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Bring back archived cache browsing


whardier
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Hi y'all,

 

I'm new, so be nice. I recently brought this question to IRC channel #geocaching on SlashNet, I thought it was an obvious oversight of the geocaching.com developers that archived cache browsing went by the wayside with the new look-n-feel and full Google Maps integration. Apparently there is a purpose behind it and not to defined as far as I can tell. I kind of ended up scratching my head over the whole matter. Recently I have discovered multiple archived caches which have no reason being archived other than in need of a new maintainer. No other caches are around them and admins should be able to make a quick judgement call on reviving them under new maintainers. When found I've signed the paper logs; logged visits to the cache after browsing for them; encouraged others to find the archived caches; and contacted the maintainers to bring them back from the dead. In one case the maintainer, an active geocacher, has not responded to request reviving the cache which could be due to any number of technical issues. The suggestion I got from local admins was to send another message and wait for a response; then revive the cache on my own as a new cache if its been a few weeks.

 

I saw a few problems with this immediately, even though I did as suggested and started up a second revision of a cache:

  • The logs aren't transferred, reducing the history of the cache once it is created under a new GUID.
  • Cachers that have found the old cache previously can now log a completely new visit to the same cache, same location.
  • Once the original cache maintainer gets back from an extended holiday, they find some archived caches they are meaning to maintain and revive have been taken over by some impatient do-gooder jerk.
  • Since the cache wasn't transferred to a new maintainer and instead created anew under a new GUID any disputes that would result in reviving the old cache and dissolving the new one just add one more archived cache to the database.
  • If the above happens, which I can see a compromise situation like that happening, quite a few cachers now have the wrong GCID plugged into their GPS. The cacher shouldn't have to follow funny administration to a set of caches just to log their find correctly, that just adds to the confusion.

I propose three changes to help resolve issues like this and allow archived cache thrill seekers and accidental finds of archived caches, which appears to be quite common, to log their finds and lobby for maintenance positions with the cache.

  • Allow multiple maintainers per cache (requires quite a bit of changes to the programming of the site)
  • Allow all cache search functions to search for archived caches
    • Pocket Queries
    • Coordinate Searches
    • Browsing via Google Maps

    [*]Allow admins local to archived caches to replace the maintainer, or like above add a maintaner, to a cache and directly unarchive it.

I understand if my motivation isn't understood, I don't enjoy losing functionality available to premium members any more than anybody else would. Finding archived caches can be a thrill for some geocachers; sometimes its an accidents for cachers and muggles alike; and I hope different methods of handling this may result in less geotrash, less roman numerals appended to new caches with new logs in the same location, and more seasoned and older logs with richer histories and gallerys.

 

Like I said, be nice to me - I'm new

 

- whardier

Edited by whardier
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I don't know that I really understand why you want to look for archived geocaches, I guess. If a geocache has been archived, it could be for various reasons. Maybe the owner removed it because he or she doesn't want to be bothered with it any longer. In this case the cache container is gone. Maybe it was archived because it wasn't maintained and a reviewer never got a response from the owner after a few attempts. In this case, the container may or may not be out there still.

 

If you wish to put out a new geocache in an area that has an archived cache, go for it! Like you say, it will give new opportunity for those who logged the old one to go out and visit the area again and score another find. If there is an old geocache container still there at the archived site and the owner hasn't responded to repeated attempts to contact, it sounds like the old geocache is now geotrash and should be removed -- it's been abandoned. You'll be doing the game a favor by CITOing it out of there. (CICOing?)

 

I really don't think that it is necessary to have new code to officially list multiple maintainers for a geocache. If someone wants to share the maintaining of their geocaches with someone else, they can do that on their own. One way would be to set up a special account just for hiding geocaches and setting up a gmail account. Have the gmail account forward any messages to both (or all) owners. We have done this locally with our group.

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Thanks for the feedback,

 

Actually logging a new finds to the exact same cache, just under a new GUID sounds funny to me, and I don't feel like supporting that sort of thing. I was regretful placing a new cache, but the area will get more action now from cachers who have already signed the log. I can see how that could be a benefit to doing that. My intentions aren't to create a new cache, instead they are to get procedures in place to allow new maintainers on obviously abandoned caches - retaining log information and other associated information.

 

I like the share email account idea and is still quite valid for a close group of people that want to maintain caches together. The purpose of adding multiple maintainers within the sites logic isn't specifically to unite a group of cache maintainers and is instead for allowing even completely unrelated, unacquainted, or closer proximity cachers to civily lobby for administration on caches that are in danger of being abandoned due to or already are because maintainers are not available all the time. This could lead more cachers in the direction being helpful admin assistants for this incredibly global game.

 

I hope that made some sense, I read it a few times - but its getting late :D

 

- whardier

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I get what you're saying about the multiple cache maintainers now. For me, however, that wouldn't interest me. If I put together a geocache and put the effort into it, I want to be the one to maintain it. It's mine. :D

 

You're going to find that there are many geocaches that come and go, just as geocachers come and go. When geocaches go away, get archived, etc, that just opens up an area to a new geocacher to hide something so the game continues to live. Just recently, I put a hide out within 10 or 20 feet of another geocache that had been removed and archived some time back. The area had what I needed and the cache I put there is of a different type than the one that was there. It's just the way the game morphs, if you will.

 

When I go back to look at some of my finds I made a long time ago, many of them come up as being archived. Also, there are many more new hides out there than there used to be. It's just the nature of the game.

 

Yes, it's getting late. Eyes blurry, etc. Have fun geocaching! -Ken

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Amazingly well put! Morphing worldwide treasure hunting, I can dig it. And I see how archiving frees up areas. From now on I vow to steal the cache container of any archived cache I go after :D

 

Still, I would like to have archive browsing put back on the site for logging purposes, historical information which can lead to fun conversations and memories, and potentially finding archived caches and helping maintainers put things right side up again. I haven't changed my position on multiple maintainers per cache, its a difficult site change and I wouldn't push for it, however, its definately at the top of my feature request list.

 

- whardier

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I am not sure I am following your posts. The "new look and feel" of the site has not altered your ability to research archived caches. It is limited but sufficient. It's still exactly how it's been for the roughly two years I've been a premium member. Being new, you probably have no idea how many times this has already been discussed. You probably have not read the the good reasons why it should not be easy to view archived cache pages. Not all of them are honored veterans of the game. Many were place inappropriately without permission. We don't need to make those coords readily available. Some land managers require removing the coordinates from the site after a cache is archived. You are welcome to make your case to make nostalgic cache information more accessible. But I am quite confident that what you got is all you are going to get.

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Still, I would like to have archive browsing put back on the site for logging purposes, historical information which can lead to fun conversations and memories, and potentially finding archived caches and helping maintainers put things right side up again.

Wow, cool! When did they have that feature? :D:D

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The archived cache search is still there just where it was before.

Try this one

Then tick the box List Archived/Disabled Caches

Then tick identify

And finally click in the middle

 

It should at these co ords show two caches in the same spot placed years apart.

 

The recent muggle activity at the new one could be predicted from the decline of the last one at the same time of year.

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I would love the ability to search for archived caches. I think there are lots of good reasons for it. (I think Renegade Knight has listed some great reasons before.)

 

My two main reasons are that i like to go clean up archived geo-trash if no one has done so. I think it is important to not have our old geo-trash laying around as it could damage muggles idea of the activity.

 

I also like the idea of knowing why certain caches were archived. Maybe there is a precedent and it would be nice to know about it.

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The archived cache search is still there just where it was before.

Try this one

Then tick the box List Archived/Disabled Caches

Then tick identify

And finally click in the middle

 

It should at these co ords show two caches in the same spot placed years apart.

 

The recent muggle activity at the new one could be predicted from the decline of the last one at the same time of year.

 

I must be insane, I have been searching for a direct link to exactly this mapping system, vs the Google Maps system. It seemed to have dissapeared - was I totally missing something obvious? Because it appeared as though direct links to map/getmap.aspx were no longer directly linked to from cache information pages.

 

- whardier

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I would love the ability to search for archived caches. I think there are lots of good reasons for it. (I think Renegade Knight has listed some great reasons before.)

 

My two main reasons are that i like to go clean up archived geo-trash if no one has done so. I think it is important to not have our old geo-trash laying around as it could damage muggles idea of the activity.

 

I also like the idea of knowing why certain caches were archived. Maybe there is a precedent and it would be nice to know about it.

This is probably one of the reasons that they don't have an easy archive search feature. How do you know if any of these caches are listed on other sites? The caches are technically property of the cache owner, and in a lot of cases you can't know what they really want done with them.

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Ah yes, the geocaching.com maps is still listed on each cache information page.

 

....

For online maps...

Geocaching.com Maps

Geocaching.com Google Map

Google Maps

MapQuest

Microsoft MapPoint

Yahoo Maps

Rand McNally

Topozone

Terraserver

Tiger Census Maps

....

 

You can use that link from cache information pages, nearby the area you are searching for archived caches, to list them in a method I thought just didn't exist anymore - I not only thought this because the overview maps on cache information pages now linked to other mapping sources, but the IRC channel was telling me that it was missing for a reason.

 

Thanks for the updated info guys, this is enough to keep my $3.00/mo paying for those fancy shoes you wear! :rolleyes:

 

- whardier

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Regarding hunting for archived caches and in particular the suggestions to trash out archived cache containers, one should take care and understand why a cache was archived.

  1. Owner decided the cache has outlived its purpose and has removed the cache to open the area for new caches. Sometimes a land manager requires that caches be removed after some period of time. In this case there is probably nothing to search for.
  2. Cache was reported missing and the owner has decided not to replace it. Sometimes the cache is still there and someone will find it later, but most likely the cache is gone. If you do find it, it is probably OK to CITO it out or contact the owner about getting it unarchived.
  3. Owner quit geocaching and archived all their caches. In some cases of "geocide", the owner may list the cache on an alternative listing site. Unless you contact the owner to see if this is not the case, you probably should leave the cache as is.
  4. Owner stopped geocaching or moved away from the cache area without designating someone to adopt their cache. Eventually this cache will be reported missing or in need of maintainance and be archived either by the owner or a reviewer. These abandoned caches are the ones most in need of someone either adopting them before they get to the archiving state or trashing out the remains once they are archived.
  5. Landowner or manager indicated that cache was placed without permission or was causing some other problem and Groundspeak archived the cache. It probably isn't a good idea to look for these caches unless you get permission from the landowner or manager. Sometimes the landowner/manager will have already removed the cache.
  6. Cache was in violation of some guideline and Groundspeak archived the cache. In most of these cases, if the cache owner fixes the problem, Groundspeak will unarchive their cache. Of course sometimes, someone will place another cache nearby as soon as this cache is archived, not giving the owner time to make the fix. Sometimes the owner will remove the original cache, sometimes they may leave it and list it with another listing service whose guidelines aren't as strict as GC.com.

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Congrats, a few days after I assume control of a new listing for an archived cache the maintainer responds over email finally, as I assumed would happen - just my luck.

 

From original maintainer:

 

... I was

certain I put in a request to reactivate this one, but obviously I didn't.

I'll scoop it up and leave this spot for you. Sorry I haven't responded

until now, but I have been on vacation. ...

 

I still stand by my original post on this topic stating the need for local volunteer admins to analyse a situation and add another maintainer to a cache.

 

At this point I need to negotiate either

- archiving my new post and cluttering up the geocaching database, allowing the original maintainer to unarchive his lsting

- tranfer this new post to old maintainer if he is up for it - which causes a very non-contiguous log between two seperate listings

 

Either way, some people have already signed this cache of twice - I'm sure it will stay as the new listing.

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I don't know that I really understand why you want to look for archived geocaches, I guess.

 

I wasn't the one who originally asked for this feature, but one reason for wanting to look at archived caches is just to read the logs. Many cachers put a lot of effort into writing their logs and making them entertaining to read, and it's a shame that their work becomes so difficult to find when a cache is archived.

 

In other contexts, an "archive" is a place where information is preserved so that people in the future can read it for whatever their particular purpose happens to be. Cachers in the future -- or historians or scientists, even -- might want to read logs from the early years of caching just to see what caching was like in the early days, or to read descriptions of a landscape that has been drastically changed over the years by human or environmental effects, or for any number of other reasons. One of the functions of an "archive" is to preserve stuff precisely because we don't know what reasons other people in the future might have for wanting to look at it.

 

In that light, the GC.com "archive" is less of an archive than an Orwellian memory hole. :laughing:

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I don't know that I really understand why you want to look for archived geocaches, I guess.
I wasn't the one who originally asked for this feature, but one reason for wanting to look at archived caches is just to read the logs. Many cachers put a lot of effort into writing their logs and making them entertaining to read, and it's a shame that their work becomes so difficult to find when a cache is archived. ...
I certainly agree that some cachers write some very interesting logs and that is fun to go back and read their old ones. I disagree that these are difficult to find. All you have to do is go to these funny cachers' profile pages and pull up their old finds (or hides). The archived caches are listed for our enjoyment (and historical reference).
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