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Ethics/etiquette/safety question from greenhorn


geopetvet
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There is a cache in my area which I believe violates safety and ethical guidelines. I have emailed the cache owner with my concerns but have received no reply. I really am enjoying this sport and would like to help keep it's reputation. What would my next step be in trying to resolve this? I can provide details if they will help with an answer.

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Yes, providing details would help. Not necessarily the cache name and GC number, but a description of what the "safety and ethical issues" might be.

 

Caches can be archived if they violate applicable laws or if they violate the Geocaching.com listing guidelines. It would help to know what law or guideline has been broken.

 

There are not a lot of guidelines that are present due to safety reasons. Otherwise, how would technical rock climbing caches be listed? Even the "no caches near railroad tracks" guideline is present due to trespassing concerns, not safety reasons.

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Yes, providing details would help. Not necessarily the cache name and GC number, but a description of what the "safety and ethical issues" might be.

 

Caches can be archived if they violate applicable laws or if they violate the Geocaching.com listing guidelines. It would help to know what law or guideline has been broken.

 

There are not a lot of guidelines that are present due to safety reasons. Otherwise, how would technical rock climbing caches be listed? Even the "no caches near railroad tracks" guideline is present due to trespassing concerns, not safety reasons.

 

Details: this microcache involves removing and hopefully replacing a bolt in a highway crash barrier next to a rest area.

Edited by geopetvet
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I should think that that will be considered an issue of tampering with government property rather than a safety issue (cf previous reply re. safety and caching). In the present climate, it might be more of an issue of having law enforcement officials concerned about possible nefarious activities, as well.

 

Report it to your local reviewer (clearly, with all the details) and then let it go. There are a lot of caches out there that various different people and groups think shouldn't be, and the hobby hasn't disappeared yet.

 

If you are concerned about its reputation, have some written materials about it with you when you cache, and prepare a brief "elevator speech" (i.e., an explanation that can be given in the space of time it takes to ride up a few floors in an elevator) to give to various people who don't understand the hobby (and I mean prepare it: it's harder to be succinct about geocaching than you think, as I've found in the many radio appearances I've made to talk about it!), including the aforementioned law enforcement officials.

 

Then relax and enjoy.

 

--- Jeannette

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I've seen caches like this before, and I would venture to guess that it is probably a bolt the cache owner supplied himself and inserted into a hole that didn't have one before rather than a bolt that was there originally, and he has removed. It is still a rather sketchy idea, and I don't much care for caches like this. But it is almost certainly not a safety issue (insofar as it might weaken the guard rail somehow), and it definitely isn't an ethical issue (i.e., it isn't "right or wrong" in an ethical sense; it may be "legal or illegal" in a legal sense). It could probably be construed as tampering or vandalism, but you'd have to find a very bored and/or vindictive policeman or judge to really get that to pan out.

 

Bottom line, if you don't like the looks of it, don't do it. Move on to another cache.

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This is very interesting. There is a cache right down the street that is similar - a bolt that was added to an empty hole on a bridge. To sign the log , the bolt has to be removed, then replaced. Since the cache owner added the bolt to a useless hole (there is nothing about this that affects anything structural or safe about the bridge), I just thought it was a clever cache. Never even thought that it was tampering with gov property, etc. If we go down that "tampering" or "unethical" path, wouldn't a lot of caches be subject to this line of thinking? Micros stuck on signs, magnetic key boxes on guardrails, etc?

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This is very interesting. There is a cache right down the street that is similar - a bolt that was added to an empty hole on a bridge. To sign the log , the bolt has to be removed, then replaced. Since the cache owner added the bolt to a useless hole (there is nothing about this that affects anything structural or safe about the bridge), I just thought it was a clever cache. Never even thought that it was tampering with gov property, etc. If we go down that "tampering" or "unethical" path, wouldn't a lot of caches be subject to this line of thinking? Micros stuck on signs, magnetic key boxes on guardrails, etc?

 

IMHO, it boils down to this:

A LEO sees someone taking a bolt out of a government-owned item, or appears to be tampering with something in a suspicious way (with the state of the world the way it is, many folks have their eyes open for such stuff), his first thought is not going to be "perhaps they are simply playing a friendly game of hide and seek".

 

I would personally not want to put a seeker in such a position.

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IMHO, it boils down to this:

A LEO sees someone taking a bolt out of a government-owned item, or appears to be tampering with something in a suspicious way (with the state of the world the way it is, many folks have their eyes open for such stuff), his first thought is not going to be "perhaps they are simply playing a friendly game of hide and seek".

 

I would personally not want to put a seeker in such a position.

This can be said of just about every cache; anyone seen re-hiding a cache container is going to arouse suspicion - be it a LEO or concernded citizen. Granted, a LEO may become more concerned seeing someone dropping something under a light skirt in a libray parking lot at night, but that's the nature of our sport/hobby. Getting caught is your opportunity to become good ambassadors of the game.

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I should think that that will be considered an issue of tampering with government property rather than a safety issue (cf previous reply re. safety and caching). In the present climate, it might be more of an issue of having law enforcement officials concerned about possible nefarious activities, as well.

 

Report it to your local reviewer (clearly, with all the details) and then let it go. There are a lot of caches out there that various different people and groups think shouldn't be, and the hobby hasn't disappeared yet.

 

If you are concerned about its reputation, have some written materials about it with you when you cache, and prepare a brief "elevator speech" (i.e., an explanation that can be given in the space of time it takes to ride up a few floors in an elevator) to give to various people who don't understand the hobby (and I mean prepare it: it's harder to be succinct about geocaching than you think, as I've found in the many radio appearances I've made to talk about it!), including the aforementioned law enforcement officials.

 

Then relax and enjoy.

 

--- Jeannette

I have the brochure from http://www.geocacher-u.com/resources/brochure1.pdf that I carry when I am out caching. Because it can be difficult to explain other than I use multi million dollar government satellites to look for tupperware in the woods answer.

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