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How can we stop/reduce cheating?


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We have talked about cheating elsewhere, but how about possible ways to prevent it? Maybe with help from Groundspeak.

 

Logging caches that are lost. Nobody can prove you did not find it! But how about putting some burden of proof on the finder? If you log an archived cache, or a cache with three or more recent DNF, how about demanding a photo as proof? The same goes for logging an archived cache.

 

Logging an event you did not attend. This one is easy: Demand everybody to sign the log book. And don't give that "what if the EO did not attend". If the EO was not there it is equivalent to a CO not placing a cache when publishing it.

 

Any other cases? Other possible improvements/solutions?

 

Let us not complain about the existence of cheaters, let us consider solutions.

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9 minutes ago, Ragnemalm said:

Logging caches that are lost. Nobody can prove you did not find it! But how about putting some burden of proof on the finder? If you log an archived cache, or a cache with three or more recent DNF, how about demanding a photo as proof? The same goes for logging an archived cache.

I think that in those cases, this would likely prevent people from logging real finds more often than catching cheats. For example - if someone's logging an archived cache, there's a high chance they found it quite a while ago (thinking of folks who've made new individual accounts having had group accounts previously), and therefore they wouldn't have taken a photo necessarily at the time. With the recent DNF trends, I think something everyone could stand to do a bit more often is log a needs maintenance. If several people in a row (making an exception for brand new cachers) are struggling to find a cache with a low difficulty, at that point the "maintenance" needed is the CO checking to see if the cache is still there. Having placed 2 caches myself, if someone didn't find either of them, knowing how simple the hides are, I'd be checking on those caches pretty fast.

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I do understand why some COs don't want to get into conflict and probably let a lot slide - but most of these issues would be less of an issue if CO's paid more attention to logs and did more preventive cache maintenance - check missing caches, replace logs.... 

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1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

or a cache with three or more recent DNF, how about demanding a photo as proof?

 

Maybe it's the style of caches I tend to do, but most of the DNFs I've logged and had logged on my hides haven't been due to missing caches, just unsuccessful searches. There was a cache I found back in 2017, a 3.5/2.5 traditional (GC13C3B), that had five DNFs in a row then one other find just before mine. I don't have a photo proving I found it, but my signature's in the logbook and I retrieved a trackable from it so is that proof enough? As of now, that cache has had 76 DNFs and 130 finds but it still hasn't gone missing, it's just a tricky one to find although in hindsight its hiding place seems obvious and the coordinates are accurate. DNFs happen, and sometimes they happen in bunches, but that doesn't mean the next find is likely to be a fake.

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1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

or a cache with three or more recent DNF, how about demanding a photo as proof?

For some of the "hidden in plain sight" camouflage caches I've found (the ones that routinely get DNF logs), a photo would be a spoiler.

 

1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

The same goes for logging an archived cache.

What if the cache is archived between the time I create my field note draft, and the time I actually log the Find? Or are you going to insist that everyone logs Finds in real time, from the field, with internet service at the cache location?

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1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

Logging caches that are lost. Nobody can prove you did not find it! But how about putting some burden of proof on the finder? If you log an archived cache, or a cache with three or more recent DNF, how about demanding a photo as proof? The same goes for logging an archived cache.

 

They got rid of ALRs for a reason and you want them brought back?

 

1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

Logging an event you did not attend. This one is easy: Demand everybody to sign the log book. And don't give that "what if the EO did not attend". If the EO was not there it is equivalent to a CO not placing a cache when publishing it

 

They also got rid of the requirement of an event having a log book.  I'm not really sure why (I'm sure the reason was discussed here) but you'd want them to go back to the way it used to be, just like with the above ALR.

 

1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

Let us not complain about the existence of cheaters, let us consider solutions.

 

While there are certainly those that "cheat", I have to wonder at the percentage of overall finds that we're talking about.  Are we talking about 10% of the overall finds logged or is it some smaller percentage?  Or larger?  Is cheating some rampant issue that's permeating the activity everywhere or is it somewhat isolated by a pocket here or there?  I don't see a high number in my area of false logs from our regular cachers but I do see some that come through from elsewhere that have a tendency to be logging incorrectly, either via a claimed find with no signature or a throwdown.

 

The most effective way to combat this is to put the onus on COs and not on Groundspeak.  That's the best solution, by far.

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2 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

Logging caches that are lost. Nobody can prove you did not find it! But how about putting some burden of proof on the finder? If you log an archived cache, or a cache with three or more recent DNF, how about demanding a photo as proof? The same goes for logging an archived cache.

 

I was helping my sister hide some caches.  We found an ammo can!  It was the final of a multi that had been archived four years previously by the reviewer, because the first stage had disappeared.

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7 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

Logging caches that are lost. Nobody can prove you did not find it! But how about putting some burden of proof on the finder? If you log an archived cache, or a cache with three or more recent DNF, how about demanding a photo as proof? The same goes for logging an archived cache.

 

Logging an event you did not attend. This one is easy: Demand everybody to sign the log book. And don't give that "what if the EO did not attend". If the EO was not there it is equivalent to a CO not placing a cache when publishing it.

 

You've been around long enough to know what an ALR is...

We haven't had to "sign the logbook" for events since this hobby started. but it's rare for me to log events (hundreds) that I've attended anyway.  

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5 hours ago, coachstahly said:

They also got rid of the requirement of an event having a log book. 

I'm not really sure why (I'm sure the reason was discussed here) but you'd want them to go back to the way it used to be, just like with the above ALR.

 

I agreed with most everything else but this.  There's never been a requirement to sign an event's log.    :)

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7 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

Logging caches that are lost. Nobody can prove you did not find it! But how about putting some burden of proof on the finder? If you log an archived cache, or a cache with three or more recent DNF, how about demanding a photo as proof? The same goes for logging an archived cache.

 

Logging an event you did not attend. This one is easy: Demand everybody to sign the log book. And don't give that "what if the EO did not attend". If the EO was not there it is equivalent to a CO not placing a cache when publishing it.

 

Any other cases? Other possible improvements/solutions?

Do these things happen often enough to worry about? If someone is routinely logging archived caches, won't that be obvious? If one person one time logs an archived cache, I'm willing to assume there's a legitimate reason. If someone logs hundreds of archived caches, I think one of the COs can detect the pattern and report it to GS. And events seems even more obvious and less likely. How many events could you log before people notice you never show up for events you're logging?

 

7 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

Let us not complain about the existence of cheaters, let us consider solutions.

Better yet, let's not complain about a problem that doesn't really exist. If you *know* anyone doing these things, report them to GS. Don't bother inventing mechanisms that makes it difficult for them to do it. There just aren't enough people doing this for me to consider it a problem that needs to be solved.

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7 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

We have talked about cheating elsewhere, but how about possible ways to prevent it? Maybe with help from Groundspeak.

 

Are you really seeing so much  "cheating"  in your area that we need to go over this again ad nauseum ?  A good subject for local events if true.

I'd rather Groundspeak consider long-time players who prefer another search function, and bring it back thanks.   My mem. due next month... 

 - This forever-scroll search without seeing what state you're in anywhere silly.

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2 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Are you really seeing so much  "cheating"  in your area that we need to go over this again ad nauseum ?  A good subject for local events if true.

I'd rather Groundspeak consider long-time players who prefer another search function, and bring it back thanks.   My mem. due next month... 

 - This forever-scroll search without seeing what state you're in anywhere silly.

The main kind of cheating issue in my area are logging hundreds/thousands of cache without ever been at GZ because you are chummy with the CO. Don't know why our reviewer allow this to happen but not being local could explain in part why.

 

Cheating with ALs seems to be so rampant that Groundspeak is putting more and more roadblocks. The most recent one putting restriction on API access.

 

But yeah I agree Groundspeak should spend their limited staff-ressource on more Urgent matters (search function and ALs) for their long-time players satisfaction. That's why I am a Basic Member since May 5th.

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8 minutes ago, fizzymagic said:

If you want to reduce cheating, then (a) don't cheat and (b) maintain your own caches' logs.  Done.

 

...and (c) be willing to take flack for being a rEsPoNsIbLe cAcHe oWnEr instead of letting people "play their own way".

 

/minirant :lol:

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22 hours ago, fendmar said:

A minor issue. I would rather GS spend their time on more important things.

They do. Keeping this site running 24/7/365.  Newer people haven't experienced the site going down over the weekend because of heavy use like it used to  a lot about 15 years ago.

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12 hours ago, fizzymagic said:

If you want to reduce cheating, then (b) maintain your own caches' logs.  Done.

Well I can't do it with ALs.

 

11 hours ago, Keystone said:

 

Or, the fact that Reviewers aren't responsible for policing fake logs could explain in its entirety why.

According to thebruce0 reviewers in Ontario gives hidding rights ban to CO because they were letting fake log stand. But I guess those weren't official ban from HQ.

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I think the question is a broader one about the psychology of cheating. I found this article about cheating in sports interesting and could relate to geocaching. It seems to create a change, the moral high ground has to come from the top (not just lip-service). Here's a clip:

 

Dr Shu says: “People have the ability to rationalise any behaviour post-hoc. They do psychological acrobatics to maintain their beliefs that they’re good people with high moral standards.” So people are well-equipped to rationalise their unethical behaviour after the event. The key is to make sure they don’t cheat in the first place. This is easier said than done, but there are practical steps that organisations can take, such as signing at the top of an honour code, a tax return, or, in this case, a doping drugs form.


“Simple reminders such as the signature location on a form can lead people to be more honest. Bringing the signature to the top makes it top-of-mind and more salient.”

 

Timing is important, too. Individuals should be asked to pledge their agreement to the honour code before they have the chance to cheat. “If you give people the opportunity to inflate their performance and then ask them to behave in line with the code of conduct, it’s too late. The morality train has already left the station.” You have to catch them at the right time.

 

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I don't think it's enough to tacitly agree to guidelines. 

 

Edited by L0ne.R
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1 hour ago, L0ne.R said:

I think the question is a broader one about the psychology of cheating. I found this article about cheating in sports interesting and could relate to geocaching. It seems to create a change, the moral high ground has to come from the top (not just lip-service). Here's a clip:

 

Dr Shu says: “People have the ability to rationalise any behaviour post-hoc. They do psychological acrobatics to maintain their beliefs that they’re good people with high moral standards.” So people are well-equipped to rationalise their unethical behaviour after the event. The key is to make sure they don’t cheat in the first place. This is easier said than done, but there are practical steps that organisations can take, such as signing at the top of an honour code, a tax return, or, in this case, a doping drugs form.


“Simple reminders such as the signature location on a form can lead people to be more honest. Bringing the signature to the top makes it top-of-mind and more salient.”

 

Timing is important, too. Individuals should be asked to pledge their agreement to the honour code before they have the chance to cheat. “If you give people the opportunity to inflate their performance and then ask them to behave in line with the code of conduct, it’s too late. The morality train has already left the station.” You have to catch them at the right time.

 

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I don't think it's enough to tacitly agree to guidelines. 

 

 

+1

 

It's been fascinating to me, in just the 12 years I've been caching, seeing HQ insist that there are "no rules", then watching HQ design the software to deal with the major problems that occur due to "no rules".  Because the persons who insist they have "no rules" deliver strict punishment for violating their rules, in unjust ways.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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4 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

According to thebruce0 reviewers in Ontario gives hidding rights ban to CO because they were letting fake log stand. But I guess those weren't official ban from HQ.

 

Specific example: A cache listing is immediately archived because it's become known that the CO is (supposedly repeatedly) letting fake logs stand. COs cannot "give permission" to log caches as found if the cache is not there, and some COs are so lax about it that no one even attempts to hide it. Reviewers caught the trend and started reacting to abuse of that owner responsibility. Just as with any reviewer action, it's not like this happens immediately and for every single instance. But if reviewers know of someone they feel is abusing their responsibility (up to reviewer judgment) yes, they may well take action.

Reviewers can't technically "ban" someone from publishing caches, or submitting for review. But we know HQ can do that. But, they can certainly become more strict in their application of the guidelines they're there to enforce, especially where they are given the flexibility to be lenient or not. Reviewers aren't restricted from being proactive in enforcing guidelines - though most don't, usually I'd wager to avoid the drama that might ensue (as we all know by the 'cache police' insult).

Everyone knows you don't get on a reviewer's naughty list =P

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No rule is effective, no matter how reasonable, just because a carrot you offer for compliance. There has to be a stick to punish those who don't comply. Some folks are motivated only by consequences. But that's never going to happen in geocaching except for the most egregious cases, like blatantly armchair logging.

 

You could attempt to ostracize members of the community for their logging behavior, but in almost every area you will never get a meaningful number of people to support it unless the sketchy logger is openly a jerk.

 

Most people wont unfriend someone for cheating on their spouse; how are you going to persuade them to unfriend someone for cheating at geocaching?

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On 7/14/2021 at 2:31 PM, coachstahly said:

They got rid of ALRs for a reason and you want them brought back?

 

They also got rid of the requirement of an event having a log book.  I'm not really sure why (I'm sure the reason was discussed here) but you'd want them to go back to the way it used to be, just like with the above ALR.

 

While there are certainly those that "cheat", I have to wonder at the percentage of overall finds that we're talking about.  Are we talking about 10% of the overall finds logged or is it some smaller percentage?  Or larger?  Is cheating some rampant issue that's permeating the activity everywhere or is it somewhat isolated by a pocket here or there?  I don't see a high number in my area of false logs from our regular cachers but I do see some that come through from elsewhere that have a tendency to be logging incorrectly, either via a claimed find with no signature or a throwdown.

 

The most effective way to combat this is to put the onus on COs and not on Groundspeak.  That's the best solution, by far.

For caches: Taking a photo of the log book, a very specific requirement for specific situations, is not the same thing as bringing back arbitrary ALRs.

 

For events: Like I said, I see absoluetly no reason why the event log book should not be signed. Bad rule, fix it!

 

Putting the responsability on the CO does not work. Once a CO quits, cheaters can log all the COs lost caches as much as they please. The CO won't care.

 

There are cheaters, and one big problem they make is that they keep lost caches alive.

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1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

Putting the responsability on the CO does not work. Once a CO quits, cheaters can log all the COs lost caches as much as they please. The CO won't care.

Another reason community maintenance does the game a disservice. Caches from inactive players should be archived once problems aren't fixed - taking out unsupervised caches/logs and freeing up spots for other players.

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3 hours ago, lee737 said:

Another reason community maintenance does the game a disservice. Caches from inactive players should be archived once problems aren't fixed - taking out unsupervised caches/logs and freeing up spots for other players.

You have a point in that even if an active cacher monitors the cache, that cacher can't delete a fake log. Everything else we can help with.

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6 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

For caches: Taking a photo of the log book, a very specific requirement for specific situations, is not the same thing as bringing back arbitrary ALRs.

 

What about those who don't cache with a camera? There are people who don't use smart phones.

 

The whole point of signing the log is for proof. If you have to take a photo as well, there's no sense having to sign a log.

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On 7/14/2021 at 2:19 PM, Lynx Humble said:

The main kind of cheating issue in my area are logging hundreds/thousands of cache without ever been at GZ because you are chummy with the CO.

That's pitiful, both for the seekers and the CO, but I don't see why it matters to you. Sure, I'd talk to them all to try to figure out why they're wasting their effort that way instead of having fun finding caches, but there's no way to prevent it and every reason to think anything you try to do to prevent it will only have the effect of making it hard on people that are actually geocaching. Worry more about other people that are playing the same game you are and worry less about people playing some stupid game that makes no sense.

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8 hours ago, dprovan said:

That's pitiful, both for the seekers and the CO, but I don't see why it matters to you. Sure, I'd talk to them all to try to figure out why they're wasting their effort that way instead of having fun finding caches, but there's no way to prevent it and every reason to think anything you try to do to prevent it will only have the effect of making it hard on people that are actually geocaching. Worry more about other people that are playing the same game you are and worry less about people playing some stupid game that makes no sense.

As a rule, the caching community figures out pretty quickly who the fakers are. As you say, there's no way to prevent them from logging fake finds. 

 

To me, the story about someone "logging hundreds/thousands of cache without ever been at GZ because you are chummy with the CO." sounds sort of like a conspiracy theory. 

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2 hours ago, Ed_S said:

To me, the story about someone "logging hundreds/thousands of cache without ever been at GZ because you are chummy with the CO." sounds sort of like a conspiracy theory. 

 

Not at all...  We've seen a few "Team" accounts now where all members of the "team" are already written into the log that's placed by one member, usually in the middle somewhere.  

It happens often enough that I  even mention something like  "I don't know what happened, guess my notifications is shot.  Lotsa people beat me to it, when I thought I'd be FTF.  Missed the party.  Congrats !  :) "

 - My name's the first on the front page,  and everyone in my area knows I don't even think about FTF anymore, so they know what I'm saying...   

Confuses the heck outta new folks when there's only one or two people who remembered to log those finds online too.

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21 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Not at all...  We've seen a few "Team" accounts now where all members of the "team" are already written into the log that's placed by one member, usually in the middle somewhere.  

It happens often enough that I  even mention something like  "I don't know what happened, guess my notifications is shot.  Lotsa people beat me to it, when I thought I'd be FTF.  Missed the party.  Congrats !  :) "

 - My name's the first on the front page,  and everyone in my area knows I don't even think about FTF anymore, so they know what I'm saying...   

Confuses the heck outta new folks when there's only one or two people who remembered to log those finds online too.

 

"Teams" where one member finds caches and another team member finds other caches, and everyone claims all finds, has been going on for a long time. I guess it's cheating to those for whom it's all about the numbers.  What you're describing is different, though, and not something I've seen or even heard of. You're saying a new cache appears and people immediately claim the find, without signing the log? I think my log would note that mine is the first signature in the entire log. I've amassed a hundred or so FTFs, mostly back before we had the instant notification of new caches, and apparently people sitting in their cars waiting for said notification. I'm not a "numbers guy" in any way, shape, or form - more power to them, if that's how they want to play. In your case, I'm sure the regulars know who the "team" people are, and treat them accordingly.

 

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8 minutes ago, Ed_S said:

 You're saying a new cache appears and people immediately claim the find, without signing the log?

I think my log would note that mine is the first signature in the entire log.

 I've amassed a hundred or so FTFs, mostly back before we had the instant notification of new caches, and apparently people sitting in their cars waiting for said notification. 

 

No...  As I wrote, a new cache appears, and names are pre-written in the log.  Some of the members may never log their "find", but it's in there.

We've written the time we've found every cache with a log, since we started, and always says something if things look odd. 

All future finders can see whose name is on that first line.  We stopped that side-game for some time, not counting FTFs after 350.

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21 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

 

No...  As I wrote, a new cache appears, and names are pre-written in the log.  Some of the members may never log their "find", but it's in there.

We've written the time we've found every cache with a log, since we started, and always says something if things look odd. 

All future finders can see whose name is on that first line.  We stopped that side-game for some time, not counting FTFs after 350.

OK, thanks for the clarification.  The cache owner pre-writes other cachers' names in the log, when he puts the cache out? Wow. Is there some reason behind it? Maybe a little private game among just their group? 

 

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1 hour ago, Ed_S said:

OK, thanks for the clarification.  The cache owner pre-writes other cachers' names in the log, when he puts the cache out? Wow. Is there some reason behind it? Maybe a little private game among just their group? 

 

 

This seems common when a group of friends places a cache.  One time I found a cache where the first log was a note that everyone's waiting for the "FTF" before they make their online find logs.  Which is weird when they've already signed the log sheet.  Plus they helped place the cache.  I sometimes state in my Find log the time I found it, but I let everyone else decide who was "First".  In reality where the concept of "time" exists, if I sign a cache log after others have signed it, it is impossible for me to be "First".  But in Geocaching, it tends to be a lot more fluid.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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On 7/17/2021 at 7:39 AM, Ed_S said:

To me, the story about someone "logging hundreds/thousands of cache without ever been at GZ because you are chummy with the CO." sounds sort of like a conspiracy theory.

I know what you mean, but happily in this case I don't have to question the veracity of the claim because the solution remains the same: the person that's so sure this is happening can go talk to the people. explaining how silly they look to people that recognize the obvious subterfuge. If the person making the claim is really blowing smoke about how much evidence there is, then they can decide for themselves whether to initiate a conversation that might make them look petty for accusing someone of doing something they didn't do.

 

On 7/17/2021 at 10:47 AM, cerberus1 said:

It happens often enough that I  even mention something like  "I don't know what happened, guess my notifications is shot.  Lotsa people beat me to it, when I thought I'd be FTF.  Missed the party.  Congrats !  :) "

If I was that sure, I'd just say, "FTF@8am. Ignoring the signatures from before the cache was hidden."

 

On 7/17/2021 at 10:47 AM, cerberus1 said:

Not at all...  We've seen a few "Team" accounts now where all members of the "team" are already written into the log that's placed by one member, usually in the middle somewhere. 

Oh, wait. They sign the log in the middle? Obviously they don't intend to claim FTF, so I'd just take FTF without commenting on it. If I saw this in my area, I'd assume they were people that were there when the CO hid the cache and are planning on claiming the find after the FTF. I consider that kind of "finding while hiding" a little silly, but it doesn't sound to me as if they're trying to block you from claiming FTF.

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2 hours ago, kunarion said:

This seems common when a group of friends places a cache.  One time I found a cache where the first log was a note that everyone's waiting for the "FTF" before they make their online find logs.  Which is weird when they've already signed the log sheet.  Plus they helped place the cache.  I sometimes state in my Find log the time I found it, but I let everyone else decide who was "First".  In reality where the concept of "time" exists, if I sign a cache log after others have signed it, it is impossible for me to be "First".  But in Geocaching, it tends to be a lot more fluid.

I hope this isn't common because it totally ruins the FTF idea. When I place a cache together with a friend, my friend never try to FTF it, at least not without other people who are the real FTF hunters. Actually, we usually let quite some time pass before logging each other caches, if at all, especially if we are co-COs.

 

Because it feels like cheating.

 

However, FTF is not a formal thing. I have seen various variations on the concept. In one area, they decided that anything logged on the same day as the first find counted as FTF. And for some time, we had a series of events in our neighbor town, where each event ended with handing out GPX files to a bunch of new caches which were not yet released! This reserved all FTFs to the visitors of the event! This did cause some criticism by FTF hunters...

 

Sometimes I wish there were rules about FTFs, but we need to make those between us.

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1 hour ago, dprovan said:

If I was that sure, I'd just say, "FTF@8am. Ignoring the signatures from before the cache was hidden."

 

Oh, wait. They sign the log in the middle? Obviously they don't intend to claim FTF, so I'd just take FTF without commenting on it. If I saw this in my area, I'd assume they were people that were there when the CO hid the cache and are planning on claiming the find after the FTF. I consider that kind of "finding while hiding" a little silly, but it doesn't sound to me as if they're trying to block you from claiming FTF.

 

 I stated in that same post I don't care about FTF, as in,  "everyone in my area knows I don't even think about FTF anymore" and only mention it in logs so they know I know...

Caches are placed by one person, alone, singly, solo, by him/herself.  I've been on site when it was done.... Sheesh...

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1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

each event ended with handing out GPX files to a bunch of new caches which were not yet released! This reserved all FTFs to the visitors of the event! This did cause some criticism by FTF hunters...

This is a common practice in our local group of cachers.  We raffle off a few "pre-publication" FTF opportunities at the close of an event, and we split into groups to go find 'em all (or as many as we choose) and all those cachers claim a "pre-pub" FTF.  Then, once the cache is officially published, those not at the event or those who chose not to go after all of them before publication, all race to see who gets the "post-publication" FTF.

 

As none of this is part of the official geocaching stats, all it is, to me, is a fun game.  Pre-pub. post pub, an FTF is an FTF!

Edited by CAVinoGal
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1 hour ago, Ragnemalm said:

I hope this isn't common because it totally ruins the FTF idea. When I place a cache together with a friend, my friend never try to FTF it, at least not without other people who are the real FTF hunters. Actually, we usually let quite some time pass before logging each other caches, if at all, especially if we are co-COs.

 

Because it feels like cheating.

 

However, FTF is not a formal thing. I have seen various variations on the concept. In one area, they decided that anything logged on the same day as the first find counted as FTF. And for some time, we had a series of events in our neighbor town, where each event ended with handing out GPX files to a bunch of new caches which were not yet released! This reserved all FTFs to the visitors of the event! This did cause some criticism by FTF hunters...

 

Sometimes I wish there were rules about FTFs, but we need to make those between us.


I don’t declare “FTF” at all anymore, I hardly even use the word “first”, due to once almost getting my head bit off by locals when I mentioned that “this was the first cache I found today”.
 

I might write the time I found it.  If someone finds it, and later I find it, I’m not First To Find.  But there are hundreds of threads about how very wrong that is. :unsure:

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On 7/17/2021 at 11:39 AM, Ed_S said:

As a rule, the caching community figures out pretty quickly who the fakers are. As you say, there's no way to prevent them from logging fake finds. 

 

To me, the story about someone "logging hundreds/thousands of cache without ever been at GZ because you are chummy with the CO." sounds sort of like a conspiracy theory. 

2 hours ago, dprovan said:

I know what you mean, but happily in this case I don't have to question the veracity of the claim because the solution remains the same: the person that's so sure this is happening can go talk to the people. explaining how silly they look to people that recognize the obvious subterfuge. If the person making the claim is really blowing smoke about how much evidence there is, then they can decide for themselves whether to initiate a conversation that might make them look petty for accusing someone of doing something they didn't do.

Well apparently you don't thrust my words so there are an example with 12 finds : 3 found the cache after publication, 5 found the cache before publication (including the main account of this cache CO) and 4 never even went to GZ...

 

This subterfuge began well before I moved to this area so I will be ill-advised to be the cache police and like keystone said even the reviewer won't do anything about it.

lwp2.PNG

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1 hour ago, kunarion said:

I don’t declare “FTF” at all anymore, I hardly even use the word “first”, due to once almost getting my head bit off by locals when I mentioned that “this was the first cache I found today”.
I might write the time I found it.  If someone finds it, and later I find it, I’m not First To Find.  But there are hundreds of threads about how very wrong that is. :unsure:

 

Yep.  Haven't written in "FTF" like we used to after our 350th.  It wasn't a special number, we just realized it didn't mean anything.  :)

We've added the time on every cache with a log found.  Even though we don't claim it anymore, often someone says "congrats..." in their log.   :laughing:

I like FTF simply because it's the only time you get to see the cache as presented by the CO.

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Based on the log notes example above, it sounds like either beta testing, or, as stated, cache location confirmation. The CO is out with a group, places a cache, and asks everyone else to verify the coords of the cache. Questionable, but not necessarily cheating IMO. I know of similar scenarios, where practice or training caches are placed. The students will log the cache, then the cache gets published at a later time. So, the log will have prior signatures.

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Recently, we were caching with friends, and some pretty good spots for hides were noted. We had a spare container with us, and contemplated a hide. As a group we mulled over the idea of the others there signing the logbook at the hide time, but it didn't really feel right.... we all love an FTF, and to come across a cache pre-signed would be a let down. In the end we decided not to hide a cache (the container wasn't really up to scratch, and return trips for maintenance would have been arduous) but had thought maybe the others who wanted to log the new cache would discreetly sign the back page with a note they helped hide it.....

To be honest, if I wasn't the hider, I'd prefer to just come back another time and log it properly....

Edited by lee737
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1 hour ago, lee737 said:

To be honest, if I wasn't the hider, I'd prefer to just come back another time and log it properly....

 

That's pretty much what I did on your Sidetracked one. I was along for the walk when it was hidden, but after publication I still went through all the process of visiting the virtual waypoints, calculating the final coordinates and letting my GPSr lead me to the point where I had to leave the track. About the only benefit my pre-knowledge gave me was knowing which tree to look in at GZ. While I was the first to find that one, I don't think I cheated anyone out of a FTF as 2TF didn't arrive until three weeks later.

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39 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

That's pretty much what I did on your Sidetracked one. I was along for the walk when it was hidden, but after publication I still went through all the process of visiting the virtual waypoints, calculating the final coordinates and letting my GPSr lead me to the point where I had to leave the track. About the only benefit my pre-knowledge gave me was knowing which tree to look in at GZ. While I was the first to find that one, I don't think I cheated anyone out of a FTF as 2TF didn't arrive until three weeks later.

And a beta check of the waypoints was appreciated too! :)

This cache was all about the cool train station, rather than the hide itself, I may have placed it closer to the station if it weren't for a pesky puzzle! :D

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On 7/16/2021 at 2:07 AM, Ragnemalm said:

For events: Like I said, I see absoluetly no reason why the event log book should not be signed. Bad rule, fix it!

 

IIRC, the requirement to sign an event log was dropped because some event hosts were making the signing of the event log deliberately difficult.

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20 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Caches are placed by one person, alone, singly, solo, by him/herself.  I've been on site when it was done.... Sheesh...

Did you ask why he's doing it/it's being done? Now I'm curious.

 

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21 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

I hope this isn't common because it totally ruins the FTF idea. When I place a cache together with a friend, my friend never try to FTF it, at least not without other people who are the real FTF hunters. Actually, we usually let quite some time pass before logging each other caches, if at all, especially if we are co-COs.

 

Because it feels like cheating.

 

Or at least unethical.

 

21 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

 

However, FTF is not a formal thing. I have seen various variations on the concept. In one area, they decided that anything logged on the same day as the first find counted as FTF. And for some time, we had a series of events in our neighbor town, where each event ended with handing out GPX files to a bunch of new caches which were not yet released! This reserved all FTFs to the visitors of the event! This did cause some criticism by FTF hunters...

 

Sometimes I wish there were rules about FTFs, but we need to make those between us.

 

The "FTF-hoes" are just playing the game their way. They aren't bothering anyone else, unless someone else wants to grab a few FTFs. If that's the case, they should sit in their car and be ready to race to the scene as soon as a new cache becomes live. If you create rules, you'll create people who cheat the rules.

 

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Getting back to the OP question, how do we stop cheating? Based on this, and other discussions, I think it is safe to say cheating is not well defined. Maybe if we focused on a specific example of "cheating", we could come up with a viable solution. 

 

Personally, given the fact that most activities involving geocaching rely on the honor system, I don't think there is any viable way to combat any cheating. (Heck, last I checked, which was a while ago, you didn't even need a verified e-mail address.) And, adding systems to combat cheating would alter geocaching so drastically it would change from being a hobby to a sport.

 

Actually, as I write this, maybe the way to combat cheating is to remove the statistics page from everyone's profile. Nothing to compare against means nothing to brag about, which reduces the reason to "cheat". On the other hand, how many people would give up geocaching as a result.

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20 hours ago, Wet Pancake Touring Club said:

Based on the log notes example above, it sounds like either beta testing, or, as stated, cache location confirmation. The CO is out with a group, places a cache, and asks everyone else to verify the coords of the cache. Questionable, but not necessarily cheating IMO. I know of similar scenarios, where practice or training caches are placed. The students will log the cache, then the cache gets published at a later time. So, the log will have prior signatures.

 

But, with your example of a 'training cache', they searched for and found the cache!

in a case where someone is there when it's placed, they did neither.

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1 hour ago, Wet Pancake Touring Club said:

Personally, given the fact that most activities involving geocaching rely on the honor system, I don't think there is any viable way to combat any cheating.

 

The only real way is enforcing the minimal rules which can be verified (typically that's HQ and the TOU for the website), and finding some way promote values and ethics where not verifiable.  Promote positivity in the game, community, aspects that people enjoy the most which negatively affect people the least.  Talk down practices that make things worse off for people, or which promote competitive behaviour (where not everyone involved has opted in), and promote benefits of it in an effort to help people have overall great experiences, and encourage people to realize it's an individualistic hobby and not take offense when people do things differently or enjoy different aspects of it...

It's really not an easy system to make "work for everybody" - and it never will. All we can do is help to try to make it a great hobby for as many people as possible.

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