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Arby Gee

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Posts posted by Arby Gee

  1. Perhaps I am being a bit thickheaded here, but aren't EarthCache questions meant to be answered to show the cacher actually learned something? If the cacher answers incorrectly doesn't it mean they did not fulfill the logging requirements even with a picture?


    Haha! I know what you're up to. You're right, you know. ;)


    Well, that makes one of us, then. I am seriously confused here. On one hand, as EarthCache owners we're charged with coming up with questions to see if cachers learned the lesson...on the other we have people who say let a log stand even if the answers are wrong.


    I am completely serious here. Should we police a cacher's answers to make sure they are correct to reasonable parameters and delete logs that do not fall within those areas or do we turn a blind eye? If we choose to turn a blind eye then it begs the question of why we even have the questions in the first place?


    I don't want to be a nazi with my EarthCaches but I don't want to be a pushover, either.


    OK, sorry if I assumed something that I shouldn't have. But I would say that being Nazis is a really bad idea... or even college geology professors for that matter.

  2. Perhaps I am being a bit thickheaded here, but aren't EarthCache questions meant to be answered to show the cacher actually learned something? If the cacher answers incorrectly doesn't it mean they did not fulfill the logging requirements even with a picture?


    Haha! I know what you're up to. You're right, you know. ;)

  3. Happy to hear these answers--we went to an earthcache today in Central Park aand most likely didn't get one or two of the answers right--I was nervous it wouldn't count! Awesome


    There are a LOT of cachers who avoid Earthcaches for just this reason. Glad to hear you didn't!

  4. You are within your rights to. My own personal opinion is that as long as I have sufficient evidence that a cacher was at the site, and as long as they made an attempt to answer the questions, I let the log stand. But that's just me. I do, however, send a reply with the correct answers.

  5. I've got a book called A Field Manual for the Amateur Geologist by Alan M. Cvancara, that I've found very helpful. It really helps you think like a geologist and look at a landscape the way a geologist would. It probably won't give you any specific logging taks, but it's a really good practical overview.

  6. I've been getting it frequently for over a year now. Seems to be mostly a cell phone thing. I can almost always tell by the log itself. "Found it/TFTC" means I won't be getting answers. I tell them in my write-up that they have 3 days after logging to send me the answers. I always give them more than that, then I send them a reminder. If I don't hear anything back after at least another 3 days, I delete the log.


    This has happened dozens of times now, and only ONCE have I gotten a response back from a cacher, who said "Oops, I forgot to get the answers while I was there".


    Haven't gotten any complaints yet about my deletions. Not inclined to take them lying down if I do.

  7. It's the EarthCache developer who won't do location specific research to help the visitor learn about why a spring or a waterfall is the way it is at that location that is, in my opinion, limiting the learning opportunities.


    To me that's like saying the author of a third grade textbook is limiting educational opportunities by not writing a college-level text. People need to start somewhere. My first Earthcaches were very simple efforts that I didn't put any more than a couple hours into. For a couple of my later Earthcaches I've put in several dozen hours each. But interestingly, it's those simple Earthcaches that have been the most popular and brought in the most newbies. The more complicated ones have only been attempted by the experienced Earthcachers. Those caches have a fraction of the "finds" that the simpler ones have.


    Earthcachers need an opportunity to grow, both as finders and developers. You can't force them all to be professional geologists overnight.

  8. In part I have to agree with you - but only the part about how this has been a joint effort. I appreciate the huge effort all the Earthcache developers have put in over time.....and look what we have all accomplished. It is wonderful to read the logs and see the growth of Earthcaches around the globe.


    However, I want everyone to know that there has ALWAYS been guidelines...since day one! I wrote them with Groundspeak and with the US National Park Service folks who wanted to see caching work on their lands. So the premise that EarthCaches were developed before any guidelines is completely false.


    Yes the guidelines have evolved over time....just as the guidelines for all geocaching have evolved over time.


    We trust that people will do the right thing by following the guidelines....and its been by following the guidelines that we have gotten this far!


    Correct, there always have been guidelines. I didn't deny that in my post. I said that those Earthcaches were developed in the days before "these guidelines" came into effect. Those were the days before each and every Earthcache had to be a "unique feature" that provided an "exceptional" science lesson. They were also the days when we were branching out and widening our scope to find more things to write about. Today we're pulling back and shortening the list, rather than lengthening it.

  9. That is a negative? Why should the people that originated this awesome facet of geocaching bend to our vision? Shouldn't we be aiming to reach their vision? They have a broad view of where they want to take this game and I am sure that it stands to our benefit. Why not trust them since they got us this far?


    It wasn't just "them" that brought us where we are. It was "us" geocachers who have been developing fun, educational, and interesting Earthcaches for years before these guidelines came into effect. Why can't "they" trust "us" since we've gotten "them" this far?


    This is only because it is outside the guidelines. So again, can you really complain about it?


    When the guidelines are that a reviewer thousands of miles away who may never have set foot within hundreds of miles of my Earthcache has to determine that it is a "unique feature" and an "exceptional" science lesson, yes, I really can complain.


    Fortunately your wrong on this point. There are more ECs being published than ever, so it appears that it is the unsilent minority that holds this idiom, rather than the many. It is slowing down a bit.


    The first "real" Earthcache in the Cleveland metropolitan area (where I live) was the Deer Lick Cave Earthcache (GC15P0N) in 2007. It is a very simple cache, but it continues to be extremely popular to this day. Shortly after the publication of Deer Lick Cave there was an Earthcache explosion in the Cleveland metropolitan area, with 35 new Earthcaches being published in the next 3 years, many of them quite sophisticated. But there have been only four published in the 12 months since then. And the way things are going, I have no doubt that a cache like Deer Lick Cave will soon be on the same blacklist as springs, glacial erratics, etc.

  10. That is what you got from that statement? :blink:


    Every one of my caches has been refined and improved from the feedback I get from the reviewers. I may not have a huge track record, but with 7 of my own ECs I can tell you that the process has done me well and I have developed a desire to make even more. It is because of the help I received, rather than despite it.


    What I get from that statement is that the vast majority of Earthcache submissions aren't published as is. A reviewer, who might be thousands of miles away, has decided that he or she wants something added or edited before publishing the cache. It's not an optional suggestion, it's a demand.


    Now I would have no problem with an optional suggestion, and I would in fact be grateful if a reviewer were to hold up publication of my listing if he or she found that it contained an error. And if I was crass enough to copy and paste my write-up from someone else's Earthcache, I'd figure I had it coming. But if my write-up is accurate and in my own words, then I should have the right to decide whether to use the reviewer's suggestions or not. After all, it's my name at the top of the listing, not the reviewer's.


    Refusing to publish caches until they can be made to conform to the extremely arbitrary and subjective guidelines we've seen here will deter most potential Earthcache developers from ever submitting Earthcaches. Plain and simple. But then again, I'm getting the impression that's exactly what TPTB want.

  11. On the other hand, rarely is an EarthCache submission ready to publish on the first go.


    I'm sorry, but I have to say I find this statement very disturbing. I'm glad I got involved with Earthcaching years ago when I did, because I've really learned a lot and seen some very interesting places. I'm saddened though that the policy now seems to be one of erecting barriers. It was a nice program while it lasted.

  12. The guidelines say:


    2. EarthCaches should highlight a unique feature. EarthCaches that duplicate existing EarthCache information about the site or related sites may be rejected. EarthCaches should be developed to provide a unique experience to the location's visitors, and to teach a unique lesson about the feature at the site. Multiple EarthCaches on the same feature should be avoided and content, rather than proximity, will be the guiding principle of EarthCache reviewers.


    The key word in there is "unique".


    But the guidelines say "unique feature", not "unique lesson". And they don't specify "unique for a given region", they just say "unique". And as Konnarock Kid and Marge pointed out in Post #4, for several Earthcache types they go well beyond "unique" and specify "exceptional", with further restrictions being placed on specific classifications.


    Perhaps the problem is the wording of the guidelines?

  13. So what would you recommend instead?

    Doing nothing?

    Complaining that it's 'too hard' to make an EarthCache and just not making one?


    I'm recommending what I've been saying all along: putting the "caching" back in Earthcaching. Realizing that each and every Earthcache shouldn't have to be an innovative and exceptional science lesson any more than each and every geocache has to be a 10-stage encrypted puzzle accessible only by a 6-mile upstream kayak journey.


    One of the most important aspects of caching is getting out and enjoying nature. We seem to be losing sight of that.

  14. But by the same token, if I am going to talk my school board into paying for two trips or talk my kids into going to the one ten miles away on their own--it better have a different lesson. There really isn't any point in going to four springs four miles apart and measuring the flow rate four times. Yeah maybe I learned something, but I didn't learn something new--and it's usually easy enough to teach me something new.


    I certainly understand this, but I think the point many of us are making is that it's your choice. If you see an Earthcache that you consider to be lame, or one that repeats a lesson you've already learned, you have every right to pass it by and choose another one. But the other side of that coin is that people who haven't yet learned that lesson should have the option of doing so. And why restrict them to learning it at just one place?


    I don't care much for the lame, cut-and-paste Earthcaches either and in general I don't seek them unless they're at a nice area that has no other caches to find. In my own Earthcache listings I always try my best to include local, specific information. But it's not always possible to be "innovative" and come up with an "exceptional" science lesson. And I'm not sure I would want to spend the time working at it only to be told that my lesson isn't "innovative" or "exceptional" enough.


    Most of us are amateurs who've learned what we know from reading books and doing other people's Earthcaches. Even if we kick ideas around on this forum, there's still a limit to how innovative and exceptional we can be without running the risk of providing erroneous information, which would be the worst crime of all.

  15. Here is the problem with the above. First, note the highlighted. Words like "major", "innovative". "acceptable" and "exceptional" are extremely subjective and the interpretation of such would vary greatly from person to person. It's kind of like adding a 'WOW' factor to the narrative itself! What do these words mean from a geological standpoint?

    Waterfalls....what's wrong with the cache visitor learning to identify what type (classification) of waterfall is the one they are viewing. Is that not a learning experience? Even if an earthcacher soon memorized the waterfall classification schemes and could identify each waterfall at a glance, just what's wrong with that? There are several types and combinations thereof and I seriously doubt if any two waterfalls are exactly the same! Maybe they have the same classification, but they are far from being the same thing. There are just so many ways waterfalls are formed and finding "acceptable" logging tasks is also subjective and should be spelled out!

    To eliminate or attempt to make more difficult the approval of previously accepted submissions is counter productive and I believe that is what timchh and Arby Gee are expressing. If, and I believe it is, earthcaching is all about educational aspects of geology, then why put up unnecessary barriers? Yes, one eratic, waterfall or confluence may seem like another to some, but that is not logical or even actually true! I would think most geologists would agree with that statement! Just what is wrong with multiple eratics or waterfalls? A lot of mountains are formed the same way yet they are very, very different. Basically a mine is a mine (dug by someone) but who would say they are alike? What about caves? Caves are formed by only a few phenomena but no limitations so far on listing them for earthcaches (excluding the poor bat disease!). Like waterfalls or eratics, no two caves are alike!

    As with most of what I have said, I realize that it is opinion, but I believe earthcaching should be more inclusive, not exclusive!

    Thanks. :blink:


    Well said. I had been thinking of developing a glacial erratic Earthcache in a local metropark that would take people on a 2 mile hike through a seldom visited part of the park to see three erratics. There's nothing spectacular about these erratics, just a nice hike and a reminder of the geology that's all around us. For those people who haven't done the other glacial erratics in the area, it would be a learning experience. For those who have, there wouldn't be as much to learn, but it would still be a worthwhile cache for those who choose to do it. And I guess that's the key. If I've had my fill of glacial erratics, then I can choose not to find any more of them or list any more of them. But it's getting more and more like someone else wants to make those decisions for us.


    Needless to say, this particular Earthcache is going on the shelf.

  16. The EC I am trying to get published is an Erratic in the Juneau area. There are no other Erratic ECs in the area so something unique in my opinion. Not another glacier EC since there are 3 around the area and two that are part of the same glacier. And a couple of waterfalls from around here too.


    Yeah, I really have a problem with this idea that "there have been enough of these in the world and we don't need to see anymore". Earthcaching is not a college science course. It's supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be a way to learn geology, but it's ALSO supposed to be a way to enjoy the outdoors and see new places.


    Earthcaching is caching. If the philosophy that seems to be taking over the Earthcaching world were applied to the rest of the caching world, we'd be saying "sorry, no more ammo cans, we've got enough of those already", or "sorry, no more rock pile hides, we've got enough of those too."


    I agree that it seems to be heading in a direction where Earthcaches will no longer be fun to find - or "hide".

  17. If the cachefinder took the time to write something of value in their log and/or their e-mailed answers, I always send a reply. If they just log "TFTC" or "Found it" and send an unsigned e-mail with the bare minimum of info, I usually don't bother to reply any more.


    I've also found that I rarely get responses to my e-mails when I find an Earthcache (even though I always make it a point to say something of value in my log entries, and I always sign my e-mails).

  18. I too have been pleasantly surprised to see that my Earthcaches having been getting "favorited" so much more than my other caches. However, I don't really think the Favorites feature will affect my finding of Earthcaches. Wherever I cache, Earthcaches are always the first things that I look at, and I decide which ones to do based on the write-ups and the log entries for the most part.


    Where the Favorites feature helps me the most is in determining what traditional caches to look at. There are sooooooooooo many traditional caches out there that I have absolutely no interest in, and it's very time-consuming sorting through all of them to find the few that interest me. Now the first ones I look at are the ones with the most Favorites votes, and then go from there.

  19. 1. As Huntleigh said it, GPSr is, and always has been, the correct terminology. But I admit to being lazy and almost always abbreviating it as GPS. (It's not so much that extra letter, it's changing from caps to lower case that does me in.)


    2. As of January 1st, pictures of your GPS® at an Earthcache are strictly optional. New Earthcaches will not have this requirement, and older Earthcaches should be modified to make them optional.


    3. Don't know about the geocoins.

  20. I'm no geologist either, and I'm not sure that you can ever really know why that rock formation is thrust upwards like that. It could be simply that the rock around it has eroded away. The orange coloring might be a sign of iron deposits or metamorphosis, which could possibly have made it more resistant to erosion than the rock around it. If you can't determine why that formation is shaped like that, I still wouldn't let it stop you from doing an Earthcache there. If you can explain the geology of the area and identify the type of rock and the reason for the coloring, that ought to be good enough, IMO.


    P.S. It actually looks a lot like many eroded sandstone formations we have here in Ohio.

  21. The "Roadside Geology" series is excellent for your purposes. I have the Roadside Geology of Ohio by Mark J. Camp. The first 5 chapters are about basic, introductory geology, and the rest of the book is about specific geological features in Ohio.


    Another good series is the Peterson Field Guides Geology series. I have the Eastern North America version by David C. Roberts. It's the same general idea as the Roadside Geology series. It has great illustrations but I don't think the text is as helpful.


    Another book I really like, but maybe is a bit more advanced, is A Field Manual for the Amateur Geologist by Alan M. Cvancara

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