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Pause on New Challenge Caches

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Many of the challenge caches I've found were a massive anti-climax given the effort that went into qualifying to be allowed to log them.

 

With a slight change in language (substituting qualifying for solving, finding, or other words), this is equally true with many of the puzzles, many of the multis, many of the traditionals, many of the wherigos, and many of the letterboxes. But there are many reasons why that is so, and why it may be true with some challenges.

 

It's worth remembering of course that I was talking about my experience so I don't really understand where your comment fits in that context :unsure:

 

On that basis, the slight change of language you suggest would make no difference at all - of the caches I've found that I felt were a poor reward for the effort required in order to be allowed to log them, the vast majority of them / the ones with the greatest imbalance were challenge caches.

 

I was simply comparing your experience with my own. Your experience is yours. My experience is mine. If it is left with that, the discussion would end - perhaps it should. I simply would not identify that experience as something unique to challenges that should affect whatever Groundspeak chooses to do after the moratorium is over.

 

There are many challenges that I have found that I probably would not have looked for except for the challenge involved. And there are many other types of caches that require a significant investment in time or energy, where the cache itself ends up just being more of the same - the puzzles with a magnetic box or a nano container, the wherigos with a nondescript hanger, the bison tube at the end of a trail, a letterbox hybrid with a store bought stamp in a parking lot at the end of a long series of clues.

 

With many of the special icon caches, it often seems to me that somebody was trying to make a nondescript hide a little more interesting or that they considered the challenge, puzzle, or whatever else that was required to make the find to be the reason for its existence.

 

From my experience (which is the only thing I can write about), I would not describe the problem as something that affects challenges more than puzzles or other cache types. And some may not consider it to be a problem if they believe the the reward was in the underlying work, rather than in signing a log. I suppose that depends on how much a person likes completing challenge qualifications, solving a puzzle, or completing a Wherigo cartridge. For some, that is enough and signing the log in a nondescript container is not the climatic moment and has nothing to do with their overall enjoyment of the challenge.

 

As always, your experience may vary.

Edited by geodarts

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Many of the challenge caches I've found were a massive anti-climax given the effort that went into qualifying to be allowed to log them.

 

With a slight change in language (substituting qualifying for solving, finding, or other words), this is equally true with many of the puzzles, many of the multis, many of the traditionals, many of the wherigos, and many of the letterboxes. But there are many reasons why that is so, and why it may be true with some challenges.

 

It's worth remembering of course that I was talking about my experience so I don't really understand where your comment fits in that context :unsure:

 

On that basis, the slight change of language you suggest would make no difference at all - of the caches I've found that I felt were a poor reward for the effort required in order to be allowed to log them, the vast majority of them / the ones with the greatest imbalance were challenge caches.

 

I was simply comparing your experience with my own.

 

I guess the fact you failed to mention that and then went on to generalise to the degree that you did made me think that your intent was really just to somehow discredit my experience as something with no value that you think Groundspeak should pay no heed <_<

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Less fun for cache owners of quality caches. Often their caches don't merit more then a cut n paste log from power ,trying to qualify for challenges.

As I understand your argument, you believe "most" challenge caches require people to find lots of caches in a single day. And many of these power cachers will copy and paste their logs for all the caches they find that day, including quality caches.

The argument that *I* think she was trying to present is that there is a strong correlation between challenge caches and the numbers mentality.

Yes. Thank you NYPaddleCacher. The correlation between CCs and the numbers mentality. And between the numbers mentality and cache quality.

 

Based on experience with my own cache hides, there is a strong correlation between challenge caches and the numbers mentality. The numbers mentality effects quality cache ownership because quality caches get treated like their worth is as a stepping stone to qualify for a more covetted challenge cache.

Do you hide your caches under a different user name? Are your quality caches hidden near power trails? We own several quality caches, and they rarely receive cut-and-paste logs. But none of ours are near power trails. They sometimes receive the occasional "TFTC" logs, but I don't feel cache ownership entitles me to long, unique logs (although they certainly are nice to receive). I'm just happy that people are finding our caches regardless of how they opt to log them. I also know some geocachers will use cut-and-paste logs whether they find two caches or 200 caches in a day. Maybe there are more of those kinds of geocachers in your area.

 

Often the covetted challenge cache, at least the CCs I've found, is a bison tube with a moldy scrap of paper. The cache part of geocache is becoming meaningless. The important part is the smiley, the D/T rate, the cache type, the attributes. The emphasis is on numbers and not on cache quality.

If you want to get rid of crappy caches, then you should petition Groundspeak to ban traditional caches. I've found lots of traditionals and lots of challenge caches. Of those finds, a lot more (both numbers and percentages) traditionals were crappy than challenges. Again, maybe it's a regional thing.

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I guess the fact you failed to mention that and then went on to generalise to the degree that you did made me think that your intent was really just to somehow discredit my experience as something with no value that you think Groundspeak should pay no heed <_<

 

I may disagree with people's conclusions or opinions but do not intentionally discredit their experience. I had originally written "I have found" after each example I cited, but decided to move that to the end of the list - somehow that did not happen. Perhaps it was around the time that the carbon monoxide alarms in my house went off.

 

Since I have never conducted a comprehensive analysis, anything I say along these lines is simply my experience, what I have found. And I am more than willing to acknowledge that my interests in this game are not typical.

 

I assume that Groundspeak is doing a survey because we have different experiences and different opinions. If Groundspeak based this game on my opinions, it would be far different, so I am not sure who they heed. But it might as well be you if it is not me.

Edited by geodarts

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Too bad Groundspeak didn't give virtual, webcam and locationless caches a "survey". It's pretty simple really, just add challenge caches to that group. Over and out.

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I've never been comfortable with challenge caches being of the "Traditional with ALR" type. I feel that there would be a lot more satisfaction if you only got the coordinates when you've achieved the challenge qualification. So I'm saying that they should be Mystery caches (or something similar).

 

Of course, there is a problem in that the cache owner would have to message you the coordinates after checking your claim to qualifying - before you set out to claim the find. So you could be stuck for a while waiting for a response, and cache owners might be under pressure to respond quickly.

 

As there seems to be an inclination to only allow challenges that lend themselves to an auto-checker, this would cover the admin problem. In any case, if the qualification is more complicated (or if a checker cannot be added), challenge caches have always required CO response.

 

The advantage of the cache location being unknown is that you are less likely to have people logging the cache in the field and then finding later that their online log has been disallowed because they misunderstood the requirement.

 

I'd advocate a new cache type so that it's clear that the coordinates are available only to those who qualify.

Edited by Happy Humphrey

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Of course, there is a problem in that the cache owner would have to message you the coordinates after checking your claim to qualifying - before you set out to claim the find. So you could be stuck for a while waiting for a response, and cache owners might be under pressure to respond quickly.

 

 

One of the suggestions on the survey is that every challenge cache must include a challenge checker, if that was enforced then it would then be possible to have the checker provide the co-ords automatically once it's verified your qualification. I'm not sure GS would want to put the work into writing it though, and relying on a third party (project-gc etc.) would be undesirable.

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I feel that there would be a lot more satisfaction if you only got the coordinates when you've achieved the challenge qualification. So I'm saying that they should be Mystery caches (or something similar).

 

Within days the coordinates would be passed around, just like many mystery solutions and multi finals. It won't work.

In Belgium all of my remaining unfound challenges (109) ARE mysteries. All my found (66) challenges are Mysteries too.

 

BTW, all CO's have fulfilled the requirements for their own challenge(s) too.

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Within days the coordinates would be passed around, just like many mystery solutions and multi finals. It won't work.

In Belgium all of my remaining unfound challenges (109) ARE mysteries. All my found (66) challenges are Mysteries too.

That's a problem with Unknown and Multi caches in general, not so much challenge caches. With a normal Mystery cache you can't tell whether the find included solving the puzzle, with a challenge the CO can check.

 

The point still stands that it eliminates the complaint from a cacher who went to some trouble to find a challenge cache, only to discover later that it was a wasted journey as the log was deleted due to non-qualifying.

 

If the cacher only logged the cache after getting the coordinates illegally then they either qualified anyway (in which case the check is done retrospectively and the log left to stand), or they didn't qualify (and the CO can then justifiably delete the bogus log). All the CO has to do is check whether the new Found It log was preceded by a "go ahead" message - if not, then the qualification check can be applied and the log left or deleted.

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Setting aside the difficulty of managing a system with automated checkers, IF challenge caches required checkers, then it would solve multiple things:

* CO doesn't need to verify qualifications

* Coordinates can be provided on verification

* People who get coordinates without qualifying can't post the Find anyway until the checker confirms qualification

 

But there are problems with requiring automated checkers:

* Who creates the checkers?

* How complex/flexible should the checker system be?

* Outsource to a third party (PGC)? Require COs to create their own? Build an internal stats checker module with all the necessary UI flexibility and friendliness for user creation?

* Auto-checkers would be ridiculously complicated to create and retain the near limitless ideas for viable challenges people have already created. Else it would be a relatively very limited system.

 

If we assume that challenges return and a checker is required, in some manner, then really hiding the coordinates would be unnecessary anyway. If COs are required to create them, challenges may be slower and fewer to publish (not necessarily a BAD thing in and of itself, since the ones that do would, in theory, be more intentional, streamlined/better, ymmv). But if there's a checker, then the CO also has a way to verify qualifications, anyway, as they currently should do. So if the coordinates are hidden, sure people can get them without qualifying and attempt to post a find, but the CO can check and remove the log (as currently), so hiding coordinates until qualification seems extraneous.

 

Really, requiring a checker would be the only new thing of value; the tradeoff being most likely fewer challenge caches getting published by COs who couldn't be bothered to use or create (or get someone to create) one.

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I've never been comfortable with challenge caches being of the "Traditional with ALR" type. I feel that there would be a lot more satisfaction if you only got the coordinates when you've achieved the challenge qualification. So I'm saying that they should be Mystery caches (or something similar).

 

Of course, there is a problem in that the cache owner would have to message you the coordinates after checking your claim to qualifying - before you set out to claim the find. So you could be stuck for a while waiting for a response, and cache owners might be under pressure to respond quickly.

What you describe is how challenges used to be handled - qualify and CO sends you the co-ords. That was changed as some CO's were missing/slow to respond and/or the delay between qualifiny and getting the co-ords made it arkward to complete some challenges.

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If we assume that challenges return and a checker is required, in some manner, then really hiding the coordinates would be unnecessary anyway. If COs are required to create them, challenges may be slower and fewer to publish (not necessarily a BAD thing in and of itself, since the ones that do would, in theory, be more intentional, streamlined/better, ymmv). But if there's a checker, then the CO also has a way to verify qualifications, anyway, as they currently should do. So if the coordinates are hidden, sure people can get them without qualifying and attempt to post a find, but the CO can check and remove the log (as currently), so hiding coordinates until qualification seems extraneous.

Could not the same argument be made about puzzle caches? Why hide the co-ords since there are checkers to see if they've solved the puzzle?

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There are two advantages to hiding coordinates until qualification is achieved.

 

1. If you travel to the cache, it's in the knowledge that the journey won't be wasted as you already know that you've qualified (I know that you could check with the CO first, but sometimes people misunderstand the challenge and think that they are sure to qualify when in fact they might be years away from getting the qualification).

 

2. It then fits with the Treasure Hunt aspect of geocaching, in that you don't get the "treasure map" until you deserve it. Which is more fun than being able to look at the treasure but having an artificial rule that prevents you collecting it.

 

thebruce0 makes some good points about the problems with checkers, and I doubt that it would be feasible to insist that new challenge caches must have a checker.

So if the checking is manual to some extent there could be a delay before you have coordinates, as The Jester warns.

 

I don't think that is a disaster; you'd just have to take that into account. If the qualification was very onerous you might want to sound out the CO before wasting too much time on it. The new messaging system should help with that, and perhaps new Challenge owners should be told to encourage prospective qualifiers to get in touch before spending serious time on the challenge. If it takes them a month to respond to your initial enquiry you might want to build a long delay into your plans.

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There are two advantages to hiding coordinates until qualification is achieved.

 

1. If you travel to the cache, it's in the knowledge that the journey won't be wasted as you already know that you've qualified (I know that you could check with the CO first, but sometimes people misunderstand the challenge and think that they are sure to qualify when in fact they might be years away from getting the qualification).

 

2. It then fits with the Treasure Hunt aspect of geocaching, in that you don't get the "treasure map" until you deserve it. Which is more fun than being able to look at the treasure but having an artificial rule that prevents you collecting it.

 

thebruce0 makes some good points about the problems with checkers, and I doubt that it would be feasible to insist that new challenge caches must have a checker.

So if the checking is manual to some extent there could be a delay before you have coordinates, as The Jester warns.

 

I don't think that is a disaster; you'd just have to take that into account. If the qualification was very onerous you might want to sound out the CO before wasting too much time on it. The new messaging system should help with that, and perhaps new Challenge owners should be told to encourage prospective qualifiers to get in touch before spending serious time on the challenge. If it takes them a month to respond to your initial enquiry you might want to build a long delay into your plans.

 

Let's see. I am working on the Pennsylvania All-County Challenge. (For want of anything else to do...) I'm in North Jersey, so the final is about 290 miles by GPS. I have finds in 31 of 67 counties. I'm planning a trip for State Game Land #109 next year, so I may pick up another 15 counties. Several more trips in the future to clear out more of the Commonwealth. But, the final trip will include clearing out some counties in SWPA. (May be a ways off...) Fortunately, the COs have updated the coords to the actual location, and I won't have to submit a list to get the final coords. I will submit the bookmark list upon my arrival back at the Dolphinarium. If I err, that's my problem. But I won't have to wait in a motel room for the COs to send me the final coords. Otherwise, I would not bother with the Challenge.

I need three counties for the Maine County Challenge. With my sister's help, I should have no problem with that next year. Though I do think we have to notify the CO when we will be getting to the final. I will ignore the New Hampshire County Challenge, since it requires three different types of caches in each county. Not worth my effort.

So: Yes. I appreciate having the final coords. I just have to make sure I qualify.

The PA DeLorme is a different story, since it will not accept the caches that I have used for the Pennsylvania All-County Challenge. Though I am going for two caches per county. We'll see how that works out when and if I find the Pennsylvania All-County Challenge. But it would be very difficult to get a checker that ignores the caches I used for the Pennsylvania All-County Challenge. Oh, well.

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If we assume that challenges return and a checker is required, in some manner, then really hiding the coordinates would be unnecessary anyway. If COs are required to create them, challenges may be slower and fewer to publish (not necessarily a BAD thing in and of itself, since the ones that do would, in theory, be more intentional, streamlined/better, ymmv). But if there's a checker, then the CO also has a way to verify qualifications, anyway, as they currently should do. So if the coordinates are hidden, sure people can get them without qualifying and attempt to post a find, but the CO can check and remove the log (as currently), so hiding coordinates until qualification seems extraneous.

Could not the same argument be made about puzzle caches? Why hide the co-ords since there are checkers to see if they've solved the puzzle?

Because the answer to the puzzle is the coordinates. Why make a puzzle in order to solve coordinates when the coordinates are already solved?

The "answer" to qualifying isn't coordinates, it's the right to log. Whether coordinates are hidden or not, qualifying has nothing to do with the coordinates themselves.

Going backwards, not hiding coordinates for a challenge doesn't "ruin" the challenge, certainly not in the same way that giving the answer to a puzzle "ruins" the puzzle (even if you can ignore the answer; which is sort of useless in caching since the answer is the posted coordinates and the goal is to locate the cache, as opposed to say working on a puzzle in a book where the answer is located at the back and the goal is merely to solve the puzzle)

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If we assume that challenges return and a checker is required, in some manner, then really hiding the coordinates would be unnecessary anyway. If COs are required to create them, challenges may be slower and fewer to publish (not necessarily a BAD thing in and of itself, since the ones that do would, in theory, be more intentional, streamlined/better, ymmv). But if there's a checker, then the CO also has a way to verify qualifications, anyway, as they currently should do. So if the coordinates are hidden, sure people can get them without qualifying and attempt to post a find, but the CO can check and remove the log (as currently), so hiding coordinates until qualification seems extraneous.

Could not the same argument be made about puzzle caches? Why hide the co-ords since there are checkers to see if they've solved the puzzle?

Because the answer to the puzzle is the coordinates. Why make a puzzle in order to solve coordinates when the coordinates are already solved?

The "answer" to qualifying isn't coordinates, it's the right to log. Whether coordinates are hidden or not, qualifying has nothing to do with the coordinates themselves.

But orginally aualifying did get you the co-ords - and that was changed for reasons listed above - so why not change puzzles the same way? You wouldn't be able to log the puzzle cache until you had the right answer in the checker. Take the Challenge Stars idea and add Puzzle Stars also, so the find and puzzle sections are two different things. (I am being foolish here, it's my nature. :rolleyes: ) But maybe the thing is to change the way challenges are viewed, more like a puzzle cache where the 'qualifying requirements' are the 'puzzle'.

 

Going backwards, not hiding coordinates for a challenge doesn't "ruin" the challenge, certainly not in the same way that giving the answer to a puzzle "ruins" the puzzle (even if you can ignore the answer; which is sort of useless in caching since the answer is the posted coordinates and the goal is to locate the cache, as opposed to say working on a puzzle in a book where the answer is located at the back and the goal is merely to solve the puzzle)

When the change for challenge caches happened, some did think it 'ruined' the challenge, as the final was revealed (just as you say puzzles would be ruined). But we adapted and now have the problem of people wanting to find the cache without qualifying and complaining that they can't.

 

I don't think an auto-checker for challenges would work well. Too much scraping of the database for GS to accept I think. And how do we know what the next challenge might be, so how do we develop a checker that can look at everything? And I would hate to have to be limited to only the type challenges available now, during my last trip across country (Sept-Nov) I got my triple Jasmer but I don't know of any challenge caches (one un-official) for the triple. Doubles are around, but I haven't seen any triples. And with time more and more people will get to that level and desire challenges for it.

 

I suppose a new section of the API could be developed to return parts of the stats page, but I'm sure not all challenges could use just that info. I know my Washington History Challenge needs more.

Edited by The Jester

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Because the answer to the puzzle is the coordinates. Why make a puzzle in order to solve coordinates when the coordinates are already solved?

The "answer" to qualifying isn't coordinates, it's the right to log. Whether coordinates are hidden or not, qualifying has nothing to do with the coordinates themselves.

But orginally aualifying did get you the co-ords - and that was changed for reasons listed above - so why not change puzzles the same way?

Nono, you missed the point: The answer to the puzzle IS the coordinates. The whole point to solving the puzzle is to determine coordinates. Showing the coordinates front and center makes the puzzle pointless. For a challenge, the coordinates are irrelevant to the task of qualification. Yes, the reward for qualification would be receiving coordinates, but you don't ruin the task itself by having coordinates. You still need to qualify.

 

You wouldn't be able to log the puzzle cache until you had the right answer in the checker.

That however would classify as an ALR. If you have the coordinates - in any manner - and you sign the physical logsheet, then you've legitimately "Found" the cache. If you specifically require a green light on a puzzle checker, then you've just created a challenge cache where the qualification (to post the Find) is to solve the puzzle, as opposed to merely signing the physical logsheet.

 

Take the Challenge Stars idea and add Puzzle Stars also, so the find and puzzle sections are two different things. (I am being foolish here, it's my nature. :rolleyes: ) But maybe the thing is to change the way challenges are viewed, more like a puzzle cache where the 'qualifying requirements' are the 'puzzle'.

Again, essentially pointless since coordinates can be handed around to skip the puzzle. Or there's group caching where only one person has the coordinates. Not being allowed an ALR, all Find logs would count. Or if there is a puzzle ALR then the group can all log it found if the one person gives them all the answer. Not so with a challenge - it has to be verifiable in some manner for each individual account. Puzzles really are nothing like challenges when it comes to class of Mystery cachetype, because again, the challenge is entirely an ALR unrelated to the cache location whereas the puzzle is specifically used towards determining the location of the cache and logsheet for physical signing.

 

When the change for challenge caches happened, some did think it 'ruined' the challenge, as the final was revealed (just as you say puzzles would be ruined).

No, again, because the puzzle itself is only ruined by having the coordinates. "The answer is 4. Now solve 2+2 to see the answer." Just doesn't make sense. What was ruined by the providing challenge cache coordinates was not the qualification - that still had to happen. It was merely that the CO didn't want people finding the physical cache before qualifying (some COs still want it to happen in that order, but it's unenforceable). Qualifying is completely unrelated to determining coordinates via solving a puzzle.

 

Now, perhaps they could make puzzle solving an ALR. In theory, the puzzle doesn't have to provide the coordinates - you just have put the correct answer in the checker, have it connected to your account to record that you solved it, then the checker can provide the actual coordaintes; then when you post the Find after signing the log the CO can check that you entered the right answer (not necessarily solved the puzzle). That makes puzzle caches into an ALR - basically a very easy challenge cache (but not based on caching statistics, rather a new account metric - green-lit puzzles).

Yeah... I highly doubt that's going to be developed ;)

 

But we adapted and now have the problem of people wanting to find the cache without qualifying and complaining that they can't.

That sentence also works if they aren't given the challenge cache coordinates ;)

Doesn't work as well for puzzles. Since they can locate and log the Find on a cache without solving the puzzle.

 

I don't think an auto-checker for challenges would work well. Too much scraping of the database for GS to accept I think. And how do we know what the next challenge might be, so how do we develop a checker that can look at everything? And I would hate to have to be limited to only the type challenges available now, during my last trip across country (Sept-Nov) I got my triple Jasmer but I don't know of any challenge caches (one un-official) for the triple. Doubles are around, but I haven't seen any triples. And with time more and more people will get to that level and desire challenges for it.

Agreed. I don't think requiring a checker on every challenge will really work towards any resolution (except maybe reducing challenge cache submissions) unless GS really wants to dig deep for funds for R&D and development, either for hardware or web development for the new system.

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Agreed. I don't think requiring a checker on every challenge will really work towards any resolution (except maybe reducing challenge cache submissions) unless GS really wants to dig deep for funds for R&D and development, either for hardware or web development for the new system.

Now that's funny. 19 pages of discussion about what might be the problems and how to solve these, although the only information we've got is "this cache type causes more workload for GS and the reviewers than any other". GS doesn't even provide a puzzle checker, which is trivial compared to a CC checker. But sure, they are going to throw lots of money on "research and development and development" to reduce the workload.

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That's cuz a lot of those 19 pages are all "This is a problem" "No it's not" :P:drama:

Edited by thebruce0

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I would like to create a series of caches of about 6, and at each cache there is a letter corresponding with a number. When you find all 6 caches you have the coordinates to the final mystery cache. Is this considered a challenge cache? I would hope not as those are my absolute favorite!

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No it's not - it can be either a multi or an individual 'bonus' mystery cache where you have to find the 6 trads first.

Right, and technically, again, that's the thing. You can't require people to find (as in post Find logs) on the other caches in the series. But you can hide the components to the 'bonus' cache in those 6 other caches, so there's really no reason for them not to log them as found. But they could just find the components and then find the bonus/final cache of the series. I think that's why GS prefers the term 'bonus' instead of 'final', as the latter implies you have to find the rest first, while the former implies you can find it independent of the others if you wish.

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Take the Challenge Stars idea and add Puzzle Stars also, so the find and puzzle sections are two different things. (I am being foolish here, it's my nature. :rolleyes: ) But maybe the thing is to change the way challenges are viewed, more like a puzzle cache where the 'qualifying requirements' are the 'puzzle'.

Again, essentially pointless since coordinates can be handed around to skip the puzzle. Or there's group caching where only one person has the coordinates. Not being allowed an ALR, all Find logs would count. Or if there is a puzzle ALR then the group can all log it found if the one person gives them all the answer. Not so with a challenge - it has to be verifiable in some manner for each individual account. Puzzles really are nothing like challenges when it comes to class of Mystery cachetype, because again, the challenge is entirely an ALR unrelated to the cache location whereas the puzzle is specifically used towards determining the location of the cache and logsheet for physical signing.

Not at all pointless. With Puzzle Stars those that don't like puzzles get their smiley, those that want to solve puzzles get their puzzle stat (or whatever you call it). As the proponants of the Challenge Stars say "win-win." And since the co-ords for the container are known, who cares about passing them around.

 

You are great one to propose change to challenge caches, but are resistant to change any thinking about puzzles. Interesting.

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Not at all pointless. With Puzzle Stars those that don't like puzzles get their smiley, those that want to solve puzzles get their puzzle stat (or whatever you call it). As the proponants of the Challenge Stars say "win-win." And since the co-ords for the container are known, who cares about passing them around.

 

You are great one to propose change to challenge caches, but are resistant to change any thinking about puzzles. Interesting.

I'm not "resistant to change any thinking about puzzles". Interesting indeed how you attempt to word it that way.

What I don't see is how it [requiring a puzzle checker validation to post a find] would objectively serve any practical purpose. I know you would say that same thing about challenge stars and that's fine - I'm not talking about challenge stars. I'm talking here about the fundamental difference between coordinates - location of the cache - and qualification.

 

I did say that it would be interesting if caches could have puzzles with any answer (keyword input, that sort of thing, which btw has already also been tried) where a checker would provide some form of reward (whether stars or cache coordinates - the latter is actually fairly common already, hiding clues, hints, directions, additional stages, in coordinate checker responses), but the idea of showing the posted coordinates where they are themselves the answer to the presented cache puzzle seem completely pointless and impractical (when it's a legitimate puzzle intended to obfuscate the cache location and not that trick where the puzzle is that the posted coordinates are the true coordinates -- this is all in the context of requiring a green light in order to Log the Find). And that situation is completely different than qualification for a challenge which has nothing to do with determining the location of the cache.

 

Here are the points I'm talking about, objectively unless disclaimed otherwise, or unless proven otherwise:

1) Hiding cache coordinates for a challenge won't guarantee or force people to qualify before finding the cache

2) Hiding cache coordinates or not has zero impact on qualifying for a challenge, unlike how plastering the answer to a puzzle has a relation to solving the puzzle. The former happens apart from locating the cache in the form of an ALR for posting the Find Log, the latter is all directly related to locating the cache.

3) Hiding cache coordinates for a puzzle and requiring a checker for solution validation in order to log the find online would in my estimation be an impractical methodology.

4) I'd be all for puzzle stars if Groundspeak wants to develop a system that allows COs to rate their own puzzle difficulty or rewards correct puzzle solutions, however I feel that it would be blatantly wasted development resources because it's impractical in that entering the puzzle solution to get the stars becomes cake if the answer is passed around. Your Mystery and Multi cache find counts, maybe Field puzzle attribute count, is as close as that's going to get. Whereas, qualification requires cacher activity and statistical verification above and beyond finding the host geocache. The difference between puzzles and challenges is night and day. But hey, if you want to propose puzzle stars, start a thread and let's discuss the merits and see if there's a feasible way for that system to be developed. Really. :antenna: Or don't. Your choice.

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So does anyone know where Groundspeak stands at this point on Challenge caches?

 

Are we going to be able to create new ones again?

Are they going to be something people can make?

Or are they still considering creating something that is a challenge cache with some guidelines?

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So does anyone know where Groundspeak stands at this point on Challenge caches?

 

Are we going to be able to create new ones again?

Are they going to be something people can make?

Or are they still considering creating something that is a challenge cache with some guidelines?

AFAIK, nothing has been made public. They may not have made a decision yet. They still have a couple of months until they reach the 1-year point.

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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

Ha! I just saw these on the map the other day while thinking of heading up to the wild middle of the state.

 

80 CAT challenge caches on a rail trail in the Caledon area of SW Ontario:

https://www.geocachi...,-79.95455&z=12

 

Another PT of about 75 ccs by one cache owner in the Hamilton area of SW Ontario. That owner has 180 ccs within 49km of this PT trail:

https://www.geocachi...,-79.96914&z=11

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I've found a number of challenge caches myself, but at the same time feel there is something questionable about the practice. Consider a 5 X 5 difficulty/terrain rated challenge cache that is awarded to people who find it and fulfill a challenge requirement that they must have logged ten previous 5 X 5 caches. The problem is this challenge cache is generally much easier to find and log than another cache rated 5 X 5 based on the actual difficulty and terrain of the cache itself. Challenge caches of this sort really are not, in and of themselves, comparable to true 5 X 5's. If the moratorium on challenges is lifted, why not create challenge cache power trails that work as follows?: The first cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found ten 5 X 5's. The second cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found eleven 5 X 5's. The third cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found twelve 5 X 5's -- and so on ad infinitum.

Edited by stl4565

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Consider a 5 X 5 difficulty/terrain rated challenge cache that is awarded to people who find it and fulfill a challenge requirement that they must have logged ten previous 5 X 5 caches. The problem is this challenge cache is generally much easier to find and log than another cache rated 5 X 5 based on the actual difficulty and terrain of the cache itself.

This is a good example of why it doesn't make sense to rate a challenge cache based on the ratings of the caches required to meet the requirement. Other than that, it's not really a comment on challenge caches themselves: this is just one of many reasons people rate all kinds of geocaches incorrectly.

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Consider a 5 X 5 difficulty/terrain rated challenge cache that is awarded to people who find it and fulfill a challenge requirement that they must have logged ten previous 5 X 5 caches. The problem is this challenge cache is generally much easier to find and log than another cache rated 5 X 5 based on the actual difficulty and terrain of the cache itself.
But if I run a query that excludes D5 and/or T5 caches, then is it useful for a challenge cache to appear in my query results if that challenge cache requires finding ten 5/5 caches?

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Consider a 5 X 5 difficulty/terrain rated challenge cache that is awarded to people who find it and fulfill a challenge requirement that they must have logged ten previous 5 X 5 caches. The problem is this challenge cache is generally much easier to find and log than another cache rated 5 X 5 based on the actual difficulty and terrain of the cache itself.

This is a good example of why it doesn't make sense to rate a challenge cache based on the ratings of the caches required to meet the requirement. Other than that, it's not really a comment on challenge caches themselves: this is just one of many reasons people rate all kinds of geocaches incorrectly.

Thus the feature suggestion of having a separate challenge rating, which is a property that can be filtered (in or out). Then the DT for the challenge cache will reflect all aspects (brain & braun) of locating the actual cache, just like all other physical caches. :ph34r:

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Then the DT for the challenge cache will reflect all aspects (brain & braun) of locating the actual cache, just like all other physical caches. :ph34r:

 

That never has been true for all other physical caches either. Example: Bonus caches which require one or more other caches to be found before.

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Then the DT for the challenge cache will reflect all aspects (brain & braun) of locating the actual cache, just like all other physical caches. :ph34r:

 

That never has been true for all other physical caches either. Example: Bonus caches which require one or more other caches to be found before.

Nope, they are not required to be found in order for a person to post their Find on the Unknown (bonus) cache. To put it another way, the CO cannot delete a find log on an Unknown cache that is the final in a series if the cache was legitimately found with their name in the logbook (like any other physical cache, except challenge caches with their ALR).

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Thus the feature suggestion of having a separate challenge rating, which is a property that can be filtered (in or out). Then the DT for the challenge cache will reflect all aspects (brain & braun) of locating the actual cache, just like all other physical caches. :ph34r:

The rating should reflect brain and brawn required to find this cache. That can include the difficulty of the requirements, but it should not, in my opinion, reflect the terrain or difficulty of the other caches themselves: those ratings apply to those caches, not to this one, and the seeker got credit for them when they logged those finds, so it's inappropriate for them to get even more credit just because the challenge cache required those caches to be found.

 

Yes, I admit, there's no a consensus about this, but I think it's reasonable. Would that second rating attached to challenge caches serve any purpose other than redundantly reflecting the ratings of the other caches? I don't care much about ratings for statistical purposes, so I don't see the value of such secondary credit, and, what's more, people that do care about ratings because of how it reflects on their stats wouldn't care about such a secondary rating, either, since the 5/5 rating they'd want is the one listed as the primary rating for the cache.

 

Besides, if someone wants to hide a challenge cache requiring 5/5 difficulty caches, it would make more sense for it to be itself a 5/5 cache, so let the CO do that if that's the rating he wants his challenge cache to have.

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Then the DT for the challenge cache will reflect all aspects (brain & braun) of locating the actual cache, just like all other physical caches. :ph34r:

 

That never has been true for all other physical caches either. Example: Bonus caches which require one or more other caches to be found before.

Nope, they are not required to be found in order for a person to post their Find on the Unknown (bonus) cache. To put it another way, the CO cannot delete a find log on an Unknown cache that is the final in a series if the cache was legitimately found with their name in the logbook (like any other physical cache, except challenge caches with their ALR).

 

My notion of finding is not about deleting logs. While one in some cases can guess the coordinates of a cache, in most cases one can end up with them only by cheating.

The T of a multi cache with 100 stages and 99 of them being 1* and a single one being 4* is still to be rated as 4* even if the final is at 1* (again you could claim that one just could go to the final and sign the log). The same is true for puzzle caches. So with your reasoning only the time needed to search for the container and not for the puzzle has to be taken into account - a D=5* puzzle cache hidden in plain sight becomes then D=1*.

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Well, I think the rating of a challenge cache should reflect the difficulty of the task so finding D5/T5-Caches would then lead also to 5* in my opinion. But I would find it okay if the terrain rating of the caches that have to be found before is transferred to the D-rating of the CC. So if this cache can be found easily even with your broken leg, then the T rating should reflect it.

In the case above this would lead to 5/1 for me.

Most bonus caches work same, they have terrain rating of the caches itself.

 

The power trail mentioned above should be disclaimed by reviewers.

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The power trail mentioned above should be disclaimed by reviewers.

 

Which power trail? I wrote about a multi cache with 100 stages, not 100 caches.

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The power trail mentioned above should be disclaimed by reviewers.

 

Which power trail? I wrote about a multi cache with 100 stages, not 100 caches.

 

I'm pretty sure MasterFred is referring to the Power Trail mentioned by stl4565 in post #929. I would also not like such incremental CC's.

 

why not create challenge cache power trails that work as follows?: The first cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found ten 5 X 5's. The second cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found eleven 5 X 5's. The third cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found twelve 5 X 5's -- and so on ad infinitum.

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I've found a number of challenge caches myself, but at the same time feel there is something questionable about the practice. Consider a 5 X 5 difficulty/terrain rated challenge cache that is awarded to people who find it and fulfill a challenge requirement that they must have logged ten previous 5 X 5 caches. The problem is this challenge cache is generally much easier to find and log than another cache rated 5 X 5 based on the actual difficulty and terrain of the cache itself. Challenge caches of this sort really are not, in and of themselves, comparable to true 5 X 5's. If the moratorium on challenges is lifted, why not create challenge cache power trails that work as follows?: The first cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found ten 5 X 5's. The second cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found eleven 5 X 5's. The third cache on the trail is awarded to those who find it and fulfill a requirement of having found twelve 5 X 5's -- and so on ad infinitum.

 

This is one of those "multi-dimensional" challenges that I would ban using the BFlentje Plan.

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Thus the feature suggestion of having a separate challenge rating, which is a property that can be filtered (in or out). Then the DT for the challenge cache will reflect all aspects (brain & braun) of locating the actual cache, just like all other physical caches. :ph34r:

The rating should reflect brain and brawn required to find this cache. That can include the difficulty of the requirements, but it should not, in my opinion, reflect the terrain or difficulty of the other caches themselves: those ratings apply to those caches, not to this one, and the seeker got credit for them when they logged those finds, so it's inappropriate for them to get even more credit just because the challenge cache required those caches to be found.

Exactly.

The D and T are related to finding that immediate physical geocache. Right now, the difficulty of completing the challenge is mingled with the D and T prompting the CO, if they wish, to disclaim the "actual" D and T of the cache somewhere in the description. It's not an optimal use of the D and T as you can no longer see the D and T ratings and presumefor challenge caches that they in any way describe the task of locating (not qualifying for) the cache itself.

 

Yes, I admit, there's no a consensus about this, but I think it's reasonable. Would that second rating attached to challenge caches serve any purpose other than redundantly reflecting the ratings of the other caches?

Yes because it's not reflecting the D and T of the qualifying tasks; it's reflecting the difficulty of all that's required to research, plan, organize, and carry out the series of tasks (set of finds) to qualify for the challenge. It's not directly related to the D or T of the candidate caches. Additionally, it would its own rating, so there's no overlap or conflict with the ratings anyway; the C rating would be what it is, and the D and T can then remain what they are intended to mean.

 

I don't care much about ratings for statistical purposes, so I don't see the value of such secondary credit, and, what's more, people that do care about ratings because of how it reflects on their stats wouldn't care about such a secondary rating, either, since the 5/5 rating they'd want is the one listed as the primary rating for the cache.

The first part is fine; we can speak for what we would like and how we'd treat any such feature, but I think you overstep when you assume that "people wouldn't care". How many people? Which people? There's been no study, no survey (about this specifically) that we know of; so really I think you're projecting ;) A forum survey (as we all know) isn't an accurate slice of the global community.

 

Besides, if someone wants to hide a challenge cache requiring 5/5 difficulty caches, it would make more sense for it to be itself a 5/5 cache, so let the CO do that if that's the rating he wants his challenge cache to have.

That's the point though - with this the CO could hide a 1/1 challenge cache where the challenge is to find 100 5/5 caches, thus arbitrarily rate the challenge a 5, while the D and T correctly describe the physical container is easily located and wheelchair accessible. Accurate D, T, and Challenge rating.

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Then the DT for the challenge cache will reflect all aspects (brain & braun) of locating the actual cache, just like all other physical caches. :ph34r:

 

That never has been true for all other physical caches either. Example: Bonus caches which require one or more other caches to be found before.

Nope, they are not required to be found in order for a person to post their Find on the Unknown (bonus) cache. To put it another way, the CO cannot delete a find log on an Unknown cache that is the final in a series if the cache was legitimately found with their name in the logbook (like any other physical cache, except challenge caches with their ALR).

 

My notion of finding is not about deleting logs. While one in some cases can guess the coordinates of a cache, in most cases one can end up with them only by cheating.

The T of a multi cache with 100 stages and 99 of them being 1* and a single one being 4* is still to be rated as 4* even if the final is at 1* (again you could claim that one just could go to the final and sign the log). The same is true for puzzle caches.

Are you referring to a Multi cache, or a Bonus cache? When you say bonus, I was referring to a series of caches, where the "bonus" or "final" is listed as an Unknown. This cache cannot require finds on caches in the rest of series first in order for the person to log it as found - the CO cannot delete Find logs on that "Bonus" cache if the person has found the physical cache.

 

And actually with a Multi, the same does go. If a person skips the first 99 stages of the multi and finds the final container and signs the log book, that is a legitimate find and the CO still cannot delete the find.

 

So with your reasoning only the time needed to search for the container and not for the puzzle has to be taken into account - a D=5* puzzle cache hidden in plain sight becomes then D=1*.

No the rating is for the intended experience. Technically the CO has the choice whether to rate their cache for the entire intended experience or just the final stage, if they so please. That's irrelevant, there's no requirement on that part because reviewers can't police "intended" experience. It's at the CO's discretion.

So sure, with "my reasoning", the CO may choose to rate their listing for the container and not take the puzzle into account. It may get some colourful comments from cachers who think the listing is inaccurate to the experience though :P

Edited by thebruce0

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No the rating is for the intended experience. Technically the CO has the choice whether to rate their cache for the entire intended experience or just the final stage, if they so please. That's irrelevant, there's no requirement on that part because reviewers can't police "intended" experience. It's at the CO's discretion.

So sure, with "my reasoning", the CO may choose to rate their listing for the container and not take the puzzle into account. It may get some colourful comments from cachers who think the listing is inaccurate to the experience though :P

But isn't the rating of a challenge cache allowed to relect the "intended experience" also? On the one hand you want the rating of CC to relect only the D/T of the final, but a puzzle can have a rating based on something other than the physical hunt of the box. Wouldn't you get the same "colorful comments from cachers who think the listing is inaccurate to the experience" if that CC requiring 10 5/5's is rated 1/1? I don't see how you can have it both ways.

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Besides, if someone wants to hide a challenge cache requiring 5/5 difficulty caches, it would make more sense for it to be itself a 5/5 cache, so let the CO do that if that's the rating he wants his challenge cache to have.

That's the point though - with this the CO could hide a 1/1 challenge cache where the challenge is to find 100 5/5 caches, thus arbitrarily rate the challenge a 5, while the D and T correctly describe the physical container is easily located and wheelchair accessible. Accurate D, T, and Challenge rating.

If I was searching Mystery caches and came upon a cache rated 1/1, then I would expect that puzzle/challenge to be "easy". If I am looking to find a 1/1 Mystery cache, then I would not want to discover that the cache actually requires finding 100 5/5 caches before being able to claim the find on a 1/1 hide. If someone is physically limited to caches below a T-2 rating and therefore searches for caches with T<=2, then why would they want to come across a CC that requires finding T-5 caches? Wouldn't that contribute to the angst of finding and physically logging a CC, but then not being able to claim the find because of the challenge requirements? People complained about physically finding CC's, but then not being able to 'get credit' for the find because they hadn't fulfilled the challenge requirements.

 

To avoid those complaints, I think caches should be rated based on what's required to 'log the find'. For Challenge Caches, that means that the requirements need to be met first. If those requirements entail high terrain or high difficulty, then the CC's D/T rating should reflect that. I've found CC's rated 1.5/1.5 because the challenges and the final cache itself really weren't that difficult, so I don't agree with those that suggest all CC's are overrated.

 

Let's face it, Mystery caches require reading the cache description. Cachers would waste a lot of time if they went to the posted coordinates of "?" caches and expected to find the caches there. They need to read the cache description to figure out what puzzles need to be solved, or what requirements need to be met first. Most of the Mystery caches I've seen, especially Challenge Caches, note the actual cache's D/T rating within the cache description.

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Besides, if someone wants to hide a challenge cache requiring 5/5 difficulty caches, it would make more sense for it to be itself a 5/5 cache, so let the CO do that if that's the rating he wants his challenge cache to have.

That's the point though - with this the CO could hide a 1/1 challenge cache where the challenge is to find 100 5/5 caches, thus arbitrarily rate the challenge a 5, while the D and T correctly describe the physical container is easily located and wheelchair accessible. Accurate D, T, and Challenge rating.

If I was searching Mystery caches and came upon a cache rated 1/1, then I would expect that puzzle/challenge to be "easy". If I am looking to find a 1/1 Mystery cache, then I would not want to discover that the cache actually requires finding 100 5/5 caches before being able to claim the find on a 1/1 hide.

This is why this only really works with the proposed idea to separate the find log from the qualification log. Even if not, it wouldn't be listed merely as an "Unknown". With the added metric, it would be listed as a Challenge Cache. So you wouldn't find it while looking for 1/1 Unknowns.

 

To avoid those complaints, I think caches should be rated based on what's required to 'log the find'. For Challenge Caches, that means that the requirements need to be met first. If those requirements entail high terrain or high difficulty, then the CC's D/T rating should reflect that.

That's the way it currently is.

 

Let's face it, Mystery caches require reading the cache description.

Yep, this.

However every mystery cache is still a physical cache. So only with Mystery caches are the D and T not actually guaranteed to be indicative of finding that listing's particular physical geocache. I'm fine with that, but that still clearly causes problems.

 

Cachers would waste a lot of time if they went to the posted coordinates of "?" caches and expected to find the caches there.

In some cases there may be.

I haven't placed one for a while, but I believe COs are still required to disclaim in the description if the cache "is not at the posted coordinates".

 

*shrug*

Every cache type does have a unique 'take' on the properties of a geocache listing. For unknowns, the exception is that the posted coordinates cannot be assumed to indicate the location of a physical container (even though they can). For challenge caches (still unknowns, but currently without an explicit property), the D and T also cannot be assumed to indicate the D and T of the physical container. Maybe that's just the way things should stay. Except that leaves CCs as a subset of the Unknown cache type with an additional exception to standard listing properties.

guh.

 

I dunno, I'd still support and prefer the CC rating as a separate metric, since it seems to be CCs that are causing more issues than Mystery coordinates (everyone seemed to grasp and accept that concept much more easily than the ALR of CCs).

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But isn't the rating of a challenge cache allowed to relect the "intended experience" also? On the one hand you want the rating of CC to relect only the D/T of the final, but a puzzle can have a rating based on something other than the physical hunt of the box.

But again, the puzzle must be (is intended to be) solved in order to locate the physical container.

A challenge doesn't have to be qualified in order to locate the physical container.

 

Wouldn't you get the same "colorful comments from cachers who think the listing is inaccurate to the experience" if that CC requiring 10 5/5's is rated 1/1?

Only if it were listed as a standard Unknown, not a Challenge Cache :P Right now, there's no way to tell the difference, and that's a bigger problem which I think would be assuaged, at least to some degree, by separating the challenge task difficulty from the D and T of locating and signing the physical geocache.

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I haven't placed one for a while, but I believe COs are still required to disclaim in the description if the cache "is not at the posted coordinates".

 

In my area this never has been required and is still not required. It's fully up to the cache owner what to write.

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Wouldn't you get the same "colorful comments from cachers who think the listing is inaccurate to the experience" if that CC requiring 10 5/5's is rated 1/1?

Only if it were listed as a standard Unknown, not a Challenge Cache :P Right now, there's no way to tell the difference, and that's a bigger problem which I think would be assuaged, at least to some degree, by separating the challenge task difficulty from the D and T of locating and signing the physical geocache.

 

The way to tell the difference is to read the cache description just in the same way as for telling the difference between a 4/4 multi caches with 30 stages of 4/4 rating each and one with a single 4/4 stage and 29 1/1 stages (including the final).

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I haven't placed one for a while, but I believe COs are still required to disclaim in the description if the cache "is not at the posted coordinates".

 

In my area this never has been required and is still not required. It's fully up to the cache owner what to write.

 

I don't know about it being a "requirement"...but it's standard practice here. One condition our reviewer DID set on publication is if the posted coordinates are located on something like a major highway, railway, etc. (federal or otherwise 'sensitive' lands), we specifically need to explain that people are not to look for the cache at the posted coordinates.

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I don't know about it being a "requirement"...but it's standard practice here. One condition our reviewer DID set on publication is if the posted coordinates are located on something like a major highway, railway, etc. (federal or otherwise 'sensitive' lands), we specifically need to explain that people are not to look for the cache at the posted coordinates.

 

We don't need to do here but there is a lot of cultural difference when it comes to these topics between a country like mine and the US.

 

I have found more than one cache where finding the cache requires crossing active railway tracks (though typically not lines with a lot of train traffic but still).

Where the coordinates of a mystery point to is something hardly anyone cares about though some cachers mention that nothing can be found at the header coordinates to avoid unnecessary traffic for difficult mysteries where some cachers might think that maybe something is hidden at the header coordinates that could help them (there exist such caches).

 

If in Europe a cacher would end up in the middle of a major highway, the typical reaction would be that only them are to be blamed for being so stupid.

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