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'Charity' - a dirty word?


airdefenderuk
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I thought I'd read up on just about everything before I set out on my cache-quest, but I now notice that I may have missed an important point and commited a faux pas ...

 

I've found a couple of mentions on the forum that implied that any raising of awareness for charity seems to be frowned upon, unfortunately I've been a bit slow on the uptake and have left items (wristbands, keyrings etc) pertaining to the Royal British Legion and Support Our Soldiers as swag in caches. Should I cease and desist forthwith? Having seen the Help For Heroes Geocoin I thought that such items would be okay.

 

I struggle to see why there is a downer on charities (if indeed there actually is) but keep an open mind if anyone wants to put the 'against' argument to me.

 

Any helpful advice to this confused newbie picking his way through the etiquette minefield would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks.

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I thought I'd read up on just about everything before I set out on my cache-quest, but I now notice that I may have missed an important point and commited a faux pas ...

 

I've found a couple of mentions on the forum that implied that any raising of awareness for charity seems to be frowned upon, unfortunately I've been a bit slow on the uptake and have left items (wristbands, keyrings etc) pertaining to the Royal British Legion and Support Our Soldiers as swag in caches. Should I cease and desist forthwith? Having seen the Help For Heroes Geocoin I thought that such items would be okay.

 

I struggle to see why there is a downer on charities (if indeed there actually is) but keep an open mind if anyone wants to put the 'against' argument to me.

 

Any helpful advice to this confused newbie picking his way through the etiquette minefield would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks.

its the cache listing itself that applies to. We buy and leave all kinds of charity pins, nothing wrong with that me thinks.

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There're no restriction on putting charity related items in caches as swaps, only in promoting "charitable agendas" on cache pages themselves (and in the Groundspeak forums), unless permission has been granted, in advance, from Groundspeak.

 

"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."

 

MrsB

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There're no restriction on putting charity related items in caches as swaps, only in promoting "charitable agendas" on cache pages themselves (and in the Groundspeak forums), unless permission has been granted, in advance, from Groundspeak....

 

MrsB

 

For instance, a few days ago a post appeared briefly here to publicise (deleted by moderator). This was published by a registered charity supporting people in the (deleted by moderator). But because they hadn't obtained permission to publish it, it was deleted very quickly. I have advised the charity to try publicising it via (deleted by moderator) instead as it seems a very worthy cause to me.

 

Chris

Edited by mtn-man
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There're no restriction on putting charity related items in caches as swaps, only in promoting "charitable agendas" on cache pages themselves (and in the Groundspeak forums), unless permission has been granted, in advance, from Groundspeak....

 

MrsB

 

For instance, a few days ago a post appeared briefly here to publicise (deleted by moderator). This was published by a registered charity supporting people in the (deleted by moderator). But because they hadn't obtained permission to publish it, it was deleted very quickly. I have advised the charity to try publicising it via (deleted by moderator) instead as it seems a very worthy cause to me.

 

Chris

10...9...8...7......

Edited by mtn-man
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Don't forget that this is all run by a US company, Groundspeak. They apply US rules/philosophies globally and, being typically American have trouble accepting that other countries/cultures do things differently and can differentiate between charities and profit-making companies - sorry for the racist slur but 'tis generally true. The mods used to apply a UK bias logic but a couple of years ago Groundspeak got typically heavy and tied their hands.

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Don't forget that this is all run by a US company, Groundspeak. They apply US rules/philosophies globally and, being typically American have trouble accepting that other countries/cultures do things differently and can differentiate between charities and profit-making companies - sorry for the racist slur but 'tis generally true. The mods used to apply a UK bias logic but a couple of years ago Groundspeak got typically heavy and tied their hands.

Wow, about as incorrect a statement as you could make.

 

Simply, this is a geocaching site. This isn't a charity site. If you allow charity posts, then the problem comes in where to draw the line. Is PETA an acceptable charity? Some might say yes, some might say no. For an extreme example, how about an organization trying to make dog fighting legal that shows uncensored dog fight videos on their web site? Some might say yes. Some might say no. Where do you draw the line?

 

Groundspeak has decided to not allow it at all so that there would have to be no judgment calls at all. That makes it simple. That also keeps the "noise level" down. You can come here and read and discuss geocaching and you don't have to weed through topic after topic begging for this and begging for that. There are plenty of platforms for people to solicit donations. Most people geocache to get away from the stress of life and have fun. Groundspeak has decided to keep this a light and fun activity and keep the solicitations down.

 

Regarding Groundspeak not accepting other cultural differences, keep in mind that for years UK caches had been allowed to mention pubs while all other countries had to adhere strictly to the "non commercial" aspects of the guidelines. Groundspeak allowed this exception in the UK only due to the cultural differences there. Trust me, I know much more about the background of this than many of you might remember or know, as in back to 2002. As many of you do know, there was indeed a recent uproar (way too detailed to go into here, search the forums if you want to know, do not drag this topic off topic about it or I will throw you out of the topic), but eventually the commercial guidelines were changed to allow the rest of the globe a bit of the same freedom the the UK had enjoyed for many years. Now some commercial content is indeed allowed, as long as you follow the guidelines.

 

I as a moderator may not agree with *everything* Groundspeak does, but I totally respect their right to run their web site as they choose. I agreed to moderate the forums as they want me to and not disrespect their wishes with regard to that. It seems simple to just do as they ask, and frankly makes my job easier. It is easier to just enjoy geocaching and the simple pleasure of going out with your family to have a fun day together rather than try to make it more than it is and by stirring up discord as the post I have quoted is trying to do. The fact is that this is a game. Go out and have fun playing it.

Edited by mtn-man
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Don't forget that this is all run by a US company, Groundspeak. They apply US rules/philosophies globally and, being typically American have trouble accepting that other countries/cultures do things differently and can differentiate between charities and profit-making companies - sorry for the racist slur but 'tis generally true. The mods used to apply a UK bias logic but a couple of years ago Groundspeak got typically heavy and tied their hands.

Wow, about as incorrect a statement as you could make.

I rarely if ever come here these days but someone pointed this thread out to me. Seeing Greg's reply I have to use his own his own words to say his "statement is about as incorrect as it could be" :lol: The original observation could be seen by many who are not associated with Groundspeak as a perfectly accurate summary of the situation a while back.

 

However, as has been pointed out many times, this is Groundspeak's forum (and listing site) and they can impose whatever rules they want to. If you want to play here you abide by their rules, if not, you do as I have now done and go elsewhere (in my case OpencachingUK). The only last comment I would make is I find it interesting that new users still question that philosophy.

 

I'll get me coat now........... :)

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... typically American ... sorry for the racist slur but 'tis generally true.

Tell me - where did you go to learn that it's OK to make xenophobic generalities, then pretend to apologise, and then repeat them, all before finishing the sentence?

 

I've been thinking of adopting this rhetorical technique, and I was wondering if it brought you success in any other areas of your life.

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Whatever the history of this, and whatever the facts of how it came about (all water under the bridge now), I must say that I broadly support geocaching.com's current approach to the whole "charity" issue. I really don't want to wade through loads of "support my sponsored geocache hunt" threads or be plagued with caches that push various worthy and not-so-worthy causes into your face.

 

So I'm glad that charities are only supported if special arrangements have been made. AFAIK Groundspeak nowadays will consider ANY charity appeal, and has a record of supporting charities (the Diabetes one is an example). So if your charity can't be bothered with making a formal arrangement, I don't see that they have much of a case for grumbling.

 

Clearly, there's no particular problem caused if a travel bug is promoting some charity or commercial idea. It's easy to just ignore it if you don't like the cause in question, as the bug is not likely to be a critical part of the game and won't get in your way too much. Likewise, if you find a cache that contains various leaflets advertising a charity or a commercial enterprise, then you can just enjoy them (or swap them out and dump them!) but it won't ruin geocaching as long as no mention is made on the cache page and as long as you don't have to take particular notice of these things (e.g. "Your cache log will be deleted unless you donate £1 to the church restoration fund within a month of the find").

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Uh oh, can open - worms everywhere! Sorry.

 

I had no idea that I was touching on such a contentious issue. That said however, this has turned into quite an education.

 

The OP was made in the genuine desire to clear up what was a grey area in my mind. Asked because I am new to the game and as such want to operate within the rules of the game as well as play within the bounds of what is considered acceptable. I'd read the Groundspeak rules on not using chaches to promote charities, commercial interests etc, I had also noted some comments in the 'most hated swag' thread pertaining to leaflets and such left to promote religious beliefs. All I wanted to check was that trade items I'd left would not contravene accepted practice.

 

There's of course a world of difference between leaflets and charity branded useful* items. I wouldn't dream of leaving literature that promotes a charity, no matter how close the cause is to my heart, my goal is only to leave items that others may like to find and trade for. But then, should said items not be to someone's taste - I'd like to think they'd just look past it without taking offence. There's the key - the PETA/Pro dog fighting analogy made by mtn-man is a pretty extreme and therefore cut and dried example (in my mind). As mentioned in the OP, I've left items pertaining to Service charities supporting British Servicemen, it is 'in vogue' at the moment to show support for the Forces, therefore I felt that there would be geocachers who would find such items desirable, should they subsequently decide to support that charity in some way then alls the better. Now, here's the crunch - there are people out there who are indifferent to the Forces, I'd expect them to maybe take the keyring (for example) because they have use for a keyring or simply ignore it; there are also folk out there who are anti-Forces - this is where they may be a bone of contention, would they take offence to finding such items? Probably. Do I care? Well no, but that's a whole different argument. But do I care about offending other players of the game to which I'm new and within which there should be no political or idealist agenda? Well yes, I suppose that I do. I don't know the demographics of British geocachers, but I assume that the chances of someone coming along to a cache after me being that strongly anti-Forces are fairly slight.

 

Maybe I should just leave something else.

 

Anyway, the bigger argument about the rights and wrongs of charity related caches, listings and forum posts. Well, it seems to me that Geocaching.com run the game (as I play it) so it's their trainset as far as I'm concerned. The rules are there to be played within, and I dare say they are there for a reason. I used to play ice hockey, to do so I had to belong to the EIHA, I had to pay my subs and play within their rules. I didn't agree with all of them but I had to adhere to them in order to play. Sobeit. This is exactly the same as far as I can make out. If I don't want to play that way then I can go play with one of the other organisations mentioned.

 

On that note, I had no idea before I got into the game that 'Geocaching' was anything more than the name of a hobby, I didnt realise that it was a corporation that exists as an umbrella for the hobby. I naively thought that geocachers geocached and that geocaching.com was where they shared information. Of course it's all that, but the fact that there are other ways to play a similar game under different organisations and rules - well, that's all news to me, so thanks for the education. One question, if you play OpenCaching (for example) I take it that you're not 'geocaching' and dont search for 'geocaches'? I think I was mistaken when I took 'geocaching' for a verb. I'll stick with Geocaching for now, as it seems big, well run, and user friendly.

 

I'm sorry for rambling on, since I started with this hobby I've spent more time reading than I have actually outside searching for caches. Most questions I've had have been answered by searching the forums, but this one (what I thought was straight forward) area seems to have thrown up more questions than answers!!

 

* I of course use the word 'useful' subjectively.

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On that note, I had no idea before I got into the game that 'Geocaching' was anything more than the name of a hobby, I didnt realise that it was a corporation that exists as an umbrella for the hobby. I naively thought that geocachers geocached and that geocaching.com was where they shared information. Of course it's all that, but the fact that there are other ways to play a similar game under different organisations and rules - well, that's all news to me, so thanks for the education. One question, if you play OpenCaching (for example) I take it that you're not 'geocaching' and dont search for 'geocaches'? I think I was mistaken when I took 'geocaching' for a verb. I'll stick with Geocaching for now, as it seems big, well run, and user friendly.

 

I'm sorry for rambling on, since I started with this hobby I've spent more time reading than I have actually outside searching for caches. Most questions I've had have been answered by searching the forums, but this one (what I thought was straight forward) area seems to have thrown up more questions than answers!!

 

* I of course use the word 'useful' subjectively.

 

My thoughts on your response to the whole Geocaching/Opencaching/whoeverelsecaching, the way I see it is it's kinda like rugby. You have Rugby Leage & Rugby Union. Very different yet similar sports. I bet if you asked any player what sport they play, your answer would be Rugby and that they are rugby players.

 

Geocaching draws similar parallels in that there are other set-ups playing the same sport with small differences/governing bodies.

Edited by rob.marsh
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I'm a League fan myself.

Cannot stand Union. :(

Regarding "charity" as per this thread.

You can basically put what you want into a cache.

It may or may not be against the rules but none can actually stop you.

Whereas you cannot write what you want on the GC pages or GS forums. That can be stopped quite easily.

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One question, if you play OpenCaching (for example) I take it that you're not 'geocaching' and dont search for 'geocaches'?

Yes, you are. Or should be that "No, you are"? Geocaching is the activity. Groundspeak - the company behind this site - got in and registered "geocaching.com" right at the start.

 

The word "geocaching" is not a trademark of Groundspeak, except to the extent that it appears on their merchandise. If you go to any other cache listing service, they will all refer to the game as "geocaching".

 

However, in daily conversation it's all fairly academic. Everyone calls it "caching". :(

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I'm curious, as I do have plans to do something for cha*ity next month: I know 'caches which solicit' aren't allowed while cha*ity TBs and other travel items are- but what about personal pages? I don't mean the forum signature (not allowed, I believe) but how about your profile page? Could I add a note and link there?

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Regarding "charity" as per this thread.

You can basically put what you want into a cache.

It may or may not be against the rules but none can actually stop you.

Right. You can trade what you want into a cache. It may or may not be proper depending on the circumstance, but as you trade items you can trade what you want. An example would be knives. They seem like a cool idea, but kids beat parents to caches and open them up sometimes before the parent gets there. They could cut themselves. Also, in the US, prison labor is used to clean up some parks. If an inmate finds a cache and gets a knife that would be very bad. If I see a knife, I trade out something in my swag supply to replace the knife with something more family friendly.

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I'm curious, as I do have plans to do something for cha*ity next month: I know 'caches which solicit' aren't allowed while cha*ity TBs and other travel items are- but what about personal pages? I don't mean the forum signature (not allowed, I believe) but how about your profile page? Could I add a note and link there?

I think some notes and link would probably be OK on your profile page. A large display might not be acceptable though.

 

You are correct that it isn't allowed in your forum signature.

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Right. You can trade what you want into a cache. It may or may not be proper depending on the circumstance, but as you trade items you can trade what you want. An example would be knives. They seem like a cool idea, but kids beat parents to caches and open them up sometimes before the parent gets there. They could cut themselves. Also, in the US, prison labor is used to clean up some parks. If an inmate finds a cache and gets a knife that would be very bad. If I see a knife, I trade out something in my swag supply to replace the knife with something more family friendly.
I don't think Kev was proposing that you SHOULD, merely that it would be very difficult for Groundspeak to do anything about it. Groundspeak can certainly advise, and advise strongly, but if someone chose to just do it anyway, it's a fait accompli.

 

Rgds, Andy

Edited by Amberel
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I don't think Kev was proposing that you SHOULD, merely that it would be very difficult for Groundspeak to do anything about it. Groundspeak can certainly advise, and advise strongly, but if someone chose to just do it anyway, it's a fait accompli.

The reviewers won't publish a cache listing that says "cool swag including a penknife for the FTF", but once the listing is published, the contents of the box are essentially random, and it's not Groundspeak's concern any more.

 

I find it hard to imagine that anyone would report a cache where somebody had added a knife to the contents, post-publication. They could have just taken it. (Although maybe if it was a nasty one they wouldn't want to take the risk of getting stopped by the police for something else and searched. :blink:)

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