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But what if a Challenge cache owner requests that the associated challenge checker use the Groundspeak listing page country and state data? Will the challenge checker coder insist on using the coordinate-computed country and state?

 

As the challenge checker writers are volunteers they cannot request anything but will depend on the good will.

I'm quite sure however that if someone agrees to write a challenge checker for a challenge with the requirement "Find x caches which are listed for country C on gc.com", the data on gc.com will be used.

 

It's mainly a question of how the challenge requirement is formulated. If it says "Find x caches in country C", then the PGC checker writer rather will use the polygon data.

Edited by cezanne
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First, I'm glad I live in Alberta, where our Volunteer Reviewers seem to interpret "attainable" more in its dictionary sense of "capable of being attained."

Every challenge is "capable of being attained". Otherwise it would be impossible. Reviewers are not merely judging if a challenge is "impossible".

Reviewers judge whether it's reasonably attainable. And that is regionally subjective.

Yes, every challenge is "capable of being attained," because the Challenge cache owner must already have attained it. But the guideline doesn't stop at "attainable." The challenge must be attainable (i.e., "capable of being attained") by a reasonable number of cachers.

 

Yes, attainability can vary by region. "Find a virtual cache each day for a month" could be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area but not attainable by a reasonable number of cachers in the Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, area. In both cases, however, reviewers should be able to determine this by applying common sense sometimes rather than always requiring some "magical" number of pre-qualified cachers. Las Vegas has 60 virtuals within 100 miles, 37 within 50 miles, 32 within 25 miles, and 21 within 10 miles. Moose Jaw has 2 virtuals within 100 miles, 1 within 50 miles, and 0 within 25 miles. Clearly, a reasonable number of cachers around Las Vegas could complete this challenge if they wanted to do so, even if none of them already have completed it.

 

If the guideline had said that the submitted Challenge cache must have been "attained" by a reasonable number of cachers, then I might understand a requirement that at least 10 folks already had qualified.

Well, you see, that is exactly what our Ontario reviewers are requiring.

That might be what Ontario reviewers are requiring, but it's not what the Groundspeak guideline requires. The guideline says the challenge must "be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" -- not that the cache must "be attained by a reasonable number of cachers." That's an important difference.

 

Second, how does Ontario's "10 folks already must have qualified" rule have anything to do with less experienced geocachers? Do two of the 10 pre-qualifiers have to have been members for less than a year? Can't all 10 pre-qualifiers have been members since 2001? You're seeing connections that elude me.

...It's much easier/quicker for a user with many thousands of finds to qualify for a positive/additive challenge than it is for a user with 100 finds. Simple.

Not so simple. I'll refer to my "A Month of Unknowns Challenge" yet again. It requires finding an Unknown-type cache every day for a month. Lots of local geocachers with thousands of finds realized that it was much harder/slower for them to qualify for this kind of challenge than it was for a local geocacher with 100 finds.

 

Why? Because the big-numbers cachers had already found almost all the nearby Unknown caches (or at least all the ones they had been able to solve). To qualify, these big-numbers cachers had to: [1] solve the hard puzzles that they hadn't yet been able to, [2] not find newly published Unknown caches until a month's worth of them were available, and/or [3] travel far away to find Unknown caches. The 100-find cachers simply could solve 30 (or so) easy puzzles and find one of them each day.

 

More importantly, why would Groundspeak want to prohibit Challenge caches that less experienced cachers might have trouble achieving? Some newbies might dislike these kinds of challenges, but those cachers are free to ignore difficult challenges (and perhaps revisit them when they have more experience). Meanwhile, other newbies definitely are inspired by extremely challenging challenges, so why deprive them of these opportunities? And why deprive experienced cachers of these inspirational/enjoyable opportunities?

Edited by CanadianRockies
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But what if a Challenge cache owner requests that the associated challenge checker use the Groundspeak listing page country and state data? Will the challenge checker coder insist on using the coordinate-computed country and state?

As the challenge checker writers are volunteers they cannot request anything but will depend on the good will.

That's why I used the word "request" rather than something like "demand."

 

I'm quite sure however that if someone agrees to write a challenge checker for a challenge with the requirement "Find x caches which are listed for country C on gc.com", the data on gc.com will be used.

 

It's mainly a question of how the challenge requirement is formulated. If it says "Find x caches in country C", then the PGC checker writer rather will use the polygon data.

It's not clear that Project-GC's database contains fields for the listing page's country/state. Project-GC might consider that information to be "wasted storage space" if they think it's either redundant or inaccurate. Note this earlier, ambiguous answer:

 

You're saying PGC doesn't have access to that field [the listing's state]? That seems odd.

No, I'm saying that we don't use that field if we have access to better information (i.e. map information for that country).

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It's not clear that Project-GC's database contains fields for the listing page's country/state.

 

I'm sure it does have such a field at least for the country. It does not seem to be the case that PGC calculates the country by default.

I understood the answer below in the sense that they do not use the field when it comes to aspects where it is relevant in which country/state a cache is located and I understand

that they try to rely on methods that are more immune against cheating.

 

By the way: This discussion reminds me of a multi cache in the border region between Austria and Slovenia (start and some stages in Austria, final and other stages in Slovenia) where the cache owner happened to change the country regularly. That has been in the early times of geocaching (the cache has been archived a long time ago for other reasons by the cache owner) and the idea was to have the cache listed for Austria and for Slovenia so that cachers of both countries that use the country search (one of the most popular search methods back then) become aware of the cache.

 

The state and country info are often chosen by cache owners with specific targets in mind. Sometimes of course the provided data ends up to be wrong without intention.

Edited by cezanne
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They're just going to look at the State field for the cache listing.

 

Really? Would you e.g. believe that you visit a cache in California if you are 10km from your home?

 

No, I would use common sense.

 

Several years ago I was visiting my brother in California and we went up to South Lake Tahoe for the weekend. The California/Nevada border runs right through the middle of the city and it's really obvious where the border lies. I found a cache on the Nevada side that was *very* close to the border but even then it was obvious which side of the border it was on. Originally, the CO of that cache listed it as in California but after a few people mentioned that it was actually in Nevada they changed it. If I needed a cache in Nevada to satisfy a challenge a PQ or any of the search mechanism on the site will use the State field to provide a list of caches I might find to satisfy the challenge so it doesn't make sense for a challenge checker to use some other algorithm.

 

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They're just going to look at the State field for the cache listing.

 

Really? Would you e.g. believe that you visit a cache in California if you are 10km from your home?

 

No, I would use common sense.

 

That's exactly what I expected that your approach will be and I expect that the big majority of cachers is not relying in the country field for determining in which country they really found a cache.

 

 

Several years ago I was visiting my brother in California and we went up to South Lake Tahoe for the weekend. The California/Nevada border runs right through the middle of the city and it's really obvious where the border lies. I found a cache on the Nevada side that was *very* close to the border but even then it was obvious which side of the border it was on. Originally, the CO of that cache listed it as in California but after a few people mentioned that it was actually in Nevada they changed it.

 

Apparently they did not provide the state as California in the first round intentionally and so they were clearly willing to change the field. But suppose that someone intentionally uses the wrong state/country (for example, they can in this manner end up with caches hidden in more countries/states than with using correct data and they help others to claim finds for other states/countries too).

 

I'd rather think that the typical challenge cache owner with a challenge cache where the country/state classification plays a real role, would not have accepted such wrong classifications up to now. There was no need to do so as there was no requirement for having an automatic checker and even when an automatic checker existed, it came along with the disclaimer that the output had to be checked and that wrong positives could be contained in the qualification list.

 

If I needed a cache in Nevada to satisfy a challenge a PQ or any of the search mechanism on the site will use the State field to provide a list of caches I might find to satisfy the challenge so it doesn't make sense for a challenge checker to use some other algorithm.

 

Actually, I never would list a cache where I'm aware that the relevant data is wrong. E.g. I would not list a cache which is only 1 km long for a challenge that requires caches of length >10km even if the 1km cache carried a wrong >10km attribute.

 

It's clear that a challenge cache owner of a new challenge cache would have to accept the 1km cache for a challenge that requires a certain number of caches with the >10km attribute but that does not mean that cachers are forced to use such caches for their personal qualification list. That's a matter of personal integrity with me.

Edited by cezanne
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The challenge cache itself can't be held accountable - the people involved are accountable - but there are undoubtedly caches out there which were placed specifically and only to ease qualification and those caches and even the areas they are placed in frequently suffer as a result of that.

Nope, sorry, I find it very easy to doubt. I've seen a few caches planted to help with a challenge qualification, but none of the ones I've found were for that purpose to the exclusion of all else. All were reasonable hides with decent containers, all well within the normal standards for my area. If anything, I'd say such caches tend to be a little better. Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

If there's a place where such caches made an area actually suffer, I'd be wondering why the CO is ignoring the suffering he's caused. That would true whether the CO planted them to help with challenges or had some other reason to plant caches that make the area suffer. It seems like a local matter.

 

You're sorry that you find it easy to doubt? Don't be - it's very easy to doubt anything you choose. It's also very easy to look around you and claim that because it isn't happening where you are, it isn't happening anywhere and I've even heard it said that ignorance is bliss.

 

I am happy that you live in caching Utopia - if only your utopian outlook could magically spread to all parts of the world everything would be raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens :)

 

Sure it's a local matter - local to everywhere that it happens.

 

I too wonder why some CO's ignore the suffering they cause - perhaps they are blissfully unaware of it, believing all is Utopian.

 

 

The question stands

 

Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

Where is this dystopia?

 

No problem - I'll get working right away on a detailed report...

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The challenge cache itself can't be held accountable - the people involved are accountable - but there are undoubtedly caches out there which were placed specifically and only to ease qualification and those caches and even the areas they are placed in frequently suffer as a result of that.

Nope, sorry, I find it very easy to doubt. I've seen a few caches planted to help with a challenge qualification, but none of the ones I've found were for that purpose to the exclusion of all else. All were reasonable hides with decent containers, all well within the normal standards for my area. If anything, I'd say such caches tend to be a little better. Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

If there's a place where such caches made an area actually suffer, I'd be wondering why the CO is ignoring the suffering he's caused. That would true whether the CO planted them to help with challenges or had some other reason to plant caches that make the area suffer. It seems like a local matter.

 

You're sorry that you find it easy to doubt? Don't be - it's very easy to doubt anything you choose. It's also very easy to look around you and claim that because it isn't happening where you are, it isn't happening anywhere and I've even heard it said that ignorance is bliss.

 

I am happy that you live in caching Utopia - if only your utopian outlook could magically spread to all parts of the world everything would be raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens :)

 

Sure it's a local matter - local to everywhere that it happens.

 

I too wonder why some CO's ignore the suffering they cause - perhaps they are blissfully unaware of it, believing all is Utopian.

 

 

The question stands

 

Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

Where is this dystopia?

 

No problem - I'll get working right away on a detailed report...

 

That's not necessary; I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance.

 

Surely you must have had one in mind when you made the allegation, no?

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The challenge cache itself can't be held accountable - the people involved are accountable - but there are undoubtedly caches out there which were placed specifically and only to ease qualification and those caches and even the areas they are placed in frequently suffer as a result of that.

Nope, sorry, I find it very easy to doubt. I've seen a few caches planted to help with a challenge qualification, but none of the ones I've found were for that purpose to the exclusion of all else. All were reasonable hides with decent containers, all well within the normal standards for my area. If anything, I'd say such caches tend to be a little better. Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

If there's a place where such caches made an area actually suffer, I'd be wondering why the CO is ignoring the suffering he's caused. That would true whether the CO planted them to help with challenges or had some other reason to plant caches that make the area suffer. It seems like a local matter.

 

You're sorry that you find it easy to doubt? Don't be - it's very easy to doubt anything you choose. It's also very easy to look around you and claim that because it isn't happening where you are, it isn't happening anywhere and I've even heard it said that ignorance is bliss.

 

I am happy that you live in caching Utopia - if only your utopian outlook could magically spread to all parts of the world everything would be raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens :)

 

Sure it's a local matter - local to everywhere that it happens.

 

I too wonder why some CO's ignore the suffering they cause - perhaps they are blissfully unaware of it, believing all is Utopian.

 

 

The question stands

 

Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

Where is this dystopia?

 

No problem - I'll get working right away on a detailed report...

 

That's not necessary; I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance.

 

Surely you must have had one in mind when you made the allegation, no?

 

The main one that springs to mind was a trail of 200 caches along a canal bank, placed so that people could qualify for 200 finds in a day challenges.

 

The caches were all hidden in plastic tubes hammered into the ground with a stone on top, which obviously contravened the buried cache guideline.

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The challenge cache itself can't be held accountable - the people involved are accountable - but there are undoubtedly caches out there which were placed specifically and only to ease qualification and those caches and even the areas they are placed in frequently suffer as a result of that.

Nope, sorry, I find it very easy to doubt. I've seen a few caches planted to help with a challenge qualification, but none of the ones I've found were for that purpose to the exclusion of all else. All were reasonable hides with decent containers, all well within the normal standards for my area. If anything, I'd say such caches tend to be a little better. Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

If there's a place where such caches made an area actually suffer, I'd be wondering why the CO is ignoring the suffering he's caused. That would true whether the CO planted them to help with challenges or had some other reason to plant caches that make the area suffer. It seems like a local matter.

 

You're sorry that you find it easy to doubt? Don't be - it's very easy to doubt anything you choose. It's also very easy to look around you and claim that because it isn't happening where you are, it isn't happening anywhere and I've even heard it said that ignorance is bliss.

 

I am happy that you live in caching Utopia - if only your utopian outlook could magically spread to all parts of the world everything would be raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens :)

 

Sure it's a local matter - local to everywhere that it happens.

 

I too wonder why some CO's ignore the suffering they cause - perhaps they are blissfully unaware of it, believing all is Utopian.

 

 

The question stands

 

Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

Where is this dystopia?

 

No problem - I'll get working right away on a detailed report...

 

That's not necessary; I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance.

 

Surely you must have had one in mind when you made the allegation, no?

 

The main one that springs to mind was a trail of 200 caches along a canal bank, placed so that people could qualify for 200 finds in a day challenges.

 

The caches were all hidden in plastic tubes hammered into the ground with a stone on top, which obviously contravened the buried cache guideline.

 

Correlation does not mean causation.

 

Any trail of caches could be used to qualify for a x-finds-a-day.

 

I was trying to find a better example but couldn't. Isn't there a trail somewhere that has 81 caches on it, each with a different D/T? That's a for-sure challenge-fulfilling trail.

 

But if each cache is legitimately rated for D and T, is a trail like that a bad thing?

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The challenge cache itself can't be held accountable - the people involved are accountable - but there are undoubtedly caches out there which were placed specifically and only to ease qualification and those caches and even the areas they are placed in frequently suffer as a result of that.

Nope, sorry, I find it very easy to doubt. I've seen a few caches planted to help with a challenge qualification, but none of the ones I've found were for that purpose to the exclusion of all else. All were reasonable hides with decent containers, all well within the normal standards for my area. If anything, I'd say such caches tend to be a little better. Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

If there's a place where such caches made an area actually suffer, I'd be wondering why the CO is ignoring the suffering he's caused. That would true whether the CO planted them to help with challenges or had some other reason to plant caches that make the area suffer. It seems like a local matter.

 

You're sorry that you find it easy to doubt? Don't be - it's very easy to doubt anything you choose. It's also very easy to look around you and claim that because it isn't happening where you are, it isn't happening anywhere and I've even heard it said that ignorance is bliss.

 

I am happy that you live in caching Utopia - if only your utopian outlook could magically spread to all parts of the world everything would be raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens :)

 

Sure it's a local matter - local to everywhere that it happens.

 

I too wonder why some CO's ignore the suffering they cause - perhaps they are blissfully unaware of it, believing all is Utopian.

 

 

The question stands

 

Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

Where is this dystopia?

 

No problem - I'll get working right away on a detailed report...

 

That's not necessary; I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance.

 

Surely you must have had one in mind when you made the allegation, no?

 

The main one that springs to mind was a trail of 200 caches along a canal bank, placed so that people could qualify for 200 finds in a day challenges.

 

The caches were all hidden in plastic tubes hammered into the ground with a stone on top, which obviously contravened the buried cache guideline.

 

Correlation does not mean causation.

 

Any trail of caches could be used to qualify for a x-finds-a-day.

 

I was trying to find a better example but couldn't. Isn't there a trail somewhere that has 81 caches on it, each with a different D/T? That's a for-sure challenge-fulfilling trail.

 

But if each cache is legitimately rated for D and T, is a trail like that a bad thing?

 

Sigh.

 

I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance you said- and then, given a prime example, claim it doesn't meet your requirements.

 

I won't pretend to be surprised.

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The challenge cache itself can't be held accountable - the people involved are accountable - but there are undoubtedly caches out there which were placed specifically and only to ease qualification and those caches and even the areas they are placed in frequently suffer as a result of that.

Nope, sorry, I find it very easy to doubt. I've seen a few caches planted to help with a challenge qualification, but none of the ones I've found were for that purpose to the exclusion of all else. All were reasonable hides with decent containers, all well within the normal standards for my area. If anything, I'd say such caches tend to be a little better. Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

If there's a place where such caches made an area actually suffer, I'd be wondering why the CO is ignoring the suffering he's caused. That would true whether the CO planted them to help with challenges or had some other reason to plant caches that make the area suffer. It seems like a local matter.

 

You're sorry that you find it easy to doubt? Don't be - it's very easy to doubt anything you choose. It's also very easy to look around you and claim that because it isn't happening where you are, it isn't happening anywhere and I've even heard it said that ignorance is bliss.

 

I am happy that you live in caching Utopia - if only your utopian outlook could magically spread to all parts of the world everything would be raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens :)

 

Sure it's a local matter - local to everywhere that it happens.

 

I too wonder why some CO's ignore the suffering they cause - perhaps they are blissfully unaware of it, believing all is Utopian.

 

 

The question stands

 

Perhaps you could show me an area suffering such a scourge.

 

Where is this dystopia?

 

No problem - I'll get working right away on a detailed report...

 

That's not necessary; I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance.

 

Surely you must have had one in mind when you made the allegation, no?

 

The main one that springs to mind was a trail of 200 caches along a canal bank, placed so that people could qualify for 200 finds in a day challenges.

 

The caches were all hidden in plastic tubes hammered into the ground with a stone on top, which obviously contravened the buried cache guideline.

 

Correlation does not mean causation.

 

Any trail of caches could be used to qualify for a x-finds-a-day.

 

I was trying to find a better example but couldn't. Isn't there a trail somewhere that has 81 caches on it, each with a different D/T? That's a for-sure challenge-fulfilling trail.

 

But if each cache is legitimately rated for D and T, is a trail like that a bad thing?

 

Sigh.

 

I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance you said- and then, given a prime example, claim it doesn't meet your requirements.

 

I won't pretend to be surprised.

 

My anecdotal instance is more relevant (if it exists) because it shows the caches were placed to fulfill a challenge.

 

While a trail of caches can be used to fulfill a x-caches-a-day challenge, it is disingenuous to presume that was the motivation for creating the trail in the first place.

 

I'd need more specifics -- the trail you (don't) cite may have been placed before challenge caches were a thing, which would be exculpatory.

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Sigh.

 

I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance you said- and then, given a prime example, claim it doesn't meet your requirements.

 

It's hard when people point out the flaws in your arguments, isn't it? In this case your example (which you called a "prime" example) was shown to be a bad example. Thus your argument is unsupported by evidence.

 

Something isn't an example just because you said it was -- in a real discussion, you are expected to show why your example is relevant to the argument and how the particular example applies. You did neither.

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My anecdotal instance is more relevant (if it exists) because it shows the caches were placed to fulfill a challenge.

 

While a trail of caches can be used to fulfill a x-caches-a-day challenge, it is disingenuous to presume that was the motivation for creating the trail in the first place.

 

I'd need more specifics -- the trail you (don't) cite may have been placed before challenge caches were a thing, which would be exculpatory.

 

It wasn't - no matter how many fancy words you use.

 

You got what you asked for.

 

If you're now going to attempt to back pedal and cite examples which probably don't exist you'll be doing it alone and wasting your own time.

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Sigh.

 

I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance you said- and then, given a prime example, claim it doesn't meet your requirements.

 

It's hard when people point out the flaws in your arguments, isn't it? In this case your example (which you called a "prime" example) was shown to be a bad example. Thus your argument is unsupported by evidence.

 

Something isn't an example just because you said it was -- in a real discussion, you are expected to show why your example is relevant to the argument and how the particular example applies. You did neither.

 

Anecdotal - Based on casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis.

 

Yep - fits the description perfectly.

 

A team of people hammered two hundred plastic tubes into the ground just outside of proximity with each other just so they could hide caches to facilitate completing a 200 finds in a day challenge as quickly as possible - and that's not a good enough anecdotal example?

 

At least my example is real - actually happened - not some imaginary example that may or may not exist.

 

You guys crack me up :laughing:

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A team of people hammered two hundred plastic tubes into the ground just outside of proximity with each other just so they could hide caches to facilitate completing a 200 finds in a day challenge as quickly as possible - and that's not a good enough anecdotal example?

 

You have described a power trail. Power trails predate challenge caches. You have not provided any evidence that the power trail would not have been placed in the absence of a challenge cache.

 

Seriously, dude, this is like first-year logic.

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With over seven pages of comments, did we miss any comment like ours that suggests some Challenge caches would not need to have a physical cache someplace that would limit participation? We remember when Groundspeak made a specific tab available for Challenges - although most of those challenges got really crazy and had no relationship with geocaching.

 

We've seen (and offered) some Challenges that take more effort to meet the criteria than to find the cache. And not having them location bound, means that geo-players from anywhere on the globe could participate - in meeting the requirements of the Challenge. To wit, one of our Challenges requires Finds using the letters of a deck of cards (GC4P3NR) in order. That in itself took us forever! But you can only play if you find it in California. Why not make it universal?

 

Another of our hides (GC3G7AD) requires BINGO-style geo-related participation. If it were locationless, anyone could qualify.

 

We fully support all the other requirements. Just sayin'

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Should be their own type or at least some way to block them on web searches and pocket queries.

The topic comes up frequently. Here's the memo in case you missed it:

 

The idea of a challenge cache icon or attribute earned significant support from the community. We agree there are a lot of good reasons to implement one. However, we want to confirm that the new framework will reduce the problems which led to the moratorium. It wouldn’t make sense to engineer a new icon or attribute only to lose it if challenge caches don’t work out. We’re going to give it a year or so, and then re-evaluate the situation. If we find that things are going well, then we will strongly consider adding a new icon or attribute for challenge caches.

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Should be their own type or at least some way to block them on web searches and pocket queries.
Yep. And as the blog entry (linked to by the post that started this thread) says:

 

"The idea of a challenge cache icon or attribute earned significant support from the community. We agree there are a lot of good reasons to implement one. However, we want to confirm that the new framework will reduce the problems which led to the moratorium. It wouldn’t make sense to engineer a new icon or attribute only to lose it if challenge caches don’t work out. We’re going to give it a year or so, and then re-evaluate the situation. If we find that things are going well, then we will strongly consider adding a new icon or attribute for challenge caches."

 

So it looks like there will be a new challenge cache type or attribute if challenge caches survive a year without rekindling the same problems that led to the hiatus in the first place.

 

And in the meantime, keep a bookmark list of solved puzzles, completed challenges, and other mystery/puzzle caches that you're ready to search for. Then download a PQ using that bookmark list, and don't download any other mystery/puzzle caches.

Edited by niraD
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Should be their own type or at least some way to block them on web searches and pocket queries.
Yep. And as the blog entry (linked to by the post that started this thread) says:

 

"The idea of a challenge cache icon or attribute earned significant support from the community. We agree there are a lot of good reasons to implement one. However, we want to confirm that the new framework will reduce the problems which led to the moratorium. It wouldn’t make sense to engineer a new icon or attribute only to lose it if challenge caches don’t work out. We’re going to give it a year or so, and then re-evaluate the situation. If we find that things are going well, then we will strongly consider adding a new icon or attribute for challenge caches."

 

So it looks like there will be a new challenge cache type or attribute if challenge caches survive a year without rekindling the same problems that led to the hiatus in the first place.

 

And in the meantime, keep a bookmark list of solved puzzles, completed challenges, and other mystery/puzzle caches that you're ready to search for. Then download a PQ using that bookmark list, and don't download any other mystery/puzzle caches.

 

Based on this thread, I strongly suspect that things will be just as bad as they ever were despite Groundspeak's best effort to consider all points of view in developing a reasonable framework.

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Sigh.

 

I'd be happy to see even a single anecdotal instance you said- and then, given a prime example, claim it doesn't meet your requirements.

 

It's hard when people point out the flaws in your arguments, isn't it? In this case your example (which you called a "prime" example) was shown to be a bad example. Thus your argument is unsupported by evidence.

 

Something isn't an example just because you said it was -- in a real discussion, you are expected to show why your example is relevant to the argument and how the particular example applies. You did neither.

 

Anecdotal - Based on casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis.

 

Yep - fits the description perfectly.

 

A team of people hammered two hundred plastic tubes into the ground just outside of proximity with each other just so they could hide caches to facilitate completing a 200 finds in a day challenge as quickly as possible - and that's not a good enough anecdotal example?

 

At least my example is real - actually happened - not some imaginary example that may or may not exist.

 

You guys crack me up :laughing:

 

Can you provide from your example trail a link where it states on the cache page that the intent was to fulfill cache-a-day challenges?

 

While we wait for that, have a look at this set of caches in Iowa, placed specifically (as stated on each cache's page) to fill the grid, twice:

 

The "G" MEN

 

(I couldn't find the grid series that was in Ontario; perhaps I imagined it when I was altering my dosages...)

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Based on this thread, I strongly suspect that things will be just as bad as they ever were despite Groundspeak's best effort to consider all points of view in developing a reasonable framework.

I'm outraged you'd say that since all that's happened in this thread is honest discussion. Nothing here suggests anyone will now go try to cause any trouble.

 

Having stated my honest outrage, I'll also admit that while the threat was specifically directed at COs despite the fact that there's really no flexibility for a CO to cause any trouble, I can't help but wonder if people expressing how upset they are about these new standards won't be used as an excuse: "See? There's still trouble! They aren't accepting our new rules as God's gift to challenge caches so we can't have any more challenge caches!"

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Based on this thread, I strongly suspect that things will be just as bad as they ever were despite Groundspeak's best effort to consider all points of view in developing a reasonable framework.

I'm outraged you'd say that since all that's happened in this thread is honest discussion. Nothing here suggests anyone will now go try to cause any trouble.

 

Having stated my honest outrage, I'll also admit that while the threat was specifically directed at COs despite the fact that there's really no flexibility for a CO to cause any trouble, I can't help but wonder if people expressing how upset they are about these new standards won't be used as an excuse: "See? There's still trouble! They aren't accepting our new rules as God's gift to challenge caches so we can't have any more challenge caches!"

 

One can only hope.

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With over seven pages of comments, did we miss any comment like ours that suggests some Challenge caches would not need to have a physical cache someplace that would limit participation? We remember when Groundspeak made a specific tab available for Challenges - although most of those challenges got really crazy and had no relationship with geocaching. [Emphasis added.]

 

We've seen (and offered) some Challenges that take more effort to meet the criteria than to find the cache. And not having them location bound, means that geo-players from anywhere on the globe could participate - in meeting the requirements of the Challenge. To wit, one of our Challenges requires Finds using the letters of a deck of cards (GC4P3NR) in order. That in itself took us forever! But you can only play if you find it in California. Why not make it universal?

 

Another of our hides (GC3G7AD) requires BINGO-style geo-related participation. If it were locationless, anyone could qualify.

 

We fully support all the other requirements. Just sayin'

Nope, the idea of locationless Challenge caches didn't make Groundspeak's cut. Perhaps that's because many folks don't think such "caches" would have much relationship with geocaching (i.e., the "Language of Location").

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Question : are bonus caches, at the end of a series of caches, a kind of challenge cache ? If yes, are they still acceptable, as they could be in contradiction with rule 10, saying that a challenge cache cannot be based on (a list of) GCcodes ? And do we have to build a challenge checker to publish such bonus caches ?

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Question : are bonus caches, at the end of a series of caches, a kind of challenge cache ? If yes, are they still acceptable, as they could be in contradiction with rule 10, saying that a challenge cache cannot be based on (a list of) GCcodes ? And do we have to build a challenge checker to publish such bonus caches ?

A bit off topic for this particular thread, but the following Help Center article should give you some guidance:

 

Bonus Geocaches Clues to the bonus geocache location (often coordinates, or partial coordinates in several geocaches) are hidden in one or more other geocaches. Generally, clues for a bonus geocache should not be placed in another bonus geocache, and the bonus geocache belongs to the owner of the geocaches where clues are found.

 

Link for reference:

 

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=277

 

Edit to add, No you don't need to build a Checker for a Bonus cache type of design.

Edited by Touchstone
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Yes, every challenge is "capable of being attained," because the Challenge cache owner must already have attained it. But the guideline doesn't stop at "attainable." The challenge must be attainable (i.e., "capable of being attained") by a reasonable number of cachers.

 

Yes, attainability can vary by region. "Find a virtual cache each day for a month" could be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area but not attainable by a reasonable number of cachers in the Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, area. In both cases, however, reviewers should be able to determine this by applying common sense sometimes rather than always requiring some "magical" number of pre-qualified cachers. Las Vegas has 60 virtuals within 100 miles, 37 within 50 miles, 32 within 25 miles, and 21 within 10 miles. Moose Jaw has 2 virtuals within 100 miles, 1 within 50 miles, and 0 within 25 miles. Clearly, a reasonable number of cachers around Las Vegas could complete this challenge if they wanted to do so, even if none of them already have completed it.

Yes. I don't disagree with any of this. Were you refuting something? Or agreeing and expanding with examples?

 

If the guideline had said that the submitted Challenge cache must have been "attained" by a reasonable number of cachers, then I might understand a requirement that at least 10 folks already had qualified.

Well, you see, that is exactly what our Ontario reviewers are requiring.

That might be what Ontario reviewers are requiring, but it's not what the Groundspeak guideline requires. The guideline says the challenge must "be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" -- not that the cache must "be attained by a reasonable number of cachers." That's an important difference.

Right. And they measure "reasonably attainable" (the Groundspeak requirement) in our region by having evidence that at least 11 people including the CO have qualified. If 11 have qualified, then to their minds, that is "reasonably attainable". No point in quarrelling with me about how they interpret that subjective guideline. :ph34r: Groundspeak intentionally didn't define "reasonable", they are leaving it up to regional reviewers to decide how to define it for their purposes.

 

Second, how does Ontario's "10 folks already must have qualified" rule have anything to do with less experienced geocachers? Do two of the 10 pre-qualifiers have to have been members for less than a year? Can't all 10 pre-qualifiers have been members since 2001? You're seeing connections that elude me.

...It's much easier/quicker for a user with many thousands of finds to qualify for a positive/additive challenge than it is for a user with 100 finds. Simple.

Not so simple. I'll refer to my "A Month of Unknowns Challenge" yet again. It requires finding an Unknown-type cache every day for a month. Lots of local geocachers with thousands of finds realized that it was much harder/slower for them to qualify for this kind of challenge than it was for a local geocacher with 100 finds.

Sure. In that case, I'd wager the cache wouldn't be published, because it's not a completely "positive" geocaching goal. Cachers may be encouraged to not find unknowns, so they can save it for the month of the challenge. Additionally, if they fail the streak, they cannot use those finds over again in another month. For those reasons, it's unlikely that any reviewers will consider it publishable, now. Perhaps there may be a reviewer or few who could be outliers by making an exception. But in Ontario at least, it most likely wouldn't be publishable. Not because it's not "reasonably attainable", but because it breaks a different guideline.

 

More importantly, why would Groundspeak want to prohibit Challenge caches that less experienced cachers might have trouble achieving? Some newbies might dislike these kinds of challenges, but those cachers are free to ignore difficult challenges (and perhaps revisit them when they have more experience). Meanwhile, other newbies definitely are inspired by extremely challenging challenges, so why deprive them of these opportunities? And why deprive experienced cachers of these inspirational/enjoyable opportunities?

You're assuming that difficult = extreme. That's the subjective judgement line. If the reviewers think a challenge is just difficult, they may still publish it. If they think it's beyond their limit of "reasonable" for the region, they likely won't publish it. It seems like you're arguing an all-or-nother stance, but it's not a hard line, and still we don't have reported examples of where that line may fall in any particular region.

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Groundspeak might be able to crack down of cache owners who specify inaccurate country/state information, but Challenge cache owners...not so much.

 

Suppose I'm working on a challenge to find 10 caches in 10 countries. I've already met that requirement for nine countries, and now I'm in a new country. I don't have much time to geocache, but I manage to find 10 caches in this new country. When I get home, I run my finds through the challenge checker, and it tells me I only found 9 caches in the new country (because of a discrepancy between one listing page's country and Project-GC's coordinate-computed country). I don't care which method is more accurate. I relied on a Groundspeak Pocket Query to tell me which caches count for which country, and I think that should be good enough, so I appeal my denied "Found it" to Groundspeak.

 

Isn't that exactly the kind of situation that Groundspeak is hoping to avoid by requiring challenge checkers? As a Challenge cache owner, I don't really care whether Groundspeak's country or Project-GC's country is more accurate. I'm more than willing to cut the finder some slack and allow them to use either method, but I'm worried that Groundspeak might archive my Challenge cache if it has a checker that doesn't work properly.

 

A few notes about this:

 

- It has been clearly stated that the whole idea of the moratorium was to decrease appeals issues with publishing new challenge caches. There has been no mention of appeals between challenge cache owner and loggers of them, as you imply here.

 

- The guidelines state that every new challenge cache needs to have a challenge checker. They don't say that you need to use it in order to log a find. If you can easily show that you qualify using some other method: feel free. In this case, it should be trivial to show via the maps page of the geocaching.com statistics.

 

- If you're so willing to cut some slack, then why don't you think anyone else will be as well? "Hey, your checker for $CACHE seems to be wonky for $REASON. Can I still log with $QUALIFICATIONS?"

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Strictly speaking I would say that given the new model i.e. challenges must have linked checkers - and the fact the PGC has acces to your stats - you shouldn't need to run checkers at all - PGC should be able to keep an eye on things and just send you an email list every so-often of the challenge caches you qualify for :ph34r:

 

 

I believe there is a utility for PGC premium members where you can click a "show me all the challenges I've qualified for" link, not sure whether you can get it to email you periodically with that info though.

 

I'm not sure if I would call it a separate utility, but yes. Paying members of Project-GC will be able to see automatically which challenges they qualify for. This is done by adding a small green checkbox icon to the corner of the challenge cache icon on all maps, or a red X if you don't qualify. (In the rare cases where a new challenge appears in the database that the checker system hasn't had time to check for you yet, there will be a small blue question mark in the corner of the blue question mark icon.) As far as I know, you can't get it to send you email about what challenges you qualify for.

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I'd be surprised of PGC tested coordinates against boundary data. To do that they'd essentially have to have shapefile data for every country and first level administrative region in the world. It would be a lot easier to call a service which will reverse geocode coordinates to a place name, which includes the country, state, and even city names. Here's an example that uses openstreetmap.org

 

http://nominatim.openstreetmap.org/reverse?format=json&lat=54.9824031826&lon=9.2833114795&zoom=18&addressdetails=1

 

Project-GC will test the posted coordinates of all caches against map data that we have locally (normally from OpenStreetMap) in order to determine region and county information which is then stored for that cache. This information is saved until we import new map data for that area.

 

The method that you describe is used to figure out elevation for caches, though (but via other services).

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- The guidelines state that every new challenge cache needs to have a challenge checker. They don't say that you need to use it in order to log a find. If you can easily show that you qualify using some other method: feel free. In this case, it should be trivial to show via the maps page of the geocaching.com statistics.

 

- If you're so willing to cut some slack, then why don't you think anyone else will be as well? "Hey, your checker for $CACHE seems to be wonky for $REASON. Can I still log with $QUALIFICATIONS?"

To these two points, we haven't seen an answer as to how disputes of this nature will arise. We know there are factors that can make a challenge cache "subject to archival". And an example was if the checker is faulty. So, what happens if a checker says no, but the user presents "alternate qualifications"? Can the CO deny it rightfully, and an appeal would rule in the CO's favour? If they rule in the cacher's favour, what does that then imply about the challenge checker, which has deemed to be incorrect? Does ruling in the cacher's favour place the challenge cache in risk of archival?

 

This is why we're wondering how "accurate" a checker must be - and by what criteria and data it's used to verify qualification. If it doesn't have to be accurate, what's the point of having them if the CO can still accept or deny the results? Someone earlier mentioned that it helped the reviewers during the publishing process determine if the challenge was simple enough or understandable, or something like that; but then the results are meaningless if they are allowed to produce false positives/negatives.

 

It complicated.

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I can see Project-GC making those kinds of decisions (i.e., which data is "better") for developing their own statistics pages. But what if a Challenge cache owner requests that the associated challenge checker use the Groundspeak listing page country and state data? Will the challenge checker coder insist on using the coordinate-computed country and state? If a Challenge cache owner has Project-GC checker-writing privileges, then can they opt to write their own checker that uses listing page country/state data?

 

I *think* that you can't. I think the information from the cache page field will only be available if we have no map data to check against, but not otherwise.

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Not so simple. I'll refer to my "A Month of Unknowns Challenge" yet again. It requires finding an Unknown-type cache every day for a month. Lots of local geocachers with thousands of finds realized that it was much harder/slower for them to qualify for this kind of challenge than it was for a local geocacher with 100 finds.

Sure. In that case, I'd wager the cache wouldn't be published, because it's not a completely "positive" geocaching goal. Cachers may be encouraged to not find unknowns, so they can save it for the month of the challenge. Additionally, if they fail the streak, they cannot use those finds over again in another month. For those reasons, it's unlikely that any reviewers will consider it publishable, now. Perhaps there may be a reviewer or few who could be outliers by making an exception. But in Ontario at least, it most likely wouldn't be publishable. Not because it's not "reasonably attainable", but because it breaks a different guideline.

 

The new guidelines specifically allows for streaks, as long as they are not required to be more than 365 days long. I don't see why this should be a problematic requirement although of course more difficult than a normal streak since only mysteries qualify.

 

Maintaining a finds streak, at least one find per day, up to 365 days

 

It's not clear from this whether it is acceptable to add extra critera on top of this, i.e. in this case to replace "one find per day" with "one mystery find per day".

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I *think* that you can't. I think the information from the cache page field will only be available if we have no map data to check against, but not otherwise.

Are you sure? If that's the case your map data for example for Hungary and Austria seem to be quite bad.

 

There are multi-caches that start in one country and end in another country. Some owners fill in the country where the multi starts, some where it ends.

 

http://coord.info/GC305HA Header in Austria, Final in Hungary, country-field says "In Vas,Hungary" and challenge checker for "Österreichs Nachbarn" http://project-gc.com/Challenges/GC4FFFP/3029 counts it for Hungary "4/2 Hungary Lafnitz - Einmündung in die Raab (GC305HA)", also for "map compare" the cache isn't shown as Burgenland, Austria.

 

http://coord.info/GC32K7V Header in Austria, Final in Hungary country-field says "In Burgenland, Austria", counted for Austria everywhere.

 

So it seems to me that the county field plays a role, as both headers are far enough from the border, the first 300m and caches nearer to the border are counted for Austria if the country field says "Austria".

 

I remember that a while ago (2015) GS corrected the state/country field for quite a few Austrian caches after borders between two states changed. I think it was the person that updated border polygons for GSAK macros that provided a list, also 'wrong' states in other regions were corrected and for old caches without state entry the state (Bundesland) was added.

Edited by AnnaMoritz
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If the guideline had said that the submitted Challenge cache must have been "attained" by a reasonable number of cachers, then I might understand a requirement that at least 10 folks already had qualified.

Well, you see, that is exactly what our Ontario reviewers are requiring.

That might be what Ontario reviewers are requiring, but it's not what the Groundspeak guideline requires. The guideline says the challenge must "be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" -- not that the cache must "be attained by a reasonable number of cachers." That's an important difference.

Right. And they measure "reasonably attainable" (the Groundspeak requirement) in our region by having evidence that at least 11 people including the CO have qualified. If 11 have qualified, then to their minds, that is "reasonably attainable". No point in quarrelling with me about how they interpret that subjective guideline. :ph34r: Groundspeak intentionally didn't define "reasonable", they are leaving it up to regional reviewers to decide how to define it for their purposes.

I'm just pointing out that, if the Ontario reviewers really are interpreting this rule as you say they are, then they are going beyond what Groundspeak requires of them. And Ontario geocachers probably will lose out on lots of cool Challenge cache possibilities. So, I'm glad I live in an area where common sense is used.

 

Second, how does Ontario's "10 folks already must have qualified" rule have anything to do with less experienced geocachers? Do two of the 10 pre-qualifiers have to have been members for less than a year? Can't all 10 pre-qualifiers have been members since 2001? You're seeing connections that elude me.

...It's much easier/quicker for a user with many thousands of finds to qualify for a positive/additive challenge than it is for a user with 100 finds. Simple.

Not so simple. I'll refer to my "A Month of Unknowns Challenge" yet again. It requires finding an Unknown-type cache every day for a month. Lots of local geocachers with thousands of finds realized that it was much harder/slower for them to qualify for this kind of challenge than it was for a local geocacher with 100 finds.

Sure. In that case, I'd wager the cache wouldn't be published, because it's not a completely "positive" geocaching goal. Cachers may be encouraged to not find unknowns, so they can save it for the month of the challenge. Additionally, if they fail the streak, they cannot use those finds over again in another month. For those reasons, it's unlikely that any reviewers will consider it publishable, now. Perhaps there may be a reviewer or few who could be outliers by making an exception. But in Ontario at least, it most likely wouldn't be publishable. Not because it's not "reasonably attainable", but because it breaks a different guideline.

That's a wager you'd likely lose. A "month of Unknowns" challenge (or one of its cousins) has been published in Alberta, California, Minnesota, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio. And I'm sure I could find more if I really studied some challenge bookmark lists.

 

Did you notice that there isn't a "(new 2016)" tag behind the "challenge criteria must be positive" guideline? That's because this rule has been around for years. And it hasn't been applied in the way you suggest. The purpose of the guideline is to prevent challenges that reward negative behavior, like DNFs. And to prevent challenges that require you to stop finding caches that are outside of the challenge, such as "find 200 consecutive multi-caches." Finding an Unknown cache every day for a month doesn't do these negative things, since it allows other types of caches to also be found during that month.

 

The "month of Unknowns" challenge doesn't require geocachers to not find Unknowns in anticipation of attempting this challenge. As I noted, that's only one of three strategies that are available to certain high-number cachers. One way for high-numbers cachers to prepare for a 365-day streak challenge is to not geocache for a long time (to wait for new caches to be published nearby), but streak challenges are explicitly allowed by the guidelines because there are alternative strategies available.

 

Yes, it's harder to accomplish a "month of Unknowns" challenge if you fail the streak, but that's true with any kind of streak challenge. And the guidelines explicitly allow streak challenges (up to 365 days). If you're working on a 365-day streak challenge and you fail after 300 days, then you'll probably have significantly fewer nearby caches available to you if you want to try it again. That's part of the challenge of these challenging challenges. If you don't think you're up for the challenge, then you're free to ignore it.

 

More importantly, why would Groundspeak want to prohibit Challenge caches that less experienced cachers might have trouble achieving? Some newbies might dislike these kinds of challenges, but those cachers are free to ignore difficult challenges (and perhaps revisit them when they have more experience). Meanwhile, other newbies definitely are inspired by extremely challenging challenges, so why deprive them of these opportunities? And why deprive experienced cachers of these inspirational/enjoyable opportunities?

You're assuming that difficult = extreme. That's the subjective judgement line. If the reviewers think a challenge is just difficult, they may still publish it. If they think it's beyond their limit of "reasonable" for the region, they likely won't publish it. It seems like you're arguing an all-or-nother stance, but it's not a hard line, and still we don't have reported examples of where that line may fall in any particular region.

Yes, I'm wondering why the "reasonable number of cachers" guideline exists at all. So far, nobody seems to have provided a rational reason to support that guideline, whose subjective nature causes problems for Groundspeak's Volunteer Reviewers and Appeals group (and imposes a double standard on Challenge caches).

Edited by CanadianRockies
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I *think* that you can't. I think the information from the cache page field will only be available if we have no map data to check against, but not otherwise.

 

I speculate whether the PGC system works like this: The country information is taken from Groundspeak, but the state is computed in case polygon data are available for the country. If the country is wrong however, then the result will be infeasible and then the state from gc.com has to be taken anyway.

Edited by cezanne
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The new guidelines specifically allows for streaks, as long as they are not required to be more than 365 days long. I don't see why this should be a problematic requirement although of course more difficult than a normal streak since only mysteries qualify.

 

> Maintaining a finds streak, at least one find per day, up to 365 days

It's not clear from this whether it is acceptable to add extra critera on top of this, i.e. in this case to replace "one find per day" with "one mystery find per day".

Yes, exactly, it's not stated. Which means reviewers may judge whether the additional criteria is "reasonable".

 

I'm just pointing out that, if the Ontario reviewers really are interpreting this rule as you say they are, then they are going beyond what Groundspeak requires of them. And Ontario geocachers probably will lose out on lots of cool Challenge cache possibilities. So, I'm glad I live in an area where common sense is used.

I'm saying it's not "above and beyond", it's them interpreting it, as they've been instructed and allowed to do. If they are doing so incorrectly, they would have been very quickly informed to stop. Which is also why the guideline confirms that we may be "asked to produce a list of qualifying cachers" without stating how many. Ontario reviewers are doing exactly as they've been instructed.

 

Sure. In that case, I'd wager the cache wouldn't be published, because it's not a completely "positive" geocaching goal. Cachers may be encouraged to not find unknowns, so they can save it for the month of the challenge. Additionally, if they fail the streak, they cannot use those finds over again in another month. For those reasons, it's unlikely that any reviewers will consider it publishable, now. Perhaps there may be a reviewer or few who could be outliers by making an exception. But in Ontario at least, it most likely wouldn't be publishable. Not because it's not "reasonably attainable", but because it breaks a different guideline.

That's a wager you'd likely lose. A "month of Unknowns" challenge (or one of its cousins) has been published in Alberta, California, Minnesota, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio. And I'm sure I could find more if I really studied some challenge bookmark lists.

All pre-moratorium.

Would they have been published pre? Most likely yes. Would they be published now? Probably not. Depends on what criteria they deny it, if they deny it. As I said, haven't seen an example of arguably subjective reviewer judgement yet. My point was that it probably wouldn't, and not because it's not "reasably attainable" but because of the issue of "positive" geocaching goals; plus their leeway for subjectivity. That won't change my opinion until there's an example of a challenge like this that's either published or denied, post-moratorium. Even then, one region may differ from another.

 

Did you notice that there isn't a "(new 2016)" tag behind the "challenge criteria must be positive" guideline? That's because this rule has been around for years. And it hasn't been applied in the way you suggest.

Actually it has, and I know that first hand. But again, no precedent. And judgement differs region to region.

 

The purpose of the guideline is to prevent challenges that reward negative behavior, like DNFs. And to prevent challenges that require you to stop finding caches that are outside of the challenge, such as "find 200 consecutive multi-caches." Finding an Unknown cache every day for a month doesn't do these negative things, since it allows other types of caches to also be found during that month.

Trust me. I tried to reason out of it the same way - it can "encourage" finding elsewhere, rather than "discourage" finding that makes qualifying harder.

 

The "month of Unknowns" challenge doesn't require geocachers to not find Unknowns in anticipation of attempting this challenge.

I'm saying it's very likely that today a reviewer will pick up on that. Ontario reviewers are very sneaky and observant. IMO, I believe Groundspeak knows the popularity of streak challenges which is why they've allowed 365 find-streaks (without clarifying additional critera).

Will there be reviewers who allow 30-day Unknowns? Maybe, maybe not. Let's see which reviewers do/do not and in which regions. Then we'll know.

 

Yes, it's harder to accomplish a "month of Unknowns" challenge if you fail the streak, but that's true with any kind of streak challenge. And the guidelines explicitly allow streak challenges (up to 365 days). If you're working on a 365-day streak challenge and you fail after 300 days, then you'll probably have significantly fewer nearby caches available to you if you want to try it again. That's part of the challenge of these challenging challenges. If you don't think you're up for the challenge, then you're free to ignore it.

I completely agree. But I know that if an Ontario reviewer understands this point, they won't publish it unless of course you can convince them otherwise (because you know, exceptions and stuff)

 

You're assuming that difficult = extreme. That's the subjective judgement line. If the reviewers think a challenge is just difficult, they may still publish it. If they think it's beyond their limit of "reasonable" for the region, they likely won't publish it. It seems like you're arguing an all-or-nother stance, but it's not a hard line, and still we don't have reported examples of where that line may fall in any particular region.

Yes, I'm wondering why the "reasonable number of cachers" guideline exists at all. So far, nobody seems to have provided a rational reason to support that guideline, whose subjective nature causes problems for Groundspeak's Volunteer Reviewers and Appeals group (and imposes a double standard on Challenge caches).

They've explained - people in the past have attempted to publish either ridiculously complex challenges to understand, or challenges that show off experience and are so high in requirements that few may ever qualify, etc etc (appeal to and be reasonably attainable by); these fall into the majority of appeals they had to deal with related to challenge caching.

Those have all played into "reasonably attainable", and are interpreted as a relative standard from region to region.

Edited by thebruce0
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I'm just pointing out that, if the Ontario reviewers really are interpreting this rule as you say they are, then they are going beyond what Groundspeak requires of them. And Ontario geocachers probably will lose out on lots of cool Challenge cache possibilities. So, I'm glad I live in an area where common sense is used.

I'm saying it's not "above and beyond", it's them interpreting it, as they've been instructed and allowed to do. If they are doing so incorrectly, they would have been very quickly informed to stop. Which is also why the guideline confirms that we may be "asked to produce a list of qualifying cachers" without stating how many. Ontario reviewers are doing exactly as they've been instructed.

I'm not saying the Ontario reviewers aren't allowed to impose some magical number of pre-qualifiers. I'm saying they seem to be leaning towards one extreme of interpreting "attainable" while other reviewers seem to use apply more common sense and use a more standard, dictionary interpretation. I'm glad I'm in common sense territory.

 

That's a wager you'd likely lose. A "month of Unknowns" challenge (or one of its cousins) has been published in Alberta, California, Minnesota, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio. And I'm sure I could find more if I really studied some challenge bookmark lists.

All pre-moratorium.

Would they have been published pre? Most likely yes. Would they be published now? Probably not. Depends on what criteria they deny it, if they deny it. As I said, haven't seen an example of arguably subjective reviewer judgement yet. My point was that it probably wouldn't, and not because it's not "reasably attainable" but because of the issue of "positive" geocaching goals; plus their leeway for subjectivity. That won't change my opinion until there's an example of a challenge like this that's either published or denied, post-moratorium. Even then, one region may differ from another.

Yes, all those were published pre-moratorium, but the "positive" guideline has been in existence for several years now. Groundspeak didn't announce any change to this guideline. So, unless you know something the rest of us don't, I'm going to assume the reviewers will continue interpreting it in the same way that they have for years.

 

Did you notice that there isn't a "(new 2016)" tag behind the "challenge criteria must be positive" guideline? That's because this rule has been around for years. And it hasn't been applied in the way you suggest.

Actually it has, and I know that first hand. But again, no precedent. And judgement differs region to region.

Care to provide an example of a "month of Unknowns" challenge (or cousin) being turned down for publication? Even in the unlikely event that you do provide an example (you have a history of making these kinds of claims and not backing them up), it would appear that refusing publication might be the outlier rather than the six published examples that I provided above being the outliers.

 

The purpose of the guideline is to prevent challenges that reward negative behavior, like DNFs. And to prevent challenges that require you to stop finding caches that are outside of the challenge, such as "find 200 consecutive multi-caches." Finding an Unknown cache every day for a month doesn't do these negative things, since it allows other types of caches to also be found during that month.

Trust me. I tried to reason out of it the same way - it can "encourage" finding elsewhere, rather than "discourage" finding that makes qualifying harder.

That isn't the reasoning I cited above. Simply encouraging finding elsewhere doesn't get you past that guideline. A challenge to find 200 consecutive multi-caches encourages the finding of multi-caches but still violates the guideline because it doesn't allow you to find non-multis during that time period.

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The "month of Unknowns" challenge doesn't require geocachers to not find Unknowns in anticipation of attempting this challenge.

I'm saying it's very likely that today a reviewer will pick up on that. Ontario reviewers are very sneaky and observant.

I'm glad reviewers will pick up on that important feature today, just as reviewers have been picking up on it for years. It's the reason why the "month of Unknowns" challenge doesn't violate the "positive" guideline. Being observant probably helps Ontario reviewers realize this, but I'm not sure what being sneaky has to do with anything being discussed here.

 

IMO, I believe Groundspeak knows the popularity of streak challenges which is why they've allowed 365 find-streaks (without clarifying additional critera).

Will there be reviewers who allow 30-day Unknowns? Maybe, maybe not. Let's see which reviewers do/do not and in which regions. Then we'll know.

Why shouldn't they allow 30-day Unknowns, just as they have in the past? Nothing has changed about the "positive" guideline, and the new cap on streaks still allows for 365-day streaks (which is more than enough to cover 30-day streaks).

 

Yes, it's harder to accomplish a "month of Unknowns" challenge if you fail the streak, but that's true with any kind of streak challenge. And the guidelines explicitly allow streak challenges (up to 365 days). If you're working on a 365-day streak challenge and you fail after 300 days, then you'll probably have significantly fewer nearby caches available to you if you want to try it again. That's part of the challenge of these challenging challenges. If you don't think you're up for the challenge, then you're free to ignore it.

I completely agree. But I know that if an Ontario reviewer understands this point, they won't publish it unless of course you can convince them otherwise (because you know, exceptions and stuff)

Can you provide any examples where an Ontario reviewer refused to publish a streak challenge simply because failing it made it harder to succeed on the next attempt? Did it go to appeals? I've never heard of such a case, which seems way beyond the normal amount of discretion ordinarily given to reviewers.

 

You're assuming that difficult = extreme. That's the subjective judgement line. If the reviewers think a challenge is just difficult, they may still publish it. If they think it's beyond their limit of "reasonable" for the region, they likely won't publish it. It seems like you're arguing an all-or-nother stance, but it's not a hard line, and still we don't have reported examples of where that line may fall in any particular region.

Yes, I'm wondering why the "reasonable number of cachers" guideline exists at all. So far, nobody seems to have provided a rational reason to support that guideline, whose subjective nature causes problems for Groundspeak's Volunteer Reviewers and Appeals group (and imposes a double standard on Challenge caches).

They've explained - people in the past have attempted to publish either ridiculously complex challenges to understand, or challenges that show off experience and are so high in requirements that few may ever qualify, etc etc (appeal to and be reasonably attainable by); these fall into the majority of appeals they had to deal with related to challenge caching.

Those have all played into "reasonably attainable", and are interpreted as a relative standard from region to region.

If Groundspeak dropped the "reasonably attainable" guideline, then there would be no "relative standard" to be "played into" nor any appeals to be made about the application of that guideline. That's one of the reasons I cited above when I suggested that Groundspeak drop that guideline. Your reasoning re-enforces my argument.

 

The "ridiculously complex challenges to understand" violate the guideline that states: "challenge requirements should be simple, and easy to explain, follow and document." As with all subjective guidelines, some challenges that you consider to be "ridiculously complex" will get published, either because the reviewer's opinion differs from yours or the reviewer made a mistake (as humans sometimes do). This seems to be an argument in favor of reducing the number of subjective guidelines when feasible, which again supports my suggestion to drop the subjective "reasonably attainable" guideline.

 

As for "show off" challenges, there also are Non-Challenges out there that demonstrate exceptional SCUBA, hiking, climbing, and boating skills. Groundspeak doesn't have a guideline against showing off. Ignore them, if they don't suit your tastes.

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I'm not saying the Ontario reviewers aren't allowed to impose some magical number of pre-qualifiers. I'm saying they seem to be leaning towards one extreme of interpreting "attainable" while other reviewers seem to use apply more common sense and use a more standard, dictionary interpretation. I'm glad I'm in common sense territory.

I'm the reviewers would disagree with your claims to lack of "common sense", and almost certainly Groundspeak is on the reviewers' side.

I agree with you in sentiment, but I won't throw around claims to "common sense". "Common sense" in this case is determining what is reasonable. I may disagree with what they decide is "reasonable", not that they are not using "common sense".

 

Yes, all those were published pre-moratorium, but the "positive" guideline has been in existence for several years now. Groundspeak didn't announce any change to this guideline. So, unless you know something the rest of us don't, I'm going to assume the reviewers will continue interpreting it in the same way that they have for years.

Maybe. We don't know yet. With the other changes to the guidelines, they may not. When we have examples one way or another, as I keep saying, then we'll find out.

 

Care to provide an example of a "month of Unknowns" challenge (or cousin) being turned down for publication? Even in the unlikely event that you do provide an example (you have a history of making these kinds of claims and not backing them up), it would appear that refusing publication might be the outlier rather than the six published examples that I provided above being the outliers.

As I said, once we will find out one way or another when we have an example. Do you care to provide an example of a "month of Unknowns" challenge (or cousin) being approved for publication post-moratorium? Not yet? Then why are we arguing (again)?

 

The purpose of the guideline is to prevent challenges that reward negative behavior, like DNFs. And to prevent challenges that require you to stop finding caches that are outside of the challenge, such as "find 200 consecutive multi-caches." Finding an Unknown cache every day for a month doesn't do these negative things, since it allows other types of caches to also be found during that month.

Trust me. I tried to reason out of it the same way - it can "encourage" finding elsewhere, rather than "discourage" finding that makes qualifying harder.

That isn't the reasoning I cited above. Simply encouraging finding elsewhere doesn't get you past that guideline. A challenge to find 200 consecutive multi-caches encourages the finding of multi-caches but still violates the guideline because it doesn't allow you to find non-multis during that time period.

Ok, it doesn't disallow you from finding non-Unknowns. But it can encourage someone to not find Unknowns during their regular caching habits (in order to save for later, to not risk disqualifying it for future attempts if the challenge fails), and that has been used as reasoning for "positive" geocaching. And yes, I have heard that first-hand.

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If Groundspeak dropped the "reasonably attainable" guideline, then there would be no "relative standard" to be "played into" nor any appeals to be made about the application of that guideline. That's one of the reasons I cited above when I suggested that Groundspeak drop that guideline. Your reasoning re-enforces my argument.

 

The "ridiculously complex challenges to understand" violate the guideline that states: "challenge requirements should be simple, and easy to explain, follow and document." As with all subjective guidelines, some challenges that you consider to be "ridiculously complex" will get published, either because the reviewer's opinion differs from yours or the reviewer made a mistake (as humans sometimes do). This seems to be an argument in favor of reducing the number of subjective guidelines when feasible, which again supports my suggestion to drop the subjective "reasonably attainable" guideline.

 

As for "show off" challenges, there also are Non-Challenges out there that demonstrate exceptional SCUBA, hiking, climbing, and boating skills. Groundspeak doesn't have a guideline against showing off. Ignore them, if they don't suit your tastes.

One obvious "show off" example for keeping the "reasonably attainable" guideline is that a cacher may wish to emphasise that they have certain difficult-to-acquire icons (such as Ape cache or Groundspeak Headquarters). If I was big-headed I might set up a local Challenge cache only loggable by those with these two icons. Although plenty of people in Washington USA might have these, hardly anyone (possibly no-one) in my local area will qualify so the likely reason for me doing this is that I want to broadcast my achievement. The cache will just be taking up space that a less egotistical cacher could use.

Another example is if I happened to have logged over (say) 15000 caches and set this as the criterion. Although one or two in the area might qualify, for the majority this sort of figure is unattainable, so again it looks like self-promotion. Probably not the sort of thing to encourage.

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IMO, I believe Groundspeak knows the popularity of streak challenges which is why they've allowed 365 find-streaks (without clarifying additional critera).

Will there be reviewers who allow 30-day Unknowns? Maybe, maybe not. Let's see which reviewers do/do not and in which regions. Then we'll know.

Why shouldn't they allow 30-day Unknowns, just as they have in the past? Nothing has changed about the "positive" guideline, and the new cap on streaks still allows for 365-day streaks (which is more than enough to cover 30-day streaks).

I don't know why they shouldn't. I think they should. But they have grounds to subjectively judge that it is not reasonable. Perhaps not explicitly on one point, but perhaps on multiple. I can't project my interpretation of subjective guidelines into the reviewers' minds. When we have an example of one that's published, or denied, then we'll know how that specific reviewer has subjectively interpreted the guidelines in their mind, and by potentially eventually find out if Groundspeak is in agreement if it's disputed.

Would a reviewer publish a 365 day streak of Unknowns? Same judgement has to be made. Why is 30-days reasonable and 365-days not reasonable? If there's a region with 400 Unknowns, one might argue that 365 of unknowns is reasonable. A reviewer may quickly retort that no, it requires holding back on finding unknowns in order to save them, and may deny it because it's not "positive" geocaching. We can come up with any number of reasons as to why we may feel that a challenge is or isn't "reasonable", but all of it is absolutely pointless until we have concrete evidence one way or another from reviewers in specific regions. I'm only attempting to explain and explore how they might support a decision we don't like based on their interpretation of the guidelines - past, and present.

Even then they have no obligation to explain their decisions. At the least, they will simply point to the guidelines, and support their position as authoritative, prompting us to take it to appeals if we disagree.

 

Can you provide any examples where an Ontario reviewer refused to publish a streak challenge simply because failing it made it harder to succeed on the next attempt? Did it go to appeals? I've never heard of such a case, which seems way beyond the normal amount of discretion ordinarily given to reviewers.

Mine.

I made adjustments to make the streaks reasonable for my region.

I don't remember if I took it to appeals, it was years ago and I moved on.

Denial based on "reasonable" is and must be entirely up to the reviewers' discretion, before appeals.

 

If Groundspeak dropped the "reasonably attainable" guideline, then there would be no "relative standard" to be "played into" nor any appeals to be made about the application of that guideline. That's one of the reasons I cited above when I suggested that Groundspeak drop that guideline. Your reasoning re-enforces my argument.

The only reason I'm not for dropping the guideline (which I think is fine as long as the reviewers' judgements are also reasonable), is because of what I explained in a previous comment - the community grows enormously year by year, and the span of experience and stats from beginner to veteran grows likewise. "Reasonable" is going to change over time, and so cannot be static (unless universal standards are documented and regularly updated). So giving reviewers the right to make their own calls, while allowing their judgement to be called into quesiton (appeals) is, IMO, the best way forward. Do we trust the reviewers' judgement to be reasonable? THAT is the question.

 

This seems to be an argument in favor of reducing the number of subjective guidelines when feasible, which again supports my suggestion to drop the subjective "reasonably attainable" guideline.

Single instances are only single instances. This would only happen if it can be shown that there's a signficant problem with many reviewers' judgements. I have no idea what that would look like. It would mean that there are enough complaints and legitimate concerns from the community about reviewers' interpretations of the guidelines (effectively a mass uprising) that Groundspeak takes notice and changes the guidelines. If they don't, then reviewers are doing what Groundspeak wants them to do, and GS considers the judgements "reasonable". On a small scale, individual reviewers could indeed lose their status if Groundspeak finds that they are abusing their responsibility, or incorrectly judging in their reviews. We can't simply point to single examples of denials or excepted publishes by individual reviewers and expect that Groundspeak will agree that a guideline is "too subjective".

 

As for "show off" challenges, there also are Non-Challenges out there that demonstrate exceptional SCUBA, hiking, climbing, and boating skills. Groundspeak doesn't have a guideline against showing off. Ignore them, if they don't suit your tastes.

We already covered the difference between challenge and non-challenge caches earlier in the thread. Not going to revive that again.

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One obvious "show off" example for keeping the "reasonably attainable" guideline is that a cacher may wish to emphasise that they have certain difficult-to-acquire icons (such as Ape cache or Groundspeak Headquarters). If I was big-headed I might set up a local Challenge cache only loggable by those with these two icons. Although plenty of people in Washington USA might have these, hardly anyone (possibly no-one) in my local area will qualify so the likely reason for me doing this is that I want to broadcast my achievement. The cache will just be taking up space that a less egotistical cacher could use.

Another example is if I happened to have logged over (say) 15000 caches and set this as the criterion. Although one or two in the area might qualify, for the majority this sort of figure is unattainable, so again it looks like self-promotion. Probably not the sort of thing to encourage.

 

Excellent examples. Find count was one swimming through my head.

Or fizzy grids. 100 DT grids... 5 caches a day for 365 days... challenges of that sort.

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I'm not saying the Ontario reviewers aren't allowed to impose some magical number of pre-qualifiers. I'm saying they seem to be leaning towards one extreme of interpreting "attainable" while other reviewers seem to use apply more common sense and use a more standard, dictionary interpretation. I'm glad I'm in common sense territory.

I'm the reviewers would disagree with your claims to lack of "common sense", and almost certainly Groundspeak is on the reviewers' side.

I agree with you in sentiment, but I won't throw around claims to "common sense". "Common sense" in this case is determining what is reasonable. I may disagree with what they decide is "reasonable", not that they are not using "common sense".

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting Ontario reviewers lack common sense. I'm saying they seem to favor (according to you) the automation of a challenge checker to determine "attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" and pass on the opportunity to apply their common sense (which I'm sure they have in abundance) to make that judgment call. Thus Ontario reviewers are unlikely to approve the kinds of challenges (like the "month of Unknowns") that obviously can be accomplished by a "reasonable number of cachers" but likely will have few pre-qualified geocachers in the area.

 

So, no, "common sense" is not determining what is reasonable in Ontario. According to you, automated challenge checkers are being applied instead.

 

Yes, all those were published pre-moratorium, but the "positive" guideline has been in existence for several years now. Groundspeak didn't announce any change to this guideline. So, unless you know something the rest of us don't, I'm going to assume the reviewers will continue interpreting it in the same way that they have for years.

Maybe. We don't know yet. With the other changes to the guidelines, they may not. When we have examples one way or another, as I keep saying, then we'll find out.

Why would changes to other guidelines affect how the unchanged "positive" guideline is interpreted? Nothing is impossible, but I'd be happy to accept your wager that my "A Month of Unknowns Challenge" wouldn't be published post-moratorium. I like my odds.

 

The purpose of the guideline is to prevent challenges that reward negative behavior, like DNFs. And to prevent challenges that require you to stop finding caches that are outside of the challenge, such as "find 200 consecutive multi-caches." Finding an Unknown cache every day for a month doesn't do these negative things, since it allows other types of caches to also be found during that month.

Trust me. I tried to reason out of it the same way - it can "encourage" finding elsewhere, rather than "discourage" finding that makes qualifying harder.

That isn't the reasoning I cited above. Simply encouraging finding elsewhere doesn't get you past that guideline. A challenge to find 200 consecutive multi-caches encourages the finding of multi-caches but still violates the guideline because it doesn't allow you to find non-multis during that time period.

Ok, it doesn't disallow you from finding non-Unknowns. But it can encourage someone to not find Unknowns during their regular caching habits (in order to save for later, to not risk disqualifying it for future attempts if the challenge fails), and that has been used as reasoning for "positive" geocaching. And yes, I have heard that first-hand.

Did you save the email where the reviewer spelled out that reason? You seem to have an odd way of interpreting the "positive" guideline, so I'm not sure you were denied publication for the reason you believe. Literally hundreds of streak challenges have been published, even though they can cause geocachers to change their "regular caching habits." I can't imagine you were denied because of that reason; there probably is more to this story than we know.

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As for "show off" challenges, there also are Non-Challenges out there that demonstrate exceptional SCUBA, hiking, climbing, and boating skills. Groundspeak doesn't have a guideline against showing off. Ignore them, if they don't suit your tastes.

One obvious "show off" example for keeping the "reasonably attainable" guideline is that a cacher may wish to emphasise that they have certain difficult-to-acquire icons (such as Ape cache or Groundspeak Headquarters). If I was big-headed I might set up a local Challenge cache only loggable by those with these two icons. Although plenty of people in Washington USA might have these, hardly anyone (possibly no-one) in my local area will qualify so the likely reason for me doing this is that I want to broadcast my achievement. The cache will just be taking up space that a less egotistical cacher could use.

Another example is if I happened to have logged over (say) 15000 caches and set this as the criterion. Although one or two in the area might qualify, for the majority this sort of figure is unattainable, so again it looks like self-promotion. Probably not the sort of thing to encourage.

First, some people might ascribe "showing off" as the motivation for an "Ape/HQ" challenge, even though the actual motivation could be to inspire others to make those journeys. I created a Fizzy challenge, not because I wanted to broadcast that achievement but rather because I had lots of fun completing that challenge and wanted to encourage other geocachers to give it a try.

 

Second, there probably aren't a whole lot of people who want to create any caches (Challenge or Non-Challenge) that will get logged by few, if any, people. It's easy to create an impossible Puzzle cache, but they are rare. Most people want their caches to be found.

 

Third, if the "reasonable number of cachers" guideline was dropped and someone did publish a Challenge that you felt was absurd, then you could add it to your Ignore list. That Challenge cache takes up no more space than an impossible Puzzle cache and perhaps less space than the extremely difficult multi-cache. And with the new Challenge guidelines, that extreme Challenge cache's location must be on the listing page (and thus won't cause proximity issues when you want to hide your own cache). The impossible Puzzle cache could be hidden anywhere within two miles of its posted coordinates, and the extremely difficult multi-cache could have containers scattered across many, many miles.

 

Fourth, why should experienced cachers be denied inspiring challenges? I've found about 14,300 caches, but my find rate has declined quite a bit this year. Your 15,000-finds challenge might be just what I need to get excited about geocaching again. Actually, that kind of challenge doesn't really interest me much, but certain extremely difficult challenges (currently not allowed to be published) just might press my buttons.

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I'm not saying the Ontario reviewers aren't allowed to impose some magical number of pre-qualifiers. I'm saying they seem to be leaning towards one extreme of interpreting "attainable" while other reviewers seem to use apply more common sense and use a more standard, dictionary interpretation. I'm glad I'm in common sense territory.

I'm the reviewers would disagree with your claims to lack of "common sense", and almost certainly Groundspeak is on the reviewers' side.

I agree with you in sentiment, but I won't throw around claims to "common sense". "Common sense" in this case is determining what is reasonable. I may disagree with what they decide is "reasonable", not that they are not using "common sense".

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting Ontario reviewers lack common sense (I didn't say that's what you said, but ok). I'm saying they seem to favor (according to you) the automation of a challenge checker to determine "attainable by a reasonable number of cachers" and pass on the opportunity to apply their common sense (which I'm sure they have in abundance) to make that judgment call. Thus Ontario reviewers are unlikely to approve the kinds of challenges (like the "month of Unknowns") that obviously can be accomplished by a "reasonable number of cachers" but likely will have few pre-qualified geocachers in the area.

Citing myself again, I don't know if reviewers will or won't publish that specific example; I'm citing an explanation that would be logically deduced from their interpretation of the guidelines. Would they consider it reasonable in Ontario? I don't know - we haven't seen one published or denied yet. I would certainly hope they see it as reasonable, but I can see that potential drawback one may use as reason for denial - holding off finding Unknowns in order to qualify.

 

So, no, "common sense" is not determining what is reasonable in Ontario. According to you, automated challenge checkers are being applied instead.

I don't know what you mean by "automated challenge checkers". This is the first comment you've referred to that. Challenge checkers are automated. Click. Checked.

Also, I don't get your first sentence. They are using their common sense, that is, based on their knowledge of the geocaching landscape in Ontario, based on discussions amongst themselves, based on evidence and defense presented in favour of publishing the cache, they make a judgement call. They use common sense when making judgements. They just don't necessarily agree with us about what is "reasonable". I don't want to throw around "common sense" because that term is heavily abused an one-sided often by people who disagree with an authority. It doesn't helpt he argument. Rather, we may disagree with their judgement reasoning.

 

Maybe. We don't know yet. With the other changes to the guidelines, they may not. When we have examples one way or another, as I keep saying, then we'll find out.

Why would changes to other guidelines affect how the unchanged "positive" guideline is interpreted? Nothing is impossible, but I'd be happy to accept your wager that my "A Month of Unknowns Challenge" wouldn't be published post-moratorium. I like my odds.

If you submit one, I hope it does get published. If it does, then we will know that it is considered reasonable by the Ontario reviewers. Until then, it's pointless arguing who is "right", because there is no test case result to analyze. I'm merely stating that I can see reasoning as to why a reviewer could interpret the guidelines, using their common sense, to deny the listing, if they felt the task was not "reasonable" in their region. If a challenge doesn't explicitly break a requirement, then the subjective guidelines come into play. A month of Unknowns doesn't break a requirement (eg, the streak is not more than 365 days), but it falls into the subjective judgement area (eg, as it can discourage finding Unknowns in order to qualify, but since filters aren't explicitly denied for a streak, are there enough in the region that this isn't an issue? Is it attainable by a reasonable number of cachers, 10 in Ontario? etc)

It's like the difference between letter of the law and spirit of the law. 365 day streak max is the letter - a cache will be denied if it breaks that rule. "Reasonably attainable" is the spirit of the law, and is only judged by the reviewer(team). If a cache can be argued to conflict with the spirit of the law on one point, it may still be considered "reasonable". If it conflicts with the spirit of the law on multiple points, it may not be considered "reasonable". I've simply explained aspects of the "Month of Unknowns" concept that are in conflict with the spirit of the law - and so a reviewer in the region may not consider it reasonable. Or they may. If they do, great.

 

So, let's get some examples either way!

 

Ok, it doesn't disallow you from finding non-Unknowns. But it can encourage someone to not find Unknowns during their regular caching habits (in order to save for later, to not risk disqualifying it for future attempts if the challenge fails), and that has been used as reasoning for "positive" geocaching. And yes, I have heard that first-hand.

Did you save the email where the reviewer spelled out that reason? You seem to have an odd way of interpreting the "positive" guideline, so I'm not sure you were denied publication for the reason you believe. Literally hundreds of streak challenges have been published, even though they can cause geocachers to change their "regular caching habits." I can't imagine you were denied because of that reason; there probably is more to this story than we know.

Nope. Because it was years ago. And my challenge was not like a standard streak challenge. My challenge was published because I made a number of changes, one of them was to make it reasonably attainable. Both in that I would qualify myself, and that the reviewer(s) felt it was reasonable. At that time, I wasn't asked for a list of pre-qualifiers. It was entirely judgement. And I explicitly recall being given the example of a cacher choosing to find a cache, then remembering that if they found it, they wouldn't qualify for a challenge, or couldn't use it for a challenge, so if they felt compelled to skip it when they otherwise would, because of a challenge, then the challenge would not be approved. That was a reviewer's judgement. I recall that expicitly because I I was highly frustrated by it.

 

Correction: I did take my challenge to appeals (I found an appeals email after the initial review), and I have one reviewer note on record. Context: Primary denial reason was based on the initial concept of consecutive finds (logs) of a specific cache criteria (a direct context for restricting caching in order to qualify). Secondary was how reasonable the tasks were (by extension, rare criteria meant that one would have to restrict their caching habits in order to attempt to qualify). It's the Ironman Bingo Challenge, which underwent a number of changes to be publishable (barely; that is, judged sufficient, 'reasonable') as is.

 

The primary issue is the way it will force a cacher to restrict their caching in order to accomplish the challenge requirements. We think the idea would work if you did not require consecutive streaks of particular cache types, sizes, etc.; as it stands, however, users would have to pass up other caches in order to meet the requirements of many of the particular squares.
I see it as failing this section of the guideline "A challenge cache concept that severely limits the number of cachers who can achieve the challenge will likely not be published." http://support.Groun...=kb.page&id=206 section 4.14.3

Denials:

1. Restricts caching (in this context, consecutive finds; elsewhere, example given by restricting regular 'caching habits')

2. Severly limits number of cachers (reasonable number of cachers)

 

Side note: I just completed a challenge that requires 100 consecutive non-traditional find logs in order to qualify (published Feb 22, 2012; 2 weeks before my bingo challenge). I was extremely surprised to see that one was published when I noticed it a while back. I'm confident that was either an exception, or a misjudgement. But I completed it. I have no complaints about the challenge (other than, as above, it caused me to be compelled not to find Traditionals for the extent of the challenge). Pretty confident it would not be published now. But it was then. Despite reasoning given me from appeals and reviewers that conflict with the concept (with a 2 week window to have otherwise grandfathered that challenge and denied mine).

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As for "show off" challenges, there also are Non-Challenges out there that demonstrate exceptional SCUBA, hiking, climbing, and boating skills. Groundspeak doesn't have a guideline against showing off. Ignore them, if they don't suit your tastes.

One obvious "show off" example for keeping the "reasonably attainable" guideline is that a cacher may wish to emphasise that they have certain difficult-to-acquire icons (such as Ape cache or Groundspeak Headquarters). If I was big-headed I might set up a local Challenge cache only loggable by those with these two icons. Although plenty of people in Washington USA might have these, hardly anyone (possibly no-one) in my local area will qualify so the likely reason for me doing this is that I want to broadcast my achievement. The cache will just be taking up space that a less egotistical cacher could use.

Another example is if I happened to have logged over (say) 15000 caches and set this as the criterion. Although one or two in the area might qualify, for the majority this sort of figure is unattainable, so again it looks like self-promotion. Probably not the sort of thing to encourage.

First, some people might ascribe "showing off" as the motivation for an "Ape/HQ" challenge, even though the actual motivation could be to inspire others to make those journeys. I created a Fizzy challenge, not because I wanted to broadcast that achievement but rather because I had lots of fun completing that challenge and wanted to encourage other geocachers to give it a try.

Sure, and if "I want to inspire" was an acceptable defense against reviewer judgement, there'd be cache placement chaos :P That's quite subjective. Someone who's cache is denied may simply retort "but I want to inspire people to find these caches!" True or not, it's not gonna work.

 

Fourth, why should experienced cachers be denied inspiring challenges? I've found about 14,300 caches, but my find rate has declined quite a bit this year. Your 15,000-finds challenge might be just what I need to get excited about geocaching again. Actually, that kind of challenge doesn't really interest me much, but certain extremely difficult challenges (currently not allowed to be published) just might press my buttons.

I agree in spirit, and I'm of the same midset. Love challenges. Even extreme ones. But I also don't want to see regions litered with challenges only people who've been caching for 15 years (or very much every single day for a year) could have a chance of accomplishing. That's why reviewers have to make that judgement of what's reasonable. If not reasonable now, 15,000 would be more reasonable in 3 years than it was 10 years ago. That line has to change. So once again, our concern is about where that line of "reasonable" is judged by any particular reviewer [team], not that there is a subjective "reasonable" guideline.

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If Groundspeak dropped the "reasonably attainable" guideline, then there would be no "relative standard" to be "played into" nor any appeals to be made about the application of that guideline. That's one of the reasons I cited above when I suggested that Groundspeak drop that guideline. Your reasoning re-enforces my argument.

The only reason I'm not for dropping the guideline (which I think is fine as long as the reviewers' judgements are also reasonable), is because of what I explained in a previous comment - the community grows enormously year by year, and the span of experience and stats from beginner to veteran grows likewise. "Reasonable" is going to change over time, and so cannot be static (unless universal standards are documented and regularly updated). So giving reviewers the right to make their own calls, while allowing their judgement to be called into quesiton (appeals) is, IMO, the best way forward. Do we trust the reviewers' judgement to be reasonable? THAT is the question.

The constantly changing geocaching landscape makes it even harder for reviewers to constantly make good, subjective judgments. Today, 10 pre-qualifiers might be deemed as what's needed to "be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers," while 11 might be needed tomorrow. That's another reason to drop the "reasonable number of cachers" guideline -- not to keep it. If Groundspeak dropped that guideline, then we wouldn't need to trust the reviewers' judgments regarding "reasonable number of chachers" because they wouldn't have to make those judgments.

 

The "ridiculously complex challenges to understand" violate the guideline that states: "challenge requirements should be simple, and easy to explain, follow and document." As with all subjective guidelines, some challenges that you consider to be "ridiculously complex" will get published, either because the reviewer's opinion differs from yours or the reviewer made a mistake (as humans sometimes do). This seems to be an argument in favor of reducing the number of subjective guidelines when feasible, which again supports my suggestion to drop the subjective "reasonably attainable" guideline.

Single instances are only single instances. This would only happen if it can be shown that there's a signficant problem with many reviewers' judgements. I have no idea what that would look like. It would mean that there are enough complaints and legitimate concerns from the community about reviewers' interpretations of the guidelines (effectively a mass uprising) that Groundspeak takes notice and changes the guidelines. If they don't, then reviewers are doing what Groundspeak wants them to do, and GS considers the judgements "reasonable". On a small scale, individual reviewers could indeed lose their status if Groundspeak finds that they are abusing their responsibility, or incorrectly judging in their reviews. We can't simply point to single examples of denials or excepted publishes by individual reviewers and expect that Groundspeak will agree that a guideline is "too subjective".

Groundspeak lackies and reviewers are the ones who pointed out that subjective challenge guidelines resulted in a huge amount of extra work for reviewers and a huge number of appeals. That's the major reason Groundspeak cited for imposing the challenge moratorium. That's the threat that hangs over our heads for the next year as Groundspeak determines whether their new framework is sufficient to fix the problems. I'm just saying that if they want to cut down on even more reviewer and appeals burdens, then dropping the subjective "reasonable number of cachers" guideline with help reduce the problem. Nobody has provided a solid, rational reason for keeping that guideline.

 

As for "show off" challenges, there also are Non-Challenges out there that demonstrate exceptional SCUBA, hiking, climbing, and boating skills. Groundspeak doesn't have a guideline against showing off. Ignore them, if they don't suit your tastes.

We already covered the difference between challenge and non-challenge caches earlier in the thread. Not going to revive that again.

We covered why the "Challenge caches are almost private caches" rationale is a double standard. The "show-off caches should be banned" rationale is a second double standard.

Edited by CanadianRockies
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