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The Mighty Shark

Annoying emails from GC stating cache needs maintenaance

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What's the point of the worthless automated email from GC stating your cache needs maintenance simply because it's had a couple of DNF's? and more annoyingly getting the email only hours AFTER the cache has actually been found!!!!!!

I understand that some people do neglect their needs maintenance logs but if they ignore them then I'm sure another email from GC won't make any difference.

I should also point out that giving a cache a higher difficulty rating means just that, so you expect to see a higher number of DNF logs or are we turning into a nanny state where every cache needs to be a D1/T1.

COME ON GC get your act together and delete this useless automated email message, or at the very least only send it if there have been a minimum of say 5 or 10 consecutive DNF logs.

Edited by The Mighty Shark
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15 minutes ago, The Mighty Shark said:

What's the point of the worthless automated email from GC stating your cache needs maintenance simply because it's had a couple of DNF's?

The point is that it is automated. :)  Would you like to quote the exact phrase stating that the cache needs maintenance. It is easier to take a stand when you see the subject that is commented on.

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Never received those. After how many consecutive DNFs do you get them?

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1 hour ago, The Mighty Shark said:

I should also point out that giving a cache a higher difficulty rating means just that, so you expect to see a higher number of DNF logs or are we turning into a nanny state where every cache needs to be a D1/T1.

According to the Help Center article, the D/T rating is taken into account to calculate the score.  Link for reference:

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=38&pgid=713

It sounds like you wish that portion of the calculation carried more weight than other considerations.   Totally understandable, considering the D/T system is somewhat of a blunt hammer approach to the overall Difficulty IMO.

Judging from one of your high Difficulty Listings, it looks like there's a 50/50 chance of someone being successful at Finding it, in spite of the fact you describe it as a "A simple, Straight forward cache and dash"???

Personally, I think that relatively frequent maintenance checks is just part and parcel to owning a high Difficulty cache.   The one Listing of yours that I looked at is only a few month old, but it looks like you are very active in checking your other Listings.  I think that's a very nice courtesy to extend to the Community, and I wish more cache owners did the same thing.

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If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn't, ignore it.

The nag email is effective with cache owners that might forget (or be ignorant) and neglect maintaining their cache. If a few slip through and make their way to the Perfect Cache Owner, that Perfect Cache Owner can simply shrug and say, "All's fine with my caches, but I'm glad they're trying to keep caches in good condition by sending out emails like this for those whose caches are neglected." and tap Delete.

There's too much in life to get worked up over than an algorithm-generated email that happens to not fit your exact situation.

 

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58 minutes ago, TriciaG said:

If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn't, ignore it.

Please don't ignore it. Notify Groundspeak so they can analyze the "false positive" and improve the algorithm they're using for the automated email.

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1 minute ago, niraD said:

Please don't ignore it. Notify Groundspeak so they can analyze the "false positive" and improve the algorithm they're using for the automated email.

Or at least have the option of taking the situation into consideration, even if they don't make any direct changes because of it.  Every little bit helps.

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4 hours ago, niraD said:

Please don't ignore it. Notify Groundspeak so they can analyze the "false positive" and improve the algorithm they're using for the automated email.

I agree.   We see some lower terrain hides with numerous DNFs, that simply can't be found easily because of weather.  A 1.5/1.5 might be tough to find if caching in snow...      None of us know how this algorithm thing actually works, but I'd hope seasons and location is factored in too.

Just a short time ago, one here questioned someone posting "late", to find that for that person in another country it wasn't "late" at all.    :)

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This came up at a "meet the reviewers" session at a mega I attended over the weekend, and their advice was to post an OM log saying why you think the algorithm got it wrong.

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24 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

This came up at a "meet the reviewers" session at a mega I attended over the weekend, and their advice was to post an OM log saying why you think the algorithm got it wrong.

Is Groundspeak going to review these OM logs to gain insight into why the system is generating false positives, so they can improve the system?

Or is it just an "armchair OM" to make the nag emails stop for that particular cache?

For reference:

 

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7 minutes ago, niraD said:
34 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

This came up at a "meet the reviewers" session at a mega I attended over the weekend, and their advice was to post an OM log saying why you think the algorithm got it wrong.

Is Groundspeak going to review these OM logs to gain insight into why the system is generating false positives, so they can improve the system?

Or is it just an "armchair OM" to make the nag emails stop for that particular cache?

I'm just reporting what the reviewers said to do in this situation. I guess this is from their perspective when they're looking through the caches the CHS has pinged and need to sort the false positives from the ones they have to take action on.

Edited by barefootjeff

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2 hours ago, niraD said:

Is Groundspeak going to review these OM logs to gain insight into why the system is generating false positives, so they can improve the system?

Or is it just an "armchair OM" to make the nag emails stop for that particular cache?

With all due respect to fizzymagic (who is entitled to his opinion), I'm not sure a spurious OM log is really going to have much impact on the score, when it's up against multiple DNF's, NM's, and sometimes an NA.  Maybe some people with some experience on the subject can chime in, but I'm not sure there's even a follow up "nag" email after the first one, if the score continues unchanged or continues to drop.

Where the "fake" OM log does have some impact is when the local Reviewer takes a look at the Listing page and sees that the CO cared enough to check in at least.  My impression is that in cases where there is no response, the outcome is not usually in favor of the Listing page surviving for very long.

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49 minutes ago, Touchstone said:

With all due respect to fizzymagic (who is entitled to his opinion), I'm not sure a spurious OM log is really going to have much impact on the score, when it's up against multiple DNF's, NM's, and sometimes an NA.  Maybe some people with some experience on the subject can chime in, but I'm not sure there's even a follow up "nag" email after the first one, if the score continues unchanged or continues to drop.

Where the "fake" OM log does have some impact is when the local Reviewer takes a look at the Listing page and sees that the CO cared enough to check in at least.  My impression is that in cases where there is no response, the outcome is not usually in favor of the Listing page surviving for very long.

Most if not all of the false positives that have been reported on the forums have had just a small number of DNFs (in my case just one) and no NMs, NAs or anything else to suggest a problem with the cache. Given that it now appears subsequent finds after the DNF won't convince the CHS that the cache isn't missing, an OM is about all that's left for the CO to do, apart from disabling or archiving a perfectly good cache.

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12 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Most if not all of the false positives that have been reported on the forums have had just a small number of DNFs (in my case just one) and no NMs, NAs or anything else to suggest a problem with the cache. Given that it now appears subsequent finds after the DNF won't convince the CHS that the cache isn't missing, an OM is about all that's left for the CO to do, apart from disabling or archiving a perfectly good cache.

Or a perfectly missing cache.  If there are subsequent Finds after the "nag"-email, then yes, it was certainly a miss in terms of the algorithm.  That is why Reviewer action is still appropriate.  Of course, the subsequent Find scenario is excluding the "throwdown" situation, which is all to common in my experience.  Without an active CO (heck! even an active caretaker would be fine), the cache and Listing are essentially doomed (excluding the three-cache-monty activity of PT's, which appears to be a tolerated aberration by the Community).

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32 minutes ago, Touchstone said:

Or a perfectly missing cache.  If there are subsequent Finds after the "nag"-email, then yes, it was certainly a miss in terms of the algorithm.  That is why Reviewer action is still appropriate.  Of course, the subsequent Find scenario is excluding the "throwdown" situation, which is all to common in my experience.  Without an active CO (heck! even an active caretaker would be fine), the cache and Listing are essentially doomed (excluding the three-cache-monty activity of PT's, which appears to be a tolerated aberration by the Community).

In my case, the subsequent find log (by the same person who'd logged the DNF six days earlier) included photos of the cache itself and the logbook showing her signature and that of the preceding finder, so I thought that was sufficient evidence that the cache wasn't missing, enough at least not to warrant a potentially hazardous kayak paddle in the middle of the summer holidays when the normally quiet waterway was full of jetskis and water skiers, or to disable the cache until the end of the holidays or archive it (and then incur the wrath of the reviewers for archiving a cache that was only seven weeks old).

Edit to add: It strikes me as truly bizarre that the CHS thinks it's more likely that the subsequent find was a thowdown or fake log than the possibility that the DNF was for reasons other than a missing cache.

Edited by barefootjeff
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A really bad algorithm in fact, (and i reported mine to geocaching.com in the first day of these feature, used on GS@k that do the job well better)

Today I receive such a false positive after a newcomer enter 3 times the DNF at same date for the same cache. The cache was found the same day by the same newcomer just before his 3DNF and found by another the day before. Mine take into account the D/T, watch 3 different days, by 3 different geocachers having a certain experience before triggering a warning

I understand why people were so sad when they distribute 'virtual' based on their 'algorythm'. This one also is certainly too simple

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5 minutes ago, Pepegeo said:

A really bad algorithm in fact, (and i reported mine to geocaching.com in the first day of these feature, used on GS@k that do the job well better)

Today I receive such a false positive after a newcomer enter 3 times the DNF at same date for the same cache. The cache was found the same day by the same newcomer just before his 3DNF and found by another the day before. Mine take into account the D/T, watch 3 different days, by 3 different geocachers having a certain experience before triggering a warning

I understand why people were so sad when they distribute 'virtual' based on their 'algorythm'. This one also is certainly too simple

Aside from the triplicate of redundant logs from the newcomer, as you call them (7 years a member/>400 Finds), your Listing has a total of 10 DNF's in the last 5 months, and 14 Finds over the same period, which roughly speaking, is about a 70% chance of success.

3 days seems like a fairly short time frame.  My guess is that the algorithm takes a bit longer view than that.   Contrary to your assumption, the algorithm DOES take into account the D/T rating according to the Help Center article.  Link for reference:

 

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=38&pgid=713

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Maybe I'm wrong, but to me it seems that the CHS algorithm doesn't allow anything else than "performed maintenance" to compensate for DNF. Found it after DNF doesn't seem to count.

No "performed maintenance" -> DNFs are accumulating until the threshold (whatever D/T and the other things listed in the explanation might weigh) is reached and an email is sent.

So ALWAYS log "performed maintenance" if the cache isn't missing and not needing maintenance or if you bring in a new container for a missing one. Enable isn't enough.

 

Sometimes you see this pattern (I would suspect mainly in Europe): A "Found it" and immediatly afterwards one, two, three or even more DNFs from the same user with the same success message for the same day, for example "Found it easily". I would think that the user isn't aware at all that also the DNFs are sent.

There is a certain app (only older version, long corrected in newer versions) that tried to submit a "found it" several times if there was no reception/connection or no feedback. When Groundspeak allowed only one found it, all subsequent tries after a successful submit whithout feedback became "DNF".

I wonder whether as owner it helps for your CHS if you immediately delete these and other "false" DNFs after receiving them or not.

 

I personally can't see an outstanding help of the CHS around here for providing better cache experience for caches like (completely randomly chosen from a very long bookmarklist of caches potentially in trouble, not in my direct homezone, so not of my business to post NM there, just as arbitrary examples)

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC3V686_drei-bruder-kapelle?guid=11a52bc9-7217-4f7d-bd5a-9b511ffb137a (DNFs for one year, logpermission by owner)

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC5AWC4_4-st-andra-rundtour-kreuzungsmarterl?guid=e1619d87-cbf4-4627-8694-b3c6ef4d254a (DNFs, last "finder" found a container without lid and without logbook, put a logstrip into it)

or cases that the CHS seeks to identify and that seem to confirm the assumption that after a lot of DNFs subsequent "Found it" are either DNF=found it, throwdown=found it or logpermission=found it

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC6CF9V_the-christophorus-stone?guid=1052346e-41c1-4365-99f0-907d1ac29e7a

or caches that are disabled because of wet or full logbooks for an extended period of time and have many many finds after disable nevertheless.

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC5PXJW_12-ranshofner-runde?guid=eb2c7e5a-59b7-4252-944f-1298b2b5b01f

Or throwdowns on disabled caches like this one where the owner might have overlooked that action is necessary and someone "spent" a throwdown:

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC4X119_052-tour-de-mur?guid=8ab51a4b-9c5c-4f84-b7a6-09a4e072eec7

On the other hand there are examples that look the same for an algorithm, but a human reader might tend to think that the original cache likely is still there. I would think the average owner can't see at all that some intervention might be necessary.

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC5BBVB_arriach-symbol?guid=ad5ace0e-cef8-4176-8825-e8ee1c5ccb8a

 

Around here are more likely to hear anectotal comments about unwanted side-effects of the CHS (or reviewer raids) on caches without DNFs that are long unfound or even without FTF, but not because there is anything wrong with the cache, but simply because no one is trying to get there. Or that there seems no action on caches that have NMs on NAs on it.

In alpine areas without many cachers that easily happens also in Cental Europe. Also a one hour drive away fom where many cachers live this happens, if not other caches are there and a longer hike is involved for findling a single cache. Find-rates seem to be at least 5-10 times lower than for similar geocaches of similar D/T in smaller or larger series in a neigboring valley/mountain where 15 caches can be found in the same time. Remote can also be less than 1 mi besides a road on the map, but hours of hiking/climbing, maybe in an area where in some years the weather doesn't allow a visit.

sga.jpg

Can't delete the pic. Red are the active caches. The areas where people live in Austria are shown in dark green, areas for industry, traffic etc. and arable land in light green. White are forest areas and alpine areas above the tree line.

The white areas are very interesting for hiking and geocaching, but almost nobody lives there, no geocache owner can run out and fix any problems within 10 minutes from home. If you require (exaggerated) that all caches have to be within 10 minutes of owners reach a great number of geocaches has to disappear and among them the most scenic ones.

If you require quick action for urban geocaches where 5-15 geocachers per day try finding the geocache to me is a completely different thing than requiring the same for geocaches in remote alpine regions with 10 finds in 12 years. 

 

Edited by AnnaMoritz
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9 hours ago, Touchstone said:

3 days seems like a fairly short time frame.  My guess is that the algorithm takes a bit longer view than that.   Contrary to your assumption, the algorithm DOES take into account the D/T rating according to the Help Center article.

I wonder how it takes D/T into account in any meaningful way. Sure, they could calculate the average DNF-to-find ratio for each square of the D/T grid across all caches in the world, but would those averages mean anything at all on an individual cache? I have one D2/T3.5 cache that's had 10 DNFs against 40 finds, yet another with the same D/T rating that's had 13 finds with no DNFs. Caches with the same D/T ratings aren't the same experience on the ground, far from it, and when you add puzzle caches into the mix where a difficult-to-solve puzzle might have a high D rating that won't result in any DNFs (people don't log DNF if they can't solve the puzzle to know where to start), the whole thing becomes just a stab in the dark. On top of that, it seems most of the false positives that've been reported in the forums have been higher D/T caches - mine was a D2/T5 that had just one DNF - so whatever their method of taking D/T into account is, it isn't working very well.

7 hours ago, AnnaMoritz said:

So ALWAYS log "performed maintenance" if the cache isn't missing and not needing maintenance or if you bring in a new container for a missing one. Enable isn't enough.

It might be fine to go and check on a P&G cache just down the road from home whenever it gets a DNF, but it's a different story for a remote one. A cache I did on Tuesday is an hour's drive along 4WD-only dirt roads from the nearest sealed road (itself the best part of 100km from any sizable towns), then another hour of hiking through tough terrain, with a difficult final climb to reach the cache. It would take the CO the best part of a day to check on that one, along with some risk of injury to himself and his vehicle, and I'm sure he wouldn't be too pleased to have to do that just because someone logged a DNF saying they got to where they could see GZ but thought it was too tough for them, or it started raining and they didn't want to risk the climb in the wet, or any of the other myriad of reasons someone might have for not finding a cache like that. Heck, I came close to DNFing it when I saw what the final climb involved, but got there in the end and awarded it a well-deserved FP (as has everyone else who's found that cache). Is that a bad cache that's spoiling the game? For me it's the opposite - it's caches like that where the outcome's far from certain that are the lifeblood of the game.

I'm starting to suspect that the thinking behind the CHS might be DNF = bad experience and bad experiences are bad for the game, so we have to strive to make every cache a guaranteed smiley.

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17 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I'm starting to suspect that the thinking behind the CHS might be DNF = bad experience and bad experiences are bad for the game, so we have to strive to make every cache a guaranteed smiley.

This is very likely true!

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On 4/12/2018 at 7:13 AM, AnnaMoritz said:

The white areas are very interesting for hiking and geocaching, but almost nobody lives there, no geocache owner can run out and fix any problems within 10 minutes from home. If you require (exaggerated) that all caches have to be within 10 minutes of owners reach a great number of geocaches has to disappear and among them the most scenic ones.

If you require quick action for urban geocaches where 5-15 geocachers per day try finding the geocache to me is a completely different thing than requiring the same for geocaches in remote alpine regions with 10 finds in 12 years.

On 4/12/2018 at 3:36 PM, barefootjeff said:

It might be fine to go and check on a P&G cache just down the road from home whenever it gets a DNF, but it's a different story for a remote one.

I very much agree with both of these comments. My close-to-home cache had a DNF one morning and the cacher said they think it's missing, as opposed to the other DNF's its had that said they couldn't search because of muggles. Anyway, I went out to check it that afternoon. It was the weekend and I had to go out anyway, so it was convenient enough.  If my more remote caches had a DNF, then it would be a few weeks before I would get out to check on them.

 

 

On 4/12/2018 at 3:36 PM, barefootjeff said:

I'm starting to suspect that the thinking behind the CHS might be DNF = bad experience and bad experiences are bad for the game, so we have to strive to make every cache a guaranteed smiley.

If that was true, then that would be very unfortunate. My first thought is that caches of lower D/T ratings, maybe under 3/3, might benefit more from having the CHS flag them as needing help. Cachers are probably more likely to 'expect' a smiley for low D/T caches than for caches with higher D/T.  Cachers are probably less likely to 'complain' if they get to a higher D/T cache and it's not in pristine condition (esp high T) or they have trouble finding it (esp high D).  Caches with higher D/T would be better served by having the 'identification' be based on NM logs.

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Here's another discussion that relates to the CHS-generated emails, and what might even be a consensus that the email text needs to include a specific option for false positives, for owners who receive the email in error.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, niraD said:

Here's another discussion that relates to the CHS-generated emails, and what might even be a consensus that the email text needs to include a specific option for false positives, for owners who receive the email in error.

 

 

 

Or, Groundspeak should stop sending a CHS automated email. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, L0ne.R said:

Or, Groundspeak should stop sending a CHS automated email. 

That works for me.

 

Some people seem to think it's useful though, but if it's kept, then there does seem to be agreement that recipients should be told what to do in the event of a false positive.

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