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Geocaching HQ

Updated Geocache Hiding Guidelines

230 posts in this topic

I'm late to the party here.

Overall, I like the new guidelines.      Shorter and easier to read.   

No document will be perfect, and I agree these are guidelines, not a detailed legal document.   However, the case of the events I think this can be improved:

Events cannot be held in or near transportation centers such as

  • Airports
  • Cruise ship ports
  • Train stations

If the intent of this is to stop events in secure areas where local cachers will generally not have access, I agree with other posts who have said this should be changed.   Especially with train stations, this will cause confusion.

Around here (England), events are most commonly held in a pub or cafe.   I recently attended an event at a cafe within a train station.   It had a train theme and the location was chosen for that reason.    It was no different than any other event at a cafe or pub.    Many other events are held near a train station.     If my local reviewer has the same understanding as Keystone, maybe they will be allowed anyway, but this guideline still can cause confusion.   Cachers who try to follow the guidelines will avoid events in or near train stations, but why?   

If the intent is that events should not be held in secure/restricted areas of transportation centers, then the guidelines should say that (as has been suggested).

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9 hours ago, redsox_mark said:

Cachers who try to follow the guidelines will avoid events in or near train stations, but why?

I hate to keep harping on this, but redsox_mark has pointed out the biggest issue with the current wording of the guideline.

Touchstone (and possibly other reviewers/Lackeys) seems to be of the opinion that a blanket "events aren't allowed near transportation centers" is fine because in most cases an exception will be granted, but how is the average cacher to know that this will usually happen? All they see is the guideline saying they can't hold an event there, so why would they knowingly submit an event that violates it? Instead, they'll abandon that spot and try to find another spot, even though that spot near a transportation center may be a great spot for an event.

As an analogy, what if the guidelines simply consisted of the statement "Geocaches can't be hidden anywhere", with the unwritten understanding that reviewers will usually make exceptions and allow caches to be hidden in many places? Wouldn't that original statement turn a lot of people off of even trying?

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On ‎9‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 0:36 PM, The A-Team said:

I'll have to spend some time reading through the entire guidelines to see exactly what has changed before I can comment on most of it. However, I do find it unfortunate that the "Geocaches are never buried" guideline is being relaxed. It was always good to be able to tell muggles/land managers "The guidelines specifically say 'Geocaches are never buried'. Don't worry, nobody will be digging on your land." Changing it to effectively read "Geocaches are never buried, except..." doesn't give the same level of comfort.

You know COs will still not care about the guidelines. They will still screw, drill, dig, vandalize and place on private property. Anything to make an Awesome cache to get lots of favorite points.

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Thank you to everyone who has asked good questions and provided constructive feedback about the new Geocache Hiding Guidelines.

Geocaching HQ is taking feedback into account, so stay tuned for some updates to the actual guidelines text.  In the meantime, specific to the issue of "Buried Caches," please see this newly updated Help Center article.

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44 minutes ago, Keystone said:

Thank you to everyone who has asked good questions and provided constructive feedback about the new Geocache Hiding Guidelines.

Geocaching HQ is taking feedback into account, so stay tuned for some updates to the actual guidelines text.  In the meantime, specific to the issue of "Buried Caches," please see this newly updated Help Center article.

That is really good news.

The new text is a great improvement.  Thanks to the folk at HQ for listening to our feedback

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"Buried caches" guideline is better now. One paragraph is difficult to understand what it really means.:

"Caches that are mounted on a pole which is partially underground (no matter if the pole was driven into the ground or fixed into the ground with cement). "

How this underground pole relates to buried caches? No fence or light pole caches without the explicit permission?

Edited by arisoft
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I liked it better "Not to create a spot/space for a cache" like I mentioned above. Drilling a hole in a pole, tree, fence or anything that was already there.

The word I use is Vandalism!!! 

 

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In my opinion, the sentence about the poles is associated with extra poles that the cache owner has brought in and buried partially.

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8 hours ago, arisoft said:

"Buried caches" guideline is better now. One paragraph is difficult to understand what it really means.:

"Caches that are mounted on a pole which is partially underground (no matter if the pole was driven into the ground or fixed into the ground with cement). "

How this underground pole relates to buried caches? No fence or light pole caches without the explicit permission?

 

7 hours ago, arisoft said:

In my opinion, the sentence about the poles is associated with extra poles that the cache owner has brought in and buried partially.

It is.  Not sure if you missed the text or if it was edited to add it in, but I think the preceding line on the help center article makes it clear that it refers to adding a new pole, not using an existing one.

Quote

To hide a cache in a way that creates a hole in the ground, first get explicit permission from the landowner.

I'll be curious as to how this affects hides in my area, since the practice has been to allow PET preforms that were pushed into the sandy dirt up to their caps.

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17 minutes ago, hzoi said:

Not sure if you missed the text or if it was edited to add it in,

I missed it and put the sentence out of the context.

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16 hours ago, Keystone said:

Thank you to everyone who has asked good questions and provided constructive feedback about the new Geocache Hiding Guidelines.

Geocaching HQ is taking feedback into account, so stay tuned for some updates to the actual guidelines text.  In the meantime, specific to the issue of "Buried Caches," please see this newly updated Help Center article.

The  wording is better, but I still don't see how this is going to wok in practice.   If a cache is submitted and the reviewer is not told that it's buried, is the reviewer going to ask about every cache?  And what if the CO says it isn't, just so they don't have to provide proof of permission?  

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4 minutes ago, NanCycle said:

The  wording is better, but I still don't see how this is going to wok in practice.   If a cache is submitted and the reviewer is not told that it's buried, is the reviewer going to ask about every cache?  And what if the CO says it isn't, just so they don't have to provide proof of permission?  

I don't think this changes anything when the cache is buried and this fact is not disclosed. The reviewer won't know, and enforcement will rely on finders posting appropriate logs when they find a buried cache without an "explicit permission" disclaimer on the cache page.

The only time anything really changes is when the property owner/manager wants the cache hidden in a manner that requires digging, and the CO discloses this to the volunteer reviewer. Then a post can be sunk into the ground, or a below-grade utility box can be installed for the cache, or whatever, as long as the CO obtains permission and includes that fact on the cache page. And even then, it doesn't change much, because that was happening before at the discretion of the local volunteer reviewer.

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16 hours ago, NanCycle said:

If a cache is submitted and the reviewer is not told that it's buried, is the reviewer going to ask about every cache?  And what if the CO says it isn't, just so they don't have to provide proof of permission?

I can't think of a way to rewrite the guidelines to prohibit dishonesty while still maintaining the review process as it exists.  If a reviewer couldn't presume some level of integrity, they'd never get any caches published. 

Unless you're proposing that a cache submission now has to include an affidavit from a notary public, with attached, certified photos, the initial review isn't going to catch every potential issue that could be concealed or misrepresented by a CO.  I like to keep my caching karma up, but if the review process ever gets to that point, I reckon I'll be done hiding caches.

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19 hours ago, NanCycle said:

If a cache is submitted and the reviewer is not told that it's buried, is the reviewer going to ask about every cache?  And what if the CO says it isn't, just so they don't have to provide proof of permission?  

I think that--or something similar--could be said/asked about every prohibition in the guidelines (e.g. railroads, transportation hubs, underpasses, fastening to trees, etc.)

I originally wrote something very similar to hzoi above, but you can't preemptively stop someone from lying/intentional misrepresentation.

Edited by RufusClupea
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Anyone have any thoughts on the guideline "No contact required. Caches cannot require geocachers to contact the cache owner or anyone else."? Had a really cool multi-cache in place in which one stage had cachers enter a business and tell an employee they were looking for the stage, and the employee would then provide them with the coordinates for the next stage (via a really awesome item I had pre-bought to be given out). I had permission from the manager, they were entirely on board with it, I spent a lot of money pre-buying the items, and now it's being disabled by the reviewer because it requires cachers to contact someone. I read the guideline and think more along the lines of contacting someone via email, phone, messaging,...etc. in which cachers are required to provide private information which would obviously not be OK. But is it really that awful to have to walk into a place and simply ask for a stage, and be given a really awesome item to get to stage two? I just don't understand. I've done caches at libraries where you have to ask for the final at the circulation desk. Why can't I do this with my cache? 

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4 hours ago, JSmiles07 said:

Why can't I do this with my cache? 

You force a geocacher to reveal his identity to someone.

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37 minutes ago, arisoft said:

You force a geocacher to reveal his identity to someone.

No. the CO suggests that an anonymous person reveals to a business person that they are a geocacher.  No ID required.

Edited by Gill & Tony
grammar
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45 minutes ago, Gill & Tony said:

No. the CO suggests that an anonymous person reveals to a business person that they are a geocacher.  No ID required.

It has nothing to do with business. It could be anyone.

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one stage had cachers enter a business and tell an employee they were looking for the stage

6 hours ago, JSmiles07 said:

Anyone have any thoughts on the guideline "No contact required. Caches cannot require geocachers to contact the cache owner or anyone else."? Had a really cool multi-cache in place in which one stage had cachers enter a business and tell an employee they were looking for the stage, and the employee would then provide them with the coordinates ...

Aside from "no contact" try reading the commercial guideline:

Cache pages perceived as commercial will not be published. Commercial content includes any of the following characteristics

  • ...
  • Suggests or requires the finder do any of the following
    • Go inside a business
    • Interact with employees
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10 hours ago, JSmiles07 said:

"No contact required. Caches cannot require geocachers to contact the cache owner or anyone else."

Basically that also means that ANY co-operation of geocachers is also not allowed. Since you have to contact some else before you can do the cache.

The gist of the rule is probably "contact the cache owner or some (or more) specific person". But now it blankets out any communication requirement between geocachers. So caches where each geocachers walks a specific route and has to communicate with the other group are not allowed (like https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC5M6E5_coca-op-de-brunssummerheide ).
Making appointments to do a 'teamwork' required' cache also is off limits because you have to 'contact someone else'

 

Edited by Kalkendotters
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9 hours ago, JSmiles07 said:

Why can't I do this with my cache? 

The notion of "Commercial" was introduced in the Guidelines in 2002.  Various updates over the years have clarified and expanded this section, wherein 2012 brought about the current form of that portion of the Guidelines that is pretty much unchanged since then.

The other aspect that hasn't been touched on is the amount of GPS usage required.  Aside from "Library" caches, pretty much any cache or Stage inside a building fails that requirement.  YMMV on that point however, depending on the amount of GPS usage in other parts of the hunt.

Perhaps you could find a way to move the Stage outside the business, which would still maintain the security of the Stage, but remove the requirement to interact with someone to access it?

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1 hour ago, Touchstone said:

The other aspect that hasn't been touched on is the amount of GPS usage required.  Aside from "Library" caches, pretty much any cache or Stage inside a building fails that requirement.  YMMV on that point however, depending on the amount of GPS usage in other parts of the hunt.

Surely that depends upon the size of the building? If it's a massive building then I can understand why that might be slightly problematic - the coordinates don't narrow down the location. If, however, it's a small building where the coordinates can be used to identify the building in the first instance, then surely that's entirely reasonable? I'm thinking more of virtual stages inside buildings by the way.

And why would there be an exception for "library" caches? That doesn't make sense at all.

Whilst I'm here, are these guidelines being applied retrospectively to existing caches? My assumption was that there was grandfathering going on? The original question suggests that there is retrospective application going on.

I can understand that the vast majority of caches should fall within **guidelines** and that this should include no required interaction. To apply this retrospectively to caches which have existed for a number of years would seem, to me, to a step way too far. It would, for example, lead to the archiving of a cache which has been geocache of the week twice, including once this past summer. Which strikes me as pretty dreadful decision making.

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1 hour ago, Kalkendotters said:

Basically that also means that ANY co-operation of geocachers is also not allowed. Since you have to contact some else before you can do the cache.

 - snip -

Making appointments to do a 'teamwork' required' cache also is off limits because you have to 'contact someone else'

I sorta agree that the wording isn't phrased well, but I don't see that at all.  

To me, it simply means that additional logging requirements that some used years ago, "you must email me for coords to the final" or, "see the desk clerk for the info"  as examples, isn't allowed.

People can still email a CO requesting a hint, cachers can still get together to work on a tough mental or physical challenge, and you still need to email the owner of an earthcache or virtual to complete them.

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44 minutes ago, Blue Square Thing said:

And why would there be an exception for "library" caches? That doesn't make sense at all.

Normally you can find a library cache without interacting anyone if the cache is on the shelf.

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15 minutes ago, arisoft said:

Normally you can find a library cache without interacting anyone if the cache is on the shelf.

The context is that the specific element of Touchstone's post deals with the amount of GPS usage required. The suggestion is that any indoor cache, other than library caches, should not be able to work because there is no real GPS usage involved. Why would library caches be an exception to this over, say, a virtual stage in a small museum, for example, which required someone to find information from a display or noticeboard? 

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5 minutes ago, Blue Square Thing said:

The context is that the specific element of Touchstone's post deals with the amount of GPS usage required. The suggestion is that any indoor cache, other than library caches, should not be able to work because there is no real GPS usage involved. Why would library caches be an exception to this over, say, a virtual stage in a small museum, for example, which required someone to find information from a display or noticeboard? 

I do not see any exception here. The cache must have the coordinates before it can be published. Even if the cache is in the library, it has coordinates. There is no requirement that the GPS device should work when the cache is searched.

One way to construct a library cache is hiding a hint of the final position somewhere outside the library. There is no requirement  to use gps on every stage.

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1 hour ago, Blue Square Thing said:

And why would there be an exception for "library" caches? That doesn't make sense at all.

Libraries aren't trying to sell you anything, and a geocacher shouldn't feel any pressure to buy anything (or even pick up a book) when searching for a stage of a cache inside a library.

If someone told me that a library was charging a hefty entrance fee, or that it costs $5.00 to check out a book for two weeks, then I would treat an indoors stage at a library the same way that I'd treat a geocache stage inside of a pub.

Edit to add:  There is no exception just for "Library" caches in regards to the GPS usage requirement.  A library cache still needs an outdoors stage that requires GPS use.

Edited by Keystone
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Another note on the "no contact" guideline, there have been some instances where cache owners were being selective.  Old challenge caches might say when completed contact me and I will send you the final coordinates. Some cashiers would get them others would not if the cache owner did not like you. Same with some puzzle caches or other caches.

This is not a new guideline it is been around for a number of years now.

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1 hour ago, Keystone said:

Libraries aren't trying to sell you anything, and a geocacher shouldn't feel any pressure to buy anything (or even pick up a book) when searching for a stage of a cache inside a library.

If someone told me that a library was charging a hefty entrance fee, or that it costs $5.00 to check out a book for two weeks, then I would treat an indoors stage at a library the same way that I'd treat a geocache stage inside of a pub.

Edit to add:  There is no exception just for "Library" caches in regards to the GPS usage requirement.  A library cache still needs an outdoors stage that requires GPS use.

OK - I think I understand what's meant then.

I can cope entirely with the commercial side of things. Am I right in thinking that inside virtual stages where there is no entrance fee to that part of the building and in a cache where there is a clear use of GPS coordinates would be OK?

That, presumably, also means that a final cache could be inside any reasonable location so long as no fee was charged, there wasn't an obvious primary commercial process and there was clear GPS use required?

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