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Earthcache rules


Alke04
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11 minutes ago, Alke04 said:

I wanted to ask. If the earthcache owner wants to complete a task that is in violation of the current rules, do I have to do these tasks or are they voluntary? E.g. that it is not a geological task?

Have you read the Earthcache guidelines?

 

Acceptable logging tasks

  • Questions that can only be answered by visiting the site.
  • Questions that allow geocachers to demonstrate what they have learned.
  • Open questions, like "what/why/how do you think...?"
  • Questions that ask geocachers to compare geological features. For example, “Compare the shale layer to the one above it? How does it compare in thickness/color/hardness? How do you think this difference has occurred?”
  • Asking geocachers to provide a photo of themselves or a personal item to prove they visited the site.  A personal item must be an option for those who do not want to photograph themselves.  This task is acceptable only as an addition to well-developed logging tasks, not as a substitution.

Tip: Tasks that require geocachers to take measurements are only accepted if they allow people to demonstrate what they have learned.

Unacceptable logging tasks

  • Questions that can be answered without visiting the site, such as stating an elevation reading.
  • Questions that assume prior knowledge of geology, such as "What type of rock is found here?"
  • Asking geocachers to research the topic online.
  • Asking geocachers to quote information from a sign.
  • Asking geocachers to take measurements that do not relate to the earth science lesson and only prove that they visited the site. For example, “Measure the height of the boulder.”

Important: Provide the answers to your logging tasks and how the finder can determine them, in a Reviewer Note on the cache page. Reviewer Notes are automatically deleted when a cache is published

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In 2012, there was a relatively major revamp of the Earthcache Guidelines that tended to require more focus on geologic aspects in the Description and Logging Requirements.  In general, Listings Published prior to that date were grandfathered, so you may still see a few Listings out there that have non geologic Logging Requirements (e.g. pick a word or date off a nearby sign, or things of that nature).

 

Around 2010, or so (I can't remember exactly), photo verification was discontinued.  Cache owners were advised to stop enforcing that sort of Logging Requirement, but photo verification has been recently reinstated as an acceptable Logging Requirement, provided that the other Logging Requirements are sufficiently focused on the geology.  Grandfathering those old Listings may muddy the waters for some of the older Listings, as cache owners are allowed to add the photo requirement back in without a re-Review of the Listing page.

 

In short, the guidance from HQ is if it's an old Listing, answer the questions to the best of your ability, play nice, and get along with everyone.

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2 hours ago, Alke04 said:

I wanted to ask. If the earthcache owner wants to complete a task that is in violation of the current rules, do I have to do these tasks or are they voluntary? E.g. that it is not a geological task?

No, you don't have to do the tasks listed in an EarthCache regardless of whether they violate the rules.

 

I rather think what you really mean to ask if whether you can claim a find on an EarthCache when you've refused to meet some of the requirements because they violate the current rules. I don't know if there's an official rule on this, but I would say, "no." If the EarthCache doesn't appear to be legal to you, then you're saying it shouldn't have been published in which case you wouldn't able to find it, and why would you want to? But as far as I'm concerned, it's up to you. If you think you adhered to the spirit of the EarthCache even though you don't want to meet some of the requirements, then log your find. I try to meet the requirements when I can and leave the question of whether the EarthCache should exist to someone else to decide.

 

I won't bother to address the question of what you should do if the ECO deletes your find log.

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I guess it would depend on when the EC was published. Rules have changed along the way and it would have meet the guidelines at the time it was published. So I would think you need to answer all the questions.  Without knowing the GC#, it's hard to determine. But if you think it's a problem, you can address it with the publishing EC reviewer.

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On 9/13/2019 at 9:48 PM, Alke04 said:

I wanted to ask. If the earthcache owner wants to complete a task that is in violation of the current rules, do I have to do these tasks or are they voluntary? E.g. that it is not a geological task?

 

The guidelines have changed at different points.  Logging questions that were OK to publish back in 2009 may not be publishable in 2019, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they get tossed out for older caches.  Not all of the changes have been retroactive.  I've tried to go back and make our questions better based on guideline changes, but not everyone has - and depending on the change, they may not be required to.

 

One change was retroactive: photos became optional around January 2011.  Many folks didn't change their caches to reflect this, and there were plenty of earthcaches that still claimed it was mandatory to post a photo (even though it wasn't).  My approach during this time was to take a photo, but point out to the cache owner that I was opting to do so since the guidelines had changed.  Some COs got the hint and updated their descriptions.  Others did not.  This all became overcome by events when mandatory photos were once again allowed earlier this year.

 

So while I can't give a definitive answer without knowing the specific cache or questions with which you take issue, I can for now propose you take the approach I took: satisfy the requirements as written to log a find, but perhaps point out to the CO that the questions be updated.  Or, skip it and go to an earthcache you enjoy more instead.

Edited by hzoi
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I'm frustrated that the guidelines keep changing. I stopped taking a proof of visit picture at Earth Caches, because they weren't required anymore. This is the first time that I became aware that they were reinstated. Was there an announcement made, perhaps in an email to all geocachers? How am I supposed to know what to do at Earth Caches if it keeps changing? I am behind on logging, and am trying to catch up. I hope that I don't get any EC finds denied because of this.

 

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54 minutes ago, Ambrosia said:

I'm frustrated that the guidelines keep changing. I stopped taking a proof of visit picture at Earth Caches, because they weren't required anymore. This is the first time that I became aware that they were reinstated. Was there an announcement made, perhaps in an email to all geocachers? How am I supposed to know what to do at Earth Caches if it keeps changing?

 

The guidelines and the help center articles were updated in June 2019.  I didn't see an announcement in the blog.  I don't recall if it went out in the newsletter.

 

56 minutes ago, Ambrosia said:

I am behind on logging, and am trying to catch up. I hope that I don't get any EC finds denied because of this.

 

I hope you don't see that, either.  Since the rule from, what, 2011 to 2019, I think, was that photos weren't required, I usually ignored it on older caches that hadn't been updated as well.

 

Hopefully earthcache owners will understand the potential for confusion given the rule changes and be flexible.

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11 hours ago, Ambrosia said:

How am I supposed to know what to do at Earth Caches if it keeps changing?

 

You are supposed to read the description and act accordingly. Cache owner is responsible to follow guidelines in the description.

Edited by arisoft
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I came across an Earth cache during my vacation were you have to measure the water temperature of a hot spring with a thermometer. If you don’t do this (because a thermometer is not part of my standard geocaching equipment?), the CO does not allow you to log the cache. Is this allowed within the Earth cache rules?

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3 hours ago, GEORIBO said:

I came across an Earth cache during my vacation were you have to measure the water temperature of a hot spring with a thermometer. If you don’t do this (because a thermometer is not part of my standard geocaching equipment?), the CO does not allow you to log the cache. Is this allowed within the Earth cache rules?

Why wouldn't it be?

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1 hour ago, niraD said:

Why wouldn't it be?

Because

- you don’t really learn something from it, which is I thought the purpose of an Earthcache

- I think most geocachers don’t have a thermometer in their back pack


Furthermore as stated above, a not allowed logging task is “Asking geocachers to take measurements that do not relate to the earth science lesson and only prove that they visited the site. For example, “Measure the height of the boulder.”

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18 minutes ago, GEORIBO said:

- you don’t really learn something from it, which is I thought the purpose of an Earthcache

You don't? What about other measurements, like the size of the bands/grain in different rock samples?

 

24 minutes ago, GEORIBO said:

- I think most geocachers don’t have a thermometer in their back pack

So? Most geocachers don't carry magnetic compasses or 15-foot extension poles either, but I've found caches that required them.

 

26 minutes ago, GEORIBO said:

Furthermore as stated above, a not allowed logging task is “Asking geocachers to take measurements that do not relate to the earth science lesson and only prove that they visited the site. For example, “Measure the height of the boulder.”

But you didn't say anything about the measurement being unrelated to the earth science lesson, and you haven't shown that to be the case.

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2 hours ago, GEORIBO said:

- you don’t really learn something from it, which is I thought the purpose of an Earthcache

 

Part of the hot spring EC lesson is most likely about what makes it a hot spring and how hot that spring might actually get.  Seems to me part of the lesson of learning about a hot spring, especially for those who don't have regular access to hot springs.

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8 hours ago, GEORIBO said:

I came across an Earth cache during my vacation were you have to measure the water temperature of a hot spring with a thermometer. If you don’t do this (because a thermometer is not part of my standard geocaching equipment?), the CO does not allow you to log the cache. Is this allowed within the Earth cache rules?

I definitely don't keep a thermometer in my geocaching box! 

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37 minutes ago, GEORIBO said:

Oke, I find it a strange requirement and not in line with how I interpret the meaning of an Earthcache. But it seems I’m the only one, so let’s forget about it.

Yep. It's one thing to feel like EarthCache owners shouldn't do that kind of thing. It's an entirely different thing to say that can't do that kind of thing.

 

I don't mind when an EarthCache requires special equipment. If I notice it before I get there, I bring the equipment. If I don't, I don't do the EarthCache. No big deal. Sometimes I come back another time with what I need. It's no different than not being able to find a puzzle cache that I should have solved at home. When I can, I look at EarthCaches in advance because I find it too easy to ignore the lesson and just jump to the questions if I only look at them when I stumble upon them in the field. I'm sure you're more thorough in the field, so that's why you don't look at them when you're planning your geocaching.

 

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3 hours ago, dprovan said:

I don't mind when an EarthCache requires special equipment. If I notice it before I get there, I bring the equipment. If I don't, I don't do the EarthCache. No big deal. Sometimes I come back another time with what I need. It's no different than not being able to find a puzzle cache that I should have solved at home. When I can, I look at EarthCaches in advance because I find it too easy to ignore the lesson and just jump to the questions if I only look at them when I stumble upon them in the field. I'm sure you're more thorough in the field, so that's why you don't look at them when you're planning your geocaching.

 

 

Agree, 100%.  I had to skip several ECs early in my caching history because I did not read the description beforehand.  Now, it's something I always try to do, even if it's to carry a tape measure or some other measuring device.  After doing a couple of ECs where a temperature measurement is required, I spent $5 on a small kitchen thermometer about the size of a pen.  Fits nicely in the pack.

I also think that a temperature measurement truly can be part of the lesson.  I did one where the temperature of a stream changed depending upon how recently it rained, and whether you measured temp above or below a feeder stream.  I did another one on Mt Rainier where you picked up a logbook and thermometer at a Ranger station and made several measurements along a hot springs walk.  You record the temps in the logbook as part of a long-term monitoring of these springs.  Again, part of the lesson.

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5 hours ago, GEORIBO said:
7 hours ago, niraD said:

Why wouldn't it be?

Because

- you don’t really learn something from it, which is I thought the purpose of an Earthcache

- I think most geocachers don’t have a thermometer in their back pack


Furthermore as stated above, a not allowed logging task is “Asking geocachers to take measurements that do not relate to the earth science lesson and only prove that they visited the site. For example, “Measure the height of the boulder.”

 

I've bolded the pertinent language. It would be easier if we knew what earthcache you were talking about, as otherwise we only have your conclusion that measuring the temperature is not related to the earthcache lesson.

 

It also makes a difference as to when the geocache was published. The earthcache rules have changed over the years. Logging tasks which were allowed during the first several years of earthcaches may not be permitted today. But the change was not made retroactive, so there are going to be older caches that were fine when they were published, but may not pass muster today.

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I agree with hzio's statement above. What lesson is he teaching?.  That is very important before knowing if it is needed or helpful to the logging tasks.   

 

As guidelines have changed, and other issues, I would always assume you need to follow the logging tasks unless there seems a specific issue (like them requiring a photo of your face) that is not allowed.  

 

Just doing the logging tasks, and moving on is usually better than having a months long argument decided by HQ.  

 

If you are planning an Earthcache with one.  Make sure that the temperature is pertinent to the experience and what you are teaching. 

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