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thebruce0

Challenge Cache Ideas

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With the new and still-evolving Challenge Cache Guidelines, I thought it might be helpful to have a thread in which we can share our experiences with what challenge ideas have been allowed, what have been denied (and why), and what is or may actually be possible.

 

We all know that basic concepts are certainly allowed - # Finds with X property - as long as the property is available to the Live API for Project-GC scripting (or other 3rd party checker sites if/when they open).

 

But what sorts of ideas are people coming up with that could be considered more creative, while not crossing the line of what's "appealing and attainable by a reasonable number of cachers"? If you see any new challenge caches published that seem like a neat idea, share them here. It'll help inform us of what's possible and even how they can be packaged, as it were, to be enjoyable or acceptable, and it can help us understand how the reviewers make their judgements (dependend on region).

 

Some points to remember that we know about the process, to help us avoid a lot of frustration and angst:

* No precedent - a challenge published by one reviewer does not guarantee a similar challenge will or should be published by another.

* Let's not make this a debate thread about the challenge cache concept. Disagreements on opinions should be taken up privately with the reviewers or other cachers.

* The other massive challenge thread could be used for discussion about challenge caches in general; let's use the epic "creative cache containers" thread as a model for this one :)

* Let's try to respect the guidelines as they evolve

 

Some reference (thx AnnaMoritz):

* Documentation of Project-GC LUA functions

* List of available API functions available to PGC

* Summary of potential upcoming functions for PGC

 

(btw it was suggested that I begin a new thread, so I'm hoping this topic is sufficiently different and specific to warrant its own ;))

Edited by thebruce0

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To start, I noticed in the discussion that user-polygons are no longer allowed for location-based challenges. Per point #10 Source of Criteria, this clause was just added as a denial example: "Challenges based on user-defined mapping polygons."

 

Having attempted to publish a series of caches I felt was creative and allowed according to the guidelines, even having checkers written that can do the check, but having those challenge recently denied due to having "arbitrary requirements", this new polygon clause emphasized that decision in my mind.

 

I had intended to publish challenges for which you had to match a design on the DT or Year grid for spots having a minimum number of finds. For example, have days in the Found year grid with at least 2 finds that complete the design of a 10x11 'phoon' pattern (if you've completed the grid twice over, you already qualify). Scripted and checkable, verified and working. But, the denial point was that patterns are very arbitrary and could lead to an endless stream of 'pattern' challenges, which they feel isn't really emphasizing "geocaching" in so much as pattern-matching (ie bookkeeping).

 

PhoonPatternExample.png

 

So, I think there's a level of "arbitrary" in both pattern matching and user-defined polygons (how many polygon 'shapes' should be allowed, how does a reviewer judge whether a shape is reasonable, etc). The latter has the additional hurdle of not being checkable on gc.com, but it's something to keep in mind. Perhaps a way to look at it is the difference between collecting simple properties to match at varying degrees of quantity vs playing with puzzle pieces. *shrug*

 

I've changed my series theme entirely and am waiting for confirmation now on whether these new ideas are allowed (which I'd be surprised if not since they really are re-packaged version of challenges that do exist; but hopefully with a enough of a twist to seem 'newish') :laughing:

 

I'm keeping an updated bookmark list of Ontario post-moratorium challenges (since Ontario seems to tend to be one of the more challenge-heavy reviewer-challenging regions :ph34r:) and to see what's getting published.

Edited by thebruce0

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Here's another good idea published in the UK - the challenge itself is straight forward, but they added the creative part as an optional task (GC6KTF3)

 

- Find a cache in 10 different countries, then optionally use the first letters of those countries and spell a word for Scrabble points.

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Here's another good idea published in the UK - the challenge itself is straight forward, but they added the creative part as an optional task (GC6KTF3)

 

- Find a cache in 10 different countries, then optionally use the first letters of those countries and spell a word for Scrabble points.

 

Sounds like fun and I could easily qualify for it. Too bad the final is 3300 miles away. For those that have found caches in a lot of countries, they'll have a more "first letters" that can be used to from Scrabble points with a high number of points. I noticed that the only log on that cache is from someone that posted a note just to say that they're ignoring the cache. huh.gif

 

 

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I noticed that the only log on that cache is from someone that posted a note just to say that they're ignoring the cache. huh.gif

 

That's not unusual <_<

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Here's another one (GC6KA9P)

- Have 500 finds for each weekday. I didn't even think of that level of parsing down the find date.

Likewise GC6JXPP for Monday-Friday

 

One type that was published both pre- and post-moratorium, the US 'electoral' challenge (eg GC6K12M)

- Find caches in states each with an electoral college vote allocation count, so the total sum of the found states hits the minimum 270 "votes to become president".

As this was published post-moratorium, it appears to still be allowed. One could argue that following this design, it would be possible to arbitrarily assign numeric values to 'categories' of properties, and require a minimum total of qualified matches. Probably not nearly as 'arbitrary' as a loose pattern... but for instance, what if the numbers assigned to each state were, say, the number of letters in the states' names? Find caches in enough states to accumulate a minimum sum name-length total to qualify. Ohio (4) wouldn't help as much as Mississippi (11). :P

 

One more for now (GC6GAMW)

- Find 100 caches placed by people whose accounts were created in or before 2009.

Just thought that was an interesting way of using the cache owner's anniversary date.

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The only challenges published recently near me are just for the rich people who can afford to go on holiday all over the world. It's a farce that Groundspeak banned time based challenges saying they were unattainable. I'll say it's a lot easier finding 10 virtual caches in a day than find caches on three continents 😡

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Perhaps it's simply a miscommunication between the CO and the reviewer, but there's a challenge cache in the United Kingdom (GC6M9BN) where the owner claims they're not allowed to require geocachers to completely fill in their "Finds for Each Day of the Year" calendars (Feb. 29 must be allowed to remain empty). I understand that streak challenges are limited to 365 days, but this is the first I've heard about limiting the Finds calendar to 365 days.

 

Interestingly, that same challenge is allowed to require geocachers to completely fill in their "Finds by Hidden Date" calendars (including Feb. 29).

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Item 10 of the challenge cache guidelines indicates that challenges are not acceptable if they use "These listing elements: cache titles, cache owner names, GC Codes, publishing Reviewer or listing text."

 

Yet there's a recently published challenge in New Zealand (GC6JP5P) that requires geocachers to find 9 D5 Mystery caches with all nine terrain ratings (1-5). But none of these Mystery caches can be challenge caches. The Project-GC challenge checker will reject any caches whose title includes the word "Challenge" or "BGSc" (there's a set of four "BGSc" [bachelor of Geocaching Science] challenges in New Zealand that don't have the word "challenge" in their titles).

 

I guess the reviewer decided challenge caches cannot require cache titles INCLUDE particular words but it's okay to EXCLUDE certain words.

 

It will be interesting to see whether the challenge cache owner will override the Project-GC challenge checker and allow geocachers to claim finds for puzzle caches that aren't challenge caches but do include the word "challenge" in their titles (e.g., GC1EBMX).

 

And what will the challenge cache owner do about the many other challenge caches that don't have the word "challenge" in their titles (e.g., GC2K1CD)?

Edited by CanadianRockies

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The only challenges published recently near me are just for the rich people who can afford to go on holiday all over the world.

 

If you ignore the one you got FTF on yesterday that didn't require those things.

 

It does seem that one man's meat is another man's poision - but it doesn't help when people make claims that don't fit the facts :ph34r:

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The only challenges published recently near me are just for the rich people who can afford to go on holiday all over the world. It's a farce that Groundspeak banned time based challenges saying they were unattainable. I'll say it's a lot easier finding 10 virtual caches in a day than find caches on three continents 😡

 

There are also a lot of cachers that go out caching every day in order to maintain their find a cache a day streak. I would imagine that it they didn't do that they'd save enough money on gas for a bit of travel. For someone living in Europe it's relatively easy to travel to three continents and with 44 countries it's a lot easier to do find caches in N countries in Europe than someone in the U.S. I suspect that I would have to drive further to find 10 virtuals here than driving to 6 countries in Europe. I'm not rich by any means but I've found caches in 10 countries in Europe (24 total on 4 continents) but not while on holiday. I'm paid to travel for work and I believe that I've *earned* that benefit.

 

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Perhaps it's simply a miscommunication between the CO and the reviewer, but there's a challenge cache in the United Kingdom (GC6M9BN) where the owner claims they're not allowed to require geocachers to completely fill in their "Finds for Each Day of the Year" calendars (Feb. 29 must be allowed to remain empty). I understand that streak challenges are limited to 365 days, but this is the first I've heard about limiting the Finds calendar to 365 days.

 

Interestingly, that same challenge is allowed to require geocachers to completely fill in their "Finds by Hidden Date" calendars (including Feb. 29).

 

I have a friend who placed a "Finds for each day of the year" cache before the new guidelines - in 2014 (also in the UK), and he was told it could only be 365, not 366. GC4X2BJ I don't think there was a communication issue in this case. Whether that was just one reviewers opinion or consistent across the UK I can't say.

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Perhaps it's simply a miscommunication between the CO and the reviewer, but there's a challenge cache in the United Kingdom (GC6M9BN) where the owner claims they're not allowed to require geocachers to completely fill in their "Finds for Each Day of the Year" calendars (Feb. 29 must be allowed to remain empty). I understand that streak challenges are limited to 365 days, but this is the first I've heard about limiting the Finds calendar to 365 days.

 

Interestingly, that same challenge is allowed to require geocachers to completely fill in their "Finds by Hidden Date" calendars (including Feb. 29).

 

I have a friend who placed a "Finds for each day of the year" cache before the new guidelines - in 2014 (also in the UK), and he was told it could only be 365, not 366. GC4X2BJ I don't think there was a communication issue in this case. Whether that was just one reviewers opinion or consistent across the UK I can't say.

 

I did this at the end of 2013 - and there's a live checker for it - https://coord.info/GC4VT4X

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One type that was published both pre- and post-moratorium, the US 'electoral' challenge (eg GC6K12M)

- Find caches in states each with an electoral college vote allocation count, so the total sum of the found states hits the minimum 270 "votes to become president".

 

 

I like that idea.

 

And I like it much more than if it was based on the number of letters in the state's name. Only because as published it has a theme, while number of letters seems more arbitrary. But that is a personal judgement call about what is interesting, which Reviewers should't have to do.

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Here's another good idea published in the UK - the challenge itself is straight forward, but they added the creative part as an optional task (GC6KTF3)

 

- Find a cache in 10 different countries, then optionally use the first letters of those countries and spell a word for Scrabble points.

 

I qualify; but it is 155 miles as the crow flies, and ~200 as the car drives. But one day...

 

I can get a scrabble score of 20 with Quaich. I may be able to do better; I have 28 countries so lots of possibilities.

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Filling a finds by Date Placed year grid to 366 is different than a 365 day streak that can't be 366. You could theoretically fill the Date Placed year grid in one day, or ten years; the limit is just for streak challenges. In a way I can understand the exclusion of Feb 29th, although there's nothing saying a 366 day streak requires Feb 29th. The difference between 365 and 366 really is, well, just one day, any day, so that streak limit feels a little arbitrary.

 

And I like it much more than if it was based on the number of letters in the state's name. Only because as published it has a theme, while number of letters seems more arbitrary. But that is a personal judgement call about what is interesting, which Reviewers should't have to do.

Oh I agree, just gave that as a counter example :)

 

As for countries, I only have 2, and will probably only have 2 for years. Unless I can get up to Newfoundland and hop over the water to get a cache in St Pierre Miquelon :laughing: So all those country challenges of at least 3, or distance challenges of say 5000+ kms between two caches - out of reach for me, but I wouldn't consider that a loss. I consider those challenges a bonus reward for those who do have that achievement. Don't gotta find ev'ry cache! :)

Edited by thebruce0

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Filling a finds by Date Placed year grid to 366 is different than a 365 day streak that can't be 366. You could theoretically fill the Date Placed year grid in one day, or ten years; the limit is just for streak challenges. In a way I can understand the exclusion of Feb 29th, although there's nothing saying a 366 day streak requires Feb 29th. The difference between 365 and 366 really is, well, just one day, any day, so that streak limit feels a little arbitrary.

 

Ah - now I geddit! B)

 

A STREAK which had to include leap day could only be worked toward one year out of every four - that's why they don't like it! :)

 

EDIT: typo

Edited by Team Microdot

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A STREAK which had to include leap day could only be worked toward one year out of every four - that's why they don't like it! :)

 

 

And in my example case, it wasn't just a streak. The reviewer didn't like a fill in your finds by day which required 366, as if you just missed it, you would have to wait 4 years until the next Feb 29th came around. But not in all cases, as yours was published.

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Right, a mere streak of 366 days I think would be classified as disallowed, even if it didn't require Feb29th, which is sort of odd. A streak of 366 requiring Feb29th I can understand being disallowed.

 

But a challenge completing the Placed Date 366 year grid being disallowed may be a misunderstand, and might still get published if the reviewer could be convinced, since it's not a streak challenge in any sense of the term and shouldn't be denied.

Edited by thebruce0

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But what about "Finds for Each Day of the Year" which require all 366 days? Not placed date. They don't need to be a streak; it can be over several years. But a new cacher (or not new who doesn't have a find on 29 Feb) would not be able to qualify until Feb 2020.

 

I have seen both examples of this being allowed and denied (pre-moratorium). And not sure what the current view on these are.

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True, not sure how a non-streak challenge that requires a find on Feb 29th would be judged.

We could of course just ask a local reviewer :) (which would of course just indicate how they would make the call, based on their general understanding of reviewer consensus yadda yadda no precedent yadda :laughing:)

Edited by thebruce0

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But what about "Finds for Each Day of the Year" which require all 366 days? Not placed date. They don't need to be a streak; it can be over several years. But a new cacher (or not new who doesn't have a find on 29 Feb) would not be able to qualify until Feb 2020.

 

I have seen both examples of this being allowed and denied (pre-moratorium). And not sure what the current view on these are.

Among certain geocachers, there seems to be an attitude of "I must find every cache in my area." Groundspeak could embrace the wonderful diversity that geocaching offers and try to educate folks that not every geocache will appeal to and be attainable within a year by every geocacher.

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Well, it seems we have a new fine print to consider.

As mentioned in another thread, we now have a limit on latitude/longitude challenges. I've had a couple of my proposed challenges also denied for having finds within specific degrees and/or combination latitude/longitude, on the basis, first, that it could be seen as a user-defined polygon; then after a lengthy defense of why that's not the case, and finds within a lat/lon are virtually identical to finds with a country or state (property lookup, no calculations, no polygons), it appears that the limitation is now explicitly confined to "geographic areas: countries, states/provinces, counties (or their local equivalent)" or in my case worded as"[denied because] finds would need to be within an area that is other than a recognized geographic map/country/province/regional boundary"

 

So, I'm interpreting this as disallowing requiring specific latitude or longitude degrees (limiting finds to boundaries that are not "recognized geographic boundaries", even though major degrees is just as easy to check as country/state); but it does appear that challenges requiring finds with an open-ended count of such ranges is allowed - for example: 'have a minimum number of finds within each of three latitude degrees'. In this latter case, finds aren't bound to a region. They could be anywhere in the world, but you can require groups as collected into such boundaries.

 

It appears that counties are the sole exception here - since they must have externally defined polygons in order for algorithms to check qualifications. Country and State are cache property lookups, just as are major degrees, but they simply aren't allowing boundaries defined by degrees. That's quite unfortunate.

Edited by thebruce0

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It almost feels like every time someone comes up with an idea that might make a challenge cache, the rules get changed to disallow that type of challenge cache.

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As mentioned in another thread, we now have a limit on latitude/longitude challenges. I've had a couple of my proposed challenges also denied for having finds within specific degrees and/or combination latitude/longitude, on the basis, first, that it could be seen as a user-defined polygon; then after a lengthy defense of why that's not the case, and finds within a lat/lon are virtually identical to finds with a country or state (property lookup, no calculations, no polygons), it appears that the limitation is now explicitly confined to "geographic areas: countries, states/provinces, counties (or their local equivalent)" or in my case worded as"[denied because] finds would need to be within an area that is other than a recognized geographic map/country/province/regional boundary"

 

That's odd -- a brand-new challenge that requires caches be found above and below certain latitudes was just published this weekend in my area.

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That's odd -- a brand-new challenge that requires caches be found above and below certain latitudes was just published this weekend in my area.

Are finds restricted to a degree boundary? Degree differences aren't the same (eg, 2 caches separated by 90 degrees). Not sure I understand "above and below certain latitudes", unless you mean it's a exclusionary list (like 'any degrees except x,y,z', no idea how that would be judged tho).

 

I'm guessing the rule is applied something like only caches within degree # latitude/longitude. Though N degrees with X finds is allowable, for example.

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That's odd -- a brand-new challenge that requires caches be found above and below certain latitudes was just published this weekend in my area.

Are finds restricted to a degree boundary? Degree differences aren't the same (eg, 2 caches separated by 90 degrees). Not sure I understand "above and below certain latitudes", unless you mean it's a exclusionary list (like 'any degrees except x,y,z', no idea how that would be judged tho).

 

I'm guessing the rule is applied something like only caches within degree # latitude/longitude. Though N degrees with X finds is allowable, for example.

 

The challenge is to find a cache above the Arctic Circle and a cache below the Antarctic Circle. It's a good challenge, and one I would like to do!

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As mentioned in another thread, we now have a limit on latitude/longitude challenges. I've had a couple of my proposed challenges also denied for having finds within specific degrees and/or combination latitude/longitude, on the basis, first, that it could be seen as a user-defined polygon; then after a lengthy defense of why that's not the case, and finds within a lat/lon are virtually identical to finds with a country or state (property lookup, no calculations, no polygons), it appears that the limitation is now explicitly confined to "geographic areas: countries, states/provinces, counties (or their local equivalent)" or in my case worded as"[denied because] finds would need to be within an area that is other than a recognized geographic map/country/province/regional boundary"

 

That's odd -- a brand-new challenge that requires caches be found above and below certain latitudes was just published this weekend in my area.

Archived (as I didn't see a way to salvage it), after an alert Reviewer who shall remain nameless, alerted me of further clarification on the "user defined polygon" restriction.

 

Moving along....nothing to see here.

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Why can't the Bi-Polar-Challenge stay alive if changed to 'find two caches - one north and one south of equator - that are seperated by at least 130.5° of latitude when adding the north and south degrees (without minus sign) of the caches.'?

 

Until now such 'minimum x (or a certain range) between any two caches'-challenges were allowed for longitude and distance.

 

I fail to see the substantial difference between the until now allowed 'well travelled' - distance range from a given point (for challenges, as home coordinates are not allowed for that purpose), the allowed degree longitude separation, the allowed (sum of) distance between caches and latitude separation.

Edited by AnnaMoritz

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Why can't the Bi-Polar-Challenge stay alive if changed to 'find two caches - one north and one south of equator - that are seperated by at least 130.5° of latitude when adding the north and south degrees (without minus sign) of the caches.'?
To me, that seems like a perfectly reasonable way to salvage the challenge. And there are no "user-defined polygons", so unless Groundspeak comes up with another new restriction on challenges...

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I think that may be a matter of wording. If it's restrictive to the bounds of the upper and lower circle., not allowed. But it's a difference in degrees from one to the other, the two could theoretically be anywhere in the world. Especially if taking longitude into consideration (such as 90 degrees between N45 W80 and N45 E100).

 

I really fail to see how latitude/longitude degrees is arbitrary in the same manner as user-defined polygons, and they are as defined and recognized (especially in geocaching) as Country and State are, even in the cache listing data, and more stright forward defined than Counties, without external data. But, if they are changing "user-defined polygons" to a specific set of allowed boundaries (Country, State/Province, Counties [polygon exception]), then.. *sigh*. Still should see that outlined in the guidelines, especially if they are retroactively archiving new challenges that are brought to their attention. =/

 

It really isn't clear in the guidelines, as written, that lat/lon degrees are also disallowed challenge requirements.(and it'll help reduce confusion in the future)

Edited by thebruce0

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It really isn't clear in the guidelines, as written, that lat/lon degrees are also disallowed challenge requirements.(and it'll help reduce confusion in the future)

 

It seems that right now almost everyone has their own interpretation of what the rules in the help center article could mean, reviewers included.

 

Apparently I was right early on when I stated that the rule that only data are acceptable that are checkable on gc.com is to be interpreted in the strictest manner (eliminating many interesting challenge caches). The issue that showed up now about laditude/longitude even surprised me.

 

In retrospect it seems that it would be easier to list explicitely all what is allowed (not much anyhow). This reduced confusion and leaves cachers with realistic expectations and also shows them that the new challenge caches are just a badge system coupled with a cache - the old creative element of some (not all) challenge caches is gone.

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Creativity in stats can really only be shown in limited ways of combining certain requirements.

 

Just published nearby - 4 cache types of each of the 9 DTs on the line from 1/1 through 5/5. Each DT is expilcitly listed so as to avoid the 'pattern' clause. That may be about as creative as one might be able to get, at least insofar as the data goes.

 

Presentation is really the only other channel by which to show creativity in a challenge cache. How can you 'clothe' the challenge to make it fun to look at, read, or 'play', despite the challenge itself being relatively cookie-cutter?

 

There's always the other option of making certain challenge aspects optional.

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I too had problems with the rejection of the Bi-Polar challenge. Guideline 10 (user-defined polygons) was the cited reason. Lines of latitude are not under user control, unlike polygon sets. Is it fair to say that the new guidelines allow only country,state, county and any other way to define is not allowed? If so, a small clarification would eliminate the ambiguity.

 

That said, it still seems like there ought to be at least a point and radius definition since some counties are very large and provide very little granularity in terms of defining an area. This is still easily checkable -- witness the .1 mile radius circles between caches.

 

Oh, and why aren't continents an allowed region?

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It seems that right now almost everyone has their own interpretation of what the rules in the help center article could mean, reviewers included.

Particularly since it's hard to imagine a justification for most of the new restrictions -- how can limiting by latitude make it harder to review? -- so neither reviewer nor CO can fall back to considering what the reasonable interpretation should be. In this case, the latitude limit in the guidelines served no purpose except to create more work for the reviewers.

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Why can't the Bi-Polar-Challenge stay alive if changed to 'find two caches - one north and one south of equator - that are seperated by at least 130.5° of latitude when adding the north and south degrees (without minus sign) of the caches.'?
To me, that seems like a perfectly reasonable way to salvage the challenge. And there are no "user-defined polygons", so unless Groundspeak comes up with another new restriction on challenges...

I'm sad we're resorting to "salvaging" perfectly reasonable challenges, especially when neither of us can avoid seeing your last point: we may be able to salvage this challenge by changing the wording, but one has to wonder whether GS will then see that they need to "plug the hole" in the guidelines with yet more restrictions. Who can say since we don't know why they're rejecting polygons to begin with?

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I'm sad we're resorting to "salvaging" perfectly reasonable challenges, especially when neither of us can avoid seeing your last point: we may be able to salvage this challenge by changing the wording, but one has to wonder whether GS will then see that they need to "plug the hole" in the guidelines with yet more restrictions. Who can say since we don't know why they're rejecting polygons to begin with?
Trying to be charitable, I can imagine that there might have been issues where someone wanted to define a polygon for the boundary of a park, or for the city limits for an incorporated city. Such boundaries are often messy, especially when traditionally "easy to see" landmarks are used, like a creek, or a winding road. Maybe the need to verify such "user-defined polygons" became an issue.

 

But in the process, they seem to have banned other "user-defined polygons" that aren't hard to verify at all, like the ones used for the Bi-Polar Challenge, or USGS map quadrangles, or any number of other latitude-/longitude-based challenges.

 

I hope there's something more going on behind the scenes with this one, because on the surface, it seems... poorly considered.

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I'm usually not a huge fan of challenges in general, but these location-based challenges I actually do like. Personally, I think the user-defined polygon definition is being applied too broadly. Challenges where boundaries can be easily verified, such as DeLorme Grids, USGS maps, counties, latitude/longitude lines, etc should be permitted. With a broad interpretation like this, even challenges wanting a cacher to find caches in different countries wouldn't be allowed because technically the boundaries of a country can be construed as a user-defined polygon.

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Country, state and county boundaries all require polygons to define. PGC has all the definitions and checkers rely on them. They even sometimes tweak the definition when they find it is inaccurate. From guideline 10

 

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

 

To pick an example that is problematic, county boundary info is not broadly available on geocaching.com nor is it verifiable there. It is verifiable with checkers on PGC that has "official" county boundary polygons. The last part of guidelines explicitly adds counties which sort of dodges the issue with them in the first bullet point in guideline 10.

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Country, state and county boundaries all require polygons to define. PGC has all the definitions and checkers rely on them. They even sometimes tweak the definition when they find it is inaccurate. From guideline 10

 

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

 

To pick an example that is problematic, county boundary info is not broadly available on geocaching.com nor is it verifiable there. It is verifiable with checkers on PGC that has "official" county boundary polygons. The last part of guidelines explicitly adds counties which sort of dodges the issue with them in the first bullet point in guideline 10.

 

Although every cache has a unique identifier for the country and States/Province, there isn't a field for "county". A checker on PGC that is using "official" county boundary polygons (which are available from a site created and maintained in my department) is *deriving* county data from some other source using data available on geocaching.com. For example, Lat/Long coordinates can be used to look up place names simply by calling a publicly available service (e.g. Geonames). It isn't even necessary to use polygons and math to determine whether the coordinates for a cache is within that polygon. I'm not sure why counties are allowed as an exception because determining which county a cache is in essentially requires the same process (using data available on geocaching.com to derived additional data) as it would to determine what city a cache is in, or it's elevation.

 

 

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Correct, Country and State don't require polygons.

 

Country: Listing field, text, verified (not free entry)

State: Listing field, text, verified

County: Determined by posted coordinates, must be tested to reside within an externally defined polygon.

Latitude/Longitude*: Listing property, numeric coordinates, required to be accurate to publish

 

* Lat/Lon could be displayed as decimal degrees, or in various other forms or systems. As stored, they always include the major degrees. As such, they become as defined as the Country and State fields.

 

However, just as County is an exception to the polygon clause, Lat/Lon seems to be the negative exception to the clause. Perhaps they've opted for County in lieu of Lat/Lon for challenges. Which, if the point is to allow more global access to challenge qualification, seems contradictory - allowing a latitude or longitude boundary would still span the entire globe (or half). Combining a latitude and longitude would be more akin to County, but even so, there's still no polygon - that's 'square' is inferred by the resulting area. Ultimately it's merely a field lookup like Country/State.

 

But anyway.

I think it's safe to say, they are (at this point) running by the explicit rule that the only cache-finding boundaries allowed are Country, State/Province, and County (or locally defined geographic equivalent). All else, denied (user-defined poly or otherwise).

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Trying to be charitable, I can imagine that there might have been issues where someone wanted to define a polygon for the boundary of a park, or for the city limits for an incorporated city. Such boundaries are often messy, especially when traditionally "easy to see" landmarks are used, like a creek, or a winding road. Maybe the need to verify such "user-defined polygons" became an issue.

I wouldn't be surprised if you were right, but it just makes me even more annoyed since the only reason people have to define these conceivably inaccurate polygons to begin with is because the challenge can't just be "In Central Park" since that clear and obvious location can't be checked mechanically.

 

This is reminding me that, like the word list challenges, we discussed in depth how the checking requirement wouldn't be that bad since "it's easy" to define park boundaries with polygons. Most of that thread was project GC experts assuring us the checker requirement wouldn't wipe out as many popular challenge caches as we feared, but now I think every one of the examples raised and discussed in that context has been explicitly prohibited, so we needn't have worried about whether they'd be inadvertently prohibited.

 

I hope there's something more going on behind the scenes with this one, because on the surface, it seems... poorly considered.

It's hard to see it these days, but I'm a huge fan of GS and reviewers and am entirely willing to bend over backwards twice to make everyone's job easier. So I'm sad to realize that I've become convinced that you're absolutely right while being entirely wrong: there is, indeed, more going on behind the scenes, but it's not something good, it's just that someone wants to wipe out challenge caches while making it seem as if it's all our fault that they couldn't continue supporting them.

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And I'm doing my darndest to try to find ways to work within the guidelines to still produce fun/interesting challenge caches. It's getting harder and harder every day, seeing the only options as regurgitated challenges already published often around the world, based on just playing with basic numbers and minimums of rather simplistic, common find stats.

 

Patterns, of any kind, the best area for unique creativity, are disallowed.

Location-based challenges even so broad as latitude and longitude degrees, disallowed.

 

On one level, I can grok some of the reasoning behind them, but on the other hand, I too think the decisions made have a more damaging effect on challenge caches in the long run. While the desire to publish something 'new' may have led people towards the "who can out-cache everyone else" mentality of challenges, cutting that out entirely means there's little inspiration to actually even attempt to be creative and interesting.

 

As a cacher, all I have to do is maximize all my numbers, and I'll qualify for any challenge that may get published from there on out. Challenges lose their draw, their beauty, their uniqueness, their intrigue. Yep, intrigue :P

 

blargh.

Really hoping there are people who can find neat ways to use the system and still get creative challenges published.

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With the new and still-evolving Challenge Cache Guidelines, I thought it might be helpful to have a thread in which we can share our experiences with what challenge ideas have been allowed, what have been denied (and why), and what is or may actually be possible.

As we've been discussing the increasing limits, I went to track down "that other thread" where people were discussing Challenge Cache Ideas so I could be encouraged by seeing what new ideas they've been coming up with. I was embarrassed to realize it's this thread, where we've been doing nothing but discussing the rapidly shrinking circle of what's allowed.

 

It's gotten to the point where I'm reluctant to point to any fresh challenge cache ideas because the most likely result is the cache being retroactively prohibited by a new rule or a new interpretation of an old rule.

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It's gotten to the point where I'm reluctant to point to any fresh challenge cache ideas because the most likely result is the cache being retroactively prohibited by a new rule or a new interpretation of an old rule.

Well heck, apparently you can indirectly mention that a challenge idea exists and somehow it'll get tracked down (as noted in this thread) :P.

Then again, it's certainly not hard to pull a daily list of worldwide challenge caches and find it easily and quickly, since they're published so rarely.

 

That said, from my glancing over the current list of V2 challenges worldwide, most are fairly cookie-cutter versions of classic challenge ideas.

 

That's not to say that it's not worth publishing such typical concepts in our own areas, but if looking for creativity, it's hard to see any stand out from the crowd. :sad:

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I too had problems with the rejection of the Bi-Polar challenge. Guideline 10 (user-defined polygons) was the cited reason.

In my opinion the Bi-Polar challenge doesn't meet the standard for criteria "A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

I think there are plenty of cachers travelling between Europe, America and Asia, but very little visiting the polar circles. It's quite strange that TPTB argued with user defined polygons.

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It's gotten to the point where I'm reluctant to point to any fresh challenge cache ideas because the most likely result is the cache being retroactively prohibited by a new rule or a new interpretation of an old rule.

Well heck, apparently you can indirectly mention that a challenge idea exists and somehow it'll get tracked down (as noted in this thread) :P.

:blush:

 

In my opinion the Bi-Polar challenge doesn't meet the standard for criteria "A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

I think there are plenty of cachers travelling between Europe, America and Asia, but very little visiting the polar circles. It's quite strange that TPTB argued with user defined polygons.

I hear you, but, at the same time, because of GS's desire to make such restrictions concrete, all the CO had to do was show that a few local cachers had already achieved it -- which for some reason wasn't hard to do in that area, apparently -- and it no longer mattered that it was, by any reasonable standard, completely impossible. (Again, note that I'm entirely against appeal as a requirement to begin with, I'm just pointing out the inconsistency between the goals, the rules, and the results.)

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It's gotten to the point where I'm reluctant to point to any fresh challenge cache ideas because the most likely result is the cache being retroactively prohibited by a new rule or a new interpretation of an old rule.

Well heck, apparently you can indirectly mention that a challenge idea exists and somehow it'll get tracked down (as noted in this thread) :P.

:blush:

 

In my opinion the Bi-Polar challenge doesn't meet the standard for criteria "A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

I think there are plenty of cachers travelling between Europe, America and Asia, but very little visiting the polar circles. It's quite strange that TPTB argued with user defined polygons.

I hear you, but, at the same time, because of GS's desire to make such restrictions concrete, all the CO had to do was show that a few local cachers had already achieved it -- which for some reason wasn't hard to do in that area, apparently -- and it no longer mattered that it was, by any reasonable standard, completely impossible. (Again, note that I'm entirely against appeal as a requirement to begin with, I'm just pointing out the inconsistency between the goals, the rules, and the results.)

 

It wasn't up for long and 5 people passed the checker.

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It's gotten to the point where I'm reluctant to point to any fresh challenge cache ideas because the most likely result is the cache being retroactively prohibited by a new rule or a new interpretation of an old rule.

Well heck, apparently you can indirectly mention that a challenge idea exists and somehow it'll get tracked down (as noted in this thread) :P.

:blush:

 

In my opinion the Bi-Polar challenge doesn't meet the standard for criteria "A challenge cache needs to appeal to and be attainable by a reasonable number of cachers. Your reviewer may ask for a list of cachers from your area who qualify."

I think there are plenty of cachers travelling between Europe, America and Asia, but very little visiting the polar circles. It's quite strange that TPTB argued with user defined polygons.

I hear you, but, at the same time, because of GS's desire to make such restrictions concrete, all the CO had to do was show that a few local cachers had already achieved it -- which for some reason wasn't hard to do in that area, apparently -- and it no longer mattered that it was, by any reasonable standard, completely impossible. (Again, note that I'm entirely against appeal as a requirement to begin with, I'm just pointing out the inconsistency between the goals, the rules, and the results.)

It wasn't up for long and 5 people passed the checker.

That is more than I thought. Don't get me wrong, even a Three Poles Challenge (including Mt. Everest) would be much more appealing to me than what is permitted now, even if I would never be able to do it. It seems GS is taking the same road as with events some time ago - kill the interesting ones (for me). AnnaMoritz showed a way how it could be rephrased to fulfill the current guidelines, but I guess quite a few owners will simply stop hiding challenges at all.

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In a week or two (hopefully if things go well) PGC will reopen script authoring to new folks. I have a script ready to go which could provide another style of challenge that should comply with the guidelines. *tease*

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