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Moratorium update

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We’ve just now posted an update about the Challenge Cache Moratorium in the Announcements section (link).

 

The text of the announcement is below.

 

****************

 

Geocaching HQ is nearly ready to announce the end of the moratorium on "challenge cache" submissions. However, a few details remain to be addressed. We will complete the process and present an updated framework for challenge caches within the next few weeks.

 

In the meantime, we want to share a few details about one key aspect of the new framework. All future challenge caches must include a web-based challenge checker. At this time, Project-GC is the only website approved to host challenge checkers.

 

This is one of the changes we’re implementing based on feedback from community surveys. We hope that challenge checkers will make it easier for players to determine their qualifications for challenge caches. Additional details are available in this Project-GC FAQ.

 

When the complete framework for challenge caches is ready, we will share that information via the Geocaching newsletter and blog. Thank you for your patience!

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Will Groundspeak be offering premium members a discounted rate since they didn't stick to their year timeframe? :D

 

I mean seriously, you couldn't get this figured out in a year?

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Thanks for the update ! :)

Was especially happy to see that (for now) there is no pm required.

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Was especially happy to see that (for now) there is no pm required.

 

The new set-up however excludes almost all of the challenge caches that I found attractive (a small subset of the available ones) as they were special and not of the counting/statistics type (have many of some type etc) which is boring to me.

 

For example, there is a challenge cache in Germany that requires a total length of at least 300km obtained with 20 multi caches. As gc.com does unfortunately not offer a field for

the distance covered and there is only the very rough attribute >10km, such ideas cannot be implemented any longer. If one has done several long distance hiking multi caches, it's not at all tiresome to list them and a nice way to remember what one has experienced. That's not like having to wade through all finds and very easy to do for a human being who visited the caches but almost undoable for a computer with the information available at the site. This is just one example of a quite of number of examples I could provide. Once again what the mass wants has won on gc.com.

Edited by cezanne

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Well, that is better than no challenges at all, but I personally like the ones that would probably be difficult to program for. I guess I will hope that the checkers evolve to be more creative than the ones I have seen so far.

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So to get a challenge approved you have to ask project gc to write you a macro first? What about challenges that are easily proven with the statistics provided by geocaching.com?

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This is weak. I've run several checker tools that are not foolproof and fail to pick up finds that still qualify. If this is the biggest change, shame on Groundspeak for making a big controversy with such a weak solution.

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So to get a challenge approved you have to ask project gc to write you a macro first? What about challenges that are easily proven with the statistics provided by geocaching.com?

 

"At this time, Project-GC is the only website approved to host challenge checkers."

 

Presumably that means public GC statistics are allowed (ie, the checker would be "as visible on your statistics page") and any sites that provide approved checking processes (at this point only PGC does).

 

I hope this means they may be opening the API development door again.

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This is weak. I've run several checker tools that are not foolproof and fail to pick up finds that still qualify. If this is the biggest change, shame on Groundspeak for making a big controversy with such a weak solution.

If existing challenges are grandfathered, then future challenges' described requirements would need to match the checker results.

 

Which raises another question, which I would guess is still covered under "when the complete framework for challenge caches is ready", how would the supplied checker script be verified to accurately match the challenge requirement description? What if a cacher provides evidence that a checker's result is wrong? That could being new appeals... COs may have to 'hone' their descriptions, or adjust the checkers - after the cache is published. =/

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So to get a challenge approved you have to ask project gc to write you a macro first? What about challenges that are easily proven with the statistics provided by geocaching.com?

That is my concern. I would hope that your GC.com statistics page would work too. So on a "Coast to Coast" challenge, you can just look at someone's cache map on their stats page and see they have cached in the states that lead from coast to coast or border to border. Or for Jasmer there are plenty of ways to check that much easier than Project GC. I use http://mygeocachingprofile.com for my stats and it gives me Jasmer, alphanumeric, and Delorme among others.

 

Also my best challenges are not easily checked on Project GC and I am not sure if they can be.

 

http://nhl.elrojo14.com

http://coord.info/GC54PQB

 

Or my two unchallenges I hoped to make into challenges.

http://coord.info/GC61AYB

http://coord.info/GC5RFFX

 

I think there ought to be some exception for quality challenges. Of course we all know there is absolutely no way to agree on what is a quality challenge. Though I suspect more people than not agree that the "Find 50 caches with a fruit name in the title" challenges are fairly lame. And a challenge that gets you to explore and learn more is more satisfying to complete.

Edited by elrojo14

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What if a cacher provides evidence that a checker's result is wrong? That could being new appeals... COs may have to 'hone' their descriptions, or adjust the checkers - after the cache is published. =/

 

Pretty much what Groundspeak said they were trying to avoid with this moratorium, no? At least publicly said...

 

So they say "one year, no challenges published until we can figure out what to do". One year later: "we're passing the buck and letting others come up with the way to deal with it via challenge checkers." Obviously there's more to the solution they haven't shared yet, but as it stands, it hardly seems like this is any sort of real solution.

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So to get a challenge approved you have to ask project gc to write you a macro first? What about challenges that are easily proven with the statistics provided by geocaching.com?

All new challenges will require an online challenge checker -- it's a nice, simple bright line test as opposed to debating about the definition of "easily proven with the statistics." There are hundreds of challenge checkers in existence already on Project-GC, covering two thirds of all existing challenge caches, and a challenge cache owner can piggyback on any of them. For the three challenge caches which I own or co-own, the checkers were developed and available without my even having to ask for them.

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So to get a challenge approved you have to ask project gc to write you a macro first? What about challenges that are easily proven with the statistics provided by geocaching.com?

That is my concern. I would hope that your GC.com statistics page would work too. So on a "Coast to Coast" challenge, you can just look at someone's cache map on their stats page and see they have cached in the states that lead from coast to coast or border to border. Or for Jasmer there are plenty of ways to check that much easier than Project GC. I use http://mygeocachingprofile.com for my stats and it gives me Jasmer, alphanumeric, and Delorme among others.

 

Also my best challenges are not easily checked on Project GC and I am not sure if they can be.

 

http://nhl.elrojo14.com

http://coord.info/GC54PQB

 

Or my two unchallenges I hoped to make into challenges.

http://coord.info/GC61AYB

http://coord.info/GC5RFFX

 

I think there ought to be some exception for quality challenges. Of course we all know there is absolutely no way to agree on what is a quality challenge. Though I suspect more people than not agree that the "Find 50 caches with a fruit name in the title" challenges are fairly lame. And a challenge that gets you to explore and learn more is more satisfying to complete.

 

I don't think those would be that hard to program, you would just need to write a custom checker for them. I am thinking that project-gc is going to allow submissions of custom checkers, or have a few volunteers who can help write checkers.

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And perhaps some checker can have optional parameters so various COs can still 'customize' their challenge to some degree. Alphabet challenges, or word or text challenges shouldn't need to be hard-coded in the script. 'New' checkers developed in this manner could certainly be utilized by COs publishing their own spin on common challenge styles.

I hope that's something perhaps on which GS has been working with PGC.

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Another minor problem with PGC that could become an annoyance, is the amount of time it takes them to get up-to-date find stats on your own account. If they at least allowed you to force an update to your find stats that would be nice. Or, better, allow you to upload the MyFinds PQ for the site to parse instead of using their own API access to hammer the GC database with Finds requests.

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I don't see it as passing the buck, but rather the CO needs to supply a automatic way for someone to check to see if the qualify. I'm ok with that.

 

Relying solely on Project-GC is not good, in my opinion. While they have access to a users data, their site relies solely on the information in the Groundspeak database. Not all the information is adequate.

 

Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

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And perhaps some checker can have optional parameters so various COs can still 'customize' their challenge to some degree. Alphabet challenges, or word or text challenges shouldn't need to be hard-coded in the script. 'New' checkers developed in this manner could certainly be utilized by COs publishing their own spin on common challenge styles.

I hope that's something perhaps on which GS has been working with PGC.

Checkers can have optional parameters already. I have made some myself, which others have used to tag their own challenge caches with adjusted parameters.

 

Becoming a challenge checker creator is not very hard, you only need to have basic knowledge of LUA (same scripting language that is used in Wherigo) and ask for permission from Project-GC.

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Another minor problem with PGC that could become an annoyance, is the amount of time it takes them to get up-to-date find stats on your own account. If they at least allowed you to force an update to your find stats that would be nice.

I hope this change will include some mechanism for Project-GC to get more up-to-date data.

 

There is a function for forcing Project-GC to update your finds already. Click on the big "Support" button, then on "Self-support" and from there you can refresh find count, update finds etc.

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I don't see it as passing the buck, but rather the CO needs to supply a automatic way for someone to check to see if the qualify. I'm ok with that.

 

Relying solely on Project-GC is not good, in my opinion. While they have access to a users data, their site relies solely on the information in the Groundspeak database. Not all the information is adequate.

 

Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

 

Exactly. That would be one that couldn't be directly checked. You could change the definition of the challenge to 'find 15 caches that have the flashlight attribute', and that would be checkable.

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I think there ought to be some exception for quality challenges. Of course we all know there is absolutely no way to agree on what is a quality challenge.

 

Search "Wow factor, virtuals".

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Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

 

I think that for future challenge caches the requirements have to be specified exactly - e.g. 15 caches with the flashlight attribute or with the flashlight attribute and some other set of additional attributes etc.

 

The drawback of this is approach certainly that it allows for much less flexibility and the fact that the set of attributes is somehow quite arbitrary and for many aspects no attributes exist is a further inconvenience. So far for example people argued that the >10km attribute suffices as it is enough for filtering out caches and that further information can be provided in the description. The argument does not any longer hold when it comes to automatic challenge checkers.

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Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

 

I think that for future challenge caches the requirements have to be specified exactly - e.g. 15 caches with the flashlight attribute or with the flashlight attribute and some other set of additional attributes etc.

 

The drawback of this is approach certainly that it allows for much less flexibility and the fact that the set of attributes is somehow quite arbitrary and for many aspects no attributes exist is a further inconvenience. So far for example people argued that the >10km attribute suffices as it is enough for filtering out caches and that further information can be provided in the description. The argument does not any longer hold when it comes to automatic challenge checkers.

 

On the plus side, maybe it will get cache owners to revisit their attributes.

 

It will certainly get cachers bugging owners to revisit their attributes.

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On the plus side, maybe it will get cache owners to revisit their attributes.

 

It will certainly get cachers bugging owners to revisit their attributes.

 

Maybe, but my message was that many attributes that would be helpful do not exist. There is a huge difference between 10.5km, 30km, 60km, 100km etc to provide just an example for the >10km case.

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On the plus side, maybe it will get cache owners to revisit their attributes.

 

It will certainly get cachers bugging owners to revisit their attributes.

 

Maybe, but my message was that many attributes that would be helpful do not exist. There is a huge difference between 10.5km, 30km, 60km, 100km etc to provide just an example for the >10km case.

 

Oh well.

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I already have noticed some of the checkers are wrong on my challenges.

 

What about challenges that are really easy to check. Like find the 20 top favorited traditional caches within 10 miles of your home. Very easy to check with a pocket query. But now a macro is required?

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Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

 

I think that for future challenge caches the requirements have to be specified exactly - e.g. 15 caches with the flashlight attribute or with the flashlight attribute and some other set of additional attributes etc.

 

The drawback of this is approach certainly that it allows for much less flexibility and the fact that the set of attributes is somehow quite arbitrary and for many aspects no attributes exist is a further inconvenience. So far for example people argued that the >10km attribute suffices as it is enough for filtering out caches and that further information can be provided in the description. The argument does not any longer hold when it comes to automatic challenge checkers.

 

That will make the review process much easier and demonstrable, and will make proving to the cache owner that you completed it much easier. The example of night caches ... how else can you determine it's really a night cache other than by an attribute? How does the CO decide it qualifies? The attribute makes it a lot clearer.

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Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

 

I think that for future challenge caches the requirements have to be specified exactly - e.g. 15 caches with the flashlight attribute or with the flashlight attribute and some other set of additional attributes etc.

 

The drawback of this is approach certainly that it allows for much less flexibility and the fact that the set of attributes is somehow quite arbitrary and for many aspects no attributes exist is a further inconvenience. So far for example people argued that the >10km attribute suffices as it is enough for filtering out caches and that further information can be provided in the description. The argument does not any longer hold when it comes to automatic challenge checkers.

 

On the plus side, maybe it will get cache owners to revisit their attributes.

 

It will certainly get cachers bugging owners to revisit their attributes.

 

...and disputing such discrepancies with Groundspeak. Unless they change the policy to explicitly state that all disputes are between the CO and the cachers and to leave Groundspeak out of it, I don't see how this really helps them all that much.

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1461265286[/url]' post='5578355']
1461265142[/url]' post='5578354']
1461263964[/url]' post='5578347']

Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

 

I think that for future challenge caches the requirements have to be specified exactly - e.g. 15 caches with the flashlight attribute or with the flashlight attribute and some other set of additional attributes etc.

 

The drawback of this is approach certainly that it allows for much less flexibility and the fact that the set of attributes is somehow quite arbitrary and for many aspects no attributes exist is a further inconvenience. So far for example people argued that the >10km attribute suffices as it is enough for filtering out caches and that further information can be provided in the description. The argument does not any longer hold when it comes to automatic challenge checkers.

 

On the plus side, maybe it will get cache owners to revisit their attributes.

 

It will certainly get cachers bugging owners to revisit their attributes.

 

What worries me a little is attributes might be abused so that others can qualify for challenges. I'm already seeing caches with lots on non-relevant attributes. The only reason I can think that people are doing this is for challenge caches. Filtering attributes in PQs may become a lot less useful.

But then again, no matter what Groundspeak comes up with, cachers will figure out ways to abuse the system for numbers. It's just the nature of the numbers beast.

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That will make the review process much easier and demonstrable, and will make proving to the cache owner that you completed it much easier. The example of night caches ... how else can you determine it's really a night cache other than by an attribute? How does the CO decide it qualifies? The attribute makes it a lot clearer.

 

The CO might e.g. know a cache and know that it is not a night cache and just has wrong attributes.

I know for example a cache that has the Chirp attribute as an attempt of the CO to be funny. Scuba or snowmobile attributes are also often used to make fun or to mark powertrails.

 

Moreover, many of the existing attributes are not clearly defined (which did not matter that much until now) and for many aspects there are no attributes.

 

For the example of long distance multi caches the information typically can be found somewhere in the cache text, but that's nothing that can be used by computers as an it could be anywhere and not every statement with km in it will reflect the cache length.

Edited by cezanne

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From the challenge owner side of things, I would really like to see Project-GC update the site so one can single url-link back to the challenge they are clicking and the cache owner can automatically conform that the person qualified.

 

IE, currently we get:

ODragon fulfills challenge Washington Bigcall Challenge (GC56CKN) according to http://project-gc.com/Challenges/GC56CKN/2417

 

I would prefer:

ODragon fulfills challenge Washington Bigcall Challenge (GC56CKN) according to http://project-gc.com/Challenges/GC56CKN/2417/ODragon

 

This way I can quickly confirm that a cache owner who logged my challenge did in fact qualify. Under the current system, I have to load the page, copy and paste the profile name you want to check into the box, then run the checker.

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1461265286[/url]' post='5578355']
1461265142[/url]' post='5578354']
1461263964[/url]' post='5578347']

Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

 

I think that for future challenge caches the requirements have to be specified exactly - e.g. 15 caches with the flashlight attribute or with the flashlight attribute and some other set of additional attributes etc.

 

The drawback of this is approach certainly that it allows for much less flexibility and the fact that the set of attributes is somehow quite arbitrary and for many aspects no attributes exist is a further inconvenience. So far for example people argued that the >10km attribute suffices as it is enough for filtering out caches and that further information can be provided in the description. The argument does not any longer hold when it comes to automatic challenge checkers.

 

On the plus side, maybe it will get cache owners to revisit their attributes.

 

It will certainly get cachers bugging owners to revisit their attributes.

 

What worries me a little is attributes might be abused so that others can qualify for challenges. I'm already seeing caches with lots on non-relevant attributes. The only reason I can think that people are doing this is for challenge caches. Filtering attributes in PQs may become a lot less useful.

But then again, no matter what Groundspeak comes up with, cachers will figure out ways to abuse the system for numbers. It's just the nature of the numbers beast.

 

This is already happening. Every possible detail that can be quantified is being abused for the purpose of challenge caches. Challenge caches have already made the game more tedious and the website less useful for filtering. That ship has sailed.

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In the meantime, we want to share a few details about one key aspect of the new framework. All future challenge caches must include a web-based challenge checker. At this time, Project-GC is the only website approved to host challenge checkers.

Well, this is disappointing. But as others have inquired, what about geocaching.com statistics pages?

 

Also, considering that PGC doesn't 'read' Lab Caches, then challenges based on 'Milestones' will not align between geocaching.com and PGC. So, it looks like challenge ideas that are now 'eliminated' will be: challenges based on Milestones, challenges based on text names (animal names, food names, etc), challenges based on distance or elevation gained (usually proven by noting start/end points in qualifying logs), challenges like the cemetary challenge, what else?

 

This is one of the changes we’re implementing based on feedback from community surveys. We hope that challenge checkers will make it easier for players to determine their qualifications for challenge caches. Additional details are available in this Project-GC FAQ.

If cachers couldn't figure out whether or not they qualified for a challenge, then they should've just not logged the challenge. Reminds me of the 'participation trophy' mentality.

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This is one of the changes we’re implementing based on feedback from community surveys. We hope that challenge checkers will make it easier for players to determine their qualifications for challenge caches. Additional details are available in this Project-GC FAQ.

If cachers couldn't figure out whether or not they qualified for a challenge, then they should've just not logged the challenge. Reminds me of the 'participation trophy' mentality.

Exactly. If it takes forever to figure out if you qualify, skip it! I still wonder why we would ever cater to someone who thinks they have to find all caches. There might be caches not for you. If they hurt you that much seeing them in your unfound search, ignore them!

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This is one of the changes we’re implementing based on feedback from community surveys. We hope that challenge checkers will make it easier for players to determine their qualifications for challenge caches. Additional details are available in this Project-GC FAQ.

If cachers couldn't figure out whether or not they qualified for a challenge, then they should've just not logged the challenge. Reminds me of the 'participation trophy' mentality.

Exactly. If it takes forever to figure out if you qualify, skip it! I still wonder why we would ever cater to someone who thinks they have to find all caches. There might be caches not for you. If they hurt you that much seeing them in your unfound search, ignore them!

Such caches can also take forever to review, and forever for the Appeals team to resolve misunderstandings or disputes. An objective yes or no using a Challenge Checker helps to overcome those concerns.

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Also, considering that PGC doesn't 'read' Lab Caches, then challenges based on 'Milestones' will not align between geocaching.com and PGC. So, it looks like challenge ideas that are now 'eliminated' will be: challenges based on Milestones, challenges based on text names (animal names, food names, etc), challenges based on distance or elevation gained (usually proven by noting start/end points in qualifying logs), challenges like the cemetary challenge, what else?

Personally, I'm pretty excited about those limitations. And from what I remember, weren't Lab Caches already excluded from challenges?

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Such caches can also take forever to review, and forever for the Appeals team to resolve misunderstandings or disputes. An objective yes or no using a Challenge Checker helps to overcome those concerns.

 

I do not think that there will be no disputes to handle for the appeals team as so many cache owners use attributes on purpose against their intention. The idea of a challenge cache that asks for 50 scuba caches is certainly not to end up with 50 drive-in caches.

 

Quite a number of conditions could in theory be checked by a challenge checker once gc.com added further attributes and parameters to cache listings - are they willing do to so?

(Things like elevation gain, distance covered etc)

Edited by cezanne

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This is one of the changes we’re implementing based on feedback from community surveys. We hope that challenge checkers will make it easier for players to determine their qualifications for challenge caches. Additional details are available in this Project-GC FAQ.

If cachers couldn't figure out whether or not they qualified for a challenge, then they should've just not logged the challenge. Reminds me of the 'participation trophy' mentality.

Exactly. If it takes forever to figure out if you qualify, skip it! I still wonder why we would ever cater to someone who thinks they have to find all caches. There might be caches not for you. If they hurt you that much seeing them in your unfound search, ignore them!

Such caches can also take forever to review, and forever for the Appeals team to resolve misunderstandings or disputes. An objective yes or no using a Challenge Checker helps to overcome those concerns.

 

That presumes the checkers are infallible. As noted before, I've seen several instances where they were not...

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Example... if there was a challenge to find 15 night caches... what is the checker going to look for? The word "night" in the title?, The flashlight or night cache attribute? Not all CO's fill this out in a way the checker can look for.

 

I think that for future challenge caches the requirements have to be specified exactly - e.g. 15 caches with the flashlight attribute or with the flashlight attribute and some other set of additional attributes etc.

 

The drawback of this is approach certainly that it allows for much less flexibility and the fact that the set of attributes is somehow quite arbitrary and for many aspects no attributes exist is a further inconvenience. So far for example people argued that the >10km attribute suffices as it is enough for filtering out caches and that further information can be provided in the description. The argument does not any longer hold when it comes to automatic challenge checkers.

 

That will make the review process much easier and demonstrable, and will make proving to the cache owner that you completed it much easier. The example of night caches ... how else can you determine it's really a night cache other than by an attribute? How does the CO decide it qualifies? The attribute makes it a lot clearer.

 

Exactly. Before the moratorium, challenges would only be approved if they could be verified quantifiably. So a vague "night cache" challenge with no actual parameters to check would not have been published. A night cache challenge would need to have stated that you must find caches with the specific attributes. So nothing there will change. Challenges alreayd had to be qualifiable to be published. If it's quantifiable, a checker can do it automatically, once programmed to do so.

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Challenges alreayd had to be qualifiable to be published. If it's quantifiable, a checker can do it automatically, once programmed to do so.

 

No true, at least not in every region. noncentric and I have mentioned examples of existing challenges that a checker cannot check automatically as the gc.com database does not contain the information in a manner that a computer can make use of (such things are easy to check for humans however).

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That will make the review process much easier and demonstrable, and will make proving to the cache owner that you completed it much easier. The example of night caches ... how else can you determine it's really a night cache other than by an attribute? How does the CO decide it qualifies? The attribute makes it a lot clearer.

 

I fully support anything that makes the review process easier. I understand the headaches that challenge create for reviewers. Checkers are a great arbitrary and quick way to verify that someone qualifies.

 

With my example of night caches, looking at my database, if I created a checker to search for:

 

1) "Night", I would get 13 caches, of which 10 are night caches

2) "Night Cache", I would get 6 caches, of which 6 are night caches

3) The Night Cache attribute, I would get 14 caches, of which 11 are night caches

4) The Flashlight attribute, I would get 15 caches, of which 9 are night caches

5) The Recommended at Night attribute, I would get 28 caches, of which 11 are night caches

 

As it stands, nothing will simply show that I have found 15 night caches.

 

Could this be solved by CO's doing a better job at using attributes, definitely. I would just hate to have to keep bugging CO's with messages like "can you please add this attribute" or conversely "can you please remove this attribute"

 

Again, I do fully support the checker system, as it would cut down on subjective qualifications.

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Ok, for a change of tone in this thread ---

 

I just played with the challenge checker tools over on project-gc, and I am really impressed.

Many! of the challenges in my area already have checkers assigned to them.

I can view my area (by county) on a map, and see what challenges exist, if they have a checker, which I qualify for and which I dont, and which I have already found.

That is really awesome!

 

I already found 2 nearby challenges that I qualify for and was not even aware of the challenge, nor that I qualified.

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This is one of the changes we’re implementing based on feedback from community surveys. We hope that challenge checkers will make it easier for players to determine their qualifications for challenge caches. Additional details are available in this Project-GC FAQ.

If cachers couldn't figure out whether or not they qualified for a challenge, then they should've just not logged the challenge. Reminds me of the 'participation trophy' mentality.

Exactly. If it takes forever to figure out if you qualify, skip it! I still wonder why we would ever cater to someone who thinks they have to find all caches. There might be caches not for you. If they hurt you that much seeing them in your unfound search, ignore them!

Such caches can also take forever to review, and forever for the Appeals team to resolve misunderstandings or disputes. An objective yes or no using a Challenge Checker helps to overcome those concerns.

 

I guess I didn't realize that so much time was spent appealing challenges. Does this mean if I thought I finished someone's challenge, but then they said I didn't, people would actually complain? That is pretty stupid. I would never complain to GC if I had a beef with a challenge owner. Why not just set the expectation that you can't appeal a challenge owner's decision. Or put $20 on any appeals so if you lose, you lose your $20?

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Ok, for a change of tone in this thread ---

 

I just played with the challenge checker tools over on project-gc, and I am really impressed.

Many! of the challenges in my area already have checkers assigned to them.

I can view my area (by county) on a map, and see what challenges exist, if they have a checker, which I qualify for and which I dont, and which I have already found.

That is really awesome!

 

I already found 2 nearby challenges that I qualify for and was not even aware of the challenge, nor that I qualified.

 

I do love their ability to map the challenge caches in an area and immediately tell what I qualify for if there is already a checker

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I would just hate to have to keep bugging CO's with messages like "can you please add this attribute" or conversely "can you please remove this attribute"

 

I guess in many cases such requests will not help at all anyway. On the contrary the new system also provides a nice way for cache owners of certain cache types to opt out so that their caches are not useful for qualifying for certain challenges they do not appreciate.

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Could this be solved by CO's doing a better job at using attributes, definitely. I would just hate to have to keep bugging CO's with messages like "can you please add this attribute" or conversely "can you please remove this attribute"

 

Don't worry, I'm sure others will do that for you. Pestering COs about attributes will be a new frontier for cache owner nuisances.

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And from what I remember, weren't Lab Caches already excluded from challenges?

Nope, there's nothing in the Challenge Cache guidelines about Lab caches. AFAIK, they're fair game.

Under the pre-moratorium listing guidelines for challenge caches, reviewers were instructed not to allow lab caches as an element of challenge caches or, for example, a challenge cache requiring the user to find 100 lab caches. This is an example of one of the intricate guidelines for challenge caches that will hopefully be swept away with the new framework that will be announced in the coming weeks. It's safe to speculate there will be no new challenge caches involving lab caches because lab caches don't pass through the API to Project-GC such that a checker can be built around them.

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What worries me a little is attributes might be abused so that others can qualify for challenges. I'm already seeing caches with lots on non-relevant attributes. The only reason I can think that people are doing this is for challenge caches. Filtering attributes in PQs may become a lot less useful.

But then again, no matter what Groundspeak comes up with, cachers will figure out ways to abuse the system for numbers. It's just the nature of the numbers beast.

 

The more ridiculous a challenge, the more likely somebody is going to come up with a cache that fulfills somebody's need for some obscure combination of cache-name/attribute/diff/terrain/whatever.

 

A challenge's primary purpose should be to set a goal that a cacher aspires to meet, not to provide power for an over controlling cache owner to yield over another.

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In the original announcement it was said

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

Okay, the checkers help with the first part, but how is that enforced? It seemed the big problem was the appeals to get them listed. How does the checker help with that problem? The only answer seems to be that if a checker does not exist no listing. So basically the Groundspeak problem will now become a project-gc problem. It's getting to the point that without third party apps, third party software and third party sites you can't use the site anymore.

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