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STNolan

Responsiveness

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Do any other EC owners find themselves  gauging their responsiveness by how much info is given? When I get a series of responses to my Earthcaches that are just bare minimum answers I give a bare minimum response (assuming the answers are right), but when I get thought out detailed answers I find that I am able to have an actual conversation about the geology at the site; and if the answers are incorrect we're able to come to a mutual understanding. 

 

I just find more and more that answers are short and terse. Does the group have any recommendations on formulating questions that inspire longer answers? Open ended style questions? 

... and don't even get me started on the "TFTC" logs on ECs; even after answering the questions. 

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Kidding.  :laughing:

 

I feel the exact same way - and I react the same way.  I normally don't put a doctoral dissertation in the response either way.    

 

Looking back through our earthcaches, there is a big difference between the logging questions that we were asking early on (basically just looking for simple answers) and the more recent ones, which have a few questions designed to evoke more of a discussion. 

 

For our first earthcache, originally we asked boring questions: how wide is the mount of the fjord?  how high is the wall next to you?  And, not surprisingly, we got terse answers: 1 km, 1500 meters (or whatever).  I tried revamping the questions to kill off the stupid measurement questions (who cares how wide the mouth of the fjord is?) and to ask for what evidence they see of glacial erosion, which is discussed in the cache description.  I usually get at least a sentence, but it's still not a very good logging question.  (Open to suggestions for improvement, by the way.)

 

Lately I've been trying to get more involved, trying to tie the lesson on the page to the questions I ask and putting in multiple questions to try and get better responses.  I'm a little prouder of this more recent earthcache of ours in Mesa Verde NP:

 

Quote

2. Go to the cache coordinates and look down at the Cliff House sandstone by your feet for concretions, which should be easily seen and do not resemble the rock around them. Describe the concretions at the overlook (shape, size, color). Based on their appearance, are they made of calcium carbonate or iron oxide?

3. Looking across the canyon: Based on the cache description and your own observations, what signs do you see that the alcove is continuing to weather and expand?

4. Looking around the entire area: Can you see any visible measures that the Park Service has taken to try to protect the ruins and stabilize the alcove? In your view, what measures could they take to stabilize the alcove while preserving its appearance and the structures inside?

 

I tend to get a little more out of this one, especially from geocachers who never really thought about the geology behind Spruce Tree House and the efforts to preserve it against the elements.  I especially like to hear back from folks who may have visited Mesa Verde many times and had no idea what the odd little bumps in the rock were by the overlook.  (Heck, I didn't even know what caused them until I went back to the site and was looking for things that would make a viable earthcache.)  But now and again I get terse sentence fragments and short logs.  Such is life.

 

Since it would be sort of off topic here, you've inspired me to start a new thread.  I just need to think of the right title to inspire good responses.  :anibad:

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p.s. Part of what I think has helped my EC questions is to give cachers a clue as to how to answer it by framing it: start off with what to do/look at, then follow with a question.  Touch the pink bunny. Is it fluffy, or sharp to the touch?

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I'm not an EC owner, but if I may give my perspective as someone who has sometimes provided what could be termed short, bare minimum answers. I'm also someone who lately is avoiding newer ECs that tend to require interpretive, longer responses.

 

For me, the joy in attempting an EC is in being introduced to an interesting geological feature. I like to arrive at the site, read about what makes it unique, and be able to correctly answer the question(s) by reading the cache page and viewing the feature. What I'm finding more and more is COs asking me to speculate on the feature, which often requires research beyond what's presented on the cache page or at the location. Then, the CO will sometimes tell me my interpretation is incorrect, and I feel like I'm back in school, getting a bad grade on a paper.

 

To be honest, it has never occurred to me that an EC CO would be interested in having a conversation with me about the geology at the site. So, your post has shown me a different perspective. But given that the post-visit research and "paperwork" is my least favorite part of the EC experience, I'm more likely to pass on ECs that invite me into a conversation.

 

Just two cents from an interested observer :)

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17 hours ago, hzoi said:

 

I tried revamping the questions to kill off the stupid measurement questions (who cares how wide the mouth of the fjord is?) and to ask for what evidence they see of glacial erosion, which is discussed in the cache description.  I usually get at least a sentence, but it's still not a very good logging question.  (Open to suggestions for improvement, by the way.)

I gotta say I love the improvement; the "how large is XYZ" feature is something that I fully admit that I've fallen back upon more often than I care to, simply because it's a quick an easy way to verify that the cacher visited the site (provided the object in question is not large enough to judge the size from a satellite view etc).

 

The problem for me often comes when trying to provide a balance between spoon feeding the answer and 

6 hours ago, Rock Chalk said:

asking me to speculate on the feature, which often requires research beyond what's presented on the cache page or at the location.

 

Its a tough and narrow road sometimes. While I would like the cacher to be able to draw conclusions based on the source material; how much is TOO much. Again it's an EC page and not a science class/test.

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On 8/24/2018 at 12:28 PM, Rock Chalk said:

I'm also someone who lately is avoiding newer ECs that tend to require interpretive, longer responses.

 

For me, the joy in attempting an EC is in being introduced to an interesting geological feature. I like to arrive at the site, read about what makes it unique, and be able to correctly answer the question(s) by reading the cache page and viewing the feature. What I'm finding more and more is COs asking me to speculate on the feature, which often requires research beyond what's presented on the cache page or at the location. Then, the CO will sometimes tell me my interpretation is incorrect, and I feel like I'm back in school, getting a bad grade on a paper.

 

To be honest, it has never occurred to me that an EC CO would be interested in having a conversation with me about the geology at the site. So, your post has shown me a different perspective. But given that the post-visit research and "paperwork" is my least favorite part of the EC experience, I'm more likely to pass on ECs that invite me into a conversation.

 

Some EC Owners (like STNolan, who started this thread) enjoy interacting with finders; some finders enjoy the interaction as well.  Some just want the smilie.  Granted, an EC is more (or rather, more of a different type of) work to create than other cache types and *should* take a bit more effort to complete.  But not all EC Owners or finders are going to react the same way.

 

I enjoy the lesson, I put some thought into my answers and do appreciate feedback and sometimes get it, whether my interpretation or speculation is correct or valid or not.  Sometimes I never heard a word from the CO but my log is still there, so I assume I did OK.  Other times I'll get a nice reply, and that's always welcome to me, confirming my responses.  I don't mind wrting longer answers, and will often add something to a simple question.  That's me.  Hubby tends to be more succinct - just answer the question.  He often lets me submit the answers for both of us!!

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Here's my take - as someone who loves EC's both as a finder and as an owner.

 

Put simply - people can't write about stuff they don't know.

 

Some EarthCachers are genuinely fascinated by the whole field of geology. They love to learn new stuff and love to use what they've learned as they progress and complete more EC's. These guys tend to write longer, more detailed answers because it's within their comfort zone to add that extra detail.

 

Others like EarthCaches rather than love them and don't necessarily build up that knowledge bank as they go along so more detailed answers are outside their comfort zone and they likely play safe.

 

And some struggle to visualise / internalise based on a description so whereas they could probably understand better if you were there at GZ to give them the same lesson that's on your cache page on a one-to-one basis, taking it from a cache page without guidance doesn't work for them. These guys will tend to write short answers too - in my experienc.

 

One thing that I try to do is to include good photographic examples on every cache page - ideally taken at GZ - so people can recognise exactly the things or sorts of things they are supposed to be looking for - and that helps a lot.

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I am currently struggling with figuring out how to answer an all-German earthcache I stopped by in Tirol, Austria, this week.  I am planning on some descriptive responses, which hopefully the owner can interpret enough to allow the find.  Terse answers would be easier, I'm sure, on both ends, but I don't think it's going to cut it.

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Taking the opposite view point...

 

I've done 6 ECs so far during my Africa trip and haven't had a reply from any owner.  Any reply would be good.

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1 hour ago, Gill & Tony said:

Taking the opposite view point...

 

I've done 6 ECs so far during my Africa trip and haven't had a reply from any owner.  Any reply would be good.

 

Yeah.

 

That's just rude on the CO's part.

 

Given that it's the CO's responsibility to provide the Earth Science Lesson, the very least that they should do after the event is mark your homework - one way or they other.

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I have a couple of easy Earthcaches and a couple that are more difficult. Its easy enough to just send a simple "Your answers are correct, thanks for visiting!" once you check the answers.

EC Owners who don't reply to their answer message make their caches seem less like ECs and more like "set 'em and forget 'em" quasi-virtuals. 

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I have just submitted answers for an EC in Sedona, AZ (fascinating landscapes, awesome EC's!); CO required individual emails with answers for every cacher claiming a find, even if you were together.  OK.  Hubby and I each submitted answers for the EC; his were not the same as mine (we disagreed on the # of layers in the rock formation).  We both got an email thanking us for visiting the EC.

 

No indication if answers were right or wrong or accepted or not.  We both logged the EC as a find...both got the same thank you email to our separate submissions...but with different responses to the questions posed.  And this CO specifically said they would not accept one person submitting answers for a group; each person logging had to email the CO individually.  My smilie, at this point, still stands, but it's puzzling how we could each submit differing answers, both apparently accepted, with no further info offered?  Did we learn the EC lesson or not??  It was still an interesting EC - and I'll take the smilie!  (GC1DBA2)

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1 hour ago, CAVinoGal said:

I have just submitted answers for an EC in Sedona, AZ (fascinating landscapes, awesome EC's!); CO required individual emails with answers for every cacher claiming a find, even if you were together.  OK.  Hubby and I each submitted answers for the EC; his were not the same as mine (we disagreed on the # of layers in the rock formation).  We both got an email thanking us for visiting the EC.

 

No indication if answers were right or wrong or accepted or not.  We both logged the EC as a find...both got the same thank you email to our separate submissions...but with different responses to the questions posed.  And this CO specifically said they would not accept one person submitting answers for a group; each person logging had to email the CO individually.  My smilie, at this point, still stands, but it's puzzling how we could each submit differing answers, both apparently accepted, with no further info offered?  Did we learn the EC lesson or not??  It was still an interesting EC - and I'll take the smilie!  (GC1DBA2)

I just did that same EC, and it was clear to me that there was no right answer and that the CO would have to accept any answer from 4 to 100 for the count of layers. I don't think the point was to get a right answer; I think the point was to look carefully at the formation and notice the various kinds of layers. If anything, you might have had more trouble if you'd both given the same answer, since that would suggest more that one of you copied the answers verbatim from the other and less that you each, independently, looked at the formation and counted the layers for yourself.

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4 hours ago, CAVinoGal said:

My smilie, at this point, still stands, but it's puzzling how we could each submit differing answers, both apparently accepted, with no further info offered?

 

It should not be about getting a perfect score, but about learning.  Even scientists may disagree about what they observe at a given location.  Happens all the time - that's how both sides in a court case get expert witnesses.

 

When earthcache owners submit earthcaches for review, we are expected to provide the reviewer not only with the anticipated answers to the logging questions, but how we expect geocachers to come up with those answers.

 

There is no requirement under the guidelines or GSA rules for EC owners to provide feedback to each finder - but it should be encouraged as standard practice.  I try to give some feedback to every finder.  We don't get a huge amount of traffic on ours, so it's not overly burdensome.

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On 3/12/2019 at 11:14 PM, dprovan said:

I think the point was to look carefully at the formation and notice the various kinds of layers.

And we did that - and you are right, depending on how you read the write up, and interpreted the layers, answers could vary (as ours did).  Point taken; we did learn, and the area is fascinating!

 

I'm happy our emails were responded to, acknowledging our submission of answers.  SOmetimes we don't even get that, so....

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On 3/13/2019 at 5:47 AM, CAVinoGal said:

OK.  Hubby and I each submitted answers for the EC; his were not the same as mine (we disagreed on the # of layers in the rock formation).  We both got an email thanking us for visiting the EC.

 

No indication if answers were right or wrong or accepted or not.

 

There were Earthcaches that we only could solve partially and were totally unsecure about what the owner wants from us with the other questions (some of them rated difficulty 1 - other topic...). In these cases I am honest when writing the mail and usually I ask what the owner meant and what should be the answer (and I ask if we may log though). Sometimes I just get "Your answers are right." as answer - automatically sent I think.

In any such cases I always wanted to try to sent completely nonsense answers to see what happens - but I never dared to to so. ;-)

 

For the here posted earthcache that mey look this way:

 

"2. Other then Coffee Pot name at least 2 other rock formations visible from this vantage point."

There are the "Tea Pot" and the "Cheese cake". (I always wanted "cheese cake" to be the answer for an earthcache.)

"3. How many layers do you see in Coffee Pot?"

Two - a layer of milk and a layer of suger.

"4. Tell me your elevation from where the photo was taken"

I am about 6.5 foot high whereever I am. Shuold be the same here.

"5. Group emails are not acceptable, each person logging this cache must submit their own unique photo and submit their own unique email."

Done. Hopefully my answers are all wrong.

 

Getting a "thank you" mail afterwards? Perfectly, seems to me I am allowed to log (which I would only do if I was at the place and really tried to answer the questions). ;-)

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6 hours ago, frostengel said:

There were Earthcaches that we only could solve partially and were totally unsecure about what the owner wants from us with the other questions (some of them rated difficulty 1 - other topic...). In these cases I am honest when writing the mail and usually I ask what the owner meant and what should be the answer (and I ask if we may log though).

I figured out pretty quickly that there were certain kinds of questions that were interesting to ask, but couldn't have a concrete answer. The geological layers question has come up a few times, and there are plenty of ways to "describe" something whenever that's the question. I just do my best and don't worry about there's something specific the ECCO wanted me to say since, if so, I know he'll say so. (Although no one has yet.) Sometimes I'll give multiple answers: "If you meant A, then X. If you meant B, then Y." In this particular EarthCache asking about the coffee pot's layers, all I did is make sure to say "I counted N layers" instead of "There are N layers".

 

6 hours ago, frostengel said:

Sometimes I just get "Your answers are right." as answer - automatically sent I think.

In any such cases I always wanted to try to sent completely nonsense answers to see what happens - but I never dared to to so. 😉

In my opinion, what's important about the questions is how I answer them. It doesn't make any difference to me whether the ECCO pays much attention. Although in the case of this EarthCache, there was another little glitch -- it appeared that it expected me to find an informational sign that I didn't find -- and I mentioned that in my answers, and I immediately got a reply from the ECCO that responded to that point, so she definitely reads the answers people send her. If you'd sent her those answers, I'd hope she'd be amused, but I'm reasonably confident she'd reject your find.

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