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Everything posted by GeoawareUSA4

  1. That's why I didn't list calling out caches and cachers in these Forums as a means of raising Guidelines issues. The means I listed are ways to discretely and properly raise an issue with the correct people who can actually address the situation. Vetting things in these Forums ends up involving a whole lot more people than necessary.
  2. The integrity of the game is dependent of cachers helping maintain that integrity. It is absolutely proper for cachers to raise Guidelines issues that appear after a cache is published because the Volunteer Review Team can't possible monitor every single cache. From a Reviewer's perspective, it reflects more negatively on the cachers who logged a cache that has Guidelines issues that they did not call attention to than on the Cacher who brought the issue forward. Guideline violations are everybody's business. Cachers may raise Guideline issues by logging a Needs Archived log on the cache page or contacting the local Reviewer via their profile. They can also contact Groundspeak through the Help Center. It is grossly unfair to label a cacher who points out a Guideline issue as "that guy." That guy is typically being a pretty good steward of the game.
  3. Under today's more comprehensive EarthCache Guidelines, the cache would not have been published due to the relatively light Earth Science/geology lesson. It would be relatively easy to make the lesson and logging tasks more robust, but that will not be required of the Cache Owner at this time. However, the photo requirement does need to be optional. Caches before that requirement was written into the EarthCache Guidelines are NOT grandfathered. EarthCache Reviewers have been instructed not to go on "search and destroy" missions to find all non-compliant EarthCaches, but we have been told to request the EarthCache Owner to update their logging tasks when we become aware of a photo requirement.
  4. How does this translate in the reviewing process? Do you merely ask the CO to add something or are you actively enforcing this (by denying publication) when the developer doesn't change/add to his EC? Mr. Terratin The reviewers write Reviewer Notes to the cache developer's EarthCache page explaining changes that must be made to the page before it can be published. These notes usually reference the specific EarthCache guideline that is not being met (in the context of this thread, usually one or more of Guidelines 1, 2, 3, and 6). Because I am interested in publishing EarthCaches, I will oftentimes go another step and offer suggestions for logging/learning tasks that are intented to provide ideas to the cache developer to bring his/her cache page to a point where it can be published. The source(s) of these suggestions come from my learnings from other EarthCache pages I've reviewed, personal knowledge, and/or independent research I do because my own interest in the location/feature has been piqued. EarthCache reviewers will also consult with their peers for ideas on how to help the EarthCache developer move toward a publishable EarthCache. Compliance with the guidelines is enforced by not publishing the EarthCache until its content complies with the guidelines.
  5. Nice explanation of the nuance, Neos2. Many EarthCache submittals I see have only logging activities. When I see this, I propose some learning activities to the cache developer to expand the visitor's activities into interacting with the locale and entering the learning mode. Yes! When I review an EarthCache, I'll read the text and look at the logging tasks and ask myself what the cache developer is trying to teach/show me. If it's to prove I can read a few words on an interpretive sign, I'll encourage the cache developer to stretch further in to the learning realm.
  6. And now, as Paul Harvey would say, "The rest of the story." The content of the OP's cache was fine for publishing once it arrived in my queue. His cache page and logging tasks about a large glacial erratic had enough site specificity that the page could have been published as submitted. However, the OP had some relatively easy to resolve issues (all from the list included in one of my earlier posts in this thread) to bring his cache submittal into compliance with the current guidelines. One issue was lack of permission from the Tongass National Forest land manager and I provided contact information for easy resolution. Other requests involved simply providinng the answers to the logging tasks in a Reviewer Note and annotating his sources. Rather than continue to work through the process, the OP's response was to archive his submittal. Reactions like this to my efforts to help EarthCache developers through the process are very frustrating and leave me feeling like I wasted my time by even looking at the original submittal when I instead could have been working on other EarthCaches in the backlog. I really do want to publish EarthCaches and some developers respond quickly and positively while others just walk away and never communicate again. The former group of cachers are a pleasure to work with and the latter group leave me shaking my head wondering why they even submitted an EarthCache since they apparently didn't read or never intended to comply with the current guidelines. This happens during the review process for Traditional caches as well, so I'm not singling out EarthCache developers, though it does seem to happen more often "over here."
  7. Most EarthCaches I review are not published upon the initial submittal for the following reasons (given in approximate order of frequency, noting that many submittals have more than one issue):1. The Cache Owner did not provide contact information for the land manager who provided permission for placement of the EarthCache. (Guideline 8) 2. The Cache Owner did not provide the answers to his/her logging tasks (Guideline 6) 3. The Cache Owner did not properly attribute the source of his/her cache page information (Guideline 3) 4. The Cache Owner required a photograph to be posted with the visitor's log (Guideline 6) 5. The Cache Owner developed the EarthCache as a virtual cache (how tall is the sign post or how many words are on the first line of the sign?) with no interaction with the location and Earth Science/geology lesson. (Guideline 6) 6. The Cache Ower did not teach a unique lesson about the location (Guideline 2) 7. The EarthCache is written about something other than Earth Science or Geology. (Guideline 1) I see very little arbitrariness or subjectivity with the above issues. Instead, what I see is a tendency for the Cache Owner not to read and adhere to the basic tenets of the EarthCaching guidelines. When a cacher is struggling with a unique lesson, I'll oftentimes do my own research and give him/her suggestions on what could work. Some folks run with the idea(s) and some folks abandon their efforts. As an EarthCache Reviewer, I would MUCH rather publish an EarthCache on the first pass and that would happen a lot more often if the EarthCache creator would read the guidelines and verify for him/herself that their EarthCache complies at the most basic level before it even arrives in my review queue.
  8. Yes, I understand your position, but if there are, say, no other springs in the area, what harm are the more common tasks? When combined with logging tasks related to the specific locale, the more common tasks would be accepted. As stand alone tasks, they really don't teach anything about the local Earth Science or Geology.
  9. The EarthCaching reviewer team is one of the hardest working groups of people I have ever worked with. Reviewing the typical EarthCaches submittal requires signficantly more time than the typical physical cache (I know, because I review physical caches as Greatland Reviewer) to assure a consistent level of content and compliance with the guidelines. On average, I go through two or three iterations with an EarthCache developer before his/her EarthCache is ready to publish. These iterations involve much more than rejecting a cache out of hand because I consistently provide suggestions to help get a cache publish, including doing some of my own research. I really do like to click the "Publish" button. Not at all! If the cacher who develops the EarthCache explains the specific geology that relates to the local spring or provides a true glaciology lesson about the erratic and its relationship to its location, EarthCaches on those topics will still be published. I've published some of those after working with the EarthCache developer to provide site-specific information. On the other hand, it's a non-starter to cut and paste "what magnitude is the spring and what is the water temperature" for a spring EarthCache and "measure the size or estimate the mass of the rock" for a glacial erratic EarthCache.
  10. Regardless of where the EC I'm reviewing is located, I always request source attribution to be added to the cache page before I hit the publish button. In very rare cases, the cache owner will reply that they are the subject matter expert and not provide additional sources. I will most certainly be more diligent about pursuing photographic attribution as well as content attribution in the future. Use of others' photographic and content materials from the internet without attribution is a worldwide problem.
  11. That may work for the first year, but wouldn’t help in subsequent years. Also, the review team is dependent on local knowledge provided by the cache owner, so if the cache owner doesn’t mention seasonal access, the reviewer won’t know about it. Here in Alaska, we don’t have what I’ll call developed gorges with controlled seasonal access, but we certainly have terrain that is as or more extreme, doesn’t have a trail, and yet people visit. It’s up the individual to assess whether an area is safe to access. The local authorities won’t accept that liability. So, with that regional difference in mind, that’s why seasonal access never crossed my mind until you brought it to my attention. In those cases, it’s up to the cache owner to provide specific seasonal access information in addition to the proper cache page attributes. “Winter” is a function of snow cover, elevation, sun exposure, etc., that can be very location specific. Interesting corundum, isn’t it? Wearing my player hat, I certainly prefer the latter. In the case of the caches you brought to my attention, I have every reason to believe the cacher has been to the locations because some of the original logging tasks were very specific. I requested those logging tasks to be removed because they were not Earth Science/geology related (e.g. color of fire hydrant, number of benches, etc.) Based on one of your e-mails and a subsequent check of a terrain map, the cache owner has been asked to verify the coordinates of one of his caches. Coordinates errors happen with traditional caches as well, and are easy to correct. That and other guidelines which is why the majority of earthcaches are not published upon their first submittal. Education of cachers will be an ongoing process requiring consistent application of the guidelines by the review team. From my personal reviewing experience, a cacher rarely makes the same mistake twice.
  12. EarthCache Guideline #4 quoted by Sandy addresses this. Due to the seasonal access issues for some locations, some latitude is shown for the two-month guideline. For example, some locations are accessible only in the summer and fall due to snow and ice, but the cacher may not develop the cache page until winter. For EarthCaches that fall into this situation, the cache owner is asked to add attributes to his cache page reflecting winter availability and to clearly state on the cache page when access is permitted and at what cost. Sometimes reviewers forget to check the attributes, but we’re always able to circle back if a problem is brought to our attention. Yes, this could be done, but that’is where the site-specific logging task requirements come in. Some Earth Science/geology related logging tasks may appear vague on the surface, but when a cacher is on site, s/he may be in for a surprise at what they find. The cache owner must provide the answers to the logging tasks in a Reviewer Note that gets archived when the cache is published, so there is a quality assurance check of logging tasks. Coordinate checking is done only superficially. For example, if a cache page description talks about a walk in the park, yet the coordinates are on an apartment building roof, a verfication is requested. Neither Groundspeak nor the Reviewers take accountability for the safety of a cache. Conditions always change and what is safe one day may not be safe the next. For example, a terrain 1 flat parking lot in summer can become treacherous terrain 4.5 when glazed with ice in the winter. Frankly, no one. Similarly, there is no official process to verify logs on traditional caches. The vast majority of cachers comply with the guidelines and there is always the presumption of fair play and honesty unless there is a good reason to think otherwise. EarthCache Guideline #3 requires that plagiarism be avoided and information sources be provided. I will not publish an EarthCache without source attribution unless the cacher states they are the subject matter expert. I do not verify every source or run every string of text through a search engine, so a presumption of honesty is made until proven otherwise. Another issue that has been brought up is US-based reviewers publishing caches written only in German. This happens when the review queue gets long and caches sit unpublished for several weeks. Some reviewers, while not brazen enough to claim fluency in one or more foreign languages, are proficient enough to read foreign language cache pages. Failing that, especially when the technical content gets heavy, Google Translate or other online translators are relied upon. Those translators sometimes return laughable results and that’s when I pull the dictionary off the shelf and translate content the old fashioned way.
  13. I'll step out and expand some on geoaware's post: I spend a considerable amount of time reviewing each EarthCache in my queue, oftentimes an order of magnitude or more time than it takes me to review a traditional cache. Most EarthCaches that I have published did not get published upon the first submittal and some have required as many as a half-dozen iterations to reach the point of meeting the current guidelines. I do really try to help each cache owner submit a quality EarthCache. Here's what I look for while verifying a submittal meets the EarthCaching guidelines: 1. Does the cache page offer an Earth Science lesson, or is it more like a virtual cache? If the latter, I will encourage the cache owner to perform more research on their topic, view the top ten EarthCaches listed on the GSA EarthCache website for inspiration, and resubmit their cache. Sometimes, the original focus of a cache page was about biological, ecological, or archeological features, which, while interesting, did not provide an Earth Science lesson. I will make recommendations on how to weave the original information into an Earth Science lesson which sometimes requires me to do some of my own research on the area. 2. I consider the reading level of the text with eye toward the target of upper-middle school reading level (14 years old). Most EarthCaches are written at a level at or below that level which is less a concern for me than the cache pages that are written at a much higher level and need to be simplified (I've come across only one of those in my relatively short tenure as an EarthCache reviewer). If the source of the text and graphics is not appropriately annotated, I will hold up publication until that is done. Since most of the information cachers use comes from the internet, it usually takes only a few text string searches via Google and other search engines to turn up the source(s) of the original text and I'll flag the plagiarism. 3. I look very carefully at the logging tasks and provided answers to see if they have the cacher interacting with the environment or having a virtual experience (read the sign, count the steps, measure the height, etc.). If the logging tasks lack this specific, local interaction, I'll recommend logging tasks that will take the cacher beyond the virtual cache experience, even it it's as simple as measure the crystal size, describe the texture, measure and describe the observed fossils, etc. Because of this, I'm not a fan of the autologgers some cache owners are using because by their nature, the answers to the logging tasks usually have to be way too simple to meet the intended spirit of EarthCaching. That said, I will not hold up publishing a cache if an autologger is used unless the cache owner does not allow logging of the cache prior to a response. 4. I still sometimes have to request the cache owner to remove the requirement that a photo be submitted with one's log unless it's a requirement to log a transient phenomenon such a tidal bore. 5. Finally, I look for verification of Land Manager/owner approval. The EarthCache requirements for this are more stringent than those for traditional caches with a specific name, title, and contact details required. When I have knowledge about how to obtain such approval, I will provide that information to the cache owner to help them out. In the end, not every EarthCache I publish meets the standards of all cachers, but it does, at a minimum, meet the standards defined by the GSA EarthCache guidelines. I really do like to push the "publish" button, and I've had lots of positive experiences with cachers that have worked with me to upgrade their cache pages and who have thanked me for the support and guidance. I've also really enjoyed learning more about the geology in the areas I review. I'm a chemical engineer by education, but have always been an Earth Science lover, and the learning never stops. With respect to publishing my own EarthCaches, I would choose to have another reviewer to that for the very reasons cited by cezanne.
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