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Return of challenge caches


Rock Chalk
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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...

The new Challenge cache guidelines state: "Challenge owners will need to make sure that cachers can show that they have completed the cache requirements without compromising their privacy."

 

And Groundspeak's general guidelines state: "Cache listings that require a cacher to visit another website will not be published if the finder must create an account with, or provide personal information to, the other website."

 

My guess is that if you can prove you completed a Challenge cache by uploading part of your Profile--Statistics page, providing a list of qualifying caches, or using some other method, then the Challenge cache owner must accept that as an alternative to posting the output from a challenge checker. Of course, the Challenge cache owners can always run your finds through the challenge checkers themselves, so you probably aren't buying much extra privacy by avoiding the Project-GC website.

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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.

 

I don't see anything in the new guidelines preventing new challenges from being extremely challenging. What has been eliminated is the bookkeeping exercise challenges that made you focus on gc's, words in the title/text, etc. like find 35 caches with 'orange' in the title. Or find a cache with the number of every racer in the 2003 NASCAR season in its gc#.

 

You can still submit a 'find 10 caches with 4.5* Terrain rating' challenge.

You can still submit a 'find 10 caches with the tree climbing or SCUBA attribute' challenge. (But probably not both on the same cache)

 

Stretch everyone's limits the way you want yours stretched.

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

According to the Help article:

 

Challenge caches published after April 21, 2015 must include a link to a web-based challenge checker.

That strongly implies that Challenge caches published on or before April 21, 2015, are grandfathered from the challenge checker requirement.

 

Additionally, this Help article states:

 

At this time, challenge caches published prior to April 21, 2015 are grandfathered into the game. As with any grandfathered cache, Geocaching HQ may archive caches which become problematic.

While that doesn't specifically address challenge checkers, it does seem to cover them (at least until a grandfathered Challenge cache becomes problematic).

Edited by CanadianRockies
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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.

 

I don't see anything in the new guidelines preventing new challenges from being extremely challenging. What has been eliminated is the bookkeeping exercise challenges that made you focus on gc's, words in the title/text, etc. like find 35 caches with 'orange' in the title. Or find a cache with the number of every racer in the 2003 NASCAR season in its gc#.

 

You can still submit a 'find 10 caches with 4.5* Terrain rating' challenge.

You can still submit a 'find 10 caches with the tree climbing or SCUBA attribute' challenge. (But probably not both on the same cache)

 

Stretch everyone's limits the way you want yours stretched.

I guess it depends on your definition of "extremely challenging." When I wrote that, I had in mind Challenge caches that "only a few people can find" and thus likely violate this guideline: "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."

 

I probably could get my Volunteer Reviewers to publish a somewhat challenging "find 10 caches with 4.5* Terrain rating" Challenge cache. But I probably could not get them to publish an extremely challenging "find 100 caches with 5/5 D/T ratings" Challenge cache.

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I probably could get my Volunteer Reviewers to publish a somewhat challenging "find 10 caches with 4.5* Terrain rating" Challenge cache. But I probably could not get them to publish an extremely challenging "find 100 caches with 5/5 D/T ratings" Challenge cache.

This is true. And if one was adamant about their challenge being published after being rejected by a reviewer, they might go to appeals. Their case could be that one or two people in the area have actually completed it. I'm worried that this alone might reintroduce the appeals problem GS was trying to avoid.

Unless the reviewer warns that if a CO tries to do that too often that challenges will disappear again... but next time forever.

 

Edit: clarity

Edited by brendan714
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I probably could get my Volunteer Reviewers to publish a somewhat challenging "find 10 caches with 4.5* Terrain rating" Challenge cache. But I probably could not get them to publish an extremely challenging "find 100 caches with 5/5 D/T ratings" Challenge cache.

This is true. And if you were adamant about your challenge being published after being rejected by a reviewer you'd go to appeals. Your case could be that one or two people in the area have actually completed it. I'm worried that this alone might reintroduce the appeals problem GS was trying to avoid.

Unless the reviewer warns that if a CO tries to do that too often that challenges will disappear again... but next time forever.

I'm not suggesting I would submit such an extremely challenging Challenge cache for publication. Given the existing Challenge cache guidelines, I probably wouldn't waste my (and Groundspeak's) time making such a submission.*

 

The point I was (originally) making is that I have a difficult time understanding why an extremely challenging Challenge cache is banned by Groundspeak (because "it’s almost like a private cache") while an extremely challenging Non-Challenge cache is allowed (even though "it’s almost like a private cache"). The justification seems inconsistent to me.

 

*ETA: I've created 27 Challenge caches, including some rather challenging ones. But I've never submitted a Challenge cache that was not published because it didn't appeal to or was unattainable by a reasonable number of people (even though this guideline has been in existence for several years now).

Edited by CanadianRockies
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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"

And I continue to see no reason whatsoever to consider it a bad thing that people plant caches with funny names designed to help with a challenge cache. But you win, since that type of challenge cache is now blocked. It's funny that several of us spent so much time on the other thread discussing how a checker could approximate confirmation of a category challenge, but it turns out all challenges based on cache names are now forbidden.

 

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

I agree that a limit seems unnecessary and I don't support it, yet at the same time, this is an obvious requirement now that the official position is that, at all costs, we must prevent challenge caches from being bad or uninteresting since that requires dictating standards to define bad and uninteresting.

 

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?"

OK, so I will defend the idea that one can be relieved at the end of a streak, since I've enjoyed a few streak challenge caches while, in fact, expressing exactly those feelings in the found log. This is like running a marathon: I'm always going to be glad, relieved, and take a break when the marathon ends, but that doesn't mean I regret running it. (Well, I can't run a marathon, but you get the idea.)

 

Having said that, I'm quite annoyed that they'd use the fact that I'd say that to justify limiting the maximum distance a race can be run. After all, the first streak I did was 30 days, and I said the same thing at the end of that since I was far less into geocaching back then, but that doesn't mean challenge streaks should be limited to 30 days.

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I'm not suggesting I would submit such an extremely challenging Challenge cache for publication. Given the existing Challenge cache guidelines, I probably wouldn't waste my (and Groundspeak's) time making such a submission.

 

The point I was (originally) making is that I have a difficult time understanding why an extremely challenging Challenge cache is banned by Groundspeak (because "it’s almost like a private cache") while an extremely challenging Non-Challenge cache is allowed (even though "it’s almost like a private cache"). The justification seems inconsistent to me.

Oh I know, I wasn't implying that at all. By "you" I didn't mean specifically you, I meant anybody. It was just something that I can see happening often. If it becomes a problem maybe local reviewers will start requiring a percentage based on the number of total cachers. Just a guess.

 

As a fan of very challenging trads and puzzles, I agree it is inconsistent to restrict very challenging challenges. But for my style of play, it doesn't bother me. I'm sure there will still be interesting and challenging (to me) challenges for me to work towards.

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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.

 

I understand the whole API/token thing (I'm a heavy GSAK user), so I guess my original email wasn't worded very well... I have nothing against Project-GC, they provides a great service that a lot of people use. But I don't use the site, so there no reason I should be forced to login.

 

They can probably see 90+% of my info without me logging in, so why should I have to? They already have all my logs, friends who do use the site have run Challenge Checkers against my user to verify challenges when we've been out on the road, so they don't need me to login to provide the information...

 

-TWT

Edited by TheWinterTrio
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I'm not suggesting I would submit such an extremely challenging Challenge cache for publication. Given the existing Challenge cache guidelines, I probably wouldn't waste my (and Groundspeak's) time making such a submission.

 

The point I was (originally) making is that I have a difficult time understanding why an extremely challenging Challenge cache is banned by Groundspeak (because "it’s almost like a private cache") while an extremely challenging Non-Challenge cache is allowed (even though "it’s almost like a private cache"). The justification seems inconsistent to me.

Oh I know, I wasn't implying that at all. By "you" I didn't mean specifically you, I meant anybody. It was just something that I can see happening often. If it becomes a problem maybe local reviewers will start requiring a percentage based on the number of total cachers. Just a guess.

I certainly hope Groundspeak never resorts to replacing good judgment with magical numbers (or percentages). See my earlier post as to why very few people might have completed the challenge at the time of publication but it still can "appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" if they make a deliberate effort to qualify.

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I'm not suggesting I would submit such an extremely challenging Challenge cache for publication. Given the existing Challenge cache guidelines, I probably wouldn't waste my (and Groundspeak's) time making such a submission.

 

The point I was (originally) making is that I have a difficult time understanding why an extremely challenging Challenge cache is banned by Groundspeak (because "it’s almost like a private cache") while an extremely challenging Non-Challenge cache is allowed (even though "it’s almost like a private cache"). The justification seems inconsistent to me.

Oh I know, I wasn't implying that at all. By "you" I didn't mean specifically you, I meant anybody. It was just something that I can see happening often. If it becomes a problem maybe local reviewers will start requiring a percentage based on the number of total cachers. Just a guess.

I certainly hope Groundspeak never resorts to replacing good judgment with magical numbers (or percentages). See my earlier post as to why very few people might have completed the challenge at the time of publication but it still can "appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" if they make a deliberate effort to qualify.

I don't disagree. I just wonder how reviewers will turn a subjective quality into an objective quality - unless it always stays subjective and opinionated. Then we're back to the central problem with appeals when COs don't agree. I guess we'll see.

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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"

And I continue to see no reason whatsoever to consider it a bad thing that people plant caches with funny names designed to help with a challenge cache. But you win, since that type of challenge cache is now blocked. It's funny that several of us spent so much time on the other thread discussing how a checker could approximate confirmation of a category challenge, but it turns out all challenges based on cache names are now forbidden.

 

I think those were the ones I enjoyed more: A-Z 0-9, Noah's Ark, Phobias. I still need a cache hider whose name starts with a 5. But, the programmers were unable to create such a challenge checker. Sad. I'll have to see what new challenges are published. Still working on my Jasmer challenge. Not sure I'll ever finish that one. Oh, well. We'll see what happens,

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I agree that the new guidelines are a big improvement. Most of my objections have been met. I don't agree with the idea of requiring a challenge checker. If a geocacher can't determine independently whether or not he or she qualifies, they shouldn't get credit for a cache, in my opinion. I also think they shouldn't grandfather in all the old challenge caches that don't meet the new guidelines. I can understand keeping them if the only objection is that there is no checker available, but I wish they'd archive all those requiring finding caches with various things in the name, or by finders, etc. (the #10 prohibited criteria). They could do it with a long grace period so that all those working on those challenges, or already qualified, can go make the find. They've left it open by saying problematic ones can still be archived, but the whole reason for the moratorium is that there were problem ones. Those should be cleaned out without further ado.

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

 

This, right here, is the best post in this entire thread. :blink:

 

The problem is how to define "extremely challenging". In one region a challenge may not be published on reviewer judgement of being too challenging; in another region it would be published. So where's the line? And that I think was the point. A single cache can be found and be extremely challenging. But if a challenge cache is determined to be too difficult for a region based on local cache selection, it may never be "Found". But, that's a reviewer's call to make.

 

I don't think the new guidelines really address the 'difficulty' aspect of judging a challenge. At least the guidelines relevant to that have been in play for Ontario for quite a long time, so nothing seemed new on that front.

 

When I was in Nevada, I was looking at some challenges and taken aback by how many ridiculously high number challenges there were. None of those would be up here; at least not in the same capacity (like, the "easy" challenge of a series, eg). But that region has many many many long P&G series of thousands, trails, geoart and whatnot. So they were judged 'reasonable' in that area. Unlikely to be judged the same up here, despite there being many powertrails of hundreds of caches.

 

So I don't see the "extreme difficulty" limit a static one; it's quite subjective, and may not be an issue at all if your challenge is actually reasonable for your area.

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Although the moratorium is over, we are still unable to publish Challenge caches as Project-GC has locked out both methods (writing a checker script or tagging a current checker script) of creating a Challenge Checker. They say they will open it up to applicants in a number of weeks, due to technical concerns. Shouldn't this have been resolved before the end of the moratorium?

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I also think they shouldn't grandfather in all the old challenge caches that don't meet the new guidelines. I can understand keeping them if the only objection is that there is no checker available, but I wish they'd archive all those requiring finding caches with various things in the name, or by finders, etc. (the #10 prohibited criteria). They could do it with a long grace period so that all those working on those challenges, or already qualified, can go make the find. They've left it open by saying problematic ones can still be archived, but the whole reason for the moratorium is that there were problem ones. Those should be cleaned out without further ado.

As I understand it, the main reason for the moratorium was that some Challenge cache creators frequently were appealing the reviewers' decisions not to publish certain Challenge caches. Since all the existing Challenge caches already have been published by reviewers, these grandfathered Challenge caches shouldn't be a major problem in the future.

 

If you don't enjoy certain types of challenges, then ignore them and let those who do enjoy them find them. Why would you want to remove challenges that others appreciate?

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

 

This, right here, is the best post in this entire thread. :blink:

I second that!

 

There are other types of caches placed that, maybe, just maybe, one out of a million people will ever be able to find. But for whatever reason, a challenge cache has to be attainable by a reasonable number of people. As long as it's rated properly, it shouldn't matter how easy or challenging a cache is.

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

This, right here, is the best post in this entire thread. :blink:

The problem is how to define "extremely challenging". In one region a challenge may not be published on reviewer judgement of being too challenging; in another region it would be published. So where's the line? And that I think was the point. A single cache can be found and be extremely challenging. But if a challenge cache is determined to be too difficult for a region based on local cache selection, it may never be "Found". But, that's a reviewer's call to make.

 

I don't think the new guidelines really address the 'difficulty' aspect of judging a challenge. At least the guidelines relevant to that have been in play for Ontario for quite a long time, so nothing seemed new on that front.

Yes, there's nothing new about the "challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" guideline. It's been around for years, and reviewers have long been applying their judgment in determining whether a particular challenge is too difficult for a particular region.

 

If this subjective decision proves to be too overwhelming for reviewers in the future, then I've got a suggestion: Get rid of the "challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" guideline and treat extremely challenging Challenge caches just like extremely challenging Non-Challenge caches. Better yet, get rid of that guideline even if it isn't causing reviewers any trouble.

Edited by CanadianRockies
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According to this Help article:

 

Challenge caches published after April 21, 2015 are not permitted to use Lab caches as a source of criteria. (For example, a challenge to Find 50 Lab caches is not allowed.) However, Geocaching.com user profiles do include Lab Caches in metrics necessary for some allowed challenges: Total Finds, Longest Streak and the Finds for Each Day of the Year grid. Therefore, we are making an exception to permit Lab caches to be used as qualifiers for challenges related only to those metrics.

What about new Challenge caches that involve Lab Caches that appear in milestone statistics? Was this category accidentally omitted? Or was the omission intentional? If intentional, then why?

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According to this Help article:

 

Challenge caches published after April 21, 2015 are not permitted to use Lab caches as a source of criteria. (For example, a challenge to Find 50 Lab caches is not allowed.) However, Geocaching.com user profiles do include Lab Caches in metrics necessary for some allowed challenges: Total Finds, Longest Streak and the Finds for Each Day of the Year grid. Therefore, we are making an exception to permit Lab caches to be used as qualifiers for challenges related only to those metrics.

What about new Challenge caches that involve Lab Caches that appear in milestone statistics? Was this category accidentally omitted? Or was the omission intentional? If intentional, then why?

I believe that in the previous thread, one of the PGC developers said that Lab Caches are not included in the data that they receive through the API, therefore a Checker could not be written for a Lab Cache specific Challenge. There might be a small (maybe insignificant) number of Users that would qualify for a given Streak, only if they were able to use a Find on a Lab Cache, and might be why the Help Center is worded that way.

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Although the moratorium is over, we are still unable to publish Challenge caches as Project-GC has locked out both methods (writing a checker script or tagging a current checker script) of creating a Challenge Checker. They say they will open it up to applicants in a number of weeks, due to technical concerns. Shouldn't this have been resolved before the end of the moratorium?

Either that or have multiple sources for checking. As far as I can see PGC is pretty much a private club right now.

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Yes, there's nothing new about the "challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" guideline. It's been around for years, and reviewers have long been applying their judgment in determining whether a particular challenge is too difficult for a particular region.

 

If this subjective decision proves to be too overwhelming for reviewers in the future, then I've got a suggestion: Get rid of the "challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" guideline and treat extremely challenging Challenge caches just like extremely challenging Non-Challenge caches. Better yet, get rid of that guideline even if it isn't causing reviewers any trouble.

The difference I see between the difficult single cache and the difficult challenge cache is that the single cache is always attainable by a person who is able to do the necessary task to retrieve; one task, one find. Whereas a challenge cache may itself be easily attainable while the qualification may be, according to the local caching landscape, unattainable; not because the challenge cache is hard, but because there may be no way for a person to qualify 'reasonably' (reviewer judgement) in order to log the challenge cache.

 

Granted it's a fine line... I mean, if a single cache requires a boat, the cacher can find the cache as long as they gain access to a boat (friends, rent, etc); likewise, if a challenge cache requires caches only available by traveling great distances, the cacher can find the cache as long as they remember to seek and find qualifying caches while away from home.. or just keep caching actively for 5 years... or gain access to a boat 50 times... or, or, or.

 

*shrug* I just see it as GS deciding that "extreme difficulty" is multiplied for challenge caches, 'reasonable' is highly dependent on local caching landscape, and you need to qualify in addition to finding the listed cache... and a single cache of extreme difficulty isn't affected by those same factors.

 

All that said, I of course would also love to see a bit more freedom for difficulty; but we'll see how tight that noose is once we start to see what reviewers (in our local regions) judge as "reasonable" post-moratorium. As the years progress, the range of easy to hard challenges relative to any individual cacher will grow enormously wide as veteran cacher stats soar and newbies continually join the hobby.

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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?

 

Since I'm the author of one of the souvenir checkers, I can say that that does not check for matching logs. Actually, that would be impossible. There are, for instance, travelling caches that have their posted coordinates updated regularly. If you get a souvenir for logging one of those and it is then moved, there is no way to check that. Same thing with the Let's Get Extreme souvenir from the 2015 summer promotion. It requires you to find a D5 or T5 cache. It could then have had its rating changed, which is also not checkable. This is apart from the fact that it would be a monumental job to figure out the exact qualifications for all the souvenirs.

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I agree that the new guidelines are a big improvement. Most of my objections have been met. I don't agree with the idea of requiring a challenge checker. If a geocacher can't determine independently whether or not he or she qualifies, they shouldn't get credit for a cache, in my opinion. I also think they shouldn't grandfather in all the old challenge caches that don't meet the new guidelines. I can understand keeping them if the only objection is that there is no checker available, but I wish they'd archive all those requiring finding caches with various things in the name, or by finders, etc. (the #10 prohibited criteria). They could do it with a long grace period so that all those working on those challenges, or already qualified, can go make the find. They've left it open by saying problematic ones can still be archived, but the whole reason for the moratorium is that there were problem ones. Those should be cleaned out without further ado.

 

This seems to be one of the common misconceptions from the previous challenge cache thread. From what we've been told, the reason for the moratorium was largely that the challenge cache publication process caused a lot of problems. There has been no mention of problems with already published challenges. Thus, there is no reason to nuke pre-moratorium challenges as you suggest.

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I also think they shouldn't grandfather in all the old challenge caches that don't meet the new guidelines.

 

I agree. When photos were deemed ALR and had to be made optional on Earthcaches, we had to comply with the new guidelines. Same should be for Challenge caches, meet current guidelines as some are already doing. :)

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The difference I see between the difficult single cache and the difficult challenge cache is that the single cache is always attainable by a person who is able to do the necessary task to retrieve; one task, one find. Whereas a challenge cache may itself be easily attainable while the qualification may be, according to the local caching landscape, unattainable; not because the challenge cache is hard, but because there may be no way for a person to qualify 'reasonably' (reviewer judgement) in order to log the challenge cache.

 

Granted it's a fine line... I mean, if a single cache requires a boat, the cacher can find the cache as long as they gain access to a boat (friends, rent, etc); likewise, if a challenge cache requires caches only available by traveling great distances, the cacher can find the cache as long as they remember to seek and find qualifying caches while away from home.. or just keep caching actively for 5 years... or gain access to a boat 50 times... or, or, or.

Why should Groundspeak ban a Challenge cache that is unattainable to geocachers in a particular area? It just means cachers must travel outside that area to qualify for those kinds of challenges. The "Jasmer Challenge - Alberta" is unattainable without traveling long distances from Calgary, but 23 people still have managed to find/complete it. That's 23 more than the number of folks who have found certain technical rock climbing caches, difficult hiking caches, hard puzzle caches, etc.

 

Additionally, there are certain multi-caches whose stages are thousands of miles apart and thus unattainable unless a local geocacher travels great distances. Yet Groundspeak will go ahead and publish those locally unattainable multi-caches while banning a locally unattainable Challenge cache. Why?

 

*shrug* I just see it as GS deciding that "extreme difficulty" is multiplied for challenge caches, 'reasonable' is highly dependent on local caching landscape, and you need to qualify in addition to finding the listed cache... and a single cache of extreme difficulty isn't affected by those same factors.

I agree that those factors can increase the difficulty for some Challenge caches. They even could make a particular Challenge cache extremely challenging and "almost like a private cache." But certain single Non-Challenge caches can be even more difficult and even more "almost like a private cache." For example, I could create a 25-stage multi-cache than included an extremely hard puzzle to get the coordinates to Stage 1, a multi-day backpacking trip up and down mountains to a cliff that you need to rappel down to get the coordinates to Stage 2, a deep-lake SCUBA dive to get the coordinates to Stage 3, travel across the ocean to Stage 4, a multi-day canoe trip through the wilds of Northern Ontario to Stage 5, etc., etc. Yet Groundspeak probably would ban my relatively easier Challenge cache while publishing my more difficult single Non-Challenge cache. It's kinda hard for me to understand why that is.

Edited by CanadianRockies
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I also think they shouldn't grandfather in all the old challenge caches that don't meet the new guidelines.

 

I agree. When photos were deemed ALR and had to be made optional on Earthcaches, we had to comply with the new guidelines. Same should be for Challenge caches, meet current guidelines as some are already doing. :)

I have to disagree here firstly because to take your analogy we just make the checker optional :). Secondly because that would open up a whole new can of worms and subjective judgement calls. I agree with the new guidelines and they seem a great attempt to get a more workable system. I still totally disagree with Project GC being the sole arbiter of right or wrong because they are not open source but private right now.

Edited by lodgebarn
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According to this Help article:

 

Challenge caches published after April 21, 2015 are not permitted to use Lab caches as a source of criteria. (For example, a challenge to Find 50 Lab caches is not allowed.) However, Geocaching.com user profiles do include Lab Caches in metrics necessary for some allowed challenges: Total Finds, Longest Streak and the Finds for Each Day of the Year grid. Therefore, we are making an exception to permit Lab caches to be used as qualifiers for challenges related only to those metrics.

What about new Challenge caches that involve Lab Caches that appear in milestone statistics? Was this category accidentally omitted? Or was the omission intentional? If intentional, then why?

I believe that in the previous thread, one of the PGC developers said that Lab Caches are not included in the data that they receive through the API, therefore a Checker could not be written for a Lab Cache specific Challenge. There might be a small (maybe insignificant) number of Users that would qualify for a given Streak, only if they were able to use a Find on a Lab Cache, and might be why the Help Center is worded that way.

It's precisely because Lab Cache data is included in the Groundspeak Profile's Statistics pages but excluded from Project-GC's challenge checkers that the new Challenge Cache guidelines make specific exceptions for Total Finds challenges, Longest Streak challenges, and Finds for Each Day of the Year challenges. While the same problem exists for Milestone challenges, they are not included in the exceptions. I'm wondering why the Help Center article wasn't worded to also include an exception for Milestone challenges.

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I also think they shouldn't grandfather in all the old challenge caches that don't meet the new guidelines.

I agree. When photos were deemed ALR and had to be made optional on Earthcaches, we had to comply with the new guidelines. Same should be for Challenge caches, meet current guidelines as some are already doing. :)

Not grandfathering existing caches is the exception rather than the rule. Think of virtuals, webcams, buried caches, etc. According to Groundspeak's guidelines:

 

If a geocache has been published and violates any guidelines listed below, you are encouraged to report it. However, if the geocache was placed prior to the date when a guideline was issued or updated, the geocache is likely to be grandfathered and allowed to stand as is.
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I don't know why Groundspeak are SO reluctant to add a Challenge Cache attribute! :mad: :mad:

 

'Field Puzzle' was added to the system with zero fuss and 'Wireless Beacon' was added virtually overnight when Garmin Chirps came on the market.

 

Relying on 'Challenge' in the cache name is just pathetic.

 

M

Edited by Delta68
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The point I was (originally) making is that I have a difficult time understanding why an extremely challenging Challenge cache is banned by Groundspeak (because "it’s almost like a private cache") while an extremely challenging Non-Challenge cache is allowed (even though "it’s almost like a private cache"). The justification seems inconsistent to me.

 

One difference I see is that the challenge cache could be a terrain 1, with a logging requirement corresponding to an extreme terrain 5.

In this case a lot of geocachers are able to find the container, but only a few would ever be able to claim it as a find.

 

It's funny that several of us spent so much time on the other thread discussing how a checker could approximate confirmation of a category challenge, but it turns out all challenges based on cache names are now forbidden.

 

I think it shows very well why these challenges are forbidden now. It's fine to have a good discussion in the forums, but when cache hiders and finders are having the same discussion it leads to appeals. And it's far easier to ban them all than to start a whole new discussion about where to draw the line...

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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"

And I continue to see no reason whatsoever to consider it a bad thing that people plant caches with funny names designed to help with a challenge cache. But you win, since that type of challenge cache is now blocked. It's funny that several of us spent so much time on the other thread discussing how a checker could approximate confirmation of a category challenge, but it turns out all challenges based on cache names are now forbidden.

 

I think those were the ones I enjoyed more: A-Z 0-9, Noah's Ark, Phobias. I still need a cache hider whose name starts with a 5. But, the programmers were unable to create such a challenge checker. Sad. I'll have to see what new challenges are published. Still working on my Jasmer challenge. Not sure I'll ever finish that one. Oh, well. We'll see what happens,

 

Yeah...you know, those were really the only type I participated in...so I'm not sure about this "you win" bit.

 

I CAN say that as little as I was interested in creating a challenge cache before, I have just about zero interest in bothering now. So I suppose they were successful in that they'll probably have a lot fewer people bothering to try to make challenge caches.

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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."

I agree. Problematic CCO's can still cause headaches over the subjectivity throughout the entire sentence, even within the new list of guidelines.

 

  • "appeal to" - What is really 'appealing' to a cacher? Just because a cacher qualifies for a challenge doesn't mean the challenge appeals to them. For example, some cachers have said they don't like challenges related to animal names. Many of those cachers may qualify for animal name challenges without even trying to, but that doesn't mean the challenge "appeals to" them.
  • "attainable" - Whether something is attainable isn't determinable based solely on how many cachers have actually attained it. There may be plenty of cachers that could find 20 caches with the 'dangerous animal' attribute, but how many cachers actually want to? Rhetorical question.
  • "reasonable number of cachers" - Has already been discussed in this topic. Even though this can vary based on region, it's still subjective within the confines of each region.

I hope the other guideline changes will do enough to make the quoted sentence less problematic for Reviewers. I don't know if there's any way to remove the subjectivity from this part of the guidelines. And the article about Subjectivity doesn't really resolve anything.

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I'm not suggesting I would submit such an extremely challenging Challenge cache for publication. Given the existing Challenge cache guidelines, I probably wouldn't waste my (and Groundspeak's) time making such a submission.

 

The point I was (originally) making is that I have a difficult time understanding why an extremely challenging Challenge cache is banned by Groundspeak (because "it's almost like a private cache") while an extremely challenging Non-Challenge cache is allowed (even though "it's almost like a private cache"). The justification seems inconsistent to me.

Oh I know, I wasn't implying that at all. By "you" I didn't mean specifically you, I meant anybody. It was just something that I can see happening often. If it becomes a problem maybe local reviewers will start requiring a percentage based on the number of total cachers. Just a guess.

I certainly hope Groundspeak never resorts to replacing good judgment with magical numbers (or percentages). See my earlier post as to why very few people might have completed the challenge at the time of publication but it still can "appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" if they make a deliberate effort to qualify.

 

If some can't use good judgement to create challenge caches that are attainable creating a constrained may be the only option. At times it's seemed like some are treating challenges as a contest to see who can create the most difficult or more complex challenge rather than a cache that will appeal to many cachers.

 

 

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

Just to be clear, what type of challenge are you referring to with regard to "streak" challenges? I don't understand how Leap Day relates to "streak" challenges, such as this 100 day streak challenge. I don't think extending a 365 day streak to 366 days makes a significant impact on such challenges.

 

I do see the impact of Leap Day on "calendar" challenges, such as this fill the calendar challenge. These calendar challenges are not affected by the new guidelines. Some of these challenges include Leap Day and some do not, but that's based on the preference of the challenge cache owner and is stated in the challenge cache description.

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If some can't use good judgement to create challenge caches that are attainable creating a constrained may be the only option. At times it's seemed like some are treating challenges as a contest to see who can create the most difficult or more complex challenge rather than a cache that will appeal to many cachers.

My concern is that such cachers will still cause problems and make appeals. :(

 

Maybe the checker creation process will weed some of them out, either because they don't know how to write/tag a script themselves or because writers/taggers will refuse to deal with the complexity of their challenge requirements.

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If some can't use good judgement to create challenge caches that are attainable creating a constrained may be the only option. At times it's seemed like some are treating challenges as a contest to see who can create the most difficult or more complex challenge rather than a cache that will appeal to many cachers.

My concern is that such cachers will still cause problems and make appeals. :(

 

Maybe the checker creation process will weed some of them out, either because they don't know how to write/tag a script themselves or because writers/taggers will refuse to deal with the complexity of their challenge requirements.

 

I'd say you've hit the nail very firmly on the head B)

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Although the moratorium is over, we are still unable to publish Challenge caches as Project-GC has locked out both methods (writing a checker script or tagging a current checker script) of creating a Challenge Checker. They say they will open it up to applicants in a number of weeks, due to technical concerns. Shouldn't this have been resolved before the end of the moratorium?

Either that or have multiple sources for checking. As far as I can see PGC is pretty much a private club right now.

 

As with those third-party geocheckers, it is disappointing that this has to occur off-site. Lately I have had a slightly higher level of interest in challenges but as I don't care to visit or sign in to someone else's webpage I probably won't take an interest in new ones. I think the concept of requiring a checker is a good one but having rely on another website is a bit hamfisted, particularly since it is just that one site.

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Although the moratorium is over, we are still unable to publish Challenge caches as Project-GC has locked out both methods (writing a checker script or tagging a current checker script) of creating a Challenge Checker. They say they will open it up to applicants in a number of weeks, due to technical concerns. Shouldn't this have been resolved before the end of the moratorium?

Either that or have multiple sources for checking. As far as I can see PGC is pretty much a private club right now.

 

As with those third-party geocheckers, it is disappointing that this has to occur off-site. Lately I have had a slightly higher level of interest in challenges but as I don't care to visit or sign in to someone else's webpage I probably won't take an interest in new ones. I think the concept of requiring a checker is a good one but having rely on another website is a bit hamfisted, particularly since it is just that one site.

While the rulesguidelines now say the challenge cache must have an online checker it doesn't say that finders MUST use the online checkers.

 

They do say:

Challenge cache criteria must come from information broadly available on Geocaching.com such as on the statistics page, cache placement dates, types, attributes, souvenirs, etc. must be verifiable through information on Geocaching.com.

 

So there's nothing to stop you claiming a find and stating "see my profile stats page for evidence", or "here's a list of finds which qualify me for this challenge..."

Edited by MartyBartfast
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Although the moratorium is over, we are still unable to publish Challenge caches as Project-GC has locked out both methods (writing a checker script or tagging a current checker script) of creating a Challenge Checker. They say they will open it up to applicants in a number of weeks, due to technical concerns. Shouldn't this have been resolved before the end of the moratorium?

Either that or have multiple sources for checking. As far as I can see PGC is pretty much a private club right now.

 

As with those third-party geocheckers, it is disappointing that this has to occur off-site. Lately I have had a slightly higher level of interest in challenges but as I don't care to visit or sign in to someone else's webpage I probably won't take an interest in new ones. I think the concept of requiring a checker is a good one but having rely on another website is a bit hamfisted, particularly since it is just that one site.

While the rulesguidelines now say the challenge cache must have an online checker it doesn't say that finders MUST use the online checkers.

 

They do say:

Challenge cache criteria must come from information broadly available on Geocaching.com such as on the statistics page, cache placement dates, types, attributes, souvenirs, etc. must be verifiable through information on Geocaching.com.

 

So there's nothing to stop you claiming a find and stating "see my profile stats page for evidence", or "here's a list of finds which qualify me for this challenge..."

 

That's interesting. I wonder if that is how it will be interpreted in practice.

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

Just to be clear, what type of challenge are you referring to with regard to "streak" challenges? I don't understand how Leap Day relates to "streak" challenges, such as this 100 day streak challenge. I don't think extending a 365 day streak to 366 days makes a significant impact on such challenges.

 

I do see the impact of Leap Day on "calendar" challenges, such as this fill the calendar challenge. These calendar challenges are not affected by the new guidelines. Some of these challenges include Leap Day and some do not, but that's based on the preference of the challenge cache owner and is stated in the challenge cache description.

 

Yeah...making a 366 day streak challenge could mean January 1 through January 1 of the following year...the Leap Day really has nothing to do with streaks. It's only a factor when trying to fill in the calendar, and that doesn't need to require a streak. It's merely the fastest way to accomplish the calendar fill.

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Although the moratorium is over, we are still unable to publish Challenge caches as Project-GC has locked out both methods (writing a checker script or tagging a current checker script) of creating a Challenge Checker. They say they will open it up to applicants in a number of weeks, due to technical concerns. Shouldn't this have been resolved before the end of the moratorium?

Either that or have multiple sources for checking. As far as I can see PGC is pretty much a private club right now.

 

As with those third-party geocheckers, it is disappointing that this has to occur off-site. Lately I have had a slightly higher level of interest in challenges but as I don't care to visit or sign in to someone else's webpage I probably won't take an interest in new ones. I think the concept of requiring a checker is a good one but having rely on another website is a bit hamfisted, particularly since it is just that one site.

While the rulesguidelines now say the challenge cache must have an online checker it doesn't say that finders MUST use the online checkers.

 

They do say:

Challenge cache criteria must come from information broadly available on Geocaching.com such as on the statistics page, cache placement dates, types, attributes, souvenirs, etc. must be verifiable through information on Geocaching.com.

 

So there's nothing to stop you claiming a find and stating "see my profile stats page for evidence", or "here's a list of finds which qualify me for this challenge..."

 

That's interesting. I wonder if that is how it will be interpreted in practice.

 

I'm certain of it. Plenty of people post stats from GSAK and screen captures from the GC site already. No reason to believe they will change their method if it is still a valid way to provide confirmation.

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I agree that those factors can increase the difficulty for some Challenge caches. They even could make a particular Challenge cache extremely challenging and "almost like a private cache." But certain single Non-Challenge caches can be even more difficult and even more "almost like a private cache." For example, I could create a 25-stage multi-cache than included an extremely hard puzzle to get the coordinates to Stage 1, a multi-day backpacking trip up and down mountains to a cliff that you need to rappel down to get the coordinates to Stage 2, a deep-lake SCUBA dive to get the coordinates to Stage 3, travel across the ocean to Stage 4, a multi-day canoe trip through the wilds of Northern Ontario to Stage 5, etc., etc. Yet Groundspeak probably would ban my relatively easier Challenge cache while publishing my more difficult single Non-Challenge cache. It's kinda hard for me to understand why that is.

I dunno. To me the primary difference is still that it's a matter of finding one single cache, vs finding a load of other caches while the listed cache may still be easily attainable. An extremely difficult single cache container is different in experience than a cache container that can be found yet can't be logged unless an extremely difficult task involving multiple other caches is also completed. I agree that it would be nice if the reviewers were relatively lenient with their judgement of what is a "reasonable" challenge, but I can grok the logic that lead to the guideline decision. We'll find out if that guideline has an effect and how it differs region to region very soon as the new challenge cache publish requests pour in. Right now we have no cases to point to under the new guidelines as "unreasonable" judgements.

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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?

 

Since I'm the author of one of the souvenir checkers, I can say that that does not check for matching logs. Actually, that would be impossible. There are, for instance, travelling caches that have their posted coordinates updated regularly. If you get a souvenir for logging one of those and it is then moved, there is no way to check that. Same thing with the Let's Get Extreme souvenir from the 2015 summer promotion. It requires you to find a D5 or T5 cache. It could then have had its rating changed, which is also not checkable. This is apart from the fact that it would be a monumental job to figure out the exact qualifications for all the souvenirs.

 

Groundspeak keeps a list of the traveling caches and (if I recall correctly) excludes them from affecting the "states cached" calculation.

 

Lots of stats can be artificially rigged (attributes, D/T, even finds) but all of those are at least exposed to general geocacher scrutiny. The souvenir count is too easy to artificially manipulate and too difficult to manually verify. I suggest GS reconsider allowing challenges based on souvenirs.

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Lots of stats can be artificially rigged (attributes, D/T, even finds) but all of those are at least exposed to general geocacher scrutiny. The souvenir count is too easy to artificially manipulate and too difficult to manually verify. I suggest GS reconsider allowing challenges based on souvenirs.

 

Seems a bit heavy-handed. Some people cheat, okay, we know who they are and that they do, so we basically ignore them. The rest who enjoy souvenirs can still enjoy them.

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I don't know why Groundspeak are SO reluctant to add a Challenge Cache attribute! :mad: :mad:
I am not a lackey, and I don't play one on TV, but my take is that they may be interested in doing more than adding an attribute, but only if challenge caches survive the year without creating the same problems they created before the moratorium.

 

If the same problems pop up again, then I think they'll just grandfather all the challenge caches and stop accepting new ones. But if the new system for challenge caches works the way they hope, and they make it a year without the same problems popping up again, then I think they'll move forward with a new cache type.

 

But that's just a SWAG based on my own outsider observations.

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Quote,Michaelcycle:

The souvenir count is too easy to artificially manipulate and too difficult to manually verify. I suggest GS reconsider allowing challenges based on souvenirs.

 

I believe a project-gc checker is working from your finds - it's not scraping your profile.

So those who "earn" souvenirs with finds that they post and then delete won't have the find for a checker.

 

Also, small potatoes really.

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