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Unmaintained Caches


Jeep-O-Caching
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I did a cache yesterday that was last successfully found in 2002 (GC9361). The previous no-find, along with mine, makes it clear to me that noone is paying attention to this cache entry.

 

First of all, how do I report this kind of problem without going to the forums?

 

Second of all, and what I'd like to see discussed is this: In my opinion a cache such as this that hasn't been found in years, and has no notes from the owner saying he did something like an annual check on it, should never have been still listed. Someone should have queried the owner when there was no activity on the cache, notes or otherwise, for say over a year. I know this is another drain on resources that are probably already overused for other things, but is there something that could/should be done about these? I can already point to another cache that probably ought to be queried/archived as well ...

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Here's what I do: I check to see whether the owner is even still logging on to the site. Ususally in the situation you described, they aren't. Either way, e-mail the owner with your concerns. If you get a reply, that's great, you have at least got something to work with. However, in my experience, that's rare. At that point, I post a "Needs archived" post on the cache page, and then the local approver can decide what to do with it.

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I did a cache yesterday that was last successfully found in 2002 (GC9361). The previous no-find, along with mine, makes it clear to me that noone is paying attention to this cache entry.

 

First of all, how do I report this kind of problem without going to the forums?

 

Second of all, and what I'd like to see discussed is this: In my opinion a cache such as this that hasn't been found in years, and has no notes from the owner saying he did something like an annual check on it, should never have been still listed. Someone should have queried the owner when there was no activity on the cache, notes or otherwise, for say over a year. I know this is another drain on resources that are probably already overused for other things, but is there something that could/should be done about these? I can already point to another cache that probably ought to be queried/archived as well ...

Perhaps the best place to start with any problem with a cache is the Cache owner (they logged into the site in the last month). Perhaps they're ignoring emails, don't consider it a problem, or something else. Its hard to tell...

Also, i don't know that its required that cache owners post notes whenever they check up on their caches. Yes, it would be good when its unfound for long amounts of time, or people have been logging DNFs, but not required.

If the cache owner doesn't respond to your email or messages on the cache page, try emailing your nearest reviewer (or use the contact email). If your sure its gone you could try posting a Needs Archived log, however since you "can't" know its gone that may be hasty.

 

2.

Automated archiving ideas etc etc have been brought up before, and they tend to be unpopular.

If you find a problem cache, email the owner, email the reviewer or post a needs archived log. Its slow and needs someone to actually look at the cache pages, but at keeps viable caches from being archived for little reason.

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There are several caches in this area which are found only once or twice a year or less. In my mind two DNFs doesn't mean the cache isn't there. Looking at the owner's log it appears that he still checks in once in a while. I'll go along with Balboagirl and suggest you check with the owner first via e-mail. If you get no reply after a few weeks (they may be on a vacation) and if they haven't been active for several months or more then leave a Needs Archived note and let the powers to be handle it.

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Here's what I do: I check to see whether the owner is even still logging on to the site. Ususally in the situation you described, they aren't. Either way, e-mail the owner with your concerns. If you get a reply, that's great, you have at least got something to work with. However, in my experience, that's rare. At that point, I post a "Needs archived" post on the cache page, and then the local approver can decide what to do with it.

Ditto. That's exactly what I do.

 

I notice others figured out which cache he was talking about. How'd you do that?

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Here's what I do:  I check to see whether the owner is even still logging on to the site.  Ususally in the situation you described, they aren't.  Either way, e-mail the owner with your concerns.  If you get a reply, that's great, you have at least got something to work with.  However, in my experience, that's rare.  At that point, I post a "Needs archived" post on the cache page, and then the local approver can decide what to do with it.

Ditto. That's exactly what I do.

 

I notice others figured out which cache he was talking about. How'd you do that?

The geocaching.com waypoint was given in the original post. After a year and a half, I had never found a cache page in this way until last month. Maybe you haven't either.

 

Just go to the main page and click "Hide & Seek a cache" in the upper left hand corner. Then scroll down and find where it says something like "Find by waypoint" and punch in the arbitrary waypoint number, in this case GC9361, hit the button, and presto! You're on the cache page.

 

On edit: By the way, I haven't looked at this particular cache page yet, maybe I should do that, eh?

Edited by Balboagirl
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OK, Jeep-O-Caching, I have now read the page, and I understand better what is going on. I won't change my advice any, except to add in what Dromomania said and wait at least a few weeks between e-mailing the owner (maybe twice) and posting the SBA.

 

Now that I've read it, I can totally understand how this has happened. I'm not saying it's right, but I understand. I have three of these sorts of caches myself. They are somewhat difficult to get to, and they seemed like a really cool idea when it was winter and I was unemployed. When it is not winter and/or I am not unemployed, I really have to make myself go out there a couple times a year to check on them. And as you can see from my profile, I'm fairly active and committed to the game.

 

So I can understand how somebody who was fairly new at the time would have hidden this way out in the boonies and never checked on it again. It should probably be archived or adopted out, but let's face it, most people don't feel it's nearly as important as those who visit this forum regularly to keep everything updated just so.

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Having looked at the cache page, Balboagirl may be right about the owner losing interest. The owner has only logged two finds since 2002, and none in 2005 (I know some don't log online, but if they don't, we have no way of knowing). It's possible that the owner experienced some change in circumstances - e.g. job change, relocation, illness or injury, etc - that prevents them from maintaining the cache.

 

However, I also agree that you should Only place caches you can maintain and respond promptly to problem reports. If a cache is too difficult for you to maintain, for whatever reason, deal with it . Balboagirl says she regrets placing three difficult to maintain caches, but she does maintain them.

 

I don't have much sympathy for owners who don't do anything. If you can't or don't want to maintain a cache you own, post a note on the cache page asking if anyone wants to adopt the cache or can assist with maintenance. If that fails, archive the cache and remove the container (don't just abandon it) so that someone else can place a cache in that location if they wish.

 

All this doesn't really change the advice in this case: email the owner, wait a few weeks, and if you get no reply, post a "needs archiving" note on the cache page. That will trigger a review by a gc.com reviewer, who will first attempt to contact the owner, and, if that fails, will archive the cache.

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The geocaching.com waypoint was given in the original post. 

Sorry, after reviewing the post three times looking for a name or the url I somehow managed to completely miss the cache code that was given.

Look right after "2002" :ph34r:

 

Through me for a loop too as I'm used to seeing letters in there somewhere.

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There are caches that haven't been found in a long time, and there are caches that haven't been found in a long time. :D

I found one in April that hadn't been found in just over a year. One note from the owner in October that it was still there. Four finds between 2001 and 2004, and four finds in 2005! 4 DNFs, 5 Notes from owner, 4 other notes, and one from the administrator.

Another that I found in October was just found again this month.

And there re the others that become decrepit for lack of maintenance. Those should be archived. I put an SBA on one with five DNFs in six months, and the owner archived it. He hadn't been there to maintain it since he put it out.

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There was a cache in a large fake rock that I found about a year ago. I posted that the coords were off by 80 ft and gave new coords. The owner archived it then and last logged on about a week later. In October I found a new cache in the same area and saw that the cache was still there. I e-mailed him then and told him it was still there and to pick it up.

I was by there this weekend and the cache was still sitting there. So I picked it up and took it home. It contained only a soggy log that I couldn't open. It is sitting on my patio drying out right now. I plan to use it myself soon.

I look at it as I was cleaning up geolitter, since it sat for almost a year in a fairly well trafficed area.

Edited by Wacka
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I'm hoping that Groundspeak loosens up the policy on adopting caches, especially if the unmaintained cache in question has some history behind it. I prefer not to use SBA's (Shoud Be Archived), unless it's for unsuitable locations or the location has changed dramatically.

 

In fact, I think I'll start a new thread on the topic right now.

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.....makes it clear to me that noone is paying attention to this cache entry......

 

First of all, how do I report this kind of problem without going to the forums?.......

 

Here's a tip. Instead of starting a topic in the forums, you could try e-mailing the cache owner (as suggested by several people above). I didn't even know these forums existed until Thot tipped me off about this thread.

 

If you had sent me an e-mail, I would have responded relatively promptly.

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.....makes it clear to me that noone is paying attention to this cache entry......

 

First of all, how do I report this kind of problem without going to the forums?.......

 

Here's a tip. Instead of starting a topic in the forums, you could try e-mailing the cache owner (as suggested by several people above). I didn't even know these forums existed until Thot tipped me off about this thread.

 

If you had sent me an e-mail, I would have responded relatively promptly.

Hey, welcome to the forums. Or would that be fora? In any case, isn't it amazing that there are people who don't find the game/sport to be enough? We actually have to discuss it in great detail, too?

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.....makes it clear to me that noone is paying attention to this cache entry......

 

First of all, how do I report this kind of problem without going to the forums?.......

 

Here's a tip. Instead of starting a topic in the forums, you could try e-mailing the cache owner (as suggested by several people above). I didn't even know these forums existed until Thot tipped me off about this thread.

 

If you had sent me an e-mail, I would have responded relatively promptly.

Here's another tip: The owner automatically receives an email when a log is posted to his or her cache, which means that you received this email from Jeep-O-Caching when his/her log was posted:

June 11 by Jeep-O-Caching (61 found)

Came over from Rochester to try this one today. Paddled the 1.8 kilometers up from the boat launch (see photo) and a search out to about 30 meters from the GPS coordinates yielded nothing. A few good cache hidey-holes were there, but nothing in them. :yikes:Reading the previous logs leads me to believe this needs to be maintained or sent to the archives ...[Emphasis added]

You can't fault Jeep-O-Caching for not informing you about the problem with your cache. What's more, your disable note:

June 14 by teamcny (9 found)

Disabled cache. With more than one no-find, I suspect high waters floated this one away. I wonder if anyone ever found it downstream?! :P

isn't clear whether you plan to check to see if the container is still there.

 

We hope you do plan to check on it, sometime soon, so that it doesn't become "geolitter" if it is still there!

 

Edit: to correct a misstatement.

Edited by Kai Team
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This isn't exactly about unmaintained caches, but it relates to cache owners and their responsiveness. Recently I visited two caches owned by the same person.

 

When that cache owner read my log for one, he immediately archived the cache. When he read my log for the another one, he immediately posted a note to check on it.

 

On the other hand, there is a cache with several DNFs. That cache owner is still active on the site, but nothing has been done about the probably/possilby missing cache.

 

A note on the cache page would be appreciated, but that hasn't been done yet . . .

 

Maybe a thread in the Forums would light a fire under some of these slow-to-respond cache owners . . .

 

Edit for typo . . .

Edited by idiosyncratic
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Here's another tip:  The owner automatically receives an email when a log is posted to his or her cache, which means that you received this email from Jeep-O-Caching when his/her log was posted:
June 11 by Jeep-O-Caching (61 found)

Came over from Rochester to try this one today. Paddled the 1.8 kilometers up from the boat launch (see photo) and a search out to about 30 meters from the GPS coordinates yielded nothing. A few good cache hidey-holes were there, but nothing in them. :angry:Reading the previous logs leads me to believe this needs to be maintained or sent to the archives ...[Emphasis added]

You can't fault Jeep-O-Caching for not informing you about the problem with your cache. What's more, your disable note:

June 14 by teamcny (9 found)

Disabled cache. With more than one no-find, I suspect high waters floated this one away. I wonder if anyone ever found it downstream?! :yikes:

isn't clear whether you plan to check to see if the container is still there.

 

We hope you do plan to check on it, sometime soon, so that it doesn't become "geolitter" if it is still there!

I was aware that an e-mail would be generated when I added the log entry that is referred to above. That is why I take the time to log DNF's and include comments on what the situation was at the time.

 

I also observe that no progress has been logged regarding checking on that cache at this time. I am not pointing this out to shame the cache owner. At least this cache is now on hold so folks know not to attempt it right now. I am hoping that the Geocaching.com folks see this and it encourages them to look for ways to improve their handling of inactivity in caches. I understand that some caches are not accessed very often, but how about a one year plus time-out timer where if a cache gets no "found it" entries or notes from the owner saying that maintaince was performed in say 18 months then it is placed on hold and the owner is e-mailed. A non-response would mean it gets archived, or better yet put up for adoption. Hey, what about that, an adoption center for orphaned caches. Hey, just thinking out loud here ...

Edited by Jeep-O-Caching
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I like the adoption center idea since since it dovetails with cache rescue missions.

 

Setting an arbitarary time limit on a cache lifespan is problimatic. 18 months sounds reasonable. But given the nature of having so many caches to choose from now some will be 'neglected' by Joe Cacher out of blind random chance even if he is interested in that very cache and the long hike in.

 

There is a local one called "The Vent" It's on my list. I doubt it's been found in over a year. It's not that it's not there, or that I don't want to do it (and a few other locals want to do it) it's finding time, and doing it when the weather cooperates as it's a good hike in a lava flow. Some of the hottest and most brutal hiking you can do.

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I like the adoption center idea since since it dovetails with cache rescue missions.

 

Setting an arbitarary time limit on a cache lifespan is problimatic. 18 months sounds reasonable. But given the nature of having so many caches to choose from now some will be 'neglected' by Joe Cacher out of blind random chance even if he is interested in that very cache and the long hike in.

 

There is a local one called "The Vent" It's on my list. I doubt it's been found in over a year. It's not that it's not there, or that I don't want to do it (and a few other locals want to do it) it's finding time, and doing it when the weather cooperates as it's a good hike in a lava flow. Some of the hottest and most brutal hiking you can do.

I chose the 18 month deadline on the assumtion that it is reasonable for a cache owner to visit their cache on average once per year. This mechanism could take some load off of site management. This might also serve to discourage people from placing more caches than they can reasonably maintain.

 

I can imagine many circumstances that would be a major enough change in someone's life that geocaching would be put aside, possibly for good, and we could minimize the negative effect this inevitable kind of change would have on the sport with this sort of method.

 

I understand that some caches are visited only infrequently for whatever reason, but is it unreasonable for the cache owner to be *expected* to visit their baby at least once per year to make sure that it hasn't been carried away by flood waters, buried under a lava flow, or simply removed by a well-meaning park ranger?

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