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NoggZ97

DNF vs Needs Maintenance

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Hello, new to this activity.   I spent several hours geocaching this morning, locating 7.   However, there were quite a few duds ...

 

When you search for a cache that is clearly gone (several loggers before you note it’s gone too, or the last find was 2+ years ago), should you log it as a DNF or a Needs Maintenance?

 

Reason I ask is that now my Cachly map shows lots of DNF frown faces, and you can’t filter them out.  If you log it as Needs Maintenance, it still shows a green pin on your map (which again you can’t filter out).

 

Thank you in advance!

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Needs maintenance. Then return to the page 4 weeks later and log an NA if there's no response from the owner. If you have a keen reviewer it will likely get a disable within a couple of weeks and an archival in 6 weeks. 

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1 hour ago, NoggZ97 said:

When you search for a cache that is clearly gone (several loggers before you note it’s gone too, or the last find was 2+ years ago), should you log it as a DNF or a Needs Maintenance?

You searched for it but didn't find it, so start with a DNF.

 

If additional information (besides the fact that you logged a DNF) indicates that maintenance may be needed, then you can also log NM. Be as clear as you can about what leads you to think that maintenance may be needed.

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30 minutes ago, niraD said:

Be as clear as you can about what leads you to think that maintenance may be needed.

 

Yes.

 

Example...

 

Needs MaintenanceNeeds Maintenance

There has been a string of DNFs in the last 2 years. Difficulty rate is 1. Size is a small. Photo gallery shows a sandwich size container at the base of a tree.  It was regularly found, with no DNFs until October 2016. 

 

 

 

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First, log your experience: DNF. And by that I mean use the DNF log type, but also write the log to describe the search and failure. Try to avoid saying things like "It's gone", because you don't actually know that and it's not relevant to the DNF, anyway.

 

If you feel qualified to judge, you can file an NM. As a newbie, you might want to be a little careful and generally leave NMs to more experienced cachers except in obvious cases. Unless the experienced cachers in your area never file NMs, there's no big reason for you to until you're more confident. For example, some caches are just hard, so a string of DNFs might be perfectly reasonable. Your particular example, with 2 years of DNFs, probably isn't that case, so I'm not telling you not to file the NM here, I'm just saying it's not a requirement that you file an NM, so don't feel pressured at your tender geocaching age. After a few months of experience, you'll have a better feeling for whether the cache really needs to owner's attention.

 

As others have said, when you file an NM, that's where you can say you think it's missing and explain how you came to that conclusion. (I.e., "2+ years of DNFs".)

 

By the way, L0ne.R says that if you post an NM, you should come back later and post an NA. I don't think you should do that unless your area has a serious problem with no one posting the necessary NMs and NAs. File the NM and forget about it. In a healthy geocaching community, someone else should come along later to post an NA.

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7 hours ago, niraD said:

You searched for it but didn't find it, so start with a DNF.

 

If additional information (besides the fact that you logged a DNF) indicates that maintenance may be needed, then you can also log NM. Be as clear as you can about what leads you to think that maintenance may be needed.

 

A week ago I'd have said the same thing, but in this recent thread someone quoted a log from a reviewer saying you should never log an NM on a cache you can't find:

 

Quote

Cachers are reminded that the "Needs Maintenance" log should be used only if the cache is found and there are known maintenance issues. If the cache IS NOT found, the appropriate log is the "Didn't Find It" (DNF) log type. A cacher can't know if a cache needs maintenance if s/he hasn't actually seen the cache.

 

I don't agree with this, and as a CO I'd like to see an NM if someone thought there was strong evidence one of my hides was missing (for example earthworks or a fire at GZ), but then I don't agree with much that has changed recently with the way DNF and NM logs are interpreted.

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38 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

I don't agree with this, and as a CO I'd like to see an NM if someone thought there was strong evidence one of my hides was missing (for example earthworks or a fire at GZ)

I agree. A cache needs maintenance if it's missing. However, in that case, a NM should only be placed if it can be reasonably sure it is missing. Otherwise just a DNF and perhaps a comment that maybe the CO should check this. If the CO continues to ignore these comments, then a NM. I do believe a DNF should be logged before a NM, if the cache is missing, because the cacher didn't find it.

However, many people seem reluctant to do either. Weak, insecure, or maybe lazy...occasionally might be a genuine reason, such as bad internet, but usually one of the first reasons.

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When I get to a cache location, make a thorough but fruitless search. I then look over the recent logs. On caches less than 2-1/2 D, if the logs are all DNF over period of time (not a group on the same hunt) I have no qualms of logging a NM. I have also gone straight to NA if there was an ignored NM in the string.

Either the NM of the NA should get the CO into action, or begin the steps to clear the field for a new cache.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, K13 said:

When I get to a cache location, make a thorough but fruitless search. I then look over the recent logs. On caches less than 2-1/2 D, if the logs are all DNF over period of time (not a group on the same hunt) I have no qualms of logging a NM. I have also gone straight to NA if there was an ignored NM in the string.

Either the NM of the NA should get the CO into action, or begin the steps to clear the field for a new cache.

I agree; NM should be based on the D rating. If I couldn't find a cache, I would be slower to add a NM to a higher rated D than a 1.5 or 1. In fact, if I couldn't find a 1 D cache after a good search I might be tempted to add a NM, because I would figure it is either missing, or wrongly rated. One of the last ones I did that to, was a D1 hidden in bushland. I couldn't find it and in the surroundings the micro was obviously not a D1.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

A week ago I'd have said the same thing, but in this recent thread someone quoted a log from a reviewer saying you should never log an NM on a cache you can't find:

 

Quote

Cachers are reminded that the "Needs Maintenance" log should be used only if the cache is found and there are known maintenance issues. If the cache IS NOT found, the appropriate log is the "Didn't Find It" (DNF) log type. A cacher can't know if a cache needs maintenance if s/he hasn't actually seen the cache.

 

I don't agree with this

 

I don't agree with it either.

 

"I recognise the council has made a decision, but given that it's a stupid-a** decision, I've elected to ignore it."
- Nick Fury (The Avengers)

 

"If that's what the law supposes, sir, then the law is a a**!"

- Mr. Bumble (Oliver)

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19 hours ago, NoggZ97 said:

Hello, new to this activity.   I spent several hours geocaching this morning, locating 7.   However, there were quite a few duds ...

 

When you search for a cache that is clearly gone (several loggers before you note it’s gone too, or the last find was 2+ years ago), should you log it as a DNF or a Needs Maintenance?

 

Reason I ask is that now my Cachly map shows lots of DNF frown faces, and you can’t filter them out.  If you log it as Needs Maintenance, it still shows a green pin on your map (which again you can’t filter out).

 

Thank you in advance!

 

If you didn't find it, it's a DNF no question about that, do not fear the blue frowny face ! I've got hundreds of the things, I see them not as failures but as unfinished business ....

 

Where to draw the line with a NM is (as you can see from old arguements being rehashed here) a heated topic. It's a judgement call, and as you are a new cacher,  proceed with  caution when placing NMs. If there is a culture in your local area that has people (wrongly) thinking NM are a nasty and harsh way to punish cache setters, and folk are therefore reluctant to log them, you might get some negative feedback if you suddenly jump in with several .

 

As you mention, a long string of DNFs and years since the last find do strongly suggest a cache might be missing, I'd also take note of the D (difficulty) level , there are some evil hides out there which are designed to leave finders frustrated. I'd take account of the cache size and if there is a hint which unequivovally says where the container should be,  both of those bits of info help me feel more secure in my opinion that the cache isn't there.

 

Most of the time, a DNF is just a DNF, but if everything is telling you the cache really must have gone, a needs maintenance is the next step. I maybe post two or three such NMs a year. and I don't do it lightly. As far as I know, none of those caches has been maintained, they eventually get picked up  by a reviewer and archived. On the other hand, I can see how a reviewer might react negatively to a sudden bunch of NM/NA on caches they've not actually found from the same cacher in their area, it might seem like over reaching.

 

Oh, and I don't know anything about your particular app. , but if those caches get archived, I'm pretty sure the blue frowns will evaporate too !

 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for all the feedback.  I'm primarily using Cachly and secondarily the premium version of the Geocaching app.   None of the local geocaches I've attempted to find thus far have been above a D of 2, and most have been a 1 ... pretty straightforward stuff.

 

It would be nice if the App highlighted areas you've logged as an NM as a red wrench on the screen, corresponding with blue frowns and yellow happy faces.

 

Lastly, it seems the guideline verbiage for DNF and NM would be better delineated for novice geocachers; I certainly don't want to step on any toes and garner negative feedback right out of the gate.

 

Again, thank you for the thoughts.

 

 

Edited by NoggZ97
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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, NoggZ97 said:

It would be nice if the App highlighted areas you've logged as an NM as a red wrench on the screen, corresponding with blue frowns and yellow happy faces.

 

That's why you need to go back and log an NA if the owner doesn't respond. If you don't, those caches will linger on the map for months (often years) and clutter it making it harder and harder to use, not just for you but for everyone. 

Edited by L0ne.R
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Just as a side O/T note for clarity, only because there's often a lot of confusion about this:

 

3 hours ago, NoggZ97 said:

...and secondarily the premium version of the Geocaching app.

 

There's no "premium version" of the app, it's just one free app, but it knows if the current user is a Premium Member when logged in, so the limitations are lifted.

(just in case that confuses people)

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17 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

A week ago I'd have said the same thing, but in this recent thread someone quoted a log from a reviewer saying you should never log an NM on a cache you can't find:

I read that thread, and I still say the same thing. I think that reviewer is wrong.

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I just vented about this on one of my caches yesterday after doing some yearly maintenance. I had a couple of DNFs after changing cache containers, and then a geocacher with thousands of finds posted a NM on my cache and said, "It must have been washed away". I knew it hadn't (It's screwed in, up high), but I went to check on it anyway. I asked for them to please post a DNF from now on, because I will go check after a few DNFs to make sure it's still there.  I had several DNFs on another one and that one was actually missing and I replaced it.  I feel it's my responsibility to check on my caches after several DNFs anyway (unless it's a sneaky one ;)) - but I've had at least three post a NM when it did not.

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7 minutes ago, coach cache said:

I just vented about this on one of my caches yesterday after doing some yearly maintenance. I had a couple of DNFs after changing cache containers, and then a geocacher with thousands of finds posted a NM on my cache and said, "It must have been washed away". I knew it hadn't (It's screwed in, up high), but I went to check on it anyway. I asked for them to please post a DNF from now on, because I will go check after a few DNFs to make sure it's still there.  I had several DNFs on another one and that one was actually missing and I replaced it.  I feel it's my responsibility to check on my caches after several DNFs anyway (unless it's a sneaky one ;)) - but I've had at least three post a NM when it did not.

I'm not saying this is the case here, but the trouble with some people is they WON'T log DNFs. They just won't, as though a DNF will poison them.

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3 hours ago, coach cache said:

I just vented about this on one of my caches yesterday after doing some yearly maintenance. I had a couple of DNFs after changing cache containers, and then a geocacher with thousands of finds posted a NM on my cache and said, "It must have been washed away". I knew it hadn't (It's screwed in, up high), but I went to check on it anyway. I asked for them to please post a DNF from now on, because I will go check after a few DNFs to make sure it's still there.  I had several DNFs on another one and that one was actually missing and I replaced it.  I feel it's my responsibility to check on my caches after several DNFs anyway (unless it's a sneaky one ;)) - but I've had at least three post a NM when it did not.

 

To maybe make it easier, assuming people read cache descriptions, you could put "Please log DNFs. I will check on my caches after several DNFs." in your description. It might help. 

 

As a CO, I don't mind the NMs even for minor things. If I think it doesn't warrant a visit I will say so in an OM log and explain why.  I have had the opposite happen often, people won't log an NM. Problems with my cache like someone left candy and it melted all over everything, or a leaking bubble liquid container, the logbook is coated in soapy liquid and the log has started to go moldy. I only find out after a few months when I make my bi-annual trek to check my caches. They don't mention the condition of the contents or log an NM. 

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7 hours ago, coach cache said:

I just vented about this on one of my caches yesterday after doing some yearly maintenance. I had a couple of DNFs after changing cache containers, and then a geocacher with thousands of finds posted a NM on my cache and said, "It must have been washed away". I knew it hadn't (It's screwed in, up high), but I went to check on it anyway. I asked for them to please post a DNF from now on, because I will go check after a few DNFs to make sure it's still there.  I had several DNFs on another one and that one was actually missing and I replaced it.  I feel it's my responsibility to check on my caches after several DNFs anyway (unless it's a sneaky one ;)) - but I've had at least three post a NM when it did not.

There's a difference between thinking someone made a mistake and thinking someone did something wrong. Even as I grant he should have known better, I encourage you to imagine something he saw or something he overlooked that made him think he knew where the cache was, and that's why he felt confident it was missing. (It doesn't help that the cache did wash away in the past, so he may have had stale information about it.)

 

Presumably if you assume it was a simple, perhaps dimwitted, mistake, he'll be embarrassed and be more careful in the future. Scolding is a good way to piss someone off unnecessarily and unlikely to get him to think about what he did. It is very unlikely that someone with thousands of finds thinks he should always post an NM every time he can't find a cache, so something else was going on, perhaps something you might possibly be able to forgive.

 

4 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

As a CO, I don't mind the NMs even for minor things. If I think it doesn't warrant a visit I will say so in an OM log and explain why.

That sounds reasonable. This case is actually even less interesting for the bogus NM: after the NM, there were a couple additional DNFs, and from the CO's post above, it sounds like he would have gone to check on the cache just because of the DNFs, so the NM wasn't even what got him out there, anyway.

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8 hours ago, coach cache said:

I just vented about this on one of my caches yesterday after doing some yearly maintenance. I had a couple of DNFs after changing cache containers, and then a geocacher with thousands of finds posted a NM on my cache and said, "It must have been washed away". I knew it hadn't (It's screwed in, up high), but I went to check on it anyway. I asked for them to please post a DNF from now on, because I will go check after a few DNFs to make sure it's still there.  I had several DNFs on another one and that one was actually missing and I replaced it.  I feel it's my responsibility to check on my caches after several DNFs anyway (unless it's a sneaky one ;)) - but I've had at least three post a NM when it did not.

 

To be fair,  we now have a Cache Health Score because people weren't logging DNFs and NMs enough...   :)

When I used to do those hides, rarely would I bother to read descriptions.  Many don't on simple D/T traditionals.  It's there or not...

We know a few people now that placed their caches to raise  D/T,  just so folks would read the description. 

When people see "Clearly some do not read the description well " written as part of the description, word gets out quickly about that CO. 

Is something so simple as a NM a reflection on you?   No.  Not if you're acting on those logs.

 - We had them for no pencil in a cache, and a couple, the other side of the "full log" wasn't touched.  :D

But showing how petty you're going to be with other members will  be... 

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