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Increase Trackable Awareness and movement:


NeverSummer
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I wonder if there might be a way to increase awareness and movement of travelers once again.

 

TB and Geocoin threads are filled with questions about "what happened", "where did it go", etc. Geocoins and Travel Bugs do go missing. Some do sit in one cache for a long time. But, I wonder how we might revive this fun and now-historic part of the game. I propose that traveler information be added to profile statistics, and souvenirs be awarded for getting travelers moving again.

 

-Groundspeak owns the TB/GC codes, and it is certainly in their interest to see this part of the game continue

-Loss of travelers is a concern of the user base. Some have admitted openly that they no longer send them out, or that they will not buy one at all due to loss and theft.

-The interest in souvenirs and sharing of statistics is something that new and cachers alike have shown interest in.

-The notification process within the apps for new souvenirs provides another way to spread the word about what travelers are, and can add incentive to moving them along.

-Trackables are designed to travel. Owners who release them want to see them achieve their goals, or just move from cache to cache.

 

Just as adding more finds to your list is something we all have in common, adding some more incentive to the game via trackable stats and souvenirs seems like a good idea. Adding visible statistics to a user profile is a way to show off how you help trackables move and stay active. Gaining a new souvenir is a great way to add achivements to your profile and display it with pride.

 

Sure, some don't display their stats. Some won't display a trackable stat. Others don't like souvenirs, and that's ok. I barely look at mine, but I would certainly feel some pride seeing that I've moved over 500 TBs in my caching career.

 

First: Is this something Groundspeak has considered?

Second: What do users think? Have at. Tear the idea apart, share your indifference, add to this idea, whatever. Let's hear it!

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I propose that traveler information be added to profile statistics, and souvenirs be awarded for getting travelers moving again.

 

- snip -

The interest in souvenirs and sharing of statistics is something that new and cachers alike have shown interest in.

- snip -

Adding visible statistics to a user profile is a way to show off how you help trackables move and stay active. Gaining a new souvenir is a great way to add achivements to your profile and display it with pride.

Aren't we already having problems with folks having their trackable's code plastered online by/for fake loggers, with some TOs having to remove hundreds of "discovered" on coins they've had in their pocket, never released?

 

Now we want to reward those same people?

Wouldn't stats only make the problem worse?

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This is definitely on the radar here. As a start, I would personally like to see this idea implemented.

 

Around here, over the years, we have accumulated many, many "ghost trackables".

To the point that you automatically don't believe the cache inventory as listed.

This idea if implemented, would go a long way to bring back credibility to the trackables part of the game.

IMO it is well thought out, simple (for the users) and something the trackable system really needs.

.

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I propose that traveler information be added to profile statistics, and souvenirs be awarded for getting travelers moving again.

 

- snip -

The interest in souvenirs and sharing of statistics is something that new and cachers alike have shown interest in.

- snip -

Adding visible statistics to a user profile is a way to show off how you help trackables move and stay active. Gaining a new souvenir is a great way to add achivements to your profile and display it with pride.

Aren't we already having problems with folks having their trackable's code plastered online by/for fake loggers, with some TOs having to remove hundreds of "discovered" on coins they've had in their pocket, never released?

 

Now we want to reward those same people?

Wouldn't stats only make the problem worse?

It might. What constructive suggestions do you have that might change that possible eventuality?

 

First, if a trackable is "in someone's pocket" or personal collection, I'm thinking it is not really the trackable that we're talking about here.

 

Second, "Discovered" is different than moving to another cache.

 

I haven't seen this "widespread" armchair logging issue personally. And, I'd rather deal with a handful of armchair logs than see my TB or GC disappear altogether.

 

Again, you've identified an possible loophole. Let's see what we can come up with to close that loophole, eh?

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I propose that traveler information be added to profile statistics, and souvenirs be awarded for getting travelers moving again.

 

- snip -

The interest in souvenirs and sharing of statistics is something that new and cachers alike have shown interest in.

- snip -

Adding visible statistics to a user profile is a way to show off how you help trackables move and stay active. Gaining a new souvenir is a great way to add achivements to your profile and display it with pride.

Aren't we already having problems with folks having their trackable's code plastered online by/for fake loggers, with some TOs having to remove hundreds of "discovered" on coins they've had in their pocket, never released?

 

Now we want to reward those same people?

Wouldn't stats only make the problem worse?

It might. What constructive suggestions do you have that might change that possible eventuality?

 

First, if a trackable is "in someone's pocket" or personal collection, I'm thinking it is not really the trackable that we're talking about here.

Many are also long-gone, missing trackables, not only those in private collections, that suddenly spring to life, have lots of discovered logs and find later they're all bogus.

I'm not tech-savy enough to explain it, but someone's hitting (with a program maybe?) various codes until one turns up as a trackable and (by threads) seems to be the rage in some parts of Europe.

- Sorry, but little ol' me's not gonna do much to change that.

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I propose that traveler information be added to profile statistics, and souvenirs be awarded for getting travelers moving again.

 

- snip -

The interest in souvenirs and sharing of statistics is something that new and cachers alike have shown interest in.

- snip -

Adding visible statistics to a user profile is a way to show off how you help trackables move and stay active. Gaining a new souvenir is a great way to add achivements to your profile and display it with pride.

Aren't we already having problems with folks having their trackable's code plastered online by/for fake loggers, with some TOs having to remove hundreds of "discovered" on coins they've had in their pocket, never released?

 

Now we want to reward those same people?

Wouldn't stats only make the problem worse?

It might. What constructive suggestions do you have that might change that possible eventuality?

 

First, if a trackable is "in someone's pocket" or personal collection, I'm thinking it is not really the trackable that we're talking about here.

Many are also long-gone, missing trackables, not only those in private collections, that suddenly spring to life, have lots of discovered logs and find later they're all bogus.

I'm not tech-savy enough to explain it, but someone's hitting (with a program maybe?) various codes until one turns up as a trackable and (by threads) seems to be the rage in some parts of Europe.

- Sorry, but little ol' me's not gonna do much to change that.

Ok. But this represents what I will guess is a very small percentage of the total trackables released in the wild. If the trackable is logged as you describe, and owner can delete the logs, or ask that their trackable be locked.

 

It would be tough to have a longitudinal study to uncover what percentage of trackables this becomes an issue with, but there might be a way that TPTB could do a search. If it is indeed as low a percentage of total as I imagine, the cost-benefit analysis is then pretty straight-forward.

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This is definitely on the radar here. As a start, I would personally like to see this idea implemented.

I'm not sure I understand how a feature to help identify lost travelers is relevant to the OP's discussion of increasing interest and awareness. Furthermore, I'm not very excited about such a feature precisely because I suspect the low interest and awareness would mean that it would not accomplish as much as people expect it to. Not many of us report missing TBs now, so I don't really see why we'd expect more reports if there was a specific log entry for it.

 

Now we want to reward those same people?

Wouldn't stats only make the problem worse?

This is a good point, and it makes me question the idea of TB statistics, too. Perhaps the problem would be minimized by only rewarding drops: a miscreant could still fake a grab/drop to get the statistics, but the lie is then explicit -- one might debate whether a code seen online is a "discover", but it would be a flat out lie to say you dropped a coin you've never had -- and it also requires them to find the coin in a cache (unless they're so rabid that they'd grab it from someone and drop it in a random cache, but there's really nothing you can do about people like that).

 

And rewarding only drops would have the delicious side effect of giving incentive for a quick drop to people that would otherwise carry a traveler around doing endless empty visits.

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This is definitely on the radar here. As a start, I would personally like to see this idea implemented.

I'm not sure I understand how a feature to help identify lost travelers is relevant to the OP's discussion of increasing interest and awareness. Furthermore, I'm not very excited about such a feature precisely because I suspect the low interest and awareness would mean that it would not accomplish as much as people expect it to. Not many of us report missing TBs now, so I don't really see why we'd expect more reports if there was a specific log entry for it.

 

Don't those who cache typically report 'Needs Maintenance' on a damaged cache or log? Likewise, isn't it only responsible for those who log trackables to report missing trackables where COs generally do not (or, in many cases, WILL not) even after numerous logs stating a trackable is missing? Obviously many wouldn't use the feature, but I most certainly would and I think it would help go a long way towards more accurately showing proper cache inventory stats.

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This is definitely on the radar here. As a start, I would personally like to see this idea implemented.

I'm not sure I understand how a feature to help identify lost travelers is relevant to the OP's discussion of increasing interest and awareness. Furthermore, I'm not very excited about such a feature precisely because I suspect the low interest and awareness would mean that it would not accomplish as much as people expect it to. Not many of us report missing TBs now, so I don't really see why we'd expect more reports if there was a specific log entry for it.

 

Don't those who cache typically report 'Needs Maintenance' on a damaged cache or log? Likewise, isn't it only responsible for those who log trackables to report missing trackables where COs generally do not (or, in many cases, WILL not) even after numerous logs stating a trackable is missing? Obviously many wouldn't use the feature, but I most certainly would and I think it would help go a long way towards more accurately showing proper cache inventory stats.

All it takes is one or two people to check a cache's inventory when they stop in, and this ghost-trackable idea would work; it doesn't have to be used by every single cacher who goes to that site.

 

Anyway, back to the OP... :anicute:

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This is a good point, and it makes me question the idea of TB statistics, too. Perhaps the problem would be minimized by only rewarding drops: a miscreant could still fake a grab/drop to get the statistics, but the lie is then explicit -- one might debate whether a code seen online is a "discover", but it would be a flat out lie to say you dropped a coin you've never had -- and it also requires them to find the coin in a cache (unless they're so rabid that they'd grab it from someone and drop it in a random cache, but there's really nothing you can do about people like that).

 

And rewarding only drops would have the delicious side effect of giving incentive for a quick drop to people that would otherwise carry a traveler around doing endless empty visits.

Maybe Moun10bike can help us understand how the number of TBs already shown on your profile is generated. I thought it was moves, not discoveries and moves. I might be wrong.

 

Collecting Geocoin icons was a big thing back when I used to collect geocoins myself. But, alas, those days are gone. Now I just try to move TBs and help them on their missions. And, my new year's resolution is to take more photos of caching and TBs along their journey. So, anyway, I don't know what generates current tracking of how many trackables a user touches/discovers/drops.

 

I'm thinking more along the lines of a stat for discoveries, stat for pick-ups/grabs, stat for drops. Souvenir for milestone # of drops, perhaps also for discoveries (but that could lead to what cerberus was talking about with armchair issues)...

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This is a good point, and it makes me question the idea of TB statistics, too. Perhaps the problem would be minimized by only rewarding drops: a miscreant could still fake a grab/drop to get the statistics, but the lie is then explicit -- one might debate whether a code seen online is a "discover", but it would be a flat out lie to say you dropped a coin you've never had -- and it also requires them to find the coin in a cache (unless they're so rabid that they'd grab it from someone and drop it in a random cache, but there's really nothing you can do about people like that).

 

And rewarding only drops would have the delicious side effect of giving incentive for a quick drop to people that would otherwise carry a traveler around doing endless empty visits.

Maybe Moun10bike can help us understand how the number of TBs already shown on your profile is generated. I thought it was moves, not discoveries and moves. I might be wrong.

 

It is dicoveries plus retrievals and has even been so since discovery logs exist. With respect to numbers and icons, it makes no difference whether one discovers a trackables or moves it along.

A similar thing is true with respect to mileage. If there would exist a statistic for the mileage, then took to logs contribute as well.

 

At sites like project-gc, BadgeGen and many others one gets points for the numbers displayed in the profile which all make no difference between discovery and real travel.

 

Before discover logs got introduced, after many events lots of trackables were alternatingly logged into the cache and taken out again. This was even more annoying and the mass discover logs. There is no way to stop this sort of business - it has become too common in many areas to exchange trackable codes at events on a very large scale.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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This is definitely on the radar here. As a start, I would personally like to see this idea implemented.

 

I disagree. I understand it is annoying when people expect a trackable in a cache and it isn't there, but when they are "automatically" removed from the inventory, I, as a visitor of this cache, don't notice its unsafe trackable history anymore.

 

Now when I see trackables in an inventory I often check the logs and see how long they are in there or if someone has marked them as "not in the cache". If I see several trackables in a cache and the logs on those trackables state it isn't there, I won't leave any trackables there, since I consider it an unsafe cache.

 

Now I've seen some cache owners simply mark all the trackables missing when they check their cache every couple of weeks. As a result the inventory seems empty and I think it is a safe cache to drop new ones, but this isn't really the case.

 

And as a response to the post of the topic starter: I totally agree, something really has to be done, the amount of trackables that get lost is getting ridiculous, frustrating and many have stopped sending them out because of it.

When we started geocaching we first did a lot of research before playing the game, since it meant buying a gps. So we knew about trackables before we ever saw one. Now people don't need to read anything anymore before they start playing the game, since there is no natural barrier that stimulates someone to read everything there is to know (deciding to buy a gps versus a free app).

I noticed a lot of trackables that have gone missing are picked up by cachers who use the app and never visit the website. One of the solutions I can think of is to have some kind of notice with a question in the app when you log a cache the first 20 times: did you pick up a trackable. A trackable is .... it has a number... etc. and an image to show different types. And very important, a message "leave the trackable in the cache if you don't intend to find other caches within the next 2 weeks"

I know Groundspeak can do this in their own apps but of course there are many other geoccaching app suppliers. Don't know if they are willing to implement this.

 

It is just one of my ideas how things can be better with respect to tracakble awareness, but I guess starting to educate people when they start playing the game will help a lot.

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- it has become too common in many areas to exchange trackable codes at events on a very large scale.

Agreed.

My other 2/3rds even did this at one time. Hand everybody a sheet.

I think it was the fad at the time - coin icons (and the reason she has her own cache page).

I guess she was kinda proud of her 200+ coins in collection.

Discovery logs months and in some cases, years later wised her up.

She realized by logs people she didn't know were passing copies of her list around at other events they attended.

- "But I only gave them to friends..."

Often, right near the event log on the table, is a trackable sheet to pick up if you'd like.

 

Similar, at the Space event a lady handed me a sheetlist of trackable coins and some TBs.

I'm not a shy person, asked about 'em and most she admitted weren't hers.

- I handed it back.

A few told me later she thought I was rude... :)

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This is definitely on the radar here. As a start, I would personally like to see this idea implemented.

 

I disagree. I understand it is annoying when people expect a trackable in a cache and it isn't there, but when they are "automatically" removed from the inventory, I, as a visitor of this cache, don't notice its unsafe trackable history anymore.

 

 

You should read the proposed idea thread more closely. Trackables would not be removed from the cache's inventory, but grayed out to indicate that ~3 people have indicated that that is not in the cache. That status is reset if anyone logs it as seen.

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All it takes is one or two people to check a cache's inventory when they stop in, and this ghost-trackable idea would work; it doesn't have to be used by every single cacher who goes to that site.

At the risk of further diverting the thread: one can already post a note about a missing TB, yet I find I'm often the first one to post a note a year after a TB was placed in a cache. I see no reason to think a souped-up log type would be used more.

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This is definitely on the radar here. As a start, I would personally like to see this idea implemented.

 

I disagree. I understand it is annoying when people expect a trackable in a cache and it isn't there, but when they are "automatically" removed from the inventory, I, as a visitor of this cache, don't notice its unsafe trackable history anymore.

 

 

You should read the proposed idea thread more closely. Trackables would not be removed from the cache's inventory, but grayed out to indicate that ~3 people have indicated that that is not in the cache. That status is reset if anyone logs it as seen.

 

All it takes is one or two people to check a cache's inventory when they stop in, and this ghost-trackable idea would work; it doesn't have to be used by every single cacher who goes to that site.

At the risk of further diverting the thread: one can already post a note about a missing TB, yet I find I'm often the first one to post a note a year after a TB was placed in a cache. I see no reason to think a souped-up log type would be used more.

Right, yes.

 

If you have something to say about the "Ghost Trackable" idea, please follow the link Moun10bike provided and talk about it there. Thanks!

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All it takes is one or two people to check a cache's inventory when they stop in, and this ghost-trackable idea would work; it doesn't have to be used by every single cacher who goes to that site.

At the risk of further diverting the thread: one can already post a note about a missing TB, yet I find I'm often the first one to post a note a year after a TB was placed in a cache. I see no reason to think a souped-up log type would be used more.

Posting a note about a missing trackable is an exercise in futility. Couple more logs and it is down the page an all but invisible. Do you think a CO will do anything about it? I certainly don't get excited and run out and check my cache if a trackable is noted as missing. If you post it on the trackable page maybe the TO will do something, but probably not. Wait a while an it is liable to pop up some where else. My trackables have to be missing well over a year and probably two before I decide to mark them missing. No, I think the proposal is about as good as it gets. I just wish GS would finally decide something needs to be done besides selling more trackable numbers.

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And very important, a message "leave the trackable in the cache if you don't intend to find other caches within the next 2 weeks"

 

I heavily disagree.

 

I often cannot plan in advance when I will be able to find caches that are suitable for a trackable. It does not even help me to know that I plan to go geocaching again the next weekend as there are many caches that are too small or not safe and it also happens often that plans have to be changed due to weather conditions (thunderstorms, snow etc).

 

If the number of trackable owners that insist on those two weeks gets too large, I will stop taking along trackables too and I'm one of the few cachers in my area that still takes them along. Then your trackables will stay forever in a certain cache and noone will take them along.

 

 

Cezanne

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Back to the OP, how do we increase trackable awareness and movement? I will often seek out caches with travelers. Finding them missing from a cache is a disappointment. So, I do like the suggestion of Mrs B of The Blorenges on ghost trackables. This would serve to incentive me in finding and moving trackables.

 

As for the stats, I'm ambivalent. I did attend an event cache where one TO handed out a sheet of codes for their coins. He had a large binder full of geocoins. The number of codes seemed to match up pretty well with the number of actual coins, so I think his code sheets were legit. Looking back on this, and the comments above, spurred two thoughts on armchair logging.

 

My first thought mirrors one above; the traveler stats (and possible souvenirs) should be based on drops. If I'm looking at someone elses profile, seeing how many travelers they actually helped move would be the most impressive number. Having a traveler visit a cache (especially without taking a photo) seems more like kissing your own sister.

 

My second thought has to do with armchair loggers. With my example TO, it was obvious that he was collecting them, and they weren't going to be released. I have a few geocoins that I will never release because I am keeping them as achievement awards. I also have a traveler attached to my hat which will never be released. While I'm not quite up to requiring a binder for my geocoins, I will probably prepare a code handout sheet to make it easier for others. I don't have my travelers 'visit' any caches, and I only take them to events. So, an option that would work for me would be to set a flag on a trackable that would prevent logging. Before an event, I could open up the trackables for logging, and a week or so after the event, disable logging. With a bunch of programming by GS, when I 'attend' an event, I could be asked if I wanted to open up my trackables for logging. And, they could automatically be closed up two or three weeks later.

 

Another feature that GS could add that would streamline the trackable process is to make it easier to log trackables, specifically when we grab one. When updating the log for a cache with trackables, allow us to enter the trackable code for the known trackable on the log page, and log both cache and trackable at the same time. This could also help with getting the word out on trackables, so that cachers that don't yet know about trackables would learn about them as they log a cache.

 

Another thing that would be nice is if the GPX file would include the mission of the trackable(s) within a cache. I don't have 24/7 Internet access, and so I will sometimes leave a trackable in a cache because I don't know if I can help it on its mission. Of course, attaching a nice laminated card would help. Maybe GS could offer a travel bug that allowed for custom printing right on the tag? That way, a TO wouldn't need a separate laminated card.

 

As for how quickly a trackable should move once grabbed from a cache, please, no automated pester messages. I try to be quick moving them, but I make no guarantees.

 

These things would make it trackable more enjoyable for me.

 

Thanks, Skye.

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This is definitely on the radar here. As a start, I would personally like to see this idea implemented.

 

I would love this idea too, but it was proposed 2 years ago and hasn't been implemented.

 

If one of the stats was how many TB miles you've logged that might keep some people from hanging on to them, but unfortunately I suspect there really isn't much that can be done to keep TBs from going MIA, whatever the cause.

 

One thing that can and should be done is make it easier/possible to remove ghost TBs from the system. If the system were at least cleaned up, that would restore some credibility. Leaving all the ghosts to clutter up the game just further perpetuates the TB decline.

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My first thought mirrors one above; the traveler stats (and possible souvenirs) should be based on drops.

 

They happened to do that before the discover log was invented and I'm sure if the stats would be changed we would again see a lot of retrieve and drop logs at events and those logs. If those logs are not handled in the right way, they will watchers of the event while discover logs do not create notifications for logs.

 

Even if all those who offer trackable sheets at events only offer number for their own trackables, in total one can end up with a few hundreds of trackables for a medium sized event.

 

Personally I think that stats, souvenirs, awards etc have the contrary effect of what the OP has in mind.

 

For example, in my area several cachers logged the archived caches of friends (sometimes are archived since years) on a number of days in August to obtain all souvenirs

and a lot of cachers who hardly ever move trackables around have more TBs and GCs in their stats (almost exclusively obtained by discover logs) and one of the reasons might be that the number of logged GCs and TBs plays a role for certain badges, belts and other award systems.

 

Back in the time when so such systems existed moving along trackables was much more popular. So I do not think that the suggestion of the OP will help at all. It could just make everything worse.

 

What might be an encouragement is something like asking once in a year (or more often) for nominations of cachers who have invested a particularly large effort into logging or moving around trackables (The people nominating probably should be the owners of the concerned trackables). Perhaps this would increase the awareness for how trackable logs could look like as well.

 

 

Having a traveler visit a cache (especially without taking a photo) seems more like kissing your own sister.

 

I only log "took to" for trackables that I will drop eventually somewhere and I do so only in very rare cases. I do not like your comparison however.

I a trackable wants to visit a difficult puzzle cache and the only such cache I find within a month is a micro, I will have the trackable visit that cache and

later drop it off in a multi or traditional. I hardly ever take photos however as I hardly ever have a camera with me. Not everyone enjoy taking photos or owns a phone

which allows to take pictures. If I take pictures once in a while it might be take weeks to upload them and in a geocaching world that runs faster and faster

hardly anyone is interested into such photos anyway. Almost everything now is about speed and quantity. It has been quite different in 2002 when I started.

I also realized that once many kinds of GCs showed up, TBs started to become unattractive for so many cachers. What they like about GCs is the different icons.

TBs all provide the same icon.

 

Cezanne

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Personally I think that stats, souvenirs, awards etc have the contrary effect of what the OP has in mind.

 

For example, in my area several cachers logged the archived caches of friends (sometimes are archived since years) on a number of days in August to obtain all souvenirs

and a lot of cachers who hardly ever move trackables around have more TBs and GCs in their stats (almost exclusively obtained by discover logs) and one of the reasons might be that the number of logged GCs and TBs plays a role for certain badges, belts and other award systems.

 

Back in the time when so such systems existed moving along trackables was much more popular. So I do not think that the suggestion of the OP will help at all. It could just make everything worse.

 

What might be an encouragement is something like asking once in a year (or more often) for nominations of cachers who have invested a particularly large effort into logging or moving around trackables (The people nominating probably should be the owners of the concerned trackables). Perhaps this would increase the awareness for how trackable logs could look like as well.

 

Thanks for having an alternative idea, and not just saying "that won't work".

 

I think that the bolded above is another great option to consider. Although, it isn't unlike a nomination for GOTM, now is it? So, why not start nominating Trackable Champions to the GOTM for recognition? It doesn't have to just be a recognition for prolific event hosts, etc. But, the problem is, how can we all know who is a champion without going through every single profile out there? Nominating them would be tough, and would one nomination edge another out just because of sheer numbers of drops?

 

I remember a newsletter or something from Groundspeak celebrating a cacher who has been a champion of trackables, and has rescued and moved many, many thousands in an effort to revive that part of the game. This was years ago now. That was pretty cool to see at the time, as I like to see trackables moving and working on their missions as well.

 

Now, back to why you don't think my suggestion will help at all and could make everything worse.

 

I haven't seen such rampant misuse of caches or trackables. When a cacher logs a cache in a situation like what you mention above, there is nothing we can do. It is up to the cache owner to delete false logs. When talking about false logs, we're discussing something that has little impact or ability to be disproven by those on the outside.

 

At least when a trackable is picked up and dropped, it is a physical item that logs its movements. If someone claims and drop and doesn't, it won't be in that cache. And I highly, highly doubt that this will result in someone picking up trackables, hoarding them to cover up their ghost drops. They'd have to keep the trackable to cover their tracks, and that's just plain silly.

 

With GOTM or "Trackable Champion of the Month", the awareness that it would create would be nice, but the blog isn't read by everyone. But, everyone sees their own profile. Just adding the stat might be a good option, and the souvenirs could be left out?

 

I guess some will always cheat the system to gain souvenirs, but since they aren't prominently displayed on one's profile, I can't see this as a wildfire spread of cheating behavior because of a stat or souvenir for moving trackables. It would, at least, reach every single cacher to remind them about the importance of moving trackables.

Edited by NeverSummer
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At least when a trackable is picked up and dropped, it is a physical item that logs its movements. If someone claims and drop and doesn't, it won't be in that cache. And I highly, highly doubt that this will result in someone picking up trackables, hoarding them to cover up their ghost drops. They'd have to keep the trackable to cover their tracks, and that's just plain silly.

 

I meant something different. Logging discovery logs at events but also for physical caches gets you the same sort of recognition in terms of trackables stats, belts, badges etc as if you would make these trackables move.

 

If GS would change the system and only count drop off logs then many people again would use the approach they used before the discover log type got introduced.

Instead of having 100 people discover all trackables someone at the event showed around, you will end up with 100 people retrieving the trackable from the event and putting it back there so that the next can handle it. What happened back then was not something I'd refer to ghost drops.

 

I often take along trackables from caches which have been visited by a number of cachers between my visit and the drop off log of the trackable. I often encounter several discover logs for those trackables and this happens for trackables without special goal and which are untypically large. The reason why this happens is obvious. Discover logs produce less work and receive the same sort of result in terms of the stats, but you do not take any responsibility and will not risk to receive angry mails by the trackable owner if you do not drop off the trackable quickly enough or drop it off in a cache that the trackable owner might not like etc.

 

I prefer for my own caches if no trackables are left in them simply because most of my caches do not get many visits and several trackable owners feel that it is a responsibility of the cache owner to go and retrieve the trackables if it has been not been taken out of the cache for a while. In such a context it is of course particularly painful if those who visit a cache just place discover logs.

 

I guess some will always cheat the system to gain souvenirs, but since they aren't prominently displayed on one's profile, I can't see this as a wildfire spread of cheating behavior because of a stat or souvenir for moving trackables. It would, at least, reach every single cacher to remind them about the importance of moving trackables.

 

I agree with the first part. Those who cheat are not my main concern as your idea is regarded.

I just have the feeling that all the different sorts of stats, badges, belts, awards etc that have become available over the years motivate a lot of people to start to focus on numbers whose intent is not to cheat but you never would have had the idea to focus on those numbers without the example set by others and the available systems. Hardly anyone would make point computations like the one done by the belt system for him/herself.

 

I do not agree at all with the last part. I do not think that having even more virtual incentives of the mentioned type would anyone remind of *moving* trackables and about the fact that many trackable owners would love to see pictures and/or to receive a few personalised words at least in the logs.

 

I think that the bolded above is another great option to consider. Although, it isn't unlike a nomination for GOTM, now is it?

 

I think there are some differences that I regard as essential. First, the problem you noticed with how one could identify someone who treats many trackables in a praiseworthy manner is eliminated. It would suffice to refer to one or a few trackables.

 

Second, and probably more important the GOTM is a concept that is somehow too pushy from my personal point of view. While I could imagine a few cachers that I know that could be eligible, I never would nominate them as I'm convinced that they would not like to be nominated and I can fully understand that. It is not really a coincidence that there are a bias in the number of nominations and winners with respect to certain countries. Moreover, the GOTM nomination also has the big disadvantage that both the real name of the nominee and the person nominator have to be provided. That's a no go for many Europeans.

 

 

Cezanne

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At least when a trackable is picked up and dropped, it is a physical item that logs its movements. If someone claims and drop and doesn't, it won't be in that cache. And I highly, highly doubt that this will result in someone picking up trackables, hoarding them to cover up their ghost drops. They'd have to keep the trackable to cover their tracks, and that's just plain silly.

 

I meant something different. Logging discovery logs at events but also for physical caches gets you the same sort of recognition in terms of trackables stats, belts, badges etc as if you would make these trackables move.

 

If GS would change the system and only count drop off logs then many people again would use the approach they used before the discover log type got introduced.

Instead of having 100 people discover all trackables someone at the event showed around, you will end up with 100 people retrieving the trackable from the event and putting it back there so that the next can handle it. What happened back then was not something I'd refer to ghost drops.

 

I often take along trackables from caches which have been visited by a number of cachers between my visit and the drop off log of the trackable. I often encounter several discover logs for those trackables and this happens for trackables without special goal and which are untypically large. The reason why this happens is obvious. Discover logs produce less work and receive the same sort of result in terms of the stats, but you do not take any responsibility and will not risk to receive angry mails by the trackable owner if you do not drop off the trackable quickly enough or drop it off in a cache that the trackable owner might not like etc.

 

I prefer for my own caches if no trackables are left in them simply because most of my caches do not get many visits and several trackable owners feel that it is a responsibility of the cache owner to go and retrieve the trackables if it has been not been taken out of the cache for a while. In such a context it is of course particularly painful if those who visit a cache just place discover logs.

 

I wonder if another way to work around that old style of "touching" a trackable would be done away with by coding that the trackable would have to be not only "dropped", but dropped in a different cache than where it was taken from. Thus, it would only record moves, and not "touches".

 

Also, it could be interesting to see a total number of miles for all trackables one has moved--not just ones they own. That number focuses on distance and not mission, and that's something to consider.

 

But, I'm still wondering what alternative ideas are out there that would encourage more movement, awareness of missions for trackables, and actual awareness of what trackables are.

 

Save for adding a mission note and baggie for each trackable one touches (I do that for any I pick up), many trackables disappear or remain stagnant in caches. How else can we encourage movement and awareness of what trackables are intended to do? So far we have the OP idea(s), and a "TCOTM" recognition idea.

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I think that the bolded above is another great option to consider. Although, it isn't unlike a nomination for GOTM, now is it?

 

I think there are some differences that I regard as essential. First, the problem you noticed with how one could identify someone who treats many trackables in a praiseworthy manner is eliminated. It would suffice to refer to one or a few trackables.

 

Second, and probably more important the GOTM is a concept that is somehow too pushy from my personal point of view. While I could imagine a few cachers that I know that could be eligible, I never would nominate them as I'm convinced that they would not like to be nominated and I can fully understand that. It is not really a coincidence that there are a bias in the number of nominations and winners with respect to certain countries. Moreover, the GOTM nomination also has the big disadvantage that both the real name of the nominee and the person nominator have to be provided. That's a no go for many Europeans.

 

 

Cezanne

How is recognizing someone for their "one or a few trackables" interactions any different than what already happens for GOTM? Are you saying that it would be a specific-to-trackables contest or recognition? Again, couldn't nominating people to the existing GOTM contest who are champions of TBs be a way to get the word out?

 

Or, how about this: Groundspeak has a "Month of the Trackable", and for that month nominations are taken for people to submit some "Champions of the Trackable". There is wide coverage, a focus on awareness, and a celebration of someone for making a difference in how trackables stay alive.

 

The bottom line of my OP suggestion is that there should be some regular attention paid to trackables, as described as to why Groundspeak might want to put some energy into it. Trackables are $$. And, if people sour on buying and using them, the $$ goes away. If new and existing cachers don't become more aware of what trackables are, and why they exist, they aren't going to have a care to move them on their mission. Or, they will see that shiny coin and pocket it.

 

I wouldn't say that a blog post or single emailed newsletter is enough to keep the message fresh. It needs to be regular, accessible, and obvious to all users at a level where they see it. Thus the souvenirs: You see them on your profile, as well as in the Apps. That way, no matter how people interface with the game, they will see something to remind them why moving trackables is a good thing.

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How is recognizing someone for their "one or a few trackables" interactions any different than what already happens for GOTM? Are you saying that it would be a specific-to-trackables contest or recognition? Again, couldn't nominating people to the existing GOTM contest who are champions of TBs be a way to get the word out?

 

The typical nomination texts I read for the GOTM contest are written what feels a lot like an advertisement text to me.

 

Getting recognition for having taken special care about some trackables does not have this kind of super cacher image I and many others associate with the GOTM.

One does not need to be a cacher with an above average engagement in several aspects that sticks out out of thousands of cachers.

 

Or, how about this: Groundspeak has a "Month of the Trackable", and for that month nominations are taken for people to submit some "Champions of the Trackable". There is wide coverage, a focus on awareness, and a celebration of someone for making a difference in how trackables stay alive.

 

I like this idea much more. It should work however without having to provide the real names of the cachers.

 

The bottom line of my OP suggestion is that there should be some regular attention paid to trackables, as described as to why Groundspeak might want to put some energy into it. Trackables are $$. And, if people sour on buying and using them, the $$ goes away.

 

Not necessarily. I encounter a trend towards keeping the GCs and move them to collections. The TB business will go down of course, but GCs are different.

 

I rather think that what you mention plays a role for those old-fashioned trackable owners who like to follow the travel of their trackables from cache to cache.

 

If new and existing cachers don't become more aware of what trackables are, and why they exist, they aren't going to have a care to move them on their mission. Or, they will see that shiny coin and pocket it.

 

In my area it does not happen too often that cachers are not aware of trackables (except a few beginners) - it happens much more often that cachers prefer to use discover logs or write no logs at all and leave the trackables in the caches. They still get to see the GCs and get the icons. It appears to me that most newer cachers seem to think that GCs are sent out to show them to other cachers. Typical log texts regardless of the log type are "Thanks for showing".

 

Thus the souvenirs: You see them on your profile, as well as in the Apps. That way, no matter how people interface with the game, they will see something to remind them why moving trackables is a good thing.

 

If they would be confined to moving, yes, but that's not the case and the major reason why I believe that this sort of idea is counterproductive without any changes in the system.

 

Cezanne

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Personally I think that stats, souvenirs, awards etc have the contrary effect of what the OP has in mind.

 

For example, in my area several cachers logged the archived caches of friends (sometimes are archived since years) on a number of days in August to obtain all souvenirs

and a lot of cachers who hardly ever move trackables around have more TBs and GCs in their stats (almost exclusively obtained by discover logs) and one of the reasons might be that the number of logged GCs and TBs plays a role for certain badges, belts and other award systems.

 

Back in the time when so such systems existed moving along trackables was much more popular. So I do not think that the suggestion of the OP will help at all. It could just make everything worse.

 

What might be an encouragement is something like asking once in a year (or more often) for nominations of cachers who have invested a particularly large effort into logging or moving around trackables (The people nominating probably should be the owners of the concerned trackables). Perhaps this would increase the awareness for how trackable logs could look like as well.

 

Thanks for having an alternative idea, and not just saying "that won't work".

 

I think that the bolded above is another great option to consider. Although, it isn't unlike a nomination for GOTM, now is it? So, why not start nominating Trackable Champions to the GOTM for recognition? It doesn't have to just be a recognition for prolific event hosts, etc. But, the problem is, how can we all know who is a champion without going through every single profile out there?

 

We don't have to. MaxB on the River would win it every month.

 

Although I generally like the idea of souvenirs, when we start talking about awards I think we need to remember that this is a globally played game and that those that have the luxury of living in cache dense regions with lots of geocaching activity might be able to easily acquire awards in the form of souvenirs, while those that don't (aka, most of the world) would likely never able to participate. It's pretty hard to invest a large effort into logging and moving around trackables if you live in a country that only has a couple dozen or fewer caches.

 

 

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Personally I think that stats, souvenirs, awards etc have the contrary effect of what the OP has in mind.

 

For example, in my area several cachers logged the archived caches of friends (sometimes are archived since years) on a number of days in August to obtain all souvenirs

and a lot of cachers who hardly ever move trackables around have more TBs and GCs in their stats (almost exclusively obtained by discover logs) and one of the reasons might be that the number of logged GCs and TBs plays a role for certain badges, belts and other award systems.

 

Back in the time when so such systems existed moving along trackables was much more popular. So I do not think that the suggestion of the OP will help at all. It could just make everything worse.

 

What might be an encouragement is something like asking once in a year (or more often) for nominations of cachers who have invested a particularly large effort into logging or moving around trackables (The people nominating probably should be the owners of the concerned trackables). Perhaps this would increase the awareness for how trackable logs could look like as well.

 

Thanks for having an alternative idea, and not just saying "that won't work".

 

I think that the bolded above is another great option to consider. Although, it isn't unlike a nomination for GOTM, now is it? So, why not start nominating Trackable Champions to the GOTM for recognition? It doesn't have to just be a recognition for prolific event hosts, etc. But, the problem is, how can we all know who is a champion without going through every single profile out there?

 

We don't have to. MaxB on the River would win it every month.

 

Although I generally like the idea of souvenirs, when we start talking about awards I think we need to remember that this is a globally played game and that those that have the luxury of living in cache dense regions with lots of geocaching activity might be able to easily acquire awards in the form of souvenirs, while those that don't (aka, most of the world) would likely never able to participate. It's pretty hard to invest a large effort into logging and moving around trackables if you live in a country that only has a couple dozen or fewer caches.

Preaching to the choir! :anicute:

 

But, I make sure that I do my part whenever I can. I don't care much to see another souvenir or stat on my account, but I still wonder how to encourage users to learn and get involved in trackable movement.

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Just a small idea: How about a label/note in the cache (perhaps with an illustration) of what trackables are, what their intended purpose is, and what to do with them.

 

This is what I intent to do on my caches.

 

We suffer from TB plague here heavily, but I've noticed the 'Premium Member Only' caches seem safer for TB's. I recently purchased some TB's, and looked at the history of some caches near by, and wasn't too assured.....

 

Just my nickel's worth.

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We don't have to. MaxB on the River would win it every month.

 

How do you know? The idea was not to award a high number of trackable logs. What I had in mind was more on the quality side

(that could be nice stories and pictures posted on the trackable page, special endeavours to get trackables to their destination, rescue actions etc).

 

It's pretty hard to invest a large effort into logging and moving around trackables if you live in a country that only has a couple dozen or fewer caches.

 

If the idea is to motivate people in countries where lots of trackables travel around to take trackables along and write nice logs, I do not think that countries with few caches should be an issue. Not every cacher needs to have every available icon (whether cache type, souvenir, all D/T-ratings etc).

 

In countries like Austria and Germany the cache density in many areas is extremely high and of course much higher than it has been 10 years ago, but the number of cachers that took along trackables and moved them and cared about the mission was so much higher back then than it is now. This is not a newcomer issue or the smartphone generation. Among those who previously took along trackables many have stopped doing so and the best they do is to discover (if they do not ignore trackables at all) because with discovering they avoid all sorts of anger that can result from moving along trackables.

 

As I said before, I do not think however that introducing souvenirs for trackables would lead to the desired effect. They all focus on quantitative and not on qualitative aspects.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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We don't have to. MaxB on the River would win it every month.

 

How do you know? The idea was not to award a high number of trackable logs. What I had in mind was more on the quality side

(that could be nice stories and pictures posted on the trackable page, special endeavours to get trackables to their destination, rescue actions etc).

 

 

That was more of a joke than anything, although I've never seen anyone else that does more for trackables . Check out their profile.

 

It's pretty hard to invest a large effort into logging and moving around trackables if you live in a country that only has a couple dozen or fewer caches.

 

If the idea is to motivate people in countries where lots of trackables travel around to take trackables along and write nice logs, I do not think that countries with few caches should be an issue. Not every cacher needs to have every available icon (whether cache type, souvenir, all D/T-ratings etc).

 

Perhaps, but I have a general aversion to seeing GS spend development time on projects that primarily benefit those that have the luxury of living in cache dense, extremely active areas.

 

 

 

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That was more of a joke than anything, although I've never seen anyone else that does more for trackables . Check out their profile.

 

I had looked at their profile. There I can see only numbers, i.e. the quantitative part. I cannot see there how many of those trackable logs were discover logs and I cannot see whether

on average the mission of the trackables has been respected (if possible which is not always the case) etc.

I do not know the cacher you mentioned. I just know cachers in my area that have a higher number of trackables shown in their profile than myself, but 90% or more are discover logs while I wrote maybe 5 discover logs for special trackables that are not travelling around but serve a special purpose for the owners.

 

 

Perhaps, but I have a general aversion to seeing GS spend development time on projects that primarily benefit those that have the luxury of living in cache dense, extremely active areas.

 

Actually, something must be wrong at Groundspeak if something as easy as awarding a new souvenir really needs significant development time and is seen as a project. When you ask for souvenirs for countries with very few caches, you are not consistent with your statement above.

But I mentioned anyway that I do think that souvenirs change anything to the better.

 

As to your luxury comment, I do not regard it as a luxury to live in a really cache dense area.

It is a real pain if drawing circles on the map allows to find many caches without dealing with them.

I regard it as a nightmare if you can visit a forest and then just need to look around a bit and then can find a couple of

caches without knowing anything about them (no coordinates, no GPS-receiver, no hint). One does not even need to know that

these caches exist. Just opne your eyes out in the forest - the same works even simpler in cities at typical places where caches are hidden.

 

Cezanne

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Just a small idea: How about a label/note in the cache (perhaps with an illustration) of what trackables are, what their intended purpose is, and what to do with them.

 

This is what I intent to do on my caches.

 

We suffer from TB plague here heavily, but I've noticed the 'Premium Member Only' caches seem safer for TB's. I recently purchased some TB's, and looked at the history of some caches near by, and wasn't too assured.....

 

Just my nickel's worth.

I did the clear labelling thing with a cache, and I've noticed that, for the most part, trackables end up staying in the cache. I don't know why, but most of the time the TBs and GCs just sit there and I end up having to pull them out and get them moving on to somewhere else.

 

Part of the problem is that the focus on the game has been, for years, to find geocaches. More of them. Higher numbers. More in one day. One every day for a month, etc. The discourse needs to change.

 

When I started playing, TBs and caches seemed to have an equal focus by geocaching.com and cachers in my area. Now, as the paradigm has shifted to finding more caches (and hiding more caches to find more). And that's ok. But, it has left trackables in the dust. There's bound to be a way to get people interested in watching trackables move...or is the honeymoon over?

 

(That may be a topic best left to the TB and GC topics)

 

So, other than the OP and cezanne's TCOTM idea, how else could we raise awareness and see better trackable practices? Thoughts?

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That was more of a joke than anything, although I've never seen anyone else that does more for trackables . Check out their profile.

 

I had looked at their profile. There I can see only numbers, i.e. the quantitative part. I cannot see there how many of those trackable logs were discover logs and I cannot see whether

on average the mission of the trackables has been respected (if possible which is not always the case) etc.

 

You didn't read about "MaxB's Travel Bug Group Tours is the worlds premier provider of escorted group tours for Travel Bugs." They picked up a TB that I had out (it was a small piggy bank), took it to several locations, photographed it with other TBs on "the tour" (including one with several other piggy related TBs), then found a safe cache to drop it in so it could continue it's journey.

 

Perhaps, but I have a general aversion to seeing GS spend development time on projects that primarily benefit those that have the luxury of living in cache dense, extremely active areas.

 

Actually, something must be wrong at Groundspeak if something as easy as awarding a new souvenir really needs significant development time and is seen as a project. When you ask for souvenirs for countries with very few caches, you are not consistent with your statement above.

 

 

Huh? How is that not consistent? All of the country/region souvenirs are for countries and regions which are at the top of the list of the number of geocaches available. How many souvenirs are available for those that live in South America, Central America/Caribbean, and Africa (with the exception of South Africa)? I doubt that any of the countries in those areas have enough geocachers to qualify for a mega-event and they're too far away for geocachers living there to realistically travel to Seattle for the Geocaching HQ, or Block party souvenirs (and icons). How is one supposed to find a cache every day in August (probably the most promoted feature that GS has ever had) when there are fewer than a dozen caches in the entire country?

 

But I mentioned anyway that I do think that souvenirs change anything to the better.

 

As to your luxury comment, I do not regard it as a luxury to live in a really cache dense area.

It is a real pain if drawing circles on the map allows to find many caches without dealing with them.

I regard it as a nightmare if you can visit a forest and then just need to look around a bit and then can find a couple of

caches without knowing anything about them (no coordinates, no GPS-receiver, no hint). One does not even need to know that

these caches exist. Just opne your eyes out in the forest - the same works even simpler in cities at typical places where caches are hidden.

 

Cezanne

 

I agree that living in an extremely cache dense area can generate a few problems, but at least living in a very active area offers geocachers a choice.

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Just a small idea: How about a label/note in the cache (perhaps with an illustration) of what trackables are, what their intended purpose is, and what to do with them.

 

This is what I intent to do on my caches.

 

We suffer from TB plague here heavily, but I've noticed the 'Premium Member Only' caches seem safer for TB's. I recently purchased some TB's, and looked at the history of some caches near by, and wasn't too assured.....

 

Just my nickel's worth.

I did the clear labelling thing with a cache, and I've noticed that, for the most part, trackables end up staying in the cache. I don't know why, but most of the time the TBs and GCs just sit there and I end up having to pull them out and get them moving on to somewhere else.

 

Part of the problem is that the focus on the game has been, for years, to find geocaches. More of them. Higher numbers. More in one day. One every day for a month, etc. The discourse needs to change.

 

When I started playing, TBs and caches seemed to have an equal focus by geocaching.com and cachers in my area. Now, as the paradigm has shifted to finding more caches (and hiding more caches to find more). And that's ok. But, it has left trackables in the dust. There's bound to be a way to get people interested in watching trackables move...or is the honeymoon over?

 

(That may be a topic best left to the TB and GC topics)

 

So, other than the OP and cezanne's TCOTM idea, how else could we raise awareness and see better trackable practices? Thoughts?

 

Maybe it's a language thing: "If you don't know what do with it, leave it" vs. "Learn what they are and help them move along"?

Education over criticism I suppose.....

Or maybe an implied responsibility thingy....

I personally like the "Greyed-out" idea, gives us an idea what caches are TB-friendly- kinda like crime stats. Ok, bad example.....

I choose to put info in my caches, but that's just me.

Edited by AndrewInkwell
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Just a small idea: How about a label/note in the cache (perhaps with an illustration) of what trackables are, what their intended purpose is, and what to do with them.

 

This is what I intent to do on my caches.

 

We suffer from TB plague here heavily, but I've noticed the 'Premium Member Only' caches seem safer for TB's. I recently purchased some TB's, and looked at the history of some caches near by, and wasn't too assured.....

 

Just my nickel's worth.

I did the clear labelling thing with a cache, and I've noticed that, for the most part, trackables end up staying in the cache. I don't know why, but most of the time the TBs and GCs just sit there and I end up having to pull them out and get them moving on to somewhere else.

 

Part of the problem is that the focus on the game has been, for years, to find geocaches. More of them. Higher numbers. More in one day. One every day for a month, etc. The discourse needs to change.

 

When I started playing, TBs and caches seemed to have an equal focus by geocaching.com and cachers in my area. Now, as the paradigm has shifted to finding more caches (and hiding more caches to find more). And that's ok. But, it has left trackables in the dust. There's bound to be a way to get people interested in watching trackables move...or is the honeymoon over?

 

(That may be a topic best left to the TB and GC topics)

 

So, other than the OP and cezanne's TCOTM idea, how else could we raise awareness and see better trackable practices? Thoughts?

 

Maybe it's a language thing: "If you don't know what do with it, leave it" vs. "Learn what they are and help them move along"?

Education over criticism I suppose.....

Or maybe an implied responsibility thingy....

I personally like the "Greyed-out" idea, gives us an idea what caches are TB-friendly- kinda like crime stats. Ok, bad example.....

I choose to put info in my caches, but that's just me.

What I did was inform people what TBs and GCs were, and mentioned that they are "not trade items; help them along on their missions". Trackables tend to stick around for a while, and I'll see discover logs on them, but not moves.

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If the trackable is logged as you describe, and owner can delete the logs, or ask that their trackable be locked.

 

Since this topic is about Trackable update idea's.

 

I also would like that Groundspeak would add an option to remove all those "took it to...." logs in mass. Most of those logs are added (to my feeling) automaticly. Mostly it is done by a program. And it totaly messes up the Trackable's journey. Most of the times the Trackable was a 'home' while that geocacher finds new caches that are automatic logged "took it to....". Right now if I want to delete them I need to manualy click every one of them, and also the cacher who wrote that log gets a notification I deleted it. Some people do get angry about me doing that, but at the same time I stated on my Trackable pages that I don't want automatic empty logs. And I still get them.

 

So I also would like to see these options added:

- Option to mass delete "took it to..." logs.

- Option to disble "took it to...." logs for a certain Trackable.

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So I also would like to see these options added:

- Option to mass delete "took it to..." logs.

- Option to disble "took it to...." logs for a certain Trackable.

Be careful what you wish for. If Groundspeak disables the "took it to" (visited) logs, then people will go back to dropping and retrieving the trackables, the way they used to do before "took it to" (visited) logs were introduced. So instead of 100 visited logs, you'll have 100 dropped logs and 100 retrieved logs.
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