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Return of challenge caches

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We’ve just now posted in the Announcements forum about the end of the moratorium on challenge caches. The text of that post is below.

 

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

 

Today we’re happy to announce the end of the moratorium on challenge cache submissions. Effective immediately, new challenge caches may be submitted in accordance with the updated guidelines.

 

Visit the Geocaching Blog for much more information about the new framework for challenge caches. We’ve gone into great detail there about the reasons for the various changes.

 

We’ll share this news in our weekly email to Geocaching members on May 31.

 

Thanks for your patience as we’ve worked through this process. We know a lot of people love challenge caches, and have eagerly awaited the end of the moratorium. Community input has been invaluable as we’ve tried to construct a framework that allows challenge caches to continue and thrive. We’re happy to know that challenge caches will continue to inspire people around the world to achieve exciting geocaching goals!

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Speaking as someone who was decidedly "meh" about challenge caches before the moratorium, I am happy to see the new guidelines address most, if not all, the ways these caches were degrading the quality of the game.

 

I am looking forward to new challenge caches that truly promote and inspire geocaching.

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Speaking as someone who was decidedly "meh" about challenge caches before the moratorium, I am happy to see the new guidelines address most, if not all, the ways these caches were degrading the quality of the game.

 

I am looking forward to new challenge caches that truly promote and inspire geocaching.

 

+1

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I'im not disappointed with the new guidelines. They're not perfect (they never will be), but much is addressed, and it still leaves a good amount of flexibility with the focus on geocaching as opposed to text analysis.

 

Now, what about challenges based on the "Placed By" field? :ph34r:

Edited by thebruce0

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I really like challenge caches and I'm happy to see them return. I was hoping for a new cache type to make them easier to show/hide on the map - easier for people who like them and easier to make them ignore for people who don't.

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The new guidelines look reasonable, still giving some room for new Challenges and eliminating some of the biggest problem causers (and some that made me go "meh"). This looks like a nice compromise. Thanks, Groundspeak!

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Now, what about challenges based on the "Placed By" field? :ph34r:

 

I'm pretty sure that falls under #10.

 

These listing elements: cache titles, cache owner names, GC Codes, or listing text.

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I'm glad they are not gone completely, but it looks as if the ones that were most interesting to me, have been eliminated. The offbeat ones using cache names will be particularly missed.

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Quick read through the new guidelines and the explanatory notes suggests that a lot of the contentious issues have been eliminated. I predict there will be haggling over Standard 5 point 3:

 

"A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

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Quick read through the new guidelines and the explanatory notes suggests that a lot of the contentious issues have been eliminated. I predict there will be haggling over Standard 5 point 3:

 

"A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

 

That should be easy to provide. Simply run a list of cacher names through the required checker, and send it to the reviewer when you submit your cache. Make sure you include your own name too!

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Quick read through the new guidelines and the explanatory notes suggests that a lot of the contentious issues have been eliminated. I predict there will be haggling over Standard 5 point 3:

 

"A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

 

That should be easy to provide. Simply run a list of cacher names through the required checker, and send it to the reviewer when you submit your cache. Make sure you include your own name too!

 

Define 'reasonable'. 2? 5? 10? 50?...

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I'm happy to see there is the exception for Lab Caches. Hopefully, eventually, my stats at PGC and Groundspeak will be the same. That's all I ever wanted :-)

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Quick read through the new guidelines and the explanatory notes suggests that a lot of the contentious issues have been eliminated. I predict there will be haggling over Standard 5 point 3:

 

"A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

 

That should be easy to provide. Simply run a list of cacher names through the required checker, and send it to the reviewer when you submit your cache. Make sure you include your own name too!

 

Define 'reasonable'. 2? 5? 10? 50?...

 

See this help article. It explains this guideline better than I can.

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Define 'reasonable'. 2? 5? 10? 50?...

 

That probably depends upon the stated difficulty level. Presumably, a "reasonable" number for a D5 challenge will be smaller than a "reasonable" number for a D2 challenge.

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Quick read through the new guidelines and the explanatory notes suggests that a lot of the contentious issues have been eliminated. I predict there will be haggling over Standard 5 point 3:

 

"A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

 

That should be easy to provide. Simply run a list of cacher names through the required checker, and send it to the reviewer when you submit your cache. Make sure you include your own name too!

 

Define 'reasonable'. 2? 5? 10? 50?...

 

That will probably depend on the location and it's geocaching population. What's reasonable in an area with only a few dozen cachers within a 200 mile radius may not be the same number as what's reasonable in a major metro area. And the previous number was 10-12 for most areas so I doubt that will change much.

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I'm glad they are not gone completely, but it looks as if the ones that were most interesting to me, have been eliminated. The offbeat ones using cache names will be particularly missed.

 

All of the challenge caches published prior to April 2015 are grandfathered and can still be found.

 

 

 

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Yeah! Glad they are back! The new guidelines seem quite reasonable. There might have been a few things that I liked that won't be allowed, but that's OK, and we still have much potential moving forward.

 

And thanks for the update!

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I'm happy to see there is the exception for Lab Caches. Hopefully, eventually, my stats at PGC and Groundspeak will be the same. That's all I ever wanted :-)

 

Since you mention project-gc I found this guideline interesting:

 

"Challenge cache criteria must come from information broadly available on Geocaching.com and must be verifiable through information on Geocaching.com."

 

When Challenge Checkers were being discussed awhile back I commented that a checker would not (technically) be limited to cache listing data. For example, an interesting challenge might be to finds N caches at an elevation over 10,000 (especially for a CC in Colorado). However, the cache data on geocaching.com does not include elevation data, but a challenge checker could easily derive the elevation from some other dataset based on the lat/long coordinates. For example, the project-gc profile stats will show a table of the highest and lowest elevation.

 

Although the guidelines are only an hour or so old I wonder if that would could be amended to allow information from Geocaching.com or one of it's official partners.

 

 

 

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Yeah...still think it needs its own type.
It sounds like they'll consider creating a new type (or attribute) if challenge caches survive a year without repeating the pre-moratorium problems.

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Quick read through the new guidelines and the explanatory notes suggests that a lot of the contentious issues have been eliminated. I predict there will be haggling over Standard 5 point 3:

 

"A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

That should be easy to provide. Simply run a list of cacher names through the required checker, and send it to the reviewer when you submit your cache. Make sure you include your own name too!

Define 'reasonable'. 2? 5? 10? 50?...

That will probably depend on the location and it's geocaching population. What's reasonable in an area with only a few dozen cachers within a 200 mile radius may not be the same number as what's reasonable in a major metro area. And the previous number was 10-12 for most areas so I doubt that will change much.

"Reasonable" is very subjective and doesn't lend itself to a given number (neither before the moratorium nor after). Our reviewers (and, I suspect, others as well) don't use a specific number or range of numbers.

 

That's why I was able to get our "A Month of Unknowns Challenge" published even though probably nobody in the area (other than us) had found a month's worth of consecutive Unknowns before this challenge appeared. But a "reasonable" number of geocachers should be able to complete this requirement if they made a deliberate effort to do so. And three local geocachers did log a find at the end of the first month after this challenge appeared. (And a total of 22 folks have now logged finds.)

 

"Reasonable" is a judgment call that you can't necessarily automate by running a bunch of local geocachers through a challenge checker and seeing if a magical number pass it.

Edited by CanadianRockies

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Quick read through the new guidelines and the explanatory notes suggests that a lot of the contentious issues have been eliminated. I predict there will be haggling over Standard 5 point 3:

 

"A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

 

That should be easy to provide. Simply run a list of cacher names through the required checker, and send it to the reviewer when you submit your cache. Make sure you include your own name too!

 

Define 'reasonable'. 2? 5? 10? 50?...

 

I imagine this is something that will vary by region. A "reasonable" number of cachers in a big city with an active caching population should be higher than a "reasonable" number of cachers in a rural area with few cachers.

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I'm glad they are not gone completely, but it looks as if the ones that were most interesting to me, have been eliminated. The offbeat ones using cache names will be particularly missed.

 

All of the challenge caches published prior to April 2015 are grandfathered and can still be found.

 

That doesn't leave any room for anything new in that area does it? The premise that was stated that these caches are just an exercise in database management is pretty inaccurate. I made special trips to get caches with unusual names to meet challenges and it took me to places I would otherwise probably not have gone. At this point, the challenges like this that I have left to do are getting pretty far away from home for me to get to, so it would be nice if some new ones that were closer to home could be created. And yes, I will probably do some of the grandfathered ones when I have the opportunity to do so.

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Now, what about challenges based on the "Placed By" field? :ph34r:

 

I'm pretty sure that falls under #10.

 

These listing elements: cache titles, cache owner names, GC Codes, or listing text.

 

...Owner Name is a different field than Placed By. Even so, note the :ph34r:. I'm just being difficult. There are bound to be people who see the letter of the guideline, don't see "Placed by" and submit challenges based on text in that field.

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I made special trips to get caches with unusual names to meet challenges and it took me to places I would otherwise probably not have gone.

 

Why bother when cache owners were creating caches named "Yellow Banana Cemetery State Park Zero 01" and you could complete like 9 different challenges with one stupidly named LPC?

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The 365 days number should be 366 days to accommodate leap year. Yes it only happens every 4 years but Geocaching has lasted longer than 4 years.

Edited by TK7464

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While I'm ok with it, I'm a little sad that no new challenges involving cache names will be allowed. I agree that it could be database management heavy, it was a great excuse to revisit certain caches. While working on a cache title pyramid challenge, I love using "Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg" for the [one word cache title] because no one expects it.

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I made special trips to get caches with unusual names to meet challenges and it took me to places I would otherwise probably not have gone.

 

Why bother when cache owners were creating caches named "Yellow Banana Cemetery State Park Zero 01" and you could complete like 9 different challenges with one stupidly named LPC?

 

I guess I didn't have anyone doing that near me, not that anyone should have been doing that. But to answer your question, it was a lot more fun and interesting to go get caches that were not placed for that reason...

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Define 'reasonable'. 2? 5? 10? 50?...

Subjectivity will always be an issue, but I think it's a bit more clearly explained here: http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=787

I was rather puzzled by that part of the Help article:

 

“A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify.”

This guideline aims to ensure that a challenge cache is obtainable by a reasonable number of players. If only a few people can find and log a challenge cache, then it’s almost like a private cache. (And private caches aren’t permitted on the website.) The “reasonable number” of cachers must reside in the area where your cache is placed.

The "private cache" label seems to be applied only to Challenge caches. Meanwhile, in our area, there are several technical rock climbing caches (GC6CNY7, GC69DDP) and difficult hiking caches (GC3WZBN, GC4M207, GC5C1QT) that have not been found so far (and eventually will likely be found by "only a few people"). Elsewhere, there are difficult puzzle caches, difficult SCUBA caches, difficult tree/pole climbing caches, and an International Space Station cache that are all unlikely to be found by more than "a few people."

 

None of these extremely difficult Non-Challenge caches have been labeled as "almost like a private cache" and banned from geocaching.com. Nor, in my opinion, should they. I'm glad there are difficult caches out there to be found by those who have those skills and want to make that kind of effort. I enjoy stretching my limits (at times).

 

It just seems odd to me that Non-Challenge caches are allowed to be extremely challenging while Challenge caches cannot be extremely challenging.

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I made special trips to get caches with unusual names to meet challenges and it took me to places I would otherwise probably not have gone.

 

Why bother when cache owners were creating caches named "Yellow Banana Cemetery State Park Zero 01" and you could complete like 9 different challenges with one stupidly named LPC?

 

I guess I didn't have anyone doing that near me, not that anyone should have been doing that. But to answer your question, it was a lot more fun and interesting to go get caches that were not placed for that reason...

 

Maybe CCs will continue to take you to places you would not have gone. Now you have a reason to go to Ontario. You're not that far away. Get your passport, and save up some money for gasoline and a hotel. You'll find hundreds of CCs in SW ON and I'm sure you'll find at least a dozen challenges that require unusual or A-Z names. Here's a bookmark list that lists of 700 CCs in Ontario.

 

Also check Project-GC for a map.

 

 

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I made special trips to get caches with unusual names to meet challenges and it took me to places I would otherwise probably not have gone.

 

Why bother when cache owners were creating caches named "Yellow Banana Cemetery State Park Zero 01" and you could complete like 9 different challenges with one stupidly named LPC?

 

I guess I didn't have anyone doing that near me, not that anyone should have been doing that. But to answer your question, it was a lot more fun and interesting to go get caches that were not placed for that reason...

 

We had someone publish a Tautogram Challenge a while back, which led to another couple of cachers creating stupid caches with ridiculous names like "Yo yo yo! You young Yanks yell yakkity yak yak yak" and "Qoweta Qountys Quirky Queen Quickly Qounts Quail"

 

<_<

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I'm really sad, seeing you repeating your biggest mistake on 'cache types'.

With changing some little rules, you won't prevent cachers 'creating' (creative) powertrails with not fulfillable orders. These were the reasons of stopping 'challenges'. We have some of these caches.

Please extend possibilities of ignoring caches/cachers.

 

We will see - the problems will repeat.

 

Yes... some challenges had a nice idea.... but most of them I've seen.... forget them.

 

Geocaching means fun, nature - not being dissappointed and chasing for statistics to reach challenges

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So what kind of challenge caches will be accepted with this new model?

Can I have some examples?

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Now, what about challenges based on the "Placed By" field? :ph34r:

 

I'm pretty sure that falls under #10.

 

These listing elements: cache titles, cache owner names, GC Codes, or listing text.

 

...Owner Name is a different field than Placed By. Even so, note the :ph34r:. I'm just being difficult. There are bound to be people who see the letter of the guideline, don't see "Placed by" and submit challenges based on text in that field.

 

If there is a loop hole someone will pull on it

 

 

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Souvenirs are specifically included in the list of things that challenges can be based upon. Those can be spoofed as most of us know. Does the checker verify that there is a valid cache log to go with each claimed souvenir or do the checkers just verify the number of awarded souvenirs?

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The 365 days number should be 366 days to accommodate leap year. Yes it only happens every 4 years but Geocaching has lasted longer than 4 years.

I'd go a step further and say there shouldn't be a specific maximum for streak challenges.

 

Groundspeak's justification for capping streak challenges at 365 is:

 

Streak challenges limited to 365 days. Ask an experienced cacher, “What did you like most about your caching streak?” and the common answer is, “The day it ended!” Finding caches every day for a long period often makes caching feel like a chore. But we didn’t want to restrict them completely, so we’re setting a maximum streak length for challenges.

My second question to those experienced cachers would be, "If you didn't like the streak, then why didn't you quit earlier?" If it feels like a chore, then don't do it. Nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to find a cache every day. You shouldn't need Groundspeak to protect you against yourself. My longest caching streak is 113 days; I quit when it became too much of a chore to be worthwhile continuing.

Edited by CanadianRockies

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Overall it looks good. We'll see. To me, the glaring omission is that there's still nothing to discouraging misrating the D/T to create caches for a fizzy challenge. And nothing to discourage COs from keeping inaccurate ratings due to complaints from finders that changing the rating would mess up their grid.

 

Edward

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For the most part, I love the new changes. I'm looking forward to working towards some challenges this summer!

 

Meanwhile, in our area, there are several technical rock climbing caches (GC6CNY7, GC69DDP) and difficult hiking caches (GC3WZBN, GC4M207, GC5C1QT) that have not been found so far (and eventually will likely be found by "only a few people"). Elsewhere, there are difficult puzzle caches, difficult SCUBA caches, difficult tree/pole climbing caches, and an International Space Station cache that are all unlikely to be found by more than "a few people."

 

None of these extremely difficult Non-Challenge caches have been labeled as "almost like a private cache" and banned from geocaching.com. Nor, in my opinion, should they. I'm glad there are difficult caches out there to be found by those who have those skills and want to make that kind of effort. I enjoy stretching my limits (at times).

 

It just seems odd to me that Non-Challenge caches are allowed to be extremely challenging while Challenge caches cannot be extremely challenging.

 

I agree with you that there is room for challenging challenges, just like there is room for challenging traditionals.

 

As a somewhat unrelated aside, my technical climbing cache GC6C3P3C was found just today. These caches have garnered attention by many cachers. Perhaps something that is thought of as difficult will be conquered by many in due time. If I was required to prove that a "reasonable" number of cachers could find those climbing caches, that would be impossible. And yet, they are being found (granted not very often). Like you've mentioned, many challenges seem unobtainable until cachers try and succeed.

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Glad to see them come back and am generally happy about the new guidelines...

 

I like the idea of requiring a Challenge Checker, what I don't like is now we are forced to login to Project-GC to use them. I would like to see GS and PGC agree that Challenge Checkers can be used without logging in.. Personally, I don't use ProjectGC and do not want them authenticate to my GC.com username on their site...

 

-TWT

Edited by TheWinterTrio

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With changing some little rules, you won't prevent cachers 'creating' (creative) powertrails with not fulfillable orders. These were the reasons of stopping 'challenges'.
Actually, no. That was not the reason for the moratorium.

 

The reason for the moratorium was that challenge caches (less than 1% of all cache submissions) were generating the majority of the appeals that the volunteer reviewers and the lackeys had to deal with.

 

And if the new challenge cache system can operate for a year without generating the same problem, then they'll consider creating a new type/attribute for them. But if they still generate the same problem, then it sounds like they'll just grandfather the existing challenge caches and stop accepting new submissions, and they won't need to bother with the new type/attribute for them.

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Speaking as someone who was decidedly "meh" about challenge caches before the moratorium, I am happy to see the new guidelines address most, if not all, the ways these caches were degrading the quality of the game.

 

I am looking forward to new challenge caches that truly promote and inspire geocaching.

 

I couldn't say it any better, most challenges I read were to me actually a bit like "You're kidding - someone seems to be in bad need to foster their own ego" ... which seemed very far from what I considered - and still do - at the basic idea of caching.

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Glad to see them come back and am generally happy about the new guidelines...

 

I like the idea of requiring a Challenge Checker, what I don't like is now we are forced to login to Project-GC to use them. I would like to see GS and PGC agree that Challenge Checkers can be used without logging in.. Personally, I don't use ProjectGC and do not want them authenticate to my GC.com username on their site...

 

-TWT

 

I have some discomfort with this as well. Something I'll have to think about if I decide to find any new challenges.

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Glad to see them come back and am generally happy about the new guidelines...

 

I like the idea of requiring a Challenge Checker, what I don't like is now we are forced to login to Project-GC to use them. I would like to see GS and PGC agree that Challenge Checkers can be used without logging in.. Personally, I don't use ProjectGC and do not want them authenticate to my GC.com username on their site...

 

-TWT

I have some discomfort with this as well. Something I'll have to think about if I decide to find any new challenges.

To both of you, can I ask why you're uncomfortable with Project-GC?

 

You aren't actually giving them your credentials. When you click the buttons to authenticate, you're redirected to geocaching.com and that's where you log in, so Project-GC never sees your credentials. What they get is an access token that allows their system to read some information from your account, in the same way that GSAK or any other API-using software does.

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The 365 days number should be 366 days to accommodate leap year. Yes it only happens every 4 years but Geocaching has lasted longer than 4 years.

+1

 

I was going to post this exact same thing. Please consider restricting the "streak" challenges to 366 days.

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Do grandfathered caches have to be verified with Project-GC or are they grandfathered from that requirement, as well?

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