I recently inquired at Groundspeak about the possibility of notifying the cache
owner when someone puts a watch on their cache. I was told that this
was not done due to privacy issues. I don't understand how doing so
would affect privacy any more than the notifications we now receive.
Currently, cache owners are notified by e-mail if someone adds a log
(Found it, Didn't find it, Write note) to their cache page, and owners
of trackable items are notified when someone grabs or stashes the
item. Sending an e-mail to the owner when someone adds/removes a
"watch" on a cache or trackable item is a logical extension of the current
notices and would be a great addition to the geocaching web site.
Having to post a note on the cache page to solicit an e-mail from
"anyone who might be watching" is a hokey way to find out who's watching,
and would just result in a lot of superfluous e-mail traffic.
Suppose there are four (known) people watching, and a fifth (unknown)
starts watching. You then post another "who's watching" note on your
cache page, and that note would be sent to six people (you, plus the
five watchers). The four known watches would get an extraneous e-mail!
Now, add a sixth unknown watcher. You then post another "who's watching"
note on the cache page, and seven e-mails sent, with the five known watchers
getting an extraneous "who's watching" e-mail.
If someone adds or removes a "watch" for a cache or trackable item,
it would be so much simpler and better to send the owner one e-mail;
for example, "Team XYZ is watching your such-and-such cache (TB whatever)."
or, "Team XYZ is no longer watching your such-and-such cache (TB whatever)."
There's no harm done privacy-wise. and it would preclude having to post
"who's watching" notes on a cache page.
From personal experience, I discovered that a cacher who lives close
to one of our caches was watching it, and grabbed all the geocoins that were
stashed there, but didn't leave a log entry that he'd taken them. I became
concerned that the cache had been muggled! Perhaps if cachers knew that
the cache owner knew about their "watch" on a cache, they'd be less
apt to get "piggy" about grabbing trackables.
Please consider the above for a future enhancement to the geocaching
web site. But whatever you do, please don't remove the "watching" count
from the cache page.