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edexter

Wondering how much Cache Adoption actually happens...

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    I wondering if cache adoption is actually occuring and curious as to other's experience with this process.  I have made several offers to adopt what I considered to be interesting caches in my area, actually gotten positive response from a couple of folks and yet, nothing actually happens.    Eventually the caches are archived as the CO has dropped out of the game.  I have had slightly better luck with informal arrangements (I maintain a couple of Oldies just because I want to keep them going) but my experience has been that folks "drop out, but hang on":   Basically they largely stop finding caches and they completely stop placing new caches or maintaining their old ones...but they just don't want to ask for help or actually fix them.  At first I thought it was odd, but now it seems to be pretty common behavoir...

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I've adopted three caches to date, a mystery created by a friend who was on the verge of archiving it when one of its waypoints when missing and two others that someone else had adopted but was getting too old to look after them. Those last two are in a tourist hotspot and have required quite a few visits since I took them over last July, so I'm wondering if I really did the right thing as I'm not getting any younger either.

 

Either party can initiate the adoption process, so if the CO as indicated a willingness but hasn't done anything you can always start the ball rolling yourself. If they don't respond at that point, well at least you tried.

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I have adopted 6 caches, from two different accounts. A couple of these are the oldest Traditional cache in the county where located. Each situation was when a cacher was 'retiring' from the hobby.

 

I would NEVER maintain a cache that wasn't mine, regardless of the age of the cache. If the CO isn't willing to adopt it out, the cache should live out its life, then be archived. Then a new cache can be placed there, if the location is worthy of a cache in today's state of the hobby.

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Approximately four percent of all active caches in New England have been adopted at some point during their existence through the use of the "do it yourself" adoption tool.

 

Source:  search of GSAK database for all caches in ME, NH, VT, MA, CT & RI where the phrase "was transferred to" appeared in any of the logs.  There's about 2,200 such caches.

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The adoptions that I've seen (including a cache that I adopted) have been initiated by the owner, who asked someone else to adopt a cache (or caches) that the owner was no longer able to maintain. But the owner was still an active geocacher.

 

I wouldn't expect many adoptions to work where someone contacted an owner offering to adopt a cache. Either the owner is active and doesn't want to adopt the cache to a stranger, or the owner is inactive and the requests are ignored.

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I've adopted 23 to keep and maintain and have adopted entire inventory from a few cachers who were leaving the game or the area and then adopted  them out again to other owners who wanted them. I took all the caches from the guy who placed NM's oldest and somebody else wanted the physical ones. Couldn't transfer the virtuals so the CO gave me his account so we could keep them going.  I've turned down a few requests for some I didn't want to own and suggested cachers who might want them. 

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I've adopted quite a few but most of them came from a single cacher who wanted to keep the caches going but didn't want to play any more because he was upset with the changes in the game, particularly in our area, as some changes managed to upset him enough to quit.  One other one was offered to me as it was a tribute cache to me.

 

However, I had contacted one CO preemptively about adopting one of their multis and they thanked me for my initial contact but nothing came out of it.  Fast forward a couple years later and they reached out to me, asking if I still wanted to adopt it.  I did and still have it in play.  I've sent out a few emails initiating contact about adoption but I rarely hear back any more.

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I've adopted a few. There is a local cacher who is the king of adopting caches. I believe he has adopted somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 in all of his caching years. And he takes fantastic care of them all!

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We had a cacher who passed away and his daughter adopted all his caches before he passed. Later, the daughter then asked if anyone wanted to adopt some of the caches as she couldn't maintain all of her and her fathers caches, he had about 200 caches. I adopted about 15 of them.

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On ‎4‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 9:31 PM, niraD said:

I wouldn't expect many adoptions to work where someone contacted an owner offering to adopt a cache. Either the owner is active and doesn't want to adopt the cache to a stranger, or the owner is inactive and the requests are ignored.

Agreed.

Every time I get hurt (some weird reason this has been a rough three years...) we get asked about the two 5Ts we have left.

One, if it ever goes bye-bye, another cache won't be allowed in that area, so just my last knee surgery had numerous emails.    :D

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In my experience, adoptions occur when someone is either still in the game but overloaded or moving away, or right as they're getting out of the game. Once a cacher goes inactive, chances for formally adopting their caches drops to nearly zero.

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 I found a cache today that is on it's third owner, meaning two adoptions.  It was hidden in July, 2002.  Personally, I adopted several of my parents caches after they passed away (with the exception of the virtuals, Groundspeak won't let those be adopted, which is a shame).  My parents, placed many caches, some of them temporary but a handful were in very interesting places.  The process was not that hard, after proving to Groundspeak that they had truly passed away.  I had to replace them several times until I took the time to make it virtually an "unmuggable" cache. I think adoptions happen quite a bit, most folks who cache do eventually quit, move, pass away or have a life change that causes them to stop caching.  And some of them placed some pretty good caches.  So it's good to try and get them adopted.

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I was able to adopt two caches along the same trail.   The process was easy and it turned out to be well worth a couple of emails and a few clicks of my mouse.   For me it was good timing. I was looking to place a series of caches in that area and the previous cache owners were thinking of archiving.       

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nolehawks said:

Why can't virtuals be adopted?  

 

Because they're a grandfathered cache type (except for the 2017-2018 "Virtual Rewards" program).  With respect to Virtual Rewards, I suppose the reasoning is that the award was personal to the recipient.

Edited by Keystone
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On ‎4‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 2:46 AM, Keystone said:

Because they're a grandfathered cache type

 

While I realise this is literally the reason they are not allowed to be adopted...

 

Genuinely... Why aren't they allowed to be adopted?  I mean, they are grandfathered so they have been allowed to continue while no new ones can be created, so why not let them continue with a new CO?  People like to go and find these old virtuals, so what's the difference?

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9 hours ago, funkymunkyzone said:

 

While I realise this is literally the reason they are not allowed to be adopted...

 

Genuinely... Why aren't they allowed to be adopted?  I mean, they are grandfathered so they have been allowed to continue while no new ones can be created, so why not let them continue with a new CO?  People like to go and find these old virtuals, so what's the difference?

My thoughts exactly.  Most of the old virtuals are historic (at large historic sites, homes, local history signs, cemeteries, monuments, etc.) and very interesting.  In fact, they're generally my favorite caches.  To paraphrase the real estate ad, "I didn't even know XYZ was there."  Often they're in parks or other places where you can't put a physical cache.  They are disappearing as the older cachers who placed them retire from playing, pull back from playing, forget how to access their accounts over the years, or worst, die.  Plus most of them are OLD.  Archiving them and/or not letting them be adopted makes it harder to fill in old months for JASMER.

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1 hour ago, frumiousb said:

makes it harder to fill in old months for JASMER

And at some point, the month becomes unavailable, so it is dropped from the requirements, and the JASMER is easier to fill.

 

Win-win.

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Recently I took over 4 caches because the owner wanted to move on to other places. They were ten years old (on a bike path) and some kept missing.  But I didn't want to adopt, I asked if he could archive the caches and I would plant new caches for cachers to find.  It worked out perfectly and many are logging finds. 

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On ‎4‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 2:35 AM, niraD said:

And at some point, the month becomes unavailable, so it is dropped from the requirements, and the JASMER is easier to fill.

 

Win-win.

Not really.  I mean you could take that towards an extreme and you could archive, say, all caches older than 2010 and make the Jasmer really easy to complete... You'd hardly call that win-win, would you?

 

Remember this was in reference to virtual caches, which, because they cannot be adopted out they get archived despite there being no issue at all with the virtual cache itself.

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Being 2 months shy of my qualifying for the Jasmer Challenge. Aug 2000, Mar 2019. It may take a very long while before I get that cache from 2000 since the closest one is in Utah 600 miles away, or I can travel to Georgia, Michigan, or Sweden to get that elusive date. Having started caching in 2014 I missed out on a lot of opportunities I'm sure, and honestly it was several years after that before I thought hey maybe I can do this. But alas I'm one hard month short. Do I wish some of those caches originally placed still existed. Not really, I've seen enough poorly maintained or unmaintained caches that the date does not matter. I'd rather have the experience like I had this past weekend caching down in Big Sur amazing scenery and a little exercise. 

 

 So playing devil's advocate. If GS decided in some way to Make Jasmer Challenges go away or change the rules to make it easier to qualify.  This might make the need for adopting to go away.  There are definitely a few caches that are truly valued by the entire geocaching community lets keep those sure but most are not that memorable. I do like challenge caches.

 

Personally I'd rather see the caches along a trail be archived so that new folks have the opportunity to hide a cache and give back a little, and old folks now have the ability to find a new cache in an old area they had possibly cleared out. 

 

 

Potter's Pond here I come ..... Eventually

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, funkymunkyzone said:

Not really.  I mean you could take that towards an extreme and you could archive, say, all caches older than 2010 and make the Jasmer really easy to complete... You'd hardly call that win-win, would you?

My previous comment was somewhat tongue in cheek. In all seriousness, I think the Jasmer and the Fizzy and any other challenge cache and any other side game should be completely ignored when it comes to cache maintenance. That includes archiving caches, updating difficulty/terrain ratings, editing attributes, and any other changes a cache owner or volunteer reviewer might make. Do what needs to be done, and ignore the side games.

 

So no, it wouldn't be a win if all caches older than 2010 were archived. And the effect on the Jasmer and other side games has no bearing on that.

 

Maybe if all the abandoned and neglected caches older than 2010 were archived, but that's a different question...

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2 hours ago, niraD said:

Maybe if all the abandoned and neglected caches older than 2010 were archived, but that's a different question...

 

Yes it is, but I sincerely hope it doesn't happen. From my 997 finds, 175 were placed before 2010, 150 of which are still in play. Many, probably most, of those have owners who have left the game but by and large their caches are still in good condition, especially the higher D/T ones that are robustly made, get relatively few finds and are hidden well away from muggles. Sure, archive abandoned and neglected caches that have fallen into disrepair or gone missing, but that should apply regardless of the age of the cache.

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20 hours ago, niraD said:

Maybe if all the abandoned and neglected caches older than 2010 were archived, but that's a different question...

 

Fair enough, but once again, we were talking about virtual caches... not abandoned and neglected caches.

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13 minutes ago, funkymunkyzone said:

 

Fair enough, but once again, we were talking about virtual caches... not abandoned and neglected caches.

 

A virtual that has answers or photos to scrutinise still needs an active CO to do that otherwise it becomes a free-for-all for armchair loggers.

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46 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

A virtual that has answers or photos to scrutinise still needs an active CO to do that otherwise it becomes a free-for-all for armchair loggers.

 

Yes, hence why the question was asked, exactly why can't they be adopted.

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19 minutes ago, funkymunkyzone said:

Yes, hence why the question was asked, exactly why can't they be adopted.

The can't be adopted because Groundspeak considers them somehow special.

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Just now, niraD said:

The can't be adopted because Groundspeak considers them somehow special.

That's obvious.  Hence the question.

 

At the moment "Why is there a rule that forbids Virtual Cache adoptions?" simply has the answer "Because."

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, funkymunkyzone said:

That's obvious.  Hence the question.

 

At the moment "Why is there a rule that forbids Virtual Cache adoptions?" simply has the answer "Because."

 

Terms of Use. 3B. https://www.geocaching.com/account/documents/termsofuse

Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache. Geocache listings published through our services are owned by the person who submitted the geocache listing for publication.

 

--------------------------------------

I wonder if the answer is, because it opens them up to liability. By taking ownership of a listing, any listing, they may make themselves be legally vulnerable. 

Edited by L0ne.R
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Just now, L0ne.R said:

 

Terms of Use. 3B. https://www.geocaching.com/account/documents/termsofuse

Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache. Geocache listings published through our services are owned by the person who submitted the geocache listing for publication.

 

--------------------------------------

I wonder if the answer is, because it opens them up to liability. By taking ownership of a listing, any listing, they may make themselves be legally vulnerable. 

Wouldn't that mean no cache can ever be adopted?

 

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1 minute ago, funkymunkyzone said:

Wouldn't that mean no cache can ever be adopted?

 

 

Groundspeak can't transfer ownership of virtuals for 2 reasons: 

  1. Adoption occurs between an active owner and another active member. Many old virtuals no longer have an active owner.
  2. But in the case of virtuals, an owner can't transfer ownership of their virtual because it is a grandfathered type of cache.  

 

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1 minute ago, L0ne.R said:

 

Groundspeak can't transfer ownership of virtuals for 2 reasons: 

  1. Adoption occurs between an active owner and another active member. Many old virtuals no longer have an active owner.
  2. But in the case of virtuals, an owner can't transfer ownership of their virtual because it is a grandfathered type of cache.  

 

 

On ‎4‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 2:52 PM, funkymunkyzone said:

Genuinely... Why aren't they allowed to be adopted?  I mean, they are grandfathered so they have been allowed to continue while no new ones can be created, so why not let them continue with a new CO?  People like to go and find these old virtuals, so what's the difference?

 

1. No one said anything about COs who are no longer active.

2. See above.

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48 minutes ago, funkymunkyzone said:

That's obvious.  Hence the question.

 

At the moment "Why is there a rule that forbids Virtual Cache adoptions?" simply has the answer "Because."

 

I suspect it's along the same line of reasoning that caused them to stop allowing virtuals in the first place because, at the time, in many cases they'd turned out to not be such a good idea and I suppose the long term desire was not to allow them to perpetuate through adoptions. Certainly the old virtuals I did around Sydney Harbour during the CC promotion were nothing to write home about - they just required going to GZ and taking a photo of yourself there, or in one case, where getting to GZ is no longer possible due to it being closed to the public, taking a photo of yourself anywhere along the harbour foreshore from where GZ is in view. They got their 50+ FPs out of many hundreds of finds (in one case over 3000) and I guess some of those FPs were simply because they were old virtuals and considered rare rather than them having any great merit of their own.

 

The new virtuals a couple of years ago have of course muddied the waters, making the argument that virtuals were a bad idea somewhat less convincing.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

I suspect it's along the same line of reasoning that caused them to stop allowing virtuals in the first place because, at the time, in many cases they'd turned out to not be such a good idea and I suppose the long term desire was not to allow them to perpetuate through adoptions. Certainly the old virtuals I did around Sydney Harbour during the CC promotion were nothing to write home about - they just required going to GZ and taking a photo of yourself there, or in one case, where getting to GZ is no longer possible due to it being closed to the public, taking a photo of yourself anywhere along the harbour foreshore from where GZ is in view. They got their 50+ FPs out of many hundreds of finds (in one case over 3000) and I guess some of those FPs were simply because they were old virtuals and considered rare rather than them having any great merit of their own.

 

The new virtuals a couple of years ago have of course muddied the waters, making the argument that virtuals were a bad idea somewhat less convincing.

 

 

So that's not answering the question at all...  The fact the old virtuals have been grandfathered allows them to continue in the game, and like you point out, the new virtuals allowed last year counters the argument that virtuals are a bad idea at all.  So we are still left with the question of why shouldn't virtuals be allowed to be adopted... (still the answers is a rather unsatisfying "because")

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4 hours ago, funkymunkyzone said:

the new virtuals allowed last year counters the argument that virtuals are a bad idea

 

I guess, we don’t know this for sure.  The release of the new Virtuals certainly indicated that GS were reconsidering their ‘Virtuals are bad’ stance, but did the experiment change their minds?

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Posted (edited)
On 4/29/2019 at 4:52 AM, funkymunkyzone said:

 

While I realise this is literally the reason they are not allowed to be adopted...

 

Genuinely... Why aren't they allowed to be adopted?  I mean, they are grandfathered so they have been allowed to continue while no new ones can be created, so why not let them continue with a new CO?  People like to go and find these old virtuals, so what's the difference?

 

I believe it goes back to the purpose of geocaching and the devolution of virtual caches in the first place.  Here's my understanding, as much of this happened before we started caching.  I didn't do much research on old posts or announcements, just relied on my memory of past discussions.  Others are invited to chime in and correct me where I'm wrong.

 

Geocaching started out as just "hide container, use GPS technology to find container."  Hence why traditional caches are named as such.  Additional cache types were slowly added by demand, to include virtual caches.

 

As virtual caches caught on, Groundspeak was seeing caches submitted for any old thing, like an animal carcass in the woods.  So the initial response was that reviewers had to start screening virtual cache submissions for "quality."

 

When that became overly problematic, Groundspeak grandfathered virtuals and webcams, and pointed to waymarks as the way forward for such experiences.  Locationless caches were simply archived, but while virtuals and webcams were kept, the decision was made to not allow adoption, perhaps with the intent that attrition would over time bring an end to these two categories.  (I think I'm compressing events a little here; again, I wasn't caching until after all this happened.)

 

My impression is that, at the time, Groundspeak had no intention to bring virtuals back after grandfathering, but there has been pretty consistent demand for their return ever since they were grandfathered.  So there have been limited steps back in that direction since then.

 

- A limited cache type, the earthcache, was introduced to provide a virtual cache experience, but focused to earth science.   As one can tell from looking at earlier ECs versus more recent ones, Groundspeak and the GSA have revised the earthcache guidelines considerably over the years, to the point where a separate class of earthcache reviewers, geoawares*, was set up specifically to tackle the issue of earthcache quality, as well as provide more specialized review of the earth science requirements. 

 

- "Geocaching Challenges" (not to be confused with challenge caches) was a brief experiment into a sort of replacement experience for virtuals that wasn't a waymark.  It didn't take.  See the "make better mistakes tomorrow" post.

 

- I don't have a huge amount of experiences with lab caches, and have not tried out any of the new Adventure Labs, but I suppose they can also be virtual-ish, so maybe they count as a limited return in that direction.

 

- Most recently, Virtual Rewards were rolled out as a limited, experimental response to the overall demand for the return of virtual caches, trying to balance the popular demand for the return of virtuals against the concern that just flat-out re-introducing virtuals for everyone would reignite the issue of poor quality submissions.

 

Anyway.  That's my take on why.

 

 

* (Disclosure, I'm a geoaware - geoawareUSA9 - but this post is based on my understanding of caching history, not on any additional information I may have picked up since becoming a volunteer reviewer.  Hence why I'm posting it as hzoi and not from my reviewer profile.)

Edited by hzoi
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Geocaching history has shown that abuse of a cache type to the point that it makes it difficult for reviewers to review, generally results in a moratorium or grandfathering. 

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On 4/10/2019 at 4:15 PM, edexter said:

I wondering if cache adoption is actually occuring and curious as to other's experience with this process.  I have made several offers to adopt what I considered to be interesting caches in my area, actually gotten positive response from a couple of folks and yet, nothing actually happens.

 

Curious, when you contacted CO's to adopt their caches, did you direct them to HOW to start the adoption process - like the link in the Help Center?  Just wondering if those CO's that you reached out to thought that you were going to take the next step after they gave you a positive response, and so maybe they were sitting there waiting for you to make the next move.  And when you didn't do anything, they just went ahead and archived their caches.

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10 hours ago, noncentric said:

Curious, when you contacted CO's to adopt their caches, did you direct them to HOW to start the adoption process - like the link in the Help Center?  Just wondering if those CO's that you reached out to thought that you were going to take the next step after they gave you a positive response, and so maybe they were sitting there waiting for you to make the next move.  And when you didn't do anything, they just went ahead and archived their caches.

Agreed.

We're surprised how some are so tech knowledgeable on loading/logging caches, yet don't know many basics of the hobby.   :)

Just last month I got a mail from a long-time player asking where is that forums for information.  Never used the Help Center either. 

 - All that simple stuff is right on their profile dashboard and they don't notice.    

I'd bet some would be happy to keep their hide active through another,  if they were just shown how.

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Re:  Noncentric 5/4/19

 

Actually each time it went like this:  I contacted the CO after noticing the cache was being neglected (in one case the CO posted a note asking if anyone was interested in adopting the cache) .  I got a reponse along the lines of "Yes, I would like someone to take this on".  I then offered to adopt the cache, said they should follow the adoption process outlined  in the help center, and then never heard anything back.  A follow up email was met with no response as well.  The third time this happened I decided to ask about others' experience.  

 

Re:  Virtual Caches and the Adoption Process

   Reading between the lines, it seems clear that Geocaching decided to limit the total number of Virtuals in four ways:  1, Capping the number by disallowing new ones 2, Decreasing the total number by attrition by not allowing adoption 3, allowing a "certain number" of new ones as a "reward" and 4, Waymarking.    Since Geocaching is a "listing service" they can decide what to list and in what quantity and have done so.  With the growth of "no maintenace power trails" and the like, one can imagine just how many virtuals there would be if they hadn't capped the number (...let's see shall I place a 5 stage multi in the woods, or a no cache, no maintenance virtual at the end of that road with a nice view of the lake....)  Another solution would have been (and still could be) to allow virtuals in locations where physical caches aren't allowed (National Parks for example).  An example of this approach can be seen in Terracaching where virtuals are allowed and physical caches are optional.  At the virtual location, you must find a preexisting object that contains a code and enter that online.  The vast majority of caches on this listing site are still physical caches as most people enjoy the hunt for the mysterious object...

 

 

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On 5/4/2019 at 4:27 PM, edexter said:

I got a reponse along the lines of "Yes, I would like someone to take this on".  I then offered to adopt the cache, said they should follow the adoption process outlined  in the help center, and then never heard anything back.

 

Their silence makes me wonder if they wanted you to unofficially take care of the cache while they held on to ownership of their listing. 

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2 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

Their silence makes me wonder if they wanted you to unofficially take care of the cache while they held on to ownership of their listing. 

 

It sounds to me, that possibly they didn't know how to go about adopting it out, and maybe in frustration just canned the idea.

 Look for threads started just here in the forums on the topic, and realize many just don't know how.      :)   

 

If me, I would have supplied a link  (it  benefits me to do so...), so at least the information part was right there for them to view without having to search for it.

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