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STNolan

Help Improve my Boilerplate Email

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Hey all; was hoping you could provide some constructive criticism on improving my "hey I didn't get your answers" message. What I'm currently working with is below. Any suggestions to improve/clarify/sound less demeaning would be apprecaited!


Hello!

About once a month I go through and review my Earthcaches and I notice that you logged a find on GC84H59 Sandy Beach - Juneau Earthcache #6. It's entirely possible that they may have slipped through the cracks, but as of yet I don't seem to have any answers from you. If you're already well versed in geocaching, please ignore this next part, but I've found that many times newer cachers may not be aware about the differences between an Earthcache and a Virtual Cache! A virtual cache often requires you to merely visit a location (and possibly take a photo). An Earthcache requires a cacher to visit a location and complete an Earth-Science lesson to log a find! For more information on Earthcaches use this link: http://www.geosociety.org/GSA/fieldexp/EarthCache/guidelines/home.aspx

Again, please send your answers as soon as possible! Unfortunately without a set of answers I may be forced to delete your find. Thank you for understanding and please reach out if you have any questions!

Very Respectfully,
STNolan

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1 minute ago, STNolan said:

Hey all; was hoping you could provide some constructive criticism on improving my "hey I didn't get your answers" message. What I'm currently working with is below. Any suggestions to improve/clarify/sound less demeaning would be apprecaited!


Hello!

About once a month I go through and review my Earthcaches and I notice that you logged a find on GC84H59 Sandy Beach - Juneau Earthcache #6. It's entirely possible that they may have slipped through the cracks, but as of yet I don't seem to have any answers from you. If you're already well versed in geocaching, please ignore this next part, but I've found that many times newer cachers may not be aware about the differences between an Earthcache and a Virtual Cache! A virtual cache often requires you to merely visit a location (and possibly take a photo). An Earthcache requires a cacher to visit a location and complete an Earth-Science lesson to log a find! For more information on Earthcaches use this link: http://www.geosociety.org/GSA/fieldexp/EarthCache/guidelines/home.aspx

Again, please send your answers as soon as possible! Unfortunately without a set of answers I may be forced to delete your find. Thank you for understanding and please reach out if you have any questions!

Very Respectfully,
STNolan

In my opinion that message sounds great!

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I have two versions.  One is a n00b version for newer cachers and/or those who have few to no earthcache logs, which goes into how earthcaches work. The other is for cachers who just need the reminder. Both of them are a little more direct than this, though I typically don't start out with "if I don't hear back from you, I will have to delete your find." That's usually the second one I send, if I haven't heard anything for a few days.

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4 hours ago, hzoi said:

I have two versions.  One is a n00b version for newer cachers and/or those who have few to no earthcache logs, which goes into how earthcaches work. The other is for cachers who just need the reminder. Both of them are a little more direct than this, though I typically don't start out with "if I don't hear back from you, I will have to delete your find." That's usually the second one I send, if I haven't heard anything for a few days.

 

Apparently this was too direct because I got the following response back today:

 

"hi no"

 

So now I'm trying to figure out exactly what to say with that. 

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38 minutes ago, STNolan said:

 

Apparently this was too direct because I got the following response back today:

 

"hi no"

 

So now I'm trying to figure out exactly what to say with that. 

I wouldnt say anything after that. I'd delete.

But I'm not an earth cache owner so my opinion doesn't carry as much weight. 😀

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What was the online log like? Did it give details, provide a photo; anything to let you know they had done the learning lesson and at least followed the spirit of the EarthCache experience? Could there be a language barrier?

 

Personally, I'm all for being generous with logging requirements, but I'm not a big fan of people who just refuse to make an honest attempt to log an EarthCache the way the owner intended.

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If someone with only a few caches logs one of my EarthCaches, I check their profile to see if it is their first EC.  If so, I give it a couple days then send my newbie boilerplate:

 

Hi - You recently logged my geocache near xxxxxxxx  called xxxxxxxxxx. This cache is a special type called an EarthCache, which is designed to provide an earth sciences lesson. Since you haven't logged one of this type before, you might not be familiar with some of the requirements.

While you visit the location, you need to find answers to some questions listed on the cache page, and send those answers to me, the owner of the EarthCache.  See the description in the first paragraph of the cache page, or visit https://www.geosociety.org/GSA/Education_Careers/Field_Experiences/EarthCache/GSA/fieldexp/EarthCache/home.aspx for more information.
Please let me know if you will be able to fulfill these requirements. If not, by the EarthCache rules, I must delete your log.
Thanks
egroeg

 

 

If it is someone with EC experience, I have a different letter that is shorter and just reminds them that they haven't sent in their answers.  If I don't hear from anyone after a few more days, they get this:

 

Hello -

 

Since you have not responded to my previous email, nor have you supplied the information necessary to log the Earthcache  xxxxxx ,  I am required to delete your log.  If, in the future, you complete the requirements, you can create a new cache log.

 

egroeg

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1 hour ago, Neos2 said:

What was the online log like? Did it give details, provide a photo; anything to let you know they had done the learning lesson and at least followed the spirit of the EarthCache experience? Could there be a language barrier?

 

Personally, I'm all for being generous with logging requirements, but I'm not a big fan of people who just refuse to make an honest attempt to log an EarthCache the way the owner intended.

Their log was "Thanks"

 

So not much to go on their. Definitely their first Earthcache so I'm trying to explain the ins and outs... but you can only lead a horse to water

 

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I don't pretend to know anything about owning an EarthCache and dealing with answers, but I'd assume forgetfulness instead of ignorance. "You forgot to send in the answers to my EarthCache, [A Good Time for Bad Rocks](coords.info/GCXXXX). I'll have to delete your find is you wait much longer."

 

I wouldn't feel any need -- or use -- to explain or educate unless asked. The people that don't know have already demonstrated that they don't care, and people that do know will consider my pedantic details patronizing. Anyone in between that wants to learn will ask for an explanation.

 

My main goal would be to be as friendly as possible for people playing the game right and helpful to people I discover just don't know any better. I wouldn't waste any time trying to explain the rules to satisfy someone that will never be satisfied if I delete their log no matter how much detail I go into explaining beforehand. I recognize that you're trying to be nice, but I think you're trying to be nice to someone that's not going to consider you nice in the end no matter how hard you try.

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I think a combination here might be required... or rather multiple boilerplates...

 

Boiler plate one - For the newbie with either few to no EC finds on their account


Boiler plate two - Something similar to what dprovan was suggesting - short sweet and to the point. 

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4 hours ago, dprovan said:

I wouldn't feel any need -- or use -- to explain or educate unless asked. The people that don't know have already demonstrated that they don't care, and people that do know will consider my pedantic details patronizing. Anyone in between that wants to learn will ask for an explanation.

 

A year ago I'd have probably agreed with you, but now I'm seeing heaps of app-only newbies with premium memberships from the get-go who've never visited the website and would probably have no idea where to look for more info about ECs even if they wanted to. For them, caching is just open the app, click on the icon, follow the arrow and don't look at the description unless you get stuck.

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6 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

A year ago I'd have probably agreed with you, but now I'm seeing heaps of app-only newbies with premium memberships from the get-go who've never visited the website and would probably have no idea where to look for more info about ECs even if they wanted to. For them, caching is just open the app, click on the icon, follow the arrow and don't look at the description unless you get stuck.

Do you have any feel for whether a app-only newbie would understand or react to the OP's boilerplate? I admit that I don't have any idea, myself, but I have to wonder if someone mindlessly going to caches as you're saying would suddenly come to their senses because of the OP's mail. In other words, I can't rule out that he'd have to delete the logs everytime, anyway.

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2 hours ago, dprovan said:

Do you have any feel for whether a app-only newbie would understand or react to the OP's boilerplate? I admit that I don't have any idea, myself, but I have to wonder if someone mindlessly going to caches as you're saying would suddenly come to their senses because of the OP's mail. In other words, I can't rule out that he'd have to delete the logs everytime, anyway.

 

Most simply haven't responded to either messages or emails. The recent EC one I had over the International EarthCache weekend, who initially didn't send any answers, responded to my query with a set of answers that were all wrong but, when I explained the geology of the site (with photos) and asked a follow-up question, didn't respond. So maybe they've learnt something and maybe they haven't as they just don't seem interested in communicating, which is probably on par with how they see caching as just an app game.

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5 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Most simply haven't responded to either messages or emails. 

 

For statistical analysis - I started this thread 6 days ago. On that day I reached out to 15 finders of 8 of my ECs about not logging caches.

 

Of those, 5 have gotten back to me. Of those 5, four were veteran players who either 1) forgot to send the email or 2) their email went to my spam folder on accident. The last was a newbie who responded to my email with "hi no."

 

So of 15 players reached out to, 4/15 have supplied answers of 9/15 have not and 0/9 newbies* have responded to the messages with answers.


*a self defined term based on number of caches and specifically earthcaches found, typically less than 200/5 split. 

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6 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Most simply haven't responded to either messages or emails.

It occurs to me that this is underlying my reaction to the OP: very few people are going to read it to begin with. So that's why I think the focus should be on those who actually might respond, and that's mainly mainstream geocachers who just forgot or whose responses got lost, while leaving the window open for those few who will read the request for answers and ask themselves what they missed. It's a waste of time to worry about the others, and it could give a negative impression to the people we should be interested in.

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