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Harry Dolphin

Alternate logging requirements.

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I am sure that this has been argued to death, like beating a dead horse, but I do not see the answer in the forum.

A friend has recently found an EarthCache. The former requirement was: Post of photo of yourself. We all know that that cannot be required. This cache lists an 'alternative logging requirement'.

Option two include a unique 300 word description of you visit to (the location) in your log.

Is that a permissible alternate logging requirement? (Ignoring the control-freak aspects of such a requirement.) I had thought that thoose were tossed out with the dead horse as well. Or am I mistaken?

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I'd rather post a photo of myself than write a 300-word essay! Good question about the earthcache logging. Glad you posted this question.

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As quoted, no it does not meet the guidelines!

 

The logging task has to be Earth science related and site specific (and not answerable via an internet search)

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The logging task has to be Earth science related and site specific (and not answerable via an internet search)

 

Actually, there are many, many Earthcaches which do not fulfill all these criteria at the same time. Quite often

the Earth science related questions can be answered via the internet (sometimes only in this way) and if there are

other questions present that require a visit of the location they often are not Earth science related (like count all the cobble stones around the

fountain or post a photo).

 

I actually would welcome if what you wrote above is true (where and really means "and" in the logical sense, i.e. all conditions have

to be fulfilled at the same time), but the reality of Earth caches is different and actually I do think that the reviewers do not have enough time and often not

even the chance to check whether some questions are answerable via the internet.

Take internet pages like that one http://www.hengist.at/projekte/kulturwanderweg.html where all the texts of all information boards in the area can be found.

I doubt very much that any reviewer who is not a local specialist would find these pages without investing much more effort than can be required from a reviewer.

 

Actually, when interpreting what you write in the strict sense each Earth cache must be evaluated constantly as someone could set up a website and publish there all signs and other sorts of information required for the Earth caches in an area (thus making all questions answerable via the internet) and neither the GSA nor Groundspeak could anything do against it.

 

It appears to me that the situation where some logging tasks are Earth science related (and might be answerable via the internet) are combined with other non Earth science related logging tasks that do require a visit to the location is already more than what many existing Earth caches (also new ones) are able to meet.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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It does look like requirements go overboard sometimes.

 

I am trying to get an earth cache about a volcano through the process. The subejct is surely geological enough, so that can't be the problem in this case, although generally I would like to see some diverstity in allowed subject matter as well (earth sciences rather than strict geology).

 

But the reviewer wants me to include a task of the type "stick a thermometer in the magma chamber and measure its temperature", which is not feasible (or allowed I am sure).

The argument against the tasks I propose is exactly that answers might be collected from the internet, from information boards or whatever. And even a task that requires people to think about consequences of the local situation is considered to be not sufficiently location-specific since you can do the thinking at home. But it can't be helped that so much information is available on the internet... or that information boards are placed at interesting locations. We can not be expected to start ripping those up.

Edited by Terpen Tijn

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How about having them descend and get a magma sample? :laughing:

 

But seriously: if the surface of the magma is constantly changing, and there's a safe way to view it, this could actually be a candidate for a photo requirement.

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Had some friend run into this logging requirement:

Please send your answers to mail answer1answer2answer3answer4(at)some.url.address and please fill only your GC.com nickname to the subject of this mail.

If the answer is correct, you are suppose to get a response:

Hello A, B & C, I thank you for your visit of my cache ...). I hope you enjoyed your time here. Your answers are right and you are welcome to log this Earthcache as a found it. I am looking forward your photos - please do not forget to upload it to your log.

Very nice, I guess. But friend A tried several times to submit the answers, but was told

Your e-mail is being returned to you because there was a problem with its

delivery. The address which was undeliverable is listed in the section

labeled: "----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----".

 

The reason your mail is being returned to you is listed in the section

labeled: "----- Transcript of Session Follows -----".

I tried to assist my friend, but got the same results. Another cache hunter on the trip finally got the above cited acceptance response.

I guess it's nice to have an automated response, so the CO does not actually have to read any mail sent with the required answers. But is this permitted? When the system seems flawed. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not? Maybe AOL bounces such things? But it is not foolproof. Next responder logged a note with:

HiHo,

we had been there at 20 th of june.

Unfortunately the e-mail adress does not work so we are unable to receive log permission.

 

forget about the found it log....................... I am not willing to worry about.

CO does not actually rad the e-mail sent. But has an automated response that works (maybe most of the time?) but not always.

To me, this would seem to violate the TOS.

Is a flawed system such as this permitted?

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CO does not actually rad the e-mail sent. But has an automated response that works (maybe most of the time?) but not always.

To me, this would seem to violate the TOS.

Is a flawed system such as this permitted?

The EarthCache FAQ strongly discourages auto-response emails, but it doesn't actually forbid them. It appears as though it's up to the reviewers to decide whether to publish such caches.

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I would urge folks not to worry so much about the "armchair" cachers. Yes, the answers to a lot of EarthCaches can be obtained by an internet search. But so what? If a few people log your EC without having actually visited the site, what difference does it make? They only cheat themselves. The vast majority of cachers don't do this. Most cachers are good folk. Let's give each other a break and not make EarthCache "found it" logs too much like a police interrogation. Keep it fun, and don't worry about the dorks who feel some weird need to log EarthCaches that they've not actually visited. They cause you no harm, and they'll probably get bored with it after a few "finds" anyway.

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I feel for the cachers wanting to place their own earth Cache. The frustration of finding the questions to ask or what info to provide can be a head ache.

 

Not all of us have Degrees in Geology, My training is in Inspection, Its just that I have a passion for 4x4ing and get out into country when ever possible. I have come across many interesting Earth features but as I dont know my granite from my limestone I am left like a kid standing at a candy store window.

 

I would love to share these places with other cachers but instead of opting for a traditional lock n lock box hidden under a rock nearby I opt for an earth Cache. I therefore take a lot of photos and then sit hours on the internet trying to get some answers of what I was actually looking at. Then start the process of putting together an Earth Cache, but those questions, oh those questions.

 

One wants to make the caching experience a fun one, not one thast going to compel the cacher to spend a few hours on the internet looking up answers to claim the cache.

 

And here comes the crux of the whole Earth Cache:

How do I know you were there and did not spend a bit of time on the internet then then claiming the cache without out leaving the house. Simple....post a photo, but as this is now only an (optional) requirement the next thing is to ask a security question.

ie, what is the colour of the writing on the sight leading up to GZ, then the reviewer retorts that this has nothing to do with the Earth Cache subject and wants it removed.

 

If you dont want your photo to appear on the internet, write your caching name on your forefinger and photograph that pointing to the GZ. There are a vast many options

 

So for me the Alternate logging requirements is born out of pure frustration on the part of the Geocacher preventing Arm chair caching.

Edited by Avanclan

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I don't worry about questions like that anymore, because all they really prove is that the first person to answer them was there. That first person can always post about it to their website, or Facebook, or take photos that other folks find.

 

Besides which, the whole point of earthcaches is to teach a lesson, not just be a virtual cache that has something to do with earth science. So rather than asking which was the third word on the fifth line of the sign or whatever, I make my questions site-specific while at the same time trying to build the lessons I'm trying to teach into them.

 

I also try to ask for enough detail in those answers that I'll be able to figure out very quickly whether someone was there or not.

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CO does not actually rad the e-mail sent. But has an automated response that works (maybe most of the time?) but not always.

To me, this would seem to violate the TOS.

Is a flawed system such as this permitted?

The EarthCache FAQ strongly discourages auto-response emails, but it doesn't actually forbid them. It appears as though it's up to the reviewers to decide whether to publish such caches.

 

But, shouldn't they be required to work for everyone? It took three people to get one to make it work. There are notes from a least one other who tried, but could not get it to work. That just doesn't seem right.

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But, shouldn't they be required to work for everyone? It took three people to get one to make it work. There are notes from a least one other who tried, but could not get it to work. That just doesn't seem right.

 

I really dislike auto-responders, especially when they don't work. I don't fret about them, though. Since we don't have to wait for permission to post our finds on EarthCaches, I just post my found it log, send the required answer (or attempt to) and go on about my business. Usually I add a line to my log saying the auto-responder didn't operate as it should.

 

It's never happened, but if the cache owner wrote to ask me why I didn't send an email to the auto-responder, I'd explain the problem again. As far as I'm concerned, it is up the person who listed the cache to make sure the auto-responder works.

 

Personally, I'd like to see the auto-responders eliminated. I can't think of a single reason they would be needed and I've seen many that create problems where there should be no issue.

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CO does not actually rad the e-mail sent. But has an automated response that works (maybe most of the time?) but not always.

To me, this would seem to violate the TOS.

Is a flawed system such as this permitted?

 

I do not like the usage of autoresponders for ECs, but note that temporary problems with an e-mail address can happen independently from whether or not a human being is planning to look at the mails that arrive. If the mails do not arrive, they already fail in a step before and then it does not play a role whether the mails are sent to an autoresponder which is a piece of code sending out replies automatically. The very same type of failure can happen with the gc.com mail address.

Sometimes it also happens that e-mails sent from certain providers/domains are not accepted. For example, there are a few cachers to whom I cannot send e-mail because they block certain sender domains.

 

What sometimes can lead to failures is if the syntax of the sent mail is not 100% as intended (e.g. if the filter is programmed for a certain subject and this subject is wrong or missing), but this will just lead to no automatic answer being sent out despite receival of the mail and not to an error message of the type you mentioned.

 

There is just one aspect about autoresponders that somehow might foster an increased rate of problems with undeliverable mail, namely that most cachers do use e-mail boxes at not very realiable providers for their autoresponder systems as they do not want to pay for the service.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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I have never thought of using an auto-responder. Part of my joy of having EC's is really the interaction with finders - especially in a case like my Johannesburg caches where I have a series, and I love "getting to know" finders as they progress through the series, and then ultimately wither helping them hide their own EC, of finally meeting them in person at events.

 

So i believe an auto responder would rob me of this joy.

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As quoted, no it does not meet the guidelines!

 

The logging task has to be Earth science related and site specific (and not answerable via an internet search)

What about "if you don't submit a picture of yourself then count the number of" this, that, and the other thing (man made objects like signs or benches). Or another one encountered, Cachers A, B, and C went toghether. Cacher A took the picture of B and C holding their GPSs and Cachers A's GPS. Refused as Cacher A wasn't in the picture, but allows pictures of a hand holding a gps for those caching alone. I have the awful feeling an appeal is in the future for a couple of my caching buddies.

 

edit to clarify

Edited by SgtSue

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As quoted, no it does not meet the guidelines!

 

The logging task has to be Earth science related and site specific (and not answerable via an internet search)

What about "if you don't submit a picture of yourself then count the number of" this, that, and the other thing (man made objects like signs or benches). Or another one encountered, Cachers A, B, and C went toghether. Cacher A took the picture of B and C holding their GPSs and Cachers A's GPS. Refused as Cacher A wasn't in the picture, but allows pictures of a hand holding a gps for those caching alone. I have the awful feeling an appeal is in the future for a couple of my caching buddies.

 

Neither of those logging requirements sound like they've been revised to fit the retroactively applicable January 2011 change to the earthcache guidelines. Quote the guidelines to the cache owner in a new found it log, and if it's deleted again, appeal immediately.

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You cannot require a picture, and you have to have logging tasks. The Earthcache program is about teaching others. So creating an photo -or- task actually defeats that purpose, and normally would not be published.

 

I have seen where the cache owner gave two tracks. Logging tasks A,B,C but they involve bringing something to the site to do an experiment, or do D,E,F,G that would take you more time but would not include bringing materials in advance. That would be allowed.

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As quoted, no it does not meet the guidelines!

 

The logging task has to be Earth science related and site specific (and not answerable via an internet search)

What about "if you don't submit a picture of yourself then count the number of" this, that, and the other thing (man made objects like signs or benches). Or another one encountered, Cachers A, B, and C went toghether. Cacher A took the picture of B and C holding their GPSs and Cachers A's GPS. Refused as Cacher A wasn't in the picture, but allows pictures of a hand holding a gps for those caching alone. I have the awful feeling an appeal is in the future for a couple of my caching buddies.

 

Neither of those logging requirements sound like they've been revised to fit the retroactively applicable January 2011 change to the earthcache guidelines. Quote the guidelines to the cache owner in a new found it log, and if it's deleted again, appeal immediately.

Kind of the way I see it. I knew there had been changes so I wanted to make sure what was what before I further advised a less technical friend. Earthcashe had multiple questions all which were answered correctly plus sent answers to the 3 alternate requirments after her log was deleted, but quoted the wrong sign from the site so only had 2 correct. I told her to relog. Hopefully things will work out.

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I have often seen earthcaches that require either a photo or an alternate, arbitrary task (such as measuring an image from the sign within 1 mm). I have also seen earthcaches that state that a photo is not required but may "save" a log if there is an incorrect answer. Indeed, I almost had a log deleted because the earthcache asked you to measure the elevation with your gpsr, and my gpsr did not agree with the owners -- but the photo saved the day. For that matter, I have been told by earthcache owner that a photo is not optional even when I pointed out the guidelines. For the most part, it is easier for me to post the picture rather than make an issue out of it.

 

So sometimes alternate logging requirements are simply a means to enforce a photo or impose an arbitrary requirement that has nothing to do with earth science. It seems strange that this should get approved. These days, if the earthcache logging requirement seems more about owner control than getting me to think about the geology of an area, then I am likely to pass it by.

Edited by geodarts

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For that matter, I have been told by earthcache owner that a photo is not optional even when I pointed out the guidelines. For the most part, it is easier for me to post the picture rather than make an issue out of it.

Me, too. Whenever I run across an earthcache that still requires photos plus answers, I'll typically go ahead and include a photo, but I'll tell them about the guideline change. No one (reviewers, lackeys, GSA) is going back to older earthcaches and seeing if they've been changed, so some folks just don't know. I don't make an issue about it, I just give them a heads up that the rules changed and that the change is retroactive, and I leave it to them to address it as they see fit.

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