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ecanderson

Fast and Loose With Contact Guidelines

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On 11/17/2018 at 9:48 PM, ecanderson said:

I long ago quit concerning myself with how others play the game, and one gets whatever caching reputation one earns.   It's also not something that reviewers or GSHQ could possibly manage, even if some players wanted them to.  Improper cache placements, OTOH...

Not sure if this post was meant to be in reply to my comment about cachers logging finds when they clearly didn't find it?  But my point with that is that the CO's are clearly not even maintaining the cache page.  There were numerous Found It logs where cachers said they didn't find the cache, and some of them submitted photo logs to 'prove they were there'.  It gives the impression to me, moreso than whether there's a local maintenance plan or not, that the CO is not paying attention to their cache.

 

But overall, yeah - I generally don't get too worried about false logs, if the CO's let one slip by every once in a while. Although it does bug me when they log a find after a string of DNF/NM logs and it gives a false impression that the cache is actually there.

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It was mentioned that caches requiring interaction with an employee/staff member/etc would not be published in North America. I have found 2 caches, in the USA, where I had to ask someone at the front desk to hand me the cache container. One was published in 2011, the other in 2016.  Different publishing reviewers, different states. One had a few WN logs asking for the open hours to be updated, but otherwise there have been no NM/NA logs posted to either cache. Doesn't seem like cachers are too bothered about the need to interact. I have no idea if there were any changes to the cache description after publication, but based on log history it sounds like the 'find' process hasn't changed.

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18 hours ago, dprovan said:

I think power trails are a completely different issue. They are allowed because no one expects them to be maintained, and no one that expects every cache to be there is going to be interested in them. Vacation caches are planted in places where all kinds of geocachers will want to geocache, and, if anything, the disappointment of a missing or bad cache is more likely that normal. So it makes perfect sense to hold vacation caches to the higher standard of other normal caches.

 

I strongly disagree.  It makes no sense for caches on a power trail to be allowed to have a lower standard just because they're part of a power trail.

 

Geocaches shouldn't get a free pass on the guidelines just because they're part of a trail that promotes a numbers mentality.

 

 

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While I don't think I have enough data to come to a scientific conclusion, my own observation is that caches which seem to violate the commercial and "contact" guidelines are more common in countries with very few caches, than they are in my home country (UK), or other countries with lots of caches (e.g. USA).     Some of those it was clear on the cache page, others the cache pages didn't mention it, but you find out a GZ.   This is based on the 30 countries I've cached in, some which had less than 10 caches in the country when I was there.  

 

Personally, none of the caches like this I've found have bothered me personally.    So I haven't been bothered why they were allowed.   As I enjoyed the caches, I was pleased  they were there.

 

I can think of one cache I found in the UK which I enjoyed a lot; and probably doesn't meet the "contact" guideline.    The location is non-profit (and free entry), so not a commercial issue, but it does require you to "go inside" and to speak to staff.   The "speak to staff" requirement is much of what makes it fun, as you need to speak to them in a language which is appropriate to the cache, but  many cachers will not know how to speak the language.    The face of the staff when I tried to pronounce what I had to say was priceless!     For this cache, what you need to do is clear on the cache page.   It is not an old cache, it was published after the current guidelines were in place.   I believe some local reviewers know about it, and some have found it.   If someone raised an issue then the local reviewer would act; but I believe the local reviewer is "turning a blind eye" to an excellent cache which isn't doing any harm; even if one can argue it isn't 100% compliant to the guidelines.  

 

 

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14 minutes ago, redsox_mark said:

I believe the local reviewer is "turning a blind eye" to an excellent cache which isn't doing any harm; even if one can argue it isn't 100% compliant to the guidelines.  

 

What is the correct process to get an excellent cache which is against guidelines to be published? I tried to get an extemption from HQ but didn't success.

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5 minutes ago, arisoft said:

 

What is the correct process to get an excellent cache which is against guidelines to be published? I tried to get an extemption from HQ but didn't success.

One consideration that might make a slight difference....

 

25 minutes ago, redsox_mark said:

The location is non-profit (and free entry), so not a commercial issue...

 

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48 minutes ago, redsox_mark said:

but I believe the local reviewer is "turning a blind eye" to an excellent cache which isn't doing any harm; even if one can argue it isn't 100% compliant to the guidelines

 

Quality / or / "excellence" of the cache is not a criteria in the review process - or it should not be. That would not be a justified reason for me. And I think we won't find here any general reason why are some questionable caches published somewhere. All of us see only part of the story here and reviewers are also human. If I'd find any cache problematic, I would log NA, or contact responsible reviewer, or appeal .. or just move on. We all hope for more consistency to play the game fair all around the world.

Edited by Rikitan
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45 minutes ago, Rikitan said:

 

Quality / or / "excellence" of the cache is not a criteria in the review process - or it should not be. That would not be a justified reason for me. And I think we can't find here any general reason why are some questionable caches published somewhere. We all see only part of the story and reviewers are also human. If I'd find any cache problematic, I would log NA, or contact responsible reviewer, or appeal .. or just move on. We all hope for more consistency to play the game fair all around the world.

 

I agree quality is not part of the review process.     And if a cache is "problematic", it will be dealt with.    But I also agree that there may be cases where a reviewer sees a cache which is very broadly compliant with the guidelines, but could be seen as less than 100% compliant in some small way, and they decide to let it be, unless someone raises an issue.  I have no proof of this, but what makes me think this is that I've seen caches which are not 100% compliant which have been found by reviewers, and no evidence of any action taken to address the lack of compliance.   Or it could be that they felt there was enough flexibility and the guidelines that it was actually Ok.  

 

This example non-commercial cache I was mentioning which requires you to go inside and interact with employees; it isn't clear to me if that is a guideline violation or not.  

 

The guidelines say

 

 

Cache pages perceived as commercial will not be published. Commercial content includes any of the following characteristics

  • Overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion
  • Suggests or requires the finder do any of the following
    • Go inside a business
    • Interact with employees
    • Purchase a product or service

I think a reviewer could interpret this in multiple ways.    They could point at "Interact with employees" and say that isn't allowed.  Or, they could say that only applies if the cache is "perceived as commercial"; and since this cache isn't "perceived as commercial" it is OK.

 

Bottom line, I don't think any reviewer will knowingly ignore a clear guideline violation.   But there is a lot of grey area, and a reviewer might take many things into account.  

Edited by redsox_mark
cleaned up the grammer
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29 minutes ago, Rikitan said:

We all hope for more consistency to play the game fair all around the world.

 

This. 

 

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5 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

I strongly disagree.  It makes no sense for caches on a power trail to be allowed to have a lower standard just because they're part of a power trail.

And this has been part of the "nudge nudge, wink wink" state of numbers trails like the ET Highway. The owners are not allowed to mention throwdowns or the three cache monte or other "shortcuts" in the cache description, but they promote these techniques elsewhere and everyone knows that that's how numbers trails are done, even though these "shortcuts" violate the basic rules of normal (anything but numbers trails) geocaching. And even though these "shortcuts" cause problems for owners of caches that are not part of these numbers trails.

 

2 hours ago, redsox_mark said:

I can think of one cache I found in the UK which I enjoyed a lot; and probably doesn't meet the "contact" guideline.    The location is non-profit (and free entry), so not a commercial issue, but it does require you to "go inside" and to speak to staff.

I did one multi-stage cache where the "speak to staff" part was completely optional. It was like a library cache, with coordinates used to get the first stage, which provided non-coordinate instructions for finding the cache inside the (government) facility. But if you went to the information desk and showed them the correct answers from the intermediate stages, then they'd give you a small gift bag with various inexpensive souvenirs. It met the guidelines, and I thought it was a pretty cool way to handle it.

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2 hours ago, Rikitan said:

 

Quality / or / "excellence" of the cache is not a criteria in the review process - or it should not be. That would not be a justified reason for me. And I think we won't find here any general reason why are some questionable caches published somewhere. All of us see only part of the story here and reviewers are also human. If I'd find any cache problematic, I would log NA, or contact responsible reviewer, or appeal .. or just move on. We all hope for more consistency to play the game fair all around the world.

 

I agree with the statement what quality or excellence of a cache should not be an exception for compliance with the guidelines.  However, as I've noted in the bolded portion above, sometimes non-compliance with a guideline does not result in a cache being "problematic".   Like redsox_mark I've also geocached in 30 countries (got #30 this year) and have come across quite a few caches listings which indicate that contact with a caretaker of the cache is required.  When I've looked at logs for those caches, in pretty much every case,  "contact" with a caretaker of a cache has always been described as a positive experience that made the cache more enjoyable.   I know of one cache at a very small school in a developing country where all of the logs talk about the experience of meeting the children and teacher at the school but don't say much about the cache itself.    I suppose that if the "no contact" guideline didn't exist there would be some that would place caches which required contact with someone at a business with the intent of soliciting business but I suspect that in most/many cases the need for contact is primarily to provide a care taker of the container to avoid issues with muggles taking the cache.  

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21 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

When I've looked at logs for those caches, in pretty much every case,  "contact" with a caretaker of a cache has always been described as a positive experience that made the cache more enjoyable.

 

I have the same feeling that all those caches which may at some level require interactivity with the staff have earned lots of favorites. Here comes the question. Why this kind of contacting is not allowed? Who is against the idea?

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29 minutes ago, arisoft said:

 

I have the same feeling that all those caches which may at some level require interactivity with the staff have earned lots of favorites. Here comes the question. Why this kind of contacting is not allowed? Who is against the idea?

Social Butterflies would love these kinds of caches.

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31 minutes ago, arisoft said:

Who is against the idea?

Groundspeak.

 

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39 minutes ago, arisoft said:

 

I have the same feeling that all those caches which may at some level require interactivity with the staff have earned lots of favorites. Here comes the question. Why this kind of contacting is not allowed? Who is against the idea?

If people are going to promote businesses through the geocaching site GCHQ will probably want their cut. Like they do with official Geotours. 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, arisoft said:
56 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

When I've looked at logs for those caches, in pretty much every case,  "contact" with a caretaker of a cache has always been described as a positive experience that made the cache more enjoyable.

 

I have the same feeling that all those caches which may at some level require interactivity with the staff have earned lots of favorites. Here comes the question. Why this kind of contacting is not allowed? Who is against the idea?

 

I can understand it if the staff person is working in a commercial business, but the "no commercial caches" should handle that case.   I've encountered one which was in a hotel where one had to go to the concierge desk to get the container.   Although the hotel is a commercial business I don't think that the concierge is going to try to talk a geocacher into checking into a room.  I've also seen on in a small bar, where it would be more likely that I geocacher might feel uncomfortable asking for the cache container without buying a drink, but even for that one the logs all mentioned how nice it was to meet the bartender.   Some people just might feel comfortable interacting with someone to get the cache.   The way I see it, if you're uncomfortable finding a cache, just remember that you don't need to find every cache.

 

 If the no contact rule were strictly enforced it would like result in quite a few caches getting archive (and not replaced in a manner which didn't require interaction with staff).   For the one in the hotel I did, it was originally placed outside the hotel and was muggled at least a couple of times before the CO moved it inside about 7 years ago where it could be protected.  It hasn't had a DNF since. When I found it, it was 1 of only 2-3 cache in a city of over 3 million people and many of the logs mention that it was their first and only cache found in the country.  

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7 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:
On 11/18/2018 at 9:09 AM, dprovan said:

I think power trails are a completely different issue. They are allowed because no one expects them to be maintained, and no one that expects every cache to be there is going to be interested in them. Vacation caches are planted in places where all kinds of geocachers will want to geocache, and, if anything, the disappointment of a missing or bad cache is more likely that normal. So it makes perfect sense to hold vacation caches to the higher standard of other normal caches.

I strongly disagree.  It makes no sense for caches on a power trail to be allowed to have a lower standard just because they're part of a power trail.

I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with. I wasn't arguing in favor of powertrails, just accepting that they exist. Anyway, let's drop the maintenance issue. This hypocrisy claim that got me all riled up has nothing to do with the OP.

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4 hours ago, redsox_mark said:

The guidelines say

 

 

Cache pages perceived as commercial will not be published. Commercial content includes any of the following characteristics

  • Overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion
  • Suggests or requires the finder do any of the following
    • Go inside a business
    • Interact with employees
    • Purchase a product or service

I think a reviewer could interpret this in multiple ways.    They could point at "Interact with employees" and say that isn't allowed.  Or, they could say that only applies if the cache is "perceived as commercial"; and since this cache isn't "perceived as commercial" it is OK.

 

Bottom line, I don't think any reviewer will knowingly ignore a clear guideline violation.   But there is a lot of grey area, and a reviewer might take many things into account. 

 

Yes, as in everything there are grey areas. One of my caches requires the cacher to travel by train to Wondabyne station (there's no road access there). This not only requires purchasing a service (a train ticket) but also some interaction with staff as you have to tell the train guard you're getting off at Wondabyne otherwise the train won't stop there (it's actually the only station on the network with that requirement).

 

Likewise, the Help Centre says you can't have links to businesses, agencies, commercial advertisers, or charities, but the link I've provided on my coastal caches to the Bureau of Meteorology's tide prediction site hasn't drawn any ire.

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35 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 If the no contact rule were strictly enforced it would like result in quite a few caches getting archive (and not replaced in a manner which didn't require interaction with staff).   For the one in the hotel I did, it was originally placed outside the hotel and was muggled at least a couple of times before the CO moved it inside about 7 years ago where it could be protected.  It hasn't had a DNF since. When I found it, it was 1 of only 2-3 cache in a city of over 3 million people and many of the logs mention that it was their first and only cache found in the country.  

 

The two 'contact-required' caches I mentioned above, both in US states, did not have any complaints in the Found It logs.  The places in which they were 'hidden' were non-profit, so not really "commercial" and the people that handed over the cache containers did not try to sell anything. The caches themselves were in great shape and full of swag and trackables. The only DNF's were from cachers that stated they arrived outside of open hours.

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4 hours ago, Rikitan said:

We all hope for more consistency to play the game fair all around the world.

No, actually, I hope for no such thing. I'd much rather there be flexibility to adapt geocaching better to various situations. I don't see any particular advantage to consistency to begin with, but, more importantly, the harder we strive for consistency, the more we reducing geocaching everywhere to the lowest common denominator.

 

1 hour ago, arisoft said:

I have the same feeling that all those caches which may at some level require interactivity with the staff have earned lots of favorites. Here comes the question. Why this kind of contacting is not allowed? Who is against the idea?

Well, first let me say that I'd be happier without the rule, so don't take me as arguing in favor of it. And I don't really know the answer to your question in any official sense. But I think it's one of those rules that lets reviewers easily reject a class of caches that are more commercial than the CO really wants to admit. When I think about one of these caches, I always imagine a reasonable CO out to provide a fun cache with all innocence and sincerity, but I have to recognize that GS worries about people trying to publish a cache for commercial purposes, but not being honest about -- or maybe just not understanding -- the problems with requiring a seeker to interact with the business. A reviewer might not be able to tell the two cases apart.

 

I also suspect that some people are against contact for the same reasons they're against ALRs, since requiring interacting with the business is technically an ALR. ALRs don't bother me, but they do bother GS.

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4 hours ago, dprovan said:

No, actually, I hope for no such thing. I'd much rather there be flexibility to adapt geocaching better to various situations. I don't see any particular advantage to consistency to begin with, but, more importantly, the harder we strive for consistency, the more we reducing geocaching everywhere to the lowest common denominator.

 

Well, first let me say that I'd be happier without the rule, so don't take me as arguing in favor of it. And I don't really know the answer to your question in any official sense. But I think it's one of those rules that lets reviewers easily reject a class of caches that are more commercial than the CO really wants to admit. When I think about one of these caches, I always imagine a reasonable CO out to provide a fun cache with all innocence and sincerity, but I have to recognize that GS worries about people trying to publish a cache for commercial purposes, but not being honest about -- or maybe just not understanding -- the problems with requiring a seeker to interact with the business. A reviewer might not be able to tell the two cases apart.

 

I also suspect that some people are against contact for the same reasons they're against ALRs, since requiring interacting with the business is technically an ALR. ALRs don't bother me, but they do bother GS.

 

This is very helpful and insightful post, thank you.

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I can't believe this discussion made it all the way to a second page. It's very simple to explain how these caches got published.

 

TPTB long ago chose to use the term "guidelines" rather than "rules", because the former allows for flexibility while the latter implies rigid prescriptions. In essence, the guidelines allow reviewers to make exceptions where they see fit. The caches being discussed here have obviously been allowed as exceptions to the "vacation cache" and "commercial" guidelines, most likely in an effort to increase the number of caches in cache-poor regions.

 

TL;DR: They're guidelines, not rules. 'nuff said.

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I guess I don't understand why 'cache-poor regions' shouldn't be locally built up rather than artificially supported, if that's actually the reason.  That begs yet another question, I suppose.  Is there a reason why, in areas where the hobby doesn't interest the locals, there must be geocaches?  Apart from such support, these areas tend to remain 'cache-poor' in any case.  In the areas under discussion, I do not see where bending the rules is creating any real improvement in local participation.  If you look at the many logs for these caches, the majority are from those far removed from the region.  All of this does tend to support the 'lighting up the map' theory for the practices I've been seeing.

 

The Ruide Almeida 'educational' approach to working with local populations to introduce the hobby seems like a far more sustainable approach.

 

 

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2 hours ago, ecanderson said:

I guess I don't understand why 'cache-poor regions' shouldn't be locally built up rather than artificially supported, if that's actually the reason.  That begs yet another question, I suppose.  Is there a reason why, in areas where the hobby doesn't interest the locals, there must be geocaches?  Apart from such support, these areas tend to remain 'cache-poor' in any case.  In the areas under discussion, I do not see where bending the rules is creating any real improvement in local participation.  If you look at the many logs for these caches, the majority are from those far removed from the region.  All of this does tend to support the 'lighting up the map' theory for the practices I've been seeing.

 

The Ruide Almeida 'educational' approach to working with local populations to introduce the hobby seems like a far more sustainable approach.

 

 

It's a Catch-22.  If there are no caches in an area, how do you get people interested in caching without them?  And if there is no one interested locally in caching, where do the caches come from that are needed to stimulate interest?  Ruide Almeida's way worked because he moved to an area and started the process.  When you cache in the areas you are complaining about, do you try to stimulate local interest (i.e.. promote geocaching)?

 

And, didn't you see the A[Team's post above yours?  There are no "rules" to be bent, but guidelines - that are flexible.

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7 hours ago, The Jester said:

There are no "rules" to be bent, but guidelines - that are flexible.

 

And prone to double standards.

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6 minutes ago, BillyGee said:
7 hours ago, The Jester said:

There are no "rules" to be bent, but guidelines - that are flexible.

And prone to double standards.

That's a pretty serious accusation. Accusing them of a double standard makes it sound as if they're doing something dishonest. When I see reviewers bending the rules, I always understand the justification even if I don't always agree with the decision.

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@dprovan

In this particular case, we've never had specific information that would provide 'understanding'.  Email to reviewer did not receive a reply.

If bent guidelines have a purpose in this case, it would be good to have some real insight into what that is -- all we can do here is guess based upon a bunch of peripheral factors.

 

@The Jester

Because we don't often tend to return to the same spot for any extended time, I usually don't know the locals and am often not around for more than a week in any particular vacation spot.  Even more difficult, when I've visited these areas as part of a cruise, I'm typically around for only a day.  One of Almeida's techniques (" If I travel afar and create an Event in a geocaching-virgin area, I will have an opportunity to present the game to other people during a very small amount of time.") sounds like a good idea, but apart from gc.com, how would one get the word out in advance to locals who don't know about gc.com to begin with?  Again, a bit of a Catch22, but I'd like to hear more about how this is being accomplished successfully.  It might make a good model for future trips.  I am guessing that if the event is held in a public enough spot, the caching touristas who attend might garner some muggle interest, but picking a non-touristy spot where muggles might also congregate and take an interest would seem to be the key.  Again, would help to know more about a successful model for this, if there is one.

 

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, ecanderson said:

Email to reviewer did not receive a reply.

Based on the general description of the regions you're concerned about, please note that two reviewers who published caches in those regions have retired in the past couple of years.  Make sure you are contacting the active reviewer for the area in question.  Use the Regional Geocaching Policies Wiki for definitive confirmation.

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Appreciate the heads-up Keystone (will certainly keep that in mind for the future) but one of these caches in the Yucatan area was published very recently (summer 2018), so I think I got the right reviewer when I picked the reviewer name off the 'Published' log .. unless reviewer changed since that time. 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ecanderson said:

Email to reviewer did not receive a reply.

 

Reviewers do not answer always. About week ago I asked from a reviewer, is it ok to make multicache which needs on-line internet access on field. I did not get any answer. You may only guess why I did ask this question. 😎

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There are already quite a few multi/puzzle caches that require either on site online access for information or a return home to the PC to make a 2nd trip.  I doubt your reviewer will have any issues with it.

 

Still, your own area reviewer should have by now helped you with an answer to that one so that you could continue to work on your cache.  After 10 days, I would resend the message.

 

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9 hours ago, ecanderson said:

@dprovan

In this particular case, we've never had specific information that would provide 'understanding'.  Email to reviewer did not receive a reply.

If bent guidelines have a purpose in this case, it would be good to have some real insight into what that is -- all we can do here is guess based upon a bunch of peripheral factors.

Here's the tricky part about that.  It sounds like you are asking the reviewer to tell you the "specific information" that prompted them to allow a guideline-bending cache.  If people find out how to get around guidelines, then they may go on to use the same circumstances to create a guideline-bending cache of their own - and if they have a guideline-bending cache rejected, then they'd say "well so-and-so was allowed to bend the guidelines for a similar reason, so I should be allowed to bend the guidelines too".  Why not just trust that the Reviewer found a valid reason to publish the cache when they did?

If the cache is problematic, or you're concerned about it, then I'd encourage you to contact the Reviewer with your concerns.  Perhaps they simply missed something while doing their review.  If the Reviewer doesn't find an issue with your issue, then so be it.  But to expect the Reviewer to explain to you why they published the cache in the first place seems a bit over-the-top excessive/unreasonable/unnecessary/unwarranted - IMO.

 

Edited by noncentric
adding some synonyms for readers to choose from
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Not clear why asking for clarification about any 'local rules' (if they actually exist) would be 'over the top', but whatever... Yes, consistency in guideline application would be advantageous to anyone in the area seeking to place a cache.  Bending (or entirely ignoring) some clearly written proscription in the guidelines to meet an unknown objective sets a bad example for locals who might eventually start to become interested in the game and place their own caches. 

 

And I'm unclear about what we've not made plain above, including the clarification with Keystone about contacting the correct reviewer -- the reviewer was contacted for clarification. 

 

I don't make a habit of leaving "Needs Archived" logs on caches that appear to ignore the guidelines.  I instead contact the reviewer first to be sure that I've not overlooked something.  Indeed, that happened this last year regarding caches placed a very short distance from active railroad tracks.  The reviewer was good enough to explain the  rationale for the old 150' guideline prohibition that I had operated upon for years, and why it no longer applied in the current cases that I had run across.  We had always assumed it was a safety issue regarding proximity to live tracks, not a private easement issue, and that misunderstanding has been corrected.  A little communication can be quite helpful.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ecanderson said:

Not clear why asking for clarification about any 'local rules' (if they actually exist) would be 'over the top', but whatever... Yes, consistency in guideline application would be advantageous to anyone in the area seeking to place a cache.  Bending (or entirely ignoring) some clearly written proscription in the guidelines to meet an unknown objective sets a bad example for locals who might eventually start to become interested in the game and place their own caches.

"There are no precedents for placing geocaches. Past publication of a similar geocache is not justification for publication of a new geocache."

 

While I agree that using the phrase "over the top" is over the top, the point is that it doesn't matter why he other cache was published. Your cache still needs to follow the guidelines no matter what exception allowed the other cache to be published.

 

This might confuse a new CO trying to plant another similar cache, but that's better than things were before the bent-guidelines cache was published, when there were no COs to be confused. So I don't mind if GS's reaction to the problems of inconsistency being that they'll cross that bridge if they ever get to it.

 

1 hour ago, ecanderson said:

I don't make a habit of leaving "Needs Archived" logs on caches that appear to ignore the guidelines.  I instead contact the reviewer first to be sure that I've not overlooked something.  Indeed, that happened this last year regarding caches placed a very short distance from active railroad tracks.  The reviewer was good enough to explain the  rationale for the old 150' guideline prohibition that I had operated upon for years, and why it no longer applied in the current cases that I had run across.  We had always assumed it was a safety issue regarding proximity to live tracks, not a private easement issue, and that misunderstanding has been corrected.  A little communication can be quite helpful.

Reviewers are usually very helpful, so when they're not, there might be a good reason. In the case of bent rules, the proper answer is "because I bent the rules". Reveiwers have likely learned (or been taught) that saying that won't be accepted as the final answer but will only encourage digging deeper into issues that doesn't want to discuss or arguing with the reviewer about whether the same rule can be bent for a new cache.

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The problem with intentional (or even accidental) 'bending' is that it encourages bad habits.

All the present level of understanding has seemingly done is to encourage others to place more caches that require interaction with business staff in these areas of the world.

 

The most cogent potential explanation (although it was an acknowledged 'guess') so far was provided by someone in this thread:. Ignoring the contact guideline for cache placement allows for caches where there might otherwise be few, if any, caches.  Another member suggested that there are places sufficiently dodgy that keeping a cache within the purview of a business might be the only way to avoid having it muggled.  If true, then those areas aren't really viable for geocaching to begin with, though almost all of these areas will also have a small handful of well hidden caches that refute the idea that it's impossible to do otherwise.  Both cases have the same underlying assumption regarding the value of cache placement...

 

I guess I don't see having caches in places for the sake of having caches in places as some sort of prime directive.  It presupposes that it is worth bending (or outright ignoring, in this case) the guidelines to place caches where the local population evidently doesn't really give a rip one way or the other... leaving only visitors as the beneficiaries to keep us amused as we travel and light up our map areas.  You've already heard my own thoughts on that, so I guess I'm done.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ecanderson said:

The problem with intentional (or even accidental) 'bending' is that it encourages bad habits. 

All the present level of understanding has seemingly done is to encourage others to place more caches that require interaction with business staff in these areas of the world.

I assume most if not all bending is intentional. I'm not even sure what you're imagining by it being accidental. I'd need to see evidence that it encouraged others to do the same, and even if it does, I'm not worried because the reviewer won't approve them unless they're justified.

 

1 hour ago, ecanderson said:

The most cogent potential explanation (although it was an acknowledged 'guess') so far was provided by someone in this thread:. Ignoring the contact guideline for cache placement allows for caches where there might otherwise be few, if any, caches.  Another member suggested that there are places sufficiently dodgy that keeping a cache within the purview of a business might be the only way to avoid having it muggled.  If true, then those areas aren't really viable for geocaching to begin with, though almost all of these areas will also have a small handful of well hidden caches that refute the idea that it's impossible to do otherwise.  Both cases have the same underlying assumption regarding the value of cache placement...

I think you're imagining that seekers will be exposed to some kind of risk if they look in that area, but that's not the idea at all. Two examples I can think of are areas where there's no good place to hide a cache and places where a gringo poking around in the bushes would be far to conspicuous, so the cache would be compromised by almost every search.

 

1 hour ago, ecanderson said:

I guess I don't see having caches in places for the sake of having caches in places as some sort of prime directive.  It presupposes that it is worth bending (or outright ignoring, in this case) the guidelines to place caches where the local population evidently doesn't really give a rip one way or the other... leaving only visitors as the beneficiaries to keep us amused as we travel and light up our map areas.

I don't think you're looking at this right. Nobody's forcing anyone to plant caches, so the caches are motivated by the same things they're motivated by everywhere else, mostly a love of the game and a desire to help others enjoy it. So when someone like that wants to place a cache and cannot see a way to do it except under the watch of a business, the reviewer can either reject the cache, effectively banning caches from the area, or the reviewer can let the CO play the game even though he has to grant the CO some leeway to get the job done.

 

1 hour ago, ecanderson said:

You've already heard my own thoughts on that, so I guess I'm done.

Well, no, actually. I still don't understand why you care. Why do you feel these caches are worse than no caches? Even if I stipulate, against my better judgement, that these caches will breed more caches of the same type, what's so bad about that? If there were an area where there were too many caches of this type, or that were so many that they were blocking other more rule abiding caches from being placed, then I'd join you about complaining, but I've never heard of a situation anything like any of that. I get that, for some reason, you hate this kind of cache, but why can't you just ignore them?

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11 hours ago, ecanderson said:

Indeed, that happened this last year regarding caches placed a very short distance from active railroad tracks.  The reviewer was good enough to explain the  rationale for the old 150' guideline prohibition that I had operated upon for years, and why it no longer applied in the current cases that I had run across.  We had always assumed it was a safety issue regarding proximity to live tracks, not a private easement issue, and that misunderstanding has been corrected.  A little communication can be quite helpful.

 

A little more communication to this case - I would not say it is private easement issue. As per my understanding, minimum distance from railroad is purely regional policy. Each country has slightly different laws & their application, specificaly it is 30 metres in Slovakia as per our legislation.

 

Ref: https://www.geocaching.com/play/guidelines#restrictedareas

Quote

The geocache is on railroad property or right of way. See the Regional Geocaching Policies Wiki for details in your region.

 

 

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16 hours ago, ecanderson said:

The most cogent potential explanation (although it was an acknowledged 'guess') so far was provided by someone in this thread:. Ignoring the contact guideline for cache placement allows for caches where there might otherwise be few, if any, caches.  Another member suggested that there are places sufficiently dodgy that keeping a cache within the purview of a business might be the only way to avoid having it muggled.  If true, then those areas aren't really viable for geocaching to begin with, though almost all of these areas will also have a small handful of well hidden caches that refute the idea that it's impossible to do otherwise.  Both cases have the same underlying assumption regarding the value of cache placement...

 

I don't really buy either of those explanations.   I think of some of the "interaction required" caches that I've found over the years:

  • One was in a visitor center of a regional park (subject to a park admission fee).   This was a "puzzle final" cache, where one found several caches in the park (presumably placed with the park's permission) and gather the necessary letters to assemble the "password" to be used at the help desk to receive the cache.   (Though, to be fair, the docent handed me the cache without the password, even though I knew it; she was mostly tickled that someone asked.)    Clearly there were plenty of places in the park to put "one more" cache, but the cache owner chose to post it inside.
  • One was the last stage of a multi-cache housed at a convenience store.   The final stage was mounted outside the store, but to retrieve the key to the padlock protecting the store, one had to enter the store and offer a password to the clerk on duty to receive the key.   Other mechanisms could've been used here (e.g. a numerical padlock).
  • One was in a visitor center of a major city.   No admission fee was required for entrance to the center; all one had to do was to approach the staff and ask for the cache (which they were eager to provide).   It was regular-sized, and clearly there wasn't a place to put a regular cache in the vicinity, but there were plenty of micros hidden nearby.
  • One was a "solve-on-site" gadget cache, housed inside a gaming lounge.   Normally there would be an admission fee to the lounge, but the fee was waived for anyone entering to seek the cache.   One had to speak to the staff member on-duty at the front door to gain admission, but then the description had enough information on how to find the cache.   (Solving the gadget was another story ... oy, that was creative ...).   This cache was placed by a "master cache-owner" who places a wide variety of types of caches in his geographic area.

And, of course, there have been other examples that were clearly within every element of the guidelines.   There was another cache in a visitor center in another city that didn't technically require staff interaction ... but when you enter the center at 1pm and there's absolutely no-one else in the center, you end up talking to the staff :).

 

I've loved all of those caches, and was glad for the experience of finding them.   Clearly the ones above violated the letter of the guidelines, but the relevant reviewers felt that they met the spirit of the guidelines and chose to publish them.   I, too, have wondered what specific characteristic(s) allowed their publication, but mostly because I'm obsessive about rules.   I've never had an idea for a cache comparable to these, so I don't really *need* to know the rules.   

 

If I were to speculate, I'd guess that the cache owners in question simply convinced their local reviewers that, regardless of the official rules or local cache density or local cache availability, the proposed cache was well within the spirit of the rules, and that no harmful precedent would be set by allowing them.   (It probably helps that the cache owners in question are also well-respected cache owners and cache finders in their local communities.)   

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