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cezanne

Challenge cache guidelines: What is a reasonable number of geocachers?

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Motivated by a challenge cache submitted by a fellow geocacher from my home country that has be referred to appeals by the reviewer and ended up with rejection

(cf this thread http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=316982 )

I'd like to ask for clarification of the statement

A challenge geocache needs to appeal to, and be attainable by, a reasonable number of geocachers.

to be found in the guidelines for challenge caches

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=206

 

I do understand that the challenge caches evolve over time and I do not want to discuss once again about the specific cache that has put down.

(Moreover, in the case mentioned above a further aspect of the challenge guidelines, namely

"A challenge geocache should recognize the completion of a personal achievement, rather than the winner of a competition. For example, a challenge geocache based on "First to Finds" is a competition between geocachers, and is therefore not publishable." apparently played a role.)

 

Groundspeak is the owner of this site and has therefore every right to determine the rules. It is clear to me that it will not be possible to come up

with a fixed number X of cachers (or a fixed proportion of cachers) to which a challenge cache must appeal.

I believe however that it might be helpful for developers of future challenge caches to have a rough idea what a reasonable number of cachers might be.

 

I'd appreciate very much if reviewers and lackeys could give the rest of us some indication on which factors they base their decision. Does it play a role for

you whether you and your friends regard the cache as as appealing or whether you and they are able to fulfill the criteria?

 

Certainly, there exist absurd sets of requirements, but in some cases it is very hard in my opinion to draw the line.

10 cachers out of 3000 local cachers who can attain a goal, will be too few to be referred as reasonable number.

But what if say at least 50 cachers in the larger area around a cache already fulfill the requirements (without having known about them)

and maybe 100 further ones could easily fulfill the requirements within say the next 1-2 years. Up to now I would have regarded this as a reasonable number,

but apparently it is not from the point of view of Groundspeak. So I wonder what "reasonable number means".

 

I guess a challenge cache rated with T=5* and being reachable only due to a small minority of cachers, but a set of easily accomplishable requirements to be

eligible for a "found it" log would be published without problems, or wouldn't it?

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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I doubt you will get an answer to this as these guidelines seems to be arbitrary.

 

I submitted a challenge cache that required the finders to find the 12 oldest caches in the county in which I live. Seems easy enough in theory but they are separated by hundreds of miles, one on an island, several hidden out in the desert, and one has only been found a couple times in 12 years but is likely still out there.

 

My cache was rejected in that it included too few caches to be found. Of course, I had researched this previously and found several similar challenge caches that required finding even fewer caches. I asked what the magic "too few caches" number is and couldn't be given an answer.

 

I appealed my cache to Groundspeak and they approved it. Why was it approved? I don't know. In the end I changed my 12 minimum to 20 minimum to make it even harder. Over one month later, my cache still had not had the requirements fulfilled though someone is mostly there. I doubt my cache will ever be found that often, it is just too outside the norm for most cachers. I would be surprised if it is ever found more than 3 or 4 times.

 

It seems to me that challenge caches are designed to be fluff rewards for heavy duty cachers. Such a cacher can pull into an area and find several challenge caches that they surely will qualify for already based on their sheer number of pre-existing finds. I'm surprised mine was published as it doesn't appeal to thousands of finds cachers.

Edited by fbingha

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I think a vaguely worded standard discourages COs with vague ideas about making a very difficult challenge. COs with a good idea for a challenge that just happens to be very difficult will be prepared to defend the challenge without citing specific ratios of possible candidates.

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I think a vaguely worded standard discourages COs with vague ideas about making a very difficult challenge. COs with a good idea for a challenge that just happens to be very difficult will be prepared to defend the challenge without citing specific ratios of possible candidates.

 

I do not agree. On the one hand the difficulty can come from different sources (it's not necessarily the difficulty of fulfilling the requirements) and on the other hand

I feel that cachers whose native language is English or who are fluent in English will have an advantage in defending their concept over those cachers who have to use a foreign

language in the appeal process (yes, there are some people at Groundspeak who speak some other languages, but arguing about nuances will typically work better if both involved sides are fluent in the used language). Many cachers will give up prematurely and accept the negative decision even though the involved idea might be not that bad.

I also think that the term "reasonable number" will be interpreted differently by different reviewers.

 

I asked my question because the situation that a high number of challenge caches leads at least to a debate is unfortunate from my point the view.

The ideal situation would be to have some guidelines that allow potential owners of challenge cachers to have a general feeling about the cases what will be accepted without any

need for debates. Debates and the appeal process should be reserved for special cases if a cache owner does his/her homework before submitting a challenge cache. However, currently it seems to be the other way round meaning that most challenge caches lead to a debate.

 

 

Cezanne

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I doubt you will get an answer to this as these guidelines seems to be arbitrary.

 

I submitted a challenge cache that required the finders to find the 12 oldest caches in the county in which I live. Seems easy enough in theory but they are separated by hundreds of miles, one on an island, several hidden out in the desert, and one has only been found a couple times in 12 years but is likely still out there.

 

My cache was rejected in that it included too few caches to be found. Of course, I had researched this previously and found several similar challenge caches that required finding even fewer caches. I asked what the magic "too few caches" number is and couldn't be given an answer.

 

I appealed my cache to Groundspeak and they approved it. Why was it approved? I don't know. In the end I changed my 12 minimum to 20 minimum to make it even harder. Over one month later, my cache still had not had the requirements fulfilled though someone is mostly there. I doubt my cache will ever be found that often, it is just too outside the norm for most cachers. I would be surprised if it is ever found more than 3 or 4 times.

 

It seems to me that challenge caches are designed to be fluff rewards for heavy duty cachers. Such a cacher can pull into an area and find several challenge caches that they surely will qualify for already based on their sheer number of pre-existing finds. I'm surprised mine was published as it doesn't appeal to thousands of finds cachers.

 

I'm shocked that appeals gave the OK on that one. I don't think there was any issue with the number of qualifying caches needed. But how is that not a fixed list of caches that must be found to qualify for a challenge? It seems that the guidelines specifically address this issue.

A Challenge geocache must avoid undue restrictions. Specifically:

 

Challenge geocaches based on a specific list of geocaches, such as those placed by a specific person or group, will generally not be published.

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I doubt you will get an answer to this as these guidelines seems to be arbitrary.

 

I submitted a challenge cache that required the finders to find the 12 oldest caches in the county in which I live. Seems easy enough in theory but they are separated by hundreds of miles, one on an island, several hidden out in the desert, and one has only been found a couple times in 12 years but is likely still out there.

 

My cache was rejected in that it included too few caches to be found. Of course, I had researched this previously and found several similar challenge caches that required finding even fewer caches. I asked what the magic "too few caches" number is and couldn't be given an answer.

 

I appealed my cache to Groundspeak and they approved it. Why was it approved? I don't know. In the end I changed my 12 minimum to 20 minimum to make it even harder. Over one month later, my cache still had not had the requirements fulfilled though someone is mostly there. I doubt my cache will ever be found that often, it is just too outside the norm for most cachers. I would be surprised if it is ever found more than 3 or 4 times.

 

It seems to me that challenge caches are designed to be fluff rewards for heavy duty cachers. Such a cacher can pull into an area and find several challenge caches that they surely will qualify for already based on their sheer number of pre-existing finds. I'm surprised mine was published as it doesn't appeal to thousands of finds cachers.

 

I'm shocked that appeals gave the OK on that one. I don't think there was any issue with the number of qualifying caches needed. But how is that not a fixed list of caches that must be found to qualify for a challenge? It seems that the guidelines specifically address this issue.

A Challenge geocache must avoid undue restrictions. Specifically:

 

Challenge geocaches based on a specific list of geocaches, such as those placed by a specific person or group, will generally not be published.

There never was a question about there being a list of caches but rather that this list was too small. It was the magic number that doesn't make a list small that I was after. The guideline is vague, hence the usage of "generally". I explained to them how challenging my cache would actually be and they agreed <shrug>. It isn't about finding all of my caches or all of the caches listed on a power trail, which I take the guideline to be against. It is a list with value that a lackey agreed with.

Edited by fbingha

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I asked my question because the situation that a high number of challenge caches leads at least to a debate is unfortunate from my point the view.

I guess this is where we differ. To me, if a high number of challenge caches are anywhere near this magic number, whatever it is, something's wrong.

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I asked my question because the situation that a high number of challenge caches leads at least to a debate is unfortunate from my point the view.

I guess this is where we differ. To me, if a high number of challenge caches are anywhere near this magic number, whatever it is, something's wrong.

 

I'm not following something here...but I'm not sure what. :huh:

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We have one challenge cache in our area that has 1 find in like 7 or 8 years. Now, anyone could go out and qualify, they would just need to find a lot of old caches in King County. Am okay with that, because anyone "could" qualify for it, but I would have trouble with any challenge that would limit folks from finding it based on their stats.

 

We just had like 4 challenge caches created that are paddle caches only, hence 5 terrain. All the same lake. Means I will probably never get them, but they got approved.

 

Hard to comment on this as we do not know the details of the challenge. I guess its a best guess if a decent # of cachers could complete a challenge, but not sure why 5 terrain comes into play.

 

Would be curious the details of your challenge cache you had in mind.

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Hard to comment on this as we do not know the details of the challenge. I guess its a best guess if a decent # of cachers could complete a challenge, but not sure why 5 terrain comes into play.

 

Would be curious the details of your challenge cache you had in mind.

 

I do not plan a challenge cache. Right now I only wanted to understand the guidelines.

 

Terrain 5 comes in because terrain 5 can limit the number of cachers to which a cache appeals in the same way as the qualifying requirements. Somehow it appears to me however that the sentence I cited about the "reasonable number" applies only to the latter and I wanted among others to find out whether this is true.

 

As a specific example is regarded, I liked the general idea (details could have been tweaked) of the challenge cache that got rejected and brought the issue of "reasonable numbers" to my attention. If you follow the link in the first posting who will get all the details. Basically it was about finding long unfound caches (300 days) of which many exist in my country (in particular after the Winter season - many of them are not hard at all and they are well findable. I liked the idea not because I care about one further cache in Upper Austria (I do not even live there), but because I it would have brought a little bit more focus to almost forgotten caches.

It makes me sad that caches like that one (not even remote for cachers from the largest two cities in my province)

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1VGHV_schrottcache?guid=abc65593-31ff-4b47-80c4-60fd4bfcedc6

have not received a single visit this year. (Most probably because one cannot pick up many caches on a tour for this cache.)

 

I'm aware of the fact that apart from the reasonable number argument the rejection of that particular cache was also based on the competition argument, but I do not think that it applies any more as to caching in general. There are so many neglected caches out there and after each Winter a cache that has been found in the last year gets newly eligible (that's a major difference to FTFs). Anyway, I wanted to use this thread to ask about what "reasonable number" means.

 

To provide another neutral example: I wonder whether a challenge like this one (you have to cover 300km with 20 multi caches)

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC4BNQQ_challenge-mit-20-uber-300?guid=a63b9f36-412d-41c8-b8b7-7a0c16c257ed

would be publishable according to the current guidelines.

I do like that idea too and I hesitated for a moment to create something similar (perhaps replacing 20 by 15) in my area, but then rejected the idea for certain reasons (one of them was that I would have wanted to explicitely take away a set of motorbiking caches that could not have been taken as qualifying caches and I was almost sure that this would lead to debates).

 

Cezanne

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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It is a judgement call and I don't think there is a clear answer.

 

But I think one thing that gets looked at is the number/percentage of caches (as well as cachers) involved.

 

E.g. making up an extreme example to make the point: A challenge which says you must "find 5 caches each of which have not been found for 5 years" may not get published, as there so few caches which qualify. (And as some of these get found, there are fewer such caches to find). "Find one cache not found for 1 year" likely would (I've seen several like this).

 

While a challenge which today very view qualify for, but in theory many COULD do, may get published.

 

There is one challenge which interests me I noticed recently. You have to find 7 cache types in each of 7 different countries. The CO qualifies. I would guess a very small percentage of cachers already qualified when it was published. (It's not been found or had any DNFs yet 4 months after publication). But there are lots of countries with 7 or more types of caches in them... and lots of people who have or will go to many of these countries... so lots of cachers COULD do this (and in time they will).

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But I think one thing that gets looked at is the number/percentage of caches (as well as cachers) involved.

 

Probably yes, but that does not give any indication about which numbers are in the green zone and which in the red. Certainly there will always exist borderline cases - I not asking for a clear cut, I'd just like to have a rough idea what is seen as reasonable number.

 

"Find one cache not found for 1 year" likely would (I've seen several like this).

 

I'm not sure any longer. The rejected challenge cache is built upon the model of several existing challenge caches in other areas of the world (many of them are from 2013). It does not appear that the specific parameters (13 caches not found for 300 days) played a special role in the rejection and no one suggested to modify these numbers. Moreover, the competition argument does not depend on the number of caches (it also applies if only one cache is needed) and not even on how long a cache went unfound.

 

Finding at least seven different cache types in each of seven countries would certainly be the greater challenge and involve higher financial investments than finding 13 caches that have not been found for 300 days in my country (and there are other countries around that offer further options).

 

Finding one cache that has not been found for a year is a trivial task in my country and most cachers in my area that ever visit caches on mountains will qualify right away without having to invest any further time or energy.

 

 

There is one challenge which interests me I noticed recently. You have to find 7 cache types in each of 7 different countries. The CO qualifies. I would guess a very small percentage of cachers already qualified when it was published. (It's not been found or had any DNFs yet 4 months after publication). But there are lots of countries with 7 or more types of caches in them... and lots of people who have or will go to many of these countries... so lots of cachers COULD do this (and in time they will).

 

I do not think that such a challenge would get published in my country. Is it one that got published in September 2013 or later?

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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There is one challenge which interests me I noticed recently. You have to find 7 cache types in each of 7 different countries. The CO qualifies. I would guess a very small percentage of cachers already qualified when it was published. (It's not been found or had any DNFs yet 4 months after publication). But there are lots of countries with 7 or more types of caches in them... and lots of people who have or will go to many of these countries... so lots of cachers COULD do this (and in time they will).

 

I do not think that such a challenge would get published in my country. Is it one that got published in September 2013 or later?

 

 

It was published in July 2013.

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It is a judgement call and I don't think there is a clear answer.

 

We have a winner!

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I'm shocked that appeals gave the OK on that one. I don't think there was any issue with the number of qualifying caches needed. But how is that not a fixed list of caches that must be found to qualify for a challenge? It seems that the guidelines specifically address this issue.
A Challenge geocache must avoid undue restrictions. Specifically:

 

Challenge geocaches based on a specific list of geocaches, such as those placed by a specific person or group, will generally not be published.

 

Maybe I'm being thick here - but surely that's not a fixed list. The 12 (or 20) oldest caches could change over time if ones are archived could they not? Therefore it's not a static list.

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It is a judgement call and I don't think there is a clear answer.

 

We have a winner!

 

I wrote in my first post that I'm not expecting a specific number as answer.

I just asked for some rough guidance. Otherwise each submission is relying only on

personal judgement of the reviewer and it is like in a lottery for the cachers.

They cannot rely on existing examples either.

 

To me the issue is so unclear that I could not even say whether 1%, 5% or 30% of the cachers in a region are "a reasonable number" in the sense

of the term used in the guidelines for challenge caches.

 

It appears to me that challenges based on statistics (81 grid, a cache in each province, streaks etc) have better chances than those which are

more creative and not so easily fulfillable automatically by someone without having known the challenge in advance.

This might well be intended by the guidelines anyway. I don't know if that's the case.

 

 

Cezanne

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I'm shocked that appeals gave the OK on that one. I don't think there was any issue with the number of qualifying caches needed. But how is that not a fixed list of caches that must be found to qualify for a challenge? It seems that the guidelines specifically address this issue.
A Challenge geocache must avoid undue restrictions. Specifically:

 

Challenge geocaches based on a specific list of geocaches, such as those placed by a specific person or group, will generally not be published.

 

Maybe I'm being thick here - but surely that's not a fixed list. The 12 (or 20) oldest caches could change over time if ones are archived could they not? Therefore it's not a static list.

 

I agree it is not a static list.

 

Not wanting to sidetrack too much about this specific cache, but the "fixed list" (or not) could have been the reason for the difference of opinion. The cache description does contain the specific list of 20. It also lists the next oldest alternatives and has clear rules about allowing caches from the "backup list" if one of the 20 is not available etc.

 

So I'm just speculating.. but it is possible the reviewer considered this a fixed list, and appeals did not.

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Not wanting to sidetrack too much about this specific cache, but the "fixed list" (or not) could have been the reason for the difference of opinion. The cache description does contain the specific list of 20. It also lists the next oldest alternatives and has clear rules about allowing caches from the "backup list" if one of the 20 is not available etc.

 

So I'm just speculating.. but it is possible the reviewer considered this a fixed list, and appeals did not.

 

The more such examples I encounter, the more I feel that the rules for challenge caches got too complicated and too subjective.

 

In my opinion, it would be more honest not to publish any new challenge caches at all. Then everyone knows what to expect.

 

Cezanne

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Ooh, ooh ooh! I have a good one!

 

The Well Rounded Mountaineer: http://coord.info/GC44ZC2

This one is interesting, because it requires the finder to log every cache within Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. Only problem is, also located within Stone Mountain Park is the 2 Year GeoStreak Challenge cache (http://coord.info/GC28V8D), which requires the finder to have a two-year long streak of finds. Now, the owner of the "Well Rounded Mountaineer" cache published it, but apparently exempted himself from the 2 year streak challenge...something apparently nobody else is allowed to do. There was some hemming and hawing about not knowing it was in the park and all that jazz...but I would argue that there is no "reasonable" number of cachers that could qualify for the mountaineer challenge.

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In my opinion, it would be more honest not to publish any new challenge caches at all. Then everyone knows what to expect.

You wanted to see challenge caches banned before you posted about this incident, so I'm not surprised that you reached the same opinion afterwards as well. Indeed, could this be one of the motivations for your OP? Since you don't care for challenge caches, I suspect you don't really care what constitutes a "reasonable" number of geocachers. But maybe I'm just being too cynical.

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I agree it is not a static list.

 

Not wanting to sidetrack too much about this specific cache, but the "fixed list" (or not) could have been the reason for the difference of opinion. The cache description does contain the specific list of 20. It also lists the next oldest alternatives and has clear rules about allowing caches from the "backup list" if one of the 20 is not available etc.

 

So I'm just speculating.. but it is possible the reviewer considered this a fixed list, and appeals did not.

As a reviewer, I see it as a fixed list. When I get challenges like that, my answer is something of combining what the cacher wanted and what the reviewer wanted. I would suggest "Find 12 of the oldest 20 caches". This is challenging, is not a fixed list and can be listed rather quickly.

 

The reason it is a fixed list (to me), is that if one of the caches goes missing; anyone actively working on the challenge has to wait for it to get fixed (or archived) to complete the challenge. The leeway list (12/20) gives caches the ability to keep working even if a couple have problems.

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In my opinion, it would be more honest not to publish any new challenge caches at all. Then everyone knows what to expect.

You wanted to see challenge caches banned before you posted about this incident, so I'm not surprised that you reached the same opinion afterwards as well. Indeed, could this be one of the motivations for your OP? Since you don't care for challenge caches, I suspect you don't really care what constitutes a "reasonable" number of geocachers. But maybe I'm just being too cynical.

 

You mix up many different things. I said previously and that's still true that I'm in general not a fan of challenge caches, There are exceptions: For example, I like the ideas behind the challenge caches about forgotten caches and the one to cover 300km by 20 multi caches.

 

What I wrote above should not read as "Groundspeak should ban challenge caches" but that I regard it as more honest to do so than coming up with restrictions that get stricter and stricter every few months and where so much depends on the reviewer in charge and on mere luck.

 

Challenge caches based on the forgotten cache idea have been published in 2013 also after September 2013 and the arguments that npg has been presented with by the local reviewer and by the appeals process apply to all those other challenge caches as well. When keystone wrote that some reviewers might have overlooked a recent memo with regard to a change in the policy for challenge caches, I interpret this as saying that challenge caches based on forgotten caches and many others are not possible any more and those cacher owners who got through such a cache just have been lucky.

 

I need to admit that if someone had asked me whether a challenge cache like npg's challenge cache has a chance, I had answered yes after a check of the guidelines. The fact that I'm not fan of challenge caches rather should make me more negative against challenge caches than too optimistic.

 

My point is that right now I have not the slightest idea whatsoever which challenge caches are acceptable and which are not. And the same seems to be true for the majority of cachers.

Do you think that this is a good situation?

 

My only real motivation for my OP was to understand why some challenge cache get accepted while very similar ones get rejected (at similar times where the guidelines have been the same). You can believe that or not. I just can assure you my sincerity.

 

I'm a very analytic person and this also implies that sometimes my wish to understand is not understood by less analytic persons. I'm certainly guilty in this respect.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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As a reviewer, I see it as a fixed list. When I get challenges like that, my answer is something of combining what the cacher wanted and what the reviewer wanted. I would suggest "Find 12 of the oldest 20 caches". This is challenging, is not a fixed list and can be listed rather quickly.

 

This reasoning makes sense to me and is also constructive as it helps someone submitting a challenge to get it published.

 

What's your opinion on forgotten cache challenges? Do you still see them as publishable (if the number of caches to be found and the period for which they are unfound are appropriately chosen)

or do you regard them as no go under the current guidelines?

 

Cezanne

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One person above mentioned 7 icons in 7 different countries. That sounds great if one lived in Europe, but that sounds like a beast over here in the United States. We have a new challenge called 6 icons in 6 different states (or provinces). I think 7 would be great. Heck, I would qualify for 8 if I had just remembered to get a darn multi in Arizona. Was working with the CO on challenge ideas and one of the things we labored on was how many to list. Sure we two like the idea of 7 or 8, but we chose 6 because we want at least some folks to find the cache. Personally I think 8 would have pushed the gauntlet too much.

 

Another thing mentioned above is finding # of caches to qualify, like the oldest 20. Those kind of challenges I do not think can be created anymore, but if you said, find 20 of the oldest 25, maybe that would get published because then you have a choice and could ignore a cache and are not required to get a single cache.

 

And lastly, the idea of a challenge based on few finds in a while. We had a challenge up here called 15.10.1 which many people liked which was based on the # of finds the cache had. It got archived due to the CO not replacing it but the 20.10.1 still exists in British Columbia. I think many folks in Washington would like a challenge about finding caches that have not been found in "x" period of time. The main problem with those is that someone could mess with your stats. You could qualify a cache and then someone could log it before your find afterwards which would then make an argument.

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What's your opinion on forgotten cache challenges? Do you still see them as publishable (if the number of caches to be found and the period for which they are unfound are appropriately chosen) or do you regard them as no go under the current guidelines?

Its like anything else, it depends on how it is written. I believe that while a challenge cache should be challenging, it should be doable.

 

The one or two that I've published, I believe, have been point valued forgotten caches. I'm making the number up but I would publish it:

 

Forgotten Challenge: Must have 100 forgotten points.

 

3 points for a cache unfound for 3 months

6 points for a cache unfound for 6 months

9 points for a cache unfound for 9 months

 

and so on. The longer the cache is unfound, the more points it is worth.

 

Again, this lets people work on the challenge at their pace, does reward people for finding unfound caches where as doesn't hurt people after the unfound cache is found. I've seen older ALR caches (pre-challenge), where they were near impossible for people do them because once the 2 year unfound cache was found, you'd have to wait over a year and hope the next one wasn't found before then.

 

The other issue I have with strict forgotten caches challenges, instead of letting a missing forgotten cache die when they should, some would replace them quietly to be able to say they found it; even if there was a string of DNFs. This never sat well with me. Challenges should encourage you to play the geocaching game, not do sketchy things just to qualify.

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I agree it is not a static list.

 

Not wanting to sidetrack too much about this specific cache, but the "fixed list" (or not) could have been the reason for the difference of opinion. The cache description does contain the specific list of 20. It also lists the next oldest alternatives and has clear rules about allowing caches from the "backup list" if one of the 20 is not available etc.

 

So I'm just speculating.. but it is possible the reviewer considered this a fixed list, and appeals did not.

As a reviewer, I see it as a fixed list. When I get challenges like that, my answer is something of combining what the cacher wanted and what the reviewer wanted. I would suggest "Find 12 of the oldest 20 caches". This is challenging, is not a fixed list and can be listed rather quickly.

 

The reason it is a fixed list (to me), is that if one of the caches goes missing; anyone actively working on the challenge has to wait for it to get fixed (or archived) to complete the challenge. The leeway list (12/20) gives caches the ability to keep working even if a couple have problems.

 

This "oldest 20" cache addresses that issue in a different way. There are 2 rules listed in the description related to this:

7. If a cache appears to have gone missing and there is no owner intervention, which is common with old caches, the cache will still need to be somehow found before a found it log can be logged for this challenge.

 

8. If a cache is disabled, you will not be required to find it since challenges can not require the logging of disabled caches. You will need to either log the disabled cache if it still log-gable per guidelines or find the 21st oldest cache to fill in for the disabled cache in the top twenty. If you logged a cache before it was disabled, it will still count as fulfilling the challenge and you will not need to find the 21st oldest cache to substitute.

 

I suppose 7 can still be an issue... until the cache gets disabled you are stuck. "Choose 12 from the oldest 20" would likely solve it.

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This "oldest 20" cache addresses that issue in a different way.

Neither of these rules really fix that it is an almost static list; no choices.

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Its like anything else, it depends on how it is written. I believe that while a challenge cache should be challenging, it should be doable.

 

The one or two that I've published, I believe, have been point valued forgotten caches. I'm making the number up but I would publish it:

 

Forgotten Challenge: Must have 100 forgotten points.

 

3 points for a cache unfound for 3 months

6 points for a cache unfound for 6 months

9 points for a cache unfound for 9 months

 

and so on. The longer the cache is unfound, the more points it is worth.

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply for the second time in this thread. I appreciate the time you invested very much.

 

Of course it will depend on the way how the requirements look like in detail. I just wanted to know whether such challenge caches have any

chance at all and it seems that different reviewers see this differently.

 

I do like your points concept. Thank you for sharing this idea. Of course one needs to work out the details and adapt to the local situation and there never can be precise

rules what is allowed and what not and it will also depend on the decision of the local reviewer. In any case your answers shed some light into a matter that appeared like a thick fog to my recently.

 

Maybe further reviewers will join in and provide further examples of what could be an acceptable challenge cache apart from challenges caches based on grids, streaks etc

 

 

 

The other issue I have with strict forgotten caches challenges, instead of letting a missing forgotten cache die when they should, some would replace them quietly to be able to say they found it; even if there was a string of DNFs. This never sat well with me. Challenges should encourage you to play the geocaching game, not do sketchy things just to qualify.

 

You make a valid point. Actually this aspect is one of the reasons why I'm not a big fan of challenge caches myself, but it appears to me that other challenges are not better and some or even worse in that respect. In Germany and Austria e.g. it not unusual to choose strange D/T-ratings for events to help cachers fill the 81 grid and many D=5 caches or T=5 caches are not logged honestly.

 

In my home country the majority of caches that are unfound for months and are active are caches in mountain regions or caches that require a longer walk or caches in area where there are no other caches around. For caches with a string of DNFs there are always some cachers who report such caches quickly and then they get disabled.

 

 

Cezanne

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This "oldest 20" cache addresses that issue in a different way.

Neither of these rules really fix that it is an almost static list; no choices.

 

Thanks OReviewer. You have confirmed what I thought.... yes it is a almost static list.. it is enough of a grey area that I can understand why it was originally rejected; but then appeals judged otherwise.

 

There have been some specifics added to the challenge guidelines so for some things it is clearer what you can't do... but there still will be grey areas with judgement calls.

 

I guess this is the same many non-challenge caches too - there are judgement calls about cache agenda, is it commercial, etc. Probably there are more tricky judgements with challenge caches though.

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What's your opinion on forgotten cache challenges? Do you still see them as publishable (if the number of caches to be found and the period for which they are unfound are appropriately chosen) or do you regard them as no go under the current guidelines?

Its like anything else, it depends on how it is written. I believe that while a challenge cache should be challenging, it should be doable.

 

The one or two that I've published, I believe, have been point valued forgotten caches. I'm making the number up but I would publish it:

 

Forgotten Challenge: Must have 100 forgotten points.

 

3 points for a cache unfound for 3 months

6 points for a cache unfound for 6 months

9 points for a cache unfound for 9 months

 

and so on. The longer the cache is unfound, the more points it is worth.

 

Again, this lets people work on the challenge at their pace, does reward people for finding unfound caches where as doesn't hurt people after the unfound cache is found. I've seen older ALR caches (pre-challenge), where they were near impossible for people do them because once the 2 year unfound cache was found, you'd have to wait over a year and hope the next one wasn't found before then.

 

The other issue I have with strict forgotten caches challenges, instead of letting a missing forgotten cache die when they should, some would replace them quietly to be able to say they found it; even if there was a string of DNFs. This never sat well with me. Challenges should encourage you to play the geocaching game, not do sketchy things just to qualify.

 

As the Owner of the rejected Challenge of the initial post. :

 

I read the Challenge-Guidelines well before send to publish -and aware that there are many Caches with similiar tasks- (also of that pointstyle you mentioned above)

 

As there stand in the GL:

At times a geocache may meet the requirements for publication on the site but the reviewers, as experienced geocachers, may see additional concerns not listed in these guidelines that you as a geocache placer may not have noticed. The reviewer may bring these additional concerns to your attention and offer suggestions so that the geocache can be published.

The reviewer advised me to appeals as he didnt think that such style follows the guidelines.

The answer was:

Challenge Caches based on Forgotten or Lonely caches are not publishable because the pool of forgotten caches is diminished every time one is used for the challenge.

I didn't see there any possible suggestion to change my listing (as the listing get locked for me -i have to bring up hundreds of listings with different tasks...points/years/amount of caches...until maybe one get the right amount/style at appeals ).

In my understandings (as not native englishspeaker) this answer from appeals (also send to the reviewer) says clearly that there is no chance ever to publish such caches (except the responsible reviewer acts against the current guidance)

 

Edit...back to the topic :) : the 'reasonable amount' was only mentioned in the reviewernote/forumthread ...not in the answer from appeals - there was only mentioned that this would lead to a competitive race like a first to find.

Edited by npg

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The reviewer advised me to appeals as he didnt think that such style follows the guidelines.

The answer was:

Challenge Caches based on Forgotten or Lonely caches are not publishable because the pool of forgotten caches is diminished every time one is used for the challenge.

I didn't see there any possible suggestion to change my listing (as the listing get locked for me -i have to bring up hundreds of listings with different tasks...points/years/amount of caches...until maybe one get the right amount/style at appeals ).

 

As I said before it would have helped if the local reviewer had tried to suggest a modified version as he knows the local area much better than the person at appeals and should know that there are so many caches that get few visits so that it should not pose any issue to complete the challenge cache for those who wish to do so.

 

At appeals decisions of the local reviewer are typically changed only if they think that the decision made before has been wrong in some sense. As the challenge cache guideline gives so much leeway to interpretation, this is not so likely to happen.

 

In my understandings (as not native englishspeaker) this answer from appeals (also send to the reviewer) says clearly that there is no chance ever to publish such caches (except the responsible reviewer acts against the current guidance)

 

I do not agree. I do feel that Groundspeak offers the local reviewers a lot of freedom and it depends a lot of them on how they judge the local situation.

In my opinion you became the victim of the following unfortunate combination:

 

(1) The involved reviewer does not have a sympathy for remote caches that get few visits.

(2) The involved reviewer is not very experienced with challenge caches that are not based on statistics as those are

very rare in Austria.

(3) The involved reviewer has not been following this forum and thus is not so familiar with experiences with the appeals process. His focus is mainly on the Austrian geocaching community and he thus follows the example of most Austrian geocachers. (There are hardly any Austrians around in international geocaching forums.)

(4) At the appeals process you had the handicap of being a non native speaker of English.

 

Note that with what I wrote above I just wanted to analyse the situation from my point of view. It is in no way meant as criticizing the reviewer or the people at appeals. There are different approaches and different possible views upon the role of a reviewer and the role of the appeals process and they are not so clearly defined. SO there is no "right" and no "wrong".

 

Being around in this forum for more than a decade and having personal experiences with reviewers from both North America

and Europe (Austria, Germany), made me feel that somehow the German speaking reviewers more often approach their work from a referee's point of position while the Northamerican reviewers and the British ones seem to be more inclined towards trying to help the cachers to come up with a solution for their cache that works. This might in part be a cultural type of thing, but certainly is also related to the fact that that the reviewers in countries like Austria and Germany are overloaded and get too many junk submissions. They do not have the time to offer help to everyone and have to set their priorities and then the issue whether a reviewer has a sympathy for a certain type of cache certainly comes in (in the sense that in that case he might devote extra time and energy, not in the sense that a cache gets rejected out of antipathy).

 

If I were you, I would have tried to argue with the people from appeals that a first to find is something non renewable which is not the case for caches in remote areas. I would have fighted for my cache idea, but that's way easier for me as I'm used to argue in English. However, I might have failed as well as at appeals one is already in a bad position. Personally, I would have preferred if the involved reviewer either had tried to help you to modify your cache appropriately or if he had asked in the internal reviewers forum for ideas and whether and how your concept could be turned into a publishable challenge cache. Sending someone to appeals sends a clear "No" signal from the reviewer and he/she should be very certain about such a negative decision. In case of doubts about the meaning of the guidelines, the appeals process is not the best way to go as the experiences show.

 

Anyway, there are certainly aspects about your cache that are problematic. For example, I would not have limited the number of found it logs per day by two. Certainly, the idea is not that 20 cachers hunt for a forgotten cache in a group, but it can easily happen that two small groups decide to hide for a cache on the first nice and suitable day after the Winter break and it would be very frustrating for me if I fighted myself to a cache together with a friend and someone else was there on the same day before us. Of course the way to the cache still would have been nice, but still this experience would be a down-turner. One also would need to ask participants of the challenge cache to act fairly and to log at least a short note in the evening of their visit that they have found a "forgotten cache".

So while there are certainly some issues, I still think that they could be resolved if good will is applied at both sides.

 

 

Edit...back to the topic :) : the 'reasonable amount' was only mentioned in the reviewernote/forumthread ...not in the answer from appeals - there was only mentioned that this would lead to a competitive race like a first to find.

 

I have been aware of this. Still I decided that I'd like to know what reasonable means in this context for different reviewers from different areas. YOur cache was just my final motivation to ask the question and to ask it now. I have wondered about "reasonable" before your submission.

 

Cezanne

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Challenge Caches based on Forgotten or Lonely caches are not publishable because the pool of forgotten caches is diminished every time one is used for the challenge.

 

That's very interesting ... considering we've had two Lonely cache challenges posted in my area in the last year. Of course (a) with the new guidelines, any past find can be used to qualify, making it a little easier, and (B) the CO posted a long list of qualifying lonely caches at the time of publication, probably to prove that the cache was still feasible for those in the area.

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The other issue I have with strict forgotten caches challenges, instead of letting a missing forgotten cache die when they should, some would replace them quietly to be able to say they found it; even if there was a string of DNFs. This never sat well with me. Challenges should encourage you to play the geocaching game, not do sketchy things just to qualify.

The forgotten caches challenge I know about quite clearly says that the find cannot be of a replacement: if either the owner or another geocacher replaces the cache during the period, it is no longer considered forgotten. That would, of course, including the person doing the challenge replacing the cache in order to claim the find. This doesn't mean people won't cheat, but the challenge definitely does not encourage it.

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The other issue I have with strict forgotten caches challenges, instead of letting a missing forgotten cache die when they should, some would replace them quietly to be able to say they found it; even if there was a string of DNFs. This never sat well with me. Challenges should encourage you to play the geocaching game, not do sketchy things just to qualify.

The forgotten caches challenge I know about quite clearly says that the find cannot be of a replacement: if either the owner or another geocacher replaces the cache during the period, it is no longer considered forgotten. That would, of course, including the person doing the challenge replacing the cache in order to claim the find. This doesn't mean people won't cheat, but the challenge definitely does not encourage it.

 

My own Unloved Cache challenge, which was published this year, excludes caches where the finder just used a throw down. It also excludes caches that were disabled or missing and then replaced by the owner.

In my original version I wanted to specify - find a cache unfound for a month, a cache unfound for 2 months... up to unfound for a year and then one unfound for 2 years. The reviewer said because the available pool of unfound caches would decrease as people qualified for the challenge I would have to change it.

The current version allows people to qualify using caches that have been unfound for a year at some point in their past - these can be discovered by hand by looking for likely candidates but it's a lot easier with a GSAK macro.

 

I always thought that finding a single cache that had been unfound for a year was fairly trivial (there are currently about 300 within 100 miles of my house) so that's why I came up with something more difficult. There are also over 20 that have currently been unfound for 2 years and one well know puzzle that hasn't been found since publication in 2010

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In my original version I wanted to specify - find a cache unfound for a month, a cache unfound for 2 months... up to unfound for a year and then one unfound for 2 years. The reviewer said because the available pool of unfound caches would decrease as people qualified for the challenge I would have to change it.

That's an interesting idea, but I have to agree that I don't think it would be a reasonable challenge. Your 300 within 100 miles turns into 24 for each month, and that's assuming an even distribution over that second year. That concretely limits the number of possible finders to 24. Then add to that the fact that people would now be competing to find them.

 

I always thought that finding a single cache that had been unfound for a year was fairly trivial (there are currently about 300 within 100 miles of my house) so that's why I came up with something more difficult. There are also over 20 that have currently been unfound for 2 years and one well know puzzle that hasn't been found since publication in 2010

I'm not a big fan of trying to make a challenge super hard to begin with, but what I'd like to point out is that -- at least in my area -- there's almost always something that explains why a cache has gone unfound for over a year, so each one is likely a challenge in itself without adding limits involving their exact age.

 

A couple neglected cache challenge in my area go in exactly the opposite direction: they allow accumlation of total time so one could satisfy the challenge with N caches neglected for a year, or 2*N caches neglected for 6 months, or any combination as long as they've been neglected for some minumum time.

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In my original version I wanted to specify - find a cache unfound for a month, a cache unfound for 2 months... up to unfound for a year and then one unfound for 2 years. The reviewer said because the available pool of unfound caches would decrease as people qualified for the challenge I would have to change it.

That's an interesting idea, but I have to agree that I don't think it would be a reasonable challenge. Your 300 within 100 miles turns into 24 for each month, and that's assuming an even distribution over that second year. That concretely limits the number of possible finders to 24. Then add to that the fact that people would now be competing to find them.

 

I do not know that area. I can tell you for my country that there are more caches in remote area and in mountain areas that have not found for quite a while than cachers who would want to invest the time to go for a forgotten cache challenge cache. The cache that npg submitted and that got turned did not ask for caches that have been unfound for a year, but for 300 days and if the length of this period would be the issue, one could make it a little bit shorter, but not too much. The challenge still should be that people go for caches that are not visited often and that require some effort and are not fast drive ins. Such caches typically have their season in my country - so one would not need candidates for 12 months.

 

It appears to me that what gets ignored is that the resource of caches that have not been found in a while is renewable. In my country after each Winter there are so many caches who have not got visits for months and some of them will typically get only one visit per year if any at all. And the big majority of this caches does not have any issue and they are also not extreme at all. Typical examples are caches like that one http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1VGHV_schrottcache

 

 

A couple neglected cache challenge in my area go in exactly the opposite direction: they allow accumlation of total time so one could satisfy the challenge with N caches neglected for a year, or 2*N caches neglected for 6 months, or any combination as long as they've been neglected for some minumum time.

 

That would not be very interesting in my country as there are lots of caches that are closed in Winter any time (e.g. caches at locations where bats are hibernating).

There needs to be reasonable lower limit on the required time of neglectance in order to achieve the goal, namely that physically more demanding caches (unlike intellectually demanding ones where the solution can be shared this is not true for a hike) in areas that are not interesting for number hounds get visits also beyond the first local fans of such caches.

 

I have a sympathy for challenge caches that require some specific work and that are not just the result of caching a lot.

For some forgotten challenge caches, a cacher with 300 overall finds but a lot in mountain areas might have better chances than someone with 150000 finds mainly doing fast caches and that's what I like.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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Cezanne,

 

I think you got the impression that I'm against neglected cache challenges in general, but I am not. My point was that they are hard enough and fun enough as it is without adding additional restrictions such as the described cache which required 12 caches, each neglected for a different number of months.

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Cezanne,

 

I think you got the impression that I'm against neglected cache challenges in general, but I am not. My point was that they are hard enough and fun enough as it is without adding additional restrictions such as the described cache which required 12 caches, each neglected for a different number of months.

 

No, I did not get that impression. I only got the impression that the argument that there is a competition and that a unfound cache that gets found is lost for the challenge is used too often while it is not true in general.

 

My other point was that how hard such a challenge will be depends on the area. If you have to mainly go for very hard puzzle caches or caches that are extremely hard to find (with many DNFs) or are extreme in other respects I agree with you. In my area there are so many caches that get few visits and no visits during the Winter season at all that I do not think that a challenge requiring finding a few caches that have been neglected for at least 6 months is dificult. It only means investing some hiking effort and being fine with cache days where the output is not high in terms of the number of found caches on that day.

 

There are however areas where the same challenge definitely is much more challenging and I cannot make any statement about your area. That's also a reason why I think that such type of questions are not ideally treated at appeals as they have to argue in a generic way.

 

Cezanne

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