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Finds, Dnf's & Stats

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Before geocaching I was involved in a game that had casual rules and tournament rules. My friends and I all played by tournament rules even casually. It was just easier to agree what the playing field was like and to know where to get questions answered when something goofy came up.


Geocaching will have stats again in one form or another. The debate over what a find is, should DNF's be logged, how many finds you can post on a cache event page etc. could be answered by a commitee, outside group, sports association or anyone who geocachers end up recognized as the authority for whatever we want to call our 'casual' or 'tournament rules'. Over time you end up with a catalog of answers to these situations that are as consistant as possible to the overall spirit of the game.


The idea would be uniform rules that apply to all sites insofar as how geocachers play the game. 99% of the time it's a non issue. But every now and then there is some goofy situation that comes up where people pose a question.


The question is: Is there an interest in something like this?

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But then what would everyone argue about in in the forums? :lol:


Sounds like an interesting idea. The key would be getting everyone to recognize the rules. If you ended up with disagreement, you could just end up with several different groups with different sets of rules. But even that could be OK in the sense that for anyone who wanted structure, they could chose which set of rules to follow.

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Since Geocaching is a fluid sport/game/hobby/or whatever each person calls it (since it’s different things to different people) I can’t see any “Etched in stone” rules other than the very few basic ones that we know. Not everything in this world is black and white there are subtle shades of grey that show themselves every day.


Case in point:

GC.com has approvers. It’s well known that other caching sites have different standards for approving caches listed on their site. Without approvers you get two things that are diametrically apposed.


A.) People placing caches that will cause harm to geocaching

B.) No new and different kinds of caches.


By not having any “Hard & Fast” rules we have a person to review each submission and take the cache on its own merits.


If you want to play by a new “line drawn in the sand” set of rules you should feel free. The idea of creating your own stats site is a great idea. Have your friends join it and have a friendly duel of Finds, FTF’s and DNF’s. Maybe over time your example will change the game for the better. Good luck

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Over time you end up with a catalog of answers to these situations that are as consistant as possible to the overall spirit of the game.


The idea would be uniform rules that apply to all sites

A catalog of answers, as in a FAQ section dedicated to logging cache Finds might be helpful but I immediately checked out at "uniform rules that would apply to all sites".


I'm not convinced that adding find-log rules will solve any problems. Most people seem to figure these things out on-the-fly, most likely without having read any instruction pages. A few mistakes are made by beginners but I haven't seen evidence of abuse on our 80+ caches or from reading 100's of cache pages.


The forums are, in part, a place to report problems and as such I suspect they make the problems appear much more prevalent than they actually are out in the field of play.

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Trouble with rules is - they don't provide control over anything without sanctions. How ya gonna sanction a geocacher who says "stuff your rules, I'm playin' the game my way"!

I suppose you could control unacceptable behavior by setting up a private membership system, but that's an expensive proposition.

I'm a big fan of gentlemen's agreements. (ladies too, but I don't what word to use in describing that - "ladie's agreement"? Nope, can't use the word "ladies" in today's world. Oh the dilema of political correctness) I like the word "etiquette" better than "rule".

Anyhow - let's just leave well enough alone and enjoy our sport before someone screws it up with so many rules that we can't breathe.

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Good idea--someone's thinking...


My contribution:


Instead of "rules", how about "standards"?


This suggestion/concept can be easily implemented, and then ignored if nobody wants to accept it. It's marvelously "self-levelling".


These forums would obviously be the best place to work out such standards to be "published" and agreed upon. Those that want to adopt then can then point to them in any issue without rehashing the same old discussions in the forums.


Sorta' like an implementable faq.


I like it!




PS: It would also eliminate bias as common issues would be predetermined.

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Standards is a good way to go. Sanctions would be if geocaching ever got competitive. There are efforts to head that way, and why not? Not everyone has to join the GFL (Geocache Finding League) but we can still play by the standards.


When I play basketball wiht my friends a hoop is till two points and the person who ownes the ball doesn't change the rules to match his ball.


Harrald makes a good point on approvals, but hell once a cache is placed it's now subject to being found. Simple clear guidelines are always best. People could identify with GFL rules and others can ignore them.


One thing it solves is that stats would now have defacto divisions. "Professional" and Amateur. It might gall you that your 4500 professional finds are still less than Bruces's 6000 amateur finds. But that's the breaks.

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OK, so just how would these rules be enforced? Disqualification? If the rules are there to force competition, and cachers choose to find caches without logging them how would you even know about it? Would you pull their membership from the website because they don't follow the "tournament rules"? What about the people who just want to go see if they can find that box in the woods and don't give two shakes if they find another thousand, or even another one?


I propose a new idea.


Geocaching: We all know the definition.


Geologging: The act of competitively logging finds of geocaches under a set of (probably unenforceable) tournament rules, wholly independent from the original recreational activity known as geocaching. This competitive sport's ultimate goal is to have the highest number of found caches. Anyone who breaks the rules would be disqualified. Each cache will have a 24 hour referee rotated in 8 hour shifts who simultaneously verifies the cacher's presence at the site, and monitors the cache page for the subsequent online log.


Doesn't sound reasonable. And most sports (while they have lifetime statistics for players) also have tangible beginnings and ends to the individual tournaments. You can win one tournament, and lose another. How could you "win" geocaching?


The only way a set of competitive rules could be applied is if a definable caching "tournament" could be arranged. Time limits would have to be imposed, cachers would have to be limited to a specific pool of caches so that no one cacher will have easier caches to find than another. It can be done, and might be loads of fun. But it would be folly to try to impose competition upon the whole of the caching community. If it ever comes to that, I forfeit in advance. <_<

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Bloencustoms post up above is the most compelling description of the situation I have ever read on here. All I want to add is that every time I have gone after a cache I have been in a competition - but only with ME!


Please note that I am NOT against stats and, further, I will stand and be counted with those who want them. I will never loose a moments sleep if I don't appear in any top ten list though.

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OK, so just how would these rules be enforced?...

Why would they need to be enforced? For the average person the rules would be nothing more than guidelines they can choose to follow when they participate in the game. Quite frankly the only thing that would change is that instead of 500,000 different variations on what a 'find' really is and debate over the subtle nuance of a DNF. If nothing else it might be handy to end a debate over a log being deleted. It happens when people play by the unwritten rule of "You didn't sign the log, you didn't find the cache, your online log is being deleted"


I know you have seen this debate in the forums. There is nothing forcing anyone to play by any set of standards. However standards do exist and are discussed in the forums all the time. You can't trade a CITO film canister for swag for example. Trade up, Trade even or don't trade is another one.


And if there ever was competitive geocaching then the judges who actually will watch the game and the refs can look at the guide.


The purpose of this thread is to get feedback on an idea.

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It's my understanding that the guidelines already established are sufficient... if people follow them. The situations you mentioned, like physical find verification in the form of a signature in a logbook, are already addressed by those guidelines.


I think what you really want is not so much a set of tournament rules, as a way to hold cachers accountable for their actions. It will be difficult to use the honor system (like we presently do) because people's individual honor varies greatly. If people can opt not to play by the tourney rules, how is that any different than simply opting out of stats?


I guess what I'm trying to say is, in order to have a fair competition, you will have to make sure people play fairly. There must be some system in place to do so for true competition to take place. Geocaching as a whole is too dynamic for fair competition. Imagine a world with only ten caches. One person finds them all. One of the caches gets archived. Another person finds the remaining nine. A new cache is posted and they both find the new cache. Assuming there in a neck and neck dead heat for the top, there is no way for the second cacher to ever win, because he can't go back in time to find that archived cache.


However, tournaments held on set courses of caches held within a certain time frame would be manageable. This would make the competition work. A (relatively) small number of caches... say 50 could be monitored by judges over the course of a day, cachers could line up at a starting point, and conduct the competition like a race. The first cacher to find all of the caches, or to find the most caches in the time allotted would win the competition. The judges would be there to ensure that cachers didn't cheat by observing the search efforts of their cachers. You might have to make some rule that once a cacher enters a certain radius of the cache, say 100 feet, they have "claim" to the search area for ten minutes. If they haven't found it by that time, they are rotated in the back of the line of cachers waiting for the opportunity to look for that cache.


Unless some super intricate system that takes each cacher's individual advantages (density, speed of their vehicle, free time, income, date they started, difficulty/terrain etc.) could be devised, statistics for total number of finds will continue to be a poor judge of a person's actual ability to find caches. Because of this fact, I think stats mean very little. I would rather not have my stats compared with those of others because they are not a reflection of my ability to find caches.


In the end, it would be great if you could develop some kind of tournament rules and hold tournaments on closed courses. Then the stats would begin to be a real reflection of the competitor's abilities. You could even have time trials. The possibilities are limitless for closed course competitions.

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All I want is two things:

1) The ability to ignore any given cache (which I belive is already on Jeremy's wish list). This way I can ignore any cache I know I've already found. Worst comes to worse, I can do this in watcher already.

2) The ability to post my story as a note (and in doing so ignore all the witch hunts).

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I think there are multiple levels here and different folks are addressing different ones.


A governing body would establish the parameters various activities would operate under, whether generic finds or formalized tournaments.


I could see a cache owner referencing it to legitimize his deletion of a found log when the book wasn't signed.


I can see a function like the now defunct GPS Goldrush adopting it for a day-long caching competition.


I could see it being used state-wide in a region over the course of a year. I could see it implemented at a weekend event.


Either way, the practices should be devices in a general enough fashion to be applied to each circumstance.


Each event organizer would have additional event-specific rules but be sanctioned within the overall standards.


'Twould be akin to NASCAR, or the USTA or any other organizing body sanctioning something, be it tournament, amateur challenge or casual outings.


Ah, better example, the US Chess Federation. It covers professional tournaments, amateur tournaments, different levels, casual club play, standard chess and speed chess--totally different games! There are governing practices that can be applied to all that are adopted in each circumstance. In any of those circumstances, I know if someone "test" moves a piece and removes their finger from it, I'm free to immediately act without being considered rude even if it was a tragic blunder on their part. Such does eliminate objections and sore points--and has!


It also opens up various individual stat options. You could choose to enter whichever function you desired, FTF'ing in your region, max finds, max found in a year, in your region, etc.


The governing body wouldn't necessarily run any functions themselves--but might simply bring objective legitimacy to various functions.


Who knows, the infamous Magellan contest last year might have run more smoothly if they subscribed to such standards! (Although their issues were more hide-related than find-related.)





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