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Jeremy

Fake Loggin Travel Bugs

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Let's just say that the possibility of allowing what folks are calling "virtual" travel bugs has moved to absolute zero.

 

Some smart guy decided to take one of my wife's travel bugs and offered the tracking number in a log stating that it was now a virtual travel bug. The fact that they didn't point out is they didn't own the Travel Bug in the first place. Someone else faked logged it in Seattle and my wife went out to look for it.

 

Smart move. Let's just say that it's time for a zero tolerance of this kind of activity on the web site. If you are aware of the policy about virtual bugs and you are assisting in the hiding of these travel bugs you better watch yourself.

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Let's just say that the possibility of allowing what folks are calling "virtual" travel bugs has moved to absolute zero. Some smart guy decided to take one of my wife's travel bugs and offered the tracking number in a log stating that it was now a virtual travel bug.

Just as well. I never quite got my head around that whole virtual travel bug thing. And things me no understand...MAKE...HULK...MAD!!!

 

 

(Jeremy has a wife? Who knew?)

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I understand your frustration on what happened. New into the game I made the mistake of posting the number in my log - I did not know really how to work it but I was quickly corrected by a local and that cleared things up nicely. I do not work with travel bugs often and I do not fully understand the term/phrase of virtual travel bugs. I don't want to swat the hornets nest but please correct my understanding. Is this trading the number without actually seeing/touching/holding the travel bug that you do not own?

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Is this trading the number without actually seeing/touching/holding the travel bug that you do not own?

Yes. This is what people are calling "virtual" travel bugs. Essentially it is just fake logging that actual coins are moving around (or travel bugs). However it seems more rampant with geocoins than travel bugs.

 

It makes me want to reconsider allowing more geocoins on the site.

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Is this trading the number without actually seeing/touching/holding the travel bug that you do not own?

Yes. This is what people are calling "virtual" travel bugs. Essentially it is just fake logging that actual coins are moving around (or travel bugs). However it seems more rampant with geocoins than travel bugs.

 

It makes me want to reconsider allowing more geocoins on the site.

One way to stop the virtual TBs would be to have a script that reads every log and looks for 6 digit number sequences. Then it would check them against the TB database and XXXXXX them out in the log. Any attempts to modify the log would cause a flag to be set for some poor volunteer to examine it for folks trying to get around the XXXXXX by putting in spaces and the such.

Just a thought.

 

And if you retroactively scanned all logs on all caches, it would fix the issues of new cachers putting # in logs in the first place, and get rid of ones where folks posted them and noone complained.

 

Sorry to hear someone played games with your wife's TB. I hope she wasn't too disappointed!

-J

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It makes me want to reconsider allowing more geocoins on the site.

It's not the coins, Jeremy. It's those damned icons. That's the real culprit. People want the icons, thus virtual coins appear so that people can get them.

 

I made the point about icons a week ago, but you told me to shut up and let the adults talk.

 

Now, you're coming around to the proper conclusion, the true source of the rampant virtual geocoin craze. :rolleyes:

 

Keep making your money on trackable coins, but stop making the unique icons. That's if you're serious about wanting to put a stop to the majority of the virtual geocoining that happens on the site.

 

(Obviously getting rid of icons won't stop all the virtual geocoining, but it will very likely put an end to the majority of virtual geocoin creation in the future.)

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It's not the coins, Jeremy. It's those damned icons. That's the real culprit. People want the icons, thus virtual coins appear so that people can get them.

No. Actually there are just as many Travel Bugs. So your understanding of the situation is incorrect.

 

Edited to note that the OP was about a Travel Bug, not a geocoin.

Edited by Jeremy
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It's not the coins, Jeremy. It's those damned icons. That's the real culprit. People want the icons, thus virtual coins appear so that people can get them.

No. Actually there are just as many Travel Bugs. So your understanding of the situation is incorrect.

 

Edited to note that the OP was about a Travel Bug, not a geocoin.

Then why did you write the following:

However it seems more rampant with geocoins than travel bugs.

But even if there are more virtual travel bugs, that's simply because there are more travel bugs in total than there are trackable geocoins. Trackable geocoins is a relatively new phenomenon, such that their number has exploded only recently.

 

I understand the virtual geocoin compulsion. I've checked the profiles of many many people who log them. You'll see that the majority of them only have a single virtual geocoin log per icon. They rarely move virtual geocoins with the same icon if they already "possess" that icon on their profile page. (This differs from the mentality of the people who move around virtual travel bugs).

 

I really doubt people are paying for the icon. I think they'll still give you your $1.50 per coin simply to have it tracked. Only having a single TB icon hasn't stopped people from buying TBs, has it? Only having a single geocoin icon isn't going to stop people from paying to have their coins tracked.

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i have seen this virtual coining.

 

i hate it.

 

make it stop.

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Back in July I went to post a note that the TB listed in the cache wasn't really there. The description of the TB said the it had been stolen by the "remorcer" and was now a virtual TB and the codes were posted on the bug page.

 

My first reaction was that this was a cool idea [first time I had heard of the virtual TB/Coin concept] I picked it up as a normal TB and then dropped it in another cache that I had visited.

 

Soon after, someone picked it up and moved it to several different countries all in the same day. Even though it wasn't my TB I was a litle ticked as somehow I felt like I was a party to the crime.

 

This TB is still in action and recently visited Georgia, New Zealand and South Carolina in the span of a day or two.

 

I'm not sure I have a point other than these people don't play the game according to "my rules". I have come by my finds/icons honestly and I intend to keep it that way. No logging stuff I didn't find in the wild. This also means that I won't get all those pretty geocoin icons, but that's ok. The ones I do get will be well earned.

 

So I'm with flask..........make it stop.

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Let me see if I have this right.

Sorry to hear that. Some people need to get a life. What is the definition of a virtual tb or geocoin. Just asking to try and understand. I have some ideas and just want to make sure I am within the guide lines. Thanks Russ

Case One

I have a Tb or Geocoin. I take it to events with me. If people come up and ask to see it and I give them the number would this be ok?

 

Case two

I have a cache. If you find the cache I have a Tb or Geocoin number listed in the container. You can log it. Will this work?

 

Case three

Im sure this is ok but wanted to throw it out there anyways. You make a copy of a geocoin have it laminated send it out that way. Sure this is ok but like I said just throwing it out there.

 

Case four

Back to the event thing. I was thinking of taking a TB and taking it and cutting it in half. Give half to my wife and the other half I would have. To log it you need to talk to us both.

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Some smart guy decided to take one of my wife's travel bugs

 

I think we have just been given a new definition for the term "moron."

 

:rolleyes:

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I hope that the idea I'm using doesn't get taken away. I am currently using a TB to track events that I go to and cachers I meet. I log the TB into an event and the only way that other cachers can "log/grab it" is if they actually talk to me AND sign the log book in the key chain micro that is attached to the TB. Please tell me that you're not going to disable this on me.

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How about charging people a buck or two for each unique icon they want displayed on their stats page? That way Groundspeak would make some more money to feed the squirrels, and virtual-logging would no longer be necessary.

 

Anyway I'm not sure how one could even enforce a ban on virtual-logging. If someone has a geocoin tracking number, they have the number. What an accounting nightmare to figure out if they actually hold the coin in their hand or if they just saw it at an event and grabbed it from the owner for a minute to get the icon on their page.

Edited by Hugh Jazz
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I understand the virtual geocoin compulsion. I've checked the profiles of many many people who log them. You'll see that the majority of them only have a single virtual geocoin log per icon. They rarely move virtual geocoins with the same icon if they already "possess" that icon on their profile page.

I just wanted to point out that the profiles of real geocoin hunters can look like that too. My wife and I hunt for real geocoins in the wild. It's not easy. Once we find a geocoin type, we won't actively chase after it anymore because there are lots of other gecoins to chase after.

 

I have come by my finds/icons honestly and I intend to keep it that way.  No logging stuff I didn't find in the wild.  This also means that I won't get all those pretty geocoin icons, but that's ok.  The ones I do get will be well earned.

Ditto! It's hard, but it's not impossible. We only started hunting for the newer geocoins about a month ago and we found 5 already. (Yes, we move them along to other caches so other geocachers can enjoy them too.) Of course, I don't think we'll ever be able to get all of the icons. Like you said, that's ok.

 

Virtual geocoin logging is especially bad because it's not that hard to get all of the icons if you really want them. Just drive to a decent event and you can log (or soon "spot") a bunch of coins. You can get them that way without fake logging.

 

Jeremy, I would like to again suggest that the website not allow people to drop bugs and coins into virtual caches. It's fairly common for people to park virtual travel bugs and virtual geocoins in virtual caches. It makes no sense at all. If you take away their parking spaces, it'll be another message that it's supposed to be about real movement, not fake movement.

 

Lloyd

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Evening all,

I've just recently gotten in to the whole GC thing and accidentally found out about the GC Coins. I was already an avid collector of Military coins so this also has become something of a passion for myself as well.

I usually buy two and send on it's way in a cache and so forth.

Jeremy I understand you're the finally decision maker for all of this and also understand how it makes you feel to see things going as you do not wish them to go.

Honestly I do, being in the Air Force for 17yrs now it happens to me everyday... LOL

Your site is evolving my friend, nudges from yourself and your moderators will keep it going in a direction fairly close to what you want it to be, but it won't ever be exactly how you want it to be. You've got an animal here and it'll react in ways you'd never guessed it might.

Keep up the good work but don't let it all get to you too much. You'll get it there, mainly because 95% of the rest of us are with you on it, the other 5% might be also but they just don't know it yet.

 

I'd hate to see anything go away that I've found to be quite enjoyable, including TB's and Coins.

 

Chaz

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Is this anything like someone keeping a travel bug, but logging them in-and-out of caches without ever actually leaving them in the cache? I have seen this many times where someone will log the travel bug in and out of every cache they find, but never actually leave the bug in the cache. (It happens a lot with jeep travel bugs and coins). I can even point some examples if need be.

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How about charging people a buck or two for each unique icon they want displayed on their stats page? That way Groundspeak would make some more money to feed the squirrels, and virtual-logging would no longer be necessary.

 

Anyway I'm not sure how one could even enforce a ban on virtual-logging. If someone has a geocoin tracking number, they have the number. What an accounting nightmare to figure out if they actually hold the coin in their hand or if they just saw it at an event and grabbed it from the owner for a minute to get the icon on their page.

They do charge for the icon.

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They do charge for the icon.

 

Yeah. but in the bulk quantity of 150 bucks or something.

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Let's just say that the possibility of allowing what folks are calling "virtual" travel bugs has moved to absolute zero.

Good.

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How about charging people a buck or two for each unique icon they want displayed on their stats page?  That way Groundspeak would make some more money to feed the squirrels, and virtual-logging would no longer be necessary. 

 

Anyway I'm not sure how one could even enforce a ban on virtual-logging.  If someone has a geocoin tracking number, they have the number.  What an accounting nightmare to figure out if they actually hold the coin in their hand or if they just saw it at an event and grabbed it from the owner for a minute to get the icon on their page.

They do charge for the icon.

I'm not talking about setting up the icon for a new coin, I know they charge for that. I'm talking about something different:

 

Let's say today I want that EU Coin icon on my page. I gotta either find one in a cache (good luck) or find someone at an event who'll let me copy the number, or I get it off the net or wherever.

 

Under a new system that I'm proposing, instead of the scenarios above, I simply paypal Groundspeak $1 or $2. They stick that icon on my stats page. I didn't have to fake-log it. I bought the right to display the icon fair and square. I didn't have to meet someone at an event that had it. I didn't have to get the number anywhere. Groundspeak just puts the icon on my page after I pay them.

 

Makes money for Groundspeak and gives me that coveted icon.

Edited by Hugh Jazz
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Makes money for Groundspeak and gives me that coveted icon.

I'm guessing icons would go from coveted to worthless in no time flat.

 

I confess, I'll go out of my way for a new icon. But after I got a couple of coin icons, I decided I didn't much care for that type. Too many of them, too cluttery on the stats page, insufficiently meaningful. I handled a few at a recent meet that I much enjoyed looking at (there are some nice designs out there), but I didn't log any of them.

 

 

I still don't understand how it's going to be possible to stop virtual bug logging, though. AND THAT...MAKE...HULK... MAD.

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I still don't understand how it's going to be possible to stop virtual bug logging, though. AND THAT...MAKE...HULK... MAD.

Probably no way to kill off the VTB logging completely, but fortunately, the zero-tolerance policy seems to have been put into effect for the most blatant violators anyway.

 

It's a start.

 

virt_tb_locked.gif

 

edit: spelling

Edited by cache_test_dummies
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Is this going to be effecting personal coins as well? I have the first coin ever purchased and take it with me everywhere I go. Whenever I log a cache, I drop it in (online) and then whenever I pick it up I talk about the cache experiance in a little more detail, perhaps post a picture that may contain too much info. The coin log page also doubles as a way to keep track of approximately how many miles GC has taken me. Just curious if this will have an impact on that, or if this is only for certain situations.

 

Thanks

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Is this going to be effecting personal coins as well?

It doesn't seem to me that the crackdown is on personal travelers. If it's your coin and you are actually visiting the caches, I think you'll be fine.

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If you are aware of the policy about virtual bugs and you are assisting in the hiding of these travel bugs you better watch yourself.

 

Exactly what is the policy, out of curiousity, as I didn't realize there was such a thing.

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Is this anything like someone keeping a travel bug, but logging them in-and-out of caches without ever actually leaving them in the cache? I have seen this many times where someone will log the travel bug in and out of every cache they find, but never actually leave the bug in the cache. (It happens a lot with jeep travel bugs and coins). I can even point some examples if need be.

It's different. Virtual TBs only exist in the code number, and never physically exist. Therefore people whore out their TB # in a lame excuse for miles or whatever.

 

What you're describing is people that use TBs or coins to log their travels in miles and such. Some of those TBs you'll probably only grab, as I know a few that are tied to pets (dogs and such) and a few tied to vehicles (one I know of one that attached the TB on the front bumper of a Jeep, and you have to find a micro elsewhere on the Jeep to log the TB find, very cool!). It's a shame if someone uses the WJTB to log their travels, as they don't own it, but if they're using something that they do own, there's nothing wrong with it.

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I dont post much in the forum... and many times I do because someone posts a thread to here from the SEPAG forum. But I do have a question...

 

I have a travelbug called SKULL. I consider it my personal travelbug and I like to use it to help log the miles from cache to cache as I find them. I also like to use the bug to keep track of each cache visited, what I left, took, who I was caching with. I dont leave SKULL in caches but it is a real travelbug that has gone to each event and cache since I created it.

 

Is this personal travelbug what you are all referring to as a virtual TB?

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I just asked that question and it seems that personal Geocoins and Travelbugs like the ones you and I are referring to are not the target of this.

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If you are aware of the policy about virtual bugs and you are assisting in the hiding of these travel bugs you better watch yourself.

 

Exactly what is the policy, out of curiousity, as I didn't realize there was such a thing.

I would think that the policy is made abundantly clear in Jeremy's post at the top of this thread. No virtual travel bugs.

 

As for personal travel bugs, that actually travel with a geocacher to the caches they visit, Jeremy answered that question recently over in this other thread.

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And there's the Markwell I was tryin to find. Thanks Lep. My coin is actually more of a crutch now. Whenever I can't seem to find a cache I like spinning it in my fingers, seems to help me think straighter... All mental anyways.:)

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Is this going to be effecting personal coins as well? I have the first coin ever purchased and take it with me everywhere I go. Whenever I log a cache, I drop it in (online) and then whenever I pick it up I talk about the cache experiance in a little more detail, perhaps post a picture that may contain too much info. The coin log page also doubles as a way to keep track of approximately how many miles GC has taken me. Just curious if this will have an impact on that, or if this is only for certain situations.

 

Thanks

I would doubt it. The goal of trackable TBs/coins and their functionality on the website is tracking the movements of real objects. Personal TBs simply track the movements of people between caches rather than toys. The distinction is that "virtual" TBs don't track the movement of real world objects, but are logged into caches around the globe arbitrarily.

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I just asked that question and it seems that personal Geocoins and Travelbugs like the ones you and I are referring to are not the target of this.

Sorry Shifty, I must have missed your post before I opened my mouth... thanks for clarifying.

 

Happy Holidays!

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As for personal travel bugs, that actually travel with a geocacher to the caches they visit, Jeremy answered that question recently over in this other thread.

Yeah, that's what I was looking for when writing my previous post. Guess I type too slow. :)

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I would think that the policy is made abundantly clear in Jeremy's post at the top of this thread. No virtual travel bugs.

 

And I would think if it was policy it would be written somewhere, other than a post in the forums. I was simply inquiring as to where I could find/read it such as the guidelines.

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Microsoft has the answer for this. It's called the Trustworthy Travel Bug initiative. Each cache, TB and coin is fitted with a tamper resistant cypher chip. When the TB/coin visits the cache there is a challage/response RF transmitted dialog between their chips using an RSA public key algorithm. When logging the TB/coin you need to upload the generated code and the website checks it against the private keys it holds. Simple.

 

Err... could be whatever Jeremy is cooking up is simpler though.

(But, when this actually happens just try and keep me from taking credit :) )

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I would think that the policy is made abundantly clear in Jeremy's post at the top of this thread.  No virtual travel bugs.

 

And I would think if it was policy it would be written somewhere, other than a post in the forums. I was simply inquiring as to where I could find/read it such as the guidelines.

There is quite a bit written about how travel bugs are supposed to work. See, for example, the Travel Bug FAQ.

 

Simply put, a Groundspeak Travel Bug is a trackable tag that you attach to an item. This allows you to track your item on Geocaching.com. The item becomes a hitchhiker that is carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world and you can follow its progress online.

 

That is how the site feature is intended to work. Jeremy has clarified that virtual travel bugs are an abuse of this feature. Virtual travel bugs move in the virtual world, not in the real world.

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Probably no way to kill off the VTB logging completely, but fortunately, the zero-tolerance policy seems to have been put into effect for the most blatant violators anyway.

 

It's a start.

Oh! The Bug gets shut down? Well, that'll work, but it seems a bit harsh for owners (like Jeremy's wife) who have a Bug hijacked on them.

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Here's a sad but true fact about the whole coin business. Unlike TB's they tend to disappear into someones collection more often than not. It's great to find one "in the wild" since they are becoming a rarity. I'm not for or against Virt coins but it's easier to produce a coin out of my pocket to share among friends than put it in a cache with the hopes it makes it to more than two caches before it goes "missing". Sure the Icons are a nice addition to the page but so are the finds in my log. I guess what I'm saying is where do you draw the line at Personal Coins and malicious icon grabbing? I believe this thread started with a Virt TB's and TB Hijacking.

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Probably no way to kill off the VTB logging completely, but fortunately, the zero-tolerance policy seems to have been put into effect for the most blatant violators anyway.

 

It's a start.

Oh! The Bug gets shut down? Well, that'll work, but it seems a bit harsh for owners (like Jeremy's wife) who have a Bug hijacked on them.

Sort of a Where's George type solution?

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I personally believe that if you see it and touch it you can log it. The reason I believe this is because that is really the only way you will get a chance to say (via an icon) that you have actually seen a particular coin because the sad truth is most coins if put in a cache will quickly disappear forever.

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I personally believe that if you see it and touch it you can log it. The reason I believe this is because that is really the only way you will get a chance to say (via an icon) that you have actually seen a particular coin because the sad truth is most coins if put in a cache will quickly disappear forever.

This is not a discussion about how geocoins disappear. It would seem obvious to many that the scarcity of the coins make them prone to being kept.

 

Even if they are kept, at least they aren't being fake logged into caches. Staying on-topic there is no justification for faking a travel bug drop in a cache that didn't get dropped there.

 

There's a certain logic to that. If you don't eat at a restaurant you can't say you virtually ate there. Why there needs to be a disclaimer that says you can't virtually eat at restaurants is insulting.

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Sort of a Where's George type solution?

Interesting comparison. I believe my thoughts were clear on the Where's George policy on logging bills. Although I think that a physical bill that is tracked in physical caches should be ok, the where's george site policy is that it is not ok. So I respect that and believe others should too.

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Sort of a Where's George type solution?

Interesting comparison. I believe my thoughts were clear on the Where's George policy on logging bills. Although I think that a physical bill that is tracked in physical caches should be ok, the where's george site policy is that it is not ok. So I respect that and believe others should too.

I was referring to WG's practice of shutting down/restricting bills that didn't follow guidelines on their site. I'm not suggesting gc.com do the same thing, I was just comparing it to the idea of shutting down problem bugs. I should have been more clear.

Edited by BlueDeuce
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I just wanted to chime in by saying that it's funny because people would rail on about Virtual TBs all the time...but until someone defaced the site owner's wife's TB by turning it into a virtual, suddenly it's a hot-button issue for the site. To balance that "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" childish remark, let me offer a solution:

 

My TB has been in the wild for nearly 3 years and has passed around in the most traditional manner (for full disclosure: i've only deleted 2 logs very recently from 'lay-over' caches where the bug didn't actually change cacher hands and that's out of personal preference for how I want the distance calculated). If my bug went virtual on me, like a stage I cancer cell, I'd probably kill it myself before it got out of hand.

 

I think that's the solution here. Add an option to the TB Options menu for "Disable this TB" and allow the cacher to kill the ability for that number to be logged. The only worry would be a rampant abuse of the TBs by a concerted effort to make every TB a virtual one in order to get them all disabled. This would be little different than the other storms geocaching has weathered like local cache hoodlums and pirates and so on. None of them have many lasting ill effects on the game today....as fizzy points out, it's still growing exponentially.

 

So, there's your answer. Just like a person can disable/archive their own cache, a TB owner should be given the option to ultimately squash their TB page if need be.

Edited by ju66l3r
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I just wanted to chime in by saying that it's funny because people would rail on about Virtual TBs all the time...but until someone defaced the site owner's wife's TB by turning it into a virtual, suddenly it's a hot-button issue for the site.

Ah no. Actually I have been banning them for a while now. I was just giving a personal note to how it was affecting someone I personally know. The situation occured yesterday and you can see from previous posts that I have been addressing this issue far before it happened here.

 

So nanny nanny boo boo.

 

I do plan to offer some ways to lock travel bugs (and caches), but it is just sad how much time is spent curbing abuse. We'll also be building ways to allow folks to report issues better.

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...

(Jeremy has a wife? Who knew?)

Maybe she's a virtual wife. Many hard-core techies have them, you know.

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...

(Jeremy has a wife? Who knew?)

Maybe she's a virtual wife. Many hard-core techies have them, you know.

carefull... be VERY careful :D:D:D:D:P

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I do plan to offer some ways to lock travel bugs (and caches), but it is just sad how much time is spent curbing abuse. We'll also be building ways to allow folks to report issues better.

Speaking for myself, I had no idea that turning a lost/stolen geocoin into a virtual was in any way shape or form "abuse".

 

My first coin purchased was given a mission and turned loose. It passed through four or five hands and disappeared. Instead of letting that $7 or whatever it was be forever gone I turned it into a virtual.

 

I don't remember how I stumbled upon it, but when I seen the virtuals bugs I thought it was a rather neat idea. Figured it was a few steps above dropping it into the great TB graveyard in the middle of the Atlantic at any rate. Also thought there would be many icon collectors that would enjoy it which obviously there is/was.

 

So again, I had no idea that creating a virtual bug was a no-no. Had I of known, would have never happened. Just like when I first seen this topic this morning, I went into my bug page and took out everything "virtual" and references to the bug number.

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