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coachstahly

New Groundspeak policy?

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2 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

It certainly IS an issue but I'm not certain how well it can be addressed unless they unilaterally apply this across the board, which I suspect could happen.  I'm curious to know what percentage of caches this might "catch". 

 

What I've seen more often around here is a Cache Owner is inactive for a long time, there's a scary official post by TPTB, and it gets adopted by an active Cache Owner.  Either the Policy is designed to encourage more of that, or it's designed to weed out caches that nobody lays eyes on anymore.  Or it's both. B)

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I think the biggest drawback to this might be in communities that used to be more vibrant but, for whatever reason, have fallen off in community activity, like @barefootjeff describes for his area.  For areas that are cache dense, this will cull out some caches that should have bit the dust a long time ago but for areas that are cache sparse, it could make them even sparser. 

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Maybe it's just me, but when I see...    

 

This test does not apply to:

           Caches placed before January 1, 2004

 

To me, that says "quality" or whatever someone's looking for here, takes a back-seat  if a "pioneer", or "legacy" cache may be involved.

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One concern that I hope HQ takes into consideration is with sock puppet accounts. Sock puppet accounts may not show any activity for a long period of time if no new caches are created, or there is no reason to post OM or notes on an existing cache.

 

Another issue is invalid e-mail addresses (again, primarily on sock puppet accounts). The e-mail for the CO in the example GA cache could be invalid because the CO changed to a different e-mail service, and forgot to update this GC.com account. I don't think that this happens often. And, there is a good case to be made that as part of the maintenance responsibilities of a CO is to have working e-mail addresses on their accounts.

 

If HQ does implement this policy, I hope they mention steps that a CO can take to avoid missing out on the cache disabled messages. It may be as simple as logging into all of your accounts annually. It could be as complex as adding some kind of master account system where a cacher could link together all of there accounts. And of course, e-mail validation would also be useful... That has been well discussed in other forums.

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I’m thinking if it’s a good idea to disable a cache after N years of CO inactivity, 5 is erring on the side of caution.

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38 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

Maybe it's just me, but when I see...    

 

This test does not apply to:

           Caches placed before January 1, 2004

 

To me, that says "quality" or whatever someone's looking for here, takes a back-seat  if a "pioneer", or "legacy" cache may be involved.

So, what's the problem with that?  Many people find historic items are worthy of keeping, others have no interest in history.  I've seen the same happen with historic buildings, some want them all added to the Historic Building Registry, others want them our of the way so a new building can be put there.  I know that our little obsession in pretty new (only twenty years) but any cache that's lasted long is something, seeing how many new caches never last a year.

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2 hours ago, mustakorppi said:
2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

What if that hide style is popular in an area and quite often visited?

How would it then fit the premise of an unvisited cache?

 

So your context is not at all visited?  Or rarely (subjective) visited?

I was responding to the idea of a cache that was "unpopular" (that is, visited rarely) and hard to access (per your comment: "But the skill and gear for T5 climbing or scuba diving, or the intelligence/domain-specific knowledge required for certain types of puzzle present a barrier that can't be overcome by simple choice. In fact there's probably a very finite set of people in any area that can ever do those caches." - which to me does not imply "unvisited")

 

Rate of visitation is entirely contextual, which was the point of my reply - 'popular' may be visited a handful of times a month in some region, rather than say 50. So it's best for the local reviewer to have an understanding of what is 'popular' and not (a T5 tree climb may be popular in a region, even tho beside a beautiful waterfall), but also not to take on the roll of a "this looks unpopular, here's how you could make it better" quality-guide and ugly-baby-judger :P

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6 minutes ago, The Jester said:
51 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

Maybe it's just me, but when I see...    

 

This test does not apply to:

           Caches placed before January 1, 2004

 

To me, that says "quality" or whatever someone's looking for here, takes a back-seat  if a "pioneer", or "legacy" cache may be involved.

So, what's the problem with that?  Many people find historic items are worthy of keeping, others have no interest in history.  I've seen the same happen with historic buildings, some want them all added to the Historic Building Registry, others want them our of the way so a new building can be put there.  I know that our little obsession in pretty new (only twenty years) but any cache that's lasted long is something, seeing how many new caches never last a year.

 

Plus, old doesn't imply 'bad quality', and old caches are so few and far between anyway that their density is pretty insignificant anyway. If they can be kept alive, I don't see why an effort to do so it a Bad Thing.

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59 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

Maybe it's just me, but when I see...    

 

This test does not apply to:

           Caches placed before January 1, 2004

 

To me, that says "quality" or whatever someone's looking for here, takes a back-seat  if a "pioneer", or "legacy" cache may be involved.

 

Yeah, I saw that, too. Maybe the policy will be expanded if the test works out. But if the algorithm has issues, it will tend towards wiping out “legacy” caches. So those are not part of the test.

 

Some of these New Policies seem to be attempts to address the fact that you and I (OK, mostly I) :cute:  don't do the work to get broken, unmaintained caches archived. Where would I even start? Where would I end? When I make an NM on a broken, soaking wet cache, it's followed by logs questioning why such a thing was brought up.  I don't see anyone else making the NM.

 

Even caches with a lot of Finds and an “active cache Owner” are in such bad condition it requires at least “a dry log in a baggie” to “sign” them. And some of those caches are beloved, defended, don't suggest that it Needs Maintenance, there's no Cache Owner. Those caches have seen better days.

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6 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

So your context is not at all visited?  Or rarely (subjective) visited?

Well, this thread started with "I see that your cache has not been found in over a year...” and people seemed to not like the idea. But that was about an out of the way cache, so I wanted to know if it made any difference if the reason for no finds wasn’t the remoteness of the cache and there were plausible reasons for wanting to free up the location.

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56 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

Maybe it's just me, but when I see...    

 

This test does not apply to:

           Caches placed before January 1, 2004

 

To me, that says "quality" or whatever someone's looking for here, takes a back-seat  if a "pioneer", or "legacy" cache may be involved.

11 minutes ago, The Jester said:

So, what's the problem with that?  Many people find historic items are worthy of keeping, others have no interest in history.  I've seen the same happen with historic buildings, some want them all added to the Historic Building Registry, others want them our of the way so a new building can be put there.  I know that our little obsession in pretty new (only twenty years) but any cache that's lasted long is something, seeing how many new caches never last a year.

3 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

 

Plus, old doesn't imply 'bad quality', and old caches are so few and far between anyway that their density is pretty insignificant anyway. If they can be kept alive, I don't see why an effort to do so it a Bad Thing.

 

At least the site is honest enough to say there's no pretense when it comes to caches that are important to the bottom line.  :)

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

caches that are important to the bottom line.

There’s apparently one cache two caches from before 2004 in my country that doesn’t have a single fav point yet. Kinda tempted to spend some of my premium member monies there now :ph34r:

Edited by mustakorppi

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50 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Yeah, I saw that, too. Maybe the policy will be expanded if the test works out. But if the algorithm has issues, it will tend towards wiping out “legacy” caches. So those are not part of the test.

 

Some of these New Policies seem to be attempts to address the fact that you and I (OK, mostly I) :cute:  don't do the work to get broken, unmaintained caches archived. Where would I even start? Where would I end?

When I make an NM on a broken, soaking wet cache, it's followed by logs questioning why such a thing was brought up.  I don't see anyone else making the NM

 

Maybe we had similar...    :)

Our first event, "old, experienced" cachers pretty-much told us we were newbs and don't make waves.   So we didn't...

With this "Caches placed before January 1, 2004 " thing, it was just luck that because of "guidance" from others, we didn't NA every old cache we found.

Those same hides today wouldn't have a chance...

I can say that rusted cookie tins filled with water, needing tools to pry open,  in black moldy garbage bags, isn't my idea of a "legacy".   :D

To boot, some that were adopted out, those owners are long-gone too...   Our first rotted ammo can find was an "adopted" old cache.

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

Our first rotted ammo can find was an "adopted" old cache.

 

And they say ammo cans last forever.

 

I've found a few abandoned ammo cans in need of replacement. About 3 rusted-through ammo cans, a couple with lids with broken hinges, and a couple where the lids were so bent it wouldn't seal shut. A couple of my own ammo cans needed replacement after 3 years for rusted and broken hinge pins. The last time I used an ammo can I tried to get out there once a year to spray the hinge with a squirt of WD40.

 

All caches need a checkup every once in a while. 3 years tops. Very few caches outlive 3 years without needing at least a clean-up. 

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3 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

What I've seen more often around here is a Cache Owner is inactive for a long time, there's a scary official post by TPTB, and it gets adopted by an active Cache Owner.  Either the Policy is designed to encourage more of that, or it's designed to weed out caches that nobody lays eyes on anymore.  Or it's both. B)

 

What I often see around here is the cache gets adopted and the adopter doesn't check the cache. 

 

Often those old caches (2+ years without a maintenance visit) that the owner adopted out, are in rough shape.

 

The new owners appear not to plan on doing any maintenance trips either. 

Edited by L0ne.R
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18 hours ago, kunarion said:

The Absent CO caches tend to be in terrible shape, I can't remember finding any self-sustaining ones.

 

I've just gone through the list of caches within 20km of here that were placed after 1/1/2004 and have owners who haven't shown any activity in the last five years (website access or cache finds/hides). A fair number of these look to still be in good condition, with recent happy finders and no NMs outstanding.

 

I've visited all my own caches in the last twelve months, but over half of them have never required any maintenance at all since the day I placed them. Original undamaged container, original logbook, everything clean and dry. Most are good solid containers hidden in caves or under ledges, and none get anywhere near enough finds to fill their logbooks, so there's simply nothing that needs regular fixing. There's a very old one I adopted that was placed in 2005, it's an ammo can deep under a rock ledge out of the weather and it's still in excellent condition with its original logbook. The only maintenance I've done since adopting it was to mark some trackables missing that were listed in its inventory but no longer there.

Edited by barefootjeff

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53 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

All caches need a checkup every once in a while. 3 years tops. Very few caches outlive 3 years without needing at least a clean-up.

 

Here's one of mine I checked on recently, hidden in November 2015 so a bit over four years old:

 

ContainerAndLog.jpg.720e966d86821af04f6a752cbb38c708.jpg

 

I have other older ones in similar condition.

 

ETA: Here's one I placed in August 2015 - it's in a honeycombed hole in the roof of a cave so it's pretty much protected from everything:

 

GC61HCN.jpg.bc3ad68a1a03ca8851c6f458af14b520.jpg

Edited by barefootjeff

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3 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

All caches need a checkup every once in a while. 3 years tops. Very few caches outlive 3 years without needing at least a clean-up. 

 

Here's one I found a few months back, GC1K67W, placed in 2008. It's still the original container with the original logbook, and the cache history consists of 94 finds (the most recent mine in August), 6 DNFs (all preceding my find and one of them mine when I baulked at the climb down on my first attempt), 9 WNs and 1 OM in 2011 when the CO changed the difficulty rating.

 

GC1K67W.jpg.3a90a9d5f5805e8621c8b6aeeeb5562f.jpg

 

So that one's 11 years old and doesn't look like it needs much TLC. Again it's one that's hidden in a rock crevice and protected from the elements. The owner of this one is still reasonably active, but the cache would have been just as good had he been gone for five or more years. This is the sort of cache this new policy would see archived.

 

Edited by barefootjeff

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57 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Here's one I found a few months back, GC1K67W, placed in 2008. It's still the original container with the original logbook, and the cache history consists of 94 finds (the most recent mine in August), 6 DNFs (all preceding my find and one of them mine when I baulked at the climb down on my first attempt), 9 WNs and 1 OM in 2011 when the CO changed the difficulty rating.

 

GC1K67W.jpg.3a90a9d5f5805e8621c8b6aeeeb5562f.jpg

 

So that one's 11 years old and doesn't look like it needs much TLC. Again it's one that's hidden in a rock crevice and protected from the elements. The owner of this one is still reasonably active, but the cache would have been just as good had he been gone for five or more years. This is the sort of cache this new policy would see archived.

 


That’s cool, but it’s the exception.  No CO can know in advance that animals/insects won’t move in, floods won’t occur, rocks won’t collapse, or the whole area won’t change.  I mean, if it’s guaranteed flawless and therefore needs no maintenance, it’s time to contact the reviewer (and also  HQ and be sure they know).  And tell us all how you caused that kind of cache to happen. :cute:

 

I found a cool cache a couple years ago that had the original log book with entries from 2001.  I marveled how an ammo box could be fine like that next to the trail.  And how all of mine that are similar require an attentive CO.  Like one ammo box that, after I was certain it will be worry-free forever, developed a fire ant mound over it.  :mad:
 

... and it also was hit by an actual tornado...

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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29 minutes ago, kunarion said:

That’s cool, but it’s the exception.  No CO can know in advance that animals/insects won’t move in, rocks won’t collapse, or the whole area won’t change.

 

From my 1100 finds, I've found about 150 caches that are now more than 10 years old and still in play. Many, probably most, were similar to this one. Anything that lasts that long is likely to keep going, CO or no CO. This is the sort of rock cavity I mean, it's not likely to collapse any time soon and is too small for any animal that could damage the cache to get in.

 

RockCavity.jpg.b86d1c2bbdd38edbdc65058031749d09.jpg

 

Maybe it's a climate thing, maybe it's because in this area bushland hides in rock formations are a lot more prevalent than urban micros, but this sort of cache lasts quite well without needing any attention.

Edited by barefootjeff
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7 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

From my 1100 finds, I've found about 150 caches that are now more than 10 years old and still in play. Many, probably most, were similar to this one. Anything that lasts that long is likely to keep going, CO or no CO. This is the sort of rock cavity I mean, it's not likely to collapse any time soon and is too small for any animal that could damage the cache to get in.

 

RockCavity.jpg.b86d1c2bbdd38edbdc65058031749d09.jpg

 

Maybe it's a climate thing, maybe it's because in this area bushland hides in rock formations are a lot more prevalent than urban micros, but this sort of cache lasts quite well without needing any attention.


You should be sure somebody in TPTB knows that.  
 

There are tons of caches around here where the reluctant CO “checked and it was fine” where I can bear witness to the fact that it was not at all fine. It’s likely such cases that cause these algorithms.

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22 minutes ago, kunarion said:

There are tons of caches around here where the reluctant CO “checked and it was fine” where I can bear witness to the fact that it was not at all fine. It’s likely such cases that cause these algorithms.

 

The trouble is we simply don't have tons of caches around here, good or bad, and the archivals just through natural attrition now well outnumber the new caches that are published. Any caches in good health that get archived simply because the CO didn't respond to an automated message or a reviewer note are a significant loss to the community.

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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

 

The trouble is we simply don't have tons of caches around here, good or bad, and the archivals just through natural attrition now well outnumber the new caches that are published. Any caches in good health that get archived simply because the CO didn't respond to an automated message or a reviewer note are a significant loss to the community.

I'm expecting there'll be a lot more archivals soon. Caches burned to less than a crisp. I've noticed a lot of TDs in PQs. There were caches around Coonabarrabran, before a massive fire went through, about four years ago now there are none. I'm guessing a lot wont be replaced.

Reviewers may face a busy future following up.

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3 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Maybe it's a climate thing, maybe it's because in this area bushland hides in rock formations are a lot more prevalent than urban micros, but this sort of cache lasts quite well without needing any attention.

 

With the rain having stopped, I've just gone up to one of my earliest hides, GC4ZQTF placed in March 2014. This is how it looks right now:

 

GC4ZQTF.jpg.a4cc81cab945cf6c61b8b759b378ac88.jpg

 

Again it's the original container and original logbook hidden in my usual fashion under a rock ledge with a covering rock to conceal it from muggles exploring the area (and a few cachers if the 10 DNFs are anything to go by). The only maintenance this one's had in its nearly six years is when I replaced a missing pencil in 2017. The Help Centre specifically says lack of a pen (or pencil I guess) isn't grounds for archival and that caches are not required to contain pens, so I don't consider this essential maintenance. Had I fallen under a bus the day after I hid it, it would most likely still be going strong and looking just as good. A Good Samaritan finder might even have replaced the pencil.

 

 

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18 hours ago, mustakorppi said:

Cache maintenance is an important (and required) component of geocache ownership. In January 2020, as part of Geocaching HQ’s efforts to keep the geocaching game board fresh and encourage well maintained caches, we began a test in the U.S. states of Georgia and North Carolina.

In these states, Geocaching HQ has disabled physical caches owned by players whose Geocaching account has not shown activity in more than five (5) years. We asked them to perform any required maintenance on their cache and enable the cache page. Or, if the cache owner no longer wishes to own and maintain the cache, they can archive the cache or adopt it to an active geocacher. If the cache owner takes no action within 30 days, HQ will archive the cache.

This test does not apply to:

  • Caches placed before January 1, 2004
  • Caches with trackables
  • Other special circumstances

Only 1-3% of geocaches in these states are impacted by the test. Geocaching HQ will closely analyze the results before deciding whether to expand the test to additional regions.

 

Some statistics from a 20km radius around my home, looking at enabled caches placed on or after 1/1/2004 and showing the number owned by COs last active in each year. I've separated them into those with outstanding NMs and those without.

 

Year CO last active        Caches with NM       Caches without NM

          2019/20                          24                                  301

            2018                              12                                    25

            2017                                6                                      3

            2016                                3                                      5

            2015                                4                                      3

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cut-off for new automated procedure

            2014                                6                                      3

            2013                                -                                       3

            2012                                -                                       1

            2011                                -                                       -

            2010                                1                                      -

            2009                                -                                       -

            2008                                1                                      -

 

There are no current post-2004 caches that have owners who were last active in 2007 or earlier.

 

So what conclusions can be drawn from this?

  • Firstly, of the 15 caches that would be caught in the net (those below the line), only about half have outstanding NMs. This doesn't guarantee that all those caches are decrepit since some of those NMs could be historical ones for minor things (a full log that's been replaced by a finder) or just a heads-up to the CO about something that might have affected their cache, nor are those caches without outstanding NMs guaranteed to be in good condition, but it gives a bit of a sense of the relative numbers of good and bad caches that might be archived by this.
  • Seondly, currently active COs have a very small percentage of caches with outstanding NMs compared to COs who have been inactive for a year or more. This flies in the face of all those claims about the game having been taken over by set-and-forget COs and maintenance-shirkers.
  • Thirdly, is this new process really going to have a significant impact in "keeping the geocaching game board fresh and encouraging well maintained caches"? Is the cost of losing some good caches that simply have inactive COs worth any gains that might be achieved?

Yes, I know this is a very small sample and is no doubt skewed by this area being dominated by bushland hides rather than urban ones, but unless there's a way to automate this process it's about the best I can do manually right now.

 

ETA: Note that this 20km circle takes in some of northern Sydney as well as my region of the Central Coast.

 

image.png.fe835c87a013d64691c716e1816ab20c.png

Edited by barefootjeff

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I must admit to being tempted to go in search of this one: https://coord.info/GC13QN5 

 

Yes it's a film pot on a tether (see gallery) with an inactive CO, but the 2 DNFs (one from my pal Malpas Wanderer) were both in months when nettles and undergrowth make life harder.

 

Should this one have been archived? https://coord.info/GC5BFQK The cache is there, but because the CO didn't reply to a NM, it's gone  

 

And here's one that got caught up in that picture-hosting situation - https://coord.info/GC28900 - the pic wasn't even vital to the puzzle but it got archived anyway - however, people are still finding it...

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2 minutes ago, tom1996 said:

 

Another one to be discussed - could still be there  B)

Haha, probably is. A micro with no hint from a cacher with no finds, I'd steer clear of if it was roadside let alone in the depths of the Amazon jungle...

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2 hours ago, Oxford Stone said:

Should this one have been archived? https://coord.info/GC5BFQK The cache is there, but because the CO didn't reply to a NM, it's gone  

I'd say yes. I don't doubt that you really found it, but similar logs could easily come from someone placing a throwdown on an abandoned cache.

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59 minutes ago, mustakorppi said:
3 hours ago, Oxford Stone said:

Should this one have been archived? https://coord.info/GC5BFQK The cache is there, but because the CO didn't reply to a NM, it's gone  

I'd say yes. I don't doubt that you really found it, but similar logs could easily come from someone placing a throwdown on an abandoned cache.

And, as often discussed, even if the cache is in good order, the listing (and by extension the container) has been effectively abandoned by the owner meaning they've broken their agreement, leading to eventual archive of the listing which would otherwise remain perpetually inaccurate or in limbo.

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

And, as often discussed, even if the cache is in good order, the listing (and by extension the container) has been effectively abandoned by the owner meaning they've broken their agreement, leading to eventual archive of the listing which would otherwise remain perpetually inaccurate or in limbo.

Good point, considering the listing / web page as part of the whole and to be maintained. I'd not looked at it that way before. 

In 2018 3 of us resuscitated an archived cache! It was clear from the listing that the container had just got buried in the undergrowth and the CO was having "a rest" from maintaining / checking so just archived it. We visited in early spring - before the undergrowth shot up again - and there it was!

I once got back from a rubbish day at work to a DNF "cache found with no lid on top of railing" so I just archived it without checking. Guess what, they'd just found some litter, my cache was still there! But the same area now hosts a T5 (kayak / paddle board needed) cache so no great loss. The container? I used it for an easy cache near my house, last find "found with school" and then guess what, missing. So I've made all my caches premium where they are likely to be visited by well-meaning school teachers and hordes of kids - only needs one to decide to steal it...

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20 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

And they say ammo cans last forever.

 

Well, to be fair, I didn't look to see who the manufacturer was...

I have a 50cal sitting out back, used for clippers, gloves, and other small stuff (so no need to walk back...), and that's sat on a wood post outdoors since '05.   The handle's starting to rust.  :)

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