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Looks like caches abandoned by their CO and unfound in 5 years are being slowly archived unless maintained


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Today I noticed a few caches were disabled or marked for disabling recently by one of our reviewers. 

 

Hi from geocaching.com,

It looks like your cache has not been found in at least 5 years. One of the responsibilities of a cache owner is to maintain the cache. Please visit the cache to confirm that it is in place and ready to be found, then log a note on the cache page that you have visited the cache location and it's available to find.

I will check back in a few weeks to make sure the cache is available for cachers to find. If there is not a log on the cache page that you have checked on the cache I will have to disable it at that time.

If the cache is no longer available, you may choose either to replace the cache in the same location or archive the cache so it no longer shows up as available to find.

Thanks for understanding.

Sincerely,


Volunteer Geocaching.com Reviewer

 

For unfound caches: It looks like this cache has never been found in the 5+ years since it was published. 

 

This is happening on both traditional and unknown cache types. Urban and remote in my area.

 

I for one believe this is a great thing for the game.

 

It continues the focus on findability, and puts the responsibility on the CO not the cacher. Yes it will eventually archive a lot of older caches, these caches were just taking up space on the map preventing newer active COs from potentially hiding caches in the area. People were no longer solving or finding these caches. If they were actively being found but not maintained then an OAR/RAR log would eventually occur to archive the cache. COs that want their caches to live on after they leave the game need to plan for adoption. 

 

I have found a 8.5 year old lonely cache in mint condition. This means that caches like this will not be permitted.  So take a look at your find wish list and if time is getting close to the 5 year mark better get out there and go log it if you want to see them preserved.

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Posted (edited)

This had better be the actions of a rogue reviewer, not Groundspeak policy.  Those are fighting words!

 

I've found a 10-year untouched cache, in perfect condition.  And many more in the 3-8 years lonely category, all in excellent condition.  One of my own is still unfound after 9 years, and I have no reason to believe - because I have learnt from many others, including the mighty s_h, about how to create a durable mountain hide - that there might be any problem with it.

 

Changing the rules after the fact ... don't lawyers have a term for that?

 

Groundspeak, please rein in your rogue reviewer(s), or ... please explain.

 

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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1 hour ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Changing the rules after the fact ... don't lawyers have a term for that?

 

The legal term you're looking for is an "ex post facto law."  This is prohibited by the United States Constitution ("No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed") and by similar constitutional or statutory provisions in other nations.  These prohibitions, of course, only apply to governmental actions, not to private internet outdoor gaming websites.

 

But let's see if the "laws" have been changed retroactively.  Here's what the Geocache Hiding Guidelines said on the subject in November 2003:

 

Quote

As the cache owner, you are also responsible for checking on your cache periodically, and especially when someone reports a problem with the cache (missing, damaged, wet, etc.). 

 

And here's what the current Guidelines have to say on this subject:

 

Quote

To keep the geocache in proper working order, the cache owner must

  • Visit the geocache regularly.
  • Fix reported problems (such as replace full or wet logbook, replace broken or missing container).
  • Make sure the location is appropriate and change it if necessary.
  • Remove the geocache container and any physical stages within 60 days after the cache page is archived.

 

The words are a little different, but the basic principle has not changed in 20+ years:  a cache owner is expected to visit their geocache site "periodically" or "regularly."  The Reviewer in this example has taken a decision that zero logs in five years calls for a periodic or regular visit from the cache owner.  That doesn't seem to strain the meaning of the guideline language.  My dentist, for example, says that I should have "regular" checkups once or twice each year.  My teeth are more valuable than my geocaches, yet last month I did "Owner Maintenance" on both my teeth and on two of my geocaches.

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Posted (edited)

I choose to define "periodically" and "regularly" as after every two or three credible DNF reports.  Exact number subject to judgement call by the owner, who knows the situation best.

 

Zero cachers reaching GZ would be no cause for concern, IMHO.

 

As long as local reviewers are exercising good judgement ... and not reacting to some new unknown directive from HQ ... we shouldn't have a problem.

 

PS, nobody forces me to maintain my teeth.  It's in my own best interests to maintain them, just as it's in my own interest to maintain a good collection of caches for others to find.

 

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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42 minutes ago, Keystone said:

The words are a little different, but the basic principle has not changed in 20+ years:  a cache owner is expected to visit their geocache site "periodically" or "regularly."  The Reviewer in this example has taken a decision that zero logs in five years calls for a periodic or regular visit from the cache owner.  That doesn't seem to strain the meaning of the guideline language.  My dentist, for example, says that I should have "regular" checkups once or twice each year.  My teeth are more valuable than my geocaches, yet last month I did "Owner Maintenance" on both my teeth and on two of my geocaches.

 

Not all caches are easy for a CO to visit, especially when the reviewer note quoted in the OP said that it had to occur within "a few weeks". We've had more than a year's worth of rain in the last three months and that means lots of slime growth on rocks that would make otherwise relatively easy scrambles treacherous, even for the CO. I think it'd be unreasonable to require a CO to do a visit "in a few weeks" to a T4.5 cache that's a full day hike through rugged country until we at least have a long spell of dry weather, and I guess the same would apply in places that are snow-bound in winter.

 

From what was said in the reviewer note, the issue isn't that the CO has been slack, or that the cache is piling up DNF and OAR logs, is just that "your cache has not been found in at least 5 years". COs can't control how often their caches are found. One of my own caches (GC6JMDK) was last found in October 2020, so not quite five years but getting on towards that. Is it missing? Is it decrepit? Well no, at least it wasn't when I did the T4 hike out there about six weeks ago when we had a rare dry spell. This is the cache and its logbook, both still the original from when I placed it in 2016:

 

20240528_084219.jpg.ad9cba798248a6b0e32e53e8b9b2782c.jpg

 

Okay, maybe I should archive this cache because it doesn't get found very often these days, but seriously, is it likely to be blocking anyone else from putting a cache there? No, if it was archived it'd just become more empty space on an already sparse map.

 

This cache is only a T4 and is pretty close to home, so I can generally get out there every couple of years, just for my own peace of mind. But what about caches that are far more remote and much harder for anyone, including the CO, to get to? Consider GC5KEY1, a terrain 4.5 challenge cache that's on a remote ridge in the mountains north-west of Newcastle. It was placed in 2015 but has only had 7 finds (with 7 FPs) since then. It was last found in 2022 (accompanied by the CO) but the previous find was in 2017, so it's a long time between finds for that cache. Does it really need more frequent visits from the CO? It's not going to be muggled, that's for sure, and it survived the 2019 fires that engulfed the region, so in all likelihood it'll outlast me whether the CO visits it or not. But again I ask, how would archiving it for a lack of frequent finds or CO visits benefit the game? It's not blocking anyone else's cache, and honestly, if I eventually qualified for the challenge, went out there but found the cache was missing or a molten blob, it'd still be a great experience and an epic DNF worth every bit of the effort that went into it. COs can't be expected to guarantee that every search will end in a Found It log.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Not all caches are easy for a CO to visit, especially when the reviewer note quoted in the OP said that it had to occur within "a few weeks".

 

If there are special circumstances preventing a prompt visit, the cache owner can post a Note (not an Owner Maintenance log) to explain the issue.  If a cache owner said "the park is closed until September due to renovations," then I'd wait until September to follow up.  I expect most of my colleagues would do the same.  Setting a deadline for a response helps to weed out the majority of cache owners who simply don't respond at all to my notes.

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15 minutes ago, Keystone said:

 

If there are special circumstances preventing a prompt visit, the cache owner can post a Note (not an Owner Maintenance log) to explain the issue.  If a cache owner said "the park is closed until September due to renovations," then I'd wait until September to follow up.  I expect most of my colleagues would do the same.  Setting a deadline for a response helps to weed out the majority of cache owners who simply don't respond at all to my notes.

 

Even if there aren't any special circumstances, getting to a cache like GC5KEY1 isn't something that can be done at short notice. Allowing for dry mild weather, it's a full day outing and as the CO is in full-time employment, that would mean sacrificing a weekend day which might not be possible for a while if he has other commitments. For a cache like this that's only had 7 finds in 9 years (and most of those are group finds on the same day; it's only had 4 separate visits from finders), what's the urgency anyway if the only issue is a lack of recent finds?

 

Even for my own cache that I mentioned (GC6JMDK), there's a lot of rock-scrambling to get to it from the trail so I try to do my visits in winter which is usually our driest time of year (not this year though). I'm retired and can get out there pretty much any day, but I'd be wanting at least a couple of dry sunny weeks before doing a check and, if I got a reviewer note like the one in the OP, I'd likely just take the easy option, archive it immediately and go out to retrieve the container at a time of my choosing. Is this the desired outcome on a cache that doesn't have any reported problems other than just not being found very often?

 

One of the things I like so much about caching is the wide variety of experiences it offers, and that includes the occasional terrain 4/4.5/5 that takes a lot of forward planning and favourable weather to attempt, most of which don't get regular visits from their owners but are likely sturdy containers in places where muggling is unlikely. While I enjoy most caches, including the P&G micros, for me it's those higher terrain ones that I'll fondly remember for years to come. These are also the ones least likely to be problematic or be blocking someone else's hide, so why the push to get rid of them just because they're not very popular? If the game were to be reduced to just the quick and easy urban hides that the CO can check on at a moment's notice, it would lose a lot of its appeal.

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8 hours ago, Keystone said:

The Reviewer in this example has taken a decision that zero logs in five years calls for a periodic or regular visit from the cache owner.  That doesn't seem to strain the meaning of the guideline language.

Fine. But if the cache hasn't been logged in five years, then why the rush for the CO to visit it within the next few weeks? As barefootjeff mentioned, some locations take a lot of time and preparation to visit, and it may take more than a few weeks for the CO to arrange a maintenance visit.

 

I would expect a cache that hasn't been logged in five years to be one of those caches. I would also expect a cache like that to be in a location that isn't very saturated, so it isn't blocking any new caches. And I would also expect that it isn't inconveniencing any lightweight geocachers who can't stand the possibility that the cache isn't there. What's the rush?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, niraD said:

Fine. But if the cache hasn't been logged in five years, then why the rush for the CO to visit it within the next few weeks? As barefootjeff mentioned, some locations take a lot of time and preparation to visit, and it may take more than a few weeks for the CO to arrange a maintenance visit.

 

I would expect a cache that hasn't been logged in five years to be one of those caches. I would also expect a cache like that to be in a location that isn't very saturated, so it isn't blocking any new caches. And I would also expect that it isn't inconveniencing any lightweight geocachers who can't stand the possibility that the cache isn't there. What's the rush?

It's not a rush for the next few weeks.  The CO has had the past 5 years to do it and apparently hasn't.  Had the CO been doing the periodic check up then this "rush" you mention would not be an issue.

I'm glad the reviewer is doing their job.  

Giving kudos to our local reviewer he/she does a great job of monitoring caches in our area.  

Edited by Wadcutter
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Wadcutter said:

It's not a rush for the next few weeks.  The CO has had the past 5 years to do it and apparently hasn't.  Had the CO been doing the periodic check up then this "rush" you mention would not be an issue.

I'm glad the reviewer is doing their job.  

Giving kudos to our local reviewer he/she does a great job of monitoring caches in our area.  

So, a cache (likely an ammo tin) in a remote, challenging place in a dry hide; a good chance still in fine condition, seems to offend you (you want them gone, disappeared, archived - you wrote that "glad the reviewer is doing their job."), because it hasn't been visited for (only) five years😮. It will be archived, leaving litter (what benefit is that?), and removes an exciting adventure for someone who one day would like the challenge of finding it. Caches like that are often not 'walks in the park' to go back and check it. I read of one such cache, that the finder took days (or was it weeks) to prepare for the feat of finding this remote cache. And then days of walking to get to it. I think it was longer than five years for that cache and it was in fine condition when found. And you want the CO to go check it without an indication it is not okay; otherwise 🔥ARCHIVE🔥🔥! The danger is we will end up with just the equivariant of road guard caches. Drive by power trails. The sort a CO can drive up to to check, and finders hardly have to get out of their car for. The sort of cache that gets lots of visits because it's easy to get to and gives no challenge. Get rid of those challenging caches. How sad and boring that will be! That will 'cheapen' Geocaching.

 

I would rather the reviewers archived caches that keep getting DNFs, but the CO continuously does OM logs without replacing the missing caches, and then the CO accepts log find from people who don't find the cache, but pose for their photograph as if it's a virtual cache. Thinking of a country I visited this year, where that is happening. That's more annoying than a cache which hasn't been visited for five years, and frustrating for visitors who walk kms to those caches and then find there is no cache. Archive caches where it's obvious they are missing, not just because they haven't been found for five years.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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If this was an action by a reviewer, and not a log posted by Geocache HQ proper, then I'd say yes it's an interpretation of the regional reviewer deciding it's worth looking at, based on their interpretation and judgment of the clause Keystone posted. If all unfound caches older than 5 years around the world started getting these logs at the behest of Geocaching HQ, then there may be a bigger question.

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5 hours ago, niraD said:

Fine. But if the cache hasn't been logged in five years, then why the rush for the CO to visit it within the next few weeks? As barefootjeff mentioned, some locations take a lot of time and preparation to visit, and it may take more than a few weeks for the CO to arrange a maintenance visit.

 

I would expect a cache that hasn't been logged in five years to be one of those caches. I would also expect a cache like that to be in a location that isn't very saturated, so it isn't blocking any new caches. And I would also expect that it isn't inconveniencing any lightweight geocachers who can't stand the possibility that the cache isn't there. What's the rush?

The deadline is simply to respond to the reviewer not perform the maintenance check. Provide a plan would be sufficient. Though many the CO are no longer active so no response will result in a disabled cache and eventual archiving.

 

Your second paragraph you are making a few incorrect assumptions. Urban caches are getting the same treatment as remote.  But regardless removing an inactive cache from the game can accomplish many things. 1) Positive caching experience for all, the cache is indeed present and not a maintenance problem. This is huge in my opinion. 2) You never know when a potential CO may want to place a cache in that area. One month to respond to a question is not a rush, it is improving the game, Currently there are a lot of known problems out there and COs are not actively fixing them. New catchers are not going to know to research a cache for clues to problems or know a certain CO is a problem. 

 

Everyone here is not the target of problem caches. You all are dedicated to the game and probably great COs. You all are sticklers for the rules and unfortunately this is one of the rules for COs maintain your cache. Have a plan. Maybe while publishing your remote cache say you will return in X years not never which is what is happening. Yes caches can be great after a decade, they can also be destroyed by wildfire, animals or people within a week. If you don't want to maintain the cache archive it or get someone to do it for you.

 

If cachers and COs would have filed and responded to NM/OAR logs in the past possibly this would not be needed. 

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30 minutes ago, MNTA said:

The deadline is simply to respond to the reviewer not perform the maintenance check.

That's not what the log you quoted said (emphasis added): "I will check back in a few weeks to make sure the cache is available for cachers to find. If there is not a log on the cache page that you have checked on the cache I will have to disable it at that time."

 

30 minutes ago, MNTA said:

Your second paragraph you are making a few incorrect assumptions. Urban caches are getting the same treatment as remote.

Or you can look at it the other way: Remote caches are getting the same treatment as urban caches.

 

And that's a problem.

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7 hours ago, Wadcutter said:

I'm glad the reviewer is doing their job.  

Giving kudos to our local reviewer he/she does a great job of monitoring caches in our area.  

 

Monitoring when the cache needs maintenance is not part of the reviewing process. This job belongs to players. Players should report the need for the maintenance. The example cache, I mentioned earlier in this thread, has not been found in ten years. Last found at 2013. There is no periodic maintenance notes at all. It seems that the reviewer has done some maintenance at 2021 behalf of the cache owner. I am glad that this cache has not been overmonitored.

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2 hours ago, arisoft said:

Monitoring when the cache needs maintenance is not part of the reviewing process. This job belongs to players. Players should report the need for the maintenance.

 

I think that's the shift we're seeing.  Reviewers are being allowed to take a more proactive approach, if mainly it seems HQ is promoting a stronger sense of a generally well-maintained 'game board'.  So it was community action.  Now reviewers are moving in, likely because in many areas the 'owner responsibility' may be lacking and the community is relatively apathetic. An area like that doesn't promote a strong sense of a quality experience for newer players, thus hq's move to be more proactive on 'nudging' owner responsibility (and clearing the lack of it)

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

Monitoring when the cache needs maintenance is not part of the reviewing process. This job belongs to players. Players should report the need for the maintenance. The example cache, I mentioned earlier in this thread, has not been found in ten years. Last found at 2013. There is no periodic maintenance notes at all. It seems that the reviewer has done some maintenance at 2021 behalf of the cache owner. I am glad that this cache has not been overmonitored.

 

I think you're missing something.  It definitely is a reviewer's job to monitor the health of a cache.  They've been doing it for a lot of years.

You apparently didn't read Keystone's post about GC.com guidelines:

 

To keep the geocache in proper working order, the cache owner must

  • Visit the geocache regularly.
  • Fix reported problems (such as replace full or wet logbook, replace broken or missing container).
  • Make sure the location is appropriate and change it if necessary.
  • Remove the geocache container and any physical stages within 60 days after the cache page is archived.

Note the very first guideline listed.  "Visit the geocache regularly."  

Five years with no note from the CO is not regularly.  Had the CO checked on that cache in the last 5 years?  No way to know because they didn't enter it in the log.  If the CO had checked on their cache regularly then the CO was remiss in not logging a note they had checked on the cache.  Had the CO done that there would be no issue.  As it looks now the CO placed the cache and then left it.  That is not regularly checking on the cache.  

 

Edited by Wadcutter
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4 hours ago, MNTA said:

Urban caches are getting the same treatment as remote.

 

But how many urban caches go for years between finds without there being something wrong with them? Also it's far easier for the CO to check on an urban cache than a remote one, especially one that requires lots of preparation and favourable weather to get to. No, this is targeting remote caches much more than urban ones.

 

5 hours ago, MNTA said:

But regardless removing an inactive cache from the game can accomplish many things. 1) Positive caching experience for all, the cache is indeed present and not a maintenance problem. This is huge in my opinion.

 

I checked on one of my caches (a 2015 3/5 field-puzzle mystery) in February and it was fine. As it happens, with a health issue that's currently restricting my travels to short trips, I've been filling the time by going around to all my caches that are close to home and went out to this one on Sunday. It was missing, which surprised me as you have to actually crawl in under a ledge to see it, but muggles are odd creatures that sometimes do the strangest things. It was only good fortune that no-one else had gone looking for it in that time. Unless I visit every cache every day, I can't guarantee it will be there when someone goes looking for it. Caches can go missing at any time and generally it's up to the players searching for them to report that. If the CO doesn't respond to such reports, then fine, set the archival process in motion, but until then, particularly on a more remote cache, the assumption should be that the cache is okay and if it isn't and that long jaunt turns into an epic DNF, well that's life.

 

5 hours ago, MNTA said:

2) You never know when a potential CO may want to place a cache in that area. One month to respond to a question is not a rush, it is improving the game,

 

Not everywhere is saturated with caches, especially the more remote ones that are likely to go years between finds. This is the area around that challenge cache I mentioned earlier (GC5KEY1):

 

GC5KEY1.jpg.6364c3299e10bd0d31f77328ce40b045.jpg

 

Those two "nearby" caches are over 3km from it, on the road that runs along another ridge. If someone else was wanting to put a cache on the ridge where the challenge cache is, they just have to find a spot more than 161 metres from it. It's a long ridge with lots of rocky outcrops and views so that shouldn't be a problem, should it?

 

You say that a month isn't a rush, but think about a cache like that one that's a tough terrain 4.5 hike through trackless wilderness. There's a reason finders have only been out there on four occasions in the nine years since it was placed. It's hard and to do it safely requires considerable preparation and dry mild weather. For a CO who's in full-time employment, that month is only eight possible days and the chances are that at least half of those will be ruled out by the weather. Yet this is the type of cache that's most likely to get called out under the "not found in five years" infringement notice and probably the least likely to be in need of actual maintenance.

 

6 hours ago, MNTA said:

Everyone here is not the target of problem caches. You all are dedicated to the game and probably great COs. You all are sticklers for the rules and unfortunately this is one of the rules for COs maintain your cache. Have a plan. Maybe while publishing your remote cache say you will return in X years not never which is what is happening. Yes caches can be great after a decade, they can also be destroyed by wildfire, animals or people within a week. If you don't want to maintain the cache archive it or get someone to do it for you.

 

When I'm planning a new cache, I try to design it so it won't require regular maintenance by using a long-lasting rugged container that won't fall apart or let the logbook get wet, and with a logbook big enough for all the finds it's likely to get over its lifetime. You say a cache can be destroyed by wildfire, animals or people within a week but that's not right, a wildfire, animal or person can destroy a cache within a matter of minutes. No amount of CO visits can prevent that, the best you can hope for is that you'll discover the damage before the next searcher comes along, but that's unlikely unless you visit the cache a lot more often than the searchers do. I got lucky with my recent muggling but that was pure luck, not good management, since the muggling could have happened any time after my visit in February and a searcher could have come along anytime between then and when I discovered it was missing. Pure luck that they didn't.

 

I don't have a maintenance schedule for my caches, apart from a now-archived one that required new batteries every six months. I try to visit the ones in areas popular with muggles after each school holidays, as that's when bored little fingers are most likely to go exploring in places they shouldn't, but the more remote ones I generally only check on when the opportunity arises or if there's been something like a flood or a fire that might have affected the cache. It's a different story if someone reports a problem, then I'll be on my way as soon as possible.

 

For a very remote cache, say one that requires a multi-day pack hike to reach, I think it'd be perfectly reasonable for the CO to just make that set and forget provided they used a rugged container placed where it wouldn't be damaged by fire, rain, floods or whatever. Perhaps an ammo can tucked into a rock cavity, for example. As long as the CO is responsive to any reports of problems, I don't see what would be gained by making them hike out there every X months or years just to confirm the cache hasn't vanished or fallen apart. A CO can't be expected to guarantee that every search will end in a smiley.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Wadcutter said:

Note the very first guideline listed.  "Visit the geocache regularly."  

Five years with no note from the CO is not regularly.  Had the CO checked on that cache in the last 5 years?  No way to know because they didn't enter it in the log.  If the CO had checked on their cache regularly then the CO was remiss in not logging a note they had checked on the cache.  Had the CO done that there would be no issue.  As it looks now the CO placed the cache and then left it.  That is not regularly checking on the cache. 

 

Perhaps you know more about the caches in question than we do, but the issue raised by the reviewer in the note quoted by the OP wasn't about the CO not checking on their cache, it was simply that the cache hadn't been found for 5 years. For all we know, the CO may well have made and logged regular visits in that time.

 

Also, is there actually a requirement for a CO to post an OM log every time they visit one of their caches? The Help Centre says not, rather only when visiting the cache and performing maintenance:

 

image.png.38c96ae39a3b72109f89da69a6ac6d18.png

 

A friend walks past one of his caches on his way to work each day. Should he log an OM every time he does that? I generally only log an OM on a cache visit if I've done something to the cache or its surroundings, or if it's been a substantial time since there was any activity on the cache. A lot of my caches don't get found very often (21 of them have had no finds this year) and filling the cache page with repetitive OM logs wouldn't be helpful to anyone, especially someone doing a PQ where the number of included logs is limited.

Edited by barefootjeff
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, MNTA said:

You never know when a potential CO may want to place a cache in that area.

The sort of cache that is not found for five years (unless it's a puzzle with an 'impossible' puzzle to solve) has no one else wanting to place a cache exactly at GZ. It's likely to be the only cache in the area, so plenty of places for someone else to place a cache. It the sort of cache that takes serious planning to get to, as it's remote, which is why it has no logs for five years.

10 hours ago, MNTA said:

Yes caches can be great after a decade, they can also be destroyed by wildfire, animals or people within a week.

Then the cache should have had a log saying that it couldn't be found as the area has been destroyed. Then that's when action should be taken to archive it, not just because a perfectly fine ammo tin (this is my experience with remotish caches, esp. older ones; they are ammo tins) has not had a log for five years.

10 hours ago, niraD said:

Or you can look at it the other way: Remote caches are getting the same treatment as urban caches.

 

And that's a problem.

✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️👍🏻Absolutely that is a MAJOR problem, and so very, very sad, as it shouldn't happen!! No one will replace that cache, there is plenty of room in the area if someone does want to place another cache there. People who live in urban dense areas sadly often just don't understand.

 

3 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

For a very remote cache, say one that requires a multi-day pack hike to reach, I think it'd be perfectly reasonable for the CO to just make that set and forget provided they used a rugged container placed where it wouldn't be damaged by fire, rain, floods or whatever. Perhaps an ammo can tucked into a rock cavity, for example. As long as the CO is responsive to any reports of problems, I don't see what would be gained by making them hike out there every X months or years just to confirm the cache hasn't vanished or fallen apart. A CO can't be expected to guarantee that every search will end in a smiley.

Agreed. And remote caches do tend to be mostly good containers.

 

Edited by Goldenwattle
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

For all we know, the CO may well have made and logged regular visits in that time.

In response to this forum thread, I studied ALL the cache pages that received the Reviewer Notes quoted in the opening post.  (Don't worry about my sanity, I did this through efficient GSAK filtering while binge-watching a bunch of TV shows about New Zealand, a place I hope to visit soon.)  If a cache owner visited their cache and logged something about their visit, they did NOT receive the request to check on their cache.  The Reviewer was quite measured in selecting which caches received the note.

 

There's around 25,000 physical caches in Oregon.  Of those, nearly 2,000 caches have not had a find in the past five years.  That surprised me statistically, but it's reflective of Oregon's beautiful and rugged wilderness and back country areas.  Many hundreds of these caches did NOT receive the quoted reminder note.

 

In contrast,  the two states where I'm a Reviewer have more than 64,000 active caches, but only about 600 that have not been found in the past five years.  I do not have the same issue that the Oregon Reviewers identified.  I have other issues that I've addressed systemically, which go beyond the minimum expectations that Geocaching HQ asks its volunteers to follow when enforcing the "Cache Maintenance" section of the Geocache Hiding Guidelines.  Geocaching HQ trusts its local volunteers to tailor guideline enforcement appropriately for their local community, and that's what's happening here.  It does not mean that it will happen in British Columbia, Australia, or anywhere else.  There is no new undisclosed mandate to hunt down caches that haven't been found for a long time, but neither is there a "rogue reviewer" problem as alleged in replies to this thread.  It's just Reviewers doing what they judge to be best for their local community.

 

 

Edited by Keystone
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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Keystone said:

Geocaching HQ trusts its local volunteers to tailor guideline enforcement appropriately for their local community, and that's what's happening here.  It does not mean that it will happen in British Columbia, Australia, or anywhere else. 

I have noticed that reviewers in Australia are sensibly slow to archive remote or lonely caches, as they should be. And that's appreciated. A lot of people visiting these caches do do repairs. (So the fairies might be travelling that way soon :laughing:)

I have replaced crumbling caches and picked up and removed the pieces of the old one (rather than leave it to rot), added a new log (although often that's not what's needed, as these caches get so few visitors, being remote), cleaned a cache, remove rubbish from them, etc. (I rarely do this for urban caches, but make a NM instead). I don't tend to leave a cache if I couldn't find it, only make repairs when I did find it. On my last road trip I replaced several caches with holes in them, and one full log, which I photographed and added to my log. I got thankyous from the COs. One CO did mention they would soon be taking a trip to check on their caches.

I hope you enjoy NZ, as there is some great caching there. I might be back there next year for an event in Rotorua.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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23 minutes ago, Keystone said:

There's around 25,000 physical caches in Oregon.  Of those, nearly 2,000 caches have not had a find in the past five years.  That surprised me statistically, but it's reflective of Oregon's beautiful and rugged wilderness and back country areas.  Many hundreds of these caches did NOT receive the quoted reminder note.

 

In contrast,  the two states where I'm a Reviewer have more than 64,000 active caches, but only about 600 that have not been found in the past five years.  I do not have the same issue that the Oregon Reviewers identified.

 

Interesting statistics. In New South Wales (Australia) where I live, there are 20,124 caches, so only slightly less than in Oregon, but only 38 haven't been found in the last five years, with half those being terrain 4 or higher. Perhaps that's why Goldenwattle and I are so protective of them as such remote and challenging caches are often precious gems that months (or perhaps even years) of planning and preparation will go into mounting an attempt, and it doesn't matter to us whether the CO has been there recently or not.

 

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6 hours ago, Wadcutter said:

To keep the geocache in proper working order, the cache owner must

  • Visit the geocache regularly.

 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/regularly

 

I am curious to know whether this word in this guideline is interpreted as it is written or as an antonym.

 

I must admit that if this article is true, I have not visited any of my caches regularly. Also, I do not expect any CO to visit their caches regularly.

 

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1 hour ago, arisoft said:

I must admit that if this article is true, I have not visited any of my caches regularly. Also, I do not expect any CO to visit their caches regularly.

I visit mine regularly, but what that is varies for the cache. Some I have visited at least once a year; maybe more. Another not for five years. It was still in great condition and lots of room still on the log. Depends on the cache, what the logs say, and where it is. I don't have any remote caches. Okay, I do have one that's remote-ish, but that one is a Virtual. That's where I think Virtuals should go; remote areas where it's hard to have a physical cache, as almost no one lives there. Then the CO doesn't need to revisit; only respond to emails.

I feel it is part of a COs job to check on their caches, but the length of time in between checks varies between caches. A cache in a busy CBD with lots of visitors might need a visit every few months. A cache in a good container, in a good, dry hide out of the sun, might never need another visit in the CO's lifetime.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

Some I have visited at least once a year; maybe more. Another not for five years.

 

Would you describe your maintenence cycle using words "occasionally"," sometimes","irregularly","intermittently" or "sporadically"?

 

If your answer is yes, then you have not met the expectations of the guideline because those are antonyms of word "regularly".

(An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word.)

 

Edited by arisoft
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2 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I visit mine regularly, but what that is varies for the cache. Some I have visited at least once a year; maybe more. Another not for five years. It was still in great condition and lots of room still on the log. Depends on the cache, what the logs say, and where it is. I don't have any remote caches.

 

My furthest cache from home is a traditional on Alum Mountain at Bulahdelah, 150km away as the crow flies. I used a rugged Duratech instrument case for the container, which is well concealed in a rock cavity, and its 160 page logbook is unlikely to fill up in its lifetime.

 

CacheSmall.jpg.7175e1acd53c6c4d34ed6910de6cb041.jpg

 

It was designed not to need regular maintenance, but I generally pass through there at least once a year and, if time permits, will stop off to do the hike up the mountain and back. If someone reports a problem, though, it's only a two hour drive up the motorway to attend to it. lee737 also has a couple of caches on the mountain so we can check on each other's hides whenever we're up there.

 

It's surprisingly had 23 finds in the almost two years it's been there, with the most recent a couple of weeks ago, so it's not yet in contention for being unfound for five years, but I'm pretty sure it could survive that long between visits without any issues.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, arisoft said:

 

Would you describe your maintenence cycle using words "occasionally"," sometimes","irregularly","intermittently" or "sporadically"?

 

If your answer is yes, then you have not met the expectations of the guideline because those are antonyms of word "regularly".

(An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word.)

 

🤣 🙄I check them okay, and I told you the time frame and that it varies for each cache, depending on individual factors. No, I don't write a date on the calendar that I must, just must, no excuses, check the cache on that date. I told you how often I check them, which is far more often than many people.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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9 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

A friend walks past one of his caches on his way to work each day. Should he log an OM every time he does that?

 

If your friend walks past the cache? Of course not.

 

If he looks and sees it's still there hanging in the tree? Still no.

 

If your friend stops and opens the cache to inspect the condition of the contents, especially the log, rather than simply its continued presence? Yes. And if he's doing that daily he's either got OCD or paranoia.

 

And this question is ridiculous because 99.9% of COs do not walk past one of their caches daily unless they have a cache in their yard or in front of their business. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

My furthest cache from home is a traditional on Alum Mountain at Bulahdelah, 150km away as the crow flies.

 

My newest cache takes 150km driving from home (2 hours and 5 minutes) It is not the furthest, but far enough that I am not going to visit there regularly as required. Instead, the cache is well protected for weather and moisture to avoid regular maintenance.

 

IMG_20240625_152928.thumb.jpg.13aa15d57ea749e145f9b777a4c22d93.jpg

Edited by arisoft
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Not every geocache needs to be found monthly or even yearly. But if it's so remote nobody even seeks it for five years what's the point?

 

If it's so remote and difficult to get to that the CO can't even go back after five years maybe they shouldn't have placed it at all.

 

If the inactivity message contained no time frame for the request to check it would get blown off as something to get around to, eventually, which usually becomes never. A time frame prompts planning and getting something on the calendar.

 

Stop getting panicking over "weeks" and simply be responsive to Reviewer comments. Some of you are so touchy I question whether you're temperamentally suited to be a CO.

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27 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

If it's so remote and difficult to get to that the CO can't even go back after five years maybe they shouldn't have placed it at all.

 

I see that your caches are mostly archived even they all are located at a very small area. I was schoked when I saw this archival reason on your Earthcache: "No Finds in over a year despite free year-round outdoor access." Really?

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

Not every geocache needs to be found monthly or even yearly. But if it's so remote nobody even seeks it for five years what's the point?

 

If it's so remote and difficult to get to that the CO can't even go back after five years maybe they shouldn't have placed it at all.

 

Looking through the 38 caches in New South Wales that have gone unfound for more than five years, two caught my eye: GCXHMP and GC14351, placed in 2006 and 2007 respectively and both in very remote wilderness areas. GCXHMP has a grand total of 6 finds, the most recent in 2018, while the much more popular GC14351 has 14 finds, the most recent in April 2019. Take a look at the logs on those caches if you want to see what the attraction is and to get a feel for the time, effort and preparation needed to reach them.

 

Both those caches have a still-active CO (the same CO, as it turns out) but neither has ever had an OM or even a WN by the owner so they'd be prime candidates for the Oregon reviewer's note. GCXHMP even had 5 consecutive DNFs in 2009, not because the cache was missing but because the weather turned against them and they had to abandon their attempt. Just as well the CHS wasn't around then. There are other scattered DNF logs on both caches where the weather or the terrain has been too tough for the searchers; that's to be expected on caches like these and the CO would face the same obstacles if attempting a visit. They are HARD caches.

 

Both caches are ammo cans and in locations where they're extremely unlikely to be muggled. These aren't the sorts of places bored teenagers would go on destructive rampages, and if any extreme terrain hikers were to come across them they'd most likely sign the logbook and put the cache back where they found it.

 

If you want to know what's the point of caches like these, read the logs on them and look at the galleries. There are no TFTC logs, instead they're all tales of epic adventures, even the DNFs. I'm sure all those finders are glad the CO put in the time and effort to place them and would be horrified at the thought of them being archived just because they haven't been found often enough and the CO can't go out to check on them at the drop of a hat.

 

The group of cachers I often go out with are super-keen on caches like these two and I wouldn't be surprised if they already have them on their bucket lists. At my age (soon to turn 70), they're probably beyond me but if I was 30 years younger I'd be super-keen as well.

 

Maybe caches such as these aren't appealing to you but that's fine, one of the great things about this game is its wide appeal and variety of experiences. But I have to ask again, how would the game benefit from their archival? Do you really think there's a queue of people waiting to put new caches there? I can't speak for the CO of those caches, but if they were mine and I got that reviewer note, especially now in the middle of winter after one of the wettest Junes on record, I'd probably just take the easy option and archive them on the spot. That's what concerns me most about this sort of reviewer intervention on caches that don't have any reported problems, that the owners will take that easy option and the community will lose some of it's most inspiring and challenging caches as a result.

 

5 hours ago, arisoft said:

I see that your caches are mostly archived even they all are located at a very small area. I was schoked when I saw this archival reason on your Earthcache: "No Finds in over a year despite free year-round outdoor access." Really?

 

Interesting that you should mention EarthCaches, as another one on the NSW not-found-in-5-years list is the EarthCache GC7BE3Q at Mt Dawson on the western edge of the Blue Mountains. This was created in 2017 and has had just one finder who went out there a few weeks after publication. It's a cache I've often thought about attempting, as I know both the CO and the finder, but the starting point for the day-long hike is a long drive from home so I'd probably have to plan on a couple of nights camping. It's one I'd only consider doing in around September, to get enough daylight for the walk but before the heat and storms of spring and summer start to arrive. Making it harder still is that the main road to the starting point has been closed for several years due to land slips and while there are plans to rebuild it, that will probably take quite a few more years and by then I'll be into my mid 70s. There's an alternative 4WD-only road in, but by all accounts that's barely passable so maybe the EC would be best done as a multi-day hike. But should it be archived, either because of the lack of finders or the difficult access? Please no.

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18 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

Not every geocache needs to be found monthly or even yearly. But if it's so remote nobody even seeks it for five years what's the point?

 

We all have caches we don't like. That doesn't mean everyone dislikes the same caches. 

Here is a cache that went 10 years before first to find: https://coord.info/GC4K52Y
This went 20 years before first to find and has a great log: https://coord.info/GCGGGV

Edited by igator210
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17 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

I see that your caches are mostly archived even they all are located at a very small area.

 

I was shocked when I saw this archival reason on your Earthcache: "No Finds in over a year despite free year-round outdoor access." Really?

 

The Earthcache in question wasn't anything special, especially from a geological standpoint. it's on a modern ADA trail that gets a lot of pedestrian use. Clearly there wasn't much interest in it.

 

Probably half my caches were placed for an annual event at a local state park. Most of those were archived each year for the next year's caches. 

 

For other hides, if a container goes missing I would usually not replace it.

 

Nowadays I don't replace any of my caches if they go missing, and remove those needing maintenance. Too many prominent members of my local community eagerly jumped on the "locationless Adventure Lab" fad and created a huge play-almost-anywhere AL art before the geofencing was restricted. Because of that I effectively cut ties with the local geocaching community, and refuse to place any new hides. If my caching was primarily local rather than while traveling I would have quit geocaching entirely. Groundspeak's failure to crack down on this issue still rankles me.

 

9 minutes ago, igator210 said:

We all have caches we don't like. That doesn't mean everyone dislikes the same caches. 

Here is a cache that went 10 years before first to find: https://coord.info/GC4K52Y

 

I didn't say I disliked lonely caches. I've hunted some and used to maintain lonely lists for Florida. 

 

I asked what's the point. Caches exist to be found. Some may be found more frequently than others; some may be found infrequently. But there comes a point where the find rate becomes so low it is effectively zero. If five years isn't that point it's darn close; ten years certainly is.

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1 hour ago, igator210 said:

We all have caches we don't like. That doesn't mean everyone dislikes the same caches. 

Here is a cache that went 10 years before first to find: https://coord.info/GC4K52Y
This went 20 years before first to find and has a great log: https://coord.info/GCGGGV

 

The Reviewer is stating that the 5-year lapsed cache has not been confirmed to be ready to be found. That the CO needs to go check on it, regardless of how fine it always is. I agree with this policy, even as a rogue policy. It may be that there is more to this story than what we've seen.

 

Your two examples have (or had) an active Cache Owner who checked on them on a schedule. If the cache is verified in place and findable, I would not approve of it being archived due to merely not being found. Both caches in your example are of interest to cachers, they at least have the cache on their bucket list. Both caches were found at some point, so they aren't an “evil” or needle in a haystack style (deliberately impossible caches kind of get my goat, but hey, when they have OM logs, whatever).

 

I don't own caches that require special preparation nor days of hiking, but some are challenging to access. All are in places that I will and do visit, a lot. I love going there, I placed some of them so I have an excuse to go there. If it's in place with no issue, it's never a wasted trip. There's always something I can do to fix it up (or make it more devious), or to place a new item or nicer logbook or check the trail for access issues or something. And even the ones that are “always” in place, sometimes they in fact have an issue.

 

If I were to ever leave a cache stagnant for 5 years, that note is OK with me.  Go check on it.

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1 hour ago, JL_HSTRE said:

I asked what's the point. Caches exist to be found. Some may be found more frequently than others; some may be found infrequently. But there comes a point where the find rate becomes so low it is effectively zero. If five years isn't that point it's darn close; ten years certainly is.

 

When I started this hobby the guideline was worded slightly different way as currently.

 

Cache Permanence

When you report a cache on the Geocaching.com web site, geocachers should (and will) expect the cache to be there for a realistic and extended period of time. Therefore, caches that have the goal to move ("traveling caches"), or temporary caches (caches hidden for less than 3 months or for events) most likely will not be published. If you wish to hide caches for an event, bring printouts to the event and hand them out there.

We realize that it is possible that a planned long-term cache occasionally becomes finite because of concerns with the environment, missing or plundered caches, or the owner’s decision to remove the cache for other valid reasons. Please do your best to research fully, hide wisely, and maintain properly for a long cache life.

 

 

Do you think that something in this old guideline version is outdated? (There was no word about findrate)

 

Edited by arisoft
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1 hour ago, JL_HSTRE said:

I asked what's the point. Caches exist to be found. Some may be found more frequently than others; some may be found infrequently. But there comes a point where the find rate becomes so low it is effectively zero. If five years isn't that point it's darn close; ten years certainly is.

 

Those are my favorite! Nobody's found it in 10 years? The Cache Owner has been AWOL that whole time?! I'll go check that out. And I absolutely 110% won't find it :anicute:. But I'll go see what the deal is.

 

If the cache area has received the Scorched Earth treatment, that's different... where cachers have utterly razed the 30-foot circle around GZ, and trashed the area well beyond even that. It doesn't seem like this thread is about that concern.

 

If nobody's hunting my cache, nobody seems to mention it, and I don't have the will nor interest to go there, I might reconsider that cache. And I won't be bothered by a “It's been 5 Years” note. It reminds me to make a decision.

 

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1 hour ago, JL_HSTRE said:

I asked what's the point.

The point is that it doesn't hurt to keep them active. If they are archived the cache is not going to go away. The container and log will still be out there, and likely in good condition, so completely pointless to archive them. They are in places hard to get to, so very unlikely the place is crowded with caches. They aren't blocking a new cache. Getting rid of them, just because they haven't been found for five years, is petty mindless and pointless.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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7 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

The point is that it doesn't hurt to keep them active. If they are archived the cache is not going to go away. The container and log will still be out there, and likely in good condition, so completely pointless to archive them. They are in places hard to get to, so very unlikely the place is crowded with caches. They aren't blocking a new cache. Getting rid of them, just because they haven't been found for five years, is petty mindless and pointless.

 

Is there any real difference between a cache with no interest, and no cache?  At some point, it's just “litter in the woods”, cache page or not.  OK, sure... we're assured that the litter is in good condition. :P

 

But the OP's cache isn't being deactivated.  It's got a notice that it's time to go check on it.

 

 

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On 7/7/2024 at 10:43 PM, Viajero Perdido said:

I choose to define "periodically" and "regularly" as after every two or three credible DNF reports.

 

With most of my caches, a few months without any "Found It" logs means there's a problem.  Cachers can't seem to make DNF logs, they become silent instead.  I better go check on that one.  There's no way I'd wait 5 years.  I see a lot of people insisting that caches that don't get checked on are always perfect.  Not convinced it works like that.  Sure, I've found some well-preserved old caches, including a huge cookie can out in the elements.  I'd love to make a bullet-proof cache, haven't thus far.

 

But even in the case of DNF logs, it doesn't mean there's cause for concern.  DNFs can occur all in a row, it's a psychological effect or something like that.  And for sure I can't find anything.  I try in my DNF log to make it clear that it's just me, don't run out and check it.  I'm really bad at finding.  Yes, I've been told I need to get another hobby.  Many times.  Just haven't gotten around to it.

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30 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

Is there any real difference between a cache with no interest, and no cache?  At some point, it's just “litter in the woods”, cache page or not.  OK, sure... we're assured that the litter is in good condition. :P

 

But the OP's cache isn't being deactivated.  It's got a notice that it's time to go check on it.

 

 

At least where I live, there's no such thing as a cache with no interest. The caches that haven't been found in half a decade are almost always eagerly watched by a group of committed cachers who hope to one day attempt them. I know because I'm one of those cachers. In any case, I don't think we should be policing caches based on what the average cacher has interest in.

 

So far this year, I have searched for 16 caches that had not been found in at least 5 years. I found 9 and DNFed 7. Of these 7, 6 had at least one previous DNF, and 3 had 3 or more. This leaves exactly one cache that was untouched for 5 years AND likely missing, a fact that I could not confirm. This leaves me with a 90% success rate on caches that have had no logs at all in the past 5 years, which are the caches targeted by this initiative.

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57 minutes ago, kunarion said:

With most of my caches, a few months without any "Found It" logs means there's a problem.

 

Median loneliness of my hides (traditional, active) is around 1 year, stretching out to 9 years at the extreme.  Mine tend to be for a limited audience (hikers, puzzle hounds), so 2, 3, 4 years lonely is no cause for alarm.  Thankfully, our local reviewers seem to be kindred spirits that understand this.

 

Hopefully all reviewers understand the difference between urban and deep-wilderness hides (and the subset, high-mountain hides, which in my experience are quite immune to spontaneous decay).

 

Edited by Viajero Perdido
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49 minutes ago, Viajero Perdido said:

Hopefully all reviewers understand the difference between urban and deep-wilderness hides (and the subset, high-mountain hides, which in my experience are quite immune to spontaneous decay).

 

The OP's ominous note is at least a form letter.  Perhaps automatically triggered by the "5 Years" situation, perhaps it's not even a thing.  This would be a good time for the OP to contact the Reviewer.  Maybe there are exceptions for special caches.

 

I've found a lot of lonely caches, but not that one in particular.  Maybe it's in perfect shape, but can't we agree that's unusual?  Nobody has seen it lately, lots of stuff can change in 5 years.  The old and lonely ones I found are by definition the few that didn't become unfindable.  Those are rare caches indeed.

 

Edited by kunarion
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1 hour ago, kunarion said:

The OP's ominous note is at least a form letter.  Perhaps automatically triggered by the "5 Years" situation, perhaps it's not even a thing.

It's not even a thing.  As I explained in a post earlier in the thread, there is no new worldwide mandate from HQ to search out caches that haven't been found for a long time.  No automated functionality has been developed by HQ and provided to Reviewers for this purpose.

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2 hours ago, Keystone said:

there is no new worldwide mandate

 

It's good to have that confirmed, thanks.

 

The OP's forwarded reviewer note was a sign of possible trouble on the horizon.  Clearly, some of us are passionate about the remote ones!

 

I consider a challenging, extremely remote hide 1000 times more interesting than a typical hide in the city, which in turn is 1000 times more interesting than the intangible wisps of fancy ("adventures") that HQ seems intent on chasing with their development efforts.  How could we be sure, absent more info, that HQ isn't now trying to steer the game away from the interesting stuff, rather than just toward something they hope we'll like?  They don't tell us explicitly, so we sniff around for clues.

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