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Geocaching HQ

Geocache Quality

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

  • Location, location, location Caches in interesting/scenic locations are always nice
  • In-theme hides for puzzle caches.
  • I consider puzzle caches in their entirety. A creative puzzle that is challenging and fun but with a final under a lamp post skirt is still high quality -not as high as one with an in-theme location or container at the final though. A very hard puzzle does not deserve a super hard find to my mind. Constructing it added the quality.
  • This may seem odd but caches requiring collaboration among cachers are high quality. We have a few around here and they are always liked. Encourage cachers to work/cache together.
  • COs who do the above tend to put out robust containers and maintain them.
  • Enough log sheets to match the expected number of finds before local interest is completed and some spare capacity to reduce the need for immediate run to replace the log. If size limits log space, then the CO should step up and replace it when full with little delay.

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

  • Bad coordinates
  • Placement in an area with high muggle scrutiny or areas where searching is going to raise a lot of suspicion like children's playgrounds, security-sensitive infrastructure, container that could be mistaken for a bomb like a PVC pipe with caps on both ends.
  • Container that won't stand up to the environment for more than a few weeks or breaks on usage

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

  • Educate new cachers on "Paying it forward". If they are provided with a half dozen spare log sheets and encouraged to add one when needed rather logging a Needs Maintenance, the next cacher will have a good experience. Sometimes, the CO cannot get out immediately -particularly if the cache is miles down a trail. If you are there, do a good deed. 
  • Mentoring program to have local cachers prepared to help a newbie through hiding their first cache
  • Beta testing volunteers who check puzzles before publication to be sure there are not problems. They cannot be FTF though.
  • Local Geocaching org have a team of seasoned volunteers willing to confirm that lonely caches are still there. See Tallahassee Area Geocachers for how they do it.

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

  • Quick online training of say 5 things you need to know before you qualify to hide your first geocache. 
    •  Getting good coordinates and confirming with Satellite view
    • Good/bad containers and logs
    • Problematic hide areas
    •  Disclose all to your reviewer so they can spot any newbie mistakes rather than leaving it to the first finder
    • Puzzles should have a geo-checker or Certitude
    • Maybe too much work for reviewers but having them note obviously inappropriate DT ratings
    • Provide an advisory flag for caches where the CO has not visited the site in say 3 months (might be an issue for pure API users though)

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8 hours ago, TeAm G Winchester said:

Why don't you submit a survey to all members via email link and a product like survwey monkey, instead of placing a survey on the forums where you have a small subset of the player on?

 

When we send a survey via email, we can only send it to people who have opted in to marketing messages. That leaves out a potentially sizable portion of the community. Besides, for this first phase, we wanted people to not just be able to provide their feedback, but also to see other cachers' feedback. 

 

As mentioned in the original post, please direct any other general comments about the project to this thread in the General Discussions forum. Thanks.

 

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On 2018-06-19 at 12:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

 

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

Anything that has a *point*. Location, gadget cache, high D, high T, beautiful containers, unusual constructions, clever hiding place... doesn't matter which as long as the CO had a *reason* to make it, more than making "just another one".

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

Simple same-same-same caches. Several identical trivialities after each other, all alike. Pointless fillers are not good but the worst are the repetitive ones.

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

Use your FPs and use them sensibly, place each FP as recommendation for a specific cache. Give good feedback (not necessarily long, just relevant) to good caches.

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

Not sure. Is there some way to disencourage bad trails? Limit the number of new caches per month? But there are often workarounds for such rules.

 

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

A high quality cache is a cache that is in theme and has put some work and effort in it. A cache worth driving some distance to find it. A cache that is placed in a nice spot and that has maintenance if neccesary. Not all caches have to be high quality but the high quality caches make geocaching so much fun

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

Simple boxes dropped somewhere without any effort done to it.

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

Make sure the person who wants to hide a cache meets the requirement of how long they've been active and how many finds they have. Promote high quality caches and placing those. Placing a high quality multi cache needs time and money and taking that effort should be rewarded.

Especcialy for multis it would be wonderfull if there was an option to reserve an area. We made a small multi ut with costs. The period from ordering and making items with coordinates on them to publishing was quite stressfull because of the possibility of someone else was placing a plastic tube in the forrest we wanted to use.

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

The last souvenir hunts have been about numbers instead of quality. The coming hunt requires 100 caches to be found. That makes people trying to find as many as possible instead of finding one good multicache. Because of trying to find as many instead of trying to find good caches cache owners place rounds with a bonus instead of a nice multicache with a good story.

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18 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Okay, but I'm curious how that could be implemented. Someone going for a challenge would just be doing a search or PQ to find out what nearby caches meet the challenge requirements, but how do you stop that while still allowing non-challenge-seekers to search for or PQ your cache? Sure you could block the challenge checker from accepting it, but by the time they're running the checker, they've already visited your cache and left their distasteful non-FP log.

 

That really shoudn't be a problem... A simple attribute. Just as there is for beacon-caches. If you are working on a challenge - search for caches without the attribute.

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What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

· Remove the number of finds from every page. A high number doesn't equal geocaching greatness but that's the implication.  

 

· Display the number of hides on more places. 

 

· Display the favourite point ratio and not the total number. A cache with 100% favourite points is better than one with 100 points but only 20%.

 

· Stop discouraging caching purely for the numbers. The current promotion (hidden creatures) is a prime negative example.

 

· Rotate reviewers and have community involvement for appointing them. Reviewer bias discourages some great hiders

 

· Have reviewers for different type of caches (puzzles, power-trails, T5s, ...) who actually understands this category and give useful advice to the less experienced hiders. 

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To improve the geocaching experience; ban children's playground caches. 'Grandfather' present ones; they generally have short lives anyway. Don't allow new ones. A single man hanging around a playground is a suspicious look, and in a worse case situation, could involve a phone call to the police. It isn't great for a single female either.

However, if a 500 cache find was imposed before anyone could publish a cache, I would speculate that there would be few new playground caches published, because the geocacher would have had a chance to know better by then, and that most geocaches won't think, 'this is a lovely thing to do while your children are enjoying the playground'.

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8 hours ago, Beultjes said:
What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

The last souvenir hunts have been about numbers instead of quality. The coming hunt requires 100 caches to be found. That makes people trying to find as many as possible instead of finding one good multicache. Because of trying to find as many instead of trying to find good caches cache owners place rounds with a bonus instead of a nice multicache with a good story.

 

I second that! Souvenirs that encourage power trailing are not good for the hobby. They encourage areas packed full with D1.5T1.5 petlings. How about finding caches of varying D/T? Varying types? Sizes?

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On 2018-06-19 at 12:13 AM, Geocaching HQ said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

One particular issue came to mind: Challenge quality. There were rule changes made for making it easier to review challenges. I understand that, but the result was that (1) many fun and beneficial challenges are no longer allowed and (2) a considerable number of very bad challenges have arrived.

 

So what is a good challenge? It is *challenging*. It is a reasonable but not trivial task that you can perform in a limited time. It may also be one that is beneficial for the hobby as a side effect. Great example: Find one of the 10 caches in an area that have not been found in the longest time. Other decent challenges: Find 10 multis in a week. Find at least 6 types in one day. Having done it before accepting the challenge should *not* count!

 

And what is a bad challenge? "Look what I have done after caching for 8 years. You can't do that! Ha-ha!" This is what many challenges feel like. Double calendar? Full calendar with multis? That is not a challenge, it is a humiliation against beginners. They get a "challenge" that takes years to complete! Also, those non-challenge challenges are often solved *effortlessly* by experienced cachers. Oh, a new challenge. Click in checker. Done! Not a challenge!

 

Challenges should pose a reasonable challenge to *anyone*. Harder for some, easier for some, but not trivial to some and unreasonable for others. Working hard for a challenge for several years is not a challenge, it is *work*. And they should *never* be auto-fulfilled beforehand with no effort. Challenges are *accepted*, then fulfilled. What you did three years ago should not matter.

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6 hours ago, º said:

· Stop discouraging caching purely for the numbers. The current promotion (hidden creatures) is a prime negative example.

 

You mean "encouraging", right?

 

6 hours ago, º said:

· Have reviewers for different type of caches (puzzles, power-trails, T5s, ...) who actually understands this category and give useful advice to the less experienced hiders. 

 

This is to some extent already the case. I know that earth caches have a separate reviewer here.

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6 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

To improve the geocaching experience; ban children's playground caches.

 

That's already the case in the UK where reviewers won't publish such a cache, or a cache which is considered too close to a school. I think this may be better handled at the country level rather than a worlwide ban.

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Just now, MartyBartfast said:
6 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

To improve the geocaching experience; ban children's playground caches.

 

That's already the case in the UK where reviewers won't publish such a cache, or a cache which is considered too close to a school. I think this may be better handled at the country level rather than a worlwide ban.

 

Not entirely true.

 

Caches close to schools and playgrounds are regularly published in our local area.

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One question at a time. This may take a while :D

 

What is a high quality geocache?

 

I have been reflecting on these questions and have read many of the answers already submitted.  Many (but not all) answers have the same issue.  The person concerned has answered from their point of view about what geocaching is or what it should be. And of course that has value.

 

But geocaching is many different things to different people. And this is essential to really understand.

 

Some like to chase total numbers – the more finds the better. Some like long hikes. Some like technical climbing of one sort or another. Some like to kayak. Some like to solve puzzles. Some want to fill specific goals – Fizzy, Jasmer, every day of the year, or particular cache types. These goals are countless - just look at the myriad of Challenge caches out there. Some like going out alone, some with their family, and for some it is a social adventure best performed in groups. Some do it when they travel, others do it every day.

 

And so there are many different “tribes’ of geocachers.

 

And like tribes anywhere, there is a sense of loyalty to “my” tribe.  And this loyalty can become passionate to the point of trying to convince everyone else who does not play this game “my” way that they are “wrong”.

 

I enjoy high difficulty puzzles and high terrain finds. A good day for me rarely has even 10 finds. I was quietly smug that my way was the “best” way. And then about a year ago I met an experienced geocacher who held a very strong view that puzzles were the worst thing in geocaching.  I thought she must find them difficult and suggested they are not all hard to do and offered to help. She explained that for her the problem is not solving them because she is quite good at that (and I know now that she is) but rather that she would prefer to spend 10 minutes out in the field finding three traditional hides, than “waste” those 10 minutes solving a puzzle. She also felt that the unknowns/puzzles blocked people from hiding more traditional caches for her to find, as hiders do not know where the gaps really are. She would prefer they were removed from the game. To her it is all about getting a container in her hand and anything else is less relevant. She felt this is how it all began back in 2000 and too many complications have been introduced since then. She “knows” her view is “right”.

 

This view was radically different to mine.

 

However, as I thought about it, I realised that the way she plays gives her enjoyment. She has been playing for longer than me and has many more finds. She has many friends in the game and enjoys going out with others. And if I am honest there are probably more players closer to her viewpoint and her way of playing than there are to mine.  I could claim that “my” way is somehow more noble as I take on difficult puzzles and/or difficult terrain (and in fact I feel a small glow of self-satisfaction while writing this) but that is an egocentric view.  There is no reason that her way of playing is inherently less “correct” or less “valuable” than mine. 

 

And the follow-on from that is that there is no one right way to play. And clearly there are many more than two ways.

 

So in my personal view a “high quality geocache” is one with a good puzzle, a good container and a good hide, especially if they somehow all have a theme which matches.  And I really don’t like power trails.  But I recognize that there are others who love power trails and for them a string of identical easy to find containers every couple of hundred yards alongside a long road is just what they want to have a great day out.  And for others there is nothing more rewarding than a long hike to get that one remote unloved cache. And these ways of geocaching are not more or less valid than mine.

 

There are also people that do all of these at different times.  Recently at the Geowoodstock Giga I met a couple who I knew by reputation as very clever puzzle creators and puzzle solvers.  I was glad to meet “kindred spirits”. However, I was surprised to hear they had just spent a week or so in Nevada and elsewhere doing power trails with their quietest day being just over 500 finds. And this didn’t change anything about their puzzle capacity. They clearly just like a number of different elements in the game.

 

While at the Giga we got caught up in the excitement running around with others doing Geoart trails, two Geotours, and generally caching in ways we would not usually do. We found the most caches in one day that we ever have. And we enjoyed ourselves. Quite a lot.

 

So while I think most people would agree that a cleverly constructed cache with perhaps a field puzzle element (but one which is not too hard) and/or one where the container and/or the hide surprises you and makes you smile is a good geocache. But they probably can’t all be like that.  I would really love to create and hide caches like goblindust’s caches, but sadly I do not have that sort of creative skill. 

 

What about Favorite Points? Surely, they must be a reliable way of identifying the best caches? And to an extent this is probably true. However, as a very experienced geocaching colleague has said “Favorite Points beget Favorite Points”.  So, if a cache gets a few FPs early on, others may jump on that bandwagon to feel like they fit in.  And so more FPs appear. Equally some of the best (in my view) crafted caches that I have seen have very few finds at all because of their difficult access or a difficult puzzle. And so, if there are very few finders, then there can only be very few FPs.

 

To check this viewpoint, one only needs to look at the myriad of Challenge caches. So many different options are there, even after the rules were tightened. We have a series in South Australia called SFE Challenges – Something For Everyone.  The idea was to have a mix of challenges so that the all different types of geocachers can have a goal to chase or can find a challenge that they already fulfill. This in turn ‘rewards” them and validates the way they play or have played. The obvious problem when the first set of SFE Challenges went out was that the CO could only create challenges that they themselves qualified for – so only ones which matched their own way of playing.  However now there are SFE Challenge caches put out by at least 4 different COs who all play in different ways and this has created different challenges the original CO does not qualify for (and may never do so), but which others do and which they will be keen to achieve. 

 

 

And as a flow on what is a low quality geocache?

 

A poor geocache is also a little bit harder to define than it might first appear. Even a seemingly endless row of identical roadside containers, which many would disparage, are clearly a type enjoyed by other players given the number of finds such trails get. However, to take a more extreme view most people would not be keen on an isolated poorly maintained cache in a spot where there is no reason to visit other than the cache, especially a place full of rubbish.  So very bad and very good is probably the best we can get agreement on.

 

I also think we can add caches which cause too much anger or disputes to the low quality pool.  GCHQ has dealt with this issue in the past. For example it appears this was a major reason behind the review of/changes to Challenge cache guidelines.

 

Finally, do we need Unfavorite Points?  Personally I think that would be unwise.  They could too easily become a weapon to be used by someone passionate about their own tribe. Needs Maintenance and Needs Archived which are both essential to the game, already get inappropriately used this way in some case.

 

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

We can start to consider this in the light of the above.  We do have to avoid the tribal view which can be as strong as “ban all those people and caches that don’t match what I think the game should be”. Even my colleague mentioned above would not really want that.

To me things like, helping to repair damaged caches, politely raising issues with the CO, and logging DNFs all seem reasonable and good.  But equally I have seen people who get agitated about each of these. And so we become divided by opinion again. 

The question arises about Volunteer Reviewers and where they fit. Should they be viewed as part of the community or as part of GCHQ?

My view is they fit into both and should act as an important conduit between the two. It is clear reviewers can be subject to all sorts of pressure – some from their perception of what CGCHQ wants (which may differ from the reality), some from their local geocaching community, and some from their inner selves and from their own view of what the game should be.

Having "shared knowledge" and understanding is important for a group to be cohesive, and that starts at the top and so leads on to the final question.

 

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

It is surprising to some that there are not more “rules” imposed by GCHQ, especially to those who have a strong view of how everyone else should play the game. They want GCHQ to make more rules. Examples include - that a geocacher must climb the tree themselves, they must solve the puzzle themselves, they must even write their own name in each and every logbook to claim a find. In the past I have certainly heard people state all of these as “rules”. I am pretty sure that none of them are to the extent people may want or believe.

 

Which begs the question as to why not?  The answer lies in the paragraphs above. GCHQ inherently understands that the game is different things to different people and as such wants to interfere to the minimal amount possible. Why? Because it is also a business and understand that any extra rule is likely to annoy someone who may then stop playing. And customers are important in a business. And a business must be responsive to its customer base. This is an overly simplistic view but the themes are valid.

 

I have noticed that in appeals to GCHQ there is a tendency to support the Community Reviewer initially or at least to try to understand their perspective. This makes sense as these people are a huge part of the business model and the game. In addition, it provides a chance to help refocus a Community Reviewer whose viewpoint is different to that of GCHQ. This is all good.

 

All of these things may help to improve/maintain geocache quality.

 

And what new steps can be taken?

 

A personal (maybe tribal) view - maybe there do need to be a few more rules in certain areas even if just to enhance consistency between reviewers. Inconsistency is something that annoys most people more than even a hard and fast rule they don’t like. But good rules should have data /evidence behind them.

 

A number of people have expressed the view that it would be good to make it a rule that you must have a certain number of finds and a certain amount of time in the game before you can hide a cache. I see this as an attempt to “solve a problem” of "poor caches" which they attribute to such hiders.  I do not know what the data on this shows but if there is any then that should be used to decide if A: this is a significant problem and B: how a given remedy might address the problem. 

 

So we get to data. Data is king when it comes to making good decisions. It trumps opinion every time. I understand that GCHQ is using more and more data and this is important and will help with decisions. The value of this can probably not be underestimated. But equally sometimes there is not enough hard data in certain areas and this should not stop decisions from occurring.

 

And Culture is important too. In the case of geocaching the culture occurs in groups but is also world-wide. This is where GCHQ must show leadership. Given many geocachers could cache for a year without considering GCHQ except as some sort of abstract entity, this is a seriously difficult challenge.

 

One way of showing leadership is change management. And attempts at this are clear with new elements being introduced into the game - such as new souvenirs, and even potentially new cache types. Novelty can keep people interested and stop them getting bored, but for others too much change may “ruin” something they already saw as pretty good. So there must be a balance.

 

So back to improving Geocache quality? Clearly GCHQ can’t visit my shed and help me to build a great gadget cache. You can’t, can you?  But you can aim to create a good supportive culture with a sense of belonging and feeling valued. Some of that will require guidance and some will require rules. And as far as possible these should be data driven. There is probably not a lot of point in me suggesting what I personally would like to see, as the game is much bigger than just me.

 

Asking the community is a good start although of course there are many who may struggle to express their view, others who may be too verbose (who could that be? ;) ), and others who may be too busy playing the game to bother. But equally just one individual may have a really great idea that will be able to be progressed and improve the game and that would be fantastic.  And from a culture point of view, people like to be asked their opinion.  

 

Congratulations to anyone who got this far. I’ll stop now 😊

 

Edited by Brad&Janet
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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

         A geocache hidden in a place which is nice/interesting to visit. Moreover, a high quality cache is also well built, maybe with an interesting camouflage.

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

a geocache which is hidden “just for hiding”, in a ugly place where there isn’t anything interesting to see.

 

 

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

writing good logs, thanking and appreciating the work of the owner if the cache is good. And also trying to hide something good.

 

 

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

introducing “rewards” for good owners. Maybe marking in a different way a quality geocache ( with more than .... FP) or for exampl giving good owners the possibility of hiding a virtual as a reward.

 

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

Any cache that is regularly maintained is nice, but the best quality ones are those that are well-thought out, sneaky, in a spectacular location, or just really well stocked with swag. 


In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

A cache that has clearly been neglected. Nobody really wants to come across a cracked container, a soggy logbook or slug haven- it takes the fun away. See the picture for exactly what I mean!

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

There should be more of those wonderful cachers who maintain caches they find (if necessary) out of the kindness of their heart!  

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

More schemes like Virtual Rewards, which reward cachers with high quality (well maintained, favourited) caches with virtuals, will no doubt help. I certainly have done a lot more maintenance this year just in case something like Virtual Reward happens again! 

IMG_4422.JPG

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13 hours ago, º said:

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

· Display the number of hides on more places. 

What a perfect way to encourage placing lagre numbers of poor quality caches!

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2 hours ago, Team Mojo 100 said:

More schemes like Virtual Rewards, which reward cachers with high quality (well maintained, favourited) caches with virtuals, will no doubt help. I certainly have done a lot more maintenance this year just in case something like Virtual Reward happens again! 

 

There is no statistical evidence that cache maintenance has anything to do with virtual rewards. For me cache maintenence is sometimes difficult because geocachers do not post DNF logs.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

Encourage to post DNF logs. For example you could give DNF souvenir for anybody with more that one hundred DNF logs or multiple levels for 1, 10, 100 etc.  DNF logs are the way to better quality.

Edited by arisoft

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On 6/18/2018 at 6:13 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?

 

 

A High quality cache is one that Meets or exceeds at least one expectation, breaks up the day, has a spectacular container, or is in a truly spectacular location. 

An LPC with a diorama under the skirt meets this. Seen this. it was really cool.

A guardrail with an unusual container meets this. For instance a plastic animal with a  bison inside.

A film can can meet this.  Some of the ET highway caches we stood and watched wild horses stampede.  Watching the ice break up on the chesapeake and delaware canal was also awesome. Containers were less so.

And a simple rest area cache can be very welcome. 

Oddly enough some of these high quality caches need mediocre caches to be appreciated. If people know the theme then a variation is spectacular.

Also Novelty is required.  I've done some WVtim caches and they are great.  Then I've done the copies.  They are still good but no where as good as the first one I have found. Also think fake electric plates.  My first one was awesome.  Now they are routine.

Also a good cache page can completely change the tone of the cache.  One of my caches is a nano on a set of bleachers. I've had people coming up to me complimenting me on the cache because the page tells a story and the placement works with it. 

 

Low quality caches are usually in a place that need a cito. A matchstick container in lightpost is a Solid if mediocre cache. Also unmaintained containers fall into this.  

 

As for the community, it needs to recognize that a one size fits all does not cut it. power trails in the middle of nowhere have allowed me to see some very cool things and can be worth it for those reasons. Power trails in urban environments sound like a very bad idea. Likewise, the rush of getting your 10th state in a day can overwhelm the mediocrity of it being a film can in a guard rail. Just as there are people who don't care for Trads, micros, challenges, mysteries, multi's, whereigos, tree climbs, or whatever else they dislike, your experience in finding a cache is just that, your experience.  Not everyone else shares it. Some people really enjoy looking through 1000 rocks in a rock pile. 

 

Also for someplaces, any cache is better than no cache.  Rest Areas definitely fall into this category. 

 

To improve the quality of caches, Geocaching HQ can do some things. The first is negotiating with the various land holders to facilitate permission.  This frees up cachers to focus on the cache part and not the legal part. The second is to transform the reviewer role to incorporate more mentoring. You see some of this in the challenge checker forums where the discussion goes, You can't do this, here is an approximation others have used.  Also cutting some of the red tape for cache placement would help. Needing land owner permission to place something I understand.  Needing an event permit for public land I understand. Needing landowner permission to have an earthcache on a sidewalk or existing public trail seems a stretch.

 

Also have a reviewer for every place on the planet would be helpful. This does not include only land areas.  There should be an ombudsman who handles sea caches outside the territorial jurisdiction of any country. North Pole ice comes to mind. Even if that person's job is to steer you to someone else. Again this falls into reducing red tape.

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2 hours ago, arisoft said:

cache maintenence is sometimes difficult because geocachers do not post DNF logs.

 

Yes it can be difficult. As cache owners we can't completely rely on finders to report problems. 

 

If a cache that normally gets a visit per week goes suddenly quiet with no logs, it might mean a visit is in order to check that it's actually there.

 

I've had it happen once that I can remember. The cache logs went silent and when I visited, the cache was gone.

 

Then again, I've had caches go missing a day or two after a find. I just happened to visit between a find and a  DNF. One got washed away after a storm, another was removed by someone. They removed the cache disguise and the supports wrapping it around the tree, probably a muggle, it happens. I've also had many finds on a cache and yet not one person mentioned that bubble liquid burst inside and the contents were a mess. It wasn't until it was a moldy mess that someone finally reported the problem. Often, the occasional checkup, without a specific reason reported in the logs, is a good idea.  

 

Groundspeak might try some of the suggestions made regarding encouraging cache maintenance visits. 

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
  • I like cache that bring you to a beautiful area or historical spot.  It doesn't have to be a difficult hike.  I like a park and grabs too. it something I can do with my Mom. 
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
  • finding cache By a dumpster and on electrical box
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
  • Please don't become to commercial. 
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
  • I don't know how Geocaching HQ can improve Geocaching quality. Its really up to the goecacher who hide the caches keep it fun.

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14 hours ago, Team Microdot said:

 

Not entirely true.

 

Caches close to schools and playgrounds are regularly published in our local area.

Not with our local reviewer they’re not! It’s a good thing to be fair but I’ve had caches which haven’t been published due to be too close to playgrounds

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As a reminder, please stick to replying to the User Insights questions in the first post.  It's quite normal to want to start a discussion about interesting points raised in the replies here, but those should be posted in the other thread.  Someone can also start a new thread about, for example, "playground caches."

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Q. In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

A. Creative and well maintained or at least well maintained

 

Q. In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

A. not creative or well maintained

 

Q. What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

A. Cachers need to use the needs archived log and the needs maintenance icon even if you think its rude.

 

Q. What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

A. Don't let people hide a cache until they've found 100. Implement time lines for maintenance to be preformed and an auto alert that goes to the local reviewer after a cache has been listed as needing maintenance for 30 days after which the cache will be archived.

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  • What steps can Geocaching can be take to improve geocache quality

You cannot hide a cache until you have found x number of the same type of cache.

Put a limit on the number of caches one can hide and distance from home to prevent people from putting out cache that they can possibly maintain.

Put a limit on number of stages in a Multicache and Wherigos.

Mystery caches must contain a checker.

If a cacher has not been active in more than a year archive or put caches up for adoption.

Add a keyword or tag to cache so that cachers can search for caches they would enjoy example but not limited to Cemetery, Historical, Gadget, Geotour, GeoArt, Challenge, Highest point

Add hide stats to Statistics  page

 

 

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

The Location, Unique Containers, and Creativity Hides.

 

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

Caches in Homeless areas.  Where weapons, needles, condoms and human feces can be found.  

 

Caches put along very busy roads with so shoulders or places to pull off.

 

Caches put along right of way without landowners permission causing cachers to confronted by landowner.

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A new person doesn’t know what a high quality cache is until they’ve found one - and they don’t know if they’ve found a high quality cache until they’ve also found low quality caches. The newbies need to search, find and open multiple caches for comparison, to determine high from low quality. Suggesting a requirement of at least 100 finds before being allowed to place a cache. Maybe include at least one of each type.

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9 hours ago, Vertumnis said:

Suggesting a requirement of at least 100 finds before being allowed to place a cache. Maybe include at least one of each type.

Don't agree with, "Maybe include at least one of each type," because as a finder of over 9,000 caches, with that rule I would not be allowed to place a cache, as I have not found all kinds, such as a Wherigo. My GPS can't do them. Also have never been in the position to find a Webcan. If you had said, must have found the type of cache they are placing I would agree. I prefer 500 caches to have been found before being able to place a cache (an exception being geocaches living in remote areas where there are not 500 caches to be found), but that's debatable. I know that I didn't feel I had had enough geocaching experience until I had placed over 600 caches, to place my first cache, and even then, what I thought was unique, I know now was very ordinary. I just hadn't found enough caches to know this yet.

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  • High Quality is a cache with a dry log and contents (if any) located within 10ft of final coordinates.
  • Low quality is a ache with a wet log and contents (if any) outside of 10ft of final coordinates.
  • Community can log maintenance.  Not as easy in new app.
  • HQ can provide some quick categories to select when logging a find or DNF to trigger a auto needs maintenance.   Also, when a DNF is logged and cache has no activity over 3 months or 1 year, it should require validation by cache owner.

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


It is well thought out, brings you somewhere amazing or at least interesting, is clean and dry on the inside, may contain fun toys or trackables/pathtags, has an interesting/cool cache page, may have an achievable challenge or Gadget to complete, has an attentive owner, &/or is neat, unique, clever or funny in some way

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


Pretty much the opposite of everything I said above. Slapped together, ho hum or trashy location, mush & buggy logbooks, crappy swag like pieces of debris/moldy business cards/tampons, crappy/boring cache description, plain/uninteresting containers that leak, unresponsive/nasty/rude owner, &/or a blah cache experience.

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


They shouldn't be afraid to log a dnf, should help with log books and cleaning out caches that get a little bit dirty/bad swag, should add needs maintenance for caches they see are not being maintained and needs archived when either needs maintenance is ignored by the CO or a cache really needs to go for one reason or another, be more careful with removing, opening & replacing caches where they belong so they don’t break, etc, be very generous with favorite points for COs who do a nice job with their caches & are keeping them well-maintained!

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

 

a. Make sure a cache hider has a current email for contact & if less than 100 finds, be certain the cacher does have 100 but is using a pocket account for a series or what have you.  

 

b. Be diligent with caches that are racking up large numbers of DNFs & comments indicating a problem with the cache.

 

c. As a CO my hubby & I feel we get basically nothing for working our butts off on our hides. We help players solve problems, overcome issues, obtain totts, & we care for our caches by making repairs, etc.  We have perfect cache health most of the time because we watch them closely.  We have many high percentage fave point caches, but many are more challenging hides so don’t get as much traffic as other caches do, so we didn’t qualify for the virtual reward (really wanted one).  

 

We can no longer log our own caches, which we used to do after 5 big cache maintenance visits had been completed, so that little reward to ourselves is gone.  Perhaps an auto free find on their own cache (make it pop up as optional) to those who keep the cache healthy for x period of time or x number of content, successful finders.

 

You had a souvenir just for cache owners one year, but the same day you gave one out to all cachers who got a cache that day too, kinda ruined the exclusivity of our souvenir by doing that.

 

We don’t get a special TB number or a discount on the yearly membership or anything.

 

Yes a good log and favorite points are something, but otherwise there’s not a lot of external motivation to keep caches going. COs have to be internally motivated, & many simply aren’t.

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In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?

 

A quality geocache is a geocache that make me feel good. I leave with a smile after finding it. Coordinates aren't too far off. Description makes sense (unless it's a mystery cache). The hint makes sense *before* I find the cache, not after I get home.

And that should be good enough. We can't make this a game where only the top 10% are allowed to be published. We need all kinds of geocaches.

That being said, a high quality geocache to me is one or more of the following:

  • A cool container / field puzzle (I hate field puzzles that doesn't make sense, and "clever" hides that make cachers destroy the surrounding area while searching for it)
  • Preferably a large container (or virtual/webcam/earthcache, I love those)
  • Brings me to a nice place / nice view / spot  I never would found otherwise
  • Shows me something funny / teach me something new / have a entertaining and/or useful description

But sometimes, all we need is the empty film canister with a small piece of paper, hidden at the base of the tree in the rest area, after driving for hours without a stop.

 

In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?

 

Geocaches placed by people that doesn't care. Either about the game or the environment. Like when you have to dismantle a stone wall to get to the cache. Or caches that destroy private property or the environment.

 

What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?

 

The community should return to the roots. When we started several years ago, we helped each other. We brought spare logs, we helped dry or replace wet log sheets or made repairs to the container itself. We could learn a bit from MacGyver. If he can fix a broken airplane with duct tape, we should be able to fix a little hole in a lock'n lock box...

 

People still help, sometimes. And we haven't stopped either. But this used to be a lot more common than it is today. At least here in Norway. And I'm not talking about throw downs.

 

Bad quality isn't just a problem with cache hiders. It's just as much a problem with cache finders. People don't have enough time to put the lid back on after signing the log, if they have time to sign the log. There's too much competition. Way too much. Everyone's in a rush. The greatest threat to a cache today isn't muggles, it's other geocachers. It's not muggles that steal SWAG. It's not muggles that just have to cache in the rain without bothering to keep the log dry while signing. It's not muggles that leave wet rocks when they steal the SWAG. Yes, muggles are still a problem, but not nearly as big as other geocachers.

 

What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

You should enforce the requirement of GPS - way too many admit that they use Google Maps for coordinates, and that they even have told their reviewer that they did so. Finding caches placed with Google Maps can often be very frustrating.

 

You should also enforce the help center article about hints (https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=97&pgid=222).

 

Bring back webcam and virtual caches, limited to max 1 per CO.

Continue the work you are doing with on-boarding. Make people understand that geocaching is more than just the app. Make them understand that a physical human being used their own time and money to hide and maintain the cache they are about to find. And then give those doing so the proper credit. Cache hiders are what makes this activity possible. Without them, there wouldn't be any Groundspeak. And this thread, or anything else here, wouldn't exist.

And maybe it's time to take back the control. Disconnect unofficial apps, force people to either use the website or the official apps/partner apps. Add a new free membership level below basic, and make all non-PMO-caches available in all apps/partner apps for basic members - after turning basic membership into a paying membership with a much lower fee than premium. Once you have done that, you can control the on-boarding 100%. I understand that you are a business. But for the integrity of the game itself, it is important that the focus is on the people that play this game by the rules (the few that is), and not on just getting as many users as possible. 

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On 21/6/2018 at 6:08 PM, PCFrog said:

If a CO can not take care of the cache in two weeks nothing stops the CO from disabling the cache itself until they can look after it.  This does not involve a reviewer having to do the work the CO, which the CO should be doing in first place. These issues are only brought up mainly from a lack of CO responsibility.

Yeah okay, must admit I read his post as any marks on a cache: Need Maintenance, Disabled, Multiple DNF Logs.

 

But then again, if a bad owner can bypass that rule by simply disabling the cache that needs maintenance, nothing is gained by that rule.

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5 minutes ago, MAS83 said:

Yeah okay, must admit I read his post as any marks on a cache: Need Maintenance, Disabled, Multiple DNF Logs.

 

But then again, if a bad owner can bypass that rule by simply disabling the cache that needs maintenance, nothing is gained by that rule.

 

Then the reviewer comes into action, after a month being disabled.

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On 22/6/2018 at 4:07 AM, Jimrky said:

 

Everyone is entitled to an opinion and its' expression. I was taught that this carries the duty of defending that opinion against all comers. 😁 First, perhaps you missed that my statement was actually that there are times when all that is available in the area where I am caching is a power trail or guardrail trail? Perhaps you also missed that I DID NOT suggest any sort of ban or moratorium on such guardrail trails, but instead suggested  a greater incentive for what I consider 'higher quality caches' in Souvenir Events? Perhaps you failed to notice that the topic of this Survey is "Quality Caches" and also taken from the trend of questions, quality in Geocaching?

 

No one is forcing you to be POSITIVE and GENERATIVE (or even to read for accuracy and comprehension) - so you're not. Was this the item which you cared to have discovered from your post? Congratulations! You succeeded admirably! 😁👍👌 Have a Nice Day - and Happy Geocaching to You!

 

First off, not sure if the last part was meant to be passive aggressive, but I chose not to read it that way. :)

 

Second, if what you meant was not to remove powertrails/make them harder to make, you probably shouldn't use the term "actively discourage" as that is very much how I read your last post.

 

Third: It's not like removing or lowering the amount of powertrails/park'n'grabs will magically increase the number of gadget caches/historical/scenic caches, so I am still not sure what the point of your post was if not advocating the removal of caches you dislike, or at least minimizing the amount of them.

 

Last: Be the change you want to see. If you want amazing caches in your area, make some. Get a local creator group going, make a contest for the best cache in your area, inspire each other. Don't go after other peoples fun, just because you don't subscribe to it.

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11 minutes ago, Harry Dolphin said:

 

Then the reviewer comes into action, after a month being disabled.

 

I get that. But that is not different from how it works today. My point was that the rule he wanted, would be rendered moot by the CO disabling the cache himself, and thereby not achieve the goal of getting the original cache maintained.

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
  •  
  • Physically, it is a sturdy, appropriate container with good coords. For the experience, it is a creative container and/or a compelling reason to be here (spectacular view, interesting art or something worth learning) or at least a good reason for coming other than just a smiley number.
  •  
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache?
  •  
  • A crappy container, low or no maintenance, a location that's inappropriate or unpleasant or that has no meaning at all.  Power trail caches are usually low quality if they have minimal containers and offer the same one experience X number of times.
  •  
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?
  •  
  • Creativity can't be forced and lots of otherwise good people do crappy caches. We can all be more vigilant with NMs and DNFs. A descriptive DNF may help a reviewer ( ie the tree in the description is not here now as opposed to I can't find it, I'm sure it's gone) decide to contact the CO.  Favorite points were an incentive to us to create better hides and we have. We rarely do premium hides as we get a lot of newbies and like to encourage them but then we are penalized because they can't give favorite points (why not eliminate the percentage rating of favs to finds?) Quality ratings might work better than favorites.
  •  
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?
  •  
  • Stop favoring/courting the app cachers who place thoughtless caches after a few finds and then disappear.
  • When you make decisions based on an algorithm, why not share what it reflects? If people create to follow the known factors and the standards are high, how does keeping it a secret improve anything?
  • We are already recently seeing more reviewers questioning caches of substandard maintenance  and see this as a good direction. Occasionally overzealous on difficult hides that maybe should get a bit more slack.

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On 6/18/2018 at 6:13 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. A high quality geocache takes me to a location (the cache location and/or journey to the cache location) that is worth visiting even if no geocache were there, and which I might not have otherwise found without the geocache to bring me. The container is waterproof and in good condition. The cache description provides meaningful information about the location and useful information about finding the cache. Attributes are used properly and the D/T rating is accurate.

 

Alternatively, the container is creative, including but no limited to the location or puzzle. However, while I appreciate cool containers (I enjoy finding them and have given them Favorites), geocaching to me is more about location. The container is essentially a waypoint to bring me somewhere cool. If I had to chose between only cool containers and only cool locations, I would choose locations.

 

Other than a dry log, I don't really care about the cache contents. Swag is not important to me.

 

2. A low quality cache meets any of the following criteria: the container is in poor condition - either due to being a lousy container from the beginning (film cans, altoid tins, cheap plastic) or due to wear/damage; the cache brings me to an unpleasant or boring location (nearly all GRIMs and LPCs fall under this category).

 

3. The community should be honest about DNFs and not place throwdowns. They should log NM and NA when appropriate. They should CITO wrecked containers so they don't linger or become litter. They should try to hide quality caches.

 

4. Groundspeak shouldn't run promotions that encourage quantity over quality. Spotlight high quality caches in social media. Consider changing Favorites to Thumbs Up and add the ability to Thumbs Down (sorry, but some babies are ugly).

 

All accounts must be verified!!!

 

There should be a minimum amount of Finds and/or time spend caching. Ideally, it would be something like 500 Finds and 6 months. However, it could be as simple 50 Finds and/or 1 month. There's no magic number, but even a low threshold would keep away the fly-by-night cachers who find a couple caches, place a couple of dinky hides, get bored, and move onto something else - often all in the span of a week or two.

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache? - one the maker invested extra time in making, to make it more clever or more decorative; one placed to draw my attention to a feature I might not otherwise have noticed; any well-designed puzzle *I can solve* (just kidding); and (in this I depart from the common opinion) ANY reasonably well hidden and reasonably well built cache - yes, camoed preforms hanging in trees every 1/10 mile along hiking trails or even (yecch!) power trails - because that's how I easily EARN FAVORITE POINTS TO AWARD TO EXCEPTIONAL CACHES. 
  •  
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? - poorly constructed, not maintained, not adequately hidden, or (special peeve) hidden in a method AGAINST the specific and published guidelines of the organization managing that property. 
  •  
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality? - Hold events to teach newer cachers how to make a lasting or creative cache, and clever ways to hide them
  •  
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? - require a cacher to have a certain minimum number of Finds (so they'll better recognize a "good" cache) before they can hide one; limit the ability to hide a cache to Premium members (who are at least $30 more invested in the game).
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58 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

4. Groundspeak shouldn't run promotions that encourage quantity over quality.[...]

 

There should be a minimum amount of Finds and/or time spend caching. Ideally, it would be something like 500 Finds and 6 months.

So promotions that encourage quantity over quality (e.g., 100 caches in 4 weeks to earn Souvenirs) are bad, but cache placement guidelines that encourage quantity over quality (e.g., 500 finds in 6 months to hide caches) are good? Is that really what you meant?

Edited by niraD
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5 minutes ago, niraD said:

So promotions that encourage quantity over quality (e.g., 100 caches in 4 weeks to earn Souvenirs) are bad, but cache placement guidelines that encourage quantity over quality (e.g., 500 finds in 6 months to hide caches) are good? Is that really what you meant?

 

My post was not meant to suggest a time frame for the finds. Rather, two thresholds to cross - a minimum amount of time and a minimum number of finds.

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

I see two main factors that contribute to high geocache quality.

  1. The subjective experience: A good location, creativity, thoughtfulness, playfulness... basically has the CO really worked to create something fun.  And yes, this is very much subjective... but ultimately it is what matters most to me.
  2. Objective condition of geocache: Is the container and log in decent shape, is the CO maintaining the hide, etc... Much easier to simply tell if this is good or not.

Generally, for me item 1 is more important than item 2. If the overall experience is good, than I consider the cache a good quality one. The issue of this being subjective though makes it tough to use as an across the board metric.

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

Geocaches that are placed for little or no reason, possibly driven by folks chasing stats. Stats in general can drive all sorts of craziness, which can be fun in its own way, but I see a lot of poor quality geocaches justified by various stats (placing meaningless caches so others can continue a streak, fulfill a challenge, etc...).

 

I put less weight on overall cache condition, but it is an objective measure. Soggy logs, cracked containers, little or no maintenance.. I guess those are signs of a low quality geocache. I will often overlook these flaws if the rest of the geocache experience was good.

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

Encourage the COs in your area through your online logs and also whatever events/social media your community has. COs who put effort into their hides should be rewarded by the community to show that the effort is appreciated, and this kind of feedback strengthens the game. Encourage finders to post thoughtful logs, even on DNFs, notes, and NM/NAs. Online logs are one of the primary means that geocachers communicate with eachother since COs automatically receive these. Make the logs count. Use tools such as GCvote to provide a secondary option to favorite points for rating geocaches you've found. As a CO, take all notes seriously and fairly and try not to get offended or annoyed by any logs. Think of all logs as an initial form of communication and a chance to follow up with other geocachers. Take special note of logs from newer cachers and make an effort to engage with them in a positive way. And do what you can to maintain your creations the way you want people to find them.

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

Encourage COs to be active and thoughtful. I want to say encourage quality hides, but considering how subjective that gets it may be difficult to accomplish. But if HQ can figure out a way to encourage COs who show evidence that they maintain their hides, and whose hides receive positive reinforcement signs (favorite points, long logs, lots of pictures on logs, high GCvote rating, other...?), I think this would go a long way to encouraging more quality geocaches on the site. I think that the Virtual Rewards thing was a good step in this direction, as contentious as it seemed on these forums. Things like that , where the HQ makes an effort to identify the geocachers that are leading their communities and rewards them with something valuable is great. If HQ can figure out other ways to reward folks who are actively participating and striving to improve, I say go for it. [NOTE: I did not receive a Virtual Reward, but I know folks that did and heartily approve of their selection].

 

Reduce the visibility of stats. I think chasing stats can be a strong motivator for a lot of geocachers, but it also is a strong motivator for poor cache placements, ones that are only out there to fulfill some number. Don't take away stats altogether, but make them less visible/prominent.

 

A little more emphasis on cleaning up cache listings that show signs problems (un-answered NM/NAs) might be worthwhile. This can help reduce the number of poor quality caches that are currently in the game. But I don't think this should be the primary focus of HQ.

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10 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

My post was not meant to suggest a time frame for the finds. Rather, two thresholds to cross - a minimum amount of time and a minimum number of finds.

A distinction without a difference. What do you expect to happen when an excited new geocacher wants to place a new cache, and discovers that he must wait a few more months AND find a total of 500 caches first?

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6 minutes ago, niraD said:

What do you expect to happen when an excited new geocacher wants to place a new cache, and discovers that he must wait a few more months AND find a total of 500 caches first?

 

Wait.

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

The cache container is appropriate for the location and has good maintenance (especially true for multis that use containers).  It's a treat if the container is a pleasant surprise, but still is appropriate for the area.

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

Caches that are not routinely maintained.

Caches that are intentionally placed in questionable areas (trash-laden or homeless camps)

Caches that are inappropriate for the area such as a non-watertight container close to a pond or at the edge of a stream that has evidence of regular flooding (the cache floats away with it) or a non-unique micro in an area that could clearly support a size Regular or Large

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

Log DNFs and explain why you're logging them.  It doesn't matter how many caches you have found, just log the DNF. 

Log NM.  If the container needs attention, log it.  Don't write a Note on the cache page, log a NM.

If  you find a geocachers first hide and you think it could use some help, contact them.  Don't be mean about it, just offer suggestions and an invitation to your local geocaching community.

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

Create reviewers specifically for NM or for caches that have had more than ten DNFs for over six months.

Have COs maintain their caches at least once a year.

Enable adoptions of caches where the CO is no longer active.  I've had several where I wished I could adopt the cache, but could not because the owner was no longer active and not responding to emails and messages.  I believe this is especially important for "oldie" caches.

I STRONGLY DISAGREE on making a geocaching account have a certain number of finds before hiding a cache.  I know of some cachers that have separate accounts specifically for hides or for a puzzle cache that requires a certain number of finds as part of the puzzle.

On 6/18/2018 at 4:13 PM, Geocaching HQ said:
  •  
Edited by irid3sc3nt

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache? => easily accessible, well masked and especially resistant to damage
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? => multi cache from multi cache (GC7FYWM) or totally nonsense virtual cache (GC7B7RX)
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality? => more quality listings
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? => prohibit the establishment of power trails

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4 hours ago, Mark0 said:
  • totally nonsense virtual cache (GC7B7RX)

Wow if I understand the cache correctly according to google translate you have to walk 234 km and climb 18 summits. The CO took 78h to do that. !!!!!! In my eyes it's a private cache because only a handful of people will ever do that one so the reviewer shouldn't have accepted that.

 

  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache? => Placed somewhere that I didn't know before or have a wow factor in his fabrication.
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? => Wet log, LPC, guardrail, muggle infested area.
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality? => Stop throwdown, log NM and NA.
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? => Stop promotion like 'Hidden creature' that only encourage low quality caches. Make it clear that throwdown are discouraged. Allows cache to be adopted when the CO left the game. Have a minimum numbers of finds and time for newbies before they can place a cache, something like 25 founds and 1 month. Forbid new cache in playground area.

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

A high-quality geocache is not a single thing; there are many ways to make a high-quality cache.  An interesting earthcache, a good puzzle, a beautiful view, a clever container, etc.  What all quality geocaches have in common is thoughtfulness in the construction and hide by the cache owner.  For traditional geocaches, the container quality is very important, although I would personally prefer a lower-quality container in a wonderful spot over a fantastic container in a boring spot.

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

A low-quality geocache is one for which the cache owner has expended little effort or thought.  Poorly-done puzzles, bad containers, and missing caches are all indications of low quality.  The majority of multi-caches, for example, would fall into my "low-quality" bin, as missing stages are ubiquitous. Likewise, most power-trail  caches fall into my personal "low-quality" bin because they represent little thought or effort on the part of the hider.

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

First and foremost, Groundspeak should not be in the business of enforcing cache quality standards.  I strongly believe that an independent body, chosen by the geocaching community, not Groundspeak, should have the  ability to create and enforce cache quality standards.  Groundspeak may then choose to accept those recommendations for its listing criteria.

 

Such an independent body would remove the onerous burdens now placed on Groundspeak-appointed reviewers and allow the community to develop new kinds of caches (such as HistoryCaches or some other virtual-like caches) and ensure adequate quality.

 

In the meantime, the community can and should develop a culture of helping cache owners maintain their caches in excellent shape.  The attitude of many in the forums, who insist that such a culture results in "lazy" cache owners, seems utterly wrong-headed to me.  The current culture (at least as it is represented in the forums) is a culture of blame and stigmatization, rather than a culture of cooperation.  I wish I knew how to engender such a culture, but alas, I am no expert.

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

As I stated above, Groundspeak should remove itself from cache quality enforcement, for a variety of reasons.  The volunteer reviewers, who are picked by Groundspeak, are insufficiently independent to provide reasonable quality-control standards, and that should not be part of their job.  If the reviewers were chosen by the community, they would have a great deal more independence and legitimacy in setting and enforcing cache quality standards.  As long as the reviewers are seen as agents of Groundspeak, their legitimacy will be questioned.

 

Please note that I am in no way questioning the integrity or honesty of the existing reviewers; I have had nothing but good interactions.  I simply believe that the current system is not optimal.

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  • In your mind, what is a high quality geocache?
    It really comes down to the thought that went into the cache. Not every cache has to be a handmade faux wooden birdhouse.  -One of the best cache's I've ever encountered was a plastic micro tube hidden in a styrofoam fake rotten apple.  It was in the woods.  Out of the corner of your eye you'd NEVER touch something like that.  Maybe 30-60 minutes of effort to make.  However to find this cache was loads of fun.  In my opinion...  there should always be . a "punchline"  not saying that every cache should be funny but as others have mentioned . what is the significance of this cache?  Is this place famous?  Is there some unique landmark that is easily overlooked.  If your cache location is nothing special what makes your cache special?  Cache placers/makers . make the effort to make your cache a lot more than just a taped up pill bottle stuck to the back of a dumpster in a big box store parking lot.  This measure or criteria should be much more lenient  the more populated or regulated the location is. In big cities micro-caches are understandable...  but STILL! -make the effort to make it memorable.  Have some significance. 
     
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? 
    If after finding a cache all you feel compelled to do is write . TFTC in the log,  that is a low quality cache.  If there is plenty of space opportunity to place a shoebox or larger size cache and you opt for a micro tube or pill tin... thumbs down.   No matter how large/small the cache effort should be made to make the box/find interesting. Otherwise its a worthless pursuit.  

    Outrageously hard puzzle/mystery caches . should result in velvet-lined gold filled treasure boxes, not just some jelly jar.  Caches that pander exclusively to little kids are also really annoying.  
     
  • What steps can the community take to improve geocache quality?  Without resorting to being cruel, the community should be more honest about lame caches.  Also we should find ways to champion other milestones besides "Gotta catch 'em all!"   I only have found less than 150 caches. And I have no plans to find more if it just means magnet micro's in dirty crevices or in lamp skirts.
     
  • Caches with bad coordinates should be eliminated.
     
  • What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality? HQ should really champion creativity, cleverness and 'specialness'  in placing caches.  HQ should also champion values in cache finders to place REAL treasures in caches.  I'm not talking about money but find a way to make your swag memorable or special.  Allow for caches that have a kid version and adult version for the same cache.  (So kids can feel good about it and be able to exchange their dolls and toy cars etc.) .  Expand the rules to allow for indoor caches at airports. VIRTUAL of course.   I was recently in China but couldn't leave the airport due to a layover.  I was so sad that I couldn't go find a cache in Shanghai.  It would be great if there could be an official  virtual cache in every airport so people can get a souvenir for a place without having to get in trouble or miss their flight. 
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What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?

 

What Geocaching HQ should definitely not to in an attempt to improve geocache quality:  Please, please, never again apply any kind of algorithm to try and assess quality hides or hiders.  It doesn't work and does not result in rewarding those who truly contribute the most, in terms of quality experiences, to the game.  Favourite points don't work - high favourite points caches just attract more favourite points.  Also, often, quality caches found on vacation do not get favourite points they deserve as they are lost in a sea of logs for other caches.  DNFs do not indicate poor quality caches or maintenance issues.  Trying to measure the quality of caches using any algorithm, or even using feedback mechanisms from geocachers, will always fail - algorithms don't work, and every geocacher likes different things and different elements of this sport.  Not to mention no algorithm or feedback captures all of the effort that some geocachers put into their communities behind the scenes, not directly related to a hide they own, such as event/CITO/mega/giga organisation, helping others with their cache hides, etc.  The *only* outcome possible will be people caring even less about caches when they place them with a "why bother putting in effort when it's only others that get reward/recognition".

 

What it should do:  Encourage positive recognition of great geocachers be continuing the "Geocacher of the month" that it used to have some years ago.  Encourage cachers to speak up when there is a real issue with a geocache - needs maintenance, needs archived, etc.  Allow natural attrition of poor caches without trying to force the issue, because forcing the issue will never work (see above).

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14 hours ago, Mark0 said:
  • In your mind, what is a low quality geocache? => ... totally nonsense virtual cache (GC7B7RX)

 

In my mind that is an excellent example for a well-thought quality cache for a small, but very thankful target audience and an adventure/activity one will never forget. I wish there were virtuals like this one in my country.

 

Not every cache has to appeal to all cachers. If you don't like multi-style geocaches you always can stick to traditional, mystery and Lab caches and you obviously have thousands of these types to choose from in your case, so why being resentful that one single geocache is meant for another target audience?

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On 26. 6. 2018 at 12:18 AM, Harry Dolphin said:

 

Then the reviewer comes into action, after a month being disabled.

Show me how that happened with https://coord.info/GC4Z1Z4 or https://coord.info/GC4Z1ZX :)

 

That is my another two cents for What steps can Geocaching HQ take to improve geocache quality?  - communicate with reviewers and try to shorten the Disabled states to 1 month. OK, no problem with 3 months. But 8? Both caches were disabled due to a lack of the owner's maintenance.

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