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FloridaPanther

Inactive Cache Owners

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46 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

I've always believed the wording should be updated to be clear - doing nothing is an option, but the reviewer should be convinced you're not an inactive geocache owner.   Those two aren't contradictory.

 

Agreed.

 

Would there be any downside to GCHQ not sending out an automatic email? Re-wording may have its problems too. 

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29 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

Would there be any downside to GCHQ not sending out an automatic email? Re-wording may have its problems too. 

Well, it would be back to square one.

The whole point of the email was to pre-emptively send out a nudge to cache owners of possible problems with a cache, while helping reviewers to pre-emptively identify caches that might have a problem, if they choose to take proactive actions (all, reportedly, in an attempt to help improve overall cache quality).

If reviewers had the tool, but owners didn't get the email, there'd be a bigger outcry if reviewers started taking more proactive action the CO didn't know was coming. A reviewer disable of a cache with 3 DNFs with no warning is a lot worse than getting an email you can respond to .

So it's really more like all or nothing (square one).

And if you think square one was better, well obviously GSHQ disagreed , heh

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5 hours ago, thebruce0 said:
On 10/13/2018 at 9:52 AM, barefootjeff said:

I'd much rather be asked to go visit one of my caches because someone logged a "might be missing" NM than having to do so because of a CHS email, since in the former case the person logging the NM was actually at GZ, whereas the CHS is just counting logs and trying to infer the state of the cache from that.

 

Then if you don't think it needs a physical check, don't do a physical check. Post an OM and explain why. Or contact the reviewer, post an OM, and explain why. (we already agreed, iirc, that the email wording should be made clearer).  As you say, the CHS infers as best it can the state of the cache. Humans judge what action should be taken. HQ obviously felt an atuomated email nudge would be effective at identifying potential problem caches for owners and nudging them about it before they become a problem for the finding public. The drawback to getting one, in practice, is minimal. But we've been around that bush before.

 

If the principal motivation for the CHS is identifying potentional problem caches for owners and nudging them about it before they become a problem for the finding public, why not make the score visible to the CO so a vigilent CO could preempt the CHS? Or describe the methodology the CHS uses so a CO could see if they need to change anything in their cache or listing to better meet the CHS's expectations? Or have the email say why it thought the cache needed attention, instead of just saying "The recent logs may contain more details about what sort of maintenance needs to be performed"? Or provide a way of reporting false positives? Why is it all cloaked in secrecy? As I said before, catching wilful maintenance-shirkers and being helpful to diligent COs are conflicting goals.

 

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On 10/11/2018 at 8:33 AM, justintim1999 said:

If you actually looked for the cache?   A dnf.     I'm not in the business of interpreting previous logs from behind a desk.        I'll leave that to my reviewer.   I can't see inconveniencing a cache owner because I either can't find the cache or I want them to check up on it so I can.

 

So, I went looking for a cache today (since I was in the neighborhood.)  CO has 3 finds, and 103 hides; 66 of which have been archived.  Cache appears to have been  an MKH in a guardrail.  NM from August 2017.  Magnet missing.  Since then, it seems to have deteriorated to a log in a baggie.  One recent DNF.  I DNFed it, and posted an NA.  NM from fourteen months ago?  No maintenance done.  I did not find it, but am sure that it is missing.  

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5 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

why not make the score visible to the CO so a vigilent CO could preempt the CHS?

 

Same reason they don't talk about the algorithm. If someone sees the score, it effectively becomes useless as it can and will be gamed to be entirely unreliable (as opposed to only partially).

 

5 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Or describe the methodology the CHS uses so a CO could see if they need to change anything in their cache or listing to better meet the CHS's expectations?

 

I think they'd say that already exists - be responsive, and maintain your caches if they need maintenance. Some COs do actually check on their caches without prompting even if there's a couple of DNFers. That obviously can't apply to every single owner and cache that's placed out there, but the owner ethic can be obvious to any reviewer if a potential issue arises.

 

5 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Or provide a way of reporting false positives?

 

Agreed, beyond the obvious "tell your local reviewer" (who can respond to your issue accordingly).

 

5 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

catching wilful maintenance-shirkers and being helpful to diligent COs are conflicting goals

 

I don't see that at all. I think it's only conflicting with "diligent COs who detest a minor inconvenience" (in the context of false positives, where the reviewer can be convinced that no physical visit is necessary; that is, the minor inconvenience is responsive communication that otherwise wouldn't be needed)  Even then of course "minor" is YMMV.  If the reviewer judges and requires you to make a physical visit despite your defense that it doesn't need one, that's on the reviewer, not the imperfect CHS. Especially if it turns out the visit was a waste.

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:
7 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

catching wilful maintenance-shirkers and being helpful to diligent COs are conflicting goals

 

I don't see that at all. I think it's only conflicting with "diligent COs who detest a minor inconvenience" (in the context of false positives, where the reviewer can be convinced that no physical visit is necessary; that is, the minor inconvenience is responsive communication that otherwise wouldn't be needed)  Even then of course "minor" is YMMV.  If the reviewer judges and requires you to make a physical visit despite your defense that it doesn't need one, that's on the reviewer, not the imperfect CHS. Especially if it turns out the visit was a waste.

 

It's conflicting in the sense that a lot of helpful information, like the health score on a CO's caches that haven't (yet) dropped below the email/reviewer alert level, and information on what is an acceptable DNF rate or time between finds for a given D/T rating, is kept hidden, presumably to stop maintenance-shirkers from gaming the system. All we get is an email saying maintenance might be needed, the recent logs may contain more details about what sort of maintenance needs to be performed, and you should either carry out that needed maintenance now, disable it until you can or archive it. Since the email appears to go out within just a couple of days of the DNF log that triggered it, which a diligent CO would've seen and acted upon if necessary, it really isn't all that helpful or informative.

Edited by barefootjeff

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10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

It's conflicting in the sense that a lot of helpful information, like the health score on a CO's caches that haven't (yet) dropped below the email/reviewer alert level, and information on what is an acceptable DNF rate or time between finds for a given D/T rating, is kept hidden, presumably to stop maintenance-shirkers from gaming the system. All we get is an email saying maintenance might be needed

 

Yep, and in most cases, that email is properly (identifying a true problem) prompted for CO review.  You seem to act like the email is generated almost randomly.

 

10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

All we get is an email saying maintenance might be needed, the recent logs may contain more details about what sort of maintenance needs to be performed, and you should either carry out that needed maintenance now, disable it until you can or archive it.

 

Sure. And I agree the wording should be updated.

 

10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Since the email appears to go out within just a couple of days of the DNF log that triggered it, which a diligent CO would've seen and acted upon if necessary, it really isn't all that helpful or informative.

 

To owners who feel there's no problem perhaps. But otherwise, in every case, if the CO acts upon it (at the very least reviews the listing, and at the most goes to visit the container) then the email has been effective in at least identifying a responsive cache owner, and at most pre-emptively keeping a bad cache-finding experience from occurring.

Edited by thebruce0

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On ‎10‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 9:07 PM, niraD said:

Ultimately, the only thing a volunteer reviewer can do is temporarily disable the cache or archive the cache. In response to NA, they usually disable the cache with a message that they'll archive it if the CO doesn't resolve the issue within a month.

 

The volunteer reviewer doesn't need to get involved unless the cache should be archived if nothing is done. Maybe changing the name of the log type (e.g., to Needs Reviewer Attention) might encourage members to use the log type more reliably. But it doesn't really change what the log means.

I could almost up vote this whole thing if it wasn't for the last sentence.    NA means I think the cache needs to be archived.     Needs reviewer attention means  I'm asking a reviewer to take a look and see if they think the cache needs to be archived. 

 

Your right though.  If it was worded differently,  people may not hesitate using it.       
     

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6 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

To owners who feel there's no problem perhaps. But otherwise, in every case, if the CO acts upon it (at the very least reviews the listing, and at the most goes to visit the container) then the email has been effective in at least identifying a responsive cache owner, and at most pre-emptively keeping a bad cache-finding experience from occurring.

 

So the purpose of the CHS is to help reviewers find non-responsive cache owners, not as something helpful for diligent COs. Isn't that what I said? Even if the owner thinks there is a problem when that triggering DNF occurred, the CHS only gives them a couple of days to fix it before it pounces. Why the rush?

 

Also how is it preventing bad caching experiences from happening? If it's triggered by DNF logs, weren't those bad caching experiences for the DNFers? And couldn't the same thing be achieved by encouraging at least one of those DNFers to log a "might be missing" NM if that's what they think? And if they don't think the cache is missing, their DNF log really shouldn't be interpreted that way.

 

The CHS was introduced at a time when you couldn't log an NM or NA from the official app, so maybe that was at least part of the motivation for it. That's now been fixed, so perhaps it's time to reconsider what is the most effective way of cleaning up missing or derelict caches.

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4 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

So the purpose of the CHS is to help reviewers find non-responsive cache owners, not as something helpful for diligent COs. Isn't that what I said?

 

The sole purpose of the CHS is not for diligent COs. It serves multiple purposes, all reportedly towards the goal of increasing general cache quality.

 

5 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Even if the owner thinks there is a problem when that triggering DNF occurred, the CHS only gives them a couple of days to fix it before it pounces.

 

Pounces? There's no guarantee that a mere DNF will trigger a nudge email. If the CO thinks it might, well if they're diligent, they might do what's needed to make sure it doesn't happen. Maybe they'll do nothing and the CHS won't actually think there might be a problem. You know how many caches out there have a DNF, or a bunch, that haven't triggered the email? Obviously there's more to the algorhtm than mere DNFs. So. Why assume "Oh no a DNF! I'll get that dastardly nudge email in a couple of days unless I go out of my way to stop it!" especially if the CO hasn't yet reviewed the cause of the DNF?

 

7 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Also how is it preventing bad caching experiences from happening? If it's triggered by DNF logs

 

Nope, not only DNF logs. Otherwise EVERY SINGLE CACHE IN THE WORLD with a DNF log would be triggering nudge emails.

 

8 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

The CHS was introduced at a time when you couldn't log an NM or NA from the official app, so maybe that was at least part of the motivation for it. That's now been fixed, so perhaps it's time to reconsider what is the most effective way of cleaning up missing or derelict caches.

 

I'd say that's straight up part of 'tweaking the algorithm to reduce false positives.'  And guaranteed GS is watching the responses to the system to make adjustments as they see fit. (whether we think they're good adjustments or not, from our limited end-user perspective).

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2 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:
12 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Even if the owner thinks there is a problem when that triggering DNF occurred, the CHS only gives them a couple of days to fix it before it pounces.

 

Pounces? There's no guarantee that a mere DNF will trigger a nudge email. If the CO thinks it might, well if they're diligent, they might do what's needed to make sure it doesn't happen. Maybe they'll do nothing and the CHS won't actually think there might be a problem. You know how many caches out there have a DNF, or a bunch, that haven't triggered the email? Obviously there's more to the algorhtm than mere DNFs. So. Why assume "Oh no a DNF! I'll get that dastardly nudge email in a couple of days unless I go out of my way to stop it!" especially if the CO hasn't yet reviewed the cause of the DNF?

 

You've misunderstood what I was trying to say so I'll try to make it clearer. A diligent CO gets a DNF notification on Monday, reads it and thinks maybe I should go and check on it just to be sure and plans a trip out to the cache for the coming weekend. But the CHS doesn't allow them that time to respond, or for the DNFer to go back and find it next weekend for that matter, it acts just days after the DNF that triggered it. Why the rush? Why not allow a couple of weeks for either the CO to act of their own accord on whatever log caused the cache's health score to drop below the threshold, or, if it was a DNF, for the DNFer to make good their blue frowny?

 

23 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Nope, not only DNF logs. Otherwise EVERY SINGLE CACHE IN THE WORLD with a DNF log would be triggering nudge emails.

 

There are now numerous examples posted in the forums of caches with just a small number of DNFs being pinged, spanning the three years since its inception in 2015 right up to the present time. No NMs, no NAs, no reviewer disables, just one, two or three DNFs. I would dearly love to know why it picks on those caches yet ignores others with long strings of DNFs and a few NMs spanning many years. In my case the log sequence was Publish - WN - Find+FP - DNF - CHS email, all within seven weeks. Nothing else went on behind the scenes, no past history of neglected caches (I've never even had an NM, let alone an NA or reviewer disable) or anything like that. The same I'm sure is true for many of the other similar examples that have appeared and continue to appear.

 

Conversely, I've yet to see anyone pop up and say in any of those many CHS-related threads that they got an email and, oh boy, it alerted me to a problem I didn't know I had. There've been reviewers say it helps them find and deal with abandoned caches and fine, if that's what the reviewer's role is now, but I don't recall a single incident of a CO themselves saying they were grateful for the CHS.

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23 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

A diligent CO gets a DNF notification on Monday, reads it and thinks maybe I should go and check on it just to be sure and plans a trip out to the cache for the coming weekend. But the CHS doesn't allow them that time to respond, or for the DNFer to go back and find it next weekend for that matter, it acts just days after the DNF that triggered it.

 

So? The CO gets a nudge email after they've already decided to go and check up on it but before they actually get to it. They still go out and do the checkup just as they planned. The only thing it would hurt is maybe an ego. IF a reviewer gets in touch first (within that week? Highly unlikely, but if they do) the CO tells them they already plan to visit the cache on the weekend. Maintenance done, CHS restored. Case closed.

 

25 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:
51 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Nope, not only DNF logs. Otherwise EVERY SINGLE CACHE IN THE WORLD with a DNF log would be triggering nudge emails.

 

There are now numerous examples posted in the forums of caches with just a small number of DNFs being pinged, spanning the three years since its inception in 2015 right up to the present time.

 

Nono, I said if it were ONLY DNF logs. If it were, then necessarily, every single cache in the world with a dnf log would be triggering nudge emails. Clearly there are other factors involved. Obviously not a perfect algorithm. No one said it was. But it is absolutely not only dnf logs that trigger the email. That's all I said. If you agree with that, great.  Can't tell you exactly what those other factors are, and I'm not interested in trying to reverse engineer the trigger cases to figure it out, because that's exactly what GS doesn't want to have happen.

 

28 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

I would dearly love to know why it picks on those caches yet ignores others with long strings of DNFs and a few NMs spanning many years.

 

Sure, so would I. I think all of us would.

 

28 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Conversely, I've yet to see anyone pop up and say in any of those many CHS-related threads that they got an email and, oh boy, it alerted me to a problem I didn't know I had. There've been reviewers say it helps them find and deal with abandoned caches and fine, if that's what the reviewer's role is now, but I don't recall a single incident of a CO themselves saying they were grateful for the CHS.

 

Even if we assume that no one the world over has benefitted from the CHS email (who could prove that negative?), the benefit is seen with reviewers using the flag and seeing that there are people who do not respond, and then proactively too action to reduce the chance of bad cache-finding experiences due to inactive ownership.

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25 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

I would dearly love to know why it picks on those caches yet ignores others with long strings of DNFs and a few NMs spanning many years.

 

I'll add here my suspicion on how it might work, that would at least in part explain this. Finds and OMs are given a positive score, DNFs and NMs a negative score, with some weighting for the age of the log so that recent logs carry more weight than older ones. Perhaps the D/T rating plays a part in the age weighting since higher D/T caches are attempted less often. The relative weighting of finds and DNFs is determined from the difficulty rating of the cache, so that for a low D rating, finds carry little weight compared to DNFs (many finds but few DNFs expected) but it's the other way around for a higher D rating (many DNFs but few finds expected).

 

So, if that's roughly how it works (and yes, that's a big if), it would at least explain some of the anomolies on newer caches that have had few visits, like my D2/T5 multi with just one find and one DNF. Being a D2, the one DNF outweighed the one find and, hey presto, out goes the email. But for an older cache that's had hundreds of finds but has now degraded or gone missing, it's going to take a lot of DNFs (or even NMs) to outweigh the combined positive score from that history of finds.

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1 minute ago, barefootjeff said:

So, if that's roughly how it works (and yes, that's a big if), it would at least explain some of the anomolies on newer caches that have had few visits, like my D2/T5 multi with just one find and one DNF. Being a D2, the one DNF outweighed the one find and, hey presto, out goes the email. But for an older cache that's had hundreds of finds but has now degraded or gone missing, it's going to take a lot of DNFs (or even NMs) to outweigh the combined positive score from that history of finds.

 

If date ranges are part of the scoring (I too believe they are in some manner, and possibly algorithmically depending on the parameters being tested), it's unlikely it'll run every aspect of the cache/owner in the context of the entire life of the cache. For current relevant cache status, maybe it only goes back a few months, or a couple years, or a percentage of its life with a minimum of a month, or something like that. Who knows...

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3 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

So? The CO gets a nudge email after they've already decided to go and check up on it but before they actually get to it. They still go out and do the checkup just as they planned. The only thing it would hurt is maybe an ego. IF a reviewer gets in touch first (within that week? Highly unlikely, but if they do) the CO tells them they already plan to visit the cache on the weekend. Maintenance done, CHS restored. Case closed.

 

My point is though that the CHS isn't helpful to the diligent CO - it doesn't convey any new information to them. If there is a problem, it's likely something they're already aware of and in the process of dealing with, and if there isn't a problem, the email still brings with it the expectation that a CO needs to do something, and the three actions it suggests are to visit your geocache, make any needed repairs, and post an “Owner Maintenance” log so the community knows it’s available to find, disable it until you can or archive it. Given that it's an official heads-up from HQ, I think most diligent COs who haven't read the discussions on the forums would believe, rightly or wrongly, that they're expected to do one of those three things.

 

There are ways the CHS could be made a lot more helpful to COs, which I've already mentioned, but because they could open the door for shirkers to game it, that won't happen. That's why I say helping COs and catching shirkers are conflicting goals.

 

.

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9 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

My point is though that the CHS isn't helpful to the diligent CO - it doesn't convey any new information to them. If there is a problem, it's likely something they're already aware of and in the process of dealing with, and if there isn't a problem, the email still brings with it the expectation that a CO needs to do something, and the three actions it suggests are to visit your geocache, make any needed repairs, and post an “Owner Maintenance” log so the community knows it’s available to find, disable it until you can or archive it. Given that it's an official heads-up from HQ, I think most diligent COs who haven't read the discussions on the forums would believe, rightly or wrongly, that they're expected to do one of those three things.

 

There are ways the CHS could be made a lot more helpful to COs, which I've already mentioned, but because they could open the door for shirkers to game it, that won't happen. That's why I say helping COs and catching shirkers are conflicting goals.

 

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I think you are assuming too much. The opinions shared by you and other posters including myself are a small percentage of the overall community. GS has made a business out of supporting this hobby.  I for one have filled out questionnaires, had responses from GS to enhancement request and commented here. They felt a need for CHS and corresponding emails, and I am happy to see that they are attempting to improve thing. The diligent CO is not the purpose of the CHS nor is the archival of caches is not a bad thing if the CO chooses for what ever reason to not act. It is their choice there are millions of caches out there in the world one less will not be the end of things. Should I get an email, I will definitely act in one way or another archival might be my decision. The email honestly gives me a heads up of "potential" problems and  those get fixed earlier than they would have, from the finders perspective this is a huge win from my perspective I get the potential of having more Found IT logs. The CHS is a tool that is all and false positives are always possible. There are innocent people in jail convicted of crimes they did not commit, an email is not the end of the world here.

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, MNTA said:

GS has made a business out of supporting this hobby.

Exactly. To GS, it's a business. So, for example, there's no money to be made in caches out in the back country, so every reason for GS to not worry about whether they're doing things that make it harder to have geocaches that are difficult to reach and maintain. In fact, we might expect their good business sense to encourage them to work against back country caches. That's why I think it's important we keep clear the difference between being good for geocaching, and being good for the business of geocaching. I think diversity is good for geocaching, but the business of geocaching will always work against caches that don't fit the mold.

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9 hours ago, MNTA said:

The diligent CO is not the purpose of the CHS nor is the archival of caches is not a bad thing if the CO chooses for what ever reason to not act. It is their choice there are millions of caches out there in the world one less will not be the end of things.

 

Not everywhere is cache-rich. There are many places in the world where caches are few and far between, and losing one, ten, a hundred would a have a big impact, particularly if those caches were still in good nick but being archived simply because they got pinged for a couple of DNFs and their owners are no longer active and didn't respond. As I said earlier, over half the caches in my region were hidden by people no longer actively caching and there are very few new caches coming along now to replace them should they be archived. Fine, if a cache really does have problems it should be fixed or archived, but archiving caches simply because they get a few DNFs (or even haven't been found for a long while) and there was no response from the CO is really not helping the game in these places.

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