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Weed Out Unmaintained Caches?


MrGrubstake
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I would like to make a suggestion for geocaching. As we get more and more caches it seems it would be good to weed out caches that are no longer being maintained properly.

 

My suggestion would be this. When a new cache is approved it would be for a fixed period of time – say two years. One month before the two years is up an e-mail would be sent to the owner stating that it has been two years and it is time to renew the cache – or drop it. The owner would have two months to log in and go to that cache page and simply click on a “renew cache” button and it would be good for two more years.

 

How many years and how much “grace” period is only for illustration but I would think two years would be good. If the owner is no longer interested and/or not able to be reached via his registered e-mail then it would be archived – possibly with a note asking anyone who does finds the cache to pick it up and/or would someone want to adopt the cache.

 

Just a thought - what do you folks think?

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How is this different from someone visiting a cache, noticing there's a problem, and clicking the "should be archived" option....which kicks off the process you describe below.

 

The difference is that caches that are being maintained by the "community" even if a cacher has gone missing will stay active....and people can always adopt a cache if there's a problem.

 

I just think it's something that can already be handled and one less thing for TPTB to address...

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A better way to prevent caches from just fading away is to set some mathematical limit.

 

For example:

 

The cache gets 6 months. After 6 months, it has to get at least 1 visit per month (averaged over 3 months) to stay alive. Once the limit is met, the owner gets the notice to update or remove the cache.

 

An even better way would be to take the visits limit further. Combine some kind of finder rating or some kind of finder type with the raw visit data.

 

Two examples:

 

Cachers get ratings points based on some criteria. For a cache to stay alive after 6 months, it has to maintain a certain number of find points. These would be generated based on experience of the cachers that find the cache and the number of finds..

 

Caches could be determined to have different roles in an area. Simple caches may be used as beginner caches, or travel bug motels (for example), and these may be open to all players, but intended for mostly those certain types of players have to keep receiving some numbre of these cachers in order to stay alive.

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We have enough guidlines (Rules) it's not broke so why fix it.

I'll second that!

 

And.. I have found many many caches that have a life of thier own. The owner has long been gone. I always carry spare log books and such, as do many others. If the one there is full, then I label it #2 (or even #3) and just keep it going. If the cache has "issues", which has been extremely rare with caches far and away, then request archive or whatever.

 

My biggest concern is that if caches were to expire, then the container will sit out under a rock or tree virtually forever. One could see it as a time capsule, but I see it as litter.

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nope I do not think we need this. I have a fairly remote cache or at least remote for these parts. It has been found only twice in the past year with nice views and hike to get to it. would hate to have it go away because of a rule.

 

Like said before if a cache is found in poor condition simply hit the this cache should be archived button.

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Hooray! Results!

For those who didn't get to see the caches I referenced above:

 

The first link was to a cache that the owner themselves had hit 'SBA' months and months ago, and it wasn't, then I hit 'SBA' on Nov. 9 and it wasn't.....til now

 

The second link was to a cache that hadn't been found since *2002*! And I hit 'SBA' on Nov 9 and it wasn't..... til now.

 

Thank you so much, I was really tired of seeing those disabled/dead caches on the list for so long.

Sometimes you just have to gripe a little :lol:

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MountainMudbug, I typically try to get people to fix the caches. I missed the first one I guess. That one is not coming back so I archived it. I hoped the second one would get fixed but I guess not.

 

To me, this is a bad idea. I put my caches out to be there for the long term. I have a couple of caches that are in hard to get to areas and they don't get a lot of traffic. They are in great shape since they are ammo boxes and they are upright. My oldest active cache is 3.5 years old. It has not been visited in over 2 months. Before that was another 2 months, but it was logged 5 times within a week. If my cache is in great shape, why should it be automatically archived? I still want people to come see this area and my cache is in great shape. Some people (like me) like to visit old active caches. I usually seek them out when I am traveling and would rather find old traditional caches than another light pole micro.

 

I think it would be nice if there was a trigger if a cacher goes inactive and their cache has a bunch of DNF's maybe, but an absolute hard and fast rule that automatically archives my perfectly fine cache... no thanks.

 

welch, like so many other topics that keep coming up again and again, this one will suffer the same fate. Might as well get your popcorn out and enjoy as best as you can.

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Okay, once again adding my very limited voice. We do not need a rule or the like or something similar to this. Yes posting a request to archive may not be effective at all times but to place a “rule” that if a cache is not visited in a certain period of time (averaged or other wise) is not good either. Beyond the rules issue is that this is assuming that someone who visits a cache will also log it on the web site. I know several cachers who as a general practice do not log there visits on the web site. Beyond that issue just because a cache has not been logged in a given period dose not mean that it is not still active or viable all it says is that that specific cache has not been visited and nothing about the condition or status of the cache.

 

Yes maybe a volunteer approver misses or doesn’t act on a request to archive but please remember that they are volunteers and they enjoy the search and find as the next one of us and are doing us a service.

 

Restating the above simply: NO to auto archiving in any form… Yes to a method of expediting information that he cache may need to the disable by an approver. Also such a rule is paramount to saying that because you do not cache r place cache's as i do you are not right, at leat in my opinion.

 

NickL

Far from the left but not right either.

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how offten a cache is visited may ba effected by cache density as well as terrain. out here in the San Francisco area there are so many caches that even some that do not require a major hike do not get hit that often, I have a few that are a very short hike that do not get hit that offten, but they are there. The last time I checked from my zip code there are over 4,000 caches within 100 miles. Then you have those that may tend to jump the gun with the archive button if a cache has not been found in a month. A DNF or a cache being hit only once every few month does not mean there is a problem. I do spend time maintianing caches but I do not log a note unless there has been a problem.

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So, you have just automated a process that has responsive cache owners answer and unresponsive ones not. The SBA log does that already. If there is no problem with the cache, then even if the owener has long since moved on, then the cache is fine and doesn't need help.

 

Oh and there is a cache with a heck of a view with all of 5 finders in about 3 years. It can live on years and years before it's finder pool is exausted. Urban caches three years is plenty. Freeway restop caches, seem to have finders on a regular basis long after the locals have forgotten about it. You would have a hard time defining a set of codable cache rules to fairly enforce a sunset date for a cache. There are two many factors, not the least of which is that the cache belongs to the cache owner. Not the finders or the listing site. Please allow them the luxery of deciding when to pull their own cache.

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Diversity is the key to productive growth. I am concerned that if we place restrictions on caches that get hit once or twice a year due to their location we will loose diversity. All we will be left with is park and grab caches(not that there is anything wrong with them). In addition you can't judge a cache by the number of DNF's, just last week I went after a cache that I swore had to be gone only to see that two had found it after my search.

 

I think it should be the geocaching communities responsibility to assure cache quality. It is easy to bring along a few containers and extra log books and I don't know of many cachers that would have a problem with the replacement or care of a cache container. I have done it for other cachers in my area.

 

I am a little bit concerned about caches that are located Wilderness Areas and receive a lot of visitation. These caches form social trails that increase the impact on the area. They are associated with high traffic areas and cause major headaches for the Land Managers. My cache was there for almost one year and had been visited 15 times. The trail was beginning to form so I closed it down. I have found a number of caches without the GPS just by following these trails.

 

I don't think we need any more rules. I think we need a little more participation from the geocaching community. If there is something wrong with the cache then fix it. If you can't contact the owner. Or leave in the log that if any one is headed for this cache would you please bring the following....

 

I hope that I have been constructive. Sorry for the ramble.

 

Nuwati

 

I

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Thank you so much, I was really tired of seeing those disabled/dead caches on the list for so long.

Sometimes you just have to gripe a little  <_<

Knowing mtn-man, it wasn't the griping that did it, it was your avatar. :(

Hey, whatever works!! :o

 

All kidding aside, mtn-man is the man, he's always been kind and helpful everytime we've conversed online, and that is much appreciated - Thanks!

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Ok, I am a newbie, so this question may be out of line. We have a cache in our area that is there, but empty instead. The last time it was found with something in it (besides water) was April 10. It has been logged many times as being empty. Should this one be marked as needing archived? Like I said I am a newbie, so I could be mistaken is posting this here.

Thanks

Stephenie

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Ok, I am a newbie, so this question may be out of line. We have a cache in our area that is there, but empty instead. The last time it was found with something in it (besides water) was April 10. It has been logged many times as being empty. Should this one be marked as needing archived? Like I said I am a newbie, so I could be mistaken is posting this here.

Thanks

Stephenie

Email the owner, see if they'll add a new logbook, or just do it yourself. I can't tell you how many times I've put new logbooks in caches. Once I even replaced a broken tupperware container with a new ammo can.

 

What goes around comes around, someone just replaced a soaked logbook in one of my caches a couple of weeks ago.

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My suggestion would be this. When a new cache is approved it would be for a fixed period of time – say two years. One month before the two years is up an e-mail would be sent to the owner stating that it has been two years and it is time to renew the cache – or drop it. The owner would have two months to log in and go to that cache page and simply click on a “renew cache” button and it would be good for two more years.

I understand the sentiment. I really do. My own first response is, "So who's gonna pay for this paperwork?" Being involved in churches for many years, I know all about volunteer workers, and programs. A couple of general rules: 1). any new program is good for a while, but it fades and becomes a burden. The less program, the better. When something is necessary, it will tend to stay, but even then it can become burdensome. If you can function well without it, then do. 2). A good and lasting program is that because of the "man behind it." One person (with helpers) sees the vision and dedicates himself to making it run. Often that program gets in trouble when you lose that man. Somebody has to "pay the price."

 

We have all seen a cache in trouble. Most of us have fixed one up (or more). I've been instrumental in a couple of archivings. I've attempted to get one dealt with which never was (haven't checked it in awhile, though). Sometimes it seems slow, but it eventually works.

 

In any area, if a couple people make it their mission to check up on troubled caches....that would work. Around here that's me, but it's easy since we only have about 15. I check them all regularlly. Most are mine. I mean, I have to walk the dog somewhere.

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Ok, I am a newbie, so this question may be out of line. We have a cache in our area that is there, but empty instead. The last time it was found with something in it (besides water) was April 10. It has been logged many times as being empty. Should this one be marked as needing archived? Like I said I am a newbie, so I could be mistaken is posting this here.

You are not oblicated to do anything, but whatever good you are willing to do, great job. If it's just a wet container, then an "Should Be ARchived" note is necessary on the cache page. As suggested, at least email the owner.

 

Any owner paying attention would get the email from each find. No surprises should ever happen. If it goes a month, then maybe someone's sick or on vacation. Possibly someone has abdicated.

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I agree the current system works. I wanted to add a few other thoughts here though.

 

I think as cache owners, we need to evaluate our caches from time to time. I have started to archive some of my older, less interesting caches. By doing so, it opens up an area for another cacher to place a cache.

 

My favourite caches I hope will be in place for a long time. Sometimes the older caches are the best ones. They are often placed in prime spots.

 

I do not agree that abandonned caches should always be fixed, however. Yes, you could replace a broken container, add a new log book and/or some trinkets, and it's good to go, but in the end, it's still an abandonned cache.

 

I'm all for helping to maintain a cache when you find one where the logbook is full, or it's looking pretty empty so you add some trade items. Hopefully others would do the same for my cache if it needed it.

 

I'm talking about the caches where the logs for 6 months prior mention that the container is broken, and the contents are soaked, etc. When I find such a cache, I pull the container and log it as Should be Archived.

 

Oh, and caches that are listed as disabled for over a year are a pet peeve of mine too!

 

Stepping off my soap box now. Cache on.

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If a cacher places a cache and then disappears off the face of the earth, the cache remains functional until it can no longer be reasonably found or logged.

 

At this point the cache is in the hands of the geocaching community.

 

Long periods between finds does not mean the cache is abandoned.

 

That's about it. Someone stick a fork in this thread.

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Ok, I am a newbie, so this question may be out of line.  We have a cache in our area that is there, but empty instead.  The last time it was found with something in it (besides water) was April 10.  It has been logged many times as being empty. Should this one be marked as needing archived?  Like I said I am a newbie, so I could be mistaken is posting this here.

Thanks

Stephenie

Email the owner, see if they'll add a new logbook, or just do it yourself. I can't tell you how many times I've put new logbooks in caches. Once I even replaced a broken tupperware container with a new ammo can.

 

What goes around comes around, someone just replaced a soaked logbook in one of my caches a couple of weeks ago.

The jar was completly empty. I knew it was the right one b/c it had geocaching.com on the top. We did put trinkets and some paper in it, but we didn't have a pencil small enough to fit. It has been 8 months since somebody found it with contents in it. There have been about 5 logs that they didn't have anything in the jar. At this point, should I mark that it needs to be archived? I did try to email, but the email address isn't valid anymore <_<

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There have been plenty caches that would be labled as SBA, that I have seen. One of them at one time was placed in an area that was apparantly a large dumping area. Granted it was near a flowing body of water, but you had to walk past the fire pit with the empty beer cans and broken bottles. Then once you made it closer towards the cache and past the exposed box springs and mattress, you could find the cache under half of a rusty container. The decrypted clue was "bring a trashbag". I did write the owner and told them that maybe that shouldn't be a clue to the cache, but more of if in the description area along with a warning of the dog that roamed the area. That was just a bad place to put a cache. Ther ehave been others that weren't maintained and some that required accessiing private property to get. Then of course you have those who don't respond to email. Partly due to the fact that they aren't geocaching anymore and don't use the same email address. It's a touchy subject. I do agree that if a cache is 'alive" then let it live. But then I again, I think that cache owners should be current, up to date and caring for their cache. There are plenty other people who are willing to place a cache in an area that there is a dilapidated one, but can't. Unless they SBA it and then get their own there. I imagine in due time there will be some cache anarchy going on.

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