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Request to automaticaly disable caches after 3 consecutive DNF's


ZeMartelo
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There has been alot of discussion lately about archived caches and how to maintain offline databases and such but one thing I havent seen discussed which are caches that have had several DNF's and they are still active.

 

It is time to have the owners more involved with their caches.

I think it would be a good idea if GC would automatically disable temporarily a cache that had say 3 consecutive DNF's.

Those dont get filtered out in PQ's and for those that keep offline databases require some work to check them out.

 

This would force an action from the owner to either check it up or archive it and thus eliminate caches that are gone but that the owner just doesnt care anymore.

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There has been alot of discussion lately about archived caches and how to maintain offline databases and such but one thing I havent seen discussed which are caches that have had several DNF's and they are still active.

 

It is time to have the owners more involved with their caches.

I think it would be a good idea if GC would automatically disable temporarily a cache that had say 3 consecutive DNF's.

Those dont get filtered out in PQ's and for those that keep offline databases require some work to check them out.

 

This would force an action from the owner to either check it up or archive it and thus eliminate caches that are gone but that the owner just doesnt care anymore.

 

No.

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According to a 1500+ reply long thread in the Geocaching Topics section, this change has already been made and there are designated "rogue" reviewers who disable caches that have "an inordinate number of DNFs" until the cache owner replaces them or picks up the geo-litter. I think inordinate means 10 or 20 DNFs but I don't see why 3 shouldn't be considered inordinate.

Edited by tozainamboku
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"for those who keep off line databases"

 

Now there's a phrase that'll move GSP to action :D

 

No automatic functions. Allow the existing site functions, those that require the intervention of a human brain, to work. Like noticing the difficulty rating, or the number of DNFs posted in one day by a group, or the relative experience of the Not Finders, or using the Needs Archived log and letting a reviewer (rogue or otherwise) sort it out.

 

Geocaching reveals herd mentality. Once one cacher logs a DNF, others will be quick to assume the cache is missing and log their DNFs, a sort of ganging up on the cache owner, who has disappointed them. And the cache may be missing, but then again, it may not. I've sure seen rafts of DNFs posted, followed by finds from those who weren't paying attention to the logs, but just hunted the cache.

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Whilst I can see the thought behind this idea, in practice it wouldn't work. As others have mentioned some difficult caches (I believe that there's one in america somewhere that's not been found after having been out for 2 years odd?) There's a load of DNF's on that but cache is still there and confirmed by owner.

 

It would result in either

 

a) the owner getting fed up of keep reactivating it so cache would be archived (and perhaps moved to a different listing site)

 

:D A culture of posting note rather than DNF would start and completely stop the "auto disable" function you suggest

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I have a cache hidden in center city philadelphia which has 75 finds and 49 dnf's. There have been as many as 7 cachers looking for it at the same time with no success. By your standards it would be archived a couple of times a month and it is still there and hard to find.

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Seems like every time someone has an idea that isn't instantly confirmed as a universal truth and implemented with nearly the same haste it is due to our unswerving, blind allegiance to "the status quo". Never is it "just a thought I had but I can see what you mean."

 

Trust me. No one wants crush your enthusiasm. You may actually come up with the next great idea for geocaching. No, it is just that this time we see the practical difficulties in the proffered plan.

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It seems that everybody likes the status quo.

I gave the number 3 for DNF's a an example.

 

Anyway it was just a suggestion to eliminate some caches that do have a problem and that the owner doesn't care anymore.

The tools we cachers we have on hand now are more than sufficient to handle caches with problems if people would use them.

 

I once looked for a cache that had a continuous list of DNFs for over 18 months. The cache was clearly gone; the owner hadn't been online in 2 years, but the funny thing was not a single person had posted a Needs Archived.

 

As soon as I got home, that's the first thing I did. The reviewer in that area put the wheels in motion, and in a few weeks the cache was archived.

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Anyway it was just a suggestion to eliminate some caches that do have a problem and that the owner doesn't care anymore.

 

It my belief that:

1) If you have a problem with a specific cache that you have actually looked for. (more than a DNF or maintenance required)

2) Others have also had a problem with a specific cache.

3) The owner is not responsive to your requests for assistance.

 

After those are met, then there is a button on the specific cache page for "Needs Archived".

This will bring in GS personal who will evaluate your data and contact the owner.

If they receive no response or action, then they will take appropriate action.

 

I hunted a cache today with 9 DNF logs.

I know it is there.

I talked to a cacher that found it today.

I talked to the owner who knows its there.

Just because its hard and it hasn't been found in a while, doesn't mean that I don't want to go look for it.

Now if a cache bothers you, there is another feature on this site called "Ignore this listing".

If you are using GSAK and don't want to see it, GSAK has a feature called "Delete Waypoint".

On that dialog box will be an option called "Also stop future imports .adding back in".

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Anyway it was just a suggestion to eliminate some caches that do have a problem and that the owner doesn't care anymore.

 

See solution below:

 

 

The tools we cachers we have on hand now are more than sufficient to handle caches with problems if people would use them.

 

I once looked for a cache that had a continuous list of DNFs for over 18 months. The cache was clearly gone; the owner hadn't been online in 2 years, but the funny thing was not a single person had posted a Needs Archived.

 

As soon as I got home, that's the first thing I did. The reviewer in that area put the wheels in motion, and in a few weeks the cache was archived.

 

DNF's just mean that people couldn't find the cache, not that it wasn't there. There are difficult caches that are still in place but the owner is absent. Caches like that will be archived, even though they are still viable, because there is no owner to re-enable the cache. Plus, that doesn't solve the issue of cachers logging false DNF's just to get a cache disabled. Not the worst idea ever, but the solution has already been provided by Groundspeak for this problem.

 

Bruce

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There has been alot of discussion lately about archived caches and how to maintain offline databases and such but one thing I havent seen discussed which are caches that have had several DNF's and they are still active.

 

It is time to have the owners more involved with their caches.

I think it would be a good idea if GC would automatically disable temporarily a cache that had say 3 consecutive DNF's.

Those dont get filtered out in PQ's and for those that keep offline databases require some work to check them out.

 

This would force an action from the owner to either check it up or archive it and thus eliminate caches that are gone but that the owner just doesnt care anymore.

I haven't read all the replies yet, but my first thought is that there are a lot of Caches out there that get a lot of DNF logs, and there's nothing wrong with them. That's not a very workable solution to missing Caches.

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Add one more to the group who thinks that an auto-disable is a bad idea.

 

As others have mentioned already, if you're out with a group, it's possible that everyone in the group could log DNFs and then it would automatically trigger it. You could also have some people with malicious intent purposely logging DNFs to disable caches.

 

As a cache owner I appreciate when people log DNFs because it lets me know if I should go check on my caches. If it's a person with only a few finds, I don't worry about it, but when someone with a couple hundred finds couldn't find one of my caches, I went out right away to check on it. (It was still right where it belonged, whew!)

 

Sometimes using technology to solve one problem only creates more problems. I believe this would be one of those cases.

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I don't like the idea of auto disable. Until I see a note from the cache owner saying the cache is not there, I assume it is still there.

 

I myself have found numerous caches that have had more than one dnf on them and they had not been found in months!

 

I also have put out a cache that have had 5 consecutive dnf's on it before it was found. The cache was there all the time, it was just a tough hide, and until I gave a hint, no one was able to find it.

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Another voice here to say I think this would be a bad idea.

 

Back when I only had about 300 finds I had gone behind a group of cachers looking for a forest hide. The group before us had 6 members with over 20,000 combined finds between them. They looked for an hour and failed to find the cache. They logged 6 DNFs and were all very experienced cachers.

 

SwampyGirl and I found it in about 45 minutes hidden in plain sight. You just had to be standing at the right angle to see it. This one would have been disabled by this idea, so no, I don't think automatically disabling caches is a good idea just because there are DNFs.

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This request and other threads like this one, are part of phenomenon that happens mostly with newbies but I've seen it with experience cachers as well. People find that when go geocaching, some caches will be missing or otherwise in serious need of maintenance and that often these caches were hidden by somebody who long ago stopped geocaching for some reason. These cache owners appear to have walked away leaving their caches behind and once the cache is missing or badly in need of maintenance (e.g. needs a new container) there is either a dead spot held by the missing cache or geo-trash left behind than no one wants to deal with. Many cachers get frustrated when they discover several of these caches on their cache hunts. They are looking for ways to take care of these problem caches quickly so there are fewer of them left that cachers might find. They propose ideas they think would held: automatic archiving, force adoptions, requirements that you have found some number of caches before you can hide any, etc.

 

These ideas almost always don't consider the effect on caches that are being taken care of perfectly well. But what puzzles me more is that we already have a system in place to deal with these caches. Why are people so quick to propose new ones?

 

The current system involves first having geocachers understand that cache maintenance does not mean checking your cache everyday just in case some tries to find it. Don't expect to find every cache. Don't expect every container to be watertight with a dry log. Don't expect every cache to be full of great swag. If you find a cache and there is a problem mention it in your log. Consider even posting a Needs Maintenance. If you can't find a cache, especially if you think it may be missing, log your DNF. Cache owners don't know their cache is missing unless people log DNFs. If you see a case the has several DNFs in a row or the has maintenance issues that do not seem to have been addressed, feel free to use the Geocaching.com site to send an email the owner and ask if/when they plan to fix the cache issues. You can even offer to adopt the cache if the owner is no longer caching (or has move out of the area). The cache owner must initiate the the adoption via the adoption page If you don't get a response in a reasonable time, don't be afraid to use the Needs Archive log. A reviewer will investigate the issues on the cache, and can determine whether to archive the cache or not. We have some reviewers (called by some rogue reviewers - but generally this is considered part of the reviewer's job) who will look for caches that have Needs Maintenance that have not been addressed or that have what they consider an inordinate number of DNFs without being found. These reviewers will disable and/or archive caches that are not being maintained.

 

I personally find well over 90% of the geocaches are being maintained well enough that there is something to find and a log you can write in. Could this number be higher? I suspect the best way is for geocacher to be proactive and help the current system work.

  1. Feel free to do minor maintenance for your fellow cachers
  2. Be sure to mention maintenance issue in logs and use the Need Maintenance as way of marking the cache as needing maintenance
  3. Contact cache owners if you have questions about a specific cache and its condition
  4. Use the Needs Archive when a cache isn't being maintained

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Many cachers get frustrated when they discover several of these caches on their cache hunts. They are looking for ways to take care of these problem caches quickly so there are fewer of them left that cachers might find. They propose ideas they think would held: automatic archiving, force adoptions, requirements that you have found some number of caches before you can hide any, etc.
We live in an "instant gratification" world. Too many people think that if they can't find a cache within 5 minutes, it's not there, or it's not worth going after.

 

But what puzzles me more is that we already have a system in place to deal with these caches. Why are people so quick to propose new ones?
Ignorance of the system & tools already in place. Or maybe afraid of people getting a bad impression of them because they're "criticizing" a cache or a CO by posing a NM or NA log. Or, something isn't to their liking, they haven't seen the current system in action, and they're certain that they have the solution to the world's problems.

 

This whole activity should be self-policing. Caches which have gone missing isn't a technical problem, it's a people problem. People need to log their DNFs so the CO knows what's going on, COs need to keep on top of their placements & maintenance, and people need to use NM & NA when appropriate (I see a lot of "log is damp" or similar messages in Found It logs, but no corresponding NM lot or attribute). No amount of software can properly automate that.

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There has been alot of discussion lately about archived caches and how to maintain offline databases and such but one thing I havent seen discussed which are caches that have had several DNF's and they are still active. ...

This is a problem that is better addressed within your offline database.
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I'm sure this has already been pointed out:

Certainly there are caches where even ONE DNF is cause for alarm and a welfare check by the owner.

On the flip side of that coin are caches where three, four, or even ten DNFs in a row could be expected.

The cache owner knows (or at least we should assume) when to go check their cache.

 

Automated 'do this because of that' protocols are likely to cause more problems than they will alleviate.

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This request and other threads like this one, are part of phenomenon that happens mostly with newbies but I've seen it with experience cachers as well. People find that when go geocaching, some caches will be missing or otherwise in serious need of maintenance and that often these caches were hidden by somebody who long ago stopped geocaching for some reason. These cache owners appear to have walked away leaving their caches behind and once the cache is missing or badly in need of maintenance (e.g. needs a new container) there is either a dead spot held by the missing cache or geo-trash left behind than no one wants to deal with. Many cachers get frustrated when they discover several of these caches on their cache hunts. They are looking for ways to take care of these problem caches quickly so there are fewer of them left that cachers might find. They propose ideas they think would held: automatic archiving, force adoptions, requirements that you have found some number of caches before you can hide any, etc.

 

These ideas almost always don't consider the effect on caches that are being taken care of perfectly well. But what puzzles me more is that we already have a system in place to deal with these caches. Why are people so quick to propose new ones?

 

The current system involves first having geocachers understand that cache maintenance does not mean checking your cache everyday just in case some tries to find it. Don't expect to find every cache. Don't expect every container to be watertight with a dry log. Don't expect every cache to be full of great swag. If you find a cache and there is a problem mention it in your log. Consider even posting a Needs Maintenance. If you can't find a cache, especially if you think it may be missing, log your DNF. Cache owners don't know their cache is missing unless people log DNFs. If you see a case the has several DNFs in a row or the has maintenance issues that do not seem to have been addressed, feel free to use the Geocaching.com site to send an email the owner and ask if/when they plan to fix the cache issues. You can even offer to adopt the cache if the owner is no longer caching (or has move out of the area). The cache owner must initiate the the adoption via the adoption page If you don't get a response in a reasonable time, don't be afraid to use the Needs Archive log. A reviewer will investigate the issues on the cache, and can determine whether to archive the cache or not. We have some reviewers (called by some rogue reviewers - but generally this is considered part of the reviewer's job) who will look for caches that have Needs Maintenance that have not been addressed or that have what they consider an inordinate number of DNFs without being found. These reviewers will disable and/or archive caches that are not being maintained.

 

I personally find well over 90% of the geocaches are being maintained well enough that there is something to find and a log you can write in. Could this number be higher? I suspect the best way is for geocacher to be proactive and help the current system work.

  1. Feel free to do minor maintenance for your fellow cachers
  2. Be sure to mention maintenance issue in logs and use the Need Maintenance as way of marking the cache as needing maintenance
  3. Contact cache owners if you have questions about a specific cache and its condition
  4. Use the Needs Archive when a cache isn't being maintained

 

Well thought out reply. Thanks. I am a relative newbie and have felt frustrated by what I perceive to be poor maintenance by certain cache owners. For example, 1 star difficulty caches with multiple DNFs and no finds during 2009, and I can't find the caches myself after what I believe is a thorough search. I hesitate to log a NM (because I can't find the thing, I'm a newbie and the cache owner has been around forever). However, it seems that around here a NM log has little or no impact - there are caches like the above with over a year old NM logs that have apparently garnered no attention from the reviewer (from what I read on these forums, apparently some reviewers take action on NM logs, and some don't). So I'm left with:

 

(1) Ignoring the cache.

(2) Watching the cache hoping the owner finally takes action (these are not absent owners for the most part, usually they've been active per their profile within the last several months).

(3) Hoping that someone will put a throw-down there that I can log (not a good solution in my opinion).

(4) Write the cache owner and ask what's up, but what am I going to say? I don't want to adopt the cache. I might put one of my own creations there if the real estate opened up (my town has very little in the way of vacant real estate), but I can't come up with a good way of saying that without coming across as the rude newbie taking the esteemed old timer to task. I mean, frankly, what I'd be saying is, "If you're going to flat out ignore your caches, then get them the heck off the good real estate in town." I could couch that in polite terms, but I think there's a good chance the cache owner will be offended irregardless. I guess I'm chicken.

(5) Logging a NA. Aside from the whole "if you can't find it, then how do you know it needs archiving" issue, and also aside from the whole "you're going to anger the cache owner with this move, you rude little newbie" issue, I think there's a chance that I'll anger more than just the cache owner with this action. Chicken again.

 

Am I missing something here? Is there another option I haven't thought of? I must admit, the ides of Groundspeak doing this dirty work for me (as in disabling a cache after a certain number of DNFs, etc.) is appealing. I do see the inherent drawbacks talked about in this thread, though, and agree it's not feasible.

 

I guess the realization I've come to over time is that there are some people who don't maintain caches the way I'd like them to, and I just need to let it go and let them do things their own way, and I'll do my caches my way. But it still bugs me.

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#1 - The simplest solution, but only helps you. Doesn't help the next cacher, newbie or otherwise.

 

#2 - May not yield any results

 

#3 - Don't even go there, but you know that.

 

#4 - Could help, if you do it in a non-confrontational way. Just ping the owner and say "hey, I'm having trouble with this cache, and I notice there's been no real activity on it for a long time. Can you give me a hint?" Most COs want their caches to be found.

 

You could also contact the local reviewer directly. That person may have a better feel for the CO's personality & can suggest ways to approach him/her easily, or suggest that you log a Needs Archived, which leads us to....

 

#5 - Gets the local reviewer involved semi-officially. If there are Needs Maintenance logs over a year old that haven't been resolved, then the CO is no longer active or is no longer interested in maintaining their cache and it should be archived if that's the case.

 

It can be intimidating logging a NA on a cache you haven't found, but if you really do feel strongly that the cache isn't there and the owner doesn't appear to be taking care of maintenance, it needs to be done.

 

I've logged NA on several caches I wasn't able to find - usually in those cases, the CO hasn't shown any activity for several years, the caches went unfound (or in dire need of repair/replacement) for a year or more, with several Needs Maintenance logs going unheeded.

 

I guess the realization I've come to over time is that there are some people who don't maintain caches the way I'd like them to, and I just need to let it go and let them do things their own way, and I'll do my caches my way. But it still bugs me.
What do you mean by "the way you'd like them to"? There isn't a lot of grey area between a maintained cache & an unmaintained cache. Some require a lot of care & feeding, some require very little, but if a cache is in poor condition, it either gets fixed (maintained) or it doesn't. Edited by dakboy
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It seems that everybody likes the status quo. I gave the number 3 for DNF's a an example.

 

Anyway it was just a suggestion to eliminate some caches that do have a problem and that the owner doesn't care anymore.

Regardless of 3 DNFs or 20 DNFs, there's nothing about that which by default means both (1) the cache has a problem, and (2) the owner doesn't care any more.
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...one thing I havent seen discussed which are caches that have had several DNF's and they are still active....

 

Do not confuse the inablity to find a difficult cache for a problem with the cache itself.

 

My hard cache can garner 10 DNFs in a row and it's fine. Last winter after an especially long string of DNFs and two "NM" logs demanding action I checked up on my cache and all was well. Even my maintenance help couldn't find it and they watched me hide it.

 

Also keep in mind that even if your system worked perfectly and only disabled actual problem caches it still could not compell owners who aren't paying any attention to their caches to pay attention to their caches.

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I guess the realization I've come to over time is that there are some people who don't maintain caches the way I'd like them to, and I just need to let it go and let them do things their own way, and I'll do my caches my way. But it still bugs me.
What do you mean by "the way you'd like them to"? There isn't a lot of grey area between a maintained cache & an unmaintained cache. Some require a lot of care & feeding, some require very little, but if a cache is in poor condition, it either gets fixed (maintained) or it doesn't.

Yes, I agree. I guess the only part that could possibly be considered a grey area is the length of time it takes a cache owner to do some needed maintenance. What's appropriate? One month? Three? Six? I'm betting there are many different opinions on that (and it probably varies according to the circumstances of the cache in question). What I don't want to be is someone who pounds the table demanding that a cache owner comply with my idea of a good time table.

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(1) Ignoring the cache.

(2) Watching the cache hoping the owner finally takes action (these are not absent owners for the most part, usually they've been active per their profile within the last several months).

 

It's possible to do both - a cache on your Ignore list can also be on your Watch list.

 

Regarding the original question: just last week I was the second of 3 people to DNF a cache, and yesterday it was found. So . . . no. Tomorrow I'll look for it again, and I'm glad to be able to.

Edited by Cairngorm
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