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Has Anyone Considered Disabling Caches Until the Virus Threat is Past

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On 4/15/2020 at 6:25 AM, Lynx Humble said:

it's strongly discouraged to take your car for exercice.

Yes, but often you can walk or cycle to a cache. I have been preserving some caches closer to home for times like this, and have been cycling to them as my exercise. We don't have lock-down in the ACT where I live, just strong advice to stay home, which appears to be working, as we have only had one new case in the last five days. However, over the border in NSW, about six kilometres from my house, they have lock-down, but they are allowed out for exercise. I am thinking of riding across the border as part of my exercise and to log a cache. The bike path to the border, runs close to my house. I don't expect to be stopped on a bike as that's exercise (& how do they know where I live?), but I might in a car with ACT plates, as that's not exercising. Some borders in Australia are closed, but not the ACT's border with NSW. However, driving far is discouraged and you are likely to be stopped. The cache I am targeting is not far. Best to ride or walk from your house for exercise, and draw less attention.

Edited by Goldenwattle

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My nearest unfound cache is 5.6 miles away by bike and (4th calendar loop) I want to get a cache next Saturday... either I go for that cache, log a liar cache (got 1 or 2 in stock) or just leave it  for a year...

Junior and I have been on ~1-hr bike rides, 2 to 6 miles, every day for the last 12 days... not used a bike that much in my life! He's picked up 4 or 5 caches I'd done on my own, but I've not found a cache since we got 22 on 22nd March, day before UK lockdown.

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Now that things have progressed for a few months I thought it might be good to bring this back up.

 

Does anyone still have their caches disabled for the pandemic or know of someone else who does?

 

Does Groundspeak have a time limit for keeping them disabled or a plan for reactivation (or archiving if called for)?

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It's very area-dependent and up to the area reviewers, of course.

 

Back in late June, our reviewers in Ontario started sending reminders that caches were disabled - essentially, not forcing anyone to re-enable their cache listings, but moving to a system of "log a note every 4-6 weeks so that we know you're still active".  So it's pretty much the normal, built-in system now: a CO can keep the caches disabled, but they must let the world know they're still alive and kicking. As one of our reviewers said,

"There's no way to be sure if a cache has been Disabled and forgotten, Disabled and abandoned, COVID-19 Disabled and should remain that way, COVID-19 Disabled and forgotten, Repaired but still Disabled due to the wrong log type being used or Disabled, jinxed, trapped in fourth dimension and/or affected by Gremlins... without feedback from the cache owner on the cache page."

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12 hours ago, Corp Of Discovery said:

Does anyone still have their caches disabled for the pandemic or know of someone else who does?

I never disabled mine in the first place.

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It depends where you live and how many cases of Covid. Some places have lots of cases and others no cases.

I didn't disable any of my caches, as we had only a few cases of Covid, and locally, none now for over 60 days. There are still some cases in Australia though.

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1 hour ago, Goldenwattle said:

It depends where you live and how many cases of Covid.

Not really. Surface contamination isn't a significant vector for this virus. Your geocaching companions might infect you, but not the geocaches themselves.

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1 hour ago, niraD said:

Not really. Surface contamination isn't a significant vector for this virus. Your geocaching companions might infect you, but not the geocaches themselves.

Agreed.

Anyone who ever got sick by any of the thousands of things we can't see in our own soil realizes that this virus is no different.

We've had something to clean/disinfect our hands with us while in this hobby (just like our other "outdoors" hobbies) ever since we started.   :)

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About the only caches around here still disabled for the virus are those in places (such as a library) not yet opened to the public.  There may be one or two CO's that haven't enabled their caches, but I haven't been tracking those too much.

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On 10/13/2020 at 2:10 AM, Corp Of Discovery said:

Now that things have progressed for a few months I thought it might be good to bring this back up.

 

Does anyone still have their caches disabled for the pandemic or know of someone else who does?

 

Does Groundspeak have a time limit for keeping them disabled or a plan for reactivation (or archiving if called for)?

 

Around here, reviewers have been "giving notice" (roughly "there seems to be an issue, please fix or state you plans within 30 days") for caches disabled for a long time, and that includes ones disabled because of COVID-19.     Then 30 days later if no action the caches have been archived.    I've seen several caches which I know are fine, but were archived because the CO disabled them for COVID-19 months ago, and hasn't enabled them (and didn't respond to the reviewers note).  

 

I know it is the CO's fault for not responding, but I feel sad to see otherwise good caches go.

 

 

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I checked the 60 closest disabled caches and none of them are disabled for COVID-19 reasons.

With infections increasing a lot I could understand CO's disabling their caches but that would only attract more people to the remaining caches increasing the risk of coming in contact with an "infected cache".

We try to go for caches that have been placed for a while so many have found them already. In the field we look at the paper logs and use hand sanitizer whenever a cache was found to recent.

Since most caches are "out in the elements" we guess the virus will not survive very long, even after a day the risk is reduced a lot and the hand sanitizer will take care of what might be left..

 

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I know of a cache that was disabled for months because of covid. The reviewer has been more than patient. The cache owner stated on more than one occasion that they cannot replace the cache because of safer at home restrictions declared by the Governor. 

So someone who flew halfway across the United States to find it got frustrated and replaced it. 

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41 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

I know of a cache that was disabled for months because of covid. The reviewer has been more than patient. The cache owner stated on more than one occasion that they cannot replace the cache because of safer at home restrictions declared by the Governor. 

So someone who flew halfway across the United States to find it got frustrated and replaced it. 

 

It was disabled, and someone traveled a great distance to find it?

I don't think I have any sympathy for the frustrated cacher.

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I disabled one of mine because it's in a library that was closed for the pandemic.

 

Months later, I got a gig notice from my reviewer who told me to reactivate, archive or provide an update.

 

Taking it as a request to find out if the cache had a future, I checked with the library and was told they had 'Parking Lot Service' only. I filed an OM log stating that the cache location was STILL unavailable and that I was checking regularly (which I was).

 

Problem solved! That's all that he or she wanted.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FYI, shortly after, the library fully opened and I re-activated the cache.

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3 hours ago, redsox_mark said:

 

Around here, reviewers have been "giving notice" (roughly "there seems to be an issue, please fix or state you plans within 30 days") for caches disabled for a long time, and that includes ones disabled because of COVID-19.     Then 30 days later if no action the caches have been archived.    I've seen several caches which I know are fine, but were archived because the CO disabled them for COVID-19 months ago, and hasn't enabled them (and didn't respond to the reviewers note).  

 

I know it is the CO's fault for not responding, but I feel sad to see otherwise good caches go.

 

 

 

 

I get the feeling that some COs don't like being told.

 

I noticed one CO deliberately not enabling his caches "because of COVID" yet he has been logging finds on caches since March.  When prompted by a reviewer he replies that he wants to get an official word from GCHQ. Guess he's got a beef with the reviewer. 

 

Another CO was quick to disable dozens of his caches because of COVID but went silent when he got the reviewer note. He's letting them all slowly become reviewer archived, about half of them are at this point. It seems on the face of it that the CO got his nose out of joint. 

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We placed two state game land cache series out during the covid19 pandemic which have been amazingly popular, given the long hikes required.  The game lands that they are on is 45,000+ acres, so it is easy for seekers to feel isolated.

 

Still briars, ticks, poisonous snakes and bears to be aware of, though...  Who knows what they will find?  This year we've seen eagles, turkey, fox, falcons, coyote... And very few people.  With hunting season starting (archery deer and pheasant now open) we wear orange... Including the geo-hound.

 

Another active local cacher put a 34 cache series on the same gamelands recently which is also quite popular.

 

Glad people are putting out new ones in remote locations rather than disabling them.

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In a sense I'd like to see a 2 or 3 day nudge before the end of a 30-day disabled reminder, since sometimes a CO forgets there's an outstanding 30-day deadline to respond or deal. On the other hand, our reviewers at least make it very clear that if the cache is intended to remain active, it can be easily unarchived by pinging the reviewer if they archive it after the 30-day no-response grace period. I've often seen such an archival reversed within minutes; typically I'd guess because the CO forgot to either add a note or enable it, and didn't mark the date the reviewer would archive.

 

But I do think it mostly comes down to this:

 

19 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

I get the feeling that some COs don't like being told.

 

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

On the other hand, our reviewers at least make it very clear that if the cache is intended to remain active, it can be easily unarchived by pinging the reviewer if they archive it after the 30-day no-response grace period. I've often seen such an archival reversed within minutes; typically I'd guess because the CO forgot to either add a note or enable it, and didn't mark the date the reviewer would archive.

 

Curious, as here the reviewers say the opposite, that such an archival won't be reversed and a new cache submission will be needed.

 

Quote

For ongoing issues please ensure you visit the listing and post a new note every 28 days to keep everyone up to date, if you do not then you cache may be archived without further note from a reviewer. Caches archived due to lack of maintenance are no longer unarchived and you will need to submit a replacement as a new cache.

 

The only time I've seen a reviewer archival of a disabled cache reversed was just recently when the CO had actually posted a note within the allowed time but the reviewer missed it and hit the archive button by mistake.

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2 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Curious, as here the reviewers say the opposite, that such an archival won't be reversed and a new cache submission will be needed.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are regional differences. There are plenty of others :)

 

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

I wouldn't be surprised if there are regional differences. There are plenty of others :)

 

At a guess, I'd assume that there's no S.O.P. for reviewers, or that if there is, it doesn't get read very often.  We see some big regional differences as well.

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5 minutes ago, ecanderson said:

At a guess, I'd assume that there's no S.O.P. for reviewers, or that if there is, it doesn't get read very often.  We see some big regional differences as well.

 

But you'd be wrong.  Months ago, pre-pandemic, Geocaching HQ specifically asked Reviewers not to say that a cache could be unarchived if it met current guidelines.  This matches up with the public-facing guidance in the Help Center:

 

Quote

If a cache is archived by a reviewer or staff for lack of maintenance, it will not be unarchived.

 

There are always one-off exceptions.  If someone wrote to me and said "I was in the hospital due to COVID-19, sorry I missed your note," I would certainly make an exception. 

 

Most people, even if quarantined, can post a note to their cache page to state their intentions.  And, the new Cache Owner Dashboard provides an additional reminder.

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Many Reviewer Notes I've seen said, due to COVID, caches can currently remain disabled indefinitely. However, every few months they, quite reasonably, want an update. A simple Note on the cache page is too much trouble for some COs.

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9 hours ago, redsox_mark said:

Then 30 days later if no action the caches have been archived.

Here the reviewers gave 45 days, because of Covid.

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I had to post many update notes on my library cache that was disabled because of covid. I really did not want to let that cache go! 

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3 hours ago, Keystone said:

 

But you'd be wrong.  Months ago, pre-pandemic, Geocaching HQ specifically asked Reviewers not to say that a cache could be unarchived if it met current guidelines.  This matches up with the public-facing guidance in the Help Center:

 

Well I guess HQ will need to send a reminder to their reviewer :

 

2020-10-06

 

This cache page has been Archived.
If the cache owner wishes to discuss whether this cache page can be Unarchived then minimally :

  • The cache/cache page must comply with the current Guidelines,
  • A request (including cache GC code) needs to be sent using the Send Email link on my profile page.

Unarchive requests can only be considered if they are made within 3 months of this Archive action.

(name of the reviewer) - Community Volunteer Reviewer

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Feel free to report your Reviewer to HQ for being more lenient than the guidance provided for us to follow.

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A number of off topic posts were hidden from view.  Let's stick with discussions about disabling and enabling geocaches in the current environment.  Thanks.

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>>>Has Anyone Considered Disabling Caches Until the Virus Threat is Past

 

I might have answered this already but will again. We didn't disable our caches because of Covid-19 and am so glad we didn't because they were a lifesaver for people who were stuck at home because of covid closing down entire cities and many regulations in place.  Our cache hides were very busy during this time, more so than ever before.  It was the only thing that help keeping many people sane, in my opinion, during this difficult time, allowing us to get out in the fresh air and geocache.  So easy to keep social distancing and wearing masks. So a huge thank you to the Geocaching Headquarters for not closing down our cache hides although new caches were not published until it was safe and some regulations were lifted. We are close to having another wave of covid, cases are increasing, but keep geocaching for your mental and physical health! Wear a mask, keep your distance, and bring hand sanitizer. 

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