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How do I DNF an AL?


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Well okay, I know the answer already, you can't. Not being able to complete it isn't an option, it seems. So my story of woe...

 

There's a sequential AL along the northern railway line, with locations at Central, Strathfield, Hornsby, Cowan and Hawkesbury River stations and the bonus irritatingly close to home at Woy Woy, so with no COVID cases in New South Wales for the past couple of weeks I thought it was time to risk a train trip to Sydney. The first three stops have clues on the platforms but there are frequent trains to them so I got those easily. After answering the Hornsby question, its journal said the next one could be answered from within the train as it passed through Cowan so I waited patiently for the next service (which is hourly for Cowan and Hawkesbury River). Unfortunately GPS reception inside the train wasn't good enough to get me inside the geofence at Cowan so I couldn't even see the question, let alone answer it, then because it's a sequential AL it wouldn't let me see even the description for the final waypoint at Hawkesbury River. Getting off at Hawkesbury River and catching a train back to Cowan wasn't an option as the north and south bound trains pass each other between those two stations so it would have been two very long waits.

 

I reckon this deserves a DNF, both to notify the owner that perhaps the geofence at Cowan needs to be widened and also to warn future attemptees not to fall into the same trap as I did. But no, the system doesn't allow that. I suppose all I can do is log a DNF on the bonus.

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35 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Well okay, I know the answer already, you can't. Not being able to complete it isn't an option, it seems. So my story of woe...

Yeah I don't know why Groundspeak didn't implement this basic function at the same time of introducing the new app 20 months ago...

 

It's impossible to find the right answers for every question without having issues for some. You can't even contact the CO from the app...

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52 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Well okay, I know the answer already, you can't. Not being able to complete it isn't an option, it seems. So my story of woe...

 

There's a sequential AL along the northern railway line, with locations at Central, Strathfield, Hornsby, Cowan and Hawkesbury River stations and the bonus irritatingly close to home at Woy Woy, so with no COVID cases in New South Wales for the past couple of weeks I thought it was time to risk a train trip to Sydney. The first three stops have clues on the platforms but there are frequent trains to them so I got those easily. After answering the Hornsby question, its journal said the next one could be answered from within the train as it passed through Cowan so I waited patiently for the next service (which is hourly for Cowan and Hawkesbury River). Unfortunately GPS reception inside the train wasn't good enough to get me inside the geofence at Cowan so I couldn't even see the question, let alone answer it, then because it's a sequential AL it wouldn't let me see even the description for the final waypoint at Hawkesbury River. Getting off at Hawkesbury River and catching a train back to Cowan wasn't an option as the north and south bound trains pass each other between those two stations so it would have been two very long waits.

 

I reckon this deserves a DNF, both to notify the owner that perhaps the geofence at Cowan needs to be widened and also to warn future attemptees not to fall into the same trap as I did. But no, the system doesn't allow that. I suppose all I can do is log a DNF on the bonus.

if this happened to me I would contact the creator of the adventure lab through their geocaching account and suggest they extend the geofencing. But that doesn't help future seekers of the adventure lab. 

 

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9 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

Yeah I don't know why Groundspeak didn't implement this basic function at the same time of introducing the new app 20 months ago...

For consistency. They didn't implement a lot of basic functions into the app, so why should this one be different?

 

I know that I'm sarcastic here, but I admit that my patience with Groundspeak's failure to address any of the many major problems of the AL app is starting to decline.

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One wonderful cacher"found" stages on my AL and  logged them as found two minutes apart despite the fact the in some cases are miles apart. My AL is on the Lincoln Highway and has 10 stages.

 

I looked at his profile and he has "found" 962 ALs, nothing else. Of course these are stages of an AL, not that many ALs. Looks like maybe 190.4  ALs not counting mine that he "found".

 

I say" he" since the user name is masculine, it may be that he uses one name for ALs and another for other types of caches, but I doubt it. 

 

Obvious fake finds but I see no way to remove log. What I do not know is how he was able to answer the questions for the stages he logged found, since you had to be there to see the answer,  but somehow has not "found" the bonus cache. Oh, I guess that would mean leaving the house.

 

An another note, I have the chance to place another AL, need to get that underway.

 

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21 minutes ago, Jayeffel said:

One wonderful cacher"found" stages on my AL and  logged them as found two minutes apart despite the fact the in some cases are miles apart. My AL is on the Lincoln Highway and has 10 stages.

(...)

Obvious fake finds but I see no way to remove log. What I do not know is how he was able to answer the questions for the stages he logged found, since you had to be there to see the answer,  but somehow has not "found" the bonus cache. Oh, I guess that would mean leaving the house.

(...)

 

 

You didn't say if your AL is linear. If it's not, then you can never be sure which finds are fake, especially with this kind of account.

Why so? You always can send answers later, not being on the spot at the same time. You only need to be at least once in the radius of the stage and the app lets you answer this even 5 days later. It is important to mention, because I think that people (owners) forget about this. I'm not sending answers later, but once I had to, because there was no cellular signal -> no internet access. So when the owner would look exactly into the player stats it would look like a teleport between the stages.

It is also important to mention, that there are some people who are using other accounts for Adventure Labs only.

 

Of course in your case, this person may have used GPS-fake apps, but you can never be 100% sure. In linear scenarios I think you can, because there is no way, to know (access) other questions before completing the previous one.

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1 hour ago, Jayeffel said:

What I do not know is how he was able to answer the questions for the stages he logged found, since you had to be there to see the answer,  

Answers are populated on Facebook. AFAIK, the app is playable from home with apps that are faking a GPS signal to get the "Answer" button.

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26 minutes ago, sernikk said:

 

You didn't say if your AL is linear. If it's not, then you can never be sure which finds are fake, especially with this kind of account.

Why so? You always can send answers later, not being on the spot at the same time. You only need to be at least once in the radius of the stage and the app lets you answer this even 5 days later. It is important to mention, because I think that people (owners) forget about this. I'm not sending answers later, but once I had to, because there was no cellular signal -> no internet access. So when the owner would look exactly into the player stats it would look like a teleport between the stages.

It is also important to mention, that there are some people who are using other accounts for Adventure Labs only.

 

Of course in your case, this person may have used GPS-fake apps, but you can never be 100% sure. In linear scenarios I think you can, because there is no way, to know (access) other questions before completing the previous one.

Off topic

 

I don't think GPS spoofing care if an AL is linear or not. It will just change the order the questions will be answered by the armchair logger.

 

Also I am pretty sure that the 2 armchair logger on my AL from Latvia with over 1400 AL founds never came to Canada while the border is closed.

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1 hour ago, baer2006 said:

For consistency. They didn't implement a lot of basic functions into the app, so why should this one be different?

 

I know that I'm sarcastic here, but I admit that my patience with Groundspeak's failure to address any of the many major problems of the AL app is starting to decline.

Yeah I know there are an arm length of basic function that they decided wasn't required when they launch the app. They tried to reinvent the wheel and failed.

 

Their failure to upgrade the app after so much time elapsing is really concerning. If I was the boss of that company I would seriously consider made changes to my staff.

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1 minute ago, Lynx Humble said:

I don't think GPS spoofing care if an AL is linear or not. It will just change the order the questions will be answered by the armchair logger.

 

I was talking about being careful about accusing people of armchair logging. When there is a regular AL scenario and someone has done all stages in 1 minute, it may be legit, but when it is a linear (sequential) scenario it is clearly impossible.

 

Just now, Jayeffel said:

Not sure what you mean, it is a sequential AL, one leads to the next . 

Yeah, I meant sequential. So that is of course armchair logging.

 

 

Back to the topic. I think having DNF's on AL would be something completely different than currently made Activity Log, which is optional and it's not a AL found list. I don't see DNF's on AL as an reasonable option, but a way to contact or report the AL to the owner is missing and should be added ASAP!

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13 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Unfortunately GPS reception inside the train wasn't good enough to get me inside the geofence at Cowan so I couldn't even see the question, let alone answer it, then because it's a sequential AL it wouldn't let me see even the description for the final waypoint at Hawkesbury River.

 

I can tell you that you can answer those questions without visiting those waypoints again. You could use a fake-gps to spoof your coordinates and just answer the questions to get bonus coordinates. This is not a new problem. With some Wherigo caches it was also impossible to get inside too small geofence. Fake-gps solved the problem.

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4 hours ago, Jayeffel said:

Obvious fake finds but I see no way to remove log.

How would you define a fake find on an adventure lab? 

In geocaching I define a fake found log as you didn't get to the cache and sign the paper yourself. 

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25 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

How would you define a fake find on an adventure lab? 

In geocaching I define a fake found log as you didn't get to the cache and sign the paper yourself. 

 

There is no guideline that you must sign the log yourself, but you must visit coordinates. How do you know that somebody visited coordinates? The Adventure Lab app takes care of whether you found the lab or not. It is much easier, zero maintenance required, for the cache owner.

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6 minutes ago, arisoft said:

There is no guideline that you must sign the log yourself

You're right. I didn't state that very well. You must go to the coordinates yourself but you don't have to actually sign the log yourself. Thank you for clarifying that. 

 

AL: Yep. The Ron Popeil method: Set it and Forget it. 😁

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I came across 2 problems today. One lab the sign at the first location was missing (confirmed by others as well). All I can do is mail the hider through the system and ask them to check/fix it. However this begs the question what happens if the CO is no longer active (not in this case)? How do I report a problem to Groundspeak - especially if there is no bonus real cache hide to put a NM or NA log on.

 

The second problem on another lab was asking for a date from a plaque that specifically stated in the date format used on the plaque. In this case that read 31 July 1998. However the answer required was 31 July 98. This has been pointed out to the CO in numerous logs from those that have managed to complete it but it hasn't been fixed. I would like to be able to put an NM on it so action is forced by Groundspeak, as the only way to know the problem is to look at previous find logs and see people have written it in their reviews.

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3 hours ago, richary said:

I came across 2 problems today. One lab the sign at the first location was missing (confirmed by others as well). All I can do is mail the hider through the system and ask them to check/fix it. However this begs the question what happens if the CO is no longer active (not in this case)? How do I report a problem to Groundspeak - especially if there is no bonus real cache hide to put a NM or NA log on.

 

The second problem on another lab was asking for a date from a plaque that specifically stated in the date format used on the plaque. In this case that read 31 July 1998. However the answer required was 31 July 98. This has been pointed out to the CO in numerous logs from those that have managed to complete it but it hasn't been fixed. I would like to be able to put an NM on it so action is forced by Groundspeak, as the only way to know the problem is to look at previous find logs and see people have written it in their reviews.

Use the "report this adventure" link?

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14 hours ago, richary said:

The second problem on another lab was asking for a date from a plaque that specifically stated in the date format used on the plaque. In this case that read 31 July 1998. However the answer required was 31 July 98. This has been pointed out to the CO in numerous logs from those that have managed to complete it but it hasn't been fixed.

I too have seen an AL owner ignore these issues. Frustrating!

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5 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

I too have seen an AL owner ignore these issues. Frustrating!

 

A lot of the time it seems the owner doesn't know how to make the corrections. If they've lost the original email with the AL Builder link in it, it can take some finding as it's not anywhere obvious on the geocaching website.

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20 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

Use the "report this adventure" link?

That seems to be more for inappropriate placements, though I don't know what happens after I enter my email address and select Other as the problem - whether it then gives me a text field I can explain the problem. However unlike normal caches where you can see there are a few other DNFs (so it isn't just me suffering cache blindness on the day) you don't know if you are just being stupid or if there is really a problem, unless of course you talk to others in the local community who may have run up against the same problem (as was the case with this one with the missing sign).

 

Side note - in this case the CO has provided the answer in the question temporarily until he can get there next weekend and pick another sign, so it's not a problem here. But as ALs get abandoned by owners who lose interest I can see it could be.

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1 hour ago, richary said:

That seems to be more for inappropriate placements, though I don't know what happens after I enter my email address and select Other as the problem - whether it then gives me a text field I can explain the problem. However unlike normal caches where you can see there are a few other DNFs (so it isn't just me suffering cache blindness on the day) you don't know if you are just being stupid or if there is really a problem, unless of course you talk to others in the local community who may have run up against the same problem (as was the case with this one with the missing sign).

 

Side note - in this case the CO has provided the answer in the question temporarily until he can get there next weekend and pick another sign, so it's not a problem here. But as ALs get abandoned by owners who lose interest I can see it could be.

Well if the location is missing and the CO is inactive, which is what you asked, then it violates the guidelines:

  • Are accessible to the public most of the week.

I cannot access it if it's gone. 😁

 

So I would use the report this adventure lab if the location is missing and the CO is inactive. I would certainly try other avenues first. 

Edited by Max and 99
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6 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

A lot of the time it seems the owner doesn't know how to make the corrections. If they've lost the original email with the AL Builder link in it, it can take some finding as it's not anywhere obvious on the geocaching website.

I agree! I would certainly reach out to them first. 

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On 3/1/2021 at 10:15 PM, Max and 99 said:

Well if the location is missing and the CO is inactive, which is what you asked, then it violates the guidelines:

  • Are accessible to the public most of the week.

I cannot access it if it's gone. 😁

 

So I would use the report this adventure lab if the location is missing and the CO is inactive. I would certainly try other avenues first. 

True enough, luckily all the ALs I have found the information required was obvious as to what to look for - so it is obvious if it is missing. Of course there may be more challenging ones out there where finding the required information is less obvious, just like some people place caches that are hard to find. Even though that is probably against the spirit of ALs. But yes attempting to contact the CO is the best first option.

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3 hours ago, richary said:

Of course there may be more challenging ones out there where finding the required information is less obvious, just like some people place caches that are hard to find. Even though that is probably against the spirit of ALs

How so? 

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18 minutes ago, sernikk said:

 

"Keep the questions simple. Let the location speak for itself. " <- https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=143&pgid=929

 

So I would say the spirit of AL is to let them be simple and easy, but that is only a tip.

Thanks.

For me, the trick is balancing a simple experience with answers that cannot be determined online. 

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Yes I would like to place on up north of me where mum lives but the signs are available online so people could GPS spoof the coordinates to get the answers. Which would be annoying as I don't know why people do that. It would be a good AL tour though of a country town.

 

But yes, back to the original problem of cache blindness sometimes all of us struggle to find what should be a simple find on a physical cache. So if someone makes the question a bit harder to answer at an AL stage then it could be a problem of am I just not seeing it, or is it missing.

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On 3/1/2021 at 3:52 AM, richary said:

That seems to be more for inappropriate placements, though I don't know what happens after I enter my email address and select Other as the problem - whether it then gives me a text field I can explain the problem.

Just an update. You are given a text box to explain the problem. 

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