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Quality of Earthcaches


terratin
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Hello,

 

since the change of guidelines and the use of local reviewers I have the feeling that I see an increasing number of earthcaches where the specific learning experience is missing, the questions are just about how many stairs you had to climb to get to the cache site, and much of the text is a completely copy and paste from wikipedia.

 

On the other hand I've been looking more at earthcaches and it might just be that the quality is not decreasing but those exceptions have always been there.

 

I don't want to point fingers as specific caches with this posting. I am curious if you notice the same, or if you disagree with me.

 

Mrs. Terratin

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I don't think "quality" is a reflection of changes in guidelines or the review process. Quality issues are hard to judge -- given the subjective nature of our own experiences. If there is any issue it probably has more to do with the popularity of earthcaches, people wanting to submit them for the sake of the icon, people choosing the path of least resistance in obtaining permission or developing tasks. Some earthcaches have the WOW factor. Some teach me about earth science. Some have little of either. But the quality earthcaches will continue to stand out, just as quality traditionals are distinguished.

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Perhaps the perception of the “quality” of an EC may lie w/the COs background in the Earth Sciences? I am glad to see more people, in spite of their lack of an earth science background, getting involved w/the creation of ECs. ECs should promote education.

 

There are a couple of other issues that I have run into that may cause a great or good requirement from not being listed. One would be a destructive approach say using a traditional geologic tool known as a rock hammer. The other being safety, I would hate to see someone get injured just to reach a particular location.

 

In conclusion, I’m not convinced that local reviewers really would have anything to do w/this. I’m sure they all have the same guidelines and policy to follow.

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I feel the best way to improve the quality of Earthcaches is to lead by example.

 

Somewhat difficult as I'd first need to learn much more of the language of the country I'm currently living in. :(

 

Anyway, good to see your comments. As I wrote before it was only an impression I got from looking at new earthcaches of especially various European countries.

 

Mrs. Terratin

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Hello,

 

since the change of guidelines and the use of local reviewers I have the feeling that I see an increasing number of earthcaches where the specific learning experience is missing, the questions are just about how many stairs you had to climb to get to the cache site, and much of the text is a completely copy and paste from wikipedia.

 

On the other hand I've been looking more at earthcaches and it might just be that the quality is not decreasing but those exceptions have always been there.

 

I don't want to point fingers as specific caches with this posting. I am curious if you notice the same, or if you disagree with me.

 

I have made the same observations in some European countries, in particular those where the density of Earthcaches is large. Certainly weak Earthcaches have existed at any time, but their number is increasing in various areas. Several of the local reviewers are not very close to geology and it certainly makes a difference if the review is done by someone who has studied geology or something related at university or is just interested into Earthcaches. Moreover, in some countries the number of submissions is so high that the reviewers do not have the time to spend a longer time on an individual cache submission (this is in particular true in the German speaking area where complaints already arrive if a cache is waiting for a week or longer for a decision). Actually, I also think that some of these local reviewers and not the cache visitors are the true reason for the change in the language guidelines.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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I have made the same observations in some European countries, in particular those where the density of Earthcaches is large. Certainly weak Earthcaches have existed at any time, but their number is increasing in various areas. Several of the local reviewers are not very close to geology and it certainly makes a difference if the review is done by someone who has studied geology or something related at university or is just interested into Earthcaches. Moreover, in some countries the number of submissions is so high that the reviewers do not have the time to spend a longer time on an individual cache submission (this is in particular true in the German speaking area where complaints already arrive if a cache is waiting for a week or longer for a decision). Actually, I also think that some of these local reviewers and not the cache visitors are the true reason for the change in the language guidelines.

Cezanne

 

Hi Cezanne,

 

interesting that you have observed the same. Maybe I'm not seeing things that aren't there at all. Yes, I was referring to earthcaches in various European countries in fact. I can imagine that it's difficult to review an earthcache if you have not done all the research yourself, especially if the reviewer does not have a background in geology. I'd have problems reviewing an earthcache on rare earth elements, to just name something, without looking at the source materials. And pushy cache owners probably doesn't help. Maybe it was a mistake to say that the reviewing process would be faster with local reviewers. Such work just needs some time.

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Hello,

 

since the change of guidelines and the use of local reviewers I have the feeling that I see an increasing number of earthcaches where the specific learning experience is missing, the questions are just about how many stairs you had to climb to get to the cache site, and much of the text is a completely copy and paste from wikipedia.

 

On the other hand I've been looking more at earthcaches and it might just be that the quality is not decreasing but those exceptions have always been there.

 

I don't want to point fingers as specific caches with this posting. I am curious if you notice the same, or if you disagree with me.

 

I have made the same observations in some European countries, in particular those where the density of Earthcaches is large. Certainly weak Earthcaches have existed at any time, but their number is increasing in various areas. Several of the local reviewers are not very close to geology and it certainly makes a difference if the review is done by someone who has studied geology or something related at university or is just interested into Earthcaches. Moreover, in some countries the number of submissions is so high that the reviewers do not have the time to spend a longer time on an individual cache submission (this is in particular true in the German speaking area where complaints already arrive if a cache is waiting for a week or longer for a decision). Actually, I also think that some of these local reviewers and not the cache visitors are the true reason for the change in the language guidelines.

 

 

Cezanne

 

"I also think that some of these local reviewers and not the cache visitors are the true reason for the change in the language guidelines."

 

Very well said Cezanne! Actually, we believe that most all of the recent changes in the guidelines are from the same basis! The changes certainly have not or are not coming from the earthcaching community! ;)

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And we all know that the "earthcaching community" is a homogenous, Borg-like entity with no variation or dissent amongst its ranks.

 

Resistance is futile.

 

<_<

 

AssimilatedSmiley2-A.gif

Sorry I could not resist.

 

What an intelligent discussion. The topic of the OP would deserve contributions that are on topic.

 

For example, it would be interesting to know how many of the EC reviewers have a degree in geology or something related or work in a geology-related area. (In my opinion, the interest into ECs and having developped and visited many of them does not suffice). It would also be interesting how much time in average the typical EC reviewer can afford to invest into a single EC listing (I do not include here the correspondene with the creator of the cache) and whether the scientific information provided is checked in some way, or whether the main focus is just on having a look at the logging tasks and whether the guidelines are fullfilled. In the early years of EC I had the feeling that more attention was paid to the contents of an EC. I may be wrong, but this is how I perceive it. I need to mention that I am mainly looking on European ECs.

 

If the main focus is on checking the fulfillment of the guidelines, then I feel that EC more or less boil down to virtual caches with a geological topic reintroduced on gc.com through the back-door and not what I (and others) considered them to be.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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