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NYPaddleCacher

[FEATURE] Replace Challenge Caches with Achievements

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There have been a lot of threads lately about Challenges Caches lately and it's become pretty obvious that there is a lot of drama around them as guidelines have been revised, a proliferation of them in some areas while in others they're virtually non-existent, and a somewhat mixed response for whether or not some people actually like them.

 

During discussions in other threads their has been a small groundswell among a few people that suggest that the demise of Challenge caches is going to be inevitable due to all the drama associated with them, and perhaps having some sort of "Badges" or "Achievement" system put in place as a replacement.

 

With that in mind I'm going to formally suggest a "Feature" which eliminates Challenge Caches and that GS implement, as a replacement, some sort of achievement/badge/souvenir system. Without getting into to much detail, here's what I (and I think others) have in mind.

 

Eliminate the creation of "Challenge Caches", where a challenge cache is defined as a cache which can only be logged after meeting some sort of criteria related to finding some set of other geocaches.

 

All existing challenge caches shall be grandfathered.

 

Develop a set of "virtual badges" along the lines of the existing souvenirs, but based on achievements.

 

Initially, achievements for the most common challenge cache types (Delorme Challenge, all county challenges, Jasmer, etc) could be created and a "virtual badge" awarded to those that satisfy the requirements.

 

The list of "badgegen.com" badges could be used as a source for other achievements.

 

Only Groundspeak can create achievements. Set up a forum section for achievements (in could be bundled with one for souvenirs) to accept suggestions for new achievement types. I'm thinking of something similar to the "Worldwide Challenges Suggestion and Discussion" forum that existed when Challenges (not Challenge Caches) were still available.

 

I realize that this suggestion is probably not going to be very popular among those that are really into Challenges Caches but please do not shoot the messenger. I'm just trying to open up a discussion is the proper place. Stick to the subject and please try to avoid any personal attacks.

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I generally like the idea and think it has some merit but for it to work and have any popularity, there is going to have to be a system/method/framework for individual cachers to setup a achievement award. Not sure what that would entail.

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I like the idea.

Haven't done these, gas and time mostly ( he said while sticking to the subject). :laughing:

That badgegen thingy seems to be popular with some folks too.

Looks like a fair compromise.

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I've seen 2 types of drama associated with challenge caches.

 

The first is just people behaving irrationally, leading to some kind of argument between cachers or with reviewers. I haven't see anything particular about challenge caches that makes this more likely that any other caches. In other words, it's not challenge caches that leads to this kind of drama, it's just people.

 

The second type of drama are people that see something fundamentally wrong with challenge caches and want to eliminate them.

 

But mostly I see no drama at all, just a bunch of caches that some people like, some people don't, some are good, some are bad, some are stupid, some are mean, some are funny. Nothing any different than any other type of cache.

 

As I've said everytime this comes up, if the reviewers say there's a problem, then that's entirely different, but I haven't heard anything like that. When it's just people that don't like challenge caches complaining, I see no problem needing a solution.

 

And I don't care for it as a solution, anyway. I don't want what's possible in a challenge cache limited by what badges grounspeak is willing to invent.

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I like the idea of migrating challenge caches to an online badge system of some sort (badges on the statistics page, souvenirs, or something else). But at the very least, the new system should be able to take into account the following types of challenges:

  • geographic challenges, for example:
    • DeLorme Challenges (which must handle DeLorme pages with multiple small regions)
    • governmental/territorial region (country, state, province, county, city,...) challenges
    • USGS quadrangle challenges

    [*]grid challenges, for example:

    • Jasmer Challenge and other "date hidden" grid challenges
    • Fizzy Challenge and other difficulty-terrain grid challenges
    • 366 day grid challenges
    • alphanumeric challenges (based on cache name, based on cache owner name, etc.)

    [*]streak challenges (100 days in a row, 365 days in a row, etc.)

    [*]one day challenges (caches in one day, cache types in one day, etc.)

    [*]and perhaps hybrid challenges that incorporate more than one of the above criteria

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I realize that this suggestion is probably not going to be very popular among those that are really into Challenges Caches

 

I'm not at all a fan of challenge caches, but they offer more flexibility and do not depend on Groundspeak's ideas.

Moreover, an achievement system does not take the point of view of the cache hiders into account. There are different reasons to come up with a challenge cache. For me one of the potential usages of a challenge cache is to reduce the traffic to a cache as most cachers only go there if they can log a "found it". What I regret is that one can demand quite arbitrary and strange constraints on the caches that have to be found, but one cannot demand e.g. that someone has done at least five caches by bicycle. My interest into restrictions like that would be that I then could come up with a cache designed for cyclists and do not need to worry and get angry about those who do the cache by car. My current solution is not to hide such caches because I rather have no cache of that type than the frustration about cachers who visit the cache even though the cache is not intended for them. A badge for cachers who have done five caches by bicycle would be worthless for me. Badges remind me of nursery school.

 

Cezanne

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I think certain caching achievements could easily be recognized through some kind of badge. To me, those are the least interesting challenges and usually require no more than running a GSAK macro or looking at one's stats. The challenges I like the most are those with themes - finding certain kinds of caches like superheroes, cemeteries, aliens, or cryptids. I have occasionally gone out of my way to find caches for these. Badges would not work as well for these.

 

If challenges continue to proliferate and get more and more arbitrary or obscure then I can see why Groundspeak might step in. How many challenges does this game need that require caches with the word "bear" to be found in ten different states or countries (as published in June 2012)?

Edited by geodarts

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I think certain caching achievements could easily be recognized through some kind of badge. To me, those are the least interesting challenges and usually require no more than running a GSAK macro or looking at one's stats. The challenges I like the most are those with themes - finding certain kinds of caches like superheroes, cemeteries, aliens, or cryptids. I have occasionally gone out of my way to find caches for these. Badges would not work as well for these.
I think that depends on how the badges are implemented. If badge-based challenges can be owned--the same way challenge caches are currently owned--and the owner can verify the claims of completion, then arbitrary criteria could be used.

 

Perhaps Groundspeak could automatically verify badge-based challenges when feasible: e.g., geographic challenges or grid-based challenges. These could even be "global" badge-based challenges. And they could let owners manually verify completion of other badge-based challenges: e.g., superhero, cemetery, alien, or cryptid challenges.

 

[edit: typo]

Edited by niraD

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I like the idea of migrating challenge caches to an online badge system of some sort (badges on the statistics page, souvenirs, or something else). But at the very least, the new system should be able to take into account the following types of challenges:

  • geographic challenges, for example:
    • DeLorme Challenges (which must handle DeLorme pages with multiple small regions)
    • governmental/territorial region (country, state, province, county, city,...) challenges
    • USGS quadrangle challenges

    [*]grid challenges, for example:

    • Jasmer Challenge and other "date hidden" grid challenges
    • Fizzy Challenge and other difficulty-terrain grid challenges
    • 366 day grid challenges
    • alphanumeric challenges (based on cache name, based on cache owner name, etc.)

    [*]streak challenges (100 days in a row, 365 days in a row, etc.)

    [*]one day challenges (caches in one day, cache types in one day, etc.)

    [*]and perhaps hybrid challenges that incorporate more than one of the above criteria

 

Grid-related challenges are interesting. Filling the calendar, caching streaks etc are so easy to cheat they are all but meaningless - when so few COs appear to check their logs to verify a find took place at all it's easy to see how they wouldn't verify the date on each log. So if you've got a 98-day caching streak and miss a day it's easy enough to just find a cache the following day and backdate it. If the challenge requires 366 consecutive days of geocaching the cost in time and fuel is sufficient that it's easy to see why someone might cheat if they miss day #308 through circumstances completely outside their control.

 

DT grid challenges are interesting although I've seen a few that restrict finds to physical cache types only. Although that stops people hosting events with odd D/T combos it also makes it much harder to verify qualification - it needs to be done manually rather than simply looking at a user's stats page.

 

Date hidden challenges seem like an interesting idea. Not one that hugely appeals to me but I can see a degree of attraction in finding some of the oldest surviving caches in the world.

 

Where something can be measured simply from within the main geocaching site a system of online achievements makes a lot of sense. It's all well and good having a resuscitator challenge cache but if it's 185 miles away it's of limited use.

 

From other comments on the thread, insisting someone has found a certain number of caches by bicycle is impractical because there's no way of verifying it even if it were allowed. If you want a cache designed for cyclists you'd need some kind of multi based along cycling routes where motor vehicles were prohibited, with distances sufficiently large that walking it would be impractical.

 

I don't like the idea of the system being controlled entirely by Groundspeak as it would make it much harder to introduce new ideas that might be relevant in one area only. One of the challenge caches I did required people to find caches within designated grid squares of a specific OS map, and the cache itself was within the area covered by the same map. A local cache designed primarily for local-ish people, although a surprising number of locally prolific cachers didn't qualify for it from the outset.

 

It might make more sense if challenge caches weren't at the published location so that people who qualified could contact the CO to receive the correct coordinates for it. That would also overcome any issues of quibbling over whether someone had actually qualified or not, for example if a cache had a D/T rating changed resulting in a gap appearing on a finder's grid after claiming the find.

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From other comments on the thread, insisting someone has found a certain number of caches by bicycle is impractical because there's no way of verifying it even if it were allowed.

 

There would exist methods - like asking for example for the track log.

This works quite well in case of some hiking caches where those who send the track log get some kind of badge if they are into that sort of thing.

 

If you want a cache designed for cyclists you'd need some kind of multi based along cycling routes where motor vehicles were prohibited,

 

Still car drivers would do the cache and collect the stages over months and years. The only way out would be to hide caches that are only doable for mountain bikers, but then they are out of my own reach as well and I can't hide them.

 

I know that such caches I have in mind will never be allowed. Moreover, I'm not planning to hide a challenge cache. My only motivation to do so would however be to restrict the visitors to some preselected group.

 

Cezanne

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I think certain caching achievements could easily be recognized through some kind of badge. To me, those are the least interesting challenges and usually require no more than running a GSAK macro or looking at one's stats. The challenges I like the most are those with themes - finding certain kinds of caches like superheroes, cemeteries, aliens, or cryptids. I have occasionally gone out of my way to find caches for these. Badges would not work as well for these.
I think that depends on how the badges are implemented. If badge-based challenges can be owned--the same way challenge caches are currently owned--and the owner can verify the claims of completion, then arbitrary criteria could be used.

 

Perhaps Groundspeak could automatically verify badge-based challenges when feasible: e.g., geographic challenges or grid-based challenges. These could even be "global" badge-based challenges. And they could let owners manually verify completion of other badge-based challenges: e.g., superhero, cemetery, alien, or cryptid challenges.

 

[edit: typo]

 

When I started this thread my initial thought was that challenge badges (perhaps calling them achievement badges might eliminate some confusion) would, as least initially, only be available for achievements created by Groundspeak. They'd be based upon finding some set of caches but would not be anything like a geocache, thus they wouldn't be "owned" by anyone.

 

I also thought that achievement badges would be award automatically rather than using any sort of manual verification. If you look at the badgegen.com site you'll see dozens of different badges that can be awarded simply by parse a "My Finds" PQ. Of course, that means that you wouldn't see "find 100 caches by bicycle" achievements, or caches with the name of a superhero in the title, but I can live with that.

 

If geocachers created, owned, and verified achievements it would just lead to someone having to resolve disputes between the owner and those that claim to have completed it.

 

I also think that a lot of feature requests tend to get a bit complex and don't consider the amount of effort that GS might have to put in to implement the request, and that a feature has a better chance of getting implemented if they "start small".

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How about no badges, no ALRS? Instead have an Achievement List.

 

Everyone can log the cache as a find, but those finders who achieve the grid requirements get their name listed on a special Achievement List attached to that particular cache listing (maybe make it a little different/fancier then a regular bookmark lists to attract players)? Groundspeak wouldn't have to be involved. Everyone can go find the cache and have it listed in their profile as a Found cache. The list would be controlled by the CO.

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I'm going to formally suggest a "Feature" which eliminates Challenge Caches and that GS implement, as a replacement, some sort of achievement/badge/souvenir system.

 

6a478ba4-83c6-444b-99c5-63c35bfc1699.png

 

"I don't like challenge caches and I'm tired of seeing people bicker about them on the forums" is not a valid reason to eliminate them. It is a reason to put those caches on your ignore list and skip over those threads in the forums.

 

edit: really wish using (a) (B) © didn't automatically create a smiley for b and a copyright symbol for c.

Edited by hzoi

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From other comments on the thread, insisting someone has found a certain number of caches by bicycle is impractical because there's no way of verifying it even if it were allowed.

 

There would exist methods - like asking for example for the track log.

This works quite well in case of some hiking caches where those who send the track log get some kind of badge if they are into that sort of thing.

 

I reckon you'd still struggle to tell a fast jogger from a slow cyclist even if the track log were genuine. And a track log can be faked in minutes using one of many web sites. With a little thought it would be easy enough to add a bit of GPS scatter around a random point to fake a rest stop.

 

If you want a cache designed for cyclists you'd need some kind of multi based along cycling routes where motor vehicles were prohibited,

 

Still car drivers would do the cache and collect the stages over months and years. The only way out would be to hide caches that are only doable for mountain bikers, but then they are out of my own reach as well and I can't hide them.

 

I know that such caches I have in mind will never be allowed. Moreover, I'm not planning to hide a challenge cache. My only motivation to do so would however be to restrict the visitors to some preselected group.

 

Possibly, but then I'd ask why it's so important that a cacher must do your cache on a bicycle. Does it really matter if someone drives their car to the nearest place they can park, walks a couple of miles to a waypoint, notes the details, walks back to the car, and drives on to the next waypoint?

 

It's a bit like putting a cache up a tree so people have to climb the tree but then insisting that people don't use a ladder to climb the tree. Ultimately people will figure out the most appropriate way for them to retrieve the cache, or decide not to bother attempting it. There comes a point when insisting on accessing the cache a particular way becomes more akin to insisting the cacher sign the log using a particular colour of ink.

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"I don't like challenge caches and I'm tired of seeing people bicker about them on the forums" is not a valid reason to eliminate them. It is a reason to put those caches on your ignore list and skip over those threads in the forums.
I don't think that's the argument.

 

Sure, any of us can ignore challenge caches and can ignore the forum threads about them. But that doesn't address the grief and lost time the drama surrounding challenge caches causes the lackeys and volunteer reviewers. If anything kills challenge caches, then that's what it will be. Some of us see indications of such drama, although only the lackeys and volunteer reviewers know how bad it really is at this point.

 

And if/when challenge caches are killed, this thread will include discussions about alternatives.

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I'm going to formally suggest a "Feature" which eliminates Challenge Caches and that GS implement, as a replacement, some sort of achievement/badge/souvenir system.

 

6a478ba4-83c6-444b-99c5-63c35bfc1699.png

 

"I don't like challenge caches and I'm tired of seeing people bicker about them on the forums" is not a valid reason to eliminate them. It is a reason to put those caches on your ignore list and skip over those threads in the forums.

 

edit: really wish using (a) (B) © didn't automatically create a smiley for b and a copyright symbol for c.

 

I assume you know what "don't shoot the messenger means"?

 

I didn't say that I didn't like challenge caches or that I was tired of seeing people talk about them on the forum. The "if you don't like them, ignore them" is just another fallacious argument frequently employed here when someone can't refute the merits of an argument. In the early days of the internet (before the web) the "if you don't like it, just ignore it" argument was frequently used in response to complaints about SPAM and unsolicited commercial email. I think it's pretty obvious how well that strategy worked out.

 

In any event, my purpose for starting the thread was not to eliminate the challenges associated with challenge caches. It was to open a discussion about possible alternatives to having a cache that people are only allowed to log online if the CO has verified that the challenge was completed.

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From other comments on the thread, insisting someone has found a certain number of caches by bicycle is impractical because there's no way of verifying it even if it were allowed.

 

There would exist methods - like asking for example for the track log.

This works quite well in case of some hiking caches where those who send the track log get some kind of badge if they are into that sort of thing.

 

I reckon you'd still struggle to tell a fast jogger from a slow cyclist even if the track log were genuine.

 

Probably, but I do not mind the jogging approach anyway.

 

Possibly, but then I'd ask why it's so important that a cacher must do your cache on a bicycle. Does it really matter if someone drives their car to the nearest place they can park, walks a couple of miles to a waypoint, notes the details, walks back to the car, and drives on to the next waypoint?

 

We live in different areas. It is impossible in my area to design a cache that can be done by a bike designed for roads and where the stages can be selected such that people have to walk a couple of miles to a waypoint. The situation would change if I were a mountain biker, but that exceeds my abilities.

 

It's a bit like putting a cache up a tree so people have to climb the tree but then insisting that people don't use a ladder to climb the tree.

Ultimately people will figure out the most appropriate way for them to retrieve the cache, or decide not to bother attempting it. There comes a point when insisting on accessing the cache a particular way becomes more akin to insisting the cacher sign the log using a particular colour of ink.

 

These examples are not of the same flavour from my point of view. If someone uses a ladder, he might still have to report about a special experience (at least this for example would be the case for myself) and I like to receive logs that tell a story and hate the TFTC type logs (if there are a certain proportion of them, I get frustrated and come to the conclusion it would have been better not to hide the cache - the few nice logs than do not outweigh the caused frustration). Moreover, if someone uses a ladder there is no bad conscience involved for me with respecting to motivating people to drive around 150km and more just to get a cache of mine off the map.

 

Moreover, I need to admit that I find it somehow tempting from time to time to put out a cache in front of certain cachers they can never turn into a smiley (that would involve a different framework than the cycling one).

 

Cezanne

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From other comments on the thread, insisting someone has found a certain number of caches by bicycle is impractical because there's no way of verifying it even if it were allowed.

 

There would exist methods - like asking for example for the track log.

This works quite well in case of some hiking caches where those who send the track log get some kind of badge if they are into that sort of thing.

 

I reckon you'd still struggle to tell a fast jogger from a slow cyclist even if the track log were genuine.

 

Probably, but I do not mind the jogging approach anyway.

 

So why does it matter how someone does your cache? If the options are to follow a cycle route where motor vehicles are banned for 20 miles (whether by bike or on foot) or drive 100 miles between parking spots where each one involves walking a mile or two to and from the waypoint, why does it matter how someone does it?

 

Possibly, but then I'd ask why it's so important that a cacher must do your cache on a bicycle. Does it really matter if someone drives their car to the nearest place they can park, walks a couple of miles to a waypoint, notes the details, walks back to the car, and drives on to the next waypoint?

 

We live in different areas. It is impossible in my area to design a cache that can be done by a bike designed for roads and where the stages can be selected such that people have to walk a couple of miles to a waypoint. The situation would change if I were a mountain biker, but that exceeds my abilities.

 

I still don't see why it's so important to you that someone does your cache by bike. Already we've gone from being a cache designed for cyclists to accepting you don't mind if someone jogs. What about someone who walks? What about an electric bicycle that requires no effort at all, or only very minimal effort, from the rider?

 

It's a bit like putting a cache up a tree so people have to climb the tree but then insisting that people don't use a ladder to climb the tree.

Ultimately people will figure out the most appropriate way for them to retrieve the cache, or decide not to bother attempting it. There comes a point when insisting on accessing the cache a particular way becomes more akin to insisting the cacher sign the log using a particular colour of ink.

 

These examples are not of the same flavour from my point of view. If someone uses a ladder, he might still have to report about a special experience (at least this for example would be the case for myself) and I like to receive logs that tell a story and hate the TFTC type logs (if there are a certain proportion of them, I get frustrated and come to the conclusion it would have been better not to hide the cache - the few nice logs than do not outweigh the caused frustration). Moreover, if someone uses a ladder there is no bad conscience involved for me with respecting to motivating people to drive around 150km and more just to get a cache of mine off the map.

 

Moreover, I need to admit that I find it somehow tempting from time to time to put out a cache in front of certain cachers they can never turn into a smiley (that would involve a different framework than the cycling one).

 

Cezanne

 

Someone using a ladder doesn't have to write anything of the sort. They could write "Can't climb so used ladder, TFTC" or even less. I'm really not seeing anything substantial in the argument here - you don't want someone to drive 150km just to get a cache of yours off the map but seem quite happy for them to drive an unknown distance to a place to buy or rent a sufficiently long ladder, then drive to the cache site (possibly driving closer than is appropriate so they don't have to carry the ladder so far), then driving back to return a rented ladder.

 

Wanting to put a cache out there that some people are going to struggle with is one thing but when you start trying to force people to do a cache a certain way you rapidly end up in a place where you might as well say "everybody except X is allowed to log this cache".

 

If I want to find a cache I'll figure the best way for me to get at it. That might be the same way the owner wanted finders to approach it, it might not. I'm looking at a local cache with a friend (both of us are too heavy to climb the structure) and figuring whether it's a viable option to park as close as we can and take a ladder out there. Neither of us could climb the structure but by resting a ladder against a nearby tree I think we could complete the cache.

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Someone using a ladder doesn't have to write anything of the sort. They could write "Can't climb so used ladder, TFTC" or even less. I'm really not seeing anything substantial in the argument here - you don't want someone to drive 150km just to get a cache of yours off the map but seem quite happy for them to drive an unknown distance to a place to buy or rent a sufficiently long ladder, then drive to the cache site (possibly driving closer than is appropriate so they don't have to carry the ladder so far), then driving back to return a rented ladder.

 

Actually, I never ever would want to hide a cache where climbing is necessary. My comment with respect to ladders and the experience came into the play when I looked at the matter from the point of view as a cache finder, not as a cache hider. If I happened to use a ladder to reach a cache in a tree, it still would be quite an adventure and challenge for me and my log would not be a one-liner.

 

Wanting to put a cache out there that some people are going to struggle with is one thing but when you start trying to force people to do a cache a certain way you rapidly end up in a place where you might as well say "everybody except X is allowed to log this cache".

 

My main intent is not to make anyone struggle, but just keep car cachers from certain caches as otherwise I rather decide not to hide a cache that involves long distances than to live with my bad conscience of attracting car cachers. I'm well aware however that the option I would like to have will never be available and that of course if such an option existed, it easily could be abused. If I had the choice between a cacher who hates cycling and just sets out for a bike ride to find a potential bike cache of mine and a cacher who ignores my cache, I prefer the latter variant by far. So my intent is not to get someone doing what he/she does not enjoy or what might be a challenge for that person, but rather do the cache in the only way I well comfortable with as a hider.

 

I'm looking at a local cache with a friend (both of us are too heavy to climb the structure) and figuring whether it's a viable option to park as close as we can and take a ladder out there. Neither of us could climb the structure but by resting a ladder against a nearby tree I think we could complete the cache.

 

While as mentioned above, I never would hide such a cache, I do not have any issue at all with the approach you have in mind.

 

 

 

Cezanne

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Someone using a ladder doesn't have to write anything of the sort. They could write "Can't climb so used ladder, TFTC" or even less. I'm really not seeing anything substantial in the argument here - you don't want someone to drive 150km just to get a cache of yours off the map but seem quite happy for them to drive an unknown distance to a place to buy or rent a sufficiently long ladder, then drive to the cache site (possibly driving closer than is appropriate so they don't have to carry the ladder so far), then driving back to return a rented ladder.

 

Actually, I never ever would want to hide a cache where climbing is necessary. My comment with respect to ladders and the experience came into the play when I looked at the matter from the point of view as a cache finder, not as a cache hider. If I happened to use a ladder to reach a cache in a tree, it still would be quite an adventure and challenge for me and my log would not be a one-liner.

 

 

 

Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

Probably, but I'm against such a feature anyway and what you quoted came along with explaining

why I prefer the currently existing situation to an achievement system which is unlinked from caches.

 

I thought of this thread as a dicussion which not only unites those who are in favour of the suggestion or would like to expand your idea.

 

Cezanne

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I assume you know what "don't shoot the messenger means"?

 

Oh, come on. I barely grazed you. :anibad:

 

I will grant you that challenges have exploded recently, not necessarily for the better. I've enjoyed well rounded cacher challenges, Delorme, and county challenges, because they get me out of my comfort zone or home area and get me to go places or try things I wouldn't normally have the incentive to do.

 

I do not get the same thrill out of some of the newer, more "creative" challenges that, now that the date restriction has been eliminated, are more a matter of checking through my found caches than getting out and caching. For instance, this challenge in Georgia. I thought it was pretty cool that we qualified for it, and I had fun logging it in my new Lederhosen, shortly after coming back from a week in Bavaria. But I didn't have to do anything new to qualify for it -- I'd already cached in every country bordering Germany, so I just had to show up and sign it. To date, no one else has logged it, or even indicated that they qualify for it.

 

Sorting through some of the challenges out there, they do seem to be more and more focused on "been there, done that" than "go there and do this." I think we could use less of the former and more of the latter. Counting up how many 3/3 caches I've found on the 33rd of Smarch only gets so exciting. But I'd rather ignore the "been there done that" chaff than see the "go there and do this" challenges that I do enjoy turn into another whizz bang idea that eventually lapses (like souvenirs) or gets killed off (like challenges).

Edited by hzoi

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I assume you know what "don't shoot the messenger means"?

 

Oh, come on. I barely grazed you. :anibad:

 

 

No problem. It was only a flesh wound.

 

 

I will grant you that challenges have exploded recently, not necessarily for the better. I've enjoyed well rounded cacher challenges, Delorme, and county challenges, because they get me out of my comfort zone or home area and get me to go places or try things I wouldn't normally have the incentive to do.

 

 

Perhaps I need to be clearer about what this features suggestion is about. It would not eliminate challenges such as well rounded cacher, Delorme, Jasmer, etc. It would just change the reward for completing a challenge from the opportunity to post a found it log on a cache somewhere, to some sort of virtual artwork similar to souvenirs or badgegen.com badges.

 

 

I do not get the same thrill out of some of the newer, more "creative" challenges that, now that the date restriction has been eliminated, are more a matter of checking through my found caches than getting out and caching. For instance, this challenge in Georgia. I thought it was pretty cool that we qualified for it, and I had fun logging it in my new Lederhosen, shortly after coming back from a week in Bavaria. But I didn't have to do anything new to qualify for it -- I'd already cached in every country bordering Germany, so I just had to show up and sign it. To date, no one else has logged it, or even indicated that they qualify for it.

 

I could score a 50% on that challenge (not quite high enough) and I've never lived in Europe. There's also a greater than zero chance I could add Denmark to that list before the end of the year.

 

Including a Challenge like this would require a bit more thinking (thus, the creation of this thread) to figure out a good way to manage it.

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I like the idea. BUT, thing about all the other projects that GS quit halfway. What happened to country Souvenirs??

I only foresee even more drama when Groundspeak adds the "Washington DeLorme Achievement" but never gets around to adding the other states. Either have all the popular challenges ready before making it public or finish the other silly projects first! (Souvenirs, work on Wherigo, etc...)

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I like the idea. BUT, thing about all the other projects that GS quit halfway. What happened to country Souvenirs??

I only foresee even more drama when Groundspeak adds the "Washington DeLorme Achievement" but never gets around to adding the other states. Either have all the popular challenges ready before making it public or finish the other silly projects first! (Souvenirs, work on Wherigo, etc...)

 

Amen to that!

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Perhaps I need to be clearer about what this features suggestion is about. It would not eliminate challenges such as well rounded cacher, Delorme, Jasmer, etc. It would just change the reward for completing a challenge from the opportunity to post a found it log on a cache somewhere, to some sort of virtual artwork similar to souvenirs or badgegen.com badges.

No, that was clear. I just disagree with it. I like having a nice grandaddy cache to crack open once I've met those challenges. I don't know that I'd be quite as interested if it became a badge.

 

I also echo RIclimber's concern. I have more confidence in Groundspeak occasionally adjusting challenge cache guidelines and leaving it to cache owners to implement than Groundspeak fully implementing (and then fully maintaining) some new challenge badge system.

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Groundspeak fully implementing (and then fully maintaining) some new challenge badge system.

 

The track record indicates they WOULD NOT be fully implemented and properly maintained/updated.

 

That, and who at Groundspeak is going to figure out all the challenge/badge award possibilities?

 

Sure, there are several popular styles that are getting repeated across the world, but what about the one-off esoteric idea that is actually pretty cool?

 

EDITED because I hit the 'REPLY' button too soon.

Edited by AZcachemeister

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I like the idea. BUT, thing about all the other projects that GS quit halfway. What happened to country Souvenirs??

I only foresee even more drama when Groundspeak adds the "Washington DeLorme Achievement" but never gets around to adding the other states. Either have all the popular challenges ready before making it public or finish the other silly projects first! (Souvenirs, work on Wherigo, etc...)

 

I vote for this! Groundspeak already has too many half-baked projects in the fire that should be finished before they start any new ones. The thread about removing ghost trackables was started in November, 2011. The response, by both the membership and Groundspeak lackey's, seemed to be overwhelmingly positive. Yet, here we are, February 2013 and nothing has been done.

 

Groundspeak may be the 800lb gorilla in the geocaching world, but their track record for implementing and following through on projects that the geocaching community needs and wants, let alone the things they've deemed their "pet projects" (Wherigo, Waymarking, Challenges, souvenirs, etc...) is abysmal. Let's fix what truly is broken before breaking something else.

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

The detail is, although I think the underlying point that any "achievement" needs to be objectively measurable makes a lot of sense.

 

A requirement "find 10 caches in one day" can be circumvented by finding 8 one day and 2 the next but logging them all on the same day, but at least it can be verified via the Found logs. And if a CO decides to delete a log because the book wasn't signed at all or was signed on a different date (or the dates were out of sequence or some such) then that achivement vanishes.

 

A requirement "find a cache that was previously DNF-ed" or "find 10 caches by bicycle" falls down because there's no way of validating whether a DNF log was based on a genuine attempt to find, a drive-by, or a "fill a random DNF to qualify for this achivement". Likewise there's no way of telling whether someone found a cache on foot, by bicycle, by quad bike or any other means.

 

All that said I agree with what's been said about Groundspeak having a frankly appalling track record of thinking things through and finishing what they started. Wherigo still seems like a farce where older GPS units support it and newer ones don't, challenges came despite overwhelming opposition in the Feedback area and subsequently died, the Feedback area itself disappeared, half-finished features abound on the web site and TPTB appear disinterested in suggestions in this forum that would clearly make the game more playable.

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

 

A requirement "find 10 caches in one day" can be circumvented by finding 8 one day and 2 the next but logging them all on the same day, but at least it can be verified via the Found logs. And if a CO decides to delete a log because the book wasn't signed at all or was signed on a different date (or the dates were out of sequence or some such) then that achivement vanishes.

 

 

It's been established that once you sign the log, you are entitled to log the cache online. It has also been established that a date is not required to do so. Many use ink stamps and stickers that do not have dates on them to mark the physical log. I haven't provided a date in over three years, except on a FTF, and that is mostly as a courtesy to the other FTF hunters. If a CO were to question my integrity and say that I did not find a cache on the date that I said I had, I'd delete the log myself and never look for another of his caches. This stuff really isn't that important.

 

You did bring up a potential hurdle to this idea. With an automatic system, any random CO with a wild hair up his bottom can make my Achievement Badge disappear with a few mouse clicks. Now, I have to just suck it up or write to Groundspeak and get them involved.

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

A requirement "find 10 caches in one day" can be circumvented by finding 8 one day and 2 the next but logging them all on the same day, but at least it can be verified via the Found logs. And if a CO decides to delete a log because the book wasn't signed at all or was signed on a different date (or the dates were out of sequence or some such) then that achivement vanishes.

 

It's been established that once you sign the log, you are entitled to log the cache online. It has also been established that a date is not required to do so. Many use ink stamps and stickers that do not have dates on them to mark the physical log. I haven't provided a date in over three years, except on a FTF, and that is mostly as a courtesy to the other FTF hunters. If a CO were to question my integrity and say that I did not find a cache on the date that I said I had, I'd delete the log myself and never look for another of his caches. This stuff really isn't that important.

 

You did bring up a potential hurdle to this idea. With an automatic system, any random CO with a wild hair up his bottom can make my Achievement Badge disappear with a few mouse clicks. Now, I have to just suck it up or write to Groundspeak and get them involved.

 

If the date isn't required to claim the find then any challenge based on what dates caches were found becomes a choice between an exercise in seriously dedicated caching or cheating. The only exception I can see is filling the caching calendar which can happen over many years as a process of attrition (it took me 9 years, largely because for 5 years I was filling it randomly and when I decided to fill it I took 4 years to fill all the spaces)

 

But as you say it does mean a CO who objects to one of your finds and deletes your log could suddenly make one of your achievements disappear. But as things stand now if you find an unusual D/T combination and fill the grid only for a CO to change the rating you suddenly cease to qualify for D/T grid challenges.

 

... which all comes back to whether completion of a challenge can be objectively defined and validated, and also secured. If a cache is resuscitated it's easy enough to see it hadn't been found for a year (or whatever period is required). If a challenge requires filling a grid and something changes, it potentially becomes impossible to verify that the challenge had been completed.

 

The more I think about it the more I think the only challenges that are meaningful are geographical ones (like the one someone mentioned earlier about caching in countries bordering Germany), resuscitator type caches, requirements to find a specific number of a specific cache type (I think there's one near me that requires finding 100 or more mystery type caches) and the like.

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But as you say it does mean a CO who objects to one of your finds and deletes your log could suddenly make one of your achievements disappear. But as things stand now if you find an unusual D/T combination and fill the grid only for a CO to change the rating you suddenly cease to qualify for D/T grid challenges.

 

 

I suspect that in the (unlikely) event such a badge system were introduced, the badges would be implemented in a similar way to souvenirs...once you 'earn' it, you keep it.

 

If I accidentally enter the wrong GC code when posting a log, and the cache logged is in South Dakota, I get the South Dakota souvenir. Deleting the mistake does not remove it (the souvenir). If I want to be honest, I need to write to TPTB and ask them to remove it.

 

Would/could someone 'accidentally' log the caches needed to 'earn' a badge, and then delete the logs?

Yes, they would.

 

Would TPTB want to get in the middle if someone else noticed the unscrupulous behavior and complained?

No, they wouldn't.

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But as you say it does mean a CO who objects to one of your finds and deletes your log could suddenly make one of your achievements disappear. But as things stand now if you find an unusual D/T combination and fill the grid only for a CO to change the rating you suddenly cease to qualify for D/T grid challenges.

 

 

I suspect that in the (unlikely) event such a badge system were introduced, the badges would be implemented in a similar way to souvenirs...once you 'earn' it, you keep it.

 

If I accidentally enter the wrong GC code when posting a log, and the cache logged is in South Dakota, I get the South Dakota souvenir. Deleting the mistake does not remove it (the souvenir). If I want to be honest, I need to write to TPTB and ask them to remove it.

 

Would/could someone 'accidentally' log the caches needed to 'earn' a badge, and then delete the logs?

Yes, they would.

 

Would TPTB want to get in the middle if someone else noticed the unscrupulous behavior and complained?

No, they wouldn't.

 

I always thought that was a bug...

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

A requirement "find 10 caches in one day" can be circumvented by finding 8 one day and 2 the next but logging them all on the same day, but at least it can be verified via the Found logs. And if a CO decides to delete a log because the book wasn't signed at all or was signed on a different date (or the dates were out of sequence or some such) then that achivement vanishes.

 

It's been established that once you sign the log, you are entitled to log the cache online. It has also been established that a date is not required to do so. Many use ink stamps and stickers that do not have dates on them to mark the physical log. I haven't provided a date in over three years, except on a FTF, and that is mostly as a courtesy to the other FTF hunters. If a CO were to question my integrity and say that I did not find a cache on the date that I said I had, I'd delete the log myself and never look for another of his caches. This stuff really isn't that important.

 

You did bring up a potential hurdle to this idea. With an automatic system, any random CO with a wild hair up his bottom can make my Achievement Badge disappear with a few mouse clicks. Now, I have to just suck it up or write to Groundspeak and get them involved.

 

If the date isn't required to claim the find then any challenge based on what dates caches were found becomes a choice between an exercise in seriously dedicated caching or cheating. The only exception I can see is filling the caching calendar which can happen over many years as a process of attrition (it took me 9 years, largely because for 5 years I was filling it randomly and when I decided to fill it I took 4 years to fill all the spaces)

 

But as you say it does mean a CO who objects to one of your finds and deletes your log could suddenly make one of your achievements disappear. But as things stand now if you find an unusual D/T combination and fill the grid only for a CO to change the rating you suddenly cease to qualify for D/T grid challenges.

 

... which all comes back to whether completion of a challenge can be objectively defined and validated, and also secured. If a cache is resuscitated it's easy enough to see it hadn't been found for a year (or whatever period is required). If a challenge requires filling a grid and something changes, it potentially becomes impossible to verify that the challenge had been completed.

 

The more I think about it the more I think the only challenges that are meaningful are geographical ones (like the one someone mentioned earlier about caching in countries bordering Germany), resuscitator type caches, requirements to find a specific number of a specific cache type (I think there's one near me that requires finding 100 or more mystery type caches) and the like.

 

This has always been a problem with just about any challenge. I would guess that 99% of cache owners do not go out and religiously audit there logs and delete suspect finds. If your challenge relies on me finding 100 caches of any criteria, unless you go out and personally check all of those, you have no way to be certain that I truly do qualify. You have to take my word that I didn't cheat or manipulate the data in some way. A grid challenge, you can look at my stats. How many that own these challenges look at the finders stats months or years afterwards to see if they still qualify, and then delete a log because of that? I'm guessing close to none.

 

BTW, any challenge can be manipulated. The complex one that is being discussed in the other thread requires almost 100 finds on 13 different criteria, and in it's original form, only finds in 2013 counted. The people that claimed FTF, (not the true FTF), logged it within days of it being posted because the entire community ran out and placed new caches that met those criteria. A local challenge, find 10 caches with the word "Gold" in their titles. Next day, two caches with the word "Gold" publish by friend A, and the day after friend B logs the FTF. This goes on and on.

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

A requirement "find 10 caches in one day" can be circumvented by finding 8 one day and 2 the next but logging them all on the same day, but at least it can be verified via the Found logs. And if a CO decides to delete a log because the book wasn't signed at all or was signed on a different date (or the dates were out of sequence or some such) then that achivement vanishes.

 

It's been established that once you sign the log, you are entitled to log the cache online. It has also been established that a date is not required to do so. Many use ink stamps and stickers that do not have dates on them to mark the physical log. I haven't provided a date in over three years, except on a FTF, and that is mostly as a courtesy to the other FTF hunters. If a CO were to question my integrity and say that I did not find a cache on the date that I said I had, I'd delete the log myself and never look for another of his caches. This stuff really isn't that important.

 

You did bring up a potential hurdle to this idea. With an automatic system, any random CO with a wild hair up his bottom can make my Achievement Badge disappear with a few mouse clicks. Now, I have to just suck it up or write to Groundspeak and get them involved.

 

If the date isn't required to claim the find then any challenge based on what dates caches were found becomes a choice between an exercise in seriously dedicated caching or cheating. The only exception I can see is filling the caching calendar which can happen over many years as a process of attrition (it took me 9 years, largely because for 5 years I was filling it randomly and when I decided to fill it I took 4 years to fill all the spaces)

 

But as you say it does mean a CO who objects to one of your finds and deletes your log could suddenly make one of your achievements disappear. But as things stand now if you find an unusual D/T combination and fill the grid only for a CO to change the rating you suddenly cease to qualify for D/T grid challenges.

 

... which all comes back to whether completion of a challenge can be objectively defined and validated, and also secured. If a cache is resuscitated it's easy enough to see it hadn't been found for a year (or whatever period is required). If a challenge requires filling a grid and something changes, it potentially becomes impossible to verify that the challenge had been completed.

 

The more I think about it the more I think the only challenges that are meaningful are geographical ones (like the one someone mentioned earlier about caching in countries bordering Germany), resuscitator type caches, requirements to find a specific number of a specific cache type (I think there's one near me that requires finding 100 or more mystery type caches) and the like.

 

This has always been a problem with just about any challenge. I would guess that 99% of cache owners do not go out and religiously audit there logs and delete suspect finds. If your challenge relies on me finding 100 caches of any criteria, unless you go out and personally check all of those, you have no way to be certain that I truly do qualify. You have to take my word that I didn't cheat or manipulate the data in some way. A grid challenge, you can look at my stats. How many that own these challenges look at the finders stats months or years afterwards to see if they still qualify, and then delete a log because of that? I'm guessing close to none.

 

BTW, any challenge can be manipulated. The complex one that is being discussed in the other thread requires almost 100 finds on 13 different criteria, and in it's original form, only finds in 2013 counted. The people that claimed FTF, (not the true FTF), logged it within days of it being posted because the entire community ran out and placed new caches that met those criteria. A local challenge, find 10 caches with the word "Gold" in their titles. Next day, two caches with the word "Gold" publish by friend A, and the day after friend B logs the FTF. This goes on and on.

 

... which all adds weight to the argument for either abandoning challenge caches or putting heavy restrictions on what the challenge can be.

 

I've seen a few event caches with unusual D/T combinations that appear to be nothing more than a group of people who need an odd combination to fill their grid hosting an event, putting a random D/T rating on it (that conveniently isn't very common) and then everybody who attends can have a pint while claiming that D2/T4.5 combo they needed to fill their grid.

 

Caches with something in their name invite other arguments, for example whether "Golden Heart" contains the word "art" or not. In the sense of containing the letters a, r, t in that order it clearly does while at the same time it clearly doesn't contain the word "art".

 

Qualification for a grid-related challenge can only realistically be measured at the time the cache find is claimed. There the potential issue is that if you complete your D/T grid, find the cache, log the cache, and before the CO checks the validity one of your more obscure finds is reclassified you end up with a gap in the grid and so the CO deletes the log.

 

It does seem like an anomaly in the rules that say "if you sign the log you can claim a find" - if a basic member stumbles upon a PMO cache they are still allowed to log it, if someone stumbles upon the final of a puzzle cache they are allowed to log it, but if that cache turns out to be designated a challenge cache they aren't allowed to log it.

 

From what I read here about the squabbles that get escalated to Groundspeak I'm surprised they allow such things that seem to invite arguments and therefore create a larger workload for the referee.

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

A requirement "find 10 caches in one day" can be circumvented by finding 8 one day and 2 the next but logging them all on the same day, but at least it can be verified via the Found logs. And if a CO decides to delete a log because the book wasn't signed at all or was signed on a different date (or the dates were out of sequence or some such) then that achivement vanishes.

 

It's been established that once you sign the log, you are entitled to log the cache online. It has also been established that a date is not required to do so. Many use ink stamps and stickers that do not have dates on them to mark the physical log. I haven't provided a date in over three years, except on a FTF, and that is mostly as a courtesy to the other FTF hunters. If a CO were to question my integrity and say that I did not find a cache on the date that I said I had, I'd delete the log myself and never look for another of his caches. This stuff really isn't that important.

 

You did bring up a potential hurdle to this idea. With an automatic system, any random CO with a wild hair up his bottom can make my Achievement Badge disappear with a few mouse clicks. Now, I have to just suck it up or write to Groundspeak and get them involved.

 

If the date isn't required to claim the find then any challenge based on what dates caches were found becomes a choice between an exercise in seriously dedicated caching or cheating. The only exception I can see is filling the caching calendar which can happen over many years as a process of attrition (it took me 9 years, largely because for 5 years I was filling it randomly and when I decided to fill it I took 4 years to fill all the spaces)

 

But as you say it does mean a CO who objects to one of your finds and deletes your log could suddenly make one of your achievements disappear. But as things stand now if you find an unusual D/T combination and fill the grid only for a CO to change the rating you suddenly cease to qualify for D/T grid challenges.

 

... which all comes back to whether completion of a challenge can be objectively defined and validated, and also secured. If a cache is resuscitated it's easy enough to see it hadn't been found for a year (or whatever period is required). If a challenge requires filling a grid and something changes, it potentially becomes impossible to verify that the challenge had been completed.

 

The more I think about it the more I think the only challenges that are meaningful are geographical ones (like the one someone mentioned earlier about caching in countries bordering Germany), resuscitator type caches, requirements to find a specific number of a specific cache type (I think there's one near me that requires finding 100 or more mystery type caches) and the like.

 

This has always been a problem with just about any challenge. I would guess that 99% of cache owners do not go out and religiously audit there logs and delete suspect finds. If your challenge relies on me finding 100 caches of any criteria, unless you go out and personally check all of those, you have no way to be certain that I truly do qualify. You have to take my word that I didn't cheat or manipulate the data in some way. A grid challenge, you can look at my stats. How many that own these challenges look at the finders stats months or years afterwards to see if they still qualify, and then delete a log because of that? I'm guessing close to none.

 

BTW, any challenge can be manipulated. The complex one that is being discussed in the other thread requires almost 100 finds on 13 different criteria, and in it's original form, only finds in 2013 counted. The people that claimed FTF, (not the true FTF), logged it within days of it being posted because the entire community ran out and placed new caches that met those criteria. A local challenge, find 10 caches with the word "Gold" in their titles. Next day, two caches with the word "Gold" publish by friend A, and the day after friend B logs the FTF. This goes on and on.

 

... which all adds weight to the argument for either abandoning challenge caches or putting heavy restrictions on what the challenge can be.

 

 

Many of the responses in the thread so far seem to be based on an assumption that some sort of achievement based feature would still entail have geocachers "own" challenge caches and be able to create them with all the convoluted criteria they're being created with now.

 

I was thinking of something more like souvenirs where Groundspeak determines what achievements are created and has ownership and an ability to verify when someone has completed the achievement. Yes, that would mean that there are a lot view different types of achievements one could obtain but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing.

 

One thing I thing is important to consider for any feature request is the amount of effort it's going to take for GS to implement it and that it adds no additional burden to reviewers. Groundspeak has been working with a model that relies on a relatively small number of volunteer reviewer to make this game work. It seems to me, there would be a potential to create another set of reviewers (again, as volunteers) that would deal solely with achievements. It's worked pretty well for 12 years with geocachers and could likely work pretty well for achievements if there was some sort of suggestion/review process for achievements.

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One thing I thing is important to consider for any feature request is the amount of effort it's going to take for GS to implement it and that it adds no additional burden to reviewers.

 

I agree. Another important thing in my eyes is however whether a feature request contributes anything to the basic activity of geocaching.

For achievements, I'd give the same negative answer as for souvenirs.

 

 

Cezanne

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One thing I thing is important to consider for any feature request is the amount of effort it's going to take for GS to implement it and that it adds no additional burden to reviewers. Groundspeak has been working with a model that relies on a relatively small number of volunteer reviewer to make this game work. It seems to me, there would be a potential to create another set of reviewers (again, as volunteers) that would deal solely with achievements. It's worked pretty well for 12 years with geocachers and could likely work pretty well for achievements if there was some sort of suggestion/review process for achievements.

 

Agreed.

 

I also think there are bigger fish for GS to fry than dealing with this - for all challenge caches are in many cases easy enough to subvert/cheat I think there are issues that GS should deal with first.

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

A requirement "find 10 caches in one day" can be circumvented by finding 8 one day and 2 the next but logging them all on the same day, but at least it can be verified via the Found logs. And if a CO decides to delete a log because the book wasn't signed at all or was signed on a different date (or the dates were out of sequence or some such) then that achivement vanishes.

 

It's been established that once you sign the log, you are entitled to log the cache online. It has also been established that a date is not required to do so. Many use ink stamps and stickers that do not have dates on them to mark the physical log. I haven't provided a date in over three years, except on a FTF, and that is mostly as a courtesy to the other FTF hunters. If a CO were to question my integrity and say that I did not find a cache on the date that I said I had, I'd delete the log myself and never look for another of his caches. This stuff really isn't that important.

 

You did bring up a potential hurdle to this idea. With an automatic system, any random CO with a wild hair up his bottom can make my Achievement Badge disappear with a few mouse clicks. Now, I have to just suck it up or write to Groundspeak and get them involved.

 

If the date isn't required to claim the find then any challenge based on what dates caches were found becomes a choice between an exercise in seriously dedicated caching or cheating. The only exception I can see is filling the caching calendar which can happen over many years as a process of attrition (it took me 9 years, largely because for 5 years I was filling it randomly and when I decided to fill it I took 4 years to fill all the spaces)

 

But as you say it does mean a CO who objects to one of your finds and deletes your log could suddenly make one of your achievements disappear. But as things stand now if you find an unusual D/T combination and fill the grid only for a CO to change the rating you suddenly cease to qualify for D/T grid challenges.

 

... which all comes back to whether completion of a challenge can be objectively defined and validated, and also secured. If a cache is resuscitated it's easy enough to see it hadn't been found for a year (or whatever period is required). If a challenge requires filling a grid and something changes, it potentially becomes impossible to verify that the challenge had been completed.

 

The more I think about it the more I think the only challenges that are meaningful are geographical ones (like the one someone mentioned earlier about caching in countries bordering Germany), resuscitator type caches, requirements to find a specific number of a specific cache type (I think there's one near me that requires finding 100 or more mystery type caches) and the like.

 

This has always been a problem with just about any challenge. I would guess that 99% of cache owners do not go out and religiously audit there logs and delete suspect finds. If your challenge relies on me finding 100 caches of any criteria, unless you go out and personally check all of those, you have no way to be certain that I truly do qualify. You have to take my word that I didn't cheat or manipulate the data in some way. A grid challenge, you can look at my stats. How many that own these challenges look at the finders stats months or years afterwards to see if they still qualify, and then delete a log because of that? I'm guessing close to none.

 

BTW, any challenge can be manipulated. The complex one that is being discussed in the other thread requires almost 100 finds on 13 different criteria, and in it's original form, only finds in 2013 counted. The people that claimed FTF, (not the true FTF), logged it within days of it being posted because the entire community ran out and placed new caches that met those criteria. A local challenge, find 10 caches with the word "Gold" in their titles. Next day, two caches with the word "Gold" publish by friend A, and the day after friend B logs the FTF. This goes on and on.

 

... which all adds weight to the argument for either abandoning challenge caches or putting heavy restrictions on what the challenge can be.

 

 

Many of the responses in the thread so far seem to be based on an assumption that some sort of achievement based feature would still entail have geocachers "own" challenge caches and be able to create them with all the convoluted criteria they're being created with now.

 

I was thinking of something more like souvenirs where Groundspeak determines what achievements are created and has ownership and an ability to verify when someone has completed the achievement. Yes, that would mean that there are a lot view different types of achievements one could obtain but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing.

 

One thing I thing is important to consider for any feature request is the amount of effort it's going to take for GS to implement it and that it adds no additional burden to reviewers. Groundspeak has been working with a model that relies on a relatively small number of volunteer reviewer to make this game work. It seems to me, there would be a potential to create another set of reviewers (again, as volunteers) that would deal solely with achievements. It's worked pretty well for 12 years with geocachers and could likely work pretty well for achievements if there was some sort of suggestion/review process for achievements.

 

I'll try to make two points without turning them into ten paragraphs. :)

 

1. Anything that Groundspeak controls through a programming aspect would have to be something relatively simple. Grids, geographical areas, streaks, etc. No 13 different criteria, and seven caches with the word "Pig" in them. Replacing challenges with these Achievement Badges would effectively be banning challenges to most users as they seem to be more interested in the exotic type challenges. I don't think that this would go over very well.

 

2. The arguments over, "I qualified"-"no you didn't", would shift from the cache owners and cache finders, to the cache finders and the lackeys. I don't see why they would even consider taking that on.

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I like challenge caches. I see no problem. Dont like them, dont hunt them. Its that simple.

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One thing I thing is important to consider for any feature request is the amount of effort it's going to take for GS to implement it and that it adds no additional burden to reviewers.

 

I agree. Another important thing in my eyes is however whether a feature request contributes anything to the basic activity of geocaching.

For achievements, I'd give the same negative answer as for souvenirs.

 

 

Cezanne

 

One could argue that any sort of statistics (including the total find count) related to geocaches we have found contributes anything to the basic activity of geocaching. But people do like to keep track of how many caches they've found, where they've found them, how many they've found in a year/month/day, and so on. Similarly, rather than a increment in their total find count, some might prefer to see some recognition in their profiles that they met some sort of achievement.

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Similarly, rather than a increment in their total find count, some might prefer to see some recognition in their profiles that they met some sort of achievement.

 

Yes, certainly that's the case.

This does not mean however that necessarily the main drive for owners/searchers of challenge caches is to offer/get recognition for some sort of achievement.

 

Cezanne

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Similarly, rather than a increment in their total find count, some might prefer to see some recognition in their profiles that they met some sort of achievement.

 

Yes, certainly that's the case.

This does not mean however that necessarily the main drive for owners/searchers of challenge caches is to offer/get recognition for some sort of achievement.

 

Cezanne

 

As I see it, the only real purpose of a challenge cache is as a form of acknowledgement that you've met the criteria.

 

There is nothing stopping someone from finding a challenge cache even if the haven't met the criteria of the challenge.

 

If someone wants to complete some sort of challenge, and has met the criteria, they've completed the challenge even if they don't go out and find the challenge cache.

 

I don't see anything fundamentally different between finding a challenge cache and finding any other type of cache. The only difference is that one must meet some criteria before an online found it log is allowed to stand. Presumably, if someone really enjoys doing challenges they probably keep track of them somehow, most likely by adding the challenge cache to a bookmark or editing the HTML on their public profile page. With some sort of achievement mechanism in lieu of the challenge cache, once the criteria has been met the site could acknowledge that the challenge has been meet and keep track automatically.

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I also think there are bigger fish for GS to fry than dealing with this - for all challenge caches are in many cases easy enough to subvert/cheat I think there are issues that GS should deal with first.

Perhaps the first fish that needs to be fried is the idea that the found count is a score and the corollary that challenges promote "cheating".

 

The basic idea of Challenge Caches - i.e. that you can't log your find unless you meet the challenge - promotes the idea that the find is a score. Rather than having the challenge set a goal for cachers to meet by legitmately finding caches, they encourage manipulation of statistics just to be able to get a smiley.

 

Replacing the smiley with a souvenir or other token of accomplishment may not do anything to discourage people from manipulating the statistics. However, it will at least reduce complaint that there are people claiming "finds" that they don't deserve. A "find" would be defined as finding the cache (and perhaps signing the log) and not a prize that the cache owner gives out.

 

If someone wants to lie in order to get a souvenir or an achivement that only makes them look silly. People who legitimately met the challenge/achivement can look at their tokens and know that they accomplished something. Those who got a token by manipulating their statistics might be able to feign pride that they've "played the system", but they will also have to live with knowing that others actually did meet the challenge.

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It does seem like an anomaly in the rules that say "if you sign the log you can claim a find" - if a basic member stumbles upon a PMO cache they are still allowed to log it, if someone stumbles upon the final of a puzzle cache they are allowed to log it, but if that cache turns out to be designated a challenge cache they aren't allowed to log it.

 

A very important point. ^^^

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Um, this is drifting pretty far off topic from the intent of the feature suggestion.

 

A requirement "find 10 caches in one day" can be circumvented by finding 8 one day and 2 the next but logging them all on the same day, but at least it can be verified via the Found logs. And if a CO decides to delete a log because the book wasn't signed at all or was signed on a different date (or the dates were out of sequence or some such) then that achivement vanishes.

 

It's been established that once you sign the log, you are entitled to log the cache online. It has also been established that a date is not required to do so. Many use ink stamps and stickers that do not have dates on them to mark the physical log. I haven't provided a date in over three years, except on a FTF, and that is mostly as a courtesy to the other FTF hunters. If a CO were to question my integrity and say that I did not find a cache on the date that I said I had, I'd delete the log myself and never look for another of his caches. This stuff really isn't that important.

 

You did bring up a potential hurdle to this idea. With an automatic system, any random CO with a wild hair up his bottom can make my Achievement Badge disappear with a few mouse clicks. Now, I have to just suck it up or write to Groundspeak and get them involved.

 

If the date isn't required to claim the find then any challenge based on what dates caches were found becomes a choice between an exercise in seriously dedicated caching or cheating. The only exception I can see is filling the caching calendar which can happen over many years as a process of attrition (it took me 9 years, largely because for 5 years I was filling it randomly and when I decided to fill it I took 4 years to fill all the spaces)

 

But as you say it does mean a CO who objects to one of your finds and deletes your log could suddenly make one of your achievements disappear. But as things stand now if you find an unusual D/T combination and fill the grid only for a CO to change the rating you suddenly cease to qualify for D/T grid challenges.

 

... which all comes back to whether completion of a challenge can be objectively defined and validated, and also secured. If a cache is resuscitated it's easy enough to see it hadn't been found for a year (or whatever period is required). If a challenge requires filling a grid and something changes, it potentially becomes impossible to verify that the challenge had been completed.

 

The more I think about it the more I think the only challenges that are meaningful are geographical ones (like the one someone mentioned earlier about caching in countries bordering Germany), resuscitator type caches, requirements to find a specific number of a specific cache type (I think there's one near me that requires finding 100 or more mystery type caches) and the like.

 

This has always been a problem with just about any challenge. I would guess that 99% of cache owners do not go out and religiously audit there logs and delete suspect finds. If your challenge relies on me finding 100 caches of any criteria, unless you go out and personally check all of those, you have no way to be certain that I truly do qualify. You have to take my word that I didn't cheat or manipulate the data in some way. A grid challenge, you can look at my stats. How many that own these challenges look at the finders stats months or years afterwards to see if they still qualify, and then delete a log because of that? I'm guessing close to none.

 

BTW, any challenge can be manipulated. The complex one that is being discussed in the other thread requires almost 100 finds on 13 different criteria, and in it's original form, only finds in 2013 counted. The people that claimed FTF, (not the true FTF), logged it within days of it being posted because the entire community ran out and placed new caches that met those criteria. A local challenge, find 10 caches with the word "Gold" in their titles. Next day, two caches with the word "Gold" publish by friend A, and the day after friend B logs the FTF. This goes on and on.

 

... which all adds weight to the argument for either abandoning challenge caches or putting heavy restrictions on what the challenge can be.

 

 

Many of the responses in the thread so far seem to be based on an assumption that some sort of achievement based feature would still entail have geocachers "own" challenge caches and be able to create them with all the convoluted criteria they're being created with now.

 

I was thinking of something more like souvenirs where Groundspeak determines what achievements are created and has ownership and an ability to verify when someone has completed the achievement. Yes, that would mean that there are a lot view different types of achievements one could obtain but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing.

 

One thing I thing is important to consider for any feature request is the amount of effort it's going to take for GS to implement it and that it adds no additional burden to reviewers. Groundspeak has been working with a model that relies on a relatively small number of volunteer reviewer to make this game work. It seems to me, there would be a potential to create another set of reviewers (again, as volunteers) that would deal solely with achievements. It's worked pretty well for 12 years with geocachers and could likely work pretty well for achievements if there was some sort of suggestion/review process for achievements.

 

I'll try to make two points without turning them into ten paragraphs. :)

 

1. Anything that Groundspeak controls through a programming aspect would have to be something relatively simple. Grids, geographical areas, streaks, etc. No 13 different criteria, and seven caches with the word "Pig" in them. Replacing challenges with these Achievement Badges would effectively be banning challenges *to most users as they* seem to be more interested in the exotic type challenges. I don't think that this would go over very well.

 

One thing that I've noticed with challenge caches is that the amount of interest in them varies considerably depending on where you live. In some parts of the world, challenge caches are rampant and it seems like the point of many of them is to come up with some sort of criteria that nobody has though of previously (find 10 caches with the word pig in the title). I've seen at least a couple of instances of mini power trails that solely consist of challenge caches. In some (most?) parts of the world challenge caches are virtually non-existent. There still may be many cachers in those areas that have met the criteria for a challenge (for example, find a cache with a title that starts with each letter of the alphabet), but if nobody has created a challenge with that criteria, it might require traveling hundreds of miles to find a challenge cache for that criteria.

 

 

2. The arguments over, "I qualified"-"no you didn't", would shift from the cache owners and cache finders, to the cache finders and the lackeys. I don't see why they would even consider taking that on.

 

That's based on the assumption that lackeys would arbitrate disputes. It seems to me that geocaching been using volunteer reviewers to verify that a new cache submission meets the guidelines for 12 years or so. Why couldn't that same model be used for resolving "I qualified, no you didn't" disputes, except with a different group of volunteers acting as achievement moderators?

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As I see it, the only real purpose of a challenge cache is as a form of acknowledgement that you've met the criteria.

 

In my eyes, another purpose is to restrict the set of finders to a smaller preselected group.

 

There is nothing stopping someone from finding a challenge cache even if the haven't met the criteria of the challenge.

 

Most cachers are not willing to invest a lot of effort if they know that they will not receive a smiley.

 

 

Cezanne

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It does seem like an anomaly in the rules that say "if you sign the log you can claim a find" - if a basic member stumbles upon a PMO cache they are still allowed to log it, if someone stumbles upon the final of a puzzle cache they are allowed to log it, but if that cache turns out to be designated a challenge cache they aren't allowed to log it.

 

A very important point. ^^^

 

I don't really think it is an important point, since challenge caches are specifically recognized as an exception to the prohibition against additional logging requirments. And that exception comes right after the bit about signing the log.

 

From the guidelines:

 

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

 

An exception is Challenge Caches, which may only be logged online after the log is signed and the challenge tasks have been met and documented to the cache owner as per instructions on the published listing. Other than documenting a Challenge Cache, physical caches cannot require geocachers to contact anyone.

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It does seem like an anomaly in the rules that say "if you sign the log you can claim a find" - if a basic member stumbles upon a PMO cache they are still allowed to log it, if someone stumbles upon the final of a puzzle cache they are allowed to log it, but if that cache turns out to be designated a challenge cache they aren't allowed to log it.

 

A very important point. ^^^

 

I don't really think it is an important point, since challenge caches are specifically recognized as an exception to the prohibition against additional logging requirments. And that exception comes right after the bit about signing the log.

 

From the guidelines:

 

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

 

An exception is Challenge Caches, which may only be logged online after the log is signed and the challenge tasks have been met and documented to the cache owner as per instructions on the published listing. Other than documenting a Challenge Cache, physical caches cannot require geocachers to contact anyone.

So the guidelines point out that owners of Challenge caches have been granted an exception that allows them to delete logs of people who have found the cache and signed the log. I believe that team tisri's point is that the exemption may feel strange to someone who has accidentally stumbled upon the cache and signed the log. If they had found a puzzle or the final of a multi cache, it is generally felt that they can log the find online if they have signed the log. Similarly, if a basic member finds a PMO cache, and they know about the "backdoor", they can log it as found.

 

It's easy to understand the argument that if you know the cache is a challenge cache and yet you choose to go find it even though you haven't yet compeleted the challenge, then it should come as no suprise that the cache owner can delete your find log. This same argument was used for ALRs in general. Intially this resulted in the guideline that enforceable ALRs be listed as Mystery/Unknown type. But even when people supposedly knew that the cache had an ALR, there were complaints.

 

I believe TPTB felt that geocaching related accomplishments were worthy of an exception. But what happened is that, just like ALRs, a few cache owners have created challenges that are subject to disputes. Some owners seem to feel the need to delete logs over minor technicalities. Others have created challenges that are overly burdensome and clearly set up to exclude geocachers rather than to encourage and challenge them. The guidelines have already been changed a few times to try and eliminate the worst offenders. The debate may not be settled over whether there can be guidelines that define challenges in such a way that the exception is deserved. But in any case, using a different method to track geocaching challenges that doesn't rely on exceptions would certainly seem worth exploring.

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