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Maintenance Of Vacation Caches


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The guidelines on "vacation caches" seem pretty clear: "Placing caches on vacation or outside of your normal caching area is unacceptable and these caches may not be listed."

 

No grey area there, then - such caches are unacceptable.

 

Except that it seems they ARE acceptable, if you can find "someone else to maintain them for you."

 

In my area (Ireland), vacation caches - I'd prefer to call them "Tourist Caches" - are being approved at the rate of (on average) one per month.

 

Inevitably, many of these are defective in some important respect - inaccurate co-ordinates or containers, or no permission granted from the landowner in recent cases - and eventually some are archived.

 

These problems would be easier for the local caching community to deal with, if the maintainer was identified on the cache page - as suggested in the guidelines. (We've got to assume that there IS a maintainer, right?)

 

In almost every case, the listing doesn't even mention a maintainer, let alone provide contact information.

 

Should it - or is it just an "example"?

 

 

[Edited to clarify the point, but probably didn't.]

Edited by wildlifewriter
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The guidelines on "vacation caches" seem pretty clear: "Placing caches on vacation or outside of your normal caching area is unacceptable and these caches may not be listed."

 

No grey area there, then - such caches are unacceptable.

 

Except that it seems they ARE acceptable, if you can find "someone else to maintain them for you."

 

Should it - or is it just an "example"?

 

Apparently it is happening. First, it became OK to do this for virtuals. Oops, one hole in the dam. Next, the standard slips to OK for physicals that are placed in a region that has little or no caches... on and on until we are flooded with caches owned by folks hundreds or thousands of miles away. A pseudo-parallel discussion on this topic is unfolding here.

 

Ah, our reviewers are good folks, and I'm sure this will all get rectified, especially since you just brought it to light. :D

Edited by Jeep_Dog
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A lot of the so called vacation caches were placed before there were ever rules against them so they were grandfathered in.

 

In my area (Ireland), vacation caches - I'd prefer to call them "Tourist Caches" - are being approved at the rate of (on average) one per month.

 

Sounds like he's got a problem with new vacation caches. I'd suggest posting a note on the cache page if there's a problem. The owner or the person maintaining the cache should respond. If they don't respond in a timely fashion, maybe it's time for a Needs Archived note.

Edited by Markwell
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Sounds like he's got a problem with new vacation caches. I'd suggest posting a note on the cache page if there's a problem. The owner or the person maintaining the cache should respond. If they don't respond in a timely fashion, maybe it's time for a Needs Archived note.

Or, perhaps, the OP could volunteer through said emails to maintain the caches. The OP would save money in purchasing cache containers whilst increasing the number of caches in their area all at the same time. :D

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Sounds like he's got a problem with new vacation caches.

That is correct. However, my query in this topic only asks: Is it mandatory for the maintainer to be (i) another geocacher, and (ii) identified on the cache page - as the guidelines seem to imply.

 

The question of whether a responsible cacher would place one (for example) in another country, half a continent away from home, on private land AND in a designated conservation area, with misleading co-ordinates, and with no way of maintaining it, (this is all one cache we're talking about, here) is another issue entirely. :D

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That is correct. However, my query in this topic only asks: Is it mandatory for the maintainer to be (i) another geocacher, and (ii) identified on the cache page - as the guidelines seem to imply.

It certainly would be easier if the maintainer was another geocacher, and even more easier if they were listed on the cache page.

 

This is best left for reviewers to answer.

 

But I'll give an opinion anyhow. ;)

 

There is still the cache owner, 1300 miles away or not. One could email the cache owner, who would then have the "maintainer" look into the issues. I see no problem with having neither the maintainer be a geocacher nor be listed on the page. It probably is important this information be required to give to the approver.

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I wonder how much maintenance the so-called "maintainer" actually does. Most of the approved caches placed on vacation that I have seen are archived as soon as they have some trouble. Thankfully, I dont see many like this either.

 

There is something about shirking your cache maintenance responsibilities to someone else that just bothers me. ;)

 

Salvelinus

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... However, my query in this topic only asks: Is it mandatory for the maintainer to be (i) another geocacher, and (ii) identified on the cache page - as the guidelines seem to imply....

These questions have been answered in previous threads.

 

It is not required that the maintainer be an active geocacher. If I place a cache on a family farm 1000 miles away from me and a member of my family has promised to keep an eye on it, that's all good.

 

It is not required, nor is it common practice for the individual to be named on the cache page. Heck, your name is not even on your cache pages, why should Bob Smith's?

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Do we have any real evidence that caches owned remotely are more poorly maintained than those whose owner resides nearby?

 

I'm sure there are plenty of examples of remotely owned caches which weren't maintained properly and have been archived. By obviously there are plenty of examples of locally owned caches about which the same thing can be said.

 

My guess is that it comes down to the character of the individual owner, whether the cache is local or remote. If you are a responsible individual, you'll make sure your remote cache is maintained just like you would your local caches.

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There is something about shirking your cache maintenance responsibilities to someone else that just bothers me. ;)

 

Salvelinus

I can agree in principle, but partly because "shirking" is such a negative word. I don't see any problem with someone who negotiates a cooperative agreement in order to develop the cache quality in an area.

 

Here's a policy proposal *puts on flame retardant suit*.

 

Allow for a cache to be listed by more than one person. One could be listed as the party responsible for maintenance, but others could be on the list of those placed the cache.

 

Why bother? Glad you asked. From time to time, I have worked with other cachers to develop pretty involved, complex caches. I think the results of working together resulted in caches that were far superior to caches any single person in the group would have come up with alone. Problem was, only one of the group could get stats credit (we listed everyones names on the cache page itself) for the hide, and a query for other caches hidden by someone in the group wouldn't result in a hit for the group caches unless that someone happened to be the one who was listed as the hider.

 

I see a policy change like this facilitating more group (and presumably better) caches as well as addressing the issue of vacation caches where there can be a local who has more direct responsibility for the cache. I cache when I go on vacation. Some vacations are to places where friends and family live and cache. For example, I have a brother in Dallas, Tx. who caches. There are a number of cache ideas I'd like to try there, in cooperation with my brother, and with him as the maintenance person.

 

Yes, we could just do it anyway and list him as the cache owner, but the current system doesn't encourage that.

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...Here's a policy proposal *puts on flame retardant suit*.

 

Allow for a cache to be listed by more than one person. One could be listed as the party responsible for maintenance, but others could be on the list of those placed the cache....

What if the maintainer is not a member and has no interest in becoming one?

 

Couldn't I just create a dummy account and call it the maintainer?

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Heck, your name is not even on your cache pages, why should Bob Smith's?

My geocaching account name is clearly visible on my cache pages. (I haven't checked Bob Smith's.)

 

Presumably, the account "name" is what was intended, here...

 

if you have made arrangements with a local geocacher to watch over your distant cache for you, that geocacher’s name should be mentioned on your cache page.

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What if Bob Smith isn't a geocacher?

Listen - Bob Smith's a helluva guy. I'm not saying a word against Bob Smith. They broke the mould when they made Bob, and that's the truth.

 

I'm just wondering:

 

What's good ol' Bob going to do (him not being a geocacher, and all) when this cache in the Conservation Area has to be moved 400 metres or so along the path - so as to clear the boundary - and new co-ordinates surveyed... ;)

 

-Wlw

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What's good ol' Bob going to do (him not being a geocacher, and all) when this cache in the Conservation Area has to be moved 400 metres or so along the path - so as to clear the boundary - and new co-ordinates surveyed... ;)

Presumably Bob would be happy to do whatever the cache owner asked him to do once the owner received notification that there was a problem with the cache.

 

If Bob does not have the equipment (GPSr) or the time or the ability or the desire to get the problem taken care of, the owner would need to resolve the problem through other means, or archive.

 

But this is no different than if any cache owner doesn't have the equipment or the time or the ability or the desire to get a problem taken care of. The responsibility still falls on the cache owner.

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Couldn't I just create a dummy account and call it the maintainer?

Yes, you could. There are a lot of things that "can" be done that are either unethical or blatantly against the rules.

 

I agree with the OP in as much as a path of responsibility should be clearly laid out when the cache is approved. Whether that information is accurate or updated is beyond anyones control after that. I just makes the hider think about what he is doing before placing the cache.

 

If someone agrees to maintain the cache, I think creating an account name and monitoring the log on an occasional basis is not much to ask.

 

(Speaking of which, Bob Smith better get his butt out there and start maintaining some caches!) ;)

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Couldn't I just create a dummy account and call it the maintainer?

Yes, you could. There are a lot of things that "can" be done that are either unethical or blatantly against the rules.

 

I agree with the OP in as much as a path of responsibility should be clearly laid out when the cache is approved. ...

My point was that if the maintainer does not want to bother with creating an account, why should he. As long as he answers the phone when the owner calls and checks on the cache occasionally, all is good. Bob, while really a great guy, is something of a Luddite.

 

As others have said, the responsibility remains with the cache owner.

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I can agree in principle, but partly because "shirking" is such a negative word.  I don't see any problem with someone who negotiates a cooperative agreement in order to develop the cache quality in an area.

I dont have a problem with it either. But in my experience, finding a equally responsible maintainer has been the exception rather than the rule. Thus, I felt shirking was appropriate to use in this case.

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Whether or not I have an agreement with a maintainer to help me I'm responsible and so I'm the contact. If the person helping me maintain the cache is a geocacher we use their account and I'm listed as a co-hider. If they are not geocachers then I'm not going to use personally identifieable information or post an email. If I drop off the planet and I can't be contacted you have the same problem whether it's a vacation cache or it's in my backyard and that demands a different solution.

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It is not required that the maintainer be an active geocacher. If I place a cache on a family farm 1000 miles away from me and a member of my family has promised to keep an eye on it, that's all good.

Yes it is.

If you went to MTGC meetings you would know that. The change was announced at the January meeting.

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Bob, while really a great guy, is something of a Luddite.

As others have said, the responsibility remains with the cache owner.

OK. Lets see how that would work if the situation were reversed...

 

<ring,ring>

 

"Yes Hi, may I speak with Mr. Smith, please?.... Hi Bob, It's me... me Wildlifewriter from Ireland, you remember. I'm fine thanks - how're Mrs Smith and all the little... Really? Jeez I'm sorry to hear that, Bob. And she took the children with her?... Well maybe it'll work out.

 

Listen, Bob, you know that vacation cache that you promised to look after for me?... it was when we were in the bar, having a few beers. Well. quite a lot of beers in your case. I mentioned about maintaining the cache, and you said "Shurewynot" or something like that...

 

... You're going to have to move the cache for me Bob. Apparently it's in a National Park, and they're not allowed... Well I didn't KNOW it was a National Park, did I? - I'm only a tourist and I'd never been to the USA before...

 

No, you'll find it easily, Bob - it's up that road, through the gate beside the sign that says "National Park", and turn left... there are some trees. Well, it's beside the biggest one.... that many, huh? It's about 400 metres to the... a metre is how we measure distance over here Bob - think of it as three feet and change...

 

It's pretty urgent, otherwise geocaching.com will archive the cache... Could you do it tomorrow?... What's that, Bob? I'm truly sorry to hear that too, Bob.... - maybe you could go up there after the funeral?

 

Now, I'm going to need new co-ordinates for the cache, after you find a hiding place for it.... Couldn't you BUY a GPS? They're not very costly and real easy to use, once you get the... hullo?... hullo, Bob...?"

 

:tired:

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Listen, Bob, you know that vacation cache that you promised to look after for me?... it was when we were in the bar, having a few beers. Well. quite a lot of beers in your case. I mentioned about maintaining the cache, and you said "Shurewynot" or something like that...

 

... You're going to have to move the cache for me Bob. Apparently it's in a National Park, and they're not allowed... Well I didn't KNOW it was a National Park, did I? - I'm only a tourist and I'd never been to the USA before...

You've shown a situation which a cache owner has been irresponsible in the creation of a cache. The owner did not place it appropriately, and does not have the ability to maintain it. The same situation could be demonstrated without the notion of a remotely placed cache.

 

Getting back to the OP, with this example are you trying to say that this cache should not have been allowed in the first place (shifting responsibility for this situation from the cache owner to the approver), or are you trying to say that somehow the situation would be helped if the cache listing showed Bob's name on it?

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You've shown a situation which a cache owner has been irresponsible in the creation of a cache.

The "scenario" was rather light-hearted in an attempt to amuse, but yes - there is ample evidence that a majority of vacation caches here in Ireland are placed "irresponsibly"...

 

...in the sense that the owner has not obtained permission, nor troubled to find out if the site is environmentally sensitive, nor made any practical arrangements to have it maintained.

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The "scenario" was rather light-hearted in an attempt to amuse, but yes - there is ample evidence that a majority of vacation caches here in Ireland are placed "irresponsibly"...

 

...in the sense that the owner has not obtained permission, nor troubled to find out if the site is environmentally sensitive, nor made any practical arrangements to have it maintained.

The "scenario" was rather light-hearted in an attempt to amuse

 

Understood. :tired:

 

there is ample evidence that a majority of vacation caches here in Ireland are placed "irresponsibly"...

 

A majority? Any idea how many caches are we talking about here?

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It is not required that the maintainer be an active geocacher.  If I place a cache on a family farm 1000 miles away from me and a member of my family has promised to keep an eye on it, that's all good.

Yes it is.

If you went to MTGC meetings you would know that. The change was announced at the January meeting.

Can you show me in the guidelines where it says this?

 

I'm not required to go to these meetings, am I? I hope not as I rarely attend and don't plan on going in the future. I'm not even a member of MTGC anymore.

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A majority? Any idea how many caches are we talking about here?

I can't answer that, because I don't yet know a definitive answer to the original question:

 

"If a vacation cache is approved, does the local maintainer have to be a nominated geocacher?"

 

If the answer to my question is "yes", then the answer to your question is "only ONE of the vacation caches approved here in the last twelve months, appears to comply with that guideline."

 

Hth,

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A majority? Any idea how many caches are we talking about here?

I can't answer that, because I don't yet know a definitive answer to the original question:

 

"If a vacation cache is approved, does the local maintainer have to be a nominated geocacher?"

Got it.

 

Maybe it's just semantics, but I think we're stuck here, because according to the guidelines, vacation caches are not allowed. So I don't think an 'authoritative' answer to a question about what is required to support a vacation cache is forthcoming.

 

But I'll keep watching to see if one is provided. :anibad:

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It is not required that the maintainer be an active geocacher.  If I place a cache on a family farm 1000 miles away from me and a member of my family has promised to keep an eye on it, that's all good.

Yes it is.

If you went to MTGC meetings you would know that. The change was announced at the January meeting.

That is a local guideline, not one listed on the site.

 

I have a remote cache that I set up near my in-laws. They are avid hikers and have been geocaching with me before, but they have no interest in buying a GPS. When I went out an placed the remote cache, they went with me. They know where the cache is and how to retrieve it if there's any problems or it needs maintenance.

 

If for some reason it needs to be moved, I would have them retrieve it and I'd either mark the cache as disabled or archived, depending on the amount of time until my next visit to the area.

 

My in-laws have a Geocaching account only because I set one up for them. They enjoy reading the logs of the cache (and I added several other local caches to their watchlist for them because they are curious). They read their e-mail every day and would gladly go out at the drop of a hat to fix up the cache.

 

How is it that this situation is worsened because these people didn't set up a Geocaching.com account? If I hadn't set one up for them, I would have just forwarded all of my notifications if there were problems.

 

It comes down to being a responsible cache placer: 1) Know the guidelines and permissions necessary and 2) Have some effective way of maintaining the cache prior to its placement. IMHO (and evidently the guidelines on Geocaching.com agree with this notion) as long as those two criteria are met, it shouldn't matter if the person maintaining the cache has an account or not. Notice that the guidelines state "For example..."

 

If you have special circumstances, please describe these on your cache page or in a note to the reviewer. For example, if you have made arrangements with a local geocacher to watch over your distant cache for you, that geocacher’s name should be mentioned on your cache page.
Edited by Markwell
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Thanks to Markwell for the authoritative answer.

 

That clarifies the position.

 

It doesn't address the problem of this continued stream of ill-placed, unplanned (and un-maintained) tourist caches appearing in my country.

 

It does give a significant insight into why the problem exists, and seemingly will continue to exist.

 

Thanks for all the contributions, guys.

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