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flyfshrgrl

Earthcaches

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Yes, I am just a little frustrated with Groundspeak and the Geological Society regarding Earthcaches.

 

Earthcaches offer an enticement to people to see geology in an amazingly non-complicated, new viewpoint. I am disappointed about the lack of a souvenir for a found Earthcache on 10/13/13, which I addressed in that thread, but I am highly frustrated by the excessively low rate of publishing Earthcaches. Yes, I know the reviewers are not the regular Groundspeak reviewers, but I understood that it was a partnership between Groundspeak and the Geological Society of America, Inc.

 

To quote the Geological Society of America, Inc.'s Guideline page, "The review process can take up to a week and even longer if your submission requires adjustments." I submitted an Earthcache for review 26 August 2013. It is still sitting there without any response from anyone as to why it is still in the reviewing queue. After one month, I contacted the reviewer on my first Earthcache, who also appears to be the reviewer in my area--Texas, and have heard nothing from that reviewer. Five days later, I contacted a second reviewer who responded, "Hi I think they are just kind of backed up a bit right now, please allow a few more days and contact me if no progress is made." Nine days later, I contacted that reviewer. I had hoped that I would have this Earthcache published in time for International Earthcache Day, but to no fault of my own, it was not.

I know Groundspeak sees that cache is in the queue waiting to be reviewed. I know the Geological Society volunteers to do the reviewing to maintain the high integrity; I think this is a great partnership. I do not expect the high publishing turn around on an Earthcache that our area receives on the other types of Groundspeak caches. However, I do expect to receive some help from Groundspeak when a cache has sat in the queue, ignored for a long period of time. I know two other cachers in my area of Texas who attempted to publish Earthcaches during the summer, but gave up due to being ignored. These actions prompted me to look at the recent Earthcaches in my state, and what I found leads me to question whether Groundspeak values Earthcaches or gives them any priority.

The 2013 rate of Earthcaches being published in the second-largest land mass state in the US is .06. Now, do I want to see a plethora of Earthcaches published simply to have Earthcaches published? No, I do not. Do I want to see quality Earthcaches published? Yes, I do. However, I am hard pressed to believe that there have been only six, worthy Earthcaches submitted this year. GC4DEMZ was published 2 June 2013; GC4BAH7 was published 4 May 2013; GC47HVQ was published 18 April 2013; GC488AW was published 23 March 2013; GC46B6A was published 20 February 2013, and GC43NAX was published 1 January 2013. At this rate, I do not see how the volunteers can be that backed up. Yes, I do understand what it means to be a volunteer. I volunteered to pick up trash quarterly in 2013; sometimes I earned a C.I.T.O. smiley; sometimes, I did not. However, I signed up to volunteer to do this, and knowing that I signed up to volunteer, I put it on my calendar and made the arrangements to fulfill my volunteer obligations; something I see as not being done by the Geological Society group for Earthcaches. I see no support from Groundspeak, either. No, I don't like being nagged to do anything, but every once in a while, a gentle, constructive reminder is helpful, which I do not see happening from Groundspeak. I think the 2013 Earthcache rate in my area coupled with the fact that I can say I have had an Earthcache sit untouched in the Reviewing queue for 48 days demonstrates a laissez-faire attitude on Grounspeak's part. If this is the way the Earthcache process is going to be, I wish Groundspeak would say so, and I wish the Geological Society would change their wording on their Guidelines for publishing an Earthcache on their webpage. I hope this is not going to be the new norm for Earthcaches, because they have led me to some pretty fun and amazing sites. I loved seeing the inocermids (learned that word today because of the Pittman Creek Fossil Bed Earthcache I visited for International Earthcache Day) and the ammonite fossils in a city creek that I have by-passed hundreds of times, ignorant to their existence, until an Earthcache brought my attention to this fun piece of geological history.

Edited by flyfshrgrl

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My Earthcaches have never had to go more than a week to get published. Sometimes things happen and fall through the cracks. Your case is not the norm.

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To add some precision:

 

1. The OP submitted their earthcache on May 19.

2. The reviewer replied with detailed instructions on May 23, and disabled the listing for further work

3. The owner re-enabled the listing for review on August 26th - more than three months later.

 

It's possible that the submission was lost in the shuffle, given the passage of time.

 

There are a handful (less than 10) earthcaches in the Texas review queue. All have received an initial review and are in various stages of going back and forth with their owners.

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To add some precision:

 

1. The OP submitted their earthcache on May 19.

2. The reviewer replied with detailed instructions on May 23, and disabled the listing for further work

3. The owner re-enabled the listing for review on August 26th - more than three months later.

 

It's possible that the submission was lost in the shuffle, given the passage of time.

 

There are a handful (less than 10) earthcaches in the Texas review queue. All have received an initial review and are in various stages of going back and forth with their owners.

 

Yes, there was some passage of time, while I revisited the site twice, to work on one of the questions the reviewer asked me to redevelop, as well as going on an overseas vacation, where I completed two Earthcaches. However, what does that passage of time have to do with how long a submission sits in the queue, once it has been submitted? Nothing really, except to demonstrate there is no legitimate reason for the submission to have been lost. A cache is either submitted into the queue or it's not. However, to be on the safe side, I changed the date on the cache, after I re-worked one of my logging requirements, since it had been three months. Keystone further demonstrates that there is at least a flaw somewhere in the system, especially since there are less than 10 Earthcaches in the Texas review queue. It does make me wonder why on 4 October via e-mail by a geoaware reviewer that I was told there must be a bit of a back up. The answers and the actions do not logically coincide with one another nor do they really offer any kind of explanation, only further demonstrate my point that the attention given to Earthcaches has waned.

Edited by flyfshrgrl

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To add some precision:

 

1. The OP submitted their earthcache on May 19.

2. The reviewer replied with detailed instructions on May 23, and disabled the listing for further work

3. The owner re-enabled the listing for review on August 26th - more than three months later.

 

It's possible that the submission was lost in the shuffle, given the passage of time.

 

There are a handful (less than 10) earthcaches in the Texas review queue. All have received an initial review and are in various stages of going back and forth with their owners.

 

Yes, there was some passage of time, while I revisited the site twice, to work on one of the questions the reviewer asked me to redevelop, as well as going on an overseas vacation, where I completed two Earthcaches. However, what does that passage of time have to do with how long a submission sits in the queue, once it has been submitted? Nothing really, except to demonstrate there is no legitimate reason for the submission to have been lost. A cache is either submitted into the queue or it's not. However, to be on the safe side, I changed the date on the cache, after I re-worked one of my logging requirements, since it had been three months. Keystone further demonstrates that there is at least a flaw somewhere in the system, especially since there are less than 10 Earthcaches in the Texas review queue. It does make me wonder why on 4 October via e-mail by a geoaware reviewer that I was told there must be a bit of a back up. The answers and the actions do not logically coincide with one another nor do they really offer any kind of explanation, only further demonstrate my point that the attention given to Earthcaches has waned.

 

Hi flyfshrgrl,

 

Just chiming in with a couple of thoughts. When I resubmit a cache after reworking a part, I usually add a reviewer note. If I don't hear anything after a week or so, I follow up with a pm or email to the reviewer I've been working with. If it had been several months since I last submitted, that note would have been more detailed, just in case a different reviewer was picking up the slack (especially if the request to make changes was given via email).

 

I don't know what (if any) effect changing the date would have. I don't know if EarthCaches show up on reviewer lists by order of original date submitted or alphabetically or some other criteria, but I wouldn't change any dates until it was published.

 

If I were you, I'd send a pm to the two reviewers you know are aware of the submission, reminding them it's been a while since you've heard from anyone about the submission.

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Hi flyfshrgrl,

 

Just chiming in with a couple of thoughts. When I resubmit a cache after reworking a part, I usually add a reviewer note. If I don't hear anything after a week or so, I follow up with a pm or email to the reviewer I've been working with. If it had been several months since I last submitted, that note would have been more detailed, just in case a different reviewer was picking up the slack (especially if the request to make changes was given via email).

 

I don't know what (if any) effect changing the date would have. I don't know if EarthCaches show up on reviewer lists by order of original date submitted or alphabetically or some other criteria, but I wouldn't change any dates until it was published.

 

If I were you, I'd send a pm to the two reviewers you know are aware of the submission, reminding them it's been a while since you've heard from anyone about the submission.

 

Thank you Neos2, this is somewhat helpful. I know Keystone did not add this in his re-cap, but I did supply a detailed Reviewer Note when I re-submitted the cache, and the note is also dated 8/26/2013. I don't know about the date, either, but it was not the same cache I originally submitted after following the reviewer's good suggestions, coupled with the time gap, those led me to change the date.

 

I will send a pm to both reviewers.

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I will send a pm to both reviewers.

 

You may want to keep in mind the government shutdown has the GSA offices closed right now. I don't know how many of the EarthCache reviewers actually work for the GSA, but I'm pretty sure some of them do. They may not be able to answer you just now.

Edited by Neos2

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I will send a pm to both reviewers.

 

You may want to keep in mind the government shutdown has the GSA offices closed right now. I don't know how many of the EarthCache reviewers actually work for the GSA, but I'm pretty sure some of them do. They may not be able to answer you just now.

 

I did not even think about the government shutdown's effect here; that is excellent advice to consider, as well. Thank you very much!

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I will send a pm to both reviewers.

 

You may want to keep in mind the government shutdown has the GSA offices closed right now. I don't know how many of the EarthCache reviewers actually work for the GSA, but I'm pretty sure some of them do. They may not be able to answer you just now.

I always thought that the GSA was an independent non-profit professional organization and not actually part of the government. Now granted a lot of their work is in conjunction w/the USGS. Or is this the case where their offices are w/in a federal facility and many of the reviewers are employed by USGS?

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I will send a pm to both reviewers.

 

You may want to keep in mind the government shutdown has the GSA offices closed right now. I don't know how many of the EarthCache reviewers actually work for the GSA, but I'm pretty sure some of them do. They may not be able to answer you just now.

I always thought that the GSA was an independent non-profit professional organization and not actually part of the government. Now granted a lot of their work is in conjunction w/the USGS. Or is this the case where their offices are w/in a federal facility and many of the reviewers are employed by USGS?

Oopsy! You're right, I think. I'm not sure of the specifics.

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We're an independent non-profit, and were not closed for the shutdown (but we were closed a few days due to flooding near our HQ in Boulder, CO.)

 

I'm sorry your cache took so long to publish. As others have stated, sometimes things "slip", and for that, I apologize.

 

I can assure you that EarthCaches are important to both GSA and to Groundspeak.

 

Best wishes,

Matt Dawson, GSA

GeoawareHQ

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We're an independent non-profit, and were not closed for the shutdown (but we were closed a few days due to flooding near our HQ in Boulder, CO.)

 

I'm sorry your cache took so long to publish. As others have stated, sometimes things "slip", and for that, I apologize.

 

I can assure you that EarthCaches are important to both GSA and to Groundspeak.

 

Best wishes,

Matt Dawson, GSA

GeoawareHQ

 

I do find it reassuring that Earthcaches are important to GSA and Groundspeak sees them as important as well. Sorry to hear about the flooding as that is such a hassle, even with a good clean up team, especially since recovering materials sometimes takes a while. Wishing y'all the speediest of recoveries.

 

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

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