Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 8
veit

After tragic death of experienced geocacher - what needs to change?

Recommended Posts

Not to sound insensitive, but people need to take responsibility for their own safety and know their limits. Plain and simple. It shouldn't be up to Groundspeak or a reviewer to decide if a cache is too dangerous or not.

 

Accidents happen, and this is a tragic one. I don't think anything needs to change. There will always be extreme or dangerous caches. It's up to the finders to decide if the reward outweighs the risk.

 

I see someone else here said it already. What needs to change is to stop hanging on every single little tragedy that occurs and think we need to create some new regulation to protect people from themselves every time something happens. Venturing through some state parks, bear butte's climb to the top in South Dakota comes to mind... there are areas where I would not take young children due to steep drops and the like... does that mean they should destroy the natural beauty by erecting large fences all along the path just because a few people do not know what they are doing or have no common sense? I suppose some day it will come to that. Personally I found that path enjoyable because of the lack of handrails and fences.

 

Of course sensible changes will be made going forward... it's the nature of any society to grow and evolve. :)

Edited by sholomar

Share this post


Link to post

Venturing through some state parks, bear butte's climb to the top in South Dakota comes to mind... there are areas where I would not take young children due to steep drops and the like... does that mean they should destroy the natural beauty by erecting large fences all along the path just because a few people do not know what they are doing or have no common sense? I suppose some day it will come to that.

I don't think anyone is proposing that. Certainly nobody on these forums has. As you point out, the key is to make sensible changes:

Of course sensible changes will be made going forward... it's the nature of any society to grow and evolve.

Edited by CanadianRockies

Share this post


Link to post

As we march toward the Mainstream Event Horizon with more and more caches being listed and more new cachers coming into the game there will be greater frequency of at risk behaviors that could lead to serious injuries and the occasional death. Heinrich's Law applied.

 

You keep saying "Heinrich's Law applied."

 

I'm no expert, so maybe I am missing something.

 

Heinrich's Law: that in a workplace, for every accident that causes a major injury, there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that cause no injuries.

 

How does this apply in the paragraph of yours I quote above?

 

You're taking it too literally. At risk behavior is almost always the issue that leads to all accidents workplace or otherwise.

 

More cachers = more potential at risk behaviors, etc.

 

We have had massive growth since the 1 million cache mark. I believe Heinrich's law applies just by the fact that we have had 2 deaths just 5 months apart. That has never happened before. If I'm right, (and this time I really hope I'm not) there is an increased possibility for another death in the next 6 to 12 months if not more than one.

 

Heinrich's Law seems to apply to distribution of accident types (serious injury or death / moderate injury / minor injury). Not numbers of events, and surely not to the number of people in the sample size (if I read it right).

 

Having more people taking part in an activity, and doing it more often, you will by that very nature have more incidents. However, you need to look at something like "incidents per person caching hour". As I said in a earlier post, the rate of major incidents per cache (3 for the first 1M caches and 2 for the next 600K caches) shows the rate as stable (1 / ~300K caches). If you were to factor in the number of caching hours, the rate is probably dropping.

[edit for typos]

 

Okay, How many future geocaching related deaths per year/300k caches/caching hour are acceptable? :unsure:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course you can't prevent all geocaching related deaths, but none would be my first answer.

 

It's obvious to me that a caching safety/preparedness/guideline adherence awareness campaign supported by the facilitator and the community at large would directly affect the frequency of future geocaching deaths.

 

Someone pointed out that folks only need to download a $10 app on their phone to geocache these days and those same people might expect a more sanitary geocaching experience making them less prepared for the actual reality of the activity.

 

When I started caching in early 2003, the folks who were caching (in my cachin' continuum(s) ) were already outdoors type people for the most part... Folks who already hiked and camped and fished/hunted and were at least somewhat familiar with the common hazards, dangers, and risks of being outdoors. That is not what I see from the majority of new cachers I meet. I think we can do MORE to help the folks who want help and to at least expose others to brief geocaching safety messages through the various media available.

 

I am concentrating on my own circle of influence. I was given word that The Texas Geocaching Association will be adding a Safety & Education forum this week and that The Houston Geocaching Society is also considering a similar forum on its website.

 

I would encourage others who agree with this course of action to contact their local webmasters and request them to consider doing the same. It's the right thing to do and its time has come.

 

When the forums are up, I'll post a link. If any of you are successful in starting local geocaching safety forums, please post a link or at least drop me a pm or email so I can check it out. B)

Share this post


Link to post

As we march toward the Mainstream Event Horizon with more and more caches being listed and more new cachers coming into the game there will be greater frequency of at risk behaviors that could lead to serious injuries and the occasional death. Heinrich's Law applied.

 

You keep saying "Heinrich's Law applied."

 

I'm no expert, so maybe I am missing something.

 

Heinrich's Law: that in a workplace, for every accident that causes a major injury, there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that cause no injuries.

 

How does this apply in the paragraph of yours I quote above?

 

You're taking it too literally. At risk behavior is almost always the issue that leads to all accidents workplace or otherwise.

 

More cachers = more potential at risk behaviors, etc.

 

We have had massive growth since the 1 million cache mark. I believe Heinrich's law applies just by the fact that we have had 2 deaths just 5 months apart. That has never happened before. If I'm right, (and this time I really hope I'm not) there is an increased possibility for another death in the next 6 to 12 months if not more than one.

 

Heinrich's Law seems to apply to distribution of accident types (serious injury or death / moderate injury / minor injury). Not numbers of events, and surely not to the number of people in the sample size (if I read it right).

 

Having more people taking part in an activity, and doing it more often, you will by that very nature have more incidents. However, you need to look at something like "incidents per person caching hour". As I said in a earlier post, the rate of major incidents per cache (3 for the first 1M caches and 2 for the next 600K caches) shows the rate as stable (1 / ~300K caches). If you were to factor in the number of caching hours, the rate is probably dropping.

[edit for typos]

 

Okay, How many future geocaching related deaths per year/300k caches/caching hour are acceptable? :unsure:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course you can't prevent all geocaching related deaths, but none would be my first answer.

 

It's obvious to me that a caching safety/preparedness/guideline adherence awareness campaign supported by the facilitator and the community at large would directly affect the frequency of future geocaching deaths.

 

Someone pointed out that folks only need to download a $10 app on their phone to geocache these days and those same people might expect a more sanitary geocaching experience making them less prepared for the actual reality of the activity.

 

When I started caching in early 2003, the folks who were caching (in my cachin' continuum(s) ) were already outdoors type people for the most part... Folks who already hiked and camped and fished/hunted and were at least somewhat familiar with the common hazards, dangers, and risks of being outdoors. That is not what I see from the majority of new cachers I meet. I think we can do MORE to help the folks who want help and to at least expose others to brief geocaching safety messages through the various media available.

 

I am concentrating on my own circle of influence. I was given word that The Texas Geocaching Association will be adding a Safety & Education forum this week and that The Houston Geocaching Society is also considering a similar forum on its website.

 

I would encourage others who agree with this course of action to contact their local webmasters and request them to consider doing the same. It's the right thing to do and its time has come.

 

When the forums are up, I'll post a link. If any of you are successful in starting local geocaching safety forums, please post a link or at least drop me a pm or email so I can check it out. B)

 

Yes, we know what your plans are.

 

But you didn't address my comment. You've posted several times about how you expect there to be a death within months (according to Heinrich's Law - which I still posit doesn't apply), by looking at how the number of deaths "increased" since the 1M mark.

 

I point out the rate is probably not as severe, and is likely dropping. I am not sure the sky is falling as quickly as you think. How many hiker deaths a year are there? There were 10 or deaths each year in Yellowstone since 2009. There were more bear related deaths in the US each year than the total number of geocaching deaths TOTAL.

 

As long as people continue to do stupid things, there will be accidents and perhaps deaths. The situation isn't as dire as you paint it.

Share this post


Link to post

Someone pointed out that folks only need to download a $10 app on their phone to geocache these days and those same people might expect a more sanitary geocaching experience making them less prepared for the actual reality of the activity.

 

Did you read my post? Using the app, may have the strongest warning, of all the ways to geocache, as to the dangers involved!

Share this post


Link to post

As long as people continue to do stupid things, there will be accidents and perhaps deaths. The situation isn't as dire as you paint it.

 

Tell that to Willi's family and friends or the next person who dies under similar circumstances while hunting a cache that shouldn't have been listed, or failing that, been allowed to exist long enough to be directly related to a fatality.

 

I'm not going to split hairs about deaths per 300k caches.

 

I'm not running around saying the sky is falling. I'm encouraging folks to begin to talk more openly about caching smarter and safer and I have asked the facilitator to provide a forum for it on this site and I'm making concentrated efforts in my own circle of influence to bring that about. Is there anything wrong with that? :unsure:

 

Willi was 21 and he died in a very preventable caching accident. He wasn't being stupid. He was just geocaching... For fun.

 

If the CO was more aware that the community would frown on a cache hidden outside the listing guidelines, maybe he wouldn't have hidden a cache in that spot and Willi wouldn't have died.

 

I'm not going to stipulate on the reviewer that published the cache. His unpublished guidelines/directives and review process are unknown to me.

 

If the previous 34 finders of that cache were more aware that the cache was not within permissable listing limits and aware that the community appreciates actions taken to eliminate such listings and maybe the listing service had provided more awareness on anonymous routes to address such issues.... Maybe Willi wouldn't have died.

 

If Willi had been exposed to brief safety messages in Groundspeak's various media, at geocaching events, or his local forums, maybe he would have chosen to report the cache and not hunt it that night. Certainly if the other measures had worked, he would have never had the choice either way and he might be here today.

 

Maybe... But it's too late for Willi.

 

It's not too late to create a geocaching culture of safety. We will never know how many lives it saves, but we will hopefully not be able to pinpoint 30+ ways that the next death to occur could have been prevented. I can almost assure you of that.

Edited by Snoogans

Share this post


Link to post
He wasn't being stupid.

Facts not in evidence, your honor.

Willi ascended into a structure that the locals state was patently obvious as being off limits to civilians, even with the lack of proper signage. He opted to make this ascent at night, when his vision was significantly reduced. He further opted to make his ascent when temperatures were near freezing, when his fine motor skills were impaired.

 

Those are all pretty dumb decisions.

 

If we assume he fell through the gap that is mentioned on the cache page, and clearly visible to anyone with a light source, this implies that, after ascending to a dangerous height, above a shallow, boulder strewn stream, he moved forward without identifying where his feet would be placed, either because he did not use the flashlight he had with him, or because he didn't watch his step.

 

Those are also pretty dumb decisions.

 

As someone who makes dumb decisions on a fairly regular basis, I can attest to the fact that doing stupid things doesn't necessarily mean someone is stupid. Smart people do dumb things all the time.

 

If this were untrue, we both would likely be unemployed. B)

Share this post


Link to post

America<--- Home of the overreaction

 

How many cachers have died in traffic accidents on the way to a cache? If it has happened even once, let us ask the question- What needs to change?

Share this post


Link to post
He wasn't being stupid.

Facts not in evidence, your honor.

Willi ascended into a structure that the locals state was patently obvious as being off limits to civilians, even with the lack of proper signage. He opted to make this ascent at night, when his vision was significantly reduced. He further opted to make his ascent when temperatures were near freezing, when his fine motor skills were impaired.

 

Those are all pretty dumb decisions.

 

If we assume he fell through the gap that is mentioned on the cache page, and clearly visible to anyone with a light source, this implies that, after ascending to a dangerous height, above a shallow, boulder strewn stream, he moved forward without identifying where his feet would be placed, either because he did not use the flashlight he had with him, or because he didn't watch his step.

 

Those are also pretty dumb decisions.

 

As someone who makes dumb decisions on a fairly regular basis, I can attest to the fact that doing stupid things doesn't necessarily mean someone is stupid. Smart people do dumb things all the time.

 

If this were untrue, we both would likely be unemployed. B)

 

Okay Brother. Touché! :laughing:

 

I have really looked into Willi's profile today. As much as I can without speaking German or copying and pasting stuff to a translater all day. Makes me wish I hadn't dropped the language course after just one semester in High School.

 

05b11a3c-11e6-4725-808f-7b258c29ee34.jpg

 

At a glance, Willi was an extremely well rounded cacher. There are very few stat boxes that he hasn't covered in every facet of the activity. It's not just his numbers. He is missing just 3 days of the caching year and missing only a few different combinations of D/T. He hosted events and was very active. I didn't snoop the local forums, but I would bet he participated there as well. No wonder so many folks left condolences on the cache page.

 

This guy was well known, knew what was going on, and had a great deal of field experience. He was experienced in cold weather caching.

 

He may have become complacent, but I still wouldn't call him stupid. His experience and youth may have told him he was up to this challenge. It appears the local culture condoned the "lost place" the cache was hidden in and it may not have given him pause. It was his complacency that probably carried him a step too far.

 

died while attempting a cache that does not look all that dangerous. But unfortunately it was.

 

The above quote in the first paragraph of the OP speaks loudly of complacency to me after looking at Willimax's stats.

Share this post


Link to post

true, but when one watches the mainstream media and look at the sensationalism and how politicians react to that sensationalism, they tend to over-react to things, over dramatize them, and make snap decisions based on emotion sometimes when no action is needed.

Share this post


Link to post

true, but when one watches the mainstream media and look at the sensationalism and how politicians react to that sensationalism, they tend to over-react to things, over dramatize them, and make snap decisions based on emotion sometimes when no action is needed.

 

All the more reason to create a general awareness of safety issues, guideline issues, and anonymous routes to address cache issues other than posting public SBA & NM logs.

Edited by Snoogans

Share this post


Link to post

America<--- Home of the overreaction

 

Dresden, Germany <----- Home of the author of this thread

Share this post


Link to post

He may have become complacent, but I still wouldn't call him stupid. His experience and youth may have told him he was up to this challenge. It appears the local culture condoned the "lost place" the cache was hidden in and it may not have given him pause. It was his complacency that probably carried him a step too far.

 

No one called him stupid.

 

You said "He wasn't being stupid" and CR just pointed out a few things he possibly was doing that could be called into question.

 

He also pointed out that doing something stupid doesn't make you stupid as otherwise very intelligent people do stupid things all the time.

Share this post


Link to post

America<--- Home of the overreaction

 

Dresden, Germany <----- Home of the author of this thread

 

Oh I know this started in Germany, but I know given time America will find the worst way to over act to something happening.

Share this post


Link to post

He may have become complacent, but I still wouldn't call him stupid. His experience and youth may have told him he was up to this challenge. It appears the local culture condoned the "lost place" the cache was hidden in and it may not have given him pause. It was his complacency that probably carried him a step too far.

 

No one called him stupid.

 

You said "He wasn't being stupid" and CR just pointed out a few things he possibly was doing that could be called into question.

 

He also pointed out that doing something stupid doesn't make you stupid as otherwise very intelligent people do stupid things all the time.

 

Ummmm, okay... I never said he did. :unsure:

 

I acknowledged the correctness of his statement with this:

Okay Brother. Touché! :laughing:

 

Definition of TOUCHÉ

used to acknowledge a hit in fencing or the success or appropriateness of an argument, an accusation, or a witty point

 

If I might make an observation. You seem predisposed to drawing me into an argument on this thread. I thought you had me on ignore or something back at post #680. :unsure::mellow:

Edited by Snoogans

Share this post


Link to post

America<--- Home of the overreaction

 

Dresden, Germany <----- Home of the author of this thread

 

Oh I know this started in Germany, but I know given time America will find the worst way to over act to something happening.

 

LEFT wing America! :P

Share this post


Link to post

America<--- Home of the overreaction

 

Dresden, Germany <----- Home of the author of this thread

 

Oh I know this started in Germany, but I know given time America will find the worst way to over act to something happening.

 

There are definitely some Americans so inclined. But I think most are more inclined to let the Germans deal with what appears to be mostly a German problem.

Share this post


Link to post
He may have become complacent, but I still wouldn't call him stupid.

Agreed. From the first few pages of this thread, this has been my opinion. I know when I was in my youth, bristling with confidence, with a healthy dash of hormones poking about, I often found myself under rating hazards, placing myself in positions that could, (and sometimes did), end badly. Now, in retrospect, I recognize that, at the time, I was being (temporarily) stupid.

 

Heck, I still occasionally find myself being stupid. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post

Hi guys, I am glad the discussion is still going. I have kept an eye on the thread while emotionally disconnecting from it for a while. I hope that in the next few days/weeks I'll find the time to summarize the ideas we have come up with here in a nice little doc/call to action and post them in a public place where others can extend it.

 

However, something rather weird seems to be going on behind the scenes and I will post this here. Sandy, the official Groundspeak rep who posted here before sent me a private message and accused me of having posted "disparaging comments about Groundspeak", and asking if I was still unclear about GS' stance on the matter. I answered that yes, and asked her to please clear up the matter in the thread. To which she just replied and told me they won't do that, since it would "add fuel to the fire". My feeling is that she would like me/us to shut up and move on.

 

I'm deeply disappointed by this kind of behaviour from Groundspeak - if you want to discuss with us, Sandy, or have anything substantial to add, please do so in the open. Even if it's just a statement that you believe everything is fine and nothing needs to change. Anything is better than putting pressure on people who raise an issue behind the scenes.

Share this post


Link to post

They were not private emails, they were sent through this site and in an official function by her. Anyway, I didn't post the message content, and the fact that Groundspeak is trying to put pressure on me behind the scenes, but refusing to communicate with the community in the open is disturbing and relevant to the thread.

Share this post


Link to post

I have to say that this thread turn a whole different direction now and GS doesnt wont take that OP comments about emails too lightly. :blink:

Share this post


Link to post

They were not private emails, they were sent through this site and in an official function by her. Anyway, I didn't post the message content, and the fact that Groundspeak is trying to put pressure on me behind the scenes, but refusing to communicate with the community in the open is disturbing and relevant to the thread.

 

Groundspeak isn't in any way responsible for Willi's death nor is the reviewer that published it as far as I can tell.

 

It remains that we can prove 30+ ways that this accident could have been prevented.

 

A listing service should take notice of these facts and I would hazard a guess to think they have.

 

My guess is that if the community were to begin to change itself, the listing service would take notice and facilitate that further.

 

Viet, rather than make unreasonable demands followed up by threats of negative media attention, why not use your effort to effect change in your own circle of influence?

 

If I am successful in my efforts in Texas and others follow suit, you can count the days until you see a response from Groundspeak to further facilitate that effort. Don't just sit there and expect them to do it for you. They are a listing service and product/membership seller. They are not a regulating agency. Thank gawd.

Share this post


Link to post

I had a post removed with a PM saying it was inappropriate and not true. It was regarding a comment where I was saying that the German reviewers seem to be looking the other way and knowingly publishing caches that are in illegal areas.

 

My comment was worded a bit harsher than that, which is why I think it was removed. However, if it is not true, then why are there so many being published in questionable areas, along with an entire category of Lost places?

 

I would like to see the game improved, rather than allow it to fall apart, and that should be the same goal of everyone here.

 

In the beginning caches were hidden from noncachers because they had semi valuable trade items in them. Now it seems to be going in the direction of keeping it hidden because the activity could be illegal. I don't like that direction, and neither should anyone at Groundspeak. Adequate permission means that if the land owner or manager finds out, they won't go ballistic. Especially if the cache is featured in the newspaper. You cannot necessarily prevent accidents, but you can prevent them from occurring in illegal areas.

 

A cache hidden under a lampost is relatively benign. Hidden among live wires is not, and obviously would get the property owner upset. A cache hidden in a spot in an obviously off limits area under a bridge is akin to hiding one on the roof of the local walmart. Does there really have to be a sign to tell you to follow common sense?

:rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post

@Snoogans: I'm choosing this Forum/route because I'd like to see the most global and effective solutions applied. I agree that education about safety can be well done on a local level/in Forums. But even here, Groundspeak controls most of the global communication channels that could also be used to educate more cachers about safety. As to site features (anonymous cache reporting, warning-log type...), those only Groundspeak can implement. I thought they would carefully monitor such a thread and then quickly take the best solutions and implement them (or at least announce why they don't like some of the suggestions), but the more time passes the more I'm getting the impression that they are really just sticking their heads into the sand and think that nothing has to change and they don't even really have to communicate. That's not gonna work.

Share this post


Link to post
Sandy, the official Groundspeak rep who posted here before sent me a private message and accused me of having posted "disparaging comments about Groundspeak", and asking if I was still unclear about GS' stance on the matter.

 

Sadly, some organizations have that mentality.... I wish we could really have a discussion about this - a fair and honest discussion. It is not right, in my opinion, at all.

Share this post


Link to post

They were not private emails, they were sent through this site and in an official function by her. Anyway, I didn't post the message content, and the fact that Groundspeak is trying to put pressure on me behind the scenes, but refusing to communicate with the community in the open is disturbing and relevant to the thread.

 

Groundspeak is not trying to pressure you at all. This thread has been allowed to stay open as we want to provide a place for cachers to discuss this incident. The emails sent between you and I are in fact private and for that reason I will not disclose the contents here as that would not be appropriate.

 

What I can say is that our stance on adding to the guidelines has not changed since the last time I posted in this thread.

Share this post


Link to post

I have to say that this thread turn a whole different direction now and GS doesnt wont take that OP comments about emails too lightly. :blink:

 

Do you find that disturbing? IMO It strongly has to do with my first post in this thread.

Share this post


Link to post

@Sandy: thanks for posting in this thread again, I really appreciate it. I really don't wanna lead private discussions with Groundspeak about this topic - it concerns the entire community. I do understand a lot of the pressures of managing a large community and trying to steer a good course among a lot of differing opinions. That's why I asked you to post openly - it simply would be the worst course of action for Groundspeak to simply ignore what happened and not use the collective wisdom of the community trying to find ways to try to prevent this from happening again, but rather wish the topic goes away or even put pressure on those who feel something needs to be done (I did feel pressured).

 

However, please also do us the courtesy to answer the points raised in this thread - in the large majority we did not ask for further amendments to the guidelines. There are simply some doubts as to whether Groundspeak is actually enforcing the "no caches on property without the owner's agreement" ("illegal caches") point, or will do so in the future. And then there were a lot of suggestions for feature improvements to the site (anonymous reporting of caches, warnings log...) that have nothning to do with the guidelines and I for one would like an official response as to which will be implemented and if not, why not.

 

P.S.: I hereby grant you permission to post the messages I sent you in this thread where they really belong.

Edited by veit

Share this post


Link to post

From the guidelines:

 

#2 You assure us that you have the landowner's and/or land manager's permission before you hide any geocache, whether placed on private or public property.

 

Obtain the landowner's and/or land manager's permission before you hide any geocache, whether placed on private or public property. By submitting a geocache listing, you assure us that you have adequate permission to hide your cache in the selected location. If you are given permission to place a cache on private property, indicate this on the cache page for the benefit of the reviewer and those seeking the cache.

 

The reviewers do not check the physical location, so the onus for being truthful and adhering to this guideline is on the cache owner. There are some places across the world where land policies prevail, and our reviewers are well-informed of these. In cases where a cache is placed upon governed land and the cache owner has not been forthcoming about permission, the reviewer will ask about permission. Otherwise, as we are essentially a listing service, we must take the cache owner at their word.

 

And the final part of that guideline states: "If Groundspeak is contacted and informed that your cache has been placed inappropriately, your cache may be temporarily disabled or permanently archived."

 

To provide more tools to warn other cachers about impending danger is not necessary, as there are many ways a cacher can alert others to an inappropriately placed cache. Groundspeak acts on all reports of this nature, the local reviewer team will, if they are contacted directly, and of course, posting a Needs Archived or Needs Maintenance log on the cache page alerts the cache owner, cachers and reviewers. Please note that even if a Needs Archived log is deleted by a cache owner, it still generates a system notification that is handled by the reviewer team. A reminder that an email to contact@Groundspeak.com will get to a lackey.

 

There is not a need to add to this comprehensive list of ways to handle a cache that does not meet guidelines.

 

Veit, thank you for asking for clarification. We hope that this clarifies our stance. And as we have said, all incidents where cachers are harmed or killed, sadden us greatly.

Share this post


Link to post

it simply would be the worst course of action for Groundspeak to simply ignore what happened and not use the collective wisdom of the community trying to find ways to try to prevent this from happening again, but rather wish the topic goes away or even put pressure on those who feel something needs to be done (I did feel pressured).

 

Not discounting your own feelings, I believe you may be assigning a motive where there may not be one.

 

I believe they will fall into step behind a community effort. This listing service does not exist without the voluntary participation of its hiders and a great many unpaid (but possibly token compensated) reviewers.

 

It stands to reason that the first step(s) belong to us.

 

There are simply some doubts as to whether Groundspeak is actually enforcing the "no caches on property without the owner's agreement" ("illegal caches") point, or will do so in the future.

 

Groundspeak is a listing service and NOT an enforcement agency. As hiders we check boxes that assure the service that we as hiders have met their guideline and permission requirements. It is up to the community to police itself and there in lies the rub.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks a lot for this clarification, Sandy! While I personally disagree with some of your statements (mostly about not needing better tools to warn other cachers) I can understand why Groundspeak is falling back on this position and it's great to have it posted here openly and officially. It would be awesome if you could stick around a little bit and clear up some of the follow-up questions many of us probably have.

 

For example, I am really interested to know how GS is handling the dilemma that was pointed out in this thread, that a large number (if not majority) of caches in Germany (and probably other countries) do not have permission from the land owner/manager (because it's impossible to get etc.). So if someone started sending emails to GS pointing out a large number of these caches - what exactly would happen? I simply see no solution to this dilemma, other than probably all of us simply pretending we don't see it.

 

Other than that: what about global communication about safety issues (newsletter for example) and the Safety Forum Snoogans suggested?

Edited by veit

Share this post


Link to post

.

.

.

For example, I am really interested to know how GS is handling the dilemma that was pointed out in this thread, that a large number (if not majority) of caches in Germany (and probably other countries) do not have permission from the land owner/manager (because it's impossible to get etc.). So if someone started sending emails to GS pointing out a large number of these caches - what exactly would happen? I simply see no solution to this dilemma, other than probably all of us simply pretending we don't see it.

.

.

.

 

That seemed to me as it was clearly answered by this...

 

And the final part of that guideline states: "If Groundspeak is contacted and informed that your cache has been placed inappropriately, your cache may be temporarily disabled or permanently archived."

 

Seems like a very simple solution to me...if you have direct knowledge that particular cachers are in violation, then start making that contact with Groundspeak and tell them why Cache A is in violation...

 

Just because the tools you want are not in place does not mean there are not tools within the system to take care of the problem. Use the tools available to us all...start with the Cache Owner...start with the Reviewer...start with Groundspeak...just pick a spot and start. Sandy all but took your hand in this...she stated the tools available...

 

Sometimes the first steps are not always easy...but not being easy doesn't mean it isn't worth doing...

Edited by ArcherDragoon

Share this post


Link to post
(snip) , and of course, posting a Needs Archived or Needs Maintenance log on the cache page alerts the cache owner, cachers and reviewers.

 

Just to further clarify, the above statement is only true for a Needs Archived log and not a Needs Maintenance correct?. Or in other words, does a Needs Maintenance log alert a reviewer, it is my understanding it does not?

Share this post


Link to post
(snip) , and of course, posting a Needs Archived or Needs Maintenance log on the cache page alerts the cache owner, cachers and reviewers.

 

Just to further clarify, the above statement is only true for a Needs Archived log and not a Needs Maintenance correct?. Or in other words, does a Needs Maintenance log alert a reviewer, it is my understanding it does not?

That would be my understanding as well...pointed out in many treads visited by Keystone...

Share this post


Link to post

Groundspeak is a listing service and NOT an enforcement agency. As hiders we check boxes that assure the service that we as hiders have met their guideline and permission requirements. It is up to the community to police itself and there in lies the rub.

 

Please, my friend, stop saying this, it is far from correct - GS is way more than a listing service and they do enforce much!

Share this post


Link to post

Groundspeak is a listing service and NOT an enforcement agency. As hiders we check boxes that assure the service that we as hiders have met their guideline and permission requirements. It is up to the community to police itself and there in lies the rub.

 

Please, my friend, stop saying this, it is far from correct - GS is way more than a listing service and they do enforce much!

 

Any enforcement is reactive and not proactive. Based on reports from the community on guidelines and permissions. They do not have the resources to have a geocaching police force. TOS aside they do not publish/enforce standards of care or quality. That is what the community is expected to do. Police itself and set its own examples.

 

What are you saying they enforce as an enforcement agency? If I'm misunderstanding you it's not deliberate.

Edited by Snoogans

Share this post


Link to post

Groundspeak is a listing service and NOT an enforcement agency. As hiders we check boxes that assure the service that we as hiders have met their guideline and permission requirements. It is up to the community to police itself and there in lies the rub.

 

Please, my friend, stop saying this, it is far from correct - GS is way more than a listing service and they do enforce much!

 

Any enforcement is reactive and not proactive. Based on reports from the community on guidelines and permissions. They do not have the resources to have a geocaching police force. TOS aside they do not publish standards of care or quality. That is what the community is expected to do. Police itself and set its own examples.

 

What are you saying they enforce as an enforcement agency? If I'm misunderstanding you it's not deliberate.

 

Okay I get ya there, I am saying from a legal standpoint they could never stand on the leg of having no responsibility as to liability by saying they just list things. Easily this could all end up in court someday, this case or a duplicate case. I said it all in my first post in this thread - we all (COers & GS & Reviewers, to a lesser extent) have put ourselves out for liability. I do place some blame on the CO of this cache and I would be nervous if it was I. As should GS, 'tis all I am getting at my big friend.

 

I do not think I am wet on this as I asked if I was earlier.

Share this post


Link to post

Groundspeak is a listing service and NOT an enforcement agency. As hiders we check boxes that assure the service that we as hiders have met their guideline and permission requirements. It is up to the community to police itself and there in lies the rub.

 

Please, my friend, stop saying this, it is far from correct - GS is way more than a listing service and they do enforce much!

 

Any enforcement is reactive and not proactive. Based on reports from the community on guidelines and permissions. They do not have the resources to have a geocaching police force. TOS aside they do not publish standards of care or quality. That is what the community is expected to do. Police itself and set its own examples.

 

What are you saying they enforce as an enforcement agency? If I'm misunderstanding you it's not deliberate.

 

Okay I get ya there, I am saying from a legal standpoint they could never stand on the leg of having no responsibility as to liability by saying they just list things. Easily this could all end up in court someday, this case or a duplicate case. I said it all in my first post in this thread - we all (COers & GS & Reviewers, to a lesser extent) have put ourselves out for liability. I do place some blame on the CO of this cache and I would be nervous if it was I. As should GS, 'tis all I am getting at my big friend.

 

I do not think I am wet on this as I asked if I was earlier.

 

No you are not "wet" on this. I agree. But what you are saying has not become reality. Groundspeak is in a reactive phase from my observation. Give them time.

 

As a safety professional I have made my most sound recommendation to make the proactive move toward raising awareness and facilitating a geocaching culture of safety (plus one half baked idea to reduce CO liability which admittedly won't work) and I haven't given up hope that GS will head down that path in some form or fashion.

 

There were 30+ ways to prevent Willi's accidental death. Any lawyer could take that info and rip a legal trail through our world and of course, the deepest pockets would be their FIRST target. It has been pointed out that anyone can be sued for anything. Would Groundspeak's disclaimer and record of interaction with the CO save them from damages? Maybe. I am not a lawyer so I can't say. The CO would be toast for sure. But it's Germany. Perhaps they don't try to profit from unfortunate accidents as much as the lawyers here. Again, I can't say.

 

What I can say is that if something similarly preventable were to happen in the USA, I would expect a legal firestorm across the board. If the national media picked it up AND the lawsuit(s) were successful, this place might resemble terracaching.com in just a couple of years. If I was in their shoes I would use this unfortunate geocaching death and run a drill scenario about it happening here. There would be much for them to learn in that exercise.

 

Think of it this way because I have. If I was threatened with a lawsuit (and I have been. Groundspeak knows this, but the drama ended in mere hours) that went to court, I would cease to be a hider of caches and archive ALL of my caches immediately. If a great number of cachers got sued over their caches, I would cease to be a hider of caches and archive ALL of my caches immediately. Win or lose the case, there are still massive legal fees to be considered and a box of crap in the woods left for others to enjoy ain't worth it to me. No freakin way. I have a family to support.

 

What does it mean to Groundspeak if folks are afraid to become voluntary hiders because of mounting legal issues for other cachers? This is the kind of stuff I was thinking of when I posted the Mainstream Event Horizon thread so many years ago. At the time I didn't think GS had the corporate maturity to handle it, but I reversed that after visiting the HQ. I believe GS will eventually reconsider swim at your own risk as the sole safety endorsement when it comes to hiding and finding caches listed on their site. I'm not holding my breath for it to happen tonight nor do I expect it tomorrow. I do have faith that it will happen in their own fashion and on their own terms.

Edited by Snoogans

Share this post


Link to post

Well said Snogans.... well said, time will tell if the message is headed, I can see this game crash and burn, in reality I would say 80% of caches hidden do not have permission. Easy that number. We are "winking" at too much being this main stream, it can only lead to trouble.

Share this post


Link to post

And the final part of that guideline states: "If Groundspeak is contacted and informed that your cache has been placed inappropriately, your cache may be temporarily disabled or permanently archived."

 

To provide more tools to warn other cachers about impending danger is not necessary, as there are many ways a cacher can alert others to an inappropriately placed cache. Groundspeak acts on all reports of this nature, the local reviewer team will, if they are contacted directly, and of course, posting a Needs Archived or Needs Maintenance log on the cache page alerts the cache owner, cachers and reviewers. Please note that even if a Needs Archived log is deleted by a cache owner, it still generates a system notification that is handled by the reviewer team. A reminder that an email to contact@Groundspeak.com will get to a lackey.

Groundspeak could improve this situation by adding a few more volunteer resources to these forums. People that raise questions about potentially inappropriate caches generally get a pretty hostile reception here. Name calling and bullying are unfortunately more the norm than the exception. The message is loud and clear: "cache cops go home".

Share this post


Link to post

And the final part of that guideline states: "If Groundspeak is contacted and informed that your cache has been placed inappropriately, your cache may be temporarily disabled or permanently archived."

 

To provide more tools to warn other cachers about impending danger is not necessary, as there are many ways a cacher can alert others to an inappropriately placed cache. Groundspeak acts on all reports of this nature, the local reviewer team will, if they are contacted directly, and of course, posting a Needs Archived or Needs Maintenance log on the cache page alerts the cache owner, cachers and reviewers. Please note that even if a Needs Archived log is deleted by a cache owner, it still generates a system notification that is handled by the reviewer team. A reminder that an email to contact@Groundspeak.com will get to a lackey.

Groundspeak could improve this situation by adding a few more volunteer resources to these forums. People that raise questions about potentially inappropriate caches generally get a pretty hostile reception here. Name calling and bullying are unfortunately more the norm than the exception. The message is loud and clear: "cache cops go home".

 

And that's why I send private emails to the local reviewer. And will continue to send private emails to the local reviewer.

Share this post


Link to post

Groundspeak could improve this situation by adding a few more volunteer resources to these forums. People that raise questions about potentially inappropriate caches generally get a pretty hostile reception here. Name calling and bullying are unfortunately more the norm than the exception. The message is loud and clear: "cache cops go home".

There's a fine line between commenting in the forums about a real issue with a particular cache and making comments that have more to do with your personal taste about caches. As has been pointed out in this thread, there are a number of cachers who enjoy extreme caches. Generally in the U.S. we see these as adventures in areas where rappelling, rock-climbing, spelunking, scuba diving and other "dangerous" activities are permitted. Some say they are comfortable with these because the dangers are "obvious". In fact the dangers are not always obvious, but there are safety precautions seekers of these caches can take.

 

I would dare say that in Germany, and particularly in the former East Germany, there are structures left from the Soviet era that are abandoned. There is probably a flourishing hobby of exploring these place and perhaps this is even allowed as they were state owned and not private property. It could very well be that not all Lost Places are as illegal as we perceive it in other countries.

 

That said the guidelines already indicate that you should ask permission to place a cache. Groundspeak knows that permission comes in various form. Some land owner require a permit, others have a policy of simply allowing caches. Some land owners prefer not to give permission in writing; some don't want to be bothered at all and so long as the cache is something they don't have to worry about, you can place it, wink, wink. You can't be proactive about permission in general other than to have cache owners check a box saying they have adequate permission. And of course some will lie. In a few rare instance, the reviewers can be aware of a policy in a certain jurisdiction and can ask for more proof (e.g. permit number) before publishing the cache.

 

If you see something specific that gives you doubt about permission, stop searching for that cache and contact the reviewer. You don't need to come on the forums to criticize the cache hider (or the reviewer who published it for that matter).

Share this post


Link to post

They were not private emails...

Veit, do me a favor and double check the e-mail you received. Specifically, check to see if it had something to the effect of, "Everybody on the planet" in the CC field. If not, it was a private communication. Taking a private communication and making it public is a bad idea.

 

@Snoogans: I'm choosing this Forum/route because I'd like to see the most global and effective solutions applied.

I might have swallowed that line much earlier in this thread, but now? Not so much. Snoogans, along with a host of others, has already told you how to achieve the most global and effective solution. A forum which is read by much, much less than 1% of the geocaching community ain't it. About all you can accomplish here is to bounce ideas off one another, and that's been done. The next obvious step is to put those ideas into practice. Be the change you want to see. Slamming Groundspeak and threatening their livelihood accomplishes nothing, other than stripping you of any perceived credibility. Your call.

 

...other than probably all of us simply pretending we don't see it.

Veit, other than threatening Groundspeak, and making irrational demands, what, exactly, have you done about all those illegal caches in Germany? It's been a while, so my memory may be fuzzy, but didn't you say you knew of thousands of them? (Thousands being the plural form of thousand) Is it safe to assume you've submitted "thousands" of Needs Archived logs in the recent past? If not, how are you not part of the problem? Groundspeak has a pretty darn good track record at acting on NA logs regarding permission. But they do not have psychics on their payroll. The only way they have of learning about such illegal caches are the locals, such as yourself.

 

Again, what have you done?

 

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

- Matthew 7:3

Share this post


Link to post

Groundspeak could improve this situation by adding a few more volunteer resources to these forums. People that raise questions about potentially inappropriate caches generally get a pretty hostile reception here. Name calling and bullying are unfortunately more the norm than the exception. The message is loud and clear: "cache cops go home".

There's a fine line between commenting in the forums about a real issue with a particular cache and making comments that have more to do with your personal taste about caches. As has been pointed out in this thread, there are a number of cachers who enjoy extreme caches. Generally in the U.S. we see these as adventures in areas where rappelling, rock-climbing, spelunking, scuba diving and other "dangerous" activities are permitted. Some say they are comfortable with these because the dangers are "obvious". In fact the dangers are not always obvious, but there are safety precautions seekers of these caches can take.

 

I would dare say that in Germany, and particularly in the former East Germany, there are structures left from the Soviet era that are abandoned. There is probably a flourishing hobby of exploring these place and perhaps this is even allowed as they were state owned and not private property. It could very well be that not all Lost Places are as illegal as we perceive it in other countries.

 

That said the guidelines already indicate that you should ask permission to place a cache. Groundspeak knows that permission comes in various form. Some land owner require a permit, others have a policy of simply allowing caches. Some land owners prefer not to give permission in writing; some don't want to be bothered at all and so long as the cache is something they don't have to worry about, you can place it, wink, wink. You can't be proactive about permission in general other than to have cache owners check a box saying they have adequate permission. And of course some will lie. In a few rare instance, the reviewers can be aware of a policy in a certain jurisdiction and can ask for more proof (e.g. permit number) before publishing the cache.

 

If you see something specific that gives you doubt about permission, stop searching for that cache and contact the reviewer. You don't need to come on the forums to criticize the cache hider (or the reviewer who published it for that matter).

That's all well and good, but it's not what I am referring to. I am talking not about my personal experience, I am talking about what I have observed in these forums over the years. There are plenty of reasons why someone, especially newbies, might want to ask in here about some situation they've come across and they are almost certainly not going to well received. In fact, you yourself have touched upon a common attitude when you suggest that, "You don't need to come on the forums to criticize the cache hider (or the reviewer who published it for that matter)."

 

These are open forums and they should be places where everyone is welcomed to discuss whatever geocaching-related topic they'd like. Instead, they are likely to get a bunch of, "that's not on the schedule until Tuesday", or "IBTL", or "not that again", or "you sound like a cache cop". And that's before the inevitable profile mining begins, along with the accusations about being a sock puppet or having a hidden agenda. For an allegedly family friendly activity, these forums are really not very family friendly. If an 11 year old wanders in here to ask an innocent question, what is the most likely outcome: that they will be welcomed to the forums and treated decently, or that they will have their head chewed off by a bunch of people who are mostly old enough to be the poor kid's grandparents, but who've apparently lost any ability to be polite to strangers? There are multiple topics in these forums, which you are well aware of, that exist solely to make fun of other people behind their backs.

 

It's great for Groundspeak to say the tools are available, but unless they foster an environment where the use of those tools is encouraged and accepted, those tools are less than useless.

Share this post


Link to post

America<--- Home of the overreaction

 

Dresden, Germany <----- Home of the author of this thread

 

Oh I know this started in Germany, but I know given time America will find the worst way to over act to something happening.

 

There are definitely some Americans so inclined. But I think most are more inclined to let the Germans deal with what appears to be mostly a German problem.

 

You know, what's funny to me is that this is a 18 page thread meanwhile, with lots of people getting worked up about something that happened on the other side of the world, while here in germany, even though there have been some discussions, everything is already more or less back to normal. :huh:

 

Ah...someone died crashing his ferrari into a tree recently.

I say we should stop them from selling ferraris...and cut down those dangerous trees...

:blink:

Edited by Otis.Gore

Share this post


Link to post

The Texas Geocaching Association added their own Safety forum yesterday at 2:52pm central standard time. The matter was put before the TXGA board of directors at my request. There was a meeting in Houston, on Monday, and this item was immediately approved without question. The board had already been discussing how to better address geocaching safety and education.

 

I hope some of you will request a safety forum on your local websites and post it here. If enough local organizations address the need for geocaching safety awareness and guideline adherence, perhaps Groundspeak will endorse it as well. With our sport/hobby/activity growing faster and faster, it's the right thing to do.

 

You know, what's funny to me is that this is a 18 page thread meanwhile, with lots of people getting worked up about something that happened on the other side of the world, while here in germany, even though there have been some discussions, everything is already more or less back to normal. :huh:

 

Ah...someone died crashing his ferrari into a tree recently.

I say we should stop them from selling ferraris...and cut down those dangerous trees...

:blink:

 

While doing a quick search to link Ferrari safety I decided to do a search for geocaching safety discussions and I found something interesting with my first click...

 

The Girl Scouts have published a PDF form addressing geocaching safety. It has some excellent info on it.

Edited by Snoogans

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 8

×
×
  • Create New...