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PFF

"armchair" Recovery Notes

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In the past 60 days, I've noticed an increase in the number of log entries made by folks who have not been to the mark. Most of these are situations where someone has been reading the logs and has seen that the mark probably is destroyed, so it is logged on GEOCACHING as being destroyed.

 

In every case, these are "paper only" entries. The person has not been to the site. What's really interesting is that folks are making entries for marks all over the United States--even though they are not familiar with the local "turf".

 

I'm certain they are trying to be helpful and want to "clean up" the GEOCACHING database. But when someone begins logging corrections from thousands of miles away, there is the potential for errors and/or confusion.

 

This is simply my opinion on the subject, but I want to encourage caution and restraint concerning log entries to stations not personally investigated.

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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Paul,

As a note, your aol.com account is sending error messages in response to email from the Geocaching "Send an email link", yahoo accounts and the forwarding that you've set up on your rxp.us account.

 

Buckner

Edited by BuckBrooke

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I think it would be "best" for the hobby if there were no numbers recorded for Benchmark finds. To many are doing it just for the "numbers".

 

Maybe Holograph should discontinue the charting.

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This is not an approach that had occurred to us, and now that we've heard of it, we plan not to have anything to do with it.

 

We've reported some destroyed marks, mostly of the steeple/tower/tank variety. There've been plenty of disks that we haven't found, whose presence on the scene we have deeply doubted, but of course the cases where destruction can be proven are scarcer than those in which drowning or burial are just as likely, often more so. In any case, if we can't submit a destroyed report to Deb Brown, with photographs and other proof, then we don't report it to this site either.

 

Nor do we report "not founds" on marks that have previously not been found by several searchers. We look for them, of course, and would rejoice in finding them, but see no reason to pad out the list of unsuccessful searchers.

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I don't agree that Holograph should discontinue charting the benchmark finds. As long as there are people in the world, some will cheat no matter what you do. Holograph is doing a great job on his website and I don't think that he is responsible for what other members of geocaching or benchmarking will do to enhance their count.

 

Dave

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In the past 60 days, I've noticed an increase in the number of log entries made by folks who have not been to the mark. Most of these are situations where someone has been reading the logs and has seen that the mark probably is destroyed, so it is logged on GEOCACHING as being destroyed.

 

In every case, these are "paper only" entries. The person has not been to the site. What's really interesting is that folks are making entries for marks all over the United States--even though they are not familiar with the local "turf".

 

I'm certain they are trying to be helpful and want to "clean up" the GEOCACHING database.  But when someone begins logging corrections from thousands of miles away, there is the potential for errors and/or confusion.

 

This is simply my opinion on the subject, but I want to encourage caution and restraint concerning log entries to stations not personally investigated. 

 

-Paul-

 

Curious as to why would anyone claim a "Destroyed" when it does not show on your stats page. Only "finds" are shown there.

 

How can you be sure these people have not been to the "site"?

 

You also don't need to be familiar with the Local "Turf" to find marks others have missed. We found some near Searchlight, NV, one of which even the NGS couldn't find, even though we had never been off the Highway in that area.

 

Recovering benchmarks on vacation could explain the "ALL OVER The COUNTRY" logs. We know of several people who live in their Motorhomes and just travel the country.

 

If you have proof someone is cheating why not give the details? We the community could then verify more of the logs made by these folks.

 

Punishment would be a PM or e-mail from everyone who hunts benchmarks! ;)

 

Without some hard evidence it is best to give the people the benefit of the doubt and not cause friction and hard feelings.

 

 

John

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PFF - I am also curious as to who are logging "paper only" recoveries. The Farts ("old" is a relative thing, and they are not "old" relative to me) are correct: there may be a reasonable explanation for the apparent untoward behavior (or, there may not).

 

StripeMark - I disagree with your point about eliminating numbers. This may be a hobby but it is more than just "play" (aka objectless behavior). We who hunt have an objective: to determine and report on the existence and condition of things with PIDs. I see nothing wrong with the enumeration of that activity, even if some people do it for no other reason than the enumeration. Those of us who pursue the hobby with some degree of integrity know who we all are. That's what really matter, I think.

 

Also, I think the "numbers" are a reasonable, if imperfect, measure of effort. And effort expended in pursuit of an objective is good (assuming the objective is legal and moral). Generally, anything worth doing is worth measuring; anything not worth measuring is not worth doing. There are exceptions, of course, but I wouldn't include hunting benchmarks among the exceptions.

 

I agree with ddnutzy - Holograph does a service that is a great (and good) effort, and that provides information of value to the community. I appreciate his contribution and I hope he continues.

 

Finally, I think I disagree with m&h: if you make the effort to search for a mark but don't find it, why not say so. I don't understand the reluctance to "pad" your list of unsuccessful searches. If it's an effort made, why not an effort recorded? Please don't take this as criticism, I really don't care if you log your not founds or not. But you took the effort to disclose your approach, so I'm just taking the effort to exercise my curiosity.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a retired CPA and have been accused of being obsessive-compulsive about things of an accounting nature, especially by those who love me and suffer most from my habits.

 

Will

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I'm not sure the motivation is to inflate the statistics, at least not in some of the cases I know about. I'm aware of a couple of the situations that PFF discovered, but not all of them.

 

In at least one of the cases I'm sure the geocacher (a relative novice) thought he was doing everyone else a favor by logging not found marks so that others wouldn't waste their time visiting them. Whenever a datasheet mentioned a not found, he was entering a geocaching log for not found so that the icon would change. In that case, the geocacher wasn't quite aware that a "NOT FOUND" recovery or a "probably destroyed" comment in a datasheet didn't necessarily mean the station was irrecoverable.

 

That geocacher wasn't and still isn't in the list, so the motivation clearly wasn't statistics.

 

I don't know if anyone is intentionally gaming the system, but if we discover them it is easy enough for me to eliminate them from the statistics. I don't want to arbitrarily banish anyone from the list, but if there is strong evidence that gaming is taking place, I won't feel bad about removing their statistics.

 

I'll also repeat that I am happy to remove anyone who doesn't want their statistics publicized.

 

[by the way, Artman, I haven't received your latest check for keeping you at the top of the NGS list... Oops, did I say that out loud? ;):D ]

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Curious as to why would anyone claim a "Destroyed" when it does not show on your stats page. Only "finds" are shown there.

Actually, the Geocaching column of the statistics shows all log entries: finds, not-founds, notes, and destroyed. The NGS statistics show finds and not-founds, but not destroyed stations.

 

The rationale is: (1) we all know that a not found takes as much effort as a found and can be just as valuable to a professional, (2) we shouldn't provide any incentive for false finds, and (3) it's about the only practical way I can do it, anyway.

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I am as quick to log a DNF as a FOUND. A DNF may be as important to someone as a FOUND. I think I have three documented Destroyed's listed. I am equally quick when I have a DNF to put down whether I think the mark is really here or not and why I have that opinion. I am always the first to assume that I may not be looking in the right place but will spell out why I think I might be.

 

I do not think anyone here accuses me of cheating. If I was, I would not have a 169 FOUND for my 235 logs. (A mere 72% success rate)

 

I do have my share of unphotographed logs. I just trust people will recogonize from my logs whether I have been there or not.

 

In fact, on a one week vacation in August, I went out of my way to look for three PID's that are kinda hopless. Each was a nail in the root of a tree from the 1920's. I listed all of them as a DNF. (Of ourse, they would have been a real feather in my cap if I found them.) Maybe someone with a metal detector will have better luck ! I acknowledge that they may still be there.

 

As for listing the numbers.....I do like looking at them. I am not a #1 in any category nor will I ever be. But it is immense fun to watch my peers climb up and down the charts and see the kind of effort they give. Please keep it up, holograph.

 

(By the way, does anyone know what has happened to Colorado Papa?)

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How can you be sure these people have not been to the "site"?

 

Excellent question. Each person was contacted by E-mail and each admitted that they had not been to the sites they had marked as DESTROYED. The leading indicator was the presence of several "destroyed" marks in states far removed from their normal locations--with no "found" marks in the remote locations.

 

The "vacation" recovery theory was my first thought, but then it seemed strange that these roamers never found a mark in the distant states. They only posted notes or logged marks as destroyed.

 

This came to my attention while reviewing marks in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Regardless of the policy or protocol on GEOCACHING.COM, it was important to minimize any destruction notices to NGS. Many of the oldest marks do not have their own PID; but appear as reference marks for more modern stations. When the modern station is classified as destroyed, the clues to the old marks disappear.

 

I'm pleased to report that each person contacted via E-mail over a five-week period (up through Noon today) offered to discontinue arm chair logging completely, or at least vowed not to do this in NC, SC, and VA so as not to interfere with the search for old marks. That excellent cooperation is appreciated.

 

I don't know how common this practice has become. Hopefully, if there are others doing it, they will notice this thread in the forum and will choose to log only when they have personal knowledge of a situation.

 

While it sounds noble to log as destroyed to keep fellow benchmark hunters from wasting time on marks that are gone, I have not been aware that this is a wide-spread problem. Most of the destruction indications came from the GEOCACHING database, and thus were available for anyone to read.

 

I appreciate everyone's comments. On the statistics, I'm neutral. Holograph and I discussed this when the situation first came to light. I see no problem with keeping the totals. Counting is part of the hobby. And I believe there is value in letting NGS see how many reports we file. The key is to not let numbers become a "god", such that quality of our reports declines in order to stay on the chart or to sprinkle one's name throughout the database.

 

-Paul-

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As a minor comment, I would argue for posting Notes (only) "at a distance" where appropriate in Geocaching. Many of us have reported about or run across logs where someone has logged an incorrect mark, such as the reference mark or something else, or otherwise logged incorrectly. Whenever I run across those PIDs (maybe a dozen so far?) I will post a note outlining the situation.

 

One case showing partial confusion was where the NGS had a post 2001 destruction report where someone said "I'm pulling the disk out of the ground", and a Geocacher later logged an unrelated mark as the station. I logged it as destroyed on Geocaching (in hindsight, probably should have posted a note, should go back and fix that one) and copied the NGS report.

 

Even showing some of the confusion that I've had (and am learning from), a policy statement should probably be created and added to the FAQ. I'm not sure if the important difference between Geocaching and NGS logs should be outlined but...

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I've done a bit of this, too — maybe a half-dozen of these armchair notes. Like BuckBrooke, an example might be someone logging a "found" when it's clearly a reference mark they've found, or where a previous NGS recovery report established the allegedly found mark was in fact not there, e.g. HW0069.

 

I haven't done it in any systematic way, just in a handful of cases where I've noticed a discrepancy, and all I've posted was a note. It certainly wasn't to run up my total, just to improve the quality of the data.

 

-ArtMan-

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In my opinion, there is a large difference here in:

 

1. 'armchair' logging as Destroyed

2. 'armchair' posting a Note

 

It seems to me that PFF was saying that 'armchair' logging as Destroyed is an inadvisable thing to do and I agree. Logging Destroyed is a tricky matter and should be done only as the result of a personal visit, in my opinion.

 

ArtMan has posted a Note and I agree with his doing that in situations that I recall. There are so many reference marks logged as Found for the primary station that I think logging a Note (even in remote 'armchair' mode) is a good thing to be able to offer education. This kind of Note logging provides an additional educaiton mode besides the FAQ and emails.

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I was going to admit to being "guilty" but after reading the last few posts, maybe not.

 

There is a major surface road near me, HWY 99. Several PIDs are mentioned that they are located in the dirt strip between the highway lanes. There hasn't been a dirt strip on highway 99 in the last 15 years or so. At least not in the area near where these marks are supposed to be. In order to keep ME from seeing them on the Geocaching site, I've been posting notes for them as likely to be lost or burried under the road bed, inaccesible. These marks ARE in my home area and I AM very familiar with their supposed locations. I don't log them as Destroyed, because they don't meet that criteria. I don't log them as Not Found because I didn't actually go to the site to look for them, so they get notes. I think that's the most reasonable approach.

 

In a few cases, I HAVE gone to the site just to be certain. For those, I log a Not Found at both Geocaching.com and with the NGS.

 

R_C

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or where a previous NGS recovery report established the allegedly found mark was in fact not there, e.g. HW0069.

 

-ArtMan-

 

Artman

 

From the NGS recovery log - 1/1/1953 by CGS (SEE DESCRIPTION)

RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1953 (CAS) ALL MARKS WERE RECOVERED AS DESCRIBED IN GOOD CONDITION. THE STATION AND REFERENCE MARKS 1 AND 2 WERE DESTROYED. A NEW STATION WAS SET 51.030 M. S-SW OF THE ORIGINAL MARK. THE ANGLE FROM THE NEW STATION TO THE AZIMUTH MARK IS 62 DEG 37 MIN 17.3 SEC.

 

The first sentence says recovered in good condition! Is this a mixed recovery report? Did they find the station in good condition and then "Destroy" it and do a reset?

 

Strange, huh?

 

John

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Yes, thats how I read it.

 

There is one in my area that is similar, I contacted NGS and they won't remove it from the database even though its was destroyed by them to make way for road construction, a new mark with RM's was set but they retained the same Azimuth and thats the reason it stays in the DB as a reference to show why the new station was set.

Edited by Z15

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There's a lot of that going around. See

HU0453 - CAMDEN

and

HU2363 - CAMDEN RESET

 

In the 1985 history for CAMDEN, MD State Highway Authority notes that the station is DESTROYED and then proceeds to describe its replacement, CAMDEN RESET.

 

I was confused initially, but eventually found CAMDEN RESET and did not find CAMDEN.

 

Of course, the USPSQD "found" the destroyed station in 1997 but made no mention of the replacement.

 

BTW, the MDSHA is the best state benchmark management agency that I've come across (even though they managed to confuse me monentarily on this particular mark).

 

Will

Edited by seventhings

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(By the way, does anyone know what has happened to Colorado Papa?)

As you can tell, I've been quite inactive. :ph34r: This is the first time I've logged on here in months. Too many personal things going on this past year. :( Hopefully, by January, will have things settle down so I can get back to being a serious BMer and forum participant. I hate this being confined to one location, and the motorhome sits idle in the driveway.

 

Thanks for thinking of me, Spoo.

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Colorado Papa !!!!!!

 

Good to see you on here again.

 

I do hope all is fine with you and yours.

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Colorado who? Never heard of you. Are you a newbie hunter?

 

Just kidding--I hope the absence was not due to health issue, but no matter what, glad to see you back.

 

Matt

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