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Let’s talk some more about geocache quality (survey)

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8 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

The way I see it,   different geocachers will have different criteria for awarding a FP,   that doesn't really matter (even if PMs were given more FPs to award).  Even if PMs had an unlimited number of FPs to award,   most will still only award a favorite to what they deem to be, well, a favorite find.   

 

I'd sorta think the same if we didn't already see many folks doing series leaving notes of "If I had them, I'd have favorited every one !" , when "most" we know might favorite either the first/last in the series. 

"Most" being frugal with their FPs for future finds, since the series was being favorited, not necessarily each cache in it.

 - If we didn't already see folks placing FP on all caches of  friends, family, or members of the same caching group.

Which may leave really good caches missing out on well-deserved FPs, simply because they're wasted for social standing.

 - And if we didn't already notice those who've placed a FP on every cache they're FTF on.  

Same as "friends", other good caches maybe missing FPs because one's own social standing comes first...   

 

Those extra FPs can now just fill in all the blank spaces, making 'em even more useless.   Wait until there's a promotion on FPs again.   :D

 Guess you can tell  we already don't consider FPs an indicator of "quality", so tacking on more wouldn't have any real effect on us.  :)

 

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51 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

The implication is that the more caches a CO owns, the lesser the quality of those caches and the less caches a CO owns, the better the quality of those caches.  There's a correlation between how many caches a CO owns and the supposed quality of those caches.

 

I would agree there's a limit of what a CO can actually maintain, but it varies by CO, so establishing a hard count seems to me to be restrictive and no guarantee of improving the quality of individual caches.  I'm not at my limit but I know I'm getting close to what my limit is as it pertains to a timely response to maintenance.

 

Using a specific number of caches owned wouldn't work, but, as maligned as it is, wouldn't using the CHS as a metric for determining a limit be a practical implementation.  If someone owns 200 caches, but keeps a low average CHS then they could have a different limit than someone with 20 caches owned, but has a high CHS (assuming a low CHS is a measure of better average cache health).

 

 

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1 hour ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

If GS *does* increase the number of FPs available to award, then the total FP count for a individual cache will become even more useless as some caches in an area would have a number of favorite points based on the existing 1 FP available for every 10 finds, while newer caches will get more FPs (in general) because more FPs are available.   If FP percentage is used then changing the number of FPs a PM available won't really matter.

Yeah, kinda.

I feel FP percentages were flawed from the beginning.

Many FP percentages aren't accurate, if you consider all caches placed before Dec '10.  Most finders didn't have the option...

 - Most folks never went back to award them to caches found earlier either (we went back in order, some archived). 

"Unlimited" FPs  just might finally get some  people to question what things in "stats" really mean.  :) 

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1 hour ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

Using a specific number of caches owned wouldn't work, but, as maligned as it is, wouldn't using the CHS as a metric for determining a limit be a practical implementation.  If someone owns 200 caches, but keeps a low average CHS then they could have a different limit than someone with 20 caches owned, but has a high CHS (assuming a low CHS is a measure of better average cache health).

 

 

 

On caches that don't have any NMs or NAs, the CHS appears to be based on DNF to find ratio and whether that fits with some statistical average for the cache's D rating. The caches that do well in the CHS stakes I guess are the run-of-the-mill easy 1.5/1.5s that get lots of finds and just the odd DNF from Blind Freddys like me who couldn't find a cache in a warehouse of caches, while the ones that would do less well are those that get too few finds for the DNF to find ratio to be statistically significant, might be a bit tricky for some to find or be in a location where other factors can contribute to larger-than-expected DNF numbers, like a location that's sometimes muggle central. Restricting the number of hides based on how many DNFs a CO's existing hides get I'm sure would only encourage lots more easy caches at the expense of the more challenging ones, which seems to be the opposite of what many here would like to see happening.

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8 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

Not "quality" hider... responsible hider, hider that demonstrates good stewardship. Good stewardship is easier to demonstrate and

filter for:

 

Within the last year:

  • logged onto the site within the last 3 months
  • uses OMs appropriately
  • no NAs
  • no Reviewer archives
  • responds to NMs within 4 weeks 


And who would be the judge?

An automated system like the one which allocated the virtual rewards - some of which were poorly chosen?

How would one know whether an OM has been applied appropriately without visiting the cache?  I'm sure it's not just in my area where hider clear the OM almost immediately - some say "will sort this out".. others say they have performed maintenance when they haven't been anywhere near the cache.  It would be a lot of effort for the volunteer reviewers to police and an automated system couldn't possibly know if the OM is genuine.

Some NA logs are posted in error by newbies and are absolutely unnecessary - it would be harsh if one was excluded from the *top hiders* list because of that..  some NA logs are posted out of spite.  I had a NA log posted on one of my tricky puzzles because a searcher (who hadn't solved the puzzle) couldn't find the cache.   I deleted the log.. but I don't think it disappears from the system completely so would I be excluded until next year?

Already, because of the CHS - which, for the record,  I think is a good idea and I don't mind the automated emails telling me my cache *may* need maintenance after a couple of DNF's - some CO's are actively encouraging folk NOT to post a DNF unless they know for sure the cache isn't there and if you dare to post a NM you are publicly vilified on social media and at events.  Imagine how much worse it will be if there is a "top hider" statistic at stake.  In my experience, once you turn something into a competition it doesn't always bring out the best in people.  Sure, some hiders will up their game and that can only be a good thing.. but those who are already reacting badly to the CHS will be even worse.

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To add a few things about quality...

 

A great CO will still get valid NM and NA logs. Signs get posted, fires and wild animals and cache bandits happen, trees fall over, finders don't properly close lids, etc.

 

Not every cache will ever be a great cache i.e. worth a Favorite point. That's fine.

 

Low D/T rating does not mean low quality.

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23 minutes ago, LFC4eva said:

How would one know whether an OM has been applied appropriately without visiting the cache?  I'm sure it's not just in my area where hider clear the OM almost immediately - some say "will sort this out".. others say they have performed maintenance when they haven't been anywhere near the cache.  It would be a lot of effort for the volunteer reviewers to police and an automated system couldn't possibly know if the OM is genuine.

 

I'm sure part of this problem is that OM is the default log type when posting a log on your cache, so it's easy to accidentally post an OM when you meant to post a WN or something else. It caught me out a couple of days ago - I'd disabled one of my caches while I took it home for repair, but after putting it back I forgot to change the log type from its default so posted an OM rather than an Enable log. Luckily I spotted my mistake straight away, deleted the OM and posted the same text in an Enable log, otherwise the cache would've remained disabled.

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38 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

A great CO will still get valid NM and NA logs. Signs get posted, fires and wild animals and cache bandits happen, trees fall over, finders don't properly close lids, etc.

I object to the idea that any NA is a black mark, even an NA posted because a legitimate NM hasn't be dealt with. A great CO can have a real life that gets in the way of geocaching. That real life may lead to priority choices that result in the CO allowing the cache to go through its normal end of life without CO intervention. This is just one more example of the mentality that COs are at the beck and call of geocaching.

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11 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

 

 

Not "quality" hider... responsible hider, hider that demonstrates good stewardship. Good stewardship is easier to demonstrate and

filter for:

 

Within the last year:

  • logged onto the site within the last 3 months
  • uses OMs appropriately
  • no NAs
  • no Reviewer archives
  • responds to NMs within 4 weeks


Reviewers and/or HQ lackeys can sometimes archive a cache with no prior notice to the CO, for example if there's a complaint from a landholder or even another cacher. An example is the recent EarthCache that was archived because one of its waypoints was deemed not to be family-friendly. A couple of years back I'd been planning a cache with virtual waypoints in a section of national park, but as I was checking out the area I was approached by an angry woman who claimed I was tresspassing on her land. It turned out her land was actually three kilometres away, and the park ranger confirmed that the area I was interested in was well inside the park boundary and I was welcome to use it for my cache, but I raised the matter with my reviewer who said that the cache could be published but if that landholder complained to HQ about cachers in the park it would be immediately archived regardless of whether it was her land or not. In the end I didn't proceed, not because of the threat of archival but because I didn't want to subject cachers to possible confrontations with her.

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3 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:


Reviewers and/or HQ lackeys can sometimes archive a cache with no prior notice to the CO

 

It's rare, but could be remedied. A reviewer archive that is no fault of the owner, i.e. the reviewer felt the cache needed immediate archival at no fault of the CO--this special case would not have a negative effect on that owners score. 

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12 hours ago, dprovan said:

I object to the idea that any NA is a black mark, even an NA posted because a legitimate NM hasn't be dealt with. A great CO can have a real life that gets in the way of geocaching. That real life may lead to priority choices that result in the CO allowing the cache to go through its normal end of life without CO intervention. This is just one more example of the mentality that COs are at the beck and call of geocaching.

 

There are potential extenuating circumstances, like the CO was in the hospital.

 

But under relatively normal conditions how hard is it to Disable a cache until you can check it, or respond to a Reviewer note with "I plan to fix this, but I haven't had time yet"?

Edited by JL_HSTRE
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16 hours ago, dprovan said:

I object to the idea that any NA is a black mark, even an NA posted because a legitimate NM hasn't be dealt with. A great CO can have a real life that gets in the way of geocaching. That real life may lead to priority choices that result in the CO allowing the cache to go through its normal end of life without CO intervention. This is just one more example of the mentality that COs are at the beck and call of geocaching.

 

I don't see this at all. We COs are given every opportunity to take care of an issue. The start to finish process of communicating, disabling, and archiving usually takes months to complete. In those months,  and if I cared one iota about my cache, I would take some kind of action. In this day and age, being in the hospital or out of the country are not good excuses to use for not taking some kind of action. Sure, there's always a chance I might become incapacitated to the point I wasn't able to respond. And if so, I wouldn't be shocked, surprised, or trying to blame someone if one of my caches went away. It's called life and it's not always a bed of roses! ;) 

 

Edited by Mudfrog
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20 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

 

It's rare, but could be remedied. A reviewer archive that is no fault of the owner, i.e. the reviewer felt the cache needed immediate archival at no fault of the CO--this special case would not have a negative effect on that owners score. 

 

An automated program can't take this type of exemption into account.  Automated programs can't evaluate the content or reason for any type of log, only that the log type was used.  How can you remedy this type of situation or the type of situation I've described with an improper OM log which states that they'll visit the cache later to fix it?  

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7 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

 

I don't see this at all. We COs are given every opportunity to take care of an issue. The start to finish process of communicating, disabling, and archiving usually takes months to complete. In those months,  and if I cared one iota about my cache, I would take some kind of action. In this day and age, being in the hospital or out of the country are not good excuses to use for not taking some kind of action. Sure, there's always a chance I might become incapacitated to the point I wasn't able to respond. And if so, I wouldn't be shocked, surprised, or trying to blame someone if one of my caches went away. It's called life and it's not always a bed of roses! ;) 

 

I don't have a problem with caches being archived in a timely manner. I'm only objecting to the idea that a CO is a terrible person because it happens.

 

We set informal time limits, like how long before someone files an NM, how long before someone files an NA, and how long until the reviewer archives the cache. I view all these are reasonable amounts of time for the CO to react. I do not think those should be considered the amount of time before we decide the CO is a bad CO for not reacting. For one thing, I don't want those timers to be that long. Consequently, I have no complaints about a CO that simply lets the timers run out.

 

Dinging the CO for each NA posted on his caches is based on the same thinking that makes COs think NAs are insulting. When I post an NA, I'm merely stating a fact: this cache has had its chance, so it's time to consider archiving it whether the CO reacts or not. But I'm not saying anything about the CO. I do not mean for it to imply -- and I definitely don't want it to imply -- that the CO shouldn't be allowed to hide more caches.

 

11 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

But under relatively normal conditions how hard is it to Disable a cache until you can check it, or respond to a Reviewer note with "I plan to fix this, but I haven't had time yet"?

It would be nice if the CO had a chance to do something, but if he's not convinced there's a problem, I don't mind if he doesn't disable the cache, and if he doesn't know whether he's ever going to fix the cache, I don't want him to promise that he's going to.

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On 12/7/2018 at 9:05 AM, dprovan said:

I'm thinking of the reviewers taking over cache monitoring -- CHS vs. the old NM/NA approach, for example -- which changes geocaching from cooperation amount friends -- COs and seekers -- to policing by an impersonal central authority. I'm thinking of NMs and NAs being reduced to check boxes, not logs filed with intent and explanation. I see the general attitude being that "bad caches" are a symptom of irresponsible COs, and the solutions proposed are requiring COs to visit their caches according to some schedule and various prohibitions against hiding caches based on lack of experience or outstanding problems. Stuff like that.

 

I can't say for sure, but from what I've see in my area, those changes were caused by some kind of quanity-over-quality change. Geocaching started as an add on to hiking. In the context of hiking, it made sense to stop and rest while writing in a log, and you could expect the CO to hike into his one cache occasionally to read the logs. But after a while, geocaching became its own sport. That led to many, many more caches, but not because quantity was important, but only because people wanted to do lots more geocaching. Instead of a hike you were going to take for other reasons being enhanced by one geocache, people wanted to go out and find geocaches. Yes, they find lots more caches, but that's because they like to find caches, it's not because they are obsessed with counting their found caches.

 

Many people didn't like that change, but that's just their preference. Some people don't like micros, but that doesn't make micros "low quality".

 

It is true that there's much less interest in logging, and that's unfortunate, but I'm not sure how "improving cache quality", whatever that means, has any bearing on that trend.

 

Thank you for well written response, now I understand your point better and also share some of these views.

 

Look, now we are in second phase of initiative, which started by very broad discussion about cache quality. (Phase 1)

HQ took most prevalent points from this debate, transformed lot of unstructured views into structured questionnaire. (Phase 2)

This survey contains still broad mix of different views, options, ideas - now under rating - again by players - to eliminate those less important and highligh more important / helpful ones.

 

So far, so good - there's not much what could HQ done better until now.

What will come next? Assuming we'll find out results of the survey with rating of ideas from most helpful down to least helpful.

Just then will come fact-based debate. What exactly is going to change - and, crutially, how the change will be done.

Only then I can tell you my opinion - will the change really help, or not.

 

Specific example:

You are afraid that over monitoring and over policing can make more harm to game, then help. Totally understand, I deal with this on daily basis. Looking for right balance all the time / when both owners and players are happy.

But we don't know what will come out of survey. If it will be call for more police, or the opposite.

Maybe idea with players helping owners will "win", a call for more social / community / shared ownership. And we'll be looking for ideas how to make it possible in Phase 3. Shared ownership? Campaigns to promote helping hands? Any kind of positive motivation for players - helpers?

 

All I wanted to say above - it's too soon to express fear of things going worse, because we are only assuming potential changes.

It all depends on future facts - what is really wanted - and how it will be implemented.

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48 minutes ago, Rikitan said:

 

Thank you for well written response, now I understand your point better and also share some of these views.

 

Look, now we are in second phase of initiative, which started by very broad discussion about cache quality. (Phase 1)

HQ took most prevalent points from this debate, transformed lot of unstructured views into structured questionnaire. (Phase 2)

This survey contains still broad mix of different views, options, ideas - now under rating - again by players - to eliminate those less important and highligh more important / helpful ones.

 

So far, so good - there's not much what could HQ done better until now.

What will come next? Assuming we'll find out results of the survey with rating of ideas from most helpful down to least helpful.

Just then will come fact-based debate. What exactly is going to change - and, crutially, how the change will be done.

Only then I can tell you my opinion - will the change really help, or not.

 

Specific example:

You are afraid that over monitoring and over policing can make more harm to game, then help. Totally understand, I deal with this on daily basis. Looking for right balance all the time / when both owners and players are happy.

But we don't know what will come out of survey. If it will be call for more police, or the opposite.

Maybe idea with players helping owners will "win", a call for more social / community / shared ownership. And we'll be looking for ideas how to make it possible in Phase 3. Shared ownership? Campaigns to promote helping hands? Any kind of positive motivation for players - helpers?

 

All I wanted to say above - it's too soon to express fear of things going worse, because we are only assuming potential changes.

It all depends on future facts - what is really wanted - and how it will be implemented.

 

I own my caches. That ownership is NOT SHARED. You didn't create the container. You didn't secure permission from the landowner for its placement. You didn't delete inappropriate logs. You didn't repair the container after a finder's accident.  NO THANKS to any idea of SHARED OWNERSHIP!

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6 hours ago, K13 said:

 

I own my caches. That ownership is NOT SHARED. You didn't create the container. You didn't secure permission from the landowner for its placement. You didn't delete inappropriate logs. You didn't repair the container after a finder's accident.  NO THANKS to any idea of SHARED OWNERSHIP!

 

You did not read what I have written, did you? 

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3 hours ago, Rikitan said:

 

You did not read what I have written, did you? 

 

They did and you stated/questioned shared ownership.  Only one person can own a cache.  Perhaps you meant shared responsibility for maintaining?  While I think that idea has merit, I think it has merit in a limited scope - log replacement, light cleaning - not container replacement or a deep cleaning of everything including the cache.  Some don't even want that.

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1 hour ago, coachstahly said:

 

They did and you stated/questioned shared ownership.  Only one person can own a cache.  Perhaps you meant shared responsibility for maintaining?  While I think that idea has merit, I think it has merit in a limited scope - log replacement, light cleaning - not container replacement or a deep cleaning of everything including the cache.  Some don't even want that.

 

We all have some responsibilities here. Following guidelines, learning and displaying good cache etiquette, and setting good examples are responsibilities we all need to have. Sharing cache ownership and/or maintenance though,,, NO WAY!  Cache quality would certainly go down further if people hid caches with the mindset that someone else would take care of the maintenance for them. 

 

Light help, such adding a logsheet, is fine and appreciated by owners at times. At the same time, owner maintenance is something we sign on for when we hide a cache and is something we need to be responsible for ourselves.

 

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I didn't take the comment about 'shared ownership' to mean enforced loss of actual personal ownership, but rather more like allowing a CO to permit proxy maintenance (as opposed to now it being something an owner is not supposed to do at all and can result in archival due to shirking responsibility). There may be communities out there where owners have no problem in the idea that caches can be maintained by multiple people while it's "listed" by one. The grave error GS would make (I don't think they would) is to assume that that mentality translates universally to loss of personal property ownership. I'm pretty confident that GS will not make that ruling.

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14 minutes ago, Mudfrog said:

Cache quality would certainly go down further if people hid caches with the mindset that someone else would take care of the maintenance for them. 

 

Light help, such adding a logsheet, is fine and appreciated by owners at times.

 

The top statement was NEVER my intent to imply.  I'm totally against the idea of community maintenance as the sole form of cache maintenance.  The bottom is what I'm comfortable with and do when it's feasible for me or when I consider it appropriate.  Putting in a new log in a cracked container isn't really helping.  Putting in a new log in a container that is dry makes sense. Cleaning out a container that has some light moisture in it but is otherwise in good shape - sure, with a mention of it in my log.  Cleaning out a container that has some light moisture but the container is cracked or missing a lid - no.  NM log and my find log.  Depending on how well I know the CO (if at all), I might even follow up with a quick FB message, text, or contact through the site.

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1 minute ago, coachstahly said:

The top statement was NEVER my intent to imply.  I'm totally against the idea of community maintenance as the sole form of cache maintenance.  The bottom is what I'm comfortable with and do when it's feasible for me or when I consider it appropriate.  Putting in a new log in a cracked container isn't really helping.  Putting in a new log in a container that is dry makes sense. Cleaning out a container that has some light moisture in it but is otherwise in good shape - sure, with a mention of it in my log.  Cleaning out a container that has some light moisture but the container is cracked or missing a lid - no.  NM log and my find log.  Depending on how well I know the CO (if at all), I might even follow up with a quick FB message, text, or contact through the site.

 

Ditto. And especially if the log is still readable, I'll most likely keep it in case the CO wants it. Never good to assume anything. But it's rare I swap out a good/full log anyway; typically they are full and tattered, falling apart, or a pulpy mess.  If it's not full, I typically won't remove it, but if possibly rebag it, or add a bad, and include a fresh/dry sheet (separate from the pulpy one).

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18 hours ago, Rikitan said:

Look, now we are in second phase of initiative, which started by very broad discussion about cache quality. (Phase 1)

The problem is that for all the discussion, they still haven't done anything to nail down what the problem is. The broad discussion you speak of just made sure we've thoroughly conflated bad quality, i.e. maintenance problems, as the opposite of good quality, such as "nice location" and accurate ratings. And even to the extent we successfully discussion maintenance problems, GS continues to support the narrative that says there are lots and lots of caches with problems being poorly maintained by irresponsible COs that drives proposed solutions towards controlling CO behavior.

 

18 hours ago, Rikitan said:

HQ took most prevalent points from this debate, transformed lot of unstructured views into structured questionnaire. (Phase 2)

All the questionnaire did was ask people for opinions, and encouraged respondents to take a stand on issues they don't really have strong feelings about. I can't imagine how that information is going to solve any problems, it will just make GS think they should push geocaching in one direction and ignore the people that didn't agree with the consensus about how important "good location" is to a quality cache.

 

18 hours ago, Rikitan said:

This survey contains still broad mix of different views, options, ideas - now under rating - again by players - to eliminate those less important and highligh more important / helpful ones.

A good summary. Instead of taking the stand that various things are important to different people, the survey seems intent of figuring out which things are important to the people that responded to the survey and forgetting about anything else.

 

18 hours ago, Rikitan said:

So far, so good - there's not much what could HQ done better until now.

I don't blame GS for doing this. It's typical of someone deciding that satisfying public opinion is more important than figuring out how make things better. But for my money, doing nothing would have been better than what they've done until now.

 

18 hours ago, Rikitan said:

What will come next? Assuming we'll find out results of the survey with rating of ideas from most helpful down to least helpful.

Just then will come fact-based debate. What exactly is going to change - and, crutially, how the change will be done.

Only then I can tell you my opinion - will the change really help, or not.

The reason I completely disagree with you is precisely because the survey didn't gather a single fact. All it did was gather opinions. So the debate won't be fact-based, it will just be the same old opinion-based debate we've always had about "cache quality".

 

18 hours ago, Rikitan said:

You are afraid that over monitoring and over policing can make more harm to game, then help. Totally understand, I deal with this on daily basis. Looking for right balance all the time / when both owners and players are happy.

I'm not afraid centralized cache status monitoring will do more harm than help, I'm pointing out that it has already done more hard. You comments presuppose there's a problem that must be fixed, but my position is that cache quality was never a problem to begin with.

 

18 hours ago, Rikitan said:

All I wanted to say above - it's too soon to express fear of things going worse, because we are only assuming potential changes.

It all depends on future facts - what is really wanted - and how it will be implemented.

In my opinion, the change in attitude over the last couple of years by itself makes things worse. This survey is a symptom of the existing problem, not the road to some future changes that might someday be a problem.

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