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Geocaching HQ

Geocache Quality

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10 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

You're fortunate to live in a place with lots of caches to find, but spare a thought for someone in, say, Fiji where there are only 34 caches in the whole country. How is caching ever supposed to grow in a place like that if you have to find 100 caches before you can hide one?

 

I take your point.  I have no doubt that I could have placed high quality caches after my first few finds; my comment was more to show that I didn't think it was unreasonable to ask people to get a bit of experience first, but of course that does assume that such experience is available!  Perhaps number of finds could be just one metric?  Alternatively perhaps ask folks to read a short and well designed 'how to' manual with examples of low/high quality caches before allowing them to proceed with their first placement? Plus a quick tick box list at the end to confirm that each quality criterion has been considered before placing the cache?  Also provide a chance for the community to rate/feedback on the extent to which they think these criteria were met after finding the cache? Of course, there is no guarantee that the information will be absorbed or followed, and there will be a lot of room for individual 'interpretation'...

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-KROP-

Approx. 4300 Finds, 100 hides, 5000 Favourite Points, playing 5 years

 

CHS and initiatives like “Hidden Creatures” give the impression Groundspeak are driving towards low D/T, low quality but high quantity. Good for power-trail cachers but not great for cachers who prefer quality and aren’t “just about the numbers”

 

1)      In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

o   Where it is clear *some* thought has been made why this cache has been placed

o   Custom container

o   The largest possible box that fits the location

o   Accurate D/T ratings and attributes

2)      In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

o   Nanos – even a great puzzle can be let down by a poor final

o   Caches placed for no other reason than to fill a gap

3)      What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

o   Only place a cache where you honestly believe you’d award a FP if you found it.

o   No throwdowns EVER

4)      What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

o   Reward system for cachers with many favourite points (similar to Virtual Rewards)

o   Minimum number of finds and minimum time after joining before publishing a cache

o   When submitting a cache, have a requirement to explain in 10 words why this cache is interesting and should be published

o   Only the first time a cacher publishes a cache, make them fill in a short quiz so they understand placement rules. Have a pop-up confirming the cache is already in place prior to publication.

o   Allow reviewers more power to kick back on cache pages with little/no information or exceptionally  poorly written pages

o   Rename “Needs Archived” to “Needs Reviewer Attention” and “Needs Maintenance” to “Needs Owner Attention”

o   Allow COs to log NM on their own caches. I don’t understand the rationale of taking this functionality away.

o   CHS system discourages higher difficulty caches as these naturally get more DNFs

o   Introduce “SuperFavourites” that can be awarded every 100 caches. Normal favourites highlight “good” caches that get many visitors. Such rare “SuperFavourites” would highlight GREAT caches.

o   Upvote/downvote on caches. Caches with too many downvotes would automatically get raised to reviewer. If Groundspeak are really against negative public feedback, the downvoting could be anonymous.

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13 minutes ago, -KROP- said:

Introduce “SuperFavourites” that can be awarded every 100 caches. Normal favourites highlight “good” caches that get many visitors. Such rare “SuperFavourites” would highlight GREAT caches.

THAT

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Increasing the distance between caches/physical WPs is a good idea. I wouldn't go as far as 1.6Km but 320/500m would certainly improve things.

Not hiding before a cacher finds xx caches might look good on paper but won't be a good idea in the real world. In my area a new cacher placed a great series with unique containers where different tools were needed. It gathered many favorites and had great logs. It was a medium bike ride along quiet paths and roads. We would have missed this if the CO would have to wait to have xx finds. We did great caches by other newbies. OTOH, I have many caches in my ignore list by CO's with 1000's of finds.

Since "the" free app many newbies enter this hobby with little or no knowledge and quickly start placing their own caches thinking that what they already encountered is what caching is all about. The result is more micro's behind an utility pole or traffic sign. (that's not low quality, that's VERY low quality).

 

Again, rating a cache would be better done like GC-Vote or the opencaching system with 1-5 ratings on different aspects of a cache. Favorites mean nothing anymore. Some series have 100+ favorites for the bonus cache with hardly 1 or 2 favorites on any of the individual caches.

 

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On 19.6.2018 at 1:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

One that is interesting in one way or another. I would like to understand why the CO put this cache here to be found by others.

 

On 19.6.2018 at 1:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

A cache without regonizable reason to exist.

 

On 19.6.2018 at 1:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

Community could make better caches instead of complaining the bad quality.

 

On 19.6.2018 at 1:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

HQ could give some freedom to make quality caches. Giving opportunity make new virtuals was a move to right direction but with uncountable secret rules the HQ has got some quality cache makers to be disappointed in the system so deeply that they no longer attend.

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

In our opinion a ‘high quality geocache’ is a cache that has had thought put into it.  Not just the container but the placement of the cache.  We love finding containers that are original and handmade that involves a little thinking of how to get into it to free the log sheet.  Also having a geocache that is dry and well maintained is a must. 

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

In our opinion a ‘low quality geocache’ is a geocache that is placed somewhere just because it can be i.e. magnetic containers on street name signs and film pots/kinder egg containers thrown into the undergrowth.  These caches are generally not well maintained and the log sheet inside is either full or damp.  Also seeing a cache page description for a series as ‘see #1’, surely at the stage of reviewing the cache, the Reviewer should be pointing out to the prospective CO that this is NOT acceptable.  This is pure laziness from the cacher who wants to put the series out.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

In our opinion ‘the community’ can improve the type of geocaches they place and where they place them.  Yes magnetic geocaches have their place but in the right location i.e. bringing you to a location that has some historical or an educational reason. 

A cacher should also ensure that they ‘DNF’ a cache that they cannot find, just because it puts a sad blue face on your map doesn’t mean you shouldn’t DNF the cache. 

‘The Community’ can also help CO’s out with carrying out a little ‘geocaching etiquette’ by taking some pieces of paper with them just in case a log is full or damp/wet and replacing them.  For a cacher to expect others to place caches for them to find and they are not willing to carry out a little ‘etiquette’ is bad manners. 

Cachers need to ensure they have a pen/pencil on them when caching, we have seen some try to sign the log ‘in mud’ which as a cacher is NOT acceptable.

Finders of a cache also need to remember that the CO has taken time and expense to place caches and in return as a thank you the finder should leave a more quality log than ‘Quick easy find, TFTC’ or ‘Found whilst taking the dog for a walk’.  

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

In our opinion HQ can make sure that they ‘archive’ caches that are not being maintained in a timelier manner.  Having one volunteer for each region that deals with just this issue surely would free up much needed space so that new caches can be placed.  We have seen numerous caches that show ‘needs maintenance’ and the maintenance has not been carried out as the CO is no longer active.  If a CO becomes inactive for longer than 12 months, their caches should be archived automatically.  Even with the ‘needs maintenance’ showing on a cache, Reviewers are not dealing with them in a timely manner and that is probably due to them not having the time to review/publishing new caches and deal with the trouble caches. 

We do not agree with some others that state a new geocacher should not be able to place caches until they have been caching for ‘x’ amount of time or finding ‘x’ amount of caches.  We know of several cachers that started placing new geocaches shortly after they started Geocaching and their caches are well constructed and thought out, along with maintained on a very regular basis.

Bring in a tool that shows whether other cachers find a log ‘helpful’ or ‘not helpful’.

Allow CO’s to have a maximum number of hides.  We have seen stats that show some CO’s have over 500 hides (even 3000 in one case).  A CO cannot physically maintain all of the caches when they have that many.

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52 minutes ago, -KROP- said:

Reward system for cachers with many favourite points (similar to Virtual Rewards)

 

That would help but it needs heavily modified favorite system.

 

52 minutes ago, -KROP- said:

Introduce “SuperFavourites” that can be awarded every 100 caches.

 

Current favorites are "super favorites". Many very good caches have zero favorites because of this "super" nature of them. Instead of these "ultimate super favorites" you could give "thumbs up" for 50% of caches.

Edited by arisoft

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To answer your questions

 

    In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

One which is maintained with a dry log with several other caches around it marking out a walk with a comprehensible description.

 

    In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

An isolated cache falling into disrepair the description of which which reads poorly and has not been spell-checked.

 

   What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Encourage people to maintain other people’s caches rather than discourage as is currently my experience

    What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

You really should sort out what you’ve already got. Raise the standards a little and cache standards will rise too. At the moment I feel I am five caches away from ten thousand finds *despite* geocaching HQ rather than *because* of you.

  •  

    Take your geocaching app. It is (in my experience) the poorest of many which are available. Perhaps you might look at features in other apps such as Cachly, G-geo, NeonGeo etc and incorporate the best parts of those into your app.

  • Look at the geocaching functionality on the GPS units. It is basic in the extreme.

  • Look at the need for third-parties like GSAK and Project GC. Can you do the hobby *seriously* without recourse to them? Work on your website to incorporate their functionality.

  • Look at the inconsistencies in your review process. Some reviewers will not allow meets within miles or a day of each other; others allow them within yards and minutes. Some allow meet-ups to go caching; others do not. Some insist on the minimum distance, some do not.

  • Explain in detail how the virtuals were given out. Why does one person with five Wherigos get a reward when someone else with twenty (and more FPs) does not.

  • Review the “cache health” algorithm so that we don’t get automated messages to sort out our caches when there is nothing wrong with them.

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On 19/06/2018 at 10:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

New cachers should have to find at least 100 caches before they can place their own... All too often we've seen people find just one or two then place their own. It rarely ends well. Not long after they lose interest and their already pretty poor quality cache gets forgotten about, then a few months later when a reviewer comes along and archives it due to lack of maintenance. Obviously that is a generalisation, that doesn't happen with all new cachers, but I have seen it enough times that I think it should be a rule. I think it takes 100 caches to get a feel for what a good cache looks like, and if you're really into it, then 100 caches isn't really very many in the grand scheme of things.
 

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On 19/06/2018 at 10:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

Existing cache owners should be blocked from having new caches published while their existing caches need maintenance.

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

To me, a high quality cache is one where the CO has put a lot of effort into the cache page, location and container and is well maintained. It is placed in an area that is meaningful and a really nice place to bring people. It is more than just a tupperware container behind a bush. 

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

In my opinion, these equate to approx 80% of the caches I have found. They are mostly thrown down, store-bought containers placed with not a lot of thought about its location and not a lot of effort put into the cache description. They are placed in a location just because there is a gap on the map. The containers are not great at keeping the weather out and CO takes too long to maintain, or doesnt maintain at all. They are often owned by CO's with hundreds or more caches which are too hard to maintain that many, or inexperienced cachers who havent found enough good quality caches to know better.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

I think education is the key. Social media groups and events are a very useful way to bring newbies together and give them ideas. Also newsletters with useful information to everyone, not just premium members. These days, many newbies arent even aware of the Geocaching.com website. They have heard through others about this game and downloaded the app on their phone. They dont know there are guidelines about finding, logging or placing caches, because there is no information about this on any of the phone apps.

It is up to us to improve the quality of caches in our community, by placing quality caches ourselves, to show future CO's what it should be like.

     

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

You could restrict who can place caches. Instead of only suggesting that people should locate around 100 caches before they place one of their own, you could make it a mandatory minimum number of finds. You could also set up an automatic reminder to CO's who have not been active for (say) 6 months or a year, to check on their caches or remove them, to discourage unmaintained caches being left out. This also opens up areas for newer CO's to place better quality caches in the area, to get some cache rotation. You could restrict CO's with a high number of caches to place new ones if they have a high percent of caches in need of maintenance.

Phone apps could be turned into an education experience also, with useful tips and information (if they dont already).

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In my opinion HQ is more often than not promoting quantity. The hidden creatures thingy is yet another example of this. The road to promoting quality goes via not promoting quantity imho.

Also, I used to place quite a number of caches that attracted many long distance visitors and quite many favourite points. Today I no longer do that. The pointless copy/paste logs or TFTC logs that are a result of the increasing use of smartphones instead of outdoor GPS devices have resulted in a more or less total loss of motivation for me. I know many who feel the same.

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57 minutes ago, mrdan01 said:

 

Existing cache owners should be blocked from having new caches published while their existing caches need maintenance.

 

Only sounds like good idea. I have caches in different parts of the country (with which I'm somehow connected to and visit them regularly, but not every month). It'd be pointless to stop me from hiding a cache in the place I live in before I replace a missing cache in a place which I can visit in 3 months.

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2 hours ago, Motorcycledude said:

The pointless copy/paste logs or TFTC logs that are a result of the increasing use of smartphones instead of outdoor GPS devices have resulted in a more or less total loss of motivation for me. I know many who feel the same.

 

As a hider, this has been a factor for me as well. Especially when my email box gets pinged for days with copy n paste GSAK logs from a large group that does their quarterly visit. There isn’t much in the way of individual visits anymore. It’s about getting together in groups to get as many smileys-for-points then it is about experiencing each individual cache for their individual merit. A product of the power trail culture. 

 

It might help the pastime if Groundspeak emphasized geocaching as a recreational pastime, instead of what it has evolved into, a competition for numbers. 

Edited by L0ne.R
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2 minutes ago, TheVoytekBear said:

 

Only sounds like good idea. I have caches in different parts of the country (with which I'm somehow connected to and visit them regularly, but not every month). It'd be pointless to stop me from hiding a cache in the place I live in before I replace a missing cache in a place which I can visit in 3 months.

 

Sounds like a valid exception to the rule. Another one I have heard is here in New Zealand, some areas are often closed during the spring for lambing, so caches can be disabled for several months during that time. I just know of a handful of cachers who are really slack at maintenance and focus on new caches to increase their numbers instead fixing their existing ones. So perhaps the reviewer could overlook caches that need maintenance when publishing new ones if there is a good reason for it, or a plan in place (like your visit in 3 months example).

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After hiking & caching in MD this weekend my husband & I were just discussing this.  We’re new to caching & we love it!  We love the thrill of it.  There are improvements to be made though.  A lot of the larger caches we have found in PA are empty.  Whether muggled or inexperienced catchers got to them no one will know but I could imagine finding empty ones discourages younger cachers to the fun.  Maybe CO’s when checking should be required to drop some extra swag if needed.  My hubby & I probably drop more than we take for this fact alone.  Some caches are placed by the owners of the land like our conservation department.  They are the only ones permitted to place, they usually only put 1/location.  When there’s a trail that spans over 2 miles & you place it a quarter mile in, there’s no fun in that.  If you’re only going to allow one & there are miles of trails & acres of property how about a multi?  Get people actually walking the whole thing.  If not you may miss some beautiful things.  I maybe mistaken but I thought geocaching was to get you out.  

I also have only seen welcome cards in two caches.  The one hubby & I found hiking that caused us to look this up & do it & one in MD last week.  I think CO’s if larger containers should have to put a little paper in describing what the person found whether intentional or not.  Maybe a little FYI on what to do for newbies & maybe draw up interest for non cachers.  Might also cut back on muggle tampering.  I’ve seen some log books where people flat out write no idea what this is or why it’s here but adding my name too. Could also be why some go “mia” as people are told to turn suspicious stuff in or its throw away as garbage left behind.  Not all hikers are aware of caching, I know I wasn’t, so it could be mistaken as trash.  We also always log dnf’s the first time with a note.  We may go back more because we can’t be defeated.  Usually after the 3rd time we’re contacting the CO regarding possible missing containers.  We also help by adding sheets but add it all to our notes so CO’s know & can fix as needed.  Response time on the PA caches can be forever. I’ve had one pending for over a month, CO has relocated out of town.  We’ve had similar issues to those reported here caches placed in a “well there wasn’t one here so”, mislabeled smalls that should be micros, etc.  Overall though it’s been a great joy.  We know we’re not ready to place yet as there is still a lot we don’t know.  We see new stuff everytime we’re out.  So maybe a limit on minimum number of caches found as well as sizes maybe needed.  I don’t think a limit on caches places is needed.  We have a lady in our area who has placed ALOT but she’s responsive, checks hers often & is still out caching.  So quality hiders shouldn’t be penalized.  Sorry for my ramblings & I know I didn’t answer the questions but I hope my input is helpful.  

Edited by 1n2Fish
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We would appreciate your answers to these questions:

 

In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

  • It brings people to either an interesting location, unique feature or nice view.
  • The container is suitable for the environment it is placed in and is able to keep the log book / sheet dry.
  • The coordinates are accurate.  If it’s hard to get a good GPS signal due to tree cover or buildings etc. then a detailed hint is given.
  • For urban or overlooked Geocaches a detailed and unambiguous hint is provided.
  • Some effort has been put into the Geocache description, describing the reason for bringing Geocachers to the location.
  • The correct Difficulty, Terrain, Cache Size and Attributes have been selected.
  • The owner quickly responds to any maintenance issues.  They also check on the Geocache if it has not been found in a while or has a number of DNF logs.

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

  • No thought has been put into the location or the reason for bringing people there.
  • There are dangerous items such as broken glass, barbed wire nearby.
  • The container is not suitable for the environment it is placed in and is unable to keep the log book / sheet dry.
  • The owner doesn’t responds to DNF’s, maintenance issues or reviewer logs. 
  • The coordinates are not accurate and no effort is made to improve the coordinates.
  • No effort has been put into the Geocache description.
  • No hint has been given for urban or overlooked hides.
  • Incorrect Difficulty, Terrain or Cache Size have been selected.
  • No or incorrect Attributes have been selected.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

  • Prioritise maintaining their existing hides over hiding new ones or finding Geocaches.
  • Make sure the container used is suitable for the environment it is placed in and is able to keep the log book / sheet dry.
  • Archive and remove their Geocaches if they are unable to maintain them or have lost interest in the hobby.
  • Post DNF logs when they are unable to find the cache.
  • Post maintenance notes when they experience maintenance issues.
  • Post needs archived logs when they feel the owner is not responding to maintenance issues.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

  • Prevent members from hiding Geocaches until 30 days after their 1st find. 
  • When a Geocache owner has an outstanding needs maintenance icon on one or more of their Geocaches a reminder pops up when they switch on the app or log onto the website.
  • Prevent Geocachers from hiding any more Geocaches until all needs maintenance icons are cleared from their existing Geocaches.
  • Before being sent to publish a detailed description and a photograph of the hide must be uploaded to help the reviewer when reviewing the Geocache.
  • Automatically disable Geocaches that have had an outstanding needs maintenance on them for 100 days.
  • Recruit more volunteer reviewers, who focus on clearing up the growing number of un-maintained Geocaches.
  • Make it easier and clearer how to report a problem and post a needs maintenance note.
  • If a Geocacher uses key words / phrases in their logs such as Logbook Full / Wet, Container Damaged, Cache might be missing then a popup asks if they want to report a problem.
  • Re-name “Needs Archived” to “Needs Reviewer Attention” to help reduce the stigma of these log types.
  • Introduce an adoption or please remove icon for Geocachers that are no longer able to maintain their Geocaches.
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I think a lot of people in this thread are confusing High Quality, with Awesome. A "boring" cache can be High Quality, and an Awesome cache can be low quality.

 

I start to wonder if that was what HQ wanted. But if EVERY cache was awesome, then they wouldn't be special. Also there would most likely only be released 5-10 caches in your area per year, and the game would pretty fast become boring, having to travel for hours to get to the nearest cache.

 

So you need the "boring" caches to make the awesome ones stand out, and to keep geocachers busy while you work on your next big hit.

 

Furthermore I have met some geocachers out in the wild that only did traditionals, some of them even avoiding the harder traditionals. As they say, they use geocaching to get out, they pick one geocache, and that is their goal for that day. If every cache was at the top of a mountain, or deep in the woods, or only multies, people like that would lose this great game/hobby.

 

Different people are geocaching for different reasons, and I don't think people should look down on caches that other people enjoy, just because you think "they are having fun wrong".

 

I hope what comes out of this, is HQ implements a way for people to filter out the caches THEY don't like, so they don't see them, but those that do enjoy them, still have access to them.

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On 18/06/2018 at 11:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

For me, anything with a decent container in a decent location is good for me. The size of cache is also quite important. A nano in a woods isn’t much fun but a nano in a town centre is perfect. Coordinates need to be as accurate as possible with the location. If there’s lots of tree cover or under a bridge, perhaps a hint should be provided to make it more enjoyable.

On 18/06/2018 at 11:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

For me, a low quality cache is one which is  just in poor condition. Maybe the container is wet, it’s dirty etc. Even though I agree that it’s quality>quantity, I’d rather have a nano on a sign post than nothing there.

 

On 18/06/2018 at 11:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

The correct feedback MUST be given. Either through the log or via a PM. This feedback shouldn’t be rude but should help the CO create a better cache. Also, the community should stop using the “Needs Archived” like some do. If the log is full, that should never mean it should be archived. The community should help each other where possible.

 

On 18/06/2018 at 11:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

I think that everyone should get FAV points but premium members get more. This would allow everyone to recommend certain caches. 

 

I think that a lot of people aren’t too bothered what kind of cache it is due to the logs they receive. If I spend time making a multi to then receive “TFTC”, it can be quite annoying.

 

There needs to be more incentive to make good caches. Maybe things such as “every 2 favourite points you receive on a cache, you get a favourite point to use on somebody’s cache”. The reviewers need some more “power”. If someone hasn’t been active for a couple months, that cache should be able to be adopted by someone who can look after it. 

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
⦁    Unique containers in well thought out unique areas
⦁     caches that realate to some historical aspect about an area
⦁     Recently while caching in Norther Nevada I  really appreciated a cacher who checked all of his cache placements during the past 6 months to make sure they were still in good condition.

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
⦁    Sequential numbered power trail caches going down some back road every 600 feet or so.   I feel power trail caches that are related to geoart, or some other significant grouping are OK. For example I completed a power trail in Idaho where each cache was the name of a bird species that are found in the state.
⦁    Caches that are placed in mass by caching organizations who have so many cache placements that they have to rely on cache finders to maintain them if the are lost or damaged.  These are often powertrails caches.
⦁    Pill bottles - very few are water tight and many have a necked down area near the cap which makes it very difficult to get the log out of the bottle.  Sometimes it takes longer to extract the log than it took to find the cache in the first place.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
⦁    Accuracy of coordinates.  I sometimes wonder if cell phone cache placements do not have adequate coordinate accuracy.  I have located caches up to 100 feet away from the published coordinates where the owner readily admitted they were using thier cell phone to place the cache and knew the accuracy ws not so good.  Not sure how to police short of reviewers physically checking coordinates on the ground before approving.
⦁    I also have seen too many caches that are placed along busy highways where there are inadequate pull outs to safely access the cache.  Not sure how to police this short of reviewers actually checking out these type of locations.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?  
⦁    Find some way to limit power trails.  Southern Idaho has so many power trails it is truly ridiculous.
⦁    Find a way to encourage more responsible maintenance by cache owners.  
⦁    Perhaps set some time limits on how long a cache can remain in play without any logged finds.

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27 minutes ago, Curly_McWurly said:

Make sure the container used is suitable for the environment it is placed in and is able to keep the log book / sheet dry.

 

When submitting a cache, ask that a photo of the container be included, or a detailed description of the cache container. The photo and/or description would be for review purposes only and not included in the cache description unless the owner wants to include it. 

 

Allow reviewers to force the choice of size - if they see in the submitted photo that the container is a film canister but the owner chose 'small', the reviewer should provide the owner with a detailed explanation about cache sizes and change the cache size to micro.

 

Groundspeak should put the Help Center information about cache sizes on the submission form (and not just a link to the Help Center page).  

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After a while you runs out of the close caches. You have to go further and further for finding caches. This takes more and more time and money.

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    good coordinates, clever hide but not so difficult (no much time for a cache), clean box, nice/interesting theme/environment the cache is placed for
     
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    bad coordinates, uncared, leaked, moldy box
     
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    players report problematic caches for maintenance/archiving
     
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    reviewers disable/archive problematic caches according to well defined rules
    no new cache is published until the others are not maintained

 

 

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Many others have already mentioned maintenance as being important to the quality of the cache. I think this is of utmost importance. It is the responsibility of the cache owner to insure the cache is in it's gz location, in good shape, stocked with log paper and/or swag and to also update the status of TB's or coins that are listed (but missing) from their cache. Also, noting any unusual circumstances..like say, location is currently under water due to flooding, or construction in the park, etc.

High quality also, IMHO means you are sending me to someplace, interesting, beautiful, extraordinary..not just a parking lot at Walmart.

Many have already mentioned HQ could place various restrictions on cache owners in an attempt to correct unwanted cache neglect, but I highly doubt it will have much impact. 

Cacher education is important, but there is no way to quarantee every cacher is being educated or adhering to the rules (stated or not). For instance, one of my pet peeves is missing TB's. I feel like all cachers should know and adhere to the rules about retrieving a trackable. However,  it has become clear that many do not. Therefore, trackable are consistently..stolen! So, you see just because there are rules, doesn't mean they will be adhered to by all.

I have tried to think of ways to curb this behavior and how HQ could help. But, I got nothing. Somethings you just deal with because you are unable to make it change.

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14 hours ago, StopTheWorld said:

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!

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I will try to give some different views on the questions, but the important message is that the road to higher quality is to give better recognition, respect and freedom to the cache owners, 

 

In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

High quality is very subjective, but basically anything which stimulates at least one other cacher is good enough. Everybody does not need to like everything.


In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

Also subjective, but caches placed at unsuitable places, like a to sensitive environment should be avoided.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Most important is to recognize that the cache owners are the most important in the hobby. Respect the effort made to create the caches. Try to experience the caches as intended and give feedback.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Again recognize that the cache owners are the most important in the hobby. Without them it would be absolutely nothing.

 

Create incentives for caches owners. Today statistics, souvenirs, challenge caches (read status) are based on loggning not cache placement. This does not stimulate efforts by cache owners.


The role for cache loggers and owners. There are almost no rules for logging, in practice it more or less anarchy. On the other side there a lot of rules for cache placement and ownership. This unbalance does not stimulate efforts by cache owners.

 

I do not agree that a stricter review processes would improve quality. On the contrary, this is totally counter productive and have made many good and creative persons lose interest. For some cache types the current rules and their implementation has led to much less variation and negative simplification. This is in particular true for earthcaches, and challenges but spills over to other types as well. My experience is that strict review processes has lead to lower quality and that the best way to improve it would be to remove a lot of the rules for responsible cache owners. 

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6 minutes ago, jobêr said:

I do not agree that a stricter review processes would improve quality. On the contrary, this is totally counter productive and have made many good and creative persons lose interest. For some cache types the current rules and their implementation has led to much less variation and negative simplification. This is in particular true for earthcaches, and challenges but spills over to other types as well. My experience is that strict review processes has lead to lower quality and that the best way to improve it would be to remove a lot of the rules for responsible cache owners. 

 

^ This is so saddaningly true. What is more, many of the greatest caches I've seen broke the rules in some way...

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

High quality geocache is

  • Well maintained 
  • Waterproof container (if outside) 
  • Cache owner has been thinking about where he/she placed the cache 
  • Hide as big container as possible. I just found micro sized cache in a place you could fit small or little regular. Did not like it that much. Was almost in city center, in beautiful park.

Cache page

  • Has accurate coordinates 
  • Has a story about how the cache idea started taking shape
  • Tells something about the location its going to bring you to
Quote
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

Low quality geocache is

  • Poorly maintained
  • Cache is in restricted area or may require to break the law
  • Poor container
  • Micro/Nano cache in the woods. Nano is acceptable in area where there it fits and there is (almost) no other choice.
  • Its there just because its a cache.

"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." -briansnat

 

Cache page

  • Has unaccurate coordinates, might create a situation where someone can't hide geocache though it is enough far with "real" coordinates
  • Doesn't tell anything about the location or maybe it will even not telling anything about hide. Its ok not to tell story behind the cache. 
Quote
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

Community can

  • When hiding a geocache, think what would you like to hide.
Quote
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Geocaching HQ can

  • Require to complete a quiz when hiding first geocache

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25 minutes ago, jobêr said:

I do not agree that a stricter review processes would improve quality. On the contrary, this is totally counter productive and have made many good and creative persons lose interest. For some cache types the current rules and their implementation has led to much less variation and negative simplification. This is in particular true for earthcaches, and challenges but spills over to other types as well. My experience is that strict review processes has lead to lower quality and that the best way to improve it would be to remove a lot of the rules for responsible cache owners. 

 

Exactly this.

 

When I placed my first cache almost 5 years ago, I was intimidated by the amount of text I had to read to know all the rules. And since then the rules have piled on, I pity those that have to read it all now for their first cache. Also the people that hides the very best caches are usually handymen who are good with their hands, and sometimes they are not the biggest fans of reading, especially dry legal stuff. I have a feeling we have missed out on great caches, because the people who are not "booksmart" are discouraged by the legal wall of text, and they do tend to make the best caches, and  therefor the community as a whole is at a loss.

 

I am aware of the generalization in the above paragraph, and I am not trying to put everyone in the same box, but if just 1 amazing cache is never made due to the big rulebook, that is one to many in my opinion.

 

For instance, one geocacher in my area have 0 hides, because she is nervous about the process, I have offered my assistance to help her out, but she is very reluctant, and that is a shame. She is the only active cacher in her vicinity, so that area is open to lots of caches aswell.

 

Also when I placed my first hide, it was a shared cache with my father, because he was also tentative about the whole online process partly because we didn't know the reviewers spoke Danish, we thought they spoke English, which he is not that strong in. If hadn't been there to read all the rules for him, and create the cache online, I don't think he would have ever placed a cache, and he has over 100 hides now.

 

One last thing: Even with all these rules in place, some really bad caches pop up. My theory are that some people skip all the rules and just places what ever container they can find, in an area close to their home, to try it out. Usually with a coordinate 15+ meters off. No amount of rules will stop this, but reducing the rules to a handful carefully worded sentences, they might bother reading them.

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

For me, I like a scenic walk and/or a puzzle and/or an interesting container. 

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

I don't tend to like thinking about the term 'low quality' when it comes to Geocaching - I have a choice over whether I find a cache or not, and so I tend to target those I like the look of. Obviously a poorly maintained cache will be a lower quality one, and it perhaps provides less satisfaction from finding than a pristine, well-maintained one.

The location of a cache also plays a part in the quality, and I tend to like locations that show me something interesting - a nice view, something historical or something geological for example. 

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

I think that it is all too easy to blame a CO for a cache that you don't like. YOU might not like it, but somebody else might, so move on. Yes, if a cache very clearly isn't being maintained then you should log a Needs Maintenance and then eventually a Needs Archived, but again there are reasons why people cannot maintain caches so it is important to give a period of time before any further action is taken by a reviewer

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

There are many suggestions that have appeared here so far, some of which I like and some of which I don't. There is the sense of 'quality not quantity' however I don't feel there should be a limit on the number of caches a CO can place. I'll use a couple of examples - firstly a man who lives fairly near me, who places many series on lovely walks. He owns 1000 caches or so, but they are all excellent in my view and I've never found one badly maintained. Secondly, I'll use myself as an example - say I keep caching for another 60 years until I'm in my seventies, I will possibly amass a large amount of caches placed, even if not all are active. 

I think that the Virtual reward system is OK, but I think it has discouraged people from logging DNFs/NA/NM for fear it'll affect the 'health score', something which I for one don't understand! 

Another thing with geocache quality is the guidelines. People start generating new and wacky ideas to make their caches interesting, and these I imagine would be quite hard to review, and are often likely to be knocked back. Therefore, I suppose some people may believe trads in lay-bys are easier to place and get published which may discourage them from doing something more complex. 

 

 

One very important thing to consider too is that geocaching is fairly inclusive - some cachers may not be able to walk for miles up a hill to find a big box. They may only be able to do short walks, or caches near public transport, etc. So it's important that there are still caches available for all people to find - it's better to have things and then be selective, than not to have things at all.

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

It is a well maintanence one. With good comunication of the owner.

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

The cache that is to hard to find. Too dangerous or with so much trafic. Also the one that is not well maintained, if is more than a year of the last finding owner must check it and inform of the status. 

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

Add cache with true meaning, ones that the experience or the learning are so amazing that there no other way to find it.

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

Better tools for the community to keep geocaching rolling! 

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10 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

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.

 

Agreed.     We see many of  the "friends" and "FTF" favorites on caches. We don't look at FPs in searches because of it.

  

But some may forget that this "point" thing didn't begin until the end of 2011.

Many have already seen how algorithms work. 

 - Couldn't there be some classic, older, high D/T caches possibly borderline of being erased from the system if the idea's in place? 

Algorithms don't "reason" to make exceptions. 

We're the only ones on many in our area that went back and placed FPs on those old hides. They'd be "safe".   Maybe.   :) 

Edited by cerberus1
an and...

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I have been giving this some more thoughts, and I think it would probably be the best solution to have the cache creation page relay the rules.

 

For instance, the first 1-5 caches a person hides, it will start with a little box about the most basic rules/hints:

161 meters.

Have mugglers in mind when you chose your hiding spot.

Make sure your container can withstand the weather.

Go out and take coordinates 2-3 times if using a phone, and use the average coordinate.

 

Then tell them to describe the reason for the cache in the description. (Beautiful place, Park and Grab etc.) Immediately after bring up the attributes, and have them select the appropriate ones.

 

Then show a list of the most standard cache types (Nano, Bison, Petling, Clickbox, Ammo can etc.) and then when they chose one, automatically set the size to the corresponding size. If they chose "The cache type is not listed here" they will be shown the defining rules of the cache types, and if they are not sure, they can tick a box, and the reviewer will be alerted that they need to evaluate the size for them.

 

Same goes for D/T ratings, help them give the right rating. ask them if a person in a wheelchair can log this cache on their own. If they select no, grey out the T1 option, so they see that is what the means, ask some questions to narrow down the right ratings.

 

Basically hold the hands for new cache hiders, so they get all the basics down, without having to spends hours reading a rulebook. When someone has placed, let's say, 5 caches, a more normal page is presented, with the option to bring back the starter version if needed.

 

And finally, please make it so that when the reviewer publishes a cache, the date gets updated automatically to that date. Sometimes you forget it, and I don't see any reason for it not to happen except if the date is important in regards to a mystery, but then the CO can change it after release.

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

The geocaching.com maxim says it best: "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." Although it can be challenging to obtain permission for those spots. For a multi-stage cache (unknown, multi, Wherigo, etc), if the stages meet the maxim, then a PAG final could still be a great cache, as could a gadget cache. Parking and other relevant waypoints can also enhance the experience. As others have said, a robust container and sign-able log, along with not being in a sketchy location, are a must.

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

Of course, fragile caches and logs in disreputable places. As far as types and characteristics, very subjective. In general, I have no problem with LPCs in a parking lot, it can lead to a convenient introduction of a muggle to the game. But I abhor power trails, so to each his own.

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

Tricky. We want to encourage new placement, in general I would oppose 'thumbs down' or any sort of negative marker. Instead, the local community should seek to recognize excellence with 'Best New Cache' or 'Best New CO' or 'Best Lonely Cache (say, for caches that average being found on less than three dates per year)'. Perhaps gc.com can help cultivate such lists, I have seen 'awards' on many caches, but for the most part they are unexplained. I know that geocaching.com recognizes caches worldwide in the blog, and the favorite sort is always available, but that often reflects age of cache more than inherent quality. Though perhaps harder to implement, in many (most?) areas, there are veterans that have found all the nearby caches, and could both have input towards these awards, plus a more official geocaching.com status as a 'post-active reviewer' to validate problematic caches with hidden flags. Repeated flags would require prevent COs from placing new caches until deficiencies are corrected. For most users, a log comment and NA should suffice (if it applies), which 'starts the clock' to reviewer guidelines. I realize that many outstanding COs have hundreds of caches, so immediate action not always possible on a cache that seems to have gone missing or other indicated issue, so in general inclined to be lenient, I have seen caches disabled due to one DNF by one relatively new cacher.

 

Back to the 'finding great locations AND getting permission' issue, I often wish there a network to help. There is a GCer near me that works in the county rec systems, so that can be a useful resource to help place in a county park. Or I placed a cache on a college campus, fortunately someone was able to give me a useful contact there or I likely would not have gotten permission. And my state (like many others) has a state parks service that has seen the positive of geocaching, and thus has a 'trail' of caches in every park. But I do not know that contact, if I reach out to the wrong person to place a cache, I will get shot down when the outcome could have been different. Again, if we can capture these sources (with perhaps gc.com help), then 'better' locations may be more readily available. Even if there is no 'geo-contact' at, for example, the county park I want to place a cache, I can provide examples and references from another county.

 

Another thing that can help the gc experience, and also perhaps reduce negative muggle feedback, is stricter attribute enforcement. There are many attributes applied that sometimes (mostly?) do not meet the gc.com descriptions, wheelchair accessible and teamwork cache are the ones that immediately come to mind. Clicking an attribute should, at the minimum, open a dialogue box that asks the CO a pointed question to validate the correct use. Also, IMHO, all caches should have some 'time of day' attribute. I do not want an otherwise excellent cache have to be removed because of alarmed neighbors or shop owners objecting to a group people with flashlights rustling around in the dark. In addition, I think all cache submissions should require a picture of the location for the reviewer.

 

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A few thoughts on this. Having read quite a lot of these comments it strikes me that whilst there are some consistencies in opinions regarding what makes a good or bad cache there is also a fair amount of subjectiveness. Only to be expected in a game where we all play a bit differently and one size does not necessarily fit all. Here's some ideas...

 

The search functionality for caches could perhaps be improved. Finding high quality geocaches is perhaps not as easy as it could be. How's about when logging into the app or website one is presented with a "Caches Near You We Think You'll Love". This would list say the top 20 closest caches (location customisable) that match the type of caches the logged-in user most frequently favourites using some "algorithmic magic".

 

But...to not just restrict cachers to a list of caches similar to ones they've already found there could also be a list of "Caches Worth Giving a Go". This would be a list of the "best" caches nearby ranked in order of brilliance. This could just be by favourite points but there could be other ways to rank caches on quality (more on that in a bit).

 

Following on from the above I think regional Top 20s of caches in your reviewer region could be good, i.e. Top 20 Multis in Southern England. Would be really useful for geocachers to find lists of the very best and provide a real incentive for COs to place caches that get into the list.

 

With regards to ranking geocaches. I think favourite points should continue to have their place but as I've alluded to above I think other metrics could be combined to create a Geocache's Quality Score. COs would then be motivated to create caches that enter the top tier and ear Bronze, Silver or Gold accolades based on this.

 

Regarding constructing this quality score. How's about a calculation based on some all of the below...

  • Favourite points.
  • Number of recent DNFs.
  • Needs Maintenance Flags.
  • Lack of Maintenance.

All suggested already of course so how's about getting Found It logs involved more. What do I mean? Well...

 

I think the length of a Found It log says a lot about what a geocacher thought about a cache. Could we score caches using a calculation something like...

  • [Length of Found It Log for this Cache] - [Average Length in Words of all of Finder's Found It Logs]

The logic being that finders will generally write more for great caches (and this gives a positive score) and less for the poorer ones (a negative score). By comparing against the cacher's rolling average log length it normalises for cachers who are usually brief or verbose.

 

Quite a lot of number crunching but I think it could be done?

 

Thoughts?

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On 6/18/2018 at 4:30 PM, Beardman75 said:
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

Require some form of caching experience prior to hiding a cache, whether that is time caching or number of finds or some other metric. Too many caches in my local area are placed by people with less than 20 finds after a week or so of caching. Those people then quickly disappear from the game and their caches, which were low quality to begin with, go missing or need maintenance and it can take months to get the impetus of enough DNFs and needs Maintenance logs to get the reviewer to disable it and then another few months before it gets archived

 

I fully support this idea of requiring a number of finds or some other minimum threshold before allowing a user to hide caches. So many of the caches hidden by eager newbies end up being abandoned when they lose interest, and many of them are poorly placed to begin with (bad coordinates, people's front yards, etc.).

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On 6/18/2018 at 3:13 PM, 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?
  1. In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    • A high quality cache to me achieves 1 of 4 things (location, container, experience, or page).
      1. It brings me somewhere I may otherwise overlook or miss out on (location).
      2. It is constructed beautifully, thoughtfully, or craftily (container).
      3. The experience of finding the cache (experience; physically or mentally challenging). For example a hiking trail series; a devious urban hide; a physical challenge.
      4. Lastly, a well crafted cache page (cache page, AR experience). History lesson, puzzle (I don't mind well done puzzles to be easy tree hangars in town).
    • A superb cache meets 2 of these metrics.
    • An exceptional cache meets 3.
  2. In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
    • Low quality caches are caches that are:
      1. Not maintained (owner hasn't logged on for years; does not respond to multiple DNF's or Maintenance flags)
        • No log, receipt log, soaked log, broken container, etc.
      2. Not always, but often hidden by users with less than 2-100 finds.
      3. Bad final coords, where inexperienced owners will not figure out how to update.
      4. A cache placed not meeting any of the 4 metrics mentioned for quality.
      5. A cache with misleading information (size, terrain, difficulty, attributes, hint, etc.)
  3. What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
    1. Log DNF's. Some people feel that this means they're recognizing failure. It's ok to not be able to find a cache after looking, plus it helps the owners.
    2. Flag caches needing maintenance.
    3. Do not replace cache without owner permission--and typically only if found, or owner tells you where the cache was placed and hidden.
  4. What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
    1. Reward DNF logs? (100 DNF's get a favorite, souvenirs, etc.)
    2. If Difficulty or Terrain is  1-3, auto flag caches "Needs Maintenance" after 3 or 5 DNF logs? (This should not happen on D/T 4 or above, hard caches are hard and should get DNF's). They should not need to be maintained every DNF by an owner that proves the cache is there, active, and difficult.
    3. Review caches needing maintenance.
    4. Reach out to inactive owners with active caches.
    5. Make adoption easier.
    6. Improve favorites. The favorite system is designed towards low quality caches. HQ inherently says only 1 in 10 caches should receive a favorite. So should only 1 in 10 caches an owner places should be good? I find in my area the ratio is bad (which is awesome because we have a lot of high quality owners) and thus I run out of favorites. I have to say in my logs: "will try to remember to favorite when I have the points". Meaning I need to find 10 other low quality caches.
      • Perhaps at 100/250/500/1000 finds, etc, you get bonus favorites.
      • The ratio 1/10 changes after 100? finds.
    7. Perhaps Basic members should be able favorite caches, since they can place caches. Maybe they need to think quality too.
      • I've seen some basic member caches ignored since they have <5 finds (coords are often wrong, or cache is low quality). This probably hurts HQ in that no one finds this new member cache, and thus they lose interest or are hurt do to lack of community response.
    8. Should Basic members be able to place caches? Or a Basic member can only place caches in ratio to find count (1 per 20 finds). Or unlimited placements after 1000 finds.
    9. A Basic member unlocks being able to place a cache after a certain number of finds (20? ie. not 0 or 1).
    10. Reward members that are the heart and soul of good geocaching. Lifetime memberships, free month/year of membership (upgrade a basic membership if a cache gets 20+ favorites, or 50%+ favorites after 10 finds).
    11. Be able to specify why favorite is given (location, container, experience, page), which would enable better filtering. ("I'm on vacation on want to see awesome geocache locations...")
    12. Ability for members to be able to donate $ to cache owners--encouraging more awesome creations.
    13. HQ asks a lot from the community, and also gives the use of this amazing resource. Perhaps HQ could figure out ways to incentivize it's members and creators that give so much of their time back and money (creating awesome caches, events, etc.).
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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

Others have described high quality caches quite well.  But there are more than just High Quality and Low Quality.  Some caches are just OK.  If we only had High Quality caches, then we wouldn't have very many caches.  There is something to be said for Park & Grabs and Power Trails.  Personally I have never done a Power Trail as that does not appeal to me, but I understand their appeal to others.  That's OK.  Sometimes I like Park & Grabs; sometimes not.  That's OK.  I'm not "All About Numbers" but I do care about them.  I've found caches in all 50 states and some were just P&Gs.  For me, that made them quality caches. 

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

Again others have defined this pretty well.  Poor coordinates are my biggest peeve. 

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

Help out cache owners with dry logs, baggies, or even fresh containers.  Post good coordinates when posted coordinates are poor.  Sometimes caches are where caches should not be, e.g. causes erosion or other environmental damage.  These should be noted in the log.  Depending on the seriousness, a Needs Maintenance or Needs Archive log should be posted. 

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

I'm in Michigan and the Michigan reviewers are great.  This may not be the case everywhere.  Good reviewers could be given more authority to disable/archive caches.  An additional kind of volunteer might be recruited from the very experienced ranks of cachers.  These volunteers could be called upon to check on caches that are questionable.  Sometimes multiple DNFs only means the difficulty rating should be higher; other times the cache should be archived.  The volunteer could make that recommendation to the reviewer. 

The Geocache Health Score appears to have been an attempt to improve cache quality.  But the algorithm appears to be secret.  Why?  I own about 100 active caches and I don't know the Geocache Health Score for any of them.  Why?  Let me see the score so I can take action before the reviewer has to get involved. 

Newbies should not place caches.  Require 100 finds before approving a new cache owner (reviewers may grant exceptions).  An example of an exception: the wife is an avid cacher with thousands of finds and the husband only has a dozen.  But the husband is a tinker and creates great gadget caches.  He should be able to place caches. 

If the cache description does not describe the cache container, then the reviewer should be allowed to ask for additional information.  A ziplock bag in the crotch of a tree is NOT a geocache.

In addition to awarding Fav Points, allow cachers to rate the quality of description (including puzzle or challenge), container, placement, coordinates, and log. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sludge_Shoveler
had another idea I forgot to include
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OK, I can see my vote won't be counted unless I play by the rules, so here are my answers:

 

On 6/18/2018 at 3:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

A high quality geocache is a cache I enjoyed finding that had something special. I won't bother to explain what I think is "special" because I want other people to get the high quality caches they want even if their idea of what makes a cache special disagrees with mine.

 

On 6/18/2018 at 3:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

A low quality geocache is a cache I enjoyed finding but that didn't have anything I considered special.

 

On 6/18/2018 at 3:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

Naturally, the most important step a community can take to improve geocache quality is to plant high quality geocaches. That goes without saying, doesn't it?

 

Beyond that, geocache communities should be like any other healthy community, encouraging people to plant the kinds of caches they like by praising the caches they enjoyed through logs, private mail, personal interaction, and any other way they can think of.

 

On 6/18/2018 at 3:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

Geoocaching HQ can help by encouraging communities to take charge of their cache environment. They could explain and emphasize, through education and example, the importance of the cooperative and friendly relation between seekers and cache owners. Geocaching rules should support a smooth procedure and avoid trying to encourage a universal standard of "high quality" that might work against the standards of the local community.

Edited by dprovan
add missing "is a" to the first sentence.
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The proximity rules need to be refined.

For example, a cache within a tenth of a mile on the other side of a virtually impassable geographical feature like a river, n-lane divided highway, railroad tracks etc. still fail the proximity rule.  This takes really high-value/quality hiding spots totally out of play. So a 'lame' lock-n-lock, meh, hide destroys the possibility of creative, exiting, innovative, high-quality hides on structures near-by.  The game has evolved far beyond ammo boxes in the woods where the proximity rule makes sense.

 

So I propose more parameters be introduced to the proximity algorithm:

1. Multi-caches and Puzzle caches need to be completely eliminated from the rule!!!!!!!!!!!!  I've had too much energy, thought, creativity and hard work wiped out by multi/puzzle caches because I had NO way of knowing their proximity to the new hide I started working on.  Most of my hides consume weeks or months of consideration and planning and only 'fit' in a very specific location/structure.  Then after all that effort, I submit and get "sorry, ..." 

2. Reviewer judgement (tricky, I admit)

3. Recent finds of proximal hide(s) (this is a community after all; eventually the community will die out if there are no new hides for them to find because the area is saturated! Seriously, think about it!!)  Eventually many areas will have a super dense population of hides that haven't had any new hides or finds for years.

4. The number of faves (as in ZERO or close too) of the proximal hide

5. The likely-hood that the proposed hide will make a significant positive contribution to the game; perhaps based upon the candidate hider's track record/fave counts

6. Premium vs Non-Premium Proximities

7. Other parameters left to other's imaginations that would allow quality hides to be accepted that 'violate' the, in my opinion, overly sterile and stifling proximity rule (note the singular use of the word 'rule')

 

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21 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. 

 

Please don't do that. Active cacher's would quicly run out of caches to find in their area.

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  • In your mind, what is a high-quality geocache?
  • Not a micro! A cache means just that. A box with goodies in it, especially to attract children. Hidden in an area where people would not have known about if it wasn't for geocaching. A great view or some historical place.
  • In your mind, what is a low-quality geocache?
  • All micros and nanos. They are NOT caches! You cannot leave goodies in them. Ban them completely, especially magnetic ones on the back of road signs!
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
  • Avoid nanos and micros and leave negative comments.
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
  • Don't let any geocachers place a cache unless they have found at least 100. Discourage nanos and micros as they are not real caches.

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On 18/06/2018 at 11:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 One which started with the cache setter thinking "This is a place I'd like to bring people to." , and continued with the development of a well presented cache page with interesting, relevant, spell checked content, and co-ordinates averaged after at least 2 readings at different times. A container whose size, weatherproofness and camouflage are appropriate for the location , which is durable and  hidden with thought for the environment, the future growth of vegetation,  and security from muggle interference  .

 

If the C.O. goes to the extra effort of making their listing an earthcache, or a puzzle cache, or a Wherigo cache, that's extra kudos in my book.

 

On 18/06/2018 at 11:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

One which started with the thought, "Where can I drop this cheap/free container right by parking ? That will do !" and continued with a minimum effort cache page, quick and dirty co-ordinates,  and a flimsy container doomed to maintenance issues.

 

On 18/06/2018 at 11:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

Write proper, individual logs for each cache. Good logs (and favourites from premium members)  are the ONLY reward quality cache setters get to spur them into setting more caches that are praise worthy. If every cache you find gets the same copy/paste blah,  you are reinforcing the idea that every find is nothing more than a +1 on your count, whether it was a good, bad or indifferent cache.

 

Shift the culture (don't ask me how, I have no idea) away from streak maintaining, calendar filling, number chasing, competitive , 'achievement' orientation for empty applause on social media. and onto simple personal experiences for your own quiet satisfaction. Think for yourself, decide what is really worthwhile, don't automatically follow the herd.

 

Place quality caches, and treat those you find well, remembering that there is a person behind each listing. Sadly in my area some of the respected cache setters have given up because of useless logs which give them no feedback, and thoughtless finders causing maintenance issues through careless closing and re-hiding of containers .

 

 

On 18/06/2018 at 11:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality

 

There is a tension developing between the desire of many cachers to compete on statistics, which encourages high numbers of low quality cheap quick and easy to place (and find)  caches, and the desire of other cachers ( often GPS wielding , computer using dinosaurs like me )  to have fewer but better quality caches with more effort put into them. I'm starting to think the two aims are incompatible, and that a single cache database cannot satisfy both audiences. The more Groundspeak moves towards the former type of cache and cacher, the more likely you are to lose the quality cache setters, either lost to the game entirely, or to other listing sites.

 

Please don't continue to encourage low quality cache setting with your choice of souvenir tasks. Could you base one on cache age ? Is it possible to select caches which have , lets say, been in place for 5+ years,  have no needs archived logs, and had at least 2 owner maintenance visits in years before the current one ? ( A flurry of backdated OM logs ensues !)

 

Do come up with an interactive quiz about cache setting which has to be completed before anyone can set any caches (it's a quiz, its fun ! Not a test, that would be no fun ...) Get some experienced cachers who are also teachers (they know how to phrase questions unambiguously whilst provoking thought) to come up with questions. Set the quiz up so that a different selection of questions appear randomly each time you run it,  and not getting the required score means you take the test again after a 24 hour wait.

Give those 'Officially Qualified Cache Setters' a souvenir, or a profile badge or something, with an extra special super shiny one for people who get 100% on the test.

 

Strange, but the above trick works, even on a cynical person like me : my cellphone provider has a badge based 'mission' to get users acquainted  with their website and services, and despite not being interested in most of the features on offer, I've had a go out of curiosity  to see what badges I can score on a profile no-one but me ever sees !

 

Set a low, achievable cache finding hurdle to qualify to take the cache setter quiz .... say 20 cache finds or 28 days from the first find, whichever is reached first.

 

Don't devolve any subjective cache quality decisions on to the reviewers, they have enough hassle to deal with already, and a dispassionate objective set of rules makes their (unpaid) job as straightforward as it can be.

 

I do like the idea of super favourites per 100 finds ( even mega fav.s too , for the top  0.01% of your cache finds ...) , the current 10% of finds = fav.s is somewhat generous, I see people giving them to each cache they FTF , and to unremarkable caches which happen to be placed by their friends, neither of which is really  relevant as a guide to cache quality for other folk looking for worthwhile targets.

 

How about if fav.s had a specific category e.g. great location, excellent container, brilliant puzzle , or you had to tag the fav. by typing a short reason for the award, which showed up in the listing , then cachers would think carefully about awarding them.

 

I don't like the downvote/rating idea, too much opportuntiy for unpleasantness and grudge pursuing. A lack of favourites and lukewarm online logs are all the implied criticism we need .

 

Motivate good cache hiders : award a trackable number to COs with a cache with over a certain number of fav.s, or who have maintained a hide for 5 years. Exclude any CO with a listing archived by a reviewer for lack of maintenance from hiding a cache for a period of time, or make them do the quiz again ...

Have some sort of nomination system (maybe using the mega favourites ) and award a months premium-ness (or extension of premium-ness) to a few cache hiders in an area every year -  have the reviewers privately rate the COs on their interactions too , the reviewers get a good idea of who is going the extra mile to make caching fun and who treats people decently.

 

 

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15 hours ago, morgansandcoke said:

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).

An excellent idea.

 

Simply requiring x-number of finds won't work because some areas don't have enough caches.  Also, finding only caches of the same type isn't sufficient experience.

 

Edited by Gill & Tony
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2 hours ago, hal-an-tow said:

There is a tension developing between the desire of many cachers to compete on statistics, which encourages high numbers of low quality cheap quick and easy to place (and find)  caches, and the desire of other cachers ( often GPS wielding , computer using dinosaurs like me )  to have fewer but better quality caches with more effort put into them. I'm starting to think the two aims are incompatible, and that a single cache database cannot satisfy both audiences.

1

 

You may be right.

 

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

A high quality cache is where the owner has placed the cache in a spot that is fantastic, and also camouflaged the cache itself with something interesting.

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

I would have to say there are no low quality caches as long as they have not been taken.

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

Make sure you write a note to the owner if something is wrong.

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

You are doing a great job.

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While many good responses I'm only going to address the question of 

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

I know and seen quite a few programs, steps taken, ect that have supposedly been implemented (meaning I can not personally confirm nor personally see the effect from) by HQ but feel that they are either not being followed through with or missing the mark. While I have a recent post about too many small and micros caches I think that HQ might not be taking a more aggressive/harder stance that is needed (in my opinion). I truly would like to see where cache owners who have ANY caches that have need maintenance on a cache for over two weeks automatically be prevented from placing new caches. Granted the CO could just post a log saying they maintained the cache but if the next one or two logs by cachers say need maintenance then the CO should be banned from placing caches until offending caches are archived. Yes... I feel that if a CO is caught not maintaining the cache when a CO said that a  cache was maintained the cache  should automatically be shut down. This all comes back to old topics (do a search they are out there) of some CO placing way to many caches to a point they can't maintain them. Once again, supposedly things have been implemented to curb this but I still see CO in my area with huge number of hides and many with "Needs Maintenance" on them.

 

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43 minutes ago, PCFrog said:

I truly would like to see where cache owners who have ANY caches that have need maintenance on a cache for over two weeks automatically be prevented from placing new caches.

 

It is rules like this that would do more damage than good. Imagine you are making an event, busy planning 10+ caches, almost ready to create the listings, then someone posts a NM on one of your old caches. You go out there and realize something is broken, and at home you realize the spare part is not available until after the event. Tough luck, you have to cancel the event now, because you can't create the caches for it no more.

 

I know it's a very specific situation, but my point is that these blanket rules tends to do more damage than good. I reckon most cachers that ignores NM logs, are probably more likely to just abandon their new cache, than fix their old cache. While that is probably a good thing, the reason for the rule (to get the old cache fixed) doesn't happen anyway, but at the same time that rule ruins it for a lot more people.

 

If anything the reviewers could disable the option to create new caches from problematic hiders, but I don't feel like the reviewers needs more weight on their shoulders.

 

I strongly believe we need less rules, and more community engagement.

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

  • An interesting location (scenic view, hiking trail, historic/educational, unique place in the local community, etc.)
  • An a creative hide that is appropriate for the location (magnetic nanos that are well camouflaged in urban areas, larger yet still well-hidden containers for wooded areas)
  • A challenging, unique or educational puzzle
  • And obviously, a clean, dry, well maintained container 

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

  • Caches that don't match the cache description (ex: cache was originally an ammo can but now it is a very small container and CO never updated the page, attributes incorrect - especially the available in winter attribute)
  • Field puzzles that are missing key information due to changes in signage, etc. (especially when multiple logs point this out and the CO does nothing)
  • Cache locations near thorns, poison ivy, or a bunch of litter
  • Multiple pill bottle caches by the same owner close together along a trail (I'm sure some people like these since they are so prevalent, but I don't)
  • Caches where it's hard not to look suspicious (ex: in the center of a small town and your obviously an outsider poking around) 
  • Caches that are owned by active cachers but they are not maintained (my least favorite of all are caches that are part of a series so the the rest of the series is also unavailable)

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

  • Don't put out replacement caches. Unless the cache has significant value, such as caches remaining from the early days of geocaching, would it be such a big deal for that cache to get archived if the owner can't/won't maintain it? This would open the area up for another cacher to place a new cache.
  • Only place caches you can realistically maintain. For some people it could be 5, for others it could be 500. Know your limits.
  • Owners could archive some of their run-of-the-mill caches occasionally so new people can have a chance to hide in the area, especially if they own many caches along the same trail or in the same park. This would also provide some new caches for veteran cachers who have found everything in the area.
  • Host events to teach new cachers how to hide better caches. Take them to some great caches in the area as examples.
  • Local geocaching groups could create "cache of the month" or similar lists to showcase great caches. I've seen old bookmarks like this in my area, but it doesn't seem to be something that is currently being updated.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

  • When an active cacher moves away, make them submit a plan for how they will maintain caches now that they no longer live in the area. In my opinion, cachers who move should either archive or have someone adopt their caches unless they make frequent visits to the area.
  • Don't let someone place excessive caches in the same park/trail at the same time. Some cachers fill a park with a bunch of identical caches leaving no room for someone else to place one.
  • Allow anonymous feedback for bad caches, kind of like the opposite of a favorite. Feedback should be specific about the problem with the cache. Having it not displayed on the cache page could prevent people from ganging up on another cacher, but it could provide reviewers another tool to know who the delinquent cache owners are. Cachers with too much negative feedback shouldn't be allowed to place new caches.

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?


Experience
What kind of experience is the CO trying to bring to other cachers?
Surely, experience is the "overall package" on "location", "container" as well as the "story/listing/puzzle".
If you find a good cache, you will understand why CO put a cache there, with that container and that story.

 

Quote

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?


Cache only hide for "quantity"
So many COs will hide a cache without any good reason, they hide it becoz that gz is empty.
This kind of cache can be easily identity by the cache description, images and logs.

 

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What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?


No more "hi-bye" event
For tourists which is fine to held an event in other country, but for local cacher, most events were created only for other to get an new souvenir or a found.

Log your experience properly
Align with the first question, a good cache bring good experience to cacher, whereas a log with experience will also bring more people to this game.

 

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What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?


1. Stop promoting "quantity" over "quality"
HQ is ironically promoting "quantity" over "quality",
e.g. FP can only be given on every 10 finds
     Recent promotion, Friend league, Mary Hyde, Planetary Pursuit, and Hidden Creatures, that's all for "quantity"
    
2. Official Mobile App is a disaster
For a newbie (non-PM), official mobile app is actually "discouraging" them to join geocaching.
There are so many restrictions on the mobile apps (DT >2, only view a few cache type), whereas there is no such restriction on web site or 3rd party app

 

3. New CO requirement
Many trash caches are created by new CO, they may only join the game shortly and left, certain requirement should be added before they can hide their 1st cache, e.g. number of found

 

4. Fav point system enhancement
Current fav point system is too simple, it can be easily enhance it with score 1-10.
Also, when someone log a cache and decided to give a fav point, a separate section at log (just like "quote" tag in html, can be provided for cacher to fill in "why they give a fav point"
Then other cacher would have a better idea, what make people give fav point and how to improve their own cache.

 

5. Reward system to CO
Being a CO is much harder than a normal cacher, and it is pure voluntarily behavior, imagine people from different place of the world, buy/create a container, find a good place, hide a cache and let other to play, what do they get?
Virtual Rewards is absolutely a good way to reward them, and it should be continued
Also, there are "Cache of the week", except the logo, what else can be rewards to the CO?

 

6. New regular event
Currently, only CITO is a regular event, Mega/Giga is only limited to large countries.
Do you still remember the "The Maker Madness"? Which is a good way to appreciate those makers.
Also, many newbies in geocaching, regular event (once a year) like "Geocaching Newbie workshop" would be good

 

7. New cache type
I don't really understand how hard to create a new cache type by HQ.
Like the previous "Challenge cache" and "AR_" cache, HQ don't want to create a new cache type, so they only group them as "Mystery"
I don't remember when and what is the last cache type added into geocaching, and HQ just keep grandfather the old type.

 

Last but not least

Lastly, after the Pokemon game evolved, the number of cacher dropped significantly, these few years HQ only promote those "quantity" event (Friend league, Mary Hyde, Planetary Pursuit, and Hidden Creatures), geocaching is not a mobile game, we play not becoz of those number / souvenirs.


Also, CO is definitely the most precious treasure for geocaching, we can't stop some people hiding low quality cache, but we can reward those hearty CO bring good cache to the others.

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2 hours ago, wanrex said:

Also, CO is definitely the most precious treasure for geocaching, we can't stop some people hiding low quality cache, but we can reward those hearty CO bring good cache to the others.

 

Exactly.

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