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Everything posted by edexter

  1. In my experience, about the only "helpful" maintenance one can do is replace a wet log and notify the CO that the cache needs maintenance. It's mostly helpful to you (you can record a "find" because now there is a log you can sign) and to the "next guy" since he can sign the log too. If the container is waterproof but the log is wet because someone didn't close it, this also helps out the CO as well, since it saves them a trip. If the container is not waterproof because of bad design it should be replaced. If it is damaged it should be replaced. Both these should get an NM. If the container is "gone", post a dnf. If there are multiple dnfs before you, post an NM and list the reason as "multiple dnfs, no sign of the cache, no response from CO" . And put it on your watch list. If nothing happens in the next month or two, post an NA and list the reason as "multiple dnfs, no response to NM by the CO" I will explain my rationale for this based on my experience in posting NM when a cache was wet or damaged or had multiple dnfs. About 25% of the time, posting a NM results in the CO fixing the cache. Some folks even say "thanks for the heads up". About 75% of the time nothing happens. Two months later posting a NA results in The Reviewer disabling the cache 90% of the time and 10% of the time the CO either fixes the cache, disables it or archives it. Two to 12 months later The Reviewer will archive the cache. Overall about two thirds of NM logs are never responded to by the CO (many have left the game so they never see the NM) and the caches are eventually archived. Since the whole idea of the cache listing service is to have an accurate and current listing of available caches, this is a good thing. The geocaching community "ideal" is regular cache maintenance but the reality is different and most folks don't maintain their caches or voluntarily disable or archive them or ask for help if they can't go fix them, or appreciate being told their cache needs maintenance. This is just the reality. If you post an NM log instead of repairing the cache you will find this to be true the majority of the time. An active minority will respond to an NM with alacrity and be appreciative of the notice...but most will not respond. Many of them are no longer active in the game. The rest, well, perhaps they can explain why maintenance is not required...
  2. What "kills" most caches are water and sunlight and not being closed. An easy to close waterproof container, placed in a "sheltered from the elements" location and not in direct contact with the ground is your best bet for longevity. Any placement that gravity can affect benefits from a tether. Hiding well off the beaten path where possible is the best defense against muggle discovery. No guarantee, but higher terrain placements increase the chances that finds will be made by folks who are more likely to actually close the container properly. As noted: ammo cans, plastic boxes with sturdy gaskets and latches, and lock& locks are some of the best containers. I've also had pretty good luck with lock&locks loosely wrapped up in piece of plastic tarp: the tarp sheds water and snow and keeps out the sunlight while the lock and lock keeps stuff dry. Most folks can open and close a lock&lock and rewrap a piece of tarp...
  3. In general usage, at least in the Space Coast region of Florida, there are two Florida Style type hides: 1, A micro or camoed micro hidden on palm tree trunk between your waist and your head, or 2, a regular size (lock&lock" or ammo box hidden on the ground and covered with palm fronds. Both of these are normally hidden from view. There are hundreds of possible hiding spots on a palm tree trunk and I generally find these "by touch" not sight. A pokey stick is used for the second type which are often found by sound: the "thunk" when your stick hits the concealed ammo box is a wonderful sound.
  4. Thanks, Just what I was looking for. Looks very helpful. edexter
  5. Does anyone know of a way to sort for the Percentage of Favorite Points for finds that a cache has? It's easy to get a list of caches with more than "X" number of Fav Pts, but tedious to sort through them for high percentage ones . I'm looking for a way to ask the equivilent of "Which caches have 25% or more Fav Points?' Thanks
  6. Thanks. That was helpful. I realized that the filters "went away" once I selected "browse" but remained when I selected "search" after moving the curser to another area. Appreciate the help. edexter
  7. Today I attempted to "filter" caches. I selected "caches I hadn't found", "caches I don't own" "caches with a d/t rating greater than 1/1" and "caches that were enabled" and finally "apply". After numerous tries I got a map that had no smilies and seemed to meet the other criteria. Then I moved the center a few miles away and hit "search" . That apparently wiped all the filters clean. Each time I moved the center, I had to reset all of the filters again. Is there a way to "lock" the filters, you know to make it actually useful rather than an exercise in frustration. Thanks, edexter
  8. Well, that's an interesting point. However I am asking the community "has anyone else has experienced an issue with their virtual stage coordinates being changed from what was entered to the listed coordinates for the cache?" Thanks
  9. As of 10:45pm I have corrected all of the coordinates. The ones from the first cache were corrected a month ago. The listed coordinates for both caches were for parking and upon approval all of the virtual stages matches those coordinates. The coordinates for the finals had to be constructed from numbers at the virtual stages but each also had placeholder "final coordinates" to show the general location of the final.
  10. The last two caches I submitted contained virtual stages (2 and 6 respectively). After the caches were Reviewed and approved (by different reviewers) all the of virtual stage coordinates were changed to the respective parking coordinates. Has anyone else had the same experience? The first cache was submitted in early November 2021. edexter
  11. As NiraD points out "FWIW, the system that Groundspeak publishes in the Help Center article Cache container sizes has the various size ratings separated by factors of 10 or 20, not just by factors of 3. and By this argument, a blinker is listed as a micro, and a Bison tube is at least 3 times larger so it's a small, and a preform is at least 3 times larger so it's a regular, and a sandwich keeper is at least 3 times larger so it's a large." Yes, however if you actually go to the source and the cache creation form you'll find that a film cannister "which is squarely in the micro range" and is by NiraD account about 35ml, while a "Small containers are 100 milliliters to 1 liter. They’re about the size of an apple. They can hold a small logbook and trade items." 100 ml is just under three times as large and a six inch preform is a bit more than 100 ml, so classified as a small as per The Help Center. And they go on: "Regular containers are 1 to 20 liters. They’re about the size of a shoebox. Many of these caches are ammo cans." 20 liters is just over five gallons. Most folks would consider a five gallon bucket to be a large (indeed I think a 5 gallon bucket is depicted as a large container on the cache creation page). At any rate there is plenty of room for deception or accuracy depending on one's intentions. If a cache is "on the cusp" of a size classification as preforms are you can argue either way, eh?
  12. It's been my experience that if you want people to know what to look for descriptive size accuracy matters and if you don't (for example, if you want the cache to be more difficult to find for whatever reason) then you want to be "technically accurate, but mislead. I'll give an example of each. Typically I place a cache at the end of a mile or two walk and if it is a preform then I will check off that it's a small (if a film cannister "micro", then a six inch preform is at least three times larger, so I rate it a small) and then in the description of the cache I say "it's a tethered preform". As the saying goes "everyone caches for a different reason" and my reason most often is to go for a walk in the woods and get some exercise. So I want the difficulty to be in the effort required to reach the cache, not in actually finding it. I don't walk an hour to then hunt for a half hour, generally speaking. But I am aware, based on the numbers of what people actually hide and find and where they place them, that a micro within 50 feet of pavement is what is being sought and hidden most often. At least a third of the caches hidden in my area fit this description...and that apparently a lot of people enjoy a half hour search for an impossibly tiny well hidden object, as long as they don't have to walk very far to get it. (OK, so maybe it takes them five minutes and just me a half hour) But to each, their own. So to honor these folks I hid a cache I called Little Itsy Bitsy Black Nano Hidden in the Woods with No Hints (GC4858A, now archived). I listed the size as "other" d/t of 4/1.5. 16 of the first 18 logs were dnfs (then word got out...) It actually was a tiny black nano, hidden 50 feet from pavement by a fallen pine tree and listed as "snow friendly" at first because if was a foot off the ground, and we seldom have snow that deep here. The reason it was so hard to find was that dimensionally speaking the outer container the cache was in was a large. It was placed inside a soup thermos that looked just like a gigantic nano (about four inches high) and that was placed on top of a large coffee can, the whole thing being bigger than your average ammo can. I spray painted it to match the initial pine tree coloration (shades of dark green) and stuck in the middle of the debris. Some folks appreciated the joke, some not so much, but I concluded that it was simply the misdirection that made the cache hard to find. If you are thinking tiny, you miss the big. If a higher d rating is your goal, then by all means use "other" as a "size" or call a nano a micro, or a 50 caliber ammo box a "regular" , but otherwise a preform is a preform, eh? No reason to use a size description that is vague unless you want to.
  13. Kudos to Captain Bob's metrics, er, measurement scales ;-) Lest we forget, the actual reason most of us want to know what size the container is has less to do with volume and more to due with other considerations. Allowing for the "everyone caches for a different reason" cliché, when I cache my interests are either a walk in the woods or a paddle so the size only matters to me so I have an idea about possible hiding spots. I generally simply ignore micros but will tolerate them if they involve a decent walk, rule out all nanos regardless, and prefer regulars and larger when caching with the grandkids as they are "in it for the loot";-) I find preform tubes are in the "sweet spot" for the kind of caching I prefer as they are sturdy, waterproof, can be easily tethered, are not readily noticeable to the casual observer, can contain a log and pencil, and used with or without cammo or coloration. They are a decent size for multicache stages (with a small to medium lock&lock as a cache) and, suspended from an overhanging branch perhaps, easy enough to find "from the boat" on kayak caches. I record them as "small" though most of the time these days simply say it is a "tethered preform". I agree with barefootjeff that the choice of container is partly determined by local custom and "free" container availability. In my neck of the woods, it's wet year round, snows in the winter, and is windy whenever it feels like, so placing non-waterproof containers, especially "o-ring bison tubes and nanos means the pulping process is guaranteed to occur if they are exposed to the elements. (Of course Murphy's Law applies: the ziplock can't zip itself and many lock&locks are beyond the skill level of more than a few folks ;-) But I'd rather know the approximate size of the waterproof container than the exact amount of liquid the hydroscopic containers can hold anyway ;-) If it's always dry, it don't matter much.
  14. I understand what niraD is getting at (using actual volumes like "100 ml" instead of comparative sizes: "size of a film cannister") but seriously folks, when was the last time you measured the interior or exterior volume of anything you placed in the wild, eh? (By the way, a film cannister can't hold a 100ml of liquid, more like 50ml) The cache page creation form shows the pictures of objects as references, which is more helpful than volume measurements and could be made more helpful still by keeping up with what folks actually place. A bison tube is one of the most common placements these days despite being a terrible container, seldom waterproof for long and only as good as the o-ring. That's what I commonly find when the size is listed as "micro". Smalls tend to be preforms (waterproof with a good cap), pill bottles (soggy log city), or the the smallest sized lock&locks (dry when folks close them up). Regulars are relatively scarce but tend to be larger lock&locks and the occasional smallish ammo can. and when was the last time you found anything bigger than an ammo can placed in the past five years? I think maybe two for me. The cache container world is shrinking and a "regular" is now a small lock&lock, not an ammo box.
  15. Over the years I've seen the standard terms (micro, small, regular and large) become less and less useful as far as size indication goes. Large used to indicate something the size of an ammo can (now seldom seen) or larger while a micro was a film cannister or smaller. Those two descriptions still hold, but the listing service hasn't kept up. I think it's fair to say most folks know what a nano is and that should be listed as an option (so five sizes, not four, plus "other"). Leaving "micro" as something film cannister size is fine (though fewer folks know what one is), a preform is generally two to three times larger than a film cannister, so I always list them as a "small". My "rule of thumb" is that anything larger than your thumb and up to coffee mug size as small. Regular has completely lost it's usefulness as a size description. A regular sized object is defined as " something of average or medium size". Maybe where you cache is different, but in my next of the woods more than half the caches people place are bison tubes (micros) or small lock and locks which are about the size of a coffee mug.. The average shoe box is now bigger is than an ammo can, so the "official definition doesn't help. The term "regular" could/should be replaced with "medium" defined as "bigger than a coffee mug, smaller than an ammo box". As for "other" this is a catchall for folks who don't want you to know the size. In my experience, it means the cache is a micro inside a larger "host" which makes sense to me.
  16. I agree with dprovan on this one: let the good caches live and the bad ones die. There are several caches in my local area where the "community" does this (the community being a small self selected group of cachers who enjoyed the original placement). I think the process is by necessity informal for a couple of reasons. Naturally, if the person has died or dropped out of the game to the extent they don't check their messages it has to be informal. You can't ask them. Secondly, have you ever asked anyone about adopting their cache when it's clear, due to a lack of activity or maintenance, that they have stopped actively caching? (It's like asking to adopt their grown children ) I have and I'm roughly 1 for 20. One yes, several "no"s , a few "don't want to put it up for adoption, but if you want to maintain it, go ahead" and mostly silence. Related to this, one thing I have noticed is that most of the time when this is done informally, the maintenance performed is not mentioned. Obviously you can't log an "OM" since you aren't the owner, but you can indicate that you are willing to maintain the cache in the absence of any objection by the owner and log "notes" that indicate what you have done and when. Sometimes The Reviewer will archive a cache anyway but...
  17. Now that is a great reason! More fav point worthy caches than favorite points is a good problem ;-)
  18. My thoughts on the original question (should you exclude PMs who never award Fav Points from the Fav Pt % calculation) are that doing so wouldn't change the relative rankings very much so it wouldn't be very helpful. I generally use d/t ratings, Fav Point totals and cache longevity combined as a screening tool when looking for caches I might want to find. I use Fav Pt.s as one screening tool: I assume that if a cache has been around for a couple of years and has two or fewer Fav Points, I'm not going to enjoy it much. That eliminates about half the caches out there. Since I cache to get out in the woods, anything with a d/t of less than 1.5/2 also gets excluded. That leaves about a third of the listings and sorting them by longevity of placement and Fav Pts is then useful. Consider two caches both with 10 Fav Pts, both placed more than 5 years ago and one with 350 finds and the other with 25 finds, the first is going to have a Fav Pt % of roughly 5% and the second around 50%. The greater accuracy of, say, 4.6% vs 45% doesn't matter much. For me the choice is obvious and relative. (Folks who are more interested in numbers can simply do the reverse of this as the easier more popular caches will have many more finds and fewer Fav Points...) On my own caches, I will occasionally query a finder whose log includes "great cache" but no Fav Point and (when folks answer) I get versions of "I don't give out Fav Points" or "Opps I forgot". In general, there is a roughly inverse relationship between the Quality of the cache and the Quantity of finds (higher Quality equals fewer finds) and a positive relationship between the Percentage of Fav Points and the Quality of the cache. While a small percentage of highly popular caches also have a high number of Fav Points as well as a high % of Fav Points, in general the absolute number of Finds and Fav Points a cache has depends more on how long it has been around and how easy it is to find. From my perspective, caches with a Fav Point % above 20-25% are "worth the drive" ;-) It's been a consistent feature of the game that what I consider to generally be "low quality caches" (low d/t ratings, tiny cache containers, placements adjacent to or above pavement) are both widely popular (they constitute more than a third of placements and more than two thirds of finds) and of low quality (their Fav Pt% is less than 5%). dexter
  19. The Fun Fact "there are 32 (caches) that have gone longer without being found than the cache which triggered this discussion" that Keystone noted sort of highlights the problem doesn't it? Some of us would prefer that "the rules" such as they are be applied more or less equally so that if a cache is apparently missing and a CO doesn't do anything to replace it, the listing be removed. That not only maintains an accurate listing but also allows anyone interested it placing a "non-ghost cache" at or near that location can do so. Here is another example of a cache that requires no maintenance: GC4D34G First NM log in August 2017 after repeated postings that log was soaked. No response from CO. Following this a sequence of 12 different cachers over a two year period reported the log was wet and finally this log recording a dnf and and NA "No luck today. From the picture the hiding place is empty. The tornado may have blown it away." Which resulted in: 09/26/2019 By Massquerade (Found=3 Hidden=0, as of 05/26/2021) It would be more appropriate to post a "Needs Maintenance" log here, rather than a "Needs Archive". The cache owner should still respond to the concern from the community. I've added this cache to my watchlist, and I will check back in four weeks to be sure that the owner has replied. The Reviewer did not follow through. Then three more DNFs before The Reviewer finally disabled the cache on 11/20/20 stating " I will check back in 30 days to verify a note has been left on this page by the owner Six months later, cache still listed. Cacher is currently active, sort of. No documented maintenance on any of their caches ever...This cache last found over two years ago. If The Reviewer isn't going to require maintenance for three and a half years then my suggestion for a No Maintenance Required category is starting to look a fait accompli, eh?
  20. I've had a couple of similar situations where renewal construction projects required disabling the cache until the work was completed. This is not at all the situation I was referring to and the solution is simple and obvious: 1, Disable the Cache explaining the reason in the log. 2, Periodically update the status. 3, Enable the cache once the construction has concluded and you have check on the cache. As regards the cache I was referring to, I have since contacted The Reviewer and once again basically been told to stop asking for the cache to be dealt with with the rational being impact of The Virus. In Massachusetts all Virus related restrictions on outdoor activities were lifted many months ago and currently not even masks are required. Just to recap, I am requesting that the cache be archived because it has no finds since 3/23/18, five consecutive dnfs (the last in June 2019), the cache was "temporarily disabled" in September 2019 (so 20 months ago), the CO acknowledged the container was gone and he promised a "new and improved one is on the way" on 8/8/20 and The Reviewer stated he was "watching" it a few weeks later. Both are pretending to follow the guidelines... I'm not complaining about this CO in particular as the CO is essentially doing nothing. I am raising the issue to address an obvious and growing issue in the game which is that as folks drop out of the game they do not "let go" of their caches (by archiving or having others adopt them) nor do they "hang on" to them by continuing to maintain them. This is an obvious and expectable problem which is The Reviewer's responsibility to deal with but it is not being addressed. This cache is simply a glaring example of it and the result is a less and less accurate listing service.
  21. I see that some folks have understood my meaning while others see the suggestion as encouraging bad behavior Well, here's the cache that inspired the post: GCY4WF "DNF" Take a look and see what you think is going on...Does it look like the Cache Health Score and the accelerated time table is working in this case? Or that "the same standards apply to everyone"? Hmmm.
  22. I'd like to propose a change in the listed categories for caches to include "No Maintenance Required" Caches. These would be caches that are exempt from the normal maintenance guidelines to recognize the reality that certain caches are currently exempt from the guidelines and alert prospective hunters in advance so they can either ignore the listing or bring a throwdown with them to avoid the annoyance of a dnf. I know the that guidelines have been "relaxed" during the Plague, which is definitely helpful to the CO, but no so helpful to people actually actively caching. (As an aside, caching was probably my activity least affected by The Plague while caching "in State") Currently CO beneficiaries are power trail creators who include instructions in their write up encouraging replacements rather than dnfs and formerly active cachers who had withdrawn from the game but lack the ability to either archive or request adoption for their cache children but just can't seem to fix what is broken. I realize many people might find such a radical recognition of reality too outrageous to consider, so as an alternative perhaps one could consider an "Occasional Maintenance Suggested" category instead. This would instruct The Reviewers to notice caches with active NM and NA logs and multiple dnfs and no finds in at least a year to encourage the CO's to disable the cache, then wait for another year before sending a gentle reminder that nothing has been done... Now I believe all changes to existing guidelines should include a cost/benefit analysis so here goes: Cost: CO would have to actively request exemption from guidelines and Reviewer would have to approve them. Guideline 7.4. Maintenance Expectations would have to be modified to include time expectations such as "within three months" or "whenever you feel like it". Therefore: More work for the CO and The Reviewer when enforced. Benefit: Caches that aren't going to be maintained would be obvious, saving active seekers time and effort. Folks could match the different levels of maintenance to their actual behavior rather than pretending to maintain them. For the Maintenance Required Caches more folks might post NM and NM logs in a timely fashion and more non- existent caches might be removed sooner: Cache quality would improve. Fewer inactive cachers would complain about "The Cache Police" nagging them since they could simply apply for "no maintenance required" status. Folks who stop caching might maintain their caches or give them up for adoption more frequently. Folks who can't bring themselves to do either might ask for assistance from active cachers willing to help out. [I also want to recognized that the majority of active cachers do a pretty good job of maintenance. In my experience, the no maintenance group is largely made up of newbies who place a few caches and then drop out or once active and prolific placers who age out, move or lose interest and effectively abandon their caches. My Modest Proposal is an attempt to recognize that reality and speed up the archival process...]
  23. To Chipper 3: Yes!! I missed your response above but recently did come across the Massachusetts Interactive Property Map and have been using it to discover areas owned by towns, conservation organizations, the State and other "open to the public" landowners. It is a terrific resource for anyone interested in knowing "who owns the land" and something Reviewers should obviously be using as well. Combined with knowledge of "who to contact" at the organizations it goes a long way towards making the process of getting permission much easier. I have been using it as a "first step" to scouting out properties for the last couple of months. Thanks for posting this. Different "layers" in the mapping program reveal many different data bases, including for example the location of all the Massachusetts Town Corners.
  24. RTCB: You seem to be missing the point. I accept that it is up to me to get permission. I am simply asking for The Reviewer to pass on information they have already upon request to point me in the right direction. Since I've placed a few caches I've noticed that The Reviewers responces range from "You should contact the Regional EEL manager" which is helpful, to silence, which is not. Folks who place and maintain caches are also unpaid volunteers and some of us spend hundreds of hours a year doing so. Passing on a name or a number when requested seems like a pretty small ask...At any rate I've add my two cents to the "suggestion box" and am hoping for the best.
  25. Thank you, Keystone. I have understood from your previous messages that their is no master database and am not suggesting providing information is an obligation. I am suggesting that information, when it is available be shared upon request. A comparsion of the Wiki databases and the actual placement of existing caches would show only a modest overlap. In practice when I am placing a cache in a new area I determine who is the landowner and seek them out. If it is a public area without a geocaching policy known to me but several geocaches already placed there, I assume The Reviewer is aware of the policy, and if not, is aware of which caches are on the property, and who placed them, so asking them to look and provide me with the name seems reasonable and straightforward. On a dozen or so occasions I have contacted the cachers making the earlier placements to ask who they talked to to get permission. Their responses fall into two categories: 1, They tell me who they contacted and what the result was, which is often helpful, or 2, They do not respond. This is also the two rsults I get from asking The Reviewer: some respond with helpful information and some do not respond to the request. I realize this is a volunteer position but surely the goal is to encourage quallity cache placements and providing information when known seems a reasonable burden. Thank you. After reviewer the discussion I realized what I was asking for amounts to a suggestion to change or improve a geocaching.com policy so have gone to that forum and left the following: I would like to suggest that geocaching.com institute a policy of sharing public information upon request about who provided permission to place a geocache. For example: If an existing geocache is placed in a public conservation area and information was provided to The Reviewer as a condition of the cache approval process that information is known by the Reviewer. If I wish to place a cache in on the same physical property and ask The Reviewer "who should I contact to get permission?" ; The Reviewer provide what information they have. For instance, a response might be" "Well, that's a town conservation area. So contact the Town Conservation Chairman. It was John Jones in 2018 but may have changed by now."
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