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secondgunman

Is Groundspeak "trying" to do something about bogus logs?

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There's a benchmark near here (FH0141) that receives numerous bogus logs. People here have complained about it for as long as I've been caching. I invite you to visit the page for that benchmark and scroll down to 2010. All logs from 1/2009 to 6/2011 have been deleted. That's right, they deleted two and a half years worth of logs. Unfortunately, mine was one of them. Not only have I visited that mark, I included photos to prove it. I pride myself on only logging benchmarks that I have visited and included photos of the mark. The only exception I make to that is if I'm with someone else who is doing the same thing. I don't see a reason to upload multiple photos of the same mark on the same day.

 

If this is somebody's idea of how to fix this problem, I for one am seriously unimpressed.

 

Here's the e-mail I received from Groundspeak a few minutes ago:

 

"Hello Geocacher!

 

Greetings from Geocaching HQ.

 

It has recently come to our attention that a Benchmark located in Arkansas has been falsely logged by many members of the geocaching community - including many while at Geocoinfest in Prague. We have deleted all of these find logs on that Benchmark.

 

Logging requirements for Benchmarks fall under the same category as Virtual Caches and therefore, "A cacher must visit the location of the virtual cache site to log the cache online." If the physical location is not visited and and the benchmark/virtual is digitally logged, this is against the Geocaching Guidelines and is known as "couch logging". Here is a reminder of how the game is played, from the Geocaching Knowledge Books:

 

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

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

We appreciate your excitement for the game and the Challenge Cache that required many (maybe too many?) icons in a day. But this is not the correct way to go about earning your required icons and robs you of the experience that finding a Benchmark brings. Geocaches and Benchmarks are placed for the community to physically visit and have a unique experience. This cannot happen when a geocache is logged from a photo. Please refrain from this behavior in the future, as this is not in the spirit of the game and violates the Guidelines.

 

Thank you for being an active, passionate member of the geocaching community.

 

Jayme Hewitt

 

Community Support Specialist"

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If you found the proper benchmark, and posted photos (or if you logged a DNF), then your log is genuine. I would e-mail Jayme and request the my log be reinstated.

Sounds like a fun event in Prague! I suspect that this case was very unusual. I've never heard of Groundspeak deleting bogus logs before, and there are a lot of them!

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Wow! Shades of the AT all over again...

- The only time I'm aware of mass anything without really checking first.

I could see those that were a, "greetings from..." getting the boot, but those cachers in the States and especially those near the benchmark should have been looked into first.

- A photo should be a good indicator you were there...

Most of the fakers had pics of the wrong location.

 

Maybe someone looking at this thread and thought they'd "fix" it. <_<

I'd send Groundspeak a "what the heck?" email.

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I already sent Jayme a reply and my log and photo have already been reinstated. I've been hunting for benchmarks for about two years now, not long, I realize, but this is the first time I've heard of anything like this in the forum. I've seen plenty of people griping about bogus logs, but this is the first time I've seen any action on the subject. The funny thing is, they deleted a massive chunk of logs, and they still missed a huge number of bogus finds just because they're written in English. Go to the page and do a search for the word "virtual" and you'll see what I mean. If I were going to guess, I'd say that at least 80% of the logs since November of 2005 are suspect.

 

Anyway. It was the end of a very long day and it left me fairly irritated. I just wondered if anyone had heard of anything like this before.

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Anyway. It was the end of a very long day and it left me fairly irritated. I just wondered if anyone had heard of anything like this before.

Nope, I've never seen anything like that. That's full bizarre. Remarkable what people in Germany think is fun. I'm glad you worked it out, since it seemed pretty obvious that the deletions were an act of desperation that wasn't intended to hurt valid loggers such as yourself.

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I would again volunteer a few hours a week to 'edit' questionable bench mark logs. Hopefully it would be possible to do a data base search on the phrase 'photos will be posted later'.

 

It wouldn't take long to come up list of loggers or PIDs that would always get a review.

 

kayakbird

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I would again volunteer a few hours a week to 'edit' questionable bench mark logs. Hopefully it would be possible to do a data base search on the phrase 'photos will be posted later'.

 

It wouldn't take long to come up list of loggers or PIDs that would always get a review.

 

kayakbird

I don't think searching for logs with no photos is the way to go. Too many bogus logs have photos, but the photos picture a reference or azimuth or reset disk.

 

Benchmarks located very near geocaches seem to be the main problem, as are benchmarks located in high-traffic areas where opportunistic logs - which are too often bogus - are more likely.

 

Another screening factor could be simply the number of logs. More than five (eight? 12?) might raise suspicions, though of course plenty of marks have that many or more legit log entries.

 

-ArtMan-

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Didn't say that I would check no photo logs. But I will frequently snoop around in the profile of anyone that uses any derivation of this phrase: 'photos will be posted later'.

 

Think NSA key words. MEL

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Hopefully it would be possible to do a data base search on the phrase 'photos will be posted later'.

I don't think searching for logs with no photos is the way to go. Too many bogus logs have photos, but the photos picture a reference or azimuth or reset disk.

I'm pretty sure he was thinking of the zillions of logs that say "photos will be posted later" but then don't have photos. I'm very conscientious, but I've learned never to say anything about any planned photo, since I sometimes get to "later" and discover I don't have a useable photo. Besides, the photos speak for themselves.

 

Benchmarks located very near geocaches seem to be the main problem, as are benchmarks located in high-traffic areas where opportunistic logs - which are too often bogus - are more likely.

There are a lot of casual logs on benchmarks near geocaches, of course, but I rarely find them to be bogus because, more often than not, the geocache is there because of the benchmark and, either implicitly or explicitly, acts as a teaching tool for logging benchmarks. Worst case, the people finding the cache that know benchmarks will post denials if a nearby benchmark isn't the one people are finding, so it's easy enough to figure out that a popular benchmark isn't really what people think it is, so it's not as if you are going to be fooled into thinking you missed a benchmark because of the faulty logs.

 

Now that I think of it, really the only bogus benchmark logs that bother me are ones that can't really be resolved by armchair corrections. I don't think the extreme cases like this one -- I hope they aren't common -- can't really be resolved by kayakbird working a few hours a week because the correction is more draconian than I think we want to entrust to casual volunteer. And the others that bother me are the single logs that claim a find and look perfectly reasonable, but that don't provide coordinates or pictures, and that I cannot find myself despite thinking I understand where it should be. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone could do anything about that kind of log other than talking the finder out of it. I tried that once and just got a brushoff.

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My criterion for finding bogus logs would be: any log (including Notes) containing the words "wrong disk" OR any mark that has a Destroyed report followed by Found logs without a picture of the correct disk or intersection station.

 

Even then, some judgment will be required, and I'd rather risk a few bogus ones than delete a good one. Some of the other proposed methods would inadvertently select more correct logs.

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My criterion for finding bogus logs would be: any log (including Notes) containing the words "wrong disk" OR any mark that has a Destroyed report followed by Found logs without a picture of the correct disk or intersection station.

 

Even then, some judgment will be required, and I'd rather risk a few bogus ones than delete a good one. Some of the other proposed methods would inadvertently select more correct logs.

Just to be clear, I was only suggesting that logs meeting my criteria were - in my opinion, of course - more likely to be bogus than randomly selected logs. I do NOT think there is any automated system that can identify a bogus log, and I hope it was clear that I was not suggesting that. But I think there are ways that some logs can be identified as candidates for review, and if found to be bogus deleted on an individual case-by-case basis, definitely not mass deleted.

 

I don't think the absence of a photo, or the unfulfilled promise to post a picture later, necessarily mean the log is bogus. I suspect (though without any data to back it up, just my impression) that most logs meeting either of those criteria are legit. I have occasionally found a mark when I don't have a camera with me (in the dark ages before phones took photos), and posted anyway completely legit logs. I may even have promised to go back and get a picture later on occasion. But neither that promise nor the absence of a photo proves the log is bogus. In fact, I believe I have seen more logs I know to be bogus with pictures ... precisely because in many of those cases the photo itself self-evidently shows the wrong object.

 

-ArtMan-

 

 

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My criterion for finding bogus logs would be: any log (including Notes) containing the words "wrong disk" OR any mark that has a Destroyed report followed by Found logs without a picture of the correct disk or intersection station.

Yeah, OK, good examples. I take back what I said. I can see how someone would want to clean those up, although I have to admit I find reading mistakes like that kinda interesting. I wouldn't want to be the one to have to make that judgement, though. I'm content in just reporting the truth in my DNF log, with the occasional obliquely snide remark.

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I would again volunteer a few hours a week to 'edit' questionable bench mark logs. Hopefully it would be possible to do a data base search on the phrase 'photos will be posted later'.

 

It wouldn't take long to come up list of loggers or PIDs that would always get a review.

 

kayakbird

 

I would also be more than happy to volunteer some time to try to fix this problem as well. I really don't think it would be that hard to do. I can come up with a few ways that this could be done, but I'm not a code guy, so I don't know if my ideas would be practical or not. Even if a handful of us were simply given the ability to delete logs that are quite obviously bogus it would help. I'm talking about logs posted by people who live in a different country and who have quite obviously never been anywhere near the mark, or logs with photos clearly showing the wrong mark. If we kept the criteria simple and automatically leave any questionable logs alone, we err far on the side of caution, it shouldn't be that difficult to clean things up.

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