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Cache Quality Survey results

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22 hours ago, The A-Team said:

This survey helps identify the areas that need to be dealt with...

Are we looking at the same survey? I don't see a single thing in the survey that could be described as identifying the areas that need to be dealt with. That's what so maddening about it. The entire survey is based on the fundamental assumption that there's terrible problem, "cache quality", but the questions do nothing at all to figure out what that means, let alone confirm that it actually constutes a problem. The first question's an excellent example. It asks what makes a "high quality" cache. Well, of course, all those things help make a cache good. The question to ask is which, when missing, are a problem that people actually encounter. Sure, accurate coordinates are great, but it's rare that a cache has bad coordinates. What have we learned by that coming out at the tippy top of the question? That's not something we want to put any serious effort into improving since it's not broken to begin with.

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22 minutes ago, dprovan said:

The first question's an excellent example. It asks what makes a "high quality" cache. Well, of course, all those things help make a cache good. The question to ask is which, when missing, are a problem that people actually encounter. Sure, accurate coordinates are great, but it's rare that a cache has bad coordinates. What have we learned by that coming out at the tippy top of the question? That's not something we want to put any serious effort into improving since it's not broken to begin with.

 

By coming in at the top of that question's results, it doesn't necessarily say that the respondents think it's the biggest problem, but it's certainly one that they consider a significant factor. Based on this, HQ can look at ways in which the accuracy of coordinates can be improved. The already mentioned issue with the confusion over "corrected coordinates" is one area where improvement can be made. Another could be some way to help Official App users get coordinates more accurately (maybe add an averaging feature?).

 

Continuing down the list of results for that first question, using the ranking as somewhat of a priority list for making improvements:

  • Does not harm the environment - Maybe more education can be provided to new hiders?
  • Owner maintains the cache regularly - CHS improvements? Incentives? Better education of the owner maintenance tools available?
  • Container suited to the environment - Better education? Tweaks to the CSP?

We can go on and on, but basically what I'm getting at is that none of these are necessarily problems right now, but the survey respondents have stated which ones should be targeted for improvement, if possible.

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6 hours 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. 

 

I hid my first cache after a month and a half of caching and 62 finds.  Almost 15 years later, the cache is still in place.   

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5 minutes ago, Harry Dolphin said:

I hid my first cache after a month and a half of caching and 62 finds.  Almost 15 years later, the cache is still in place.   

 

Respect. I actually checked, you're saying pure truth.

 

But hey.

Imagine profile of new hider in 2004 and new hider in 2019. Do you see the same person? 

Who could afford GPS receiver in 2004 vs now?

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9 minutes ago, Harry Dolphin said:

 

I hid my first cache after a month and a half of caching and 62 finds.  Almost 15 years later, the cache is still in place.   

 

And would you have stuck with geocaching if you had to wait 3 months to hide your first cache?

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7 hours 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

 

My region currently has 565 caches in total, of which 183 are accessible to basic members using the app (non-PMO traditionals with D/T 2 or less). I live in the south-east corner of that region, so a 25 mile circle around me would be almost half ocean (not many caches in that) and, bisecting it, the Hawkesbury River (the nearest road crossing is a 40 minute drive away) with the northern fringes of Sydney on the other side. Throw in the large swathe of national parks into the mix and a formula that assumes a uniform cache density within my 25 mile circle isn't going to work too well here.

 

image.png.a1b3a35db10bb5d49a1352b4f772db6b.png

 

Looking at my own stats, I started caching in March 2013 but didn't reach 100 finds until January 2014. In that time I'd hidden two caches, one of which got 8 FPs from 41 finds until it was washed away in a severe storm a few years later and I archived it. The other one, my first hide which I placed after making about 25 finds, was a 1.5/1.5 traditional in a bushland reserve close to home. It didn't get any FPs but I don't think it was a bad cache - it was a 400ml Sistema, its logbook never got wet (or full) and it got 53 finds with no DNFs, NMs or NAs or any other complaints. I archived that one in early 2015 when a tree fell right on top of its hiding place. Those two were good learning experiences for me and laid the foundations for my later hides, two of which have won state or regional awards. Had I been forced to wait that ten months before hiding anything, the outcome might well have been different.

 

I don't think requiring a fixed number of finds before allowing hides would achieve very much. There'll be one lot of people for whom 100 finds is something trivial they could knock over in a weekend, and another lot for whom it would require several years and a lot of travelling. And even after finding those 100 caches, there's no guarantee that their first hide will be any better than if they'd placed it earlier, after all the best teacher is one's own mistakes and everyone has to start somewhere.

 

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Around this region recently I know of at least 3 cache publications that have occurred without the cache actually being in place. The cache submission page doesn't seem to make a big deal about this, and I can see how new hiders could misunderstand this requirement. Maybe some dialogs at/before the 'submit' button, to ensure the container has been hidden first would be useful....

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8 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

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.

 

I hope I'm not too out of context here, but wow, most of the caches on my favourites list have never had, or needed, maintenance. Most are rugged containers with ample-sized logbooks hidden in places protected from rain, sun and muggles. A good example is the one I found last Saturday for my 1000-find milestone. A T4.5 mystery, it was a 7 hour return hike through rugged and mostly trackless terrain, with sheer cliffs, rock scrambles, spikey bushes and a watercourse to negotiate. Placed in 2014 when the CO was camping overnight nearby, it's had 12 finds in those five years with 9 awarding FPs. The container was in pristine condition, the logbook dry and only up to page five - the CO, who's in his early 20s, might live to see it needing replacement but I certainly won't.

 

DSC_0011_small.jpg.f2d606ae66a04d7166a7aa4d2a4a26f7.jpg

 

I'd much rather see a cache designed to be maintenance-free than one that has the CO going out every couple of months to fix or replace it.

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5 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

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.   

Sure, I'd pick the cache by Bob. And I'm fine with a 3-month delay between creating an account and being able to list a cache, if the volunteer reviewers think that caches hidden by "one weekend wonders" are really a significant issue.

 

But the hypothetical situation proposed by justintim1999 was someone performing a safety-critical repair to a vehicle. Placing a geocache is not safety-critical activity. And I don't pay anyone hundreds of dollars to place a geocache. And unlike safety-critical car repairs (or surgery), it's okay if someone hides their first geocache without direct supervision by an experienced cache owner.

 

 

 

2 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

And would you have stuck with geocaching if you had to wait 3 months to hide your first cache?

I don't think waiting 3 months is a huge burden. But I tossed it out simply because that's where Groundspeak's guidelines draw the line between "temporary" caches and long-term caches. A wait of 1 or 2 months would probably be just as effective with the "one weekend wonders".

 

But all this assumes that the volunteer reviewers consider the "one weekend wonders" to be a significant problem, something worth implementing and enforcing a new rule guideline like this.

 

 

 

1 hour ago, lee737 said:

Around this region recently I know of at least 3 cache publications that have occurred without the cache actually being in place. The cache submission page doesn't seem to make a big deal about this, and I can see how new hiders could misunderstand this requirement. Maybe some dialogs at/before the 'submit' button, to ensure the container has been hidden first would be useful....

This could also be part of the quiz used to determine successful completion of a required online tutorial. If it's a dialog, then it should show up only for the first cache listing someone publishes. Adding nag dialogs that people learn to ignore won't improve anything.

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3 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

 

And would you have stuck with geocaching if you had to wait 3 months to hide your first cache?

I know this wasn't asked of me, but if it were, absolutely. Three months is no time. In fact I didn't feel experienced enough to hide my first cache until I had found several hundred caches. And even then, what I thought was a 'clever' hide, I later found out was very ordinary. Just still wasn't experienced enough to know this.

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3 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

 

And would you have stuck with geocaching if you had to wait 3 months to hide your first cache?

 

I know this also wasn't asked of me, but figured it's worth chucking another random answer in :)

 

Honestly, I don't know... But I do know that if I had to wait 3 months (and for the sake of this exercise, I'm going to pretend that's from when I actually went out for my first cache, because I already had an account for many months before hand, but for different non-caching reasons) then one of my "Geocache of the Week" caches might not exist (it's still active now with over 800 FPs).

 

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11 minutes ago, funkymunkyzone said:

 

I know this also wasn't asked of me, but figured it's worth chucking another random answer in :)

 

Honestly, I don't know... But I do know that if I had to wait 3 months (and for the sake of this exercise, I'm going to pretend that's from when I actually went out for my first cache, because I already had an account for many months before hand, but for different non-caching reasons) then one of my "Geocache of the Week" caches might not exist (it's still active now with over 800 FPs).

 

What percentage favourite points? I ask this, because where I live, many of my caches might never get 800 finds, so percentage means more to me. My most visited cache, placed in 2013, has 229 finds. Why would you not have placed that cache that has 800 finds, later after 3 months?

 

I think number of caches would be a better indicator whether someone is ready to place a cache, than member for 3 months (which might be only one find, or possibly even no finds).

 

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13 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

What percentage favourite points? I ask this, because where I live, many of my caches might never get 800 finds, so percentage means more to me. My most visited cache, placed in 2013, has 229 finds.

Not that it's hugely relevant to the discussion at hand, the % is not high due to a number of factors including it predating the introduction of FPs by quite a few years. Currently 21%.

17 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

Why would you not have placed that cache that has 800 finds, later after 3 months?

Reasons rather unique to my situation at the time, that I'd rather not go into.

20 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I think number of caches would be a better indicator whether someone is ready to place a cache, than member for 3 months (which might be only one find, or possibly even no finds).

I agree although I think even then it's not a great indicator.  I learned lessons from my first cache hide, which was after only a handful of finds, and even that cache lasted 7 years (after a relocation of the final cache very early on in its life <- a valuable lesson)  Without that hide and that lesson, again, my other hide I mentioned above, probably would not have happened.

 

I guess I can't help but think it's lucky Dave Ulmer didn't have such a restriction in place or....... lol

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31 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I think number of caches would be a better indicator whether someone is ready to place a cache, than member for 3 months (which might be only one find, or possibly even no finds).

 

Most of my finds I learnt little from. I drove somewhere, went for a bit of a walk, found the container after a short search and signed the logbook. My fourth find, a D1/T4 in bushland atop a local ridge, was likely an inspiration for the type of hide I've since become known for, and no doubt there were some that said, at least subconsciously, don't do that! but they were the exception rather than the norm. Finding 100 Sistemas doesn't teach much more than finding one does. Variety helps, of course, and I'm lucky to live in an area that has a great variety of hides and cache types (and no power trails!), but there are some places, like Tamworth in north-western New South Wales where I used to live, where they're just about all traditionals. It'd be hard to learn all the ins and outs of multis when there are only three within 50km of the place and those are all just getting digits from or counting things on signs.

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59 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I think number of caches would be a better indicator whether someone is ready to place a cache, than member for 3 months (which might be only one find, or possibly even no finds).

What do you mean by "ready to place a cache"?

 

Again, the point of the 3-month delay is NOT to assure any understanding of what makes a "good cache". The point of the 3-month delay is merely to address the "one weekend wonders" who find a few, hide a few, and then disappear a few days later.

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3 minutes ago, niraD said:

Again, the point of the 3-month delay is NOT to assure any understanding of what makes a "good cache". The point of the 3-month delay is merely to address the "one weekend wonders" who find a few, hide a few, and then disappear a few days later.

Sure but the question is then, does the 3-month delay do more damage by potentially dissuading new players who would become great assets to the community?  One could argue that caches placed by "weekend wonders" are taken care of by natural attrition by not being cared for, and if not, then that process could be more encouraged - accelerate the process of getting rid of poorly looked after caches with absentee owners.  At least then you're dealing with a problem you know you have (proven guilty) rather than assuming every new player is useless.

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A big factor/requirement in hiding a cache for a newbie cacher should be having a verified account.

 

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4 minutes ago, funkymunkyzone said:

Sure but the question is then, does the 3-month delay do more damage by potentially dissuading new players who would become great assets to the community?  One could argue that caches placed by "weekend wonders" are taken care of by natural attrition by not being cared for, and if not, then that process could be more encouraged - accelerate the process of getting rid of poorly looked after caches with absentee owners.  At least then you're dealing with a problem you know you have (proven guilty) rather than assuming every new player is useless.

I can't understand why a mere 3 months would dissuade someone from continuing, if they were going to continue. I think it would only hurry up the type of people who publish a few caches and then leave, to leave.  They were going to disappear anyway, after their five minute interest died. The sort of people who have never found a cache, but publish some, and still never find a cache and disappear. Their caches are often then archived, because the coordinates are out, the cache container leaks water and they are never heard of again to fix it. Where I live, we have had some of them.

It would be interesting to know how long it takes for the average cacher to publish their first cache. I would imagine for many, it's longer than 3 months.

What's three months! Nothing!

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8 minutes ago, funkymunkyzone said:

Sure but the question is then, does the 3-month delay do more damage by potentially dissuading new players who would become great assets to the community?  One could argue that caches placed by "weekend wonders" are taken care of by natural attrition by not being cared for, and if not, then that process could be more encouraged - accelerate the process of getting rid of poorly looked after caches with absentee owners.  At least then you're dealing with a problem you know you have (proven guilty) rather than assuming every new player is useless.

Yes, there are costs to a 3-month waiting period for new cache owners. In addition to the cost of implementing and enforcing the new rule guideline, it might indeed discourage potentially great cache owners from hiding potentially great caches.

 

The volunteer reviewers are the ones who can say how much of a problem the "one weekend wonders" really are, which will determine whether its worth adding a waiting period. And maybe a shorter waiting period would be better--less of a discouragement to potentially great cache owners, while still addressing the "one weekend wonders".

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3 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I can't understand why a mere 3 months would dissuade someone from continuing, if they were going to continue. I think it would only hurry up the type of people who publish a few caches and then leave, to leave.  They were going to disappear anyway, after their five minute interest died. The sort of people who have never found a cache, but publish some, and still never find a cache and disappear.

You seem unwilling to even attempt to understand why that 3 month wait could dissuade someone from continuing.  The fact is, it could.  And it's about applying some kind of pessimistic crystal ball gazing exercise that assumes all new cachers will be bad unless they stick around for 3 months being treated as second class citizens.  I'm not saying it would discourage *all* new cachers, but it could dissuade some that could end up hiding great caches.  That's the problem with trying to guess the future.

 

6 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

Their caches are often then archived, because the coordinates are out, the cache container leaks water and they are never heard of again to fix it. Where I live, we have had some of them.

I'm struggling to see what the problem here is.  There are sometimes issues with coordinates (from my experience, just as common if not more so, with hides by experienced geocachers) or with the suitability of container and hide location.  So what?  Caches get archived.  Everyone moves on.  Heck the cache might have still been fun for some people to find, before it turned bad and went down the archive route.  i just don't get why this is the end of the world and the sky is falling just because a cache gets hidden, it goes bad after a while and it gets archived.

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1 minute ago, funkymunkyzone said:

You seem unwilling to even attempt to understand why that 3 month wait could dissuade someone from continuing.  The fact is, it could.  And it's about applying some kind of pessimistic crystal ball gazing exercise that assumes all new cachers will be bad unless they stick around for 3 months being treated as second class citizens.  I'm not saying it would discourage *all* new cachers, but it could dissuade some that could end up hiding great caches.  That's the problem with trying to guess the future.

 

I'm struggling to see what the problem here is.  There are sometimes issues with coordinates (from my experience, just as common if not more so, with hides by experienced geocachers) or with the suitability of container and hide location.  So what?  Caches get archived.  Everyone moves on.  Heck the cache might have still been fun for some people to find, before it turned bad and went down the archive route.  i just don't get why this is the end of the world and the sky is falling just because a cache gets hidden, it goes bad after a while and it gets archived.

Yes, I do have difficulty believing that a person who carries on as a keen cacher, would be baulked by a MERE three months. If they are so keen on only hiding caches, and finding caches meanwhile (after all, the nature of the game is that most people spend more time finding caches then hiding them) has so little interest to them, that that won't satisfy them for three months until they get to hide their own caches, they will be very unlikely to hang around long term.

I can only repeat, " What's three months! Nothing! "

If they are the sort of people who don't have the staying power for three months, they are likely to have no staying power long term.

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29 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

<a lot of stuff>

 

Hmmm, if only there was some way you could just choose to not go out and find any caches hidden by new geocachers within their first 3 months.  If only...

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3 hours ago, niraD said:

This could also be part of the quiz used to determine successful completion of a required online tutorial. If it's a dialog, then it should show up only for the first cache listing someone publishes. Adding nag dialogs that people learn to ignore won't improve anything. 

 

Even just change to submit button to 'the cache is hidden, I'm ready to submit' or something a little less wordy. The excuses I've seen for non-hides lately all boil down to the new hiders not understanding that this is a fundamental part of the process..... Tuesday this week we FTFd a cache that wasn't hidden yet (funny story), the CO has several hundred finds over several years...

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1 hour ago, funkymunkyzone said:

 

Hmmm, if only there was some way you could just choose to not go out and find any caches hidden by new geocachers within their first 3 months.  If only...

I'm sure you can find a way, if you feel this way and worries you.

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26 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I'm sure you can find a way, if you feel this way and worries you.

I'm definitely not the one here advocating a 3 month wait...

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23 minutes ago, funkymunkyzone said:

I'm definitely not the one here advocating a 3 month wait...

And I never said I wouldn't find a beginner's cache...or at least try. I just think at the minimal, it's no hardship to have to wait the short time of 3 months before being able to put out a cache. There have been some beginner's caches locally that no-one could find. The cache coordinates not where the hint suggested (over 100 metres out from memory) (no finds by CO), or hidden in the wrong large set of boulders and the know it all beginner (5 finds) saying it was an easy find when questioned and others were wrong to suggest otherwise. Fortunately within about a month neither were heard from again. Then there was the beginner, who after (from memory) had about 30 finds I think, placed out a similar number of caches. Very nice caches, good sized with nice trinkets in them. Unfortunately their coordinates were out on most of them. When finders mentioned this and one cacher politely gave helpful correct coordinates for them (this was not me) they threw a tizzy fit and archived the lot and disappeared. (I do wonder about the upbringing of people like that, who can't take any advice.)

Yes, some geocachers with no or very few finds, put out a nice first cache with good coordinates, but that is rare. Either it's like the examples I gave, or at best it's very, very ordinary, as like mine when I put out my first cache, I thought I was being so sneaky and original, when I was still inexperienced. (At least mine had okay coordinates.) So ordinary, I ended up archiving it when I knew better.

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17 hours ago, justintim1999 said:
17 hours 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.

 

Here's one problem with a "based on the area" method for creating Hiding "guidelines".  How would the guideline be written?  Think about the Help Center and how a requirement for minimum number of finds would be written there.

Saying something about having an account age 3+ months old is much simpler than saying something like "Have finds that are reasonable for your area".

 

It would be a computational nightmare to have the Help Center be "dynamic" and show a different number for each cacher, based on that cacher's location.

 

If someone thinks that a minimum number of finds requirement doesn't need to be mentioned ahead of time, then consider how frustrating it would be for a cacher that creates a hide and submits it for review - but then is told that they don't have "enough" finds to place a hide.  If they're in an area where 25 caches is the minimum, then they may just go out and find a bunch in one day to meet the requirement, or they may just log fake finds to get to 25.  So any requirement that is created should be one that can be explained easily.

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20 hours ago, niraD said:

<snip>

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.

</snip>

 

 

Right now, when you want to submit a new cache but have another disabled/NM/NA cache, you get a warning page about it. You can just go past this page. But I would be a bit worried if you were required to fix those things before you could submit your new cache. I can sort of see it if you have a NM or NA, but I don't think that a disabled cache should stop you from placing a new cache.

 

For example, I just submitted a new cache, and on my warning page, it pointed out that I have a disabled cache. That cache is disabled because it's in an area that has a nesting bald eagle, and it's a federal offense to walk through there at this time. The disabled cache is not an instance of cache owner neglect, but of cache owner maintenance.

 

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11 hours ago, Harry Dolphin said:
17 hours 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. 

 

I hid my first cache after a month and a half of caching and 62 finds.  Almost 15 years later, the cache is still in place.

 

My husband hid his first cache (with my help), after a month and a half of caching, and maybe 15 finds. My first cache hide was after a little more than than two months of caching, and about 25 finds. Both caches are doing great, and are just about 17 years old. Of course, I'm not sure how much that applies to today, as there were very few caches and cachers around back then.

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19 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

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.   

It was already pointed out but I also want to state that for me this is so wrong on multiple levels.

The physical entity holding the log is not "ultimately" what is discussed here and depending on the layout of the cache it can also be only a rather insignificant part of what I consider "The Cache" and if it's a good one or not.

For me it is much more important what the purpose of the cache is and what the owner wants me to experience by going for the cache than to retrieve a pristine or maybe only damp logbook. If the "well maintained box" is the only good thing I have say about a cache then I wish I would have been more successful in ignoring it in the first place.

 

Regarding the survey results and their presentation: let's say my expectations were not overly surpassed -_-

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People have expressed concern that a good player would quit geocaching rather than wait 3 months before their first hide. To that I say good riddance. If you're so impatient that, although you can find caches to your heart's content, not being able to hide right away would be a dealbreaker I really have trouble believing you're an asset to the geo-community.

 

Also, the idea that more vigilant policing of cache problems solves fly-by-night / one-and-done hides isn't really accurate. It only lessens the problem. Furthermore, it doesn't address a larger problem: abandoned cache containers.

 

How many archived caches were abandoned in place, broken junk trashing the environment? While I think the eco-warriors who hate all geocaching are grossly misguided, I think there is an environmental impact geocaching needs to address: ensuring removal of archived containers. There's too much wringing of hands - it could be in play under another game, it's someone else's property, etc. The principle of good environmental stewardship is more important. There needs to be a way for cachers (other than the CO) to remove abandoned, archived caches and to punish COs for knowingly abandoning containers rather than retrieving them.

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14 hours ago, The A-Team said:

Based on this, HQ can look at ways in which the accuracy of coordinates can be improved. The already mentioned issue with the confusion over "corrected coordinates" is one area where improvement can be made. Another could be some way to help Official App users get coordinates more accurately (maybe add an averaging feature?).

 

I'm not sure how GS can improve user supplied coordinates.  GS isn't the ones taking the readings, the COs are.  Your first point isn't improving the accuracy, it's clearing up an issue that is about confusion.  Your second point goes more to functionality.  Even averaged coordinates, in some situations, can result in inaccurate coordinates.  I was in contact with a new CO who placed a cache after 8 finds.  She had hidden a cache that I found to be 50-70 feet from the posted coordinates.  At only one point my GPS was reading 25 feet while the majority of the time I was searching it hovered around 50-60, even venturing to 75 ft. at one point.  She took 3 readings (all on the same day, which was part of the problem) and got three different sets of coordinates.  So she averaged all three and I was still in the wrong area (according to my GPS) when I found it.  Coordinates are only as good as the GPS provides so I'm not sure how the accuracy can be improved that much.  I also don't see that many times where coordinates are off enough for me to make a note about it in my log or directly to the CO.  For the most part, I'm almost always within 20 feet with a +/- of 10 ft.  I don't expect to get to single digits with that type of allowable error but I'm happy when I do.  I'm not unhappy when I don't because I know I'm close and it's time to put the GPS down and begin to look.

 

13 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

And would you have stuck with geocaching if you had to wait 3 months to hide your first cache?

 

I know of cachers who have been doing this a long time who have hides that aren't maintained.  I know of cachers who have been doing this a long time who have hides that are maintained.  As with requiring a certain number of finds before placing a cache, there's no guarantee that a cacher who has to wait for 3 months will be a good CO.  I only like this suggestion marginally better than # of finds, but neither is likely to ensure better COs.  As mentioned above, this would certainly limit those who find a few and then place a few, thereby stopping those types of caches but I have to wonder are those really an issue.  I know it would have stopped the CO I mention above from hiding her first cache.  It wasn't a great cache but it wasn't a bad first hide either.  I hid my first one almost 3 months to the day I started and it's still active, 8 1/2 years later.  I made some mistakes with it (since corrected) due to being a new cacher but I didn't know any better at that time.

 

5 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

Yes, some geocachers with no or very few finds, put out a nice first cache with good coordinates, but that is rare. Either it's like the examples I gave, or at best it's very, very ordinary, as like mine when I put out my first cache, I thought I was being so sneaky and original, when I was still inexperienced. (At least mine had okay coordinates.) So ordinary, I ended up archiving it when I knew better.

 

I don't find it rare.  I actually find first time COs with coordinates off to be the exception, not the norm.  My find the other day was an aberration based on what I usually encounter.  I'm more likely to find a container that isn't a good container or a location or style of hide that leads to possible muggling or natural means of becoming dislodged, than I do with faulty coordinates.  Typically, I'd call them nice.  Not outstanding, not great, but nice and good.  I have nothing against "ordinary" caches.  Every cache (even the LPCs and the guard rail caches) serves a purpose.  I just choose not to find caches that are ordinary because I'm not as interested in them as I used to be.  I found lots of "ordinary" caches in my first 3 years but have gravitated to caches I find to be more personally enjoyable.  I even have some ordinary, by my standards, caches hidden or adopted still active.  

 

2 hours ago, Ambrosia said:

Right now, when you want to submit a new cache but have another disabled/NM/NA cache, you get a warning page about it. You can just go past this page. But I would be a bit worried if you were required to fix those things before you could submit your new cache. I can sort of see it if you have a NM or NA, but I don't think that a disabled cache should stop you from placing a new cache.

 

Agree.  I have two caches awaiting replacement of a sculpture due to construction issues.  One is a multi I adopted and the other is a Wherigo I created and both use the same sculpture.  I've had a few caches disabled for reasons outside of my control and if I had to hold off on publishing new caches, I'd be frustrated by that as well.

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14 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

there's no guarantee that a cacher who has to wait for 3 months will be a good CO

 

Yes, true. There are no guarantees. Not looking for guarantees, just a way to improve the likelihood that members are somewhat committed, and have tried the activity for a certain amount of time.  

It will have an effect on the fly-by-night temporary cachers. 

It will mean fewer teachers assigning geocaching as a teaching tool, if their students have to wait 3 months the teacher will not have time to assign hiding a cache. 

It will mean fewer scout groups creating a hide.

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36 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

Even averaged coordinates, in some situations, can result in inaccurate coordinates.

 

True maybe, but a waypoint averaging function - where you lay down your device and leave it to take a hundred or more readings over a few minutes - has to reduce the risk.  And it seems that so few new (or even old!) cachers know about waypoint averaging that placing it centre stage on the App would certainly get the word around.

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18 hours ago, niraD said:

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?

We always seem to have the same basic views on things.   It's when it gets down to the basic common sense of something we seem to but heads.   Someone who has Geocached, even for a short time, would have a better grasp of the idea of geocaching as opposed to someone basically new to the game.    That's a simple fact that applies to most things,  yet for some reason you don't think it applies here.    I'm not saying that someone with 100 finds would be a better cache owner than someone with 10.  What I am saying is the experience would increase the likelihood.    

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11 hours ago, niraD said:

Yes, there are costs to a 3-month waiting period for new cache owners. In addition to the cost of implementing and enforcing the new rule guideline, it might indeed discourage potentially great cache owners from hiding potentially great caches.

 

The volunteer reviewers are the ones who can say how much of a problem the "one weekend wonders" really are, which will determine whether its worth adding a waiting period. And maybe a shorter waiting period would be better--less of a discouragement to potentially great cache owners, while still addressing the "one weekend wonders".

So we're weighing the probability of a new cacher hiding a great cache with the probability of the same person leaving the game and their caches after 3 months.   The only way this makes any sense is if it's all about the find count.   "I need more new caches to find in my area and something like this would hamper that,  soooooo."   IMO this has nothing to do with "quality" caches.

 

There's a reason why finding a Geocache is free and anyone can do it.   There's no commitment involved.   People can come and go as they please.

Being a cache owner is very much different.  Any good cache owner out there can attest to that. 

 

I'm pretty sure it would take much less time implementing and enforcing a 3 month rule than it dose dealing with the abandoned caches set out by newbies.     

Edited by justintim1999
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, coachstahly said:

Really?  So a well maintained film can under a lamp post skirt or in a guardrail is a high quality geocache?

Yes and If it's a particularly nice film can I'll give it a favorite point.    To me quality is subjective.   Good cache maintenance is more tangible.        

Edited by justintim1999
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On ‎5‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 8:19 PM, Rock Chalk said:

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 


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

GS already started to implement those ideas with the launch of Virtual rewards 2.0

  1. Accurate coordinates -> you probably need less accurate coords for finding a virtual than a micro. 
  2. Does not harm the environment -> no container will harm the environment (though geocachers still could) 
  3. Owner maintains the cache regularly -> reasonable to say that a virtual needs less maintenance than a physical cache
  4. Container suited to the environment -> no container at all

Any irony aside, anything that could really improve our experience as geocachers is welcome. We'll see how GS will implement its ideas and hope for the best.  

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19 hours ago, The A-Team said:

We can go on and on, but basically what I'm getting at is that none of these are necessarily problems right now, but the survey respondents have stated which ones should be targeted for improvement, if possible.

My point is that all those qualities have always been important and we all should have always been doing anything we can think of to make sure COs get that. If anything, the survey shows that people answering the survey understand the value of those things at the top of the list, so that's mission accomplished. The problem is that the list doesn't tell us which things really improve geocaching and which are just things that some people like.

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2 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

We always seem to have the same basic views on things.   It's when it gets down to the basic common sense of something we seem to but heads.   Someone who has Geocached, even for a short time, would have a better grasp of the idea of geocaching as opposed to someone basically new to the game.    That's a simple fact that applies to most things,  yet for some reason you don't think it applies here.    I'm not saying that someone with 100 finds would be a better cache owner than someone with 10.  What I am saying is the experience would increase the likelihood.    

Car vs. geocaching is a reasonable comparison, but instead of fixing brakes, the better analogy is washing your car. A bad cache is like a car wash where the guy missed a spot or maybe even forgot to wash a whole side. Yeah, he didn't do a great job, but you're not going to die, you're just going to try a different car wash, and that guy will go out of business. No big deal.

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2 minutes ago, dprovan said:

Car vs. geocaching is a reasonable comparison, but instead of fixing brakes, the better analogy is washing your car. A bad cache is like a car wash where the guy missed a spot or maybe even forgot to wash a whole side. Yeah, he didn't do a great job, but you're not going to die, you're just going to try a different car wash, and that guy will go out of business. No big deal.

 

When people see all the examples of abandoned caches  left rotting with perpetual dry logs thrown in (to "help" i.e. to claim finds) and logs that thank those hiders for their contribution, it sends an impression... 'Go ahead and do the same, it doesn't matter'.  Eventually those for whom it does matter stop playing. All your left with is those that set-em-and-forget-em.

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13 hours ago, niraD said:

Yes, there are costs to a 3-month waiting period for new cache owners. In addition to the cost of implementing and enforcing the new rule guideline, it might indeed discourage potentially great cache owners from hiding potentially great caches.

 

The volunteer reviewers are the ones who can say how much of a problem the "one weekend wonders" really are, which will determine whether its worth adding a waiting period. And maybe a shorter waiting period would be better--less of a discouragement to potentially great cache owners, while still addressing the "one weekend wonders".

I don't understand why the volunteer reviewers have a better view of this than anyone else. How many one weekend wonders have you seen? I've never noticed a big difference between someone hiding their first day or after a year. Some are good, some aren't. And the ones that weren't weren't that big a deal, certainly nothing that made a difference in over all "cache quality" that this survey is supposed to be helping us fix.

 

So I'm looking at it the other way: I don't consider a time limit a huge burden, I just consider it a pointless rule. Why waste time telling people they have to wait 3 months when we could be giving them tips on what makes a cache good?

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2 minutes ago, dprovan said:

I don't understand why the volunteer reviewers have a better view of this than anyone else.

 

I do. Our local reviewers explained some years ago how they are trying to handle the situation.

 

When a new CO posted the first cache they didn't publish it immediatelly.  Instead, they posted a reviewer note asking some fundamental questions. I see that the main reason for a such request was to verify that the CO is able to monitor email and to respond promptly. "One weekend wonders" may forget the hobby before the cache has even been published or they have no idea how to use their tools :)

 

 

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3 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

We always seem to have the same basic views on things.   It's when it gets down to the basic common sense of something we seem to but heads.   Someone who has Geocached, even for a short time, would have a better grasp of the idea of geocaching as opposed to someone basically new to the game.    That's a simple fact that applies to most things,  yet for some reason you don't think it applies here.    I'm not saying that someone with 100 finds would be a better cache owner than someone with 10.  What I am saying is the experience would increase the likelihood.    

 

Now if you could just show that finding 100 caches is a reasonable indicator of measuring experience then you might not butt heads so much.  In todays, all about the numbers game it's very common to find a small power trail or cache series from the the same cache owner, with fungible hiding styles.   Several years ago I recall seeing the logs from someone that did one of the power trails in Nevada with a couple of other cachers.  They had created the account 2 days before the first log and found over 1100 caches in a weekend.   Their "experience" was limited to finding 1.5D  identical container hidden in a manner such that they could be found as quickly and as many as possible.

 

 While finding 100 cache *can* provide more experience than finding 10 caches,  it definitely does not ensure it, and given a range of hide styles, D/T ratings, container sizes, and locations I'd maintain that 10 finds might even provide a greater amount of *useful* experience for hiding a cache.  

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3 minutes ago, dprovan said:

Car vs. geocaching is a reasonable comparison, but instead of fixing brakes, the better analogy is washing your car. A bad cache is like a car wash where the guy missed a spot or maybe even forgot to wash a whole side. Yeah, he didn't do a great job, but you're not going to die, you're just going to try a different car wash, and that guy will go out of business. No big deal.

I'll give you a real world analogy.   I hired a new employee about 6 months ago.  His primary job is to stitch boxes and he's quite good at it.   I promised him I'd teach him how to operate the forklift.   Over the past few months I've been doing just that.   Today was/is an extremely busy day loading and un-loading trucks.   He asked if he could hop on the forklift and help.   Although he can operate the forklift he's not yet experienced enough or fast enough.   Because of his inexperience he'd be (1) very slow.  (2) wind up breaking units that would need to be fixed and (3) asking a lot of questions which I really don't have time to answer.   He's a good kid and I hate to burst his bubble but I understand the value of experience.

 

I understand we're talking about Geocaching here but the principles are basically the same.      Until he becomes more proficient and understands the job better,  I'll have to bring him along slowly and give him work I know he can handle.  The last thing I want to do is put him in a situation where he's over his head and becomes discouraged.    

      

What if it was an employee that wasn't washing the cars correctly and as a result the owner went out of business.  I'm sure it would be a big deal to that guy. 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

While finding 100 cache *can* provide more experience than finding 10 caches,  it definitely does not ensure it, and given a range of hide styles, D/T ratings, container sizes, and locations I'd maintain that 10 finds might even provide a greater amount of *useful* experience for hiding a cache.  

 

The first caches a new geocacher finds have the greatest effect to the hobby afterwards. When I started, there were many different kind of caches around. At this time the idea was to find the cache not to visit the cache, if you understand this comparison. I fear that I wouldn't have started the hobby if surrounded by power trails.

Edited by arisoft
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8 hours ago, Ambrosia said:

Right now, when you want to submit a new cache but have another disabled/NM/NA cache, you get a warning page about it. You can just go past this page. But I would be a bit worried if you were required to fix those things before you could submit your new cache. I can sort of see it if you have a NM or NA, but I don't think that a disabled cache should stop you from placing a new cache.

  

For example, I just submitted a new cache, and on my warning page, it pointed out that I have a disabled cache. That cache is disabled because it's in an area that has a nesting bald eagle, and it's a federal offense to walk through there at this time. The disabled cache is not an instance of cache owner neglect, but of cache owner maintenance.  

Absolutely. And I've had a cache that was temporarily disabled for months when construction blocked access, and then construction was delayed, and then construction was delayed again, and then I needed to completely redesign my hide because construction had changed something I was told would not change.

 

And a simple-minded rule that prohibits new listings if you have any NM attributes or any disabled caches would be pretty hamfisted, almost as bad as a requirement that new cache owners find 100 caches (or any other number of caches) before listing their first cache.

 

But my main point is any solution needs to address a specific problem. If the problem is that new COs are uninformed, then address that. If the problem is that COs that don't maintain their caches are hiding more caches, then address that. If the problem is new cache owners who disappear after listing a cache on their first weekend, then address that.

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"Require finding a certain number of geocaches before hiding a cache:"

 

To me, there are lots of ways to interpret this.

  • A fixed, immutable number
  • A percentage (of caches near their home address)
  • A number of different types of caches
  • A combination of the above
  • And algorithms that I haven't thought of

While a bit complex, I'll throw out this algorithm. I would like to see a requirement for having found at least one traditional, one multi-cache, and one mystery cache. The exception is if there are no appropriate types within 50km of the cachers home location. That should expose a cacher to different cache types, hides, containers. It's not too onerous, and it can handle areas with no caches.

 

On a tangent, I would also couple this with a mandatory tutorial for their first cache.

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3 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

So we're weighing the probability of a new cacher hiding a great cache with the probability of the same person leaving the game and their caches after 3 months.   The only way this makes any sense is if it's all about the find count.

All about the find count? Where do you get that? I thought it make perfect sense just considering cache quality, and the cost to the community to clean up the abandoned cache(s) after the "one weekend wonder" left the game.

 

 

 

44 minutes ago, dprovan said:

I don't understand why the volunteer reviewers have a better view of this than anyone else.

For one thing, they have a better view of how many abandoned caches placed by "one weekend wonders" go through the process of decay, NM, NA, and archival by the volunteer reviewers. For another, they have a better idea of how much effort would be involved in enforcing a 3-month (or whatever) waiting period before a new account can list a cache.

 

Although I must admit, I love the brilliantly simple technique of the volunteer reviewers posting a followup note and waiting for the new CO to address it. (See arisoft's post above.)

 

 

 

43 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 While finding 100 cache *can* provide more experience than finding 10 caches,  it definitely does not ensure it, and given a range of hide styles, D/T ratings, container sizes, and locations I'd maintain that 10 finds might even provide a greater amount of *useful* experience for hiding a cache.  

Another thing to consider is, what happens when a motivated  wannabe new cache owner is told that he needs to find 100 caches before he can list his new cache. He's found 10 varied caches over the course of a month or two, and now he has to find 90 more. What kind of caches is that motivated person going to find in order to qualify to list his cache.

 

I'd rather let such a cache owner list the cache now, without requiring him to find 90 QEF caches just to get the numbers.

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56 minutes ago, arisoft said:

I do. Our local reviewers explained some years ago how they are trying to handle the situation.

 

When a new CO posted the first cache they didn't publish it immediatelly.  Instead, they posted a reviewer note asking some fundamental questions. I see that the main reason for a such request was to verify that the CO is able to monitor email and to respond promptly. "One weekend wonders" may forget the hobby before the cache has even been published or they have no idea how to use their tools :)

That's not a problem of cache quality, so it doesn't strike me as relevant in this thread.

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