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Good Bye Utah Admin


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I am here to protest UtahAdmin being relieved of his cache approving duties by GC.com. UtahAdmin has served the geocachers of Utah well and we will miss him greatly. I think it is really shortsighted of GC.com to terminate UtahAdmin over a conflict of interest issue. How silly! What is GC.com worried about? UtahAdmin's other business is a great compliment to GC.com, where is the conflict? We in Utah love UtahAdmin more that GC.com and are most distressed that GC.com has been so heavy handed and arbitrary in this decision. GC.com has enhanced their image of being a company that is greedy and out of touch with their customers. If there was a viable alternative (to GC.com), I would be making tracks there right now.

 

bye, UtahAdmin

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Could someone bring the rest of us up to speed on the facts of this?

 

I see nothing in the regional forum here (and I'll admit that I'm a bit lazy to go hunting for a forum for UT cachers right now).

 

I should find it hard to believe that Groundspeak would remove a volunteer for conflict of interest when they didn't remove one for abuse of position/power and more egregiously faking locationless finds (an abuse of the entire system of trust between finders and hiders).

 

This admin has injected himself into sensitive talks with Park officials and used his title as a reviewer at GC.com as weight (although Groundspeak said that he does not represent them in such matters), playing a tenuous fine line between using their name and not actually representing them as a faction in the matter...

 

It's just that after all of the *many* varied times that he's messed with everything over the years, he's still allowed to be a reviewer.

 

This is why I say that I *should* find it hard to believe that they removed him for a simple conflict of interest...but I don't. So, I'd like to hear the whole story.

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I'm in the dark regarding the background of this issue, but it still is of interest to me. UtahAdmin approves caches in Wyoming as well and has been a great person to work with. Whenever I read a thread that dredges up admin drama and conflict, I think to myself "I'm glad I don't have that problem here."

 

Well, today this leaves me a bit dissappointed.

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For those out of the loop, this may help some:

 

http://www.utahgeocachers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=16814

 

(I ended up finding some extra time to not be so lazy)

 

I am still a bit lost about the "conflict of interest". Unless UtahAdmin was using their position as cache reviewer to solicit business for their commercial geocoin venture, I don't see the impropriety nor do I see the potential for such that would need to eliminate them as a reviewer.

 

Unfortunately, my guess is that the logic (even if it is well-founded and appropriate at this time) to act as Groundspeak has on this matter will remain shrouded behind the curtains. I'm not bedgrudging their ability to do so, but I do feel that something as directly involving their interaction with the site users should be given an official announcement ("Based on our judgement at this time, due to XYZ, we have requested UtahAdmin to step down...etc...we will be replacing them soon...etc").

 

I do know that the last time this occurred, a large number of participants chose to leave this site and head for other caching websites like Terracaching and Navicaching.

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From what I saw, it appears to me to have been a licensing issue, and non-compete issue. Being that Utahadmin was a volunteer and was working for/ with a competing company it seems to me that GS was within its rights to terminate the business relationship they had.

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From what I saw, it appears to me to have been a licensing issue, and non-compete issue. Being that Utahadmin was a volunteer and was working for/ with a competing company it seems to me that GS was within its rights to terminate the business relationship they had.

Where is the conflict?

 

GC.com does not sell coins. CachingPlace does not list caches.

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Looks to me like this issue could be that he was starting up a forum to talk about issues that Groundspeak had barred from being talked about in these forums.

 

After reading the letter it doesn't sound like a confilct about Geocoins or caches, but instead about that forum.

 

As an aside, I'm surprised that the letter was posted to a forum without removing such things as phone numbers....

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Ok, after reading the letter sent to UtahAdmin and the discussion in the Geocoin Forum here that led to the letter(s), here's my take:

 

Groundspeak and UtahAdmin do not have a conflict of interest, unless you call the usurption of a discussion forum a conflict of interest, and since they demanded his resignation/removal as a *cache approver*, there is no conflict in that regard.

 

In other words, Groundspeak developed a forum for the discussion of Geocoins (all shapes and sizes) and began a business angle of offering Geocoin tracking for a fee per coin to anyone with a coin being made. Their next move after opening discussion to everyone for trades and sales of Geocoins was to close sales discussion to only those coins that were GC.com trackable. This is their site, their forum, their business, their right to do so. It seems a bit of a bait-n-switch but they were at the minimum allowing a grandfathering of recent topics for nontrackable sales.

 

In order to allow traders/purchasers/sellers to continue discussions in an open manner about all sorts of Geocoins, UtahAdmin opened a forum that had no restrictions on the discussion at his website. Geocoin collectors of all types felt it important that all discussion remain focused to a single boards to help keep the very small cottage industry of Geocoin collecting alive. This forum usurps Groundspeak's ability to control the discussion and pressure people to make their Geocoins GC.com trackable in order to remain on the original point of discussion for these types of sales. It tastes of the same foulness that came from the olden days of these forums when Navicache.com was auto-filtered out because they offered Groundspeak competition in hosting cache information.

 

Regardless of what Groundspeak feels about UtahAdmin's decision to host an open forum for Geocoin discussion, it has nothing at all to do with their ability to review caches for GC.com to host. There is no undue influence on their decision-making on caches simply because they choose to host a forum for the discussion of Geocoins.

 

Does every cache reviewer that is also running their local geocaching association's website suddenly need to mysteriously resign because there is/might be discussion of Geocoins (particularly GC.com trackable ones) on their sites (commercial or not)?

 

Because that is the real essence of this "conflict of interest" and it's a very bullish move, similar to others we've seen before from Groundspeak, to have kicked out a good reviewer simply because they used the internet for what it's good for (the free trade of ideas and discussion, allowing people outlets around aggressive overbearing rules).

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Since UtahAdmin has published the contents of my letter to him in a public forum, along with commentary, I feel that I must respond. Normally, this issue would not have been publicized at all because I believe it is in poor taste to air this type of matter in a public forum.

 

To put things in context, the Admin Only Forum has always been a bit like a Teacher’s Lounge. Moderators are able to let their collective hair down for candid discussions on various topics and policies. Often Groundspeak solicits assistance with things like new policies – with the understanding that these discussions are confidential. Moderators are informed of this early on so there is no confusion.

 

In this situation, the discussion of a yet-unfinished policy was used to recruit members to a commercial website. It was immediately realized from the content of UtahAdmin's email that this information was leveraged outside of the Admin Only Forum for the benefit of his commercial web site. Not only was Groundspeak upset by this, but other moderators were offended by this breach of trust.

 

I have met UtahAdmin personally and I think he is a great guy. In his capacity as volunteer reviewer, he has done so much for the geocaching community and I genuinely like him. Additionally, we do not have any problem with the fact that he runs a commercial web site (thecachingplace.com). In fact, many other volunteers also run commercial web sites.

 

However we really had no choice but to revoke his privileges as a voluntary reviewer based on the breach of trust caused by this conflict of interest. It was an extremely difficult decision and I am sad that we had to make it. However I believe it was the right one.

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Since UtahAdmin has published the contents of my letter to him in a public forum, along with commentary, I feel that I must respond. Normally, this issue would not have been publicized at all because I believe it is in poor taste to air this type of matter in a public forum.

 

To put things in context, the Admin Only Forum has always been a bit like a Teacher’s Lounge. Moderators are able to let their collective hair down for candid discussions on various topics and policies. Often Groundspeak solicits assistance with things like new policies – with the understanding that these discussions are confidential. Moderators are informed of this early on so there is no confusion.

 

In this situation, the discussion of a yet-unfinished policy was used to recruit members to a commercial website. It was immediately realized from the content of UtahAdmin's email that this information was leveraged outside of the Admin Only Forum for the benefit of his commercial web site. Not only was Groundspeak upset by this, but other moderators were offended by this breach of trust.

 

I have met UtahAdmin personally and I think he is a great guy. In his capacity as volunteer reviewer, he has done so much for the geocaching community and I genuinely like him. Additionally, we do not have any problem with the fact that he runs a commercial web site (thecachingplace.com). In fact, many other volunteers also run commercial web sites.

 

However we really had no choice but to revoke his privileges as a voluntary reviewer based on the breach of trust caused by this conflict of interest. It was an extremely difficult decision and I am sad that we had to make it. However I believe it was the right one.

Thank you for the extremely thoughtful and fair post, Rothstafari. :ph34r:

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Since UtahAdmin has published the contents of my letter to him in a public forum, along with commentary, I feel that I must respond. Normally, this issue would not have been publicized at all because I believe it is in poor taste to air this type of matter in a public forum.

 

To put things in context, the Admin Only Forum has always been a bit like a Teacher’s Lounge. Moderators are able to let their collective hair down for candid discussions on various topics and policies. Often Groundspeak solicits assistance with things like new policies – with the understanding that these discussions are confidential. Moderators are informed of this early on so there is no confusion.

 

In this situation, the discussion of a yet-unfinished policy was used to recruit members to a commercial website. It was immediately realized from the content of UtahAdmin's email that this information was leveraged outside of the Admin Only Forum for the benefit of his commercial web site. Not only was Groundspeak upset by this, but other moderators were offended by this breach of trust.

 

I have met UtahAdmin personally and I think he is a great guy. In his capacity as volunteer reviewer, he has done so much for the geocaching community and I genuinely like him. Additionally, we do not have any problem with the fact that he runs a commercial web site (thecachingplace.com). In fact, many other volunteers also run commercial web sites.

 

However we really had no choice but to revoke his privileges as a voluntary reviewer based on the breach of trust caused by this conflict of interest. It was an extremely difficult decision and I am sad that we had to make it. However I believe it was the right one.

 

It is even more poor taste to call it a resignation, when it wasn't.

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Anyone else find it funny that in the letter Groundspeak said they were "willing to structure this as a resignation, saying that you chose to resign in order to pursue your independent business interests", rather than just saying he was for all intents and purposes fired. I am shocked and appalled. I'd expect something like that from a multi-million dollar corporation, not a company that has a website about finding stuff in the woods. I'm shaking my head in disbelief at Groundspeak, but I give Utah Admin tons of respect for not accepting that "offer".

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It is even more poor taste to call it a resignation, when it wasn't.

I disagree. They gave him the option to save face. Instead he posted the letter to a public forum, not very classy. :ph34r:

 

The fact is, GC.com gets to choose their own reviewers and admins. They believe that there is a conflict. He has to go.

 

:lol:

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Anyone else find it funny that in the letter Groundspeak said they were "willing to structure this as a resignation, saying that you chose to resign in order to pursue your independent business interests", rather than just saying he was for all intents and purposes fired. I am shocked and appalled.

That is an extremely ignorant response. So you want to have someone publicly fire you instead of allowing you to gracefully retire? That's just stupid.

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Anyone else find it funny that in the letter Groundspeak said they were "willing to structure this as a resignation, saying that you chose to resign in order to pursue your independent business interests", rather than just saying he was for all intents and purposes fired. I am shocked and appalled. I'd expect something like that from a multi-million dollar corporation, not a company that has a website about finding stuff in the woods. I'm shaking my head in disbelief at Groundspeak, but I give Utah Admin tons of respect for not accepting that "offer".

There's nothing unusual about offerring to let someone resign rather than being fired. I've done it many times in my business life.

 

El Diablo

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Anyone else find it funny that in the letter Groundspeak said they were "willing to structure this as a resignation, saying that you chose to resign in order to pursue your independent business interests", rather than just saying he was for all intents and purposes fired. I am shocked and appalled.

That is an extremely ignorant response. So you want to have someone publicly fire you instead of allowing you to gracefully retire? That's just stupid.

When the reason I'm being fired is nothing to be ashamed of, yes, I would rather be publicly fired. Guess that makes me stupid.

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Anyone else find it funny that in the letter Groundspeak said they were "willing to structure this as a resignation, saying that you chose to resign in order to pursue your independent business interests", rather than just saying he was for all intents and purposes fired. I am shocked and appalled.

That is an extremely ignorant response. So you want to have someone publicly fire you instead of allowing you to gracefully retire? That's just stupid.

Asking someone to "retire" or "resign" is only a euphamism for being fired. To attempt to spin it as a face-saving gesture for Cache-U-Nuts is just so much bafflegab.

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When the reason I'm being fired is nothing to be ashamed of, yes, I would rather be publicly fired. Guess that makes me stupid.

What? You don't like choices?

 

So let me get this straight - Bryan sends an email that says, Hey UtahAdmin, we offer you the ability to retire gracefully as a choice instead of announcing that you breached our trust. Instead, you think we should have not given him an opportunity to decide for himself and instead publicly announce it?

 

So do I understand now that you prefer not to have choices? If so, yes, I'd say that is a deep misunderstanding about what went on.

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When the reason I'm being fired is nothing to be ashamed of, yes, I would rather be publicly fired. Guess that makes me stupid.

Again, I disagree. Since we are copmparing this to real life, I would always prefer to resign. If for no other reason, it allows for allows for a much better answer to an interviewer who asks whether you've ever been terminated.

 

In most cases, I give employees an opportunity to quit rather than to be fired. Only in the most grievous situations do I not do so.

 

Edit: Jeremy types much faster than I do.

Edited by sbell111
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Anyone else find it funny that in the letter Groundspeak said they were "willing to structure this as a resignation, saying that you chose to resign in order to pursue your independent business interests", rather than just saying he was for all intents and purposes fired. I am shocked and appalled. I'd expect something like that from a multi-million dollar corporation, not a company that has a website about finding stuff in the woods. I'm shaking my head in disbelief at Groundspeak, but I give Utah Admin tons of respect for not accepting that "offer".

I think its pretty much standard in every industry and companies of all sizes to allow people to "resign" even if the resignation is forced. Every company I've worked for would send out periodic announcements about some executive who resigned to "pursue other interests". Anybody who can read between the lines knows the guy was being let go.

 

It's a whole lot better than announcing to the world that "Joe Smith has been fired for stealing paperclips" or "We canned Cindy Jones because her department was in shambles".

 

The one time in my life I was fired (from my first job as grocery clerk) it was structured as a resignation.

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Asking someone to "retire" or "resign" is only a euphamism for being fired.  To attempt to spin it as a face-saving gesture for Cache-U-Nuts is just so much bafflegab.

Apparently, many people feel the same as you. Luckily, the option of 'Your fired!' was available. After all, the choice was his.

 

edit: Dang, that's three times.

Edited by sbell111
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Anyone else find it funny that in the letter Groundspeak said they were "willing to structure this as a resignation, saying that you chose to resign in order to pursue your independent business interests", rather than just saying he was for all intents and purposes fired. I am shocked and appalled. I'd expect something like that from a multi-million dollar corporation, not a company that has a website about finding stuff in the woods. I'm shaking my head in disbelief at Groundspeak, but I give Utah Admin tons of respect for not accepting that "offer".

I think its pretty much standard in every industry and companies of all sizes to allow people to "resign" even if the resignation is forced. Every company I've worked for would send out periodic announcements about some executive who resigned to "pursue other interests". Anybody who can read between the lines knows the guy was being let go.

 

It's a whole lot better than announcing to the world that "Joe Smith has been fired for stealing paperclips" or "We canned Cindy Jones because her department was in shambles".

 

The one time in my life I was fired (from my first job as grocery clerk) it was structured as a resignation.

When being terminated for cause, employees are generally offered the option of resigning to avoid subsequent legal issues. Rarely is it done for the specific purpose of sparing the employee any embarassment. The face-saving aspect is simply a side benefit.

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the discussion of a yet-unfinished policy was used to recruit members to a commercial website. It was immediately realized from the content of UtahAdmin's email that this information was leveraged outside of the Admin Only Forum for the benefit of his commercial web site. Not only was Groundspeak upset by this, but other moderators were offended by this breach of trust.

Bryan, you air a very serious accusation. Now that you've brought it from the depth of the Secret Cabal Lounge and into the public light, would you mind substantiating it?

 

Specifically, what statement(s) in the newsletter of thecachingplace.com contained the information leaked from the admin's forum? At a first glance, I don't see any, period.

 

And what did the other admins have to say? You imply that they were all offended and all sided with you, but I frankly find it hard to believe.

 

Lastly, it probably doesn't serve Geocaching well that its policies are created, enforced and disseminated by someone who hasn't cached in years, such as yourself. Would you mind defending your personal playing record and enthusiasm, please?

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The one time in my life I was fired (from my first job as grocery clerk) it was structured as a resignation.

Same here. And it allowed me to conduct myself with a certain amount of grace that otherwise I wouldn't have been able to show.

 

Obviously not everyone can see it that way, but 12 years later I have no regrets.

 

Best wishes all around.

 

Bret

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When the reason I'm being fired is nothing to be ashamed of, yes, I would rather be publicly fired. Guess that makes me stupid.

What? You don't like choices?

 

So let me get this straight - Bryan sends an email that says, Hey UtahAdmin, we offer you the ability to retire gracefully as a choice instead of announcing that you breached our trust. Instead, you think we should have not given him an opportunity to decide for himself and instead publicly announce it?

 

So do I understand now that you prefer not to have choices? If so, yes, I'd say that is a deep misunderstanding about what went on.

I suppose there's nothing wrong with choices, but I feel that by not "resigning" UtahAdmin made the right choice. Knowing right away why he was relieved from his position let me make an immediate opinion on the subject. If he had "resigned" and I later found out that it was not a true resignation my respect for him would have deteriorated. Regardless of the circumstances my respect for him has gone up, because he chose not to make the situation appear to be something it is not. Common practice or not, that doesn't change the fact that it's pretty much hiding the truth. I understand why he was removed as a volunteer, but that doesn't mean I can't give him my support.

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When being terminated for cause, employees are generally offered the option of resigning to avoid subsequent legal issues.  Rarely is it done for the specific purpose of sparing the employee any embarassment.    The face-saving aspect is simply a side benefit.

You are mostly correct. Many companies do this to avoid unemployment claims. The fact is, if you have proper documentation, you should never lose in an unemployment hearing.

 

It should also be noted, that the side benefit of which you speak is for the person who is leaving, not for the employer.

 

edit: Man, the big guy is killing me today.

Edited by sbell111
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In this situation, the discussion of a yet-unfinished policy was used to recruit members to a commercial website. It was immediately realized from the content of UtahAdmin's email that this information was leveraged outside of the Admin Only Forum for the benefit of his commercial web site. Not only was Groundspeak upset by this, but other moderators were offended by this breach of trust.

Then your decision has nothing to do with his attempt to leverage Geocoin discussion to a forum with a more open set of rules and out from under Groundspeak's thumb? It had to do solely with the timing of such an event (occuring before the new Geocoin forum rules were established in public)?

 

I just want to be clear here because you also keep saying it was a "conflict of interest" when now you're defining it as a "breach of trust" concerning his use of information privvy to administrator-level access.

 

In other words, if UtahAdmin had seen the public outcry at the new Geocoin Forum policy here, waited until tomorrow, and then created a forum for the open discussion of Geocoin trading/sales, would they still be a cache reviewer because there was no "breach of trust"?

 

Or would they still have their position terminated because they acted in a manner that undermined Groundspeak's attempt to bully Geocoin collectors/sellers/traders into paying GC.com for trackability in order to use the de facto centralized source for all discussion of these activities (the Geocoin Forum on this site)?

 

Thank you for coming here to explain the matter, Roth. I hope the meaningful dialogue can continue.

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the discussion of a yet-unfinished policy was used to recruit members to a commercial website. It was immediately realized from the content of UtahAdmin's email that this information was leveraged outside of the Admin Only Forum for the benefit of his commercial web site. Not only was Groundspeak upset by this, but other moderators were offended by this breach of trust.

Bryan, you air a very serious accusation. Now that you've brought it from the depth of the Secret Cabal Lounge and into the public light, would you mind substantiating it?

I doubt he would bother replying to a sock puppet.

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The face-saving aspect is simply a side benefit.

So you agree that it is a benefit. Good to know you agree that an offer to resign is a nice thing to do.

That's not what I said. :ph34r:

 

Personally, I believe the offer to resign was done more to save GC from embarassment than the other way around. The only party benefitting is GC.

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Common practice or not, that doesn't change the fact that it's pretty much hiding the truth. I understand why he was removed as a volunteer, but that doesn't mean I can't give him my support.

No offense, but it is his decision whether or not it should be any of your business. I'm sure there's no need to publicly announce all of your personal finances in a forum just because someone wants to know either.

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The face-saving aspect is simply a side benefit.

So you agree that it is a benefit. Good to know you agree that an offer to resign is a nice thing to do.

That's not what I said. :ph34r:

Other people can figure that one out. But you do indicate that it is a benefit even if it is ancillary.

 

Personally, I believe the offer to resign was done more to save GC from embarassment than the other way around.  The only party benefitting is GC.

 

Meh. We're always prepared that any emails will be aired to the community. This is no different than other experiences we have had.

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Common practice or not, that doesn't change the fact that it's pretty much hiding the truth. I understand why he was removed as a volunteer, but that doesn't mean I can't give him my support.

No offense, but it is his decision whether or not it should be any of your business. I'm sure there's no need to publicly announce all of your personal finances in a forum just because someone wants to know either.

No offense taken. I'm merely giving out my thoughts, just like everyone else.

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now that I've looked through the whole thing, I'm understanding things a bit more, and I think the best question is:

 

In other words, if UtahAdmin had seen the public outcry at the new Geocoin Forum policy here, waited until tomorrow, and then created a forum for the open discussion of Geocoin trading/sales, would they still be a cache reviewer because there was no "breach of trust"?

 

Anyone?

 

Celticwulf

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