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The idealisms behind the original thoughts behind gagb were genuine in that they wanted to be able to influence Groundspeak, the (as yet) non profit making firm, in the running of caching in the UK so that there was a voice to stand up to the USA firm.

They did this by working with the then reviewers to amend the rules imposed by Groundspeak, so that they better fitted the UK, allowing caches near railways and similar.

 

The GAGB have attempted several times to communicate with other firms that run versions of caching with, to the best of my knowledge, no success. The only one that pays any lip service to them is Garmin's site that lists them as local guidelines to be adhered to , the others have just ignored attempts to connect.

 

The reviewers and Groundspeak have used the GAGB to hold the list of landowner agreements and set the guidelines for cache placements. This is effectively only used by one firm, who are now a profit making organisation.

Groundspeak have a very good situation going, they have volunteers publishing caches for them with no reward, and they have the GAGB to make the rules and take the heat when the Police or landowners etc need to complain or impose new guidelines to distance themselves from the negative publicity that comes attached.

So... effectively the GAGB act as an admin call centre or, a customer complaints department!

 

The individuals on the committee are honourable people who believe that they are doing their bit to enhance the hobby and stand up to the non UK firm, though in practice they do not appear to stand up against Groundspeak in any way-well, at least not publically.

 

It's a very difficult position. Groundspeak are not really accountable, the reviewers have openly said that they do not represent UK cachers and are just representatives of Groundspeak.

So... who is there to loudly and publicly stand up for the UK cacher who may have an issue?

Do we need such a body as The GAGB? How can we accountably elect those without the call of elitism? They must carry the mandate of the community otherwise they cannot impose anything upon them.

The counter to this is that too many people do not bother to vote in the general elections of the UK, let alone to vote people onto a committee that administers guidelines of a hobby.

How many actually have any idea that the GAGB exist, or what role they take when all that they do is download an app and occasionally look for a cache.

Those that do know of, and are aware of the guidelines... how many of those actually pay any attention to them, or just say that they have and still place caches saying that they have adhered to them?

Should the apathy of the masses prevent the few from setting an example of good practice?

 

To whom do the guidelines even apply? Do the setters of Terracaches,Opencaches ( of either type) or Navicache even realise that they are bound by them?

Or, is it just a list of Groundspeak local rules that are imposed upon only those that choose to use that site? Reviewers are able to impose them without incurring angst against themselves (even when they are ignored)

 

The urban rule is one such case, the problem was passed to the GAGB to sort out and take the blame but it effectively only gets imposed by Groundspeak.

 

This is not an attack on the committee, it's not even a full blown attack on the GAGB - rather it addresses issues raised by many people over the years questioning the validity of the committee and the organisation as a whole.

 

Telling people that they have to join to make a difference is correct but also incorrect. WHY should they join something that imposes rules, by proxy, for Groundspeak. They never asked the GAGB to exist. There are things that should be done by Groundspeak and their Reviewers, that are at the moment, being passed to the GAGB because it gives them plausible deniability.

 

Time has moved on for the hobby, Groundspeak and the GAGB; the number of people engaging in the hobby has increased exponentially further decreasing the mandate that the committee have.

 

I am obviously speaking for myself. I was wrestling with these thoughts when I decided that I needed to leave the committee, to take time out and see if others could find any answers to the questions or to see if I could find any myself from a different perspective.

To date, if I am very honest, I haven't.

I will say again and very clearly, this is not an attack on the committee personally, and I hope that they will realise that. I consider them to be personal friends and I can only hope that they consider me the same after this post, but will understand if they do not.

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The GAGB have attempted several times to communicate with other firms that run versions of caching with, to the best of my knowledge, no success. The only one that pays any lip service to them is Garmin's site that lists them as local guidelines to be adhered to , the others have just ignored attempts to connect.

OpenCaching UK (that's the original OpenCaching, not Garmin's newer but unfortunately confusingly named site) has always communicated with GAGB. For a long time we used the GAGB guidelines. We have recently produced our own, partly because we also wanted to include cache quality in the guidelines, and partly because there were one or two areas where we felt the GAGB guidelines were unnecessarily inflexible. But that doesn't mean we disrespect the GAGB - we support and appreciate what it does (though of course I'm not speaking for every individual member). We think they do a great deal of excellent work. If they didn't do it then nobody else would, and caching in this country would be the poorer for it.

 

GAGB also organise communication between the reviewers of different sites, on which both Groundspeak and OpenCaching are represented.

 

On TerraCaching each member has two "sponsors" who act as their cache reviewers. I can tell you that at least one of my sponsors is very strict and adheres to the GAGB guidelines, and more.

 

You opening paragraph is therefore factually wrong. The rest is opinion. I won't argue every point, but can't agree with most of it.

 

Rgds, Andy

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Why should Groundspeak listen to anyone? They are in the unusual position of effectively owning and controlling an entire game, hold our hard-won statistics and information and I get the impression is that they have more members than they need or even want so don't mind upsetting a few along the way. Certainly I was very angry in the way the map change was handled and none of my complaints were acknowledged.

 

I don't know why they are so aloof. For a commercial company, especially an American one that should know the value of customer service this is unusual.

 

But they are, and they clearly don't feel the need to do much for non-US geocachers. And much as I love opencaching.org.uk's idea and respect the work involved, the bottom line is that if you want to go geocaching or have people visit your cache, you have to use Groundspeak's services. If you want to do it without a lot of faffing around manually exporting data, you have to pay them $30/pa.

 

Despite all this, I think I get value for money for my subscription - but only because we're no real extra work or cost to the US side of things. I really don't think they care about me or even my money.

 

What's this got to do with GAGB? Nothing, other than to suggest that if GS aren't listening, it's not necessarily GAGB's fault.

Edited by dartymoor
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The GAGB was formed to give a voice to the UK cachers which in some ways they did... Then one of their members who had negotiated some great landowner agreements let them list them on the GAGB site

Then the reviewers with a bit of help from the GAGB managed to bend the GS rules to more suit UK caching and then allowed the GAGB to list them on their site

 

Move forwards a few year the land owner agreements are now mostly called the GAGB landowner agreements and have become the bible of getting permissions from the big landowners/users which is what I think the GAGB do well

 

But the Guidelines/rules....... The GAGB have slowly been pushed into making the 'guidelines' which the reviewers now use as UK 'rules' (try posting an urban cache without quoting the GAGB guideline)

 

I think the urban cache guideline was the final move to make the GAGB guideline makers not keepers....

The new guideline was discussed both here and on the GAGB forum and the wording for the guideline was formulated and agreed by the GAGB and for the first few days the wording had to include something like "This caches meets the GAGB urban guidelines"

 

Move forward to today... The GAGB have, since changes to their setup, allowed non GAGB members to be a member of their forum which allowed the majority of UK cachers to have a say in the guidlines etc. being discussed on that forum. They then made part of the forum GAGB members only which I can see the point of to discuss things which are to do with the running of the GAGB but not for things which are to do with ALL UK cachers

 

Now they are debating whether to stop this access and make it so you have to be a full GAGB member to post your thoughts about changes which affect us all

 

When I questioned this move I was told to join the GAGB to be heard. I was told I can discuss it here and in other places but I have to join to have a vote in the outcome of these discussions?????????

 

Now I hear that there are discussions in the members only section about changes to the guidelines......

 

The GAGB has a mandate from a very small number of UK cachers but they are now deeply involved it the rules which govern caching in the UK... I was told that the GAGB didn't ask Groundspeak to use the guidelines which is true BUT they are enforcing them through the reviewers

 

Groundspeak are happy to collect the money and leave the day to day running of their business to the great reviewing teams

 

The reviewers are now happy that the GAGB can now be blamed for any new guideline they have to enforce

 

But any GAGB discussions which affect ALL UK cachers should be done here and not on a closed members only forum. I will no doubt be told, again, to join the GAGB so that I can be heard.... I don't want to and shouldn't have to join a minority group just to add my 2ps worth of input to something which affects us all

 

I would like to know the number of ACTIVE gagb members and that won't include all the 300+ members they are claiming on their facebook page, how many of them are full GAGB members and how long will it be before they are excluded from any discussion

 

The guidelines as we have them now should be listed on the Groundspeak site and any future changes/ discussions should be done here.. The GAGB could then come to an agreement between themselves and put that point into the melting pot if they want to with no doubt some weight... but the final word should be down to grounspeak (which in effect it has now) and possibly the reviewers who have to implement it.

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Why should Groundspeak listen to anyone? They are in the unusual position of effectively owning and controlling an entire game, hold our hard-won statistics and information and I get the impression is that they have more members than they need or even want so don't mind upsetting a few along the way. Certainly I was very angry in the way the map change was handled and none of my complaints were acknowledged.

 

I don't know why they are so aloof. For a commercial company, especially an American one that should know the value of customer service this is unusual.

 

But they are, and they clearly don't feel the need to do much for non-US geocachers. And much as I love opencaching.org.uk's idea and respect the work involved, the bottom line is that if you want to go geocaching or have people visit your cache, you have to use Groundspeak's services. If you want to do it without a lot of faffing around manually exporting data, you have to pay them $30/pa.

 

Despite all this, I think I get value for money for my subscription - but only because we're no real extra work or cost to the US side of things. I really don't think they care about me or even my money.

 

What's this got to do with GAGB? Nothing, other than to suggest that if GS aren't listening, it's not necessarily GAGB's fault.

 

It's not about whether the GAGB are at fault regarding how much Groundspeak respond to complaints.

 

All I can say is from personal recent experience; I saw an issue regarding how camping events were being interpreted, I tried to raise them with the reviewers and got nowhere so I raised the issue here. The problem was picked up by the customer services and an active discussion was begun. The GAGB declined to engage with the matter.

The end result was that the requirements were amended due to one individual asking the company and it's users to discuss it.

 

Does Groundspeak actually have to listen to us that much? Ever tried to get Microsoft, Apple, McDonalds, etc to amend their company policy?

 

This thread is to engage people to discuss the role of the GAGB. I can see the purpose of the GAGB historically but does that still hold true?

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Now they are debating whether to stop this access and make it so you have to be a full GAGB member to post your thoughts about changes which affect us all

As a person who had some influence in the GAGB hosting a discussion forum for all GB cachers I'm surprised at that. The service was provided at a time when relations between GB cachers and Groundspeak were at an all-time low and the point was to provide a national forum where discussions could take place without being censored by Groundspeak. It would be a great shame for GB cachers - and is unlikely to assist GAGB - if the service were removed.

 

Where is it being discussed?

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The GAGB ... 'guidelines' which the reviewers now use as UK 'rules'

This is an important distinction. They are GAGB guidelines, not rules - the GAGB has no means of enforcing rules. If Groundspeak chooses to adopt those guidelines and make them rules, then they are Groundspeak rules but remain GAGB guidelines.

 

Groundspeak are not obliged to use the GAGB guidelines, they do so because they realise that on the whole they are appropriate for the UK. If Groundspeak did not use the GAGB guidelines you would probably find the ones they used instead were more restrictive because they did not account for UK conditions.

 

As far as non-members posting on the GAGB forums is concerned, this is how it used to be, but it was changed to allow 2 levels of "membership". I'm sure you will agree that people should not be allowed to post without registering at all, else the forums would be flooded with spam. But the 2 levels have proved to be confusing, so there is proposal to go back to a single level and currently there is a vote on the matter - it will only revert to a single level if the majority choose that.

 

Rgds, Andy

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Now they are debating whether to stop this access and make it so you have to be a full GAGB member to post your thoughts about changes which affect us all

As a person who had some influence in the GAGB hosting a discussion forum for all GB cachers I'm surprised at that. The service was provided at a time when relations between GB cachers and Groundspeak were at an all-time low and the point was to provide a national forum where discussions could take place without being censored by Groundspeak. It would be a great shame for GB cachers - and is unlikely to assist GAGB - if the service were removed.

 

Where is it being discussed?

The GAGB facebook page ... in the GAGB section at the top of the UK Groundspeak forum and in the members area of the GAGB forum

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Do we need such a body as The GAGB?

I agree with the general thrust of your post and I believe that the answer to the question is "yes", but not this GAGB.

 

It's well known that I'm not a fan of GAGB for two principal reasons: I believe they work against GB cachers not for them, and their relationship with Groundspeak is too cosy.

 

To whom do the guidelines even apply? Do the setters of Terracaches,Opencaches ( of either type) or Navicache even realise that they are bound by them?

They're not. The only guidelines which apply are those of the site on which the cache is listed. GAGB guidelines apply only to GAGB members and to the members of those listing sites which have chosen to use GAGB guidelines. As Andy says, OCUK has recently stopped using GAGB guidelines in order to enable OCUK to set its own direction, though the principles of the original GAGB guidelines (before the trend for more specific rules of the "ban this hide" type came in) remain.

 

So... who is there to loudly and publicly stand up for the UK cacher who may have an issue?

Do we need such a body as The GAGB? How can we accountably elect those without the call of elitism? They must carry the mandate of the community otherwise they cannot impose anything upon them.

I think this quote is the crux of the discussion. I believe that a member-driven geocaching organisation can be extremely useful: it should represent cachers; it should not "impose" (guidelines should be agreed by consensus); it should assist cachers (what did GAGB do for the Wetherby One?); it should liaise with listing sites for the good of members and the hobby (not have a cosy relationship with one site). An organisation like that I would join and pay money to.

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The GAGB facebook page ... in the GAGB section at the top of the UK Groundspeak forum and in the members area of the GAGB forum

Thanks. So anywhere where it's impossible for those affected to comment, then?

 

So I'll do so here. From this forum (who reads sticky threads?) it seems to me that the proposal is based on technical grounds rather than anything else, and that's not a good reason.

 

It would be helpful if GAGB would say if they believe that it's right that non-members should be denied a GB-specific forum and, if so, what has changed since the service was introduced as clearly they believed it to be right at that time.

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Do we really need anyone to represent the UK cacher? As a concept it never seems to work very well, not least because it's difficult to get in a position where one small group of people such as the GAGB can honestly claim to "represent" such a large and widely-varied number of participants. The nature of the game doesn't lend itself to this type of approach so it's no good trying to force it to.

 

In my view, the GAGB is good at being a central repository of information, as a point of contact, and to offer advice. That's about all we need. The forum has a role to play as well; as well as being useful for local advice it's an alternative to the Groundspeak forum (this one).

 

The infamous GAGB guidelines are, in my view, too often misinterpreted as being the "rules for hiding a cache". They should be scrapped, and replaced with a descriptive Guide to Best Practice. The GAGB could keep this up to date, as well as the useful Landowner Agreement database and other handy information (similar to the Graculus "Follow the Arrow" web page).

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Question: How do you gain the right to post in the Groundspeak forum.

Answer: You become a member of Geocaching.com (Groundspeak)

 

So what's different with having to be a GAGB member to post. You don't have to believe 100% in the ideals of the GAGB to become a member you just need to have a need to use it's resources.

 

Now thankfully no longer a committee member and remembering every day why I resigned. <_<

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If Groundspeak did not use the GAGB guidelines you would probably find the ones they used instead were more restrictive because they did not account for UK conditions.

I doubt that. There's a long-term trend here to ban or severely restrict, usually without announcement, any cache that doesn't meet the personal approval of the reviewers: guidelines/rules don't come into it. Fake bolts, fake signs, historical references, urban caches, and now pylons are just a few in a long list. It is these restrictions that have reduced caching to the micro-on-a-street-sign we see today.

 

Of course, it's possible that this occurs in other countries also but that isn't the impression I get from reading other forums.

 

But the 2 levels have proved to be confusing

I don't find it confusing at all, but if it is then the solution is clarification and education not removal of the only neutral platform which GB cachers have.

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Do we really need anyone to represent the UK cacher?

I think that's an interesting question. I can certainly see a use for an organisation like GAGB but equally I can see that many problems would disappear if there wasn't such an organisation.

 

The current situation is that there is a GAGB which purports to represent GB cachers yet has only a very small membership* and does little beyond introducing rules at Groundspeak's behest or which Groundspeak eagerly employ. I don't see how this is good for GB caching or cachers.

 

An organisation which worked for cachers against Groundspeak, landowners, and government, however, would be a very good thing to have.

 

* AIUI. The last time it was discussed IIRC the estimate was 10% of GB cachers were GAGB members and only a few tens actually voted for the committee. Recent threads suggest there are about 8000 active GB cachers: it would be interesting to know how many of those are GAGB members.

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So what's different with having to be a GAGB member to post. You don't have to believe 100% in the ideals of the GAGB to become a member you just need to have a need to use it's resources.

The difference is that you do have to believe in GAGB to be a member. As with any organisation, if you join it you demonstrate your agreement with its aims and ideals.

 

Using Groundspeak's forums is nothing like that: you have to abide by Groundspeak's forum rules but you don't have to approve or agree with Groundspeak's rules for cache placement unless you want to list a cache.

 

In other words, Groundspeak already provides the separation of discussion and caching which GAGB is proposing to remove. One wonders which organisation is the more helpful to GB cachers <_<.

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The purpose of the gagb is what has troubled me.

 

Guidelines rules

Terracaching use them on a person to person ad hoc basis. With no acceptance of their validity.

Opencaching follow the idealism but want to have their own.

Groundspeak accept them as their rules, which surely means they would be better published in graculus "follow the arrow" site.

 

Landowner agreements

Similar for opencaching and terra as before.

Accepted as Groundspeak limits, again should be could be published in follow the arrow.

 

Forums

Facebook is proving to be a much better open discussion area for people.

If you have a specific issue with a company then that companys own forum should be the main port of call.

 

Complaints to the company. Again direct to them unless there's a demonstrated track record of actions and successes. Martin Lewis has taken on big business and won many battles.

 

Calls and emails from police and landowners.

If a cache needs removing then surely a direct representative of that company is the port of call. Someone who actually has authority to insist it is removed. If its a more general enquiry then this can be done by a user group but most firms have a suitable number.

 

There is no legal requirements for the gagb to exist so why should anyone be compelled to join an organisation which is influencing a multi national company in how it provides its services.

 

How are the gagb different from Mary whitehouse and her campaigns to limit the content of the media and what the public is allowed to do?

 

Supporters of the gagb. Please please shout me down and blow holes in what I say. Only that way does the organisation gain credibility and achieve a mandate. Then it will be able to stand up and say , our existence and purpose have been tested and found fit for purpose .

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I think the problem is that Groundspeak are a US organisation and are very US centric, it would appear that Geocaching.com is primarily set up for US users, with "other countries" added on rather as an after thought. Given this we do need an organisation in the UK to represent UK interests, because Groundspeak won't.

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Guidelines rules

Why do we need them? It's supposed to be just good advice to set up quality caches which avoid causing unnecessary trouble. Generally common sense is enough, but on top of that we simply need some words of wisdom from the experienced. Rules are the realm of the listing site.

 

Landowner agreements

Pretty valuable stuff. It's very useful to know about agreements, or areas where you'd be wasting your time applying to place caches.

 

Forums

Facebook is great, but is often blocked at work and the interface isn't as clear as the Groundspeak / GAGB forums (IMO).

 

Complaints to the company.

Chances are that you'll be unable to convince the GAGB to take Groundspeak on if you have a gripe. If the problem is something that affects a large group of cachers then I feel that they're likely to form their own pressure group via the forums.

 

Calls and emails from police and landowners.

This is where I think the GAGB could really show their worth, by making sure that such calls are fielded carefully. What I mean is that many problems seem to occur because of misunderstandings about geocaching ("We have problems with cachers digging all round the area" / "the electronic box you left looked like a bomb because it had wires hanging from it" / "the cacher looked suspicious because he was taking photos" / "I wasn't asked for permission and I might be held liable for an accident" / "Participants and spectators will trample my crops"). It would be great if someone could gently persuade people to withdraw their complaint by explaining that their fears are unfounded. Only if the complaint was not answerable in general terms should it reach the cacher in question. At the moment I feel that once a complaint has been received by the GAGB then you're on your own, and you might at best receive some general advice about what to do about it.

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Can somebody give me the link to those ones please?

I regret I can't give you C&V as both GAGB and Groundspeak's forums seem to be limited in their search capabilities. However, from memory...

 

Fake bolts: that's easy as one of our caches was required to be archived because of it. The story was that a cacher removed a bolt from an Armco barrier and replaced it with a fake one containing the logbook. When a reviewer found out all caches using fake bolts were immediately banned and as a local reviewer had recently found ours then that had to go too. The annoying thing was that our bolt was placed in an existing hole which had been left empty by a recent refurbishment because there was no concrete under the hole to fix a bolt to. In other words, our fake bolt caused no risk at all but was caught in a classic over-reaction which is typical of recent years. I would just add that this is one of many rules which are undocumented.

 

Fake signs: see the recent discussion on fire hydrants. Also undocumented.

 

Historical references: a cacher was prohibited from mentioning the Sharpeville Massacre when placing a cache at.... a memorial to the Sharpeville Massacre. This is sort of documented as depending on the form of words it may be covered by the "no agenda" rule. This would be fine if Groundspeak then didn't allow many other caches which break that rule.

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Can somebody give me the link to those ones please?

I regret I can't give you C&V as both GAGB and Groundspeak's forums seem to be limited in their search capabilities. However, from memory...

 

Fake bolts: that's easy as one of our caches was required to be archived because of it. The story was that a cacher removed a bolt from an Armco barrier and replaced it with a fake one containing the logbook. When a reviewer found out all caches using fake bolts were immediately banned and as a local reviewer had recently found ours then that had to go too. The annoying thing was that our bolt was placed in an existing hole which had been left empty by a recent refurbishment because there was no concrete under the hole to fix a bolt to. In other words, our fake bolt caused no risk at all but was caught in a classic over-reaction which is typical of recent years. I would just add that this is one of many rules which are undocumented.

 

Fake signs: see the recent discussion on fire hydrants. Also undocumented.

 

Historical references: a cacher was prohibited from mentioning the Sharpeville Massacre when placing a cache at.... a memorial to the Sharpeville Massacre. This is sort of documented as depending on the form of words it may be covered by the "no agenda" rule. This would be fine if Groundspeak then didn't allow many other caches which break that rule.

 

Thanks for the explanation, I couldn't find anything in search either.

 

It looks bad for all our sellers that have been providing these - have they all been informed to discontinue their lines I wonder?

 

Perhaps we need a pinned thread on here of Taboo Hides.

 

Sorry for going off thread GAGB.

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Why should Groundspeak listen to anyone? They are in the unusual position of effectively owning and controlling an entire game, hold our hard-won statistics and information and I get the impression is that they have more members than they need or even want so don't mind upsetting a few along the way. Certainly I was very angry in the way the map change was handled and none of my complaints were acknowledged.

 

I don't know why they are so aloof. For a commercial company, especially an American one that should know the value of customer service this is unusual.

 

But they are, and they clearly don't feel the need to do much for non-US geocachers. And much as I love opencaching.org.uk's idea and respect the work involved, the bottom line is that if you want to go geocaching or have people visit your cache, you have to use Groundspeak's services. If you want to do it without a lot of faffing around manually exporting data, you have to pay them $30/pa.

 

Despite all this, I think I get value for money for my subscription - but only because we're no real extra work or cost to the US side of things. I really don't think they care about me or even my money.

 

What's this got to do with GAGB? Nothing, other than to suggest that if GS aren't listening, it's not necessarily GAGB's fault.

 

It's not about whether the GAGB are at fault regarding how much Groundspeak respond to complaints.

 

All I can say is from personal recent experience; I saw an issue regarding how camping events were being interpreted, I tried to raise them with the reviewers and got nowhere so I raised the issue here. The problem was picked up by the customer services and an active discussion was begun. The GAGB declined to engage with the matter.

The end result was that the requirements were amended due to one individual asking the company and it's users to discuss it.

 

Does Groundspeak actually have to listen to us that much? Ever tried to get Microsoft, Apple, McDonalds, etc to amend their company policy?

 

This thread is to engage people to discuss the role of the GAGB. I can see the purpose of the GAGB historically but does that still hold true?

 

The GAGB declined to raise the issue with Groundspeak did they, that's not what my personal communication log with you says.

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Guidelines rules

Why do we need them? It's supposed to be just good advice to set up quality caches which avoid causing unnecessary trouble. Generally common sense is enough, but on top of that we simply need some words of wisdom from the experienced. Rules are the realm of the listing site.

 

Landowner agreements

Pretty valuable stuff. It's very useful to know about agreements, or areas where you'd be wasting your time applying to place caches.

 

Forums

Facebook is great, but is often blocked at work and the interface isn't as clear as the Groundspeak / GAGB forums (IMO).

 

Complaints to the company.

Chances are that you'll be unable to convince the GAGB to take Groundspeak on if you have a gripe. If the problem is something that affects a large group of cachers then I feel that they're likely to form their own pressure group via the forums.

 

Calls and emails from police and landowners.

This is where I think the GAGB could really show their worth, by making sure that such calls are fielded carefully. What I mean is that many problems seem to occur because of misunderstandings about geocaching ("We have problems with cachers digging all round the area" / "the electronic box you left looked like a bomb because it had wires hanging from it" / "the cacher looked suspicious because he was taking photos" / "I wasn't asked for permission and I might be held liable for an accident" / "Participants and spectators will trample my crops"). It would be great if someone could gently persuade people to withdraw their complaint by explaining that their fears are unfounded. Only if the complaint was not answerable in general terms should it reach the cacher in question. At the moment I feel that once a complaint has been received by the GAGB then you're on your own, and you might at best receive some general advice about what to do about it.

 

Phone calls to the GAGB come through to me, most are replied to within minutes, most have a positive outcome.

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Can somebody give me the link to those ones please?

I regret I can't give you C&V as both GAGB and Groundspeak's forums seem to be limited in their search capabilities. However, from memory...

 

Fake bolts: that's easy as one of our caches was required to be archived because of it. The story was that a cacher removed a bolt from an Armco barrier and replaced it with a fake one containing the logbook. When a reviewer found out all caches using fake bolts were immediately banned and as a local reviewer had recently found ours then that had to go too. The annoying thing was that our bolt was placed in an existing hole which had been left empty by a recent refurbishment because there was no concrete under the hole to fix a bolt to. In other words, our fake bolt caused no risk at all but was caught in a classic over-reaction which is typical of recent years. I would just add that this is one of many rules which are undocumented.

 

Fake signs: see the recent discussion on fire hydrants. Also undocumented.

 

Historical references: a cacher was prohibited from mentioning the Sharpeville Massacre when placing a cache at.... a memorial to the Sharpeville Massacre. This is sort of documented as depending on the form of words it may be covered by the "no agenda" rule. This would be fine if Groundspeak then didn't allow many other caches which break that rule.

 

Wow... didn't realise ALL caches using fake bolts had been banned? We must have missed that one... I'm sure we would have remembered because we'd have been the ones who had to go through a huge long list and make sure they were all archived. Perhaps the OP* has a list we can check? :rolleyes:

 

* Edited to add, by OP I mean the quote, not the originator of this topic.

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

Geocaching.com Knowledge Books

Edited by Graculus
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Calls and emails from police and landowners.

This is where I think the GAGB could really show their worth, by making sure that such calls are fielded carefully. What I mean is that many problems seem to occur because of misunderstandings about geocaching ("We have problems with cachers digging all round the area" / "the electronic box you left looked like a bomb because it had wires hanging from it" / "the cacher looked suspicious because he was taking photos" / "I wasn't asked for permission and I might be held liable for an accident" / "Participants and spectators will trample my crops"). It would be great if someone could gently persuade people to withdraw their complaint by explaining that their fears are unfounded. Only if the complaint was not answerable in general terms should it reach the cacher in question. At the moment I feel that once a complaint has been received by the GAGB then you're on your own, and you might at best receive some general advice about what to do about it.

 

Phone calls to the GAGB come through to me, most are replied to within minutes, most have a positive outcome.

Sorry, I didn't mean to infer that phone calls don't get dealt with at all. It seems that some do lead to a change in mind of the complainant, and I can accept that sometimes it's impossible to convince the landowner or police that no real harm has been done. Apologies.

 

At least that gave you a chance to highlight this valuable service.

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Calls and emails from police and landowners.

This is where I think the GAGB could really show their worth, by making sure that such calls are fielded carefully. What I mean is that many problems seem to occur because of misunderstandings about geocaching ("We have problems with cachers digging all round the area" / "the electronic box you left looked like a bomb because it had wires hanging from it" / "the cacher looked suspicious because he was taking photos" / "I wasn't asked for permission and I might be held liable for an accident" / "Participants and spectators will trample my crops"). It would be great if someone could gently persuade people to withdraw their complaint by explaining that their fears are unfounded. Only if the complaint was not answerable in general terms should it reach the cacher in question. At the moment I feel that once a complaint has been received by the GAGB then you're on your own, and you might at best receive some general advice about what to do about it.

 

Phone calls to the GAGB come through to me, most are replied to within minutes, most have a positive outcome.

Sorry, I didn't mean to infer that phone calls don't get dealt with at all. It seems that some do lead to a change in mind of the complainant, and I can accept that sometimes it's impossible to convince the landowner or police that no real harm has been done. Apologies.

 

At least that gave you a chance to highlight this valuable service.

 

No problem, most landowners are happy with an explanation of what is happening. Often it is not the cache itself that is the problem, cachers blocking access with their cars or night cachers not being careful where torches are shone and waking residents seem to be the major issues in the last few months. Having said that I do receive a lot less contact from landowners these days. Perhaps as they become more aware of the pass time they realise that there can be benefits to having people on their land for legitimate reasons.

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So what's different with having to be a GAGB member to post. You don't have to believe 100% in the ideals of the GAGB to become a member you just need to have a need to use it's resources.

The difference is that you do have to believe in GAGB to be a member. As with any organisation, if you join it you demonstrate your agreement with its aims and ideals.

 

Please could you tell us with which of the GAGB's aims and ideals you disagree? Surely the way to influence any organisation is to become a member and change things from within?

 

Must say I agree with Dr Dick, though - I don't necessarily believe in ALL the aims and ideals of EVERY organisation I belong to. (The RAC springs to mind for a start.)

 

 

There is no legal requirements for the gagb to exist so why should anyone be compelled to join an organisation which is influencing a multi national company in how it provides its services.

 

How are the gagb different from Mary whitehouse and her campaigns to limit the content of the media and what the public is allowed to do?

 

 

No-one is compelling anyone to do anything. All that is happening is that there is a suggestion that cachers who want to use the GAGB forum become members of the GAGB.

 

I'm struggling to think of any other organisation that runs a free forum for non-members. Please tell me if you know of any.

 

As for Mary Whitehouse - you've lost me there, I just don't understand what you mean. I haven't seen GAGB trying to get books or television shows banned because they think they offend moral values.

 

I think the problem is that Groundspeak are a US organisation and are very US centric, it would appear that Geocaching.com is primarily set up for US users, with "other countries" added on rather as an after thought. Given this we do need an organisation in the UK to represent UK interests, because Groundspeak won't.

 

Exactly.

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My point was that a small group of people, with all the best intentions and with honourable intentions at that, are, without a mandate or tacit approval of the majority, creating guidelines and influencing as they see fit Groundspeak.

 

I'm not saying that I necessarily disagree with any of the guidelines. The problem is that they are releasing guidelines knowing that they WILL be accepted as new rules by the Groundspeak reviewers but are then hiding behind the excuse that as they are guidelines they cannot be held accountable.

Now this is disingenuous, we all know that a new GAGB guideline is almost definitely going to be adopted as a new reviewer rule. The committee do and all the members do and everyone who has an issue with the GAGB do. So continuing to release them as such just breeds angst.

 

If the GAGB is to continue then should the guidelines be called rules? Stand up for what the organisation believes and state clearly that they consider them to be rules. It wont bring anymore angst than is already the case but does remove the image of hiding behind semantics of the meaning of rules and guidelines.

 

Shouldn't Groundspeak be the holder of the rules? The guidelines are almost exclusively for Groundspeak though they are a suggested idea for others. Would it not be better to host them on the "follow the arrow" site or on this forum for users of Groundspeak to be able to debate.

 

My fear is that the GAGB, set up to shout out against injustices and fight for the rights of the UK cacher has found that they have a "special relationship" with Groundspeak and do not wish to risk that by rocking the boat too much or engaging with other organisations. Resulting in them becoming very close to a second group of people who work for Jeremy for free to administer customer complaints with a local email and phone number plus to administer the complex land owner agreements and local rules. That is a worthwhile and very needed job. We need it to be done....but not by the GAGB. Not unless the constitution wishes to acknowledge that times have changes and the "special relationship" with Groundspeak and it's reviewers means that it's part of the umbrella organisation.

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Shouldn't Groundspeak be the holder of the rules? The guidelines are almost exclusively for Groundspeak though they are a suggested idea for others. Would it not be better to host them on the "follow the arrow" site or on this forum for users of Groundspeak to be able to debate.

 

There you have hit the nail on the head, and why the arguments about rules / guidelines seems to continue endlessly.

They are a "suggested idea" for all. Groundspeak (not the GAGB) choose to implement them as rules, others don't (as far as I am aware anyway, but I only use GS).

I fail to see how GAGB could make rules anyway, as GS don't HAVE to follow the guidelines.

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My point was that a small group of people, with all the best intentions and with honourable intentions at that, are, without a mandate or tacit approval of the majority, creating guidelines and influencing as they see fit Groundspeak.

 

I'm not saying that I necessarily disagree with any of the guidelines. The problem is that they are releasing guidelines knowing that they WILL be accepted as new rules by the Groundspeak reviewers but are then hiding behind the excuse that as they are guidelines they cannot be held accountable.

Now this is disingenuous, we all know that a new GAGB guideline is almost definitely going to be adopted as a new reviewer rule. The committee do and all the members do and everyone who has an issue with the GAGB do. So continuing to release them as such just breeds angst.

 

If the GAGB is to continue then should the guidelines be called rules? Stand up for what the organisation believes and state clearly that they consider them to be rules. It wont bring anymore angst than is already the case but does remove the image of hiding behind semantics of the meaning of rules and guidelines.

If it's just about the guidelines then I still think that the GAGB should not specify guidelines, but should give advice about how to place a cache so that it's likely to be satisfactory. A "Cache Placing for Dummies" guide, if you like. It's much better to explain your advice in general terms rather than presenting what looks like a list of banned techniques. Groundspeak can continue with their list of bans, as that's their prerogative.

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Please could you tell us with which of the GAGB's aims and ideals you disagree?

Please see my post on the parallel thread on GAGB's forums (where this entire thread would be better placed).

 

(The RAC springs to mind for a start.)

The RAC and GAGB aren't equivalent. Yes, RAC started life as a member organisation but these days it's simply a commercial insurance company. You have to agree to the terms of that insurance if you want to take it.

 

I'm struggling to think of any other organisation that runs a free forum for non-members. Please tell me if you know of any.

Errm... this one? Though I counter my own argument by saying that Groundspeak is now more like the RAC as it started life as a member organisation but is now a commercial company.

 

GAGB can be a focus for GB cachers to discuss things which affect them, whether or not they're members. The alternative is that GAGB ceases claiming that its rules and agreements affect all cachers. I don't mind which it does but it can't have it both ways.

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GAGB...should give advice about how to place a cache so that it's likely to be satisfactory. A "Cache Placing for Dummies" guide, if you like. It's much better to explain your advice in general terms rather than presenting what looks like a list of banned techniques.

That was the starting point for my input into the guidelines on another listing site. Other members preferred a more definitive approach so what we ended up with was a combination of the two which I think works quite well.

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Oh my goodness, another 3000 words of rules :o. I'm amazed that Groundspeak publishes any caches at all. And why is this hidden away rather than being included on the guidelines page where everyone can find it?

 

I was particularly amused by this:

caches will not be allowed within or near to playgrounds or play equipment.

Yet just recently I found such a cache and reported it, without effect. If you're going to have rules then at least employ them.

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(The RAC springs to mind for a start.)

The RAC and GAGB aren't equivalent. Yes, RAC started life as a member organisation but these days it's simply a commercial insurance company. You have to agree to the terms of that insurance if you want to take it.

Which RAC are you talking about?

Royal Automobile Club

 

I'm struggling to think of any other organisation that runs a free forum for non-members. Please tell me if you know of any.

Errm... this one?

News to me.

Do you not have to have the minimum of a Basic Groundspeak Membership to post here?

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Which RAC are you talking about?

Royal Automobile Club

Ah, yes. I forgotten about that club. However, I'd be surprised if it was that one which Border Caz was referring to :).

 

Do you not have to have the minimum of a Basic Groundspeak Membership to post here?

Yes, indeed. Just as you have to complete GAGB forum registration to post there.

 

The difference is that Groundspeak isn't a club with members: it's a private company of which the principal aim is to make a profit for the owners. GAGB, however, has aims and ideals which it thinks help cachers: I disagree.

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OMG_Emoticon.gif

 

The committee has put it to the actual members to decide, if they decide in favour of allowing Forum Users to continue to post then so be it but if they decide in favour of only members posting you will probably still blame the committee for listening to their members.

Edited by DrDick&Vick
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<snip>I was particularly amused by this:
caches will not be allowed within or near to playgrounds or play equipment.

Yet just recently I found such a cache and reported it, without effect. If you're going to have rules then at least employ them.

We do seem to keep staying off the original subject of this thread which is about the GAGB and getting into specific criticisms about what reviewers have or haven't done and about specific caches. However if you'd like to give me the cache details and who it was reported to I'll take a look. The guideline is correct, we don't publish caches on playgrounds or near them for the reasons given but when we review a cache we cannot always know a playground is there - we use Google maps which are not always up to date. So caches do get published where they shouldn't but that's what sometimes happens.

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

Geocaching.com Knowledge Books

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Do you not have to have the minimum of a Basic Groundspeak Membership to post here?

Yes, indeed. Just as you have to complete GAGB forum registration to post there.

:unsure: Eh, no, you need to register as a "member" for "membership" of Groundspeak to post here and therfore accept and agree to all of their T&Cs

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Near Exeter there was a cache some years ago which I would have described as ‘a fun cache.’ To claim the cache you had to have a photo on the site with you holding your GPS and wearing a silly pair of glasses. It was placed by the Hancock Clan who sadly have moved to live in Australia. They archived the cached.

 

I was in M & S at Christmas and saw a pair of these glasses and thought I would reinstate the cache. The Reviewer said I could not insist the log contained a photo of the finder wearing the glasses.

 

I was told it was against the rules! Let’s not get hide bound by silly rules.

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I was in M & S at Christmas and saw a pair of these glasses and thought I would reinstate the cache. The Reviewer said I could not insist the log contained a photo of the finder wearing the glasses.

 

I was told it was against the rules! Let’s not get hide bound by silly rules.

This is an example of an "Additional Logging Requirement" (ALR) cache. ALRs were disallowed three years or so ago, because they had got out of hand. On the one hand, some of the requirements were getting ludicrous ("humiliate yourself in public in 20 ways and you can sign the log of this micro"), and on the other, cache owners and finders were getting into log deletion wars over (if I can use your example) "You're not really wearing the glasses"/"Yes I am"/"No you're not, they're in your hand"/"Well, I'm wearing them as gloves". This was costing hours of reviewer and Lackey time to sort out, just so a few people could behave like major control freaks. I miss some of the better ALR caches, but in many cases they just became an excuse for a fight. Unfortunately, not everybody is ready to live in a society without some form of rules.

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I was in M & S at Christmas and saw a pair of these glasses and thought I would reinstate the cache. The Reviewer said I could not insist the log contained a photo of the finder wearing the glasses.

 

I was told it was against the rules! Let’s not get hide bound by silly rules.

This is an example of an "Additional Logging Requirement" (ALR) cache. ALRs were disallowed three years or so ago, because they had got out of hand. On the one hand, some of the requirements were getting ludicrous ("humiliate yourself in public in 20 ways and you can sign the log of this micro"), and on the other, cache owners and finders were getting into log deletion wars over (if I can use your example) "You're not really wearing the glasses"/"Yes I am"/"No you're not, they're in your hand"/"Well, I'm wearing them as gloves". This was costing hours of reviewer and Lackey time to sort out, just so a few people could behave like major control freaks. I miss some of the better ALR caches, but in many cases they just became an excuse for a fight. Unfortunately, not everybody is ready to live in a society without some form of rules.

 

No problem. A Challenge can be as ludicrous and humiliating as you like. For example, you could be Challenged to "Kiss a frog". So, if you want people to do something silly, make it a Challenge.

 

 

Disclaimer - I don't do Challenges.

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Near Exeter there was a cache some years ago which I would have described as ‘a fun cache.’ To claim the cache you had to have a photo on the site with you holding your GPS and wearing a silly pair of glasses. It was placed by the Hancock Clan who sadly have moved to live in Australia. They archived the cached.

 

I was in M & S at Christmas and saw a pair of these glasses and thought I would reinstate the cache. The Reviewer said I could not insist the log contained a photo of the finder wearing the glasses.

 

I was told it was against the rules! Let’s not get hide bound by silly rules.

You can reinstate the cache and suggest that people post a photo of themselves wearing the glasses. What you can't do is require they do so, or delete their "found it" log because they prefer not to take the photo. In other words, you can't make up new rules yourself.

 

Rgds, Andy

Edited by Amberel
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Near Exeter there was a cache some years ago which I would have described as ‘a fun cache.’ To claim the cache you had to have a photo on the site with you holding your GPS and wearing a silly pair of glasses. It was placed by the Hancock Clan who sadly have moved to live in Australia. They archived the cached.

 

I was in M & S at Christmas and saw a pair of these glasses and thought I would reinstate the cache. The Reviewer said I could not insist the log contained a photo of the finder wearing the glasses.

 

I was told it was against the rules! Let’s not get hide bound by silly rules.

You can reinstate the cache and suggest that people post a photo of themselves wearing the glasses. What you can't do is require they do so, or delete their "found it" log because they prefer not to take the photo. In other words, you can't make up new rules yourself.

 

Rgds, Andy

 

That seems to make a lot of sense. The people with the kind of sense of humour who would enjoy the silly additional task(s) would get a kick out of it, and the people who either lack a sense of humour or just don't enjoy doing the extra tasks can sign the log, claim the smiley and move on. Everyone wins.

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We do seem to keep staying off the original subject of this thread

Yes, indeed, though any discussion on GAGB inevitably ends up discussing rules, and I mentioned this issue only because Andalusite posted a link to a set of rules which I've never seen before and which included a prohibition on a placement which I've seen not once but many, many times.

 

However if you'd like to give me the cache details and who it was reported to

Errmm...you <_<

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