In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
In our opinion a ‘high quality geocache’ is a cache that has had thought put into it. Not just the container but the placement of the cache. We love finding containers that are original and handmade that involves a little thinking of how to get into it to free the log sheet. Also having a geocache that is dry and well maintained is a must.
In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
In our opinion a ‘low quality geocache’ is a geocache that is placed somewhere just because it can be i.e. magnetic containers on street name signs and film pots/kinder egg containers thrown into the undergrowth. These caches are generally not well maintained and the log sheet inside is either full or damp. Also seeing a cache page description for a series as ‘see #1’, surely at the stage of reviewing the cache, the Reviewer should be pointing out to the prospective CO that this is NOT acceptable. This is pure laziness from the cacher who wants to put the series out.
What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
In our opinion ‘the community’ can improve the type of geocaches they place and where they place them. Yes magnetic geocaches have their place but in the right location i.e. bringing you to a location that has some historical or an educational reason.
A cacher should also ensure that they ‘DNF’ a cache that they cannot find, just because it puts a sad blue face on your map doesn’t mean you shouldn’t DNF the cache.
‘The Community’ can also help CO’s out with carrying out a little ‘geocaching etiquette’ by taking some pieces of paper with them just in case a log is full or damp/wet and replacing them. For a cacher to expect others to place caches for them to find and they are not willing to carry out a little ‘etiquette’ is bad manners.
Cachers need to ensure they have a pen/pencil on them when caching, we have seen some try to sign the log ‘in mud’ which as a cacher is NOT acceptable.
Finders of a cache also need to remember that the CO has taken time and expense to place caches and in return as a thank you the finder should leave a more quality log than ‘Quick easy find, TFTC’ or ‘Found whilst taking the dog for a walk’.
What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
In our opinion HQ can make sure that they ‘archive’ caches that are not being maintained in a timelier manner. Having one volunteer for each region that deals with just this issue surely would free up much needed space so that new caches can be placed. We have seen numerous caches that show ‘needs maintenance’ and the maintenance has not been carried out as the CO is no longer active. If a CO becomes inactive for longer than 12 months, their caches should be archived automatically. Even with the ‘needs maintenance’ showing on a cache, Reviewers are not dealing with them in a timely manner and that is probably due to them not having the time to review/publishing new caches and deal with the trouble caches.
We do not agree with some others that state a new geocacher should not be able to place caches until they have been caching for ‘x’ amount of time or finding ‘x’ amount of caches. We know of several cachers that started placing new geocaches shortly after they started Geocaching and their caches are well constructed and thought out, along with maintained on a very regular basis.
Bring in a tool that shows whether other cachers find a log ‘helpful’ or ‘not helpful’.
Allow CO’s to have a maximum number of hides. We have seen stats that show some CO’s have over 500 hides (even 3000 in one case). A CO cannot physically maintain all of the caches when they have that many.