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Geocache Needs Maintenance


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A few here say that they often repair/replace others caches, claiming they're thanked by many, but I'd bet in reality, very few.

That wrench doesn't go away if another leaves a throwdown kind replacement for others down for an inactive owner.

One of the few issues where I'd like to see this "helpful notice" work.

 

- But there was a very long thread on DNFs in a State near me once.

I'd bet that if word gets out that COs are getting remote "friendly notices" from HQ too, DNFs are gonna be fewer than we already see today.

- That majority (the 90% who never enter the forums) just logs and moves on now.

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Here's what's neat, to me:

1. Cool feature that can "poke" owners to take action

But it also pokes other people, and most people don't like to be poked. That's not neat at all.

 

2. Helps reduce workload for Volunteer Reviewers

Since there are no NAs posted, reviewers have no reason to look at these caches, so I can't see how it will reduce their workload.

 

On the other hand, the message says that reviewers will be notified about these caches, so their workload will actually increase.

 

3. Shows Groundspeak taking a stand with owner responsibilities that they take care of their caches and listings

I have to admit, I don't see a problem with bad caches anywhere I've cached, so GS taking a stand don't impress me much. I'd rather GS took a stand for local responsibility, particularly in those areas that actually have a problem.

 

4. Demonstrates resolve by Groundspeak to deal with caches that are "under the weather" for prolonged periods, and/or for owners to check on caches that haven't been visited in a while

Which is it: under the weather or not visited? One problem we're seeing in these specific cases is that they are, in fact, sending these messages for caches that have no problem other than not being visited, and there's no way for them no know whether or not the owners have checked on them regularly.

 

5. Reinforces the guidelines, as stated above

Actually, I think it undermines the guidelines. It takes potshots at caches without any regard to whether there's any actual guideline-defined evidence of the CO not living up to their responsibilities.

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My experience is exactly the opposite of yours, dprovan, although in fairness I have access to more information.

 

The reminder emails will greatly aid in reviewers' workload, and the reviewers are very excited about this project, as a group.

 

You might rightly assume that we are being copied on the emails. There are other ways in which we can be made aware of which caches received reminder emails.

 

Many reviewers, myself included, regularly "sweep" our review territories for caches that might be in need of owner attention. In the past we've used tools like GSAK's "Cache Cop" macro. For ease of analogy, assume that Geocaching HQ has automated the Cache Cop macro to make it native to the site (that's not exactly what they did, but along the same lines, and then some). The more work done by the site tool, the less manual cache reviewing I need to do for maintenance issues. Since it's a secondary priority, that makes me happy.

 

In my review territory, I'm finding that I'm taking action on caches with maintenance problems on my own initiative far more often than I'm acting in response to a "Needs Archived" log. More work for me to find the caches, since the community is not alerting me about them in sufficient number. If the website automates some of that work, teeing things up for my review, that's a good step.

 

If I looked at a cache that had a lot of DNF's, but they are from brand new cachers complaining about how it was raining, I'd not take action. If I looked at a cache that had lots of "found it's" with logs saying "no container here, but I found the spot so I'm claiming the smiley" I might take action. No automated tool will catch everything correctly.

 

From an owner's perspective, and as an owner currently struggling with a number of maintenance issues, I do not view the emails as a "poke" or "potshot." I would much prefer a private email as the first reminder of a possible problem, as opposed to a log on my cache listing. That's especially true if the note is automatically generated based on logic, as actual action against a listing ought to require a human eye.

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These are emails, not cache logs. There is no effect on cache status (no auto-disabling or auto-archiving, no setting of a needs maintenance attribute).

 

The Help Center article is brand new, to coincide with the sending of the first emails, which will be done on an ongoing basis.

 

Where do I sign up for Notifications of Help Center changes?

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Here's what's neat, to me:

  1. Cool feature that can "poke" owners to take action
  2. Helps reduce workload for Volunteer Reviewers
  3. Shows Groundspeak taking a stand with owner responsibilities that they take care of their caches and listings
  4. Demonstrates resolve by Groundspeak to deal with caches that are "under the weather" for prolonged periods, and/or for owners to check on caches that haven't been visited in a while
  5. Reinforces the guidelines, as stated above

 

Here's what I think is too bad or possibly not considered before roll out:

[*]Not announced in the Blog or Weekly Newsletter as a new program; caught some people off guard.

[*]Would have been better to give everyone a heads up that this was coming (specifics, not just the July notice)

[*]Does not have the same "personal" feel of a Reviewer's action--Notes/TD logs--which can create a more "personal" response by the cache owner(s)

[*]Does not consider that some people do not monitor or "deal with" their emails from Groundspeak/Geocaching.com; some emails will go unseen, or, worse, ignored

[*]Apathy and complacency stem from "automated" emails. Action is better spurred with personal logs or action by TPTB (TD logs, etc.) who can do so

[*]Does not appear to state what action will be taken on their caches if they decide not to take action on their "derelict" cache(s). Failure to take responsibilities for your cache and cache listings is against the guidelines, and those caches should be disabled or archived (unceremoniously?)

 

One more: It came via email, not the Message Center (I'm assuming... perhaps it comes in both ways?) Not sure if that is a Pro or a Con... I guess that depends on the individual.

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Many reviewers, myself included, regularly "sweep" our review territories for caches that might be in need of owner attention.

Does it really count as reducing your work load when you've taken the extra work on yourself?

 

The reminder emails will greatly aid in reviewers' workload, and the reviewers are very excited about this project, as a group.

Is there any reason for reviewers to be interested in this procedure other than because they do sweeps?

 

In my review territory, I'm finding that I'm taking action on caches with maintenance problems on my own initiative far more often than I'm acting in response to a "Needs Archived" log. More work for me to find the caches, since the community is not alerting me about them in sufficient number.

Wouldn't you prefer GS's efforts to go into making the community feel more responsible for alerting you than adopting a procedure which does just the reverse by demonstrating that it's GS's responsibility to figure out which caches need maintenance?

 

From an owner's perspective, and as an owner currently struggling with a number of maintenance issues, I do not view the emails as a "poke" or "potshot." I would much prefer a private email as the first reminder of a possible problem, as opposed to a log on my cache listing.

NeverSummer's the one that called it a poke, I just agreed. And I was talking about the people getting these messages by mistake. Personally, I'm still convinced very, very few people that aren't maintaining their caches will get and read these e-mails.

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The emails may result from any combination of logs, including Did Not Find (DNF's), Needs Maintenance (NM), Needs Archived (NA) or caches that have not been found in a long time.

I'm just curious to know a bit of details here (I don't think it's going to be disclosed, though). I have seen a post in a regional facebook group by a cache owner whose cache was published on Aug 16, 2015 and received only one logged visitor who DNFed it on Aug 18, 2015 saying they could not find the cache because there are lots of muggles, and received this notification. I looked at the cache page but nothing suggests needs of maintenance to me.

 

While these "false positives" can be ignored by the owner, it does seem like the algorithm could use some improving. I've also seen similar examples, where caches which 1) haven't been found yet and 2) have a single DNF, get targetted. That doesn't seem appropriate; and certainly not for a cache which has been out for less than 3 weeks.

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It seems to me that, for active COs these e-mail are unnecessary. Inactive COs will never see them or will ignore them.

 

How do they work for COs with no verified e-mail address? These fly-by-night folk, putting out one or two drop and forget caches are the ones most in need of the nudge, but will never receive it.

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I received one once. I don't remember what cause it to be sent, if it was DNFs or NM. I took care of the problem and that's it. I still have some caches that need work but I try to get to them as I can. I usually put them in a bookmark list I can Maintenance run. And plan a caching trip in the areas that need maintaining. This even includes ones that don't have NM but I want to check them because of suspicious logs too.

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