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Bryan

Geocache Adoption Policy Update

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In order to be consistent with Groundspeak's geocache ownership policy*, Groundspeak will no longer be supporting non-consensual geocache adoptions. All geocache adoptions must be handled using the adoption tool found here: Adopt a Listing

 

*Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache and/or submitted the geocache listing to geocaching.com.

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What happens to caches where the owner is no longer caching but others in the community have taken it upon themselves to maintain the cache? If someone reports a needs maintenance, there is no one to remove the needs maintenance attribute. If the maintainer replaces the container or has to move it a short distance they cannot update the page or indicated the coordinates have changed. In another thread, Keystone wrote:

 

Technically, yes, it is possible for a reviewer to remove the attribute.

 

But I would argue that the cache is still in need of maintenance. It lacks an owner.

Is it also going to be Groundspeak's policy to archive caches with no active owner?

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While I am all for cache owner rights and final authority - it is just a sad fact of caching that owners sometimes walk away from thier responsibilities. They move away, die, lose interest or whatever - point is - we just can't find them or get hold of them anymore.

 

I am concerned that there will be no way whatsoever for such caches to be adopted ar properly maintained (see toz's post above).

 

.... just sayin.......

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While I am all for cache owner rights and final authority - it is just a sad fact of caching that owners sometimes walk away from thier responsibilities. They move away, die, lose interest or whatever - point is - we just can't find them or get hold of them anymore.

 

I am concerned that there will be no way whatsoever for such caches to be adopted ar properly maintained (see toz's post above).

 

.... just sayin.......

I agree. If the wider community is taking care of an older cache, and in particular a cache that might be considered "Historic," it is very sad to think there will be no way for someone to adopt that cache/those caches. :ph34r:

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What happens to caches where the owner is no longer caching but others in the community have taken it upon themselves to maintain the cache? If someone reports a needs maintenance, there is no one to remove the needs maintenance attribute. If the maintainer replaces the container or has to move it a short distance they cannot update the page or indicated the coordinates have changed. In another thread, Keystone wrote:

 

Technically, yes, it is possible for a reviewer to remove the attribute.

 

But I would argue that the cache is still in need of maintenance. It lacks an owner.

Is it also going to be Groundspeak's policy to archive caches with no active owner?

 

Generally, if someone reports that a cache needs maintenance and then someone from the community reports that the maintenance has been completed, I believe that it is well within the volunteer reviewer's discretion to remove the needs maintenance attribute. That said, there are a variety of other reasons why the cache owner would need to be involved in active maintenance of the cache (land permit renewals, for example) and if the cache owner is unable to perform those functions, then I believe that it would be proper, and within the discretion of the volunteer reviewer, to archive the cache. Note that this is being written with a view towards providing discretion to the reviewers so that they can best handle the wide variety of cache maintenance related issues. But, it does not stand to say that because a cache needs maintenance and the owner is absent that it 'must' be archived.

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Does that mean someone can then ask a question about a cache with a "Needs Maintenance" icon on the page and not risk having it immediately Archived, even though the cache is being found regularly . . . ? :ph34r:

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What happens to caches where the owner is no longer caching but others in the community have taken it upon themselves to maintain the cache? If someone reports a needs maintenance, there is no one to remove the needs maintenance attribute. If the maintainer replaces the container or has to move it a short distance they cannot update the page or indicated the coordinates have changed. In another thread, Keystone wrote:

 

Technically, yes, it is possible for a reviewer to remove the attribute.

 

But I would argue that the cache is still in need of maintenance. It lacks an owner.

Is it also going to be Groundspeak's policy to archive caches with no active owner?

 

The way I understand this, yes, that is in fact their policy as it was explained to me recently in another thread. They also added that they do not allow reviewers to suggest the cache be picked up. I've given this a lot of thought since then because it seemed so inconsistent with the things that Groundspeak takes a pretty visible public stand on such as CITO, leave no trace, and so on. It is a true disconnect and it seems that because there will always be attrition of cachers, that this is a geo-rubble producing policy.

 

I've come to the conclusion that what is driving this policy is not some of the reasons that I was told such as the possibility of the cache being listed on another listing service and so on. It is plainly and simply liability. If Groundspeak transfers ownership without the consent of the "owner" or person that placed it, then they essentially become the owner or the responsible party. Taking responsibility, ownership, of any cache is something that Groundspeak cannot do and survive if you consider the millions of caches that they will never see but approve with their volunteer review system.

 

The only solution is not a global answer. It is a local geographical one where concerned cachers commit to ownership of their caching area and ask the question of fellow cachers "is that one still out there?" when they see an archive notice. This is something that we are willing and able to do in our area but it might be much harder for others who do not have a such a defined border of their caching area or a nucleus of concerned and involved cachers.

 

As Geocaching continues to grow and more and more caches are placed. it is my hope that Groundspeak will at least help with this problem indirectly by not allowing vacation caches. I would say that about 60-70% of the caches that we are left to clean up, are from absentee owners that have somehow circumvented the approval system and named some phantom or uncommitted maintainer.

Edited by Team GeoBlast

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I can understand the reasons for those decisions on the part of GC and the concerns of the local community.

 

In my area, the greatest number of abandoned hides belong to enthusiatic people who find a hundred or so caches, hide a few, and then become interested in other things or have life-style changes (growing family, new careers, etc). They usually cache sporadically for a period of time and then gradually fade away.

 

One thing we should probably do as a caching community, is to welcome newcomers to the game, invite them to events, and get to know them. If we have telephone numbers and alternate email addresses, it's more likely someone will know how to contact them about their caches when they drop out. In fact, when it becomes obvious that a cacher has begun to fade from the game, it would be nice to offer to adopt their caches until they have more time... before their email address changes and the notes go to some void.

 

It can't hurt, anyway.

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Does that mean someone can then ask a question about a cache with a "Needs Maintenance" icon on the page and not risk having it immediately Archived, even though the cache is being found regularly . . . ? B)

That looks an auful lot like a trick quesiton. ;)

The answer lies in the discretionary judgment of the local reviewer.

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I'd have to agree, but in Groundspeaks attempts to "wash their hands of it" in the sense that they do not want to be associated with a Cache that has no currently active owner(understandable), over a course of years they will be allowing (or by their action, causing) a substantial number of unattended Caches to lay dormant, and by removing them from the list (and not having any easy means to even look up archived caches)they will one day be so abundant that they will in fact cause some problems for Groundspeak, if we presume that there is still a stashnote or some other refference to the site.

 

Who knows how many caches are out there that have been archived, but had no effort to have them removed, there is no way to tell. If the number is not there already, one day it will be in the tens of thousands, and some of those caches will eventually cause some problems of one kind or another. There will be no owner, so the only ones there will be left to turn attention to is Groundspeak.

 

Anyone who want's to turn around and point to me as being negative towards the site, that is not what I am doing here. I am only providing a perspective in possible outcomes derived from a policy.

 

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I can understand the reasons for those decisions on the part of GC and the concerns of the local community.

 

In my area, the greatest number of abandoned hides belong to enthusiatic people who find a hundred or so caches, hide a few, and then become interested in other things or have life-style changes (growing family, new careers, etc). They usually cache sporadically for a period of time and then gradually fade away.

 

One thing we should probably do as a caching community, is to welcome newcomers to the game, invite them to events, and get to know them. If we have telephone numbers and alternate email addresses, it's more likely someone will know how to contact them about their caches when they drop out. In fact, when it becomes obvious that a cacher has begun to fade from the game, it would be nice to offer to adopt their caches until they have more time... before their email address changes and the notes go to some void.

 

It can't hurt, anyway.

I think I agree with this one.

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Does that mean someone can then ask a question about a cache with a "Needs Maintenance" icon on the page and not risk having it immediately Archived, even though the cache is being found regularly . . . ? B)

That looks an auful lot like a trick quesiton. ;)

The answer lies in the discretionary judgment of the local reviewer.

I wonder what room there will be for some community input or discussion of a particular Cache before the local reviewer takes the discretionaty action, I guess thet will be at their discretion also.

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*Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache and/or submitted the geocache listing to geocaching.com.

That might be the case, but Groundspeak has no control or authority over these physical caches. They can only control the listing. The cache would be in the same status whether or not geocaching.com exists.

 

Therefore, I can't see what the problem is with "forced" adoptions: if an account has lapsed for a period of time, all you've been doing is allocating the cache listing to someone else. Groundspeak continues to own the listing, so there's no legal angle at all.

 

To demonstrate this: imagine if I decide to take over a listing from a lapsed cache owner. All I'll have to do now is request that the cache is archived. Once this is done I just copy and paste the original text (plus a link to the archived version so that past logs can be accessed), give the cache the same name as before, and submit it as a new cache. Forced adoption complete. ;) I never even had to visit the cache site! That's because Groundspeak have no control over physical caches.

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*Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache and/or submitted the geocache listing to geocaching.com.
That might be the case, but Groundspeak has no control or authority over these physical caches. They can only control the listing. The cache would be in the same status whether or not geocaching.com exists.

 

Therefore, I can't see what the problem is with "forced" adoptions: if an account has lapsed for a period of time, all you've been doing is allocating the cache listing to someone else. Groundspeak continues to own the listing, so there's no legal angle at all. ...

The problem with this line of thought is that if someone adopts a cache, he/she is taking ownership of the actual cache, not just the listing.

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I hope that there will be an exception for cachers that are known by the community to have passed away. I have seen numerous caches of deceased owners adopted and embraced in memorial of the lost cacher. In fact this has happened just recently in north Louisiana.

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The problem with this line of thought is that if someone adopts a cache, he/she is taking ownership of the actual cache, not just the listing.

Who says? In reality Groundspeak has no control over the actual cache: they can only hand over the listing. Geocaching.com is a listing site, not a listing-site-plus-Tupperware-inventory.

 

So, as they don't own a physical cache, they can hardly transfer ownership to someone else. But they can transfer the listing so that it's controlled by another account and I don't see what's wrong with that (under the right circumstances).

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The problem with this line of thought is that if someone adopts a cache, he/she is taking ownership of the actual cache, not just the listing.

Who says? In reality Groundspeak has no control over the actual cache: they can only hand over the listing. Geocaching.com is a listing site, not a listing-site-plus-Tupperware-inventory.

 

So, as they don't own a physical cache, they can hardly transfer ownership to someone else. But they can transfer the listing so that it's controlled by another account and I don't see what's wrong with that (under the right circumstances).

Would that new cachelisting owner have the ability to freely change out the container? What would he/she do with an old full logbook? When he/she is done babysitting it, would he/she remove the container?

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The problem with this line of thought is that if someone adopts a cache, he/she is taking ownership of the actual cache, not just the listing.

Who says? In reality Groundspeak has no control over the actual cache: they can only hand over the listing. Geocaching.com is a listing site, not a listing-site-plus-Tupperware-inventory.

 

So, as they don't own a physical cache, they can hardly transfer ownership to someone else. But they can transfer the listing so that it's controlled by another account and I don't see what's wrong with that (under the right circumstances).

Would that new cachelisting owner have the ability to freely change out the container? What would he/she do with an old full logbook? When he/she is done babysitting it, would he/she remove the container?

Any person on earth who finds the container already has that ability. I understand the problem, that there would be a perception of impiied permission, but there is nothing preventing anyone from changing/removing the physical Cache as things are now. Edited by WRITE SHOP ROBERT

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Any person on earth who finds the container already has that ability. I understand the problem, that there would be a perception of impiied permission, but there is nothing preventing anyone from changing/removing the physical Cache as things are now.

Quite! :drama:

 

The cache and listing are separate and independent entities.

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The problem with this line of thought is that if someone adopts a cache, he/she is taking ownership of the actual cache, not just the listing.

Who says? In reality Groundspeak has no control over the actual cache: they can only hand over the listing. Geocaching.com is a listing site, not a listing-site-plus-Tupperware-inventory.

 

So, as they don't own a physical cache, they can hardly transfer ownership to someone else. But they can transfer the listing so that it's controlled by another account and I don't see what's wrong with that (under the right circumstances).

Would that new cachelisting owner have the ability to freely change out the container? What would he/she do with an old full logbook? When he/she is done babysitting it, would he/she remove the container?

Any person on earth who finds the container already has that ability. I understand the problem, that there would be a perception of impiied permission, but there is nothing preventing anyone from changing/removing the physical Cache as things are now.

If I go remove someone's cache, he/she is going to take the (correct) position that I stole it. That will not change if TPTB were to force an adoption. Edited by sbell111

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Any person on earth who finds the container already has that ability. I understand the problem, that there would be a perception of impiied permission, but there is nothing preventing anyone from changing/removing the physical Cache as things are now.

Quite! :drama:

 

The cache and listing are separate and independent entities.

True, but the reason caches are adopted is so that someone new can be made responsible for the physical cache, not the listing. The person who adopts it has the full authority to treat the physical cache teh same as any other cache that he/she owns.

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Any person on earth who finds the container already has that ability. I understand the problem, that there would be a perception of impiied permission, but there is nothing preventing anyone from changing/removing the physical Cache as things are now.

Quite! :drama:

 

The cache and listing are separate and independent entities.

True, but the reason caches are adopted is so that someone new can be made responsible for the physical cache, not the listing. The person who adopts it has the full authority to treat the physical cache teh same as any other cache that he/she owns.

That's why it's such a tricky and touchy subject. Thank you to Groundspeak for putting out the notice of the change though

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True, but the reason caches are adopted is so that someone new can be made responsible for the physical cache, not the listing. The person who adopts it has the full authority to treat the physical cache teh same as any other cache that he/she owns.

The reason is partly as you say: except that the new person becomes responsible for the listing as well as the cache.

 

But the second sentence is quite incorrect. Who gave the adopting person the "full authority"? The physical cache is nothing to do with Groundspeak, so they can't do that. All they can do is decide whether they want to list it or not, and which account can maintain the listing. And suggest that the new person arranges to take over maintaining the box.

 

Strictly speaking, permission from the current cache owner should be given before the new person maintains it: after all, the owner may be maintaining the cache but listing it elsewhere. In reality it may prove impossible to contact the owner, so a certain presumption may have to be made.

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Any person on earth who finds the container already has that ability. I understand the problem, that there would be a perception of impiied permission, but there is nothing preventing anyone from changing/removing the physical Cache as things are now.

Quite! :drama:

 

The cache and listing are separate and independent entities.

It's a legal perception. Not so much physical control. The owner of the listing is regarded as the owner of the cache by the larger community. The new listing owner is now on the hook for maintaining the cache (as sbell111 points out.) For this site to be consistant they would have to start splashing the forced adoption caches with being maintained but not owned by disclaimers. Caching foster parents if you will. From there it gets ugly.

Edited by Renegade Knight

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It's a legal perception. Not so much physical control. The owner of the listing is regarded as the owner of the cache by the larger community. The new listing owner is now on the hook for maintaining the cache (as sbell111 points out.) For this site to be consistant they would have to start splashing the forced adoption caches with being maintained but not owned by disclaimers. Caching foster parents if you will. From there it gets ugly.

I'm not convinced.

 

Rothstafari opened the thread with a post that explained the Groundspeak stance:

"Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache and/or submitted the geocache listing to geocaching.com.".

 

So, whatever happens to the listing later on, the original cache placer/submitter remains the owner of the geocache. I guess that Groundspeak realised that they cannot simply declare an account owner to be a "cache owner" (in the context of a physical cache that was placed by someone else).

 

When you say "The owner of the listing is regarded as the owner of the cache by the larger community." - it doesn't matter how the cache is regarded: the actual cache is still under the ownership of the original cache placer until permission is granted to take it over. And only the original cache placer can do that.

 

IMO, Groundspeak have other reasons to stop "forced adoptions", as there still seems to be no problem from a physical cache ownership point of view.

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This looks to be a very minor change.

 

Old way:

  1. Cache at location X is in trouble. Owner is MIA.
  2. Someone requests to adopt cache.
  3. After a suitable time period, ownership might be transfered.
  4. If it is, new owner now has a cache at location X.

 

New way:

  1. Cache at location X is in trouble. Owner is MIA.
  2. Someone posts an SBA to the cache.
  3. After a suitable time period, cache listing might be archived.
  4. If it is, a new cache is put out.
  5. New owner now has a cache at location X.

 

Having a hard time seeing what the fuss is about. :P

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...I'm not convinced.

 

Rothstafari opened the thread with a post that explained the Groundspeak stance:

"Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache and/or submitted the geocache listing to geocaching.com.".

 

So, whatever happens to the listing later on, the original cache placer/submitter remains the owner of the geocache. I guess that Groundspeak realised that they cannot simply declare an account owner to be a "cache owner" (in the context of a physical cache that was placed by someone else)....

 

Consider a cache has two parts. The box and the listing. Both are owned by the orginal owner. GC.com publishes but does not own the listings. Rather like YouTube publishes but does not own the videos.

 

An involuntary adoption takes intellectual property and assignes it to another. To do that Groundspeak ends up in the position of acting like the onwer which they are not in the business of doing.

 

You are right that the listing and the cache are separate. Much like Moun10bike will give away a coin but not the tracking page for the coin. However what Moun10bike is doing is directed by himself as the owner. Not this listing site acting as if it were an owner.

Edited by Renegade Knight

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Having a hard time seeing what the fuss is about. :P

 

The loss of the logs and history of updates to the original cache listing is a big loss for the community as a whole.

 

It seems to me that Groundspeak Legal 'wants to have it both ways', which would probably not stand up in court.

 

First, they claim that cache listings are owned by the person who submitted them, and this is the reasoning for not allowing forced adoption.

 

HOWEVER, they also assert editorial control over such listings - through the approval process.

 

This is having it both ways - you are both claiming it (through editing) yet not claiming it (saying its ours, if something is illegal about it)

 

IANAL, but legally, this may not hold water.

 

See, for example, the Prodigy case:

"In the Prodigy case, Prodigy was sued for defamation based upon the statements made by one of its customers in a Prodigy discussion group (or bulletin board). In determining whether Prodigy was liable for the defaming statements of its customer in this case, a New York state judge was left to determine whether Prodigy was a "distributor" of information, such as a bookstore or library, or whether Prodigy was a "publisher" of information, such as a newspaper. As a mere distributor, Prodigy would not be liable for the statement. In contrast, if Prodigy was considered a publisher (with greater control over the information's content), Prodigy would be liable. In a decision that shocked most on-line service providers, the judge held that, as a result of Prodigy's well-publicized policies of monitoring and censoring its forums, Prodigy was a publisher and was potentially liable for the defaming statement. Although the case was settled by the parties and Prodigy moved for a withdrawal of the judge's decision, the judge refused."

 

http://www.bitlaw.com/internet/isp.html

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As others have pointed out - the cache and the cache listing are not the same.

 

Cache Listing is owned by Groundspeak - and becomes Groundspeak property the second I submit it. Groundspeak (through Volunteer Reviewers usually) can publish, retract, store, distribute, archive, adjust or whatever they like because the listing belongs to Groundspeak. If you disagree with that concept, just try and set up your own website based on all the Groundspeak listings and see how long they allow you to run your site.

 

While we do not own the listings we submit, good cachers do manage the listings linked to our user account. We can update coordinates, delete bogus logs, mark listings disabled or archived, update the text and so on. If Groundspeak does not like what I do or don't do they can change it, delete it, archive it or whatever they want to do.

 

It seems like Groundspeak could also freely "adopt" out that listing to anyone they choose without penalty or liability. In the interest of keeping the customers happy Groundspeak would want to restrict the adoptions to selected curcumstances like where the owner no longer is active. I've also seen a bunch of listings adopted out when the user was site banned.

 

Turning to the Cache Container...

 

When we put a bunch of trinkets, a notebook, and a pencil in a box then set the box in the woods we no longer own that stuff. We have gifted the stuff into the PUBLIC DOMAIN. (adding text to Wikipedia is another modern example). Further, we invite others to come and take the stuff we placed in the box, hoping they will put some of thier stuff in the box instead. Stuff in the public domain is not your stuff anymore than it is my stuff.

 

If I, or a muggle, or land manager, want to take your cache and remove, paint it, change it, move it up down or sideways, write on it, toss it in the trash or anything else there is not a darn thing you can do about it. Any cacher who has been to more then a few caches has done many or even all of these things.

 

I have removed busted containers and replaced them with new ones. I have moved a cache from where I found it in the open 100 feet away back to its likely intended hiding spot. I have painted and repainted caches, written the name and coords with a sharpie on caches, and I have personally "found logged" and then removed long since archived caches. I usually post right on the cache page exactly what I did to the cache because it is common sense and these logs beat the TNLNSL type logs.

 

That cache is in the public domain and anyone can do whatever they want with it. Groundspeak can't transfer ownership of the cache container to anyone because Groundspeak does not own the container and neither does the person who hid it. The container and its contents are in the Public Domain now.

 

I see no reason why Groundspeak should not permit the transfer of management of abandoned listings. There are several good reasons to adopt out listings including: avoiding geolitter, perserving history of caches, better relations with land managers etc. Even just having someone active to archive the cache when it goes missing finally.

 

Players quit - we know that. I like the idea of getting listings adopted before they quit, but really how are we to know they are planning to quit soon? From what I've seen a good cache that merits adoption is one that goes on for years trouble free, often long after the hider quits the game. It would get adopted when something changes and needs to be done - and an active cacher steps forward.

 

In the unlikely event a player comes back from the dead and wants an adopted listing returned most cachers would return the listing to the hider in a heartbeat - we ARE talking about cachers willing to take on other peoples caches here who give credit to the original hider anyway.

 

I hope Groundspeak reconsiders thier position in light of this discussion. Listen to the paying customers please.

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I personally have been taking care of a not recently active cacher's caches for more than a year. I did this beucase I felt they were worth being preserved. Some are really cool puzzles and some are really great hikes in my area others have really neat hides.

 

Typically I have been watching the caches and if there is an issue I fixed it and posted a note on the page. This became an issue as I am taking care of them but can not remove a maintanence log even though I fixed it up. Since this cacher has not been active for more than 9 months and other cachers were complaining about no repsponse from the owner some SBA logs have been put in place on some. I had talked to the admin about wanting to continue to take care of them versus Archiving altogether, and was advised to put an SBA log to start the process of adoption. This new policy makes this not possible. I think it should be under the admin's discretion to transfer ownership or not....especially since many of the containers on these caches are mine now.

 

The admin in my area are fully aware I have been helping for a year and I don't want to see the ones I have taken care of go and yes if the owner ever did start up again I would certainly give them back if he wanted them.

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The admin in my area are fully aware I have been helping for a year and I don't want to see the ones I have taken care of go and yes if the owner ever did start up again I would certainly give them back if he wanted them.

See Rothstafari's follow-up post, above. In the circumstances you describe, I bet that your local volunteer cache reviewer would be happy to remove the "needs maintenance" icon after seeing that you've addressed the maintenance issues.

 

Not all adoptive cache owners are as charitable as you are. I have been caught in the middle of the situation where the original owner has resurfaced long after the adoption, gotten angry upon seeing that their cache listing was "stolen," and the new owner not wanting to give it back. It is a difficult situation and one which I do not care to repeat ever again. It made me regret my role in processing the adoption.

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The admin in my area are fully aware I have been helping for a year and I don't want to see the ones I have taken care of go and yes if the owner ever did start up again I would certainly give them back if he wanted them.

See Rothstafari's follow-up post, above. In the circumstances you describe, I bet that your local volunteer cache reviewer would be happy to remove the "needs maintenance" icon after seeing that you've addressed the maintenance issues.

 

Not all adoptive cache owners are as charitable as you are. I have been caught in the middle of the situation where the original owner has resurfaced long after the adoption, gotten angry upon seeing that their cache listing was "stolen," and the new owner not wanting to give it back. It is a difficult situation and one which I do not care to repeat ever again. It made me regret my role in processing the adoption.

I can see this being a problem. However, this will also cause a lot historic caches to get archived unless the community keeps them going. This is why I really wish we could have co-owners on caches. It doesn't strip away ownership but it does allow someone else to help maintain the cache.

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The admin in my area are fully aware I have been helping for a year and I don't want to see the ones I have taken care of go and yes if the owner ever did start up again I would certainly give them back if he wanted them.

See Rothstafari's follow-up post, above. In the circumstances you describe, I bet that your local volunteer cache reviewer would be happy to remove the "needs maintenance" icon after seeing that you've addressed the maintenance issues.

 

Not all adoptive cache owners are as charitable as you are. I have been caught in the middle of the situation where the original owner has resurfaced long after the adoption, gotten angry upon seeing that their cache listing was "stolen," and the new owner not wanting to give it back. It is a difficult situation and one which I do not care to repeat ever again. It made me regret my role in processing the adoption.

I can see this being a problem. However, this will also cause a lot historic caches to get archived unless the community keeps them going. This is why I really wish we could have co-owners on caches. It doesn't strip away ownership but it does allow someone else to help maintain the cache.

 

Perhaps a cache could be assigned a "Cache Stewart" until the true king/queen of the cache returns to claim his/her throne?

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The admin in my area are fully aware I have been helping for a year and I don't want to see the ones I have taken care of go and yes if the owner ever did start up again I would certainly give them back if he wanted them.

See Rothstafari's follow-up post, above. In the circumstances you describe, I bet that your local volunteer cache reviewer would be happy to remove the "needs maintenance" icon after seeing that you've addressed the maintenance issues.

 

Not all adoptive cache owners are as charitable as you are. I have been caught in the middle of the situation where the original owner has resurfaced long after the adoption, gotten angry upon seeing that their cache listing was "stolen," and the new owner not wanting to give it back. It is a difficult situation and one which I do not care to repeat ever again. It made me regret my role in processing the adoption.

 

I have /had an arrangement with the cache owner to take care of the caches while he was dealing with new family additions. Now it has been a long time since he has visited the site at all or responded to emails. It is an issue of his caches as being special, as in historic write ups he put a lot of work into. What I mean is he and I have an arrangement so I don't see a problem with taking care of them for him. The problem is I can't do anything about the SBA logs that have been placed. Once that happens they are done and that is not what I want to see happen.

Edited by naj3

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Oops replied to wrong post.

Edited by naj3

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This looks to be a very minor change.

 

Old way:

  1. Cache at location X is in trouble. Owner is MIA.
  2. Someone requests to adopt cache.
  3. After a suitable time period, ownership might be transfered.
  4. If it is, new owner now has a cache at location X.

New way:

  1. Cache at location X is in trouble. Owner is MIA.
  2. Someone posts an SBA to the cache.
  3. After a suitable time period, cache listing might be archived.
  4. If it is, a new cache is put out.
  5. New owner now has a cache at location X.

Having a hard time seeing what the fuss is about. :P

I think this is just a discussion, not a fuss.

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The admin in my area are fully aware I have been helping for a year and I don't want to see the ones I have taken care of go and yes if the owner ever did start up again I would certainly give them back if he wanted them.

See Rothstafari's follow-up post, above. In the circumstances you describe, I bet that your local volunteer cache reviewer would be happy to remove the "needs maintenance" icon after seeing that you've addressed the maintenance issues.

 

Not all adoptive cache owners are as charitable as you are. I have been caught in the middle of the situation where the original owner has resurfaced long after the adoption, gotten angry upon seeing that their cache listing was "stolen," and the new owner not wanting to give it back. It is a difficult situation and one which I do not care to repeat ever again. It made me regret my role in processing the adoption.

I can see this being a problem. However, this will also cause a lot historic caches to get archived unless the community keeps them going. This is why I really wish we could have co-owners on caches. It doesn't strip away ownership but it does allow someone else to help maintain the cache.

My main concern over the issue is that once these Caches are archived, they will become geolitter, and over a course of years, there will be tens of thousands of these. when they are found by non players, there will be nobody to look to and hold responsible except the website whose name is on the label/stashnote.

 

if a park manager decides to disallow Caches, and all the Caches in the park are removed (except the ones that were archived without an owner) who will the park manager try to hold responsible other than GS.

 

In cases like these, they will not be very happy to be told by GS "well...we don't own it, and we are not responsible"

 

when in fact by their action they have allowed it to be left there

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Speaking of geolitter. What happens in the case when a hider passes away? We have a cacher with about 40 hides in this area. As I continue to learn more about geocaching I'm guessing there are hiders out there with many more hides than that.

 

God forbid it, but what happens if they are hit by a bus. Now no one can now adopt these? I'm sure the majority if not all have a reference leading back to this website and eventually they will be seen as trash. Right?

 

Perhaps, they would make an exception in a case like that.

Edited by Morning Dew

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Speaking of geolitter. What happens in the case when a hider passes away?

I have worked with this situation more times than I would have liked (which would be zero). The caches become property of the deceased cacher's estate. Therefore I look to the family for direction. Sometimes the family maintains the caches themselves, sometimes they respond with direct adoption instructions, sometimes they name a local cacher to make the adoption decisions, and sometimes they do nothing.

 

I don't see the present policy as being in conflict with my past practice of working with the family to handle the caches in accordance with their wishes.

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Now no one can now adopt these? I'm sure the majority if not all have a reference leading back to this website and eventually they will be seen as trash. Right?

I might be wrong, but I guess that the reasoning/paranoia :P behind this is that Groundspeak want to demonstrate that they never have ownership or control over caches.

 

It's been pointed out above (and even though I disagree in principle I can see how it could be argued), that the way Groundspeak allocates a cache listing to an account implies some sort of allocation of ownership of the physical cache. If Groundspeak has the power to allocate ownership, then it follows that it has control over ownership.

 

However, they could argue that the person who placed the cache owns it, and by submitting the listing he does not give ownership of the cache to Groundspeak: he only hands over the cache listing to them. So they haven't "allocated" ownership at any point.

 

Where this fell down was in the case of forced adoptions. Groundspeak were allocating the listing to a different account, and you could argue that this gave the new account holder ownership of the physical cache (even though it's only imaginary ownership). So it follows that Groundspeak actually did own the physical cache (you can't pass something on that you don't have).

 

If someone is killed by a cache (or its contents), the police would refer to the website emblazoned on the box, and it would be up to geocaching.com to claim that they have no ownership or control over the physical cache. A lawyer might counter-claim that the fact that they can re-allocate a cache without reference to the person that submitted the listing, means that they do have control and ownership.

 

After this policy change, Groundspeak can simply say "we merely store what the cache submitter sent to us and have no connection with the physical cache: we can't transfer ownership, we can only close a listing". To me that was always the case, but I suppose that it's better to have this made clearer.

 

For historic or well-loved caches where the owner's account has lapsed, the technique has to be to archive the cache, then open a new listing for the same location (which can be pretty much the same as the old one, perhaps with a link to the archived cache). That way, Groundspeak can never be said to have ownership of the cache: the submitter would be declaring that it's his "new" cache.

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I wonder if a better approach might be to put some responsibility on the owner.

 

i.e. if you don't respond to a maintenance request or a SBA request in a set amount of time with a couple official requests then by default a reviewer can put your cache up for adoption.

 

As a cache owner it would be your responsibility to keep your email address correct and to watch your logs, otherwise you lose them through neglect.

 

This way the history of the cache could be perserved in the cases of an owner who abandoneds a cache(s).

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i.e. if you don't respond to a maintenance request or a SBA request in a set amount of time with a couple official requests then by default a reviewer can put your cache up for adoption.

...this is the procedure that they've just got rid of. If the Groundspeak representative is able to take over the cache then pass ownership to someone else, it could be construed to be inferring ownership by Groundspeak.

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I think the geolitter problem is overstated. Caches aren't be archived because they have no owner, caches are archived when there is a problem with them and the owner doesn't resolve it in a timely manner. The most frequent problem by far, at least in my area, are that caches are missing for one reason or another. When those get archived, there is no geolitter unless they went missing because nature moved them via water, falling down a hill, animals, etc ...

 

Generally caches are not archived for maintenance issues like a wet log or cracked container.

 

Exceptions to the geolitter issue would be a multi where one more more waypoints are missing but the final is still in place.

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Having a hard time seeing what the fuss is about. ;)

 

The loss of the logs and history of updates to the original cache listing is a big loss for the community as a whole.

 

<snip>

That is what concerns me about this policy. In the case of this cache, it was being found regularly, but just because the cache owner had not responded, the cache was Archived. :(

 

It had been in place since 2003 and was on several people's Bookmark list.

 

It is too bad caches like that cannot be Adopted to preserve the history . . . :)

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As others have pointed out - the cache and the cache listing are not the same.

 

Cache Listing is owned by Groundspeak - and becomes Groundspeak property the second I submit it. Groundspeak (through Volunteer Reviewers usually) can publish, retract, store, distribute, archive, adjust or whatever they like because the listing belongs to Groundspeak. If you disagree with that concept, just try and set up your own website based on all the Groundspeak listings and see how long they allow you to run your site. ...

 

That's 1/2 the picuture. The content of the listing is still owned by the owner. Groundspeak end up owning the listing so they can publish to the web so we can find the cache.

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I wonder if a better approach might be to put some responsibility on the owner...

 

There are two ways to cope with the problem. One like they are. The other a bit more proactive but perhaps more risky legally which is close to what you propose.

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I found Rothstafari's response to my original question a satisfactory answer and Keystone's follow ups have given me confidence that this new policy will be good for Geocaching. An old cache that is still be actively found and which the community maintains will not be archived just because the owner has become inactive.

 

The issue of geotrash is probably overblown. I can understand Geocaching.com's reluctance to get involved with cache rescue/cleanup efforts. Generally local cachers can decide better if the container has actually been abandon or it the owner is actually maintaining it on another site. It may be a good reason to ask Geocaching.com to provide a way to search for archived caches. Individuals might then visit the site to see if there is something that needs to be removed. It should not be the listing service's responsibility to make the decision to remove the physical cache or its remains.

 

I'm always amused at people who want to preserve "historic" caches. What makes a cache historic? The hobby is only 8 years old. Caches come and go. Some last longer than others. If a cache is being found regularly and the community feels the cache is "important" enough to maintain it, we have been told that baring other problems such as new regulations from a land manager, the reviewers won't archive the cache just because the owner is AWOL. If an old cache has fallen into such disrepair that is can no longer be hunted and it gets archived, that opens up the area for a cacher to place a new cache. This provides a new experience both for new cachers who didn't get to visit the old cache as well as for veteran cachers. I think this is better than preserving something just because it is more than 5 years old.

Edited by tozainamboku

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I found Rothstafari's response to my original question a satisfactory answer and Keystone's follow ups have given me confidence that this new policy will be good for Geocaching. An old cache that is still be actively found and which the community maintains will not be archived just because the owner has become inactive.

 

<snip>

So, with the new policy, do you think the Archival of a cache like this one can be "negotiated?"

 

Looks to me like there is geolitter out there now just because someone asked a question in the Forums . . .

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I found Rothstafari's response to my original question a satisfactory answer and Keystone's follow ups have given me confidence that this new policy will be good for Geocaching. An old cache that is still be actively found and which the community maintains will not be archived just because the owner has become inactive.

 

<snip>

So, with the new policy, do you think the Archival of a cache like this one can be "negotiated?"

 

Looks to me like there is geolitter out there now just because someone asked a question in the Forums . . .

Rothstarfari says that reviewers will be given discretion to decide whether to archive a cache or not. It seems that while needs maintenance was reported on this cache, no one bothered to replace/repair the container or clean out the waterlogged trash in it. If the cache was that important someone from the community should have taken care of it. Perhaps Michael missed this log.

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I think the geolitter problem is overstated. Caches aren't be archived because they have no owner, caches are archived when there is a problem with them and the owner doesn't resolve it in a timely manner. The most frequent problem by far, at least in my area, are that caches are missing for one reason or another. When those get archived, there is no geolitter unless they went missing because nature moved them via water, falling down a hill, animals, etc ...

 

Generally caches are not archived for maintenance issues like a wet log or cracked container.

 

Exceptions to the geolitter issue would be a multi where one more more waypoints are missing but the final is still in place.

 

I am glad that everyone doesn't feel this way.

 

Consider the average life of a cache and the average attrition rate for a cacher, there's potential for a lot of caches to be left out there over time. Think of this cycle repeating itself over and over again for 20-30 years. With all due respect, claiming that this isn't a problem isn't exactly forward thinking.

 

Then there is the perception of land managers to be considered. When you are trying to convince someone that Geocaching is a good sustainable activity to allow on their property, this quickly becomes one of the "dirty little secrets" that needs to be handled very delicately. In this case, it doesn't really matter how often it happens. It is just the fact that it can.

 

I think we all can agree that we all want Geocaching to survive, prosper and grow. There's a few built in problems that come with this that should not be ignored. I believe that the solution isn't with Groundspeak for many of the reasons that are well described in this thread. This one is on each local Geocaching community to take on individually.

Edited by Team GeoBlast

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