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Can Geocaching.com Archive Caches?


BOTOCH
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Just curious, we recently just got back into geocaching after being away for a pretty long time other than some sporadic finds here and there.  One thing I notice is a big difference now is the amount of caches that have several DNFs and haven't been found in over a year.  What happened to responsible cache owners and why are they not either maintaining their caches or archiving them if they no longer want to take care of them?  Just noticed several since coming back and was just curious if Geocaching.com has a rule or can archive them on their own after a specific amount of time?  

 

Happy Caching!!  

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Yes, caches can be, and are, archived due to lack of maintenance.  Community Volunteer Reviewers are empowered with tools that help us identify these caches for action.  In the next month I expect to archive more than 100 caches based on reminder notes that I've given to cache owners.  (The majority of owners take no action after these reminders.)

 

Geocaching.com fairly recently introduced the "Cache Health Score" as a tool for Cache Owners and Reviewers.  It uses an algorithm to assess whether a cache might need maintenance, based on factors including log type (DNF, Needs Maintenance, Needs Archived) and the cache's D/T ratings.  The even newer "Cache Owner Dashboard" feature empowers geocachers to spot which of their caches might need a visit.

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2 hours ago, BOTO14 said:

Just curious, we recently just got back into geocaching after being away for a pretty long time other than some sporadic finds here and there.  One thing I notice is a big difference now is the amount of caches that have several DNFs and haven't been found in over a year.  What happened to responsible cache owners and why are they not either maintaining their caches or archiving them if they no longer want to take care of them?  Just noticed several since coming back and was just curious if Geocaching.com has a rule or can archive them on their own after a specific amount of time?  

 

Curious... The couple you've found lately, did you log a NM on any of them?  I see some have a red wrench (didn't click on them).   :)

It's not usually a Reviewer's or HQ's position to search around to get caches archived. Some do it to help out.

We're supposed to do that with DNF, NM, and eventually maybe NA logs. 

 - That's not happening much lately (folks don't wanna get involved...), and we had to have the Cache Health Score because of it...

Our action logs on caches that are "missing" a long time, or become a science project with all the mold, get the process going.

Numerous DNF and no action from the CO, could have a NM added to it.  A couple NMs and no action gets an NA.

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Curious... The couple you've found lately, did you log a NM on any of them?  I see some have a red wrench (didn't click on them).   :)

It's not usually a Reviewer's or HQ's position to search around to get caches archived. Some do it to help out.

We're supposed to do that with DNF, NM, and eventually maybe NA logs. 

 - That's not happening much lately (folks don't wanna get involved...), and we had to have the Cache Health Score because of it...

Our action logs on caches that are "missing" a long time, or become a science project with all the mold, get the process going.

Numerous DNF and no action from the CO, could have a NM added to it.  A couple NMs and no action gets an NA.

Actually on the ones I have looked at we were in the planning stages of our geocaching day and noticed on a few that we had put into our list that there were several DNFs and last finds were several months prior, or more than a year.  We did have a log where we didn't find one and we must have missed the logs on this one because when we went to log we noticed several DNFs as well and I did log a DNF as well as send a kind note to the owner saying this cache needs some maintenance or to be archived.  I will have use the NMs more on ones like that maybe instead of the note?  I just felt it was nicer to be private about it.  

 

Thanks,

BOTO14

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1 hour ago, BOTO14 said:

Actually on the ones I have looked at we were in the planning stages of our geocaching day and noticed on a few that we had put into our list that there were several DNFs and last finds were several months prior, or more than a year.  We did have a log where we didn't find one and we must have missed the logs on this one because when we went to log we noticed several DNFs as well and I did log a DNF as well as send a kind note to the owner saying this cache needs some maintenance or to be archived.  I will have use the NMs more on ones like that maybe instead of the note?  I just felt it was nicer to be private about it.  

 

We send email to people we know, usually to further explain our log (most we know act on cache logs, not waiting for a NM).   :)

With others we don't usually add an email, as ours are often the first, or only NM for a cache that may have been an issue for some time.

If the CO hasn't done anything about it for months or better, is "keeping it private" really gonna help ?  ;)

Many people doing PQs n stuff remove DNFs and NM from their searches, and it helps them a lot.    

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Some caches just seem to collect DNF's, and may still be there.

 

If you go to look and find it not there, log your DNF as well.  (common)

If you believe there is a problem or that it really is missing, log a Needs Maintenance.  (sometimes needed)

If it already has a Needs Maintenance log and nothing has happened after a few months, try a Needs Archived.  (only occasionally needed).

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, BOTO14 said:

a few that we had put into our list that there were several DNFs and last finds were several months prior

 

Note that many cachers do not log DNF as they are afraid to admit that they have failed. But if another cacher logs a DNF the shame isn't as big and they can log their DNF, too. Following cachers trying to find the cache see two DNF logs and stop searching after two minutes because of those logs discouraging them. And if there haven't been found it logs for one year but two DNFs then no one dares to do the search!? But does that say that the owner needs to look for the cache as it is clearly (???) missing?

 

I like to say "DNFs sind Rudeltiere." (that might translate as "DNFs are pack animal." if I may believe the online translator with this word) as one DNF often leads to a second while there's rarely a single one. So no DNF does not mean that the cache is in place and some DNFs don't mean that the cache is surely missing.

 

The owners do not have to control their caches after some DNF logs. Of course it is nice for the future searchers if they do so but I wouldn't tell them irresponsible as you do. Of course they should react after two many DNFs but don't expect too much of them.

 

Jochen

 

PS: Your own cache has been archived due to you not maintaining it properly: https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCQEKH_pipers-glen

(I don't think so. The NA log was too early in this case and you didn't have enough time taking care for the cache. But considering your post you might name yourself irresponsible because of that?!)

 

 

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, frostengel said:

 

PS: Your own cache has been archived due to you not maintaining it properly: https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCQEKH_pipers-glen

(I don't think so. The NA log was too early in this case and you didn't have enough time taking care for the cache. But considering your post you might name yourself irresponsible because of that?!)

 

 

Just to be clear, if you read the logs on the cache of mine you noted my cache was found on December 10th, 2006 and then on December 16th a cacher noted construction in the area where the cache is and that it might not be there, and then on December 22nd it was noted by another cacher that it definitely was not there.  This was around the holidays when we are not typically in town, then on December 28th (six days later) a "responsible" reviewer archived it.  This all happened within a little over a week, which is exactly the opposite of what I am saying with my post.  Mine was quickly archived, before I even had time to physically check on it and you can tell from another cache that I disabled and archived it myself after 3 DNF's and went to physically check on it and found it had been muggled and that took a few weeks from the first DNF.  Also this is 2006, before we, well before I was carrying around a laptop everywhere, before smart phones, perfectly acceptable in my opinion to have not seen this for a couple weeks around the holidays.  So to respond to your question would I name myself irresponsible, no because I wasn't able to check on a cache for a couple of weeks I would not say that is irresponsible nor that I was not maintaining it properly, I work and travel at the holidays so my cache is not at all an example of what I am talking about.  I think my point and more so my question is fairly obvious and my cache is a good example of how "it used to be", if you couldn't check on your cache it was archived, within days.  I would like to see maybe some time limits with DNFs with no finds, maybe 6 months to a year and at least 3 DNFs as last posts then an automatic archive, and obviously a note or two to the CO. I am not set on those time frames, but if they were being reviewed as mine was I would see a substantial percentage of these left to rot caches out there now archived because of irresponsible COs.  

Edited by BOTO14
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9 hours ago, BOTO14 said:

Just to be clear, if you read the logs on the cache of mine [...]

 

As I said:

 

10 hours ago, frostengel said:

[...] The NA log was too early in this case and you didn't have enough time taking care for the cache. [...]

 

I don't see the fault on your part but by just taking a not very close look it seems as if your cache has been archived by the reviewer due to bad maintenance.

 

Your first post was about unmaintained caches and about caches being archived by the system. Your cache is the best example that

a) not every cache that looks unmaintained is unmaintained. And if there are two DNFs that's not a sign that something is wrong.

b) caches shouldn't be archived to soon.

 

Addon to b): As you see the reviewer told you that your cache can be unarchived later if you maintain it. So archiving the cache was not its end in those days. Nowadays a cache which has been archived by the reviewer can't be unarchived anymore. The rules are more strict there but that's the reason why it takes a little longer (usually! there are exceptions) until a not maintained cache gets archived.

 

And just another addon: I fully agree with you that caches should be maintained and if it is missing the owner should take care. The first step is deactivating the cache as soon as possible if it is probably missing as cachers shouldn't come in vain.

There will always be cache owners putting out caches and losing the interest in the hobby - and I am quite sure those kind of cachers existed in the early times, too. So will you tell me that unmaintained caches didn't exist in 2005 when you started your caching carreer? I think that's a long time problem and I don't think it has gotten any better or worse over the last years.

 

Jochen

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56 minutes ago, frostengel said:

 

So will you tell me that unmaintained caches didn't exist in 2005 when you started your caching carreer? I think that's a long time problem and I don't think it has gotten any better or worse over the last years.

I am sure there were, I think they were just dealt with a little quicker possibly as was mine at the time, and it could be just perspective, and admittedly mine being a little skewed since I was basically away from the hobby for sometime, since there are many more COs now so possibly all relative to that population, which in turn makes it harder to control as well.  

1 hour ago, frostengel said:

 

Nowadays a cache which has been archived by the reviewer can't be unarchived anymore. The rules are more strict there but that's the reason why it takes a little longer

I did not know this and that makes sense that it would take longer nowadays to deal with and be more fair.   I suppose if a CO was unintentionally archived he/she could make a new cache for the same area depending on the circumstances.  

 

We are getting ready to set a few caches of our own again and part of why I posted this was to see why the caches I mentioned (not by name of course, but for emphasis one of these caches I am mentioning was set out by a Girl Scout troop which you would think would be all about teaching responsibility) are allowed to just rot out there duping some some cachers that may fail to check logs before going out (which could also be said is their own fault).  So this is a lesson to me to keep my caches within a distance that I can easily maintain and check on from time to time and disable if needed.  

 

 

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One thing that makes the situation worse is the higher fluctuation of the cacher community.

Starting the hobby is easier as 2004 (the mobile phone is available and you don't need an expensive handheld GPS device) and therefore more people start caching and put out their own ones very quick. And then they lose interest in the hobby and their caches remain in place until.... :-(

 

If you see that a cacher hasn't been online for quite some time and the cache is not in a good health use the "needs archived" log. As long as cache owners are active you contact them via "needs maintenance" and hope that they take care for their caches (if not - NA some weeks later). But if they haven't been logged in for two years all the NM logs are in vain, use NA directly.

As someone said before caches are rarely archived immediately, so your NA might lead to a reviewer deactivating the cache (step one: done) and giving the owner some more days (30 in the most cases) to take care for the cache. So in the end the owner still can maintain the cache after your NA log.

 

I wish you fun hiding and maintaining your new caches!

 

Jochen

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8 hours ago, BOTO14 said:

We are getting ready to set a few caches of our own again and part of why I posted this was to see why the caches I mentioned (not by name of course, but for emphasis one of these caches I am mentioning was set out by a Girl Scout troop which you would think would be all about teaching responsibility) are allowed to just rot out there duping some some cachers that may fail to check logs before going out (which could also be said is their own fault).  So this is a lesson to me to keep my caches within a distance that I can easily maintain and check on from time to time and disable if needed.

My overall advice would be "don't worry about it." As a conscientious owner, it's unlikely you will run into any problems with your caches being archived inappropriately, and I'm sure you'll maintain them way above the level of the problem caches you're talking about, even if you plant them far enough away that you can't immediately get to them. And, after all, what's the worst case? A cache of yours starts to look bad, and the reviewer archives it before you get a chance to do anything about it, perhaps with good cause, perhaps without good cause. Sure, you don't want that to happen for a few different reasons, but it's not then end of the world if it happens just once or twice in your career as an owner.

 

53 minutes ago, frostengel said:

One thing that makes the situation worse is the higher fluctuation of the cacher community.

Starting the hobby is easier as 2004 (the mobile phone is available and you don't need an expensive handheld GPS device) and therefore more people start caching and put out their own ones very quick. And then they lose interest in the hobby and their caches remain in place until.... :-(

I'd like to see statistics, but my guess is that your assertion is not valid. I understand that the cost of entry is now essentially zero, so lots more people will jump in and jump out again. But I think throughout the history of geocaching, there have always been about the same percentage of owners that jumped in to try it, but then stopped soon after. I doubt the higher starting cost was ever a significant factor in avoiding dropouts.

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10 hours ago, frostengel said:

Nowadays a cache which has been archived by the reviewer can't be unarchived anymore.

 

Actually they can, and it happens occasionally in Ontario; whether by reviewer mistake, or by request after a major issue has been corrected or maintenance concerns that caused the archival are fixed. It may be a reviewer choice whether they'll allow unarchival or not. Our reviewers usually include whether it's an option in their archival note.

But, they can't be unarchived to be adopted, that's for sure. 

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

It may be a reviewer choice whether they'll allow unarchival or not.

 

And that is good! The guidelines are very clear:

 

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=38&pgid=56

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

 

But again: it's good that our reviewers (I think it is not just yours) sometimes make decisions that help the community more than following every letter of the guidelines. :-)

And there may be other cases as "lack of maintenance"...

 

Jochen

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7 hours ago, frostengel said:
9 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

It may be a reviewer choice whether they'll allow unarchival or not.

 

And that is good! The guidelines are very clear:

 

https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=38&pgid=56

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

 

But again: it's good that our reviewers (I think it is not just yours) sometimes make decisions that help the community more than following every letter of the guidelines. :-)

And there may be other cases as "lack of maintenance"...

 

Yes I would say there's room for interpretation. I don't believe our reviewers would unarchive a cache for a user they know is a regular maintenance shirker. But they may unarchive the cache if, say, a problem with a cache has been resolved; typically due to a raised issue, such as perhaps newly posted 'no trespassing' signs in the area causing it to be reported and archived, but then the CO provides proof of permission and so it may be unarchived.

It's a matter of reviewer judgment, really. So the guideline text is true - if mere maintenance is the issue, it got archived because the owner is not holding up their responsibility as an owner, and won't (shouldn't) be unarchived just because maintenance was performed.

 

But per your comment to which I replied: "Nowadays a cache which has been archived by the reviewer can't be unarchived anymore." Yes, an archived cache can be unarchived by a reviewer. :)  And as you say, it is good that reviewers can make that decision.

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

But per your comment to which I replied: "Nowadays a cache which has been archived by the reviewer can't be unarchived anymore." Yes, an archived cache can be unarchived by a reviewer. :)

 

Fair point - I was too strict. But in fact here I rarely see caches being unarchived. I am thinking if I find this unfortunately - in fact no, as in almost any cases the archiving was right. :-)

By the way I like the new system more: giving the owner more time until a cache is archived. I don't like what happened to the TOs cache.

 

Jochen

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On 4/13/2021 at 4:11 AM, BOTO14 said:

Actually on the ones I have looked at we were in the planning stages of our geocaching day and noticed on a few that we had put into our list that there were several DNFs and last finds were several months prior, or more than a year.  We did have a log where we didn't find one and we must have missed the logs on this one because when we went to log we noticed several DNFs as well and I did log a DNF as well as send a kind note to the owner saying this cache needs some maintenance or to be archived.  I will have use the NMs more on ones like that maybe instead of the note?  I just felt it was nicer to be private about it.  

 

Thanks,

BOTO14

As a CO, if there's a problem with one of my caches, that requires action of some sort by me, I prefer a NM rather than WN or just a message and nothing else.

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7 hours ago, frostengel said:

Fair point - I was too strict. But in fact here I rarely see caches being unarchived. I am thinking if I find this unfortunately - in fact no, as in almost any cases the archiving was right. :-)

 

Yep, thankfully it doesn't happen very often at all. It shouldn't happen often, as it typically means there was an error, mistake, or unintended problem. Ideally, archivals should happen for good and expected reasons with no need to be reversed. :)

 

The archival time is good here too, and I think most regions' reviewers have a similar process for a 'natural' archival - 1 month from reviewer Reviewer Note about maintenance before a reviewer Disables, then 1 month until Archival. 60 days is a plenty of time for an owner to address any issue in some manner, and up to 60 days should be a large enough window of time for the reasoning of any archival to be cleared up and verified for legitimacy so it has no reason to be unarchived.

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On 4/14/2021 at 3:27 AM, colleda said:

As a CO, if there's a problem with one of my caches, that requires action of some sort by me, I prefer a NM rather than WN or just a message and nothing else.

Good to note, I actually went back with a NM on the particular one in mind and from now will continue with the NMs.  Just yesterday I ran into one that didn't have many DNFs, only 1, but in this corner lot type of field with no structures there now a new fence put up so it is obvious the owner is not wanting people on the land so I used an NM and a private note with pictures of the fence.  

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On 4/14/2021 at 12:27 AM, colleda said:

As a CO, if there's a problem with one of my caches, that requires action of some sort by me, I prefer a NM rather than WN or just a message and nothing else.

I would go further: NM is the defined way to alert the CO -- and others -- of a problem requiring the CO's attention. Personally, I could care less whether that's the CO's preference or not. It's just what you should use.

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I just realized, that I can not put a 'needs maintenance' log on any geocache and even no 'needs archived'.

 

What in the world happend that I can not log a 'needs maintenance' on a geocache that I didn't find already?

The only 3 options I have are:

1) Found it
2) Didn't find it
3) write note

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Megalodon said:

I just realized, that I can not put a 'needs maintenance' log on any geocache and even no 'needs archived'.

 

What in the world happend that I can not log a 'needs maintenance' on a geocache that I didn't find already?

The only 3 options I have are:

1) Found it
2) Didn't find it
3) write note

Are you using the app or the website? 

On the app, scroll to the bottom of the cache page and you will see an option to report a problem:

IMG_20210503_000937.thumb.png.cbe845f218121a9f62a9bfbe83ae6edb.png

Edited by Max and 99
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the quick reply, I am using a webbrowser.... sorry, I was blind, I think.

 

I just found the option in the Webbrowser, too: "report a problem" with multiple options

report a problem.jpg

Edited by Megalodon
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5 minutes ago, Megalodon said:

Thanks for the quick reply, I am using a webbrowser.... sorry, I was blind, I think.

 

I just found the option in the Webbrowser, too: "report a problem" with multiple options

report a problem.jpg

You beat me to it. I was just working on a response.

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But it raises a good point - the wording (on a website) tends to imply reporting a problem with the website. It would make more sense, imo, if it were clarified, and obvious, that it's to "Report a problem with this cache".  That might help reduce some confusion.

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