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Enough Already - Reviewer Headaches


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I am sure all of the volunteer Reviewers grow weary of the most common problems and complaints about cache listings.

 

I know everybody has read and fully understands the guidelines (you checked the box didn't you?? :huh: ) yet common problems still abound. I put together a quick and simple tool for checking listings - maybe everybody ought to be forced to use such a tool (similar to this one) on thier first 2 or 3 submissions?

 

Let me know what you think --- I know - needs some corrections already but gnerally what you think?

 

http://www.wnag.net/checklist

 

;);):)

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Interesting; thanks for developing this. I haven't checked it out thoroughly, but did take it for a test drive.

 

For whatever it's worth, here is the checklist that I use. It is updated from a version previously posted in these forums during a past angst-fest about the listing guidelines. The version below attempts to reflect the most recent (Nov. 2005) listing guideline updates. Disclaimer: this is only a summary and the listing guidelines themselves are the controlling document.

  • If a physical cache, the cache is not in a park or other area where the land manager has banned geocaching, such as US National Parks and US National Wildlife Refuges.
  • The cache is not buried.
  • No aspect of the cache defaces public or private property, whether a natural or man-made object, in order to provide a clue or a logging method
  • The cache is not near a sensitive archaelogical or historic site.
  • The cache is not placed in a railroad right of way (150 feet "safety zone")
  • The cache is not placed on or near a military installation.
  • The cache is not placed near or under a public structure deemed potential or possible targets for terrorist attacks, including but not limited to highway bridges, dams, government buildings, elementary and secondary schools, and airports.
  • If the cache is placed on private property, the cache page states that permission from the owner has been obtained.
  • If the cache is placed in a park or other area where the land manager has established a permit system for geocaches, the cache page states that the permit has been obtained.
  • If a physical cache, the container includes a logbook or logsheet (no "codewords").
  • If there are multiple locations, all of the waypoints have been disclosed privately to the reviewer.
  • The cache is not temporary, but rather is expected to be in place for three months or longer.
  • The cache will remain at the posted coordinates and does not have a goal of moving to other locations not provided for review.
  • The cache (or any stage of a multiple-waypoint cache) is not within 528 feet of any other existing cache or stage of any other existing multiple-waypoint cache, unless there are special circumstances explained in a "note to reviewer," and the cache does not otherwise "saturate" the area when taken together with other existing and pending cache submissions. Exception: this proximity rule doesn't apply to grandfathered virtual and webcam caches.
  • The cache is within the owner's usual geocaching territory or, if placed beyond the owner's maintainable distance, a maintenance plan has been explained on the cache page.
  • The cache contents do not include explosives, fireworks, ammo, lighters, knives (including pocket knives and multi-tools), drugs, alcohol or other illicit material, or any food items/scented items.
  • The cache doesn't require going into a commercial business, buying a product, paying an entrance fee, etc., so that it would be "commercial" in nature (intentionally or not).
  • The cache doesn't promote a religious, political, charitable or social agenda.
  • If a Traditional cache, the cache can be found at the posted coordinates, without going anyplace else or doing anything else.
  • If a Mystery/Puzzle cache, the posted false coordinates are no more than 1 or 2 miles from the actual coordinates, and any puzzle can be solved by using information on or derived from the cache page -- not by e-mailing the owner for coordinates, downloading specialized software, etc.
  • If a Letterbox Hybrid cache, the cache can be found by reference to GPS coordinates, and the container includes a letterboxing stamp.
  • If an Event cache, the Event is more than two weeks away, is less than three months away (six months for a national/regional event), is sponsored by geocachers, is open to all geocachers, the primary attendees are geocachers, and the primary purpose of the Event is NOT to organize a group hunt for a cache or caches.

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StarBrand, I'm happy to help, and you have my permission to use my own summary for your project. Note that permission from me is granted only for my own personal work product, and I am not speaking on behalf of Groundspeak.

 

For history buffs, here is the prior version of the same checklist, developed in 2004. Sharp eyes will spot the differences, such as the elimination of virtual caches and the enhancements to the cache saturation rule. But by and large, the checklists are remarkably similar. So much for those who complain that the rules change "constantly."

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StarBrand, I'm happy to help, and you have my permission to use my own summary for your project. Note that permission from me is granted only for my own personal work product, and I am not speaking on behalf of Groundspeak.

 

For history buffs, here is the prior version of the same checklist, developed in 2004. Sharp eyes will spot the differences, such as the elimination of virtual caches and the enhancements to the cache saturation rule. But by and large, the checklists are remarkably similar. So much for those who complain that the rules change "constantly."

If I may ask...What is your definition of "near" in regards to a bridge ( not a small bridge in the country or a large bridge in a big city or small city? Just a normal bridge crossing a lake or stream/river. Maybe be on a highway or street, but not on an evacuation route? ;):) Thanks for any reply...

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StarBrand, I'm happy to help, and you have my permission to use my own summary for your project. Note that permission from me is granted only for my own personal work product, and I am not speaking on behalf of Groundspeak.

 

For history buffs, here is the prior version of the same checklist, developed in 2004. Sharp eyes will spot the differences, such as the elimination of virtual caches and the enhancements to the cache saturation rule. But by and large, the checklists are remarkably similar. So much for those who complain that the rules change "constantly."

If I may ask...What is your definition of "near" in regards to a bridge ( not a small bridge in the country or a large bridge in a big city or small city? Just a normal bridge crossing a lake or stream/river. Maybe be on a highway or street, but not on an evacuation route? :D:D Thanks for any reply...

 

Anything close enough to cause public alarm and the shutting down of the bridge if searchers are spotted, or if the cache is found by non geocachers is too close.

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StarBrand, I'm happy to help, and you have my permission to use my own summary for your project. Note that permission from me is granted only for my own personal work product, and I am not speaking on behalf of Groundspeak.

 

For history buffs, here is the prior version of the same checklist, developed in 2004. Sharp eyes will spot the differences, such as the elimination of virtual caches and the enhancements to the cache saturation rule. But by and large, the checklists are remarkably similar. So much for those who complain that the rules change "constantly."

If I may ask...What is your definition of "near" in regards to a bridge ( not a small bridge in the country or a large bridge in a big city or small city? Just a normal bridge crossing a lake or stream/river. Maybe be on a highway or street, but not on an evacuation route? :D:D Thanks for any reply...

 

Anything close enough to cause public alarm and the shutting down of the bridge if searchers are spotted, or if the cache is found by non geocachers is too close.

My reviewer stated 500ft... :D

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StarBrand, I'm happy to help, and you have my permission to use my own summary for your project. Note that permission from me is granted only for my own personal work product, and I am not speaking on behalf of Groundspeak.

 

For history buffs, here is the prior version of the same checklist, developed in 2004. Sharp eyes will spot the differences, such as the elimination of virtual caches and the enhancements to the cache saturation rule. But by and large, the checklists are remarkably similar. So much for those who complain that the rules change "constantly."

If I may ask...What is your definition of "near" in regards to a bridge ( not a small bridge in the country or a large bridge in a big city or small city? Just a normal bridge crossing a lake or stream/river. Maybe be on a highway or street, but not on an evacuation route? :D:D Thanks for any reply...

 

Anything close enough to cause public alarm and the shutting down of the bridge if searchers are spotted, or if the cache is found by non geocachers is too close.

My reviewer stated 500ft... :D

 

Your ( me ) reviewer said 500 feet from the bridge in question that was archived twice, but was different for a small bridge on a small out of the way bridge in the countryside each one is looked at one at a time, and the distance does change depending on location.

 

Max Cacher

Geocaching.com Volunteer Cache Reviewer // Moderator

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Are there any other caches that are .2 miles (2 tenths of a mile) or less from the coordinates you entered

 

why 2 tenths the guidelines only say 1 tenth?

Just to make you think a bit - the search pages report in increments of tenths so there is somewhat of a an inaccurate reporting - Just to be safe I chose .2 - Also the help text that comes up points out that .1 is the guideline.

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Interesting; thanks for developing this. I haven't checked it out thoroughly, but did take it for a test drive.

 

For whatever it's worth, here is the checklist that I use. It is updated from a version previously posted in these forums during a past angst-fest about the listing guidelines. The version below attempts to reflect the most recent (Nov. 2005) listing guideline updates. Disclaimer: this is only a summary and the listing guidelines themselves are the controlling document.

  • If a physical cache, the cache is not in a park or other area where the land manager has banned geocaching, such as US National Parks and US National Wildlife Refuges.

Keystone shouldn't your checklist or any checklist that reviewers use include the designated wilderness areas

 

And Starbrand what does the 3 mile limit have to do with multis. I thought the final location must be 528 ft. from the nearest cache. I have two multis that start out .2 mi. apart but the final distance is measured in miles apart.

 

Maybe a good tool, but its just one more hoop that you have to dance thru in order to place a cache. After a jeep run and a hike up the hill I don't think I need anymore dances to have a cache approved.

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Keystone shouldn't your checklist or any checklist that reviewers use include the designated wilderness areas

 

And Starbrand what does the 3 mile limit have to do with multis. I thought the final location must be 528 ft. from the nearest cache. I have two multis that start out .2 mi. apart but the final distance is measured in miles apart.

 

Maybe a good tool, but its just one more hoop that you have to dance thru in order to place a cache. After a jeep run and a hike up the hill I don't think I need anymore dances to have a cache approved.

Any bans or permission requirements applicable to wilderness areas are addressed by the 1st and 9th bullet points. The summary is not intended to be an exhaustive list of land manager permit programs and bans. I keep track of 26 such regulatory schemes in my review territory, including the designated wilderness areas within two national forests.

 

The three mile question about multi's takes into account the practical reality that the vast majority of multicaches start and end within that distance. There are many which do not. A questionnaire can't protect you against a multi beginning 50 miles away. I recently denied a cache that was placed 200 feet away from a state's DeLorme Challenge Cache, whose coordinates I allowed to be placed in the geographic center of the state! And, as for puzzles, since the guidelines say that any bogus posted coords should be no more than a mile or two from the real location, a three-mile buffer is a good safe rule of thumb. I'd say the majority of reviewers check puzzles within two miles.

 

Starbrand's tool is not intended to be a hoop to jump through. If one is unsure about hiding a cache or are trying to learn and understand the listing guidelines, some may find this sort of questionnaire preferable to forgetting about one of the guidelines and then having publication of their cache delayed or denied. It's just an option. Every week, I read a response from someone who says "I can't believe I overlooked the such-and-such guideline."

Edited by Keystone
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I was always curious, but never asked before. What's with the no lighters, pocket knives or multi-tools in caches rule? Personally I don't think these would be appropriate things for children to find in a park, but at the same time any one of these items can be purchased by anyone of any age. Is this just a general good sense rule or are there restrictive rules in places I know nothing about? I like the idea of a high difficulty high terrain level cache with all camping gear type cache, but a lot of the items one would expect to trade in said cache would be centered around basic needs like fire and tools. Just seemed like an appropriate place to ask, but if you feel it's off topic please ignore. Thanks

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The cache contents rules are definitely in the top three on most land manager's list of concerns when deciding to allow geocaches in the parks they manage. "Well, that sounds fun, but what if somebody leaves drugs in the cache?" is a frequent question. Same for knives, etc. In my review territory, caching is banned in an entire county park system specifically because a land management employee found a pen knife in a geocache. Think of the zero tolerance rules in our schools. Similarly, lighters are viewed as a firebug risk. There is also some question whether they'd explode in a cache exposed to high temperatures.

 

Yes, in a remote cache with a five-mile hike, a swiss army knife would be a welcome trade item. But it's better to have a blanket rule. When I ask a hider to take the knife out of the cache they hid in the suburban park 800 feet from a school, I hear back "but I found lots of knives in other caches...."

 

EDIT: And you are right, your question is a bit off-topic. Could I please ask everyone to stick with posting about Starbrand's program? General questions about the reason for a listing guideline can be started in separate threads. Thanks.

Edited by Keystone
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It might be flawed, but it has some potential with a little tweaking. I wouldn't mind seeing something like this

linked to on the cache submission form the way the Clayjar rating system is.

 

Definitely agree on this. I'd like to be able to go through a quick check list with each point having a link to the actual coinciding rule. The few inconsistencies in general rules could then be checked quickly by reviewing the actual rulebook guidelines. Good idea though. Thanks.

 

postscript - Thanks Keystone

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I'd like to be able to go through a quick check list with each point having a link to the actual coinciding rule. The few inconsistencies in general rules could then be checked quickly by reviewing the actual rulebook guidelines.

That would be helpful. The guidelines have a table of contents near the beginning that have links jumping you to the exact section headings, so those URL's are already built for copying.

 

Note that my checklist above is organized sequentially according to where the actual guideline text appears. It was an attempt to distill sentences and paragraphs down into bullet points. The guideline document is very long, not much fun to read, and every sentence has a history of meaning and debates behind it. Bullet points are a helpful jumping off point to find all the various rules within such a long document.

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...And Starbrand what does the 3 mile limit have to do with multis. I thought the final location must be 528 ft. from the nearest cache. I have two multis that start out .2 mi. apart but the final distance is measured in miles apart.

 

Maybe a good tool, but its just one more hoop that you have to dance thru in order to place a cache. After a jeep run and a hike up the hill I don't think I need anymore dances to have a cache approved.

 

The 3 miles is quite arbitrary - I was merely pointing out that if there happens to be a multi nearby - you need to be aware of where all the stages are located at so as to not violate the .1 mile guideline. It seems likely that any multi/puzzle within a mile or two needs to be checked out before placing a cache - just to be sure.

 

I am only proposing that such a tool be required for first time placements or first 2 or 3 - after that its use would be voluntary. Just to help cut down the amount and number of arguments that seem to arise by people who don't really read or understand the guidelines. Just a tool to help out the reviewers from my point of view. Really don't mean for it to be a hoop for an experienced cacher such as yourself.

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New revision I am working on will have exerpts to the guidelines and links as well. Also some more of my hints/tips - might even include some "Markwell's" to forum topics covering these issues.

Just a suggestion... I would propose not getting too detailed, with links to forum threads. The guideline links will always take you to the current rules. Forum threads can get out of date as the guidelines get updated or as the interpretation of the guidelines by the reviewers and the community become more well-defined.

 

For example, I smell a guidelines update coming...

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New revision I am working on will have exerpts to the guidelines and links as well. Also some more of my hints/tips - might even include some "Markwell's" to forum topics covering these issues.

Just a suggestion... I would propose not getting too detailed, with links to forum threads. The guideline links will always take you to the current rules. Forum threads can get out of date as the guidelines get updated or as the interpretation of the guidelines by the reviewers and the community become more well-defined.

 

For example, I smell a guidelines update coming...

good point.....

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Keystone shouldn't your checklist or any checklist that reviewers use include the designated wilderness areas

. . .

Tahosa, when I click on the link you provided, I get a message saying that it is out of date, and my browser ends up loading a main page as the site the error (404) redirect default. If you are trying to say that caches are not permitted in Wilderness Areas (and there seems to be some real disagreement about whether this is true, at least on the national forums), an updated link illustrating that would be appreciated! Thanks! :laughing:

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I was always curious, but never asked before. What's with the no lighters, pocket knives or multi-tools in caches rule? Personally I don't think these would be appropriate things for children to find in a park, but at the same time any one of these items can be purchased by anyone of any age. Is this just a general good sense rule or are there restrictive rules in places I know nothing about? I like the idea of a high difficulty high terrain level cache with all camping gear type cache, but a lot of the items one would expect to trade in said cache would be centered around basic needs like fire and tools. Just seemed like an appropriate place to ask, but if you feel it's off topic please ignore. Thanks

 

Actually it's not off topic because cache contents can stall a caches approval.

 

You would think that park managers wouldn't think people would stash drugs in a cache. Even cheap drugs have always been expensive. But like Keystone said, the question comes up. Plus I've read a few logs by people who at least SAID they found the cache on accident while looking for a place to stash drugs and stashed them in the cache...

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StarBrand, I'm happy to help, and you have my permission to use my own summary for your project. Note that permission from me is granted only for my own personal work product, and I am not speaking on behalf of Groundspeak.

 

For history buffs, here is the prior version of the same checklist, developed in 2004. Sharp eyes will spot the differences, such as the elimination of virtual caches and the enhancements to the cache saturation rule. But by and large, the checklists are remarkably similar. So much for those who complain that the rules change "constantly."

If I may ask...What is your definition of "near" in regards to a bridge ( not a small bridge in the country or a large bridge in a big city or small city? Just a normal bridge crossing a lake or stream/river. Maybe be on a highway or street, but not on an evacuation route? :lol::D Thanks for any reply...

 

Anything close enough to cause public alarm and the shutting down of the bridge if searchers are spotted, or if the cache is found by non geocachers is too close.

My reviewer stated 500ft... :laughing:

 

Your ( me ) reviewer said 500 feet from the bridge in question that was archived twice, but was different for a small bridge on a small out of the way bridge in the countryside each one is looked at one at a time, and the distance does change depending on location.

 

Max Cacher

Geocaching.com Volunteer Cache Reviewer // Moderator

Where is it written 500ft from a "bridge" and how does that differ from "near". I have no problem with my two request being archived as I stated to you. But for future reference I would just like to know how you came up with the requirement of 500ft? I respect your guidence and all the help that you provide to me and the othe cachers in our area. I think you are fair and I appreciate your help. I just want to know that we are all on the same page. I also know that if I have a problem with a review that you will provide the guidence that will be of benefit. I did not question the two sites being archived, I only asked what document or guideline that the 500 ft requirement was found in. I think you are doing a great job Max and I wouldn't have it any other way....

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Where is it written 500ft from a "bridge" and how does that differ from "near". I have no problem with my two request being archived as I stated to you. But for future reference I would just like to know how you came up with the requirement of 500ft? I respect your guidence and all the help that you provide to me and the othe cachers in our area. I think you are fair and I appreciate your help. I just want to know that we are all on the same page. I also know that if I have a problem with a review that you will provide the guidence that will be of benefit. I did not question the two sites being archived, I only asked what document or guideline that the 500 ft requirement was found in. I think you are doing a great job Max and I wouldn't have it any other way....

The archive note on your cache said "for this bridge" the distance would be 500 feet. That means it is specific to that location. Your reviewer has explained that the definition of "near" would be different for other bridges. What is "near" is something that can be worked out between cache owner and reviewer. The answer will differ based on the setting, and the reviewer is applying his judgment as an experienced geocacher and cache reviewer. So, you will not find 500 feet (or any other distance) written down anywhere.

 

If you wish to continue this dialogue, please continue e-mailing with your reviewer so that this thread doesn't stray off-topic.

 

On-topic, the lesson is that StarBrand may want to use a very generous definition of "near" for things like airports, schools, bridges and government buildings, or not use a definition at all and just stick with "near."

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...Where is it written 500ft from a "bridge" and how does that differ from "near"....

 

Like Keystone said, you won't find it and 421' might be just fine for that bridge as opposed to 500'. You also wont find a handy dandy list of high risk terrorist targets either but every reviewer has to keep that in mind when reviewing a cache for listing. I'm a champion of removing subjective things from the guideliens but the reality is that even if the guidlines had the RK stamp of 100% approval there would still be subjective things because high risk terrorist targets, and proximity to schools is a bad idea but these are not set in stone. Then you end up with plan b. Find reviewers who have the right sence about these things. That's even more subjective.

 

Keystone, here is where I tie this back into the topic...I think you already said all this stuff anyway.

 

Starbrand, that subjectivity is going to make your application difficult because it's a program you have to code it for simple bright line tests when some things just don't have it. "Proximity" to a school is easy to code but then your warning has to be fuzzy to accomodate it. High Risk Terrorist Target...That's a tougher nut to crack. At least you do'nt have to code in "Wow" on virtuals.

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Keystone shouldn't your checklist or any checklist that reviewers use include the designated wilderness areas

. . .

Tahosa, when I click on the link you provided, I get a message saying that it is out of date, and my browser ends up loading a main page as the site the error (404) redirect default. If you are trying to say that caches are not permitted in Wilderness Areas (and there seems to be some real disagreement about whether this is true, at least on the national forums), an updated link illustrating that would be appreciated! Thanks! <_<

Well the link works for me. I just clicked it on the above quote section. And one point that we may want to consider is that if we are going to be a corporate sponsor for LNT.ORG, we may want to really think hard about any caches in any Designated Wilderness Areas. Just look at the one word UNTRAMMELLED.

 

It would help if it was clearly stated in the guidelines so cachers knew that Designated Wilderness Areas are off limits and approvers knew where they were and who manages them.

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