Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 6
The Blue Quasar

Should The Issue Of Abandoned Caches Be Addressed?

Recommended Posts

The purpose of this thread is for the community to decide if there is a need to develop a management plan to identify and addressed caches that appear to be abandoned by their owners.

 

Should we help to create a method to identify when a cache has been abandoned?

 

If so, what parameters should be used?

 

How can we ensure that the cache is actually abandoned?

 

What course of action should be taken by the individual that is concerned about the cache?

 

What time of time line should there be?

 

 

:o The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

For me, it isn't really about the condition of the cache itself. It's true that a cache can go for over a year without being visited and everything is fine.

 

Where I think the problem lies is that sometimes the owners stop playing and don't ensure that there is anyone actually looking after the cache for them now that they have quit.

 

When I started looking at this issue, the NEEDS MAINTENANCE log type was not available. Now that it is, it can be used to help address this issue.

 

The community shouldn't be expected to continue to look after a cache after the owner stops playing. Some one must take over. Should the land owner have concerns, how would they contact the proper owner?

 

Also, it is far too easy for people to just post a note, or include in their Find log that the cache has a problem. If the owner is not reading the logs... no one would know any differently.

 

Originally I asked for input from some of my Geo-buddies, and we determined that six months of apparent inactivity seemed like a reasonable amount of time.

 

Besides, there is nothing wrong with checking in with the owner to see if they are still interested.

 

:o The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

I think this could be tied to the amount of time since the owner last visited the website (you can see this in their profile). After six months or a year the cache should be automatically archived.

Share this post


Link to post

I would think this issue could/should be addressed by geocaching.com. If there is no post to any cache or no logging in by any geocacher in one full year an automatic email could be sent out. No reply in 90 days the cache could be delisted or archived. Same for the geocachers account. Any geocachers in the area signed up for automatic notification would get notice of the action taken. Maybe a fourm listing canceled accounts or caches could also be started. Works for the banking industry, leave an account dormant and see what happens. Seems simple to me but than I have been called simple minded.

Share this post


Link to post

Well everyone will have a different view on this subject, some will be similar and some not even close. lol

In my opinion, There are also "EXTREAM CACHES" that might only get visited every few years. I think that these caches should stay unarchived, unless the cache has been visited and a DNF was posted. I know that there are 2 located in my Province that have not been found ever (place over 2 years ago). The two caches will actually take a few days by water and land to reach. So in the act of archiving this type of cache, it will end up being "geo-trash" so to speak. If the cache owner can not be contacted the act of archiving will turn the cache into a litter problem. So we now need a way of each Prov. Org. to either find a new cache owner or going to pick up the archived cache. Maybe orginizing a CITO event to pick up archived caches a few time a year would acomplish this.

Well that's my 2 cents lol

 

parker2

Share this post


Link to post

That to me illustrates clearly the difference between the Geocache and the Owner.

 

A Geocache that has not been visited in years, but has an active Owner, is not a problem.

A Geocache that gets regular visits and has an active Owner, is also not a problem.

A Geocache that does not have and active Owner, regardless of condition of the Geocache, is a problem. Someone must be responsible for the cache listing.

 

The guidelines for placing a cache, which the Owner agrees to by clicking the two check boxes at the bottom of the New Cache Listing Form, are quite clear. The Owner must maintain the cache.

 

The concept that an Account lapses if a predeteremined amount of time passes from the Owner accessing the Geocaching.com is probably the best suggestion. Yahoo and Hotmail use this approach for web based Email accounts.

 

However, should a cache no longer have an active Owner, it cannot simply be Archived. That would mean that the cache would indeed become geo-trash, and with no visible referrence to it (as in Archived caches are not readily viewable), there must be a way to ensure proper removal.

 

Here is my thought....

 

If a Geocacher (let's call them Cache-Master) posts a Needs Maintenance note on a Geocache because either the Owner needs to fix the cache, or the Owner has not logged on in (x) months, then the following applies...

 

Some set amount of time for the Owner to rectify the concern takes place. This action would require the Owner use the Owner Maintenence log (not my rule, that is a Groundspeak rule already established)

 

If the Owner does not take action in that time frame, the local Reviewer could then move the Cache to the Disabled List... then the standard rules apply as the Reviewers do now... after what seems like two months currently, the cache moves from Disabled to Archived. During the time that the cache is disabled, interested parties (other Cachers) should contact the Reviewer that Disabled the cache if they wish to Adopt it.

 

If the cache does get Archived, at that point Cache-Master is requested to remove any remains of the cache, if anything does still remain by the Reviewer. To me, if you're going to point it out a problem you should be willing to be part of the solution.

 

A year of not logging onto the site seems like a very long time to me. Maybe it's because of how active I am with this hobby, and if this was a year since last posted activity I could see that more.

 

If an Owner isn't logging onto the Geocaching.com site at least every three months, then it would seem that they aren't committed to the hobby. I know some people won't like that amount of time, citing "what if" issues. But if a Needs Maintenence request is posted, they would get the notification, and be aware that an issue has been raised. It is up to them how to respond. If life is such that they cannot respond, then they can't possibly be able to affect any needed repairs anyway.

 

:lol: The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

Ok, here are my thoughts so far on this -

 

Yes we need to address idle cachers, as they will not address themselves. Some cachers may quit the game, and often without running around and cleaning up their geocaches. Some just don't care anymore. Brings me to the idea that cache listings should not be permitted for people that have few finds recorded on the system. I would think that someone with 1-2 finds may not be ready for cache maintenance - that is a whole different topic though that has been argued for the ages elsewhere. This topic may actually belong in the "Geocaching Topics" forum instead of the "Canada" forum, as this topic really does apply to geocaching as a whole, not just Canada.

 

---

 

An expiry date for caches or geocachers should be kept to a very long time, geocaching being what it is.

While some caches are easy and accessible, like a parking lot micro, some caches, like those on mountains will sit idle for a while. Also, not every geocacher is as obsessed about the game as someone like myself. I check the site multiple times a day, but I know active cachers that only check in annually. It's not as important to them. Hopefully their email is configured properly, but if it isn't there are things we can do.

 

I would suggest a minimum of one year to hear from a geocacher for a flag to be set on their caches.

Rather than automatically archiving the listings, which would cause them to disappear from PQ's I would suggest the cache become immediately available for adoption, and an 'adopt this cache' button appear on their listings. During this time frame, if the cacher logs in, they should have it on the screen, in bold red lettering across the top that "YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN DEEMED IDLE AND YOUR CACHE LISTINGS MAY BE TRANSFERRED OR ARCHIVED". So they will get the idea to log in more often. They should also have a notification that "YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS HAS A PROBLEM" if that is happening. Don't know, that may already be in there.

 

The problem with an auto-archive is that the locals that may want to 'clean up' the cache would lose information on where the cache is, unless they've been to it before. Maybe the automatic flag should be "SBA " with a text log that indicates the cache should be archived due to an inactivity time-out.

 

I would also suggest that a cache that records a DNF or Needs Maintenance instantly starts a 3 month timer which is reset with an owner post to the cache. At the end of 3 months the cache is immediately flagged for listing removal or adoption, and this shows up on the cache listing.

 

Perhaps even adding "available to adopt" to the PQ's or to the Weekly cache notification would be handy too.

I would also like to see a method where a person can adopt without depriving the original owner of the "Hidden" stat. That is a roadblock to cache adoptions in my eyes, as sometimes the owners don't want to see their stats go down.

 

Once a cache has been DNF/ignored for 3 months or the owner has not logged into gc.com for one year, and a time has elapsed for adoption (say 3 months from cache / owner idle) then the cache could be flagged for removal by the local cachers or caching group. This should be co-ordinated with the cache approver so that the cache can be archived before the local group/cacher heads out to remove the physical cache, so it's dropped from PQ's and nobody is out looking for the cache the day it's removed.

 

The one danger that still exists with this is cross-posted geocaches. I would encourage the cache remover to check the cache before leaving the area with it. They should have a copy of the cache logs (print out/PDA) and should check the logbook for entries that may have come from other cache listing services, like Navicache. If there is a significant amount of names in the logbook that are not listed on gc.com, then the cache should possibly be left in place and/or delisted from geocaching.com. Attempts should be made to contact the other listing services (if any) when cache removal is deemed necessary.

 

Listing owners should be encouraged to identify if their cache is cross-posted to make this process easier, but I have my doubts that would actually be done.

Share this post


Link to post

That to me illustrates clearly the difference between the Geocache and the Owner.

 

A Geocache that has not been visited in years, but has an active Owner, is not a problem.

A Geocache that gets regular visits and has an active Owner, is also not a problem.

A Geocache that does not have and active Owner, regardless of condition of the Geocache, is a problem. Someone must be responsible for the cache listing.

Absolutely agree with you BQ and appreciate your taking the lead in this important issue. The sport is now apporaching 6 years old and this will become even more of a problem and it has to be addressed in a consistent manner by the geocaching community as a whole. If we don't the sport's reputation will suffer. Its developing those consistent rules/guidelines that will be the difficult part.

 

There have been some interesting ideas already posted in this thread and I want to take some time to think about them but here's a couple of initial thoughts.

 

Currently, the reviewers will post a note when a cache hasn't been found for a while or people have indicated Needs to be Archived and then after a period of time archive the cache. I don't know how long that is. However, that doesn't go far enough. Who goes and actually checks the cache status? As your statement says, we have to make someone responsible for the cache listing.

 

One step might be for a new category to be developed for a note that is a "Needs to Be Adopted". This could be either by a cache owner who is unable to continue or by someone noticing a potential lack of maintenance for some period of time. The Reviewer then could confirm this and follow northernpenguin's ideas or a similar process.

 

Should the cache not be adopted and has to be removed then that too could be posted as a note to the cache and anyone who was nearby would then be able to remove with the requirement of contacting the reviewer. Then the cache could be archived.

 

If the cache was still not removed after some time, then contacting somebody such as the OAG Admin who would contact a member in the region to remove the cache could be the final part of the process. I think many areas have caching organizations that could be part of the process.

 

I would also think that a list of volunteer maintenance people, like the volunteer reviewers, might be possible to develop. For example, I volunteered to help Simcoe County Trails maintain a cache near my home and have offered a few times to adopt caches in the area, there must be others who would be willing to do this.

 

JDandDD

Share this post


Link to post

Forgive my newness to the sport

 

Have a careful look at GCDD5. When I first found this cache it was ready for garbage and archiving but rather than doing so I have began 'babysitting' this cache.

The newest owner of this cache has not had a visit in 18 months but the cache continues to do what it was intended to do.

 

I like some of the ideas I have read here like the need for an option to adopt maybe after all avenues to contact owners, needs maintience and needs archiving are exhausted. The careful key to this may be at what point is a cache considered abandoned. We don't need old caches turning into garbage and piling up in the woods.

 

Geocachers are a keen bunch that always seem to clean up, fix up, patch up, repair, help out and generally care about the sport they enjoy and its impact on places and people. I am certain that this discussion can only lead to a good cause.

 

Just my thoughts

Dave

Share this post


Link to post

"Needs to be Adopted" is a perfect solution in my opinion. The only people that should be allowed to do this though would be Reviewers and Owners. People may abuse a system like that, although they could abuse the others already established.

 

Following that idea, just like occurs now when a cache has been disabled for a set amount of time it gets archived (I think it's 3 months, but not sure) then like Northern Penguin said a series of events takes place

 

Noted times are examples only

Needs Maintenance log is posted... if no change in two months

Needs Adoption/Disabled is posted... if no change in one month

Listing Archived by Reviewer, and email sent to the person that logged the Needs Maintenance log

 

I don't know of a method to auto-generate a Needs Maintenance based on the Owner not logging onto the Geocaching.com site. For that, it would have to be noticed by local concerned cachers and done manually. I think that is better way anyway since it shows concern for the Geocache and those invloved in it past or present.

 

The advantage of the posting of a Needs Maintenance log there is that the process is publically documented, and the Owner gets an automatic notification. Reviewers (formerly known as Approvers) could run a PQ for Needs Maintenance logs, if they don't automatically get noticification.

 

And like JD and DD said... this activity has been going on for over 5 years, maybe 6 in some places (Ontario is about to celebrate it's 5th anniversary on Feb 17th) and the time has come to consider new aspects of the activity.

 

:lol: The Blue Quasar

 

edit: typo

Edited by The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

"Needs to be Adopted" is a perfect solution in my opinion. The only people that should be allowed to do this though would be Reviewers and Owners. People may abuse a system like that, although they could abuse the others already established.

 

I see your point there. Perhaps, and I don't know how difficult this would be to program, perhaps a "Needs to be Adopted" check box on the cache logging page available to anyone that would send a message to the cache reviewer but not list it specifically on the log page. The cache reviewer could control abuse that way I think.

 

I also think there is something to the idea of setting specific times.

 

The last part of the equation is the removal of geotrash. That's could be the hardest part to think through but it will be something that has to be thought through as well. I re-read my original thoughts on the idea and given BQ's thought's above my ideas need more work in terms of who can remove a non-maintained cache and when.

 

JDandDD

 

(typo edit)

Edited by JDandDD

Share this post


Link to post

Would it fair to say that if a local Geocacher becomes aware of a cache that the Owner has not logged on for X amount of time, that the local Geocacher should send a message to the local Reviewer to post a Needs Maintenance log?

 

This way the Reviewer is placing the note, just like they do already to disable caches.

 

I've tried emailing apparent absentee owners, some times up to three times, with no reply coming back. This reinforced the notion that the owner had in fact abandoned the hobby and caches.

 

But after the recent posting of the 17 Needs Archived notes, two of the accounts did log on. I have again asked them if they are planning on maintaining their caches if needed, and if not, if they would give serious consideration to removing their caches and archiving them.

 

I don't see anything wrong with people posting Needs Maintenance logs for caches that the owner hasn't logged on for an extended period, same as the posting of DNF should get some form of action from the owner.

 

It would be great if the Reviewers got an email if anyone posts a Needs Maintenance, like they do for Should be Archived. But right now I don't think they do.

 

So, how to we identify if an account has become inactive?

 

;) The Blue Quasar

Edited by The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

I don't see anything wrong with people posting Needs Maintenance logs for caches that the owner hasn't logged on for an extended period, same as the posting of DNF should get some form of action from the owner.

 

It would be great if the Reviewers got an email if anyone posts a Needs Maintenance, like they do for Should be Archived. But right now I don't think they do.

 

So, how to we identify if an account has become inactive?

 

;) The Blue Quasar

 

Well, I suppose the lack-of-activity on a Needs Maintenance or SBA would qualify for the specific cache at least. A word of caution about relying on a DNF response -- if the cache owner perceives their cache to be 'challenging' they may not respond to a DNF, as they expected that. Like anything else though, perception can be altered by individual bias.

 

Really, some of the things I mentioned earlier about account timeouts after one year, or cache timeouts after specific lengths of time should be implemented by GC.com as they have database control and can implement a simple SQL query to check for this kind of thing to run, say Tuesdays at 2AM Eastern Time, when I imagine the database is quieter. Jeremy would know this better than me.

 

I wouldn't necessarily bug the reviewers about a "Needs Maintenance". I'm the kind of person that thinks they should be bugged only if the "Needs Maintenance" log grows stale, by that I mean there is no owner post (Note / Maintenance Performed) within a given amount of time (1 month?). There's nothing wrong with GC.com identifying a dormant account from logins and sending out those mailing list style - "are you still there?" type emails to confirm the account still exists, and a response to the email could reset the "last access" time on GC.com.

 

The rest of us in the meantime can pull this off (the checking of Needs Maintenance/SBA timeout) in our Pocket Queries and GSAK with some flitering, but this method will put a greater load on GC.com as we all generate more PQ's than we need to so we can track this sort of thing for "community action".

 

Just my .02

 

- Greg (northernpenguin)

Share this post


Link to post

I agree to a point that the reviewers don't need an extra burden. But on the other hand, I'm sure we are all starting to see an increase in the number of unattended caches in our areas. Many of them are still active in terms of being found. This has to lead to problems for the sport at some point since land managers will be quite right in calling something that's been abandoned by the owner as being trash. That will hurt all of us. At some point someone will have to be appointed to clean up the trash and right now the most neutral appearing party that we have is the local cache reviewer.

 

So how about this. Another thought is a possible combination of BQ's attempting to contact the owner and the 'Needs Adoption' button. Not logging in for 6 months seems reasonable to start with an email, maybe a minimum of two. Then after a month of not receiving a response the local cacher could put a note on the log explaining the attempt and clicking on the 'Needs Adoption' button. At that point the reviewer could approve a note indicating that a cache could be adopted and anyone could then adopt it. Naturally, it gets given back to the original owner if they show up.

 

I understand the issue of Navicache and other sites but that is a fairly simple check on those sites to see if the cache is on there and is apparently being maintained.

 

JDandDD

Share this post


Link to post

I agree to a point that the reviewers don't need an extra burden. But on the other hand, I'm sure we are all starting to see an increase in the number of unattended caches in our areas. Many of them are still active in terms of being found. This has to lead to problems for the sport at some point since land managers will be quite right in calling something that's been abandoned by the owner as being trash. That will hurt all of us. At some point someone will have to be appointed to clean up the trash and right now the most neutral appearing party that we have is the local cache reviewer.

 

You'll note that I *do* want the local reviewers to be notified, I just believe that a little bit of db scripting could save them a whole lot of email. Why bother the reviewer about a 'Needs Maintenance' log that gets addressed a week later by the owner? I'd rather the reviewers get an email that 'GCXXXX - Needs Maintenance - One Month' in their box so they don't have to waste their time reading about the attentive, well behaved owners.

 

I'm sure the reviewers receive about 10000 emails a day so I'd rather make the problem stand out in their mailbox than risk getting missed in a torrent of mundane emails. Think about how many DNFs occur in one day in Ontario and you'll see why we need to hold back some of the 'Needs Maintenance' emails.

 

I would even go so far as to say, add a PQ or insta-notify if a cache gets flagged as stale in an area due to cache neglect or owner absenteeism. That way those people willing to clean up the geotrash can be notified in a similar way.

 

One more protection I'd like to see implemented in a community archival system: The person that archives is banned from placing a cache in that area for 6 months. That should curb the 'I'll archive this cache so I can have the spot' crowd.

 

- Greg

Share this post


Link to post

A couple of questions.

 

1) Are we talking about just archiving the cache listing, or physically removing the cache itself as well?

 

2) What is to prevent someone from posting a needs archive just to get a regularly visited and good condition cache out of the way so they can place a cache there?

Share this post


Link to post

A couple of questions.

 

1) Are we talking about just archiving the cache listing, or physically removing the cache itself as well?

 

2) What is to prevent someone from posting a needs archive just to get a regularly visited and good condition cache out of the way so they can place a cache there?

 

Answer to number 1 - we are talking about both, if required. A listing on another listing service, like Navicache obviously mandates that we perform our due diligence and check activity / archive (if possible) the listing on those services as well. Naturally, if a cache is active on the other listing service, we should flag it and leave it alone. Possibly removing the gc.com listing - that would have to be a judgement call.

 

2) See previous posting for a method to deal with this.

 

- Greg

Share this post


Link to post

First, I strongly feel that if there is nothing wrong with the cache, we should just leave it alone. As long as the cache is fine, I honestly don't think it matters if the cache owner logs into the site or not or even when they last logged in.

 

Each visitor to the cache in essence does maintenance on it by making sure that the cache is ok.

 

If there is a problem with the cache, such as wet log/contents, broken container, missing cache, etc, then I think that is where we as individuals and as a community should use our good judgement and take appropriate action with such things as notifying the cache owner, placing the appropriate Needs Maintenance or Should Be Archived logs, or if we are able to, fix what is wrong with the cache ourselves, which is probably doing the cache owner a big favour and also helps insure that the cache will be in good condition for the next visitor. I know that some people carry extra caching supplies with them just in case they do find a problem with a cache.

 

I see there is also some people suggesting some programming or policy change to the way it works now on geocaching.com. I honestly don’t think any of these changes will happen, so no point of even discussing that part of it. If someone does think it’s a good idea, then it would be more appropriate to bring up that suggestion on the “Geocaching.com Web Site” forum, since it would obviously affect everyone and not just us here in Ontario/Canada. These kind of things have been discussed several times over the years, and the general consensus seemed to be that we already have a system in place (ie, the various log types). People also seemed to take offence to setting specific time lines. Yes I agree we do have a system in place, but I personally don’t think it works as effectively as it could. Improvements could be made.

 

For any caches in Ontario that there is a problem with, I think it would be beneficial for OGA to have a policy on how to deal with them, so as to make each person’s caching experience as positive as possible. It doesn’t have to be the complicated. Perhaps each OGA regional rep can be responsible for keeping an eye on cache listings in their region to identify any caches that may have a problem. They can then try contacting the cache owner, the geocaching community and if needed, the cache reviewer for help in fixing up or eventually removing and archiving the cache. Also ease up on the long generic maintenance\archival logs on the cache pages. Just get to the point and state specifically what is wrong and why the cache needs maintenance or should be archived. Don’t use words like “This MAY be wrong, or there MIGHT be a problem”. Be specific and get to the point. Not sure if the OGA Admin account is appropriate for that (I don’t think there should/needs to be an OGA Admin account at all, especially since it goes against the forum guidelines), and perhaps again leave it as a responsibility for the regional rep to post such log requests under their own account. As a cache owner, the last thing I want to see is a form letter from a generic account posted to my cache page saying that there might be something wrong...it would be a bit offending and impersonal in my opinion.

 

Another thing I don’t understand is why this cache http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...62-8ba4d709c348 was archived as there was no indication in any log that there was ever a problem before it was archived. At the very least it could have been adopted or I am sure if needed someone else would have gladly step up to maintain it.

 

Lastly, yes I think OGA should create an effective policy for addressing problem caches within Ontario as I believe this would be beneficial for the geocaching community of Ontario. However, if there is nothing wrong with the actual cache, then it should simply be left alone.

Share this post


Link to post

Some of my thoughts on abandoned caches.

 

My understanding is that Geocaching.com is a listing service. An Archived Cache is one that is not listed for use. It only indicates that the owner is no longer using the services of Geocaching.com for listing the cache.

 

Geocaching.com makes it clear that maintenance of the cache and surrounding area is the responsibility of the owner. If you can not maintain a cache, then you have two choices "find someone to adopt it" or "remove it". No matter how active, popular or unique, these are not reasons to leave a cache. An abandoned cache, no matter the condition is geotrash. There is no stipulation saying a cache has to last forever.

 

Proving a cache has been abandoned could be tricky. Monitoring activity, logs and visits can only be used as indicators of a situation. An owner may be using the cache for other purposes or listing it elsewhere.

 

A group or organization can supplement the Geocaching.com guidelines, but it only has the authority to enforce over its membership and not the community at large.

 

An individual or group could sponsor an event which includes checking on a Archived Caches in an area, then reporting on the situation and the action taken to Geocaching.com.

 

faire winds

jaktar

Share this post


Link to post

Some of my thoughts:

 

1. All caches should have an owner that is contactable, and is ready to respond to issues that might be raised with the cache. If they aren't there, then no one is going to be taking responsibility for the cache when a problem shows up. Getting a cache archived when you aren't the owner is by necessity a very lengthy process.

 

In this vein, IMNSHO as soon as an owner is determined to be absent long term (however this is done) something needs to happen with their cache, regardless of if the cache is still in OK condition or not. It is at this point that the adoption process should start, not once a problem exists. I beleive that responsible members of the community should stand up and take responsibility for these orphaned caches.

 

If no one steps up to the plate I think these caches should somehow:

 

a) be flagged

:mellow: perhaps be relegated automatically to a local org's account. This would at a minimum provide land managers with some viable contact information, and allow these caches to be removed expediently should the need arise.

 

Failing both of these, the cache should be removed and archived.

 

2. One thing I think we *all* need to keep in mind is that geocaching.com is *not* the same thing as geocaching. They are a listing service. How we choose to deal with issues is up to us as a community, not geocaching.com. If we as a community feel that abandoned caches are a problem, and geocaching.com doesn't have a policy about them, and has no problem letting them sit there and fill with mud, that doesn't mean that nothing can/should be done about it.

 

I beleive that it is up to the community in general to ensure that the caches in their area all have owners, and are properly maintained, this is not geocaching.com's responsibility (although their cooperation with any efforts is certainly helpful).

Share this post


Link to post

Some of my thoughts on abandoned caches.

 

My understanding is that Geocaching.com is a listing service. An Archived Cache is one that is not listed for use. It only indicates that the owner is no longer using the services of Geocaching.com for listing the cache.

 

In many areas, geocaching.com is the only service that *is* used (may be different where you are). If the owner of the cache is completely unresponsive to any e-mails, posts on their page, then there is a very good chance that they couldn't care less about what happens to the cache.

 

Geocaching.com makes it clear that maintenance of the cache and surrounding area is the responsibility of the owner. If you can not maintain a cache, then you have two choices "find someone to adopt it" or "remove it". No matter how active, popular or unique, these are not reasons to leave a cache. An abandoned cache, no matter the condition is geotrash. There is no stipulation saying a cache has to last forever.

 

Would be great if it actually worked like that, but very few people who leave the game actually bother to pick up after themselves. gc.com, being only a listing service, and having other things to do isn't about to make the call that a given cache is trash without being on the scene, and further without having someone to remove it, archiving it is only going to make the problem worse.

 

Proving a cache has been abandoned could be tricky. Monitoring activity, logs and visits can only be used as indicators of a situation. An owner may be using the cache for other purposes or listing it elsewhere.

 

possible, but if they are completely unresponsive to any inquiries, and searches on the site turn up nothing, then personally I'm comfortable assuming they are gone.

 

A group or organization can supplement the Geocaching.com guidelines, but it only has the authority to enforce over its membership and not the community at large.

 

I disagree, while nothing gives the local org and special authority to police the local caches, nothing really gives geocaching.com any right either. This game is regulated by the community in which it is played. By playing in a given community you have implicitly agreed to abide by the rules that community plays by.

 

An individual or group could sponsor an event which includes checking on a Archived Caches in an area, then reporting on the situation and the action taken to Geocaching.com.

 

I think the main issue was with caches that are listed, but not maintained, not caches that are archived. If a cache is archived by the owner, it makes it far more likely that the owner was taking some responsibility for the caches they left out there, and probably means that the cache has been properly delt with. Caches that are left in the field to deteriorate with no one taking responsibility for them I think is a far more serious issue.

Share this post


Link to post

A couple of questions.

 

1) Are we talking about just archiving the cache listing, or physically removing the cache itself as well?

 

Without physically removing the cache, archiving would only make the problem worse.

 

2) What is to prevent someone from posting a needs archive just to get a regularly visited and good condition cache out of the way so they can place a cache there?

 

Ethics. Same thing that stops them from simply removing every cache they visit and bringing it home with them.

 

A cache is very unlikely to simply be archived with a 'couldn't find it' SBA note. Normally several DNFs by independent cachers and an SBA note and several months of inactivity are required.

Share this post


Link to post

Abandoned has nothing to do with Geocache conditions or recent finds.

 

Those would be maintenance issues.

 

To me, and only addressing the when a cache is Archived question.... the physical cache CANNOT be removed before the listing is Archived online. Or else people will be looking for something that isn't there, just like Northern Penguin pointed out.

 

When the Reviewer determines a listing should be Archived.... only after it is, can it be removed.

 

We can make recommendations... but it still takes a Reviewer to do the updating of the Listing.

 

Also, I do not favour an auto-identification based upon some code at Groundspeak. If that occurs, how would anyone be assigned to see the actual removal through properly.

 

But if you bring the issue forward, then you should be willing to complete the job when the Reviewer says it is okay to do so.

 

Also, Adoption is the best way to address an abandoned cache.... If I was going to adopt a cache, I would have a separate account for it...

 

:mellow: The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post
To me, and only addressing the when a cache is Archived question.... the physical cache CANNOT be removed before the listing is Archived online. Or else people will be looking for something that isn't there, just like Northern Penguin pointed out.

 

This of course raises the problem 'if cache is listed on multiple sites'. It can be very difficult to determine for sure if a given cache isn't listed anywhere else. Getting it archived, delisted or whatever on each and every site could be next to impossible.

 

I think

 

1. No cache that is removed due to abandonment should be a popular one. (this will reduce the risks that someone goes looking for something that isn't there.

 

2. As an alternative, I think these should be adopted out first. Then if the cache needs removing, the new owner can disable the cache, allow pocket queries to catch up and then archive the cache. (although if its still a popular cache, why they wouldn't leave it in place is beyond me).

 

This can all be done relatively painlessly once the cache has been adopted, but before this process could take months. (reviewer disables the cache, reviewer waits a few weeks, reviewer archives the cache, few weeks later cacher removes cache in question).

 

Just a straight archive and remove isn't going to solve the problem of people looking for something that isn't there (we have the problem of pocket queries not being up to date).

Share this post


Link to post

 

You'll note that I *do* want the local reviewers to be notified, I just believe that a little bit of db scripting could save them a whole lot of email. Why bother the reviewer about a 'Needs Maintenance' log that gets addressed a week later by the owner? I'd rather the reviewers get an email that 'GCXXXX - Needs Maintenance - One Month' in their box so they don't have to waste their time reading about the attentive, well behaved owners.

 

I'm sure the reviewers receive about 10000 emails a day so I'd rather make the problem stand out in their mailbox than risk getting missed in a torrent of mundane emails. Think about how many DNFs occur in one day in Ontario and you'll see why we need to hold back some of the 'Needs Maintenance' emails.

 

I would even go so far as to say, add a PQ or insta-notify if a cache gets flagged as stale in an area due to cache neglect or owner absenteeism. That way those people willing to clean up the geotrash can be notified in a similar way.

 

One more protection I'd like to see implemented in a community archival system: The person that archives is banned from placing a cache in that area for 6 months. That should curb the 'I'll archive this cache so I can have the spot' crowd.

 

- Greg

 

Thanks for clarifying that. I did read things a bit differently at first but now I see we are on the same general idea here.

 

From other posts, it looks like there is general agreement that adoption is the preferred action. I also understand RES2100 and agree that if there is nothing wrong with the cache then it is preferrable to leave it. It also appears that there is a developing concensus that removal should not be and immediate action.

 

I think that ultimately the real issue is having someone who is responsible for the cache should something occur and that can happen fairly quickly. The importance of adoption, I think, is to have someone who is responsible for the cache should reports of difficulties (wet logs, broken containers, missing, plants/grass getting trampled, poison ivy, hornet nests, construction in the area, etc.) appear and can check them out. I think landmanagers/owners would be more comfortable knowing that somebody is watching.

 

So, the items that seem to require some thought is how to identify an abandoned cache, the mechansims for

reporting it, and then the what would be considered the appropriate actions to take. Ok, that says the obvious but looks like we are getting somewhere.

 

I also wouldn't say that re-programming wouldn't happen. I have been impressed how the site has been willing to adopt good ideas.

 

JDandDD

Share this post


Link to post

Let's say for example that someone doesn't want to actually "Officially Adopt" a cache, but offers to watch it on behalf of the Owner... that is certainly more than fair and happens quite often

 

It would be great if they contacted the local Reviewer and explained that. The Reviewer 'could' go onto the page and add a line line "This Geocache is being tended to by <Geocacher name here>, send them a message if you have a concern regarding this Geocache placement." or similar.

 

Some times the person is willing to watch over the cache on behalf of an owner that can't, even though that owner is still active.

 

This would help local cacher identify that the cache isn't abandoned, and if some land owner wanted to contact someone, at least there would be a back up person.

 

I know that Fish and Jiminie Crickets just came to an agreement like that, which is excellent. As new finds are recorded, the note moves down the list till it slips off of the top five and then it may not be seen. What was a great resolution becomes harder to find as time passes.

 

Every cache needs active ownership.... regardless of popularity and condition... Is there a reason why to not have that?

 

;) The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

Let's say for example that someone doesn't want to actually "Officially Adopt" a cache, but offers to watch it on behalf of the Owner... that is certainly more than fair and happens quite often

 

It would be great if they contacted the local Reviewer and explained that. The Reviewer 'could' go onto the page and add a line line "This Geocache is being tended to by <Geocacher name here>, send them a message if you have a concern regarding this Geocache placement." or similar.

 

Some times the person is willing to watch over the cache on behalf of an owner that can't, even though that owner is still active.

 

This would help local cacher identify that the cache isn't abandoned, and if some land owner wanted to contact someone, at least there would be a back up person.

 

I know that Fish and Jiminie Crickets just came to an agreement like that, which is excellent. As new finds are recorded, the note moves down the list till it slips off of the top five and then it may not be seen. What was a great resolution becomes harder to find as time passes.

 

Every cache needs active ownership.... regardless of popularity and condition... Is there a reason why to not have that?

 

;) The Blue Quasar

Like this idea. So, we could have both adopted and tended by caches. That works and makes sure all caches have active management. The requirement for the 'tender' would be that they would have to inform the reviewer if they no longer wish to tend to the cache. I presume that tending a cache would mean you would get the email notifications as well. I haven't experience with this concept. Is this how it works now and are there drawbacks to not getting the email?

 

JDandDD

Share this post


Link to post

Okay... I'll admit that I'm new to this... but I'd like to put forth my humble opinion.

 

Forgive me if this has already been mentioned...

 

I'm sure that people that told the cache owners about the state of their cache.

 

But instead of just removing and leaving a note behind, do people not take any responsibility and say that they have removed the cache (posted online somewhere)?

 

Zeph

Share this post


Link to post

BQ, You are on the right track overall based on your first couple of posts.

 

I'd add, an active owner on any caching site is an active owner even if they haven't checked in to any one listing site in some time. This isn't always going to be an easy thing to check.

Share this post


Link to post

...Also, I do not favour an auto-identification based upon some code at Groundspeak. If that occurs, how would anyone be assigned to see the actual removal through properly. ...

 

It could be set up that any listing that is archived or abandoned and isn't confirmed MIA, picked up by the owner, or adopged creates a CRM cache. CRM being cache rescue mission. CRM caches would be one time caches and a bonus for the community. They would give bragging rights since they are one time caches. Confirmation of cache retrieval or MIA status would result in the cache being archived.

 

GC.com or any other site can do this if they choose.

Share this post


Link to post

Some thing else to consider.

 

No matter what system is in place for dealing with abandoned caches, there will always be the opportunity for abuse. Trying to protect and be fair to every cacher and cache may almost be impossible. No matter what action is taken, you have to be prepared to deal with the consequences of making a mistake.

 

Under the present system there is a recourse for dealing with abandoned caches. If a cache is perceived to be an orphan, then apply to adopted it. Once the ownership has been transferred, you can maintain it or archive and remove it. This process may take awhile, but is preferable to another existing option of removing it, reporting it muggled and waiting for it to be archived.

 

faire winds

jaktar

Share this post


Link to post

I think that everyone here would agree that as members of the geocaching community, we all have a certain responsibility to ensure the good reputation of the sport.

 

Anyone who places a cache and then, for whatever reason leaves it unattended, is setting up a situation where geocachers look like litterers. If too much cache abandonment happens, I think we will all start to see some serious backlash from municipalities and other parks groups. In Ontario we already can't place caches in provintial parks, and I think this issue might be one of their concerns.

 

If the rest of us demonstrate that we are willing to take proactive steps to prevent these abandoned caches from becoming geotrash, I think it will go a long way to help preserve the integrity of Geocaching.

 

Being relatively new to the sport I don't have all the answers to this problem but I do have a few ideas that I will thow out here for others to comment on.

 

All cache owners must check in and log a "maintenance visit" every (insert somewhat arbitrary, but reasonable time frame here, perhaps 6-12 months) just to make 100% certain that the cache is up to their standards. If this visit does not happen on schedule a polite email is automaticaly sent from geocaching.com reminding them.

 

If the cache owner does not take action within X month(s) of this email the listing is automaticaly disabled, the cache owner emailed, and a reviewer is notified of the situation. From that point on it is up to the individual reviewer's judgement how to proceed.

 

If the cache is still in good condition and the reviewer feels the cache should remain then he/she can put the cache up for adoption. However if the cache is missing, waterlogged, otherwise in poor condition, or for some other reason, the reviewer could decide to simply archive the cache and make room for a new one.

 

I don't know how this next part would work exactly but...

 

If two new cache categories were created, adoptable caches, and removable caches, people could search their local area and "volunteer" to help out. In order to get the coordinates they would have to contact the reviewer, which would, I hope, ensure the proper removal steps were taken. There could even be a new icon created to encourage people help out and remove the caches.

 

In the case of adoption, if the cache is adopted, great it gets re-activated after the new owner visits for the first time. But if it is not adopted within a few months it gets archived. IMHO every cache needs to have someone who takes responsibilty for its condition.

 

I think the biggest point I have to make is that we need to be proactive about this and not reactive. Yes, a situation may happen where a cache is removed and then the owner shows up and is upset, but nothing in this world is perfect. However we know that if nothing is done than there will be many abandoned caches littering the place up.

 

Thanks to everyone who is keeping geocaching great by having these discussions and trying to fix a problem before it happens.

 

Storm Dragon

Edited by Storm Dragon

Share this post


Link to post

Let's say for example that someone doesn't want to actually "Officially Adopt" a cache, but offers to watch it on behalf of the Owner... that is certainly more than fair and happens quite often

 

It would be great if they contacted the local Reviewer and explained that. The Reviewer 'could' go onto the page and add a line line "This Geocache is being tended to by <Geocacher name here>, send them a message if you have a concern regarding this Geocache placement." or similar.

 

Can you explain to me what you see as the difference between adopted and tended by? The only one I can see is one of stats. If as a cache owner, you aren't willing to look after your cache well enough to ensure prompt action when something goes wrong (even if that's just e-mail the person who you arranged with to look after it in your absence) then the cache should be adopted by that other person. The adoption process doesn't even require reviewer intervention if both parties are in agreement. I think generally adoption is a simpler and probably better process overall.

 

I know that Fish and Jiminie Crickets just came to an agreement like that, which is excellent. As new finds are recorded, the note moves down the list till it slips off of the top five and then it may not be seen. What was a great resolution becomes harder to find as time passes.

 

I don't know the details of the situation, but couldn't the official owner of the cache page edit the page to say 'cache tended by ______' and include a link to their profile?

 

Every cache needs active ownership.... regardless of popularity and condition... Is there a reason why to not have that?

 

I agree absolutely.

 

All cache owners must check in and log a "maintenance visit" every (insert somewhat arbitrary, but reasonable time frame here, perhaps 6-12 months) just to make 100% certain that the cache is up to their standards. If this visit does not happen on schedule a polite email is automaticaly sent from geocaching.com reminding them.

 

I don't think an automated rule set is going to work. Few reasons. Many caches don't need checking on very often (like caches on tops of mountains), others need checking on all the time. Any fixed length of time is either going to be way too short for many, or way too long. There is no reason I need to hike of to check on GCPEYE every couple of months, but my latest, "The Doggy Bag 3" I can and should check on it at least once a week. An automated system is just going to lead to people lying about maintenance visits, I don't think it will get many/any people doing more maintenance.

 

If the cache is still in good condition and the reviewer feels the cache should remain then he/she can put the cache up for adoption. However if the cache is missing, waterlogged, otherwise in poor condition, or for some other reason, the reviewer could decide to simply archive the cache and make room for a new one.

 

I doubt the reviewer would do this, without input from the locals, remember, the reviewer probably lives no where even remotely close to the cache, so (a) can't remove it themselves (and thus can't be sure it actually gets removed) (;) can't confirm the condition.

 

I don't know how this next part would work exactly but...

 

If two new cache categories were created, adoptable caches, and removable caches, people could search their local area and "volunteer" to help out. In order to get the coordinates they would have to contact the reviewer, which would, I hope, ensure the proper removal steps were taken. There could even be a new icon created to encourage people help out and remove the caches.

 

Interesting idea, but I think it adds too much complexity to the situation.

 

In the case of adoption, if the cache is adopted, great it gets re-activated after the new owner visits for the first time. But if it is not adopted within a few months it gets archived. IMHO every cache needs to have someone who takes responsibilty for its condition.

 

But in your specific plan I don't see how any one individual is taking responsibility for the cache once its archived (bear in mind, once it gets archived it doesn't, and won't show up on searches, and this *won't* change, this has been made very clear by Jeremy et al.).

 

My feeling is, that the community needs to identify abandoned caches, and then take the required steps to adopt them (possibly to an organization's account), and then deal with them as they see fit (either archive or re-adopt them out).

 

I think the biggest point I have to make is that we need to be proactive about this and not reactive. Yes, a situation may happen where a cache is removed and then the owner shows up and is upset, but nothing in this world is perfect. However we know that if nothing is done than there will be many abandoned caches littering the place up.

 

Thanks to everyone who is keeping geocaching great by having these discussions and trying to fix a problem before it happens.

 

Storm Dragon

 

I agree with this part absolutely.

Share this post


Link to post

There has been a lot of good content and ideas brought forward. Tonight I will attempt to summarize the discussions so far, and list the options that everyone has brought up.

 

;) The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

The LMGA is already doing this.

 

Their procedure is to try to ensure an adoption first, before looking at archival. Adoption has the highest priority in a cache rescue.

 

One cache has already been rescued, and another is under discussion.

 

http://lmga.net

Share this post


Link to post
I don't think an automated rule set is going to work. Few reasons. Many caches don't need checking on very often (like caches on tops of mountains), others need checking on all the time. Any fixed length of time is either going to be way too short for many, or way too long. There is no reason I need to hike of to check on GCPEYE every couple of months, but my latest, "The Doggy Bag 3" I can and should check on it at least once a week. An automated system is just going to lead to people lying about maintenance visits, I don't think it will get many/any people doing more maintenance.

 

Perhaps you are correct that some caches need to be maintained much more frequently, but shouldn't every cache be looked in on at least once a year by the owner? Just from my point of view, I would think part of the reason someone places a cache in a particular spot is becasue they like the area it's in, if you like a spot enough to place the cache why not give yourself an excuse to go and visit it. Although I see the point that the cache owner relies on finders to let them know if there is a problem to a certain extent.

 

I doubt the reviewer would do this, without input from the locals, remember, the reviewer probably lives no where even remotely close to the cache, so (a) can't remove it themselves (and thus can't be sure it actually gets removed) ( can't confirm the condition.

 

That is where the local organizations step up and help out the reviewers, the reviewer could contact the local geogroup and ask for someone to go and remove the cache if it's not already missing or confirm the missing status.

 

My feeling is, that the community needs to identify abandoned caches, and then take the required steps to adopt them (possibly to an organization's account), and then deal with them as they see fit (either archive or re-adopt them out).

 

I think that the reviewer should be the one to make the final decision as geocaching.com's representative, otherwise there isn't going to be consistancy between areas but I definately agree that the local cachers should be involved.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, as is being discussed ad nauseum in another thread, reviewers aren't gc.com's representatives :). Obviously they need to be involved to some degree though. I just feel that it should be along the lines of "We're doing this, and we need your help". It leaves less room for people getting all uppity with reviewers (they have enough to deal with as it is).

 

Another thing, is some caches aren't even available some years. (whole areas can be closed down.

 

Mountain Top caches, for one while really great to visit and invite others to, there is always another one to climb. I'll probably climb up to GCPEYE and GCPEY9 sometime this summer, but really there is no need to. The cache hasn't seen that many visitors since I was last there, and I'm 99% sure its in good shape (it's more that I actually want to make the summit this time, as opposed to last time...)

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think that mandatory cache maintenance every (x) time period is required. The automated process I would like to see most is one that flags a cache after a Needs Maintenance / SBA note is posted. That way it is determined that a cache is in trouble and the owner is MIA.

 

Currently this is handled by a cache reviewer getting bombarded with SBA posts or (typically) a previous finder performing maintenance / confirming it's gone and should actually be archived.

 

There are caches in very remote places. I know of one on a mountain in the Adirondacks that was a wonderful cache, but nobody is going to get near the place in the winter without putting themselves in mortal peril.

 

On the other hand, if someone posts a "Needs Maintenance" on that cache, that goes ignored for three months, it would be good to flag that as potentially abandoned and take whatever action the local group (or the larger geocaching community) deems necessary.

 

I'm still a fan of leaving active caches with happy logs alone, save for perhaps updating the owner contact info for the cache. What should possibly be cross-checked though is if that same owner has 25 "Needs Maintenance" caches piling up elsewhere, then the cache may need to be put on a 'watchlist' or 'bookmark' list of potential future trouble spots. At the very least, the local geocaching organization should be aware of it, even if the cache is not to be disturbed at the present time.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think that mandatory cache maintenance every (x) time period is required. The automated process I would like to see most is one that flags a cache after a Needs Maintenance / SBA note is posted. That way it is determined that a cache is in trouble and the owner is MIA.

 

How is this different than now. If I post a needs maintenance log on a cache, that flag stays set until the owner clears it.

 

other hand, if someone posts a "Needs Maintenance" on that cache, that goes ignored for three months, it would be good to flag that as potentially abandoned and take whatever action the local group (or the larger geocaching community) deems necessary.

 

I'm still a fan of leaving active caches with happy logs alone, save for perhaps updating the owner contact info for the cache.

 

Assuming someone can be found that is willing to become the new owner, I agree. But I don't think we should wait for a problem to materialize before doing something about it. I think we need to be proactive in this, not reactive.

 

What should possibly be cross-checked though is if that same owner has 25 "Needs Maintenance" caches piling up elsewhere, then the cache may need to be put on a 'watchlist' or 'bookmark' list of potential future trouble spots. At the very least, the local geocaching organization should be aware of it, even if the cache is not to be disturbed at the present time.

 

That would be an interesting thing to see, I agree. What percentage of this cachers caches have unaddressed needs maintenance logs on them. Not a bad idea. (doubt we'll see it, but I think it is a good idea.)

Share this post


Link to post

First, I strongly feel that if there is nothing wrong with the cache, we should just leave it alone. As long as the cache is fine, I honestly don't think it matters if the cache owner logs into the site or not or even when they last logged in.

 

I agree with res2100's post in it's entirety. But it's too darn long to quote the whole thing :) . If the visitors are happy, let it be. And even for seemingly abandoned caches that have problems, the number of "good samaritans" who will take action on their own to fix the problems and allow others to enjoy the cache will always outnumber the small amount of "abandoned" caches that need fixes. For example, I plan on hitting BooTz's Bounty this weekend. The container is cracked, the owner hasn't logged in to the website or found a cache in a long time. I'd be happy to replace that cache with a shiny new lock-n-lock. I don't assume anyone, the owner included, with have a problem with that.

Share this post


Link to post
northernpenguin Posted Today, 11:00 AM

I don't think that mandatory cache maintenance every (x) time period is required. The automated process I would like to see most is one that flags a cache after a Needs Maintenance / SBA note is posted. That way it is determined that a cache is in trouble and the owner is MIA.

 

Currently this is handled by a cache reviewer getting bombarded with SBA posts or (typically) a previous finder performing maintenance / confirming it's gone and should actually be archived.

 

There are caches in very remote places. I know of one on a mountain in the Adirondacks that was a wonderful cache, but nobody is going to get near the place in the winter without putting themselves in mortal peril.

 

On the other hand, if someone posts a "Needs Maintenance" on that cache, that goes ignored for three months, it would be good to flag that as potentially abandoned and take whatever action the local group (or the larger geocaching community) deems necessary.

 

I'm still a fan of leaving active caches with happy logs alone, save for perhaps updating the owner contact info for the cache. What should possibly be cross-checked though is if that same owner has 25 "Needs Maintenance" caches piling up elsewhere, then the cache may need to be put on a 'watchlist' or 'bookmark' list of potential future trouble spots. At the very least, the local geocaching organization should be aware of it, even if the cache is not to be disturbed at the present time.

 

This sounds very much in line with my opinions. Some slight variations, but very close to part of my lengthy post I am still compiling.

 

ibycus Posted Today, 11:08 AM

 

(northernpenguin @ Feb 14 2006, 12:00 PM) *

 

I don't think that mandatory cache maintenance every (x) time period is required. The automated process I would like to see most is one that flags a cache after a Needs Maintenance / SBA note is posted. That way it is determined that a cache is in trouble and the owner is MIA.

 

How is this different than now. If I post a needs maintenance log on a cache, that flag stays set until the owner clears it.

 

Like he said... a flag or date counter idea is applied.... To me, after two month, the Needs Maintenance / SBA gets coverted by a Reviewer to a "Needs Adoption / Disabled" action (I know the Adoption icon is not available... but the Reviewer could put in the Disabled note "This cache may be availalbe for Adoption, please contact me through my profile if you are interested". Should another two months pass with no actions of any kind by the OWNER (Maintenance Performed, Owner posting they want the cache) then the listing should be Archived, then the cache physically removed between 2 to 4 weeks later.

 

Here is my suggested timeline for identifying abandoned caches.

 

- Any time after an Owner has not logged in for six months, an active cacher can email the Owner via profile.

- If after one month there is no response, attempt again

- If after another month there is still no response, post a Needs Maintenance log including that they tried to contact the Owner

- At this point a Reviewer takes over...

- If there is still no action after another two month of the posting of the Needs Maintenance, the Reviewer then puts the Cache up for Adoption and Disables the cache

- If after another two months no one comes forward to claim Ownership of the Cache, it gets Archived

 

Total length of time... 6 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 = 12 months of no activity by the original Owner. But once the Needs Maintenance is logged, it takes more than just "the Owner has logged on" to resolve this issue, since the Owner obviously has to resolve the Needs Maintenance that has been placed on the cache.

 

No physical cache can be removed until the page is officially Archived.

 

BTW... as for other listing services.... the Reviewers currently Archive listing now, via a procedure they already have in place... this version would be no different in my opinion.

 

:) The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

 

Here is my suggested timeline for identifying abandoned caches.

 

- Any time after an Owner has not logged in for six months, an active cacher can email the Owner via profile.

- If after one month there is no response, attempt again

- If after another month there is still no response, post a Needs Maintenance log including that they tried to contact the Owner

- At this point a Reviewer takes over...

- If there is still no action after another two month of the posting of the Needs Maintenance, the Reviewer then puts the Cache up for Adoption and Disables the cache

- If after another two months no one comes forward to claim Ownership of the Cache, it gets Archived

 

:) The Blue Quasar

 

Either I am just not understanding things here, or I totally disagree with what I think you are suggesting. According to point #3 you suggest that a Needs Maintenance log be posted for a cache where it appears that the owner has given up on the game\his cache, even if there is nothing at all wrong with the cache. To me the Needs Maintenance log should only be used if there is an actual physical problem with the cache itself, such as a wet log, cracked container, muggled, etc. I don't see what an absentee cache owner has to do with pretending a perfectly good cache needs maintenance. Even a Note would be better and more appropriate in this case.

 

After some thought, I would like to suggest what I think would be a better solution. I would like to suggest that OGA informally adopt (oversee) ALL caches within the province of Ontario. If there is an actual problem identified with a particular cache and the cache owner seems unresponsive, then OGA would send out one of it's members to assess the cache and either make the appropriate repairs\replacement to the cache or clean it up and remove it. I feel that this would be far more effective and it doesn't get rid of a perfectly good cache. Perhaps each OGA Regional Manager could be responsible for identifying problem caches within their own region. This could also be expanded on and even turned into a fun game\competition by getting points for helping out the geocaching community by fixing\removing a problem cache or verifying that a cache is actually missing.

 

In conclusion, as I stated, what I have a problem with, is to see a perfectly good cache disappear. We should be promoting the placement of new caches, not trying to get rid of good caches.

Edited by res2100

Share this post


Link to post

Res2100 said

 

According to point #3 you suggest that a Needs Maintenance log be posted for a cache where it appears that the owner has given up on the game\his cache, even if there is nothing at all wrong with the cache.

 

There is something wrong with the cache... it has no Owner

 

OGA is NOT the be all and end all of Geocaching interests in Ontario. Yes OGA adopted a cache, so that Ontario Parks would have a point of contact.

 

This discussion is about Geocachers identifying potential problems of caches that appear to have been abandoned by other Geocachers.

 

Michegan's group plays a game that involves the recovery of Archived caches... to ensure proper removal AFTER Archiving.... and IF OGA added an element like that after a good policy was decided on by this group and getting the local Reviewers to support it.

 

OGA would try to arrange for someone to pick up caches that a Reviewer asked us to, but this is not about OGA wanting to create a policy.... it's about the active Geocaching community developing a plan to address caches that are determined to be abandoned.

 

:) The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

After some thought, I would like to suggest what I think would be a better solution. I would like to suggest that OGA informally adopt (oversee) ALL caches within the province of Ontario. If there is an actual problem identified with a particular cache and the cache owner seems unresponsive, then OGA would send out one of it's members to assess the cache and either make the appropriate repairs\replacement to the cache or clean it up and remove it. I feel that this would be far more effective and it doesn't get rid of a perfectly good cache. Perhaps each OGA Regional Manager could be responsible for identifying problem caches within their own region. This could also be expanded on and even turned into a fun game\competition by getting points for helping out the geocaching community by fixing\removing a problem cache or verifying that a cache is actually missing.

 

I agree with res2100. The OGA would be perfectly suited to perform this task. They are organized, and they have the man power. With reps in every region, it shouldn’t be hard respond to all the caches in need. That way we could be sure that any cache we visit would be a fun visit with out the disappointment of a bad cache.

Share this post


Link to post

I agree that there should be a way to deal with absentee cache owners. Unfortunately at this time Groundspeak has not set an actual time frame of what constitutes abandonment. When and if they do, we will all have to respect it. As suggestion would be to set a time frame and add to the terms of use that the user acknowledges that by listing a cache on geocaching.com, the cache must follow these guided lines weather or not it is listed on anther listing site, or serves another purpose other than a Groundspeak geocache. This would then give Groundspeak the right to remove the cache of they deem it necessary.

 

If local organizations adopt the same rules for their membership of that organization, then they could have the same control over caches in their area. This would however require that the cache in question be owned by a member. All none local area member caches would not fall under this and would be outside the control of the local organization and be governed by the listing rules of Groundspeak.

 

This could be a chance to bring together the different listing services and forma a council to govern geocaching as a whole. They could create cross listing agreements that could mutually benefit all involved.

Share this post


Link to post

If local organizations adopt the same rules for their membership of that organization, then they could have the same control over caches in their area. This would however require that the cache in question be owned by a member. All none local area member caches would not fall under this and would be outside the control of the local organization and be governed by the listing rules of Groundspeak.

 

All in all, archiving an active cache is a dangerous position to take if the local cachers seem to be taking care of it. Really good way to get a lot of people's backs up over this issue. Even if the owner quit the game two years ago, if the cache is still OK then it should continue to exist, just as Res2100 has pointed out a couple times.

 

I agree with his stance that promoting the addition of caches as opposed to the removal of caches is preferable. Most of what I have been suggesting is triggered by a Needs Maintenance posted by a cacher, due to geocache condition. I'm not sure that's the correct tactic to take on an active cache with happy logs.

 

However, that cache with the happy logs should be on a monitoring list that the local caching group maintains. Yes, it will fail eventually. It will fail and not have an owner. It will become moldy, full of water and full of holes.

 

This will be reflected when a couple finders start posting Needs Maintenance or Should be archived based on their experience. No, the moldy cache container is not a great 'first impression' for a newbie cacher, but it is a part of what we do. The cacher WILL come across those eventually, and it matters more what we do about it once the problem becomes apparent.

 

The 'doomsday' timers on a cache to be archived should really be after a problem is reported by a geocacher that goes unanswered by the owner - at that point it's clear the cache has been abandoned. In terms of the geocacher that has quit the game, I've already mentioned that Groundspeak should be contacting the membership on an annual basis to identify dormant accounts, and possibly, after due process, open their caches up for adoption by other players. This is where multi-cache ownership would be a plus, because we don't necessarily have to yank the original owner's entitlement to the cache if we do that.

 

OTOH multi-ownership probably means a database change (headache) that Jeremy does not want to have to deal with so Res2100's earlier point about suggesting changes to geocaching.com as being futile. At least the ideas have been presented for Jeremy's refusal - it has been discussed and Groundspeak can make their decision (or non-decision) on that information as discussed.

 

So in summary:

 

- Local groups should WATCH idle listings and be prepared for action if needed. Perhaps use the gc.com bookmark feature or maintain a GSAK database/flag with this info.

- Caches shall be deemed abandoned only after a real maintenance request goes unanswered

- Local group is not to post SBA or Needs Maintenance due to idle owner, but should identify the cache

- Adoption is preferable to archiving

- Certain database changes at geocaching.com may make this process more appealing to some, but this may not occur

- Under no circumstances should a cache be removed without first having it archived. ( Reviewer required )

Share this post


Link to post

After reviewing all of the posts in this thread, there really is no clear solution.. at least in my opinion.

 

I think we can all agree that every cache needs to have someone that is willing to take responsibility for it. Whether that be the original placer, someone that adopts it, someone that watches over it or the community during regular visits.

 

Trying to identify when a placer is no longer playing the game and has in theory abandoned their caches is difficult since they might be doing maintenance without calling attention to it (not posting notes or updating cache pages).

 

Right now, and this is just based upon observation, after 3 DNF's, the local reviewer determines that a cache should become Disabled. I think it would be fair to say that they will also develop methods to Disable caches based upon Needs Maintenance requests.

 

So to me there is only ONE thing left.... is it okay for a cacher to log a "Needs Maintenance" request based upon the comments of another Geocacher's FIND log?

 

As an example... and for this cache, as I know the owner I would just email them... but here is the example

 

Last log = FOUND IT

I parked about 90 meters from the cache, looked around a little, then came to my senses and parked in the proper spot. I love that staicase :ph34r: Container is smashed up bad so I piled everything, container and all, into a large ziplock bag. I also rehid it to match the hint a lot better. It is in the same spot, just dressed up to match the hint

 

Log before that = FOUND IT

Cache container is crushed, but everything is dry. TNLN

 

2 before that = FOUND IT

The container needs to be replaced, it is cracked. We tried to position it so no water can get in but the lid does not stay on that good.

 

Would it be acceptible for ME to post a NEEDS MAINTENANCE log? I found this cache over two years ago, the owner is active still... but not one person actually posted a NM note. I think it would be the responsible thing to do, for future seekers, but what do you think.

 

Link to the cache Ball's Falls

 

:huh: The Blue Quasar

Share this post


Link to post

So to me there is only ONE thing left.... is it okay for a cacher to log a "Needs Maintenance" request based upon the comments of another Geocacher's FIND log?

 

As an example... and for this cache, as I know the owner I would just email them... but here is the example

 

Last log = FOUND IT

I parked about 90 meters from the cache, looked around a little, then came to my senses and parked in the proper spot. I love that staicase :ph34r: Container is smashed up bad so I piled everything, container and all, into a large ziplock bag. I also rehid it to match the hint a lot better. It is in the same spot, just dressed up to match the hint

 

Log before that = FOUND IT

Cache container is crushed, but everything is dry. TNLN

 

2 before that = FOUND IT

The container needs to be replaced, it is cracked. We tried to position it so no water can get in but the lid does not stay on that good.

 

Would it be acceptible for ME to post a NEEDS MAINTENANCE log? I found this cache over two years ago, the owner is active still... but not one person actually posted a NM note. I think it would be the responsible thing to do, for future seekers, but what do you think.

 

Link to the cache Ball's Falls

 

:huh: The Blue Quasar

I've done it. So, obviously, it is acceptable. ;)

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 6

×
×
  • Create New...