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Plasma Boy

Inappropriate Log Information?

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This is a long post, but if you read it, there is a point. You may or may not agree with what I say, but I invite you to read it and comment. My only request is that you be polite. It concerns a part of the Geocaching.com guidelines that I do not agree with and I am hoping that if enough people agree, Groundspeak might change their policy.

 

G’day, my cache name is Plasma Boy and I have been geocaching in Eastern Canada since August 2005. I love this sport/hobby. It has re-introduced me to the woods that I had been neglecting for far too long. I have become acquainted with some very nice people. My background is in geology (30 years) and with the advent of Earthcaches, geocaching has gone to a new level for me. To date, I have 3 hides and 1101 finds. Did I say I love geocaching?

 

As my geocaching name implies, one of my other passions is the promotion of the donation of blood products and bone marrow. I have been a blood donor since my 18th birthday (33 years). I changed from whole blood donations to plasma donations and as of today have 420 donations. I have a rare blood type (AB-, less than 4% of the planet) and my plasma is in great demand. This is because while only people with AB- blood can use AB- blood, anyone can use the plasma from an AB- plasma donor. I donate plasma every Tuesday afternoon. I plan to donate until I die or my health makes it dangerous for me to donate or other to receive my blood. I am also a member of the unrelated bone marrow registry. I have been on the short list to donate bone marrow, but a donor closer was identified.

 

In Canada, the donation of blood products is managed by the Canadian Blood Service (www.blood.ca). It is a selfless act where no compensation is offered. Although, donating to the Canadian Blood Service is a charitable act, it is not deductible on our taxes. The only compensations donors are given are milk (in my case chocolate milk) and cookies and the knowledge that with that one donation you have just saved up to 5 lives. I tell everyone the first two compensations are the only reason I donate, but the third reason is why I do it. I have been in a situation where an operation was delayed, because they did not have my blood type on hand in case it was needed. Not a good feeling.

 

In Canada, less than 3% of eligible donors (healthy and over 18) donate blood products. This is an appalling number. Just 3% are carrying the load for the rest. There are many valid reasons why citizens are not eligible to donate. I will attach the questionaire and you will see what I mean. Other reasons in my opinion are less valid, like I don’t like needles, it takes too long, the questions are too personal, etc.

 

The reason why I am writing this is a few days ago I received an email from GC.com. It is reproduced below. There are several back and forth emails where I tried to negotiate with their representative. The representative mentions that what I have done is against the guidelines of GC.com. I do not agree. Firstly, GC.com lists them as “guidelines”. According to Wiki,

 

“A guideline is any document that aims to streamline particular processes according to a set routine. By definition, following a guideline is never mandatory (protocol would be a better term for a mandatory procedure). Guidelines are an essential part of the larger process of governance.

Guidelines may be issued by and used by any organization (governmental or private) to make the actions of its employees or divisions more predictable, and presumably of higher quality."

 

So, guidelines are by definition not mandatory.

 

Secondly, I feel that I was promoting blood donations. I was not offering anything as an incentive, so I do not feel that I was soliciting.

 

Thirdly, by the representative’s own explanation, the guideline is not enforced equally across GC.com. I can solicit in my profile page and on forums. I know I can not create a cache page with an “agenda”. I know this because a year ago, I asked to do this to promote blood donating. I was referred to the guidelines and accepted these guidelines. I asked why GC.com could promote/solicit Diabetes Awareness by giving away 20,000 TB’s. I was told that TB’s and travel coins were allowed. This is another contradiction of the guidelines. I have a travel bug called ‘The Blood Line” which flagrantly promotes blood donations and the CBS.

 

As I have mentioned, I have cached for over 2 years and have logged 1100 finds to date. I questioned caches of a charitable nature a year ago. I established a charitable TB. I have used this tag line in all of my finds. No one has complained about it. Other cachers that I meet mention how much they like my tag line. They all say that it is funny and identifiable. No one has said that it offended them or thought I was soliciting their blood.

 

I am told that I must change all of my logs. I do not think this is fair. It takes 5 minutes to change each log and then email each owner to explain why. 5 minutes x 1101 caches = 91.75 hours. I do not agree that I should be required to remove these lines. If I am not allowed to use them then I agree to enter nothing in my logs, so as to not offend GC.com or any other cachers. The 1101 other logs should be allowed to stand, because for one it will require a vast amount of time to change. The other reason is that most of these are buried miles down in the log lists where no one will see them anyway.

 

That is all I have to say on this issue. I bring it up to get the opinions of fellow cachers. I welcome all comments; just keep the blows above the belt.

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It has come to our attention that you put the following in all your cache logs.

 

Be a blood donor

1 888 2 DONATE (Canada)

Give your blood to humans, not mosquitoes and ticks.

 

This is against our guidelines and needs to be removed. We do not allow solicitations on our cache pages.

Please contact me when you have completed the editing of your cache logs.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

 

Thanks,

Community Relations Specialist

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Can I just remove the phone number. The rest is general salutations like "have a nice day". In Canada blood donors are not paid to donate. There is no money changing hands.

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It is still a solicitation to donate. We do not allow those on cache pages. You can use it on your profile page and on your signature line in the forums but not on a cache page.

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I honestly think this is a very silly reaction to a very benign issue. I have asked various cachers in two local associations and they agree. Most look forward to seeing it. I find it totally ironic that GC promotes (solicits if you will) diabetes awareness, the sale of your products and third party vendors.

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You are allowed to promote it on your profile page. You are allowed to create travel bugs and promote it which is what the diabetes project is, travel bugs. You are not allowed to promote it on cache pages. This is the rule that applies to everyone including the United Nations. They were not allowed to place caches, or cache logs promoting their agenda. You need to remove the lines from your logs even if other cachers think its ok. It is the same for everyone.

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I just read the clause on solicitation. None of my three

caches solicit anything. The clause does not mention

anything about logs. Why am I being asked to remove

something that does not break the rules as laid out in

your guidelines.

 

Caches that Solicit

 

Solicitations are off-limits. For example, caches

perceived to be posted for religious, political,

charitable or social agendas are not permitted.

Geocaching is supposed to be a light, fun activity,

not a platform for an agenda.

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asking/telling people to donate blood is an agenda. Agendas are not allowed. we are talking about your postings in cache logs on other peoples caches. If you have the same thing on your caches you need to remove it also. But I am talking about your cache found logs.

> It has come to our attention that you put the following in all your cache logs.

>

> Be a blood donor

> 1 888 2 DONATE (Canada)

> Give your blood to humans, not mosquitoes and ticks.

>

> This is against our guidelines and needs to be removed. We do not allow solicitations on our cache pages.

This is what was said in the original email. If you need to see it in writing then I refer you to the Terms of Use that say: "Groundspeak may change, suspend, or discontinue any portion of the Site, or any service offered on the Site, at any time, including but not limited to any feature, database, application, or content. Groundspeak may also impose limits on certain features offered on the Site with or without notice." Please consider this a limit on the cache log feature.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Before I start changing my logs, I want to clarify what I can say.

"Because GC.com considers my tag line to be a form of solicitation, they demanded that I remove it.

You can visit my profile page if you wish, but you do not have to".

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No that is not acceptable. You are creating another agenda with that line. remove the lines do not add anything to the previous logs. Do not add those lines or any thing like them to any new caches. You are promoting something from your tag line as you call it. This is not allowed. It doesn't matter if it is blood denotation's or how you were wronged by Groundspeak. That is an agenda. Remove the lines and do not replace them with anything else that is any sort of agenda, comment or anything else that tries to make a point. Since you commented that your tag line is the same as "have a nice day" then you should say "have a nice day"

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OK, I will remove the logs and simply say "log removed by Plasma Boy". For new logs I will say absolutely nothing.

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You do not have to remove the entire log, only the tag line. anything more that that and its your choice. All we are asking for is these lines.

> Be a blood donor

> 1 888 2 DONATE (Canada)

> Give your blood to humans, not mosquitoes and ticks.

That is all that needs to be removed. Should you chose to remove more that is your call and not needed.

Thank you

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I will start removing logs, as soon as I can. It took me two years to place them. I will try to remove them faster than that.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you for agreeing to remove those 3 sentences

Edited by Plasma Boy

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Blood donation is important - but it IS a not-for-profit organization, and the reviewer is just doing their job. Some religions see blood donation as offensive, as with many things in life. Take it with a grain of salt.

 

I also notice that it is in your forum tag line :blink:

 

Take it easy. Remove the lines from one or two logs a day, and if they come back to you and ask why it hasn't been done, just say your working on it.

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My take:

What you want to accomplish is admirable.

It is however soliciting because you are seeking to entice people to donate blood/plasma. That makes it against the guidelines for a cache that you place. It is a bit fuzzier since it's a tag line in your logs.

 

The Easy Solution is to make a geocaching calling card. The card can fully reflect your passion and more people will see more of those cards and know where your name came from than will pay attention to your log. Biz cards are cheezy, but cache cards are not. Your name, and where it came from are part of your caching identity and fair game to discuss on the back of the card.

 

Also you can talk about your passion in your profile. We all have them. The guidelines don't prohibit you being both and avid cacher and a firm believer in savings lives by donating blood. You probably can't point out that people should look at your profile...thats where the line would be crossed. At that point, you also probably should not do more than tell us why you are passionate. In there words, procliam your belief, but don't ask for converts.

 

Lastly,

You can get logs for you own caches donated (and emblazened with the logo etc) from the folks who you wish to reqruite for. You can't solicit, but you can use a donated log book, as long as you don't further embelish the log. I have serval notebooks that have a company's name on them that have proved to be handy as heck. A bit large for a cache, but if they were smaller you would be seeing them in caches.

 

You can do what you want to do within the bounds set by the guidelines.

Edited by Renegade Knight

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I see your point, I honestly do. I think what you are trying to do is admirable, but I agree with Groundspeak that placing that sort of solicitation in every one of your logs isn't appropriate. If they don't keep a tight grip on things of that nature pretty soon every cache page would become a means for people to promote their personal agenda.

 

Whether the solicitation is non-profit, religious, commercial or whatever, the cache page is not the appropriate venue. If Groundspeak didn't enforce this standard across the board they would soon be in the unenviable position of having to decide which causes are worthy and which are not. Quite frankly, if more people started doing the same thing it would become annoying and painful to read the cache logs.

 

I see this in the same light as when people start having forum-like discussions on cache pages through a series of Notes which is another think Groundspeak frowns upon. The cache logs are there to document your experience with hunting the cache, not for promotion purposes.

 

They have left you with the ability to advertise your cause on your profile page, your forum signature and through TBs. I think that is quite generous on their behalf. You may argue they are not applying the guideline equally across the board, but Groundspeak is not, and never will be, a democracy so i think you should be happy they didn't shut you down completely.

 

On another note, I noticed you mentioned the amount of time it would take to update each log and then notify the cache owner as to why it was changed. I wouldn't bother with notifying the owner, but that's just me.

 

Again, I appreciate your desire to raise awareness but I'm going to side with Groundspeak on this one.

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“Please consider this a limit on the cache log feature”, ok, that made me laugh. Good one. I tried to place a beg cache, got told no, and got on with my life. Even survived the big melt down when people placed tsunami victim caches and started a forest fire in the forums and cache pages, they were flaming so bad.

 

My advice is to clean up the logs and stop trying to antagonize the approvers and or admins. You may find all your logs gone, and your account locked out.

Edited by Keith Watson

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Human nature is to not back down once a position has been taken. I believe the reviewer is being closed mined and taking a stubborn stance. I am not saying though that either one of you are right, but here is a suggestion.

 

He makes a point that your tagline is "directing" people to take a certain action. Have you considered making a small change to your tagline such as: "Donating blood saves lives" then provide the number or URL (without urging anyone to call or visit). Readers of your tagline will have the information needed to obtain more information if desired.

 

We have much larger issues to solve in this hobby/game. It is a shame that the "powers that be" are using it in this manner.

 

Good luck with whatever approach you decide to take.

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Personally, I don't respect Groundspeak's position, or some of their methods of operation. But I would take the advice to back off, because TPTB have been known to get nasty when challenged.

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Their website, their game. Although i agree with them that you shouldnt put that in caches logs, its stupid to ask you to spend one hundred hours on removing 2 sentences.

And besides, you assume only 3% giveas blood as the rest are either lazy or not eligible..have you thought about people who do not like needles and such? Tis group of people is probably a good 20% of those not donating.

Edited by Lotho

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I'm afraid I cannot disagree with Groundspeak, in their request to have you stop using the tag line. It is solicitation and I think they need to be extremely careful on this and not allow such tags, no matter how admirable the cause. What is admirable to some is offensive to others. I don't like attempts to sway me to any cause, as I come here strictly to enjoy geocaching.

 

At the same time, I disagreed with the Diabetes TB, or whatever it was. I found it offensive that a particular cause was allowed in that way, while "seeming" to ignore many other causes. It just feels like it doesn't belong here at all, whether in caches, logs, TBs, coins or any other way. I don't like it. I would be shocked if there were not "Support Your Troops" taglines, caches, logs, etc. Are they being questioned/chastised in the same way? They should be.

 

I also think it ridiculous, though, that they would even ASK, let alone expect you to go and change over a thousand logs. That is way over the line and I would not even consider doing such a thing. I think they have every right to ask you to stop doing it, "from now on", however, should they wish to have past logs changed, they should offer to remove the offending lines themselves. They have the resources to do so, much easier, I'm sure, than you do. I know there are people who write programs to make such mass changes, so perhaps you could try to find one of them, but since GC.COM apparently frowns on such activities, they should relieve you of the burden and offer to make the changes, or simply leave PAST logs alone.

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Thanks for all of your comments, I understand your points of view. I agree that solicitation should not be promoted and when told I could not do it in a cache, I did not. I made a TB instead. I did not intentionally insert my tag line to promote my passion. It was there long before I knew there was such a rule. It just happened and for two years it was OK. I think what bothered me the most was the inflexibility of the representative to negotiate a fair settlement. I have started removing my logs from all of my finds. I do not like it, but I have no choice. I am really annoyed with their position after I did a little searching on GC.com caches.

 

After the previous posters comment about "support the troops" I did a little experiment.

 

You can do it also. Go to "hide and seek" on the GC page and under keywords, type "support" or "cancer" or "blood" or "donor" or "church". How many caches do you find that apparently solicit or promote or support an agenda. One is called "Be a blood donor" Granted it does not cover blood donations but the name does imply it. There are Breast cancer awareness caches, support our troops caches, there are blood donor caches. There are caches mentioning churches and going to church. Why did my tag line buried under tons of other logs hit a cord when all of these very public caches did not? Was someone just reading every cache log and see mine tag line? Sounds like a lot of work, when there are easier targets on the cache listing page.

 

Again, I have been ordered to remove them and I will. Some fun huh?

Edited by Plasma Boy

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Although I do not agree whole heartedly with the Groundspeak position, I do see the point. Furthermore, I understand that if the policy is not enforced here, there may be exceptions needed to be made again, possibly for less wholesome activities.

 

When you post a log, it goes to the cache owners cache page and Groundspeak servers. If you wish to use it as a tag line in the forums, or even post it prominently on your profile page (an idea I think I may wish to use also), there is no problem there. Even on your signiture cards or items, no problem.

 

Remove as time allows. Keep up the donations, they are always appreciated by those who need the products.

 

Respectfully submitted by a 22 gallon blood donor in Texas. I usually donate platelets to be used by cancer patients, and am also on the marrow registry. Cache safely, bleed only through a tube. Take care.

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To the OP. I would tell them (edited by moderator). I would never spend the time to go back and change all of those logs.

Edited by mtn-man

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Asking you to remove it from 1100 logs is just STUPID. I guess I would comply with their Community Relations? Specialist's request, but I would take my good old time doing it. (3 or 4 a day and you should be done sometime in 08).

 

CSpenceFLY - your so long winded and maybe sittin' on the fence? :o:o

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We have much larger issues to solve in this hobby/game. It is a shame that the "powers that be" are using it in this manner.

I think you are confused or something. There are no issues to solve in this game. It is just a game. You find a container, sign a log, trade some items if the cache allows it (size, etc.) and have fun. I play this game to forget the issues in the world. I play it to have fun, not to be solicited. I cannot understand why you would say it is a shame that the powers that be are using this site to have fun. I would venture to say that if you started a geocaching/cause-solicitation listing service, that it would be very rarely visited, exceptionally difficult to control and would quickly get out of hand. Someone like Michael Vick might want a cache to further the cause of dog fighting, and pedophiles might like a cache to promote child molestation. As you can see, though my examples are extreme, drawing the line of what to allow is hard to define. That is why the line on this site is drawn to allow no solicitations.

 

Plasma Boy, most likely another user who did not like the solicitation reported your logging habits. If you have found other people that log caches or have listed caches in ways that offend you, the best thing is to also report those users. With all respect to danoshimano, people do change cache pages after they are listed and sometimes we do miss things. Having the everyday users out there help to spot these things and report them to the contact@geocaching web address is very valuable and most certainly appreciated.

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Plasma Boy, most likely another user who did not like the solicitation reported your logging habits. If you have found other people that log caches or have listed caches in ways that offend you, the best thing is to also report those users. With all respect to danoshimano, people do change cache pages after they are listed and sometimes we do miss things. Having the everyday users out there help to spot these things and report them to the contact@geocaching web address is very valuable and most certainly appreciated.

 

So he can be a snitch too and take something away from the other players... Yup, sounds like exactly what he should do. Become the cache police.

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Sometimes you have to be just that. For example, take the ban on caching in Parks Canada sites. After years of work by Canadian geocachers, they now have a working relationship where they can once again place caches in these formerly banned areas. Regular cachers should help to make sure that caches they find in these areas comply so there are no black eyes with Parks Canada.

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I think you should still be able to say "Give your blood to humans, not mosquitoes and ticks." for your sig as I think without the two lines above its not really a solicitation anymore but more of a (humanitarian) joke.

 

As for deleting 1101 sigs I just wouldn't do it.

I'd be curious to know if an admin can delete all a persons finds in one go?

Otherwise the prospect of deleting 1101 posts manually might make them rethink their position and grandfather them in. :)

Edited by QuigleyJones

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Editing over 1000 logs? No thanks. I believe my take would be to not post the sig from now on, and politely suggest that if the logs bother Groundspeak that much, perhaps they could run a special SQL query to remove the phone number from the logs. Doing it manually? That's a bit much to ask. We don't have the tools available to us to do massive updates to logs, but they do.

 

That said, I think they're justified in not wanting promos in logs. I wouldn't want to read an advertisement in every cache log I see. That would turn geocaching into one big commercial, and that's not why we're here. Regardless of how good the intentions might be, an agenda free hobby is more fun for all.

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As an associate of PlasmaBoy (the name is decieving... he's nowhere near being a boy anymore), I have to agree with him, not that i think that his posts are inappropriate or are appropriate(because I don't care about what he or any other person puts in their logs for the most part), but rather that TPTB are enforcing their rules inconsistantly and without integrity.

 

Want to know why Jeep and Diabetes were allowed to create the TravelBugs? I don't know for sure and probably only Groundspeak Inc. can say for sure, but frankly I highly doubt that it was out of the goodness of their hearts.... I'll bet dollars to donuts that they recieved a significant financial incentive for their efforts and permission. I suspect that If a person were to pay enough money to Groundspeak Inc. any one of us would be allowed to create just about any TB that you'd want that will sell anything you'd want.

 

The rules specify not creating Caches with agenda's, however you can create TravelBugs(revenue generated) or GeoCoins(revenue Generated) that have specific selling points or agendas.

 

From where I sit i must say that it looks like TPTB have decided that if it generates revenue, leave it alone and allow it to occur. If, however, it does not generate revenue, then they will exercise their rights to censor it.

 

If Groundspeak Inc. were to truely enforce their regulations across the board evenly, we would not have the Jeep TB's or the Diabete's TB's. But then, Groundspeak Inc. would not have the revenue generated.

 

In the end... it comes down to money... without it, you can't do a thing... with enough of it... you can do whatever you want!

 

PlasmaBoy, Make a sizable donation to GC.com and I'll bet they'll let you support Toejam sales if the price is right.

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I couldn't have said it better PsYkO.ns. Commercial solicitations are 100% against the rules of the game, unless GC.com is getting the revenue. The "agenda" here is quite clear!

Edited by Barnie's Band of Gold

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Yep, but you left out the key part...

 

They asked for permission first.

 

Jeep is a great example. Thank you for bringing that up. Jeep wanted to be involved in geocaching. (So did the Planet of the Apes Movie folks way back, remember those caches? Hugely successful, placed with permission.) There were long negotiations with Jeep about how to do it. They decided to not do caches, but instead the travel bugs were a perfect way to handle what they wanted to do. Remember the first Jeep TBug? It was yellow, right? Want to know why? Because Jeremy said he would do the promotion but only if the Jeep was yellow (as a tribute to the Yellow Jeep locationless cache, cool huh). They agreed.

 

Now, about the money. Do you think Jeremy and crew spent the money on Gold Plated Jeeps for themselves? No, they did the deal so they could purchase the servers they needed back then. The site was getting slow back then. They did the deal so the site would work better for you. As they continue this relationship with Jeep, then continue to plow the money back into the site. Do you think $3 a month from cachers is going to totally pay for the tremendous amount of bandwidth, the servers that handle the site, the people that make the site work and do the ongoing development for the site and the new consulting firm that is working on Version II of the site? Heck, PsYkO.ns and Barnie's Band of Gold both are not premium members so they use the site for free. How do you think this happens? You even get to complain in Groundspeak provided forums for free. It isn't magic. Someone has to pay for it. My $30 a year helps, but it isn't going to do all that I have talked about above. That became obvious years ago. The partnership with Jeep has been a great thing for geocachers. If you notice, you can log caches on Saturday, Sunday and Mondays without time-outs lately. Thank Jeep for part of that.

 

Indeed the agenda is clear. Make this site work for geocachers, even those that use the site for free. If you want to do something commercially related, ask for permission first. If it benefits geocachers, they might consider it.

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To the last poster....

 

Make no question... i am not implying any wrongful use of that money... if I was the owner of Groundspeak Inc. I would have more than likely done the same thing for the same reason. The site does need to have income and Jeep and Diabetes are great financial resources to be tapped... I don't think anyone questions how the money they gained was spent...

 

Yes, I am a regular member, I get access to this forum and the game for free as Mtn-Man pointed out... and I am grateful for the priveledge that i am granted as a free member of being able to post my views. Even having posted a view that is contrary to the current guidelines, I have been allowed to post my opinions. I believe that my statement, though contrary to the establisment was respectful enough that they allowed it without censorship and that is a huge deal. Groundspeak is willing to allow us to speak our minds freely without censorship so long as we do so respectfully and that speaks volumes for Groundspeak's professionalizm.

 

I only have an issue with rules only applying some of the time to some of the people. If you choose to allow one group to break the rule, then you must allow all groups and individuals to break the same rule, or modify the rule to allow for it.

 

That is my one and only issue at this point. and is what i think is a fair question. I was taught that rules are to be applied equally across the board, without regard to any other consideration. I don't have an issue with the Jeep or Diabetes campaigns.... similarily, I do not have an issue with PlasmaBoy putting in his plug for the Canadian Blood Service, which is a free initiative in Canada, He is not trying to get us to buy anything implied or specifically. Jeep's involvement is specifically to draw attention to themselves to make money for themselves... they would have no other reason to do so. Diabetes is not trying to make money for themselves but rather to raise the awareness of diabetes.

 

Plasmaboy in this situation is only trying to voice his opinion and remind us to donate blood if we are so inclined... if we are not. we can ignore him, just as we can ignore Jeep and Diabetes TB's if we are not so inclined to care about either.

 

Because of this, i feel that the guidelines should be modified or at the very least be given a liberal interpretation instead of being interpreted the way that they have here. If they are not willing to do so, to avoid being hypocritical in their application of their own guidelines, Groundspeak should end the Jeep and Diabetes campaigns for the same reasons that PlasmaBoy is now being required to go back and clean up over 1100 cache finds.

 

One or the other... not both.

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First, let me say, "Thanks for donating plasma!" I used to try to donate as often as they would let me, but my iron level was usually too low. I did get a few pints out, though. Now I take prescription medicine and cannot donate.

 

As far as the issue with the tag line. I think they are wrong, but it's their web site and their rules. Seems like they should be able to get a Database person to go through and edit your posts for you without deleting them (I know I could do it at my job in a similar situation.) It probably violates the guidelines, though. :)

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If you choose to allow one group to break the rule, then you must allow all groups and individuals to break the same rule,

This simple fallacy refutes everything else you say, because it's simply not true.

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Plasma Boy, most likely another user who did not like the solicitation reported your logging habits.

So if one person is offended then TPTB will order someone to change their logs. What about all the people who are offended by that demand? Several people in this thread think he shouldn't have to, does that opinion have as much weight as the one offended? No - and that's a sad commentary on us.

 

The other point I'm wondering about, in other threads talking about logs on cache pages, GC has held the position that the page, and logs, belongs to the cache owner and they won't be the log police, so why now?

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Plasma Boy's tagline doesn't bother me and I don't care in the least if he has a tagline or not or whatever he chooses, as it has no effect on me. It does no harm to anyone. If someone is offened, then perhaps they have more bigger issues to deal with.

 

30,000+ premium members x $30-$36 per year per member = You do the math, but it's around $1 million. Add in all of the other promotions and revenue streams (TBs, Geocoins, merchandise, grants, etc) and well we're looking at a multi-million $ company. No reason to deny this. And I congratulate and support gc.com for being able to generate funds so that I have been able to enjoy this hobby for the past 5 years and hopefully be able to enjoy it for the next 55 years. They are a business that controls our hobby and without them, geocaching may never have evolved to the point that it's at now. And of course on the flip side, without geocachers, the web site may never have evolved to where it is today. Either way, we all need each other.

 

Conistancy? The perception is that this is lacking and there are obvious double standards. Even this topic is a prime example as certain comments (including some made by admins) have gotten off topic. But sometimes it's ok to go a bit off topic as it allows topics to evolve.

 

Permission and promotions...it's not that Jeep (or Diabeties) asked for permission, it's the fact that they paid nicely (I'm just guessing here) in order to be able to promote their products and agendas. If the average cacher asked for permission, they would most likely be turned down (again, just guessing here, but I think it's a good guess), unless they paid money of course. I do recall that last year sometime that gc.com said that there would be a new Commercial Cache type, but not sure what ever happened to that as it obviously hasn't been implemented yet, or maybe no one has paid for it yet. Or maybe it's out there, but just not in my area. Who knows...doesn't really matter.

 

Solutions to the problems? Clear cut RULES instead of wishy washy guidelines which ar eopen to interpretation...with gc.com having the ability to overrule any individual issue or situation as they see fit. This way it lays things out in a more clear manner for the cacher and it also gives gc.com the ability to keep control and have the final say.

 

In the end, it's Jeremy that is God with lots of Angels helping him out, and us Geocachers are the people on His Earth being thankful that God is there so We can enjoy Our time geocaching, for without God or his Angels, We would have no game to play.

 

...now go out and find a cache instead of sitting in front of your computer screen! :)

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I agree that it's silly to ask someone to change 1000+ logs because NOW someone has complained. Fine to ask them to stop entering logs that way, but something as harmless as this? I would just let it slide on the past logs.

 

The people bringing up the Jeep and Diabetes examples are way off, however. Plasma Boy was told that he could create a TB with any agenda he wanted (which he said he's done) and that's all that Jeep and the Unite for Diabetes campaigns were. They were TBs bought on a much larger scale. I figure most any geocacher would be allowed to buy several thousand TBs and distribute them with almost any message they'd like (the extreme examples notwithstanding).

 

Yes, there is a lot of inconsistency with the way things are run on this site and a lot of people take the attitude of "it's their sandbox, take it or leave it". In the end, Groundspeak has a business to run and they do get to make the ultimate call. I think it's still in their interest to listen to the customers' call for more perceived consistency in the way decisions are made (and to say it again, the Jeep TBs are completely consistent with what's being said now).

Edited by KoosKoos

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I think that the main issue here is consistency. If a guidline exists prohibiting certain things on cache pages, logs, etc. then it needs to be applied across the board. If it is a guideline or rule that is too difficult to apply uniformly, then the guideline may need to be revisited/reworded. Ultimately, the decision lies with Groundspeak, but clarifications, etc can only help in the long run.

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Editing over 1000 logs? No thanks. I believe my take would be to not post the sig from now on, and politely suggest that if the logs bother Groundspeak that much, perhaps they could run a special SQL query to remove the phone number from the logs. Doing it manually? That's a bit much to ask. We don't have the tools available to us to do massive updates to logs, but they do.

 

 

Although there seem to be some inconsistencies in Groundspeak policy (as other's have noted), I'd say I agree with their position here. But I don't want to dive into that debate. It seems to me that PlasmaBoy hasn't asked Groundspeak to automate the process. Maybe they would help. :)

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I don't claim to know the guidelines by heart, so I can't comment on whether or not a rule has been broken. However, I will say that I have in the past read a number of PlasmaBoy's logs, and never once did I see it as a solicitation. It is only now that GC.com has brought it up that it even crossed my mind. Out of curiosity--I did a cache once that contained nothing but a log book and LDS pamphlets. Would that be considered against the rules?

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In the end, Groundspeak has a business to run and they do get to make the ultimate call. I think it's still in their interest to listen to the customers' call for more perceived consistency in the way decisions are made (and to say it again, the Jeep TBs are completely consistent with what's being said now).

 

I think thats the whole point of this thread... not to rant and rail against the establishment but to ask Groundspeak to consider our position on this and based on the information make a decision, either for or against...

 

If we do not inform Groundspeak Inc. of our thoughts and requests... how will Groundspeak Inc. know that there is an issue for the members. In the end it IS Groundspeak Inc. that will make the final decision. We're just trying to give them information so that they can make an informed decision about what to do, if anything.

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Conistancy? The perception is that this is lacking and there are obvious double standards. Even this topic is a prime example as certain comments (including some made by admins) have gotten off topic.
For the record, no "admins" have posted in the topic. One volunteer for the site has -- me. My posts have all been on topic. If you are talking about my Parks Canada example post, it was explaining why reporting things sometimes is a good thing. One thing I try to be is consistent, but I am far from perfect. I think this topic has been right on topic the whole time personally.

 

Solutions to the problems? Clear cut RULES instead of wishy washy guidelines which ar eopen to interpretation...with gc.com having the ability to overrule any individual issue or situation as they see fit. This way it lays things out in a more clear manner for the cacher and it also gives gc.com the ability to keep control and have the final say.
Oh yeah. Tell you what. Bring a topic up in the main forums about wanting "rules" instead of "guidelines". Make sure you have your fire suit on.

 

Let me expand briefly. When logging a cache, it is OK to say, "A great place to eat is mtn-man's diner down at the corner." It is not OK to say on every log, "Hey, I own a diner called mtn-man's diner in Atlanta. We make the best gumbo in the world and ship to you where ever you are. See my site at www.mtn-mangumbo.com for more information." If you have rules, you don't get to tell people about that great restaurant you found down the road. There is nothing wrong with that. The second example is a clear advertisement though. Those additions to logs are using the site to solicit business. While blood donation is not "business" so to speak, it is still a solicitation.

 

Out of curiosity--I did a cache once that contained nothing but a log book and LDS pamphlets. Would that be considered against the rules?
Actually, it is OK. As long as you don't solicit on the cache description you can add things to the cache like that. This brings me to Renegade Knight's suggestion of leaving a calling card behind regarding the blood donation. At this time that is the way to handle things like this.

 

 

I would like to offer a suggestion. Write back to the site again. Ask if this can be brought up the ladder to the legal person. Ask if it would be OK to leave your existing logs alone since it will take so much time to go through them all. If you promise not to include it in the future, they might say OK. I think it is worth a shot. The worst thing he can say is that it is not OK. And don't barrage them with this request. It will only carry weight if the original poster requests this.

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Personal agenda has no place in geocaching no matter where it is on a cache listing. The guidelines cover agenda quite well and it is the responsibility of the geocache owner to monitor the logs and act accordingly. That could be extended to requiring geocache owners to be required to remove logs that solicit an agenda of any kind since they violate the guidelines if you consider it that far. That is not to say that Groundspeak should turn around and place the blame on the geocache owners.

 

When Groundspeak authorizes a commercial aspect like the previously pointed out travel bugs, it is their right to do so since the own and operate the company. They determine what is best for the company and those that use their services. This form of solicitation does not benefit Groundspeak and may offend some of its clients. There seems to be no reason to have such a tag line unless it is to promote a personal agenda, and that is not what geocaching is about.

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I would not edit 1000 logs. It would be easier to start over as PlasmaMan with new and improved logging power.

 

Wouldn't he need to be Plasma Teen first? When all of his logs would be ridden with youthful angst or apathetic thoughts of authority? :)

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Of course, everyone turns a blind eye to Christmas and Easter themed caches which, beyond any doubt, promote a particular agenda...

 

Caches are approved such as GCVP4D, GCX1DJ, or GC1402N? The last one there is full-cache advertisement for a Christian radio station. It took less than 2 minutes of searching to come up with those. I'm sure there are better examples. So will those caches be ordered modified to comply with the "no promoting an agenda" rules now that I have brought this complaint forward? If I go though and pick out every Christian themed cache, will TPTB come down on them and make them all change?

 

The very fact that caches like those were approved but PB is getting the waggly finger is an excellent example of the inconsistency of rule application that other people have mentioned.

 

Maybe we can all be reasonable and the whole Plasma Boy blood donor thing can be overlooked since it's certainly no worse a violation than a religious cache.

 

Out of curiosity--I did a cache once that contained nothing but a log book and LDS pamphlets. Would that be considered against the rules?

 

Personally, I would consider religious propaganda to be as inappropriate as pornography or hate literature and would be very angry to find it in any of my caches.

Edited by geoSquid

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Caches are approved such as GCVP4D, GCX1DJ, or GC1402N? The last one there is full-cache advertisement for a Christian radio station.

I can guarantee that the last one was changed after being listed. That one isn't going to stay that way long. The second one has been changed from the way the description reads. Just because you see something on a cache page doesn't mean it was listed exactly as you see it. This has been proven over and over.

 

Still, it is apples and oranges. Looking at those cache owners, their logs on found caches don't scream a Christian agenda. Every one of PB's logs on caches screamed his agenda. Apples and oranges.

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Thanks for all of your views on this issue. I do not really disagree with much that is said here but there are a few that really stand out. I will reply to them as time is available.

 

I will say this though. mtn-man and cacheDrone, while you are not admins, you are representatives for Groundspeak. ntm-man has responsibilities for the forums. He is a site wide moderator and did in fact alter the 12th thread posted here. That means you are responsible for enforcing GC guidelines. You both as reviewers are responsible for the quality and correctness of caches. You vet and approve them.

 

You say that you can guarantee that the cache name was changed. If you notice that the cache name was changed, why haven't you as the responsible person taken that cache off line? The guideline says solicitation is off limits "PERIOD". It should not matter whether the violation is "screaming" or not. Once you have found out you should do something. There are no apples and oranges. a violation is a violation.

 

You say cache names can be changed. Why is this allowed? You can not change group names on facebook. This is to avoid someone creating a group called "I love puppies" and after many people join changing it to "I murder puppies".

 

When a coordinate is changed on a cache page the reviewer is notified and has to allow the change. Why isn't this done for cache names. I notice that I can not change the cache type on my caches.

Edited by Plasma Boy

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When a coordinate is changed on a cache page the reviewer is notified and has to allow the change. Why isn't this done for cache names. I notice that I can not change the cache type on my caches.

 

We do not have to allow a change in coordinates, actually either I, Cache Tech or other reviewers who receive the notices do check the coordinates to make sure they are still within the guidelines.

 

As for cache names... if we do find something that has been change it will get taken care accordingly... I have a few I have to deal with but haven't since coming back from vacation yet... but as mtn man stated the ones he's mentioned will be taken care of if it doesn't meet the guidelines.

 

We, as reviewers all know that once a cache is listed that it can be changed but hope that the geocacher is honest and fair to not change their cache names or descriptions....

 

Cache Agent

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Plasma Boy, Texas is not my state for cache review. If that cache was in a state that I did review, it would be temporarily archived until corrected. Yes, I edited one post in this topic. I can do that throughout the forums because I am a Global Moderator. I am not a Global Cache Reviewer. I know my place as a volunteer cache reviewer. At this time, it isn't Texas. I did contact the reviewer for that area though.

 

As far as locking down name and description changes after listing a cache, that has been discussed. Still, we want to trust people. Coordinate changes were stopped because of a practice of using that to circumvent proximity guidelines as well as land owner bans. Those changes resulted in more serious problems.

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Plasma Boy, Texas is not my state for cache review. If that cache was in a state that I did review, it would be temporarily archived until corrected. Yes, I edited one post in this topic. I can do that throughout the forums because I am a Global Moderator. I am not a Global Cache Reviewer. I know my place as a volunteer cache reviewer. At this time, it isn't Texas. I did contact the reviewer for that area though.

 

As far as locking down name and description changes after listing a cache, that has been discussed. Still, we want to trust people. Coordinate changes were stopped because of a practice of using that to circumvent proximity guidelines as well as land owner bans. Those changes resulted in more serious problems.

 

I appreciate what you and cacheagent are saying. I appreciate the service that you guys perform for us. As I have said in a few minutes, I discovered 30 inappropriate caches. I think it might be time to lock down cache names. Maybe there should be an overseer who's job it is to check caches by doing word searches. This will hopefully stop guys like me and others complaining about the inconsistencies of the guidelines.

 

If the organ grinders have rules, it should not be up to the monkeys to enforce them. We monkeys only have to obey them.

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I think the approvers are busy enough trying to keep us in caches. Having them review existing caches my be a little much to ask from people giving their own time for this hobby.

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I think the approvers are busy enough trying to keep us in caches. Having them review existing caches my be a little much to ask from people giving their own time for this hobby.

 

True, but there must be a number of people who are actually paid, real money, to look after this site. One paid employee found time in his busy schedule to email me a number of times to make sure i was going to remove all of my tag lines. Maybe he could look through the cache site listings.

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If the organ grinders have rules, it should not be up to the monkeys to enforce them. We monkeys only have to obey them.

 

That might cut into my banana payoff. Personally I'm going to continue reporting violations.

 

The most serious ones will probably get addressed first.

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I think the approvers are busy enough trying to keep us in caches. Having them review existing caches my be a little much to ask from people giving their own time for this hobby.

 

True, but there must be a number of people who are actually paid, real money, to look after this site. One paid employee found time in his busy schedule to email me a number of times to make sure i was going to remove all of my tag lines. Maybe he could look through the cache site listings.

You could also drop an email to the contact address or email us directly. I get emails time to time concerning caches in our review area, I always treat them as confidential.

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Couldn't resist putting in my two cents on this topic:

 

1 cent: Yes, this is soliciting... Yep I agree with Groundspeak that you probably shouldn't have put these in your logs. Used to donate all the time, but got fed up with the self important people working at the blood donation place (yeah I know its petty on my part, but I got fed up with them.) Its beside the point though, your tag line on your logs reads like an ad for CBS, I wouldn't want to see it looking over cache pages.

 

cent #2: Asking you to manually remove these from your logs is ridiculous. I would ask them if they could do it for you. For them, it would take minutes. You... days.

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I think the approvers are busy enough trying to keep us in caches. Having them review existing caches my be a little much to ask from people giving their own time for this hobby.

 

True, but there must be a number of people who are actually paid, real money, to look after this site. One paid employee found time in his busy schedule to email me a number of times to make sure i was going to remove all of my tag lines. Maybe he could look through the cache site listings.

Let's do the math.

 

466181 active caches as I write.

Looking at one per minute (VERY conservative estimate to read the whole page, but simple for math).

Divide by 60 = 7769 hours of work.

Divide by 8 hour day = 971.21 days of work.

Divide by 250 average work days (52 weeks x 5 days - 10 vacation days) = 3.88 years of work.

 

This does not take into account additional caches listed from the point this starts until almost four years from now when you get done reviewing all current caches in the existing database. Considering the site is only 6 years old, is growing steadily as well, theoretically, the review would never get completed if you put one person on it.

 

Frankly, I would rather see them hire another person to help keep the web site running smoothly than hire another person to sit around all day and read cache titles and descriptions. I don't mind helping the site by reporting things if I see them.

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This is getting off topic.

 

The short version is that an actual paid employee of Groundspeak has stated that including a personal agenda statement is not permitted in cache logs. This item has been brought to the forums and now everyone that takes the time to read the forums should at least be aware that having statements like those or any variation on other like themes is not permitted. There are many clever people in geocaching and maybe one of them could provide a suggestion or script that would remove the parts of the tagline for Plasma Boy. That would at least resolve this problem for everyone.

 

As for dealing with violations after publication of the listing, the only method is from people reporting the problem to their local reviewer. That is the system that is in place. Like others have said, I would like to trust players to not make changes that reflect badly on the game after a reviewer took the time to make sure the listing was okay. It might seem funny but it only hurts the game in the end.

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