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FliesHeartWorms

Etiquette around caches needing maintenance

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Hi all, 

 

We're a bit new to this and have some questions about caches that need maintenance. I understand that the reviewers might normally contact COs if there is a run of DNFs or maintenance reports but we were recently in a area where there were a number of these - DNFs stretching back several years, or damaged caches that have been repeatedly reported (again for years). Would you reach out to the CO first (I assume they get the notifications....) or ask for review?

 

Also is it ok to do some of your own maintenance without the CO's permission? I assume adding a new log when the old one is full is fine, but what if there isn't room for both? And what if the old is so damaged it's unreadable - can it be removed? Is it permissible to replace a damaged container using one of comparable size? 

 

Thanks so much for the advice and all the fun!!!

 

-Liz

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2 minutes ago, FliesHeartWorms said:

I assume adding a new log when the old one is full is fine...

 

You assumed correctly... anything more than that, only after contacting the owner, offering help.

 

PS: Normally reviewers won't receive DNFs or NMs notifications automatically, only NAs.

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21 minutes ago, RuideAlmeida said:

PS: Normally reviewers won't receive DNFs or NMs notifications automatically, only NAs.

 

Oh, good to know! Thanks! I think a couple of the relevant caches do need archiving but I'll try getting in touch with the CO first. 

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48 minutes ago, FliesHeartWorms said:

 I understand that the reviewers might normally contact COs if there is a run of DNFs or maintenance reports but we were recently in a area where there were a number of these - DNFs stretching back several years, or damaged caches that have been repeatedly reported (again for years).

Would you reach out to the CO first (I assume they get the notifications....) or ask for review?

 

Also is it ok to do some of your own maintenance without the CO's permission? I assume adding a new log when the old one is full is fine, but what if there isn't room for both? And what if the old is so damaged it's unreadable - can it be removed? Is it permissible to replace a damaged container using one of comparable size? 

 

The Help Center, under "When a cache needs maintenance", explains that action logs of Needs Maintenance is the proper start.  :)

 

We often will add a piece of a Rite in Rain paper strip to full or damaged logs, meant as a safety net for the CO until they can fix it themselves.

 - It's not meant as a replacement...

If there's "no room", or there is damage beyond a simple fix, I will add my sig (sharpies are good for that ;-) to the log somewhere and log a NM.

If the DNFs are continuous (and not simply people off n on not finding it...), and numerous "reported" hasn't produced a word from the CO, I'd log a NM.

I don't have an agenda, so if others aren't  logging NM (and just "reporting" it in their log...) I won't log NA just to get it removed.

The only times we've replaced a container was when asked by a CO (who knew we were heading there), and one time I dropped a nano in a creek.

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46 minutes ago, FliesHeartWorms said:

 

Oh, good to know! Thanks! I think a couple of the relevant caches do need archiving but I'll try getting in touch with the CO first. 

Yeah a good example for an NA because the NM got ignored would be this one you found recently https://coord.info/GC2GD8K

 

What the heck people are logging since June when the cache dissapeared? Also most geocacher in California seems to love short log sadly...

Edited by Lynx Humble
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https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=107&pgid=434

 

3. Log your find online

3.2. When a cache needs maintenance

If you find a geocache in need of help (e.g. logbook is full or container is damaged), add a “Report a problem” option to your log.

When you select “Report a problem” on Geocaching.com, the system adds a “Needs Maintenance” log and an attribute Needs maintenance attribute to the page to alert the cache owner and other geocachers that the cache may need attention.

Add "Report a problem" to your log

On Geocaching.com

  1. On a cache page, select Log geocache.
  2. Below the text box, select Report a problem.
  3. Select the most appropriate reason.
  4. Explain the issue in your log text, and post your log.

On the Geocaching® app

  1. On the cache details page, scroll down to the bottom.
  2. Select Report a Problem.
  3. Select Needs Maintenance or Needs Archived.
  4. Explain the issue in your log text, and post your log.

Tip: This will not increase your find count. Return to the cache page to compose any other logs about your experience.

List of Needs maintenance options

  • Logbook is full
  • Container is damaged
  • Cache should be archived
  • Other

Logbook is full / Container is damaged

Use these options when appropriate.

Cache should be archived

Cache archival is permanent, so this option is only used under rare circumstances. Consider contacting the cache owner directly with your concerns before selecting this option.

Select this option if:

  • Property owners, business owners, or local authorities or law enforcement expressed concern during your search for the cache.
  • Cache placement or searching for the cache damages the area or defaces property.
  • You couldn't find a cache and it has several “Didn’t Find It (DNF)” or “Needs Maintenance” logs on the cache page with no cache owner response.

Do not select this option if:

  • You didn't find the cache — use a “Didn’t Find It (DNF)” log.
  • The cache needs repairs — select another “Needs maintenance” option.
  • The cache location seems to be inappropriate — consider contacting the cache owner with your concerns.
  • There is no pen in the cache — caches are not required to contain pens.

The cache owner and local reviewer will get notifications and may follow up. The cache will not be archived automatically and you may not see a public response to your log.

Edited by L0ne.R
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2 hours ago, FliesHeartWorms said:

I think a couple of the relevant caches do need archiving but I'll try getting in touch with the CO first. 

Note that logging the cache (whether a DNF, NM, or NA) also contacts the CO. If the CO isn't getting the alerts from logs, then I wouldn't expect the CO to respond to a separate email.

 

As an extra benefit, logging the cache (whether a DNF, NM, or NA) also lets others know what's going on, for example, other seekers, or the volunteer reviewers.

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On 12/6/2020 at 8:56 AM, FliesHeartWorms said:

Would you reach out to the CO first (I assume they get the notifications....) or ask for review?

I post a "Needs Maintenance" log since that's what it's for, and that's the procedure. As far as I'm concerned, that is "reaching out to the CO", but it has the additional advantage of alerting other seekers of the problem and telling them I've already reported it, so they don't have to.

 

If I discover that an NM has already been posted and ignored, then I post an Needs Archived. Again, that's what it's for, and that's the procedure. That gives the CO his last warning and alerts the powers that be of the issue for them to consider.

 

On 12/6/2020 at 8:56 AM, FliesHeartWorms said:

Also is it ok to do some of your own maintenance without the CO's permission? I assume adding a new log when the old one is full is fine, but what if there isn't room for both? And what if the old is so damaged it's unreadable - can it be removed? Is it permissible to replace a damaged container using one of comparable size? 

Why bother? If the CO isn't taking care of the cache, it's just going to go bad again. Better to report the problem and let things take their course.

 

Logs aren't maintenance -- in my opinion -- so adding more or replacing the existing one it OK, although don't feel like you have to do that. If there's no room for the original log, take it with you and post pictures of it. If it's in good shape, there you go, and if it's unreadable, you demonstrate that, as well.

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On 12/6/2020 at 5:56 PM, FliesHeartWorms said:

I assume adding a new log when the old one is full is fine, but what if there isn't room for both? And what if the old is so damaged it's unreadable - can it be removed? Is it permissible to replace a damaged container using one of comparable size? 

 

It depends. If the owner is an active player, I would report it with an NM.

If the owner is inactive, and the cache is in an interesting spot or somewhere in the wild and it would be nice to have it, I may do some basic maintenance (only if I have a new container or tools).

If the owner is inactive, and the cache is a simple cache without any meaning (no description, not showing anything), I would just leave like it is and log NM, and later (over 1 mo.) NA.

 

Important thing: I would be very careful with replacing the logbook without permission. For me, and I guess I'm not the only one, logbooks are nice memories which I keep safe in my drawer. If someone would take the logbook just like that, I would be really unhappy about it!

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6 hours ago, dprovan said:

Logs aren't maintenance -- in my opinion -- so adding more or replacing the existing one it OK, although don't feel like you have to do that. If there's no room for the original log, take it with you and post pictures of it. If it's in good shape, there you go, and if it's unreadable, you demonstrate that, as well.

Yeah I agree with you. I don't understand why Groundspeak put the first reason to put a NM is because of a full logbook. It's should be the last reason and instead they should change it for wet logbook.

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The trend I see is that containers and logbooks are for the most part, treated by COs like items that are forced upon them in order to list a cache.

 

They look for minimum cost and effort to comply. Something free or cheap (under a dollar), most unsuitable for outdoor use that will not keep the log dry. They use scraps of paper which they never intend to look at again. When the scraps get full finders replace or add more scraps of paper. 

 

Because finders prop this type of CO behavior up, by leaving more scraps rather than logging NMs, some areas get more caches like this. Until it's really difficult to find anything but bare-minimum, unmaintained, poor quality, community-maintained caches. 

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

The trend I see is that containers and logbooks are for the most part, treated by COs like items that are forced upon them in order to list a cache.

 

They look for minimum cost and effort to comply. Something free or cheap (under a dollar), most unsuitable for outdoor use that will not keep the log dry.

They use scraps of paper which they never intend to look at again. When the scraps get full finders replace or add more scraps of paper. 

 

Wanted to leave out the generalizations that aren't true everywhere, but where to start ?  :D

I found (but didn't find the log) a duct taped food container today, that was 20 feet from a trophy trout waters area I wasn't aware of.

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On 12/6/2020 at 10:11 AM, Lynx Humble said:

Yeah a good example for an NA because the NM got ignored would be this one you found recently https://coord.info/GC2GD8K

 

What the heck people are logging since June when the cache dissapeared? Also most geocacher in California seems to love short log sadly...

 

That is not a good example in my experience. Cachers are finding something out there and besides the OP, they are logging it without complaining. When I've attempted to get similar, but even worse off caches archived, I have been unsuccessful. It really seems that if a cache appears to be "functioning" then archival is hard to push through because it's simply a zip log bag or has a receipt for a log.

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2 minutes ago, fbingha said:

 

That is not a good example in my experience. Cachers are finding something out there and besides the OP, they are logging it without complaining. When I've attempted to get similar, but even worse off caches archived, I have been unsuccessful. It really seems that if a cache appears to be "functioning" then archival is hard to push through because it's simply a zip log bag or has a receipt for a log.

Yeah I agree those kind of 'cache' are really hard to remove from the playing field because people are logging anything that looks remotely to a cache. The CHS won't do anything because NM doesn't give enough bad points to flag them and an NA is dependent on the mood of the reviewer.

 

Groundspeak should modify their CHS algorithm to send email to a CO if NM got ignored from the CO after 3 months and then if it's ignored again for X months an email would be sent to the reviewer that would take required action depending of the circumstances.

 

Groundspeak should encourage reviewer to take action with cache that have NM for a long time if they are taking quality geocache seriously. A good example is that one https://coord.info/GC2B7A4 with 3 NM has been NM for 10 yrs next month 😲The logbook has been replaced so many times because the container was never waterproof from the beginning...

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19 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

Groundspeak should encourage reviewer to take action with cache that have NM for a long time if they are taking quality geocache seriously. A good example is that one https://coord.info/GC2B7A4 with 3 NM has been NM for 10 yrs next month 😲The logbook has been replaced so many times because the container was never waterproof from the beginning...

 

And this is an example of quality community maintenance on that abandoned cache:

 

Screenshot_1.png.3740503848d9a838ebdb5045d9896b4c.png

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17 hours ago, dprovan said:

If I discover that an NM has already been posted and ignored, then I post an Needs Archived. Again, that's what it's for, and that's the procedure. That gives the CO his last warning and alerts the powers that be of the issue for them to consider.

A minor quibble/clarification here: The NA log isn't the CO's last warning. The reviewers usually give them an official warning or two first, before the plug is pulled on the cache.

 

(I know YOU know this, but the OP may not.)

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Quote

Would you reach out to the CO first (I assume they get the notifications....) or ask for review?

 

I would report the cache as 'Needs Maintenance' or if there are a long string of DNF and NM already then 'Needs Archived' would be applicable. 

 

Quote

Also is it ok to do some of your own maintenance without the CO's permission? 

 

No.

 

Quote

I assume adding a new log when the old one is full is fine,

 

You assume correctly. 

 

Quote

but what if there isn't room for both?

 

Then report the cache as needing maintenance.

 

Quote

And what if the old is so damaged it's unreadable - can it be removed?

 

No. 

 

Quote

 Is it permissible to replace a damaged container using one of comparable size? 

 

Not without the owners permission. And even then I personally wouldn't.

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I totally understand the sentiment of wanting to help by replacing a damaged container, but if the CO is either unable or unwilling to fulfill their responsibilities then that CO's caches should be removed from play. Like everything, there are exceptions (such as a cache that is over 10 years old) where the community are willing to help keep it alive. But keeping a lot of "meh" caches going just to keep them there reduces the opportunities for new players and new caches.

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Always remember, if you decide to replace a log for whatever reason (ignoring whether one things that's right or wrong) PLEASE consider the cache owner because they may WANT to have that log sheet (and it is their right as the CO), so don't assume you can just throw it out (even arguing that it's subjectively in awful condition). The logsheet isn't yours, and even though most people (at least in today's gc culture) will likely say 'thanks', that's still their prerogative. Some COs don't want logs thrown out, even if they end up as pulp.  This is one reason why HQ puts log replacement as a cache owner responsibility - because it's the cache owner's property.

 

That said, I have done the same - unreadable, unhandleable mush; but in most every case if I replace/throw it out it's because I know the CO and know they won't care. The point is to consider the cache owner first. I would never replace the log if I was on a long road trip. I might add an extra sheet (if it's obvious what the correct logsheet is) but on such a trip I'd never remove and replace an old one, especially without communicating with the CO first (and getting a response, not just sending a message).

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The only log I've "thrown away" was when I opened an ammo can and the "log" flew out as a cloud of cinders. The victim of a prescribed fire, sadly. The ammo can survived though!

I just wanted to say, some friends and I started geocaching this year as an excuse to hit the forest roads, and we've seen a few caches in bad shape. This thread has provided some great advice, and I'm grateful for that. Thanks!

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