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wademercer

Misrepresentation of cache DT ratings

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There are many geocaches around the DFW metro area with DT ratings that are grossly overrated. This phenomena seems to be the result of locals hunting loops -  filling in the 81 DT grid over and over. Check out these runs and their cache ratings:

 

Letters in a Box from Kealia  GC87VTP
EBIT #0405   GC7W7BF
Texas Adventure Cacher Insane Trail cache    GC80D5C
The Lone Star State - Dallas County GC80XAG
4/2 - Fo Shizzle My Fizzy Looping Nizzle   GC87KD7
Texas Challenge 2018 - A Galactic Empire #21   GC7AB83
Texas Challenge 2018 - The Logo Series   GC79THT

 

Don't get me wrong, I do love a good cache run. But I am bothered by the vast quantity of caches with inflated DT ratings. When i go for a cache I use the DT ratings to help me find it. I have different expectations when I get out of a car looking for a 2-2 then when looking for a 4.5-4.5. 

 

A few days ago I went with a friend to find this cache: 

The Lone Star State - Crane County - GC80XA5

It is rated 2-5

Check out our video of us getting this cache (remember .. this is a 2-5 rated cache): 

 

 

I contacted Groundspeak to ask their guidance on this matter, but didn't get much from them. Here is their latest reply: 

 

"Hello Wade-

Thank you for contacting Geocaching HQ.

Unfortunately, Geocaching HQ is not able to police Terrain and Difficulty ratings of caches. 

As long as they are legitimate hides and they are operating under the same guidelines as everyone else there's nothing that says they cannot do that. 

They are really only cheating themselves if this is the case. Geocaching isn't about the numbers, only some make it about the numbers. 

Best regards,

Freddie
Geocaching Community Coordinator"

http://prntscr.com/p7scom

 

The Groundspeak guidelines for placing caches were written with the assumption that geocachers will rate caches accordingly. But what about when that doesnt happen? My thoughts were that reviewers have some control over what is published and will evaluate the cache description and look at the given DT ratings and make a judgement call if they match and either publish or reject the cache until the DT ratings more closely match the actual cache. But according to one of the Texas reviewer this isnt the case: 

 

"I understand your frustrations, I'm not a fan of this garbage either, between the bogus D/T's on caches, and worse the bogus terrains on events, it's for sure getting out of hand.  I'll be having a Reviewer Q&A at the event in Weatherford I'll be sure to bring this sort of thing up to those in attendance there, but the only real change would have to come from the COs understanding they are killing the game, or HQ deciding to enforce it, I've talked with HQ on it some, but it's been awhile I may need to bring that conversation up again.

Thanks,

Travis"

http://prntscr.com/p7sgjj

 

I was wondering what the geocaching community thinks about all of this. Is everyone OK with inflated DT ratings so that the few that hunt loops can make it look like they have 100's of loops? I just dont get this ... I dont get why having stats that show 100 or more loops can mean anything to you when most of them are bogus, and everyone knows it! 

 

What do you think we need to do about it? Do we just leave it alone and hope those responsible for it gets bored and moves on or away? Do we expect Reviewers to intervene until the DT rating is closer to the actual cache rating? What about changes in DT AFTER the cache has been published? 

 

Do we need more reviewers? Should reviewers be expected to pay attention to DT ratings and actual caches before publishing a cache? 

Do we need to get away from using ratings all together? maybe just rate them.. easy.. hard .. difficult? if its not about the ratings (as a Groundspeak rep stated) why not remove the ratings all together?? 

What about adding a feedback loop whereby cachers can rate each cache... if a cache is published with say 4-4 and the next 5 cachers to log it rate it 2-2, then it will be flagged for a reviewer to review. 

What about cachers who significantly change multiple DT ratings after a cache has been published? 

 

Please share your thoughts. 

 

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I'm totally on your page. I also don't like bogus or false ratings. No matter under- or overrated.

In my region fishing caches are a fancy thing these days. They are sprouting like weeds. These are caches placed 6-10 meters up in a tree on tiny weak branches. The idea is to fiddle them off and back by a fishing pole or similar. Most of them are rated strangely D1,5/T5. That's plain wrong on my book. But reviewers don't care. I even logged NM on some, stating the listing is broken because they are wheel chair acessable but hard to get. So a D5/T1 would be more adequate. It's a fight against windmills :rolleyes:

Edited by DerDiedler
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14 minutes ago, wademercer said:

I was wondering what the geocaching community thinks about all of this.

 

You must consider attributes as additional hints. There is no policy for hints etc.

What you can do is tell about your experience in your FI or DNF log. That's all :rolleyes:

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6 minutes ago, fendmar said:

One cacher's 4.5 is another's 2.

 

No - it is actually not. To be useful the ratings must be coherent.

 

One leg or arm = T1

Two legs or arms = T2

Both legs and one arm = T3

All limbs used = T4

Tools required = T5

Edited by arisoft
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28 minutes ago, wademercer said:

What do you think we need to do about it?

Good time to consider what you mean by "it". If you mean the "problem" of poorly chosen ratings, I deny it's a problem. If you mean those specific examples of badly rated caches, what you should do about it is talk to the CO and other members of your community that support badly rated caches. Make your arguments for accurate ratings to them and try to talk them out of rating caches arbitrarily. Among other things, remind them that challenges based on ratings are based on ratings because the ratings reflect the challenge of the caches, so their bogus ratings aren't really helping people meet those challenges, they're just giving them a way to lie about whether they've met them in spirit.

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3 minutes ago, dprovan said:

.....they're just giving them a way to lie about whether they've met them in spirit.

That also applies to another issue we recently discussed B)

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I'm with you on this, wademercer.

I know of two in my area whose rating is only to help people complete their grid.

One is a parking lot skirt lifter, rated with a very high  T.

The other is a 5/1, but specifically listed as a 1/5 (or something like that) to help people fill their grid.  The cache page does clearly state to read instructions carefully, though.

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43 minutes ago, wademercer said:

Is everyone OK with inflated DT ratings so that the few that hunt loops can make it look like they have 100's of loops?

 

No. Of course not but there's little that can be done by either finders or reviewers.  I'll certainly make note in my log of what I believe to be a discrepancy with regard to D/T rating but that's really about it.  I can only think of a few caches I've found I believed to be either inflated or deflated more than a full point.  On one, I contacted the CO and they based their T rating on the fact that they thought about it from the point of a person in a wheelchair.  Made sense, but that's not how the rating should be arrived at.  Another one, the ratings were inverted, meaning that the D was the T and the T was the D.  I see @dprovan has already commented and I don't completely agree it's not a problem but I don't think it's as big a problem across the entire community as it might be in a few areas.  As they've mentioned, the most direct thing that can be done is to contact the CO to determine their reasons behind their ratings as well as to help them understand that inflated (or deflated) ratings can influence whether or not seekers will even consider going after their caches.

 

43 minutes ago, wademercer said:

What do you think we need to do about it? Do we just leave it alone and hope those responsible for it gets bored and moves on or away?

 

Need?  Nothing.  Replace it with "could" and it comes down to trying to get each CO to rate things accordingly, but even that has its own issues.  There's no real solution to this.  As a finder, the only thing you can do is choose to avoid logging D/T rated caches you feel are artificially increased or decreased if you believe it be in your best interest to have an accurate loop.  As mentioned above, you could also contact the COs and attempt to figure out some things that might help alleviate these issues.

 

43 minutes ago, wademercer said:

Do we expect Reviewers to intervene until the DT rating is closer to the actual cache rating?

 

Nope.  Not their call nor should it be.  Edited to add that in some situations where the rating is obviously wrong, they might be able to offer up a recommendation but it's still up to the CO to make the change.  Could a reviewer not publish a cache if they believed the D/T rating to be grossly misrepresented?

 

43 minutes ago, wademercer said:

What about changes in DT AFTER the cache has been published? 

 

What about them?  I've changed a couple of mine, realizing they were underrated.  If it was more than .5 either way, I archived the old one and posted a new one at the same coordinates. If it was .5, I attempted to contact the finders to see if it might mess up their fizzy stats (many of my hides don't have lots of finders so it's relatively easy to do so).  As far as others changing their ratings, it's really not my concern as it's not my cache.  Sure, I'd be a bit upset if it was the only D/T combo I had and it got removed but there are more out there.

 

43 minutes ago, wademercer said:

Do we need more reviewers? Should reviewers be expected to pay attention to DT ratings and actual caches before publishing a cache? 

Do we need to get away from using ratings all together? maybe just rate them.. easy.. hard .. difficult? if its not about the ratings (as a Groundspeak rep stated) why not remove the ratings all together?? 

 

No to all of these.  The assumption is that the CO is attempting to rate them accurately to provide seekers the best information needed when they go out to find the cache (or solve the puzzle or do the Wherigo).  You remove the ratings, you remove ALL the information that tells you what you might expect about that cache.  Even your easy, hard, difficult standards are open to individual interpretation which means that you'll get some COs who underrate their caches and others who overrate their caches.  Just because some COs choose to inaccurately rate their caches doesn't mean the system needs to be "fixed" to address all the rest of the caches from COs who choose to accurately rate their caches, based on their expectations.

 

43 minutes ago, wademercer said:

What about adding a feedback loop whereby cachers can rate each cache... if a cache is published with say 4-4 and the next 5 cachers to log it rate it 2-2, then it will be flagged for a reviewer to review. 

 

Nope.  Again, not a reviewer's job nor do I want them to do that.  That means that they'd be putting their own personal beliefs about a D/T rating onto a cache that they have only secondhand information on.  Unless you want them to physically visit each and every hide that is submitted, this is an unrealistic expectation.

 

43 minutes ago, wademercer said:

What about cachers who significantly change multiple DT ratings after a cache has been published?

 

Again, not really sure what you want anyone to do about this.  You want a reviewer to review a cache and change the D/T if the next few cachers rate it differently than it's rating.  How is that any different?

 

 

Edited by coachstahly
Clarification about reviewer action

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12 minutes ago, dprovan said:

talk to the CO and other members of your community . . .

This doesn't work.  Let's discuss the human nature of these folks - they're more likely to continue simply to further irritate you.  Also, they're grown adults - they don't answer to us.  Until Groundspeak steps in, the trend will continue.

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Thanks @L0ne.R I wad about to post the exact same verry helpful guide to rate a caches D/T.

Reconsidering this property and truthfull the divergence should not be more or less then +-0.5

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Just now, TerraViators said:

This doesn't work.  Let's discuss the human nature of these folks - they're more likely to continue simply to further irritate you.  Also, they're grown adults - they don't answer to us.  Until Groundspeak steps in, the trend will continue.

 

But it's the best place to start and the best hope for the community to educate their members about what should be instead of what is going on.  How do you expect GS to do anything about this?  GS's response (listed in the very first post) is what it is so asking them to step in is a sure sign that nothing will get done. They've done all they can, meaning that the only true recourse is to go directly to the source and hope that it can be alleviated that way.  What other recourse is there?

 

1 minute ago, DerDiedler said:

helpful guide to rate a caches D/T.

 

That's great but the issue is those who choose to ignore these ratings and overrate or, more rarely, underrate.  Most COs attempt to follow this as best they can but even within these ratings, there's going to be some variation.  @L0ne.R posted a picture of an area and asked about T ratings.  Most of us were within a "small" range (probably 1.5 stars at 2-3.5), but that range varied based on our own interpretations of what we saw.

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Thank you so much for posting this.  Challenges are not meant to be so easy anyone can get them.  This whole practice ruins the idea of the Fizzy Challenge and ruins the idea of looping.

 

Zuma

 

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1 hour ago, wademercer said:

The Groundspeak guidelines for placing caches were written with the assumption that geocachers will rate caches accordingly. But what about when that doesnt happen? My thoughts were that reviewers have some control over what is published and will evaluate the cache description and look at the given DT ratings and make a judgement call if they match and either publish or reject the cache until the DT ratings more closely match the actual cache. But according to one of the Texas reviewer this isnt the case.

 

Your reviewer is correct, and it's not just him.  With very limited exceptions*, Community Volunteer Reviewers do not review for accuracy of D/T ratings.  Doing so would involve either a site visit (and an expense account) or an even more detailed dialogue about the details of the container and hiding method.  It would greatly bog down the review process, and would put the reviewer in the unwanted position of subjectively questioning something that they haven't seen with their own eyes.  Like your reviewer said, it's up to the community to "just say no" to inflated ratings.  You can avoid Joe's caches if Joe has a reputation for ratings inflation.  Eventually when Joe notices that people are skipping his caches, or logging notes instead of smilies, and are talking in whispers about him at events, and are posting about him on the local Facebook group, then Joe might change his ways.

 

*The exceptions include event caches (always difficulty 1, on the assumption that the other participants are not hiding vs. being viewable in plain sight) and T1 caches (which must have the wheelchair accessible attribute).

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8 minutes ago, zuma! said:

Challenges are not meant to be so easy anyone can get them.

 

Some challenges are meant to be easy so anyone can get them.  5 finds would be just such an example.  Some challenges, on the other hand, are meant to be hard.  The inflation of D/T ratings could certainly alleviate the difficulty in qualifying for some more difficult challenges but I'm not really sure what can be done or if anything actually needs to be done.  Those that are willing to claim a challenge based on incorrectly rated caches are going to figure out a way to qualify for it regardless.  It's just easier for them to do it this way.  If you're so concerned about qualifying for a challenge using legitimate finds, then worry about yourself and not those who choose to use inflated caches and stats to qualify.  It all boils down to personal accountability.  I earned my Fizzy and I'm not going to let someone else's inflated stats affect my satisfaction in the completion of that challenge.  Their actions don't belittle the challenge for me, nor do they cheapen the overall experience of my qualifying for said challenge.

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We've noticed some COs would change their hides D/T if others mentioned it in their log.  That ended when stats became a thing.

 - Now that so many are hitting caches for  their D/T ratings (fill that grid...), most here won't change it if it is incorrect once found.

Recently I found the answer to a D4.5 puzzle in about two minutes and I'm dyslexic.  I'd think most realize it's that way for someone...

 

I'll mention it in my Found It if it's off enough to bug me, and move on.  I realize my note probably isn't gonna change anything.

IIRC, there's a website where you can "rate" caches.  I hope it's never done here.   It'd amount to just another stat...

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You went to HQ with your concern and got an answer. You went to your local Reviewer and got pretty much the same answer. You’ve now gone to the Forum where one of the Mods gave you the same answer as the first two. This is starting to sound like the definition of insanity. 

Edited by Touchstone
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Is changing D/T ratings to inaccurate and very high ratings geocheating?

 

I have noticed what others here have pointed out in my Facebook Forum, “Geocachers For Fair Play,” that many of the caches in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have wildly inflated D/T ratings.  Some say this is geocheating.  Others say it is not.  I guess it depends on why it is being done.

 

Let’s look at GC79XJD for an example.  When this cache was placed ,it was listed as a 2/2, which from the logs seems to be a D/T rating not a long ways off.  Now it is rated as a 5/5.  Why the change by the new owner, who adopted the cache?  And why was the owner changed in the first place?

 

If it was changed from a 2/2 because the difficulty was changed and the terrain was changed, that would be one thing, and I would not consider that geocheating.  But if the D/T was changed to a 5/5 so people could claim a very high number of 5/5 finds, then I think most people would think that was wrong.  Or if the D/T was changed so that people could claim a very high number of Fizzy loops, then  that would be wrong as well.

 

The cache owner who did this has 43 Fizzy loops, despite finding most of his caches in Texas.  It just seems to me that some people what to claim a lot of Fizzy loops, without actually working at it.

 

I would think that if I was concerned about the validity of my stats, I would not want to promote fake changes in D/T ratings.  

 

https://coord.info/GC79XJD

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35 minutes ago, Touchstone said:

You went to HQ with your concern and got an answer. You went to your local Reviewer and got pretty much the same answer. You’ve now gone to the Forum where one of the Mods gave you the same answer as the first two. This is starting to sound like the definition of insanity. 

 

Maybe he thinks that sunshine is a good thing?  I certainly do.

zuma

 

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2 hours ago, TerraViators said:

This doesn't work.  Let's discuss the human nature of these folks - they're more likely to continue simply to further irritate you.  Also, they're grown adults - they don't answer to us.  Until Groundspeak steps in, the trend will continue.

How do you know that before you talk to them?

 

Besides, even if you do already know that, all you're saying is that there's another, even bigger reason to talk to these people and try to fix your broken community instead of putting up with people that are intentionally irritating.

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24 minutes ago, ZEPP0 said:

If ratings are not important or irrelevant then take them off the cache page and remove them from the cache placement process. Otherwise unify and justify how reviewers across the country approve them.

Why are those the only two options?

 

IMHO, the problem is that the system creates incentive for cache owners to specify bogus D/T ratings. So let's get rid of that incentive... by eliminating all challenge caches based on D/T ratings.

:drama: :drama: :drama: :drama: :drama: :drama: :drama: :drama: :drama: :drama:

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I am closing this forum thread after learning more about the OP's efforts to get guidance on this issue.  OP, do not start another forum thread about this.

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