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Bring Back Webcam Caches


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This discussion is being revived in light of the happenings over in another topic. Let's discuss the pros and cons of bringing back webcam caches.

 

Does anyone know what the original reasons were for grandfathering webcam caches? Did they just get lumped in with virtuals, or was a there a separate reason for grandfathering them?

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Well, let's see....

 

1. They are on Waymarking.

 

True, but to say they were moved there is incorrect. A category for them was built and the webcams were disallowed as geocaches. I listed a couple of webcams over on WM, but I think 1 has been visited once. In any case, I think it has been pretty clearly demonstrated that Waymarking has evolved into it's own activity and does not enjoy much crossover and popularity among geocachers, hence the continued call for them to return to Geocaching.

 

2. But webcams go down and CO's can;t do anything about it!

 

True. But caches get trashed and CO's won't or don't do anything abou tthose. So what? They eventually get reported and shut down. Currently the webcams aren't being reliably reported, I think, because folks are trying to preserve them. If they were listed again I believe you would see golks far more willing to log NM's or NA's on them.

 

3. They aren't real geocaches.

 

Says who? Jeremy? I find it interesting that folks want to whipe out Groundspeak as the authority of what a geocache is when this arguement comes up, but then when anything akin to liability or responsibility comes up, the tune changes to something like, "Well, Groundspeak is just a listing service. WE own the caches!" Pick one. If we do, indeed, own the caches and are responsible fro what gets placed out there for others to find, then why should variations of the concept not be allowed?

 

Besides, if a "true" cache must be a physical container that, at the very least, contains some kind of log; then both the drum beaters and Groundspeak needs to show some credibility and consistency and also pull all earthcaches, Wherigo's, and events that do not require cachers to use a GPS to find a container that contains a log.

 

4. Well, we can have them, but they should not count.

 

Why not? If you don't want them, or don't want them to count, ignore them. I find it interesting that a great many of those that take this stand have several finds/attendeds logged of the very types of caches they don't want to have count for everyone else. So if it's OK for them to have them count in their numbers, why do they not want them to count in everyone else's if they are brought back? But again, why does it matter anyway? Folks that want them can find them. Folks that dont, well, simply don't have to.

 

5. Armchair loggers/bogus pic logs

 

Again, so what? How does this affect your game? Thisis between the cacher and the CO. If I had armchair loggers of one of my caches, I'd delete their logs, but what some other CO does on their cache does not concern me one whit. Neither does another cachers inflated find count from their armchair/cheater finds. And yes, I've heard the arguement about "sets a bad example", etc. and I don't completely buy into that either. People, as a rule, know what this game is. Folks that skirt the rules and log finds they have not earned are only cheating themselves and showing their own character (or lack of it). CO's that allow it are doing the same. If new CO's and cachers are seen going down this road, it is incumbent upon us "old-timers" to spend a little time and effort with them and show them the error of their ways, just like trying to teach n00bs about better containers, hide techniques, and logging.

 

OK. That'll do it for me for now. Next.

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Besides, if a "true" cache must be a physical container that, at the very least, contains some kind of log; then both the drum beaters and Groundspeak needs to show some credibility and consistency and also pull all earthcaches, Wherigo's, and events that do not require cachers to use a GPS to find a container that contains a log.
Just one quibble...

 

There is a real container for a Wherigo™ Cache. The Wherigo™ cartridge is necessary, but it is used to find a real container.

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Here's my previous contribution to the discussion in the other thread.

 

Another is because they're a maintenance challenge. Unlike replacing a missing container or wet log, when a webcam goes "offline for repairs," the cache owner has no control over the maintenance outcome.
How is this different from a traditional cache being inaccessible (and disabled) for construction? Even if the land manager says the construction will take only a couple months and that the hide location itself (and thus, the cache's camouflage) will be unaffected, the CO has no control over the maintenance outcome, and no real assurance that the construction will be completed on schedule, or that the hide location itself will be unaffected.

 

I think part of the reason grandfathered webcam caches are a maintenance issue is the very fact that they are grandfathered. If the CO could archive one webcam cache and list another, then the CO would be more inclined to archive a webcam cache when the webcam went offline indefinitely. Given the grandfathered status, the CO is more likely to go to heroic efforts to keep the webcam cache alive, long after the original webcam is gone.

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Besides, if a "true" cache must be a physical container that, at the very least, contains some kind of log; then both the drum beaters and Groundspeak needs to show some credibility and consistency and also pull all earthcaches, Wherigo's, and events that do not require cachers to use a GPS to find a container that contains a log.
Just one quibble...

 

There is a real container for a Wherigo™ Cache. The Wherigo™ cartridge is necessary, but it is used to find a real container.

 

Yeah, I know that. My point, in-eloquently stated, was to need to use the GPS to find the container itself, not just the starting point for the cartridge, and was to point out the primary difference from a "true" geocache. Trying to point out absurdity by being a bit absurd. :)

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My point, in-eloquently stated, was to need to use the GPS to find the container itself, not just the starting point for the cartridge, and was to point out the primary difference from a "true" geocache.
Oh, do you need to use GPS coordinates to find the container itself for it to be a "true" geocache?

 

In that case, I've found a number of mystery/puzzle caches and a few multi-caches that weren't "true" geocaches. Sure, there was a container with a log. Sure, I had to use GPS coordinates as an integral and essential element of finding the cache. But the location of the final didn't use GPS coordinates.

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My point, in-eloquently stated, was to need to use the GPS to find the container itself, not just the starting point for the cartridge, and was to point out the primary difference from a "true" geocache.
Oh, do you need to use GPS coordinates to find the container itself for it to be a "true" geocache?

 

In that case, I've found a number of mystery/puzzle caches and a few multi-caches that weren't "true" geocaches. Sure, there was a container with a log. Sure, I had to use GPS coordinates as an integral and essential element of finding the cache. But the location of the final didn't use GPS coordinates.

 

Good point. Something else to jab the "purists" with I suppose. :)

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Well, let's see....

 

1. They are on Waymarking.

 

True, but to say they were moved there is incorrect. A category for them was built and the webcams were disallowed as geocaches. I listed a couple of webcams over on WM, but I think 1 has been visited once. In any case, I think it has been pretty clearly demonstrated that Waymarking has evolved into it's own activity and does not enjoy much crossover and popularity among geocachers, hence the continued call for them to return to Geocaching.

I tend to agree that the Waymarking site has evolved into a different activity. Theoretically, the database of waymarks in general and webcams in particular might be a better way to manage these listings. It just needs some way to make them an activity that can be done from the Geocaching.com site (and perhaps count in the find counts of those who want them).

2. But webcams go down and CO's can;t do anything about it!

 

True. But caches get trashed and CO's won't or don't do anything abou tthose. So what? They eventually get reported and shut down. Currently the webcams aren't being reliably reported, I think, because folks are trying to preserve them. If they were listed again I believe you would see golks far more willing to log NM's or NA's on them.

The problem wasn't webcam that no longer exist or even where the URL changed and the cache page was not updated but ones that were out of order temporarily. People would go to the location and call a friend to take a picture and the friend would find the camera was down. Perhaps this is the same as a DNF on cache and you could come back and try again. But for many people this was just frustrating. Especially because is was pretty common for some webcams.

 

3. They aren't real geocaches.

 

Says who? Jeremy? I find it interesting that folks want to whipe out Groundspeak as the authority of what a geocache is when this arguement comes up, but then when anything akin to liability or responsibility comes up, the tune changes to something like, "Well, Groundspeak is just a listing service. WE own the caches!" Pick one. If we do, indeed, own the caches and are responsible fro what gets placed out there for others to find, then why should variations of the concept not be allowed?

 

Besides, if a "true" cache must be a physical container that, at the very least, contains some kind of log; then both the drum beaters and Groundspeak needs to show some credibility and consistency and also pull all earthcaches, Wherigo's, and events that do not require cachers to use a GPS to find a container that contains a log.

Not sure why Groundspeak needs to be consistent. Webcams and virtual were experiments just like moving caches, ALR caches, and caches inside businesses that used to be listed. Groundspeak determined to no longer accept certain listings that they previous would accept. It's true that virtuals and webcams don't have containers and they had their own icons, so they are differences from other cache types that are no longer an option. However, TPTB have decided that these experiments have out live their usefulness.

 

4. Well, we can have them, but they should not count.

 

Why not? If you don't want them, or don't want them to count, ignore them. I find it interesting that a great many of those that take this stand have several finds/attendeds logged of the very types of caches they don't want to have count for everyone else. So if it's OK for them to have them count in their numbers, why do they not want them to count in everyone else's if they are brought back? But again, why does it matter anyway? Folks that want them can find them. Folks that dont, well, simply don't have to.

Agreed. If you are going to list them you might as well count them.

5. Armchair loggers/bogus pic logs

 

Again, so what? How does this affect your game? Thisis between the cacher and the CO. If I had armchair loggers of one of my caches, I'd delete their logs, but what some other CO does on their cache does not concern me one whit. Neither does another cachers inflated find count from their armchair/cheater finds. And yes, I've heard the arguement about "sets a bad example", etc. and I don't completely buy into that either. People, as a rule, know what this game is. Folks that skirt the rules and log finds they have not earned are only cheating themselves and showing their own character (or lack of it). CO's that allow it are doing the same. If new CO's and cachers are seen going down this road, it is incumbent upon us "old-timers" to spend a little time and effort with them and show them the error of their ways, just like trying to teach n00bs about better containers, hide techniques, and logging.

 

OK. That'll do it for me for now. Next.

I'm not sure that webcams had as much of an issue as virtuals with armchair logs. Clearly some people may have thought you just needed to go to the website and capture a picture from the camera - and not get a picture of yourself at the posted coordinates. One problem was that many cameras didn't take pictures were you could recognize a cacher standing in the field of view. So the "proof" of find was never that good. Of course lots of people don't sign physical logs or write illegibly in them, so you could argue that is not much different. However it was rare for a webcam owner to do police the logs.

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Some thoughts on non-functional webcam caches, copied over from the other thread; I hope that's OK:

 

I did see one webcam cache where the actual webcam has been down for years, and the cache listing encouraged people to take a photo at GZ and log a find accordingly. Now archived of course.

Maybe we could ask for reason. If you archived traditional cache, you can hidden new. It is no problem. But if you archieved webcam cache you will never have new. And this could be the reason why owner did everything for not to archive this webcame cache and for her function.

(...)

 

Good point. And, of course, a webcam cache whose webcam isn't there any longer needs to be archived (by the owner, first of all, or by a reviewer if the owner fails to do so).

 

As a pre-condition to bringing back webcam caches, maybe we should try to think up a simple way to alert the reviewers to missing webcams.

 

With a traditional cache whose container is missing, you soon get a string of DNF and NA logs (at least where I live). I suppose this is then called to the attention of a reviewer in some way, who will take the usual steps (contact the owner via the logs, disable the cache, archive it if all else fails).

 

With webcam caches, that does not always seem to be the case. From the examples in this thread I get the impression that some people will post and accept cheat logs on no-longer-existent webcam caches. Maybe a simple, more or less automatic way could be found to alert reviewers to logs and caches like this.

 

Of course, the better way would be for the community to handle it by posting NA logs for webcam caches without a webcam.

 

Kind regards - T.-Y.

 

(...), maybe we should try to think up a simple way to alert the reviewers to missing webcams.

 

Maybe something like this:

 

  • The owner states the webcam's URL in the cache listing - not just the site, but the filename of the actual picture that's being updated by the webcam.
  • GS has some kind of "monitoring database" for these webcam pictures. Before publishing the webcam cache, the reviewer puts the URL into this database. (Or even better: the CO can do it herself/himself.)
  • This "monitoring database" does nothing all dy but monitor if the picture is being updated regularily. If the picture freezes or becomes unavailable, the reviewer gets a note.

 

... though I don't know if this is still "simple"! ;-)

 

Kind regards

T.-Y.

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I think the listing should be cared by the owner. Reviewers have a lot of their work.

Camera isn't working > owner disables listing.

Owner does not disable listing > players write Needs Archive log.

Players do not write Needs Archive log - i hope that will not happen.

 

If you archived traditional cache, you can hidden new. It is no problem. But if you archieved webcam cache you will never have new.

It's true. It will be better after webcam comeback - this reason ceases to exist.

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As a pre-condition to bringing back webcam caches, maybe we should try to think up a simple way to alert the reviewers to missing webcams.

Done: "Needs Archived."

Of course if you log that you will get a ton of backlash from angery cachers. Not that care, but it will happen.

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As a pre-condition to bringing back webcam caches, maybe we should try to think up a simple way to alert the reviewers to missing webcams.

Done: "Needs Archived."

Of course if you log that you will get a ton of backlash from angery cachers. Not that care, but it will happen.

 

I think the point is, that you'd get less backlash from angry cachers if another webcam cache could be created, even in the same general area. As it is, webcam caches are a dying breed. Assuming my PQ is correct, there are only 3 active webcam caches in the entire state of New York, and fortunately all three seem to be working and used as they were intended.

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I tend to agree that the Waymarking site has evolved into a different activity. Theoretically, the database of waymarks in general and webcams in particular might be a better way to manage these listings. It just needs some way to make them an activity that can be done from the Geocaching.com site (and perhaps count in the find counts of those who want them).

 

I know you are a big proponent of Waymarking and I understand what you are saying, but I really don't see why they need to be listed on one site or the other. These 2 activites have evolved in such a way, and maintained the same way, that they are separate animals in all but the account signongs used to access them. After all, part of the complaints about Waymarking is having to bounce between sites. If they designed and maintain the two activites separately adn they are such different activites, just leave it that way.

 

The problem wasn't webcam that no longer exist or even where the URL changed and the cache page was not updated but ones that were out of order temporarily. People would go to the location and call a friend to take a picture and the friend would find the camera was down. Perhaps this is the same as a DNF on cache and you could come back and try again. But for many people this was just frustrating. Especially because is was pretty common for some webcams.

 

And this is different from regular cache DNF frustrations in what way other than, perhaps, more irresponsible cache owners and cache seekers unwilling to throw an NM or NA log? And I again assert that part of this is the effort to keep as many webcam caches alive as long as possible since no more can be created. If that were to change, I would think more owners and seekers would be more willing to do proper maintenance especially if some of us old hats led by example.

 

Not sure why Groundspeak needs to be consistent. Webcams and virtual were experiments just like moving caches, ALR caches, and caches inside businesses that used to be listed. Groundspeak determined to no longer accept certain listings that they previous would accept. It's true that virtuals and webcams don't have containers and they had their own icons, so they are differences from other cache types that are no longer an option. However, TPTB have decided that these experiments have out live their usefulness.

 

Well, you may well have something there, and it may just be my way of thinking, but I think consistency is pretty important and should have been as this game grew. Making decisions about certain cache types and citing various criteria for those decisions but then not applying those decisions to other types simply generates more confusion and angst, especially for all those who are new to the game and don't know all the stuf we have seen over the years.

 

I'm not sure that webcams had as much of an issue as virtuals with armchair logs. Clearly some people may have thought you just needed to go to the website and capture a picture from the camera - and not get a picture of yourself at the posted coordinates. One problem was that many cameras didn't take pictures were you could recognize a cacher standing in the field of view. So the "proof" of find was never that good. Of course lots of people don't sign physical logs or write illegibly in them, so you could argue that is not much different. However it was rare for a webcam owner to do police the logs.

 

You may well be correct here as well, but again, how is that different than traditional caches? Sure, there are owners that compare the hardcopy log to the digital one, but I daresay that is a pretty rare thing these days. I know I don't do it anywhere near as often as I used to. In fact, I've never done it for a couple of my newer caches. Ultimately it is the CO's responsibility to police these and if they don't then it is only really hurting his reputation and the cacher who is cheating is only cheatng thmeselves. Of course, when folks come across caches that haev a plethora of bogus logs, there certianly is nothing preventing us from posting NM's, or NA's or contacting a reviewer or Groundspeak to check on it.

 

I guess what it boils down to for me in regards to webcams and virtuals is that I see no reason to not have these additional dimensions of the game returned to their full status. The problems with them are not all that different than the problems with regular caches and the community can police them well enough. And as I've said before, those that don't want to do all or smoe them, they can ignore them and/or exclude them from PQs. But those of us that like them certainly can't get an opportunity to do them if they aren't allowed on the site. It seems that for a more robust game with more opportunity for growth and creativity, having them with the options of opting out is better than not having them and no way to opt in.

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