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I hope this doesn't come over as an axe grinding episode and does generate some thought from all sides.

 

The GAGB does seem to have some faults that need addressing.

 

The organisation states it represents all cachers in the UK, but really that's only because that's how it acts. Anyone challenging the validity of that claim is told to join, to form a rival group or to just be quiet.

 

Whilst saying the above, scant regard is taken for the majority of cachers who are not members. Important topics and information is only ever put on their own forum or Facebook page, even the pinned topic on this site is rarely posted in.

This is imposing and bullying.

Cachers are being coerced at the moment to join an organisation that is not needed and comes up with flimsy arguments for it's existence.

The old argument that it's there to negotiate the large agreements is also taking a hit. The track record of the last few negotiations is hardly anything to boast about. It's moral remit to negotiate for all UK cachers when it's membership is only a couple of percent of them is also questionable.

 

The guidelines have long been abused as a set of rules being imposed on UK cachers who then cannot influence them without joining, or so they are told, because when were they last altered?

 

It is not right that they set themselves up to be a UK national body with authority when they aren't and no time is taken to find out what the majority of cachers want. You cannot claim to have the remit to do this purely because people could join and in theory post.

 

It is a thankless task being on the committee and I know you do lots of good work. However that does not excuse the above.

I left the committee and the GAGB when I came to the conclusion that I was not comfortable with how things were and the direction of travel.

 

Things need to change. Communion needs to be increased, with the views and opinions of the majority of cachers listened to and acted upon. You cannot continue to railroad the opinions and poor negotiation skills of a small minority onto the rest of us. If you represent us all canvas and listen to us all. The only alternative is to be honest and accept you are a small focus group not a national body. That's what you are right now, there is no legal, contractural or moral imperative for anyone to join you other than your own flimsy justification.

 

It's up to you to change this.

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I think that there is a need for the GAGB, but the big problem is that presently it can be used as a stick to beat us with. If that was to change we'd have something valuable.

 

It should be regarded as a group of experienced geocachers, offering useful advice and acting as consultants. Where landowner agreements exist they can keep the details. They should never get involved in administrating bans, although they should also note details of areas where geocaching is restricted.

 

As far as the touchy subject of negotiating agreements is concerned, I'd advise them to keep out of negotiations altogether (because of my first point above). However, they should offer support and advice to anyone who is in negotiation (such as standard wording, best practice guidelines, FAQs).

 

It should also be careful to never be seen as "representing" cachers in any way.

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Hi there,

I want to take this opportunity to reply. I am one of the newest committee members on the GAGB and it frustrates me greatly that there is so much negativity geared towards it when all it is there for is to help people!

 

There is no mandate which says you must be a member, the home page states 'acting on behalf of geocachers', not 'all' as mentioned before. I joined because there was a load of information I could tap into which helped educate me more on the ways of tupperware hunting. I negotiated a landowner contract myself but I contacted the GAGB for advice which they gave and I was glad of. I also, being a Scot, like to get things for less than an advertised price so the discounts drew me in too.

 

Never has it been stated that the GAGB are/is (?) an authority. We are all volunteers who love geocaching. The GAGB is an excellent focal point for members of the public and cachers alike.

 

I am in full time employment and have two part time jobs also, all the other committee members are in employ too. It is hard to cascade info across all social network sites but our facebook page is open to anyone who wishes to join and not just GAGB members where info can be accessed there.

 

I am disappointed that the GAGB is regarded as being a bully and I see no reason why this would be suggested. I regard myself as having absolutely no authority over anyone else in the caching world whatsoever. Where would you get the notion that the GAGB holds itself in that regard?

 

From the inside all I have seen is a group of cachers giving up their time to try and help our world of plastic run. Much of this time recently, sadly, is trying to appease those who wish to attack the GAGB. I would much rather just get on with contacting those who have queries about landownership, starting caching, hiding etc...

 

When anyone is negotiating landowner agreements it can be helpful to direct landowners to the site as it shows the strength of geocaching. It's easier to negotiate when people see that we do try and adopt best practice when it comes to caching and having those on a UK site is a bonus. I used the webpage myself when negotiating prior to joining the committee.

 

I am fed up of the GAGB being attacked at every turn and nit picked at every statement issued. No wonder things are quiet when those who volunteered to do this are constantly harangued every time their head appears over the wall and their morale is slowly battered into non-existence. I can see at some point that the GAGB may not exist at all because people will tire of the constant attacking and those who could make a positive change within daren't step up for nomination due to all the negativity aimed at the GAGB

 

The committee is just a bunch of cachers who thought they could help other cachers with stuff. They care about our hobby and do their best to promote it to all.

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As another Committee Member I totally agree with everything Bobo Frett has written.

 

I really wonder why I am wasting my time with the anti-GAGB comments but when after a bit of detective work I can solve a problem, or after a query I can put a newcomer in the direction of someone to help them or any other minutae problem I can help with I think 'Yes I done good' - now I may not be changing the world or entering into any big negotiations but I am doing my bit as and when I can to help our hobby.

 

Lilian

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The best thing to do then, if you're fed up with the GAGB being presented in a negative way, is to make sure that all new major benefits that the GAGB is giving to caching are regularly given airtime in places like this, and advertised throughout all the disjointed discussion groups now in existence.

 

Trouble is, we only tend to hear about the GAGB when they are bearers of bad news. And a lot of that seems unnecessary.

 

GAGB have informed and lobbied on the preparation of this policy over recent months and whilst this process is not yet complete, it is clear that physical caches will not be permitted.
(from the MOD Ban announcement)

 

The lobbying could have been part of the problem, as it infers to the MOD that the GAGB is the body who are able to take the required action. Convince just one body, the GAGB, that you need the ban, and you get an instant blanket ban right across the country. That's what I mean about a "stick to beat us with". Had the GAGB not been involved in negotiations, the MOD would have found it much more difficult to throw the "off" switch on a National basis and would have had to rely on the listings sites to enforce the ban under the direction of the MOD. In the meantime, local cachers could have done the lobbying. This is where the GAGB could be useful in providing people with advice, even if it's just a tried-and-tested letter wording. At least if some of them fail and some succeed there's no blanket ban being enforced by our own fellow cachers.

 

After all, I don't think that anyone claims that the MOD should allow geocaching absolutely anywhere. It's the blanket nature of the ban that has grabbed attention, and because it was announced by the GAGB they've got themselves associated with it.

 

Another point. You might consider yourself to have no authority over other cachers personally, but the GAGB come over as claiming to represent us;

 

Since the very earliest days of Geocaching in the UK it had been become more and more apparent that Geocaching in the United Kingdom needed to be represented by a body recognised by UK cachers and which could act honestly and independently on behalf of UK cachers.

 

So as part of that body, you claim that you represent Geocaching in the United Kingdom.

 

Lastly, it doesn't give a good impression when people say "I'm only a volunteer: I'm doing this in my very limited spare time, give me a break". I was asked to stand for committee member but had to decline, knowing that I go through periods when I don't have enough spare time to do a good job.

If you stand up and volunteer; you're supposed to have thought it through, and decided to commit to the job no matter how inconvenient. You can't then turn round and complain that you don't need all this hassle. If you think that others are "attacking" the GAGB then surely it's part of the job to fight back, not moan that you don't seem to be appreciated.

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I have said on the Facebook discussion that I am very aware of all the good work done by the committee.

The problem is that the committee keep taking the blame for problems that have been passed on by the reviewers.

Concentrate on the positive things that you do. Giving advice and support, cito and liaising with annoyed landowners.

But.

Cut out the caustic negative items. Ditch the guidelines which have been abused by the reviewers.

Drop the list of agreements, it can easily be hosted separately.

And most importantly. Stop doing the national agreements where you claim to represent the UK cachers. You are being a patsy for the reviewers. You took the blame for the acpo discussions. You're talking the blame for the mod discussions. Both of these came from the reviewers and by acting you assumed the mandate to speak for ALL UK cachers. That was spurious and a mistake.

 

Please stop putting yourself in the firing line.

It's also not fair to complain that people are complaining. You acted on their behalf without consultation and therefore have to accept their criticism.

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For the love of god here we go again -

 

I'm a volunteer. I'm a volunteer. Bleet bleet bleet. Who are you. I've never heard hide nor hair of you. Until now when you decide to chirp up and complain that your great. I'm great and our organisation is great ... Said the people from within the organisation. What a load of old tosh.

 

Hey guess what. Get your backsides off here and get it onto your own bleeding website and activate my registration. I registered on your site yesterday and had the polite message that it would be done shortly. And guess what - over 24 hours later - tumbleweeds.

 

And if your sick of being a volunteer and getting moaned at - don't volunteer. I've never heard of you chum and no offence no one asked me if it was ok for you to volunteer and moa I mean act on my behalf. No one asked you to volunteer and until I see your name plastered all over the payment section of MY membership fee to geocaching you don't get a say in it.

 

And I'm not sorry an all that. I'm livid your trying to emotionally blackmail me into shutting up. How dare you.

Edited by Seaglass Pirates
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Thanks for your constructive input SP I shall endeavour to process your application as soon as possible, take heart in the polite email we sent letting you know it would be processed shortly.

 

I will ensure everything discussed here is brought up in the next committee meeting as there is lots to debate.

 

I believe the guidelines are of use , particularly to those new to caching who come directly to the GAGB or landowners who access our page to find out what that piece of plastic is at the bottom of their field.

 

I think having a landowners database is a good tool for geocachers to access, hosting it on the GAGB site makes it much easier to maintain.

 

I think the reference to my day jobs was taken incorrectly. I was referring to the time it would take to share lots of info across the many caching networks and it is more efficient to drop the info we find out onto the GAGB facebook page.

 

Some positives then. I've been delivering geocaching workshops for PLAY england over the last couple of months, educating play workers on the joys of caching and teaching them how to encourage kids to go caching. I am also in talks with the BBC as to how we can integrate geocaching workshops into some of their event days which are held across the country during the summer months and are designed to encourage families to go outdoors more often.

 

Personally,

I thought long and hard about accepting this nomination onto the GAGB. I just liked finding bits of plastic and helping to build our local community. I knew it wasn't going to be easy and there was a lot of debate about accepting. I did. At the time I worked from home and had a lot of free time, this has since changed. I'm not looking for a medal but it is nice to be treated with respect, whether you know me or not.

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Thank you boba for undertaking to raise it at the next meeting.

Can I offer an analogy to maybe clarify things:

If I was a headmaster of a school that had a thousand or so pupils. Would it be right for me to assume I spoke for all schools? To undertake national agreements with the government based on how I ran my school and my rules despite knowing many other heads disagreed with my policies?

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I don't know where to start with that....

 

The irony of my post was poorly delivered regarding GAGB registration. Take your time no rush. But seriously I am stunned. So your in talks with the BBC and hoping to organise .... and I'll cut it short there. Do you not think your energy and presumably time and that of the GAGB as a whole, would be better spent fighting to maintaining that which is already in place rather than a possible arrangement with the fickle BBC. No doubt you will argue its raising its profile etc. But when through the very intervention/involvement of the GAGB these areas are being lost at an alarming rate is it really appropriate to garner vacuous relationships which only possibly perhaps maybe raise the profile of geocaching to a wider audience. Just where will these new recruits be able to actually place a cache in future months. The Blue Peter Garden perhaps?

 

I applaud any extra duties anyone would take on but please do not presume to write cheques on my behalf that your organisation simply cannot cash. Your priorities and back slapping are all wrong. Priorities are to the blindest of the blind:

 

1. Take stock

2. Maintain at all costs that which you already have and to guard it's future with legal covenant.

3. Use that cornerstone to garner future relationships and loyalty using a sound credible reputation.

4. Using time and proven successes, build your legal standing and credentials.

5. Stand back then and bath in the glory.

 

Unfortunately the GAGB seem to be doing that lot in reverse. And that ship won't sail. I agree I can see a future without the GAGB. But it is not there by word and act and deed. It's there by default through lack of a credible alternative. I'll tell you now if you don't buck up you'll be replaced. The British Beekeping forum was the only mass place to discuss beekeeping. But it forgot that it was a sum of all it's parts. ALL of its parts. Now it's a deadzone.

 

So when I read comments like "I don't know why I bother with negative comments about the GAGB" I think what an arrogance. You should bother because erm it's your job sunshine volunteer or not. Its a measure of your abilities as an organisation and your success or lack thereof.

 

Look don't listen to the criticism. Just keep on down this road. But pretty soon geocaching.com who are a suscess story and its creator will distance themselves from you completely and instil their own contingent.

 

The trouble with ego is it makes people's heads so fat they can't look over their shoulders into history. If you don't work and you blame everyone else for faure your out. Simples so crack on.

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I broadly agree with Happy Humphrey's views here.

 

I also welcome the input from GAGB members.

 

My view of the GAGB;

 

Good things;

 

The agreement database is very useful. It is a fairly static arrangement and I wonder how often landowners are re-approached following a ban to see if they've changed their decision, or indeed if a new landowner is in place?

 

The phone number service I've seen in some caches for landowners to contact, and a message can then be passed onto the cache owner. Great idea.

 

The original sentiment!

 

Bad things;

 

Lack of transparency, especially in negotiations. Also GAGB's lack of willingness to communicate decisions. I'm informed that this has historically led to localised bans following negotiations with people who were not the landowner and had no right to refuse caches. At least one of those bans stands today a number of years after it was imposed, the reviewers refer to it and refuse any caches there. (I refer to http://www.gagb.co.uk/gagb/glad/agreement_view.php?p=84 - and no DNPA ranger i've spoken to knew anything about it. This is a vaguely worded ban)

 

My belief (and those of others who've approached me by email) is that it seems to have attracted one or two of the pocket-power mongers who seem to enjoy their positions of influence. Every hobby has people like this and it always causes problems.

 

Beurocracy. Some needed, but it appears to be very formalised in structure. This can be used for a minority to gain undue influence and my impression is that is what is happening here. Quiet glee in announcing bad news?

 

HH makes the point that the GAGB does not communicate the good news. I can't remember a single piece of good news announced in two years, but plenty of bad news. I have the impression that they are too quick to agree to bans without negotiating, and this has resulted in far fewer places to place caches. The MOD is just the latest and biggest example - and in this case, this piece of bad news may have been prompted by GAGB approaching the MOD.

 

But the biggest problem I have with the GAGB is the apparently cosy relationship between them and the reviewers. Please jump in, reviewers, if I'm wrong - but GAGB's announcements appear to be treated as fact and any challenge (such as mine recently on Dartmoor) are ignored by both sides (one exception with a useful reply on that subject, but on others I've just been stonewalled).

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I have said on the Facebook discussion that I am very aware of all the good work done by the committee.

Interestingly enough I've been caching for a few years and I'm actually, not (aware that is). Am I in the minority in my ignorance, I wonder? Would it help those of us who don't know why we have the GAGB to understand where this thread is coming from (and going) if we were to understand, say 5 specific things that the GAGB has done in the last 5 years?

 

(apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order...) sorry couldn't resist!

 

Please understand this is not coming from a position of stirring or axe grinding, simply a position of ignorance! I actually DON'T know what you do! ;)

 

If a committee member could list say 5 things, then perhaps people would have a better understanding of the work you do. What a shame it is that the only experience I have of the work of the GAGB, is an incomplete list of UK challenge caches, which sadly doesn't seem to get updated. :(

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The agreement database is very useful. It is a fairly static arrangement and I wonder how often landowners are re-approached following a ban to see if they've changed their decision, or indeed if a new landowner is in place?

I have mentioned this before to the GAGB. I don't know whether they have implemented a process, but I imagine that all the agreements ought to be revisited (say) once a year.

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Now then big guy. It takes a lot more than a scurvy seadog to put me down. I'm an intergalactic bounty hunter remember!

 

There are many fair points talked about by most on this thread. I, and most human beans, tend to be more receptive when they are put across in a polite, respectful manner. I will be definitely be exploring them at the next committee meeting.

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I'm not sure what this supposed cosy relationship between the reviewers and the GAGB is supposed to be.

 

The last time I had any dealings was when South and West Wales Fire and Rescue service discovered that someone had used a fake fire hydrant sign to hide a cache.

 

They contacted Groundspeak to ask that the cache be archived and to state that they did not want real or fake fire hydrant signs to be used to hide caches.

 

I forwarded this information to the GAGB so that they could make the information available to those who cache in flavours other than Groundspeak.

 

I don't see that this is 'cosy' or 'exerting influence' or anything else underhand.

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Lack of transparency, especially in negotiations.

As is evidenced by the MOD issue:

GAGB have informed and lobbied on the preparation of this policy over recent months
(my emphasis)

Months? Yet the first we hear of it is after the event when a ban is already being enforced by Groundspeak even though the areas are undefined and where the MOD's authority over the location is dubious.

 

My belief ... is that it seems to have attracted one or two of the pocket-power mongers who seem to enjoy their positions of influence.

Absolutely. My view is that anyone who desires to be in a position of authority and influence is usually the least suitable person to be in such a position.

 

I can't remember a single piece of good news announced in two years

I can't remember a single piece of good news announced in ten years.

 

But the biggest problem I have with the GAGB is the apparently cosy relationship between them and the reviewers.

I agree: this is a point I've made myself a number of times. GAGB is often used as a local executive branch of Groundspeak, the fire hydrant issue mentioned above being a good example.

 

My confidence in the GAGB to represent my best interests is low.

Likewise, though I would phrase it as "...to represent the best interests of the hobby..." as GAGB seems dedicated to ensuring that there are fewer and fewer places where we can enjoy the hobby.

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I'm not sure what this supposed cosy relationship between the reviewers and the GAGB is supposed to be.

 

From the outside, it seems the reviewers take every word said by the GAGB as fact.

 

Ie, the MOD ban which I still don't know whether is final or not, or still being discussed, or whether it affects land used and not just land owned (despite asking five times now).

 

All I knew was the local reviewer announced it as undergoing negotiations, then same day announced it had been done.

 

Maybe this one point in my list is the reviewers not communicating and not the GAGB's fault at all? I don't know.

 

Why don't I know? Because neither group seems very good at communicating.

 

(Reviewers: I, like every else, think you do a broadly good job and appreciate it. Don't treat this as an attack or me lashing out on everyone, I'm just deeply dissatisfied with the process used to establish which areas are banned and which aren't.)

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I'm not sure what this supposed cosy relationship between the reviewers and the GAGB is supposed to be.

 

The last time I had any dealings was when South and West Wales Fire and Rescue service discovered that someone had used a fake fire hydrant sign to hide a cache.

 

They contacted Groundspeak to ask that the cache be archived and to state that they did not want real or fake fire hydrant signs to be used to hide caches.

 

I forwarded this information to the GAGB so that they could make the information available to those who cache in flavours other than Groundspeak.

 

I don't see that this is 'cosy' or 'exerting influence' or anything else underhand.

 

Nor me - and can verify what Andulusite has written as I was involved with resolving the Fire Hydrant situation as a S Wales cacher. Quite a few were not happy and we were informed we were over reacting. I wrote on the thread a comment such as 'How would they feel if a death occurred because of wasting time?' and from what I remember no more comments were made at the time.

 

As far as I am concerned I know a number of reviewers, having been caching since 2005 and my favourite caches are avents. :D I respect what they do but do not have any sort of 'cosy relationship' with any of them apart from friendship which I have with many cachers ;)

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I think the 'cosy relationship' wasn't meant literally as in 'old boys club' where decisions are made over our poor muddle minded heads as we are not grown up enough to do so by ourselves. Poor things they would be lost without us etc.

 

What I think it referred to was that reviewers are minions of Groundspeak and beholden to their rules and of course their mantra. The GAGB on the other hand are a self appointed organisation of limited membership (for now) and are sepperate entirely legally from Groundspeak. Although there are some acknowledgements to each other with shared links.

 

So this means that the reviewers are beholden to Groundspeak when dealing with cache placement. However it has been the case that reviewers have deferred to the decisions and interventions made by the GAGB. For example the MOD in contact with the GAGB with regard to cache placements in their areas. It is not the remit of the GAGB to decide policy with regard to cache placement and to negotiate on behalf of Groundspeak. It IS their remit to negotiate on behalf of UK geocachers within their membership only, with Groundspeak but only if they have the authority to do so. And it seems that their members are not satisfied that they do have THAT authority.

 

In any event reviewers are the sole property of Groundspeak and should defer to Groundspeak in all cases. As an example if I wish to place a cache and a reviewer refuses. If I wish to appeal the decision I cannot approach the GAGB to revoke that decision. It is Groundspeak that can overrule their own reviewers. That tells you all you need to know really.

 

However Groundspeak are also at fault sort of for not making the relationship clear between the two. I would also declare that I have No interest in the GAGB representing me or my choices thank you. As one of your members. No wait I registered on the site a week ago now and still no registration approved. - and THAT shows you all you need to know as to why the GAGB are not particularly well viewed. In my humble opinion from the outside looking in -

 

Groundspeak - beyond reproach.

Reviewers - 99% are beyond reproach but the odd one sometimes confuses rank with authority.

 

GAGB - old boys club with mates recommending mates and deciding who is going to play in the Wendy House today. It feels quite filthy in nature but (sorry for this cheap shot), when you see comments like "with great power comes great responsibility -'yup that's a Spider-Man quote" with regard to the election of a committee member, I whilst cringing like hell was thinking Jesus Christ what are you twelve. What power. What responsibility and how uncomfortable does that kind of thinking sound.

 

Oh and btw while we seem to be doing movies - Boba Fett died head first in a giant lady part with teeth in around 1977 lol so no threat big yin.

Edited by Seaglass Pirates
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So is the solution to those with anti GAGB in the current state views very simple?

 

Find an amazing location on MOD land to place a cache

Seek permission to place the cache there from the landowner

List the cache

When the expected refusal comes back from the reviewer, appeal the decision with GS

 

If folk don't want to be represented by the GAGB then they shouldn't be. But I imagine they will need to do more donkey work.

Edited by richlay
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No what should happen is that you should submit a cache placement and it should be reviewed using groundspeaks rules.

 

If you happen to be a card carrying GAGB member it is now eveident that you now cannot place a cache on MOD land because your organisation has decided that you are not permitted to. Because they negotiated on your behalf as per their authority but failed to secure you permission.

 

If you belong to Groundspeak you should abide by their rules and if the local MOD land manager provides you with written permission to place a cache, that satisfies the reviewers 'guidelines' not rules and therefore is in line with groundspeaks requirements. It really is that simple.

 

Empower reviewers and Groundspeak to help you by being aware of who has the correct authority to do what. You pay Groundspeak for membership to geocache. You abide by groundspeaks terms and conditions to actually geocache. Groundspeak own geocaching. I mean its not too difficult to identify who has authority.

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If you post a cache which even has virtual waypoints on MOD land, it gets blocked with a message similar to this:

 

Thanks for re submitting your cache and adding the additional information. As parts of this cache are still located on MOD land I'm not in a position to publish it even with the permission you supplied. As previously stated the GAGB are in negotiations with the MOD and until the final outcome is known no caches located on MOD land will be published.

 

I finally got my cache published, but I wasn't allowed to have a waypoint showing where you could park your car, as the car park was in MOD land.

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why are we back on to the MOD issue here? isn't it obvious why you can't place caches on their land?

 

Before my current job i worked on an MOD base and the amounts of times we were put up on red alert or evacuated because of "suspicious" packages

 

I wouldn't place a cache on MOD land and if i knew there was one on MOD land then it would go in my avoid pile as it's just not worth it.

 

Obviously now that the MOD know of geocaching and they say no caches on their land, they probably would have come to that conclusion with or with out the GAGB.

 

so it's their choice respect it.

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I finally got my cache published, but I wasn't allowed to have a waypoint showing where you could park your car, as the car park was in MOD land.

I think that's a mistake, as the parking waypoint is not a cache stage.

 

The only question in this area (as I understand it) was to clarify the details of the MOD's ban on physical caches (as they put it).

whilst this process is not yet complete, it is clear that physical caches will not be permitted

 

Groundspeak were hoping to extend it to encompass non-physical cache stages, plus any virtual caches that already exist on MOD land; in the absence of any clarification they are taking it that they are also subject to the ban.

 

I say "hoping", because there appeared to be no indication from the MOD that such things were to be discouraged, and yet they were quickly included in the restriction. Therefore it's obviously something that Groundspeak was more than willing to implement.

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why are we back on to the MOD issue here? isn't it obvious why you can't place caches on their land?

 

Before my current job i worked on an MOD base and the amounts of times we were put up on red alert or evacuated because of "suspicious" packages

 

I wouldn't place a cache on MOD land and if i knew there was one on MOD land then it would go in my avoid pile as it's just not worth it.

 

Obviously now that the MOD know of geocaching and they say no caches on their land, they probably would have come to that conclusion with or with out the GAGB.

 

so it's their choice respect it.

 

Which is all we and good but and it's quite important. Suspicious means in those terms means unidentified. Which a geocache isn't. It's fully identifiable via the website. The same as the police. Now bags left by walkers as well as food rubbish or even military food tins and ministoves - all unidentified. What about letter boxes - not banned and no one has any idea how many there are. Oh and don't wave the catalogue lol. That's a rough idea for those that applied.

 

Don't mind rules. Love rules. As long as the rule is uniform. Because when its uniform it does what it says on the tin. When it's not uniform it's not a rule it's a request. An advisement. But as a rule it has to be justifiable and uniform. And this one isn't.

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why are we back on to the MOD issue here? isn't it obvious why you can't place caches on their land?

 

Before my current job i worked on an MOD base and the amounts of times we were put up on red alert or evacuated because of "suspicious" packages

 

I wouldn't place a cache on MOD land and if i knew there was one on MOD land then it would go in my avoid pile as it's just not worth it.

 

Obviously now that the MOD know of geocaching and they say no caches on their land, they probably would have come to that conclusion with or with out the GAGB.

 

so it's their choice respect it.

 

We are back on the MOD issue because it is pertinent to this thread topic, which is partly about the relationship between Groundspeak and GAGB. I was demonstrating that Groundspeak in this instance are doing what GAGB tell them to do.

 

With regards to MOD land, using your logic, you may as well ban geocaching in the whole of the UK everywhere. You are assuming that all MOD land is the same, when it quite clearly isn't. The local MOD land managers know this, and are happy to let common sense prevail. Unfortunately, Groundspeak aren't, thanks to GAGB.

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As an aside, I scoured the emails looking for your membership application SP when it was initially mentioned. It is not to be found. One of the other guys double checked and came up empty too. Please reapply and we will get it processed.

 

I had exactly the same problem when I first registered a few weeks ago. I didn't hear anything for a week, so re-registered. The second time around, I received very quick responses from a number of people. I came to the conclusion that the first registration must have got lost in the system's internal logic. You may want to investigate this as it could put off people from registering and give the impression that you are aloof, whereas in fact the opposite is the case, as I found when I actually established a line of communications.

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No puzbie. I fully agree with you. It's all different. It is exactly as you say with regard to cause. I don't want it. It's happened. I'm saying why it's happened but shouldn't. From the MOD perspective. As they and Groundspeak count. The GAGB do not as they are not an official body of Groundspeak. And to argue the point from the GAGB side lends weight to them and credibility. Which as yet they do not have.

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Seaglass Pirates & Puzbie, aren't you getting the timelines mixed up here, and using that as a stick to beat the GAGB?

 

As I understand it the "MOD ban" happened because

 

  1. A cacher requested permission from a local MOD manager and was refused.
  2. They escalated the request to the MOD top brass (more likely a civil servant rather than a military type), who also refused.
  3. Once the top brass saw the head come up above the parapet they took aim and banned all caches on MOD land.
  4. GAGB only then became involved, and entered negotiations - I'm sure to try and get the ban lifted or at least reduced.
  5. Groundspeak reviewers refuse to place any caches on MOD land, because according to their own rules/guidelines the come without landowner permission.
  6. GAGB failed to change any minds and the ban came into place nationwide, but they're still trying.

 

If anyone's to "blame" for this then it's whoever did (2), and by raising the issue higher up the chain of command brought it to the attention of the desk wallas, whereas previously it had all been handled locally by the grunts.

 

The GAGB's only involvement was to try and defeat the ban which the MOD had already prepared (if not implemented), if the GAGB didn't intervene then the ban would have happened anyway.

 

BTW the maps drawn up of the MOD land were done by a GS reviewer, not by the GAGB, so once again would have happened if the GAGB wasn't involved.

 

While I too think there has in the past been a "cosy relationship" between the GAGB and the reviewers I don't know whether that's still the case, or maybe their ardor has just cooled a bit - I'll wait and see.

Edited by MartyBartfast
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Seaglass Pirates & Puzbie, aren't you getting the timelines mixed up here, and using that as a stick to beat the GAGB?

 

As I understand it the "MOD ban" happened because

 

  1. A cacher requested permission from a local MOD manager and was refused.
  2. They escalated the request to the MOD top brass (more likely a civil servant rather than a military type), who also refused.
  3. Once the top brass saw the head come up above the parapet they took aim and banned all caches on MOD land.
  4. GAGB only then became involved, and entered negotiations - I'm sure to try and get the ban lifted or at least reduced.
  5. Groundspeak reviewers refuse to place any caches on MOD land, because according to their own rules/guidelines the come without landowner permission.
  6. GAGB failed to change any minds and the ban came into place nationwide, but they're still trying.

 

If anyone's to "blame" for this then it's whoever did (2), and by raising the issue higher up the chain of command brought it to the attention of the desk wallas, whereas previously it had all been handled locally by the grunts.

 

The GAGB's only involvement was to try and defeat the ban which the MOD had already prepared (if not implemented), if the GAGB didn't intervene then the ban would have happened anyway.

 

BTW the maps drawn up of the MOD land were done by a GS reviewer, not by the GAGB, so once again would have happened if the GAGB wasn't involved.

 

While I too think there has in the past been a "cosy relationship" between the GAGB and the reviewers I don't know whether that's still the case, or maybe their ardor has just cooled a bit - I'll wait and see.

 

This is my understanding of the turn of events:

 

  1. A cacher requested permission from a local MOD manager and was refused.
  2. They contacted GAGB, who escalated the request to the MOD top brass (more likely a civil servant rather than a military type), who also refused.
  3. Once the top brass saw the head come up above the parapet they took aim and banned all caches on MOD land.
  4. GAGB alerted Groundspeak reviewers.

 

Obviously the second point is key, I will locate my source for that and post a reference to it here, to avoid confusion.

 

Outside of correspondance between GAGB and the MOD, I can find no knowledge of a ban whatsoever.

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Agree Marty it was unfortunate that your (2) took things further if that was the case. But timelines to this specific event are not really the point.

 

The point is "Does the GAGB have the authority to get involved in geocaching on everyone's behalf or do they have the authority to get involved in geocaching on behalf of its members ONLY"

 

And it has to be the latter. And that is not representative of the geocaching poplation of the UK. It's not a majority. It's not even sanctioned by anyone other than the committee and presumably it's members.

 

What has to be established really if the GAGB do not want to be accused of overreaching is:

 

Are they legally liable for any decisions made in their name on behalf of Groundspeak. So basically if they are they are an official body who can be held to account by its members and any other legal authority.

 

If not then should they be held to account for whatever reason at a later date it will come down to suing someone personally through the small claims court. I cannot aim a legal case at the GAGB. if I were a complaining land owner for instance. Like say the erm MOD or mrs jones in Llanelli I would have to aim anything legal at an official responsible body. So that would be Groundspeak NOT the GAGB.

 

I am asking because it is important. Because if I've signed up I have donated my monies to them but they fail to do anything I want or can't be held to account .... Well that's like me giving money and time and support to jeff who fills bananas at tesco. But at least jeff has not got the authority to refuse me a cache somewhere.

 

But wait a sec neither have the GAGB

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This is clarification to my previous post re timelines:

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=312162&view=findpost&p=5267016

 

GAGB approached MoD after we were advised by a cacher that some caches had been refused permission by a local MoD organisation, after it had consulted the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). We received a copy of this mail stating that MoD were considering their policy towards geocaching but this first mail also stated that:

“Unfortunately we cannot, at present, give permission for any physical geocache to be placed anywhere on our estate. Whilst the MOD does operate a presumption in favour of public access on its estate, when compatible with military operations and training, we do not consider physical geocaches acceptable for local and national reasons”

 

Following this, our negotiations have been with the Access and Recreation team in the DIO who will own this policy. We have requested maps of the land affected. Negotiations are ongoing and we are working to identify land which may be suitable for geocaching (virtual stages and possibly physical caches). I presume that once the policy has been finalised by DIO, that they will circulate it to their land managers.

 

In the case of the Royal Parks and BT phone boxes, we were contacted after they had already made their decisions. This didn’t stop us trying and we have had some success in turning round such situations, for example the Forestry Commission New Forest.

 

The bottom line is that had GAGB not got involved there would not be a nationwide ban on geocaching.com

Edited by Puzbie
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The GAGB is not an authoratitve body.

 

Membership is free.

 

There is nothing to stop cachers petitioning the MOD themselves. I don't agree with the blanket ban and wish to come to an agreement with the MOD also. The GAGB did not decide the blanket ban at all. All they did was share the information which was received.

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The GAGB is not an authoratitve body.

 

Membership is free.

 

There is nothing to stop cachers petitioning the MOD themselves. I don't agree with the blanket ban and wish to come to an agreement with the MOD also. The GAGB did not decide the blanket ban at all. All they did was share the information which was received.

 

Nobody I have talked to in the MOD has even heard of a ban. The local wardens don't have a problem with geocaches as long as they are sensibly placed (ie not in the middle of a firing range etc). The mistake in this case was escalating the matter. Matters like this should be kept as local as possible, so that judgements can be guided by common sense and not by attempts to cater for every possible situation on every possible bit of land. If a local land manager who knows their land, says no to a geocache, it should be left at that. We shouldn't try to go above their heads as the most obvious response we will get from that is a bigger ban.

Edited by Puzbie
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So we have to accept that the matter has been escalated and a blanket ban has now been applied.

This is fact. It's there.

 

What can we do about it then?

If we can get support from local wardens, written, email etc...then it offers us (cachers, GAGB, Groundspeak) the chance of putting together a strong case to help lessen the ban.

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Boba, the problem is that the GAGB, if they had to get involved, should have made attempts at local level. If the attempts had been made that someone on your forum claim, to inform and consult with the caching population then an approach could have been sorted that drew from the experience of many cachers who had permission from local wardens. It could even have been dealt with by those wardens discussing it with the one who had refused.

Instead a decision was made to approach the headquarters of the MOD and speak to someone who has many more important things to do. Far easier for them to just say "banned" than to discuss minor points.

By the failure to accept that you are a splinter minority group with no mandate to speak for anyone else and being too busy/arrogant to actually ask for people's opinion you escalated the issue.

 

This cannot be allowed to continue. You do not, have not and very unlikely ever will speak for more than a small group of people. Yet there seems a complete disregard for this.

 

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you do have the best negotiating team that could exist from all cachers.

 

You're well meaning and do plenty of good work that goes unreported but you also do not acknowledge your limitations and blunder into problems of your own making.

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Instead a decision was made to approach the headquarters of the MOD and speak to someone who has many more important things to do. Far easier for them to just say "banned" than to discuss minor points.

This is the nub of the problem. On top of which, the MOD person will see the GAGB as a perfect means to ensure that the ban is enforced: without them having to ever waste any more time on this trivia.

Getting it overturned at that level then becomes extremely difficult as the easiest approach from the MOD point of view is to merely brush away any further discussion. The geocaching representatives having accepted and implemented their decision at national level (as they will undoubtedly see it), thus neatly dealing with the entire matter.

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No what should happen is that you should submit a cache placement and it should be reviewed using groundspeaks rules.

 

If you happen to be a card carrying GAGB member it is now evident that you now cannot place a cache on MOD land because your organisation has decided that you are not permitted to.

 

What utter tosh. MOD bans the placing of new caches, not GAGB. GAGB try to facilitate reversal of decision and GAGB get lambasted with decision.

 

 

The point is "Does the GAGB have the authority to get involved in geocaching on everyone's behalf or do they have the authority to get involved in geocaching on behalf of its members ONLY"

 

 

Surely the point is that MOD had to go somewhere and rather than Groundspeak, a single American company hosting a single listing site, they decide to go to an organisation to spread their message. Except they didn’t even do that and still GAGB get lambasted.

 

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=312162&view=findpost&p=5267016

 

<SNIP> "do not consider physical geocaches acceptable for local and national reasons” <SNIP>

 

The bottom line is that had GAGB not got involved there would not be a nationwide ban on geocaching.com

 

I read this differently, very differently, GAGB had not choice, they were shown communication from MOD refusing permission on their land.

 

At worst, GAGB has been ineffective but has not caused the ban. I’m reluctant to say that I would like them to have done more as I don’t know what I would have done. However I have written a couple of letters and hopefully one will go up the chain of command (no effect will come of them though, of that I am sure). I don’t believe Commanding Officers know that they aren’t allowed caches in their back garden, especially those that enjoy the hobby.

 

Instead a decision was made to approach the headquarters of the MOD and speak to someone who has many more important things to do. Far easier for them to just say "banned" than to discuss minor points.

This is the nub of the problem. On top of which, the MOD person will see the GAGB as a perfect means to ensure that the ban is enforced: without them having to ever waste any more time on this trivia.

Getting it overturned at that level then becomes extremely difficult as the easiest approach from the MOD point of view is to merely brush away any further discussion. The geocaching representatives having accepted and implemented their decision at national level (as they will undoubtedly see it), thus neatly dealing with the entire matter.

Most definitely. Trying to help here has potentially made the problem worse. Though I feel damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

MOD representatives not helped here and that is to whom we should all be shouting.

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No what should happen is that you should submit a cache placement and it should be reviewed using groundspeaks rules.

 

If you happen to be a card carrying GAGB member it is now evident that you now cannot place a cache on MOD land because your organisation has decided that you are not permitted to.

 

What utter tosh. MOD bans the placing of new caches, not GAGB. GAGB try to facilitate reversal of decision and GAGB get lambasted with decision.

 

 

The point is "Does the GAGB have the authority to get involved in geocaching on everyone's behalf or do they have the authority to get involved in geocaching on behalf of its members ONLY"

 

 

Surely the point is that MOD had to go somewhere and rather than Groundspeak, a single American company hosting a single listing site, they decide to go to an organisation to spread their message. Except they didn’t even do that and still GAGB get lambasted.

 

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=312162&view=findpost&p=5267016

 

<SNIP> "do not consider physical geocaches acceptable for local and national reasons” <SNIP>

 

The bottom line is that had GAGB not got involved there would not be a nationwide ban on geocaching.com

 

I read this differently, very differently, GAGB had not choice, they were shown communication from MOD refusing permission on their land.

 

At worst, GAGB has been ineffective but has not caused the ban. I’m reluctant to say that I would like them to have done more as I don’t know what I would have done. However I have written a couple of letters and hopefully one will go up the chain of command (no effect will come of them though, of that I am sure). I don’t believe Commanding Officers know that they aren’t allowed caches in their back garden, especially those that enjoy the hobby.

 

Instead a decision was made to approach the headquarters of the MOD and speak to someone who has many more important things to do. Far easier for them to just say "banned" than to discuss minor points.

This is the nub of the problem. On top of which, the MOD person will see the GAGB as a perfect means to ensure that the ban is enforced: without them having to ever waste any more time on this trivia.

Getting it overturned at that level then becomes extremely difficult as the easiest approach from the MOD point of view is to merely brush away any further discussion. The geocaching representatives having accepted and implemented their decision at national level (as they will undoubtedly see it), thus neatly dealing with the entire matter.

Most definitely. Trying to help here has potentially made the problem worse. Though I feel damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

MOD representatives not helped here and that is to whom we should all be shouting.

 

Nope - Not utter tosh at all. You see you should really read the post again and if needs be, quote me in context. It was an ironic post. The GAGB do NOT represent geocaching UK at all. They represent the members of its organisation. They CANNOT represent me as at time of posting I was not even a member of their organisation despite my best efforts. It would be like the BNP saying I agree with their choices and I am not a member of their organisation. (totally no btw)

 

So surely as they are not (in the words of one of their committee members -

 

"View PostBobo Frett, on 02 July 2013 - 05:54 AM, said:

The GAGB is not an authoritative body"

 

... and can only speak on behalf of its members, the ban should apply to only them. Not utter tosh at all. In fact it is very logical, if ironic.

 

Lets just brush aside that I was never consulted about their involvement despite being a paying member of geocaching unlike half who gob off. Lets just brush that aside. I have to suffer the consequences of a decision, that was brought on by circumstances I only became aware of because it was brought up on here. An organisation who have no control, no teeth, and scant representation (insert GAGB member count here) have spoken on behalf of thousands and thousands of paying members.

 

Utter Tosh - get a grip. I PAID! I DO get a say at least. Thats just polite.

 

As to your ridiculous comment .. a tiny weeny poor little american (GLOBAL)company how could they possibly cope. No of course wheel in the clowns with umpteen members instead. ITS NOT THEIR TOY. They dont get a say.

 

I PAY Groundspeak - REVIEWERS WORK FOR Groundspeak - GAGB IS NOT AN AUTHORITATIVE BODY.

 

But this is an old argument now. You're a bit behind the curve. They are going to have another go at it. Good luck I guess.

 

-------- EDIT ---------------------

Look its simple, I will forestall another off the cuff response. Legally you have to have authoritative powers. Thats legally.

 

Police - Governed.

Scouts - Legally represented

British Sub Aqua Club - Legally represented

British Sky Diving Assoc - Legally represented

 

All these organisations are legal bodies. Their training and activities if causing harm can have a legal responsibilities. Authoritative.

 

Me, and you apparently - consumer - represented legally. I am a consumer of the product "geocaching". I pay for access to caches that I would otherwise not have access to. Therefore I have consumer rights. So anything that interferes with those rights I can legally address. However if Bill down the pub or Marge who owns the post office in Fort William say I cannot do this or that in geocaching ... everyone would ignore them. Why, because they have no legal standing in the product "geocaching". And Bobba knew exactly what I meant when I asked specifically that. Were they an authoritative body. Do they have legal sway over the product I pay for. Nope. So why are they getting involved, and why are the reviewers taking this action.

 

Because they DID get involved under an assumed authority waving the words GREAT BRITISH but actually, legally, have no authority and therefore can offer NO indemnity. In this case the words GREAT BRITISH become a tag not a legal term. So basically I cannot EVER use GAGB policy or written word from the GAGB to protect myself. If I cannot do that I dont see the point of them. The LAW as in BRITSH, would make their case against Groundspeak not the GAGB. Because they are a club, not an AUTHORITATIVE body.

 

I know its a long winded epic post. But it really is important that you be represented by an authoritative body, because by accepting judgements from an organisation which is not, you may be waving your consumer rights. I mean you are standing in court and you say BOBBA FETT said I could. Who did you pay your monies to - Groundspeak. Well then why did you think the GAGB's rules mattered. It is Groundspeaks rules you obey. I hope that makes some sense. And I am sure a lawyer is on here and can confirm or destroy my point. As long as they ARE a lawyer and can prove it <_<

Edited by Seaglass Pirates
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Hi

 

Can we all just calm down please?

 

Anyway, I'm going to clarify a couple of points once and for all.

 

The GAGB do not dictate any policy to us as Groundspeak reviewers. They have negotiated land agreements and have a list of places we can't cache. These are landowner decisions, not GAGB decisions, and we as cachers have to abide by them no matter what listing service we use.

 

Let's go back to having a friendly discussion.

 

Regards

 

Paul

Geohatter

Volunteer UK Reviewer - geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources http://www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

Listing Guidelines http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx

Geocaching.com Knowledge Books http://support.Groundspeak.com//index.php

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There is nothing stopping anyone challenging the decision made.

Rather than channel all your energy into slating the GAGB, use it productively. What are you succeeding with here?

 

This thread started off well and we are chatting about some of the earlier issues raised and how we can improve.

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Hi

 

Can we all just calm down please?

 

Anyway, I'm going to clarify a couple of points once and for all.

 

The GAGB do not dictate any policy to us as Groundspeak reviewers. They have negotiated land agreements and have a list of places we can't cache. These are landowner decisions, not GAGB decisions, and we as cachers have to abide by them no matter what listing service we use.

 

Let's go back to having a friendly discussion.

 

Regards

 

Paul

Geohatter

Volunteer UK Reviewer - geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources http://www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

Listing Guidelines http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx

Geocaching.com Knowledge Books http://support.Groundspeak.com//index.php

 

Thank you for your clarification Paul. I would ask one final question please, the answer will I feel put this to bed for ever. And it needs to be answered clearly with no ambiguity.

 

Can you confrim that

 

A) The Geocaching Association of Great Britain (G.A.G.B.) is recognised by Groundspeak as Groundspeaks UK authority in the United Kingdom and represents Groundspeak and geocaching.com in all matters related to UK geocaching or

 

B ) Is the GAGB an entirely separate organisation with occasionally aligned interests but has no official authority to act on behalf of Groundspeak.

 

This is important as to be represented officially by an organisation which is not officially recognised by those we pay our money to, is not proper or best practice and may not be in the best interests of members of geocaching.com. I think it is a fair question and will clarify once and for all who belongs to who and who we should be dealing with in this matter and future matters. Thank you again. A or B?

 

EDITED BECAUSE - an ironic emoticon appeared unhelpfully when using the letter B and a bracket. It was funny this end :huh:

Edited by Seaglass Pirates
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But Seaglass Pirates, I don't see judgement being made by GAGB. GAGB are passing on the message and yes hold on to the information for ease of any geocacher to find. That is where my inflammatory remark of utter tosh came from; my remark was pointless and to me was just a phrase saying I disagree (you can tell I don’t get allowed out much). A land owner has banned geocaching on their land, not GAGB.

 

I assume the answer to your question is B. But that is only my perspective as outsider. But even if that is the case, does that mean that Groundspeak or any other geocaching hosting site should ignore messages that are passed through the GAGB?

 

Your comparison to BSAC is to me good regarding authority but as an ex-BSAC member, I paid for my membership to get legal cover/representation. A diver doesn't have to use BSAC and can pay other bodies to get that legal cover. People don't pay GAGB for legal cover and therefore I interpret that as not an authoritive body. As an ex-member to a BSAC club, BSAC had authority powers over clubs and members in order to fulfil

 

BSAC are also a respected knowledgeable body but that doesn't mean authortive when advising organisations such as the Army, unless of course an Army unit operates a BSAC club. The Army do utilise BSAC for social diving but still have their own qualification for a specific leader role that is advised by BSAC (and I assume naval diving and Army Lawyer).

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