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Geocaching HQ

Geocache Quality

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In general, we'd agree that almost all of the suggestions already posted are deserving of consideration. But we'd like to suggest one we didn't notice above:

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

Since there's no precedent, establish a date in the near future after which the saturation circle will be increased from its current 528 feet/161 metres. We'd suggest 1 mile/1.61 KM, but we understand that might be too extreme for the way the game has developed over the years. If caches are made more difficult to place it discourage those "CO's" whose contributions to the game are actually embryonic litter. 

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The best geo-vacations have been when I find a great hider - responsible, uses good containers, maintains, monitors, doesn't plant for the numbers, hides to provide an all-around good experience. Lists accurate sizes and D/T ratings, doesn't screw or drill things into trees/posts/fences, plants inclusive caches with moderate D/T ratings. Never had a reviewer archive any of their caches.  But once you've found most of their caches, you're left floundering again. And if you go to a new area, you may miss out on those great cache hiders. If only there was a way to filter for the kind of cache hiders we might like.

 

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

  • Depends. At a minimum, it should be well maintained and in a location where I feel like I belong (not likely to get police attention). A very high quality geocache would be one where the CO goes above and beyond the minimum, such as putting out a clever container or puzzle, incorporates a clever theme, or takes you on an epic adventure. 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

  • One where the CO doesn't put much thought or effort into it. Could involve an inattentive CO, a low-quality (leaky) container, and/or a nothing-special potentially high muggle spot. Anyone can place a film can under a lamp post skirt behind a store with the dumpsters. I also don't think highly of "wickedly evil" caches that are not hidden in a clever way. Anyone can place a nano in the ground and call it a D5. 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

  • 1. Lead by example. Put out quality caches. 
  • 2. Leave encouraging comments when the CO put out a quality cache and offer constructive feedback when they don't. 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

  • Offer souvenirs for earning x number of favorite points on your caches. For example, earn a souvenir for earning 100 or more favorite points total among all your hides or even 100 favorite points on a single cache. Do not give out souvenirs simply for having x number of hides. 
  • Maybe require newer cachers with less than 100 finds to meet some performance measures before hiding, such as finding at least two caches with 10 or more favorite points. 

 

Great thread. Thanks for starting it. 

 

Edited by AllstarSS
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Well, here goes...

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    • I would say one of the following:
      • A creative container, either well camoed, a cool gadget cache, etc.
      • A neat location--ie some place with a cool view, neat history, etc
      • A well-written cache description, even for a "basic" cache (like an LPC)--something that teaches me something, brings a little extra fun into my day, or is just generally interesting.
    • Also too, a cache that is maintained--I won't even add "well" to that...I'd just like to see more caches that are maintained period!
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    • Any of the following:
      • A poor quality container that doesn't hold up in the elements
      • A one sentence (or even one word!) cache description
      • A bad location--difficult, dangerous, or suspicious-looking.
      • A cache hidden by a newbie, since it's likely to be at least on of the above...
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    • ***LOG DNFs***
    • Work towards (with the "Needs Archived" log) the archival of unmaintained and/or missing caches--and check on caches previously found if the owner has gone MIA!
    • It sounds simple, but hide creative caches! For those of us that have been doing this for awhile, work towards always adding a little something special to each cache you hide.
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    • Require newbies to find a decent number (I'd say at least 50) caches before hiding one--and as much as possible, *force* them to read the instructions before attempting to hide a cache!
    • Increase the number of reviewers (aka, tap more "veterans" for reviewer positions!:D). If more eyes are watching and "patrolling" with maintenance sweeps, more of the problematic or missing caches will be caught.
    • Train newbies better so they don't A. destroy or damage a cache or B. take the cache. This is a major problem in my local area, and has caused me to begin setting some of my more creative (or expensive to create) caches as Premium Only to avoid the continuous threat of needing to replace them.

Thanks HQ for the opportunity to speak my mind here--I'm afraid I probably sound a bit cynical, but hopefully some of these suggestions (meaning more my fellow cachers, rather than my own!) will be put in place to improve the quality of the game!;)

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache? I am just a newbie to this but a high quality geocache for me is one that is fairly easy to find, even if you have to travel some distance to get to it. that it is somewhat hidden, the coordinates to be at least within 10 feet of the actual cache, and the container is dry on the inside, the log has plenty of room for signatures, and the swag is high grade (not overly expensive) items in it.  
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? Very hard to find, having to hike for great distances (over 10 miles round trip). The coordinates bounce all over the place due to the topography that interferes with it, that is so well hidden that only a sleuth of the order of Sherlock Holmes can find it, that it's buried in the ground by months of debris making it virtually invisible or the cache has been buried inside a structure that a normal person wouldn't dare to disturb to find. The container is broken and busted and seems to be neglected for months with a wet log and the paper products put in it by others are mildewed and nasty. The swag is so cheap and flimsy that it's deteriorating in the box, and would only appeal to a 1 year old.  
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?  Setting up a group for a geographical area of senior cacher's that monitor caches in their area. They would monitor all caches in their area and recommend any changes, issues or needs of the cacher's in their area.  
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? Designate someone in the local area (maybe a 50 mile radius) checking on any DNF and give them the power to contact the individual who owns it. Then if the person doesn't respond with in 2 weeks give them the power to take the cache off line.
  • Also make a special listing that shows caches that have been taken off line and available to folks that wouldn't mind adding them to the one's that they currently have. Make the listing available to newbies but only after their 200th find so they know what kind of work has to go into maintaining these and have a little experience.
  • Set up a rating system for each cache so that folks can rate each cache. This will allow those who place them to monitor their caches and up grade, move, replace or repair them if needed. This will allow others to view the rating on a cache and determine if the cache is worth their time to go for or not based on feedback from other cacher's. Possibly set up a 1 to 10 system with a one being terrible, 5 being average and a 10 being awesome. Allow the person who placed the cache to respond to any negative feedback to solve any issues with their cache promptly. 
  • Just my 2 cents worth.    

 

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On 19/06/2018 at 8:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    • A gadget cache, or a night cache/Multi-cache where the owner has obviously put it some serious time and or money in coming up with the idea or setting up the "Magic"
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    • Container rubbish, Chinese food container or pill bottle. These are just a waste of everybody's time. Not created to last. not something that will bring back new cachers. 
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    • Encourage new users with Workshops for beginners on what works and what doesn't from experienced hiders AND finders
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    • A difficult one to enforce, but I would like to see someone finding "X" number of caches before being allowed to hide a cache. That doesn't mean you can smash out a power trail to make yourself qualify for X. A variety of caches found would be the answer. I know its another job for the Reviewers, but I believe it will make both the hiding AND finding experience much better. 

 

ahomburg

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2 hours 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.

 

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.

 

a big fat thumbs up to this guy

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I think the previous posters have all identified what is and is not a quality cache.  Sometimes you need that PNG just to remind you to stay in the game, and it also serves as a foil for appreciation of the times you really find a high quality cache.  To me, the worst cache is one that is not maintained.  I understand waiting a bit on a DNF to see if it just wasn't that cacher's day (has happened to me:  just seemed to miss it), but after several DNFs, you should go check your cache.  It's also hard when someone leaves the caching world and abandons their cache.  If I am not familiar with this player, I have no knowledge of the situation, and so don't want to step on any toes by replacing or calling for an archive. I would not want to presume that the cache was missing because I could not find it, nor even if the last ten people could not find it.  Some caches can just be hard to spot! I have thought about these situations, and really can't come up with a good solution.

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My only opinion on this is the how Groundspeak can improve the quality. Rather than just "favorite", maybe a favorite system. When pressing favorite, I would love the ability to choose why. Scenic, container/camo, adventure finding or other. Give us the ability to see why someone liked this cache. It's tough when you find a cache with 20 favorite points that's just a nano on a sign because it was the first nano in that region. Giving us the ability to call out Why it's a favorite of ours would mean a lot and improve the cache experience.  

 

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My idea of a good geocache is a trading cache I'm so tired of tiny little minis hidden on light poles I just can't stand it. Also give a description of the Geocache something interesting about it I'm so tired of answers like filling a hole with a cache. That is not what geocaching is about! Find an interesting place to put a geocache not in somebody's front yard with a note that says don't worry they know about it. I don't do those anymore because I did one and I had neighbors call the the police on me and refuse to let me leave what they called the scene of the crime because I was trespassing on their neighbor's property while they were out of town. Keep them off of private property like that. Don't put them on the electrical grids in parks and such. It looks like you are trying to damage something that is not a good place for a cache to be. I know a lot of people like to put out caches in patterns and that's really fun but when you take a mile long stretch of road and you put a cache at the minimum amount of space between them just to do it that's not fun that's just to get numbers.

I honestly stopped geocaching a lot in my area just because I'm tired of falling into a parking lot and automatically knowing I have to lift a metal base of the light pole and there's the mini. I've introduced several people to geocaching and it's rather embarrassing when cache after cache is the same exact thing and there's no description it just says filling a hole that's not fun for them or their kids.

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I enjoy wonderful countryside walks but unlike many others I also really enjoy urban caches. A really well disguised container in a great city location....perfect!

Otherwise my views are much the same as everyone else. The largest container possible for the location, cleverly constructed, well maintained and cleverly hidden.

 

I think a good way of identifying really good caches would be to replace the rather simplistic favourites system with a rating system, so caches could for example be given 1-5 stars  in categories such as location, cache creativity, hide quality and maintenance to give an over all score out of 20.

 

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High quality = durable container and logbook hidden in a legal and safe spot for finders.

 

Exceptional quality = hidden in a beautiful or clever spot, and/or with a creative container, hide technique puzzle or twist

 

Poor quality = makeshift leaky container that quickly cracks and fills with ants and mold and is not maintained

 

Horrible quality = as above and also hidden in a spot that seems like private property / encroaching, or that is not safe for searchers

 

To improve cache quality, require 25 finds and 3 months from first login before allowing a hide. Most poor hides are from people who quickly tire of the game or lack experience. Give a "authorized hider" souvenir to make it fun. 

 

Could have different criteria for low cache density areas.

 

Also, I recommend cachers check to see if the hider of a poorly maintained cache has logged on in the last year and if not, accelerate use of the Needs Maintenance and Needs Archived tools. Only you can prevent geotrash. #sorrynotsorry   Also carry replacement logs and or containers, especially if there is low cache density in the area. 

Edited by dornole

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I agree with so many of the comments already made, but would like to add a few points that might not have been made here yet. What can HQ do to encourage more quality caches?

 

1. More incentive to join local communities and attend local events. Contact with other cachers is likely to be one of the most motivating things to encourage good caches. There is currently no incentive except a +1 to attend an event, but they (along with participation in local groups and social media groups) possess the most power to improve the game.

2. Some form of recognition from HQ for "good" cache owners. I understand that the virtual rewards was meant to be that, but in the end it just caused more hurt than good, as more excellent cache owners were overlooked than were rewarded. There is a growing sense in geocaching that a whole lot of us volunteers do a lot of work placing and maintaining caches so that Groundspeak can profit from it. How about HQ give cache owners some sort of kudos, based on the criteria that people have mentioned for good caches? Not just FP, but responsible cache ownership, quantity, and even mentorship of others in their community to encourage good caches? I particularly like the suggestion of access to exclusive cache types. Or a souvenir, or TB code. ATM I get absolutely NO encouragement or recognition from HQ despite owning and maintaining around 10% of the caches in my country, to a fairly high standard.

3. How about a longer tutorial that must be completed before the first cache placement? One that includes info on container types, how to check for weather-ability, how to choose a good spot, etc.

4. You need to fix up the website so that cache placement info can be found, all in one place. It's currently all over the place and some is very difficult to find (eg. the D/T guidelines). Following the information (especially on ECs), leads me in such a labyrith, I get hopelessly lost and confused.

5. Reviewers could be more strict on listings needing to be intelligible. What about volunteer "editors" to help people with their written English (or whatever language the listing is in?) that the reviewer can refer them to, if it's not up to par? Or volunteer mentors to refer them to, if the reviewer is concerned about the quality of the hide? Or a volunteer mentor for every new CO?

6. The review process would work a lot better if the reviewers were local. Having a reviewer who lives 10,000km away and has no idea of the local issues, doesn't help improve cache quality. Someone who knows the local scene and can get to know (and maybe mentor) local cache owners, might be able to forsee problems that someone in another country couldn't possibly be aware of (eg. things that might cause cultural offense, sensitive areas, local caching habits, etc).

7. Access to great caches for beginners. I see a growing trend for all the great caches to be "premium member only" caches, which means that what is left for new members is a bunch of pretty ordinary stuff. The official app exacerbates the problem further. How are newer members (and let's face it, a lot of new members get all enthusiastic and want to get in and place caches) meant to know what a great cache placement is, when they can't see the range of wonderful caches out there? This complaint of mine is partly fuelled by my frustration at trying to get my (adult) kids and sister into caching, an attempt that is constantly thwarted by the ridiculous saturation of premium only caches. It's just really hard to get them enthusiastic when all the cool caches I try to show them are blocked, and I don't personally feel like running around logging a bunch of 1.5/1.5 caches just to get them enthused.

8. Please be careful to not assume to apply the same criteria to all areas, or if you do, make it criteria that's achievable anywhere. Areas where geocaching is just taking off shouldn't be treated in the same way as cache-rich USA. For instance, while I agree with the suggestion of cache placement being limited to cachers with some experience or number of finds, you might just prohibit anyone from placing caches in an area if there are not the numbers for them to find to even get started. It all started somewhere, with inexperienced people muddling their way along, and it still needs to, in many countries.

9. What about a short questionnaire (in place of the "comments for reviewer" section) that must be submitted with every cache submission? A few short questions for the reviewer, like "describe the cache container and placement", "why did you choose this spot?", "explain how you think the puzzle will be solved by others".

 

Just one more set of points, which is sort of a response to some comments on "What makes a quality cache?"

1. Accurate DT rating. Some people have mentioned accurate D/T ratings, and I do agree wholeheartedly. It's important to know before you set out, what to expect in terms of the time and frustration (and I will still argue, against all others, that muggle-density should be reflected in the difficulty of a cache, as it can make it a lot harder to responsibly look for a cache).

2. The other point is, though, as D5 have pushed above and beyond, it has got to the point where many D5 cannot be solved by one mere mortal alone. I believe that a good cache can be solved without having to resort to numerous phone-a-friends. While it's great to have a community to call on, and while I expect for a difficulty 5 to be pretty darned difficult, I think it has gone over the top when I need to message 5 strangers to beg for a clue, on 5 different occasions, and spend 5 weeks solving a single puzzle.

3. DT takes into account varying abilities. Likewise, higher-terrain and difficulty caches need to take into account the varying abilities of cachers and it's important to consider this when rating a cache. As a cryptographer, it migh be simple for you, but for other people, it will be a lot harder. The listing should describe possible dangers and difficulties others might experience.

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A high quality cache has had some thought as to why the CO wants to take you to this place, the container is clean, well maintained and an appropriate size for the hide. The coords are accurate and the CO responds quickly to any problems

 

A low quality cache is there just because it’s a cache, little thought has gone into the placing and there seems no reason to bring a cacher to that spot. The cache is badly maintained, the coords are not accurate, it’s an inappropriate size and the CO doesn’t respond to maintenance logs

 

Loggimg every DNF, making sure the cache is properly sealed, writing a decent log.

Cachers should have a certain amount of experience before placing their own caches

COs who don’t maintain their caches should be suspended from hiding more caches

Give new cachers a  couple of months free trial as a prem member, to be taken when they choose

Dont have souvenirs promoting finding many caches, it only encourages low quality hides

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For the most part I agree with the various items already posted, but there is one consideration for the community/HQ that I haven’t seen mentioned that I think is relative to this thread:

 

When discussing appropriate places to hide caches I feel like there needs to be some consideration given to “is this location highly likely to generate a see something, say something” type reaction.  It seems like with more & more caches there are more & more news reports about LEOs being called out for suspicious objects.  In the long run this will cause local regulating bodies to consider bans on caches in certain locations and/or more need to get permits etc.  Caches in places like electrical boxes or on bridges come to mind as problematic - even if the cache itself is innocuous the act of searching there is suspicious.  To a lesser extent any kind of parking lot Cache in a high traffic area can cause the same thing - the act of searching making people wonder if you are casing cars for example.  

 

I’m not sure this is something that can be covered by any kind of black & white rules as every situation is a little different.  Maybe something in the hiding guidelines that asks hiders to consider likely LEO response to someone searching in the area of the hide / to finding the hide.  

 

While this isn’t directly related to cache quality, I think it is related to the long term health of the game as it continues to grow in popularity. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

 

This seems to be a popular request, but please be aware that caching is a global game and there are many parts of the world where there simply aren't 100 caches to be found.

I was going to post something similar to barefootjeff's post. In addition, some have suggested 250 finds! I am almost to 200 now - with several finds outside a 20 mile range, and reaching 250 would require travel that I can't take time away to do.  However, I am conservative and careful in what I can manage even though all but one (and one waiting to be published) were published before I ever reached 100. They may not all have more than 10 FPs in a year, but the FP average is respectable, I think.

 

Before I submitted my first cache, I had to pass a test that showed that I had read and understood the guidelines. Has that been discontinued?

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  • 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?

Thanks for asking! 

1) A HQ cache takes the seeker on an adventure.  A creative cache in the woods, an urban field puzzle cache, a container worth the effort to find are all examples to me for a high quality cache.

2) An LQ cache is just the opposite.  Something hidden with no regard to adventure, or experience.  A bison hung on a tree in the middle of the woods, a pill bottle with little to no camo, and no clear evidence of maintenance.  Something that the seeker perceives as just "thrown from the car, as the CO passed by", are all examples of LQ caches.

3) I like the idea of the "wilson" score as used by Project-GC.  FP's are a good start, but I know many cachers that don't use them.  They're also hard to use on a series of caches that together form an excellent experience.  FP might simply demonstrate popularity, but a Q-Score might also be another rating that indicates "Quality" to the community.

4) Add a "quality-reviewer".  This would be similar to a placement reviewer, except that when a cache is reported as either good or bad, they take action to confirm the score.  Rather than cachers indicating a score, the QR would take feedback, process it, and release a score on the cache.  However, as always an appeal process would need to go with it, int he event the CO feels that the QR has not a thorough job to confirm the feedback.

Hope this helps.

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  • In your mind, what is a high-quality geocache?
    • My favorite type of cache is one that takes you on an adventure. A 10-stage multi that takes you around an island in Florida. Rappelling into a ravine to find an abandoned train. A shipwreck along the Mississippi River. I love a cache that is challenging, brings you to a cool location, and has a really cool container to find.

 

  • In your mind, what is a low-quality geocache?
    • Guard Rails, LPCs, and DNA tube caches, and retail store parking lots for hide locations.

 

  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    • Our local community has really died off in terms of putting out new hides and involvement within the game. It would be really cool if there was some kind of incentive program to get the local players more involved. Maybe something like a geocaching Olympics which highlighted/awarded hiders and finders throughout various regions. It could be included in the newsletter and perhaps even driven by some of the project GC stats. It could also be tailored to some of the various ways that people enjoy the game: county finders, challenges completed, goals, landmarks, great hides in an area, well-known series or geotrails, finding difficult/ high terrain caches, and much more in this type of idea. I would also like it if various local hides were promoted and highlighted. There could even be regional newsletters for all of this. 

 

  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    • I would most like to see the Wherigo website be updated. Almost every Wherigo I have done was of high quality and included elements of adventure and story that come together for a really fun interactive experience. I would love for the Wherigo website to be updated and for some of the long nagging issues to be addressed. I also think Wherigo has potential for some really cool features that could be added as well.
    • I would also really like to see a new geocaching icon types. Challenge caches and perhaps something like an EC but for architecture. It would also be really cool if there was a limited release of lab caches that people could use each year. Something like this could even be monetized to help bring more money to Groundspeak. 
    • A virtual tour of Groundspeak that players could go on and get credit for via lab caches. With 360 image technology and google tours, Groundspeak could easily set something like this up. It would be a really fun way to explore HQ, interact with the workspace, and also get credit for some smileys. 
    • I really love the Groundspeak podcast. Would love for this to continue and to hear more episodes. 
    • Lastly, I think the geocaching promotions like Mary Hyde, Planetary Pursuit, and now HIdden Creatures have done wonders for the local geocaching community. I would love to see more promotions like these and perhaps even more projects for the local community to participate in. 
Edited by Forest-Ghost

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

There are 4 criteria against which I would judge a cache.

 

1.  The location. 

A good location is one you would want to visit if there was no cache there, but which you would probably not know about.

 

2.  The container. 

A good container is one which is appropriate for the location.  One which is durable, clean, well maintained and of a good size for the location.

 

3.  The listing

A good listing provides accurate coordinates, good attributes, accurate D/T ratings and accurate size.  Where relevant, additional waypoints for trail heads, parking etc. should be provided with accurate coordinates.  Clearly defined questions for earthcaches and virtuals.  Clearly specified requirements for challenge caches.  Puzzles solvable without mind reading.

 

4.  The maintenance. 

High quality caches are well maintained.  Poor maintenance overrides all other criteria.

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

The reverse of the above.  A location you would not want to visit even if there is a cache there, an inappropriate container, poorly constructed listing missing important information and lack of maintenance.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

Write appropriate logs.  Without being offensive, point out flaws in the cache.  Write NM when maintenance is required.  Write NA where appropriate, log DNF's after searching and not finding, Write Notes if you want to write something and another log type is not appropriate. 

 

Don't claim finds when the container is clearly missing - write NM instead.  Do not throwdown.  Help an active CO with maintenance at their request.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

First, go through all the feature requests, prioritise them and implement them.  There are so many good ideas there but it seems a waste of time to list them here.

 

Other things that can be done:

 

It would be good for HQ to write a log analysis program.  This could look for key words in logs and highlight finds where the cache was missing,  finds with throwdowns, finds where the CO is allowing photo logs, DNFs where there was no search.  The results of this analysis could be flagged for reviewer attention or to improve the CHS algorithm.  Obviously, this should not lead to any automated action, since the program would be far from perfect, but it would help weed out low quality caches flagged by the program and sent to the local reviewer..

 

Rename "Needs Archived" to "Needs Attention".  This would let people feel more comfortable about writing an NA log.

 

If a CO has had a cache archived for lack of maintenance they should not be allowed to hide another cache for a specified period.

 

Change the wording of the CHS email to include a "No action required" option if the CO knows that there is no problem.

 

Don't do another promotion like the "Hidden Creatures" where the only requirement is to find a lot of caches.  Finding non-traditionals or traditionals with high FP was a good idea.  Finding 100 power trail caches wasn't.

 

Require a minimum level of experience before being allowed to create a new cache.  The criteria should include having found a number of different cache types, plus a number of different sized traditionals.    If a player has only found micro traditionals then they should get more experience before hiding their first cache.

 

Implement a cache-vote style system, in addition to favourites.  

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Having looked through the other posts a few things stand out to me.

 

First: Quality is VERY subjective, and no amount of rules will make everyone or even the majority happy.

Second: A LOT of people seems to think that every cache placed needs to be what they deem a good cache.

Third: Quite a few people want a system that allow them to give caches a negative mark, but that is WAY to open to abuse. And by the tone in this thread I suspect many of them would unload downvotes on every cache that isn't on the top of a high mountain or inside a chinese temple, and that doesn't make a cache a bad cache. In my area it is 90% farmlands, and the highest elevation is on barrows and viking era burial mounds, usually <20 meter elevation. So if it was frowned upon caches that wasn't in a scenic/historical place there would be around 100 caches, and everyone would stop playing when they found them all.

 

I will answer your bulletpoints first, and then elaborate below.

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

A high quality cache can be many things. It depends on what the cache tries to accomplish. A power trail cache can be high quality if it is easily accessible and well maintained. Another cache can be high quality and be NOT easily accessed, because the CO wants to show you something special. It really comes down to what the caches tries to do, and that it does it well.

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

Badly maintained cache. Of course you could be the first geocacher at the cache since it got damaged/wet etc, but if the CO had plenty of time to maintain it, without doing it, that might be a problem. Another thing is bad containers. I have found my fair share of glass containers with metal lids, that rust very easily and no longer closes properly. Glass containers in general shouldn't be allowed. I live in a place where summer is 20 minutes in July most years, so a watertight container is vital, film canisters doesn't hold up in my area, if exposed to the elements. Also caches that is placed in VERY dense vegetation where you have fight 7 trees and 8 thorny bushes to just to get the 3 meters in to the cache.

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

Make better logs on good caches. When a cache I put lots of thought and creativity into, just get a standard "Found it. TFTC" log, it makes me a little sad. But when you get the great logs where they write about the experiences it really drives me to make more great hides. On my trail caches, it doesn't matter, but I wish more people would write better logs on caches that took effort to make.

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

There are several points I'd like to make here:

1: Be careful not to drown hiders in rules. Since I placed my first almost 5 years ago, the amount of rules have piled up.

2: Give hiders the ability to upvote great logs to encouraging it. Especially the GSAK crowd tends to standard log EVERYTHING.

3: Change the NM function. Half the time what I want to report is not one of the standard options. Either make it a standard "catch-them-all" NM log, and refer to the Found It log, or add more options. Log is Wet/Damp/Full/Missing/Destroyed. Cache is Full of water/Broken/(Partly) Gone, Dirty. Area is Overgrown/Full of trash.

4: Change NA to "Need reviewer attention" as NA is very aggressive, and personally I don't like to be the judge/jury and executioner of other peoples caches, but a way to accelerate the speed in which a reviewer is involved is needed.

5: Add a "Warden" or similar named user type, where people can chose an area to act as Warden for (same area can have multiple wardens) that can act as middleman for the reviewer. Warden jobs could be to collect caches that reviewers archived due to lack of response from the CO, but where the cache is still there (Wet or full log etc.) or to help new hiders with their first hide. So when the reviewer needs the assistance of the Wardens, he can alert them on the cache page, and then all wardens that covers that area gets notified, and the first to accept the request handles it, to avoid having multiple Wardens swarming the new hider with questions.

6: Give hiders some incentive to put in more effort, but without punishing hiders that wants to hide a wider variety of cachetypes (not just icons, but also Trails/Gadget/Scenic etc.). One way would be souvenirs for reaching 100 FP on owned caches, 5 caches at +50% FP at once, etc. Another way could be to let a hider with X number of caches with Y amount of FP, have the option to hand out Stamps of approval on caches they like. So if you show you are capable of making great caches, you can put your stamp of approval on caches you like. That gives an extra way to detect extremely good caches. Because here we tend to reward a bonus of a trail with a FP if we enjoyed the trail, but the cache itself was not special in any way. But with stamp of approval from good hiders, the very best would really stand out. Best thing is there doesn't need to be limiting factor like 1 Stamp per 10 finds, because it is only given to people that have proved they know what makes an amazing cache. If someone abuses it, their stamp privilege is removed, along with all their stamps.

 

 

One last thing that kind of fall outside the categories:

How about add a new attribute: "Interesting Place". That way the people that hates trails/"boring" caches can filter out everything that doesn't have neither the Scenic or the Interesting attribute, and everyone is happy. In my area we are 10-20 active geocachers, depending on how you define active, and currently we are about 5-8 active hiders. Then 1 hour away we have another group that is active. So we very much rely on tourists/visitors to find our caches after the local geocachers have been there, and if there is something that drives in business it is Geo-arts and Trails. Also those "boring" caches people are mad about in this thread are very nice for tourists, that just want a quick find to get the area on their map, without annoying their muggler family/friends for too long. Just because YOU don't enjoy a cache, doesn't mean NO ONE does.

 

Sorry for the wall of text. :)

Edited by MAS83
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On 6/18/2018 at 4:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:

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? Uniqueness, location, the journey to the cache and mysteries or puzzle that are fun in the field, not at home doing research. 
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? Lamp skits, fence posts, trashy sites. 
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality? Put in some time and effort to find great locations and think of unique or fun containers.
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? Offer up prizes and challenges for creative caches.

 

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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Quality can be measured in a great many ways. I've found a rusted mint tin without a lid and containing a wet and mouldy log - but the location was magnificent and I treasure the experience, especially since I'd not have gone there had the cache not been there. The cache container was hopeless but the location was superb - is this a poor quality cache? I've found really well constructed and maintained caches in crappy locations. Is this good or bad quality? I've found two caches where the COs purposely chose the most horrible container possible, and hide them in really quite ordinary places, and didn't try to camouflage them. I remember them well and think myself glad to have found them. Good or bad?

 

I've also noticed that, while not perfect, natural selection/muggles takes care of many crappy cache containers (if geocaches post NA logs instead of placing 'angel' caches).

 

What do I think GC HQ could do to improve cache quality?

- By deriving a definition(s) of quality that is(are) not subjective, or based merely on popularity.

- If developing a scoring system, then make it an objective measuring system and make it proportional not absolute (e.g. 50% of finders agree... - not a total of 50 cachers agree...). 

- Let the geocacher decide whether a cache is one they place worth in finding rather than attempting to curb hiders; create ways of better informing potential finders.

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    • A cache with a purpose, i.e. at least one of: great view, good story in the description, one of those places you'd never find without geocaching, clever puzzle, multi with steps that have a reason, earthcaches that make you look that much closer, interesting containers, something that makes me smile or go 'wow'. It doesn't matter if the cache is a mint tin or a preform, as long as one of those conditions is met. . 
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    • My bugbears: poor coordinates, no reason for a cache in the location, vague multi or puzzle steps, dangerous placement (e.g. busy road with no safe or legal parking), cache containers that won't last a month, caches in dry creek beds that will flood in winter, micros where regulars would fit easily, incorrect difficulty or terrain ratings. The latter is particularly important to those of us with health issues. I have gotten myself into serious situations because the 1 1/2 terrain should be a 3 or a 4 and by the time you realise that you are already in trouble. 
    • Also: Caches placed by newbies who have cached a day, found a couple of caches, then placed one. Then disappeared. 
    • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    • Give good feedback in logs. Remove TFTC from your vocabulary! Encourage new cachers. Mentor, if possible. 
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    • Make the 20 finds before placing a cache mandatory. (I'd prefer 100, but by the time I'd done 20 I knew i knew nothing and needed to wait.) Make a minimum time of membership before placement. Consider making placement only available to premium members (i.e. those who have shown some commitment to the game). 
    • Ban caches placed by iphones unless checked by another cacher. 
    • Require more information from new cachers. 
    • Give container examples in the size description (e.g. an eclipse mint tin is a micro, not a small.) 
    • Give clear terrain examples in the description. I should be able to do a 1 1/2 terrain in my work clothes and good shoes without getting dirty. I should not need a packed lunch, water bottle and safety plan for a 2 terrain! 
    • Require terrain ratings on old caches to be updated. (Automatically if the cacher is no longer around and it's one the community wants to keep alive.) 
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I believe a person should have found a minimum number of geocaches before they are allowed to publish a cache, so they get the chance to improve taking coordinates (so many newbies get the coordinates wrong) and an idea what a good cache looks like. I would say a minimum of 500 geocaches. (I have seen awful caches - the coordinates way out - published by people with zero finds. That's ridiculous!The cache is then soon archived because the person has lost interest. Good idea for five minutes.) Some leniency to this should be allowed in remote areas that have no, or VERY few caches, or otherwise that area might have no caches.

Also some cache categories should be improved. A TB hotel for instance, should not just be a plastic box, no different to any other cache except in name, shoved under a bush, like any other cache. It should be special to be allowed to be called a TB Hotel. A letterbox cache should be different to other caches too; a letterbox or something special. Otherwise, they should just be a routine cache. The reviewer should be allowed to inquire what makes this cache a TB hotel more than other caches, or a letterbox cache.

Some instruction on cache sizes would be helpful too. Too many micro caches are being called 'small' sized. This is mostly by beginners. I blame nanos for this. They are micros, so the beginner thinks any micros bigger than this must be small sized. (Hence all those 'small' sized micro mintie tins.) A nano category would solve a lot of size problems I feel. My personal way of deciding if something is 'small' sized, is will the container hold, besides the log, the standard TB and a small trinket or two. If not, it's a micro. A regular sized cache to me is big enough to hold a standard paperback book.

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45 minutes ago, Doctor Owl said:
    • , incorrect difficulty or terrain ratings. The latter is particularly important to those of us with health issues. I have gotten myself into serious situations because the 1 1/2 terrain should be a 3 or a 4 and by the time you realise that you are already in trouble. 

I agree with that, especially the terrain rating. Some geocachers rate ALL their caches 1.5 stars and will NOT deviate from this policy despite finders' comments. I don't mind so much if the difficulty or terrain is over-rated; that just looks silly, but to under-rate the difficulty or terrain, is annoying with the difficulty, but with the terrain can be frustrating, even dangerous (maybe even heartbreaking to have travelled there and then found it WAY beyond your ability, because the rated one star terrain, is actually three plus. I have found those examples. Imagine how heartbreaking this is for people with disabilities.) A way to solve this, and I suggested this to geocaching HQ years ago (had a reply from the person who received my email, saying they liked that suggestion), is to allow finders to give their score for the difficulty/terrain and have this averaged and displayed next to the cache owners score. I would only take this score from finders after they have found a minimum number of finds (I suggest 500), so as the score is not distorted by beginners.

Edited by Goldenwattle

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So - not much here that hasn't been said, but hopefully a single addition of something new.

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

Container, log, swag selected with thought to weather (condensation and rain), terrain, subject matter. Rite-in-the-Rain logs are available from HQ and on Amazon and EBay and independent sellers sites and can cost as little as 20 cents for a cache - no more moldy, wet, unsignable logs. While Lock-n-Locks can cost $ source them from mark-down/remainder sales stores, and even a medicine pill-bottle can make a great container -  use green and just camo the cap or paint the whole thing.

 

Location, location, location!

 

Write a good story to a hide. Make it funny, make it light or serious as need be. (I have a cache that is a 3 foot tall white cross named 'It's All Lucky' - it's an homage to my mother-in-law's beloved outdoor cat who was taken from us, untimely. It says MIP on the crosspiece [Mew in Peace] and has cat toys on it.)

 

Maintain your caches. If you stop caching - see that they are adopted or archived. In short - Be Responsible.

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

A broken box in easy view on a guard rail on the apex of a tight curve on a narrow road with no shoulder (with a soaked, moldy piece of paper for a log) named "My First Cache" which is off coords, badly, and surrounded by the Geocacher's garden: thorns and poison ivy. Did I forget to mention that the guardrail is behind a "Do Not Trespass" sign and the cache write up says that the CO got permission from the prior owner of the land 10 years ago?

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

Log truthfully, log DNF, log Maintenance Needed - voice your disappointment if the cache isn't found (but I've found most often it's ME that didn't find it lol), and Be Sure to Praise the CO for anything you like!

 

Take the initiative: join a local Geocacher Group or start one.  Offer help and support to a newbie (I just did this at an Event my wife and I Event-Parented for a Group Member who was under-the-weather on Event Day. And I was writing the Geocaching 101 email tonight!) Quality caching Starts with YOU relating 'how to' Quality Geocache to another Geocacher! This can be as simple as relating that a Google search for "geocaching how do I ..." can give results on most any topic, easily. Or that Bookmarking pages in a Geocaching folder in your browser makes it easy to find things later. And offer help and support to everyone - a Group can do what a single person can't.

 

Not just Lab Caches but LABS at Events. Hiding 201, 301 - Master Hide Class. Think about it! This can never get old - until no one is new at Geocaching, or everyone knows all the ways and means.

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

Keep the Wonderful, Dedicated Reviewers COMING - and give us every opportunity to meet and praise them! HQ - give us more reasons to Place Good Caches - put them in as Point Generators (not qty, but quality) during Souvenir Campaigns. That means .1 point for a guardrail hide and 10 for an Earthcache 😁

 

Keep up the great posts in the Blog regarding caches.

 

Find a way to discourage guardrail "Power Trails". Actively. I find nothing more disheartening than stopping every 1/10th of a mile to find a centrifuge tube, pill bottle or mag bottle for mile-after-mile because that's all there is where I am. This bears the same relationship to quality caching that a monotone does to a coloratura soprano. Geo Art which solves to a 'Power Trail' line comes second. Then the 'Eternal Question': Did Walmart actually give Universal Permission for ALL of those LSC's? But maybe that's just me.

 

And continue to give the Cachers more voice on the front end and on the back end. Hate to say it, but we're the customers. And YES! I make the decision every day to Geocache knowing that this is a business and that I don't get a say. But we SHOULD have a say - we're the $$$ Engine that keeps the wheels spinning! That said I love this sport - I can do it beat up and old as I am. And compared to when I started, I'm Much Better Now (any Adams Family Fans out there??)

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Jimrky said:

Find a way to discourage guardrail "Power Trails". Actively. I find nothing more disheartening than stopping every 1/10th of a mile to find a centrifuge tube, pill bottle or mag bottle for mile-after-mile because that's all there is where I am. This bears the same relationship to quality caching that a monotone does to a coloratura soprano. Geo Art which solves to a 'Power Trail' line comes second. Then the 'Eternal Question': Did Walmart actually give Universal Permission for ALL of those LSC's? But maybe that's just me.

 

I never understood this. If you hate the power trails that much, why are you doing them? Then you complain it is all there is around you. But without them you would have nothing, surely they are better than nothing?

 

No one is forcing you to find geocaches. If you dislike a specific type of cache, then I am all for you need the tools to filter them out, but to campaign for their removal so no one can enjoy them, just because you don't, seems very silly to me.

 

I have severe fear of heights, but you don't see me campaigning to remove all climbing caches, just because they are not my cup of tea.

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

Has one or more of the following features: amazing location, nice camouflage, clever container (gadget cages fall inner this one), the cache or its scenario gives you a memorable adventure. So unless the cache is on a junkyard,  the location can be medicore but the cache still has a chance to be a great one. 

Additional helpful info like parking spots are a plus.

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

First of all I have this holly trinity of worst popular containers which are: a multivitamine tube, an eppendorf probe and the film canister. Those things sooner or later always get wet (mostly sooner) unless they are placed under a shelter or in another always dry place. Of course I've seen worse containers but those were single cases. 

Apart from that, any cache in a littered area or other place that is unpleasant to visit without any other quality which would justify placing it there.

Another one which often takes away a lot of fun is lack of English version of at least part of the listing which is essential to finding the cache. I mean, it's a global game, right?

Last and probably least would be all kind of annoyances like off coordinates, bad hint, poorly written listing (or just copied from wiki). 

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

Write openly in the logs what you liked and disliked about a cache or a series (there is a city in Poland in which now many more multicaches  have checkers because I complained in the logs), contact the CO if you think something is wrong or could be better (the only letterbox in Vilnius has an English version now after I wrote to ask the Owner for it), and give example to what you think is a good practice. From my side I always try to have an English version of the listing of my caches.

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

If like to say increase the mandatory finds to 100 before a user can hide a cache but I know that there are areas where this requirement would be difficult to meet. Honestly every every limitation I could think of can blow up in our faces.

I think a newsletter for beg8nners which would cover best practices (not only from the rules perspective) would be a good start.

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

A well thought out and maintained cache which purposefully brings a geocacher to a pleasant location. There could be many reasons for the location - a great view, nice park, historical location, fitting end to a challenging puzzle, challenging hide, great hike, some sort if physical challenge to get to the cache, well constructed power trails etc etc - so many valid reasons, more than I can listed here. In addition, a well maintained cache is a must, with timely responses to NM logs or acting on issues identified in logs. As I cache with my family and kids, this next comment is a personal one which may not resonate with others, but it would be nice if the cache contains swag if the size allows. I find in the area I cache there is very little swag even in larger size caches. This can sometimes be a little disappointing for the kiddies. We make it our mission to always add more swag than we take to the caches we find. We call this game a treasure hunt and it would be nice for the kiddies to find some treasure once in a while.

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

A poorly maintained cache, soggy log, cracked container that has not been attended to after many calls for maintanance. Caches placed in poorly thought out locations to simpy fill a gap on the map. Throw downs. I notice in my area a great number of new cachers that only make a few finds on a single day and never participate in the game again. I wonder if its a case of them finding a few poor quality, empty caches with no swag and they don’t bother playing again....

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

Highlighting issues with the cache in logs. Logging needs maintanance and needs archiving as appropriate. 

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

Considering implementing a minimum find number before allowing a cacher to hide a cache. Sometimes poorer quality caches can come from more inexperienced finders or those that don’t have longevity in the game, leaving caches with inactive owners. The current favourite point system only allows feedback to be given once every 10 or so finds in the awarding of a single point. Yes, feedback can be given in the logs but some players wont read these to avoid cache spoilers. Perhaps a more comprehensive system for providing a rating or feedback on caches could be considered. 

Edited by Nessell

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache? - one that has some well thought put into it,  that is not missing every 3 to 4 days and truly makes you go WOW this rocks!
  •  
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? - as others said, just something that is a toss down in a high muggle area - if it is put there without permission - if it is a high muggle area, make it a high quality cache that has permission to be there so it last and again gives you that WOW factor
  •  
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality? - help those that are starting out - maybe have those that have great caches out there do video's that HQ can post to help folks that are starting out to help them understand what they are looking for to hide - hold events about hiding (or finding someone that has great caches be a mentor) any long term cacher can be a mentor - regardless of your finds or hides - if you truly understand the game we can all work together to help those coming into the game - understand the difference between a high and low cache / a high and low muggle area and more
  •  
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? more emails about this topic and again having those that do have great caches out there do video's that others can watch or help set up events and invite those folks in to help others understand 

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in my opinion....

a quality cache is well thought out in both the location and the container the location for me would need to be somewhere that I would want to visit with a non cacher so I could show them what they could be missing out on. a walk down the main street of a busy town to find a mint tin, that has leaked water just would not impress them. so for me it is all about going somewhere I would never have gone if it was not for caching. 

 

a bad cache for me is a walk down the main street of a busy town to find a soggy log in a obviously non waterproof container.

 

I am an advocate for a minimum amount of finds before being eligible to place a cache this for me would solve most of the problem caches out there I say most because there will always be exceptions to the rules and I started my career caching in a small town till I found the adventure more rewarding than the numbers.

 

I think HQ and the community reviewers should set a limit of 100 finds before being allowed to place caches. this would show to me the member has at least an idea of what is a good cache and a not so good cache.

 

 

 

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Another couple of thoughts/suggestions:

- There are some wonderful high quality caches, placed in the early years that form part of the history of this game. Sadly sometimes these are lost to the game as the COs move on or are not active and these caches get achived due to a lack of response to NM logs. It would be great if these could be adopted out to active cachers who would be willing to maintain them. Perhaps where a CO has been inactive for a significant period of time a reviewer could have the authority to adopt out caches or allow local community maintance of them and then removal of NM flags.

- Totally agree with the suggestions for rewards for quality hiders. How about a discount on annual subscription fees for those that place and maintain quality hides.

- Consider implementing a better way to search for quality caches: allowing searches by fav pt% or being able to filter out caches from searches where they have three or more recent DNFs or NM flags. 

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...what is a high quality geocache?

  • Location (Scenic view, historic place,  special location,...)
  • Container (suprising, clever, technical ontruction,...)
  • "Story" (listing, Iinformation about the place,  puzzle, ...)
  • A geocache, where you smile wehen you explain your experience month later to others

 

...  what is a low quality geocache?

  • when you ask you self, "why I had to come here to log the cache?" and you know not what you can write more as "tftc" in your log
  • you  can not remember about this cache 3 month after...

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

  • Give feedback about cache-quality in your log. Even if it is negative, it can done friendly
  • help new geocacher to hide your first cache. In switzerland we have a "godfather"-system in the communt

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

  • Restrict hiding geocaches to new owners. Examle: You only can hide 3 Geocaches. More Geocches are allowed to hide when you other Geocahes get some (%)-FP
  • Provocative Idea: When a geocaches des not get a least one (1) FP after 100 founds, it does not meet the quality standardhe community and will be archived.
    (The figures can be discussed. But regardless of what we mean by quality, Favorite points are a sign of "good" caches in the communiy)
  • Honor cache-owners of good geocaches: TIll now, just the feedback (logs) are the only  reward for chache ownders. Wy not go on wih "virtual caches", or spend free premium-Memberships depening on (%)-FP
  • Pleas help to search quality geocaches wih %FP (over the geocaching.com. Just looking for number of FP is not enough to find quality geocaches. I do Geocaches-trips with long jurneys just to finde 3..5 Geocaches in one weekend. Then I'm just looking for caches with >70% FP

 

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16 minutes ago, bonstetten said:

Provocative Idea: When a geocaches des not get a least one (1) FP after 100 founds, it does not meet the quality standardhe community and will be archived.

 

This would remove many power trails, as often the 'in between' caches don't get favourite points. It's the caches at the end of the trail which are most likely to get a favourite point, for all the caches in the trail. Maybe you don't like power trails, but many people do. I enjoy them on occasions, but in some places I feel there are too many of them. All my caches have at least one favourite point, except for four, and they belong to a power trail.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Team Tierra Buena said:

In general, we'd agree that almost all of the suggestions already posted are deserving of consideration. But we'd like to suggest one we didn't notice above:

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

Since there's no precedent, establish a date in the near future after which the saturation circle will be increased from its current 528 feet/161 metres. We'd suggest 1 mile/1.61 KM, but we understand that might be too extreme for the way the game has developed over the years. If caches are made more difficult to place it discourage those "CO's" whose contributions to the game are actually embryonic litter. 

I like this suggestion, but especially in my area (Zurich) I find it quite difficult to find a spot that isn't taken within 1.61 km. Another thing to consider would be the effort to do maintainance work then: If the cache is further away from your home, you aren't as flexible as if the cache was near. I guess it would take longer to react then.

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4 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

There are many good quality well-maintained pleasant-to-find caches that never get FPs, after all we can only award them to our top 10% of finds so we need those bread-and-butter caches to make up the other 90%. And what about caches that never get anywhere near 100 finds? None of my last six hides have even reached 10 finds. Please recognise that caching isn't just confined to big cities where there are thousands of caches and finders, or to just P&G caches, and any new rules like this could easily kill off the game completely in more sparsely populated areas.

To be fair,bonstetten said:

"Provocative Idea: When a geocaches des not get a least one (1) FP after 100 founds", so this would not affect caches with lower find numbers, such as those you mentioned in more sparely populated areas.

Actually, I can't see this idea working, as people can get their friends to give their cache a favourite, just to keep it alive, whether it deserves a favourite or not.

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The A-team's list is nearly perfect. I would add for the HQ's side:

 

- finally do something with long-time set NM attributes - nag screen on the dashboard for example so the CO's know about them (this actually falls within A-team's "Encourage and/or incentivize CO cache maintenance")

 

Edited by Pontiac_CZ
correction

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Too many comments to read through all so apologies if this has already been suggested. 

 

How about each reviewer sets up a virtual challenge cache for each region. Newbies have to qualify for the cache and log it before they can hide caches in a given area. The challenge can be different for different regions to reflect the local caches that are available to find. By qualifying for the cache the newbie has shown they have got a broad range of the experience available to them and so are more likely to have a better quality hide (I don't agree with the 100 finds idea).

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I agree with the sentiments expressed by many cachers above.

 

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

Would just like to add my answer to this question. Enjoyed the Maker Madness promotion that was held in 2014 and I would like to see it return and become an annual promotion. At our local event, many different types of caches were hidden, amazing puzzle boxes were also showcased and cachers took us through the steps and thoughts they have when creating impressive and unique containers. I think having a promotion every year which emphasises how to make quality geocaches will go a long way to improving geocache quality B)

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

Most important: It need to be well maintained. This means a good container for the hiding spot, where the container and the hiding spot together protects the log.

The amount of work to find the cache, and any frustration, should be matched with a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction. D/T rating as well as container size must be reasonably correct. 


For Mysteries, they should be solvable without unreasonable amount of guess work. Where guessing is involved, there should be plenty of clues and preferably ways to get partial coordinates (the known digits of the coordinates) when you are going in the right direction.

Wherigos and multis need to be thought through as an experience. Show the area in the best possible way, and keep the container close to the trail. 

Elaborate field puzzles are often high maintenance, but if they can withstand wear and weather they can be great.

A nicely decorated container such as a display in a fake bird house is fun, just make sure they are just as pretty after a year of rain, snow and heat.

A well maintaned trail, preferably a walking trail, through a scenic area (or along the trail towards the scenic area) is appreciated. Especially these days when we look at a 100 caches in a month challenge from GS.

 

A cache with a story, preferably one that relates to where it is placed. If the caching experience is a cohesive experience from the first time I check it out online, through the planning (solving in the case of mysteries) and finding phase all the way to signing the book.

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

If the cache is not maintained of course.

Unsuitable cointainers that does not protect the log. Occasionally special hides (the ever present fake ventilation grill) requires write-in-rain paper, those may be acceptable.
 

Caches with non-descriptive "descriptions", particularly caches that drop a few lines from wikipedia (or another encyclopedia) that is completely unrelated to the area where it is hidden.

Where you have to find out far out into the wood that you needed a 15 mm socket wrench to get into the box (even if it says "special tools required"). 

Caches that does not have correct attributes. Either lacking crucial information, or setting attributes to help people get their statistics up (scuba gear in a road sign on a parking space anyone?).

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

Most importantly:
Give feedback. Even if CO won't read it, even if you do not give it a favourite point, someone planning a trip will be helped by comments from previous cachers. Either to find decent caches worth a visit, or to avoid the lemons.

Use DNF if (but only if) you have made a serious effort to find the cache given the difficulty rating. A "hard" 1/1 e.g. should have DNF every time you visit without finding the cache. There is no such thing as a hard D1.

Use need maintenance when appropriate. In general this means when you found the container and there are issues with it, or found a step on a multi that is illegible. Sometimes, if the cache has low D rating and you have not found it in several attempts, and suspect fake found logs, NM might be needed. NM for a full log book is only viable of boths sides of the papers have been written on.

Do not ever log a Found when you have not signed the log book (exception: virtual, webcam, earthcache etc). If CO allows you a found on a missing cache, log need maintenance as well.


As a cache owner, use maintenance logs and make sure you can visit all you caches if you see a stream of DNFs. Write a note or owner maintenance when you have visited the site, especially if everything was in order.

Help out with maintenance when appropriate. A good cointainer cannot protect a log book against rain when a finder does not take precautions while logging in rain. A full log book is a sign of a popular cache, switching it for a decent one (or in the case of a reasonably large container adding something more ambitious than a crumpled receipt) will avoid unnecessary down time.
 

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

Most of all there need to be quality control after a cache has been published.

There need to be a way to report unsolvable mystery caches, where the reviewers can require CO to supply them with the full solution
Some cache owners make a habit of getting the cache approved with a minimum of detail, which they later change into something that would to pass review. I have seen "holiday caches" placed 1000 km (or so) from the posted coordinates of the cache. 

Even when the cache is within the guide lines technically, require that the cache has accurate information about e.g. about the distance from start to finish and the area you will be expected to cover during the cache. This can't be based solely on the description given when the cache is sent in for publication, but also on feedback gained from cacher trying to find the cache.

It might be that these reports should bypass the local reviewers completely, as reviewers are also human and occasionally will show favouritism or malice towards people the like or dislike.

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Drop the 161m for WP's ot other WP's/stashes. Just make a pop-up if the new CO is aware of the fact that there is another WP/stash nearby. Especially in the outdoors it is a PITA.

Drop crap like lab-caches, virtuals, souvernirs.

Drop all the rule to regulate the thing.
HQ is trying to turn it into Pokemon Go, but give us the trouble dealing with all the rules and regulations. Paperwork here, there. It is a game about stealth, so leave it like that. Forget all the permissions.

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3 minutes ago, Delbadore said:

I agree with the sentiments expressed by many cachers above.

 

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

Would just like to add my answer to this question. Enjoyed the Maker Madness promotion that was held in 2014 and I would like to see it return and become an annual promotion. At our local event, many different types of caches were hidden, amazing puzzle boxes were also showcased and cachers took us through the steps and thoughts they have when creating impressive and unique containers. I think having a promotion every year which emphasises how to make quality geocaches will go a long way to improving geocache quality B)

I am happy to see you had a good workshop. You could make that a local tradition.

I held one of those events myself but did not manage to find a good place so it turned into just another social gathering where everyone got a souvenir.

While it is a great idea, it has to be tailored to each specific are. Is there a Makerspace available? When can you get access to that? How large is the local community, so what kind of space is needed?

 

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In cities; size.

 

It's hard to find places to hide larger caches in cities and urban areas. So? Look harder for places to hide medium-large caches rather than just sticking boring nanos everywhere!

 

I would even suggest that Geocaching imposes a rule that players should have an even distribution of large, medium, small and nano cache sizes in order to qualify for listing.

 

You see some players will put like 5 or 6 nano caches in one area, usually near to where they live (as per the conventions of the game). It's just lazy an creates a little mundane black hole on the map.

 

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7 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Some have said that regular mainentance is a must or all caches require regular maintenance, but I'd like to add a different perspective on that. For me, many of the best quality caches are those that are engineered to endure without regular owner TLC, with a hiding place that protects it from the elements and stray muggles, a robust container that won't be damaged by dropping or mishandling, and a logbook that's big enough not to fill in a lifetime of caching. This is typical for a lot of caches in remote locations and I've found plenty going back a decade or more, still with their original container and logbook, that are as good as the day the CO put them there. I'd hate to see this aspect of caching killed off by some annual visit mandate that would make ownership of such caches too onerous.

Regular maintenance of course depends on the cache.

In general, you shold be able to check on your cache at least once a year, and respond to any issues within a month (weather and season permitting).

One way to ensure this is to only place caches in areas you will get to regularly. You might have to hike 500 meter up hill to get to the old (but maintained) observation tower, but perhaps it is a good area for picking blue berries or mushrooms? The would give you an incentive to go there every year. And while you are there, make sure the cache is still where it is supposed to be. Caches are often not replaced exactly as found.

And those ten tree climbing caches you placed? Get there, make sure the tree is still safe to climb. If there is damage to the tree, archive the cache.

And the power trail with 400 caches? Won't hur to check those as well. You can do it in a day, right?

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I am pretty new to geocaching, having started in April this year, and finding 71 caches so far.  I am offering my comments in the spirit of 'first impressions'...

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    • For me, a high quality cache shows signs of thought and consideration.  This could include many things.  It could be choosing to place the cache in an interesting area to visit (e.g. historical interest, secret garden, place of beauty, or an everyday place with a little known fact which will be explained on the cache page).  It might be that the cache itself is of interest (e.g. a great disguise or a fun hide - there was one near us hidden up a tree and the idea was that you had to let it down on a string - it wasn't the most exciting place to put a cache but the cache itself was a lovely idea).   I've also enjoyed caches that make a series/trail. 
    • I would also expect high quality caches to be well maintained - so dry logs inside, logs being replaced as needed, box lids present and well fitting, camo bags in one piece if being used and replaced if they are damaged.  I've seen some caches with additional fixtures and fittings to ensure the container (say a small film cannister type) is securely placed and protected from the elements.  Often these have been very discrete and I like the idea that there is a set place to return the cache to as I've found many that have been somewhat hurled into a spot and I see potential for these to go missing or 'drift' from their coordinates over time. 
    • Finally I think high quality caches have good CO visibility and interaction.  I have been impressed by CO's that leave a note in the logs to say that they have checked on their cache recently and all is well - without any apparent prompting from maintenance reports, etc.  Evidence that the CO is active is great and reassures me that they are keeping an eye on things (e.g. maintenance updates, responding to queries, etc). 
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    • Unfortunately I have found a few such caches in my short geocaching time.  A low quality cache to me is one that appears to have been placed for the sake of it with no consideration of what this cache adds to the community.  For example, I have found several film cannisters thrown into tree stumps with disintegrating logs - these are very disappointing and feel like someone just wanted to the kudos of having placed something with no thought to the cache aftercare.  I also consider the use of rubbish as a cache container low quality - e.g. a log hidden in the base of a tree in an empty energy drink bottle.  I was also disappointed in a puzzle cache which lead to the side of a nightclub, although I arrived in day time the state of the area was grubby, grimy and  filthy with refuge so we abandoned any search. 
    • Poorly maintained caches are also low quality, more so where it has clearly been flagged up in previous logs but nothing has been done about it. 
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    • I think logging DNF's is very helpful, along with giving an honest account of how you found the cache site if there were any obvious problems.  Also, better communication!
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    • I've never published a cache so I am not sure of what the current procedure is.  However, I would support having a strict requirement for geocachers to have found  say 100 caches before being allowed to place any of their own.  I have found discovering lots of different types of caches very helpful for informing my ideas about where I might choose to place caches, and I certainly wouldn't be offended as a new geocacher to be asked to wait until I have found 100 or so before placing any of my own.  I'm not sure how caches are presently validated, but I would expect to have to submit coordinates, a description of the site, a picture of the cache in situ, and have the cache page text approved. 

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9 hours ago, Team Tierra Buena said:

Since there's no precedent, establish a date in the near future after which the saturation circle will be increased from its current 528 feet/161 metres. We'd suggest 1 mile/1.61 KM, but we understand that might be too extreme for the way the game has developed over the years. If caches are made more difficult to place it discourage those "CO's" whose contributions to the game are actually embryonic litter. 

 

I doubt I'll find any Idea that I'll dislike more. People play the game in various ways and expect different things from it. I like cache trails that encourage you to hike mountains, woods or other nice places. Even without that, showing interensting places in old city areas would be impossible with such limitation as most old city centers I know are less in diameter than that. What's more it'd basically killl the idea to wander around and find few caches as even after 3 finds you'd be more than 3 km from your car. For a lot of people it would turn geocaching from genuine outdoor activity to occasional drive-in play.

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

 

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    For me, there are several components that are important when it comes to a "high quality" geocache.
    First of all, the listing should be clear and the coordinates should be correct. 
    Second of all, I think maintenance is very important. A CO should always make sure their geocaches are (as) clean (as possible) and make sure that the cache is not broken (broken box, etc.)
    Third of all, I personally love creativity. This is something that makes a geocache "high quality" for me. Something that someone has put energy and effort into. Something original, that you don't find every day. 
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    A cache that's not well maintained (this could mean anything from a soaked logbook, to a broken cache, to completely wrong coordinates)
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    I think it's important to let the CO know when maintenance is needed. Sometimes I think people are a bit reluctant to do this.
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    This is a hard one for me! On one hand I'd say: "give CO's time to repair and maintain their caches", but at the same time you often see people with about a bazillion caches, with a bunch that need maintenance.. I'm not sure how or what Geocaching HQ could do there, but I think it's possible to do something about that. It's just not possible to have a bazillion high quality caches (in my opinion). I've seen beautiful caches, made by CO's who had about 10 to 15 amazing caches, and not so amazing caches by CO's who had about 100.... I haven't seen a bunch of really pretty ones from CO's who own a TON of caches. 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, TheVoytekBear said:

 

I doubt I'll find any Idea that I'll dislike more. People play the game in various ways and expect different things from it. I like cache trails that encourage you to hike mountains, woods or other nice places. Even without that, showing interensting places in old city areas would be impossible with such limitation as most old city centers I know are less in diameter than that. What's more it'd basically killl the idea to wander around and find few caches as even after 3 finds you'd be more than 3 km from your car. For a lot of people it would turn geocaching from genuine outdoor activity to occasional drive-in play.

 

I agree. 

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23 minutes ago, serendipity2003 said:

However, I would support having a strict requirement for geocachers to have found  say 100 caches before being allowed to place any of their own.

 

I have heard this recommendation many years ago. It is very good recommendation but actually not working any more because it heavily depends on what kind of caches you find. In the worst scenario you find a hundred power trail caches and then you plant more similar caches. Maybe we should add favorite points to this equation. One hundred caches with at least one favorite.

 

I am not worried about a single "bad" cache because they have proved to be short living with some exceptions.

 

 

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