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geoaware

EarthCache Guidelines Updates

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Personally, I believe that the great majority of EarthCache loggers do so honestly, and they should not be required to comply with stringent control measures due to concerns of inappropriate logging by the small minority. Groundspeak can and does take action in the case of persistent inappropriate loggers who are reported.

 

I agree with Brad.

 

Wouldn't it have been better if you didn't have to deal with the situation in the first place? Every bodies valuable time gets wasted on one screw ball! Yep. with a photo, it wouldn't have happened. But that's not the only reason for the photos.

My case of taking scientifically correct photos has never been addressed. I agree that those cachers who sit on their butts and log caches are in the vast minority, but what's wrong of having a requirement to study what it is, search for and find a specific geological aspect of the area (EC)? No, the cacher's mug doesn't have to be in the photo but if you want them to find a certain cobble (i.e. quartz or something else) in a matrix, have them take the picture of what they found. Isn't that as good or even better learning experience than simple counting steps or estimating distances? They learn what is a cobble, learn what to look for and have their learning experience reinforced when you not only thank them for visiting, but tell the cacher they are "RIGHT!" It sure beats the regurgitation what they read on some sign!

If all this is on the honor system, why have them actually answer the questions? Just let the cacher email or simply post in their log that he/she found the answer? No, the cacher must answer the question and in our example................................... the question's answer is the photo! ALR like???????????

Frankly, I don't like to act as a geo policeman nor do I want to, but there isn't any physical log! I'll bet I am, if not the most lenient cache owner, I am among the top as far as being demanding with cache logs. Also, I still believe in the educational aspects of earthcaching and finding and photographing something can and is very educational.

Hey don't get me wrong, I appreciate the input, especially from you guys and maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't see why photos are so bad.

Thanks. :)

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Got a log last night...the guy backdated the find to last October...no picture (it was required then), no answers sent...eh it can stand though because the requirements seem to be more like suggestions...

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I will agree that Konnarock Kid & Marge makes a valid point regarding photos that amplify the learning experience. Whether that would apply in 10% or 90% of the cases, or somewhere in between, is beyond my body of knowledge. Perhaps a discussion on the proportion of ECs where a photo amplifies the learning experience vs. photos just for the sake of photos would be productive, and might sway opinions.

 

Edit to add that I need to get out of this thread. I should be focused on ensuring that it remains on topic and civil, and stay away from attempting to steer the discussion.

Edited by Brad_W

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I would argue that every* EC which shows a changing feature (erosion for example) should be allowed to REQUIRE a photo. I would also argue that ECs which require you to find a specific (non-obvious) feature like a fossil or rock type should be allowed to be mandatory as well.

 

As a side note I looked at 6 random EC owners and every one of them still has the photo as a requirement...good luck with the new guidelines; I see a whole lot of arguing in the near future as folks duke out the rules.

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I will agree that Konnarock Kid & Marge makes a valid point regarding photos that amplify the learning experience. Whether that would apply in 10% or 90% of the cases, or somewhere in between, is beyond my body of knowledge. Perhaps a discussion on the proportion of ECs where a photo amplifies the learning experience vs. photos just for the sake of photos would be productive, and might sway opinions.

 

Edit to add that I need to get out of this thread. I should be focused on ensuring that it remains on topic and civil, and stay away from attempting to steer the discussion.

Excellent question. I don't have a clue as to the answer. Heck, I need to review mine to determine the percent.

P.S. You're welcome on this thread and any other. Just kidding lol.

P.S. No. 2 Anyone got any idea how to answer Brad_W's question? I will be back later after looking at all of our ECs?

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I would argue that every* EC which shows a changing feature (erosion for example) should be allowed to REQUIRE a photo. I would also argue that ECs which require you to find a specific (non-obvious) feature like a fossil or rock type should be allowed to be mandatory as well.

 

As a side note I looked at 6 random EC owners and every one of them still has the photo as a requirement...good luck with the new guidelines; I see a whole lot of arguing in the near future as folks duke out the rules.

 

Ditto with the examples that you cite.

 

Oops! I hope we were not in your random study. :ph34r:

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I agree that if an earthcache asks you to find a specific object a photo showing that object is not an ALR and should be part the loggong requirements. A friend has an earthcache that teaches people about rocks that are unique to the area and asks them to find samples on the beach. A photo of what they have found is directly related to the earthcache. On some of mine I used to ask people to take a picture of the formation that they were learning about.

 

So although I do not expect an official answer, my question remains: why is a photo of an earth sciemce feature (not a person) or a photo that documents tbe earthcache's task an ALR, but questions that have nothing to do with geology are not? I would rather take a picture of a geological site than to worry about whether my gpsr will sufficiently agree with that used by the earthcache's owner or whether I miscounted the number of power poles.

 

But given the present guidelines, the situation remains a jumbled mess. When I looked last week, some of the top ten still had photo requurements that required people to be in the picture. I know that many earthcache owners in my area are not aware of the current change. Some earthcaches state that the photo is optional but may be necessary to save the log - how optional is that? And not everyone who looks at the current guidelines is going to understand if their earthcache is an exception or not. What is an earthcache visitor to do?

Edited by mulvaney

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Please note that geoaware is currently on vacation, which is why he has not posted to this thread recently. Photos as proof of visitation must now be optional. Your logging tasks should be strong enough to prove that without requiring a photograph, and many people are opposed to having to post photos of themselves on the internet.

 

The guidelines have made an exception for photographs which are part of the Earth Science lesson, such as the example of taking a picture of the tidal bore. However, it would need to be something that aids in the learning opportunity at the site, not just a way around getting people to still take a photo to prove they were there.

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Please note that geoaware is currently on vacation, which is why he has not posted to this thread recently. Photos as proof of visitation must now be optional. Your logging tasks should be strong enough to prove that without requiring a photograph, and many people are opposed to having to post photos of themselves on the internet.

 

The guidelines have made an exception for photographs which are part of the Earth Science lesson, such as the example of taking a picture of the tidal bore. However, it would need to be something that aids in the learning opportunity at the site, not just a way around getting people to still take a photo to prove they were there.

 

"many people are opposed to having to post photos of themselves on the internet."

 

How many is many? Don't forget, we already eliminated the need for the cacher to be in the photo.

I fully realize that this forum may or may not represent the majority of earthcachers, but you cannot and will not prove your point from here! A quick review of this subject on ALL of the related threads will be enlightening!

Oh yes, there have been the vocal few, most of which are not earthcachers who you folks seem more willing to please than the earthcaching community as a whole. It is obvious that Groundspeak isn't forcing this on you....so why? Please don't use the well worn ALR argument because all one needs to do is look at the questions and the ALR excuse doesn't hold a cup of spring water!

There is nothing wrong with a photo and most folks have the means to take them. For those very, very few that do not, I am sorry, but most of us don't have the equipment to rappel down to a cache either! Should those kind of requirements be eliminated too? No because there are extreme cachers out there and they should be allowed their fun. Maybe any cache that requires "special equipment" should be eliminated also. After all, a camera of some sort is special equipment. The point I am getting at is there are many variations of caches which require additional tools, so why not ECs? In case it is being overlooked........ECs are different and just like other caches, you cannot please everyone!

As been said earlier, we are more confused than ever as to which exceptions will be granted. In turn, this will lend to a lot of inconsistency and appeals! Please reconsider.

Thanks.

Edited by Konnarock Kid & Marge

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I don't know what the big deal is...a good EarthCache will be solid enough to stand on its own without a picture being taken. I'm sorry, but if your EarthCache questions are so weak that you need a picture to prove someone was there, then you need to retool that EarthCache.

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I don't know what the big deal is...a good EarthCache will be solid enough to stand on its own without a picture being taken. I'm sorry, but if your EarthCache questions are so weak that you need a picture to prove someone was there, then you need to retool that EarthCache.

 

This is how I feel about it as well. Good logging tasks eliminate the need for photographic proof.

 

Besides that, the need for proof is really being exaggerated. Earthcache owners ought to be concentrating their efforts on getting visitors to appreciate the site - not making them jump through hoops just to prove they were there.

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Earthcache owners ought to be concentrating their efforts on getting visitors to appreciate the site..

 

Bingo! We have a winner B)

 

I don't have an issue with photos one way or another. Although I can't think of a situation in which a photo is the ONLY means available to verify a visit, or more importantly, how it imparts an "educational task".

 

Get back to the basics of Quality Earthcaches, and the pictures will naturally follow without making them a *requirement* IMHO.

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I really got upset that some users would cheat their way to Platinum EC Master level after some of us working so hard to get to that level, which I have still not reached. I need one find in another State. I planned on archiving my 3 EC listings, but none have ever been armchair logged, so far. I have had one user just be mean to this account and delete our logs. My son visited the same site, but I have not allowed him to log the find, and our photo is uploaded on that CO's EC listing. I have had to appeal to Groundspeak everytime we log one of the CO's caches, first the photos, then the answers become an issue. I was upset when I found out that some ECO's just allow whatever, the bogus finders just cheat themselves, and not us that try and complete the logging tasks and upload our photos of our finds. I see EC's are not even attempted by most users anymore, they are on many users ignore list. They are just not worth the trouble to try and attempt, just to have some CO delete a finders log that attempted the cache. These CO's are few, but one or two bad ones make all the good ones look the same.

 

If I ever do log another EC, expect to see my uploads. I won't waste my time to visit a EC and not upload my find, but that is just how I enjoy Earthcaching. I no longer expect anyone else to do the same.

 

Manville.

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Good logging tasks eliminate the need for photographic proof.

 

Besides that, the need for proof is really being exaggerated. Earthcache owners ought to be concentrating their efforts on getting visitors to appreciate the site - not making them jump through hoops just to prove they were there.

 

I think it is a bit oversimplified to say that good logging tasks eliminate the need for proof. Some of my favorite logging tasks, where I have learned the most, offer little in the way of proof one way or the other. Who is to say whether I tracked down carnelians, looked at fossils, felt the sands, or measured the distance the earth moved? In my own caches, I have no idea if people actually found gold or quartz from the Sierras on the San Francisco beach. Or found xenoliths in the coastal cliffs.

 

I agree, though, that the need for proof is exaggerated. To me the value of photos was not simply proof, but the way in which they could be a part of a good logging task or contribute to the experience of an earthcache.

 

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves how much proof is necessary. I am willing to trust that people will enjoy finding Sierra rocks on the beach even if there is no photographic proof. But there are some earthcache owners that are very concerned about proof and delete logs they consider lacking on a regular basis. Thus, we have the true ALRs - caches that ask for the number of poles, the color of paint, or arbitrary numbers - earthcaches that amount to an exam with "optional" photos required as a practical matter should there be a disagreement.

 

 

.

Edited by mulvaney

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Good logging tasks eliminate the need for photographic proof.

 

Besides that, the need for proof is really being exaggerated. Earthcache owners ought to be concentrating their efforts on getting visitors to appreciate the site - not making them jump through hoops just to prove they were there.

 

I think it is a bit oversimplified to say that good logging tasks eliminate the need for proof. Some of my favorite logging tasks, where I have learned the most, offer little in the way of proof one way or the other. Who is to say whether I tracked down carnelians, looked at fossils, felt the sands, or measured the distance the earth moved? In my own caches, I have no idea if people actually found gold or quartz from the Sierras on the San Francisco beach. Or found xenoliths in the coastal cliffs.

 

I agree, though, that the need for proof is exaggerated. To me the value of photos was not simply proof, but the way in which they could be a part of a good logging task or contribute to the experience of an earthcache.

 

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves how much proof is necessary. I am willing to trust that people will enjoy finding Sierra rocks on the beach even if there is no photographic proof. But there are some earthcache owners that are very concerned about proof and delete logs they consider lacking on a regular basis. Thus, we have the true ALRs - caches that ask for the number of poles, the color of paint, or arbitrary numbers - earthcaches that amount to an exam with "optional" photos required as a practical matter should there be a disagreement.

 

 

.

You are absolutely correct. It is not only oversimplified,it is totally incorrect. As we discussed earlier ANY question is an ALR....period!

When you ask a cacher to determine what type of rocks are found among a matrix and you describe what they are looking for, what is better approach? Oh yes, the usual questions that are so commonly found are better? You have got to be kidding. Having someone look for, find and photograph their findings is indeed an excellent learning process.

When in the heck are we gonna face facts? ECs are ALR caches which have been granted an exemption by GS. Just because a few people don't like photos, the rest of us have to grin it and bare it! Discarding photos may be more politically correct, but it also is further erosion of the uniqueness of earthcaches!

P.S. Speaking of, "efforts on getting visitors to appreciate the site." That's another thing wrong with the direction that earthcaching has taken over the last couple of years! The WOW factor which is so distasteful to some folks is what brings cachers to ECs. Sorry for it is not learning to be a budding geologists that draws the visitors and it certainly isn't trying to figure out esoteric, pedantic or just plain dull questions. Maybe that is what some EC developers want in their attempts to 'out geologist' each other, but that's not what we believe the general geocaching community is about!

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There are many Earthcaches out there without much to offer in terms of spectacular scenery, but lots of people do appreciate having their attention drawn to something subtle and interesting right beneath their feet.

 

Earthcaches aren't meant to be a substitute for old virtual geocaches and there is no "WoW" requirement. An Earthcache can be a rock cut along the highway, or it can be the Grand Canyon. What qualifies a feature is that it demonstrates something about the earth's formation. If you choose to set a WoW standard for your own Earthcaches, that's wonderful and that's your choice - but it's not a guideline that you can impose on others.

 

Even when an Earthcache does focus on something exciting like a gorgeous waterfall, the point of the Earthcache should be to teach visitors something about its geological significance. Simply bringing people to an interesting spot doesn't constitute an Earthcache.

 

This hyperbole about dull and pedantic tasks is a red herring that keeps coming up, but it's off the mark. Most Earthcaches I've visited have relevant, but simple tasks that engage people with the site. The logging tasks should certainly be geared to the intended audience, but they should also attempt to foster learning.

 

And if an Earthcache *is* excessively dull and tedious, it just won't get any visitors!

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To me the value of photos was not simply proof, but the way in which they could be a part of a good logging task or contribute to the experience of an earthcache.

 

And to this end, I hope that Earthcache reviewers will look at proposed photo requirements with a generous eye. Photographs can be a valid form of data collection and a valuable learning tool. I like to think that an Earthcache reviewer can tell the difference between a legitimate on-site task and a thinly-veiled attempt to use photographs as proof of visit.

 

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves how much proof is necessary. I am willing to trust that people will enjoy finding Sierra rocks on the beach even if there is no photographic proof. But there are some earthcache owners that are very concerned about proof and delete logs they consider lacking on a regular basis. Thus, we have the true ALRs - caches that ask for the number of poles, the color of paint, or arbitrary numbers - earthcaches that amount to an exam with "optional" photos required as a practical matter should there be a disagreement.

 

If the quality and integrity of Earthcaches is the true concern, then irrelevant logging tasks need to be addressed as well. Asking someone to take a photograph of a fossil or a rock is far more relevant and educational than asking somebody to count steps.

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This statement amazes me. "Earthcaches aren't meant to be a substitute for old virtual geocaches and there is no "WoW" requirement." Where has anyone stated that there was a WOW requirement much less want to impose a WOW factor on others. Further more, who said that ECs are or should be substitutes for virtuals? But..............just because there isn't an officially imposed WOW factor doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Around here, unless it is the numbers hogs sitting beside the highway waiting for a quick P & G EC, most of us visit ECs for that so, so distasteful WOW factor. We celebrate nature and don't want to relegate her work to some dull write up or even duller questions. We want to observe, learn and sometimes record what we learned and that can be done via a photograph! If anyone thinks that a written question and answer is by default better than a photo answer just don't know much about the human learning experience.

If you want to develop earthcaches that look like they came from a geology laboratory or taken from a Master's thesis, be our guests! We simply don't believe that's why ECs are visited!

I know all of this got started by the GSA and they are all about geology and that's fine, but if they or anyone else thinks ECs are visited because people want to become mini geologists, well I have some sea side (and I don't mean ancient sea side) property in Arizona to sell ya!

There is nothing wrong with the learning experience and we support that as well as the photo requirement, but don't get carried away! Between too long and too pedantic cache write ups and questions worthy of two PhD's in geology, most cachers are turned off from earthcaches. If you don't believe me just do a random check of cachers profiles and see how many ECs are logged much less developed. Photos on the cache pages and requiring cachers to take photos make ECs attractive not turn offs! Someone said earlier that we ought to concentrate on attracting people to ECs and we couldn't agree more. Mundane or over scholarly questions don't do that!

Now for you purists if that is what you are, go ahead and put down photo requirements and continue to see a lessening of interests in ECs or what may even worse, earthcaching continuing to develop an elitist reputation. I know that perhaps I am wrong here and my apologies in advance, but at times I feel that some folks want this thing called earthcaching to be the domain of only geologists or would be geologists. If so, require the degree and be done with it!

Remember the 14 year old? He/she can take photos and 9 out of 10 are not geologists and haven't even ever played one on TV!

One last question that I would like to pose: how many of you have received comments in your logs like, "we really enjoyed those extremely difficult questions"? Or has it been more like, "thanks for bringing us to this wonderful spot!"

Which do you prefer?

Thanks.

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One last question that I would like to pose: how many of you have received comments in your logs like, "we really enjoyed those extremely difficult questions"? Or has it been more like, "thanks for bringing us to this wonderful spot!"

 

One of my EarthCaches which is my favourite and a favourite of many people that have completed it requires a great deal of effort to complete. It does not require a geology degree, but it does take a fair bit of time and research. I introduce people to Manitoba Tyndall Stone by having them visit several buildings in downtown Winnipeg and search for fossils. On the cache page, I list 5 sets of coordinates, 5 photos of the fossils they need to find, and the 5 names of the fossils. To log a find, they must send me a list matching the names, photos and location. I'm sure it has been ignored by many p&g cachers, but it has been found my many people who have really enjoyed the learning opportunity it provides.

 

I have received many great comments about that EarthCache. I don't require photos as proof they were there - it's pretty obvious if they can answer the questions. So in this case, I'm not necessarily taking people to a really wonderful spot, but it's the challenge to figure which fossil is which that people really enjoy. Learning can be fun too. My EarthCache has inspired at least two other similar EarthCaches in other cities that I am aware of.

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I thank you all for your comments. However, I want to point out that the issue was based on the huge number of submissions that we received where the photograph was the main logging task and only a passing attempt was made to provide a task related to the earth science lesson at the site. Reviewers spent huge amounts of time going back to the CO asking them to provide a logging task that met the guidelines. It seemed that we needed to provide clearer directions.

 

We have never asked for logging tasks that were difficult - just tasks that made the visit educational. In the vast majority of cases taking a photograph does not do that. We asked (pleaded) that people be creative with their logging tasks...and we found that the vast majority could not do that over the last twelve months So the guideline has been changed.

 

I am sorry that it seems to have upset people, but the change was needed to maintain the quality of EarthCaches being developed so everyone had a great experience.

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I thank you all for your comments. However, I want to point out that the issue was based on the huge number of submissions that we received where the photograph was the main logging task and only a passing attempt was made to provide a task related to the earth science lesson at the site. Reviewers spent huge amounts of time going back to the CO asking them to provide a logging task that met the guidelines. It seemed that we needed to provide clearer directions.

 

We have never asked for logging tasks that were difficult - just tasks that made the visit educational. In the vast majority of cases taking a photograph does not do that. We asked (pleaded) that people be creative with their logging tasks...and we found that the vast majority could not do that over the last twelve months So the guideline has been changed.

 

I am sorry that it seems to have upset people, but the change was needed to maintain the quality of EarthCaches being developed so everyone had a great experience.

I can understand your side of this issue from a approval standpoint but to be honest geological formations are not normally changing rapidly enough to take a meaningful measurement....At my waterfall EC was I supposed to ask folks to, "Please email me the amount of retreat the waterfall has taken this year?" How are they going to measure that. I'm pretty much limited to "Hey take a pic and oh tell me how tall it is." The questions are the hardest part of developing an EC, most of us are not geologists and we are told to create the listing at a high school learning level. Can we expect folks to bring out their spectrometers or do microscopic analysis? No. Face it, the questions are vague because that is what is demanded by the guidelines based on the level of writing comprehension.

 

The pictures serve (well served) many functions in addition to a proof of visit, they brought attention to the feature when folks clicked on the cache page, they serve to in many cases document the change in a feature over time, they do make a finder learn more about the feature. To learn about a feature is not to just skim the cache page until you see the questions that need to be answered, it is about seeing the formation and documenting what you have seen.

 

I know the decision has been made and that's fine, I accept it. I just do not agree with it. I have developed 30 ECs (many written for others) and I will not develop another. I believe the photos are a vital part of the EC experience.

Edited by Lostby7

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And now a word from your friendly moderator.

 

There is clearly a lot of passion around honest differences of opinion regarding the use of photographs as required elements of logging an EarthCache find. geoaware has commented clearly in post #120, and geoawareCA has made an interesting comment in post #108.

 

I have taken an action item for myself to work toward creation of a statement that can be used going forward. It probably will not be an easy task, but it is one that clearly needs doing.

 

At this point, all of the participants in this topic have had an adequate opportunity to state their opinion and to comment on their agreement or disagreement with the other opinions. That is really the best use of a forum - enabling all parties to be heard.

 

The issues will not be resolved with further reiteration of the stated opinions, agreements and disagreements, the use of loud voices, etc. So I am asking that further discussion in this topic be on issues other than the use of photographs in EarthCache finds. If there are no other issues of importance for discussion here, we can close this topic until we have some new photograph-related information for the community.

 

Thanks.

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The issues will not be resolved with further reiteration of the stated opinions, agreements and disagreements, the use of loud voices, etc.

My post was not simply a reiteration of stated opinion. My post was an entirely new take on the reason for the need for photos and the weakness of the submitted questions...that being the educational level we are required to write our submissions. Thanks for the moderation though. I'm done.

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This statement amazes me. "Earthcaches aren't meant to be a substitute for old virtual geocaches and there is no "WoW" requirement." Where has anyone stated that there was a WOW requirement much less want to impose a WOW factor on others. Further more, who said that ECs are or should be substitutes for virtuals? But..............just because there isn't an officially imposed WOW factor doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

 

Clearly, the Earthcache reviewers are not imposing any kind of WoW requirement, so I'm not sure what you're getting at here.

 

Around here, unless it is the numbers hogs sitting beside the highway waiting for a quick P & G EC, most of us visit ECs for that so, so distasteful WOW factor.

 

What is distasteful about a WoW factor? The Earthcaches at Niagara Falls are undoubtedly popular, and deservedly so. There's no need to pit exciting, spectacular sites against the subtler ones, and certainly no cause to label an Earthcache as distasteful because it's at a beautiful location. What a strange thing to say!

 

We celebrate nature and don't want to relegate her work to some dull write up or even duller questions. We want to observe, learn and sometimes record what we learned and that can be done via a photograph! If anyone thinks that a written question and answer is by default better than a photo answer just don't know much about the human learning experience.

 

I don't think anybody did say this. Lots of people have made very strong arguments in favour of photographs as data collection in some situations. But geology is about more than appearances, and Earthcaches are about more than just visiting the site.

 

If you want to develop earthcaches that look like they came from a geology laboratory or taken from a Master's thesis, be our guests! We simply don't believe that's why ECs are visited!

 

Earthcaches come in many varieties, and some geological features are more exciting than others. Of course, an Earthcache that resembled a Master's thesis or a lab report should probably come into question for being written at a level that's too high.

 

I know all of this got started by the GSA and they are all about geology and that's fine, but if they or anyone else thinks ECs are visited because people want to become mini geologists, well I have some sea side (and I don't mean ancient sea side) property in Arizona to sell ya!

 

I think it's unwise to make generalistic comments about why people visit Earthcaches. There's too much variety among cachers, and among the caches themselves to draw such conclusions. I visit Earthcaches - the dull ones as well as the spectacular ones - because I find geology interesting, but I'm only one data point. Clearly, you want something different from them than I do. That's valid, but you are also only one data point.

 

There is nothing wrong with the learning experience and we support that as well as the photo requirement, but don't get carried away! Between too long and too pedantic cache write ups and questions worthy of two PhD's in geology, most cachers are turned off from earthcaches.

 

Can you provide some data to support this? Just looking at the caches with the most "favorite" points in my area, it looks as though Earthcaches are quite popular.

 

If you don't believe me just do a random check of cachers profiles and see how many ECs are logged much less developed. Photos on the cache pages and requiring cachers to take photos make ECs attractive not turn offs!

 

Again, you'll have to provide some stronger evidence to support this claim. On one hand, you're arguing for a WoW factor, but now you're claiming that Earthcaches are rarely developed because they're unpopular. How many WoW sites are there where you live? Do you honestly expect Earthcaches to compete with, say, multis or puzzle caches in numbers?

 

Many cachers post photographs without being required to do so. I'm not sure why you think that requiring photos makes Earthcaches more popular - particularly since GSA seems to responding to feedback that indicates the exact opposite.

 

Someone said earlier that we ought to concentrate on attracting people to ECs and we couldn't agree more. Mundane or over scholarly questions don't do that!

 

You're creating a false dichotomy. Rigorous logging tasks needn't be "mundane" or "over scholarly." There is a middle ground between "Take a picture and count the steps" and these excessively complicated, "over scholarly" Earthcaches you seem to find everywhere (can't say I've run into this anywhere I've cached).

 

Now for you purists if that is what you are, go ahead and put down photo requirements and continue to see a lessening of interests in ECs or what may even worse, earthcaching continuing to develop an elitist reputation. I know that perhaps I am wrong here and my apologies in advance, but at times I feel that some folks want this thing called earthcaching to be the domain of only geologists or would be geologists. If so, require the degree and be done with it!

 

This would be a shame. As a Political Scientist, I find it refreshing to use my off-time to learn about something entirely different. Thankfully, the doomsday scenario you seem to be concerned about seems to be a long way off, from what I can see. I know an entomologist, a physicist, several government employees, an accountant, an engineer, and several ex-military members who own Earthcaches close to me, but no geologists! Even the experts I've consulted for my own Earthcaches weren't geologists - they were geographers!

 

Remember the 14 year old? He/she can take photos and 9 out of 10 are not geologists and haven't even ever played one on TV!

One last question that I would like to pose: how many of you have received comments in your logs like, "we really enjoyed those extremely difficult questions"? Or has it been more like, "thanks for bringing us to this wonderful spot!"

Which do you prefer?

Thanks.

 

You're creating another false dichotomy here. Most of the comments I get are along the lines of "Wow, I drive by this all the time and I didn't know what it was until I did your Earthcache." My favourite comment was from a family who visited one of my Earthcaches just after one of the children had learned about eskers at school. I think he was 8, and he was really excited to make the connection between what he learned at school and something just a few miles from home. When I wrote my next Earthcache, that family is who I imagined as my intended audience. Not a "P&G" cacher, not a PhD student - a family with a fondness for lifelong learning.

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The issues will not be resolved with further reiteration of the stated opinions, agreements and disagreements, the use of loud voices, etc.

My post was not simply a reiteration of stated opinion. My post was an entirely new take on the reason for the need for photos and the weakness of the submitted questions...that being the educational level we are required to write our submissions. Thanks for the moderation though. I'm done.

 

Me too!

Thanks to all reasonable responses. This will be my last post and last read. Take care. :)

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I thank you all for your comments. However, I want to point out that the issue was based on the huge number of submissions that we received where the photograph was the main logging task and only a passing attempt was made to provide a task related to the earth science lesson at the site. Reviewers spent huge amounts of time going back to the CO asking them to provide a logging task that met the guidelines. It seemed that we needed to provide clearer directions.

 

We have never asked for logging tasks that were difficult - just tasks that made the visit educational. In the vast majority of cases taking a photograph does not do that. We asked (pleaded) that people be creative with their logging tasks...and we found that the vast majority could not do that over the last twelve months So the guideline has been changed.

 

I am sorry that it seems to have upset people, but the change was needed to maintain the quality of EarthCaches being developed so everyone had a great experience.

 

Thank you for clarifying the reasons for the change. I hope that the guideline change sparks people to be more creative, or to seek help from the numerous resources available to them, but I also hope that the Earthcache reviewers will use their discretion wisely and allow photographic requirements when they do serve a valuable educational purpose.

 

It would be a shame to see this go too far in the opposite direction and see knee-jerk rejections of all photographic requirements.

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And now a word from your friendly moderator.

 

There is clearly a lot of passion around honest differences of opinion regarding the use of photographs as required elements of logging an EarthCache find. geoaware has commented clearly in post #120, and geoawareCA has made an interesting comment in post #108.

 

I have taken an action item for myself to work toward creation of a statement that can be used going forward. It probably will not be an easy task, but it is one that clearly needs doing.

 

At this point, all of the participants in this topic have had an adequate opportunity to state their opinion and to comment on their agreement or disagreement with the other opinions. That is really the best use of a forum - enabling all parties to be heard.

 

The issues will not be resolved with further reiteration of the stated opinions, agreements and disagreements, the use of loud voices, etc. So I am asking that further discussion in this topic be on issues other than the use of photographs in EarthCache finds. If there are no other issues of importance for discussion here, we can close this topic until we have some new photograph-related information for the community.

 

Thanks.

The only problem that we have had dealing with a photo and a Earthcache is uploading the image. I waymarked the site, my son listed it as a Earthcache, which was approved. My waymark photo uploaded perfect, the same photo that my son tryed to upload for his EC listing comes back as a error? We even resized it, there must be a bug or something in the upload a photo on the EC page?

 

Thanks Brad for your helpful input.

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I currently own 2 Earthcaches. My first Earthcache GC1WHNH was placed in July of 09 and at the time you could make a photo part of the logging requirement. I then placed GC2CWEY last year when the logging requirements changed to an optional photo. In order for my Earthcache to be published I had to change my logging requirements to an optional photo of the cacher at the Earthcache site. I must also clarify that the submission of the photo is only a portion of the logging requirement as the cache is intended to be a learning experience and to enjoy the wonder of it. I feel that also by taking a photograph at the Earthcache site provides further proof that the cacher was actually there and didn't get the answers from a geo buddy.

(edited by request of Jedi Cacher)

Edited by Sandy
requested

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I currently own 2 Earthcaches. My first Earthcache GC1WHNH was placed in July of 09 and at the time you could make a photo part of the logging requirement. I then placed GC2CWEY last year when the logging requirements changed to an optional photo. In order for my Earthcache to be published I had to change my logging requirements to an optional photo of the cacher at the Earthcache site. I must also clarify that the submission of the photo is only a portion of the logging requirement as the cache is intended to be a learning experience and to enjoy the wonder of it. I feel that also by taking a photograph at the Earthcache site provides further proof that the cacher was actually there and didn't get the answers from a geo buddy. (edited by request of Jedi Cacher)

1 There is no grandfathering of older ECs.

2 Perhaps the photo is directly related to one or more of the tasks?

(responses may read 'out of context' but are useful in general)

Edited by Sandy
requested

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I currently own 2 Earthcaches. My first Earthcache GC1WHNH was placed in July of 09 and at the time you could make a photo part of the logging requirement. I then placed GC2CWEY last year when the logging requirements changed to an optional photo. In order for my Earthcache to be published I had to change my logging requirements to an optional photo of the cacher at the Earthcache site. I must also clarify that the submission of the photo is only a portion of the logging requirement as the cache is intended to be a learning experience and to enjoy the wonder of it. I feel that also by taking a photograph at the Earthcache site provides further proof that the cacher was actually there and didn't get the answers from a geo buddy. (edited by request of Jedi Cacher)

(responses still useful, so retained)

Older Earthcaches must be brought into compliance with the current guidelines.

 

I don't know why two new Earthcaches were published with photograph requirements. Perhaps they were changed after publication, or perhaps the reviewer found the photo requirements were sufficiently educational.

Edited by Sandy
requested

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-How did 2 new Earthcaches in my area get published stating that a photo of the cacher must be taken at the cache site?

 

Could you define "new", and/or "in my area" to me? I did a search near your two Listings and didn't see anything "new". Keep in mind, that these new Guidelines went into effect a little over a week ago, so it might take some time for people to adjust.

 

Nonetheless, I agree with what was stated above.

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And now a word from your friendly moderator.

 

There is clearly a lot of passion around honest differences of opinion regarding the use of photographs as required elements of logging an EarthCache find. geoaware has commented clearly in post #120, and geoawareCA has made an interesting comment in post #108.

 

I have taken an action item for myself to work toward creation of a statement that can be used going forward. It probably will not be an easy task, but it is one that clearly needs doing.

 

At this point, all of the participants in this topic have had an adequate opportunity to state their opinion and to comment on their agreement or disagreement with the other opinions. That is really the best use of a forum - enabling all parties to be heard.

 

The issues will not be resolved with further reiteration of the stated opinions, agreements and disagreements, the use of loud voices, etc. So I am asking that further discussion in this topic be on issues other than the use of photographs in EarthCache finds. If there are no other issues of importance for discussion here, we can close this topic until we have some new photograph-related information for the community.

 

Thanks.

Hey "friendly moderator", they are not listening! Some are still on the soap box.

I am through with this topic, but anxiously await your, "a statement that can be used going forward." Perhaps some clarity from a non-biased party would be in order since we are otherwise not getting it. Many thanks for your efforts.

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Older Earthcaches must be brought into compliance with the current guidelines.

 

Thanks! :) I will make the necessary adjustments to my older Earthcache.

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Reviewers spent huge amounts of time going back to the CO asking them to provide a logging task that met the guidelines. It seemed that we needed to provide clearer directions.

 

...................

 

We asked (pleaded) that people be creative with their logging tasks...and we found that the vast majority could not do that over the last twelve months So the guideline has been changed.

 

Do you really think that changing the guidelines makes people more creative? Moreover, some of the typical logging tasks suggested like having to estimate the size of an object are boring and have no learing effect with respect to geology.

 

 

I am sorry that it seems to have upset people, but the change was needed to maintain the quality of EarthCaches being developed so everyone had a great experience.

 

I am sorry, but I more and more get the feeling that the main background behind recent guidelines changes is not to maintain the quality of Earthcaches, but to make the work of the reviewers (in particular those in regions with many Earthcache submissions) easier. (One of the reasons for abolishing virtual caches at gc.com was by the way a vers similar one - the reviewers got tired about discussions about the WOW-factor).

It appears to me that the change with respect to the language to be used is also influenced by the preference of some reviewers. (It is not a secret that the English of some Earthcache reviewers is not fluent and that they prefer to read scientific texts in their native language.)

 

I am not a supporter of photographic logging tasks like take a photo of yourself in front of the rock, but there are many tasks associated with taking a photo that are in my opinion way more educational than estimating the size of something. Of course they are typically more difficult than taking a 0815 photo of oneself.

 

Cezanne

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And now a word from your friendly moderator.

 

There is clearly a lot of passion around honest differences of opinion regarding the use of photographs as required elements of logging an EarthCache find. geoaware has commented clearly in post #120, and geoawareCA has made an interesting comment in post #108.

 

I have taken an action item for myself to work toward creation of a statement that can be used going forward. It probably will not be an easy task, but it is one that clearly needs doing.

 

At this point, all of the participants in this topic have had an adequate opportunity to state their opinion and to comment on their agreement or disagreement with the other opinions. That is really the best use of a forum - enabling all parties to be heard.

 

The issues will not be resolved with further reiteration of the stated opinions, agreements and disagreements, the use of loud voices, etc. So I am asking that further discussion in this topic be on issues other than the use of photographs in EarthCache finds. If there are no other issues of importance for discussion here, we can close this topic until we have some new photograph-related information for the community.

 

Thanks.

Hey "friendly moderator", they are not listening! Some are still on the soap box.

I am through with this topic, but anxiously await your, "a statement that can be used going forward." Perhaps some clarity from a non-biased party would be in order since we are otherwise not getting it. Many thanks for your efforts.

Yes, I noticed. :D It's interesting to see things like that. A reason to smile on a snowy day.

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Please note that geoaware is currently on vacation, which is why he has not posted to this thread recently. Photos as proof of visitation must now be optional. Your logging tasks should be strong enough to prove that without requiring a photograph, and many people are opposed to having to post photos of themselves on the internet.

 

The guidelines have made an exception for photographs which are part of the Earth Science lesson, such as the example of taking a picture of the tidal bore. However, it would need to be something that aids in the learning opportunity at the site, not just a way around getting people to still take a photo to prove they were there.

 

Is erosion valid Earth science lesson? That would suite well in one of my EarthCaches.

Can I require gps track data posted with answers?

 

I'm wasn't pleased with the new guidelines but also challenged by changing my three EarthCaches to meet them. For me these pictures of EarthCaches were the spice of the whole thing. But now with these new guidelines it is very hard to get any taste. Maybe if I learn more and new tricks to create more intresting questions and tasks like some have posted here, I could also bring the taste back.

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"Erosional Features" is one of the classifications for EarthCaches, so yes, that could work. (The classifications are being worked on at the moment, as stated in other threads.)

 

GPS track data could possibly be a publishable logging task, as long as it meets all the guidelines posted at: http://rock.geosociety.org/earthcache/guidelines.htm

 

Particularly guideline #6:

6. Logging an EarthCache requires that visitors undertake an educational task relating to the specific Earth Science at the site. Examples of logging tasks include measuring or estimating the size of the geological feature, collecting and recording data (such as time of a tidal bore), or answering Earth Science related questions from information available only at the site. Tasks should teach or reinforce the site-specific lesson and should be the cache owner¹s proof that the cacher has visited the site. Taking a photograph at the site, or asking people to do internet research does NOT meet the logging task requirement. Answers to logging tasks MUST be placed in a 'Reviewer Note' at time of submission.

 

The key would be to have a task asking for track data connect strongly to whatever geologic lesson you are attempting to provide. Your local EarthCache reviewer will be able to help steer you in the right direction, based on the specifics of your submission.

 

There is a recent thread discussing options for logging tasks, you may want to look there to obtain and share some ideas. http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=266992

I think this thread would be a great place for people who need to revise their logging tasks/photo requests to get some fresh ideas and inspiration for logging tasks.

Edited by geoawareHQ

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Is erosion valid Earth science lesson? That would suite well in one of my EarthCaches.

 

Highland Creek is an example of an Earthcache with a focus on erosion in a creek.

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I have developed 2 ECs and am almost done my 3rd. I am not a geologist or even close but I have enjoyed plenty of ECs myself and wanted to share. In my ECs photos were always optional, but it has resulted in plenty of great pics and logs to go with them. I still feel rewarded by those that offer to upload a pic.

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I still enjoy looking at the EC photos on my earthcaches. I bet 90% of the cachers still take pictures at them.

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Just now reading the new earthcache requirements, specifically the photo requirements. On my earthcache, NPS mandated that there must be a photo requirement in order to publish it. I may have to archive the earthcache if I have to make the photo requirement optional. I don't know yet, I'll have to contact NPS about it.

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Just now reading the new earthcache requirements, specifically the photo requirements. On my earthcache, NPS mandated that there must be a photo requirement in order to publish it. I may have to archive the earthcache if I have to make the photo requirement optional. I don't know yet, I'll have to contact NPS about it.

 

Sheesh, this puts you in a bad spot. If I was in this position, I would try appealing to the reviewer for an exemption before I went to NPS. Earthcaching should aim to respect the wishes of park authorities and land managers.

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