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Team Hugs

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Everything posted by Team Hugs

  1. My main thought is that the current logging interface makes it difficult (unless you're a veteran who knows how) to log NM or NA without logging a DNF.
  2. Forgive me if I implied otherwise. I certainly agree that it's completely within the authority of the CO to delete a throwdown log. I'm advocating for COs to voluntarily show some grace towards throwdown loggers. Just because a CO has the authority to delete a throwdown log doesn't mean they have to use that authority.
  3. The problem I have with that argument is that it's not always clear if you've found "the right cache". Okay, sure, if the cache description says that it's a large, and you find a test trip container, it's pretty clear that it's a throwdown. But it's not always that obvious. A micro throwdown on a micro cache may be incredibly hard to distinguish from the original --- especially if the cache description doesn't give enough information to distinguish between them. My one-and-only experience with this a number of years ago was on an urban cache. What I found at the cache site (a hollow metal tube in an urban area) was a hidden slip of paper with a few signatures from previous loggers. The cache size was described as "not chosen". I signed the log in good faith. Shortly thereafter, the CO contacted me, telling me I'd signed a throwdown, because the real cache was a magnetic nano in the pipe. Okay, maybe today, 4000 finds later, I'd know enough to suspect a naked sheet of paper was a throwdown. But I didn't then --- especially as the use of "logs-as-caches" was still popular at that time before the Frog started requiring actual containers. We need to remember that not everyone who finds a cache is a veteran cacher who knows all the "unwritten rules". (Incidentally, this is why I'm uncomfortable with earthcaches; it's never clear to me if I've got the answers "correct" when I submit them, and I'm always a little afraid that a CO will disallow my find on the basis of me not being able to tell the difference between igneous and metamorphic rock structures. With caches that have a log, I usually have some assurance that I've actually found the blessed thing. But that's a discussion for another time.) Except if ... You're competing in one of the Frog's latest events, which awards you points for finds, and one less find might mean that you don't get that souvenir you've been pursuing. You need the find to qualify for a challenge cache (Frog-approved or not), and one less find means you don't qualify after all. You're pursuing a non-Frog-endorsed, self-determined caching goal, and that find is critical to the success of your goal. I'm in the midst of a cache-a-day streak in excess of seven years. (Yes, I'm obsessed.) Part of being able to sustain that streak for that long is limiting myself to one find per day in the areas I frequent most often. If the CO came along later and disallowed my find on their cache listing because I'd unknowingly signed a throwdown, and that terminated my streak, I'd be extremely unhappy. In the story I told above, in their email to me, the CO requested that I delete my log because it wasn't on the actual cache. Now it turns out that, on that day, I'd been in an area I don't frequent much, so I'd allowed myself to find lots of caches that day. Deleting the log in question didn't hurt my streak (or any other goals I was pursuing), and so I did so, out of respect for the CO (who is a well-respected CO and cacher in the area). But if that had been my only find that day, we would've had a very different conversation. Sure, you can tell me that none of those goals I listed above matter in the grand scheme of things, and you'd be right. But maybe there's some room for grace for the folks who do their best to find the "intended cache" and get diverted by a throwdown. I'm a university professor. I give exams. Every question I give on the exam has an "intended" answer. There are times that students give an answer that isn't my "intended answer", but is still a correct answer to the question I asked. I give them credit for the answer, even if it wasn't what I intended.
  4. Slightly off-topic ... I've found that some newer COs can't tell the difference between the private updating of coordinates (that any user can do on any cache, but only visible to that user) and the public updating of coordinates visible to all users. This led to some confusion on a nearby cache where the CO was telling us that he updated the coordinates, but nobody else ever saw it.
  5. In which conferences? I'm an academic, so I have access behind a number of those pay walls ...
  6. Also, the "difficulty" of a blackout cache can vary wildly, depending upon the difficulty of the caches within the blackout zone. I was visiting the Atlanta area a number of years ago (note: before the changes to the rules on challenge caches) and had some time to do some caching nearby, thanks to the wonderful public transit system in the Atlanta area. A local suburb had a blackout challenge cache in place, which had been logged by a large number of people. And then someone placed a new challenge cache within the zone which required that the finder log finds on two caches on the same day separated by 4000 miles. Not "difficult" if you're an international traveler (like the CO), making a westbound trans-Atlantic hop, but practically impossible for anyone else. Unsurprisingly, that pretty much killed the blackout challenge cache, as nobody else in the area could qualify after that.
  7. I don't really buy either of those explanations. I think of some of the "interaction required" caches that I've found over the years: One was in a visitor center of a regional park (subject to a park admission fee). This was a "puzzle final" cache, where one found several caches in the park (presumably placed with the park's permission) and gather the necessary letters to assemble the "password" to be used at the help desk to receive the cache. (Though, to be fair, the docent handed me the cache without the password, even though I knew it; she was mostly tickled that someone asked.) Clearly there were plenty of places in the park to put "one more" cache, but the cache owner chose to post it inside. One was the last stage of a multi-cache housed at a convenience store. The final stage was mounted outside the store, but to retrieve the key to the padlock protecting the store, one had to enter the store and offer a password to the clerk on duty to receive the key. Other mechanisms could've been used here (e.g. a numerical padlock). One was in a visitor center of a major city. No admission fee was required for entrance to the center; all one had to do was to approach the staff and ask for the cache (which they were eager to provide). It was regular-sized, and clearly there wasn't a place to put a regular cache in the vicinity, but there were plenty of micros hidden nearby. One was a "solve-on-site" gadget cache, housed inside a gaming lounge. Normally there would be an admission fee to the lounge, but the fee was waived for anyone entering to seek the cache. One had to speak to the staff member on-duty at the front door to gain admission, but then the description had enough information on how to find the cache. (Solving the gadget was another story ... oy, that was creative ...). This cache was placed by a "master cache-owner" who places a wide variety of types of caches in his geographic area. And, of course, there have been other examples that were clearly within every element of the guidelines. There was another cache in a visitor center in another city that didn't technically require staff interaction ... but when you enter the center at 1pm and there's absolutely no-one else in the center, you end up talking to the staff :). I've loved all of those caches, and was glad for the experience of finding them. Clearly the ones above violated the letter of the guidelines, but the relevant reviewers felt that they met the spirit of the guidelines and chose to publish them. I, too, have wondered what specific characteristic(s) allowed their publication, but mostly because I'm obsessive about rules. I've never had an idea for a cache comparable to these, so I don't really *need* to know the rules. If I were to speculate, I'd guess that the cache owners in question simply convinced their local reviewers that, regardless of the official rules or local cache density or local cache availability, the proposed cache was well within the spirit of the rules, and that no harmful precedent would be set by allowing them. (It probably helps that the cache owners in question are also well-respected cache owners and cache finders in their local communities.)
  8. The CHS doesn't cause caches to be archived. Only a person can archive caches. (Except for the few reviewers who happen to be dogs.) That doesn't change most of the rest of what you wrote. Automated communications should be designed carefully and supportively. Greater transparency with regard to how the CHS works might be desirable. Caches with high degrees of difficulty ought to be treated differently than those with low degrees of difficulty. But let's be clear that the decision to archive this cache was made by the cache owner.
  9. Then the complaints here would all be "look at all the evidence that I'm a good CO, it's obvious that the Lackeys hate me, the Lackeys just picked all their friends, why couldn't we have an unbiased computer make the selection, yadda yadda yadda ...." People think computers make better decisions than people, right up until the point that the computer makes a decision with which they disagree, at which point the computer is an unfeeling piece of junk that should never have been entrusted with that responsibility. (I teach computing history, and I've seen this happen over and over and over again.)
  10. So ... the one and only event I ever hosted probably violated the unwritten rules that some here have advocated for it. It was a lunchtime event, in a modestly large city. I hosted it because it was Leap Day 2016, and I was more obsessed about souvenirs in those days, and I really wanted the Leap Day 2016 event souvenir. All the Leap Day events in my region were at a significant distance from me, and my Real Life schedule that day wouldn't allow me to take the long trip before/after work to get them. So, the only way for me to get a Leap Day event souvenir was to organize my own event. So I talked to the local folks who organize the regular monthly events around here, found out how they set them up at one of the local food joints, and got the event approved. I had no idea who'd show up (if anyone); folks around here don't usually log WAs. And you know what happened? Just one of the best memories of my geocaching career. Thirty-four people attended, which is a big number for events around here. Not only did I get the local lunch crowd, but I got folks traveling from quite some distance who were similarly situated and looking for the smilely. I got to add a few more name-face pairs to my memory bank. Someone brought a locationless cache to the event for people to log. And we even had some spontaneous cache maintenance happen, as folks who came into town early and did some caching nearby brought the remnants of a fallen cache to the event, only to discover that we could put all the found pieces together and reassemble the cache, which got re-hidden by someone else on the way out of town. It also was popular because some folks in the region were trying to go after the achievement of attending as many events in one day as possible, and my event was the only one in the region during mid-day. So a number of folks made a point of visiting the event as a part of their quest that day. So ... maybe I'm the exception, but I think midday events can be pretty cool.
  11. With the advent of the CHS, NMs have risen to the level of "demand" --- at least in the eyes of some COs. I've been told by COs "don't post NM because then I have to take the time to clear it". I've been told by other cachers not to post NMs on historic, abandoned caches that the community has decided to adopt, for fear that the NMs will trip reviewer attention and lead to archival. NMs may be officially seen as input, but they're increasing not being treated that way by some COs. I don't have a problem with a CO taking my input and judging it differently than I. I do have a problem with being called out about it as if I was "wrong", rather than it being a difference of opinion. Especially if that input is public. Is it "yelling"? I don't know. I didn't save the messages, so I'm not going to characterize the tone of voice in a conversation I had years ago online. Suffice it to say that it was made clear that the "input" was unwelcome. As I've pointed out, Groundspeak disagrees. And that tension leads to conflict. That's not going to work when addressing a cacher who has greater credibility in the community than I --- more years caching, more finds, more hides, more everything. You can be an "old timer" and still be wrong. And the effort to convince the old-timer that they are wrong ... I'd rather spend that time caching.
  12. That assumes that I know ahead of time which COs will welcome my NM logs. I know *now* about a few them who don't. Why do I continue to find them? Because they put out nice caches that are close to me that I enjoy finding. One attribute doesn't exclude the other. Examples: 1) I logged NM on a cache because the log was full. The cache is part of a geo-art series that I'm doing slowly (basically, one every now and then). In response, the CO sent me a private message saying "don't post NMs for full logs ... meet me at my house sometime and I'll give you a set of logs to put into my caches when the logs fill up." 2) I logged NM on a multi-cache because the clue left in Stage 1 was misleading and inaccurate, because the environment had changed; I managed to find the final based on scouring previous logs. In response, the CO posted an OM saying "everything is still in place, dunno what the previous log was complaining about". CO hadn't even bothered to read what I wrote. There have been others, but I don't want to scour over all my NM logs to find more. And herein lies the problem. Groundspeak explicitly lists a full log(book) as the first reason for posting a NM from the website interface. When I post NM for a full log, I'm doing what the Frog has asked me to do. Except that there's a wide variety of opinions out there as to whether or not a full log is "worthy" of a NM.
  13. Why don't I post NMs? 'Cuz everytime I do around here, I get yelled at by the CO. The app/website specifically encourages me (as a finder) to log NMs when the log is full ... and pretty much every time I do that, I get a posting or a private note from the CO saying "don't do that", with varying degrees of politeness. (Not just one CO, mind you ... a number of them.) Doesn't matter if I'm in the right or in the wrong. Geocaching is supposed to be a fun activity, and getting yelled at by a CO reduces the fun for me. Sure, I could complain to a reviewer or a lackey, but that just prolongs the argument. I don't need any additional stress in my life, thank you; I go caching to relieve stress, not add to it. (Seriously. I'm in the middle of a 6+ year cache-a-day streak that got started one afternoon when I had a particularly bad day at work, said "screw this, I'm leaving early and grabbing a cache on the way home". The next day wasn't any better, and neither was the day after that. Before I knew it, I had a month-long streak, and the rest is stubbornness.) So, I usually don't log NMs. I'll include status reports in the "Found" log itself, so a good CO that reads the logs might notice and perform the needed maintenance. Want more NMs? Convince COs not to yell at folks who post them. [dismounts soapbox]
  14. So, I've been on a cache-a-day streak for ... well, let's just say it's been awhile. (I don't want it to seem like I'm bragging. If you really want to know, you can look up my stats.) I keep saying that the streak can't go on forever; at some point, the rate of people putting caches out doesn't keep up with my find rate, and I'll start going to silly lengths to get a cache-a-day. I'll admit that it's starting to get that way for me, but I still keep justifying it to myself. (It helps that I live between a few communities with active cache hiders to keep feeding my obsession.) Next week, I'm going on a two-week business trip, and because I've been there every year during the streak, I'm running seriously low on caches in the area. Given the demands on my time, my limited mobility (i.e. no car), and cache exhaustion ... the streak may end up coming to a close whether I like it or not. So ... for those of you who've had a streak and ended it, how did you end it? How did you know it was time to end the streak? (And how do I find the courage to stop?)
  15. So, sure, include all of the discussions about the mysterious CHS algorithm that we've had over the last few months. My original point still stands. I'd be interested in knowing if the "new virtuals" are widely seen as being of "good quality", in comparison with the surviving "old virtuals". (And, no I don't have the time to do the work. Day job is killing me.)
  16. Well, yes. But that didn't stop people from talking about cache quality --- on virtuals, or any other cache type. I didn't say the analysis would be easy . There are other proxies for quality, of course --- in fact, the same proxies for quality that get used in the infamous "cache health" algorithm. Those could be used. And there are other criteria that could be objectively assessed. For example: the one new virtual I've found is in a newly-opened national cemetery in the area. I suspect that a physical cache placement in the cemetery would be forbidden (or at the least discouraged); one of the original reasons given for having virtual caches is bringing people to areas where physical caches couldn't/shouldn't be placed.
  17. .... sigh. For years, people have been complaining that there aren't enough virtual caches anymore, disregarding the PITA that virtual cache reviewing had become for reviewers and lackeys back in the old days. So the Frog enables a small number of new virtual caches as a one-time deal, hoping that the new caches would be of high quality, and the chief result seems to be people complaining that the chosen few COs weren't obviously "worthy" enough --- at least in the eyes of the complainers. What I'd really like to see is an analysis of the new virtual caches being placed, to see how their quality compares with the older virtuals that have survived. If the new virtuals are seen as high enough in quality, maybe the rationing approach will be ultimately vindicated. (Oh, wait ... this is the Internet. No decision can ever be vindicated. Never mind.) I can't contribute to the analysis effectively. I've only found one of the new virtuals. It's an outstanding virtual --- well within the spirit of what virtual caches should be, placed by a local CO who is well-respected. But one data point isn't enough for me to draw a general conclusion.
  18. If you drop two trackers, do you score 8 points?
  19. And not making a long, detailed, creative log on your cache sinks your boat .... um, how, exactly?
  20. If they're honestly T4+ caches, then I'm not sure that they qualify as "intrusions", as any other cache placed there would likely also be a T4+. They're only taking up space on the map for other T4+ caches.
  21. Of course, not everyone remembers to check the attributes. I'll confess, I came to a multi-cache and got stumped, only to go home and log my DNF and notice the attribute later.
  22. As others have mentioned, there are guidelines that prohibit cache listings from being used for commercial endorsements. This gets a little tricky when events are held at commercial establishments. Some reviewers are stricter than others when it comes to interpreting that guideline when it comes to naming the event locale. On the other hand, some event organizers push the limit in the other direction and then overcompensate when they're shut down by a reviewer. I could see, for example, an event organizer submitting a description like "Event will be hosted at Joe's BBQ --- you have to try the brisket, it's fabulous", and having a reviewer complain about commercial endorsements, leading to the organizer overreacting and writing "Event will be hosted at posted coordinates". Locally, our reviewers allow event listings to name commercial establishments and give their address (which, of course, coincides with the posted coordinates), as long as there's no suggestion that a commercial transaction is required at that site. ("Event will be hosted at Joe's BBQ, at 142 Mason Street.")
  23. Because maybe finding the caches are the excuse to get out and enjoy the walk along the trail.
  24. And how are you supposed to know that there's "nothing special" about them unless you go out and find them? There's no "rule" that says the cache description has to be amazingly informative or compelling. Some of my favorite cache finds have come when I arrived at the cache and found a delightful surprise.
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