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Challenge geocaches should have their own type

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Were existing challenges allowed to change to a new challenge type, I'm sure all challenge owners will be inundated with requests to 'grandfather' qualifying challenge caches they've previously found that are no longer the Unknown type. :P

 

Part of the process of owning a "challenge cache". I personally couldn't care less if a CO with a challenge gets inundated with requests like this.

 

I think about the non-challenge cache COs who get inundated with emails because they change the D/T or title of their cache (particularly old ones) when the situation changes at the cache location.

For example, the cache in a swampy area that someone built a boardwalk near. Or the island cache that gets a new bridge as part of a park improvement. Suddenly your T4 is a T2.

 

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I think about the non-challenge cache COs who get inundated with emails because they change the D/T or title of their cache (particularly old ones) when the situation changes at the cache location.

For example, the cache in a swampy area that someone built a boardwalk near. Or the island cache that gets a new bridge as part of a park improvement. Suddenly your T4 is a T2.

 

Straying off-topic, but would it be fair to say that this could be addressed with implementation of this feature?

 

[FEATURE] Include D/T rating in Found It log

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Straying off-topic, but would it be fair to say that this could be addressed with implementation of this feature?

 

[FEATURE] Include D/T rating in Found It log

 

Even something as simple as a log type for D/T changes like Coordinate changes is fine by me.

Basically a setup where the people that want to ignore challenges are not bothered by people looking for challenges.

 

As for the original topic. Hell yes two thumbs up for make it a new icon type.

I have basically written off all ? type caches since I can't be bothered to figure out in the field if that's a field puzzle or flaming hoop cache.

 

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I advocated for a semblance of 'change log' on caches a while back. I'd still love to see something like that. core property of a cache is updated? Keep the change in a history log; easily verifiable. The GPX and API wouldn't have to change, but there could be an additional parameter wherein you provide a date (such as a find log date) and you retrieve a snapshot of the cache as at that date.

And that's all an additive functionality update. No editing of currently establish processes, just add a history module and an API parameter that returns slightly adjusted data. Easy-peasy. #knockonwood

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While I am not big on mystery cache types, I would like to see a split also. Could we bring puzzle caches into existence with in icon of a puzzle piece? For challenge caches, I recommend an icon as a light bulb or mountain? While I know some caches many have to change, but I believe this could work for most of us. Just my two cents, but I am willing to work with Groundspeak on this if they do desire.

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A GSAK filter set to eliminate caches with the word "Challenge" in the title would filter out the Challenges in a jiffy.

Sadly that won't filter out them all as many older challenges weren't required to use that word and still even this year, I've seen challenge caches published by reviewers who haven't told the CO to add the word challenge for publication (it sometimes gets added later if the CO can be persuaded).

 

I think challenge caches have been going for too long to change things now. There are approx 800 in the UK already and many more pro rata in other larger countries. I love challenge caches and have implemented a good system to root them out. I've qualified for and found hundreds and the system as it is works fine for me. It doesn't need changing.

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Now this is confusing. From a couple of years ago Groundspeak said-

 

In our effort to inspire outdoor play through Geocaching, we are often faced with decisions about what to focus on next, and what to focus on less. It is through these decisions that we explore opportunities to grow the global game of geocaching.

 

Occasionally, during this process, we are faced with the reality that certain ideas don’t catch on as we had hoped. In these situations we owe it to ourselves and to you to make tough decisions about the future of every project and the resources to be applied to each. Sometimes, as a result, cool features must become casualties.

 

In this spirit, we have decided to retire Geocaching Challenges.

 

This means that, effective today, we have disabled the ability to create new Challenges. We have also removed the Challenges application from all mobile application stores. In approximately 7 days, we will be removing all traces of the Challenges functionality and related content from Geocaching.com.

 

Is there a difference from the challenge caches and what Groundspeak is talking about here? I have noticed a lot of challenge caches have been showing up here, most of them I'll never be able to accomplish as they are being placed by a couple of cachers with over 50,000 finds each.

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Is there a difference from the challenge caches and what Groundspeak is talking about here? I have noticed a lot of challenge caches have been showing up here . . .

 

Geocaching challenges were not caches, but were challenges to go somewhere and do something. They did not work out for reasons that need not be addressed here and Groundspeak removed them without a trace.

 

Challenge caches were never a part of that particular experiment. They remain caches that are identified with a question mark, the word challenge in their title, and an ALR related to this game.

Edited by geodarts

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1410152070[/url]' post='5424659']

Now this is confusing. From a couple of years ago Groundspeak said-

 

In our effort to inspire outdoor play through Geocaching, we are often faced with decisions about what to focus on next, and what to focus on less. It is through these decisions that we explore opportunities to grow the global game of geocaching.

 

Occasionally, during this process, we are faced with the reality that certain ideas don't catch on as we had hoped. In these situations we owe it to ourselves and to you to make tough decisions about the future of every project and the resources to be applied to each. Sometimes, as a result, cool features must become casualties.

 

In this spirit, we have decided to retire Geocaching Challenges.

 

This means that, effective today, we have disabled the ability to create new Challenges. We have also removed the Challenges application from all mobile application stores. In approximately 7 days, we will be removing all traces of the Challenges functionality and related content from Geocaching.com.

 

Is there a difference from the challenge caches and what Groundspeak is talking about here? I have noticed a lot of challenge caches have been showing up here, most of them I'll never be able to accomplish as they are being placed by a couple of cachers with over 50,000 finds each.

 

I had to check to see if you were from Ontario. We have the same issue. Almost every month a new powertrail of challenge caches pops up somewhere. The once leisurely pastime is increasingly becoming about competitive power caching.

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1410152070[/url]' post='5424659']

Now this is confusing. From a couple of years ago Groundspeak said-

 

In our effort to inspire outdoor play through Geocaching, we are often faced with decisions about what to focus on next, and what to focus on less. It is through these decisions that we explore opportunities to grow the global game of geocaching.

 

Occasionally, during this process, we are faced with the reality that certain ideas don't catch on as we had hoped. In these situations we owe it to ourselves and to you to make tough decisions about the future of every project and the resources to be applied to each. Sometimes, as a result, cool features must become casualties.

 

In this spirit, we have decided to retire Geocaching Challenges.

 

This means that, effective today, we have disabled the ability to create new Challenges. We have also removed the Challenges application from all mobile application stores. In approximately 7 days, we will be removing all traces of the Challenges functionality and related content from Geocaching.com.

 

Is there a difference from the challenge caches and what Groundspeak is talking about here? I have noticed a lot of challenge caches have been showing up here, most of them I'll never be able to accomplish as they are being placed by a couple of cachers with over 50,000 finds each.

 

I had to check to see if you were from Ontario. We have the same issue. Almost every month a new powertrail of challenge caches pops up somewhere. The once leisurely pastime is increasingly becoming about competitive power caching.

 

I was originally confused by that statement myself. After a little research, however, I found out that comment is referring to what were known as "Geocaching Challenges", which are different from Challenge Caches. This blog post explains the idea pretty well. http://www.notaboutthenumbers.com/2011/08/27/geocaching-challenges-now-seven-days-old-and-still-here/. In the end they decided the idea was a flop, and chose to get rid of them altogether. Perhaps that adds to why Groundspeak is hesitant to make Challenge Caches a unique cache-type now...even though its a great idea!

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There are many topics up and running on "challenge caches" and how they work, how they should work, concerns with them, and even simple general confusion about searching for them within Pocket Queries, on the map, or from a List.

 

As you read through the initial posts, and the following discussions, it occurs to me that there has yet to be a collated suggestion posted that "challenge caches" be pulled out of the Mystery/Puzzle cache type to become a separate, clearer cache type altogether.

 

Based on the discussion and suggestions within the linked threads above, I would like to suggest that "challenge caches" become Challenge Caches.

 

This is because of a few things:

Whereas,

  1. I like "challenge caches"
  2. Others like "challenge caches"
  3. "Challenge caches" can be a very positive part of the game
  4. "Challenge caches" are a suitable remaining style of listing/hide from the "ALR" era, due to the nature of those hides and listings to have an alternative online-logging requirement at Geocaching.com
  5. "Challenge caches" are not "normal" physical geocaches like Traditional, Multi, and Mystery/Puzzle, where one may clearly log a find online if the cache was found and logbook signed.
  6. "Challenge caches" are difficult to search for using Groundspeak-provided tools (see next)
  7. "Challenge caches" are not clearly searchable via Map, search list, or Pocket Query
  8. "Challenge caches" are difficult to separate as to put on Ignore, Bookmark, and Watch lists.
  9. The physical geocaching historical process is a generalized, "Find it, sign the logbook, log it online", yet the "challenge cache" language in the guidelines can confuse, and do muddle the guideline
  10. "Challenge caches" are no longer a "test-bed" item that falls under the "Mystery/Unknown"/Mystery/Puzzle cache type umbrella; this cache "type" is now legitimized and widely accepted as a significant part of the game played on Geocaching.com versus other sites and when compared to other physical cache types
  11. This tested, tried, and true sub-set of geocaches are well-suited for a new cache type such as the former Locationless, WebCam, Virtual, etc. cache types, yet is a lasting, proven version of the gameplay that fits within the construct of container-based, and location-specific Groundspeak activities unlike the Virtual, Locationless, and Geocaching Challenges "better mistakes"
  12. Creating a new cache type will provide consistency to the guidelines for "standard" physical geocaches, and also more consistency in the ability to create stand-alone guidelines specific to that new cache type
  13. "Challenge caches" are not well-suited for a specific attribute, as that method of assigning searchable queries is not required for each or any cache listed of any type and owners may or may not include an attribute for their listing
     

 

I believe that for these reasons "challenge caches" should be removed from the umbrella of Mystery/Puzzle caches, a new cache type created, and guidelines updated to reflect the unique, important, location-based, challenging, and inclusive nature of this tried-and-true type of geocache listing.

 

Thank you.

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There are many topics up and running on "challenge caches" and how they work, how they should work, concerns with them, and even simple general confusion about searching for them within Pocket Queries, on the map, or from a List.

You forgot Challenge geocaches should have their own type

 

Edit:

I predict that Keystone will do something about this. :ph34r:

Edited by tozainamboku

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Been brought up several times. It is not as easy as you may think to add a new type and risk all the current devices not reading it correctly. The great attribute debacle has made the powers wary of that. This system is running on a system developed in the 90's.

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The preceding five posts were originally part of a separate topic. I merged the duplicate topic into this recently active and long-running discussion.

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This is another very interesting thread:

 

Challenges

 

What sets this one apart is that GS actually engages in the discussion; there is some insight into their attitude about challenge caches as they existed at that time.

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I don't believe that merely giving them their own type will fix whats broken about them.

 

Can you be more specific? Hearing other's objections helps me come up with more feature requests for them to ignore.

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In one of the updates, they mentioned a large group of people they actually listen to. Apparently the group has more sway than the official forums (maybe we should be happy they still post updates to this place, as unimportant as it is). If we can convince them that a new feature is at least as cool as HTML in emails, maybe Groundspeak would actually do it!

 

Although my suspicion is that this large group of people are all named "Jeremy Irish".

 

:rolleyes:

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The preceding five posts were originally part of a separate topic. I merged the duplicate topic into this recently active and long-running discussion.

Thanks for combining.

 

I should have searched this "Website" topic as well...

 

Speaking of, is this where the "Suggestions" topic was merged/moved?

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This is another very interesting thread:

 

Challenges

 

What sets this one apart is that GS actually engages in the discussion; there is some insight into their attitude about challenge caches as they existed at that time.

Are you mentioning this in reference to Jeremy's contributions to that conversation?

 

It almost looks like the co-founder and President of Groundspeak doesn't care much for the "challenge cache" set of geocaches. That might be a nail in the coffin for this discussion?

 

Hard to say without him or other PTB chiming in on this topic.

 

Personally, I'd love to know how that feeling displayed by Jeremy in 2011 was discussed in the board room to end "Geocaching Challenges". I'm also interested in how the conversation went about continuing ALRs via the "challenge cache" in light of what Jeremy said about them in 2011--2 years after the updated ALR guidelines announced by MissJenn.

 

I only ask that so we users might know why decisions have been made, and to better come to terms with how certain aspects of the game are handled in light of the discussions going on between users here in the Forums.

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This post by Jeremy is pretty telling. But riddle me this...if the President has this feeling, why hasn't it been ruled on? Why does geocaching.com continue to see the "challenge cache" as an ALR which goes against the very basis of the game: "Find it, Sign it, Log it online"?

 

 

(1) It is not necessarily true that coordinates for a challenge are only available to those who have completed the challenge.

Take e.g. this challenge cache

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=467968dc-2c61-4203-85ea-3f18a1abf83d

Every cacher can obtain the coordinates (by solving the puzzle) and visit the location, but not everyone can claim a found it log.

I have visited the location and I have no problem at all with just writing a note.

 

(2) Many multi caches and mystery caches involve tasks that are seen by a group of cachers as arbitrary hoops they have to take to be able to log a found it log in the end. So what you call arbitrary hoops is nothing that is special for challenge caches.

 

(3) In the majority of ? caches, the puzzle (which can be seen as mental challenge) has no connection to the location.

 

 

(1) The problem is you can't claim a found it log, even though you found it. You may not have a problem with that, but I do. A found it log means you found it. That's why it is called a found it log.

 

(2) If the things you do result in finding the cache (code breaking, math, etc), it isn't arbitrary. The task results in a solution that takes you to a cache. It is the personal whim of a geocacher to decide whether you completed a challenge cache, therefore it is arbitrary.

 

(3) The puzzle location is near the final location, so it has a connection to the cache. A challenge like finding a cache every day for 366 days doesn't have a connection to any location.

 

I'm trying to be as leading as possible here. I don't know how I can be any clearer.

 

Now let me add, I do like the idea of "challenge caches", insofar as the simple, historic ones like a Delorme. But beyond that, I can't really see past what Jeremy says about "location" and "connection to the cache". It starts to make sense of the idea behind the guidelines and the "find it, sign it, log it online" basis of physical geocaching.

 

To me this means, in Jeremy's 2011 opinion, "challenge caches" are best either as a Virtual/containerless cache, or to be stricken completely from existence due to the complete removal of ALR from the game--what he is saying here:

"The problem is you can't claim a found it log, even though you found it."

 

That's the only problem I have with "challenge caches" (ALRs), and why I'd lean more toward the idea of a Virtual-style "challenge cache", or removal completely from the game. My above post stating why I think it should become its own type is mostly motivated by what I note as a sizeable portion of the players of this game (on the forums) who enjoy the "challenge cache", thus perhaps overruling any decision for complete removal from the game as an ALR.

Edited by NeverSummer

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I can't really see past what Jeremy says about "location" and "connection to the cache". It starts to make sense of the idea behind the guidelines and the "find it, sign it, log it online" basis of physical geocaching.

 

To me this means, in Jeremy's 2011 opinion, "challenge caches" are best either as a Virtual/containerless cache, or to be stricken completely from existence due to the complete removal of ALR from the game--what he is saying here:

"The problem is you can't claim a found it log, even though you found it."

 

That's the only problem I have with "challenge caches" (ALRs), and why I'd lean more toward the idea of a Virtual-style "challenge cache", or removal completely from the game. My above post stating why I think it should become its own type is mostly motivated by what I note as a sizeable portion of the players of this game (on the forums) who enjoy the "challenge cache", thus perhaps overruling any decision for complete removal from the game as an ALR.

 

As this particular aspect of the discussion has been hashed out deeply in other threads, I'll summarize what I think is the leading "solution", in the context of the Challenge Caching concept as it currently stands.

 

Initial suggestions:

 

1. Removal of the location/physical aspect pushes Challenge Caches into the failed realm of Geocaching Challenges (no container, but a task at a location, anyone can create) and/or Worldwide Challenges (entirely locationless, only Groundspeak created)

Thus, with challenges being stats-related & not location-specific (not based on a task at the posted location) as well as being verifiable, a non-physical waypoint for the challenge cache is pointless. If you qualify you qualify. So taking away the physical container makes it effectively a locationless Worldwide Challenge.

a] Being worldwide, if any user can create one, then there could for example be 1000's of unique fizzy challenges. Desirability reduced.

b] Being worldwide, if creation is restricted to GS, then there's no draw to make them as there is now. Desirability reduced.

 

2. Removal of the challenge/qualification aspect, well, kills Challenge Caching entirely, really. It moves accomplishments back into the realm of custom badges you can place in your own profile. Which you can do now. So.

 

Problems and concerns, as far as I can recall:

1. Find it, sign it, log it online. All physical caches you can do this. Except Challenge Caches, given the ALR exception.

2. The hazy "rule" that Challenge Caches require "challenge" in its title is not vigorously enforced. Apart from grandfathered challenge caches, there are still challenge caches being published without "challenge" in the title, and there are non-challenge caches with "challenge" in the title. Thus, It is next to impossible, highly tedious at best, to reliably search for and/or filter out Challenge Caches.

3. A Challenge Cache may have its physical container at the posted coordinates, or its offset determined by solving a puzzle, or by doing a task at one or more physical waypoints. Thus, any existing non-physical cache type could be published as a challenge cache (with the type changed to Mystery) were it to have a challenge associated (ie, Challenge Caches can exist as any current type of physical cache type)

4. The Difficulty and Terrain ratings of a Challenge Cache are not clearly applicable to either the physical cache or search itself or the qualification requirements.

 

Solution 1:

New cache type.

* Doesn't address problem #1. It's still a physical cache that requires an ALR, and cannot be logged online if only found and signed.

* Addresses #2 in that it can now be defined by its own type.

* Bypasses #3 as a single cache type doesn't change the published style for determining the location of the physical cache (trad/mystery/multi).

* Doesn't address #4. The D and T ratings are still ambiguously applied; or arbitrarily described in the cache listing.

 

Solution 2: (the one I'm supporting)

Challenge stars/rating, add-on property to physical cache types, with additional "challenge completed" flag/log. Qualified Challenge Stars are trackable as a separate statistic like D and T.

* Addresses #1 by allowing cachers to find, sign, and log the find online. The "Find" count is increased, whether the challenge is qualified or not.

* Addresses #2 in that any filter can see whether a cache has an associated challenge component. Enhances the experience in that challenges as a whole can be ignored if so desired, while leaving all available physical caches searchable.

* Addresses #3 in that any existing physical cache may have a challenge component that can be qualified independently of finding the physical container, but the challenge reward is only granted when the cache is both found and qualified.

* Addresses #4 in that the challenge rating is set aside exclusively for the challenge, while the D and T remain, as with all other physical cache types, applicable to the physical cache and search itself.

 

Side-features:

* Optionally, a cache owner may lock the find to the qualification - for example, the CO may not want someone to gain a 'find' on their multi if they don't also qualify for the challenge (this is the way the concept currently works)

* Enhances challenge caching in that there is a stored metric for tracking stats - more than a simple count of number of challenge caches found, but also a 'score' sum of all completed challenge cache stars, just as current statistics display for Difficulty and Terrain stars.

 

TL;DR:

 

A new cache type seems at first glance like a quick and easy fix, but it leaves a number of concerns on the floor that have been raised in the past repeatedly about Challenge Caches.

Putting the challenge qualifications into their own 'rating' system addresses many, if not all, the concerns raised and adds value to the challenge caching aspect of geocaching that is growing in popularity, while allow 'traditional' geocaching to remain pure to its original concept and making the whole process of geocaching less confusing and more streamlined to terminology and styles. And it gets rid of ALRs entirely.

 

If you just wanna find geocaches, you can freely.

If you like going for bigger meta-challenges, you can freely.

Neither needs to worry about disrupting the experience for the other.

Edited by thebruce0

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* Optionally, a cache owner may lock the find to the qualification - for example, the CO may not want someone to gain a 'find' on their multi if they don't also qualify for the challenge (this is the way the concept currently works)

 

 

Just out of curiosity. Which percentage of challenge cache owners do you think will use this lock option? I believe that the majority will use it and this raises the question whether investing a lot of work in implementing this system makes sense.

 

Cezanne

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I don't believe that merely giving them their own type will fix whats broken about them.

 

Can you be more specific? Hearing other's objections helps me come up with more feature requests for them to ignore.

Jeremy put the bulk of it better than I could. The only thing that I would add is the lameness factor. Everything that was bad about virts applies to challenge caches.

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* Optionally, a cache owner may lock the find to the qualification - for example, the CO may not want someone to gain a 'find' on their multi if they don't also qualify for the challenge (this is the way the concept currently works)

 

 

Just out of curiosity. Which percentage of challenge cache owners do you think will use this lock option? I believe that the majority will use it and this raises the question whether investing a lot of work in implementing this system makes sense.

 

Cezanne

I suspect that that option is a non-starter as it doesn't resolve the primary problem with these caches.

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* Optionally, a cache owner may lock the find to the qualification - for example, the CO may not want someone to gain a 'find' on their multi if they don't also qualify for the challenge (this is the way the concept currently works)

 

Just out of curiosity. Which percentage of challenge cache owners do you think will use this lock option? I believe that the majority will use it and this raises the question whether investing a lot of work in implementing this system makes sense.

That's why it's an option :P

The ability is there to provide that as an option if GS thinks it's worth implementing.

So far this is the only option that provides for the solution to the issue of "find it, sign it, log it online" for challenge caches.

 

There are 4 options:

1) Locked finding and qualifying (as it is currently) - favours the CO who creates the challenge cache. You only get the smiley if you both find and qualify.

2) Independent finding and qualifying - favours the cacher who doesn't care about challenges and just want to log physical caches found online, regardless of ALR/qualification.

3) Finding with optional qualifying - allows for both physical-cache-finders and challenge COs to be favoured; but as with all geocaching, the CO still has the final say either way as it's their listing.

4) No challenge caching ALR at all. (a non-solution, scrapping challenge caches)

 

I suspect that that option is a non-starter as it doesn't resolve the primary problem with these caches.

You'll need to explain this "primary problem".

As mentioned above, It's the only option that is favourable to both cacher and CO in the matter of "find it, sign it, log it online", while necessarily giving the CO the final choice either way in their cache listing.

Edited by thebruce0

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I don't believe that merely giving them their own type will fix whats broken about them.

 

Can you be more specific? Hearing other's objections helps me come up with more feature requests for them to ignore.

Jeremy put the bulk of it better than I could. The only thing that I would add is the lameness factor. Everything that was bad about virts applies to challenge caches.

 

I'm glad you mentioned virts. This is just an idea (don't shoot the messenger) but what do suppose would happen if Jeremy said "enough is enough" and GS banned all new challenge caches, but let all the existing challenge caches remain as grandfathered? All the existing challenge caches would still be available for those that want to do them and I suspect, at least in the U.S. there are probably a lot more challenge caches than there are remaining grandfathered virts, and certainly many more than there are webcams. Some people have no qualms about spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars to travel great distances to find a bunch of caches in the desert, or geoart in some remote location, attend a major event, and even to find some of the oldest caches. I see no reason why, if challenge caches were grandfathered, there would be some that would travel great distances to get credit for completing a challenge. One of the interesting things about virtual caches is that over time, those remaining have become the creme of the crop. The same thing would likely happen if challenge caches were grandfathered.

 

Perhaps, the most positive outcome of grandfathering challenge caches is that GS wouldn't spend any time implementing feature requests to deal with them. On the other hand, we'd see a lot of "Bring back Challenge Caches" threads.

 

 

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Jeremy put the bulk of it better than I could. The only thing that I would add is the lameness factor. Everything that was bad about virts applies to challenge caches.

 

If you refer to this:

 

"The problem is you can't claim a found it log, even though you found it."
Then the Challenge Stars solution addresses this perfectly. Within that system, you CAN claim a found it when you find it.

 

Meanwhile, "lameness factor" is a qualitative objection that can be applied to any cache type.

 

GS banned all new challenge caches, but let all the existing challenge caches remain as grandfathered?
An interesting and compelling proposition. For me, personally, there are enough existing challenges such that I would never fulfill them all. One possible downside is blowback from existing challenge cache owners archving theirs in protest. Then there would be no facility for replacing them.

 

Perhaps, the most positive outcome of grandfathering challenge caches is that GS wouldn't spend any time implementing feature requests to deal with them.
Yeah, I wouldn't want time taken away from The Team that is currently implementing all our other requests. <_<

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Really, a new log type for Challenge caches could handle the points thebruce0 makes for addressing X, Y, and Z, etc.

 

But implementation for that log type would be a headache on the programming side, and a headache on the usage side.

 

I'd bet dollars to donuts that we'd see less and less participation in the usage of those features (new log type) over a short amount of time. At the same rate of decline in use, we'd see an increase in the complaints that "challenge caches" were changed to a new log type.

 

I think the "Virtual" cache type (no container) would be a better version of Virtuals and "Worldwide Challenges", as they could have a more clear set of guidelines for that cache type, and they would be Volunteer Reviewer reviewed against those guidelines.

 

The big issue is still how, in MissJenn's ALR thread in 2009, the statement was that "challenge caches" would be reviewed against things like "1 per state", etc. I don't see that happening anymore. So, I don't really know if there is even clear consensus or execution of directive going on consistently between reviewers and regions across the world. So, unfortunately, we see more and more "lame" challenges, and more and more overlap/repetition. And that's bad for many reasons.

 

So I wonder aloud again, if Jeremy's comments aren't more accurate a direction that "challenge caches" might have to go. If you can't "find it, sign it, log it online", it isn't in line with the way the game "should be played" according to the co-founder and President of the site.

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Here's another part of the consistency issue, especially for anyone using the "help" and "101" links to learn more about the game:

 

For rules, here they are:

1. If you take something from the geocache (or "cache"), leave something of equal or greater value.

2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.

3. Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.

 

So if I adhere to the rules, don't I log a cache I find it? That's where we come into conflict again with the gameplay, and what is allowed. It reads like all I have to do at geocaching.com is very simple: Find a cache to look for, look for it, find it, sign the logbook, and then go log it online.

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Here's another part of the consistency issue, especially for anyone using the "help" and "101" links to learn more about the game:

 

For rules, here they are:

1. If you take something from the geocache (or "cache"), leave something of equal or greater value.

2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.

3. Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.

 

So if I adhere to the rules, don't I log a cache I find it? That's where we come into conflict again with the gameplay, and what is allowed. It reads like all I have to do at geocaching.com is very simple: Find a cache to look for, look for it, find it, sign the logbook, and then go log it online.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? :huh:

 

For half of the existence of geocaching, the "rule" in the FAQ didn't even mention online logging. When Geocaching.com was created online logs were included as way for people to share their experiences hunting for caches. It wasn't part of the game. It certainly wasn't meant to be used as a score. There were few complaints about bogus logs. There was no real reason to log a bogus log (though some people did - the internet seems to attract hoaxes). No cache owner even thought about having ALRs for logging caches, because there was no reason for a person to actually do the ALR.

 

I don't know when, but some people began to view the onlinr log as the goal of the game. Not only did some imagine there was a value in posting bogus logs, but cache owners imagined that they could get people to silly things in order to log a find.

 

Getting rid of ALRs, even if that had included Challenge caches, doesn't stop people from viewing the online find log as a WIGAS. It may have only strengthened the idea that logging the find online is part of geocaching. Certainly changing the FAQ by adding #3 doesn't help (though if you read it, it says to log your experience - not log your find).

 

I've come the conclusion the there is this thing called an online log that was never meant to be part of the game and that what people are arguing over are the rules for posting on a social media site, not geocaching rules. For someone who is more interested in going out and finding geocaches (and perhaps even achieving a particular goal in geocaching) this whole debate is not very meaningful. Sure, I'd like to use the online find to keep track of what I've found. But there are probably better ways to do this than rely on a log that means different things to different people.

Edited by tozainamboku

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Here's a key point.

 

I've come the conclusion the there is this thing called an online log that was never meant to be part of the game and that what people are arguing over are the rules for posting on a social media site, not geocaching rules. For someone who is more interested in going out and finding geocaches (and perhaps even achieving a particular goal in geocaching) this whole debate is not very meaningful. Sure, I'd like to use the online find to keep track of what I've found. But there are probably better ways to do this than rely on a log that means different things to different people.

Anyone who wants to 'find it and sign it', can do so, for any physical cache. Challenge or otherwise. The online log on the social site is where the challenges and additional requirements come into play. No one is stopping anyone from finding physical caches, however they want. They can even log their experiences online, at the very least with a note. It's that WIGAS log that increments the smiley count that's where all the drama and confusion is.

 

So the question is, are you in the game to find caches, or are you in the game to enjoy every additional feature of geocaching.com, as well as find geocaches?

Edited by thebruce0

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<Snipped as I need coffee to prevent unnecessary snarkiness.>

Edited by sbell111

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So the question is, are you in the game to find caches, or are you in the game to enjoy every additional feature of geocaching.com, as well as find geocaches?

Let me see if I understand the question. If you want to use (enjoy) some feature of geocaching.com unrelated to finding geocaches, and it doesn't work the way you would like, do you spend spend your time arguing your point in 6 different threads in the forums on why they should change the feature to suit you, or do you accept that this is the way it is and go find some caches?

 

I wouldn't expect any site that has so many features would have features that everyone enjoys or likes. Sure you can change it, but then someone else will prefer it had been left alone.

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You should note that I've said I'm all for improving existing web features, even though I'm content with the way things are. So. I feel justified, speaking for myself, in advocating for the stars feature, while also promoting the point that it'll be beneficial to let those who just want to "find it, sign it(, log it online)" still feel satisfied in using the features the website offers, not like they're being excluded by not being able to do what they believe they should be able to do.

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So the question is, are you in the game to find caches, or are you in the game to enjoy every additional feature of geocaching.com, as well as find geocaches?

Let me see if I understand the question. If you want to use (enjoy) some feature of geocaching.com unrelated to finding geocaches, and it doesn't work the way you would like, do you spend spend your time arguing your point in 6 different threads in the forums on why they should change the feature to suit you, or do you accept that this is the way it is and go find some caches?

 

I wouldn't expect any site that has so many features would have features that everyone enjoys or likes. Sure you can change it, but then someone else will prefer it had been left alone.

Oh, I see what you did there...

 

Hey, if there are 6 threads active at the same time on the subject, and I've got something to say about the topic, I'm going to participate. That's what these forums are for. What could happen is for a Mod to combine all of the threads to put the conversations in one place.

 

If it is troubling you, I'm sorry that I have participated across these threads.

 

But let me paint a picture for you, to show you where I'm coming from.

 

I'm a teacher by trade. I've also done website review for nonprofits to help with readability, consistency, and clarity. I'm also a geocacher. Ok, so I have that for my paradigm, and I see a place for adjustment to help add clarity and consistency to the game. It's simple, really.

 

Put on your imagination caps for a minute...

 

A person decides to play this game. They come to the website, and--bless their souls--they decide to search for some "how to" instruction. Where do they start? Well, there's many links, but the first I'd guess is the "Geocaching 101" link, under the first header "Learn". There are some videos as well, but we'll get to that later.

 

At "Geocaching 101", they would come across "How is the Game Played?":

At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 8 steps:

 

Register for a free Basic Membership.

Visit the "Hide & Seek a Cache" page.

Enter your postal code and click "search."

Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.

Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.

Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.

Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.

Share your geocaching stories and photos online.

There are many other levels to the game. Keep reading the guide to learn more!

 

Ok, that's pretty straight forward. This essentially talks about how to go about finding a logging a geocache; the basics. It does say "Keep reading the guide to learn more!", but that doesn't say "guidelines" or "Help Center". So, we can assume our new geocacher is going to continue down the link list:

 

"What are the rules for geocaching?"

1. If you take something from the geocache (or "cache"), leave something of equal or greater value.

2.Write about your find in the cache logbook.

3. Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.

 

Again, straight forward. But here is a caveat: what does "log your experience" mean to a new geocacher? More often, it will mean "Found it" if they follow the "how to play the game" and the rules. It doesn't go into detail about things suggested by others like "log a note for a 'challenge cache' if you found the container and signed a logbook, but did not complete the challenge."

 

That's beside the point. Yes, that new cacher likely won't jump right into Mystery/Puzzle caches, but some might. The idea is, however, put into new cacher's heads that a found cache is a "Found it" log.

 

It is true that most will also read the description and see that they should not log a "Found it" for that "challenge cache" unless they have completed the challenge. However, this isn't about end behavior, it's about clarity and consistency for Groundspeak to get in front of their own descriptions.

 

Ok, so moving down, we come to "Are there different types of geocaches?"

Yes. There are currently over a dozen "cache types" in geocaching, with each cache type being a different variation of the game. See the full list of Geocache Types.

That link takes you to the page we all know and love. However, the Mystery/Puzzle type makes no mention of the very significant portion of an area's Mystery/Puzzle caches, the "challenge cache". This would be a great place to add some language (or to create a new cache type).

 

unknown_72.gifMystery or Puzzle Caches

The "catch-all" of geocache types, this type may involve complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve to determine the correct coordinates. Mystery/Puzzle Caches often become the staging ground for new and unique geocaches that do not fit in another category.

 

Ok, so let's move down to the relevant links. As a new user, one is then likely drawn down the page to "How do I log my find?"

Instructions for logging a "Found It" are located here. If you need to post another type of log, such as a "Didn't find it" or a Note, the same instructions apply, with one small change; instead of choosing "Found It" in the drop-down menu, you would choose the applicable log type.

From the get-go, finding a container is called a "find". The link to "how to log my find" doesn't talk about much else. There isn't even a guide for when/how to use the other log types. This is another area for improvement, and added links/language to help new cachers learn.

 

Then we go through some more information, but the majority of what a new cacher will want to know is covered: How to I join, how to I play, and how do I log my finds?

 

At the end of the "Geocaching 101" list is this little snippet:

Still have questions? Find more information in our Forums or Help Center.

To our new user, there is a pretty good chance they feel that their questions have been answered about how to play the game. It's all right there:

Register for a free Basic Membership.

Visit the "Hide & Seek a Cache" page.

Enter your postal code and click "search."

Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.

Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.

Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.

Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.

Share your geocaching stories and photos online.

If you take something from the geocache (or "cache"), leave something of equal or greater value.

Write about your find in the cache logbook.

Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.

 

Ok, so let's imagine that they do decide to delve deeper into the Help Center. As a new user, one is most likely going to be drawn to their key motivator: Finding geocaches.

Finding a Geocache

Learn all the basics you need to get started geocaching.

 

The first thing other than the "Geocaching 101" repeat that would jump out to the new user is likely "Are there rules?"

1.5. Are there rules?

 

We like to keep things fun for everyone, so we have a few rules we encourage everyone to follow:

 

Sign both the logbook and log your find online to get your smiley. Geocache owners love reading about your experience.

 

If you take a trinket from the geocache, leave something family-friendly of equal or greater value. Avoid placing food or scented items as these attract animals.

 

Be mindful of non-geocaching onlookers. Curious people have been known to take or damage geocaches.

 

Make sure you don't accidentally venture on to someone's private property. Caches won't require you to trespass.

 

If you find a problematic cache, please contact the owner directly or contact us.

 

Leave the geocache area better than how you found it. Try not to disrupt local wildlife and pack out any trash you see.

"Sign both the logbook and log your find online to get your smiley." Ok...

 

The next article that might jump out would be:

"3.1. How do I find the geocache and what should I do once I've found it?"

3.1. How do I find the geocache and what should I do once I've found it?

 

There are many things to know about searching for a geocache. For instance, did you know that there is a slight "error" to every GPS device due to technological limitations? Your device can get you close to the cache, but there are a number of things to consider as you get closer to the cache location.

 

When you find the cache, sign the logbook and return it to the cache. You can take an item from the cache if you like - just make sure to leave something of equal or greater value in its place. When you are finished, put the cache back exactly as you found it, even if you think you see a better spot for it. Please do not move a cache from its original location. If you feel that it may not be located in the correct location, please email the cache owner directly or post a log on the cache listing page, notifying the owner of your concern. Cache owners are responsible for maintaining their cache placements.

 

Finally, visit the cache page to log your find and share your experience with others!

Again, this supports the idea planted firmly in the new cacher's head that once they find the container, they should log a "Found it!" online.

 

Ok, so for more detail, we can go down the list to "How do I log my first geocache find?"

4.1. How do I log my first geocache find?

 

There are two ways to create a geocache log.

 

From Geocaching.com:

 

Log in to your Geocaching account

 

Visit the page of the cache you found

 

In the top, right corner, click "Log your visit"

 

Select your log type and enter any additional details

 

Click "Submit Log Entry"

 

From the Geocaching app:

 

Go to the page of the cache you found

 

Scroll down and tap "Found It" or "Log Your Experience"

 

Select your log type and enter any additional information

 

Tap "Save & Send Log"

 

If you need to post another type of log, such as a "Didn't find it" or a "Note", the same instructions apply, with one small change; instead of choosing "Found It" in the drop-down menu, you would choose the applicable log type.

 

To get your smiley, it is as important to log your find physically by signing the log book as it is to create your digital log. In the physical log, it is acceptable to use your user name, team name, stamp, or sticker which includes your user name. If the geocache does not have a physical logbook (Virtual, Benchmark, Webcam, EarthCache) you must physically visit the listed coordinates and meet any other requirements stated in the geocache description.

 

If you digitally log a geocache without meeting these requirements (also known as couch logging), your log can be deleted by either the geocache owner or Geocaching HQ without notice.

This is another area that could use some "challenge cache" exception language. (But really, this is another, and better example of why it might be good to have a new cache type for "challenge caches" altogether.)

 

So, this is where most of those initial questions are handled. One has to dig deeper to find the other guidelines that are often referenced by people about logging finds--"6.28. Geocacher Disagreement - Log Deletion"

Geocache Log deletion: If your "Found it" log on a geocache details page has been deleted because the geocache owner disagreed with your comments, be the bigger person, repost a neutral log without the commentary. If you have feedback that may be beneficial, you can respectfully contact the geocache owner privately.

 

Geocaching HQ can only reinstate "Found It" and "Attended" logs on geocache listings. Before sending us a request, please double check that your log is not in violation of our Terms of Use and review our Logging Guidelines:

 

1.Logging of All Physical Geocaches

Physical caches can be logged online as "Found" once the physical log has been signed.

2.EarthCache Logging Guidelines

3.Virtual Cache Logging Guidelines

4.Webcam Cache Logging Guidelines

5.Event Cache Logging Guidelines

6.Mega-Event Logging Guidelines

7.Challenge Geocache Logging Guidelines

Challenge Geocaches can be logged online as "Found" once the required geocaching-related challenge tasks in the cache description have been accomplished.

 

Please visit the Help Center article on Log Deletion for more explanation on why logs are/can be deleted.

Ok. We all, as "well seasoned" veteran geocachers, recognize what we know about the game--"challenge caches" exist, and they have different guidelines. Let's think before that level of understanding.

 

Without expanding #1, we see what supports the new cacher's understanding of the game--they can log a find online once the physical log has been signed. If they expand the guideline (not intuitive; the answer they see supports their supposition without further investigation), they see the additional language discussing the exception to that guideline, the "challenge cache". That language is rooted in the April 2009 ALR removal, and could use a relevant update to help with clarity and readability.

 

Below, they can expand what is listed as "Challenge Cache" (capital "c") guidance. That section was updated 8/29/13. There is much clarity there, and lends itself nicely to the suggestion to create a new cache type with those guidelines specifically attached. The fact that they use capital "c" for "challenge caches" lends some validity, and certainly left the door wide open for adoption of a new type with the guidelines as listed in that section of the guidelines. (Home → Hiding a Geocache → Review Process: Hiding a Geocache → Challenge Geocaches: 1.19. Challenge Geocaches)

 

Again, I'll say that readability and consistency from the "101" section to here is not intuitive or clear to new users. The fact that the "challenge cache" guidance is buried deeply under "Geocacher Disagreement" and/or "Hiding a Geocache", and below the language "Physical caches can be logged online as "Found" once the physical log has been signed", it is unclear, not obvious, and creates cognitive dissonance at minimum for new (and existing) users.

 

I had to do a Google search to find the precise guideline that Keystone has referenced before (6.28. Geocacher Disagreement - Log Deletion). I know it exists, but had to search again to remember the precise location of this guideline most of we veteran cachers have committed to memory. For many of us, that addition in 2009 was very clear--especially those of us who frequent the forums.

 

So this is where I am coming from. Not from a "banish the challenge caches" viewpoint, not from a "I hate challenge caches" viewpoint either. I simply think that Groundspeak has a need to address the way they "teach" the game. They should address the consistency of their 101, and should also think about flow-through of their website from one topic to the next. One part was written by one person on one day, and the other written and edited by another person another year altogether. This review of content is overdue, and I've tried my best to outline those flaws above.

 

Now, this is also where Groundspeak has an opportunity to make a clear break from the "physical caches can be logged as found..." issue, and also align their instruction and guidance for the game. If they create a new cache type, they don't have much work to do on the "101" or guideline front. Simple edits, addition of links, and some additional language will go a long way.

 

The Guideline language already exists to make a clean break from other physical geocaches, and the programming would be the only hurdle. Albeit a very smart hurdle to jump to provide some consistency to their instruction and guidance, legitimacy to the "challenge cache" type, and clarity to their site and the gameplay.

Edited by NeverSummer

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So again, how do you respond to someone who still wants to log the new challenge cache type - still a physical cache - as found, since they found the cache? It would seem the difference between now and this proposed solution would be that you can more accurately point to the guidelines about cache types and the requirements for challenge caches. Technically it doesn't so much address their desire to "find it, sign it, log it online", as opposed to overtly changing that mantra to something not as straight-forward. It retains the ALR to physical caches, but partitions it out into its own cache type.

Now I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying it's merely a step in the right direction :)

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So again, how do you respond to someone who still wants to log the new challenge cache type - still a physical cache - as found, since they found the cache?

I find both options distasteful.

 

One side wants to base challenges on the ability to log a find online. I'll accept that the real intent may be that the challenge cache is meant to be sought only by someone who has already done the challenge. The WIGAS point is not for doing the challenge but for finding a resricted cache. The problem here is caused by Groundspeak wanting to an enforce a rule that you don't need ot contact the cache owner to find the cache - so the challenge cache is listed with the real coordinates. This of course means that anyone who wants to can go find the cache. Some challenge owners find it hard to believe that anyone would bother to look for something that they can't log online, so I like to mess with them by logging TFTC in a Note log.

 

The other side objects to the fact that you can't log a find on cache you have found and physically signed the log. They love to point out that you don't have to solve a puzzle or climb a tree to log these caches, only that you need to sign the log. I think this is a side effect of what I consider poor choice of words in the physical cache logging requirements that was solely meant to prevent arbitrary ALRs. Rather than deciding which ALRs were arbitrary and which were related to finding the cache, TBTB made signing the log the only thing a cache owner could delete a log for. Yet they realized that if they wanted to still allow challenge caches without going back to emailing the owner for coordinates, that they needed a exception for these. I think the idea is that most geocachers would abide by reasonable request for logging a cache. If the cache owner really wanted you to climb a tree or even to have solved the puzzle, most people would not log the cache unless they did so. But the TPTB chose to word the guidelines so that people feel entitled to log the cache and ignore any request. Challenges are different only because the request is not optional. Here the cache owner can still delete your find. I'd like to see the challenge part of challenges be optional - and perhaps a separate count for challenge completed is a way to do this. But that would conflict with the view of many challenge cache owners who see the cache itself at the motivation/reward for completing the challenge and not the WIGAS point.

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So again, how do you respond to someone who still wants to log the new challenge cache type - still a physical cache - as found, since they found the cache? It would seem the difference between now and this proposed solution would be that you can more accurately point to the guidelines about cache types and the requirements for challenge caches. Technically it doesn't so much address their desire to "find it, sign it, log it online", as opposed to overtly changing that mantra to something not as straight-forward. It retains the ALR to physical caches, but partitions it out into its own cache type.

Now I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying it's merely a step in the right direction :)

Right. That's essentially the direction I've been trying to take this from the start. With all the presented straw men and finite conditional niggling on odd cases, it is hard to pinpoint the direction I was trying to go.

 

The "find it, sign it, log it" certainly applies to the "traditional" physical caches, and should continue to do so. I think that taking the "challenge cache" out and making them Challenge Caches will make a considerable difference with how physical caches are handled going forward.

 

Meaning, if this direction is taken, the only exception would be Challenge Caches, and they would be their own type anyway. That much would render all future issues of this ilk with the other "traditional" physical caches a thing of the past (one can hope). Going forward, the idea that the Traditional, Multi, and Mystery/Puzzle caches are "find it, sign it, log it" would be the enduring legacy that the guidelines could be held to for those types specifically. Really, it keeps "tomorrow's mistakes" from involving anything resembling an ALR and the problems that come with them (described here and elsewhere ad nauseum).

 

This part is key toward what I'm trying to say:

[H]ow do you respond to someone who still wants to log the new challenge cache type - still a physical cache - as found, since they found the cache? It would seem the difference between now and this proposed solution would be that you can more accurately point to the guidelines about cache types and the requirements for challenge caches.

 

I don't think many of the issues involving "find it, sign it, log it" come into the equation for most new cachers when related specifically to "challenge caches". I do think, however, that the way one learns about the game should be more clear and concise--and certainly flow from one topic to the next without confusion or conflicting information. The idea of moving "challenge caches" to their own type is one that falls in line easily with "cleaning up" the guidelines and aligning with the "Learn" and "101" lists of instruction/information on the fore of new user integration. (or is it assimilation?) :laughing:

 

So, proposed would be to change the "Physical geocaches can be logged..." language to state more accurately, "Traditional, Multi, and Mystery/Puzzle caches can be logged as found...", and "Challenge Caches can be logged as found..." just like how the guidelines list out Events, Megas, Earthcaches, etc. in the same guideline heading. That heading should be linked from the "how do I log a find" in the first few sentences. Language including something like "There are different cache types, and some have different online logging requirements, such as..." With the new cache type, we address much of what has been brought up as objective criticism of the current "challenge cache" (not independently searchable, e.g.).

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So again, how do you respond to someone who still wants to log the new challenge cache type - still a physical cache - as found, since they found the cache?

I find both options distasteful.

 

One side wants to base challenges on the ability to log a find online. I'll accept that the real intent may be that the challenge cache is meant to be sought only by someone who has already done the challenge. The WIGAS point is not for doing the challenge but for finding a resricted cache. The problem here is caused by Groundspeak wanting to an enforce a rule that you don't need ot contact the cache owner to find the cache - so the challenge cache is listed with the real coordinates. This of course means that anyone who wants to can go find the cache. Some challenge owners find it hard to believe that anyone would bother to look for something that they can't log online, so I like to mess with them by logging TFTC in a Note log.

 

The other side objects to the fact that you can't log a find on cache you have found and physically signed the log. They love to point out that you don't have to solve a puzzle or climb a tree to log these caches, only that you need to sign the log. I think this is a side effect of what I consider poor choice of words in the physical cache logging requirements that was solely meant to prevent arbitrary ALRs. Rather than deciding which ALRs were arbitrary and which were related to finding the cache, TBTB made signing the log the only thing a cache owner could delete a log for. Yet they realized that if they wanted to still allow challenge caches without going back to emailing the owner for coordinates, that they needed a exception for these. I think the idea is that most geocachers would abide by reasonable request for logging a cache. If the cache owner really wanted you to climb a tree or even to have solved the puzzle, most people would not log the cache unless they did so. But the TPTB chose to word the guidelines so that people feel entitled to log the cache and ignore any request. Challenges are different only because the request is not optional. Here the cache owner can still delete your find. I'd like to see the challenge part of challenges be optional - and perhaps a separate count for challenge completed is a way to do this. But that would conflict with the view of many challenge cache owners who see the cache itself at the motivation/reward for completing the challenge and not the WIGAS point.

I'd agree with what you're trying to say...but...

 

The idea that it is distasteful is subjective. You may opine that one should climb that tree if the owner "requires it", but that won't work. There is just too much variability in this game to keep it to that ideal.

 

To point: if a cache owner wants to "require" someone to climb a tree to find their cache, then it should say as much in the description. But so much of geocaching is the "mystery" of it all--post something enigmatic about the hide, but don't give it away--being coy--is much more commonplace for "difficult" hides like a tree-climbing cache; most owners of those caches don't tell people that they must climb a tree overtly, and those that might (via attribute, perhaps?) aren't going to delete a log if someone hands the cache down and up for others to sign.

 

So, we can only control via this game played on this website what is "common denominator". It isn't unlike the FTF side-game. It all varies by person, location, community, etc how it gets played. So, if Groundspeak can't "control" it, they aren't going to "guide it" or make more hard rules.

 

It would be nice, yes, if more autonomy were given back to cache owners like yesteryear. But, alas, that's not the direction this game has taken. We're resigned to playing the game in a melting pot of abilities, cognition, knowledge, and understanding. It all comes back to learning, which in turn impacts how we interact in this greater community and how we regulate it--or adjust how we teach and regulate it.

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