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Tweaking challenge caches

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Apparently, the main reason the challenge cache moratorium has been imposed is because, "[w]hile they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ."

 

Volunteer reviewers have added that most of these appeals are submitted after relatively long review processes, which makes their jobs more burdensome.

 

Is it possible to tweak the existing challenge cache guidelines in ways that might reduce the amount of review/appeals work generated by challenge caches?

 

For example, there's this guideline:

 

11. If a challenge cache is submitted within an area where a similar challenge cache already exists, then it will need to have a unique list of qualifying criteria (geocaches, waymarks, etc.).

With the increasing number of published challenge caches, Keystone has noted that it's difficult to keep track of what types of challenges currently exist within his own review area. And if the submitted challenge is close to a bordering review area, then he must be sure none of the nearby challenges in that area are too similar as well.

 

Also, the subjective nature of this guideline can cause disagreements with potential challenge cache creators. How close is too close? How similar is too similar?

 

I think one way to streamline the challenge cache review/appeals process would be to eliminate this particular guideline.

 

Perhaps I just don't understand the rationale behind this guideline, but who cares if two Jasmer challenges are published within 20 miles of each other? The second one won't be as interesting to finders, but that's not a consideration for other geocaches (except EarthCaches). A lamppost cache can be hidden in the same parking lot as another LPC (as long as they're at least 528 feet apart), even though each new LPC is less interesting than the other nearby ones.

 

And how about this guideline, which requires additional subjective decisions:

 

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

Why must challenge caches appeal to and be attainable by reasonable numbers of geocachers when other caches don't face the same requirement? There are caches on the International Space Station and at the bottom of the ocean. Other caches in remote or difficult-to-access locations remain unfound. You don't have to find every geocache that's out there.

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Great! Looking forward to creating my power trail of challenge caches that can only be logged as found by people who have found 800 terrain 5 caches starting with the letter X.

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For example, there's this guideline:

 

11. If a challenge cache is submitted within an area where a similar challenge cache already exists, then it will need to have a unique list of qualifying criteria (geocaches, waymarks, etc.).

With the increasing number of published challenge caches, Keystone has noted that it's difficult to keep track of what types of challenges currently exist within his own review area. And if the submitted challenge is close to a bordering review area, then he must be sure none of the nearby challenges in that area are too similar as well.

 

Also, the subjective nature of this guideline can cause disagreements with potential challenge cache creators. How close is too close? How similar is too similar?

 

I think one way to streamline the challenge cache review/appeals process would be to eliminate this particular guideline.

 

I can easily imagine a power trail of challenge caches where the challenge on each of them is to find 1000 caches with the name of a chapter from any book written by Ernst Kreuder. Qualify for one and you qualify for them all. But when was the last time you (or anyone else in the forum) read a book by Ernst Kreuder?

 

Sure, one could argue that if you are not interested, just skip the cache. But the reviewer can't skip over reviewing the cache. Then he/she ends up having to publish 132 caches that will each be found and logged twice, if ever. What a waste of effort.

 

Austin

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1. I agree that there can be the same challenge everywhere, even 528 feet apart. So what, there are traditional caches that are the same all over some shopping mall parking lots.

 

2. Perhaps someone could create a "Master List" of challenges that could be used to select a challenge by new owners. These challenges could be "vetted" by a reviewer as meeting the guidelines and well written enough to be understandable to everyone. No ambiguities. Then, if a hider comes up with a new challenge, it could then be "vetted" and added to the "Master List". At that point the hider could implement it. And everyone else could utilize it as well in other parts of the world! Might grow to be quite a long list but at least reviewer time wouldn't be used up upon the second and subsequent uses.

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Apparently, the main reason the challenge cache moratorium has been imposed is because, "[w]hile they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ."

 

Volunteer reviewers have added that most of these appeals are submitted after relatively long review processes, which makes their jobs more burdensome.

 

Is it possible to tweak the existing challenge cache guidelines in ways that might reduce the amount of review/appeals work generated by challenge caches?

 

<snip>

 

And how about this guideline, which requires additional subjective decisions:

 

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

Why must challenge caches appeal to and be attainable by reasonable numbers of geocachers when other caches don't face the same requirement? There are caches on the International Space Station and at the bottom of the ocean. Other caches in remote or difficult-to-access locations remain unfound. You don't have to find every geocache that's out there.

 

Imagine you live in an area where there is a geocacher with a significant number of finds. Now imagine that this geocacher generates a large series of challenges that only s/he is eligible to complete based on that large number of finds. Imagine that these caches take up significant amounts of available public space for placing geocaches effectively limiting the number of finds that others could make and the number of non challenge caches that others could place. Finally imagine this high numbers cacher repeating the whole process with the same challenges in the next county.

 

The problem with esoteric challenges is that they occupy space ( and drive the placement of other caches to help met the challenge requirements) where a more accessible caches could be placed. As someone who lives in a state where significant restrictions have recently been placed on geocaching as a whole I am quite sensitive to this problem.

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And how about this guideline, which requires additional subjective decisions:

 

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

Why must challenge caches appeal to and be attainable by reasonable numbers of geocachers when other caches don't face the same requirement? There are caches on the International Space Station and at the bottom of the ocean. Other caches in remote or difficult-to-access locations remain unfound. You don't have to find every geocache that's out there.

Imagine you live in an area where there is a geocacher with a significant number of finds. Now imagine that this geocacher generates a large series of challenges that only s/he is eligible to complete based on that large number of finds. Imagine that these caches take up significant amounts of available public space for placing geocaches effectively limiting the number of finds that others could make and the number of non challenge caches that others could place. Finally imagine this high numbers cacher repeating the whole process with the same challenges in the next county.

 

The problem with esoteric challenges is that they occupy space ( and drive the placement of other caches to help met the challenge requirements) where a more accessible caches could be placed. As someone who lives in a state where significant restrictions have recently been placed on geocaching as a whole I am quite sensitive to this problem.

Good point. I now understand the rationale for this guideline.

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The problem with esoteric challenges is that they occupy space

 

Maybe there could be a system where the physical containers could still be logged as found while preserving the challenge aspect separately?

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The problem with esoteric challenges is that they occupy space ( and drive the placement of other caches to help met the challenge requirements) where a more accessible caches could be placed. As someone who lives in a state where significant restrictions have recently been placed on geocaching as a whole I am quite sensitive to this problem.

 

But the same applies for example to esoteric puzzle caches and in case of those one cannot even go find the container while most challenges are traditionals. Is it just all about that generating a trail of difficult puzzles causes more work than generating a trail of traditionals which are set up as challenge caches?

Edited by cezanne

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Apparently, the main reason the challenge cache moratorium has been imposed is because, "[w]hile they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ."

 

Volunteer reviewers have added that most of these appeals are submitted after relatively long review processes, which makes their jobs more burdensome.

 

Is it possible to tweak the existing challenge cache guidelines in ways that might reduce the amount of review/appeals work generated by challenge caches?

 

Well, the only solution to avoid appeals is to make the creation of a challenge very strict and regulated. Possibly base the challenges on actual easily measurable geocaching.com statistics? Unfortunately, humans are humans and I'm sure there would be someone to figure out a way to stretch the elastic a little bit more and the appeals would start again. The solution may then be to remove that power from the players' hands...

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The problem with esoteric challenges is that they occupy space

 

Maybe there could be a system where the physical containers could still be logged as found while preserving the challenge aspect separately?

 

That would not solve the issue of the moratorium. There would still be a bunch of COs that would like to publish their esoteric challenges and they would generate as much noise in Groundspeak's ears.

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Perhaps I just don't understand the rationale behind this guideline, but who cares if two Jasmer challenges are published within 20 miles of each other?
Who cares if 200 Jasmer Challenges are published every 528ft/161m along a 20-mile stretch of rural highway? Who cares if 40k Quadruple Fizzy Challenges are published in a grid, filling a 400-square-mile area?

 

Why must challenge caches appeal to and be attainable by reasonable numbers of geocachers when other caches don't face the same requirement? There are caches on the International Space Station and at the bottom of the ocean. Other caches in remote or difficult-to-access locations remain unfound. You don't have to find every geocache that's out there.
To some degree, remote caches like Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents and International Space Station are self-limiting. Simply put, the difficulty of placing containers in such places limits the number of them that will be listed.

 

That limit does not exist for challenge caches. The difficulty of placing a challenge cache has nothing to do with placing the container.

 

Those challenge guidelines were created for a reason. They were created so that challenge caches could continue to be listed, rather than being grandfathered (or even archived). A free-for-all didn't work then. A free-for-all won't work now.

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Apparently, the main reason the challenge cache moratorium has been imposed is because, "[w]hile they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ."

 

Volunteer reviewers have added that most of these appeals are submitted after relatively long review processes, which makes their jobs more burdensome.

 

Is it possible to tweak the existing challenge cache guidelines in ways that might reduce the amount of review/appeals work generated by challenge caches?

Well, the only solution to avoid appeals is to make the creation of a challenge very strict and regulated. Possibly base the challenges on actual easily measurable geocaching.com statistics? Unfortunately, humans are humans and I'm sure there would be someone to figure out a way to stretch the elastic a little bit more and the appeals would start again. The solution may then be to remove that power from the players' hands...

First, I don't think Groundspeak is looking for a solution that totally avoids all appeals. If they are, then there's a lot more that must be fixed than just challenge caches.

 

Yes, humans will stretch the elastic regarding challenges (and commercial caches, adaquate permission, and defacing property, etc.) Totally removing their power to stretch the elastic means not allowing geocachers to place any caches -- challenge, puzzle, traditional, etc.

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Would it make sense to restrict a CO from publishing multiple copies of the same challenge? That way the reviewer would only need to check that CO's caches. Couple that with the restriction that a CO must qualify for their own challenge to stop a CO having a sock puppet account to publish each copy.

 

There would need to be allowance for variants on a theme. I have 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Km challenges which should be OK. However 2,001, 2,002, 2,003 Km challenges should be rejected. Maybe set a 50% threshold?

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Apparently, the main reason the challenge cache moratorium has been imposed is because, "[w]hile they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ."

 

Volunteer reviewers have added that most of these appeals are submitted after relatively long review processes, which makes their jobs more burdensome.

 

Is it possible to tweak the existing challenge cache guidelines in ways that might reduce the amount of review/appeals work generated by challenge caches?

Well, the only solution to avoid appeals is to make the creation of a challenge very strict and regulated. Possibly base the challenges on actual easily measurable geocaching.com statistics? Unfortunately, humans are humans and I'm sure there would be someone to figure out a way to stretch the elastic a little bit more and the appeals would start again. The solution may then be to remove that power from the players' hands...

First, I don't think Groundspeak is looking for a solution that totally avoids all appeals. If they are, then there's a lot more that must be fixed than just challenge caches.

 

Yes, humans will stretch the elastic regarding challenges (and commercial caches, adaquate permission, and defacing property, etc.) Totally removing their power to stretch the elastic means not allowing geocachers to place any caches -- challenge, puzzle, traditional, etc.

 

You know, when the police officer is walking to your car to give you the speeding ticket, it's not worth trying to tell him there's this red corvette that's also speeding in the other lane.

 

If you want to find a way to fix the appeal issue, stop looking at other issues around. The current moratorium is about challenge caches, not everything else that needs to be fixed (I agree with you, but it's irrelevant).

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Well, the only solution to avoid appeals is to make the creation of a challenge very strict and regulated. Possibly base the challenges on actual easily measurable geocaching.com statistics? Unfortunately, humans are humans and I'm sure there would be someone to figure out a way to stretch the elastic a little bit more and the appeals would start again. The solution may then be to remove that power from the players' hands...

First, I don't think Groundspeak is looking for a solution that totally avoids all appeals. If they are, then there's a lot more that must be fixed than just challenge caches.

 

Yes, humans will stretch the elastic regarding challenges (and commercial caches, adaquate permission, and defacing property, etc.) Totally removing their power to stretch the elastic means not allowing geocachers to place any caches -- challenge, puzzle, traditional, etc.

You know, when the police officer is walking to your car to give you the speeding ticket, it's not worth trying to tell him there's this red corvette that's also speeding in the other lane.

 

If you want to find a way to fix the appeal issue, stop looking at other issues around. The current moratorium is about challenge caches, not everything else that needs to be fixed (I agree with you, but it's irrelevant).

I have no problem with Groundspeak wanting to fix the appeal issue. I do have problems with people who want to set impossible standards only for challenge caches. That's like passing a law that says no blue cars are allowed on public roads.

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I just realise it's impossible to ask challenge lovers for solutions. They just don't want to see things differently than what they are now.

 

Your initial question is more about how can we make Groundspeak realise it's all good as it is or actually, let's demonstrate challenge caches are just as bad as any other type of geocaches. Won't fly. Moratorium was called on challenge caches for a reason.

Edited by cron

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Would it make sense to restrict a CO from publishing multiple copies of the same [or very similar] challenge? That way the reviewer would only need to check that CO's caches. Couple that with the restriction that a CO must qualify for their own challenge to stop a CO having a sock puppet account to publish each copy.

That might well reduce the burden on reviewers while also preventing the potential problem of a power trail of identical/very similar challenges.

 

My guess is that very few people would want to create a challenge cache that already exists nearby. And if a few do get created, then that's not really a big deal.

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Apparently, the main reason the challenge cache moratorium has been imposed is because, "[w]hile they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ."
Slightly different idea:

 

https://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=476

4.1. Required Information for Appeal Submission

(...)

It is important to know that when reviewing appeals, Geocaching HQ rarely makes an exception to the guidelines. Please read the guidelines again and note that it may be faster to update your geocache to follow the guideline(s) than to wait for the appeals process.

Add:

If your appeal is turned down based on a well understood and defined guideline, you may loose your right to the appeal process for one year (12 months).

 

If the issue is appeals ... address appeals.

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1. I agree that there can be the same challenge everywhere, even 528 feet apart. So what, there are traditional caches that are the same all over some shopping mall parking lots.

Don't you think that sort of logic is counter-productive to improving our activity? Because there is garbage already on the ground, we should be able to litter freely?

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Imagine you live in an area where there is a geocacher with a significant number of finds. Now imagine that this geocacher generates a large series of challenges that only s/he is eligible to complete based on that large number of finds.

Then that cacher would be a jerk. So? There's no guideline against throwing caches in every bramble patch in town and calling them T5, people just don't do it because they know better than to be obnoxious. Besides, I'm perfectly happy with the guideline that says "if your challenges are being obnoxious, they aren't allowed. GS has the final say on what's obnoxious and, oh by the way, they'll always agree if reviewer thinks its obnoxious." While I'm normally a fan of open books, I'd even be fine with that guideline being unstated.

 

I just realise it's impossible to ask challenge lovers for solutions. They just don't want to see things differently than what they are now.

I don't mind change, but I have to admit, I demand changes be justified.

 

I'm really glad to see this thread, but one of the problems I have with it reflects the problem I'm having with the challenge cache brouhaha in general: I have no idea what causes the reviewer overhead and the large number of appeals. The OP just guesses at what might improve things, but I'd rather start with some examples of submissions that have caused trouble so we can better understand what the problem is.

 

Just to begin with, I can't imagine a logical reason for a complete moratorium as opposed to temporarily instituting the simple rule "when the reviewer says no, the answer is no" until we come up with a better system or more flexible guidelines. The moratorium exlicitly enforces the ridiculously more severe rule "the reviewer can't say yes." I can't help but suspect that that's because the goal is to give us time forget challenge caches, not pause the process so we can fix it.

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Is it possible to tweak the existing challenge cache guidelines in ways that might reduce the amount of review/appeals work generated by challenge caches?

 

I would note that, for the record, we have no idea what the problem is with challenge caches.

 

Yes, we have the public statements from some reviewers/lackeys stating that challenge caches are causing a disproportionate amount of work to review and/or judge appeals regarding. But, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has officially stated what it is that makes challenges so time-consuming to handle.

 

I've seen much speculation here as to what those reasons might be. Proximity to other challenge caches. Unclear qualifications. Unobtainable qualifications. Caches which invite the creation of other poor caches to help one qualify for a challenge. And so on. But the lackeys have been deliberately silent as to which of those problems are of interest, or if there are other problems we haven't considered.

 

If we have no idea what the problem is, the chances of us coming up with a solution to the problem are no better than random chance --- and probably much worse.

 

I don't know about anyone else, but in the absence of further information ... I'm just going to go back to finding caches and wait until the next official communication from Groundspeak on the issue.

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Besides, I'm perfectly happy with the guideline that says "if your challenges are being obnoxious, they aren't allowed. GS has the final say on what's obnoxious and, oh by the way, they'll always agree if reviewer thinks its obnoxious." While I'm normally a fan of open books, I'd even be fine with that guideline being unstated.
That sounds a lot like the "Wow factor" that led to virtuals being grandfathered.

 

Just to begin with, I can't imagine a logical reason for a complete moratorium as opposed to temporarily instituting the simple rule "when the reviewer says no, the answer is no" until we come up with a better system or more flexible guidelines. The moratorium exlicitly enforces the ridiculously more severe rule "the reviewer can't say yes." I can't help but suspect that that's because the goal is to give us time forget challenge caches, not pause the process so we can fix it.
To me, the moratorium indicates that Groundspeak will not continue challenge caches in their current form. They may not know what challenge caches will look like when they return (if they return), but they know that the status quo cannot continue.

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1. I agree that there can be the same challenge everywhere, even 528 feet apart. So what, there are traditional caches that are the same all over some shopping mall parking lots.

Don't you think that sort of logic is counter-productive to improving our activity? Because there is garbage already on the ground, we should be able to litter freely?

OK. I'll give that one. I was a bit flippant. But I don't see why a good challenge can only exist once. I, too, wouldn't want a specific challenge to be repeated 100 times down some road so that only qualified cachers can get them. I've seen challenges in other parts of the country/world that I'd like to find but I'll never get to those regions. What that spacing is, I don't know. Minimum 50 miles apart? Different counties? Different states?

 

Part 2 of my post is the one that I'd like feedback on.

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I know of one challenge that revolved around the name tag trackables that someone wanted to get approved. His initial challenge was set at people discovering 50 of them. The reviewer came back and said that number was too high unless the CO could demonstrate that a "significant" number already qualified. Not in our area so it was revised and put out at 25. I know of one other that was initially stated at 3 countries in one day (the CO did it herself) but the reviewer said that wasn't feasible in the midwest of the US. It was tweaked for three countries in a specified time frame that was a bit more realistic (a week I think). Those are two I can think of off the top of my head that I know of.

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I think one way to streamline the challenge cache review/appeals process would be to eliminate this particular guideline.

 

I doubt it's that simple. I think it's fair to give Groundspeak a chance to collect the responses from the User Insight thread before armchair quarterbacking the situation.

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Is it possible to tweak the existing challenge cache guidelines in ways that might reduce the amount of review/appeals work generated by challenge caches?

 

I would note that, for the record, we have no idea what the problem is with challenge caches.

 

Yes, we have the public statements from some reviewers/lackeys stating that challenge caches are causing a disproportionate amount of work to review and/or judge appeals regarding. But, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has officially stated what it is that makes challenges so time-consuming to handle.

 

I've seen much speculation here as to what those reasons might be. Proximity to other challenge caches. Unclear qualifications. Unobtainable qualifications. Caches which invite the creation of other poor caches to help one qualify for a challenge. And so on. But the lackeys have been deliberately silent as to which of those problems are of interest, or if there are other problems we haven't considered.

 

If we have no idea what the problem is, the chances of us coming up with a solution to the problem are no better than random chance --- and probably much worse.

 

I don't know about anyone else, but in the absence of further information ... I'm just going to go back to finding caches and wait until the next official communication from Groundspeak on the issue.

 

I thought the original announcement from GS HQ

moratorium

was sufficiently explanatory.

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Besides, I'm perfectly happy with the guideline that says "if your challenges are being obnoxious, they aren't allowed. GS has the final say on what's obnoxious and, oh by the way, they'll always agree if reviewer thinks its obnoxious." While I'm normally a fan of open books, I'd even be fine with that guideline being unstated.
That sounds a lot like the "Wow factor" that led to virtuals being grandfathered.

OK, I can see that. But I think there's a significant difference between wow factor ("It has to be really good") and an anti-obnoxious clause ("It can't be excessively bad"). Anyway, I wasn't proposing a complete solution, just a suggestion for preventing the absurd examples a few of the responses brought up showing some idiot clearly being obnoxious without any redeeming value. My thinking is that if you filter out the really daft ideas -- many impossible challenges in blitzing an area, for example -- then you quickly get to the possibly hard but not insane examples, such as one challenge based on discovering 50 TBs, that I don't think GS should be worrying about.

 

I know of one challenge that revolved around the name tag trackables that someone wanted to get approved. His initial challenge was set at people discovering 50 of them. The reviewer came back and said that number was too high unless the CO could demonstrate that a "significant" number already qualified. Not in our area so it was revised and put out at 25. I know of one other that was initially stated at 3 countries in one day (the CO did it herself) but the reviewer said that wasn't feasible in the midwest of the US. It was tweaked for three countries in a specified time frame that was a bit more realistic (a week I think). Those are two I can think of off the top of my head that I know of.

Your examples scare me deeply. If a good example of the problem is a reviewer splitting hairs about 25 vs. 50 TB discoveries, then the problem is with the reviewers, not with challenge caches, so no changes to challenge caches will fix it. I always thought -- hoped, I guess I should say -- that reviewers would simply try to filter out extreme challenges and leave anything that seemed remotely plausible up to the market of seekers, not worrying about the deep end any more than they worry about extremely difficult puzzle caches.

 

I doubt it's that simple. I think it's fair to give Groundspeak a chance to collect the responses from the User Insight thread before armchair quarterbacking the situation.

The User Insight thread asks what we like about challenge caches with questions obviously geared to get plenty of "because they challenge me" responses leaving them free to change them at will into something else. Nothing about the questions asked in User Insight provides any input to help reduce reviewer load.

 

I thought the original announcement from GS HQ

moratorium

was sufficiently explanatory.

I really think we need specific examples. Vague references to "easily misunderstood", "difficult to publish", and "large amount of subjectivity" don't really help use see whether any suggested improvement will avoid problems. After all, the answer to "easily misunderstood" is to explain, the answer to "difficult to publish" is to publish, and the answer to "large amount of subjectivity" is to leave the judgement calls up to the COs.

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I thought the original announcement from GS HQ

moratorium

was sufficiently explanatory.

I really think we need specific examples. Vague references to "easily misunderstood", "difficult to publish", and "large amount of subjectivity" don't really help use see whether any suggested improvement will avoid problems. After all, the answer to "easily misunderstood" is to explain, the answer to "difficult to publish" is to publish, and the answer to "large amount of subjectivity" is to leave the judgement calls up to the COs.

 

If what you are suggesting were even remotely feasible (leave the judgement calls to the CO's), then we would not need reviewers at all.

 

CO's track record on judgement calls is pretty poor (but admittedly better than finders), like the STF I reported because it was on the "No Trespassing" sign post. No, they did not have permission.

 

Austin

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I just realise it's impossible to ask challenge lovers for solutions. They just don't want to see things differently than what they are now.

 

Maybe it has more to do with what you say than others' inability to hear.

 

I am a challenge lover who is glad for the moratorium. I am very open to hearing intelligent suggestions. Unfortunately, in my opinion nothing you have offered thus far has met that criterion.

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I know of one challenge that revolved around the name tag trackables that someone wanted to get approved. His initial challenge was set at people discovering 50 of them. The reviewer came back and said that number was too high unless the CO could demonstrate that a "significant" number already qualified. Not in our area so it was revised and put out at 25. I know of one other that was initially stated at 3 countries in one day (the CO did it herself) but the reviewer said that wasn't feasible in the midwest of the US. It was tweaked for three countries in a specified time frame that was a bit more realistic (a week I think). Those are two I can think of off the top of my head that I know of.

Your examples scare me deeply. If a good example of the problem is a reviewer splitting hairs about 25 vs. 50 TB discoveries, then the problem is with the reviewers, not with challenge caches, so no changes to challenge caches will fix it. I always thought -- hoped, I guess I should say -- that reviewers would simply try to filter out extreme challenges and leave anything that seemed remotely plausible up to the market of seekers, not worrying about the deep end any more than they worry about extremely difficult puzzle caches.

 

The problem is the guidelines require the reviewers to make these judgement calls - "A challenge cache needs to appeal to, and be attainable by, a reasonable number of geocachers.". I've talked to friends who have set challenge caches and they had similar debates with the reviewer. E.g. a challenge cache where you needed to have found X or more caches by a single cache owner. The challenge cache owner wanted X=100 - in our area there are a number of owners who own > 100 caches. The reviewer would only allow 50. In this example the challenge owner agreed so no appeal, but some like this will go to appeal. Another owner hid 3 challenge caches based on different level of favourite points on caches found. He could not have 2 of them within 10 miles, but 15 miles was deemed OK.

 

I agree one way to fix this part is to give guidance to the reviewers to allow any challenges unless they are "clearly" unattainable. There is still a judgement call, but instruct the reviewers to give the benefit of the doubt to the challenge owner.

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I have no problem with Groundspeak wanting to fix the appeal issue. I do have problems with people who want to set impossible standards only for challenge caches.

 

Define "impossible". What's impossible for you might not be impossible for someone else. "Do 5 T5 tree climbing caches" is impossible for me while doing 10 can be a "normal caching day" for someone else.

Impossible could be "have 200000 founds" (no one has that many). However, since a CO has to prove he qualifies for his own challenge that's a non issue.

 

I thought the original announcement from GS HQ

moratorium

was sufficiently explanatory.

 

It isn't. Nobody here knows what the problem is. All we know is there's a high workload for appeals. Nothing more, nothing less. How we can suggest anything to "solve" the problem, I don't know.

Care to solve the problem "my car won't run" how come?

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Imagine you live in an area where there is a geocacher with a significant number of finds. Now imagine that this geocacher generates a large series of challenges that only s/he is eligible to complete based on that large number of finds.

Then that cacher would be a jerk. So? There's no guideline against throwing caches in every bramble patch in town and calling them T5, people just don't do it because they know better than to be obnoxious. Besides, I'm perfectly happy with the guideline that says "if your challenges are being obnoxious, they aren't allowed. GS has the final say on what's obnoxious and, oh by the way, they'll always agree if reviewer thinks its obnoxious." While I'm normally a fan of open books, I'd even be fine with that guideline being unstated.

 

Isn't the primary cause for the moratorium due to the subjectivity of the review process? The CO believes that the challenge is attainable enough. The reviewer does not. Take it to appeals. The CO believes that the challenge is unique. The reviewer thinks it's too similar to other nearby challenges. Take it to appeals. And you want to make it even more subjective and have reviewers base their decision on whether it's obnoxious. Where is the line between too obnoxious and not obnoxious enough?

 

 

I just realise it's impossible to ask challenge lovers for solutions. They just don't want to see things differently than what they are now.

I don't mind change, but I have to admit, I demand changes be justified.

 

 

That's just it. Challenge lovers want challenge to stay just as they are, thus no change is justified.

 

 

I'm really glad to see this thread, but one of the problems I have with it reflects the problem I'm having with the challenge cache brouhaha in general: I have no idea what causes the reviewer overhead and the large number of appeals. The OP just guesses at what might improve things, but I'd rather start with some examples of submissions that have caused trouble so we can better understand what the problem is.

 

Just to begin with, I can't imagine a logical reason for a complete moratorium as opposed to temporarily instituting the simple rule "when the reviewer says no, the answer is no" until we come up with a better system or more flexible guidelines. The moratorium exlicitly enforces the ridiculously more severe rule "the reviewer can't say yes." I can't help but suspect that that's because the goal is to give us time forget challenge caches, not pause the process so we can fix it.

 

I don't know if that's what GS is thinking at all. Wouldn't it be great if they were engaged in this discussion so that we'd could get a sense of whether all the suggestions and various ideas people are coming up with are even considered to be viable? What *is* the goal for enacting the moratorium and what, specifically, are they considering to fix issues that prompted them to enact it?

 

 

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I just realise it's impossible to ask challenge lovers for solutions. They just don't want to see things differently than what they are now.

 

Maybe it has more to do with what you say than others' inability to hear.

 

I am a challenge lover who is glad for the moratorium. I am very open to hearing intelligent suggestions. Unfortunately, in my opinion nothing you have offered thus far has met that criterion.

 

Absolutely, but you can't just sit and wait for others to provide solutions otherwise you'll always be deceived. What did you suggest so far (apart from keeping the challenge caches as is)?

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I have no problem with Groundspeak wanting to fix the appeal issue. I do have problems with people who want to set impossible standards only for challenge caches.

Define "impossible". What's impossible for you might not be impossible for someone else. "Do 5 T5 tree climbing caches" is impossible for me while doing 10 can be a "normal caching day" for someone else.

The main problem with challenge caches seems to be the burden they impose on the review/appeals process. I'd say you're entering the realm of "impossible" when you suggest that the only solution to this problem is to generate no appeals:

 

Well, the only solution to avoid appeals is to make the creation of a challenge very strict and regulated.

If you dislike challenge caches, then that's a wonderful standard to apply to any potential solution since it would completely eliminate challenges. But if you like challenge caches and want to see changes that make them less burdensome, then that's an absurd standard.

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Well, the only solution to avoid appeals is to make the creation of a challenge very strict and regulated.

If you dislike challenge caches, then that's a wonderful standard to apply to any potential solution since it would completely eliminate challenges. But if you like challenge caches and want to see changes that make them less burdensome, then that's an absurd standard.

 

Really? There would still be challenge caches around, so I would still live my pain (lighter, but present).

 

You can only work with what you know. Conspiracy theory won't do you any good. All we know is they said the challenge cache COs were creating too much fuss. Accept it or not, but that's the framework you are allowed to work with.

 

Being constructive will bring you more satisfaction that whine about the way they imposed a moratorium on their website.

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The main problem with challenge caches seems to be the burden they impose on the review/appeals process. I'd say you're entering the realm of "impossible" when you suggest that the only solution to this problem is to generate no appeals:

 

First, I suggest nothing. I just point out that "impossible" is not a valid argument as it's (a lot) different for everyone.

 

As for appeals, I said it before and I'll say it gain, we don't know what the problem is with appeals except that challenges generate a higher workload. Since GS wont elaborate there's no point in suggesting anything.

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If what you are suggesting were even remotely feasible (leave the judgement calls to the CO's), then we would not need reviewers at all.

There's no significant burden on reviewing traditional caches. Why? I think it's because we've identified the things that shouldn't be flexible, then left the rest up to the COs, faulty judgement and all. So my first guess -- in the absence of any concrete information -- is that the problem with challenge cache reviews is that we haven't correctly identified what shouldn't be flexible and what's just a matter of judgement.

 

What I've learned from these threads is that there are a large number of people that truly dislike challenge caches on a fundamental level. For some reason, they want challenge caches to go away. (Well, the moderates only say they wouldn't mind if they went away.) Those people would be quick to jump on any unattainable challenge cache published as "the problem with challenge caches". And apparently GS takes that claim to heart and has caused this excessive reviewer load in an attempt to avoid any challenges that anyone might consider unattainable.

 

On the other hand, those of us that enjoy challenge caches don't think twice about unattainable challenge caches because they're not logically any different than puzzle caches so hard we can't solve them. Just part of the game. I suppose it helps to live in the shadow of Alamogul, since he likes to publish the occasional high end challenge, and he can satisfy any requirement, no matter how absurd it is to most of us. I've been ignoring such challenges my entire career, so I don't think anything of it.

 

The problem is the guidelines require the reviewers to make these judgement calls - "A challenge cache needs to appeal to, and be attainable by, a reasonable number of geocachers.".

Assuming the anecdotes we're getting second hand are, in fact, typical of the problems that generate additional reviewer load, then the problem is that reviewers are required to make judgement calls, and the reviewers are taking that to mean they should be very restrictive. If you get in a fight every time a CO says 100 and you think it should be 50, or every time a CO says 10 miles and you think it should be 15, I can see why you're spending a lot of time in the review cycle. Would it really be so bad to say, "Well, I think 50 would be more reasonable, but it's up to you"?

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There's no significant burden on reviewing traditional caches. Why? I think it's because we've identified the things that shouldn't be flexible, then left the rest up to the COs, faulty judgement and all. So my first guess -- in the absence of any concrete information -- is that the problem with challenge cache reviews is that we haven't correctly identified what shouldn't be flexible and what's just a matter of judgement.

 

The issue with challenge caches is there's a lot of room for creativity. Unfortunately, humans are humans and someone will always try to push the envelope (actually, it looks like it's the majority as it's bugging down the system - so they say).

 

Assuming the anecdotes we're getting second hand are, in fact, typical of the problems that generate additional reviewer load, then the problem is that reviewers are required to make judgement calls, and the reviewers are taking that to mean they should be very restrictive. If you get in a fight every time a CO says 100 and you think it should be 50, or every time a CO says 10 miles and you think it should be 15, I can see why you're spending a lot of time in the review cycle. Would it really be so bad to say, "Well, I think 50 would be more reasonable, but it's up to you"?

 

And there you are, opening up the ALRs again. Wear a dress and sign a song to get your find.

 

The only way to control the challenges submitted for review is to be very strict about what can be proposed. Then you need some guardians to make sure no one is pushing the limits too far. And the cycle starts again.

 

I believe GS understood this and are trying to find a better way for challenges to exist on their website.

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On the other hand, those of us that enjoy challenge caches don't think twice about unattainable challenge caches because they're not logically any different than puzzle caches so hard we can't solve them.

 

Except with a puzzle cache, the guidelines allow people to work together or share coordinates or tag along with someone who has solved the puzzle. Some puzzle owners might take exception to that, but that's another issue that should not be discussed here.

 

The very reason that challenge caches are so popular is that they permit cache owners to decide who gets to log their caches. Don't get me wrong, there are some great challenges out there that really get people out of their comfort zone and push themselves to accomplish cool things. But there are so, so many that are nothing more than a way to filter out finders. It's absolutely a knee-jerk reaction to the proliferation of one-and-done app users who treat people's caches badly, and a predictable reaction at that.

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Except with a puzzle cache, the guidelines allow people to work together or share coordinates or tag along with someone who has solved the puzzle. Some puzzle owners might take exception to that, but that's another issue that should not be discussed here.

 

The very reason that challenge caches are so popular is that they permit cache owners to decide who gets to log their caches.

 

When making the puzzle so difficult that it it cannot be solved without help in a reasonable time, one can achieve the very same thing. Provide help exclusively to those whom who want to help/whom you want to log a find.

Edited by cezanne

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Another reason Challenge caches are popular is that only SOME people can log them, although everyone can find them. Exclusivity of the smilie makes it special.

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Except with a puzzle cache, the guidelines allow people to work together or share coordinates or tag along with someone who has solved the puzzle. Some puzzle owners might take exception to that, but that's another issue that should not be discussed here.

 

The very reason that challenge caches are so popular is that they permit cache owners to decide who gets to log their caches.

 

When making the puzzle so difficult that it it cannot be solved without help in a reasonable time, one can achieve the very same thing. Provide help exclusively to those whom who want to help/whom you want to log a find.

 

In theory, yes, yet we aren't seeing this happen on a wide scale.

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I am a challenge lover who is glad for the moratorium. I am very open to hearing intelligent suggestions. Unfortunately, in my opinion nothing you have offered thus far has met that criterion.

Absolutely, but you can't just sit and wait for others to provide solutions otherwise you'll always be deceived. What did you suggest so far (apart from keeping the challenge caches as is)?

:o

 

....:lol: *points*

 

Another reason Challenge caches are popular is that only SOME people can log them, although everyone can find them. Exclusivity of the smilie makes it special.

While that may be true, please do not imply that is the motivation, across the board, for challenge caches. We do not love challenge caches because of the exclusivity. That's a natural limitation of the fact that it's a challenge. That can't be helped. That said, it's been suggested numerous times in the forum (not just in the 'challenge stars' topic) to detach the find from the completion so that people can log the physical component of the challenge cache as found if they found it.

 

This is not about keeping challenge caches "exclusive". If that's a motivation, it's a motivation based on competition. Not every challenge cacher is trying to compete.

 

The very reason that challenge caches are so popular is that they permit cache owners to decide who gets to log their caches.

Just as above, while that may be a side-effect limitation to challenge caches, most COs I know (if not all) do not create challenge caches out of motivation to "decide who gets to log their caches". That's elitism, that's competition. Sometimes the motivation really is to simply challenge people to do something fun or out of the ordinary, and then be rewarded with the +1 find.

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Sometimes the motivation really is to simply challenge people to do something fun or out of the ordinary, and then be rewarded with the +1 find.

 

Yes, sometimes.

 

However, I don't think it's a coincidence that everyone started jumping on the challenge cache bandwagon right around the same time the intro app came out, power trails became all the rage, and people started getting frustrated with that stuff. It's pretty difficult to ignore all the various ways people are pleading with Groundspeak to fix things, and it's fairly obvious that the proliferation of all these increasingly esoteric challenge caches is at least partly related to the general angst that's currently present in the game.

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I am a challenge lover who is glad for the moratorium. I am very open to hearing intelligent suggestions. Unfortunately, in my opinion nothing you have offered thus far has met that criterion.

Absolutely, but you can't just sit and wait for others to provide solutions otherwise you'll always be deceived. What did you suggest so far (apart from keeping the challenge caches as is)?

:o

 

....:lol: *points*

 

I know you embarked on the Challenge Stars topic with frinklabs, but my comment was directed at a specific person. I was wondering what was his contribution, except his criticism on other people's suggestions. Maybe he has better ideas than mine and he has the key to solve the challenge cache issues. Who knows?

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Sometimes the motivation really is to simply challenge people to do something fun or out of the ordinary, and then be rewarded with the +1 find.

 

Yes, sometimes.

 

However, I don't think it's a coincidence that everyone started jumping on the challenge cache bandwagon right around the same time the intro app came out, power trails became all the rage, and people started getting frustrated with that stuff. It's pretty difficult to ignore all the various ways people are pleading with Groundspeak to fix things, and it's fairly obvious that the proliferation of all these increasingly esoteric challenge caches is at least partly related to the general angst that's currently present in the game.

You're not describing a problem with challenge caches. You're describing a general status of the geocaching community and the hobby. "esoteric challenge caches" are certainly not prolific in every area of the world. It's very much a regional thing. Even then, some people's opinions of challenge "esotericity" will be quite different than others'. I don't see an argument or effort for resolution in your paragraph, just complaints/concerns about various aspects of the hobby and greater community.

 

I am a challenge lover who is glad for the moratorium. I am very open to hearing intelligent suggestions. Unfortunately, in my opinion nothing you have offered thus far has met that criterion.

Absolutely, but you can't just sit and wait for others to provide solutions otherwise you'll always be deceived. What did you suggest so far (apart from keeping the challenge caches as is)?

:o

 

....:lol: *points*

 

I know you embarked on the Challenge Stars topic with frinklabs, but my comment was directed at a specific person. I was wondering what was his contribution, except his criticism on other people's suggestions. Maybe he has better ideas than mine and he has the key to solve the challenge cache issues. Who knows?

Umm... Yes, I know your question wasn't directed at me. I chuckled at your question precisely because it's quite clear to most anyone who's been around for these challenge cache discussions that frinklabs has been involved with discussions and making suggestions for for quite some time regarding changes and improvements to the challenge cache concept that are not "keeping the challenge caches as is", not the least of which is demonstrated by that very thread. :P

Edited by thebruce0

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

Why must challenge caches appeal to and be attainable by reasonable numbers of geocachers when other caches don't face the same requirement? There are caches on the International Space Station and at the bottom of the ocean. Other caches in remote or difficult-to-access locations remain unfound. You don't have to find every geocache that's out there.

 

My guess is that this right here is the biggest factor causing problems. ALL CHALLENGES should be allowed so long as the requirement is ONE DIMENSIONAL. Doesn't matter how easy or how difficult. If you don't qualify or have a problem with the difficulty level, block it. Problem solved.

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Great! Looking forward to creating my power trail of challenge caches that can only be logged as found by people who have found 800 terrain 5 caches starting with the letter X.

 

My plan wouldn't allow this.

 

It's either..

- 800 terrain 5 caches.

OR

- 800 caches starting with the letter X.

 

As to whether your locals qualify or not is not Groundspeak's problem. Whining is not allowed.

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1. I agree that there can be the same challenge everywhere, even 528 feet apart. So what, there are traditional caches that are the same all over some shopping mall parking lots.

Don't you think that sort of logic is counter-productive to improving our activity? Because there is garbage already on the ground, we should be able to litter freely?

 

I disagree. It's not a question about litter or not. Either allow them or don't. Managing proximity to other challenges shouldn't be a burden the reviewers need to take on.

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However, I don't think it's a coincidence that everyone started jumping on the challenge cache bandwagon right around the same time the intro app came out, power trails became all the rage,

 

I do believe it IS a coincidence. Every geocacher I know either creating or finding power trails are NOT doing it with a Smartphone let alone the free app. Not even remotely close to reality.

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