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Monkey_Chops

Logging Earthcaches retrospectively

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This may have been discussed before, in which case I'm sorry. I was thinking about some of the countries that I have travelled to this morning and thinking that it was a shame that I didn't know about geocaching when I visited them all. A flash of inspiration later and I realised that it is possible that I may meet the criteria for many of the Earthcaches in the countries if I have visited the specific areas and can remember (or have photographed and can look back to 'remember') the various details. What are your thoughts on me logging the caches now despite having been at the appropriate site a few years ago? Obviously I would only log one (and send the appropriate message) if I have genuinely been there and can meet the criteria.

 

Also, if you think that it is acceptable for me to log the Earthcache, what date should I put for the log? I am unlikely to be able to remember the precise date I was there but should be able to get it to within a particular month. In my mind that is what it should be, but what if the date I was the predates the publication of the cache?

 

Thanks in advance for any responses!

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From Earthcache FAQ

 

1. There is no rule that says somebody has to visit the location after publication in order to make a log.

2. HOWEVER, in GSAs view, somebody has not actually visited an EarthCache if there was no EarthCache there at the time of their visit!

3. GSA has no problem with a cache owner deleting a log from somebody who has clearly not visited the EarthCache after its publication date.

4. If a cache owner wants to allow such logs to stand, that's fine too. (That's up to the cache owner. Maybe in some cases they would feel as though the person logging the cache did get a good lesson, by combining an earlier visit with solving the cache's logging tasks after the fact. The cache owner can be the judge of that.)

Edited by cerberus1

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Thanks, Cerberus, you beat me to it :)

(There was a lot of discussion on this matter in the Forums awhile back, so we at GSA recently added those points to the FAQ, so if you had missed seeing that, it's probably because it's only one or two months old! :) )

 

Monkey Chops raises an interesting situation that we hadn't really considered (I don't know if this is his situation or not, but it made me think of it anyway) -- logging an EarthCache that one visited before they knew about EarthCaching... but what if the EarthCache was already in place at the time? I'd say the same concepts listed in the FAQ still apply, but the fact that the EarthCache existed already would probably make it "more acceptable" to log it, provided all the logging requirements can be met. Bottom line, use your best judgment, be open with the cache owner, and work with them. (Always a good idea I suppose!)

 

Welcome to EarthCaching, and thanks for being part of the community :)

 

--Matt, GeoawareHQ

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So now we know the official word. Thanks, guys, I didn't realize that.

 

On the other hand, I think it would be cheesy even if it's allowed. My thinking is that the EarthCache is there to get you to a location and get you thinking about the subject. Even if, by chance, you happen to do all of that when you visited, if you didn't know about the EarthCache, you can't claim the EarthCache informed you about the location. I'd claim that's the same thinking behind the requirement that the EarthCache actually existed when you visited, whether you knew about it or not, although apparently the official rules don't agree with me.

 

It's up to you, of course, and we now know that even the CO can't reject your find as long as it meets the requirement. I wouldn't do it, but now I'm curious to hear whether I'm out of step with prevailing wisdom. (If so, I might have a lot of EarthCaches to retroactively log.)

 

Oh, and to answer your other question, I think the only reasonable date is the day you visited the site. (That would probably screw up all my milestones, so I suppose that's another good reason not to do it.)

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I wouldn't log it, even if the cache owner allowed it. Nor would I for a virtual.

 

I have (somewhat reluctantly) allowed it twice for our ECs, but only because in both cases the cacher requesting it already had an overwhelming amount of knowledge about the site -- more than I did, really. One used to give cave tours in the cavern I was featuring, the other grew up by a set of springs and had much more information on the water than I'd found.

 

For the most part, it hasn't come up, or at least hasn't been brought to my attention. I try to ask site-specific questions that, while not designed to stump people, are designed to be answered on site while thinking about the question. Didn't do as good a job of this with our first couple caches, but we've tried to go back and revise the questions to get people thinking more and reporting more on what they see and experience.

 

Kind of boils down to what makes a good earthcache. If I can answer it just by posting an old photo and logging what little I remember from when I was there on vacation X years ago, what did I really learn, and what did the EC really teach me? That sounds more like a virtual cache with just enough earth science sprinkled in to qualify it as an EC.

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You guys are right in line with our thinking on this matter. I'd call logging an EarthCache that you didn't truly visit (after it was published, and after knowing about its existence) "cheesy" as well! Good descriptor. The one part that's a bit off is "even the CO can't reject your find as long as it meets the requirement" -- the CO can reject a find; it's still up to them. I just think they'd be more likely to allow the find if the cache were at least in place already, vs. a find claimed before the cache was even published. But in either case, the person didn't "really do the EarthCache", in the true sense, so the CO can use their discretion. Hopefully I'm not muddying the waters more, and I'll just step back now :)

Thanks for the thoughtful discussion on this. Hopefully, when it's happening out there, people are being reasonable about it, on both sides.

--Matt

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The one part that's a bit off is "even the CO can't reject your find as long as it meets the requirement" -- the CO can reject a find; it's still up to them.

From Earthcache FAQ

...

3. GSA has no problem with a cache owner deleting a log from somebody who has clearly not visited the EarthCache after its publication date.

I read #3 as implying that they would have a problem with a CO deleting a log from somebody who has clearly visited the EarthCache after its publication date as long as the requirements are met.

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Thanks for the responses. Having now been thinking about this for a few days, I think that I am not going to log any Earthcaches retrospectively, even for the ones where I know the answers, unless I travel to those countries again. What I was suggesting doesn't seem to be in the spirit of the earthcache concept and when I visited those areas I wasn't deliberately trying to find the answers for the earthcache. Whilst I think that this is the right decision, it is a shame as I know the answers to several that I am unlikely to visit ever again. Oh well, I'll just have to make more of a concerted effort to travel more!

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Another point would be did the visitor learn all that the Earth Cache required at the time or was it "Oh that's nice" and off to the next item. With most caches of this time it takes some time at the scene to look at things and contemplate them in their surroundings. Highly unlikely that the wandering tourist actually did that.

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There have been one or two that were in place when I visited an area and although I felt sure there would be a cache there I hadn't downloaded the info. I took pictures ( with GPS, etc ) of all signs, learned what was there, and moved on.

Sure enough, there was a cache there and I had everything I needed and more......I did log a find :)

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I own an earthcache near a very popular year 2000 cache and people try to retroactively log it all of the time. I've gotten emails where people will say "we've been to the other cache....can we log this one too since we didn't know it was here at the time? Here's is the estimated answers for the questions."

 

I almost never allow a find log for those folks. Mainly because the questions are more involved than an "estimate" and you really do have to visit the cache to get water temperature, elevation, etc. It's in my mind that these cachers didn't take any geologic lesson away from my earthcache. They simply want to log a find because they were there, but can't provide accurate answers.

 

As far as retroactively logging an earthcache if you have the correct information, as an earthcache owner I believe I still would not allow a find without a visit again. Like others have said before, the whole purpose is to bring you to the location specifically for the earthcache and geology lesson.

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I own an earthcache near a very popular year 2000 cache and people try to retroactively log it all of the time. I've gotten emails where people will say "we've been to the other cache....can we log this one too since we didn't know it was here at the time? Here's is the estimated answers for the questions."

 

I almost never allow a find log for those folks. Mainly because the questions are more involved than an "estimate" and you really do have to visit the cache to get water temperature, elevation, etc. It's in my mind that these cachers didn't take any geologic lesson away from my earthcache. They simply want to log a find because they were there, but can't provide accurate answers.

 

As far as retroactively logging an earthcache if you have the correct information, as an earthcache owner I believe I still would not allow a find without a visit again. Like others have said before, the whole purpose is to bring you to the location specifically for the earthcache and geology lesson.

 

 

So, the consensus seems to be that you must physically visit the site in person?

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So, the consensus seems to be that you must physically visit the site in person?

 

Yes. You must visit the EarthCache location to log the find.

 

That isn't what is being discussed here, though. This conversation is whether EarthCache owners would allow a "find" if the person had visited the location before it became an EarthCache, or not knowing there was an EarthCache there at the time they visited.

 

And yes, the general consensus is you need to knowingly visit the EarthCache and do the suggested learning activit(y)ies in order to log the visit.

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As far as retroactively logging an earthcache if you have the correct information, as an earthcache owner I believe I still would not allow a find without a visit again. Like others have said before, the whole purpose is to bring you to the location specifically for the earthcache and geology lesson.

 

But how can you decide when someone was there if they have the right anwers? Some people write on-line log for caches months after having been there.

 

Moreover, I'm sorry to say that at least 50% of the ECs I visited did not teach my something new (I'm not a geologist), but just things I have already known before.

 

If someone e.g. visited a quarry on day x and realizes only when logging other caches that there exists also an EC and he/she is able to answer all questions, it would be pretty absurd to me to state that this is not a legitimate EC log. Of course just writing "we have been there and have only partial or no answers" is not sufficient.

 

Somehow some people here seem to think that one cannot get correct answers without either cheating (external help) or having been at the site together with the questions. The reality is however that some people who have visited the location without being aware of the EC will be able to come up with better answers in many cases than others who have been there with the cache description.

 

In particular, when requiring that ECs should be accessible to people without any geology background knowledge, the GSA has to take into consideration that there will be many ECs out there that teach nothing to those with an interest in geology. There are many local ECs out there were even I as layman know much more about the geology of the location than the cache description has to offer.

 

Cezanne

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But how can you decide when someone was there if they have the right anwers?

There's no way to guarantee that everyone who provides the correct answers actually visited the EarthCache location after the EarthCache was published. But the practice of retrospectively logging EarthCaches is discouraged.

 

In that regard, it's similar to me having a friend sign a traditional cache's logbook when I am not anywhere near that location. There's no way to guarantee that such things don't happen, but the practice is discouraged.

 

In particular, when requiring that ECs should be accessible to people without any geology background knowledge, the GSA has to take into consideration that there will be many ECs out there that teach nothing to those with an interest in geology. There are many local ECs out there were even I as layman know much more about the geology of the location than the cache description has to offer.

I don't learn something new from every EarthCache I visit, but that's okay with me. I just assume EarthCaches are intended to be accessible to a wide range of people. Oftentimes, EarthCaches I visit list references where I can learn about the area in greater detail. Even if I am fairly familiar with the geology of the location, just seeing the location can be interesting.

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As far as retroactively logging an earthcache if you have the correct information, as an earthcache owner I believe I still would not allow a find without a visit again. Like others have said before, the whole purpose is to bring you to the location specifically for the earthcache and geology lesson.

 

But how can you decide when someone was there if they have the right anwers? Some people write on-line log for caches months after having been there.

 

Moreover, I'm sorry to say that at least 50% of the ECs I visited did not teach my something new (I'm not a geologist), but just things I have already known before.

 

If someone e.g. visited a quarry on day x and realizes only when logging other caches that there exists also an EC and he/she is able to answer all questions, it would be pretty absurd to me to state that this is not a legitimate EC log. Of course just writing "we have been there and have only partial or no answers" is not sufficient.

 

Somehow some people here seem to think that one cannot get correct answers without either cheating (external help) or having been at the site together with the questions. The reality is however that some people who have visited the location without being aware of the EC will be able to come up with better answers in many cases than others who have been there with the cache description.

 

In particular, when requiring that ECs should be accessible to people without any geology background knowledge, the GSA has to take into consideration that there will be many ECs out there that teach nothing to those with an interest in geology. There are many local ECs out there were even I as layman know much more about the geology of the location than the cache description has to offer.

 

Cezanne

 

Valid point, but as I stated before the intention of the EC is to bring you to a particular area to further explore its geologic features. Now, if somebody goes to find a cache nearby one of my ECs and find out about the EC upon arriving home and just happens to get all of the answers right, then so be it, log away. I just don't want people touting in their log on my EC that they didn't bother to visit the location again because they already assumed what the answers were and that they were there years ago. I mean, what if the area has changed over the years and the features of the area are different?

 

Personally, I enjoy doing caches as they're intended and even if I've been to an area and know the answers of an EC or virtual, I'll return before claiming a find. I certainly don't need a smiley THAT bad, you know? But I do agree that you make a valid point, however, I still feel the same about retroactively logging ECs.

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Valid point, but as I stated before the intention of the EC is to bring you to a particular area to further explore its geologic features. Now, if somebody goes to find a cache nearby one of my ECs and find out about the EC upon arriving home and just happens to get all of the answers right, then so be it, log away. I just don't want people touting in their log on my EC that they didn't bother to visit the location again because they already assumed what the answers were and that they were there years ago. I mean, what if the area has changed over the years and the features of the area are different?

 

Of course it depends also on how much time passed between the visit and the long and even more on the type of question asked. If I'm asked to determine the Mohs hardness of talc, this will not change at all.

 

Personally, I enjoy doing caches as they're intended and even if I've been to an area and know the answers of an EC or virtual, I'll return before claiming a find. I certainly don't need a smiley THAT bad, you know? But I do agree that you make a valid point, however, I still feel the same about retroactively logging ECs.

 

Actually, also for me it is not about smilies. However, there are ECs in my area that I visited and logged mainly to get them off my nearest list. I knew that I would not learn anything new there. In some cases it was at least a nice walk, but that's not always the case.

 

There are certainly ECs that encourage the visitor to further explore the area and notice things that went unnoticed at previous visits, but not all ECs are of that type. There are ECs where it is only about answering some questions and having been there.

 

It do enjoy doing caches in the intended way only when the intended way makes sense to me. If a teacher in school wanted to keep the kids busy by having them compute the sum of the first 200 natural numbers, I would still use the formula found by Gauss and not follow the intended way.

 

 

Cezanne

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