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TeamRabbitRun

Cachers Rating Caches

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So, I wrote this post first in response to a comment someone made in another thread about allowing people to affect a cache's Difficulty and Terrain ratings because of the number of caches where others don't agree with the CO's designations and refuse to, or simply don't change them in response to (sometimes repeated) feedback in logs about how they could be improved.

 

That, however, would have been off-topic in THAT thread, so I didn't post it there. BUT, It's just so darned long!

 

Waste it, or post it elsewhere?

 

What the heck. Have at it. Pardon the grammar.

 

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Here's why I'm not in favor of letting others 'rate' my cache.

 

A CO can put whatever they want on their cache page, within the guidelines, of course.

 

The ratings are subjective. A CO assigns D&T ratings based on how they feel about the cache, and I acknowledge that others make decisions about hunting a cache based on these ratings.

 

But, we have to (people will argue here) work under the idea that a CO will be honest and honorable and rate his or her cache reasonably. Maybe CHANGE the ratings when an issue is pointed out. Without that supposition we're institutionalizing the idea that COs are dishonest or incompetent, and while that may be true in some cases, do we want that to be a mechanism in the game?

 

"We know better."
"Forget what the original ratings are; that CO never gets it right."

 

If I rate my cache, and the next large group that comes along simply has a bad day, then they could sway my ratings.

 

All the things that could go into a SPECIFIC cache hunt could then feed the cumulative ratings: weather, light, time of day, time of year, muggles on Fridays, attitude, etc.

 

Likewise, if you live in an area with a bunch of self-proclaimed 'super-cachers', then you could find your cache knocked down to 1/1 with no input from you.

 

Would you only allow people with caches of their own to rate? Otherwise, how will you even know that the person doing the rating even has vague familiarity with what the ratings ACTUALLY mean?

 

Would you only allow people who FIND a cache to rate it? Otherwise, every newbie that doesn't find it might rate it WAY up because the only explanation they might conceive of is that it's rated too low or it's missing.

 

If you allow this, will the next step be to allow finders to change coordinates? You have the same problem there; COs who get lousy coords but don't change them. Do we allow others to override the specified location? Slippery slope, much?

 

What about attributes? Can someone INSIST and impose their will that a cache be labeled "Child-Friendly" or not? You KNOW that there are people who will take it on themselves to re-attribute ALL caches in their area.

 

There are good COs and bad COs. COs that respond to feedback and COs that don't. Some COs become know as jerks or as great players. (I'm probably a little of both.)

 

What's going to be HQ's attitude when a CO complains that their rating's been changed and the people knocking it down or up aren't taking into account all the factors that went into it?

 

The CO owns the Cache Description, whether it meets with your approval or not.

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If we take serious exception to D or T ratings when finding a cache (or the attributes or the size or the coordinates, for that matter), we just note it in our log.  Don't know why it would be beneficial to allow adjustment of such things by finders -- too much additional chance of having things screwed up for future finders.

 

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29 minutes ago, ecanderson said:

If we take serious exception to D or T ratings when finding a cache (or the attributes or the size or the coordinates, for that matter), we just note it in our log.  Don't know why it would be beneficial to allow adjustment of such things by finders -- too much additional chance of having things screwed up for future finders.

 

 

I agree with you. Others have different opinions. Discussion?

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2 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

The ratings are subjective. A CO assigns D&T ratings based on how they feel about the cache

 

GCHQ provides a chart. If everyone used it, ratings would not be particularly subjective.

 

(Yes, I realize some will stubbornly refuse to make things less "subjective". They will nitpick about what "moderate" means or what "easy" means, insisting that an average female/male adult human shouldn't  be the litmus test). 

 

I'd like to see the definition included in every cache description (not just the rating with no definition). 

 

TERRAIN: 2.5 - Terrain may have small elevation changes or moderate overgrowth.

DIFFICULTY: 1 - Easy to find or solve within a few minutes.

 

It would mean hiders could not argue that ratings are subjective, and at the descretion of the hider. And it would make the playing-field even for finders, especially those who rely on accurate D/T ratings, no matter what part of the world they are caching in. 

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12 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

GCHQ provides a chart. If everyone used it, ratings would not be particularly subjective.

(Yes, I realize some will stubbornly refuse to make things less "subjective". They will nitpick about what "moderate" means or what "easy" means, insisting that an average female/male adult human shouldn't  be the litmus test). 

I'd like to see the definition included in every cache description (not just the rating with no definition). 

 

TERRAIN: 2.5 - Terrain may have small elevation changes or moderate overgrowth.

DIFFICULTY: 1 - Easy to find or solve within a few minutes.

 

It would mean hiders could not argue that ratings are subjective, and at the descretion of the hider. And it would make the playing-field even for finders, especially those who rely on accurate D/T ratings, no matter what part of the world they are caching in. 

 

But even in the link you provided says, "Ratings vary from one community to the next. A 3-star terrain in Banff, Canada, is a different experience than a 3-star terrain in Amsterdam, Holland. Please rate your cache accurately based on standards in your area and guidance in the table below.    :)

We see mention from one that regularly visits our area, that caches of a few COs here should be rated higher in terrain simply by distance.

A state near me has what we'd  readily call a 3+ , a  2 or maybe a 2.5 , so that happens I guess.

 

We rate D/T by Clayjar.    If someone wasn't thrilled with our D/T, I'd refer them to it.    

I'd rather not "fix" a cache just because some don't agree with D/T,  especially if the first few to find it didn't say anything.

 - That "you're messing with my stats man !" thing.    Can't win.  :)

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, L0ne.R said:

 

GCHQ provides a chart. If everyone used it, ratings would not be particularly subjective.

 

(Yes, I realize some will stubbornly refuse to make things less "subjective". They will nitpick about what "moderate" means or what "easy" means, insisting that an average female/male adult human shouldn't  be the litmus test). 

 

I'd like to see the definition included in every cache description (not just the rating with no definition). 

 

TERRAIN: 2.5 - Terrain may have small elevation changes or moderate overgrowth.

DIFFICULTY: 1 - Easy to find or solve within a few minutes.

 

It would mean hiders could not argue that ratings are subjective, and at the descretion of the hider. And it would make the playing-field even for finders, especially those who rely on accurate D/T ratings, no matter what part of the world they are caching in. 

 

"Small elevation changes" has always caused me some head-scratching. Some might argue that this can't be anything more than a few steps on an otherwise level concrete path, while those that do a lot of hiking would probably consider it anything that isn't "steep". I'm a 65-year-old male of average height (175cm) but when I started caching I was a spritely young 58 and I can attest that age does make a difference to that perception. I've also noticed that the smokers I know have a different idea of "steep" to what I do.

 

In 2014, I placed a cache part way up Blackwall Mountain which I rated terrain 2.5. Access is mostly along a dirt track that steadily rises about 40 metres over a few hundred metres horizontal distance. Back then, the Help Centre chart didn't exist so I used the Clayjar method to rate it. Clayjar doesn't do the half-stars but this is what it gives for that cache:

 

image.png.c6f2f972c7fb5370d9c3fd807d26ee95.png

 

It rated it a 3, but their definition of a 3 says "terrain is likely off-trail. May have one or more of the following: some overgrowith, some steep elevation changes, or more than a 2 mile hike". It didn't have any of those - it's nearly all on-trail with little overgrowth, no steep elevation changes and a hike of only a few hundred metres, so I rated it a 2.5. In fact, by the Clayjar definitions, it'd just about qualify as a 2 except the area right at GZ isn't really suitable for small children.

 

But if I was rating it today using the Help Centre chart, maybe I'd make it a 3 because there are some rock steps on the track that would make it difficult to ride a bike up there, and maybe a 40 metre elevation change isn't really "small" even if it's spread over a reasonable distance. And I guess I'm 6 years older now so what felt like a 2.5 then is getting closer to a 3. So I'm still scratching my head about this one and others like it.

 

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3 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

 

But even in the link you provided says, "Ratings vary from one community to the next. A 3-star terrain in Banff, Canada, is a different experience than a 3-star terrain in Amsterdam, Holland. Please rate your cache accurately based on standards in your area and guidance in the table below.    :)

We see mention from one that regularly visits our area, that caches of a few COs here should be rated higher in terrain simply by distance.

A state near me has what we'd  readily call a 3+ , a  2 or maybe a 2.5 , so that happens I guess.

 

We rate D/T by Clayjar.    If someone wasn't thrilled with our D/T, I'd refer them to it.    

I'd rather not "fix" a cache just because some don't agree with D/T,  especially if the first few to find it didn't say anything.

 - That "you're messing with my stats man !" thing.    Can't win.  :)

 

 

 

I like the Clayjar rating system. I used your link to assess one of my multis at random. It came up identical to my rating which I assessed using my caching experience.

 

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36 minutes ago, colleda said:

I like the Clayjar rating system. I used your link to assess one of my multis at random. It came up identical to my rating which I assessed using my caching experience.

 

 

There's an old TechBlazer rating page someone put me onto years ago that seems to do a pretty good job over a wide range of caches. I sometimes use that when I want a second opinion on what the Help Centre chart suggests.

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7 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

A CO can put whatever they want on their cache page, within the guidelines, of course.

.....

If I rate my cache, and the next large group that comes along simply has a bad day, then they could sway my ratings.

That's the problem; there are a sizable number of COs out there who WON'T rate their cache  "within the guidelines". Because they want non paying members (who somehow can afford a smart phone and data on top of that, but seemingly then can't find the money to pay for membership :rolleyes:) to also find their caches. (That annoys me, as for years I couldn't justify the expense of data, but I still paid membership.) These COs won't rate any of their caches over two star (once 1.5 star) difficulty, even if the terrain is actually four stars. There's no problem if they don't rate any of their caches over 2D/T, as long as they are not more than 2D/T, but many don't stick to this. Example: After needing to stand on a stool on a picnic table and reach out dangerously with a mirror to find the cache for a 1.5T rated cache and mentioning to the CO this was not 1.5T and them coming back and saying it was, I would very much like an averaging rating system brought in. There's no reason this should affect the CO's rating at all, as per your other comment. This should be a separate figure. In that real example I gave, the next person turned up, saw it wasn't 1.5T and left, making the comment they were too old for this. If there was an averaging system they likely wouldn't have wasted their time coming here expecting to find a cache within their abilities. That particular CO (and I noticed others doing the same within that area; so influence has an effect) had no caches rated over 1.5D/T, but now that non-paying members can now find caches up to 2D/T, wonder upon wonder, now many of their caches D/T have been changed to two, including the cache they argued really was 1.5T.

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4 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

I'd rather not "fix" a cache just because some don't agree with D/T,  especially if the first few to find it didn't say anything.

 - That "you're messing with my stats man !" thing.    Can't win.  :)

I do my best to rate my caches correctly. If I have rated it wrongly I will correct it. I might think the cache is easier/harder to find than it is for instance. Far more important to get that right than worry about someone's stats, which I would never have thought of anyhow before you mentioned them. I have never had anyone say something like, "you're messing with my stats man !" And what do their stats matter if they are wrong.

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12 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

That's the problem; there are a sizable number of COs out there who WON'T rate their cache  "within the guidelines". Because they want non paying members (who somehow can afford a smart phone and data on top of that, but seemingly then can't find the money to pay for membership :rolleyes:) to also find their caches. (That annoys me, as for years I couldn't justify the expense of data, but I still paid membership.) These COs won't rate any of their caches over two star (once 1.5 star) difficulty, even if the terrain is actually four stars. There's no problem if they don't rate any of their caches over 2D/T, as long as they are not more than 2D/T, but many don't stick to this. Example: After needing to stand on a stool on a picnic table and reach out dangerously with a mirror to find the cache for a 1.5T rated cache and mentioning to the CO this was not 1.5T and them coming back and saying it was, I would very much like an averaging rating system brought in. There's no reason this should affect the CO's rating at all, as per your other comment. This should be a separate figure. In that real example I gave, the next person turned up, saw it wasn't 1.5T and left, making the comment they were too old for this. If there was an averaging system they likely wouldn't have wasted their time coming here expecting to find a cache within their abilities. That particular CO (and I noticed others doing the same within that area; so influence has an effect) had no caches rated over 1.5D/T, but now that non-paying members can now find caches up to 2D/T, wonder upon wonder, now many of their caches D/T have been changed to two, including the cache they argued really was 1.5T.

 

Is that practice really widespread or have you just been unlucky to have a handful of prolific hiders doing that in your area? My caching has covered a large expanse from Sydney harbour north to Newcastle but in seven years I can't recall ever coming across that. There've been a few that I've thought might have been too highly rated, like the T3 that was just a few metres down an embankment off the side of a suburban road or the T4 on a similar embankment above a road, but even those are rare. Most of the time the ratings I've encountered seem to be pretty reasonable.

 

There's a local cacher who's in his early twenties, tall, lithe and extremely fit, so when he rates one of his hides a T4 or T4.5 I know it's going to be tough-going. His 3.5s are more like my 4s. There are others who lean the other way and you soon get to know who's who. Variability like that is part of the game and as long as the COs are rating their caches honestly according to their perceptions, there's unlikely to be much of a problem. Those that are dishonest maybe should just go on the ignore list.

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21 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I do my best to rate my caches correctly. If I have rated it wrongly I will correct it. I might think the cache is easier/harder to find than it is for instance. Far more important to get that right than worry about someone's stats, which I would never have thought of anyhow before you mentioned them. I have never had anyone say something like, "you're messing with my stats man !" And what do their stats matter if they are wrong.

 

I bumped the terrain rating of one of mine up half a star after the first few finders all said it was a bit tough for a 2.5, and after walking up the hill without the distraction of looking for potential hiding places for the waypoint, I had to agree with them. There's also a few where I've bumped the difficulty rating up to 2 after the first few finders found it more elusive than I was expecting, usually because there was some close-by rock feature that drew their attention away from the actual hiding place. It's all part of the learning curve, but I'd be reluctant to alter the ratings more than a few months after publication unless something has actually changed on the way to or at GZ.

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56 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Is that practice really widespread or have you just been unlucky to have a handful of prolific hiders doing that in your area? My caching has covered a large expanse from Sydney harbour north to Newcastle but in seven years I can't recall ever coming across that. There've been a few that I've thought might have been too highly rated, like the T3 that was just a few metres down an embankment off the side of a suburban road or the T4 on a similar embankment above a road, but even those are rare. Most of the time the ratings I've encountered seem to be pretty reasonable.

 

There's a local cacher who's in his early twenties, tall, lithe and extremely fit, so when he rates one of his hides a T4 or T4.5 I know it's going to be tough-going. His 3.5s are more like my 4s. There are others who lean the other way and you soon get to know who's who. Variability like that is part of the game and as long as the COs are rating their caches honestly according to their perceptions, there's unlikely to be much of a problem. Those that are dishonest maybe should just go on the ignore list.

Try west of the Blue Mountains and south from there. I don't want to actually name CO names or the actual towns, as that will name the CO as well, but I have found it out that way.

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49 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

I bumped the terrain rating of one of mine up half a star after the first few finders all said it was a bit tough for a 2.5, and after walking up the hill without the distraction of looking for potential hiding places for the waypoint, I had to agree with them. There's also a few where I've bumped the difficulty rating up to 2 after the first few finders found it more elusive than I was expecting, usually because there was some close-by rock feature that drew their attention away from the actual hiding place. It's all part of the learning curve, but I'd be reluctant to alter the ratings more than a few months after publication unless something has actually changed on the way to or at GZ.

I have only ever changed one cache's rating more than a few months after publication, because by then, usually the rating is sorted. I needed to move a 1.5D/1T cache and the only place was a 3T hide. I have never altered another cache's rating after more than a few months; more likely weeks.

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3 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I have never had anyone say something like, "you're messing with my stats man !" And what do their stats matter if they are wrong.

 

The other 2/3rds changed a cache of hers from an email she received, and it turns out it was (at that time) an odd D/T combo. 

Apparently that now-white, empty box in the middle of filled in their "D/T caches I've found" stats box upset a few folks. 

Some take their stats seriously I guess...

She thought all those people were interested in her cache, and found they were interested in the D/T combo instead.  :) 

All the whining aggravation isn't worth the hassle.  If the first batch of folks don't say they believe something's in error, the D/T stays as-is.

 - Of course if something changes while it's still in play,  the D/T would be fixed to best reflect an accurate description.

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if something CHANGES in the D/T while it's still in play, it would be better to republish the cache under a new number.  That avoids screwing up anyone's fizzy or whatever else, and avoids the noise that follows.

 

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28 minutes ago, ecanderson said:

if something CHANGES in the D/T while it's still in play, it would be better to republish the cache under a new number.  That avoids screwing up anyone's fizzy or whatever else, and avoids the noise that follows.

If the point of my cache was the D/T rating, then sure, a change to the D/T rating should mean a new listing.

 

But if the point of my cache is something else (the view, the historic location, a puzzle, whatever), and that something else hasn't changed, then I'm just going to update the listing to match the current situation. Don't let the tail wag the dog.

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57 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

If the first batch of folks don't say they believe something's in error, the D/T stays as-is.

Depends who the "first batch" were. Lots of beginners who wouldn't know, or experienced geocachers. As I wrote above, "I have only ever changed one cache's rating more than a few months after publication, because by then, usually the rating is sorted. I needed to move a 1.5D/1T cache and the only place was a 3T hide. I have never altered another cache's rating after more than a few months; more likely weeks."

The reason, but for that exception, I have never needed to change the ratings after a few weeks or months, is because I took feed back aboard and corrected the ratings early.

It depends who gives the feedback, whether I take notice. And I do take aboard comments, and am willing to change something if the comments are justified. Some COs won't change anything; their way out coordinates, their wrong ratings, their cache sizes. They are right and everyone else wrong.

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28 minutes ago, niraD said:

If the point of my cache was the D/T rating, then sure, a change to the D/T rating should mean a new listing.

 

But if the point of my cache is something else (the view, the historic location, a puzzle, whatever), and that something else hasn't changed, then I'm just going to update the listing to match the current situation. Don't let the tail wag the dog.

I agree. Anyway, none of my caches have rare rating combinations, so no-one would care. Besides, years later most people would have a hard time remembering what particular cache filled that square. And in what part of the world they found it.

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I'm on 2 and 71/81 on the DT grid. Went far and wide* for loop one; loop 2, someone kindly put out kayak caches in my local town (and realised that T5 doesn't automatically mean D5!); that 3rd loop I thought I was on 61, but not really paying attention. Getting OS Junior his grid before he was 10 was a source of pride (and mud...)

Earlier this year 4 or 5 caches up trees were put out in my area by a CO of a certain age who owns a very long ladder. So for him these caches 25' up were T3.5... he was good enough to note feedback though and I think they're all T4 and above now. And it's interesting to note that while for me and others a tree with its lowest branch about 6' up is a definite ladder job, along comes another cacher and says "straightforward free climb" so what do you do. 

On the D side - I'm notorious for thinking my puzzles are easy while other think they're really difficult (feel free to try some if you're bored - look at my profile for references to the themes to unlock many of them) - I think I've upped the D on a couple, early on.

*The nearest 4.5/4.5 at the time was ground level in a suburban park in NW London. Still there I believe. Can be tricky to find but should be T1.5D3.5...

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18 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

feedback in logs about how they could be improved.

 

I don't believe it's a finder's "job" to suggest improvements about a cache they find, regardless of what it might be (D/T, method of hide, size of container).  If they disagree with the rating, then feel free to mention it but to say that it should be changed because you disagree or didn't like it goes a bit too far, IMO.  I'm also not saying that it's a finders "job" to lavish praise on a hider who has done a poor job attempting to accurately rate, place, or hide their cache.  Yes, they hid it for us to find but they barely put any effort into it and the experience I might have been hoping for didn't match the rating I saw on the cache page.  You can bet I'll be mentioning some disappointments I had but I'm not going to suggest they do this or that, only point out that I didn't get the experience I was hoping for.  There's an art to writing a log that lets readers and the CO know that the cache wasn't a very good experience because of the issues caused by some of the CO's choices without directly calling out the CO on those choices and telling them they need to change things.

 

15 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

TERRAIN: 2.5 - Terrain may have small elevation changes or moderate overgrowth.

DIFFICULTY: 1 - Easy to find or solve within a few minutes.

 

It would mean hiders could not argue that ratings are subjective, and at the descretion of the hider. And it would make the playing-field even for finders, especially those who rely on accurate D/T ratings, no matter what part of the world they are caching in. 

 

There's no way this will curb subjectivity across the entire world.  What I consider 2.5 terrain in Indiana is not going to be like 2.5 terrain in Colorado in the Rocky Mountains.  Also, what if there's moderate overgrowth but the cache is only 15 feet off the trail?  Wouldn't that rate something more like a 2?  What if the moderate overgrowth you encounter goes on for .5 miles or longer because it's all off trail?  Wouldn't that rate something more like a 3?  Like it or not, there's always going to be some subjectivity involved, particularly in T ratings.  A 2T in Indiana is usually different than a 2T in Florida (gotta love those palmettos), but similar to a 2T in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky.  Difficulty, at least IMO, seems to be a bit more consistent from area to area and tends to have less variation.

 

11 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

there are a sizable number of COs out there who WON'T rate their cache  "within the guidelines".

 

This makes it seem like there are more that won't rate their caches correctly and less of those that will rate their caches correctly.  What percentage of hiders are you talking about?  50%? 25%? 10%? 5%?  I'm sorry you have to deal with that (and I'm not saying that it doesn't happen) but with some very small exceptions, it's not that common in any area I've cached in, here in the US or overseas in Europe.

 

7 hours ago, ecanderson said:

if something CHANGES in the D/T while it's still in play, it would be better to republish the cache under a new number.  That avoids screwing up anyone's fizzy or whatever else, and avoids the noise that follows.

 

This is a tricky thing to deal with.  I place my hides with ratings I feel are close but I changed the D/T rating on one (maybe two?) due to some changes in the area and the hide.  Since I typically don't get many finds on my hides, it was easy enough to reach out to each finder and ask their opinion and thoughts about me changing the D/T rating.  Only one person was singled up using my cache to fill the box but she was also the one who said that it was no big deal because they could always go out and find another one to fill that box in.  It was a 1/2 star change in D.  I did NOT submit a new listing because the hides were exactly the same, as was the terrain, so the previous finders would just be able to walk directly to the final (multi).  For me, if the accumulated change in the D/T ratings is 1/2 a star in both D and T ( +/- of 1 full point out of 10) or a 1 star change in one of the two, I feel that it's warranted to archive the old one and submit a new one.  If it's only a 1/2 star change in either of the two, I'll probably not submit a new listing.  That also depends on the current rating as well.  If it's a 4.5 T and it bumps up to 5, it will get a new listing.  The same applies if it goes down from a 5 to a 4.5.  However, for other hides, it would depend on the nature of the change that precipitated me considering a rating change and how different the change in the experience would be.

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13 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

This makes it seem like there are more that won't rate their caches correctly and less of those that will rate their caches correctly.  What percentage of hiders are you talking about?  50%? 25%? 10%? 5%?  I'm sorry you have to deal with that (and I'm not saying that it doesn't happen) but with some very small exceptions, it's not that common in any area I've cached in, here in the US or overseas in Europe.

I can't put a percentage on it. It's more an area thing than everywhere. I have been to some towns/areas where almost all the caches are not rated more than two. It used to be 1.5. Some of course will by chance be rightly rated (real two star or less), but others will be underrated. When that happens, all ratings by those COs become meaningless, because there's often no way to tell which caches are rated correctly and which aren't, so that in effect increases the number of caches where the ratings are meaningless.

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43 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

I don't believe it's a finder's "job" to suggest improvements about a cache they find, regardless of what it might be (D/T, method of hide, size of container).  If they disagree with the rating, then feel free to mention it but to say that it should be changed because you disagree or didn't like it goes a bit too far, IMO.

Granted, this is an extreme example, but check out GC8EKTX.

Note that the cache page remains the same as when the cache was placed re size, D/T and all.

Note further that after a week, as was planned by the owner from the beginning, the original LARGE container was pulled from service on 1/1/2020 and replaced with a small pill bottle in a slightly different location. 

See my original log of 1/11/2020, the CO's note on 1/12/2020, and my response on 1/12/2020.

That one should be changed.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, ecanderson said:

Granted, this is an extreme example, but check out GC8EKTX.

Note that the cache page remains the same as when the cache was placed re size, D/T and all.

Note further that after a week, as was planned by the owner from the beginning, the original LARGE container was pulled from service on 1/1/2020 and replaced with a small pill bottle in a slightly different location. 

See my original log of 1/11/2020, the CO's note on 1/12/2020, and my response on 1/12/2020.

That one should be changed.

 

 

Did the replacement pill bottle contain a letterboxing stamp?  If not, then the cache no longer meets the requirements for that cache type - the presence of a stamp is the single distinguishing feature.  A "Needs Maintenance" log would alert the cache owner to the need to replace the missing stamp.  (I've found plenty of micro-sized letterbox hybrids, with stamps, so it's a reasonable request.)  If the maintenance need is not addressed, then the cache should be archived.

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No, we recall no stamp present when we visited.  Not really much room for one, though since we don't letterbox, we could be mistaken.   Have seen some pretty tiny stamps.

 

In cases such as this where some part of the listing really doesn't seem to fit (we don't quibble over small differences in D/T), we post our comments in our logs (back on topic).  This may well include size (which is often not subjective) or D/T information, or coordinate updates.  In this case, the CO chose not to re-post the cache under a new number regardless of the fact that it was very different in many respects, including a slight (45', as I recall) difference in location of the replacement.  While we appreciate the thought behind the original, what exists now under that GC code is an entirely different cache, even if a stamp were present.

 

As another example set, we see new COs who think that their cache is 'regular' (perhaps as opposed to irregular?) when in fact, they've placed a micro or a small, not knowing what the definitions are for cache sizes.  That changes the search methodology so significantly in some settings that we post comments about such size issues in our logs as well.  A quick way to score a DNF on a cache is to look for a regular when the cache is a well hidden micro.  Once the finder has searched in all nearby locations where a regular, or even a small, could be found, the common solution apart from a PAF or prior log that explains the problem is to give up and DNF it.

 

We also see new cachers, and a rare few more experienced ones, who don't take the context of the hide into consideration when determining the D rating.  We've seen any number of caches where the CO hasn't realized that the cache site is a 'haystack' into which the needle is being placed.  Depending upon the quality of the coordinates, the problem isn't so much the deviousness of the hide itself, but determining where in a huge 'haystack' to begin looking.  Sometimes COs forget that while they know the right general area to look, a slip of 0.003 minutes in a dense forest on a smaller hide can generate hours of searching for an otherwise 1.5 cache.  Those we comment upon in our logs as well.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, ecanderson said:

As another example set, we see new COs who think that their cache is 'regular' (perhaps as opposed to irregular?) when in fact, they've placed a micro or a small, not knowing what the definitions are for cache sizes.  That changes the search methodology so significantly in some settings that we post comments about such size issues in our logs as well.  A quick way to score a DNF on a cache is to look for a regular when the cache is a well hidden micro.  Once the finder has searched in all nearby locations where a regular, or even a small, could be found, the common solution apart from a PAF or prior log that explains the problem is to give up and DNF it.

 

We also see new cachers, and a rare few more experienced ones, who don't take the context of the hide into consideration when determining the D rating.  We've seen any number of caches where the CO hasn't realized that the cache site is a 'haystack' into which the needle is being placed.  Depending upon the quality of the coordinates, the problem isn't so much the deviousness of the hide itself, but determining where in a huge 'haystack' to begin looking.  Sometimes COs forget that while they know the right general area to look, a slip of 0.003 minutes in a dense forest on a smaller hide can generate hours of searching for an otherwise 1.5 cache.  Those we comment upon in our logs as well.

I blame the missing size rating on nanos for why many caches are wrongly rated. Geocachers, especially new ones, think that if a nano is rated micro, then small pill bottles, minty tins and 35mm film canisters are 'naturally' smalls. Then small sistemas become regulars, etc. This is reinforced then when beginners see wrongly rated caches by previous beginners, and the wrong sizes perpetuate.

A cache is always a 1.5D when you know where it is. Unfortunately, that's often only the CO, and some lack the imagination to see all the other potential hides. So as they can find it easily they rate it 1.5D. Good on you for mentioning when something is wrong.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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1 hour ago, ecanderson said:

That one should be changed.

 

While I don't disagree, it's not my place to demand a change, only point out that I disagree with and am disappointed by their "interpretation" of the size , their description of what the experience is like, the realization that it's now nothing like that, and the fact that it's probably not got a stamp in it (did it ever?)

 

My log might look something like this.

 

TFTC.  I was out on a small run today and had mostly non-traditional caches on my list, including this one. As an added bonus, this one was a large cache as well, something I also like.  After a relatively quick find of this CO's nearby multi, I arrived near GZ, hopped out of the car and began my search.  I quickly made a find but wasn't initially sure if this was it or not, seeing as how it was much smaller than what was listed.  However, there's nothing else really out here so it had to be the cache.  I was really hoping to find what had been described in the write-up, as I had brought a small gift to exchange and had deciphered what was needed to access the log and the contents, including the stamp, but I found none of that.  Instead I found a small screw top container.  I stamped the log with my stamp but was unable to add a stamp in my LBH notebook because there wasn't one in there and I also couldn't leave the present I had brought with me because the container was too small.  Since I'm logging this at home, I was able to look back at the older logs and realize that the CO changed out the container which completely changed what this cache was supposed to be like.

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2 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

Strange and annoying that the CO hasn't changed the size rating. Quick to do.

 

What would be strange and annoying for us is stopping there, and finding a container and cache type that wasn't even close.

But when we got home to find  no one logged a NM to boot, I'd be a bit more than annoyed.   

 - That NM is quick n easy to do also... 

The CO doesn't say whether each holiday season that "large" cache will come out again either, but simply that there is no stamp gives it a NM anyway.

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I am in favor of Finders being able to rate the D/T (also the Find-DNF rate affecting the D).

 

I have seen enough COs who frequently underrate or overrate their caches, COs who refuse under any circumstances to change a D/T rating because they're worried about affecting a past Finder's D/T grid, and old caches with inactive COs so their D/T rating can't be updated.

 

That said, it should be limited to Finders, probably only those with a minimum number of Finds (50 or 100), and require a minimum number of votes (5?) to take affect. D/T voting could be an option in the log screen. If you don't give an alternative D/T then it counts as agreeing with the rating. 

 

As a compromise, I would be satisfied if the Finder D/T rating was a separate field from the CO D/T rating.

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1 hour ago, coachstahly said:

 

While I don't disagree, it's not my place to demand a change, only point out that I disagree with and am disappointed by their "interpretation"...

Which is exactly what I did with my note to the CO that followed our discovery of what had happened.

 

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2 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

I am in favor of Finders being able to rate the D/T (also the Find-DNF rate affecting the D).

I have seen enough COs who frequently underrate or overrate their caches, COs who refuse under any circumstances to change a D/T rating because they're worried about affecting a past Finder's D/T grid, and old caches with inactive COs so their D/T rating can't be updated.

That said, it should be limited to Finders, probably only those with a minimum number of Finds (50 or 100), and require a minimum number of votes (5?) to take affect. D/T voting could be an option in the log screen. If you don't give an alternative D/T then it counts as agreeing with the rating. 

As a compromise, I would be satisfied if the Finder D/T rating was a separate field from the CO D/T rating.

 

I'd bet most here would agree that "number of finds" means nothing.  One power trail of 1.5s and you're now "experienced" .    :D

The caches and cache pages belong to the CO.   There is a formal process to notify the CO there's a need to "fix" caches.  NM logs.

 I think it arrogant that someone would think that they should somehow be entitled to take the rights of the CO away from them.

Amassing a number of folks to think the same sounds like bullying to me... 

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7 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I can't put a percentage on it. It's more an area thing than everywhere. I have been to some towns/areas where almost all the caches are not rated more than two. It used to be 1.5. Some of course will by chance be rightly rated (real two star or less), but others will be underrated. When that happens, all ratings by those COs become meaningless, because there's often no way to tell which caches are rated correctly and which aren't, so that in effect increases the number of caches where the ratings are meaningless.

 

There's no evidence of anything like that happening around these parts. The top map is caches in this region with terrain 1 to 2 and the bottom map is terrain 2.5 to 5. Those in the top map that are in non-urban locations (the green bits) are all within a short fairly level walk of car parks (or in one case a railway station).


image.thumb.png.c7add33a04be5b836480abec1cc33b81.png

 

LocaI problems are best dealt with locally. I would think any voting system would be just as likely to be abused by malicious finders as the existing ratings are being abused by malicious COs, particularly in places where there's animosity between opposing groups of cachers.

 

Or if rating everything D/T 2 or less to make them visible to basic members using the official app really is rampant, maybe the best solution would be to remove that restriction from the app.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

Amassing a number of folks to think the same sounds like bullying to me... 

16 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 I would think any voting system would be just as likely to be abused by malicious finders as the existing ratings are being abused by malicious COs, particularly in places where there's animosity between opposing groups of cachers.

 

 

Exactly. 

We've seen first-hand a couple counties over,  a group  making plans on something as simple as "some new person" placing caches in "their" area.

 - They went so far as to remove caches every time a new CO placed and replaced theirs.     This was a kid we introduced to the hobby.

On our local caching site , I posted  "It seems someone is stealing caches in certain areas, so we placed field cameras to hopefully identify them."

No more caches swiped.      If they could somehow keep changing the  Co's D/T  too, is there anyone who thinks that's okay ?

 

 

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Exactly. 

We've seen first-hand a couple counties over,  a group  making plans on something as simple as "some new person" placing caches in "their" area.

 - They went so far as to remove caches every time a new CO placed and replaced theirs.     This was a kid we introduced to the hobby.

On our local caching site , I posted  "It seems someone is stealing caches in certain areas, so we placed field cameras to hopefully identify them."

No more caches swiped.      If they could somehow keep changing the  Co's D/T  too, is there anyone who thinks that's okay ?

 

 

 

I thought the original suggestion (maybe in another thread) was to display averaged finders' D/T ratings alongside the CO's posted ratings.  I honestly can't see this happening but just for the sake of a good argument...!  ;-)

 

When you log your find you have the option of entering your own D/T ratings (or implicitly confirming that the CO's ratings are correct).  The option could be restricted (or not) to PMs and/or cachers with a certain number of finds and/or COs and/or ... etc., etc.  The finders' ratings are then averaged across all finds (*) using the CO's ratings where no alternatives are suggested.

 

(*) If the option is restricted, then maybe the average should only be for the 'qualifying' finds, similar to the way that the Favorites % is only calculated using PM logs.

 

To discourage (but not prevent!) clandestine jiggery-pokery, a finder's suggested ratings could be either displayed in their log, or under the averaged ratings (cf. the 'View Who Favorited' option under Favorites).

 

I don't see why this couldn't work, but personally, I haven't come across enough problems with D/T ratings to think that we need a solution.

Edited by IceColdUK
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On 4/22/2020 at 6:51 AM, cerberus1 said:

 

I'd bet most here would agree that "number of finds" means nothing.  One power trail of 1.5s and you're now "experienced" .    :D

The caches and cache pages belong to the CO.   There is a formal process to notify the CO there's a need to "fix" caches.  NM logs.

 I think it arrogant that someone would think that they should somehow be entitled to take the rights of the CO away from them.

Amassing a number of folks to think the same sounds like bullying to me... 

Two separate ratings, as I have suggested and nothing is taken away from the CO. The CO's rating shows and a separate finders' rating. I suggested this should be only a Premier Members thing (something extra for paying money), and need a minimum of finds (so it's not influenced by complete beginners who don't know what they are looking for), and the separate rating doesn't show until a new cache has a minimum of finds, to get a blending of ratings.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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7 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

If you don't give an alternative D/T then it counts as agreeing with the rating.

That's not a good idea. Think of all those TFTC type logs. If they can't be bothered to log more than that, it's doubtful they could be bothered to rate the cache. They would sway the rating back to what the CO put, even if the CO's rating is way out. It wouldn't work.

I have always advocated for two ratings, so the CO's rating is not affected and stays. Then people can see what the CO rates their cache, and what other people (who don't have the CO's insider knowledge of where it is, or the CO's maybe greater than average fitness) rate it.

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23 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

That's not a good idea. Think of all those TFTC type logs. If they can't be bothered to log more than that, it's doubtful they could be bothered to rate the cache. They would sway the rating back to what the CO put, even if the CO's rating is way out. It wouldn't work.

I have always advocated for two ratings, so the CO's rating is not affected and stays. Then people can see what the CO rates their cache, and what other people (who don't have the CO's insider knowledge of where it is, or the CO's maybe greater than average fitness) rate it.

 

If it only takes into account those who want to dispute the CO's ratings, and realistically they're the only ones likely to vote, it will be highly skewed. There will always be people who think it's tougher than the CO thought and others who think it's easier, both in terrain and difficulty, but those who think it's tougher are the ones more likely to vote their objection.

 

Difficulty is especially difficult because it's such a subjective thing and is heavily influenced by previous experience. Someone visiting the USA from here who'd never heard of an LPC would likely be completely bamboozled by them. An off-the-shelf fake rock cache can be easily spotted by anyone who's found a few, but could be baffling for those who've never imagined such things existed. So often it's only hard until you spot it and then it's obvious, especially if your mental picture of what you're looking for turns out to be totally wrong.

 

Terrain ratings are very much a regional thing and the Help Centre page says as much. When I was holidaying in Queensland last year, I noticed quite a few caches had much higher terrain ratings than I would have given them. There was a 3.5 I did that was easier than a lot of the 2.5s here and a 4.5 that's 200 metres up a constructed tourist path and stairs that I've seen kids dashing up and down. Aside from that hill, the region is much flatter than what we have here so no doubt they've scaled their terrain ratings to give a good spread with the local terrain. Or maybe there are a lot more elderly people in their caching community. Someone visiting from there, or even Sydney's flat western suburbs, and doing my 2.5 on Blackwall Mountain would probably think it should be at least a 4 and would likely vote that way if they could. If those flatlands visitors are the only ones who vote, it would put pressure on me to up the rating and would then have to make many of my other hides 4.5 to keep them in proportion. At the university they called it grade inflation and it's never a good thing.

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2 hours ago, IceColdUK said:

To discourage (but not prevent!) clandestine jiggery-pokery, a finder's suggested ratings could be either displayed in their log, or under the averaged ratings (cf. the 'View Who Favorited' option under Favorites).

This could appease those who complain that their stats are damaged when the CO updates the cache listing to reflect changes to the cache situation.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

If it only takes into account those who want to dispute the CO's ratings, and realistically they're the only ones likely to vote, it will be highly skewed. There will always be people who think it's tougher than the CO thought and others who think it's easier, both in terrain and difficulty, but those who think it's tougher are the ones more likely to vote their objection.

 

Difficulty is especially difficult because it's such a subjective thing and is heavily influenced by previous experience. Someone visiting the USA from here who'd never heard of an LPC would likely be completely bamboozled by them. An off-the-shelf fake rock cache can be easily spotted by anyone who's found a few, but could be baffling for those who've never imagined such things existed. So often it's only hard until you spot it and then it's obvious, especially if your mental picture of what you're looking for turns out to be totally wrong.

 

Terrain ratings are very much a regional thing and the Help Centre page says as much. When I was holidaying in Queensland last year, I noticed quite a few caches had much higher terrain ratings than I would have given them. There was a 3.5 I did that was easier than a lot of the 2.5s here and a 4.5 that's 200 metres up a constructed tourist path and stairs that I've seen kids dashing up and down. Aside from that hill, the region is much flatter than what we have here so no doubt they've scaled their terrain ratings to give a good spread with the local terrain. Or maybe there are a lot more elderly people in their caching community. Someone visiting from there, or even Sydney's flat western suburbs, and doing my 2.5 on Blackwall Mountain would probably think it should be at least a 4 and would likely vote that way if they could. If those flatlands visitors are the only ones who vote, it would put pressure on me to up the rating and would then have to make many of my other hides 4.5 to keep them in proportion. At the university they called it grade inflation and it's never a good thing.

I have not ever found the differences in ratings varies much in different areas by most COs. And I have cached in many places around the world. There's always the exception, but that's not the norm. A 4T for a set of steps is inexperience on the part of the CO. Generally 4T is for (big) tree climbs, and trees are everywhere and don't generally vary a great deal. Height of the tree is not always the biggest factor here either; its the ability of being able to pull yourself up to the first branch and then from branch to branch. So a smaller tree might be harder to climb than some tall trees. It might also be for a very mountainous area that needs a full day's hike in tough country, perhaps off track (some of those might be 5T too). An example of inexperience by a beginner CO with less than 200 finds. I came upon a tree climb of theirs  marked 1.5T, because in their answer to me when I said it was more than 1.5T, the walk to the tree is flat. They told me to go read the definitions. Yes, with inexperience the BADLY worded definitions [The hike is less than 0.5 mile (0.8 km). Most likely flat but may not be wheelchair accessible.] could be interpreted that way, as it only mentioned the hike (about 25 metres in this case from the car park). It was not a 4T tree, as it was a small one, but still not a 1.5T, because you needed to scramble up to a branch to reach the cache. Maybe a really tall person could have reached the cache, but not the average height person. When I rate my caches I take the average height of females into account, which is in Australia according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 161.4 cm, even though I am several centimetres taller myself. If the average male height of 174.8 cm were used, that would make it out of reach of most females. Height is one thing that could vary from country to country, but it shouldn't vary across Australia. I mention height, because that is often considered (or should be) when rating the T of a cache.

If a local (usually, most geocachers will be local) doesn't recognise a rock key hide, they are likely a starting out geocacher. That's why I suggested before anyone can rate a cache they should have found a minimum number of finds to get some experience, and hopefully by the time they have found the minimum number of finds, they have discovered what a key holder rock hide is.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I have not ever found the differences in ratings varies much in different areas by most COs. And I have cached in many places around the world. There's always the exception, but that's not the norm. A 4T for a set of steps is inexperience on the part of the CO. Generally 4T is for (big) tree climbs, and trees are everywhere and don't generally vary a great deal.

 

Well there you go, tree climb caches are a tiny minority of the higher T-rated caches around here. Most 4T caches here are rugged hikes; of the 36 within 25km of home, only 2 have the tree-climbing attribute. It's the nature of the terrain around here, it just lends itself to those sorts of hikes. Four of those I own:

  • GC8DQXK, an undulating 3km bushland hike that ends with some serious rock-hopping and a scramble down through a narrow cleft to a cave.
  • GC6JMDK, a 150 metre climb up a steep track followed by a few hundred metres of thick scrub and rock-hopping along the cliff-top to GZ.
  • GC6E1W2, a steep climb down three sets of waterfalls, including a four metre drop where you have to lower yourself down on a chain.
  • GC8BXVN, a 1km hike along an undulating track followed by a steep 100 metre climb up a forested spur to a rocky outcrop at GZ.
Edited by barefootjeff
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Goldenwattle said:

I mention height, because that is often considered (or should be) when rating the T of a cache.

 

Off the top of my head, I don't think height would factor into the terrain rating of any of my hides. Most are at ground level or maybe knee height and would be just as easy, if not easier in some cases, for a hobbit - they'd be much better at rock-scrambling than I am. Only two are at about my shoulder height (GC61HCN and GC831AR) but they could still be easily reached by most adults and older children.

Edited by barefootjeff

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Terrain rating has always been a issue for me as some people seem to equate terrain with driveablity, to me they are very separate things. I live in Shikoku in Japan and I prefer to cache by bicycle and I often encounter caches that require me to cycle 10 km and up 1000 feet that are rated 1 terrain because there is a road that I could have driven on to the cache site and from there it is a 1. I think if you start judging terrain by how easy it is to drive there, then you end up with different terrain rating depending on whether you drive, cycle or walk to the cache.

 

When I set terrain on my caches, I usually use the nearest train/bus station/stop as a starting point for terrain, NOT the parking lot at the top of the mountain. Looking at Clayjar, it doesn't seem to address this problem at all.

 

Difficulty is always a very subjective issue, if I am familiar with a specific cache container/hide type it may be easy for me to quickly identify it, whereas other cachers might find it impossible. As a owner, I do change difficulty setting if finders seem to have problems, and I think that is the best way to go.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, dimwit61 said:

are rated 1 terrain

One terrain means it's accessible by someone in a wheelchair. They would most likely come by car, and it means they can park somewhere nearby and easily access the cache within a short distance, and over flattish (likely sealed) ground that a wheelchair could handle. I guess they could come by public transport of some kind, and then the cache needs to be only a short distance away, with no steps; ramps instead, and flat terrain, or almost flat. The cache also needs to be reachable by the person in the wheelchair, without them needing to get assistance to fetch and return the cache. Some people who mark their caches as T1 - wheelchair assessable - appear to not consider that last point. They only allow for the easy, flat path. Either they think that the person in the wheelchair will always (which they mightn't) have an able bodied person to fetch the cache for them, once they have made their way to GZ, or they don't think. I reckon, don't think!

Edited by Goldenwattle
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Older caches (pre 2015 I guess) didn't seem to have that wheelchair requirement so I many of them are rated terrain 1. 

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19 minutes ago, dimwit61 said:

Older caches (pre 2015 I guess) didn't seem to have that wheelchair requirement so I many of them are rated terrain 1. 

 

Actually, since at least 2006, Terrain 1 = Wheelchair accessible.  See this forum post I made back then.  The more recent change was to force the use of the attribute for T1 caches so that Reviewers didn't need to post that form letter day after day.

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Long before my time so I am only guessing. But for me the problem is that any cache you can get reasonable close to by car often gets rated a 1.5 terrain even if the road is full of hairpin turns, narrow with massive elevation changes.

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2 hours ago, dimwit61 said:

Long before my time so I am only guessing. But for me the problem is that any cache you can get reasonable close to by car often gets rated a 1.5 terrain even if the road is full of hairpin turns, narrow with massive elevation changes.

Yes, I know that can be hard on a bike, or walking, but usually it's considered the starting point is from where the car is parked. Otherwise, I could argue that a cache in the US should have a T5, because as I live in Australia, I need special equipment to get that cache, ie a boat or a plane for starters.

If a handicapped person is the driver, it doesn't matter until they get out of the car and into their wheelchair, how many hairpin bends or ups and downs the road has, because the car does the work.

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I don't agree that the parking lot should be the starting point of reference. I think you should use the nearest public transport location, be it a bus stop, train station, port or whatever.  

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3 minutes ago, dimwit61 said:

I don't agree that the parking lot should be the starting point of reference. I think you should use the nearest public transport location, be it a bus stop, train station, port or whatever.  

Does an Uber or Lyft count?

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