geocaching.com, e-mail via the geocaching website, and supply my return e-mail address that way. It is up to the person receiving the e-mail to reply directly, thus revealing their personal e-mail address, or via geocaching.com keeping their identity secure.
I sent the e-mail to the new geocachers via geocaching.com using my Groundspeak cache reviewer account, da_snoop. That e-mail pointed out the forum topic, and invited them to perhaps tease the geocachers attempting to identify them (It hadn't occurred to me that we were breaching their privacy).
A fifth post to the topic occurred at this stage, it was by an ex kiwi geocacher currently living overseas was of a light nature and contained no personal information.
A sixth post occurred, it was very brief, from a geocacher with a similar name, it pointed out he was no relation, and contained no personal information.
A seventh post occurred, it was from the person who originated the topic, he had identified more possible but unconfirmed information about the new geocachers, the post contained a location and Christian name of a possible son, and two hobbies they possibly participate in.
An eight post occurred, it included a link to the white pages (telephone directory), it had no further personal information, but the implication you could turn up at the door. it was from the same cacher as whom made the fifth post.
A ninth post occurred, from the topic originator. It stated he would never stoop to such turning up unannounced at their door, and that their phone number wasn't listed. (at no point was their surname or address revealed).
A tenth post occurred, same poster as the fifth and eighth posts. I'll quote this one "It's all part of the mystery I guess. Thinking more about it after talking to someone else, I say let them remain anonymous if they want to. It seems that it is how they have chosen to play the game."
An Eleventh post occurred, same poster as the second. I'll also quote this one: "I'll agree, but it is still fun to speculate. They certainly have been very busy over the first month - I am looking forward to seeing a cache placed by them (actually, maybe I am not, with 6 hour bike trips that they do for 'fun' they might end up placing a cache somewhere really nasty... top of Mount Cook maybe )".
A twelve post occurred, same poster as the second and eleventh posts. I'll quote this one as well: "Shhhhh.... our newest member is going to think we are freaks....".
At this point the new geocachers choose to reply via geocaching.com keeping their e-mail address & identity secure. Essentially I was thanked for providing the link to the topic, then this part: "We consider our privacy has been breached and now do not want to take part in geocaching ever again. I will tell as many people as I can to be very very careful when they log on to websites such as geocaching.com Please pass this to all those nosey parkers out there."
The thirteenth post was myself, apologizing, and posting the above portion of their e-mail.
At this point I discussed the events with rediguana (previously also nzmoderator1), he closed and removed the thread from view. He then created a new thread where apologies were placed. rediguana never contributed to the initial topic.
This is the link to the new topic.
While it is unfortunate we have lost a new geocacher who was doing very impressive statistics, and also brought some disrepute to the sport. It was never the intention to do any such thing. I will not reproduce the initial e-mails which implied they were intending to become public. The initial topic was closed and removed because it contained private details. We have apologized and done everything in our power to prevent a repeat. Users have been instructed not to reveal personal details in that manner again.