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niraD

Mention why a cahce "might need some attention"

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Groundspeak recently started sending new automated "maintenance nudge" emails that look like this:

Your geocache, Lorem Ipsum (GC#####), looks like it might need some attention. The recent logs may contain more details about what sort of maintenance needs to be performed. This could be anything from a new logbook to replacing a missing container.[...]

 

In at least a few cases (example, another example), recipients of these automated emails have been confused about what the emails mean, why they received the emails, and what they are expected to do in response to the emails.

 

The vague statement that "recent logs may contain more details" appears to be insufficient. I suggest that the email text be updated to specify why a particular cache was chosen for this automated email. For example:

 

Your geocache, Lorem Ipsum (GC#####), looks like it might need some attention. The last 7 logs have been DNFs.[...]

 

Your geocache, Lorem Ipsum (GC#####), looks like it might need some attention. The last Find log was 3 years ago.[...]

 

Your geocache, Lorem Ipsum (GC#####), looks like it might need some attention. A Needs Maintenance log was posted 9 months ago, and you have not posted an Owner Maintenance log since then.[...]

 

Your geocache, Lorem Ipsum (GC#####), looks like it might need some attention. It has not been found since it was originally listed 5 years ago.[...]

 

Adding this detail should help reduce confusion among cache owners who receive this automated email.

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Adding this detail should help reduce confusion among cache owners who receive this automated email.

 

Thanks for the suggestion, niraD. Customizing the emails to the specific cache is something we did consider as we developed this project. We are monitoring feedback already and we'll continue to keep an eye on whether adding that kind of detail might be necessary.

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Curious what is involved in the email sent.

 

Is D/T factored in for DNFs?

If not, it seems folks might worry getting "official" HQ mail about a cache that's meant to be hard-to-find.

 

I have a (very) lengthy paddle-to cache that sat since '11, and only attempted (and found) just two months ago.

- Could I get a mail only because of it's terrain rating, and the simple fact that a majority (here maybe...) won't go for it?

Seems odd...

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We are monitoring feedback already and we'll continue to keep an eye on whether adding that kind of detail might be necessary.

Are you also measuring whether these messages do any good? So far, several people have posted that they got these messages, and not a single one has indicated it brought a problem to their attention or reminded them of a cache they'd forgotten about. While the forums aren't the best statistical pool, it seems obvious that COs ignoring problems with their caches are going to ignore these messages, as well, if they even see them.

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Are you also measuring whether these messages do any good?

 

Absolutely. Each cache that receives an email is flagged in our database, thereby enabling the generation of reports about whether change is effected over time. Since the first emails were sent less than 48 hours ago, it's too soon to do that now.

 

So far, several people have posted that they got these messages, and not a single one has indicated it brought a problem to their attention or reminded them of a cache they'd forgotten about.

 

Please keep in mind that the >10 caches that have been discussed so far in the forums represent an exceedingly small sample of the first batch of caches that got these emails. While there is certainly good information in these discussions that might help improve the system going forward, it is not fair to judge the entire system on a handful of anecdotal cases. The success or failure of these emails will be proven by data over time.

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I have some multis, hard puzzles, and remote EarthCaches that haven't been found in a few months--no emails on any of them. So I think that however they are doing it, that's being taken into account, too.

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Ah, a responsive lackey, excellent. Another question please.

 

Would a cache with no logs of any kind for a very long period (say, five years or more) receive the email?

(This is common with remote, lonely caches, which are gold to a subset of cachers including myself.)

 

BTW, I own some that are log-free for 3 years and counting, but haven't gotten the email ...yet.

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Please keep in mind that the >10 caches that have been discussed so far in the forums represent an exceedingly small sample of the first batch of caches that got these emails. While there is certainly good information in these discussions that might help improve the system going forward, it is not fair to judge the entire system on a handful of anecdotal cases. The success or failure of these emails will be proven by data over time.

Well, yes, of course, but it's still 100% of the caches I know about, and to me it's just logical that the only owners that will notice the e-mails are the ones that are already maintaining their caches. Can you provide the data that suggests to GS otherwise?

 

Part of my problem understanding this issue and the new procedure to address it is that I've run into very few unmaintained caches that aren't already flagged by an NM or an NA, and the ones I do run into, I flag myself. Since these don't seem to be a problem in my area or in any area I've geocached, I'm wondering if anyone could give me a better idea of where this happens and why the local community can't be motivated to take care of it without GS's help.

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Would a cache with no logs of any kind for a very long period (say, five years or more) receive the email?

(This is common with remote, lonely caches, which are gold to a subset of cachers including myself.)

Possibly, but not definitely. Length of time since the last log is one of several factors taken into account.

 

BTW, I own some that are log-free for 3 years and counting, but haven't gotten the email ...yet.

See? The system worked, at least for you and at least for now. :grin:

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Please keep in mind that the >10 caches that have been discussed so far in the forums represent an exceedingly small sample of the first batch of caches that got these emails. While there is certainly good information in these discussions that might help improve the system going forward, it is not fair to judge the entire system on a handful of anecdotal cases. The success or failure of these emails will be proven by data over time.

Well, yes, of course, but it's still 100% of the caches I know about, and to me it's just logical that the only owners that will notice the e-mails are the ones that are already maintaining their caches. Can you provide the data that suggests to GS otherwise?

 

Part of my problem understanding this issue and the new procedure to address it is that I've run into very few unmaintained caches that aren't already flagged by an NM or an NA, and the ones I do run into, I flag myself. Since these don't seem to be a problem in my area or in any area I've geocached, I'm wondering if anyone could give me a better idea of where this happens and why the local community can't be motivated to take care of it without GS's help.

Two data points as a reviewer:

 

1. An analogy: when Geocaching HQ sent out reminder emails in July to owners of caches with the "Needs Maintenance" attribute set, I noticed a significant change in the following month -- an uptick in cache archivals and an uptick in "owner maintenance" logs to remove the flag.

 

2. Each month lately in my review territory, the number of caches that I disable in response to a "Needs Archived" log has been significantly lower than the number of caches that I affirmatively disable because I've reached a conclusion that a "Needs Archived" log should have been made, but wasn't. The new emails help me in identifying these caches for possible follow up, lowering my search time and helping ensure I don't miss anything. Hopefully the emails will also help me because the owners will take action in response to the emails like they did in the analogous case described in (1) above. That will lighten my workload. More importantly, it will increase overall cache quality in the regions I serve.

 

I know from discussions with other reviewers that my observations aren't unique to my review territory. I consider my review territory to be fairly typical and I don't mean to suggest that the community is willfully failing to self-police. There are just a ton of caches out there.

Edited by Keystone

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I was somewhat surprised to receive a maintenance reminder on a cache which was received only 15 days after the first of 2 DNFs was posted. This seems to be a little strict. I have seen several other caches with multiple DNFs dating back several months but with no Needs Maintenance log. What is the criteria applied in deciding which caches should receive maintenance reminders - for example how many serial DNFs are required and how what period of non-response?

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Are you also measuring whether these messages do any good?

 

Absolutely. Each cache that receives an email is flagged in our database, thereby enabling the generation of reports about whether change is effected over time. Since the first emails were sent less than 48 hours ago, it's too soon to do that now.

 

The flags in your system will not be able to measure however to which degree the messages annoy those who receive them. Some cache owners might be extremely annoyed and still take care of their caches taking into account the local community which should not have to pay for messages sent by GS. Apparently you only care about effects in the system while I do care about the human factor (i.e. the cache hiders).

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Are you also measuring whether these messages do any good?

Absolutely. Each cache that receives an email is flagged in our database, thereby enabling the generation of reports about whether change is effected over time. Since the first emails were sent less than 48 hours ago, it's too soon to do that now.

I'm glad this was revived so I can ask what the reports now say a year later.

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