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Geocache Quality

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Today, we’re inviting you to join a community conversation about geocache quality. You have the opportunity to share thoughts about how you define geocache quality and what you think the community or Geocaching HQ can do to improve it. Read the Geocaching Blog for more information about this project.

 

We have started this User Insights thread so you can answer specific questions about geocache quality. Please keep the conversation on topic and constructive. Any off-topic or non-constructive posts will be removed. (We have started a thread in the General Geocaching Discussions forum for general feedback aside from answering the questions below.)

 

We would appreciate your answers to these questions:

 

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

We’re also starting dedicated threads for German and French speakers. For all other languages, please provide your answers in this thread.

 

Please note: These threads are open for 3 weeks, until July 9, 2018.
 

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1 hour ago, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

A high quality geocache is one that is well thought out, not only in execution, but in the general location, as well.  I would much rather find a preform at a breathtaking overlook or little-known historical location than a well-constructed gadget cache on the outskirts of an industrial park behind a dumpster. Now, I have found Streetlight skirt micros that were a delight and deserved a favorite point, and I understand even those types of caches in the Wal-mart parking lot have their place in the game.  At the very least, a well maintained  DRY! container is a necessity.  The cache page write-up plays a part, too.  It needs to be well written.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that as long as the location isn't disgusting or makes me feel icky and the container is watertight and designed to stay that way, the cache is OK.

 

 

1 hour ago, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

Just the opposite of my answer above.  A cache that has had no thought put into it.  The location is subpar and/or common.  The cache container may or may not have been recently scavenged from the trash.  The description of these types of caches are usually prefaced with " There wasn't a cache within .1 mile from here, so..."  A leaky sandwich container in a place that I would not want to sit down at for any length of time = bad cache.

 

1 hour ago, Geocaching HQ said:
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

This is sort of a tricky one.  Cachers can hide caches like they like to find.  This may influence other local hiders to hide them the way they find them. Cachers can even reach out to new local hiders to sort of mentor them.  The latter suggestion is a little bit to intrusive for me, and in either case, you've got people that will hide caches how they want to hide them.

 

I think that we need an upvote/downvote option on caches.  I can absolutely see this type of system being abused and feelings getting hurt if not implemented correctly, so I'm not sure exactly how it could be put into place, but the community deciding which caches stay and which get archived would, I think, improve overall cache quality.  Of course, I can see this leading to an uptick of geotrash being left out there.  

1 hour ago, Geocaching HQ said:
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

I wouldn't mind seeing a little more veto power given to the volunteer reviewers.  Most of these cachers are ones that have been a part of the community for a long time, and I think a lot of us respect their opinions.  I know that it probably hurts their hearts to publish a cache with an atrocious write-up that is clearly placed on the outskirts of a sewage treatment plant (with permission, of course) just because the cache technically meets all of Groundspeak's guidelines.  If a reviewer thinks that the cache is going to be trouble in the long run BASED ON WHAT INFO IS GIVEN, maybe give them the power to request a change of the cache page, the cache location, or deny the cache placement altogether... 

 

 

 

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?  A few factors are a necessity: a dry container and CacheOwner maintenance promptly when needed; an interesting location that gives a reason to bring me there; a cache page that shows the CacheOwner has put thought and effort into the cache
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? a soggy container and log in a location that nobody would intentionally visit otherwise; a cache page that says little more that "this place needed a cache"
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?  Log DNF if you don't find a cache; NEVER THROWDOWN a replacement container; Report Needs Maintenance and Needs Archive when applicable; Keep atop of cache maintenance on your own caches; DO NOT PLACE A CACHE JUST BECAUSE THERE ISN'T ONE HERE
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? make it appear more acceptable to log DNF, Needs Maintenance or Needs Reviewer Attention (Archive) - especially in the Official App; have better instruction or new member orientation more readily available to new cachers; Refuse new cache placements from CacheOwners who have unaddressed or constant maintenance issues on any current caches; (ETA) Provide better explanation of cache sizes; REMOVE pre-filled defaults in the cache submission page, requiring the cache-placer to consciously select ALL aspects of the hide
Edited by K13
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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

A high quality cache is where the hider considers the area where they are hiding; why they are bringing someone there, and the container they are using. Everything is related.  For example, a place of historical interest, or something that looks cool, or a place kids might like, someone wants to share a beautiful view with others, or to share a walking path they like, etc etc. High quality containers that stay dry over time, have great or creative cammo. Caches that are larger that will hold trinkets for kids to trade placed in areas where kids might like to find them.

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

A low quality cache is one that is placed without thought; just because; with no thoughts to the location, container, coords, or safety.  For example, I started caching in 2006 when I lived in Denver, and there was a cache that was under a bridge where homeless people routinely used it as a toilet. It was dangerous, dirty and frightening, even though the cache container itself was kind of interesting; but people commented from the very beginning about how gross the area was... but it still got published and stayed active for awhile.  I was actually terrified to find it.  

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Find a few caches first before placing, talk to other cachers in your area to determine what people want to find, and really consider your hides before placing them. Consider your containers. Again, talk to other cachers; find a mentor who can help you. Create events where you demonstrate good cache finds and hides. Post interesting logs to encourage others to do so as well.

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Perhaps make the review process a bit more involved; have the person take a picture of the area to send to the reviewer before it gets published; require more detail in some cases about safety of the area and what folks should expect.  Have them monitor cache maintenance more often.  Perhaps require that someone visit their cache at least once a year to keep it active.  I took at year off because of working a ton and when I came back to caching I noticed the quality of caches in my area had sorely degraded, and no one in my area really does events anymore.  I'm a bit bummed.  We shall see how it goes... 

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

◎Great and interesting listing

◎nice gc box and place

◎super maintenance

◎good camouflage

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

◎For example series like ,,Biking around..(some town)".

Lot of caches around towns. That same listing and same boxes on many caches (for example 50).

Meaningless places, but so close to historically, geographically or otherwise interesting place. So you can't put interesting cache here, because of that stock chache(s). It should be one multicache. 

It's huge different, when series of caches are in mountains (tourist/hiking trails). That's great way how show that trails. Or if there is not caches, I will never go to some tourist/hiking trails.

 

◎ Caches of owners which are no more active cachers. Poor maintained caches. Bad or no communication. 

 

◎caches on forbidden places with disabled entry. It's game (for kids and teens too), so you shouldn't encourage people to break the law.

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

◎DNF'logs

◎adoption (chance) for not maintained caches, if cacher is not active anymore. 

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

◎It's shame that if you wanna make some cache, there is 161m distance in cases you are some hundred meters under some cache which is on some hill, you are in real in larger distance, but from fly perspective it's only few meters. 

Not allow serial (traditional) caches with same listing outside of tourist walkways, except multicaches.

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

As a precondition for a cache to be a high quality cache, it needs to be properly maintained (dry, signable log)

 

I see three criteria to a cache:

  • the location
  • the container
  • the story/listing/puzzle (for mystery caches)

A good cache is a cache where at least one of the three criteria stands out positively and none of them is really bad

A great cache is a cache where all three criteria stand out positively

 

Another quality criteria is to hide the largest possible box that fits the location (why hide a preform in the woods if there is room for an ammo can)? There are places where a nano is the only choice to hide (but then the location and/or story better be outstanding) but if possible, go for larger containers.

 

Quote
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

A cache where one of the above three criteria stands out in a negative way:

  • locations that are filthy, disgusting or overly exposed in inappropriate locations
  • containers that are leaky, not durable
  • thoughtless listings or listings that are incomprehensible

Any unmaintained cache is a low quality cache.

 

Quote
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Finders:

  • be honest in your logs. If you didn't like the cache, tell the owner (and other finders)
  • log DNFs if you did not find the cache
  • log NM if the cache is in bad condition
  • log NA if the cache should not be where it is due to safety or other concerns
  • DO NOT PLACE THROWDOWNS and take the DNF with pride

Owners:

  • maintain your caches well, regularly and quickly
  • put some effort into hiding a cache and think about the hide before you hide it
  • hide the largest possible container that fits the location

 

Quote
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
  • in addition to Favourite Points also give us 1 "Sticker of Shame" for every 10 finds so we can downvote low quality caches
    This could then be taken into account when calculating the health score
  • make it clearer that throw downs are not acceptable
  • make hiding a privilege (say X hides per year and then another hide for each Y favorite points earned on existing hides), deduct hiding points for badly maintained caches (though identifying them might be tough, if the sticker of shame is introduced, these can be deducted from the favourites when granting additional hides).
    This would curb the high volume hiders that do not maintain their caches
    Maybe restrict hiding to premium members to stop people from creating dozens of sock puppets to get around the hiding limit

 

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

Geocaching should be about experience. For me the high quality cache is that one which gives the player a good experience. This can be achieved by:

  • interesting/wonderful location (earthcache, traditional cache)
  • unusual/sophisticated container
  • interesting story/scenario (mystery, Wherigo, letterbox).

The highest quality cache is fulfilling more/all of these.

Quote
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

As an opposite to the above mentioned - the low quality cache is that one which does not bring good experience - neither interesting place, nor the container that should be admired. The lowest quality caches are those that are not maintained properly, or even at disgusting places.

Quote
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Well, the honest logging would do a lot - DNF after not finding the cache, stating own opinion about the cache, using FPs, etc. On the other hand publishing final coordinates on various web pages does not help the quality caches to be created....

Quote
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

The review process currently encourages the quantity of the cache to be published - once the cache listing fulfills the conditions the cache must be published. Some restriction would probably help, at least in the case of less experienced cachers. Maybe a bigger autonomy given to the reviewer who could subjectively judge the cache based on the cache owner's experience, the quality of the listing, etc...

And it would be great if HQ could somehow deal with the web pages with final coordinates databases. However, it is not that easy...

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10 hours ago, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

High quality cache: Pretty much what people have already posted.

 

I see quality as built in layers or a series of check boxes. More boxes checked = higher quality. Check boxes include:

  • Sturdy container that's clean and dry inside
  • A clean, dry, signable log
  • A location with purpose - pleasant surroundings / nice view / pleasant walk to get to GZ / history / historic artifacts / peace and solitude / something to learn
  • GZ is safe / free of hidden hazards so that one may search with confidence - with accurate coordinates being an essential part of this
  • Known hazards are clearly identified on the cache page

 

Low quality:

  • Flimsy / easily broken container
  • Container that's dirty and / or wet inside
  • Pointless location - random street corners, litter-filled thickets, 'hides' which don't hide the cache well and have a high chance of being muggled, broken glass / barbed wire / unsanitary conditions
  • Hides which result in environmental damage
  • Any cache which isn't properly maintained by the owner

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

  • Finders write constructively honest logs about their experience - and hiders accept them (if you want better logs, hide better caches)
  • Hiders - quality over quantity
  • Respond to NM and NA logs like adults - yes, it is only a game and part of the game is enthusiastic housekeeping.
  • Reject negative attitudes to enthusiastic housekeeping - encourage / reward effective and timely cache management

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

  • Disallow derogatory attitudes and terminology such as 'cache police' aimed at geocachers who are good stewards for cache quality, upkeep and removal of abandoned / unmaintained caches
  • Where a CO has clearly left the game, alter the CHS on all their caches so that as they fall into disrepair they are preferentially archived rather than sitting for months / years in a state of unpleasant disrepair resulting in poor experiences and low expectations for newcomers
  • Measure average Cache Health against number of caches owned per CO and use this as a control measure to help CO's avoid placing more than they can comfortably manage
  • Consider some form of reward system for cache quality - allow the reward reciever to choose their reward from a range of options - unique trackables, the option to place a special cache type, the option to be recognised as a cacher of a particular calibre?

 

 

 

 

Edited by Team Microdot
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8 hours ago, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

  • The container must be appropriate to the hiding place - it doesn't have to be waterproof if hidden in a dry place like inside a rock cavity, indeed it might even benefit from breathing, but if it's exposed to rain, sun or sea spray it'd better cope well.
  • The coordinates should be as good as possible for the location.
  • The description should be accurate and the hint actually helpful when at GZ looking for the cache.
  • Parking and trackhead waypoints if they're not obvious.
  • If it's a puzzle, solving it should be challenging but not debilitating, and follow a logical progression.
  • I accept that not all caches can be in fantastically scenic spots, but there should be something about GZ that makes a visit worthwhile. I'm a strong believer in briansnat's famous quote, "When you go to hide a geocache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot. If the only reason is for the geocache, then find a better spot."
  • Caches that tell a story, particularly if it ends with a themed location and container.

 

8 hours ago, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

  • One that's missing, full of water, or with a logbook that's just a tattered heap of shredded paper.
  • Inappropriate containers, like film pots or mint tins that are exposed to the weather.
  • A cache page that says little of use to someone looking for the cache.
  • An unhelpful hint, or a needle-in-a-haystack search with no hint.
  • A location that has no merit other than being more than 161 metres from the nearest other caches.
8 hours ago, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

  • Lead by example. Find a spot you want to bring people to, use a container appropriate to its environment and write up a cache page that entices people to want to go there for reasons other than just a smiley.
  • Never ever drop a throwndown; log DNFs when you can't find it, NMs when there's something the CO ought to know about and NAs when the cache has outlived its usefulness.
  • Spread the word about the great caches you find.
  • Participate in events, or host them if no-one else will.
  • Accept criticism in the spirit in which it's intended; we learn much more from our mistakes than our triumphs.
8 hours ago, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

  • I think education is the key.
  • Make the Help Centre and Guidelines a lot more obvious - too many newbies (and perhaps even oldies) have no idea they even exist.
  • Encourage the appropriate use of NM and NA logs.
  • Maybe regular tips (perhaps even a weekly column) in the newsletter on making quality caches and the common pitfalls to be avoided.
  • Maybe a prominent red bar at the top of each website page and in the app when a CO has an outstanding NM that's more than a month old.
  • I'd like to see it made mandatory to submit photos of the cache, hiding place and location in the submission process so the reviewer can catch some of the pitfalls and at least warn the hider that the container mightn't be appropriate for the hide or that the location doesn't resemble what the coordinates imply. Digital cameras are ubiquitous now so that shouldn't be problematic for anyone.
  • On the cache submission page, remove the "Submit" button from the editing page and force people to actually look at the finished page before they can submit.
  • Maybe souvenir promotions that entice exposure to a wide variety of caches rather than just finding as many P&Gs as you can.
  • Encourage app-users to visit the website and don't try to make geocaching an app-only game. Too much useful information is lost on the small screen.
  • Add a cache-positioning function to the app that does some averaging and, if possible, uses only the GPS chip and not cell tower triangulation.
  • Put the numeric cache size ranges (< 100ml, 100ml-1l, etc.) on the cache submission page, even if it's in addition to the apples, shoe boxes and sandwiches.
  • In the geocaching store, it'd be nice if the container descriptions said what size range they fall into. Having a Bison tube described as "large" when it's still just a micro I'm sure adds confusion.
  • Please try to resist the urge to automate cache quality. In particular, the way the CHS treats DNF logs is problematic as most of the time a DNF, or even several of them, doesn't mean a cache is missing. We already have a canned NM saying "the cache might be missing" so why not try to encourage its use rather than second guess what a DNF means? Be aware that every cache is different and that higher terrain caches in particular offer many more reasons for DNFs (the terrain defeated me) that say nothing about the health of the cache, and by the same token, can be tough for a CO to just go and check on every time someone logs a DNF. Another side-effect is that people are now being discouraged from logging DNFs unless they're pretty convinced the cache is missing, turning it into a de-facto NM and spoiling it for those who just want to say "the cache defeated me".
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High quality - meets the guidelines

 

Low quality - does not meet the guidelines, most commonly as

  • No cache owner 
  • Defacement in the placement
  • Owner vaguely around, but not reading logs - not handling issues

 

Community could log properly.  

 

GeocachingHQ - improve cache owner tools.

  • App should have a cache owner section that highlights published disabled caches, caches with NM logs, cache with admin logs on them, caches with 3 or more consecutive DNFs. 
  • Cache report the current warning about caches that need maintenance should exclude unpublished. Because it includes unpublished it becomes an ignored false alarm. Ideally NM or disabled caches are auto included as GC Codes within the Submit log. Really call them out to the CO
  • Website should provide the CO a list of caches that excludes archived,  makes conspicuous note of those with NM logs, those that are disabled, highlights those with 3 or more consecutive DNFs and is ranked on date of last find - longest unfound first.

Ask the marketing team to find some non-stats means to promote the game; particularly with regard to Events. Going back to 2010, marketing has done considerable damage in my area to events as creating local geocaching communities.  Facebook has done some to pick up the slack, but there's nothing like face to face.

Promote proper logging at every opportunity.  

 

I'd be in favor of scraping the site for ownerless caches;  5 years of no cache owner log on or action on any cache page - HQ disable with 6 months for the cache owner to enable.  I don't expect this to happen, but I can dream.... ;-)

 

 

Edited by Isonzo Karst
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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    A cache where someone has thought more than 5 minutes about. This can be a nice container, a nice field puzzle, a great location. There also has to be a link between the listing and the location.
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    A cache where little or no thought went into. A store bought container behind a tree next to a normal road with nothing interesting around for example
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    Report maintenance issues more often.
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    Stop promoting quantity (like with the current hidden creatures promo)
    Make it more clear that it is OK to log a DNF, and you should never place a throwdown
    Max number of cacheplacements in a year per CO (5 or something like that)

     

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

A well thought out complete experience.    Good location is the most important to me.    Then I also want a quality container (doesn't break or leak easily etc), well hidden from muggles.    Add in a theme, information about this location, a clever container or hide, and we are looking at a favorite.    Maintenance is important as well, but to me it is secondary.    I can forgive a damp log (perhaps because the last finder didn't close the container properly) if everything else is great.     

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

The opposite of course.     A location which makes me say "why here?", or worse makes me uncomfortable or fearful.   A container which will easily break or fail.     Note, while I prefer interesting or scenic locations, I don't mind a cache in a mundane location (like a parking lot) if it is still thought out and uses a good container.     E.g. it is hidden in an area of the parking lot which is generally empty (good) vs. it is by the rubbish bins which overlooked and smelly (bad).     

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Lead by example, and hide quality caches.     Be honest (but polite) in your logs about low quality caches, make constructive suggestions how they can be improved.    Log NM on caches in serious need of maintenance.    

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

This is the hardest to answer.    HQ (and reviewers) can see and act on caches with maintenance issues,  but that is only one part of quality.     I don't think it is practical to review caches to determine if the location and/or container are "quality".     Maybe consider a further "rating" system?   Favourite points are OK, but they only point of the best.    It might help if cachers can grade the caches they find some way, so indicate which are good (but not top 10% good to give a FP), and which are below expectations.    Though I can see this could possibly cause bad feelings for COs if they get poor reviews.    

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On 6/19/2018 at 12:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

  1. Well maintained cache = cache owner, who is caring, active, reactive, even proactive
  2. Hidden sensibly = with respect to environment and foresight = how will players feel when looking for my cache? Will it be fun? How will this place look after 10 finds, 100, 1000?
  3. Offer added value = make cache not only for cache alone! Share special place / story / knowledge / joke / craftsmanship - at least 1 more reason to smile(y).
On 6/19/2018 at 12:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

The opposite of above.

 

On 6/19/2018 at 12:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

  1. Be honest. Log DNF, NM, NA logs.
  2. Rate quality cache verbally in the logs. Don't be afraid to say what is bad and offer advise or help.
  3. Yes - let's HELP each other - with small maintenance issues, but accept the fact, that CO is responsible and demand reaction from him.
  4. Lead by example - when you find poor cache near to your home - address it, report it - and then create and maintain better cache to show how it can be done.
On 6/19/2018 at 12:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

  1. Rename "Needs archived" to "Needs reviewer's attention". NA is too strong and people are afraid to use it.
  2. Website should notify Cache Owner about his Disabled / NM'ed / DNF'ed geocaches and nag him to give them more love.
  3. Yeah, popular one, sorry but I'm jumping on this wagon: Allow cache placement only for accounts with at least XY finds, or at least N months old. Majority of caches from 0/0 hiders are really really poor .... and communication with them are very very time consuming.
  4. Not a problem here, but elsewhere - introduce the maximum of caches that one account can own.
  5. Feedback from players: Many players are taking back their FP's from archived caches. I believe this should not be allowed - to protect historical stamp of particular quality cache.
  6. Repeat "Cache makers" campaign - regularly every year. To promote events where people will be creating geocaches together, can share their skills, experiences, material.
  7.  

Thanks for this opportunity and listening.

Edited by Rikitan
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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

  • A good quality weatherproof container, which should be sufficient to keep the contents dry and robust enough to not break after a few weeks.
  • A container appropriate to the environment, if it's in the woods place something of a reasonable size.
  • A worthwhile location which is worth visiting e.g.: nice view, interesting history, unusual features.
  • Well maintained and looked after by the CO when problems arise.
  • Accurate D/T ratings.
  • Proper use of attributes.

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

  • A poor container in the wrong environment, e.g. film pots or altoid tins which are exposed to the weather and soon become wet; poor quality boxes which break after a few weeks.
  • A pointless location with no intrinsic interest, or a rubbish strewn corner of a carpark.
  • Poor, or no, maintenance by the CO.
  • COs who throw out caches and then never maintain them, expecting the community to do the maintenance for them, or simply archiving the cache as soon as a problem arises.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

  • Write honest and appropriate logs.
  • Use the DNF/NM/NA log types appropriately.
  • COs respond to DNF/NM/NA log s an maintain their caches appropriately.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

  • Some mechanism to vet newbie COs, the ideas of finding X caches or being active for X months may not be ideal but it's a start; perhaps combined with a questionair to at least confirm they have a basic understanding of what being a CO is all about. 
  • Reconsider how the CHS is scored, it seems that many people have been discouraged from writing DNFs and NM logs since the CHS was introdced, and some COs discourage these log types for fear it will affect their CHS - so encourage searchers to use the DNF and NM log types.
  • Change the "Needs Archived" log type to "Needs reviewer attention" as the current name has too many negative connotations and is therefore often avoided.
  • A placer's history as a CO should be considered when accepting new cache submissions, COs who don't maintain their caches should have some restriction on their ability to place new caches.
  • Support finders who write appropriate criticisms in their logs when their logs are deleted by COs.
  • Use the souvenir promotions to encourage quality caching over quantity - the latest Hidden Creatures promo is all about quantity (find 100 caches to get all the souvenirs) :( At least some previous promos have encouraged diversity (finding different cache types), and quality (finding caches with X favourite points) 
  • Some way of rewarding COs of quality caches - something akin to the Virtual rewards programme of last year, or a free "Quality CO" trackable code.
     
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A quality cache is one that is placed with thought by an active, conscientious, responsible owner that cares to provide a quality experience from beginning to end. 

 

From a good cache description--

Proper hint (not: "Contact me for a hint"); correct and accurate D/T ratings; appropriate use of attributes (not choosing attributes to help people qualify for challenges and fill grids); correct and appropriate use of size (this is especially important for the distinction between micro and small).

 

To a good location--

Doesn't have to be wow, just pleasant (not a dumpster or needle-infested area of a park).

 

To the container--

Swag and trackable size to make the majority of finders happy (micros should a smaller percentage of caches then 100ml+ capacity containers). A container that remains in reasonably good shape, and when it loses its ability to keep the contents dry the owner fixes, replaces or retrieves it and archives the listing in a timely fashion. 

 

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

A cache which is interesting in at least one and preferably more of the following characteristics:

  • Good location - view; history; route to get to the cache
  • High quality puzzle (whether field or unknown type cache)
  • Facts or information provided about the location in the cache listing where relevant
  • Difficulty of obtaining the physical cache perhaps due to the T rating
  • Quality container which is well stocked
  • Innovative hide
  • Cache name that makes me laugh or smile especially after the find
  • Regularly maintained
  • One which has a good quality hint when the cache is in a high muggle area
  • One with lots of favourite points (compared to the number of finds)

Also good quality co-ordinates posted.  Accurate D/T rating.  Good use of attributes.

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

One which has none of the above features or only a very small number of them with negative aspects of the above.  Especially those hidden in locations full of rubbish and or dangerous items on the ground (broken glass; dangerous plants; drug paraphernalia etc.)

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

  • Take note of the above things that make a cache high quality
  • Write about the fact that you loved the cache when you did
  • Award favourite points to enable others to identify quality caches

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

  • Allow only those with a number of finds (suggest 100) to place caches
  • Enable favouriting of logs by COs and other cachers to reward quality feedback 
  • Encourage logging of DNFs 
  • Continue to educate that DNF is not necessarily a bad thing
  • Allow unlimited "Likes" to be awarded by cachers (in addition to FP for top 10%) so that caches that are felt by the community to be "good" are identified.
  • Do not agree to the suggestions above about limiting the number of cache placements by existing COs - high quality COs should be encouraged to place more caches not less.
  • Earlier disabling of caches which clearly are in need of CO input where this is not happening
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14 hours ago, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

GC HQ needs to change the mindset that numbers trump quality.

 

At mega events where there's a strong HQ presence, set up information booths and signs that emphasize quality over quantity. Emphasize responsible cache ownership over set-em-and-forget-em ownership. Emphasize fair play and sharing of space, over saturating whole trails and parks by one or two account holders. 

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Lots of excellent points already posted here! So I'll add a few thoughts and responses of my own...

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
  1. Most people are focusing on physical containers. I think "quality geocache" heavily depends on the cache type.  If there is a physical container, then all the above regarding quality of the container and local area is very important.  But the cache listing is missing a whole lot of love. The app seems to relegating it to 2nd tier as well. That helps reduce its value, where the description can hold a whole lot of very important information. And especially for certain cache types, the listing adds value to the cache-finding experience. Sure, some people just want to "find a geocache", but we have so many types that one can't simply ignore that geocaching is (now) far more than merely finding a physical container. So to me a high quality geocache, depending on the type, includes a relevant description that adds value to the whole geocache's experience.
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
  1. Favourite point details. When adding a point, allow the cacher to either select from a list of generic reasons for the point or provide a short one-liner. And just like log photo attachments can be addressed for possible spoilers, this would need to be reviewable by the CO and/or reviewer for editing. This would be a quick glance as to what make the cache stand out, an easier skim than reading through an entire log history. FPs only premium members help give it a bit more trustworthy signal over noise too.  Avoid negative critique 'features' for community.
  2. Rename "Needs Archived" to "Needs Reviewer Attention".  For consistency, "Needs Maintenance" is also essentially "Needs Owner Maintenance" (which can also help dissuade proxy maintenance by implication).
  3. Revitalize the non-smiley log types - DNF, NM, NA - which have become taboo and hands off ever since the community falling-sky outcry about the CHS which no one really knows how it generates its score. The fear of the CHS raised a home-grown fear of the non-positive.  Find some way to remove that stigma so the DNF/NM/NA logs can be useful again.
  4. Realizing that coming up with ideas for periodic promotional campaigns can get tedious when trying to run unique ideas (and can quickly turn into marketing-heavy promos that feel tacked on to very very basic geocaching concepts, like the hidden creatures find-quantity mechanic) - how about doing monthly promotions?  Like highlighting basic geocaching concepts/types/themes each month, year round?  Like Traditional Month, Puzzle Month, Historic Sites month, Live It Large month or whatnot. No rewards-based campaigns, just generally more attention given to that month's spotlight, especially newsletters and social media. Highlight relevant caches, interesting logs, encourage people find/hide that month's theme.  That can certainly steer away from rewards-based mentality (ie, people participating only to get stuff), while also directing people back to a general idea of "quality" in some of the very basic concepts of geocaching.

 

39 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

GC HQ needs to change the mindset that numbers trump quality.

 

And yeah, this. :) Especially when it comes to the official mobile app.

Edited by thebruce0
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Ultimately I believe geocaching exists for the hiders, not the finders.  A high quality cache is one that the owner takes an active interest in.  

That means:

1. Placement is thought out.

2. The physical cache is maintained.

3. The log is maintained.

4. The listing page is up to date with the current information.

5. Any puzzle is thought through - any hints are appropriately given out.   

6. Logs are policed - especially on challenge caches.

7. Caches requiring information sent to the owner have the information checked and responded to.

8. Location is appropriate for the cache's intended audience.

etc.

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I'm worried that this debate is based on the subjective and undefined term "quality", but let's see what happens.

 

The main problem I see with debating high and low quality is that it bundles two completely different things in "low quality". One is those caches that are in good shape and legally placed, but otherwise lack additional qualities beyond being a geocaching. I've only skimmed the responses so far, but that seems to be what people are focusing on. If that's what we're talking about, then I see no reason for HQ to be involved in improving it, and the community can improve it in the same way it has always been able to improve it: by hiding "high quality" caches and encouraging and congratulating those that do. There's no getting around the fact that a community that has fewer high quality caches than it wants has only itself to blame.

 

The other type of cache that could be called "low quality" are broken or missing caches. Those have been under attack for a couple years now, and I assumed that further efforts in that direction was what this OP wanted to discuss. But then I thought about how I'd answer the questions, and I realized there was really no way anyone could say, "A low quality cache is one that's missing" because it doesn't really make sense, nor could someone say, "A low quality cache is a cache that's broken and leaking," because it would look stupid next to all these other responses talking about experience and being well thought-out and all those other glowing ideas which certainly make a cache better, but aren't the difference between a cache I want to find and a cache I don't want to find.

 

But that's my basic answer: I'm perfectly content with the range of quality of the caches I've found, both in my area and other places I've geocached. High quality caches are good, low quality caches are OK. Any attempts to improve that kind of cache quality will likely reduce the number of OK caches without increasing the number of good caches, so I'd recommend leaving that to the communities to sort out for themselves.

 

So I honestly am not sure what the OP wants to talk about, but the one point I want to stress is that "low quality" should not automatically be equated with "undesirable". Caches that are broken or missing could be considered to have zero value, and even a negative value to some. A cache in good shape but without the additional features that would make people consider it high quality, on the other hand, still has a positive value. Any efforts by HQ to "improve quality" shouldn't do so by eliminating functioning caches that some people don't think have any quality. You risk "improving quality" while reducing the total value of the caches available.

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3 minutes ago, dprovan said:

I'm worried that this debate is based on the subjective and undefined term "quality"

 

Erm, yeah - I think that's intentional, except for the part about it being a debate, which it isn't.

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5 minutes ago, dprovan said:

the one point I want to stress is that "low quality" should not automatically be equated with "undesirable"

 

(moved my reply to the other discussion thread)

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

Taking it from the point of arrival, I prefer there to be some purpose for my being there other than the geocache itself, like a nice park, or trail, or point of interest.  I often cache with my five year old daughter, so a quality location can be one where I don't have to worry about her getting hurt by discarded needles or broken glass, or looking through litter during the search. 

 

Next, the hunt.  A good location has good signal quality, or additional information in the cache description to make up for poor signal, such as a good description or even a hint.

 

Finally, the container.  Quality caches are dry inside and are owned by active COs who keep track of their caches and maintain them when needed.  Clever hides are appreciated but not expected.  Swag for the kid is always nice.

 

For non-physical caches, the first two still apply even to events, virtuals, and earthcaches.  Quality events are more than just getting some tables together and having a scrap sheet of paper for us to sign.  Themed events are more fun.  Earthcaches need to be more than just "here's a sign, tell me some stuff it said" -- teach me a lesson, without expecting a Ph.D. dissertation to log it.

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

Again, taking it from the point of arrival, it can be pretty obvious if a cache is in a poorly chosen location.  I consider it to be a poor geocache if there is no reason for me to be there other than the geocache; that is, it is just a location that was empty enough on the map to put in another geocache.  Dirty, littered, or unsafe environments are also poor quality.

 

Next, the hunt for the geocache itself.  I don't expect them all to be found instantly.  But a cache hider should take the finder's perspective into account and devise the hide and the cache description (and, where appropriate, hint) accordingly.  If there is poor signal reception available, and the CO has done nothing to compensate for this by providing more info in the cache description, that is unhelpful.

 

Finally, the container.  I don't expect treasure chests overflowing with swag.  But I expect a dry log that isn't moldy or rotting.  Minimal requirement is for it to keep water and dirt out.  All geocaches require some maintenance, and few are impervious to the elements.  But poor quality geocache containers are those that can't even last a week without letting water in, because they weren't good containers to begin with.  Any flimsy containers like Gladware, or former food containers like Parmesan cheese jars or Altoids tins, or other leaky objects such as leftover pill bottles, are poor choices.

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Know what you're doing before you hide your first cache - get out there and find a bunch so you know what you like and know how and where you can hide a cache.  Strive for quality locations.  Don't just fill in the map.  Use durable containers.  Pay attention to logs and be proactive on maintenance.  Don't rely on cache finders to maintain your hides or throw down a cheap container if yours goes missing.  If you leave the game, or even just move locations, pick up after yourself before you go. 

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Ensure adequate permission.  Recommend quality containers.  Continue the practice of having reviewers involved in following up on caches that appear to have issues.  Encourage new cache owner workshops out in the field.

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

We started when this hobby was the "language of location" . 

 - To me, a location that most would find interesting, and safe for Trackables is key.

A decent container, close to waterproof, accurately sized, and the largest the CO can afford, the area can handle, or landowner allow.

A nice selection of swag, contents determined by D/T (kids not doing many 4 or 5Ts  :-), with the log fitting the container.

 - Seems odd to see ammo cans with the same log strips as you'd find in film cans. 

Meets guidelines, and properly maintained (as time allows) by the CO.  :) 

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

A container, doesn't matter what size, placed in a nondescript spot just because you can

 - One bragged recently that their containers fit perfectly on portapottys. Sheesh...

Household scrap used as a container, instead of properly placing it in with the rest of recyclables.

Logs made from scraps of "whatever", including mail (one used strips from the back of a calendar, with the notations of birthdays on the back).

"Bypasses" guidelines and rarely (if ever) maintained by the CO, or figuring a way to "invite" others to maintain it for them.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Cachers really need to use the action logs.  No sense in having NM, DNF, NA if no one is using them.

Throwdowners  (I feel) have done a great disservice to this hobby and cache quality.  Have an ammo can replaced with a pill bottle and you'd understand (with the cache still there to boot...)

 - "Replacing" a container, no matter what size, with an (often) lesser one because of arrogance ("if I can't find it,  it's gone"), or for-that-darn-"smiley" ... well,  that really doesn't help anybody.

Be honest in logs.  Try to stay upbeat, but if the surroundings and container are a piece of carp, be honest.  It really does help those after you.

Learn how to properly move Trackables.  The Help Center has great info for learning the basics. 

 - We wouldn't have all the logging issues so prevalent these days if folks would just read a bit.

Award favorite points to caches that actually show some, or all aspects of a quality hide, rather than just because you were ftf, or he's your buddy.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Changing Needs Archived to Needs Reviewer Attention might help.  I feel a few more may log if the cache simply "needs attention" beyond the CO.

You guys (it seems to me..) have really tried a number of ways to get folks to pay attention and simply conform to guidelines.

 - But few it seems know how to get onto the Help Center or guidelines anymore.  You removed that helpful information from profiles dashboards and cache pages.

When a cacher is "upbeat but honest" in his log, he shouldn't have to lower it to a TFTC just to claim the find after a CO issue and HQ. 

I feel we took a big hit when, "Please don't hide a cache every 600' just because you can" was removed.  Probably too late to fix that now... 

Marketing could help some if they consentrated on quality in one of their many promotions presented, instead of  quantity (how many can you grab quickly). 

 - Might help a bit too, like pieces of carp placed now just to qualify for those promotions.  Few would gripe about quality caches presented.  :)

 

 

 

 

 

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

a nice big box in a beauty spot.

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

one thats in a urine soaked layby with no hint.

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

help guide newer cachers into what consitutes a higher quality cache, rather than lambasting them and logging needs archive for trivial issues. 

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

the current system is fine as it is. maybe change needs archived need's reviewer attention. take on more reviewers to look at policing abandoned caches more often. 

 

ps a lot of people on here think cachers with high amounts of hides are just power trail hiders, this is not always the case and policies from people on here requiring a cap on hides or point scheme wouldn't really be fair to hiders who have been active for a number of years. 

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

If you asked what kind of caches I like, then I might say:

o   Scenic View

o   Long Hike

o   Lamp Skirt

o   Gadget

o   Puzzle

 

Well you didn’t ask what type of cache I like, you asked what makes for a quality cache.  For any type of cache, the one thing that stands out is maintenance.

Any cache, regardless of what you personally like requires regular maintenance, so my answer is that a high qualify cache is one that is well maintained.

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

Any cache that is not well maintained. 

I can pick and choose what type of caches I like to find, but cache maintenance is generally not something I can filter out.

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

1)     As a finder, log your DNF’s and Needs Maintenance.  No action can be taken without a documented history.

2)     As a hider, perform regular cache maintenance

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

The biggest issue with the Virtual Rewards and the Cache Health Score is that we don’t understand them.

Simplify the rules and automate the processes.  Reviewers should handle exceptions.

For example:

CHS – A reviewer is required to review the data and apply what they think is right.  The cache hider has no idea how it works or why it’s applied to them.

Or

3 DNF’s [different days, different cachers] and your cache is disabled, 30 days later and it’s archived, 30 days more and it’s permanently archived

Simple to understand, applied by a system process.

The second issue is geo-trash.   It needs to be cleaned up.

Once a cache is permanently archived, it could go into an “Eligible for Clean Up” status.  Give credit to the person (this could be the cache owner) who goes out, removes the geo-trash.

If the cache owner wishes to use the cache/location for an alternate reason they can simply mark it as “Cache Removed”.

To summarize:

  • ·        Good maintenance
  •       Create a history by logging your DNF's
  • ·        Simplified and automated processes

  • ·        Process for geo-trash cleanup


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I've not been geocaching for too long but in that time I feel like I've seen a few good caches and a few not so good.

 

The best quality ones I have found are caches that are well maintained and feel like some thought went into their hiding. A couple that come to mind is one hidden inside a lighter that was by a fence, the log was dry and it was very clever. Another is a Wherigo I did recently, the cartridge on the app worked well and the cache at the end was dry with everything intact.

 

A low quality cache is one that's not been looked at for a long time, the log is soggy, container cracked and full of bugs. Or when it just feels like it's been dumped, an example that comes to mind is one I found recently where it was just under a log and the tub had cracked which slugs had made the most of. It's when you can't sign the log that's the very frustrating.

 

I think the best steps to improving the quality is to actually report DNFs, yes they're a pain but they keep the cache owner informed, report if maintenance is needed and to take the time to maintain any caches we might own or get some help to maintain.

 

One last little thing could be Trackables, if a TB has gone missing from a cache then I think there should be a way to mark it as missing at that cache (on the app). So that when a person is having a look at a cache they won't be lead to believe a TB is inside when in fact it isn't.

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

A well thought out cache (or series of caches) that take you to a nice place. If it's a single cache then it needs to be somewhere meaningful otherwise I just won't bother. 

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

One in a lousy location, or of low significance. A cache that is poorly maintained - full log, damp, bad container, or just plain missing... Poor quality (or non-existent) hints. 

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Don't be embarrassed or feel you somehow shouldn't leave DNF logs. These are a vital part of the story of a cache. Log needs maintenance too. Don't leave rubbish in caches and clear out any rubbish that is in there. 

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Progress caches (especially when they are low difficulty) to reviewer intervention more quickly after a few DNFs or NMs so that bad caches are weeded out more quickly. 

If several caches in a series are clearly needing maintenance / missing then put the whole series on risk of archive...

Don't allow caches to be submitted with a blank hint. I find this very frustrating! Hints should be meaningful - saying it is by a tree in the middle of a forest does not help! 

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With regards to the first few questions, good / bad caches, i am not going to repeat what is written above, i agree with most of it. 

 

  • What can HQ do to improve cache quality? - Put a cache find limit on new cachers before they can hide pots. Say 250. That should allow them to see what sort hides others are putting out, rather than nono's on the back of road signs around towns. It will also ensure they are game to play rather than be a 5 minute wonder! Also Needs Maintenance automatically trigger a review post say after 6 DNF  on the bounce on one cache. Reviewers give 1 month for people to check the cache then a further month before its archived. This is too long. Half the time, there not interested. If the CO has not been online for say 2 months, then the cache gets archived after 2 weeks as the CO is obviously not interested. This may be said to be tough changes, but someone could be waiting to put out a decent cache / series, but put on hold because someone cannot be bothered. 
Edited by dave-harris

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58 minutes ago, dave-harris said:

With regards to the first few questions, good / bad caches, i am not going to repeat what is written above, i agree with most of it. 

 

  • What can HQ do to improve cache quality? - Put a cache find limit on new cachers before they can hide pots. Say 250. That should allow them to see what sort hides others are putting out, rather than nono's on the back of road signs around towns. It will also ensure they are game to play rather than be a 5 minute wonder! 

 

I agree with this

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

a cache with many fav points

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

many placed by finders with less than 100 finds

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

support a co rather than posting negative comments from the arm chair or thinking they know better

 

make it 250 finds before placing a cache

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

have a ban feature on owned caches to stop troublesome loggers that have nothing better to do than find a problem when there is not one.

 

a report feature on negative and unwarranted comments in logs

 

reviewers take action when the same people make regularly needs archiving/maintenance when not required and suspend for a period of time depending on an accumulated number when proven incorrect.

 

more reviewers, this would add more local knowledge and spread the burden on one reviewer that have large area's to look after,  a good starting point would be when the reviewer goes on holiday or needs a break.

 

support co's with disputes better and also be more helpful  when issues arise when trying to get a cache published.

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7 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

GC HQ needs to change the mindset that numbers trump quality.

 

Adding this to my list.

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What can HQ do the improve cache quality?

 

The review process applies objective criteria. I agree with that, I don't believe that a reviewer should be making subjective decisions about cache quality, for a number of reasons. And, as has been discussed numerous times in this forum, cache quality is subjective. Therefore, any subjective decision must be made by the person attempting to find the cache. So, is there anything that can be done to give the cacher more information to make their own decision about cache quality?

 

What if the cache description field was broken into multiple fields? Maybe a field for why the cache was placed at this location? Another about the cache itself (the current description field), and/or getting to the cache. Puzzle caches could have a field dedicated to the puzzle.

 

The reviewers job remains objective. The CO would have to put something intelligible in these fields, but beyond that, the reviewer would not make any subjective decision on the content.

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    One that is in a good location OR a unique container. Yes, its good if its been maintained but some caches are good that haven't been maintained for a while, they add to the challenge and satisfaction when you find it.
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    One on a dog poo bin or similar location. Why do I want to be looking there? Horrid.
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    To think about the location and why they are bringing the cacher to the location. 
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    Stop people who have only found 1 cache placing caches. However this needs to have an over-ride feature for the reviewers as Mega accounts and accounts created by large events to place all their caches under would need to be able to place caches without finding caches. The local reviewers should know who the cachers are behind such accounts.
    I don't agree with the idea of automatically disabling after X number of DNF's. Some caches are hard to find, that is the whole point of that cache maybe, and as a CO I would get annoyed by a cache being automatically disabled all the time. Also you could have a large team DNF it and each of them log a DNF would result in it automatically disabled even though it was only looked for by 1 team. 
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22 minutes ago, CHEZRASCALS said:
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

have a ban feature on owned caches to stop troublesome loggers that have nothing better to do than find a problem when there is not one.

 

a report feature on negative and unwarranted comments in logs

 

reviewers take action when the same people make regularly needs archiving/maintenance when not required and suspend for a period of time depending on an accumulated number when proven incorrect.

What? These 3 suggestions would completely stop people from mentioning any problems with a cache in their logs, and bring NM/NA logging to a halt. I completely fail to see how this would improve cache quality.

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22 hours ago, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

A hide that brings me to an interesting location, and at least a short description of why this location was chosen. What interesting is differs from person to person of course. If someone wants to place a cache near a war memorial: ok, why not. I can ignore it. But there's a reason for the cache being there I guess.

Well maintained.

Good container, not soggy or broken

Well hidden

Not hidden in a way that goes against guidelines as it might set a precedent.

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

The opposite of above

Guess what I'm thinking puzzles

Geotrails in the middle of nowhere are fine and easy to ignore, but in areas with good saturation? Ok, I'd prefer not to see powertrails at all.

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Need to know that DNF and NM are not a shame to log. Especially DNF logs seem to be frowned upon and seem to feel like a failure for people. Some of my favourite logs are DNFs, and they contain a long story and lots of photos.

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Promote placement of quality caches

Souvenir events that give multipliers for quality caches, not sure how to calculate that though.

Give easy access to meaningful NM logs! Not canned answers, not more difficult access via the new log page but easy as it used to be.

Promote that DNF logs are not a shame but can be fun to log and are part of the caching history

What HQ should not do: only allow cache placement after x finds. This might kind of work in very saturated areas but not in areas with few caches. Also, excluding people from placing caches will probably mean local communities will not get bigger as people drop out quickly again if they find they cannot play along fully.

 

Edited by terratin
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Quote
  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
  • Well-maintained
  • Appropriate container (as far as fitting the location, environment, and theme)
  • Has a point (ie. a view, history, otherwise interesting and/or meaningful location)

 

Quote
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
  • Unmaintained or improperly maintained
  • Inappropriate container (doesn't fit the location, not weather-proof, etc.)
  • Pointless (ie. just hidden because there wasn't a cache there before)

 

Quote
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
  • Use the log types appropriately (especially DNF/NM/NA) to help indicate maintenance or potential maintenance issues
  • Encourage acceptance of the DNF/NM/NA log types as statements of fact, and not as personal attacks or negative judgements
  • Ensure everyone in the community is aware that throwdowns/"Angel Caches" are strongly discouraged and instead encourage the use of the intended NM->NA->Archive route for problematic caches
  • Encourage the reporting of caches that blatantly violate the guidelines without permission stated in the description (e.g. birdhouse nailed to a tree, buried in a hole, etc.). Too often, I see experienced cachers letting these things slide and then someone else copies it because they think it's okay.

 

Quote
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
  • Disincentivize/discourage/disallow high numbers of hides (in general, a high number of hides correlates to lower-quality caches), by (and/or):
    • Imposing a limit on the number of hides by any account
    • Imposing a limit on the number of hides for Basic Members, and a higher limit for Premium Members
    • Rewarding COs with a high Favorite Point-to-hide ratio
  • Reinstate the guideline clause that discouraged power trails ("...don't go cache crazy and hide a cache every 600 feet just because you can"), or even disallow them entirely
  • Discontinue any promotions or policies that promote quantity of finds, since this inevitably leads to a higher quantity of caches being hidden
  • Ensure promotions are focused on finding diverse types or styles of caches, or quality caches (e.g. FPs)
  • Encourage and/or incentivize CO cache maintenance
  • Impose a waiting period on new accounts before hiding is allowed, in order to avoid the (often problematic) hides by one-weekend-wonders
  • Encourage feedback - both positive and constructively-negative - in logs, and reinstate logs that were deleted based on negative-but-not-inappropriate comments
  • Actively solicit and act on feedback related to CHS false-positives in order to fine-tune the algorithm
  • Discontinue any active actions based on the CHS and use it solely as an advisory tool for the CO, because it will always be flawed in some way due to the sheer variety of possible scenarios (e.g. don't use it for rewarding like for the Virtual Rewards, don't allow reviewers to view the CHS, etc.)
    • As an extension to the above, make it clear that CHS warnings are only potentially indicating an issue and that no action is required, but some may be encouraged
  • Rename the "Needs archived" log to "Needs reviewer attention" and encourage appropriate usage
  • Revoke hiding privileges for COs who have had caches archived by reviewers for non-maintenance
    • Possibly reinstate hiding privileges if the CO keeps their caches in a maintained state for a set period of time
  • Provide more immediately-visible guidance on the Cache Submission page regarding D/T/sizes (not just links to other pages, which often aren't followed) and remove any default choices for the same so hiders must intentionally select each one
  • Don't feature caches that violate guidelines (even with permission) as caches-of-the-week or other similar promoting, since this leads to monkey-see/monkey-do

 

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9 minutes ago, The A-Team said:

Revoke hiding privileges for COs who have had caches archived by reviewers for non-maintenance

  • Possibly reinstate hiding privileges if the CO keeps their caches in a maintained state for a set period of time

 

 

Adding these to my list.

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7 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

...how about doing monthly promotions?  Like highlighting basic geocaching concepts/types/themes each month, year round?  Like Traditional Month, Puzzle Month, Historic Sites month, Live It Large month or whatnot. No rewards-based campaigns, just generally more attention given to that month's spotlight, especially newsletters and social media. Highlight relevant caches, interesting logs, encourage people find/hide that month's theme.  That can certainly steer away from rewards-based mentality (ie, people participating only to get stuff), while also directing people back to a general idea of "quality" in some of the very basic concepts of geocaching.

 

I like this a lot. Rather than encouraging folks to just go out and find the easiest way to meet the requirements of getting an award, this would encourage more thought about finding creative ways to meet the theme and would reduce the push for COs to hide caches for the primary intention of being used to fulfill the promotion. Marketing tie-ins could include posting photos on social media platforms, using hashtags in logs, etc. As a side-benefit of not having to make so many souvenirs each year, this would free up the graphic designers to work on finally finishing the snail's-pace releasing of country souvenirs (which, at the current pace, will take decades).

 

24 minutes ago, terratin said:

Give easy access to meaningful NM logs! Not canned answers, not more difficult access via the new log page but easy as it used to be.

 

Yes, this, this, a thousand times this!!!

The degradation of NM log content was a big hit. I still switch over to the old form to submit a real NM, but I've seen lots of useless NM logs submitted by others. The log form could still use the current method of tacking maintenance reports onto the submission of a log, but there needs to be a field for entering a description of the issue that can then be included in the NM log. The pre-canned content simply isn't useful. In addition, the ability to submit a standalone NM log needs to be reinstated for the cases where submitting an additional log isn't necessary or appropriate (there's no point submitting a note when all you want to do is log an NM).

Edited by The A-Team

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache? A nice, fairly clean box/container in a well thought out location that provides a bit of adventure or exercise to get to.
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? A dirty and unloved box/container that's just thrown down behind something on a housing estate overlooked by loads of houses/people and roads! Uninspiring to say the least.
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality? Perform maintenance when needed and put more though into placing ccaches in interesting locations.
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? Quicker contact with COs that leave caches unattended for too long?

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22 hours ago, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

One which has been placed for a good reason.. scenic or interesting location, nice walk, decent/waterproof container.
 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

One which has been placed for no reason other than to fill a gap.. poor, leaky container which has been abandoned by the CO after placement which relies on community maintenance.. one which is placed in such a way that the environment is damaged by impatient searchers.


What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Given honest feedback in logs. 
Post DNF / NM / NA logs as appropriate. 
Reject throwdowns. 
Experienced cachers should lead by example.. quality breeds quality.


What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Encourage a change in mindset..  Quality trumps quantity every day of the week. 
Notify the reviewer of NM logs as well as NA logs and if a cache isn't maintained within a reasonable time frame issue a warning.
Reject new cache publications if the CO has outstanding maintenance issues on their published caches.
Ban throwdowns.

 

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23 minutes ago, The A-Team said:

 

  • Well-maintained
  • Appropriate container (as far as fitting the location, environment, and theme)
  • Has a point (ie. a view, history, otherwise interesting and/or meaningful location)

 

  • Unmaintained or improperly maintained
  • Inappropriate container (doesn't fit the location, not weather-proof, etc.)
  • Pointless (ie. just hidden because there wasn't a cache there before)

 

  • Use the log types appropriately (especially DNF/NM/NA) to help indicate maintenance or potential maintenance issues
  • Encourage acceptance of the DNF/NM/NA log types as statements of fact, and not as personal attacks or negative judgements
  • Ensure everyone in the community is aware that throwdowns/"Angel Caches" are strongly discouraged and instead encourage the use of the intended NM->NA->Archive route for problematic caches
  • Encourage the reporting of caches that blatantly violate the guidelines without permission stated in the description (e.g. birdhouse nailed to a tree, buried in a hole, etc.). Too often, I see experienced cachers letting these things slide and then someone else copies it because they think it's okay.

 

  • Disincentivize/discourage/disallow high numbers of hides (in general, a high number of hides correlates to lower-quality caches), by (and/or):
    • Imposing a limit on the number of hides by any account
    • Imposing a limit on the number of hides for Basic Members, and a higher limit for Premium Members
    • Rewarding COs with a high Favorite Point-to-hide ratio
  • Reinstate the guideline clause that discouraged power trails ("...don't go cache crazy and hide a cache every 600 feet just because you can"), or even disallow them entirely
  • Discontinue any promotions or policies that promote quantity of finds, since this inevitably leads to a higher quantity of caches being hidden
  • Ensure promotions are focused on finding diverse types or styles of caches, or quality caches (e.g. FPs)
  • Encourage and/or incentivize CO cache maintenance
  • Impose a waiting period on new accounts before hiding is allowed, in order to avoid the (often problematic) hides by one-weekend-wonders
  • Encourage feedback - both positive and constructively-negative - in logs, and reinstate logs that were deleted based on negative-but-not-inappropriate comments
  • Actively solicit and act on feedback related to CHS false-positives in order to fine-tune the algorithm
  • Discontinue any active actions based on the CHS and use it solely as an advisory tool for the CO, because it will always be flawed in some way due to the sheer variety of possible scenarios (e.g. don't use it for rewarding like for the Virtual Rewards, don't allow reviewers to view the CHS, etc.)
    • As an extension to the above, make it clear that CHS warnings are only potentially indicating an issue and that no action is required, but some may be encouraged
  • Rename the "Needs archived" log to "Needs reviewer attention" and encourage appropriate usage
  • Revoke hiding privileges for COs who have had caches archived by reviewers for non-maintenance
    • Possibly reinstate hiding privileges if the CO keeps their caches in a maintained state for a set period of time
  • Provide more immediately-visible guidance on the Cache Submission page regarding D/T/sizes (not just links to other pages, which often aren't followed) and remove any default choices for the same so hiders must intentionally select each one
  • Don't feature caches that violate guidelines (even with permission) as caches-of-the-week or other similar promoting, since this leads to monkey-see/monkey-do

 

 

This ^^

All of the above. 

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

A cache that takes me to a place of interest , somewhere , I've never been or somewhere I most probably would never of gone to if it hadn't been for a cache .
And a cache set by a cacher who loves the game as much as I do , and who sets it for the long term , ( maintains it ) and hides it so it (hopefully) wont get muggled .

  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

a take a way tub tossed in a random hedge , twenty feet from where kids play and the locale fly tippers us , or worse the locale gunky's where they discard the used needles , by a NEWBIE that has found three film pots and thinks they know everything about the hobby , after the first day of downloading the free app ?   

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

see guidance below , novice cachers to seek advice from a locale seasoned cacher , and add their name to any cache submissions as a mentor so the reviewer can see the new cache has been thought out not just thrown out  

  • What stepscan Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

this is a hard one to answer as we are all different and cant be tarred with the same brush , so this must not be taken personally ,
I think HQ need to  scrap the free app ?
to dis-swayed weekend one day wonders joining the came ,  picking up coins / TB's and never playing the game again ,
set a minimum limit of find needed before you can submit a cache to be published ? or this could be backed up by a not from a seasoned cache who has helped , given guidance to the novice cache , a bit like the driving licence , you start of with "L" plates and pass a test before you can move on ,,,,, or like when we all started to learn to ride a bike , it was either a trike or a bike with stabilisers as you got better your Dad took the stabilisers off , but he still held on to the back of the seat just in case , 
I know , I can here you say , I road a bike with out stabilisers from day one , so , we're all different , back to the beginning don't take it personally , If you don't like the answers , you shouldn't have asked the question      .

 

 

 

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1) placement is paramount, I don't mind what type of container, even a film canister (as long as waterproof and maintained) if the location is one worth visiting. Yet another micro on the back of a road sign is not one of those places

2) as above, I don't want to go to locations near refuse tips or dig poo bins or anywhere that doesn't have the 'I'm glad I was brought here' factor

3) DNFs, needs maintenance and needs archived markers to be used more. They are there for a reason. New cachers to have found at least 100 caches before they are allowed to hide one. Discourage the  practice of finders replacing logs and containers 'to help the CO'. This has (in my opinion) resulted in a decline in cache owner activity and responsibility and new cachers now see it as the norm that when they place a cache other cachers will keep it maintained for them as it gets found. There will be a few exceptions to this but ALL maintenance should be carried out by the CO.                 4) consider an international group of arbiters to deal with issues that are raised with the team at HQ. Complaints and the like. This would relieve the inexperienced lackeys of dealing with matters that they have little knowledge on 

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Over the years there have been many threads about what people like/dislike in caches so I would think HQ is well aware of what answers to expect :rolleyes:

 

As to what can be done to improve quality: Change the "favorites" to a rating system (GC-vote is a good example). Rating a cache between 0-5 with 3 being "average" (as in normal, standard...) the better caches will stand out with higher ratings while "micro thrown behind an utility pole" will get a low rating.

Favorites can hardly be used to filter out quality caches as run of the mill micro's with 100's of finds can collect 10's of favorites while a high quality long multi will have only a few if not many people make the effort to do them.

 

HQ could also act more on bogus found logs, throwdowns and inactive CO's that don't act on NM logs.

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The key thing about geocaching, IMO, is finding caches. Travel bugs, souvenirs, virtual caches and events can be fun but are not core.

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
        The coordinates must be accurate. For not only the final but for every stage whether physical or virtual. IMO, a new cache should be checked against a Google maps aerial view, and if it isn't where the CO knows it should be then the cache shouldn't be published until it is understood why Google maps is wrong in that case. (I know it is hard to verify with a tree in a wood.)
        The cache must be dry and maintained well (embarrassed cough from this CO for a couple of his). It may not be the CO's fault, but caches with rubbish, leaves, used bus tickets and even other cachers' calling cards or worse sweets downgrade the experience.
        A nice location is nice - if it is a less savoury area, there should be a reason explained on the web page (or to the reviewer) to justify it.
        I am not fussy about cache size or style. I do LIKE easy to find ones (yet another 35mm film pot on a sign post). Butit needs to be appropriate to the area - a nano in a wood is frustrating - I can usually find an ammocan.
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
        The opposite of the above. If hard to find without a suitable D rating - a nano in ivy is frustrating.
        Wet, Dirty or the wrong size. (35mm pots flagged as Small or worse as regular)
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality? And What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
        (a) Get all locations validated via Google maps
        (b) Consider creating a team of "checkers" who might volunteer to Find and Check log a cache ("Checked" rather than "Found") before it is publ;ished. They would have more information about where it is and would report back to the reviewer. Maybe folk could be persuaded to do one a month. Maybe this would be hard to implement in low density areas.
        (c) No cache publication without some evidence of experience. eg 100 finds (sock puppet zero find accounts ok if declared to the reviewer).
        (d) A photo of the cache in situ (and maybe of each stage, even if virtual) submitted to reviewer showing the vicinity of the hide.

    ===sgb
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A quality cache is one that has been thought about, I enjoy all cache types and I enjoy hiding them. I wouldn't want the hiding process to be any more complicated.

I don't want much further control by reviewers/hq except maybe preventing newbies from hiding caches or those who don't maintain what they have should not be encouraged to place more.

low quality caches where cache owner doesn't respond to maintenance logs, "first hides" usually tend to be a rush job and not thought out properly.

 

 

 

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