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Pause on New Challenge Caches

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Challenge Cache Submissions Moratorium

 

Beginning April 21, 2015, a one-year moratorium is in effect on all new "challenge cache" submissions. It does not impact previously published challenge cache listings.

 

Why is a moratorium needed?

 

Challenge caches encourage cachers to set and achieve fun goals. They run the gamut from finding caches on every day of the calendar year to finding one for every Difficult/Terrain combination.

 

However, there are many aspects of challenge caches that can make them frustrating for the community. They are neither a separate cache type nor do they have a specific attribute, so the logging requirements are easily misunderstood. Challenge caches can also be very difficult to publish due to the large amount of subjectivity involved relative to other geocaches. While they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ.

 

In order to properly evaluate and fully focus on the challenge cache system, it is necessary to have a period of time that is free of new submissions.

 

What happens during the moratorium?

 

HQ will work with the community and Community Volunteer Reviewers to address shortcomings in the current system, with the goal of adding clarity and retaining what makes challenge caches so much fun for players.

 

The process starts with you. Visit the User Insights forum to tell us what you like and don't like about challenge caches currently. We'll use your feedback to create a survey that will be available later this spring. Once we've gathered data from the community, we'll get to work on building a better framework for challenge caches.

 

In the meantime, the thousands of challenge caches that already exist will still be out there, waiting for you to find them!

 

Note: The moratorium does not apply to challenge cache submissions that were enabled for review as of 12:00pm (19:00 GMT) on April 21, 2015 and met all geocaching guidelines at that time.

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In order to properly evaluate and fully focus on the challenge cache system, it is necessary to have a period of time that is free of new submissions.

I'm curious why Groundspeak feels it's necessary to stop publishing new challenge caches in order to evaluate and focus the challenge cache system. The last time changes were made to the challenge cache guidelines, no moratorium was needed. It's possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.

 

Is the number of challenge cache appeals so high that Groundspeak employees are swamped by them and unable to focus on other matters?

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We have a challenge cache in the works, just need to add attributes, parking coords, etc.

We have already been assigned a GC# for it. Does the "pause" affect it? May we complete the listing and send it to our local reviewer?

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We have a challenge cache in the works, just need to add attributes, parking coords, etc.

We have already been assigned a GC# for it. Does the "pause" affect it? May we complete the listing and send it to our local reviewer?

I just looked at your unpublished caches and I see no challenges awaiting. HQ posted a message to all potential unpublished cache to help reviewers know which ones made the deadlines and which didn't.

 

This Mystery Cache was submitted for review prior to April 21, 2015, 19:00 GMT.

 

You should not submit it as it did not make the deadline.

 

If it is listed under a different account, that could be a different answer.

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We have a challenge cache in the works, just need to add attributes, parking coords, etc.

We have already been assigned a GC# for it. Does the "pause" affect it? May we complete the listing and send it to our local reviewer?

 

The cache would need to have been enabled for review as of 12:00pm (19:00 GMT) today and met all geocaching guidelines at that time. Otherwise, the listing could not be considered for review.

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As a guess the recent thread has prompted this interest.

 

The cache has rumbled along with people enjoying it and others not ... same as any cache ... since the early years. The subject arises here ... letters to groundpeak ... and it will be changed. Preventing those that wished to ... complete it under its original format.

 

It was not grandfathered in by any regulation and so all and any of these challenges will inevitably be under threat of the FIT's ... (Forum Investigation Team).

 

By formalising any input by the community and using their own common sense they will draw a line in the sand and from there they will be formatted in such a way as to make it easier to review and protect the original format of those that already exist.

 

At a guess or as a happy outcome.

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In my opinion the frustrating part is not that thing that challenges caches does not have an own cache type or attribute or whatsever, in my opinion the frustrating part are such challenges like: find 50 T5 in 24h or have a 1000-day-streak. Yes, it's a bit exaggerated and such challenges can also be a challenge, but on the same way they are only achieved by a very small amount of cachers which prevent the majority of the geocachers from achieving them...

 

And there is another problem. The guidelines says:

"If a geocacher is required to alter their caching style or habits, [...], the geocache will not be published."

If we are honest and interpret this rule in a strict way, then 99% of all challenge caches does not comply with the guidelines.

Like my example with the 1000-day-streak: you have to find a cache every day and this is, in my opinion, an alteration of caching style/habits.

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I'm curious why Groundspeak feels it's necessary to stop publishing new challenge caches in order to evaluate and focus the challenge cache system. The last time changes were made to the challenge cache guidelines, no moratorium was needed. It's possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.
"If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging."

- Will Rogers

 

I am not a lackey, and I don't play one on TV. But my guess is that Groundspeak is envisioning changes that are more significant than editing a page in the Help Center (the challenge cache guidelines). They may end up deciding to take challenge caches in a completely different direction, in which case it makes sense to slow down how quickly we're moving in the current direction.

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We have a lot of Snow Birds (people who live here in the winter and go back to their frozen wastelands in the summer) in this area. Last year one of them started a challenge cache series, and to date the series has 41 caches. Some of them aren't so bad, requiring you to spell your geocaching name with the first letter from the title of caches you have found, etc. Most, however, can only be logged by someone who has found 10,000 or more caches, which is fine for retired people who live full time in RVs and do nothing but geocache all the time (such as the guy who started the series), but that eliminates most of us who live and cache in this area year round. A few examples from this series: 1000 caches in each of five states; black out the stats grids on your profile; 100+ Earth caches; 3 caches a day for 366 days. I can go out and find all of them at any time, but I can only log a handful of them at this point.

Edited by Nathanderthal

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A year certainly does seem like a long time and some advanced warning might have been in order...but I'm glad they appear to be seriously focusing on challenges and how they might be dealt with in the future.

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In my opinion the frustrating part is not that thing that challenges caches does not have an own cache type or attribute or whatsever ...

 

When we first started I am sure it used to. Maybe mixing it up with another thing. Our nearest was Tintagel. You had to have your photo taken with Merlin outside a shop. It was a mannequin. We had meant to do it because we wanted the cache type which was a Blue man with a red cape.

 

When you clicked on the ... challenge it said "Find a Challenge near you" and showed you a caching map with exclusively challenges on it. It passed us by ... or rather its dying gasps.

 

I guess privacy laws or whatever it is that means you no longer have to have your photo sent, put an end to challenges like that, but i see no harm in it but I do see why it changed. But it could still remain have a phot of your GPS with Merlin or whatever.

 

I liked the red cape icon thingy ... want one ... LOL it was probably nothing of the sort its just what it looked like to us.

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I'm curious why Groundspeak feels it's necessary to stop publishing new challenge caches in order to evaluate and focus the challenge cache system. The last time changes were made to the challenge cache guidelines, no moratorium was needed. It's possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.

 

It's a good question. If a simple guideline change could solve the issues that the current system presents, then we could certainly do that, as well as walk and chew gum at the same time :P

 

An analogy I heard that fits a bit better, IMHO, is you don't try to fix your car while driving down the interstate. You stop, get estimates (visit User Insights to provide yours) and make the necessary repairs. That's what we're trying to do with this moratorium period.

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... some advanced warning might have been in order

 

Any advance warning would have had the obvious results.

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When we first started I am sure it used to. Maybe mixing it up with another thing. Our nearest was Tintagel. You had to have your photo taken with Merlin outside a shop. It was a mannequin. We had meant to do it because we wanted the cache type which was a Blue man with a red cape.

 

You are mixing things up. That was the relatively short lived "Geocaching Challenges" system that Groundspeak set up, with a separate mobile app, which were not Mystery challenge geocaches*.

 

*yes, yes, I know. We were all confused. It's all better now though.

Edited by Maingray

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A year certainly does seem like a long time and some advanced warning might have been in order...but I'm glad they appear to be seriously focusing on challenges and how they might be dealt with in the future.

 

A year isn't that long at all if the chosen direction requires software changes (back-end database and/or web site).

 

Austin

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You are mixing things up. That was the relatively short lived "Geocaching Challenges" system that Groundspeak set up, with a separate mobile app, which were not Mystery challenge geocaches*.

 

*yes, yes, I know. We were all confused. It's all better now though.

 

Ah right I see. Well sounded like a good laugh. Different icon type etc There were not that many near us I remember that. One day there. The next time I looked they were gone. Merlin was gone, shop closed down lol. Forgot all about it till now. Hey lets have a blue man with a red cape icon for challenge caches! Green frog with a red cape? Red cape?

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Wellllllllllllllllllllll.

 

Frigieeee-Fraggitssssssss.

 

I agree with the sub theme of an advanced warning would have been appreciated.

 

Guideline changes, separation of Mystery Caches from Challenge Caches with separate icons for each would be a help

 

Keep the Big Blue ?-mark for "Puzzle Caches".

 

A Big Gold !-point for "Challenge Caches".

 

Dropping the hammer seems rather like slapping someone across the mouth.

 

Again, advanced warning would have been appreciated ... "just saying".

 

O.K. I will go put my Nomex suit on in preparation for the flame throwers

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So, to any Lackeys who may be reading ....

 

I can accept the premise that Groundspeak may need some time to pause and consider the world of challenge caches. (In reading the User Forum thread, I'm a bit surprised ... the "sins" that beset Challenge Caches aren't common around here, so I haven't seen the problems many other do.)

 

So, let's assume that the best of all possible outcomes happens: Groundspeak comes to a decision on the future of challenges, everybody agrees (well, okay, most everybody agrees), the technical details are worked out, the new verbiage is worked out ... and this all happens within a few months. Is Groundspeak open to lifting the moratorium earlier, if there's nothing left to be done other than sit around and wait for the clock to expire?

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Advance warning certainly would have been thoughtful and polite. I have been working on a Challenge Cache for over a year. More than 15 months ago, I sent our great Reviewer an email to see if it would fly. In the interim, I found the perfectly themed, family friendly, legal place to stash it. I purchased a themed Trackable as a First To Find prize and bought a new container, logbook, and swag to go along with everything. I then polished up my Bookmark List. I placed the container last week and have been working on making the cache page clear and attractive. There was already a cache page with a GC number issued on my account page. Although I understand why HQ did not want to give any advance notice, this is rather frustrating and disappointing to say the least. I really dont know why Im so surprised.

 

Edited to add: I forgot to mention, a friend and I cleaned up the area when placing the container.

Edited by GuentherGal

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Advance warning certainly would have been thoughtful and polite. I have been working on a Challenge Cache for over a year. More than 15 months ago, I sent our great Reviewer an email to see if it would fly. In the interim, I found the perfectly themed, family friendly, legal place to stash it. I purchased a themed Trackable as a First To Find prize and bought a new container, logbook, and swag to go along with everything. I then polished up my Bookmark List. I placed the container last week and have been working on making the cache page clear and attractive. There was already a cache page with a GC number issued on my account page. Although I understand why HQ did not want to give any advance notice, this is rather frustrating and disappointing to say the least. I really don’t know why I’m so surprised.

 

Edited to add: I forgot to mention, a friend and I cleaned up the area when placing the container.

 

Sounds like a great cache that you've worked hard on B)

 

Publish as any of the other types of cache that aren't paused and your investment pays out for everyone :D

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I have a challenge cache, GC5B2XQ Mystery Cache The Three M Challenge Cache which has not been published as it needs to be moved. Since I have a GC number, can it be published this year? I want it for our annual Mega event which is in September.

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So, let's assume that the best of all possible outcomes happens: Groundspeak comes to a decision on the future of challenges, everybody agrees (well, okay, most everybody agrees), the technical details are worked out, the new verbiage is worked out ... and this all happens within a few months. Is Groundspeak open to lifting the moratorium earlier, if there's nothing left to be done other than sit around and wait for the clock to expire?

 

Yes.

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I have a challenge cache, GC5B2XQ Mystery Cache The Three M Challenge Cache which has not been published as it needs to be moved. Since I have a GC number, can it be published this year? I want it for our annual Mega event which is in September.

 

The cache would need to have been enabled for review as of 12:00pm (19:00 GMT) today and met all geocaching guidelines at that time. Since it was not, the listing cannot be considered for review during the moratorium.

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In my opinion the frustrating part is not that thing that challenges caches does not have an own cache type or attribute or whatsever, in my opinion the frustrating part are such challenges like: find 50 T5 in 24h or have a 1000-day-streak. Yes, it's a bit exaggerated and such challenges can also be a challenge, but on the same way they are only achieved by a very small amount of cachers which prevent the majority of the geocachers from achieving them...And there is another problem. The guidelines says:"If a geocacher is required to alter their caching style or habits, [...], the geocache will not be published."If we are honest and interpret this rule in a strict way, then 99% of all challenge caches does not comply with the guidelines.Like my example with the 1000-day-streak: you have to find a cache every day and this is, in my opinion, an alteration of caching style/habits.

 

You do not have to alter anything. If I see a Challenge I do not find interesting, I just don't do it. I really don't care if there's a 1000 day streak cache down the street from my house. Why do people feel they need to find everything out there. There are plenty of lamp post caches around here that I dislike even more. I don't sit here and bitch about them. I simply ignore them.

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So HQ posts at 11:00 and says the moratorium goes into place an hour later.

 

They say timing is everything, and in this case, this is poor.

 

I had 2 Challenge Cache hides ready to go for publication tonight, and now BOTH have been denied. I also had a series of 15 Challenge Hides I was working out the details with my local reviewer on (all spelling themed), and was looking to add them to the landscape for the summer season. Now those will have to sit for a year while Groundspeak "looks into" some new rules.

 

I see the future being that they will DISALLOW any Challenge Geocaching hides.

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Is this an inappropriate location to shill for the Challenge Stars feature?

 

Not inappropriate, but it'd be more effective within an answer to the User Insights questions.

 

That's what I did, although my suggestion was just to decouple the completion of challenges/achievments from finding and logging an additional geocache. I didn't get into specifics regarding how that could be implemented but there have been some good discussions in the past that have considered some alternatives.

 

 

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You do not have to alter anything. If I see a Challenge I do not find interesting, I just don't do it. I really don't care if there's a 1000 day streak cache down the street from my house. Why do people feel they need to find everything out there. There are plenty of lamp post caches around here that I dislike even more. I don't sit here and bitch about them. I simply ignore them.

Uncle Fuzzy for mother loving president!

 

I had a California Historical Landmarks in Kern County Challenge I was half way done doing the coding on (similar to this beast, but much smaller). Well it looks like I will just have to publish it off of Groundspeak and we can work on it until I can publish it again. Oh well.

Edited by elrojo14

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Although I am a big fan of challenge caches, I think this moratorium is a good thing. Recently there seems to be a race to the bottom to see who can place the most mind-numbingly stupid challenge.

 

In one respect, challenge caches are like other mystery caches: a good one is very, very good, but a bad one is very, very bad. Unfortunately, the number of bad ones I have seen pop up recently has vastly out numbered the good ones.

 

I really hope that something can be worked out. For the short term, it's no big deal; if no new challenges are allowed, there are still enough out there to keep everyone busy for a while. But eventually, if new challenges are not allowed, and nothing fun appears to replace them, I'll get bored and wander off.

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Although I am a big fan of challenge caches, I think this moratorium is a good thing. Recently there seems to be a race to the bottom to see who can place the most mind-numbingly stupid challenge.

 

In one respect, challenge caches are like other mystery caches: a good one is very, very good, but a bad one is very, very bad. Unfortunately, the number of bad ones I have seen pop up recently has vastly out numbered the good ones.

 

I really hope that something can be worked out. For the short term, it's no big deal; if no new challenges are allowed, there are still enough out there to keep everyone busy for a while. But eventually, if new challenges are not allowed, and nothing fun appears to replace them, I'll get bored and wander off.

 

Just curious, what's a bad one?

 

There's some I like some I don't but doesn't mean others won't.

Edited by Roman!

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We have an interesting Facebook discussion going on about this and I wasn't aware how many people despise challenge caches. I think the moratorium might be a good thing. Figure out a new way to handle it and see about saving the good and eliminating the bad about challenges. I look forward to it.

 

I just think it was a big shock is the main thing. However, I see it is a positive even though I was right smack dab in the middle of working on publishing a challenge cache at the time.

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An analogy I heard that fits a bit better, IMHO, is you don't try to fix your car while driving down the interstate. You stop, get estimates (visit User Insights to provide yours) and make the necessary repairs. That's what we're trying to do with this moratorium period.
Some people have no sense of adventure... ;)

 

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So HQ posts at 11:00 and says the moratorium goes into place an hour later.

 

They say timing is everything, and in this case, this is poor.

 

I had 2 Challenge Cache hides ready to go for publication tonight, and now BOTH have been denied. I also had a series of 15 Challenge Hides I was working out the details with my local reviewer on (all spelling themed), and was looking to add them to the landscape for the summer season. Now those will have to sit for a year while Groundspeak "looks into" some new rules.

 

I see the future being that they will DISALLOW any Challenge Geocaching hides.

 

I'm sure that is disappointing to you, and I'm also certain that you're not alone. But what else are they going to do? Any more advance notice would have simply had a whole bunch of people trying to submit their ideas at the last minute, deluging the reviewers.

 

I really don't believe your fear of disallowing them is warranted, although that would be my desire. No... they are too popular for Groundspeak to ban them. I'm sure they are simply trying to arrive at a set of cohesive boundaries. Maybe that will work, maybe it won't, but at least I'm glad to see them recognizing the problems and trying to fix them.

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Advance warning certainly would have been thoughtful and polite.

 

I'm going to disagree because it would have lead to a complete flood of new ones being submitted to beat the deadline.

 

I think we can all (or most of us) agree that stuff like county challenges, Delorme challenges, fizzy grids, and perhaps some others traditional challenges should be allowed. But even that, then GS is having to walk a fine line, which they found out with virtual caches doesn't work out.

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... some advanced warning might have been in order

 

Any advance warning would have had the obvious results.

 

Advance warning certainly would have been thoughtful and polite. ....

 

...There was already a cache page with a GC number issued on my account page.

 

 

I can certainly see that too much of a warning could lead to abuse but it would seem to me that any challenge cache that already has a GC# issued could be allowed to be finished and published.

 

I'm not much of a

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So HQ posts at 11:00 and says the moratorium goes into place an hour later.

 

They say timing is everything, and in this case, this is poor.

 

I had 2 Challenge Cache hides ready to go for publication tonight, and now BOTH have been denied. I also had a series of 15 Challenge Hides I was working out the details with my local reviewer on (all spelling themed), and was looking to add them to the landscape for the summer season. Now those will have to sit for a year while Groundspeak "looks into" some new rules.

 

I see the future being that they will DISALLOW any Challenge Geocaching hides.

 

I'm sure that is disappointing to you, and I'm also certain that you're not alone. But what else are they going to do? Any more advance notice would have simply had a whole bunch of people trying to submit their ideas at the last minute, deluging the reviewers.

 

I really don't believe your fear of disallowing them is warranted, although that would be my desire. No... they are too popular for Groundspeak to ban them. I'm sure they are simply trying to arrive at a set of cohesive boundaries. Maybe that will work, maybe it won't, but at least I'm glad to see them recognizing the problems and trying to fix them.

 

They could have cut it off at a GC code so any in the works could still be published, wondering how many containers were already place that will now turn into geotrash.

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Recently there seems to be a race to the bottom to see who can place the most mind-numbingly stupid challenge.

 

Very succinctly put. Reminiscent of the waning days of virtuals?

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They could have cut it off at a GC code so any in the works could still be published, wondering how many containers were already place that will now turn into geotrash.

 

Why would those containers turn into geotrash? Did the hiders never intend to maintain their cache? When one submits a cache they agree to a maintenance plan.

That guilt trip should be laid on the hider, not on Groundspeak.

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They could have cut it off at a GC code so any in the works could still be published, wondering how many containers were already place that will now turn into geotrash.

 

Why would those containers turn into geotrash? Did the hiders never intend to maintain their cache? When one submits a cache they agree to a maintenance plan.

That guilt trip should be laid on the hider, not on Groundspeak.

 

I could see a lot of people being frustrated and just saying to heck with it, I could be wrong and every cacher that now has a defunct challenge cache either republished it as another type or picks up the container.

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I for one am extremely disappointed by this decision. I guess I just don't get it. If you don't like a cache, then skip it. Put it on an ignore list, don't go for it, whatever you need to do. But why spoil the fun for those of us who enjoy a challenge, even an absurd one. As a CO of many challenges this is pretty disappointing. I generally attempt to make my challenges like my other caches, fun and hopefully worthy of a fav. point. Yeah, some challenges I see are not my cup of tea, but banning all of them seems like throw the baby out with the bath water.

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Well needed. It was getting out of control.

 

PnG Trail of 100 Challenge Caches:

https://www.geocachi...-80.941333&z=12

 

Screen shots of power trail challenge caches in my area:

 

647b842c-d72d-438a-b0a4-1e60cf72ceb4_l.gif

 

abad053d-f68c-4e51-90ba-53c0f2a3da1d_l.png

 

What is wrong with that? I personally would love to sign all of those and then have something to work for over the next several months as I cache. You know, you can skip them if you don't want to go for them?

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Although I am a big fan of challenge caches, I think this moratorium is a good thing. Recently there seems to be a race to the bottom to see who can place the most mind-numbingly stupid challenge.

 

Here in Florida, we have an old trio challenge caches maintained by Reviewers: North Florida Challenge Quest, South Florida Challenge Quest, and Final Florida Challenge Quest. They were county challenges; you could only get the Final Florida Challenge Quest by finding caches in all 67 Florida counties. This lead to many interesting trips to parts of the state I had literally never visited. It really like a major accomplishment.

 

Isn't that what geocaching is about? To bring you to new places and to take you on adventures? Is searching through your Finds on GSAK trying to find how many caches you've found with amphibian names so you can qualify for a LPC really what our hobby is about?

 

Of course, some folks would spend a weekend to get most of the state (particularly South Floridians who needed to the panhandle counties), stopping for just one cache in each county before moving on to the next one. I guess that is another kind of adventure. Sort of like seeing how fast you can hike the AT...

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I for one am extremely disappointed by this decision. I guess I just don't get it. If you don't like a cache, then skip it. Put it on an ignore list, don't go for it, whatever you need to do. But why spoil the fun for those of us who enjoy a challenge, even an absurd one. As a CO of many challenges this is pretty disappointing. I generally attempt to make my challenges like my other caches, fun and hopefully worthy of a fav. point. Yeah, some challenges I see are not my cup of tea, but banning all of them seems like throw the baby out with the bath water.

Who's throwing out the baby? A year-long moratorium on NEW challenge caches while they work some things out isn't "banning all of them."

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I for one am extremely disappointed by this decision. I guess I just don't get it. If you don't like a cache, then skip it. Put it on an ignore list, don't go for it, whatever you need to do. But why spoil the fun for those of us who enjoy a challenge, even an absurd one. As a CO of many challenges this is pretty disappointing. I generally attempt to make my challenges like my other caches, fun and hopefully worthy of a fav. point. Yeah, some challenges I see are not my cup of tea, but banning all of them seems like throw the baby out with the bath water.

Who's throwing out the baby? A year-long moratorium on NEW challenge caches while they work some things out isn't "banning all of them."

+1

- And a Lackey in this forum said it might not even be a year (post #25).

Edited by cerberus1

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