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Rock Chalk

Cache Quality Survey results

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As if today wasn't busy enough with the launch of Virtual Rewards 2.0, it also happens to be the day that we're sharing some results from the Cache Quality Survey conducted late last year.

 

A summary is posted on the Geocaching Blog (English) (German) (French) (Dutch) (Spanish). A link to the blog is shared in this week's Geocaching newsletter and we'll also share it later this week on social media.

 

Here's the text from the English blog post:

 

In mid-2018, we invited the geocaching community into a conversation about cache quality. As we said then, HQ has taken steps in recent years to bring cache quality into greater focus, because we think it is very important to the continued vitality of the game.

 

But before we continue with more projects to encourage cache quality and expect the community to focus on quality, we first wanted to hear geocachers’ thoughts on the subject. We started with feedback threads in our User Insights forums. We then built a survey directly from your feedback and ideas. For example, cachers gave qualitative feedback about what makes a high-quality geocache in the forum threads. For the survey, we turned those results into questions to receive quantitative feedback.

 

Nearly 12,000 people from 58 countries participated in the survey. The respondents were some of the community’s most experienced and engaged players: 80% own a cache, 85% have found 500+ caches, and 95% are Premium members.

 

Following are the results of the survey, broken down by categories.

 

Most important factors for a high-quality geocache

Around 92% of survey respondents ranked accurate coordinates as very or extremely important for a high-quality geocache. By comparison, only 24% said that the largest container for a location was very or extremely important.

 

The factors, in order of importance, were:

 

  1. Accurate coordinates
  2. Does not harm the environment
  3. Owner maintains the cache regularly
  4. Container suited to the environment
  5. Accurate Difficulty and Terrain ratings
  6. Well hidden from non-geocachers
  7. Interesting location
  8. Well-written description
  9. Accurate attributes
  10. Helpful hint
  11. Clever or custom container
  12. Fun and/or challenging puzzle
  13. Includes parking coordinates, if available
  14. Largest container for location


If more geocache finders took certain steps, how helpful would each be to improving geocache quality?

 

Unlike the first question, there wasn’t as much separation between the top and bottom ranked answers here. According to respondents, the best step finders can take is to log “Did Not Find”, “Needs Maintenance,” and “Needs Archived” logs whenever necessary. 79% said it would be very or extremely helpful. But a strong majority (74%) also said assisting geocache owners with minor maintenance would be very or extremely helpful, while 72% said the same about writing honest, constructive online logs.

 

All answers, in order of how helpful they would be to improving geocache quality:

 

  1. Log ‘Did Not Find’, ‘Needs Maintenance’, and ‘Needs Archived’ whenever necessary
  2. Assist geocache owners with minor maintenance (e.g., replace wet or full log sheets)
  3. Write honest, constructive online logs
  4. Do not install new cache containers (e.g., throwdowns) without consent of cache owner
  5. Award Favorite points more often


If more geocache hiders took certain steps, how helpful would each be to improving geocache quality?

 

The results showed the best things hiders can do is to be more thoughtful about the cache location/container, and maintain their geocaches more regularly. Around 80% of respondents ranked those steps as very or extremely helpful.

 

All answers, in order of how helpful they would be to improving geocache quality:

 

  1. Be more thoughtful about cache location and container
  2. Maintain your own geocaches more regularly
  3. Hide the kind of geocaches you would like to find
  4. Provide mentoring to new cache hiders
  5. Host workshops to teach about hiding and finding geocaches


If Geocaching HQ were to adjust the requirements for hiding a cache, how helpful would certain ideas be to improving cache quality?

 

The top ranked idea was to require players to find a geocache before hiding one of their own. Nearly 60% said it would be very or extremely helpful. A similar percentage said the same about requiring cache owners to address maintenance issues on their current hides before permitting new caches to be placed.

 

All answers, in order of how helpful they would be to improving geocache quality:

 

  1. Require finding a certain number of geocaches before hiding a cache
  2. Require cache owners to address maintenance issues on their current hides before hiding new caches
  3. Require new cache owners to successfully complete an online tutorial before placing a cache
  4. Speed up the process for problem caches to receive reviewer attention
  5. Require cache owners to include a photo of their cache placement when submitting the cache for review
  6. Restrict total number of geocaches one person may own


We also asked about possible tools and projects that Geocaching HQ might undertake to encourage higher cache quality. Keep in mind that these ideas were the ones most mentioned in the User Insights forum threads.

 

Tool ideas, ranked by how helpful they would be to improving cache quality:

 

  1. Add function to search by Favorite point percentage
  2. Create rating system (such as 5 star) for caches
  3. Create a place for cachers to say why they favorited or rated a cache
  4. Allow Basic members to give Favorite points
  5. Provide unlimited Favorite points to Premium members


Project ideas to recognize cache owners, ranked by how helpful they would be to improving cache quality:

 

  1. Create visible website status for owners of high quality caches
  2. Give option to hide a unique cache type (like Virtual Rewards)


Other project ideas, ranked by how helpful they would be to improving cache quality:

 

  1. Souvenir promotions that reward a variety of caching, rather than high number of finds
  2. Rename the “Needs Archived” log to “Needs Reviewer Attention”


As noted when the survey was conducted, we can’t guarantee implementation of all these ideas. But these results give us a much clearer picture of the community’s feelings about cache quality. Your feedback will help us prioritize projects and greatly inform our work in general. The survey results also show how geocachers can directly improve quality, both as finders and hiders of geocaches.

 

We’re very grateful to everyone who participated!

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For me this paragraph of the results was the most surprising. I'm not exactly sure why yet.

 

Tool ideas, ranked by how helpful they would be to improving cache quality:

 

  1. Add function to search by Favorite point percentage
  2. Create rating system (such as 5 star) for caches
  3. Create a place for cachers to say why they favorited or rated a cache
  4. Allow Basic members to give Favorite points
  5. Provide unlimited Favorite points to Premium members

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Posted (edited)

So we see how high priority is geocache quality for Groundspeak if that take 5 months to compile an electronic survey and they released it the same day as another announcement.

 

Any timelines on the implementation of the top answers? Before 2020 please.

Edited by Lynx Humble
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29 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

Any timelines on the implementation of the top answers?

For starters, it looks like you could help out a little  with the following....

 

39 minutes ago, Rock Chalk said:

Write honest, constructive online logs

For example, don't claim a Find if you can't sign the log (although you did take the time to write an NM along with your Find).

 

Sorry, but I just have to call the kettle black when I see inconsistencies with what people say and what they do.

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1 minute ago, Touchstone said:

Sorry, but I just have to call the kettle black when I see inconsistencies with what people say and what they do.

 

I see this all the time.

 

I am glad that accurate coordinates was the winner. There should be a canned "Need Maintenance" message for inaccurate coordinates to encourage players to report problems.

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9 minutes ago, Touchstone said:

For starters, it looks like you could help out a little  with the following....

 

For example, don't claim a Find if you can't sign the log (although you did take the time to write an NM along with your Find).

 

Sorry, but I just have to call the kettle black when I see inconsistencies with what people say and what they do.

I have found the cache its not my fault that the CO doesn't care about the cache. It was an honest log like you said. So I don't understand why you decided to attack me.

 

I have seen so many geocacher logging a cache that is only a velcro or a hook that is remaining without even putting a need maintenance...

 

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7 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

I have found the cache its not my fault that the CO doesn't care about the cache. It was an honest log like you said. So I don't understand why you decided to attack me.

 

I have seen so many geocacher logging a cache that is only a velcro or a hook that is remaining without even putting a need maintenance...

 

Not attacking you, attacking the behavior.  No, your Find log is not honest.  You did not sign the log, because it appears that it was in such a sorry state, that it was unsignable.  There's a problem with the container, if it cannot withstand the elements.  The CO needs to fix the problem (or at the very least, provide more frequent maintenance) , and people continuing to post Finds in the face of obvious problems is not helping anyone.

 

If people continue to log pieces of velcro, then they might as well go play the other game "that shall not be named", and scan QR codes to their hearts content.

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1 minute ago, Touchstone said:

If people continue to log pieces of velcro, then they might as well go play the other game "that shall not be named", and scan QR codes to their hearts content. 

 

 

Or even better - they could go somewhere and enter a word or a code in an application. What a fantastic idea :)

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1 hour ago, Rock Chalk said:

As noted when the survey was conducted, we can’t guarantee implementation of all these ideas.

Which ideas? All you've done here is list all the ideas you yourselves presented in the survey, ordered. Without quantitation, nothing you've reported here tells you which of these things are considered important and which are not. Other than prioritizing your own preconceived "solutions", you've done nothing.

 

Not that that matters much: the way you designed the survey, it was virtually impossible to say, "don't do that, it's a bad idea", and completely impossible for any such reaction to offset all the people checking boxes because the ideas sound good if you don't think about them. So even if you went ahead and told us what percent supported which options, I'm sure almost all of them will have lots of support just because that's what happens when you provide a lot of boxes for people to check.

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3 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

Any timelines on the implementation of the top answers? Before 2020 please.

IMHO, not all of the top answers should be implemented, at least, not as stated. For example:

 

Quote

1. Require finding a certain number of geocaches before hiding a cache

Whatever characteristic(s) you're trying to identify in the new cache owners, the number of Finds they've logged is the wrong measure of that. Finding a hundred fungible film canisters teaches nothing. And finding a hundred caches of any type is impossible without significant travel in many areas.

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3 hours ago, dprovan said:

Which ideas? All you've done here is list all the ideas you yourselves presented in the survey, ordered. Without quantitation, nothing you've reported here tells you which of these things are considered important and which are not. Other than prioritizing your own preconceived "solutions", you've done nothing.

 

Not that that matters much: the way you designed the survey, it was virtually impossible to say, "don't do that, it's a bad idea", and completely impossible for any such reaction to offset all the people checking boxes because the ideas sound good if you don't think about them. So even if you went ahead and told us what percent supported which options, I'm sure almost all of them will have lots of support just because that's what happens when you provide a lot of boxes for people to check.

 

Agreed. This survey helps identify the areas that need to be dealt with, but it shouldn't be used as a definitive "the community wants us to implement idea X as written in the survey". Now that the areas have been identified, you'll need to work with the community to figure out possible solutions and identify one that will work best for both HQ and the members. niraD's example of requiring finds before hiding a cache is a good one. While the survey results tell you that something along those lines is desired by the members, many past discussions here in the forums have revealed that a fixed number isn't a good idea and there are other solutions that would work better (e.g. a waiting period).

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5 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

I see this all the time.

 

I am glad that accurate coordinates was the winner. There should be a canned "Need Maintenance" message for inaccurate coordinates to encourage players to report problems.

 

But there would need to be differentiation between coordinates that are "off" by 6 ft  (2m) and those that are off by 60 ft (20m).  

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, NanCycle said:
10 hours ago, arisoft said:

I see this all the time.

 

I am glad that accurate coordinates was the winner. There should be a canned "Need Maintenance" message for inaccurate coordinates to encourage players to report problems.

 

But there would need to be differentiation between coordinates that are "off" by 6 ft  (2m) and those that are off by 60 ft (20m).  

 

Yes, not all locations are suitable for getting accurate and consistent coordinates on all devices. On one of mine, at the first waypoint my old Garmin 62S would always show it within a metre or two each time I visited, but my new Oregon 700 always shows it about five or six metres further north. Perhaps it's the devices' respective antenna configuations responding differently to reflections off the hillside or water (it's on the edge of a pond). At the final location on top of the hill, though, both units are in lock step and always show near enough to zero at GZ.

 

Another of my hides is in a deep gully with a very limited view of the sky and I've never been able to get anything closer than a +/- 15 metre spread on coordinates there.

Edited by barefootjeff
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12 hours ago, Rock Chalk said:

to improving geocache quality:

  1. Be more thoughtful about cache location and container
  2. Maintain your own geocaches more regularly
  3. Hide the kind of geocaches you would like to find
  4. Provide mentoring to new cache hiders
  5. Host workshops to teach about hiding and finding geocaches

To improve geocaching quality, both finding and hiding, I can suggest the following. It is not my idea, but a slightly improved solution existing in an alternate system. Maybe similar one exists somewhere here but I did not find it.

  • Introduce a list (optionally with approximate locations on map) of local volunteer geocaching guides, i.e. geocachers who wants to help newbies to know geocaching better or even show the activity to someone who think about entering into it. A geocaching guide should meet some requirements, f.ex. being active seeker/hider, having a substantial amount of finds with different D/T ratings, having highly rated, well maintained caches etc. An interested geocacher can contact one of the nearest guides, ask her/him about something or arrange an outdoor meeting to learn what to do and what to do not on real examples, and finally leave a "mark" in the system telling how helpful this guide has been.
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13 hours ago, Rock Chalk said:

If more geocache finders took certain steps, how helpful would each be to improving geocache quality?

 

Unlike the first question, there wasn’t as much separation between the top and bottom ranked answers here. According to respondents, the best step finders can take is to log “Did Not Find”, “Needs Maintenance,” and “Needs Archived” logs whenever necessary. 79% said it would be very or extremely helpful. But a strong majority (74%) also said assisting geocache owners with minor maintenance would be very or extremely helpful, while 72% said the same about writing honest, constructive online logs.

 

All answers, in order of how helpful they would be to improving geocache quality:

 

  1. Log ‘Did Not Find’, ‘Needs Maintenance’, and ‘Needs Archived’ whenever necessary
  2. Assist geocache owners with minor maintenance (e.g., replace wet or full log sheets)
  3. Write honest, constructive online logs
  4. Do not install new cache containers (e.g., throwdowns) without consent of cache owner
  5. Award Favorite points more often

To support item #1, it would be nice if support for "real" NM and NA logs would be added to the (new) log form.

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3 hours ago, baer2006 said:

To support item #1, it would be nice if support for "real" NM and NA logs would be added to the (new) log form.

 

Moving these to the logging options on the official App (rather than hiding them at the bottom of the screen) would also help.

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12 hours ago, niraD said:

IMHO, not all of the top answers should be implemented, at least, not as stated. For example:

 

Whatever characteristic(s) you're trying to identify in the new cache owners, the number of Finds they've logged is the wrong measure of that. Finding a hundred fungible film canisters teaches nothing. And finding a hundred caches of any type is impossible without significant travel in many areas.

 

Completely agree.  I suspect that most of the people that voted for a minimum number of finds, live in areas which already have enough caches  that those that want to hide more can easily meet the minimum and have probably not geocached in a place which has so few caches that anyone living there wouldn't be able to qualify to place more.  

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13 hours ago, niraD said:

Whatever characteristic(s) you're trying to identify in the new cache owners, the number of Finds they've logged is the wrong measure of that

In your opinion what would be a good measure of the likelihood a new cacher would be a good owner?  

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Rock Chalk said:

If Geocaching HQ were to adjust the requirements for hiding a cache, how helpful would certain ideas be to improving cache quality?

 

The top ranked idea was to require players to find a geocache before hiding one of their own. Nearly 60% said it would be very or extremely helpful. A similar percentage said the same about requiring cache owners to address maintenance issues on their current hides before permitting new caches to be placed.

 

All answers, in order of how helpful they would be to improving geocache quality:

 

  1. Require finding a certain number of geocaches before hiding a cache
  2. Require cache owners to address maintenance issues on their current hides before hiding new caches
  3. Require new cache owners to successfully complete an online tutorial before placing a cache
  4. Speed up the process for problem caches to receive reviewer attention
  5. Require cache owners to include a photo of their cache placement when submitting the cache for review
  6. Restrict total number of geocaches one person may own

To avoid that a new owner has no idea what they are doing, a tutorial as suggested by item #3 is a very good idea. Such a tutorial should also include an explanation of the owner-only log types (OM, etc.). I have the impression that a lot of new owners don't really know, how these logs should be applied.

- Owner Maintenance: Sometimes an owner posts his maintenance with a simple note, so that a "red wrench" flag is not removed. And in the other direction, some owners log OM, when they are _going to_ do maintenance. Every owner should know, that OM is meant to be posted _after_ maintenance has been completed and the cache is available again.

- Update Coordinates: I've lost count about how often newbie owners, who initially supplied not very good coordinates, tried to update them later with the "pen" tool (whose tooltip says "Correct these coordinates", which can be quite misleading for a newbie).

- Disable/Archive: Explain the difference. I've seen a lot of "Disable" logs of inexperienced owners, where they clearly say that the cache is gone for good.

Edited by baer2006
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5 hours ago, rapotek said:

Introduce a list (optionally with approximate locations on map) of local volunteer geocaching guides, i.e. geocachers who wants to help newbies to know geocaching better or even show the activity to someone who think about entering into it. A geocaching guide should meet some requirements, f.ex. being active seeker/hider, having a substantial amount of finds with different D/T ratings, having highly rated, well maintained caches etc. An interested geocacher can contact one of the nearest guides, ask her/him about something or arrange an outdoor meeting to learn what to do and what to do not on real examples, and finally leave a "mark" in the system telling how helpful this guide has been.

 

I like this idea in theory, but I also think just letting anybody who wants to be an official Guide is not necessarily a good idea. There are some enthusiastic cachers out there who might give technically correct advice while not steering things in the right direction. (Powercachers/numberhounds I'm looking at you especially.)

 

A feedback system on such Guides would be helpful, although it might lead to a demand for a similar feedback system for Reviewers. Which sounds like a good idea until you realize those with the strongest opinions about Reviewers are usually those with a grudge over being denied.

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16 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

I like this idea in theory, but I also think just letting anybody who wants to be an official Guide is not necessarily a good idea.

 

So true. I know a few geocache "leaders" locally who have created the now-dominant culture of power style caching in my area. They host and attend many events, and lead regular popular geocaching hikes, some give talks on the subject.  They also hide lots and rarely re-visit those caches, often leaving it up to the reviewer to archive their caches, or encourage others to throw down. 

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59 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

In your opinion what would be a good measure of the likelihood a new cacher would be a good owner?  

Honestly, I think the only way to find out whether someone will be a good owner is to let them hide a cache and see how many of the premium members who find it give it a Favorite point. But even that is unreliable, because (as has been pointed out in the forums before) people give Favorite points for all sorts of reasons, including unique caches that are unique because the owner violated part of the guidelines.

 

But if you're merely trying to weed out bad owners, then there are a few options, depending on what kind of bad owners you're trying to weed out.

 

If you want to weed out uninformed owners, then as baer2006 pointed out, suggestion 3 ("Require new cache owners to successfully complete an online tutorial before placing a cache") would be more effective. The quiz for determining successful completion could be based on feedback from the volunteer reviewers about what parts of the guidelines seem to come as a surprise to a lot of new/uninformed cache owners.

 

If you want to weed out owners who don't maintain their caches, then suggestion 2 ("Require cache owners to address maintenance issues on their current hides before hiding new caches") might help, although it would also promote armchair OM logs just to clear the Needs Maintenance attribute so the owner could list a new cache. Giving a "time out" to owners who neglect maintenance to the point that a volunteer reviewer has to archive a neglected cache might help, but I imagine that a lot of those owners have actually left the game. And rumor has it that the volunteer reviewers have actually been giving "time outs" to owners who have been causing problems.

 

If you want to weed out the "one weekend wonders" who find a few, hide a few, and then disappear, then a brief waiting period before a new account can list a new cache might help. Since the guidelines use 3 months as the dividing line between "temporary" caches and long-term caches, requiring a new account to wait 3 months would show that they're willing to stick with the hobby at least that long.

 

And there are other things that can be done as well, depending on what specific problem you're trying to address. But those 3 are probably the big ones.

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57 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

In your opinion what would be a good measure of the likelihood a new cacher would be a good owner?  

 

I'm going to ask the same of you.  

 

Finds, especially those that are limited to the basic free app, aren't a good qualifier of whether or not a cacher would be a good owner.  If you're going to quantify it based on numbers, I'd be certain to include as many of the cache types found as possible.  At least this way they are exposed to a variety of cache types rather than all 1.5/1.5 traditional caches as the foundation of one of the requirements, if it comes to that.

 

Other than that, this is such a subjective topic that there's really not anything that you can single out that will indicate that a new cacher might be a good CO.  Some will say that they take the time to write good logs, that they use the NM/NA logs appropriately, that they've been caching for a period of time that allows them to ascertain that they're ready to be a CO, that they've adopted previously owned caches and are doing a good job maintaining those, that they've found 100 caches, that they've been involved for a certain amount of time, and that they've.......

 

It can go on and on but there's really no way to determine, without a doubt, that a new cacher would be a good CO.  Even those who do most of the things listed above aren't guaranteed to be good COs.  Even the tutorial suggested can be breezed over by hitting play and then leaving until it's over, if that's the only requirement needed to place a cache.  If it's a quiz, then that's a slightly different issue, but is passing a quiz a good indicator of how good a CO is going to be?  Just because you know what to do doesn't mean that they're actually going to do those things.  The ONLY way to ascertain the viability of a CO is to let them hide a cache and then see what happens.  

 

17 hours ago, dprovan said:

Which ideas? All you've done here is list all the ideas you yourselves presented in the survey, ordered. Without quantitation, nothing you've reported here tells you which of these things are considered important and which are not. Other than prioritizing your own preconceived "solutions", you've done nothing.

 

 

Agreed.

 

18 hours ago, arisoft said:

There should be a canned "Need Maintenance" message for inaccurate coordinates to encourage players to report problems.

 

Yikes.  I can see it now.  New cachers posting NM logs saying that they found the cache 10 feet away from the posted coordinates.  If it's canned, that means there's no way to be able to specify the distance those coordinates may be off.  With a few exceptions, I honestly believe that most cachers are attempting to provide the best coordinates possible for their caches.

 

 

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1 minute ago, niraD said:

Honestly, I think the only way to find out whether someone will be a good owner is to let them hide a cache and see how many of the premium members who find it give it a Favorite point.

Would an initial minimum number of caches a new cache owner could hide be something to look at?   

 

I think the main issue is how (or can) GS limit the number of new hides by new cachers.   We already have mechanisms in place to deal with existing owners and caches which would work if everyone used them and used them correctly.   

 

I realize that nothing is perfect and any attempt to read into an individuals motives or intentions is almost impossible especially when there's no history to go by.   Having said that wouldn't a certain find count provide some sense of how good or bad someone would be as a cache owner?

 

For example.

 

If an individual was required to find 100 caches before being able to hide one of their own wouldn't that indicate they have some level of staying power in the game and would be more likely to take cache ownership seriously?

 

Wouldn't the experience of finding 100 caches give someone the sense of how caches are hidden (good and bad)

 

I think the logs on those 100 caches would tell you something as well.   Do they enjoy the game.  Did they post a DNF or a NM?

 

None of this is a precise indicator of how someone would be as a cache owner but wouldn't it provide some insight on what we could expect. 

 

I do realize that some locations are not cache rich and finding 100 caches would be a monumental task but maybe, in those locations, the number could be adjusted. 

 

Just something to think about.          

 

     

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12 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

 

I'm going to ask the same of you.  

 

Finds, especially those that are limited to the basic free app, aren't a good qualifier of whether or not a cacher would be a good owner.  If you're going to quantify it based on numbers, I'd be certain to include as many of the cache types found as possible.  At least this way they are exposed to a variety of cache types rather than all 1.5/1.5 traditional caches as the foundation of one of the requirements, if it comes to that.

 

Other than that, this is such a subjective topic that there's really not anything that you can single out that will indicate that a new cacher might be a good CO.  Some will say that they take the time to write good logs, that they use the NM/NA logs appropriately, that they've been caching for a period of time that allows them to ascertain that they're ready to be a CO, that they've adopted previously owned caches and are doing a good job maintaining those, that they've found 100 caches, that they've been involved for a certain amount of time, and that they've.......

 

It can go on and on but there's really no way to determine, without a doubt, that a new cacher would be a good CO.  Even those who do most of the things listed above aren't guaranteed to be good COs.  Even the tutorial suggested can be breezed over by hitting play and then leaving until it's over, if that's the only requirement needed to place a cache.  If it's a quiz, then that's a slightly different issue, but is passing a quiz a good indicator of how good a CO is going to be?  Just because you know what to do doesn't mean that they're actually going to do those things.  The ONLY way to ascertain the viability of a CO is to let them hide a cache and then see what happens.  

 

 

Agreed.

 

 

Yikes.  I can see it now.  New cachers posting NM logs saying that they found the cache 10 feet away from the posted coordinates.  If it's canned, that means there's no way to be able to specify the distance those coordinates may be off.  With a few exceptions, I honestly believe that most cachers are attempting to provide the best coordinates possible for their caches.

 

 

Sorry Coachstahly.   I was writing my response to NiraD when you posted this.   I think my response to Him/Her may answer your initial question. 

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5 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

Sorry Coachstahly.   I was writing my response to NiraD when you posted this.   I think my response to Him/Her may answer your initial question. 

 

No worries.

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1 minute ago, coachstahly said:

 

No worries.

To be honest I'm not 100% convinced myself that something like that would work.  On some level it dose make sense and is worth looking at.  

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29 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

If an individual was required to find 100 caches before being able to hide one of their own wouldn't that indicate they have some level of staying power in the game and would be more likely to take cache ownership seriously?

 

Wouldn't the experience of finding 100 caches give someone the sense of how caches are hidden (good and bad)

 

I think the logs on those 100 caches would tell you something as well.   Do they enjoy the game.  Did they post a DNF or a NM?

 

None of this is a precise indicator of how someone would be as a cache owner but wouldn't it provide some insight on what we could expect. 

 

I do realize that some locations are not cache rich and finding 100 caches would be a monumental task but maybe, in those locations, the number could be adjusted. 

 

Just something to think about.          

 

I don't believe so, to your first question.  In a cache rich area, that 100 could be one power trail with all micros, hidden in the exact same manner, in a single day.  How is that going to provide them with any sense of how this might be a good way to hide a cache or not?  Seeing as how PTs are typically mostly cut and paste logs, these finders are going to offer up the same type of log because that's what they see on the cache page.  Most new cachers wouldn't know what a NM does or means so I don't expect they'll know to file one either. 

 

The problem with adjusting find totals, based on the area, is that there's no easy way for GS to do that.  Implementing something like that would be a royal PITA.

 

If you're dead set on numbers of finds as a limiting factor as to when a CO can place a hide, I would suggest that it include as many of the cache types and cache sizes as possible, distributed based on percentages in some manner.  At least that way they'd get exposure to more than just 1.5/1.5 traditional micros in guard rails or LPCs.  70% traditional caches with the other 30 split amongst the other types.  Webcams couldn't be part of the equation and Wherigos would probably have to be eliminated as well, but LBHs(?), multis, ECs, virtuals, events, and unknowns would all be fair game.  It's my guess that this would take some time to complete, thereby also showing some sort of "dedication" or staying power that many of us would like to see, rather than the "find a cache one day and place one the next" type of hiders we see occasionally.

 

There's no definitive way to show if new cachers can be potential quality COs.  Even if they meet certain criteria, there's still no way to verify their standards of acceptability as a good CO until they actually place a cache.

 

Quality is a tricky thing to try to "legislate".  What one person finds as a quality cache is another person's "meh..." type of cache.

Edited by coachstahly
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2 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

 In a cache rich area, that 100 could be one power trail with all micros, hidden in the exact same manner, in a single day.  How is that going to provide them with any sense of how this might be a good way to hide a cache or not?

If an individual is finding mostly micros I'd assume they would wind up hiding micros either because that's all they've seen or the area they live in dictates it.  Micros can be hidden well or poorly so finding a 100 of them would give the potential cache owner some useful information.   

5 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

The problem with adjusting find totals, based on the area, is that there's no easy way for GS to do that.  Implementing something like that would be a royal PITA.

 

I have limited computer knowledge but I would think it would be a simple thing to look at a 25 mile range around the new cachers location and come up with a formula that would work.

 

8 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

If you're dead set on numbers of finds as a limiting factor as to when a CO can place a hide, I would suggest that it include as many of the cache types as possible, distributed based on percentages in some manner.  At least that way they'd get exposure to more than just 1.5/1.5 traditional micros in guard rails or LPCs.  70% traditional caches with the other 30 split amongst the other types.

For some being able to find each type of cache in varying difficulties and terrains could be challenge.   To me It's not important what caches they find or hide but that  they demonstrate a propensity for Geocaching. 

 

15 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

Quality is a tricky thing to try to "legislate".  What one person finds as a quality cache is another person's "meh..." type of cache.

I don't think this is about perceived "quality" as it is about dedication and commitment.        

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24 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

If an individual is finding mostly micros I'd assume they would wind up hiding micros either because that's all they've seen or the area they live in dictates it.  Micros can be hidden well or poorly so finding a 100 of them would give the potential cache owner some useful information.   

 

If all 100 are zip tied to trees, that's all they're going to have as the useful information needed to place a cache.  There's nothing there to delineate between it being a good hide or a bad hide.  That's the only hide they've seen.  That seems to run counter to your argument, if they're all the same.  Some well, some poorly - they're all the same so how can a new cacher determine if these are well hidden or poorly hidden?

 

26 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

I have limited computer knowledge but I would think it would be a simple thing to look at a 25 mile range around the new cachers location and come up with a formula that would work.

 

They'd have to do it for EVERY hider in the world.  They're having enough trouble as it is with their maps right now and you want them to take the time to create some formula, implement it across the globe, and everyone will be better for it.  Seems to me they've already done this a few times with the CHS and the virtual rewards.  As I recall, they've both had their fair share of detractors.

 

30 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

For some being able to find each type of cache in varying difficulties and terrains could be challenge.   To me It's not important what caches they find or hide but that  they demonstrate a propensity for Geocaching.

 

Again, "propensity" for geocaching is a vague term.  Just because a new cacher found 100 1.5/1.5 micros on a power trail in one day doesn't mean they are A) going to stick with it or B.) be a good CO because they found some pre-determined number of caches.  All it means that on that particular day, they went and found 100 caches.  That doesn't tell GS or the community anything about what they might be like as a CO.

 

34 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

I don't think this is about perceived "quality" as it is about dedication and commitment. 

 

But it is.  That's the title of this thread and that's what the survey was all about - quality.  You even use the word "good" in your first post, implying that there's got to be some level of quality.  "In your opinion what would be a good measure of the likelihood a new cacher would be a good owner?  "  I'll even highlight the specific point that was raised by GS in their survey and the results.  They're equating the idea that a number of finds by a CO would improve the quality of the caches hidden by COs.  What that tells me is that the more finds someone has, the better they are as a CO because their quality will be better than someone else's with less finds.  I don't believe that to be true.  Do you?  They're dedicated and committed to making finds but are they dedicated to maintaining their caches (if they've placed any) or hiding quality caches?

 

20 hours ago, Rock Chalk said:

If Geocaching HQ were to adjust the requirements for hiding a cache, how helpful would certain ideas be to improving cache quality?

 

The top ranked idea was to require players to find a geocache before hiding one of their own. Nearly 60% said it would be very or extremely helpful. A similar percentage said the same about requiring cache owners to address maintenance issues on their current hides before permitting new caches to be placed.

 

All answers, in order of how helpful they would be to improving geocache quality:

 

  1. Require finding a certain number of geocaches before hiding a cache

 

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16 hours ago, niraD said:

IMHO, not all of the top answers should be implemented, at least, not as stated. For example:

 

Whatever characteristic(s) you're trying to identify in the new cache owners, the number of Finds they've logged is the wrong measure of that. Finding a hundred fungible film canisters teaches nothing. And finding a hundred caches of any type is impossible without significant travel in many areas.


I agree to a point. I live in a "middle ground" there's a finite amount of area one can get to where I currently live and there's about 7 or 8 cachers here who are keeping the game alive. Finding 100 caches may be a gargantuan task to require of a new player. 

I'd suggest something in the middle: A player must find 20 of the cache type they intend to hide prior to being able to hide a cache. (You must locate 20 Earthcaches prior to being able to place an earthcache etc)

Furthermore, the amount of caches you can own should be limited by how many caches you've found.

 

Finds >20 - 0

20 - 50 Finds - 1

50 - 100 Finds - 2

100 - 200 Finds - 3

200 - 300 Finds - 4

300 - 400 Finds - 5

More than 500 Finds - Unlimited

 

 

This will allow people to "get their feet wet" in the hiding game without allowing them to hide 900 micros that they might abandon in 2 months.

 

 

This is obviously not a fully fleshed out idea and the numbers might have to be tweaked based on cache density and the minimum number for each type might have to be altered (i.e. there are fewer WhereIGos in the world so a player might have to find 5 of those) but it's a rough outline.

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You guys are talking about numbers out of this world. Not everyone is able/want to find hundreds of caches, especially if they're just starting with this hobby. Think about people who live in small towns where finding 20 caches within an hour drive can be a challenge. 

As one of the Lackey's mentioned last year, average premium member finds 92 caches a year (that's only 7.5 per month) and the medians are likely well below even those numbers.

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1 hour ago, coachstahly said:
3 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

In your opinion what would be a good measure of the likelihood a new cacher would be a good owner?  

 

I'm going to ask the same of you.  

 

Finds, especially those that are limited to the basic free app, aren't a good qualifier of whether or not a cacher would be a good owner.  If you're going to quantify it based on numbers, I'd be certain to include as many of the cache types found as possible.  At least this way they are exposed to a variety of cache types rather than all 1.5/1.5 traditional caches as the foundation of one of the requirements, if it comes to that.

 

In addition to cache types, a range of difficulty and terrain ratings would provide more of a breadth of experience.  I might add finding caches from multiple caches owners to the criteria as well.   Many geocachers tend to adopt a common style for there hides.  The most prolific hider in my area uses the exact same container and essentially the same style for all her caches.   One could find 300 of her caches, that are scattered around the county, and their experience would be limited to finding pill bottles tethered to a plant with a piece of fishing line.   

 

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5 minutes ago, EggsTheBest said:

You guys are talking about numbers out of this world. Not everyone is able/want to find hundreds of caches, especially if they're just starting with this hobby. Think about people who live in small towns where finding 20 caches within an hour drive can be a challenge. 

 

 

There are 72 countries in the world where finding 20 caches within the country is not even a possibility.  

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1 hour ago, justintim1999 said:
1 hour ago, coachstahly said:

The problem with adjusting find totals, based on the area, is that there's no easy way for GS to do that.  Implementing something like that would be a royal PITA.

 

I have limited computer knowledge but I would think it would be a simple thing to look at a 25 mile range around the new cachers location and come up with a formula that would work.

 

There are may places where there are no caches within 25, 50 or more miles away.  What sort of formula would  work which would allow someone that has discovered the game, perhaps while traveling,  but has zero caches to find within 50 miles, to be able to hide a cache.    Places which have very few caches need fewer restrictions on being able to place more caches, not restrictions that make it all but impossible.

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3 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

If all 100 are zip tied to trees, that's all they're going to have as the useful information needed to place a cache.  There's nothing there to delineate between it being a good hide or a bad hide.  That's the only hide they've seen.  That seems to run counter to your argument, if they're all the same.  Some well, some poorly - they're all the same so how can a new cacher determine if these are well hidden or poorly hidden?

If I personally like a hide I give it a favorite point.   Other than that I judge a good hide versus a bad hide based on the condition of the cache,  which is what we're ultimately discussing here. 

If they're happy zip tying a micro to a tree and they maintain it,  I'm happy.     How someone maintains their hide is much more important than what they hide.   

14 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

Again, "propensity" for geocaching is a vague term.  Just because a new cacher found 100 1.5/1.5 micros on a power trail in one day doesn't mean they are A) going to stick with it or B.) be a good CO because they found some pre-determined number of caches.  All it means that on that particular day, they went and found 100 caches.  That doesn't tell GS or the community anything about what they might be like as a CO.

I'm thinking more along the lines of a typical new cacher.   The idea probably wouldn't work with the specific example you give but I don't think that's how new cachers are normally introduced to Geocaching.   On the flip side  how about  the cacher who has just started playing and hides 20 caches only to realize a couple of months later that they either don't have the time to maintain all of them or geocaching just isn't their thing.    Propensity to me means they enjoy Geocaching and seem to want to stick around.

 

17 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

They're equating the idea that a number of finds by a CO would improve the quality of the caches hidden by COs.  What that tells me is that the more finds someone has, the better they are as a CO because their quality will be better than someone else's with less finds.

There are no guarantees either way.      I think having some sort of moratorium on new cachers being able to hide caches would help in many ways.  Besides what's the rush?   I think most people who are serious about Geocaching and possibly hiding a cache wouldn't bat an eye.    

 

 

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3 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

There are may places where there are no caches within 25, 50 or more miles away.  What sort of formula would  work which would allow someone that has discovered the game, perhaps while traveling,  but has zero caches to find within 50 miles, to be able to hide a cache.    Places which have very few caches need fewer restrictions on being able to place more caches, not restrictions that make it all but impossible.

I'm not trying to pick a small segment of the Geocaching community and apply these ideas to them.    This is more of a big picture thing.   If we're going to cite individual situations as a reason not to discuss the possibility of an idea then we're wasting our time here.    I can take every idea formulated on the forums and find a scenario that would shoot it down.  doesn't mean the idea isn't worth talking about.

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For new hiders, I'd like to see some commitment to geocaching. A time limit of 3 months. The new hider must have their account for a minimum of 3 months, and have at least one find per month. 

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8 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

For new hiders, I'd like to see some commitment to geocaching. A time limit of 3 months. The new hider must have their account for a minimum of 3 months, and have at least one find per month. 

 

Is this a real problem? I can not easily pinpoint any CO to justify this kind of regulation. Can you?

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10 hours ago, rapotek said:

To improve geocaching quality, both finding and hiding, I can suggest the following. It is not my idea, but a slightly improved solution existing in an alternate system. Maybe similar one exists somewhere here but I did not find it.

  • Introduce a list (optionally with approximate locations on map) of local volunteer geocaching guides, i.e. geocachers who wants to help newbies to know geocaching better or even show the activity to someone who think about entering into it. A geocaching guide should meet some requirements, f.ex. being active seeker/hider, having a substantial amount of finds with different D/T ratings, having highly rated, well maintained caches etc. An interested geocacher can contact one of the nearest guides, ask her/him about something or arrange an outdoor meeting to learn what to do and what to do not on real examples, and finally leave a "mark" in the system telling how helpful this guide has been.

Why bother GS with this? If someone wants to mentor new geocachers, that old timer should just contact newbies directly or put on a "welcome all newbies" event. If there's one thing I think has gone wrong with geocaching, it's this idea that geocachers aren't supposed to interact personally and work together to improve geocaching in their area.

 

This whole survey is about how Groundspeak can improve geocaching, but nearly all the ideas are things that are easy for individuals to do locally...unless GS steps in and takes over with an impersonal centralized process.

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4 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

Having said that wouldn't a certain find count provide some sense of how good or bad someone would be as a cache owner?

 

No. Once again:

19 hours ago, niraD said:

Whatever characteristic(s) you're trying to identify in the new cache owners, the number of Finds they've logged is the wrong measure of that. Finding a hundred fungible film canisters teaches nothing. And finding a hundred caches of any type is impossible without significant travel in many areas.

 

 

2 hours ago, STNolan said:

I'd suggest something in the middle: A player must find 20 of the cache type they intend to hide prior to being able to hide a cache. (You must locate 20 Earthcaches prior to being able to place an earthcache etc)

It's a good thing that rule wasn't in place when I listed my EarthCache. And most of the EarthCaches I've found are pretty far from home, so I had to travel significant distances to get them.

 

 

1 hour ago, arisoft said:

Is this a real problem? I can not easily pinpoint any CO to justify this kind of regulation. Can you?

I'm not usually one to rush out and find caches as soon as they're listed, but I've still stumbled upon a few caches that were placed (and abandoned) by "one weekend wonders". If the volunteer reviewers think that this kind of abandoned cache is a significant problem, then a 3-month waiting period before new accounts can list a cache would help.

 

(Okay, it wouldn't help with the geo-litter left by the "one weekend wonders", but it would help avoid listing such caches on the site.)

Edited by niraD

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42 minutes ago, niraD said:

No. Once again:

If you had to choose would you rather have someone with experience fix the breaks on your car or someone who has no idea where the breaks are?     I'd rather have someone with some Geocaching experience hiding caches for the same reasons.  Why, because I've got a better chance of stopping once I leave the garage. :)

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45 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

If you had to choose would you rather have someone with experience fix the breaks on your car or someone who has no idea where the breaks are?     I'd rather have someone with some Geocaching experience hiding caches for the same reasons.  Why, because I've got a better chance of stopping once I leave the garage. :)

Sure. And I'd rather have a surgeon who has performed the procedure successfully hundreds of times.

 

What does this have to do with geocaching?

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13 minutes ago, niraD said:

What does this have to do with geocaching?

 

If you could only go to one cache which would you pick:

  • Bob who has been active for 3 months and had a few finds. 
  • The cache that says: "This is our grade 6 geography class assignment". Jimmy's teacher created the account. Jimmy's teacher's account is 2 months old. The kids' accounts were created on the same day that they submitted their caches. None of the kids have any finds (and probably never will), the teacher has 1 find and is sure this will be a good teaching experience. 

 

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1 hour ago, justintim1999 said:

If you had to choose would you rather have someone with experience fix the brakes on your car or someone who has no idea where the brakes are?

 

I certainly wouldn't want someone who had lots of experience, but exclusively in fixing cracked windshields.

 

Someone with experience in fixing a variety of car parts would be preferred over any of the above.

 

Someone with no experience but who had gone through 3 months of training in fixing brakes would be greatly preferred over any of the options above.

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5 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

Other than that I judge a good hide versus a bad hide based on the condition of the cache,  which is what we're ultimately discussing here. 

 

Really?  So a well maintained film can under a lamp post skirt or in a guardrail is a high quality geocache?  An ammo can that's a bit rusted with a little bit of moisture inside it placed in a great location with a great view and a nice hike to get to GZ is a low quality cache because it's not maintained in a pristine manner like the film can?  Which cache would you rather visit?

 

Ideally, we get the best of both worlds, a well maintained cache in a place worthy of a visit.  Most times we get some percentage of both, occasionally higher for both, one usually lower than the other, and even occasionally low percentages for both parts.  Quality, to me, means more than the condition of the cache.  While it certainly plays a part, there's more to it than the state in which we find it.  I'd be much happier finding a really old ammo can with some maintenance needed in a neat location than a perfectly maintained film can under a lamp skirt or in a guardrail.  While it's nice to find a pristine cache like the example, the experience of finding it doesn't come close to the experience of the ammo can.

 

You seem to believe that quality is ALL about the condition/maintenance of the cache.  I believe it to be just a part of what defines a quality geocache.

Edited by coachstahly
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2 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

If you had to choose would you rather have someone with experience fix the breaks on your car or someone who has no idea where the breaks are?     I'd rather have someone with some Geocaching experience hiding caches for the same reasons.  Why, because I've got a better chance of stopping once I leave the garage. :)

This isn't a choice, right? Blocking someone with no experience doesn't automatically cause a wonderful cache to pop up. It just means one less cache. There's as much chance of that cache being excellent as there is of it being a dog. And if the blocked hider is discouraged and never hides a cache, that's one less experienced CO you've just chased away.

 

Besides, finding a less that stellar cache is not even remotely like having your brakes fail. I get so tired of people acting like a poor cache is a life or death problem.

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