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terratin

High Difficulty ECs

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Hullo,

 

during our vacation we came up with some ideas for new EarthCaches, and then got really wild with logging tasks for those, and for things we don't know if we ever find a suitable location. :P

 

I wonder, are there EarthCaches with a high difficulty rating that work? I guess our 'Got Vinegar?' caches is a bit more difficult than most, but the question is how far can you really go without asking for specialist knowledge. What would a D4 or D5 EC look like?

 

Cheers,

Mrs. terratin

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I wonder, are there EarthCaches with a high difficulty rating that work? I guess our 'Got Vinegar?' caches is a bit more difficult than most, but the question is how far can you really go without asking for specialist knowledge. What would a D4 or D5 EC look like?

 

 

I have not come across ECs with high difficulty ratings. Personally, I would very much like to come across such ECs (provided the terrain rating is sufficiently low) even though (or rather because) I would have to acquire the required knowledge. I feel that it is very unfair that high terrain ECs are perfectly ok (even if the same location and the same knowledge can be transmitted by an EC with a much lower terrain rating - e.g. there exist ECs which require a demanding canyoning tour while asking only a question about the width of the gorge at some point), but the writeup and the questions have to be directed towards the level of average 14 years old in North America. I know two very enthusiastic Earth cachers in my area (mother and daughter, both Platinum EC masters) who recently got turned down an EC dealing with serpentine because the write up and the questions were not elementary enough. They lost their motivation, gave up and will probably not try again.

 

The only reason I could see for a D5 rating would be that you have to take some tools with you one typically has not available when geocaching, but that's not a true example for a very difficult EC, but just a result of the fact that the D-scale is not a linear order with respect to the difficulty due to the D5 anomality.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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but the writeup and the questions have to be directed towards the level of average 14 years old in North America. I know two very enthusiastic Earth cachers in my area (mother and daughter, both Platinum EC masters) who recently got turned down an EC dealing with serpentine because the write up and the questions were not elementary enough. They lost their motivation, gave up and will probably not try again.

 

Yes, that's what I've been wondering. I suppose you could do a more difficult EarthCache with a somewhat more extensive task. As an example out of chemistry you could probably describe an experiment and ask your average 14 year old to run the experiment and describe the results. It's not that I really want to make a more difficult EarthCache because it might be possible, but I'm rather thinking of adding little 'practical geologist' questions which will be more extensive than your average 'read word x from the sign' cache :P

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It's not that I really want to make a more difficult EarthCache because it might be possible, but I'm rather thinking of adding little 'practical geologist' questions which will be more extensive than your average 'read word x from the sign' cache :P

 

That's exactly the reason why I would be interested into such an EC. I am not interested into something which is just difficult per se. There are tons of difficult puzzle caches I could do, but which do not attract me as there is nothing to learn for me which attracts my interest.

 

Cezanne

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Keep in mind that ECs are to be written at a reading level of a 14 year old and I would assume it would also be at that same comprehension (learning) level. The primary goal of an EC is to provide a geological learning experience. Difficult questions are probably OK, but extremely difficult questions may be at cross purpose with the intent. Personally, I don't see the need of true 4 or 5 difficulty EC, but that's just me.

Thanks. :)

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Keep in mind that ECs are to be written at a reading level of a 14 year old and I would assume it would also be at that same comprehension (learning) level.

 

Both Mrs terratin and myself are aware of that restriction. Let's also ignore for the moment the issue that the knowledge and the learning level of 14 years old can be quite different and also the average in different countries is quite diverse. At the age of 14 I loved to read science books and magazines directed to adults and also had undergone quite some science education in school.

 

The primary goal of an EC is to provide a geological learning experience. Difficult questions are probably OK, but extremely difficult questions may be at cross purpose with the intent.

 

But wouldn't the same hold for difficult terrain ECs where the difficult terrain can be avoided?

Why not asking for ECs to be accessible for the average 70 year old person? (Not that I want to suggest such a restriction, I just cannot understand the logic behind the approach taken.)

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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I personally wouldn't have an issue with a difficult EC, providing that the question could be answered onsite. If it's something that requires pulling out a textbook to answer, then it seems to me that would be contrary to the intent of the Guidelines.

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I personally wouldn't have an issue with a difficult EC, providing that the question could be answered onsite. If it's something that requires pulling out a textbook to answer, then it seems to me that would be contrary to the intent of the Guidelines.

 

Where do you draw the borderline? E.g. it might be necessary for some people to first read some stuff in preparation in order to be able to perform a certain experiment at the site.

That would not necessarily be contrary to the guidelines as the knowledge level of 14 years old can be quite different. There is lots of stuff that is taught in grammar school over here which many people forget again later on.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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but the writeup and the questions have to be directed towards the level of average 14 years old in North America. I know two very enthusiastic Earth cachers in my area (mother and daughter, both Platinum EC masters) who recently got turned down an EC dealing with serpentine because the write up and the questions were not elementary enough. They lost their motivation, gave up and will probably not try again.

 

Yes, that's what I've been wondering. I suppose you could do a more difficult EarthCache with a somewhat more extensive task. As an example out of chemistry you could probably describe an experiment and ask your average 14 year old to run the experiment and describe the results. It's not that I really want to make a more difficult EarthCache because it might be possible, but I'm rather thinking of adding little 'practical geologist' questions which will be more extensive than your average 'read word x from the sign' cache :P

 

For some reason I just immediately thought of Earthcaching in the Appalachians.... chemistry experiment being a distillation.

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I believe the expectation is that Finders should not be required to have any previous background in Geology. Given that, I feel that if the information in the Description is sufficient to answer the Logging Requirements, then that is fair game. That is where the line should be drawn IMO.

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I’m sticking w/the KISS Principle. I would rather see more enjoy an EC than have anyone cussing me out due to a high difficulty ranking. For those of us trained in the Earth Sciences this would be fine, but I feel it’s my responsibility to enlighten others to the Earth Sciences and this approach sort of defeats that purpose. The guidelines make perfect sense to me, so perhaps there is something to be said about simplicity.

Personally, I’ve already passed by some 5 Terrains due to the fact I don’t have the extra equipment to make this a doable EC. I’m no different than the next guy, just drop that one and go on to the next…

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I rated one as high difficulty because it requried identifying the layering of the rocks, then measuring the strike and dip of them. I though the concept of visualizing the horizontal and the 3 dimentional plane of the rock beds would be quite difficult for most people.

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC1ABZY

 

A nearby one I also rated as high because of the technical jargon I used in the question and having to relate the pictures (that are always drawn so perfectly) to the messy real world example.

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC1AAAP

Edited by TerryDad2

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I personally wouldn't have an issue with a difficult EC, providing that the question could be answered onsite. If it's something that requires pulling out a textbook to answer, then it seems to me that would be contrary to the intent of the Guidelines.

I believe you are right on target. Using the internet or having to do non-site research is counter productive and probably not within the spirit of the guidelines.

Thanks.

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I’m sticking w/the KISS Principle. I would rather see more enjoy an EC than have anyone cussing me out due to a high difficulty ranking. For those of us trained in the Earth Sciences this would be fine, but I feel it’s my responsibility to enlighten others to the Earth Sciences and this approach sort of defeats that purpose. The guidelines make perfect sense to me, so perhaps there is something to be said about simplicity.

Personally, I’ve already passed by some 5 Terrains due to the fact I don’t have the extra equipment to make this a doable EC. I’m no different than the next guy, just drop that one and go on to the next…

This is the other most pertinent post on this thread beside Touchstone's. I like the reference to KISS. I used to have a boss who reminded me of it about every other day. :)

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I rated one as high difficulty because it requried identifying the layering of the rocks, then measuring the strike and dip of them. I though the concept of visualizing the horizontal and the 3 dimentional plane of the rock beds would be quite difficult for most people.

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC1ABZY

 

A nearby one I also rated as high because of the technical jargon I used in the question and having to relate the pictures (that are always drawn so perfectly) to the messy real world example.

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC1AAAP

 

Yes! That's pretty much the kind of tasks I was thinking of, TerryDad!

How do people manage to solve them or do people have problems of any kind? I was looking at some kind of mapping exercise before, on the 'back spine' of Qatar, but my stay there was running out and I didn't even start testing how people could measure angles without having any equipment (I thought about providing a plan for building that from cardboard).

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I believe the expectation is that Finders should not be required to have any previous background in Geology. Given that, I feel that if the information in the Description is sufficient to answer the Logging Requirements, then that is fair game. That is where the line should be drawn IMO.

 

A lot of experiments do not require a background in geology, but some basic science education. The guideline is only talking about geology and only giving reference to 14 years old. In my geography, physics, chemistry and biology lessons I attended until the age of 14, I was taught quite a lot what could occur in an EC, but still is very far from having a background in geology. That's why I asked my question.

 

For example, I know a lot of people who do not know what the PH value is and how it is measured, though this is basic stuff taught in school. I would not regard it as necessary to explain the PH value in an EC listing.

 

Cezanne

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I’m sticking w/the KISS Principle. I would rather see more enjoy an EC than have anyone cussing me out due to a high difficulty ranking.

 

But why wouldn't the same argument apply to the terrain rating if it is not enforced by the location? I really cannot understand why so many people make such a large difference between the D and the T rating. Those who argue with KISS, should apply this also to the T-rating. Why do so many people associate high terrain ratings with fun and high difficulty ratings with spoiling fund? (I do not have a problem with the fact that they personally prefer high terrain over high difficulty, I am just asking why this is seen like a general principle.)

 

Personally, I’ve already passed by some 5 Terrains due to the fact I don’t have the extra equipment to make this a doable EC. I’m no different than the next guy, just drop that one and go on to the next…

 

But whoever wishes to do so can drop each EC that has a higher rating than X, regardless of whether it concerns the D or the T rating.

 

 

Cezanne

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There are vast differences between the D and the T ratings. God, Mother Nature or whomever you choose and/or worship created the basis for the T rating. We create the D rating therefore have a modicum of control over it! No comparison except both use a 5 point scale! While the numbers one to five are the same, what they stand for have no relation to each other!

Sometimes Mother Nature inconveniences us by putting one of her wonders in a hard-to-reach place. On the other hand, we can take the fun out of the adventure by making the learning experience seem like a visit to a medieval torture room or a more modern analogy, having fun while receiving a root canal.

As has been often said (by us), IT'S A GAME! :ph34r:

Edited by Konnarock Kid & Marge

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Sometimes Mother Nature inconveniences us by putting one of her wonders in a hard-to-reach place.

 

I wrote about high terrain ratings which are not enforced by the conditions. It is clear that an EC at/in a cave at a location that is hard to reach has to have a high terrain rating as it makes no sense to show the cave from 1km apart. It is, however, not enforced by the location if an EC in a gorge that is also visitable via a trail is set up as canyoning cache which requires one to do a canyoning tour. (This is just an example of many possible ones.) Certainly, canyoning is an adventure in itself that many might enjoy, but it is not geology related.

 

I believe that high terrain ratings that can be avoided are the same as high difficulty ratings that can be avoided. So why is it logical to restrict the D-rating and not the T-rating in cases where there is flexibility?

 

 

On the other hand, we can take the fun out of the adventure by making the learning experience seem like a visit to a medieval torture room or a more modern analogy, having fun while receiving a root canal.

As has been often said (by us), IT'S A GAME! :ph34r:

 

Sure, we can, but this equally applies to high D-ratings and high T-ratings.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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I wonder, are there EarthCaches with a high difficulty rating that work? I guess our 'Got Vinegar?' caches is a bit more difficult than most, but the question is how far can you really go without asking for specialist knowledge. What would a D4 or D5 EC look like?

 

 

BTW:

I looked through all Austrian ECs. There is one 5/5 (by Thoto) where the D=5 seems to be extremely overrated, one with D=3.5* and all other ones have D smaller than 3.5*. There are 2 D=5* EC in Germany and 9 with D=4. PMs can look through the list by searching for all ECs of a country (not possible for the US) and then sorting with respect to D.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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There are vast differences between the D and the T ratings. God, Mother Nature or whomever you choose and/or worship created the basis for the T rating. We create the D rating therefore have a modicum of control over it! No comparison except both use a 5 point scale! While the numbers one to five are the same, what they stand for have no relation to each other!

Sometimes Mother Nature inconveniences us by putting one of her wonders in a hard-to-reach place. On the other hand, we can take the fun out of the adventure by making the learning experience seem like a visit to a medieval torture room or a more modern analogy, having fun while receiving a root canal.

 

I think this sums it up very well.

 

The intent of the EC guidelines is to teach people about the Earth science of a site through them reading the notes, observing a phenomenon and undertaking a task.

 

However...I can also see a place for an EarthCache that requires some additional effort to be put in before visiting the site...and therefore making it a more difficult one on the scale.

 

I would not want to see all EC move in that direction - but variety is the spice of life!

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I believe that high terrain ratings that can be avoided are the same as high difficulty ratings that can be avoided. So why is it logical to restrict the D-rating and not the T-rating in cases where there is flexibility?

I don't belive there is such a restriction, providing you can phrase the Logging Requirements in a way that a Middle School student can understand them.

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I believe that high terrain ratings that can be avoided are the same as high difficulty ratings that can be avoided. So why is it logical to restrict the D-rating and not the T-rating in cases where there is flexibility?

I don't belive there is such a restriction, providing you can phrase the Logging Requirements in a way that a Middle School student can understand them.

 

You are correct.

 

And in fact, there is no Difficult restriction at all...other than the reading age. And that guideline was written to reduce geological jargon and other geoscience terms that were not explained in the text.

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I rated one as high difficulty because it requried identifying the layering of the rocks, then measuring the strike and dip of them. I though the concept of visualizing the horizontal and the 3 dimentional plane of the rock beds would be quite difficult for most people.

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC1ABZY

 

A nearby one I also rated as high because of the technical jargon I used in the question and having to relate the pictures (that are always drawn so perfectly) to the messy real world example.

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?wp=GC1AAAP

 

Just curious as to how you treat responses to the reqs. As a CO I see an interesting range of answers that are from "close" to "did you even visit" in terms of accuracy. Do you treat these caches any differently since they have a higher difficulty, in terms of people's inaccuracy? Should they be?

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I believe that high terrain ratings that can be avoided are the same as high difficulty ratings that can be avoided. So why is it logical to restrict the D-rating and not the T-rating in cases where there is flexibility?

I don't belive there is such a restriction, providing you can phrase the Logging Requirements in a way that a Middle School student can understand them.

 

Actually a reviewer from country A typically does not even know what a student at age 14 is taught in country B.

I know of several ECs where the writeup was rejected although it was at a suitable level with respect to what I was taught in school until the age of 14.

 

Moreover, I also referred to the type of comments that typically come if someone wants to come up with more difficult questions, namely that this spoils the fun and conflicts with the idea of a game or/and the idea of Earthcaching.

The implicit assumption behind many statements of that type appears to me that climbing, canyoning etc is automatically fun while spending quite some time on

doing e.g. an experiment is not fitting to a game.

 

 

Cezanne

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And in fact, there is no Difficult restriction at all...other than the reading age. And that guideline was written to reduce geological jargon and other geoscience terms that were not explained in the text.

 

It depends however on how one interprets the reading age restriction. In the school I attended we were expected to look up terms we did not know - it was not standard to receive an explanation for every single term or word (if the text was in a foreign language).

 

Cezanne

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The Guidelines spell out the available recourse to resolve such disputes between a person submitting the Listing and the Reviewer. I would probably politely avail myself of the two options spelled out, if I felt it would seriously degrade the quality of my Listing to comply with the request.

 

That's assuming that a protracted discussion with the Reviewer would be fruitless. If it's a matter of merely clearly defining some terminology to make the Logging Requirements more comprehensible, then that seems like a relatively minor fix IMO.

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We have one in my area rated 5/5, The Gap, but the difficulty is obviously tied to the terrain. You have to estimate the class of the rapid (definitions provided in the cache description), give the elevation at the rock, and describe the factors of the whitewater effect (examples of which are provided in the cache description). Might be 2 star difficulty without the terrain tie-in.

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The Guidelines spell out the available recourse to resolve such disputes between a person submitting the Listing and the Reviewer.

I would probably politely avail myself of the two options spelled out, if I felt it would seriously degrade the quality of my Listing to comply with the request.

 

Agreed. Typically however not the quality will suffer, but the fun for the creator of the cache and undergoing an appeal process will not add to the fun either.

 

Cezanne

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I believe that high terrain ratings that can be avoided are the same as high difficulty ratings that can be avoided. So why is it logical to restrict the D-rating and not the T-rating in cases where there is flexibility?

I don't belive there is such a restriction, providing you can phrase the Logging Requirements in a way that a Middle School student can understand them.

 

Actually a reviewer from country A typically does not even know what a student at age 14 is taught in country B.

I know of several ECs where the writeup was rejected although it was at a suitable level with respect to what I was taught in school until the age of 14.

 

Moreover, I also referred to the type of comments that typically come if someone wants to come up with more difficult questions, namely that this spoils the fun and conflicts with the idea of a game or/and the idea of Earthcaching.

The implicit assumption behind many statements of that type appears to me that climbing, canyoning etc is automatically fun while spending quite some time on

doing e.g. an experiment is not fitting to a game.

 

 

Cezanne

With the greatest respect, you seem to always infer that a reviewer who is not in your country has absolutely no knowledge of anything that pertains to your country This is such a false premise.

 

I, for one, have a great knowledge of education standards around the globe. Its the nature of my job and reflected in the positions I hold on international education committees. I have a great understanding of level that a 14 yr old is taught and understands around the globe - and to be honest, its is not rocket science to have that appreciation.

 

The issue here is not the pedantics of what a 14 yr can read or know - but rather if a layperson can read, understand and learn from an EarthCache.

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Not to derail this topic, but do others agree that no EC should be rated less than a 1.5 for difficulty?

 

I have seen a few ec's with relatively simple questions rated a 1 for difficulty. Just the fact that all ec's require answering questions and emailing those answers to the CO, I believe warrants at least an extra 1/2 point over say a traditional 1 difficulty conventional cache. No ec of mine will ever be rated a 1 difficulty no matter how simple the questions are.

 

Back on topic, I would love to find a true d5 EC..... who am I kidding, I love to find any D# EC.rolleyes.gif

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One dolphin's opinion...

EarthCaches are there to teach me something about earth science. If it is educational, and fun, then it works. Scenic adds to that. If it is not educational, or if it's not fun, then why bother? And I've seen far too many that were not educational. Yes, it's a great glacial erratic, or waterfall. But, measuring the size of the glacial erratic might prove that I was there, but it doesn't teach me anything. "Which way are the birds flying", or "Is the tide high or low" are neither educational nor fun.

Terrain is not the subject here. No. I am not buying a kayak to find the EarthCache on that island. Or rappelling down the cliff. (Though, if I ever do set my EarthCache, the terrain will be between 3 and 4. Sorry. That is where you will have to hike to see what I want to show you.)

The question is high difficulty. Okay. I will bring along the thermometer that I bought to measure water temperature, or my tape measure, or the bottle of vinegar. (Okay. I used a lime quarter from last night's dinner..) No. I will not buy a mass spectrometer. Or a pH meter. If one makes an EarthCache too difficult, then that person has missed the concept of what an EarthCache is supposed to be about.

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With the greatest respect, you seem to always infer that a reviewer who is not in your country has absolutely no knowledge of anything that pertains to your country

This is such a false premise.

 

First, I was not writing about a specific country. I mentioned country A and country B that act as placeholders for every single possible country on the globe.

 

Second, I was not saying "no knowledge".

 

Third, I am convinced that you have a general knowledge about education standards that will be better than the knowledge of the other people writing here.

 

Fourth, there are countries where there is no common education standard for the level up to 14 years as there is no common education for the age class 10-14. Students are split up already at the age of 10 into diverse different types of schools. This e.g. means that there are tremendous differences between what a 14 year old will able to understand and accomplish. There are those who do not even manage to speak the language of the country they live in, those whose are not even able to read a normal book in their native language up to those who plan to continue their education in grammar school and continue further on to university at the age of 18.

 

The issue here is not the pedantics of what a 14 yr can read or know - but rather if a layperson can read, understand and learn from an EarthCache.

 

My intent was not to be pedantic. The problem I have with your statement is the term "layperson". In my opinion, a person who studied history at the university or say old Greek is considered to be a layperson when it comes to geology. The same is true for a person who spent his whole life on a farm or works as car mechanic. I am pretty sure however that these people will typically have different reading abilities and different ideas of what would be something interesting to learn for them.

In my opinion (you need not share it) asking about Earthcaches that are enjoyed by all these groups of laypersons does not really work out as people have different capabilities and different preferences.

 

When I was in school, I certainly was not taught about rocket science, but it was expected from every student to put effort into his/her work and not to expect that everything is offered already in a fully prepared manner. I would not like to have to look up the majority of words in a text, but feel that if I know already everything beforehand, there is nothing to learn for me. (This is a general statement, not specifically directed to Earthcaches).

 

Suppose I would not know how to measure the PH value and what this value means. In that case I would regard it as much more appealing to acquire this knowledge by looking it up than by having spelt out every single detail in the EC page. This somehow feels to me like a puzzle cache with the solution given in the text or like some idiotic questions in school books where first there are four statements and then four questions which ask exactly what is stated above in the same formulation. I have to admit that these type of questions are the suitable type of questions for many pupils in problematic schools in my country who are just attending school because they there is a law requiring them to do so. I am certainly however not interested into ECs that are directed at this target audience (I respect them as human being as every other human being regardless of their abilities). For me it would make more sense to reformulate the requirements to be at the reading and understanding level of laypersons who are fond of learning and that makes a huge difference to omitting the "fond of learning". That's however, just my opinion. The EC stuff is your stuff and you are free to have whatever guidelines you wish to have.

 

My main argument here was anyhow anyhow another one, namely the following: If your key intent is to open up Earthcaching to as many cachers as possible, then along with the "14 years old" formulation you would also need to have a restriction like "Make the EC available to the average 70 old whenever this is possible without changing the EC's lesson". The fact that you only focus on the intellectual part, makes me feel that there is a bias. Again, as it is your program, you are free to choose your rules.

 

I hope I managed to explain the background of my comments. I decided to answer here and not privately as some parts are of more general interest, and also as I wanted to

stress in public that I never ever had any doubts in your competence. (I am familiar with your CV.)

 

Cezanne

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Fourth, there are countries where there is no common education standard for the level up to 14 years as there is no common education for the age class 10-14. Students are split up already at the age of 10 into diverse different types of schools. This e.g. means that there are tremendous differences between what a 14 year old will able to understand and accomplish. There are those who do not even manage to speak the language of the country they live in, those whose are not even able to read a normal book in their native language up to those who plan to continue their education in grammar school and continue further on to university at the age of 18.

While not explicitly stated, I think it's fairly obvious that the EC readability guideline applys to the average 14-year-old student. There are wide differences between what 14 year olds can read in every country, especially when you include students with learning disabilities. To try to include all of them within the readability guideline wouldn't be practical.

Edited by CanadianRockies

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I looked through all Austrian ECs. There is one 5/5 (by Thoto) where the D=5 seems to be extremely overrated, one with D=3.5* and all other ones have D smaller than 3.5*. There are 2 D=5* EC in Germany and 9 with D=4. PMs can look through the list by searching for all ECs of a country (not possible for the US) and then sorting with respect to D.

Actually, it's rather easy to do this for the United States (or Canada or Europe). A single PQ allows you to select multiple states or provinces (or countries) if you press the CTRL key as you left click your mouse button.

 

In the United States, 26 EarthCaches are rated D5, 17 are rated D4.5, and 38 are rated D4.

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I have seen a few ec's with relatively simple questions rated a 1 for difficulty. Just the fact that all ec's require answering questions and emailing those answers to the CO, I believe warrants at least an extra 1/2 point over say a traditional 1 difficulty conventional cache. No ec of mine will ever be rated a 1 difficulty no matter how simple the questions are.

In the United States, over 1,000 ECs are rated D1. Over half of my EC finds are rated D1. Whether they should be is another matter.

 

I've encountered some ECs where I simply need to go to the posted coordinates, read a short informational sign, and find the answer(s) to the listing's one or two questions. Emailing the answer(s) to the CO isn't very hard -- just one extra, small step in logging my online "Found It."

 

Since these tasks took less time and effort than it does to find a typical D1.5 traditional cache, I don't have a problem with some ECs being rated D1. But I do agree that most of the D1-rated EarthCaches (and traditionals) that I've found probably should be rated D1.5 or above.

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If a D5 earthcache is comprehensible to an average 14 year old, why not? It is probably not something I would choose to do, just as puzzle caches that require trigonometry, computer science, advanced code decryption, and other such things are not something I choose to do.

 

In general, my personal philosophy is that the higher the terrain, the easier the cache should be. So among my uncompleted earthcaches is one that requires a T4 hike but has a 1.5 difficulty. I will do that when the hills start to turn green. There is also a 3.5 difficulty earthcache that uses "strike and dip" but a reasonable terrain. My daughter wants a compass for her birthday, so I will take her there and we can try it out.

 

Some of my favorite earthcaches have been those that require some practical task at the site. But a D5? Apart from some professional seminars, I have not taken a science class since high school biology. I have little interest in having to do outside research before visiting the site -- so if I saw an earthcache that requires "some additional effort to be put in before visiting the site" (as geoaware stated), I probably wonder why the person was incapable of explaining the geology or the task on the earthcache page, and then put it on my ignore list. That works fine for me.

Edited by geodarts

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Recently I did an EC that was get out of vehicle read sign in parking lot and you had the three questions answers. But to complete the EC you had to cross the bridge (fun) then climb a straight up coulee and take a picture of something that was visible from the bridge. Then do a slip, slide, fall straight back down the coulee. I failed to see what the climb taught me about the EC or geology except coulees are dangerous, which I have always known.

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Recently I did an EC that was get out of vehicle read sign in parking lot and you had the three questions answers. But to complete the EC you had to cross the bridge (fun) then climb a straight up coulee and take a picture of something that was visible from the bridge. Then do a slip, slide, fall straight back down the coulee. I failed to see what the climb taught me about the EC or geology except coulees are dangerous, which I have always known.

 

Your post exactly describes the type of situation I had in mind when I asked why the physical tasks can be almost anything regardless of whether there is any connection to geology.

 

Cezanne

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If a D5 earthcache is comprehensible to an average 14 year old, why not? It is probably not something I would choose to do, just as puzzle caches that require trigonometry, computer science, advanced code decryption, and other such things are not something I choose to do.

 

Actually, difficult does not necessarily mean D=5*. Moreover, D=5* can also come from the necessity of some unusual tool.

As I mentioned there exists a single D=5* EC in Austria (but that's overrated and probably a combination with the terrain that is overrated as well), one with D=3.5* and all others have D less or equal to 3*. There would exist some room in between.

 

Some of my favorite earthcaches have been those that require some practical task at the site.

 

There does not exist a single one of that type in the areas reachable for me.

 

Apart from some professional seminars, I have not taken a science class since high school biology.

 

I have not taken a single seminar, course, class or whatever on natural sciences after high school and still I would love to encounter ECs that ask for more than writing down a few words or estimating the height or width of some object.

 

Cezanne

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Fourth, there are countries where there is no common education standard for the level up to 14 years as there is no common education for the age class 10-14. Students are split up already at the age of 10 into diverse different types of schools. This e.g. means that there are tremendous differences between what a 14 year old will able to understand and accomplish. There are those who do not even manage to speak the language of the country they live in, those whose are not even able to read a normal book in their native language up to those who plan to continue their education in grammar school and continue further on to university at the age of 18.

While not explicitly stated, I think it's fairly obvious that the EC readability guideline applys to the average 14-year-old student. There are wide differences between what 14 year olds can read in every country, especially when you include students with learning disabilities. To try to include all of them within the readability guideline wouldn't be practical.

 

I agree and always have understood the guideline in terms of the average 14-year old student, but I would prefer a formulation "average 14 old student with some interest into learning". Moreover, averaging over reading abilities and knowledge level is not that easy as averaging over weight or some other easily measurable one-dimensional value. The majority of countries around the world have only one type of school until the age of 14 or even longer. (Of course this does not mean that all schools have the same quality.)

 

What I tried to convey above was that there are countries where the knowledge of 14 year olds depends a lot on the type of school they visit and not only on their talent, their intelligence, will to study etc. Averaging over all types of schools skews up the result.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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Your post exactly describes the type of situation I had in mind when I asked why the physical tasks can be almost anything regardless of whether there is any connection to geology.

 

Cezanne

 

Actually, from what is being described, it sounds like an ALR and doesn't belong on the Listing, but they may have missed the point of the climb, so I would withold any judgement based on a single report.

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I agree and always have understood the guideline in terms of the average 14-year old student, but I would prefer a formulation "average 14 old student with some interest into learning".

The guideline is intended to give EC creators a general idea of the type of vocabulary and grammar they should use when writing their listings. I think most people have a reasonable understanding of what an average 14-year-old student can read and comprehend. Complicating the guideline by applying it to an "average 14-year-old student with some interest in learning" doesn't really help, since "some interest in learning" more easily could mean different things to different people.

 

If you think EC listings should allow for more sophisticated reading skills, then it probably would be better to advocate for an average 16-year-old student reading level (or whatever your preference might be), since this is easier for most people to judge.

 

Moreover, averaging over reading abilities and knowledge level is not that easy as averaging over weight or some other easily measurable one-dimensional value.

Yes, measuring reading comprehension skills isn't as easy or accurate as measuring weight, but it doesn't have to be. The purpose of this EC guideline is to help EC creators understand what the reviewers/Groundspeak/GSA expect in terms of readability. It reduces the likelihood that a EC creator will spend lots of time and effort writing a complex listing page only to be disappointed when it doesn't match the reviewer's expectations and requires a massive rewrite.

 

The guideline doesn't guarantee that the creator and reviewer will be on the same page on the first try, but it improves the chances. If the EC creator doesn't have a precise understanding on their first attempt, then the EC review process allows them to rewrite their listing until it conforms to the reviewer's expectations. Because of this guideline, those modifications are less likely to require lots of effort.

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The guideline is intended to give EC creators a general idea of the type of vocabulary and grammar they should use when writing their listings. I think most people have a reasonable understanding of what an average 14-year-old student can read and comprehend. Complicating the guideline by applying it to an "average 14-year-old student with some interest in learning" doesn't really help,

 

I agree that it does not help in making the guideline more clear. This has not my intent when mentioning my preferred version. I do not have any issues in understanding what is probably meant with the guideline when it talks about 14 year old student. I just would prefer if a higher level with respect to vocabulary and logging tasks were made possible.

(Not targeted to people with a background in geology, but people inclined to read and learn and who do it with ease.)

 

For example, I know quite well how basic a text has to be that an average Austrian student from the school type "Hauptschule" (the lowest level of schools for the 10-14 year olds) in a city (not on the countryside with no AHS=grammar school nearby) can easily understand it. I just would neither like to read such texts in my leisure time nor to produce them. Moreover, I am happy about each EC that is not written at this level.

 

 

Cezanne

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Your post exactly describes the type of situation I had in mind when I asked why the physical tasks can be almost anything regardless of whether there is any connection to geology.

 

Cezanne

 

Actually, from what is being described, it sounds like an ALR and doesn't belong on the Listing, but they may have missed the point of the climb, so I would withold any judgement based on a single report.

 

Not necessarily. One can easily construct logging tasks that are fulfilable just from a specific location. The canonying tour example that I mentioned is a of similar type. It is not an ALR as in order to estimate the width of the gorge at exactly the position of a mountain rescue team point is only possible when doing the canyoning tour while visiting the gorge/canyon and having a look at it and its geology is possible also from trails. The focus of that EC is the canonying tour and not getting taught something about geology.

 

 

Cezanne

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The guideline is intended to give EC creators a general idea of the type of vocabulary and grammar they should use when writing their listings. I think most people have a reasonable understanding of what an average 14-year-old student can read and comprehend. Complicating the guideline by applying it to an "average 14-year-old student with some interest in learning" doesn't really help,

I agree that it does not help in making the guideline more clear. This has not my intent when mentioning my preferred version.... I just would prefer if a higher level with respect to vocabulary and logging tasks were made possible.

Then I'll repeat my previous suggestion:

 

If you think EC listings should allow for more sophisticated reading skills, then it probably would be better to advocate for an average 16-year-old student reading level (or whatever your preference might be), since this is easier for most people to judge.

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I agree that it does not help in making the guideline more clear. This has not my intent when mentioning my preferred version.... I just would prefer if a higher level with respect to vocabulary and logging tasks were made possible.

Then I'll repeat my previous suggestion:

 

If you think EC listings should allow for more sophisticated reading skills, then it probably would be better to advocate for an average 16-year-old student reading level (or whatever your preference might be), since this is easier for most people to judge.

 

Actually, I do not think that this would make much of a difference except in those countries where most of those at age 16 you are not interested into learning do not attend any longer a school (not even a vocational school) and thus cannot be regarded as students. (This also would require that 16 year old student is used and not 16 year old.) My own reading skills did not change that much from 14 to 16. Moreover, typically functional analphabets stay functional analphabets their whole life. When considering how many functional analphabets exists and how many are almost functional analphabets it should be evident that averaging over the reading skills does not make much sense and would lead to texts that are like the texts in my books for my first year in primary school.

 

Personally, I would prefer a formulation that just makes sure that the write up is understandable by non specialists.

Anyway, I do not see any realistic chance that the guideline will be changed. So it was more a philosophical kind of discussion from my side. What I still wonder about is why the T-side is favoured over the D-side when the discussion touches topics of fun and enjoyment. This is not unique to Earthcaching, but more evident there, in particular as there are guidelines for ECs that put restrictions on the difficulty while descriptions for physical caches can be as complicated as intended by the cache hider.

 

Cezanne

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If you think EC listings should allow for more sophisticated reading skills, then it probably would be better to advocate for an average 16-year-old student reading level (or whatever your preference might be), since this is easier for most people to judge.

Actually, I do not think that this would make much of a difference except in those countries where most of those at age 16 you are not interested into learning do not attend any longer a school (not even a vocational school) and thus cannot be regarded as students.

Then you could advocate for an average 20-year-old student reading level (or whatever your preference might be). The point is that there should be some easily understood common ground between the EC reviewers and the EC creators that effectively communicates the expected minimum readability of the EC listing.

 

Personally, I would prefer a formulation that just makes sure that the write up is understandable by non specialists.

If you could describe this formulation in a way that is more easily understood by both the EC reviewers and EC creators than is a student reading comprehension level, then I'd probably prefer it as well. But I'd have to see the details. Until then, I'm quite satisfied with the current formulation.

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The current guideline formulation is just fine. Let's not get so tied up in semantics that we forget.............it's a game! It's not for a two year old, not exclusively for PhDs, but for everyone starting with the 14 year old level of comprehension. Sometimes, as they say in the hills of Appalachia, "don't make a mountain out of a mole hill" and that dear friends is a non-geological phrase! :)

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The current guideline formulation is just fine. Let's not get so tied up in semantics that we forget.............it's a game! It's not for a two year old, not exclusively for PhDs, but for everyone starting with the 14 year old level of comprehension. Sometimes, as they say in the hills of Appalachia, "don't make a mountain out of a mole hill" and that dear friends is a non-geological phrase! :)

I've logged most EC's locally, but there is one in Gray that I may be able to answer. I have visited the site two different times, once with the scouts. We got to go up to the dig site, but that was a few years back. We also stopped by to attempt the EC, but the way that the logging requirements are written up...... well as we say up here in the holler, I would rather have a Tea Party with a Skunk. In this case I would ask permission with my answers before logging my find, and photos are not an issue with us, we upload. I think I know what a 14 year old level of comprehension is, at least the 14 YO's I geocache with anyway.

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