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the Seagnoid

Challenge cache guidelines

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Some of the new challenge restrictions were to remove allowing challenges based on some types of geographical area or spelling of cache titles. In general this was a good thing as it was very hard to verify that we qualified for a particular challenge. However this criticism has been negated by the compulsory requirement for a checker (a VERY good thing). New challenges since have been very good, but I find that as an experienced geocacher with 9000 finds under my belt, challenges are often no longer challenging. So I would like to propose a revisit to some of those restrictions. Given that a checker is required, and that it is easy to see if we qualify or not, would people like to see some of the current rules (especially regarding area or spelling) relaxed? I also recommend that where sensible (eg spelling challenges) that checkers are required to identify what components of the challenge remain unfilled.

 

Some challenge caches I do not want to see back:

Multiple-where-clause challenge type. Eg find 100 caches with at least 10 caches of difficulty 3 or above AND at least 15 are wherigos AND 5 are larges AND...

% of finds. Eg find n% of caches (possibly matching further restriction) in this area = different number of finds required for different finders as time goes by.

 

One challenge I would love to see come back:

Degree challenge: find one cache in each minute of specified degree of longitude or latitude.

 

What do you think? Given that we have checkers, can we loosen challenge guidelines? (note checkers are not possible for lonely cache challenges)

 

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3 minutes ago, the Seagnoid said:

One challenge I would love to see come back:

Degree challenge: find one cache in each minute of specified degree of longitude or latitude.

And the challenges where you have to find a cache within each 1 (or other specified) degree bearing from a specified location, usually the challenge cache's coordinates.

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59 minutes ago, the Seagnoid said:

 Multiple-where-clause challenge type. Eg find 100 caches with at least 10 caches of difficulty 3 or above AND at least 15 are wherigos AND 5 are larges AND...

A variation of this is a "bingo challenge", with a 5x5 grid of simple requirements, and a requirement to complete 5 grid spaces that form a line. If "bingo challenges" are not allowed, then I think that should be changed.

 

1 hour ago, the Seagnoid said:

Degree challenge: find one cache in each minute of specified degree of longitude or latitude.

I think location-based challenges like this, or like USGS quad challenges, make a lot of sense in a location-based game like geocaching.

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Part of the reason text-based challenges were disallowed wasn't for the difficulty of checking, but for the bookkeepingwhile qualifying. Searching for qualifiers and whatnot. I always considered that part of the challenge, but just raising the point that it wasn't merely for difficulty fo the checking now assuaged by the checker.

I'd love to see 'bookkeeping' challenges make a return. Therein lied a lot more potential for creative variations.

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8 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Part of the reason text-based challenges were disallowed wasn't for the difficulty of checking, but for the bookkeepingwhile qualifying. Searching for qualifiers and whatnot. I always considered that part of the challenge, but just raising the point that it wasn't merely for difficulty fo the checking now assuaged by the checker.

I'd love to see 'bookkeeping' challenges make a return. Therein lied a lot more potential for creative variations.

 

On the other hand, it seems like in many cases the variations weren't all that creative, and really were more about exercises in bookkeeping.   Someone creates a "find 12 caches with this combinations of attributes"..someone else creates a "find 14 caches this this set of attributes" and at times it seemed like the goal was to see who could create the most convoluted (and a contest to create the most difficult) set of criteria to achieve.  

 

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Right, and judging 'creativity' is an ugly-baby call. That can be applied to any geocache though.  The point was that it allowed for creativity, and whether it something is 'busywork' is really quite subjective. I've never had a problem with them, for one. Maybe I'm the only one :P Nonetheless, it removed another channel for people to be creative. (which is one of the criticisms of the new rules; they seem to feel more 'bland', catering to mere basic and redundant statistical accomplishments, with no arbitrary user-defined concepts).

But that's the rub. Allow creativity (reduce restrictions) and you necessarily grow the smorgasboard both ways, in beauty and ugliness.

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I'd certainly love to see any and all the restrictions lifted. You list a few examples of challenges you'd like and a few examples of challenges you wouldn't like. Everyone else could do the same, and we'd all list different types in each. The current rules were created with the thinking that if there are challenge types that enough people don't like, we shouldn't allow them. I think the better attitude would be that we should allow all challenges and let people decide for themselves which ones they like and want to pursue and which they don't like and want to ignore. As it is now, there are many kinds of challenges -- including some not invented yet -- that I'd like to pursue, but COs are forbidden to create them.

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3 hours ago, dprovan said:

let people decide for themselves which ones they like and want to pursue

 

This is not working always as you think. It is quite normal that people want caches near the road but they like caches far from the road.

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On 10/11/2018 at 9:59 PM, the Seagnoid said:

One challenge I would love to see come back:

Degree challenge: find one cache in each minute of specified degree of longitude or latitude.

That would be great if they allow them again.

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6 hours ago, arisoft said:

This is not working always as you think. It is quite normal that people want caches near the road but they like caches far from the road.

I think they should be able to have both, then.

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16 hours ago, dprovan said:

The current rules were created with the thinking that if there are challenge types that enough people don't like, we shouldn't allow them.

 

 The announcement of the moratorium  the reasons for it and for the reworking of challenge caches. QUOTE:

"very difficult to publish due to the large amount of subjectivity involved relative to other geocaches. While they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ."

 

Nothing there about, "challenge types that enough people don't like" (nor about log deletion, which for some reason dominated the forums threads on this topic.) They were taking up a disproportionate amount of appeals staff and reviewer time.

 HQ monitored the number of finds on challenges; they're found less than either Wherigo or Multi caches. They continue,  but such that they don't occupy too much reviewer or staff time.  

Edited to add a link to this post, which speaks both the numbers of finds, and to other issues.

 

There was  a User Insight thread on the topic. I assume that staff read it and considered the responses, along with the  need to make review and appeals much simpler;  it had 2 questions about likes, 2 about dislikes and 1 on change.

 

 

Edited by Isonzo Karst
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1 hour ago, Isonzo Karst said:

HQ monitored the number of finds on challenges; they're found less than either Wherigo or Multi caches. They continue,  but such that they don't occupy too much reviewer or staff time.  

 

My experience is that this goal has been achieved only partially. It seems that even simplest challenges take much longer to publish than other types.  It is true that most challenges will be denied instantly because the CO has not familiarized with guidelines and this saves a lot of work. 😈  Extra time is still used for subjective matters about attainability and appealing.

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20 hours ago, Isonzo Karst said:

The announcement of the moratorium  the reasons for it and for the reworking of challenge caches. QUOTE:

"very difficult to publish due to the large amount of subjectivity involved relative to other geocaches. While they account for only ~1% of all geocache submissions, challenge caches comprise the bulk of appeals made to Geocaching HQ."

I know what they said. But the bulk of the challenge caches they prohibited, like caches based on cache titles, aren't justified with that claim. Those challenge types were prohibited simply because lots of people whined about not liking "bookkeeping". There's nothing subjective about a challenge to spell "geocaching" with geocache titles.

 

Part of the reason the challenge cache changes were so annoying is because it was obvious that the stated goals didn't jive with most of the resulting changes.

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QUOTE: There's nothing subjective about a challenge to spell "geocaching" with geocache titles.

 

Sure, but what about a challenge to spell "autism",  "law and order",  or  "your username"?  (no agenda, but challenge is different for user JoeP and user Vinny & Sue Team).  Because challenges that you saw published of a particular type seem okay doesn't mean that the type wasn't contributing to the publication time problem.

 

On the original topic of loosening challenge guidelines, I wonder if user defined geographic units might fly, provided they were defined by coords and radius (like PQs)

 or between lines of lat or long?  ie, some kind of precision that would work for a checker, and be unambiguous.  Often  tossing the explanation that a particular user defined region ain't gonna fly over to the project-gc forums,  where it's not a  staff or reviewer problem ;-) as I believe arisoft has already referenced. Interesting that the opening post makes reference to how the checker must perform, " that checkers are required to identify what components of the challenge remain unfilled",   because of course it makes sense that the unpaid volunteers on another site must code output to make challenges on this site as easy as possible for seekers. 

 

@arisoftThat challenges are still around suggests that they're not taking too much time. They may well be more time consuming than other caches for owner, reviewer and HQ, but presumably at a level that is okay.

Edited by Isonzo Karst
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Who cares if the bookkeeping is difficult or not. No one forces people to do what is required to qualify for a challenge. This is no different to me than some of the obscure and sometimes incomprehensible puzzle caches. Yet you do not see any rules to make those easier or even require a coordinate checker. I for one enjoy the searching to see if I qualify. 

 

I agree that with more and more finds qualifying is becoming less and less fun. So I'd like to see a return of an location based challenge such as towns, parks etc.. I also like cache name based challenges, currently working on several grandfathered challenges, nano, 35, night, welcome.

 

Folks need to relax and realize they can skip a challenge cache if they so choose. Put it on the ignore list if they don't wish to try for it.

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49 minutes ago, MNTA said:

Who cares if the bookkeeping is difficult or not. No one forces people to do what is required to qualify for a challenge. This is no different to me than some of the obscure and sometimes incomprehensible puzzle caches. Yet you do not see any rules to make those easier or even require a coordinate checker. I for one enjoy the searching to see if I qualify. 

 

I agree that with more and more finds qualifying is becoming less and less fun. So I'd like to see a return of an location based challenge such as towns, parks etc.. I also like cache name based challenges, currently working on several grandfathered challenges, nano, 35, night, welcome.

 

Folks need to relax and realize they can skip a challenge cache if they so choose. Put it on the ignore list if they don't wish to try for it.

If only they were a different cache type, so I could easily avoid (or locate) them via the map, or by PQ or search.

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On 10/14/2018 at 5:57 AM, Isonzo Karst said:

On the original topic of loosening challenge guidelines, I wonder if user defined geographic units might fly, provided they were defined by coords and radius (like PQs) or between lines of lat or long?  ie, some kind of precision that would work for a checker, and be unambiguous

 

Nope. The only location-based challenges allowed are non-user-defined. That goes as distinct as counties. Country/Region/County.  You can selectively choose counties within which to require qualifications, but that's it; and that, I think, because it's super-difficult to create a meaningful 'shape' from county boundaries. And if it looks like you are it's easy for reviewers to catch.  You can't require lat/lon boundaries because those are highly subjective and small so selecting them is mnuch more interpretive/creative. I think that's dumb, but that's basically the argument. I think hemisphere was an allowed 'region' as well, but I think that's as close to lat/lon boundaries one will get now.

 

13 hours ago, K13 said:
13 hours ago, MNTA said:

Folks need to relax and realize they can skip a challenge cache if they so choose. Put it on the ignore list if they don't wish to try for it.

If only they were a different cache type, so I could easily avoid (or locate) them via the map, or by PQ or search.

 

Or any means by which to universally identify a challenge cache.

Right now there's only "Challenge" in the title (not guaranteed) and a checker in the description (reviewer-enforced). At the very least, some unviersal flag that's included in GPX/PQ/API and filterable.  However that shows up in practice (type/stars/attribute/etc).

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On 10/14/2018 at 2:57 AM, Isonzo Karst said:

On the original topic of loosening challenge guidelines, I wonder if user defined geographic units might fly, provided they were defined by coords and radius (like PQs)

 or between lines of lat or long?   ie, some kind of precision that would work for a checker, and be unambiguous

Since we don't know why arbitrary geographic areas were prohibited originally, there's no reason to think they'd suddenly be allowed now. My understanding is that writing a checker for an area is not hard, and I've never heard that given as the reason why they were forbidden.

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18 minutes ago, dprovan said:

My understanding is that writing a checker for an area is not hard, and I've never heard that given as the reason why they were forbidden.

 

I have, and I was informed it's because of the arbitrary guidelines. Anything from drawing shapes using gps coordinates to 'patterns' on the DT grid.  That "pattern" part of user-defined regions is a killer. And can be extremely interpretive if it weren't a cut off for anything other than counties.  To a degree I can understand why; but I still don't like it. :P

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On 10/15/2018 at 11:53 AM, dprovan said:

Since we don't know why arbitrary geographic areas were prohibited originally, there's no reason to think they'd suddenly be allowed now. My understanding is that writing a checker for an area is not hard, and I've never heard that given as the reason why they were forbidden.

 

Writing a checker for countries or states is easy as every GPX listing contains a countryID and stateID.  Writing one for counties is slightly more difficult as it requires reverse geocoding the lat/long coordinates for every find to a county, but there are fairly standard authoritative sources to do that.  However, an an arbitrary geographic region is much more difficult as there isn't a simple lookup service that would, for example tell you if a user has found a (or more than one) cache in a town park, or within the boundary of a set of streets.   

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On 10/15/2018 at 6:53 PM, dprovan said:

Since we don't know why arbitrary geographic areas were prohibited originally, there's no reason to think they'd suddenly be allowed now. My understanding is that writing a checker for an area is not hard, and I've never heard that given as the reason why they were forbidden.

 

Recently a distance between caches has been interpreted as geographic area even you can not say where the area is because it depends on what caches you choose.

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