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Cache repair, replacement—ethics of, best practices?


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Hi!  I am relatively new to the caching family, and am still learning the ropes.  Like everyone else, I have encountered missing, damaged, or replaced caches—entire caches or logs.  I am trying to understand best practices? 

 

Some benevolent people have logged adding a new container/log after numerous DNF’s with no CO comment. ( I am grateful for said individuals, as it kept the game going!  )  I have encountered badly damaged caches—and have not replaced them—but marked as needing maint.  (I have started a list of them—is it ever appropriate to revisit and replace?)  I HAVE replaced unusable logs (wet pulpy mess), added a log when encountering a full, and started carrying extras with me.  

 

I also started carrying extra bison tubes, pill bottles, and tupperware—but have yet to use them.  I encountered a situation yesterday where I almost pulled out a bison tube, but I don’t know if it is appropriate.  Like a previous cacher, I found the zip tie in a tree where the container was attached.  Dollars to donuts, it had blown down.  A few feet away, I found a small tupperware but no lid, log, or anything indicating a cache as there.  To complicate things, this cache was part of an event, and this group has never responded to my messages about damaged or missing caches before.  I did get a nasty gram from them to quit marking their caches as needing maint, and just mark DNF and be done with it—but no response to my inquiries offering assistance.  

 

Just looking for some advice and best practices in regards to keeping caches alive and when to intervene.  Thanks in advance for your help!

 

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56 minutes ago, AardvarkClan said:

Hi!  I am relatively new to the caching family, and am still learning the ropes.  Like everyone else, I have encountered missing, damaged, or replaced caches—entire caches or logs.  I am trying to understand best practices? 

Have you read the Help Center article Respond to "throwdowns"? How about the Help Center article When a cache needs maintenance?

 

57 minutes ago, AardvarkClan said:

Some benevolent people have logged adding a new container/log after numerous DNF’s with no CO comment. ( I am grateful for said individuals, as it kept the game going!  )  I have encountered badly damaged caches—and have not replaced them—but marked as needing maint.  (I have started a list of them—is it ever appropriate to revisit and replace?)  I HAVE replaced unusable logs (wet pulpy mess), added a log when encountering a full, and started carrying extras with me.

I carry extra log sheets (printed on weatherproof paper) in my geocaching kit, and I'll add one if a cache needs it. If the existing log was full, then I've usually resolved the issue by adding a log sheet, so I won't post a NM log. But if there was any other issue that isn't actually resolved by an extra log sheet (e.g., a wet log from a leaky container), then I'll post a NM log so the CO can deal with the bigger problem.

 

I wouldn't replace a container without discussing it with the CO in advance, and I wouldn't remove the existing log unless it had deteriorated to the point of being completely illegible pulp/trash.

 

57 minutes ago, AardvarkClan said:

I also started carrying extra bison tubes, pill bottles, and tupperware—but have yet to use them.  I encountered a situation yesterday where I almost pulled out a bison tube, but I don’t know if it is appropriate.  Like a previous cacher, I found the zip tie in a tree where the container was attached.  Dollars to donuts, it had blown down.

Don't leave a throwdown.

 

57 minutes ago, AardvarkClan said:

A few feet away, I found a small tupperware but no lid, log, or anything indicating a cache as there.

Sometimes old containers on the ground are just trash.

 

57 minutes ago, AardvarkClan said:

To complicate things, this cache was part of an event, and this group has never responded to my messages about damaged or missing caches before.  I did get a nasty gram from them to quit marking their caches as needing maint, and just mark DNF and be done with it—but no response to my inquiries offering assistance.

If they don't want seekers posting NM on their caches, then they should maintain them. Or archive them.

 

57 minutes ago, AardvarkClan said:

Just looking for some advice and best practices in regards to keeping caches alive and when to intervene.  Thanks in advance for your help!

Not every cache has to live forever. Sometimes the best thing is to let it follow the NM-NA-Archived path. (And yes, I know some will make exceptions for caches published on certain dates, to help with certain challenge caches, but I am not one of them.)

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  • Don't replace caches you can't find.  That's the Cache Owner's job, and if the CO isn't doing it, let the cache eventually get archived.  It's the circle of life, geocaching edition.
  • Leaving caches to replace caches you think might be missing is called a throwdown.  I'm not sure how one can log a throwdown as a find when that person who left it was the hider.  How you can find something you hid?
  • That's nice that you're making an effort to keep the game going.  The only caches I'd replace (besides mine) would be ones that the CO asked you to replace but that you already found.  For example, there's a big geotrail all over northern NJ (76 caches related to the Revolutionary War) and the CO asked a bunch of people to keep an eye on some so that he doesn't have to drive all over maintaining the series.  I'm a volunteer for three caches near me, which I found when they first were published, and I've gone on the CO's request to check up on caches and replace them if needed.
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We'll add a RIR strip to tide things over until the CO can maintain it.  They agree to maintenance when placing that cache.

The only time we've replaced containers was when a couple COs were in the hospital, or home recuperating.

 

I'd prefer you don't replace a preform or matchstick holder with a film can, thanks...   Use a NM..  In fact, everyone should be using an NM...

I found one of our "regular" 50cal ammo cans replaced with small gladware once.  Leave my stuff alone and write a NM.  It's only a smiley...

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7 hours ago, AardvarkClan said:

I also started carrying extra bison tubes, pill bottles, and tupperware—but have yet to use them.  I encountered a situation yesterday where I almost pulled out a bison tube, but I don’t know if it is appropriate.  Like a previous cacher, I found the zip tie in a tree where the container was attached.  Dollars to donuts, it had blown down.  A few feet away, I found a small tupperware but no lid, log, or anything indicating a cache as there.

 

A few years back, I was looking for a cache alongside a trail and found this:

 

DSC_0015.jpg.28e485c1fb38e3bbeacc3870480c1ea6.jpg

 

I was pretty sure the cache container had been wedged between the zip tie and the branch but had fallen out, but after doing a good search of the ground below I came up empty handed. This is what I wrote in my DNF log:

 

image.png.d6fde81650dd8618a8913ce9306448fa.png

 

It turned out the zip tie had nothing to do with the cache, which was hiding in a different tree a few metres away. The same goes for pieces of plastic container I've found lying on the ground, mostly they're just litter and the actual cache is fine.

 

Unless it's by prior arrangement with the CO, I don't do maintenance on other people's caches apart from maybe giving the container a wipe down if it's damp or dirty or removing any debris wedged into the seal. Any more substantial repairs or replacement are the responsibility of the CO and that's what the NM log is for. If there's a problem with any of my hides, no matter how minor, I'd welcome an NM log on it as those logs are sticky and can't be easily overlooked or forgotten.

 

I put a lot of effort into my containers and logbooks and really don't want someone thinking they're doing me a favour by replacing it with whatever they happen to be carrying around. If a logbook is wet, it's because there's something wrong with the container I'll need to address, and I really want to be the one to do that because the proper solution might require something more than just replacing like with like. With this week's deluge and floods, I've compiled a list of my caches I want to get out and check on as soon as it's dry enough to do so, hopefully if there are any issues I can get to them before the next finder. If any do happen to have gotten wet on the inside and there's no obvious damage to the container, it'll probably entail a redesign of the hide or even its archival, but that's my job, not the finder's.

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23 hours ago, GeoElmo6000 said:
  • Don't replace caches you can't find.  That's the Cache Owner's job, and if the CO isn't doing it, let the cache eventually get archived.  It's the circle of life, geocaching edition.
  • Leaving caches to replace caches you think might be missing is called a throwdown.  I'm not sure how one can log a throwdown as a find when that person who left it was the hider.  How you can find something you hid?
  • That's nice that you're making an effort to keep the game going.  The only caches I'd replace (besides mine) would be ones that the CO asked you to replace but that you already found.  For example, there's a big geotrail all over northern NJ (76 caches related to the Revolutionary War) and the CO asked a bunch of people to keep an eye on some so that he doesn't have to drive all over maintaining the series.  I'm a volunteer for three caches near me, which I found when they first were published, and I've gone on the CO's request to check up on caches and replace them if needed.

 

Agree with almost all of the above! Personally though, I don't think a cache owner should ask people upfront to maintain his or her caches. I suppose there could be a unique situation where it's ok, but for the most part, the cache owner should perform his own maintenance.  

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4 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

 

Agree with almost all of the above! Personally though, I don't think a cache owner should ask people upfront to maintain his or her caches. I suppose there could be a unique situation where it's ok, but for the most part, the cache owner should perform his own maintenance.  

 

Normally I'd agree, I believe the CO has the responsibility of maintaining their own caches.  In this case, however, the CO enlisted help as he hid 76+ caches from Trenton, NJ, to Sandy Hook, NJ, up to Fort Lee, NJ, and even farther north and west, all related to the Revolutionary War (as NJ is called "the crossroads of the revolution" since so many things happened here during that time).  He hid all the caches himself and just asked for help if any issues arose.  He created geocoins for people who found a certain number of the caches, and is also the one who spends an entire year planning and executing the annual mega event in NJ, including creating geocoins and pathtags and a "find the golden ticket" series each year.  The guy does a lot and asked for help, and since those three are within minutes of where I live, I was happy to help.  Honestly I've only had one time that a cacher couldn't find a cache, which I went and found and replaced.

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Agree.. I do... BUTTTTTTTT there are a couple of almost 20-year-old caches that I have tried to keep alive.  There were two I found on my first day of geocaching in 2003.  I know the locations and I know the containers.  I also know that the owners are no longer in the game.  I cache I tried to keep going and just could not with my schedule.  It got archived :(  The second one started getting DNFs.  I went to the location and found the magnet to the container but the container was gone.  I replaced it with an identical container in hopes it will still be there on my 20-year anniversary of Geocaching.

 

I would never ever just drop a cache in a location I think it was because I was going to get a DNF

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On 7/7/2022 at 2:46 AM, Mudfrog said:

Agree with almost all of the above! Personally though, I don't think a cache owner should ask people upfront to maintain his or her caches. I suppose there could be a unique situation where it's ok, but for the most part, the cache owner should perform his own maintenance. 

I agree, although I've had a cacher say they expect others to replace their logs when needed. This after I put a NM on it.

 

On another occasion, I've also had a cacher log after I put a NM saying that the previous finder (me) could have replaced the log, as that's easy, and here they have done it. Presumptuous (twerp) to even presume I had a log with me to use, which I didn't. That one really pis...me off! Plus maintenance is the CO's job. Also, I would not like someone maintaining my caches without my permission. I would thank them for the NM, if that's what was needed. However, just mentioning a problem in a log gets action from me.

 

I don't mind, and am grateful, for someone maintaining my caches while I am away (at present driving around the edge of Australia), but that's with my permission. Someone is doing that for me and kindly went and fixed a snail (and large grub they told me) problem at one of my caches recently. Apparently there were so many, they had completely hidden the hide and my cache had some DNFs. Now converted to finds, after I messaged the DNFs and told them the problem was fixed and to try again.

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On another occasion, I've also had a cacher log after I put a NM saying that the previous finder (me) could have replaced the log, as that's easy, and here they have done it.

 

I had that happen several times.

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On 7/5/2022 at 7:05 AM, AardvarkClan said:

Just looking for some advice and best practices in regards to keeping caches alive and when to intervene

 You've been given much good advice in the posts prior to this.  Getting to know the geocachers in your area (attending events, exchanging messages, etc) can give you insight into the local climate in regards to replacing or "helping" caches stay alive.  Unless we know the geocacher and specifically, how they would feel if we replaced/added a logsheet or swapped out a container if it was damaged, we generally just report things like that in our logs.  Too many times we have come across 2 (or more!) containers, throwdowns, when folks didn't find the cache and "assumed" it was missing.  It's happened on OUR caches!

 

If we can't find a cache, we log a DNF, or contact the CO if we know who it is to verify that it IS missing.  If they want us to replace it, we will, but only with CO's permission.  If you are not sure, just log the apprproiate log (Found it or DNF, Needs Maintenance, etc).  No CO *should* be upset if you have done the proper log.  Yeah, some do, but again, that comes with knowing the local community and how CO's will react to DNF's and/or NM's.

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The issue of performing maintenance on someone else's cache has long been discussed and debated. Everybody has their own rules, here are mine:

 

I carry basic repair supplies to ensure i am able to sign the log and return the cache in good shape. Zlock bags, slips of paper, pre rolled binkey logs. If I find the container and the log is full I will add a slip of paper. If the cache is wet and the log is soggy and unsignable I will add a slip of paper with my signature in a new zlock. If it's a bison and the log is full I will replace th full log with a fresh log sheet and PM the CO asking them to PM me within 7 days if they wish me to return the original log sheet to them (so far nobody has replied).

 

I will NEVER replace a cache i didn't find, because by definition I cannot claim it missing, only that i didn't find it. If i believe for whatever reason the cache is missing, i will post specific details on my DNF. If those details could be spoilers I will provide the information to the CO as a PM. They can determine whether the cache is missing.

 

I had one cache I couldn't find, and checked the previous logs. One log included a picture of a small block of wood with a smiley face fashioned on it out of pushpins. The cache was a bison tube hanging from the smiley face nose. I found the block of wood but the bison was nowhere to be found. I PM'd the CO offering to travel back out ( since I cache in that area frequently)  and replace the bison with a fresh one. I got a very friendly reply from the CO stating that they would relace the bison and I needn't trouble myself.

 

One time I was caching on beachfront public property. The coordinates pointed me to a metal umbrella table. I sat down and casually  groped the underside of the table, being rewarded with a film can containing the cache. I discretely signed the log and upon returning the cache, found ANOTHER film can with a log in it ( throw down) I left both in place and PMd the CO, since I now had no idea which was the actual cache and which was the throwdown. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, ras_oscar said:

If it's a bison and the log is full I will replace th full log with a fresh log sheet and PM the CO asking them to PM me within 7 days if they wish me to return the original log sheet to them (so far nobody has replied).

The sort of people who allow their cache to get into that condition are usually set and forget individuals who don't care enough, and so more likely not to reply. The sort of people who would reply, likely don't allow their caches to get to that condition, so you would have no need to contact them.

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2 hours ago, ras_oscar said:

I left both in place and PMd the CO, since I now had no idea which was the actual cache and which was the throwdown. 

I sign both and mention in my log that I signed both caches. A responsible owner would go out and remove one of the, and then if they can work out who it was, delete the log of the person who did the throwdown. I think it's rough to remove other logs, as likely they didn't know it was a throwdown. However, I heard of one CO doing just that. Over a hundred logs I heard. I later found that cache and was VERY :laughing: careful I had one that matched the description. Some years ago now, and my log remains, so guess I signed the correct one.

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22 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I sign both and mention in my log that I signed both caches. A responsible owner would go out and remove one of the, and then if they can work out who it was, delete the log of the person who did the throwdown. I think it's rough to remove other logs, as likely they didn't know it was a throwdown. However, I heard of one CO doing just that. Over a hundred logs I heard. I later found that cache and was VERY :laughing: careful I had one that matched the description. Some years ago now, and my log remains, so guess I signed the correct one.

 

There's a cache in the Hunter Valley I did earlier in the year. It's deep inside a cave and a few years back it appears someone dropped a throwdown as there are logs from 2019 mentioning finding two containers and logs. Then in 2021 the CO did a check, couldn't find either of them and placed a new container. When I visited, I only found one but looking through its logbook, there were entries dating back to when the cache was created in 2006 so that must have been the original one. So now there are potentially three containers in there, although I had a good look around and couldn't see the other two.

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There is a cache in throughly Central Pa . that has a series of DNFs now. I do believe the cache container has been moved at least once by the Co and maybe by others. I happened to look at the cache and saw it was disabled. I have. chance to go that way this weekend, but may not due to gas $$$. Anyway I contacted the  CO and he asked me to go ahead and replace the container, get good coordinates, and provide a hint and he would edit the cache page and enable the cache. It is either that, or some actually finding the cache and logging it as such, or archive. 

 

I actually am not sure where I found thus cache exactly, but have an idea. I asked a few other finders and each one seems to have found it in a different spot! We will see. Hate to end up with the original cache with friends!

 

Edit 7/15: I did find time to look at the is cache today. I found a container almost in plain view as I approached the bridge. It is not where I found it, not where some previous finders said they found it. Apparently it has migrated to several spots. What I did find has logs with dates back to 2020 so is not real new.  I sent the coordinates of what I found to the CO, of course now that I am home about an hour away they do not plot where it is. 

 

I know  how make thus cache more interesting,  but it is not mine, a bit too far to maintain it etc. 

Edited by Jayeffel
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On 7/16/2022 at 8:32 AM, Goldenwattle said:

The sort of people who allow their cache to get into that condition are usually set and forget individuals who don't care enough, and so more likely not to reply. The sort of people who would reply, likely don't allow their caches to get to that condition, so you would have no need to contact them.

Except when, as has happened recently in NSW, torrential rain over an extended period has soaked logs even through Sistema containers and zip-loc bags.

 

I dropped NM logs on several caches and the CO has not only fixed them all, but also did maintenance on 40 caches, including enclosing the container itself in an outer zip-loc bag.  I found 25 of them last week and it was a pleasure to see such well maintained caches.  This from a CO with over 1300 hides.

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25 minutes ago, Gill & Tony said:

Except when, as has happened recently in NSW, torrential rain over an extended period has soaked logs even through Sistema containers and zip-loc bags.

 

I dropped NM logs on several caches and the CO has not only fixed them all, but also did maintenance on 40 caches, including enclosing the container itself in an outer zip-loc bag.  I found 25 of them last week and it was a pleasure to see such well maintained caches.  This from a CO with over 1300 hides.

 

Yes, it's been pretty hard on a lot of caches here. For most of the autumn we had almost constant rain and the humidity rarely dropped below 90% even when it wasn't raining, so even the logs of caches that are protected from the weather absorbed moisture from the air and started growing mould. I've been using a lot of the Tradie brand stone paper notebooks as logs and, while the pages of the log itself are waterproof, the front and back covers are made from regular cardboard and didn't fare too well in a number of my hides. During June, when we had a decent dry spell, I tried to get out to as many of my caches as I could to check on them and fix up any moisture-related issues, and have been experimenting with a spray-on protective lacquer applied to the covers to see if that will help keep them dry or at least stop them growing mould. But July started with another prolonged deluge and floods, so I fear a lot of my work has been undone again, and with the rain still falling and forecast to continue for at least the rest of the month, it'll be a while before I can get back out.

 

So far this year I've archived three of my caches, with two of those related to the rains. On one, a multi, the informal track to the waypoints and GZ was obliterated by fallen trees and landslips, and the other, an EarthCache, had its feature doused in silt from the repeatedly flooding Hawkesbury River as well as access to it made difficult by landslips. I also have one cache disabled indefinitely due to the closure of a section of the Great North Walk because of a flood-damaged bridge.  I think that by the time the rains have ended, which might be another year away if the la Nina reforms in spring as expected, there'll be a lot more archived caches right along the coast.

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I normally don't go out of my way fix caches that need maintenance. If I happen to have something on me, I'll help out. But that's the COs job, not mine.

 

I almost never replace a cache that is missing. I used to do so thinking I was "helping" the cache owner. They were usually long gone. I was helping myself to a find, and somewhat helping others who came after me. So in the last ten years or so, I can think of one example when I've done it - in a place where no new geocaches can be hidden, so once they're gone, they're gone. I originally logged a find, then I thought better of it and went back to change my log to a note.

 

Someone just claimed FTF on a throwdown they left for the oldest unfound cache. I don't think it counts, but I'm not the cache police. I do wonder though how many other of their tens of thousands of finds are throwdowns as well...

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27 minutes ago, hzoi said:

Someone just claimed FTF on a throwdown they left for the oldest unfound cache. I don't think it counts, but I'm not the cache police. I do wonder though how many other of their tens of thousands of finds are throwdowns as well...

:(. And of course it's all German "cachers" who vigorously defend the practice of claiming an FTF with a throwdown. *sigh*

Edited by baer2006
Typo
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2 hours ago, baer2006 said:
2 hours ago, hzoi said:

Someone just claimed FTF on a throwdown they left for the oldest unfound cache. I don't think it counts, but I'm not the cache police. I do wonder though how many other of their tens of thousands of finds are throwdowns as well...

:(. And of course it's all German "cachers" who vigorously defend the practice of claiming an FTF with a throwdown. *sigh*

 

Natürlich. :anibad:

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FWIW I just followed a link from my RSS-feed of the Geocaching-Blog to a new article in german

https://www.geocaching.com/blog/2022/07/auffrischung-der-geocaching-etikette-tipps-fur-cache-finder/

which further linked to an 2019 article also in german

https://www.geocaching.com/blog/2019/06/geocaching-etikette-201-finden-und-loggen/

 

It seems this articles were german only at least I couldn't find the corresponding english articles (the blog website is terrible IMHO)

Beside a major gripe I find the 2019 article extremly well written and I wished knowledge of this text would be a requirement for everybody before heading out finding caches.

 

But now to the on-topic gripe in that article:

Quote

4. Wenn Du nichts finden konntest und daher ohne die Zustimmung des Owners einen neuen Container mit Logbuch versteckst, solltest Du trotzdem einen DNF-Log schreiben. Wenn Du sicher bist, dass der Cache wirklich nicht da war, solltest Du “Benötigt Wartung” loggen.

Translate:

Quote

4. If you could not find anything and therefore hide a new container with a logbook without the consent of the owner, you should still write a DNF log. If you are sure that the cache was really not there, you should log “needs maintenance”.

 

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You've been getting a lot of good responses, but I have yet to see one thing discussed:

 

Protecting a replacement log in a leaky container.
Caveat: At NO time should an original container be removed and ESPECIALLY NEVER should a container be "dropped" in the absence of an original container


Your extra containers can be used productively in the case when a container has been damaged for a temporary fix To Be Accompanied By An NM Log to the CO. I regularly use small zip lock bags to protect replacement RITR logs in a leaky container. In a pre-form or tube, I may insert a centrifuge tube inside (especially if no cap) AND MESSAGE THE CO THROUGH An NM LOG. I may put a pill bottle with log in an ammo can where the seal has gone bad AND MESASAGE THE CO THROUGH AN NM LOG

This is not a "drop container" as the original container Is Never Removed (that's called THEFT), is only for the purpose of temporarily protecting a replacement log and is ALWAYS ... wanna guess?? - Accompanied By An NM Log to the CO

I also carry some good duct tape, cable ties and the like for the same use. I keep all items in my Deluxe Cache Repair Kit attached by a carabiner to my belt loop so it's always with me in the field. It's small and I usually forget I have it on me when we go to lunch. I don't message if it's just a full log replacement but will if a wad of mush must be removed from the cache in order to put in a replacement log and nopte that and any of the rest in my regular log as well.

For those who don't care to do this - don't do it - no one's forcing you. I was taught polity. I shall. For those who don't want to see Needs Maintenance logs - take care of your caches would be my suggestion. I do proactively every year. More often for 'high volume' caches.

Enjoy caching!

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1 hour ago, Jimrky said:

You've been getting a lot of good responses, but I have yet to see one thing discussed:

 

Protecting a replacement log in a leaky container.
Caveat: At NO time should an original container be removed and ESPECIALLY NEVER should a container be "dropped" in the absence of an original container

 

 

Ordinarily I'd agree with you but sometimes this can be a grey area and a judgement call is needed. A few years back I was planning a visit to a reasonably remote bushland cache that had been placed in 2003 with an owner who hasn't done any caching since 2011. The container was a 2 litre Sistema hidden deep under a rock ledge where it's protected from the weather, but there'd been a fire in the area that had caused the lid to become brittle and start falling apart. The previous finder had mentioned this in their log and suggested the next visitor might like to bring along a replacement lid, which I was happy to do. But you can't just buy a Sistema lid, you have to buy the whole thing so that's what I did and swapped both the body and lid with an identical replacement. The original logbook was still there and in great condition, with all its history and plenty of room for at least another couple of decades of finders. Yes, according to the letter of the guidelines I should have left the original container as it was and logged an NM, but with an inactive CO the most likely outcome of that would have been its eventual archival by a reviewer. The cache is in an area where it's probably going to be a lot tougher now to get permission for a new cache so in all likelihood it would have just become yet another vacant spot on the map where caches are already few and far between. For the sake of a few dollars in the supermarket for a new box, it seemed like a good win-win outcome.

 

Had the tables been turned and it'd been my fire-damaged cache that someone had swapped out, I'd have thanked them but really wished they'd have logged an NM and left it to me, as I'd probably have wanted to switch to something a bit more fire-resistant. But that's a very different scenario, as (a) I'm still an active CO, (b) I'm pretty pedantic about my hides and (c) none of my hides are particularly old, of any historical or community significance or in a spot where a new cache by someone else would be problematic if my one got archived.

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2 hours ago, Jimrky said:

as the original container Is Never Removed (that's called THEFT),

Cleaning up trash in the woods isn't theft. From a legal standpoint, I don't think it matters if said trash also has an abandoned listing on some American website. Thinking in particular of a certain broken down microwave oven that contains a broken plastic container and a soggy logbook, in an otherwise pristine forest nearby. Owner hasn't logged in since 2014, cache has 6 outstanding NM logs. Been waiting for its archival for 2 years now, but that's just as a courtesy to the caching community.

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On 7/26/2022 at 8:01 PM, Jimrky said:

You've been getting a lot of good responses, but I have yet to see one thing discussed:

 

Protecting a replacement log in a leaky container.
Caveat: At NO time should an original container be removed and ESPECIALLY NEVER should a container be "dropped" in the absence of an original container


Your extra containers can be used productively in the case when a container has been damaged for a temporary fix To Be Accompanied By An NM Log to the CO. I regularly use small zip lock bags to protect replacement RITR logs in a leaky container. In a pre-form or tube, I may insert a centrifuge tube inside (especially if no cap) AND MESSAGE THE CO THROUGH An NM LOG. I may put a pill bottle with log in an ammo can where the seal has gone bad AND MESASAGE THE CO THROUGH AN NM LOG

This is not a "drop container" as the original container Is Never Removed (that's called THEFT), is only for the purpose of temporarily protecting a replacement log and is ALWAYS ... wanna guess?? - Accompanied By An NM Log to the CO

I also carry some good duct tape, cable ties and the like for the same use. I keep all items in my Deluxe Cache Repair Kit attached by a carabiner to my belt loop so it's always with me in the field. It's small and I usually forget I have it on me when we go to lunch. I don't message if it's just a full log replacement but will if a wad of mush must be removed from the cache in order to put in a replacement log and nopte that and any of the rest in my regular log as well.

For those who don't care to do this - don't do it - no one's forcing you. I was taught polity. I shall. For those who don't want to see Needs Maintenance logs - take care of your caches would be my suggestion. I do proactively every year. More often for 'high volume' caches.

Enjoy caching!

 

 

Yeah, I hate "throw-downs". (I also hate the band Throwdown, but that's another story...)

 

Generally I do not carry spare containers unless I have an idea to place a cache somewhere and I take a few in my bag to get the right size for the hide.

 

I will carry spare scraps of paper in case of soaked or full log sheets which prevent signing, and some small plastic baggies, but that's about it. Even if I do that, it goes in my log that I have done so.

 

I can only see replacing a straight-up broken container, but with the BIG caveat that you have to notify the CO this is a temporary fix AND that it must go to the same exact spot to replace a broken but found container. No making up the spot where you think it should go, and calling that throw-down  a repair! I am much more comfortable just putting a needs maintenance notice on it.

 

Still, there's one cache locally where back in 2020 I hiked the trail and found the cache was missing its lid. I put a "needs maintenance" notice up, and nothing happened; 1.5 years later, lid still missing (yet it still gets signed and logged). I could put another NM on it, maybe get the reviewers' attention - could even be in my self-interest if it got archived - but I am also considering just replacing the container because it's a nice cache other than this one problem. 

 

 

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On 7/27/2022 at 11:01 AM, Jimrky said:

This is not a "drop container" as the original container Is Never Removed (that's called THEFT), is only for the purpose of temporarily protecting a replacement log and is ALWAYS ... wanna guess?? - Accompanied By An NM Log to the CO

It's called picking up abandoned rubbish. NOT theft. If that were the case no clean-up could ever happen, such as Clean Up Australia, because every bit of abandoned rubbish could be equally theft. I picked up the crumbs (and I mean crumbs; it had deteriorated that badly and were breaking into smaller pieces with even a light touch) of a cache the other day, because to leave it there to continue to break up into micro plastic and get washed into the neighbouring river and then into the ocean to kill fish etc, would have been extremely irresponsible. It was so broken down it was impossible to get all the crumbs and micro plastic pieces, but I collected what I could. I disagree strongly with your broad statement. It is so wrong and irresponsible to suggest such a thing. The plastic bag left with it was similarly turning to micro plastic in the hot sun.

I replaced another cache today which was starting on that route and responsibly removed the breaking down cache to a garbage bin. It too was breaking up with my touch. A few days ago I replaced another cache, and today received a very thankful reply from the CO for doing this. All these caches were remote, and except for the last example, I doubt the COs have any intention of returning to the remote place and fixing this.

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On 7/28/2022 at 5:10 AM, Goldenwattle said:

It's called picking up abandoned rubbish. NOT theft. If that were the case no clean-up could ever happen, such as Clean Up Australia, because every bit of abandoned rubbish could be equally theft. I picked up the crumbs (and I mean crumbs; it had deteriorated that badly and were breaking into smaller pieces with even a light touch) of a cache the other day, because to leave it there to continue to break up into micro plastic and get washed into the neighbouring river and then into the ocean to kill fish etc, would have been extremely irresponsible. It was so broken down it was impossible to get all the crumbs and micro plastic pieces, but I collected what I could. I disagree strongly with your broad statement. It is so wrong and irresponsible to suggest such a thing. The plastic bag left with it was similarly turning to micro plastic in the hot sun.

I replaced another cache today which was starting on that route and responsibly removed the breaking down cache to a garbage bin. It too was breaking up with my touch. A few days ago I replaced another cache, and today received a very thankful reply from the CO for doing this. All these caches were remote, and except for the last example, I doubt the COs have any intention of returning to the remote place and fixing this.


You have a very specific situation cited and are abusing a general statement to a relative newcomer - and I'm not sure what you hope to gain by that. In broad, taking an original container IS theft. You seem to want to conflate this with CITO for some reason. That's your construction and I won't be held responsible for it. 

Have fun caching.

Edited by Jimrky
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On 7/27/2022 at 12:43 AM, mustakorppi said:

Cleaning up trash in the woods isn't theft. From a legal standpoint, I don't think it matters if said trash also has an abandoned listing on some American website. Thinking in particular of a certain broken down microwave oven that contains a broken plastic container and a soggy logbook, in an otherwise pristine forest nearby. Owner hasn't logged in since 2014, cache has 6 outstanding NM logs. Been waiting for its archival for 2 years now, but that's just as a courtesy to the caching community.

 

We have a term for cleaning up trash in the woods - it's CITO. And taking an original cache container isn't CITO - it is as I stated. Now this was a very general statement to a relative newcomer - I expect better understanding from someone with over 3K finds. Perhaps I expect too much?

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On 7/26/2022 at 11:44 PM, barefootjeff said:

 

Ordinarily I'd agree with you but sometimes this can be a grey area and a judgement call is needed. A few years back I was planning a visit to a reasonably remote bushland cache that had been placed in 2003 with an owner who hasn't done any caching since 2011. The container was a 2 litre Sistema hidden deep under a rock ledge where it's protected from the weather, but there'd been a fire in the area that had caused the lid to become brittle and start falling apart. The previous finder had mentioned this in their log and suggested the next visitor might like to bring along a replacement lid, which I was happy to do. But you can't just buy a Sistema lid, you have to buy the whole thing so that's what I did and swapped both the body and lid with an identical replacement. The original logbook was still there and in great condition, with all its history and plenty of room for at least another couple of decades of finders. Yes, according to the letter of the guidelines I should have left the original container as it was and logged an NM, but with an inactive CO the most likely outcome of that would have been its eventual archival by a reviewer. The cache is in an area where it's probably going to be a lot tougher now to get permission for a new cache so in all likelihood it would have just become yet another vacant spot on the map where caches are already few and far between. For the sake of a few dollars in the supermarket for a new box, it seemed like a good win-win outcome.

 

Had the tables been turned and it'd been my fire-damaged cache that someone had swapped out, I'd have thanked them but really wished they'd have logged an NM and left it to me, as I'd probably have wanted to switch to something a bit more fire-resistant. But that's a very different scenario, as (a) I'm still an active CO, (b) I'm pretty pedantic about my hides and (c) none of my hides are particularly old, of any historical or community significance or in a spot where a new cache by someone else would be problematic if my one got archived.


We all play the game differently - and I can see the justification for your use. My statement was to a relative newcomer and meant to reinforce and amplify best practices. I still feel it adequately does just that.

You have NOT, but I've been getting a lot of conflating with CITO practices from 'cachers with 3K and more finds - and citing very specific cases instead of generalities to reinforce for the newcomer.

Again, You have NOT done this - and thanks. I'm almost beginning to hope that no newcomers ever come here seeking info. Were I to be one I'd be getting totally confused.

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2 hours ago, Jimrky said:


You have a very specific situation cited and are abusing a general statement to a relative newcomer - and I'm not sure what you hope to gain by that. In broad, taking an original container IS theft. You seem to want to conflate this with CITO for some reason. That's your construction and I won't be held responsible for it. 

Have fun caching.

It's because of past strong, adamant statements such as never take a container, which includes abandoned crumbling messes, that I get annoyed. Old containers are rubbish if they are allowed to break down. There is no theft involved in being responsible and either taking away and replacing abandoned caches. It is the CO who is at fault here, as no one should abandon a cache. Someone might die, but most are abandoned by the living. There is enough waste out there already breaking down and becoming microplastic  without this game adding to it. Whoever places a cache should take responsibility for its whole life and remove it when it's beyond it's 'use by date'. Or get someone else to do this for them. Sadly also too many caches are archived either by the CO or by geocaching and just left there to rot. Likely because they are rotting and people have been reporting it. Now those archived caches (you can call it theft; I don't) I will remove and not replace if I find them. So will Clean Up Australia and other clean up events and not consider it thief, but being responsible people caring for the environment. Old remote caches I will replace. They often come under 'community' maintenance; Geocachers passing through the area, as once gone those caches will never be replaced. What is the use of keeping an original container if it's now a pile of brittle plastic shards, or on the way to that? Non remote caches I put a NM on, and maybe later a NA. I did once remove a breaking down container, as for the previous such container by that CO I had reported needed replacement, the CO instead of going to replace or remove it had just archived the cache and left it there to continue to rot. Then continued publishing other caches. I know, as I found the rotting, archived cache on a later walk and picked it up as rubbish and disposed of it responsibly. So when in the same area I found another cache by the CO in a similar condition, rather than leave it there to rot as the CO had demonstrated they do, I took the unusable cache and mush inside and made a NM saying a new cache was needed. The CO immediately archived it, as they had previously. It was good I took it, or like their other cache, it would still be there, rotting.

 

I had no idea how long the person had been playing, but this comment that caches should NEVER be removed is made too often and too non-flexibly.

 

Like many things, someone starting out should go carefully giving themselves time to learn and not presuming too much and jumping in to do things, until they become more experienced and learn more abut the game.

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A suggestion about abandoned caches that are to be archived. Perhaps in some situations (in some places this would be most caches) instead of just archiving a cache when the cache has a NM for cache condition*, after the CO has had enough warning, the reviewer could make a message asking that the next finder please remove the cache and dispose of it responsibly (they can make a find) and let the reviewer know/write another NA message (whatever works best) and then the cache is archived, but not leaving rubbish behind.

 

* For missing caches, after no response from owner, just archive.

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14 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

A suggestion about abandoned caches that are to be archived. Perhaps in some situations (in some places this would be most caches) instead of just archiving a cache when the cache has a NM for cache condition*, after the CO has had enough warning, the reviewer could make a message asking that the next finder please remove the cache and dispose of it responsibly (they can make a find) and let the reviewer know/write another NA message (whatever works best) and then the cache is archived, but not leaving rubbish behind.

 

* For missing caches, after no response from owner, just archive.

 

How will the reviewer know that it's actually missing and not just well-hidden? Take the word of a random cacher who says so?

 

I get that we're talking about a cache where the CO hasn't responded, but until it's archived, it's not abandoned; the hobby still has a stake in it. Not ownership or responsibility, but a stake in its admittedly theoretical existence nevertheless.

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8 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

 

How will the reviewer know that it's actually missing and not just well-hidden? Take the word of a random cacher who says so?

 

I get that we're talking about a cache where the CO hasn't responded, but until it's archived, it's not abandoned; the hobby still has a stake in it. Not ownership or responsibility, but a stake in its admittedly theoretical existence nevertheless.

The unmaintained cache will be archived, as many are likely daily, so I don't get your point. The CO is NOT going to remove it, and it will stay there after being archived as rotting waste. So better to have someone pick it up.

 

As for knowing if a cache is really missing. No it might still be there somewhere, but for a regularly found cache suddenly having a long string of DNFs, and 'no longer behind the tree where hint says' type of logs, chances are it is missing. In life many things are not 100%.

 

"Take the word of a random cacher who says so?"

Um er, this is not how it happens. You should know this.

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18 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

As for knowing if a cache is really missing. No it might still be there somewhere, but for a regularly found cache suddenly having a long string of DNFs, and 'no longer behind the tree where hint says' type of logs, chances are it is missing. In life many things are not 100%.

 

I'm a Blind Freddy when it comes to spotting even lightly camouflaged caches, especially micros, so my rule of thumb is to just log a DNF if I can't find it. Only if there have been other DNFs (preferably more than one) immediately preceding my search will I add a "might be missing" NM, and if there's already a long-standing NM I'll go for the NA log. But sometimes the process can be safely shortened a bit, like if the hint says "hanging in the tree" but all that's there is a stump and a pile of sawdust.

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2 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

The unmaintained cache will be archived, as many are likely daily, so I don't get your point. The CO is NOT going to remove it, and it will stay there after being archived as rotting waste. So better to have someone pick it up.

 

As for knowing if a cache is really missing. No it might still be there somewhere, but for a regularly found cache suddenly having a long string of DNFs, and 'no longer behind the tree where hint says' type of logs, chances are it is missing. In life many things are not 100%.

 

"Take the word of a random cacher who says so?"

Um er, this is not how it happens. You should know this.

 

 

Well, your suggestion, to which I was responding said that instead of archiving a cache that has a NM for 'condition', a reviewer should just ask the next cacher to pick it up and dispose of it.

THAT'S where I got it from.

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8 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

 

 

Well, your suggestion, to which I was responding said that instead of archiving a cache that has a NM for 'condition', a reviewer should just ask the next cacher to pick it up and dispose of it.

THAT'S where I got it from.

I'm not following what your problem is with my suggestion, or what you are referring to. Why would the reviewer "Take the word of a random cacher who says so?" They don't now. It needs a string of DNFs and NMs.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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On 8/3/2022 at 7:48 PM, Goldenwattle said:

It's because of past strong, adamant statements such as never take a container, which includes abandoned crumbling messes, that I get annoyed. Old containers are rubbish if they are allowed to break down. There is no theft involved in being responsible and either taking away and replacing abandoned caches. It is the CO who is at fault here, as no one should abandon a cache. Someone might die, but most are abandoned by the living. There is enough waste out there already breaking down and becoming microplastic  without this game adding to it. Whoever places a cache should take responsibility for its whole life and remove it when it's beyond it's 'use by date'. Or get someone else to do this for them. Sadly also too many caches are archived either by the CO or by geocaching and just left there to rot. Likely because they are rotting and people have been reporting it. Now those archived caches (you can call it theft; I don't) I will remove and not replace if I find them. So will Clean Up Australia and other clean up events and not consider it thief, but being responsible people caring for the environment. Old remote caches I will replace. They often come under 'community' maintenance; Geocachers passing through the area, as once gone those caches will never be replaced. What is the use of keeping an original container if it's now a pile of brittle plastic shards, or on the way to that? Non remote caches I put a NM on, and maybe later a NA. I did once remove a breaking down container, as for the previous such container by that CO I had reported needed replacement, the CO instead of going to replace or remove it had just archived the cache and left it there to continue to rot. Then continued publishing other caches. I know, as I found the rotting, archived cache on a later walk and picked it up as rubbish and disposed of it responsibly. So when in the same area I found another cache by the CO in a similar condition, rather than leave it there to rot as the CO had demonstrated they do, I took the unusable cache and mush inside and made a NM saying a new cache was needed. The CO immediately archived it, as they had previously. It was good I took it, or like their other cache, it would still be there, rotting.

 

I had no idea how long the person had been playing, but this comment that caches should NEVER be removed is made too often and too non-flexibly.

 

Like many things, someone starting out should go carefully giving themselves time to learn and not presuming too much and jumping in to do things, until they become more experienced and learn more abut the game.



Get annoyed all you want - and at whatever length you want. The situation here was as cited. I stand with my statement.

As I see it - your post needed 6 words to convey 2 sentiments: I'm sorry. I was wrong. Nowhere are either sentiment conveyed.

I guess you must enjoy typing for yourself.

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9 hours ago, Jimrky said:



Get annoyed all you want - and at whatever length you want. The situation here was as cited. I stand with my statement.

As I see it - your post needed 6 words to convey 2 sentiments: I'm sorry. I was wrong. Nowhere are either sentiment conveyed.

I guess you must enjoy typing for yourself.

I won't bother responding to that, except are you sure it's me who is the annoyed one?

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On 8/5/2022 at 7:59 AM, Goldenwattle said:

I'm not following what your problem is with my suggestion, or what you are referring to. Why would the reviewer "Take the word of a random cacher who says so?" They don't now. It needs a string of DNFs and NMs.

 

Again, I responded to what you wrote.

A cache with a NM log, to be archived.

And, I never said I had a problem with what you wrote; I just asked you a question.

AND and, the classic example from here in the fora is when a CO gets PO'd at Groundspeak and walks away, but the cache is still listed on another caching site - should a reviewer initiate the physical removal of THAT container?

No reviewer would do such a thing. All they do is 'archive': the 'delisting' from Geocaching.com.

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    In my experience, about the only "helpful" maintenance one can do is replace a wet log and notify the CO that the cache needs maintenance.  It's mostly helpful to you (you can record a "find" because now there is a log you can sign)  and to the "next guy" since he can sign the log too.  If the container is waterproof but the log is wet because someone didn't close it, this also helps out the CO as well, since it saves them a trip.  

    If the container is not waterproof because of bad design it should be replaced.  If it is damaged it should be replaced.  Both these should get an NM.  If the container is "gone", post a dnf.  If there are multiple dnfs before you, post an NM and list the reason as "multiple dnfs, no sign of the cache, no response from CO" .  And put it on your watch list.  If nothing happens in the next month or two, post an NA and list the reason as "multiple dnfs, no response to NM by the CO"

    I will explain my rationale for this based on my experience in posting NM when a cache was wet or damaged or had multiple dnfs.  About 25% of the time, posting a NM results in the CO fixing the cache.  Some folks even say "thanks for the heads up".  About 75% of the time nothing happens.  Two months later posting a NA results in The Reviewer disabling the cache 90% of the time and 10% of the time the CO either fixes the cache, disables it or archives it.  Two to 12 months later The Reviewer will archive the cache.  Overall about two thirds of NM logs are never responded to by the CO (many have left the game so they never see the NM) and the caches are eventually archived.  Since the whole idea of the cache listing service is to have an accurate and current listing of available caches, this is a good thing.  

   The geocaching community "ideal" is regular cache maintenance but the reality is different and most folks don't maintain their caches or voluntarily disable or archive them or ask for help if they can't go fix them, or appreciate being told their cache needs maintenance.  This is just the reality.  If you post an NM log instead of repairing the cache you will find this to be true the majority of the time.  An active minority will respond to an NM with alacrity and be appreciative of the notice...but most will not respond.  Many of them are no longer active in the game.  The rest, well, perhaps they can explain why maintenance is not required...

 

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7 hours ago, edexter said:

The geocaching community "ideal" is regular cache maintenance but the reality is different and most folks don't maintain their caches or voluntarily disable or archive them or ask for help if they can't go fix them, or appreciate being told their cache needs maintenance.

 

Regular maintenance is only needed if the container isn't doing its job of separating its contents from the outside world or if the logbook is too small for the number of finders it's getting. My geocaching community "ideal" is caches fit for purpose that don't need regular care and attention to keep them in good condition and it's what I aspire to with my hides, with varying degrees of success. This is one I mentioned recently in another thread that I placed in 2014 and is still the original container with its original logbook:

 

20210822_144011.jpg.915ade0c81648b0f78ad796542ad7359.jpg

 

It's tucked under a rock ledge near the top of a hill where it's well protected from sun and rain and has had 94 finders in its 8 years. It's close to home so it's one I look in on fairly often (most recently about 3 weeks ago) but it's never needed any attention apart from replacing a missing pencil in 2017.

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