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Geocaching Banned - The End Of Geocaching


twilliams
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A code of ethics could help those like me that *want* to stay within the law.

But are too stupid to work out the ten basics for yourself? Note that I am not calling you stupid, I'm saying that any list boiled down to its essentials is too boiled down to teach anything new.

 

Obviously you did not read those web sites very closely.  :lol:  There is an ethical reason for carrying that shovel.  I will let you go back and see if you can figure it out for yourself.

I don't do homework assignments. I assumed it had something to do with what the bear does in the woods without recrimination. But if you're boiling it down to a short list of ethical guidelines, you wouldn't get an explicit, "if you poop in the woods, please bury it." It would be more along the lines of "don't leave anything behind."

 

And you know that already. You just never thought of poop in that context, having been misled by its naturalness.

 

Any list short enough to be a Code of Ethics must of necessity be distilled down to the perfectly bloody obvious. It's the gray areas where most of us need some help.

This post is a tremendous illustration.

 

You state that people should be able to figure these things out for themselves. Yet, you *totally* missed out on the reason for carrying the shovel if you are backcountry skiing. *Totally.*

 

It has nothing to do with going to the bathroom while you are skiing. It is about saving the life of someone who might be caught in an avalanche. By your own "too stupid" theory, you should have known that though, right? You didn't know the ethical reason to carry a shovel nor could you figure that out on your own. Your own posts illustrates why these types of things can in fact help. I guess this makes two people who have learned something from CR's links, huh? :D

 

(Edit: By the way, regarding the "You just never thought of poop in that context, having been misled by its naturalness." comment... ahem, my nick is "mtn-man". I am a hiker and have been a long term FS Volunteer. I know all about the ethics of "catholes" and there distance from streams and springs, etc., and I have the well known book about it, though the discussion of those issues is off-topic.)

Edited by mtn-man
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This post is a tremendous illustration.

 

You state that people should be able to figure these things out for themselves.  Yet, you *totally* missed out on the reason for carrying the shovel if you are backcountry skiing.  *Totally.*

 

It has nothing to do with going to the bathroom while you are skiing.  It is about saving the life of someone who might be caught in an avalanche.  By your own "too stupid" theory, you should have known that though, right?  You didn't know the ethical reason to carry a shovel nor could you figure that out on your own.  Your own posts illustrates why these types of things can in fact help.  I guess this makes two people who have learned something from CR's links, huh? :D

 

I had no idea which of the websites you were referring to and I only checked a couple, so...no. Perhaps I could've guessed closer if I'd known it was the skiing site. Perhaps not. The only information I had to go on was "ethics" and "shovel". I took a shot.

 

So I have learned that I don't know anything about hobbies I don't know anything about, particularly when I don't know what hobby we're talking about. Hooray for codes of ethics!

 

(Edit: By the way, regarding the "You just never thought of poop in that context, having been misled by its naturalness." comment...  ahem, my nick is "mtn-man".  I am a hiker and have been a long term FS Volunteer.  I know all about the ethics of "catholes" and there distance from streams and springs, etc., and I have the well known book about it, though the discussion of those issues is off-topic.)

 

Congratulations. I don't know anything about the ethics of "catholes" as I very seldom poop in the woods, and never with premeditation. Perhaps if you tell what it is we're talking about next time, rather than waving vaguely in the direction of someone else's web links, I will be in a better position to appreciate your credentials.

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I will also kill your "(CR's linked codes of ethics) are so very basic that, indeed, I don't think a soul would benefit from them." theory right now too.  I personally would not have thought about bringing a small shovel if I were backcountry skiing.  I learned something right there.

You'd have small shovels in your ethical guidelines? Are you sure you're talking about a Code of Ethics, and not a list of helpful hints?

Perhaps I could've guessed closer if I'd known it was the skiing site. Perhaps not. The only information I had to go on was "ethics" and "shovel". I took a shot.

 

So I have learned that I don't know anything about hobbies I don't know anything about, particularly when I don't know what hobby we're talking about. Hooray for codes of ethics!

Um, you quoted it! It was in the same sentence no less. :lol: I guess you did not even read the whole post you quoted, and not even the whole sentence? Do us a favor. If you are going to quote something and then make comments about it, how about reading it before putting us down and giving a blanket statement calling other people "too stupid". :D If you want to comment on the discussion, you should probably read it.

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Do us a favor.  If you are going to quote something and then make comments about it, how about reading it before putting us down and giving a blanket statement calling other people "too stupid". :D If you want to comment on the discussion, you should probably read it.

Hm. Would that be the post where I said "Note that I am not calling you stupid," Mister Kettle?

 

Edit: Ohhhh. I see the problem. It was supposed to be NOT. Ahem.

Edited by AuntieWeasel
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amytincan makes an excellent point. Many state or local geocaching groups trace their origins to the need to band together in order to "discuss" geocaching as a group with a land manager who was considering banning or regulating it. In many, if not most, cases, mutually acceptable conditions have been agreed upon.

 

There is no true national or international organization of geocachers, but Renegade Knight's Terracachers project seeks to fill that space. With the exception of land managers like the U.S. National Park Service, however, most issues tend to arise on a more local level and can be dealt with quite successfully by geocachers at that level.

I doubt local organizations have much of a chance. There is rarely anyone with any experience at a local level and not much in terms of resources, plus like these forums that often spend a lot of time arguing with themselves. Sooo...

 

Almost all strong local lobbying organizations have a national group that supports them with information, rules, FAQs, handouts etc. If you want a national group you'd likely have to get some support from industry, which could easily include GPS manufacturers, 4wd automotive manufacturers, outfitters like REI, and of course Nature oriented lobbying groups like the Sierra Club.

 

But let's say it's a good idea... who really is going to dedicate effort to setting it up? and who gets to "bless" the group as the spokesvoice for caching... hmmm?

 

-t-

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I doubt that the rate of compliance for reading and following such a document would be any higher than is the case with the geocache listing guidelines.

 

 

Look the point is to have some rules and then try as best you can to enforce them when it's clear people are not abiding. This provides you both legal protection, and a firm platform for communicating what your sport it about. It matters less that individuals follow them in some circumstances, since they will have had to agree to them to get an account or register a cache. In the real world, these things make a difference.

 

-t-

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Geocaching will survive the way the 'net survives... by constantly adapting and evolving and innovating.

 

Find out why and how hard people worked to keep the internet growing and available, and how much of that effort was the direct result of the internet providing immense ($trillions) commerical value to corporations worldwide.

 

The internet continues because it's in a LOT of people's best interest for it to continue - geocaching is a different animal.

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Do us a favor.  If you are going to quote something and then make comments about it, how about reading it before putting us down and giving a blanket statement calling other people "too stupid". :D If you want to comment on the discussion, you should probably read it.

Hm. Would that be the post where I said "Note that I am not calling you stupid," Mister Kettle?

 

Edit: Ohhhh. I see the problem. It was supposed to be NOT. Ahem.

Once again, if you are going to quote my post and comment on it, read *all* of it.

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I doubt local organizations have much of a chance. There is rarely anyone with any experience at a local level and not much in terms of resources, plus like these forums that often spend a lot of time arguing with themselves. Sooo...

 

Almost all strong local lobbying organizations have a national group that supports them with information, rules, FAQs, handouts etc. If you want a national group you'd likely have to get some support from industry, which could easily include GPS manufacturers, 4wd automotive manufacturers, outfitters like REI, and of course Nature oriented lobbying groups like the Sierra Club.

 

But let's say it's a good idea... who really is going to dedicate effort to setting it up? and who gets to "bless" the group as the spokesvoice for caching... hmmm?

 

-t-

I see that you're a new geocacher, so I'll forgive your generalizations. There are endless examples of the good work done by state and local geocaching organizations -- as well as individual geocachers not operating under the banner of a group -- to establish good relations with land managers. And to say that they lack national support is, frankly, not accurate. Someone dealing with a land manager problem needs only to come to these forums, or to contact someone with experience in the area, like their friendly Groundspeak regional volunteer. These efforts have called upon the skills and experience of geocachers with backgrounds in land management, law enforcement, legal practice (like me!) and lobbying on behalf of other recreational activities. For national support, in addition to Groundspeak and other listing sites, and the Terracachers project already mentioned, organizations can seek help via the Geommunity project.

 

Here are just a handful of examples:

 

The Georgia Geocaching Association and the Maryland Geocaching Society are two of the oldest statewide organizations. Both faced significant land manager challenges early in their existence, and both have done well.

 

Groundspeak Volunteer CO Admin recently appeared at a meeting of a city agency that was prepared to ban geocaching at the behest of someone with, shall we say, conservative land management views. Instead, they're now working with geocachers to establish a mutually beneficial policy.

 

I got this job as a Groundspeak volunteer in part because of my work, along with many many others, to establish a geocaching policy for Pennsylvania State Parks and State Forests. I've since worked or consulted on numerous other land manager policies. Also in Pennsylvania, when there was a concern that a land manager was considering a ban on caches, another geocacher did some lobbying via their State Representative, who contacted the agency manager and obtained a firm statement that the agency had no interest in regulating caches.

 

The Northeast Ohio Geocachers, the Central Ohio Geocachers and the Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana Cachers (OKIC) have done great work with the land managers in the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati metro areas, respectively.

 

The New York Geocachers are hard at work dealing with the New York DEP, which has at present a very restrictive policy concerning geocaches on state lands.

 

MiGO, the Michigan Geocaching Organization, is working on a better policy for their state parks.

 

Faced with a ban on caches in provincial parks, the Ontario Geocaching Association has quickly grown this year into a very effective advocacy voice in Canada.

 

The Geocaching Association of Great Britain has a database detailing its successful efforts with a dozen or so county councils, land trusts and forestry commissions. Only one land manager is listed as refusing to adopt a geocaching policy.

 

I could go on and on. There is great work being done out there. Don't be pessimistic!

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Do us a favor.  If you are going to quote something and then make comments about it, how about reading it before putting us down and giving a blanket statement calling other people "too stupid". :D If you want to comment on the discussion, you should probably read it.

Hm. Would that be the post where I said "Note that I am not calling you stupid," Mister Kettle?

 

Edit: Ohhhh. I see the problem. It was supposed to be NOT. Ahem.

Once again, if you are going to quote my post and comment on it, read *all* of it.

If you were me, you WOULD be "other people."

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I doubt local organizations have much of a chance. There is rarely anyone with any experience at a local level and not much in terms of resources, plus like these forums that often spend a lot of time arguing with themselves. Sooo...

 

<snip>

I disagree regarding the local level as well. In fact it seems to be the opposite. Since you know everyone you tend to have better and more friendly discussions. Keystone outlines several examples as well. Being a member of the GGA, one of the organizations he mentions, I can tell you we are a fun and happy and tight knit group. I think everyone has their moments, but just take a look at our forums. We have a heck of a good time. We also work to pull together to be a responsible group in front of our national, state and local land managers.

 

As far as a national level, there are people trying to pull together the collective forces from the local organizations. We all have a long way to go, but this game is only 4.5 years old. I think we have some time. You do have to start somewhere.

 

http://www.geommunity.net/

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In further response to twilliams' original post, having just recently noticed that twilliams is new to our sport, permit me to observe that the recent publicity concerning bomb squad incidents in Modesto California, Blackford County Indiana and North East Pennsylvania are by no means the first of their kind. Bomb squad alerts occur with some frequency, and not all of them are reported on in the media and here in the forums. For example, there was another cache detonated in Indiana a few months ago; the only difference is there was no media attention. It is not like all of the sudden there are issues or problems that didn't exist three years ago. Bomb squads had their practice then and they continue to do so. Commonsense efforts like obtaining permission, using an appropriate container for the chosen location, and marking the exterior of the container can all help to reduce the risk of such misunderstandings.

 

EDIT: The original poster also voices a worry about someone getting seriously injured or dying while hunting for a geocache. Sadly, that's happened on several occasions as well. And the rest of us are still out there findin' and hidin'.

Edited by Keystone Approver
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It should also be noted that bomb squads blow up all sorts of things, not just geocaches.

 

I don't understand the purpose of this post. Are you having trouble hiding caches? Having trouble finding caches? I'm not, nor is anyone I know. Perhaps you should just get out more and cache.

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A code of ethics, or a responsibility code for geocachers is not a bad idea. To responsible geocachers with a little common sense it probably isn't necessary. In fact most of us could cobble together a reasonably good code in 10 minutes.

 

But there are an awful lot of people out there without common sense. They don't necessarily have ill intent, but just don't think things through. Reading these forums for any length of time proves that.

 

"Is it OK if I hammer nails in trees to hang my caches? No? Well then can I drill holes in trees and hammer in a dowel?"

 

"Should I move a cache to match the correct coordinates?"

 

"How do you like my new cache container?" (shows photo of container made of PVC pipe that he plans to place next to a school playground)

 

"Can I dig a hole to place a cache if I leave the lid exposed?"

 

We constantly see questions like these and for every person who asks, there are probably 20 who go ahead and do it without asking. Caches by airport runways, police stations, in school yards, right behind No Tresspassing signs and other places that are just plain poor choices. The kinds of things that make us shake our collective heads when reading about them.

 

Would a responsibility or ethics code be a cure all? Of course not. Many people would never read it. Heck, the Skiers Responsibility Code is printed on the back of every napkin in practically every ski lodge in North Americaand you still get people skiing out of control, stopping where they aren't visible, etc...

 

But if a code makes just 10 percent of geocachers aware of the ethics of geocaching, it will be a help and every time someone does something foolish that garners unwanted attention from land managers, public officials or the media, we can hold it up to them and say "See, that's not what we're about".

Edited by briansnat
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"Is it OK if I hammer nails in trees to hang my caches?  No?  Well then can I drill holes in trees and hammer in a dowel?"

 

"Should I move a cache to match the correct coordinates?"

 

"How do you like my new cache container?" (shows photo of container made of PVC pipe that he plans to place next to a school playground)

 

"Can I dig a hole to place a cache if I leave the lid exposed?"

Okay, then, how would you word the ethical principles that would make someone know the answer to any of the above without showing up here and asking?

 

I fail to see how anyone who has failed to master the subtle intricacies of an FAQ is going to be enlightened by a list of general ethical principals.

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"Is it OK if I hammer nails in trees to hang my caches?  No?  Well then can I drill holes in trees and hammer in a dowel?"

 

"Should I move a cache to match the correct coordinates?"

 

"How do you like my new cache container?" (shows photo of container made of PVC pipe that he plans to place next to a school playground)

 

"Can I dig a hole to place a cache if I leave the lid exposed?"

Okay, then, how would you word the ethical principles that would make someone know the answer to any of the above without showing up here and asking?

 

I fail to see how anyone who has failed to master the subtle intricacies of an FAQ is going to be enlightened by a list of general ethical principals.

Thou shalt not be stupid :yikes: .

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But what if the satellites get shut down?

How about map /compass?

Just try placing a Geocache with a map and compass.

 

Not approved under current rules.

Done by some, with known consequences. The coordinates were tens of meters off, and the cache was tinier-than-a-film-canister micro. :yikes:

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I could go on and on. There is great work being done out there. Don't be pessimistic!

 

But you did go on and on! :-) Rightfully so. I should point out that I'm aware of the presence of a number of these group by their websites, that being a pretty primary requirement for this type of work. That's how I came to my opinion.

 

I don't want to take anything away from the great work these groups are doing with local land managers. I think it's super.

 

But in dealing with larger organizations, let me say that with total respect to what's been done already, there is a lot to be built before this sport can feel comfortable that it has a voice which is capable of standing up for the sport as may be necessary. I'd submit being new to the sport is less relevant that being new to building respected national advocacy. It's one thing to get a state park official to allow the use of his land for geocaching - it's quite something else to advocate clearly and loudly for this group when some real pressure is on.

 

-t-

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I guess the GGA has been pretty fortunate in some instances.

I think great preparation and teamwork is the key to success.

 

We had the NPS in a Wild and Scenic River Area decide to pull all caches some time back. They did in fact pull several. We asked for a meeting. We got a lot of documentation together and compiled a lot of data on caches, frequency, etc. We were successful in getting them to let us keep existing caches in the NPS areas. They are watched and the owners do a great job of keeping them up. We also work hard with the NPS on CITO. Our April 2003 Event was a huge success.

 

The Forest Service just recently decided to ban caches totally here in GA. Once again we asked for a meeting. We did the same research and put together a great story. We think we have the ban reversed. We are in the final stages of getting a permit application that would work as a blanket permit for all cachers in GA.

 

Teamwork from the GGA and responsible caching by the member of the geocaching community here in GA in the past have made both of these possible. You have to be optimistic though. We have lost some battles but we have won some too. We cannot place new caches in the NPS area but we got to keep most of the old ones. We are getting back into our GA State Parks after having a total ban.

 

I think bringing up these issues is a good thing twilliams. It makes us all think.

 

Don't be nervous when you talk to the groups. Remember that they are people too. Most of them love the outdoors and getting outside and having fun. Our high-tech hide and seek game is about having fun and is a family oriented game/adventure. Convey that to them. Express a willingness to answer questions and work with them on issues. Any help they can get from the general public allows them to work on major issues they deal with on a daily basis. Geocaching really isn't one of those major issues, but rather a minor inconvenience in most cases. If you can take the work off of them they will welcome your help and embrace you.

 

Together as a community I think we can all help each other.

With this attitude, I don't see an end to geocaching. I see tremendous growth.

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In further response to twilliams' original post, having just recently noticed that twilliams is new to our sport, permit me to observe that the recent publicity concerning bomb squad incidents in Modesto California, Blackford County Indiana and North East Pennsylvania are by no means the first of their kind.  The original poster also voices a worry about someone getting seriously injured or dying while hunting for a geocache.  Sadly, that's happened on several occasions as well. 

 

Two points, One is newness to the sport is not a significantly relevant hurdle in having an opinion in this discussion - Sure there is history you see what happened and has been gotten away with when geocaching was beginning. But it's very different with the sport seeing level of growth and publicity/public awareness that didn't exist before - the relevant experience is: how does geocaching work at the scale it's going to be in three years. Actually I'm hopeful it won't be grow too fast, that the current relative expense of GPS systems and the "unique" character of the support will damper it a bit and allow the current go with the flow modifications to the support keep everything in line without burning too many people out.

 

Second point; you point out the bomb squad and injury-while-caching has gone on for some time, occasionally in the press. I assumed so. That's one of the reasons I started the topic. Because: this problem has new potential. New potential, in that, coupled with a growing public awareness and the fact that the geocaching.com site takes on responsibility for APPROVING caches (and a less than robust agreement when placing caches or signing up for an account) puts this site in a potentially very serious legal position.

 

I think we both agree that this doesn't mean that anything will right away.

 

I think most of us would agree that this *does* mean that the likelyhood of some legal issue is much greater and will continue to increase as does the public visibility of the sport.

 

I think that being prepared given the above makes some a lot of sense.

 

Prepared: be extra careful approving caches, placing caches, representing the sport positively to outside groups, following up on reported problems, building a strong list of legal disclaimers (seriously I'm not a lawyer), and build some rules (code of ethics?) and small national level organization with a little more demonstrable lobbying power.

 

Note: I understand people think that geocaching.com and geocaching are not inexorably linked. For me they are, so when I say geocaching, I'm referring to this particular site and the people that make it work. Sure geocaching can and does happen without the site. However, to me, the value that the people that work to keep this site up and working, caches approved, forums moderated, features added. etc. is stunningly impressive and make it worthwhile.

 

Cheers,

-t-

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Second point; you point out the bomb squad and injury-while-caching has gone on for some time, occasionally in the press. I assumed so. That's one of the reasons I started the topic. Because: this problem has new potential. New potential, in that, coupled with a growing public awareness and the fact that the geocaching.com site takes on responsibility for APPROVING caches (and a less than robust agreement when placing caches or signing up for an account) puts this site in a potentially very serious legal position.

 

I think we both agree that this doesn't mean that anything will right away.

 

I think most of us would agree that this *does* mean that the likelyhood of some legal issue is much greater and will continue to increase as does the public visibility of the sport.

 

I think that being prepared given the above makes some a lot of sense.

 

Prepared: be extra careful approving caches, placing caches, representing the sport positively to outside groups, following up on reported problems, building a strong list of legal disclaimers (seriously I'm not a lawyer), and build some rules (code of ethics?) and small national level organization with a little more demonstrable lobbying power.

A point of clarification: This is a listing site. We *list* geocaches that are owned by geocachers, we do not "approve" them in the sense of endorsing them as safe, legal, being placed with permission, etc. To the extent that the word "approved" is used, it means that the cache complies with the published listing guidelines. This is an important distinction.

 

Caches are listed here subject to the site's terms of use and the legal disclaimer that appears on each cache page.

 

Please note that I am not Groundspeak's lawyer, I am just a site volunteer who happens to be a lawyer.

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I don't understand the purpose of this post. Are you having trouble hiding caches? Having trouble finding caches? I'm not, nor is anyone I know. Perhaps you should just get out more and cache.

mmmm. lemme see if I can 'splain it.

 

The point is to see what I/we can do to help preserve geocaching in a form that we enjoy. We look at the possibility that with member growth and increased public awareness there are likely to be new challenges which hadn't been a problem in the past. Talking about the potential of those challenges give us some ideas on what to look for, avoid, and actively do to help.

 

Now if I may go off-topic for a sec.

 

You're response is awful snotty sounding. A 1000+ cacher who goes caching almost every single day of his life trying to learn a newbie? Please walruz, find someone who's impressed. I'm fine with the everyday-pickup-10-easy-caches-a-day numbers types. That's their game and I'm cool with it. But lemme tell you there are plenty of us gainfully employed, attentive parents; some outdoorsy types that would prefer a 4 hour hike to get a single cache, or a complex multi puzzle. Well hell some of us went for a 5 hour hike with NO (gasp!) caches. So sleep easy knowing that some of us indeed "get out" a lot, and that we really don't want to start a thread with who should be caching more and who should be caching LESS... do we? ;-)

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A point of clarification: This is a listing site. We *list* geocaches that are owned by geocachers, we do not "approve" them in the sense of endorsing them as safe, legal, being placed with permission, etc. To the extent that the word "approved" is used, it means that the cache complies with the published listing guidelines. This is an important distinction.

Good points.... which of course point out the awareness of the problems.

 

As a lawyer, you realize the extremely exposed position geocaching.com is in. The fact that there are reviewers at all can hurt the position of geocaching.com as a neutral listing organization. And it gets worse. The fact that Groundspeak claims that all content available on the Site is intellectual property and having and exclusive right to license and redistribute are examples that Groundspeak controls the content, access to this content, and is responsible for it's distribution.

It's written very well from a IP protection and corporate asset point of view. But from from a liability protection (other than copyrighted materials) POV, someone ought to tighten things up a bit.

no?

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As a lawyer, you realize the extremely exposed position geocaching.com is in. The fact that there are reviewers at all can hurt the position of geocaching.com as a neutral listing organization.

Gosh, no, I hadn't realized that at all. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I wish I'd gone to twilliams law school instead of a two-bit joint like Duke University. :yikes:

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As a lawyer, you realize the extremely exposed position geocaching.com is in.  The fact that there are reviewers at all can hurt the position of geocaching.com as a neutral listing organization.

Gosh, no, I hadn't realized that at all. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I wish I'd gone to twilliams law school instead of a two-bit joint like Duke University. :yikes:

Oh cmon! I wasn't trying to be snide.

But now that you mention it I guess I'm used to attorneys from Yale. :-D

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I don't ever see geocaching dieing, It would as stated here go underground. My biggest concern now is what would happen to our great sport/game if the powers that be in D.C. decided that in the interest of national security to once again turn on Select Availabilty (SA). What would we do to overcome this?

I don't think SA is ever coming back. Much of the reason it was finally disabled was due to the widespread availability of differential GPS which pretty much circumvented the purpose of SA.

 

Even when SA was on, my Garmin GPS II+ would report 10-15m accuracy, which is plenty for geocaching (except maybe for micros). If I was patient, I could use the averaging feature to get 4-ish metre accuracy. So much for SA.

 

I used to go fishing by that accuracy, and finding the same fishing hole isn't that much different than finding a geocache.

 

SA was an end-of-the-cold-war relic. It won't be coming back any time soon.

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My god, do we have it easy here in south Florida. We developed a good relationship with the folks who manage the natural areas in the county, including participating in their clean up days, etc. We tell them when we are placing caches --they wait for them to appear on the web -- they hunt them and sign the log. That's it! I'm never moving to Michigan! Yikes.

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The end of Geocaching?  It will never happen.

 

If it does get banned, it will continue mostly in the form of Virtuals. 

 

John Doe

 

Well I think the loss of physical caches would be a severe if not completely fatal blow.

 

For those of you who believe in slippery slopes the state of Michigan and North Carolina aren't banning but cleverly is charging a $25-35 fee for physical geocaching permits. Increasing that cost, or fines would effectually be a ban.

 

The Pennsylvania DNCR is already requiring permit forms and official approval for all geocaches on state property.

 

Missouri also has a permitting process and official approval required

West Virginia also has a permitting process and offical approval required

North Carolina has (or had) a $25 special use permit requirement

Arkansas has a permitting process.

Illinois has a geocaching permitting process for at least much of the state managed lands.

Wisconsin requires "approval"

North Dakota, New York, Arizona, ... many many states.

 

Hmmmmmm. At least let's make sure we know the rules and are compliant.

Agree, this is much more likely than a real ban. Bans are falling out of favor as the liberals can't get the votes through Congress to ban stuff, and the conservatives are too ideologically divided to get a ban going.

 

What is more likely is the gradual pushing aside that we see in many areas of the country and the gradual increasing of fees charged for the service. Wait till a GPS tax goes in. With the EU and the US working to coordinate their systems, a perfect opportunity exists for some politician to see a group of nerds that he/she can tax without getting any trouble from the effort.

 

Guy on Fox: "Isn't this just a tax on outdoorspeople like geocachers?"

 

Sly politician: "Of course not, no one is talking about raising taxes, we are just facing unforseen expenses in the process of coordinating these two systems..."

 

Guy on BBC: "Isn't this just a Labour tax on outdoorsmen?

 

Sly politician: "My word, old man, of coure not, its just that the EU has run into unforseen costs in coordinating our system with the Americans..."

 

Bottom line, we end up paying $50 more for a GPS. Fewer people can cough up the extra $50, so fewer people do it, the fewer that do it, the more marginal it gets. The more marginal it gets, the more govt at all levels can raise the price without getting caught. The more marginal it is, the easier it is for politicians to screw us to appease some more visible group.

 

(To wit: HAM radio.)

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As a lawyer, you realize the extremely exposed position geocaching.com is in.  The fact that there are reviewers at all can hurt the position of geocaching.com as a neutral listing organization.

Gosh, no, I hadn't realized that at all. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I wish I'd gone to twilliams law school instead of a two-bit joint like Duke University. :laughing:

Who moderates the moderators? You guys are off topic and slinging personal attacks. At least one of you should know better. :yikes:

Edited by Gorak
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As a lawyer, you realize the extremely exposed position geocaching.com is in.  The fact that there are reviewers at all can hurt the position of geocaching.com as a neutral listing organization.

Gosh, no, I hadn't realized that at all. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I wish I'd gone to twilliams law school instead of a two-bit joint like Duke University. :laughing:

Who moderates the moderators? You guys are off topic and slinging personal attacks. At least one of you should know better. :yikes:

Actually, neither post you quoted is off topic nor do I or either one of them consider them a personal attack (see the post following these by twilliams). It would appear both of them and everyone else in the forums except for you viewed the comments in the light hearted nature they were intended.

 

Frankly, your post would be considered off topic, and such percieved problems should be reported by pushing the "report" button and sending a report to the moderators if you feel the post are inappropriate and should be reported.

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Or, if one is uncomfortable using the "report this post" feature -- which just sends an e-mail to the moderators -- then use the approvers at geocaching dot com special e-mail address that is set up for just that purpose.

 

I wouldn't think that to be necessary here. twilliams has started an interesting thread, which in turn has spawned an effort to develop an Ethics Code for Geocachers. Several moderators/Groundspeak volunteers are addressing twilliams' questions, doubts, etc. in a manner intended to be helpful.

 

In the one post where I meant to be lighthearted, I took care to insert a smiley face and twilliams returned with a zinger of his own, likewise accompanied by a smiley emoticon. I never gave it a second thought.

 

There is lots of good stuff going on in this topic, thanks in no small part to twilliams. We now return you to that regularly scheduled discussion.

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[Thanks for the kind words]

 

On the topic of possible ways for geocaching to end (or "jump the shark")

 

I was on a local backbone trail and was wondering; when GPSs get imbedded in normal cellphones (911 law) or get so cheap that everyone has one - are all these people on the trail going to be looking for caches on their hike? It was pretty busy, and all these guys were going to hike geocache or not - I would think picking up some caches on the way would just be a natural. In which case a lot of trail caches are just going to be too darn crowded. Anyone seen indications of this being possible?

 

-t-

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Many new cell phones have a GPS chip (for assisted GPS, AGPS) but those are put in because new laws say so. You have no need to know your geographical position but rescue services and security organisations have. So the thinking goes, I think.

To keep users happy the providers will deliver some extra 'location' services: find your way to the nearest MacDonald etc..

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Dunno how you could ban it, beyond declaring GPS units to be dangerous devices like pistols and requiring carry permits to carry one and jailing all persons found with one without a permit. A paper ban on geocaching would simply be ignored. What would they call it if it was banned or someone didn't get the permit before placing a cache? Geo-littering? How is the seeker supposed to know which caches have permits and which ones don't? Would they make seeking unauthorized caches a separate crime as a means of discouraging the sport? Let's face it, we don't even need the satellites. Geo caching and latitudes and longitude existed centuries before satellites. They used to call it Buried Treasure Hunting. 15 men on a dead man's chest and all that rot. All you need is a map or a set of coordinates and some basic math.

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Once it's a discussion, people, we might be finished.  I assume noncachers don't care about our game. I asume we aren't very well organized, we don't speak with a single voice, and have little money, and no political or PR clout. 

I wouldn't worry about "us", as geocachers, in general not having a big voice with the gov't. We have plenty of companies with PR clout and plenty of their $$ at risk if you ban geocaching.

Garmin, Magellan, Cobra, their suppliers, retailers, etc. will not want to lose the kind of $$ that geocachers bring them.

With this hobby gaining so much popularity over the past couple of years, these companies' profits have probably jumped considerably. I know that they would fight to keep their bottom line healthy.

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Once it's a discussion, people, we might be finished.  I assume noncachers don't care about our game. I asume we aren't very well organized, we don't speak with a single voice, and have little money, and no political or PR clout. 

I wouldn't worry about "us", as geocachers, in general not having a big voice with the gov't. We have plenty of companies with PR clout and plenty of their $$ at risk if you ban geocaching.

Garmin, Magellan, Cobra, their suppliers, retailers, etc. will not want to lose the kind of $$ that geocachers bring them.

With this hobby gaining so much popularity over the past couple of years, these companies' profits have probably jumped considerably. I know that they would fight to keep their bottom line healthy.

That is what CB guys thought about Cobra. The companies simply move to another technology or use of the GPS technology that they have.

 

Bans are not likely to be a great concern. What will be a threat is the bureaucratic attack. Land managers operate in a world where innocent until proven guilty beyond even unreasonable doubt is the norm. The park ranger is backed to the hilt by the park commission and in turn they are backed by the gov's office. The legislature usually has dozens of bills that are of greater priority than geocaching. While, by law, there is always a feedback loop, these guys are defacto dictators of their parks.

 

The rules they create (often out of the thin air) get enforced with the force of law, even when no review has been attempted. These guys want us out and will be happily willing to regulate us into little boxed off areas of parks that begin to all look alike, thus the experience of geocaching begins to get less and less fun, and fewer people do it for a long time.

 

The political weight of a group needs to be considered like an equation.

The political power goes up as the number of people goes up, the prominence of the people involved goes up, and/or the people who do it for many years goes up.

 

If you have lots of people who do it for 6 months and quit, you get nowhere. If you have lots of people who, like us in the red states, can be blown off with ease, you get nowhere. If you have lots of people who spend 10 years doing something, you tend to build relationships and can get in the back doors to get the rules written your way.

 

We have a sport that has a 90% drop out rate at 60 caches. Guess where we rank?

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My prediction:

Geocaching will someday die a slow death. Not from government regulations or laws. It will implode from too many of those within trying to regulate and tell others how to play the game. People will just get tired of others setting rules for the remainder and telling others just how screwed up they are.

One of the worst "additions" to the Geocaching website was the forum. If people are allowed to play the game as it was intended then the game may go on indefinitely. But when the forums get interjected with all the "helpful" busybodies then people would just as soon not bother. It's suppose to be relaxing, altho some have obviously never understood that.

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My prediction:

Geocaching will someday die a slow death. Not from government regulations or laws. It will implode from too many of those within trying to regulate and tell others how to play the game. People will just get tired of others setting rules for the remainder and telling others just how screwed up they are.

One of the worst "additions" to the Geocaching website was the forum. If people are allowed to play the game as it was intended then the game may go on indefinitely. But when the forums get interjected with all the "helpful" busybodies then people would just as soon not bother. It's suppose to be relaxing, altho some have obviously never understood that.

I don't really understand. I think it could be the opposite.

For example, if you don't like the idea of "trading swag fairly..."blah blah blah... Then ignore it. Plenty of people ignore it.

 

If you don't like reading the forums, or certain topic than don't.

If you want to plant a cache in a dangerous location, or put dangerous items in, well then I guess you're going to go ahead and do it. The "rules" have no enforcement body - so other than complaining about the people that want some structure - which you clearly don't - I don't get how you're affected by the forums or the rules in the least.

 

On the other hand - people that ignore the rules, don't get permission on certain lands, don't follow local laws, put dangerous items in the caches... I can see how that behaviour could lead to more restrictions placed on by landownders and the govt. That could damage the sport.

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Once it's a discussion, people, we might be finished.  I assume noncachers don't care about our game. I asume we aren't very well organized, we don't speak with a single voice, and have little money, and no political or PR clout. 

I wouldn't worry about "us", as geocachers, in general not having a big voice with the gov't. We have plenty of companies with PR clout and plenty of their $$ at risk if you ban geocaching.

Garmin, Magellan, Cobra, their suppliers, retailers, etc. will not want to lose the kind of $$ that geocachers bring them.

With this hobby gaining so much popularity over the past couple of years, these companies' profits have probably jumped considerably. I know that they would fight to keep their bottom line healthy.

Wishful thinking. Do you have any evidence? I tried but can't find any.

 

What I did find is evidence that we are a very small sub-segment of these companies markets/revenue.

 

So suprisingly, I haven't found any evidence of them taking a strong advocacy point of view in Michigan or other states with restrictions for example. Read the annual report for Thales (owns Magellan) or look at the annual report for Garmin. These guys are focused on big $$ markets - general consumer, automotive, marine, aviation, military, civil government. We seem to be considered a small segment within general consumer. We share a a paragraph, under "recreational use" with the production of the Geko. Hunting appears to be a bigger market than geocaching. Running/Jogging/Hiking is a bigger market. PDA/Phone gps is a bigger market.

 

Look I'm not saying that they aren't "aware" of geocaching, hoping it grows, and that they (and companies like Jeep) don't like the Gen-Y sort of marketing aspect to it. But we are a teeny fraction of their market and I think the only way you get companies like that to take a stance (especially together) is to have some level of caching-organization which can make these companies aware of issues, sell a cohesive platform and get them to sign on. It's not going to happen magically.

 

-t-

 

PS - I LOVE your avatar. <_<

Edited by twilliams
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