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Requiring caches to be maintained and auto archival if abandoned


MNTA

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Reading the thread on the latest Wheel challenge there is a common issue many of us have. That being having cached out their immediate home area. Personally I have cleared all traditionals to 7 miles and down to  20 within 10 miles. 

 

I know this is not going to be popular with many of the folks here. I get it change = bad, is a common belief. Well I truly believe that change is inevitable and you either change or die. GS is definitely taking a more active role in trying to improve the caching experience and being a stickler for maintenance of caches. I think this should be taken a step further and did a little data mining to support it. Now before folks jump on the anti-bandwagon let me present the entire argument with data. My method is crude and subject to errors but please hear me out. 

 

Proposal: Require an owner maintenance log/visit by the 5th year after placement sometime in the 4th year. Then require a subsequent maintenance log every two years even if there is no issues with the caches as reported by previous logs. (Actual number of years could be adjusted definitely before 10 years)

 

Why this is beneficial

- Unsupported/unmaintained caches taken off the board

- Supported caches get a much needed refresh. Containers issue, leaks, soggy mildew logs replaced, new baggies, toss nasty smell swag that no parent is ever going to let their kids touch.

- Improves the caching experience specially for new cachers as the cache is supported and problems addressed

- frees up map space for new caches and hopefully gives local cachers new nearby caches to find (yes this assumes replacement occurs)

- prime spots for caching is owned by active cachers not inactive, improves the hiders experience

- Post abandoned archive caches for future community CITO

 

Data from my 5 mile home area, Active cachers defined as having found a cache in the last year

Enabled Traditional caches within 5 miles - 230 active caches

Placed

2001                    - 1 cache     - 0 COs active    - 0% Supported 

2006                   - 5 caches    - 4 COs Active -  80% Supported   -    3% of active caches

2007 - 2012       - 67 caches - 31 COs Active - 46% Supported - 29% of active caches

2013 - 2018       - 93 caches - 57 COs Active - 61% Supported - 40% of active caches

2019 - 2023       - 64 caches - 48 COs Active - 75% Supported - 28% of active caches - 

Total                   - 230 caches  - 140 COs Active  - 60% Supported

 

So if this policy was adopted.

 

2001 - 2018.      - 166 caches - 92 COs Active - 55% Supported 

So theoretically up to 74 caches could be archived if not immediately within the next 2 year cycle. In my area there are even more unknown caches that would qualify as well. Since these are already unsupported they will eventually get archived once problems crop up unless community maintenance occurs which does happen. 

 

Now I get remote tough to get to caches. My personal best is 8.5 years lonely, and the CO is long gone while that cache was in perfect shape. Jasmer challenges will eventually dry up unless adopted out or change to the Australian Jasmer variant. 

 

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3 hours ago, MNTA said:

Enabled Traditional caches within 5 miles - 230 active caches

This is 3 caches per square mile. Nowhere near high saturation. Your area does not have a problem of no hiding spots available, if you want more caches, you need more people willing to create them.

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That's a very broad statement. Many places are NOT saturated. Still plenty of room for new caches here, and you archive those here, it's extremely unlikely they will be replaced, and that will be a negative for the game, with no caches to find, which is what you advocate. Many more remote caches are maintained; just not by the CO.

 

image.thumb.png.f297939b2221a706efe628b853e741e3.png

 

image.thumb.png.721d0aaa67074dc04a610feae47be16c.png

 

As for where I live, I have not found all caches, and there's still room for new ones. But I think we have enough already and don't need new ones. Unmaintained urban caches like this that are unmaintained and in bad condition just need someone to report them, and if nothing is done they will be archived. There is no problem at present with that system, except that some people are not doing NM and NA logs.

image.thumb.png.67d90566f9575897e2b6da25521f8a01.png

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I'd have little issue with this so long as it was only activated in really cache dense areas, and the final death blow delivered by a human reviewer. Make the disabling and whatever warnings are needed automatic, this could free up reviewers time as well. 

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6 hours ago, niraD said:
6 hours ago, MNTA said:

(yes this assumes replacement occurs)

In many areas, that is a BIG assumption. There are lots of areas where no one is going to hide a new cache to replace an archived one.

 

Yes. I've archived 17 of my caches over the years but none have had anyone else put a new cache there. Around here at least, archiving caches doesn't refresh the game board, it just empties it.

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6 hours ago, hsiale said:

This is 3 caches per square mile. Nowhere near high saturation. Your area does not have a problem of no hiding spots available, if you want more caches, you need more people willing to create them.

The full number of active caches is 511 of all types.

 

That makes it 26 caches per square mile, what is saturation anyway? Can more be squeezed in? Yes, is this desirable? Remember not all of the area is usable/placeable. A sizable portion is inaccessible farmland I am on the urban growth boundary, an airport, freeways and infrastructure, private property including the states two largest private employers with sizable holdings, park land with  placement restrictions

 

I have placed 7 caches in the area. Two are still active. The hiding utility is not enjoyable to use 

 

9 hours ago, niraD said:

In many areas, that is a BIG assumption. There are lots of areas where no one is going to hide a new cache to replace an archived one.

 

In saturated areas cache replacement definitely does not always occur. However, I have been to the same small park 2 or 3 or 4 times over the years maybe not the exact spot. Occasionally it is though. You have to remember the 1/10 of a mile bubble is what is actually freed up. Project-gc map compare shows historically the same area has had 1394 caches of which 511 are currently active. I think it does happen to an extent.

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12 hours ago, niraD said:

In many areas, that is a BIG assumption. There are lots of areas where no one is going to hide a new cache to replace an archived one.

 

I had a Geoart series of 24 caches along  the Hudson River Walkway, with views of New York City.  I archived them when my partner died.  (Not near me, and they needed a lot of maintenance.)  Seven years later, the only new cache there is my Virtual Cache.  Cachers love the hike/bike ride, and the views.  But no other new caches!  The Geoart was Dolphin in the River.

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2 hours ago, MNTA said:

I think it does happen to an extent.

In urban/suburban parks, maybe. I used to live the San Francisco Bay Area. The urban/suburban parks around my home saw a lot of churn, as one cache after another would be muggled and archived, and then someone else would hide another in the same park. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But even in the county parks and open spaces a short drive (or bike ride) from suburban neighborhoods, there was plenty of space for new caches, and archived caches weren't replaced by new caches placed within 528ft/161m of the archived cache.

 

You can't treat all of geocaching like urban/suburban parks.

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4 hours ago, MNTA said:

The full number of active caches is 511 of all types. That makes it 26 caches per square mile

A circle with radius of 5 miles has area of 78 square miles. Making it 6.5 caches per square mile. Of course some will have extra physical stages, but also some will be virtuals or earthcaches with no physical stages at all.

 

Theoretical maximum saturation is over 100 per square mile (100 fit when arranged in square grid, hexagonal grid is a bit more efficient). But this is of course only theoretical, at it requires all area to be accessible and all COs cooperating to squeeze as much as possible. But being at 6.5, unless you happen to have huge military areas (which are most common cause of big areas being totally inaccessible - farmlands and urban areas have a network of roads which often are public access), you should have to problem fitting more caches in. I have 445 caches within 5 miles from my home coordinates, all of this in urban area, and there is no problem with free hiding spots.

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There are two ways that can lead to a cache needing maintenance:

  1. Wear and tear: things like seals wearing out, plastic becoming brittle, steel rusting, logs becoming full, tattered or damp/mouldy from prolonged high humidy, etc. These should be addressed by regular owner visits, but how often (if ever) depends heavily on the cache design and location. A micro (or nano) in a busy urban location that gets hundreds of finds a year will need frequent attention, but a large robust container in a more remote location, especially if its hiding place is protected from the elements (such as in a cave or under a rock ledge) can easily go decades without needing attention.
  2. Catastrophic failure: things like fires, floods, tree falls, rock falls and mugglings. One day the cache is fine, the next it's damaged, destroyed or gone, but importantly, in the context of this thread, no amount of owner visits beforehand will prevent these.

Your proposal only addresses the first one (wear and tear) and takes a one-size-fits-all approach. An owner visit in the fourth year and every two years thereafter will be way too infrequent for urban micros in high traffic areas but overkill for larger containers in remote mountain-top caves that go years between finds and will likely never need maintenance in their lifetime. Yet it's the latter that will be hardest hit by your proposal, particularly those more remote caches that take a lot of time and effort to visit. You'll archive the caches that don't need maintenance while those that get wet or mouldy in just weeks or months will remain.

Edited by barefootjeff
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13 hours ago, niraD said:

You can't treat all of geocaching like urban/suburban parks.

Great comment. Maybe the best here. Unfortunately when we get these comments about getting rid of old caches and replacing them (as if), I get the strong feeling that the people making these comments have blinkers on and caching to them is urban, and their local urban at that. Please take blinkers off when making comments about replacing older caches. Not everyone lives, travels or caches in urban areas dense with caches. That's easily seen by looking at the geocaching map and and seeing how it is around the world, beyond each of our local small world. Otherwise the comments can come across as unworldly, parochial suggestions. The world is bigger than our individual local area, and it's not the same everywhere.

I suggest getting out more to other places. More caches then to find too :) .

In fact having recently walked for many kms through a number of densely packed cities in Europe, often I thought there weren't enough caches. On the map it might look a lot of caches, by out of a car, on foot, it wasn't. Improved my fitness though, and I saw lots of places. Yes the locals might have already found all the local caches, but archiving them will make it worse, because if people wanted to place new caches, they would have already, as there was still plenty of room.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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An active cache with an inactive CO is only a problem once maintenance becomes necessary. Preventative maintenance is a good idea, but I do not see a lack of it or the inactivity of the CO resulting in archival as beneficial until such time as immediate maintenance becomes necessary.

 

The abandoned cache isn't going to get picked up after archival so might as well get the most out of it before it becomes geo-litter.

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On 6/28/2023 at 2:43 PM, MNTA said:

Supported caches get a much needed refresh. Containers issue, leaks, soggy mildew logs replaced, new baggies, toss nasty smell swag that no parent is ever going to let their kids touch.

 

This cache is eight years old and hasn't had any maintenance done to it in that time, other than to confirm a trackable listed in the inventory was not in the cache so I could mark it as missing. Even the pencil is original.

 

GC5WGTZ.jpg.4d7a29d5ae4d5107e4f83ec20f3701f8.jpg

 

The container isn't leaky, the log isn't soggy or mildewy in spite of three years of record-breaking rainfall, nor is there any smelly swag to frighten parents. Why does it need refreshing and why should it be archived because I haven't done that?

 

There's nothing special about this cache, other than it being well-suited to its hiding place which protects it from the sun. It's pretty typical of the older bushland caches around here; unless something catastrophic happens they just remain in essentially pristine condition whether their owner visits them occasionally or not.

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8 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

This cache is eight years old and hasn't had any maintenance done to it in that time, other than to confirm a trackable listed in the inventory was not in the cache so I could mark it as missing. Even the pencil is original.

 

GC5WGTZ.jpg.4d7a29d5ae4d5107e4f83ec20f3701f8.jpg

 

The container isn't leaky, the log isn't soggy or mildewy in spite of three years of record-breaking rainfall, nor is there any smelly swag to frighten parents. Why does it need refreshing and why should it be archived because I haven't done that?

 

There's nothing special about this cache, other than it being well-suited to its hiding place which protects it from the sun. It's pretty typical of the older bushland caches around here; unless something catastrophic happens they just remain in essentially pristine condition whether their owner visits them occasionally or not.

 

Even leaky, smelly old caches can be found and logged perfectly fine.  As with your example of a pristine one, such a cache is an exception.  Most will become lost or at least broken and gross over the years.  But I've found several that had been through cycles of being waterlogged and drying out, which are in place unattended and unloved, but findable and signable without issue.  Often, those are exactly like the other caches along the trail.  How one manages to be in great condition while the others fail due to no proper maintenance, I cannot say.

 

Edited by kunarion
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23 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

a large robust container in a more remote location, especially if its hiding place is protected from the elements (such as in a cave or under a rock ledge) can easily go decades without needing attention.

An owner visit in the fourth year and every two years thereafter will be way too infrequent for urban micros in high traffic areas but overkill for larger containers in remote mountain-top caves that go years between finds and will likely never need maintenance in their lifetime. Yet it's the latter that will be hardest hit by your proposal, particularly those more remote caches that take a lot of time and effort to visit. You'll archive the caches that don't need maintenance while those that get wet or mouldy in just weeks or months will remain.

As the owner of mostly remote caches that get hiked to, I really agree with this!  Some of my caches do go years between finds.  I try to use a well-made container and well thought out (sheltered) hiding spot for those and I can imagine that even 25 years after their hide they will still be in great shape.  Often it is these types of caches that prompt a personal email from a finder thanking for the hide.  And sometimes it has been a couple or several years since the last find.  As an extreme example, I have two caches in the same general area that have not been found for 10+ years, hidden maybe 16 years ago.  I plan to be out in that area next month with a couple friends who will look for them.  I am confident because of the containers and the location they will be in good shape still.  I have one cache that went almost 4 years without being found but then was found by four people out exploring that part of the woods.  One of them sent me a nice message thanking for the hide and saying they were all excited to find a cache that had been unseen for so long.

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7 hours ago, kunarion said:

As with your example of a pristine one, such a cache is an exception.  Most will become lost or at least broken and gross over the years.

 

Perhaps I've lived a sheltered life (or maybe the caches have), but the great majority of caches I've found over my decade in the game have been in good condition with the contents snug and dry. This region is a bit unusual, though, as smalls and regulars are the most common sizes with micros in third place making up just 24% of the hides. The majority of caches here are in bushland rather than urban areas, with the eroded sandstone hinterland and coastline providing plenty of sheltered hiding places for them.

 

Of my 46 active hides, of which about half have passed the OP's 5-year cut-off for needing maintenance and refreshing, 33 are still the original unmaintained container. Of the other 13, a few went missing and were replaced, some turned out early on to be unsuitable for their hiding place (typically what I thought was a dry cavity under a rock turns into a subterranean watercourse in heavy rain) so were replaced with something better and, after last year's floods, a few were Sistemas that I've replaced with Duratechs as the latter does better when fully submerged. I've only had to replace one full logbook and that was on an adopted cache in a popular tourist spot. My goal when designing caches is for them to be self-sufficient and not need maintenance over the course of their lifetime, the only exception being one that has battery-powered special effects and needs new batteries every six months or so (I've thought about rigging up solar power for that but hiding it from muggles might be difficult). It's still a learning curve but for the most part I've succeeded. I just don't understand why caches like these are bad for the game and should be replaced or archived after 5 years.

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10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

My goal when designing caches is for them to be self-sufficient and not need maintenance over the course of their lifetime.

It would be exaggerated to expect all geocaches confirming 100% to that spirit but that's what I thought geocaching actually is when I started and my few own caches belong to this type. Personally I would feel comfortable today with a reduced landscape of caches designed for maintenace runs about twice a decade and with only some exceptions where more often regular maintenace is dictated by the nature of the hide. Concentrating on those to find I rarely come across caches in real live where outstanding maintenance makes a negative impact on my caching experience.

But I understand not being picky and wanting to basically find random (or even all) boxes in the neighborhood you stumble constantly (depending on the area) on neglected caches.

10 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I just don't understand why caches like these are bad for the game and should be replaced or archived after 5 years.

I guess they don't want such caches to be replaced or archived but they also would not miss them since those are a neglectable minority for them. They might even believe such caches are an insignificant oddity nobody would miss. And to a degree I'm afraid they are right :(

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On 6/28/2023 at 6:43 AM, MNTA said:

- Unsupported/unmaintained caches taken off the board

 

There's already processes for that: long disabled listings get culled by reviewers; listings with many DNFs/Needs Maintenance logs are brought by an algorithm to reviewers attention; Needs Archived logs are brougth to reviewers attention.

 

Of course this needs cooperation from the geocachers: logging DNFs, NM and NA when necessary. And that is a good thing, because geocachers which actually visited the location are in the best position to ring the alarm on unmaintained or missing caches.

Edited by eigengott
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I think a couple of the biggest issues are this...  you can't really apply one strategy equally worldwide. There's always going to be exceptions, and major counter-arguments depending on region and local community. I think what it comes down to is always going to be your local geocaching community. Automated systems are going to come with the significant margins for error, so the next best is manual systems with local folk who know their local region - and community. And that system is in place. It'll never be perfect, but no system will.

Across the board, HQ can encourage a proper ethic and spirit of the hobby, but when it comes to specific areas, the community needs to help itself, and the local reviewers sort of set the bar for what the community will expect.

I've seen NA/RAR logs on remote caches with DNFs and very few visits, and they go ignored by reviewers, while one of those posted on an urban cache is dealt with almost immediately. That's a choice and judgment the reviewer is making. So they are the ones setting the pace.

 

A community needs people who want to regularly find and place geocaches.

A community needs owners who have reasonable maintenance plans for the cache(s) they place (urban or remote)

A community needs reviewers who have a thick skin and can put a foot down on the tough end of maintaining a reasonable standard, and a way with words to help steer people in the right direction when there are questions, concerns, and angry rants. 

 

HQ can only do so much. =/

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6 hours ago, Hynz said:

I guess they don't want such caches to be replaced or archived but they also would not miss them since those are a neglectable minority for them. They might even believe such caches are an insignificant oddity nobody would miss. And to a degree I'm afraid they are right :(

:sad:

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I think you're on the right track. My concern is that valid caches will be archived.

 

I think it also needs to be easier to transfer cache ownership. That way if someone stops maintaining their cache it can be transferred to someone who will take care of it.

 

So if a cache owner is not responding, in your examples, prior to archiving there would be a window of a few weeks where anyone can claim the cache as their own and go do the maintenance themselves.

 

I also think it should be every two years *unless there was a found log*. If someone finds the cache and does not report any issues that should reset the timer. You also wouldn't need to start with a 5 year window that way. Just make it every two years if nobody else found it without issue.

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5 minutes ago, WoodlandAlliance said:

I think it also needs to be easier to transfer cache ownership. That way if someone stops maintaining their cache it can be transferred to someone who will take care of it.

That will never happen. The geocaching.com site is just a listing service. Groundspeak likes it that way. Groundspeak's lawyers like it that way. Groundspeak does not own the caches, and will not do anything that implies that they own the caches, or have any authority to transfer ownership of the caches.

 

5 minutes ago, WoodlandAlliance said:

I also think it should be every two years *unless there was a found log*. If someone finds the cache and does not report any issues that should reset the timer. You also wouldn't need to start with a 5 year window that way. Just make it every two years if nobody else found it without issue.

There are caches that are not found every 2 years. Should they be archived automatically if the owner doesn't visit them every 2 years?

 

One of my geocaching friends was STF (Second To Find) on a cache that hadn't been found in more than a decade. She chose that cache as a major milestone find, and had an epic adventure finding it. Should a cache like that have been automatically archived just because the owner didn't visit it every 2 years for a decade, waiting for the STF?

 

For that matter, I think the FTF of the cache took more than a year after it was published. Assuming that FTF took more than 2 years, should it have been automatically archived before anyone found it, just because the owner didn't visit it after 2 years?

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1 hour ago, WoodlandAlliance said:

I also think it should be every two years *unless there was a found log*. If someone finds the cache and does not report any issues that should reset the timer. You also wouldn't need to start with a 5 year window that way. Just make it every two years if nobody else found it without issue.

 

There are caches that require a considerable amount of effort by anyone, including the CO, to visit. The T4.5 I did for my 1000th find in 2019 is an example, it's a full day return hike from the nearest parking (the CO camped at GZ overnight when he hid it) and it's not just a long hike along a trail either, there's thick scrub, a deep gully to cross followed by a series of cliff lines to negotiate. It's only had one other finder since our group visit, that being last October. Then there's that T4.5 challenge cache that I'm working towards, placed by the same CO, which is a similarly tough hike to reach. Its last find was in 2017, although the CO and his mate visited it in January last year and confirmed that it had survived the 2019 fires. That CO specialises in remote high terrain caches (he also has an EarthCache in the western Blue Mountains that's only had one finder since its publication in 2017). He has 44 active hides, of which 21 are terrain 4 or higher, so he'd have to spend every other weekend cache-checking to get to each one every two years. Is that a reasonable expectation, given that none are likely to need maintenance?

 

There are other caches that are even more remote and take a mammoth multi-day effort to reach with weeks or months of meticulous planning beforehand. These are the ones that feature occasionally in HQ's Cache of the Week and are the ones people like thebruce0 make documentaries about. Yet these are the caches that are least likely to need constant maintenance, they're often ammo cans or other sturdy constructions tucked into rocky places protected from the weather and are extremely unlikely to be muggled. It makes sense; if you're hiding caches like that, you don't want to have to keep going back to fix them.

 

Even amongst my own hides are some that are a half-day rugged hike to reach, like GC8DQXK (last found a year ago), GC6JMDK (last found in 2020) and GC6XHHJ (last found in 2021). These, like most of my hides, are still the original container and original logbook and have not needed maintenance since the day I placed them. I've visited them all since last year's extreme rainfall events, just for my own peace of mind, but each of those visits leaves me nursing scratched and sore limbs for several days afterwards. But if I was forced to visit them all every two years, I'd likely take the easy way out and hit the archive button.

 

Maybe Hynz is right, maybe caches like these are such a small proportion of the total number of hides that their loss would be insignificant. Or maybe caches like these that aren't generating tens or hundreds of smileys a year are deadwood and should be pruned from the gameboard. Or maybe they just no longer fit the modern-day game ethos of trails of quick roadside micros needed to boost your find count for whatever the current souvenir promotion requires.

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8 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

have not needed maintenance since the day I placed them

Even some of my urban caches are like that. I visit them after say five years and there's still plenty of space in the log and the cache is good. Some other caches do need more maintenance, but COs should come to know which caches need little maintenance and which need more.

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5 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Maybe Hynz is right, maybe caches like these are such a small proportion of the total number of hides that their loss would be insignificant. Or maybe caches like these that aren't generating tens or hundreds of smileys a year are deadwood and should be pruned from the gameboard. Or maybe they just no longer fit the modern-day game ethos of trails of quick roadside micros needed to boost your find count for whatever the current souvenir promotion requires.

:sad:

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At the risk of belabouring the point, today I did a loop drive around the Central Coast, with the main objective being to drop a new logbook into an old 2001 cache on which I volunteered to do community maintenance on behalf of Geocaching New South Wales, who recently adopted a bunch of these old caches placed by one of the well-known pioneers in geocaching here. This particular cache is a large thick-walled plastic box (about 10 litres perhaps) and, although sitting in a weather-exposed spot in the fork of a tree, has survived very well with its contents nice and dry in spite of the deluges over recent years.

 

GC1C47.jpg.88068d6081cc50a0299b5e289c4c47e8.jpg

 

It still has its original logbook, also in excellent condition, but after 400 finds in its 22 years it's finally full, hence the new one I was adding. Hopefully it'll keep going strong for another twenty years.

 

On the way home, I made a slight detour (about 15km each way) to visit one of my own hides (GC92WV1) which I placed in late 2020. Hidden close to a waterfall, this originally used a regular-sized Sistema which did quite well at keeping the contents dry, until last year's flooding saw it completely submerged for several days resulting in some moisture ingress. So I replaced it with a Duratech instrument case, in part as an experiment to see how well they perform compared to the Sistema. A year on, here's today's photos:

 

WaterfallCache.jpg.52ed103edc7481fad22bd0d75c4b9dce.jpg

 

With the gully not receiving any winter sunshine and constant fine mist from the falls, everything is very wet, including the outside of the container as you can see, but inside it's bone dry with no sign of as much as a drop of water having gotten in over the past year. While this remains an ongoing experiment, I'm pretty confident that in 5, 10 or even 20 years time it'll be just as good, whether I visit it or not.

 

This, and the other caches I've mentioned in this thread, isn't rocket science. There's no reason, except perhaps cost, why every weather-exposed small and regular sized container couldn't be something like this, instead of the porous food containers meant for the inside of refrigerators that many use for caches. Maybe, instead of special events and a souvenir for making magical caches, a promotion about making low-maintenance caches might have done more towards addressing the OP's concerns. Really, the solution to their problem should be attacked at the source, which is short-lived leaky containers, rather than requiring all COs to make unnecessary visits to caches that don't need maintenance.

 

None of my caches are micros so I don't have any direct experience with those, but lee737 has had good success with multi-layer containers, typically a bison tube inside a slightly larger robust outer container (and perhaps a third layer if it's a particularly wet location). He might be able to elaborate further if he wishes.

Edited by barefootjeff
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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

This, and the other caches I've mentioned in this thread, isn't rocket science. There's no reason, except perhaps cost, why every weather-exposed small and regular sized container couldn't be something like this, instead of the porous food containers meant for the inside of refrigerators that many use for caches. Maybe, instead of special events and a souvenir for making magical caches, a promotion about making low-maintenance caches might have done more towards addressing the OP's concerns. Really, the solution to their problem should be attacked at the source, which is short-lived leaky containers, rather than requiring all COs to make unnecessary visits to caches that don't need maintenance.

That is often the problem; people using containers that should never have ben used. Instead of quality, too many people go for quantity. Gotta put out a 100 caches today along a road, and can't afford suitable containers, so what old containers do I have in the cupboard? 

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On 6/30/2023 at 3:44 PM, WoodlandAlliance said:

So if a cache owner is not responding, in your examples, prior to archiving there would be a window of a few weeks where anyone can claim the cache as their own and go do the maintenance themselves.

 

If two or more geocachers are vying to gain ownership who gets dibs? You think Groundspeak wants to arbitrate such disagreements?

 

I do agree the current system of adoption is clunky and often confusing to COs who do want to adopt out a cache. A CO must go into the adoption module, which is not an option on the cache page, and select which cache they want to adopt out. Only after that is done can the new owner go to the adoption module and enter the correct info to gain ownership.

 

There is no way to advertise the cache as available for adoption except a log. There is no way to search for caches to adopt.

 

There are many viable caches that get Archived by a CO who decides to quit the hobby or have to move on short notice. First come, first serve adoption as a CO drop-down menu alternative to Archive would decrease the amount of geo-litter out there.

 

Being able to flag a cache as up for adoption, with a notice at the top of the page (ala Disabled caches) and search functionality would get more adoptions.

 

Making the adoption portal go through a link on the cache page instead of having to find a separate website section would also make things much smoother.

 

Now you might say adoptions are deliberately difficult because they should be rare. It's usually preferable to archive a cache and have a new CO create something from scratch. Which is reasonable. However, the reality is viable cache containers being archived and abandoned is a longstanding issue and more important than freshening up the proverbial game board. Also, since Virtuals can now be adopted, it would make it easier to keep those alive.

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19 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

<...>

 

Being able to flag a cache as up for adoption, with a notice at the top of the page (ala Disabled caches) and search functionality would get more adoptions.

 

Making the adoption portal go through a link on the cache page instead of having to find a separate website section would also make things much smoother.

 

Now you might say adoptions are deliberately difficult because they should be rare. It's usually preferable to archive a cache and have a new CO create something from scratch. Which is reasonable. However, the reality is viable cache containers being archived and abandoned is a longstanding issue and more important than freshening up the proverbial game board. Also, since Virtuals can now be adopted, it would make it easier to keep those alive.

 

 

If adoption were that easy, where anyone could go look at the list of caches wanting a new parent and grab them, then we'd almost immediately end up with a fast-growing new class of COs.

 

We'd see a ton of 'aggregators'; people who collect caches and have never created one.

 

We'd be flooded by those who have never thought about cache creation, or thought about why a cache should or shouldn't be created here, or what kind of container to use, or what kind of logbook, or what the experience should be, or ANY of the factors that are *supposed* to go into cache ownership.

 

No investment = no ownership = no pride = no maintenance = no community.

 

Now, of course we all complain today about thousands of thoughtless crappy caches placed for absolutely no reason at all except "it needed one", but even these endless LPCs require SOME thought, planning, acquisition, construction and execution.


Shouldn't there be a difference between a cacher that's created twenty mystery caches and had them published, and one who owns twenty mystery caches because he looks at the list every day and scarfs up anything that comes up?

 

Respect for the former; something else for the latter.

 

 

-----------------------------------------------

 

Now, I'm NOT saying that cache-adopters are bad; on the contrary, it's noble. I'm one myself, but I'm not who I'm talking about. You get that.

 

 

 

Edited by TeamRabbitRun
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Just now, TeamRabbitRun said:

If adoption were that easy, where anyone could go look at the list of caches wanting a new parent and grab them, then we'd almost immediately end up with a fast-growing new class of COs.

 

We'd see a ton of 'aggregators'; people who collect caches and have never created one.

 

I would say the adoption wouldn't happen unless the CO approves. If you want to adopt, you have to convince the CO you can. If the CO doesn't care, then it'll just get archived anyway.  Cache ownership should never change without the CO's final approval. No way for a person to just 'collect' caches up for adoption.

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5 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

 

I would say the adoption wouldn't happen unless the CO approves. If you want to adopt, you have to convince the CO you can. If the CO doesn't care, then it'll just get archived anyway.  Cache ownership should never change without the CO's final approval. No way for a person to just 'collect' caches up for adoption.

 

I agree with you.

Slippery-slope-wise, I also don't think it'd be very long before there's clamor to have 'lonely' or apparently abandoned caches added to the online list. GS's policies on those caches are clear, today, but there'd be pressure, once such a list is in place.

 

And, even though the CO would have final say, what happens if the CO doesn't know the applicant? What's criteria should the CO use in making a decision? Should there be a requirement that an applicant must first be the owner of their own cache? So, someone would put out a LPC to 'break the list open', then apply for everything in sight.

 

There aren't any requirements on Cache Ownership in regard to a 'find count'; how would you justify a 'pre-ownership' requirement on an objective basis, and not on what I've presented, which is a 'quality vs quantity' argument?

 

And finally, there's the valid point about find-counts and ownership: "I DO own caches under my other account, but I want to hold all my adopted caches under this other Basic account."  What does a CO looking to get out of the game do with THAT?

 

Most likely, approve, approve, approve.

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7 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

Slippery-slope-wise, I also don't think it'd be very long before there's clamor to have 'lonely' or apparently abandoned caches added to the online list.

Well if the rules are "A CO needs to set their cache to adoptable" and "A CO needs to approve an adoption transfer request", they're hard lines that don't apply to auto-setting "abandoned" caches to an online list. Really the only addition to current setup is, it sounds to me, making it publicly known that you'd like to adopt out your cache (rather than only privately/personally finding someone yourself). Everything else would remain the same, if I understand the suggestion correctly.

 

7 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

And, even though the CO would have final say, what happens if the CO doesn't know the applicant?

If the CO doesn't feel comfortable adopting out the cache to someone who 'applied', then it can be ignored. No need to say yes.   It'd be the same as someone at an event overhearing you're aiming to adopt your cache, and approaching you to ask, and you just being courteous with a thanks but never going through the process with them.  Or, in this case, if the CO just ignores every request that comes in, the cache falls by the wayside and whatever happens now to the listing would happen to it still. No difference.

Again it's just that the desire to find someone to adopt the listing is made public, and every other step is still up to the CO.

 

7 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

There aren't any requirements on Cache Ownership in regard to a 'find count'; how would you justify a 'pre-ownership' requirement on an objective basis, and not on what I've presented, which is a 'quality vs quantity' argument?

Dunno. How does a CO currently decide they feel someone is acceptable to adopt their cache?  It's quite subjective.  A CO could adopt it out to their 16 year old niece with 2 finds if they want.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Well if the rules are "A CO needs to set their cache to adoptable" and "A CO needs to approve an adoption transfer request", they're hard lines that don't apply to auto-setting "abandoned" caches to an online list. Really the only addition to current setup is, it sounds to me, making it publicly known that you'd like to adopt out your cache (rather than only privately/personally finding someone yourself). Everything else would remain the same, if I understand the suggestion correctly.

 

If the CO doesn't feel comfortable adopting out the cache to someone who 'applied', then it can be ignored. No need to say yes.   It'd be the same as someone at an event overhearing you're aiming to adopt your cache, and approaching you to ask, and you just being courteous with a thanks but never going through the process with them.  Or, in this case, if the CO just ignores every request that comes in, the cache falls by the wayside and whatever happens now to the listing would happen to it still. No difference.

Again it's just that the desire to find someone to adopt the listing is made public, and every other step is still up to the CO.

 

Dunno. How does a CO currently decide they feel someone is acceptable to adopt their cache?  It's quite subjective.  A CO could adopt it out to their 16 year old niece with 2 finds if they want.

 

 

 

I completely agree with what you've written. No arguments.

 

But, you haven't addressed the rest of what I wrote. The system sounds great, but just remember that we're dealing with the killer of all plans: PEOPLE.      Many, if not most people will not, in general, keep their caches because they don't like the looks of an applicant. If you're looking to get out of the game, then you're looking to get out of the game, quick. If you're moving away and have to ditch your local caches, then you have to ditch your local caches, quick. That's your priority.

 

A CO would most often not be able to evaluate an applicant as most requests would come in from strangers off the list. They could only look at their profile and try to get a sense of them, if they bothered. Many would not bother. You want it? Here.

 

The current methods are less *efficient*, yes, but if someone replies to your note posted on the cache page, at least you know they LOOK AT cache pages. If someone approaches you at an event, at least you know they're involved enough to attend events!

 

There's some status in this hobby to be had as a CO.  Mass-marketing adoptions would create a class of mass-adopters. Many of them would be newbies; not that there's anything wrong with the occasional newbie cache. Heck, my one adopted cache was created by a newbie: a six year old Boy Scout Merit Badge cache with 295 finds, 20  DNFs and 22 images in it's gallery! By many standards, a very successful cache.

 

But, I'd sure hate to see seas of foster-caches where the point was the ownership count; an inward-facing goal instead of an intent out toward the rest of the community.

 

Anyway, that's my opinion. As they say in France, your mileage may vary.

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12 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

If you're looking to get out of the game, then you're looking to get out of the game, quick. If you're moving away and have to ditch your local caches, then you have to ditch your local caches, quick. That's your priority.

But that could be done whether posting them for adoption is done automatically or not. Whether there's a little flag on a listing saying "adoptable! contact me!" or not, the CO would still effective 'approve' the person who wants to adopt it (whether via messaging or via in-person chat)

 

12 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

A CO would most often not be able to evaluate an applicant as most requests would come in from strangers off the list. They could only look at their profile and try to get a sense of them, if they bothered. Many would not bother. You want it? Here.

And again, they could do that in person if they want too. And of course, if the CO chooses to do that, that is on them, not the fact they can flag it visibly as looking for an adoptee.

 

12 hours ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

The current methods are less *efficient*, yes, but if someone replies to your note posted on the cache page, at least you know they LOOK AT cache pages. If someone approaches you at an event, at least you know they're involved enough to attend events!

Right and that's what I'm saying (as far as I understand the suggestion) - someone sends the request to adopt, just like someone might ask in person. Apart from the fact that it's quite possible there will be more requests coming in from the visible flag, after that point everything's the same.

 

 

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If Groundspeak won't put basic restrictions, like Find count or account longevity, on creating a cache I'm doubtful they would on adopting caches.

 

However, there are numerous thresholds possible: PM status, max distance from home coordinates, limit on number of adoptions per day/week/month. Plus the aforementioned account age or Find count. Want your sock puppet to handle adopted caches? Too bad.

 

In my experience most abandoned viable caches are Traditionals, even more out of proportion than the % of active caches that are Traditionals.

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I'm not real high on the idea of automatic archiving. A few times over the years my best caching buddy and I have set out to different areas in Oklahoma and N Texas with lists specifically made up oh hides that hadn't been found in at least 3 years. Some were many more years than that. We had about a 75% success rate. So a lot of legitimate caches would have been archived if they were done automatically. 

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5 hours ago, SoonerCardsFan said:

I'm not real high on the idea of automatic archiving. A few times over the years my best caching buddy and I have set out to different areas in Oklahoma and N Texas with lists specifically made up oh hides that hadn't been found in at least 3 years. Some were many more years than that. We had about a 75% success rate. So a lot of legitimate caches would have been archived if they were done automatically. 

 

Yep. We occasionally get mail about two we have left (5Ts) that might see only one to a couple a year. 

Those people appreciate that they're still around, saving 'em for vacations n such with others in the area.

We had a nice bike series that changed when all the micros added by another turned a fun four-mile one-way bike ride into a power trail.

Last mystery of it's kind in our area, but it was easily battleshipped.  We archived them. 

Lots of mail saying, "Ahh... we were saving that for our trip next year..." and similar...  

 

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32 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

Yep. We occasionally get mail about two we have left (5Ts) that might see only one to a couple a year.

 

Most of my active caches only get one or two finds a year, if that. Fifteen have had no finds this year, with one last found in 2020 and three last found in 2021. They're unlikely to be blocking anyone else's plans for a cache, but if they were, I've said in my profile to just let me know and I'll archive them. In the meantime, they provide an occasional bit of fun for visitors to the region and the rare new player who wants to do something more challenging than quick-find roadside hides.

 

I doubt it's caches like these that are causing all the soggy logs and smelly swag the OP keeps encountering, so how is archiving them going to fix that?

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