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Community conversation about geocache quality

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Today, we're opening threads in the User Insights forum to gather community feedback about geocache quality. We're hoping the answers will help inform Geocaching HQ's future efforts related to cache quality.

 

Since User Insights threads are designed to gather answers to specific questions, rather than for a back-and-forth conversation, we're opening this thread for any feedback about the project.

 

Yes, a thread about a thread :P

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This is going to be interesting.  I'm going to think through my answers before posting to the Insights thread.

 

I really hope that cachers will use the topic to provide feedback about "quality" itself, and not just their personal preferences. I certainly don't envy the Lackeys that will have to filter through the morass of responses that will be received.

 

Good luck!

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I haven't been on the forums in forever; actually I have just recently gotten back into caching in the last couple of months after about a year hiatus due to crazy work schedules and kids, etc. I had noticed some changes at least in our area and I was hoping that there would be some threads like this.  Looking forward to participating.

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(reply moved from the User Insights thread)

 

5 minutes ago, dprovan said:

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

 

Yeah this is something that is pretty unspecific. Is 'low quality' in reference to fundamental state of a physical container, or in reference to the general subjective value someone gets from the finding experience overall?

There  may be loads of caches out there I don't have fun finding or don't have a desire to find, but does that make them "low quality"?  (I wouldn't say so)

Well, maybe they want to examine both sides of that coin, and distinguish the context themselves of each reply. Maybe not distinguishing those definitions is intentional so they figure out where it might lie based on the replies... hm.

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52 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Yeah this is something that is pretty unspecific. Is 'low quality' in reference to fundamental state of a physical container, or in reference to the general subjective value someone gets from the finding experience overall?

I think Groundspeak was deliberately vague in asking for user input ("how you define" and "what you think") about geocache quality.

 

As I've been considering my response to the User Insights thread, I've ended up with three categories of cache characteristiecs: things that indicate a quality geocache, things that indicate a poor-quality geocache, and things that don't really indicate either. 

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41 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:
  52 minutes ago, dprovan said:

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

 

Hmm, good point.

 

Consider an ordinary cache in a power trail.  Typically it's nothing special, by itself.  But clearly, many people are happy with low quality, if there's high quantity.  They must be, because they keep doing power trails.  Quantity confers quality to the group.  EG, this fine example, which I consider the highest quality using standard, "boring" hides.

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9 minutes ago, niraD said:

I think Groundspeak was deliberately vague in asking for user input ("how you define" and "what you think") about geocache quality.

I agree...
 

1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

maybe they want to examine both sides of that coin, and distinguish the context themselves of each reply. Maybe not distinguishing those definitions is intentional

 

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A good quality geocache is one that is airtight and watertight such as a top of the line Lock & Lock , or the favored ammo can. It is even good quality if it's in a small pill bottle wrapped in a baggie. Anything that you open up and you don't see mold mildew and water is good quality. If Groundspeak is looking to improve the quality of geocaches out there , a CO rating system can be developed such as in what eBay asks you to do. Rate the seller, rate the CO. Coordinates should be good and a decent hint should be provided in remote areas especially. just a thought. Co's are supposed to do maintenance,  so if your geocache was once high quality and irresponsible geocachers or muggles turned it into poor quality,  then the CO must get out there to make it high quality again. 

Edited by GoodSamNurse
Error in spelling
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I'd love to see language on the stats module altered. It was added in 2009, defines your Best Day, Best Month, Best Year as the day, month, year with the most finds. 

Cachers learn immediately from GeocachingHQ that Most = Best.

 

It uses the pejorative "Slump" for days of not finding caches. (I've spend some  fine cache maintenance days, that I'd put up there in the top ten of best days of geocaching - no finds at all). And the intro section has this oddly stats driven gem, " a checklist of challenges to tackle in the process of becoming a well-rounded geocacher."   Most people needn't tackle becoming a well-rounded cacher, nor even begin to commence thinking about it.  If they pursue what they enjoy in caching that's fine. 

 

(I also would mind seeing the App stop treating cache descriptions as something to be read if there's a problem - like hints used to be. )

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itd be good if this project was mentioned on facebook geocaching groups. Many of the people on this forum haven't cached for a long time and are apathetic to the game. IE "in the good old days" way of thinking. These opinions could skew or bias any results of this project and it could be better advertised. 

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2 hours ago, Isonzo Karst said:

I'd love to see language on the stats module altered. It was added in 2009, defines your Best Day, Best Month, Best Year as the day, month, year with the most finds. 

Cachers learn immediately from GeocachingHQ that Most = Best.

 

Yep.  :)

A guy spends a month planning a pile of quality hides in a unique area,  and it's a "slump".

Most my longest "slumps" were spent in one surgery or another.  Slacker...  Though I was "well-rounded" after all the steroids n stuff.   :laughing:

I also wondered why my last 3+ in Terrain very-long walks that I had such fun with, should somehow reflect that I'm wanting.

"What was your biggest caching day of all time?" speaks on just numbers (to me), and separates folks in the hobby instead of bringing us together.

 "You're not 'well-rounded' unless you cache like me" ...  

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4 hours ago, thebruce0 said:
4 hours ago, niraD said:

I think Groundspeak was deliberately vague in asking for user input ("how you define" and "what you think") about geocache quality.

I agree...

 

Indeed - and it seems to be working and there seems to be considerable overlap across most posters, apart from a couple of detractors and one or two who don't seem to have understood the question.

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2 hours ago, The Magna Defender said:

itd be good if this project was mentioned on facebook geocaching groups.

 

Fair point.  I shared the link to the group I'm currently active in, and the three from past home locations that I still belong to.

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14 minutes ago, The Magna Defender said:

removing the FTF part of the game would sort out a lot of politics between finders and hiders. 

Really? And how would Groundspeak (or anyone else, for that matter) actually remove "the FTF part of the game"?

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7 minutes ago, niraD said:

Really? And how would Groundspeak (or anyone else, for that matter) actually remove "the FTF part of the game"?

Yeah, I'll be interested in hearing how HQ can wipe out an unofficial side game that they've historically had exactly zero control over.

 

Requiring that reviewers find each cache before they publish it, thus proactively claiming the FTF and depriving everyone else of that "privilege"?

 

:drama:

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7 hours ago, niraD said:

I think Groundspeak was deliberately vague in asking for user input ("how you define" and "what you think") about geocache quality.

I think they're just reacting to people complaining about "bad caches" without really thinking about what the problem is. But whether they thought about it or not, by asking questions that conflates quality with viability, they've taken a moderately laudable goal -- get rid of caches with zero value because they're dead or missing -- with a wrong headed goal of reducing the number of "low quality" caches because they don't have enough value for some people.

 

7 hours ago, niraD said:

As I've been considering my response to the User Insights thread, I've ended up with three categories of cache characteristiecs: things that indicate a quality geocache, things that indicate a poor-quality geocache, and things that don't really indicate either. 

So what does a broken container indicate? Is that "poor quality"? (Thanks for introducing yet another term, by the way. Just what we need. ;)) Is that the same class as a cache that doesn't have a view, isn't a clever hide, isn't a cute container, etc.?

 

I'd be OK if everyone in the other thread was universally talking about "low quality" as being broken or missing. The problem is they aren't. In fact, hardly any of the discussion is about broken or missing caches. Instead, they're talking about "low quality" being a lack of desirable characteristics. I like caches with no special qualities just fine. I like caches with interesting characteristics even better, but I still value the plain film canister hanging in a bush next to the sidewalk in a nondescript neighborhood. And what's more, lots and lots of other cachers enjoy that kind of cache, too. Although you wouldn't know it from the other thread where so many of the comments are about getting rid of whatever kind of cache doesn't appeal to the poster.

 

And the worst part about is that so many of the suggestions involve adding more and more rules.

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9 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

(reply moved from the User Insights thread)

 

 

Yeah this is something that is pretty unspecific. Is 'low quality' in reference to fundamental state of a physical container, or in reference to the general subjective value someone gets from the finding experience overall?

There  may be loads of caches out there I don't have fun finding or don't have a desire to find, but does that make them "low quality"?  (I wouldn't say so)

Well, maybe they want to examine both sides of that coin, and distinguish the context themselves of each reply. Maybe not distinguishing those definitions is intentional so they figure out where it might lie based on the replies... hm.


This is a super good point. It does seem that 'low quality' can be pretty subjective. I found one today like that.  It was this trick one where the bottom falls out and all the swag falls out on the ground.  I HATED it. It was such a pain in the a** to have to pick all that up and put it back. I'm sure that other people found it delightful or funny. The page had 88 favorites.  So would I call it 'low quality?' Nope! It was definitely a quality cache, handmade container and everything! But I really didn't enjoy it. 

I wonder if adding in some questions about what kind of caches we find enjoyable might be helpful?  Then you (directed at Groundspeak) can possibly garner some statistics on the types of caches that people enjoy finding rather than just the 'quality.'

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8 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

 

Hmm, good point.

 

Consider an ordinary cache in a power trail.  Typically it's nothing special, by itself.  But clearly, many people are happy with low quality, if there's high quantity.  They must be, because they keep doing power trails.  Quantity confers quality to the group.  EG, this fine example, which I consider the highest quality using standard, "boring" hides.


I did one power trail just to see what the hype was about.  A friend of mine was going to do one, so we went out into the wilds of Nevada to try it along with him.  Some people LOVE power trails.  They make a whole experience out of it. They create a team; one person records and keeps track, one person runs and signs, one person drives; and they switch around, etc. I can see how the experience as a whole can be unique and somewhat appealing.
For me; I LOVED the trip.  I LOVED the ET highway.  I LOVED staying at the Little Alie-Inn... SO much so; that when my husband and I got married; we went BACK THERE for our honey moon. It was amazing. The camaraderie and fun was great.  Will I do another power trail again?  I don't think so. I'm glad I tried it so I could see what it was... but I could have done all the other neat caches in the area and still had a wonderful time. 

I DID really love hiking the entirely alien head series.  I was bone tired afterward, but it was fantastic, and we did it at night.  It was really really a cool experience. 

My husband and I did cache while on our honeymoon and found a lot of peripheral finds. We left the power trail alone.  (There was a new one placed by that time). 

So yeah... the experience of doing the power trail? I would say it was quality; although the quality part of it was unrelated to the caches.

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3 hours ago, The A-Team said:

Yeah, I'll be interested in hearing how HQ can wipe out an unofficial side game that they've historically had exactly zero control over.

 

As well as something they've advertised for years as one of the benefits  of premium membership ... notifications.

That's the only reason we became pms (and still true today).  :)

The wording on reasons for notifications has changed in the Help Center, but there's still some in search.

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3 hours ago, dprovan said:

I'd be OK if everyone in the other thread was universally talking about "low quality" as being broken or missing. The problem is they aren't. In fact, hardly any of the discussion is about broken or missing caches. Instead, they're talking about "low quality" being a lack of desirable characteristics. I like caches with no special qualities just fine. I like caches with interesting characteristics even better, but I still value the plain film canister hanging in a bush next to the sidewalk in a nondescript neighborhood. And what's more, lots and lots of other cachers enjoy that kind of cache, too. Although you wouldn't know it from the other thread where so many of the comments are about getting rid of whatever kind of cache doesn't appeal to the poster.

 

Yep, we need 90% of caches to be mundane so we can award FPs to the rest :).

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There is no such thing as "high" or "low" quality! You either have "quality" or "no quality". Simply defined: "Quality is conformance to requirements". Something cannot conform to requirements (specification) less or more. So, either you conform to specification or you don't conform to specification. The question is now: What are the specifications (requirements) for a cache? For example, the contents must be dry. If you arrive at a cache and the contents are dry - you have quality. If it is moist or wet - you have no quality. You cannot have half quality.

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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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1 hour ago, SpiderFinder said:

There is no such thing as "high" or "low" quality! You either have "quality" or "no quality". Simply defined: "Quality is conformance to requirements". Something cannot conform to requirements (specification) less or more. So, either you conform to specification or you don't conform to specification. The question is now: What are the specifications (requirements) for a cache? For example, the contents must be dry. If you arrive at a cache and the contents are dry - you have quality. If it is moist or wet - you have no quality. You cannot have half quality.

 

So there's no difference in quality between a Ferrari and a Mitsubishi; both meet the roadworthiness specifications. I must remember that next time I'm at a motor dealer.

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45 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

If you arrive at a cache and the contents are dry - you have quality. If it is moist or wet - you have no quality. You cannot have half quality.

 

For me, the dampness of the cache is not very high evaluated problem. Of course, it can make it difficult to log when you pencil goes thru the so-called paper. Moisture is a reason to dry the logbook before use or, if you are unable to dry it, then you can add extra logsheet or post a call for maintenance and come back when the CO has dried the logbook for you. I would give favorite to the wet logbook it there is other factors to evaluate the cache higher value.

Edited by arisoft

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4 minutes ago, arisoft said:
49 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

If you arrive at a cache and the contents are dry - you have quality. If it is moist or wet - you have no quality. You cannot have half quality.

 

 

 

You're putting words into my mouth, Arisoft. I didn't say that, SpiderFinder did.

Edited by barefootjeff
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Just now, barefootjeff said:

You're putting words into my mouth, Arisoft. I didn't say that, SpiderFinder did.

 

I can not edit that part of the quote. It is a failure in the system.

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Just now, arisoft said:

 

I can not edit that part of the quote. It is a failure in the system.

 

Oh no, I'll be forever tainted with saying "you cannot have half quality"!

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1 hour ago, arisoft said:

 

I can not edit that part of the quote. It is a failure in the system.

 

Err, you could quote the original message, rather than trying to quote a reply....

 

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3 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

So there's no difference in quality between a Ferrari and a Mitsubishi; both meet the roadworthiness specifications. I must remember that next time I'm at a motor dealer.

 

If your definition of quality is the ability to get from Point A to Point B while following the rules of the road legally, then no, there no difference between a Ferrari and a Mitsubishi.

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48 minutes ago, MartyBartfast said:
2 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

I can not edit that part of the quote. It is a failure in the system.

 

Err, you could quote the original message, rather than trying to quote a reply....

 

You can also edit and recompose the message, even requote text until it is presented properly...

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5 hours ago, SpiderFinder said:

There is no such thing as "high" or "low" quality! You either have "quality" or "no quality". Simply defined: "Quality is conformance to requirements". Something cannot conform to requirements (specification) less or more. So, either you conform to specification or you don't conform to specification. The question is now: What are the specifications (requirements) for a cache? For example, the contents must be dry. If you arrive at a cache and the contents are dry - you have quality. If it is moist or wet - you have no quality. You cannot have half quality.

 

I think that is quite a narrow definition of the word.    Sure, it can mean a quality standard where something either complies or does not.  But it can mean more.

 

Below is a definition (From the Oxford English Dictionary). 

 

I think most people will answer in this sort of way.  High quality means a high degree of excellence, considering whatever you believe important to make a cache excellent.   

 

 

mass noun The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.

‘an improvement in product quality’
 
count noun ‘these colleges provide a better quality of education’
More example sentences
Synonyms
  1. 1.1 General excellence of standard or level.
    ‘a masterpiece for connoisseurs of quality’
     
     
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8 hours ago, badlands said:

 

If your definition of quality is the ability to get from Point A to Point B while following the rules of the road legally, then no, there no difference between a Ferrari and a Mitsubishi.

 

But there's more to driving than just legally getting from Point A to Point B, just as there's more to caching than just finding a box with a bit of dry paper in it. That's where the shades of quality come in.

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There are many good comments here and on the main discussion page. For me, one thing that has not been discussed much, and IMO, would improve the game a lot, is to do with the quality of SWAG.

 

I really hate finding a cache filled with utter junk. I always clean them out, and leave either nothing, or replace with some quality stuff (not expensive, just what you, or a kid might like to find).

I have removed broken plastic cutlery, business cards, chewing gum, religious artefacts, golf balls (really? you think that's good ?), bottle tops that have clearly just been picked up from the ground, receipts for various junk, ticket stubs; well you get the picture and I am sure many of you do the same.

 

What goes through someone's mind when they do this. It's actually insulting to the CO and to the following finders. So a bit better education as to SWAG would maybe a good idea. Thank you for listening.

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9 hours ago, RiddleyWalker said:

I really hate finding a cache filled with utter junk. I always clean them out, and leave either nothing, or replace with some quality stuff (not expensive, just what you, or a kid might like to find).

I have removed broken plastic cutlery, business cards, chewing gum, religious artefacts, golf balls (really? you think that's good ?), bottle tops that have clearly just been picked up from the ground, receipts for various junk, ticket stubs; well you get the picture and I am sure many of you do the same.

 

What goes through someone's mind when they do this. It's actually insulting to the CO and to the following finders. So a bit better education as to SWAG would maybe a good idea. Thank you for listening.

 

Agreed. 

The other 2/3rds once said, "at least they're not dropping it on the ground...", when I mentioned one of our ammo cans looking like a trash receptacle.

 - But this odd problem has been around since we started in '04, and probably well before then. 

Degradation of swag as well ( unactivated geocoin for a shoelace) , though back then they at least still traded, such as it was.

Dealing with people, the not-so-nice part of "anyone can play" I guess.    :)

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I'm finding some of the requests that are getting lots of support in the Insights thread rather scary and fear that, if implemented, would be the final nail in the coffin for caching around here, especially for the type of cache I most enjoy finding and hiding.

  • A minimum number of finds before someone can place a cache (100 seems a popular choice, but higher numbers, maybe 500, have support as well). That's all well and good if you live in a big American or European city where there are thousands of caches close at hand to chose from, but what about the rest of the planet? Even here in Australia, caches are thin on the ground once you get away from the larger cities. Take for example Glen Innes in northern NSW, a medium-sized country town with a population of 5000, where there are only 78 caches within an 80km (50 mile) radius. And there are whole countries, like Fiji for example, where there are far less than a hundred caches to be found. It's even tougher for a basic member using only the official app, with its restriction to just traditionals with D and T of 1.5 or less, and even in the well-populated area on the NSW Central Coast where I live, there are only 25 such eligible caches to be had within 10km of home. Introducing this proposal would effectively kill off caching in many parts of the world.
  • Mandatory CO cache visits either annually, biannually or quarterly. Implicit in this are the assumptions that all caches need constant TLC to remain viable, and that a CO's caches are either all easily visited or they own only one or two that aren't. But what about the COs who specialise in isolated T4+ remote caches that can take a day or more of intensive hiking over rugged terrain to reach? Such caches rarely if ever need maintenance as they have large rugged containers usually protected from the weather in rock cavities or under ledges, with decent sized logbooks that'll never fill in a lifetime of finds, and are extremely unlikely to be muggled. For a CO who's placed ten, twenty, maybe fifty such caches over their many years in the game, requiring a visit to all of them even just once a year would be impractical. While most of the caching community, particularly those living in big cities with young families, will never go anywhere near such caches, or even know of their existence, there are a small number such as myself for whom they're the lifeblood of caching, and if this were implemented it'd quickly kill off this aspect of the game for us.
  • Caches must be kid-friendly with plenty of swag, preferably of good quality. Caching is a popular activity for young families and finding a good-sized cache full of nice shiny toys is how every hunt should end, right? Perhaps this grievance is targeted at the perceived proliferation of urban nanos and micros, but equally there are caches placed in areas unsuitable for kids, those in rugged terrain where there are cliffs and snakes to avoid, for example. The National Parks and Wildlife Service here even prohibits swag in the caches they allow, stipulating in their requirements that caches can only contain a logbook, information card, pen or pencil and a pencil sharpener.
  • DNFs are bad and caches that get them must be dealt with, by either the CO fixing them or archival. Caching is all about the smiley and no-one wants to see that dreaded blue frown, well perhaps no-one but me it seems. I like a challenging cache that can be tough to find on the first attempt, the disappointment of the DNF far outweighed by the sense of achievement when I finally nab it. But no, DNFs are bad and we even have a CHS algorithm that prompts COs to fix the problem if their caches get some, under threat of possible reviewer action if they don't, along with a Help Centre guideline that says to log an NA if you can't find a cache and there are several DNFs on the cache page with no response from the owner. But some caches can be well-camouflaged and tricky to find, or can be tough to reach if there are too many muggles, or the rocks are wet and slippery after recent rain, or a storm's approaching, or it's out of my reach and I'll need to come back with a friend to help or a ladder, or if I'm just being my usual Blind Freddy and can't see the obvious in front of my nose. Most of the time a DNF doesn't mean the cache is missing or needs maintenance, particularly for non-urban caches with rugged containers placed well away from muggle haunts. Expecting all hunts to end in a smiley would remove a lot of the more challenging caches, or at the very least discourage people from logging DNFs for reasons other than a suspected missing cache.
  • Cache owners must strive to get FPs. Not every cache can be a masterpiece and there are many bread-and-butter caches that are enjoyable to find without having to be anyone's favourite. We can only award FPs to 10% of our finds, which means we have to be able to find the other 90% that aren't favourites in order to do so. Eliminating caches that don't achieve some minimum number or percentage of FPs would remove a lot of enjoyment from the game, particularly in areas that have few caches and cachers, and stop the stand-out caches from standing out.

So anyway, those are my thoughts. I hope caching can remain an inclusive broad-ranging activity catering for a wide and varied spectrum of interests, but I fear this push for quality will eliminate most of what I consider the highest quality caching experiences. I expect I'm just a lone voice in the wilderness on this, though, so enjoy all those high quality easy smileys in the city parks and parking lots as that's where it seems the future lies.

Edited by barefootjeff
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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

I'm finding some of the requests that are getting lots of support in the Insights thread rather scary and fear that, if implemented, would be the final nail in the coffin for caching around here, especially for the type of cache I most enjoy finding and hiding.

 

Yeah, noticed some too.  I wouldn't worry too much about it though, seems (to me) that a bunch aren't sticking to  the subject. 

One even wrote a long, rambling  post on likes/dislikes for them on cache types, with little about "geocache quality".

 -  The site already gave the framework, and if some aren't gonna go by it, they'll probably be weeding out the blather.   :)  

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13 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Yeah, noticed some too.  I wouldn't worry too much about it though, seems (to me) that a bunch aren't sticking to  the subject. 

One even wrote a long, rambling  post on likes/dislikes for them on cache types, with little about "geocache quality".

 -  The site already gave the framework, and if some aren't gonna go by it, they'll probably be weeding out the blather.   :)  

 

Yeah, but the 100-finds-before-you-can-hide and the mandatory annual CO visits are getting a lot of traction and are within the scope of the questions asked, and the implications of those are scary. Perhaps with the former they'd likely give exemption to small countries like Fiji, but for places like Australia where there's both the cache-rich big cities and the wide open rural spaces with no caches for hundreds of kilometres it could still be problematic. For cache visits, though, they might well decide that wilderness caches are such a small percentage that they're acceptable collateral damage in the push to clean up urban micros.

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There've been a few saying that the cache page needs to contain a description of GZ, but for some of my hides, I'm intentionally silent on what awaits as I want it to be a surprise. Sometimes it's an amazing vista opening out at the end of a tough bush slog, or perhaps a stunning rock formation or a waterfall. Taking away that element of surprise would spoil a lot of what the cache is about.

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A recent new cache near us has no description at all. Rather surprising that reviewers allow this and a bit annoying when we always put some effort into description of our caches.The only reason we might look for it is curiosity! 

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2 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Yeah, but the 100-finds-before-you-can-hide and the mandatory annual CO visits are getting a lot of traction

 

Could you explain in what kind of situation "the mandatory annual CO visit" may give some advance?

 

My own experience is that I should make this visit after every find but in practice I make this kind of visits only based on finders feedback.

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2 hours ago, Les Pandas said:

A recent new cache near us has no description at all. Rather surprising that reviewers allow this and a bit annoying when we always put some effort into description of our caches.The only reason we might look for it is curiosity! 

 

The reason for mandatory reviewing process was trying to prevent something like this but actually reviewing is mostly based on saturation checks. There are some guidelines banning use of some content, for example certain links and things related to business, but no guideline to force entering any word in the decription about the cache or anything else.

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1 hour ago, arisoft said:

 

Could you explain in what kind of situation "the mandatory annual CO visit" may give some advance?

 

My own experience is that I should make this visit after every find but in practice I make this kind of visits only based on finders feedback.

 

I'm not sure what you mean by "give some advance" but my concern is with the suggestion many people are making in the Insights thread that COs be required to visit all their caches at least once a year (and presumably log an OM stating they've done so) and the impact this would have on wilderness caches that require a lot of effort to visit but by design need little if any maintenance over many years or decades. I'm talking about the sort of caches that require a full day's hiking through rugged terrain or even an overnight camp-out to visit, and checking on twenty, thirty or more of those each year would be impractical, particularly if the CO has to fit it in with work and family commitments.

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10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

A minimum number of finds before someone can place a cache (100 seems a popular choice, but higher numbers, maybe 500, have support as well). That's all well and good if you live in a big American or European city where there are thousands of caches close at hand to chose from, but what about the rest of the planet? Even here in Australia, caches are thin on the ground once you get away from the larger cities. Take for example Glen Innes in northern NSW, a medium-sized country town with a population of 5000, where there are only 78 caches within an 80km (50 mile) radius. And there are whole countries, like Fiji for example, where there are far less than a hundred caches to be found.

 

According to the caches per area page on Project-gc there are 246 countries in the official GS countries list.  Only 96 of them have more than 100 caches in the entire country.  Setting a minimum number of finds to 100 before being allowed to hide a cache would effectively prohibit places which could use more caches from ever growing.  Requiring a minimum number of finds before being able to hide a cache is just a bad idea.

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9 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I'm finding some of the requests that are getting lots of support in the Insights thread rather scary and fear that, if implemented, would be the final nail in the coffin for caching around here, especially for the type of cache I most enjoy finding and hiding.

  • A minimum number of finds before someone can place a cache (100 seems a popular choice, but higher numbers, maybe 500, have support as well).

 

I'm absolutely with you for most of your comments,  to structure my answer I've taken each bullet point bolded part to comment on .

 

Yes, high minimum number of  finds is uneasonably exclusive in some situations, which is why  I suggested a two option qualification (I don't recall  how many finds I gave as an example - maybe 10 or 20) of either n finds or 30 days after the first find.  My thinking is to not exclude folk in cache poor areas, or who find themselves normal members in the middle of a premium rich location, or beginners surrounded by '?' caches, whilst still giving them pause to think before rushing out in that first burst of enthusiasm with a poorly planned and executed cache .

 

9 hours ago, barefootjeff said:
  • Mandatory CO cache visits either annually, biannually or quarterly. Implicit in this are the assumptions that all caches need constant TLC to remain viable, and that a CO's caches are either all easily visited

 

Mandatory owner visits are a daft idea. Armchair O.M. logs would be the obvious and easy answer by COs who don't care, so it wouldn't impact quality in the slightest. I'm guessing that folk suggesting this are mainly the ones who go for numbers of drive-by caches and neither imagine or appreciate the problems of visiting more remote caches. I bet most of them don't actually own any caches which involve any kind of effort on foot.

 

If such a rule was to be made,  to avoid having huge swathes of quality adventurous caches (the sort that often get on the cache of the week ) lost to Groundspeak , it would have to involve some sort of sliding scale of OM frequency based on difficulty of access:  something along the lines of roadside = 6 monthly , 3 mile hiking round trip once per year , extra time % for canoeing/rock climbing whatever. But I can't see it happening.  Groundspeak needs the adventurous caches to sell the game, just like the car manufacturers sell SUVs with outdoorsy images of them up mountains when most of the ones you see in Europe are really cheaper 2 wheel drive look-alikes .

Drive to the car park in your pretend 4X4,  find a micro at the edge of it ... living the adventure ! Just like the adverts.

 

9 hours ago, barefootjeff said:
  • Caches must be kid-friendly with plenty of swag, preferably of good quality.

 

No,  that's never going to happen is it ? Bring that rule in and every drive-by micro evaporates ... the app would have tumbleweed blowing through it.

 

I've set regular caches with a good  stock of swag,  and found them empty when I maintain them within a year. Requiring good quality swag, or any swag at all, would be the equivalent of telling cache owners to leave half an hour's wages in small  denomination bills in each container, for strangers to take at will. That would be ridiculous.

 

The folk who want big, child friendly , expensive swag packed treasure boxes can set an example locally and place the sort of thing they want to find, encouraging those who find it to follow their wonderful  example and set something similar for them to find. Either the area will become a haven of delightful caches, or they will rapidly be disillusioned about how folk treat such boxes. My money would be on the latter.

 

9 hours ago, barefootjeff said:
  • DNFs are bad and caches that get them must be dealt with, by either the CO fixing them or archival.

 

Because everyone gets a prize , right ? Sheesh, if there's no challenge (I might not find it after travelling here) what's  the point ?  People who see a DNF as a problem with the cache are missing the major possibility that the problem just might be with their search.  I should know, I've logged hundreds of  the things ... quite a few of which were apparently a quick easy find for the next searcher . 10 DNFs in a row by individual , experienced cachers on a low D cache , maybe. But not a blanket , one size fits all rule.

 

10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:
  • Cache owners must strive to get FPs.

Every cache should be in the top 10% of caches .

No , don't correct me on that, I know it's impossible ! But hey, surveys say most peoples driving is above average (as assessed by themselves) , the understanding of statistics is less than wonderful in the population at large. Favourite points are nice, they show appreciation, I like getting them. But they are not always awarded for reasons of quality ( FTF fav.s , mates fav.s , fav.s given because the finder likes the film character the cache is named for ...  ) so unless fav. point awarders are somehow (impossibly) obliged to rigidly stick to cache quality (whatever that turns out to be) to select those exceptional 1 in 10, then it's not a true measure of quality.

 

10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

So anyway, those are my thoughts. I hope caching can remain an inclusive broad-ranging activity catering for a wide and varied spectrum of interests, but I fear this push for quality will eliminate most of what I consider the highest quality caching experiences. I expect I'm just a lone voice in the wilderness on this, though,

 No, not a lone voice, I'm howling too ...

 

I said elsewhere in the forum that I wonder if Groundspeaks database can serve both audiences,  the numbers/drive by/largely app based cache setters and the interesting experience/outdoor adventure/mostly off-grid GPS  using setters. Notice I said setters, not finders.

 

The finding audience being wooed currently is the app  one: that is clear from things like changing the website to match the app (rather than vice-versa) , and  no doubt follows the  $$$,  GS being a company which is there to make profit.

 

But,  but ... those quality, outdoorsy, advertising image caches - the ones with photos of happy shiney young folk out on an adventure finding an ammo can in perfect weather with stunning scenery in the background .... in short,  the image GS uses to sell the idea of caching - if GS don't have any caches like that (like  yours !) what image have they left to sell ?

 

If GS value the requirements of the finders (who bring in the cash)  over those of the setters (who at their own expense and effort  make and place caches, then allow them to be publicised on the GS database for zero return) and , more particularly,  the quality cache setters who make exceptional efforts , they are like a gardener chopping off the inconvenient roots of a tree that are protruding and spoiling a path, then being surprised when later the trunk rots and the whole thing crashes down dead..

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11 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I'm finding some of the requests that are getting lots of support in the Insights thread rather scary and fear that, if implemented, would be the final nail in the coffin for caching around here, especially for the type of cache I most enjoy finding and hiding.

  • Mandatory CO cache visits either annually, biannually or quarterly. Implicit in this are the assumptions that all caches need constant TLC to remain viable, and that a CO's caches are either all easily visited or they own only one or two that aren't. But what about the COs who specialise in isolated T4+ remote caches that can take a day or more of intensive hiking over rugged terrain to reach? Such caches rarely if ever need maintenance as they have large rugged containers usually protected from the weather in rock cavities or under ledges, with decent sized logbooks that'll never fill in a lifetime of finds, and are extremely unlikely to be muggled. For a CO who's placed ten, twenty, maybe fifty such caches over their many years in the game, requiring a visit to all of them even just once a year would be impractical. While most of the caching community, particularly those living in big cities with young families, will never go anywhere near such caches, or even know of their existence, there are a small number such as myself for whom they're the lifeblood of caching, and if this were implemented it'd quickly kill off this aspect of the game for us.

 

I've got twenty caches that would I consider taking a full day each to perform maintenance.  Mostly D 2.5/3.  But I'm a senior dolphin.  I perform maintenance when needed.  Some I have not been back to in nine years!  Yes, hiking caches in New Jersey.  Nowhere as extreme as the ones you mention.  If I had to perform routine maintenance, I'd probably archive most of them.  My first hidden cache (2004) is about a mile each way with 200' of climb.  I revisited it after nine years.  And it's been five years since.  If I get an NM, or mention in a log of a problem, I will attend to it.  But to require routine maintenance would be out of the question.

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1 hour ago, hal-an-tow said:

Mandatory owner visits are a daft idea.

 

I'm glad somebody said it point-blank.

 

I think we all realize this, and maybe Groundspeak realizes it too.  But the merest hint of this daft idea causes such a reaction, an immune-system response from the community, that I imagine it's the furthest thing from our beloved overlords' minds.

 

It'd better be.

 

For many of us, the game is all about wilderness caches.  This would kill it.

 

Edited by Viajero Perdido
Louder
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2 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

For many of us, the game is all about wilderness caches.  This would kill it.

 

Far from "wilderness",  but we've found a couple spots that would be 3.5 in terrain at minimum, as well as extended hikes.

 - All would be similar to two we have left, taking most of a day to access.

When the help center started changing wording (and not telling anyone) , and finding conflicting wording within the same paragraphs, we decided to hold off.

Higher terrain is the only reason I still participate in the hobby. 

If that's slowly changing to an augmented reality phone game, I'd like to know before my pm's up again.  :)

 

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17 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

Higher terrain is the only reason I still participate in the hobby. 

If that's slowly changing to an augmented reality phone game, I'd like to know before my pm's up again.  :)

 

I use ignore button for all high terrain caches nearby. They are not a problem to me at all. As a premium member, you could easily ignore all AR caches if any appears in your sight. :)

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On 6/22/2018 at 1:05 AM, RiddleyWalker said:

I have removed . . .  golf balls (really? you think that's good ?) . . . .

 

 

Some people like golf balls.   I don't, but I'll put golf balls in a cache for those who do.

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