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Ignored Needs Maintenance logs

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1 hour ago, niraD said:

I've found caches in locations with terrible GPS reception. In those cases, the COs used text hints, not spoiler photos. The goal here isn't to show exactly where the cache is hidden (spoiler photo). The goal here is to put the seeker at the correct GZ to start searching. If the text hint can get you within 10-20 ft (3-6 m), then it has addressed the problem with terrible GPS reception.

 

But yeah, the CO has to have some concept that not everyone uses a device that can display spoiler photos, or access the web from the field, or whatever.

 

That might be okay if the location has features that can be easily distinguished in text, but the cache in question is in a rock crevice in the bank of a creek which is just rocks with crevices between them. Here's the spoiler photo from the cache page and a wider view that I took while there - how would you describe it in words that would distinguish it from anywhere else along that creek? All that's there are trees and moss-covered rocks, and they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same.

 

1b058f94-658c-4bcd-8cae-c4c2c294f8da.jpg

 

ac209857-bbb8-4ea5-84aa-9e6fb334e872_l.j

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2 minutes ago, Keystone said:

 

Yes, every cache has a Cache Health Score, and it's no secret that a "Needs Maintenance" log has a negative impact on the CHS.  But, an NM log doesn't trigger an immediate drop below the threshold where a reminder email is sent to the cache owner.  The CO must be given a reasonable opportunity to address the issue.  If nothing else happens (owner maintenance log, cache temp disabled, subsequent finds of the cache, etc.) then the CHS will continue to decline to the point where, eventually, a reminder notification is triggered. 

 

Thanks.  I guess I still find it a bit illogical that the CHS tracks all caches to find caches that "might" need maintenance yet when a NM log is filed, it doesn't drop the cache beneath the threshold, despite the fact that it actually does need maintenance.  I get that time should be allowed for COs to address the issue, but the CHS email, if sent, still allows for that to occur as it stands currently AND requires some minimum action by the CO to prevent any future actions of a reviewer.  I also find it a bit unusual that it appears subsequent finds of a cache with a NM log actually increases the health of the cache, even though it still needs maintenance.  I understand the find after a DNF raising the CHS but the cache wasn't magically fixed just because it was found.  A cracked container is still a cracked container that needs to be fixed, regardless of the finds that come after the NM log.

 

If the health of the cache is what's most important (and it's my understanding that's why the CHS was implemented), I find it unusual that a log, which unequivocally states there is something wrong with the health of the cache, doesn't drop the health of the cache score below the threshold of a program that ambiguously states there might be something wrong with them.

 

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to argue or debate the merits of the CHS.  Any input we get from reviewers or lackeys to better understand some of the behind the scenes workings is much appreciated.  I just find it interesting and worth pointing out when it appears there's an incongruity that appears to go against a logical approach to what GS is attempting to do.

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You're assuming that all "Needs Maintenance" logs are valid and of equal importance.  As a reviewer and as a player, I've lost count of how many times I've rolled my eyes after reading a "Needs Maintenance" or "Needs Archived" log that was really just a DNF log: 

  • "Cache is gone - please archive" (then it's found the next weekend by a more experienced geocacher.)
  • "Log is full" (not if you turn it over and sign on the back!)
  • "There is lots of trash in the area / there are bees / there is poison ivy"  (OK, but what is wrong with the geocache container?)

If a log like the above examples triggered an immediate notice to the cache owner from Geocaching HQ, there would be even more criticism about the Cache Health Score algorithm!  Let's continue to give responsible cache owners a reasonable opportunity to respond to maintenance requests.  Even for the valid ones, it doesn't mean they need to dash out the very next day.  The CHS algorithm is way more forgiving than that.

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Here is the description of how to find a cache that was hidden in a rainforest; a place that can be VERY tricky to find a cache in, as most of it looks similar. Another CO might have supplied a spoiler photograph, but this one gave useful instructions, which worked. Although my GPS performed better in there than I expected. (A long black snake followed me down the track, but that's separate to the comments here.)

 

" The GPS coordinates will bring you to the start of the Myrtle walk, take a left turn at bridge and head downstream. NO BUSH BASHING NEEDED.
Cache is on the left of the track after about 35 m behind a tall, distinctive twin trunked Myrtle tree only about 0.5 m from the trail, directly beside a small right hand bend in the track. One of the trunks is 3.5m high and dead. Opposite is a fantastically moss decorated spiral stump about 2.5 high It is between the large roots - you do not have to dig for it! It is weighted down with stone and hidden under a very large bit of moss covered bark.
Tread lightly and look for small sharp white rocks beside the trail on the left. I left them in a rough line pointing to the tree.
"

 

I did not find all of that description accurate; the "only about 0.5 m from the trail" for instance; it was further, and I don't remember seeing white rocks (but then I was trying to keep ahead of  that snake). However enough of the description was useful.

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2 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

That might be okay if the location has features that can be easily distinguished in text, but the cache in question is in a rock crevice in the bank of a creek which is just rocks with crevices between them. Here's the spoiler photo from the cache page and a wider view that I took while there - how would you describe it in words that would distinguish it from anywhere else along that creek? All that's there are trees and moss-covered rocks, and they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same.

Is there anything that can be distinguished in text within a few hundred feet? Can the path from that landmark to GZ be described in text? I've seen that approach used a couple times.

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18 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

" The GPS coordinates will bring you to the start of the Myrtle walk, take a left turn at bridge and head downstream. NO BUSH BASHING NEEDED.
Cache is on the left of the track after about 35 m behind a tall, distinctive twin trunked Myrtle tree only about 0.5 m from the trail, directly beside a small right hand bend in the track. One of the trunks is 3.5m high and dead. Opposite is a fantastically moss decorated spiral stump about 2.5 high It is between the large roots - you do not have to dig for it! It is weighted down with stone and hidden under a very large bit of moss covered bark.
Tread lightly and look for small sharp white rocks beside the trail on the left. I left them in a rough line pointing to the tree.
"

 

Okay, but that relies on there being a track, a bridge, a distinctive Myrtle tree (which is only helpful if you know what a Myrtle tree looks like when you're out there reading it off your Garmin) and that fantastically moss decorated spiral stump. Some locations have lots of distinctive features but some don't, just a creek bed in a forest of look-alike eucalypts with piles of moss-covered rocks down either side. The only distinctive thing I can recall from that location is the pool and small waterfall a little upstream from GZ, but the cache page already mentions that and presumably it wasn't enough to fend off the NMs and NA.

Quote

Just above this cache is a small fall and a nice little water hole which after a little rain is good for a quick dip and it can be quite chilly! Also just across the other side of the creek from the cache is another beautiful falls with a rather large log.

 

Edited by barefootjeff

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4 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

if you know what a Myrtle tree looks

I didn't, but " twin trunked " was the useful bit. That and my GPS worked better than I expected.

Edited by Goldenwattle

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2 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:
6 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

if you know what a Myrtle tree looks

I didn't, but " twin trunked " was the useful bit. That and my GPS worked better than I expected.

 

There's a cacher around here who delights in using the botanical names for trees in his hints. Unless you're a botanist, it pays to do your homework beforehand on his caches!

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2 hours ago, Keystone said:

You're assuming that all "Needs Maintenance" logs are valid and of equal importance.  As a reviewer and as a player, I've lost count of how many times I've rolled my eyes after reading a "Needs Maintenance" or "Needs Archived" log that was really just a DNF log: 

 

I agree with you that not all NM logs are valid and equal.  So why does the CHS assume that all DNF logs are valid and of equal importance?  It can't distinguish between someone who files the DNF without ever getting close to GZ vs. someone who got to GZ and searched for X amount of time before logging their DNF.  Regardless of whether or not it's a valid DNF, it still counts as a negative to the CHS.  Why would a NM log be any different?  Since we're going that route (validity), why does the CHS assume that all find logs are valid and increase the CHS of a cache?  Most of us on the forums can look at a string of DNFs, see a found it log, and then successive finds and realize that it's probably a throwdown cache.  Yet, all the CHS sees is finds which bump the health score of the cache up, even though the first find after the successive DNFs was a throwdown rather than a legitimate find.

 

Are you saying that the algorithm can differentiate between valid and invalid NM log types (or any other types)?  That would be great but I highly doubt that's the case.  The CHS treats all logs as valid, as I suspect it's designed to do,  until the reviewer steps in to determine the fate of the cache.

 

We can debate validity and importance of NM logs all day long, but in cases where the NM log is a legitimate claim, I would think that the CHS should fall below the threshold because the cache IS in need of maintenance, not possibly in need of maintenance. However, it's not possible for the algorithm to determine the validity of a NM log.  As Bruce often points out, it's better to err on the side of false positives rather than change the algorithm for a small group of caches that got caught up in the sweep inadvertently.  It's a small imposition on responsible COs to address the dual NM/CHS hit that would occur on invalid or less important NM logs, as they could take care of it with a quick log of some sort to notify the reviewer that they're aware of the situation.  If it were a more important NM log (container broken or container full of standing water), it still gets the dual hit and it hopefully draws a more immediate response by the CO to fix it or for the reviewer to take action and start the archival process for an absentee CO.  Time is still provided for the CO to fix any issues with both the NM and the CHS email, so that's really a non-issue.  Unresponsive and irresponsible COs would find that their inaction would lead to eventual archival.  I would hope that GS would rather have some invalid NM logged caches get accidentally flagged than some valid NM logged caches remain in the field, providing bad caching experiences to cachers, both old and new.

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3 hours ago, niraD said:

Is there anything that can be distinguished in text within a few hundred feet? Can the path from that landmark to GZ be described in text? I've seen that approach used a couple times.

 

I don't seem to be very good at that. At one time I created some multis that required matching numbered photos to a series of virtual waypoints along the walk, but someone complained that they couldn't see the photos on their phone and asked if in future I could use text-based waypoints. So for my next multi I had multiple-choice questions for each of the waypoints, including this one at an unusual rock formation where the question was, "Which anatomical feature does it most resemble?" with the four options being nose, eye, tongue or ear.

 

DSC_0021.jpg.ffef069d061423ca434e4603995b269a.jpg

 

To me, the cave is clearly poking its tongue out, but no, a lot of people thought it was a dog's nose. So I changed the question to say "human anatomical feature" but everyone still thinks it's a nose and wonders why the checksum doesn't work. So yeah, no more text-based waypoint clues from me, and I suppose I'll eventually I'll start getting NMs on that one complaining about ambiguous questions.

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2 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I don't seem to be very good at that. At one time I created some multis that required matching numbered photos to a series of virtual waypoints along the walk, but someone complained that they couldn't see the photos on their phone and asked if in future I could use text-based waypoints.

I have seen multi-caches with "matching" photos in the cache description. For those, I would take screenshots on my phone, so I'd be able to view the photos if/when I lose cell signal while out on the trails.  I've also taken screenshots of photo hints that are provided with geochecker results, to save me from having to access that page again while out in the field.

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2 minutes ago, noncentric said:

I have seen multi-caches with "matching" photos in the cache description. For those, I would take screenshots on my phone, so I'd be able to view the photos if/when I lose cell signal while out on the trails.  I've also taken screenshots of photo hints that are provided with geochecker results, to save me from having to access that page again while out in the field.

 

I think it was more a case of her phone's display not being good enough to see any detail in bright daylight, particularly if the photos were a bit on the dark side.

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6 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

I don't seem to be very good at that. At one time I created some multis that required matching numbered photos to a series of virtual waypoints along the walk, but someone complained that they couldn't see the photos on their phone and asked if in future I could use text-based waypoints. So for my next multi I had multiple-choice questions for each of the waypoints, including this one at an unusual rock formation where the question was, "Which anatomical feature does it most resemble?" with the four options being nose, eye, tongue or ear.

 

DSC_0021.jpg.ffef069d061423ca434e4603995b269a.jpg

 

To me, the cave is clearly poking its tongue out, but no, a lot of people thought it was a dog's nose. So I changed the question to say "human anatomical feature" but everyone still thinks it's a nose and wonders why the checksum doesn't work. So yeah, no more text-based waypoint clues from me, and I suppose I'll eventually I'll start getting NMs on that one complaining about ambiguous questions.

Nose...🤥

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13 hours ago, niraD said:

Is there anything that can be distinguished in text within a few hundred feet? Can the path from that landmark to GZ be described in text? I've seen that approach used a couple times.

 

Like a Letterbox? 

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4 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Like a Letterbox? 

It could be. Or it could just be something simple, like "150 feet downstream of the falls" or "the third gray boulder".

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22 hours ago, Keystone said:

Yes, every cache has a Cache Health Score, and it's no secret that a "Needs Maintenance" log has a negative impact on the CHS.  But, an NM log doesn't trigger an immediate drop below the threshold where a reminder email is sent to the cache owner.  The CO must be given a reasonable opportunity to address the issue.  If nothing else happens (owner maintenance log, cache temp disabled, subsequent finds of the cache, etc.) then the CHS will continue to decline to the point where, eventually, a reminder notification is triggered. 

 

Additionally, a NM is a public, front-facing notice that everyone sees. Not so with the nudge email. With the NM flag a reviewer now has a much more visible actionable listing state htat needs attention in a reasonable time frame.

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