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Thread: Ask Your Reviewer!

  1. #1

    Ask Your Reviewer!

    I am opening this thread as a place where you can get answers to questions that may be of interest to a wider audience than a private communication would address.

    The fastest and most dependable way to get me remains NatureFish@gmail.com, which is checked every few hours and gets precedence over all other email, but I will try to check this thread every day.

    Only generic questions about geocaching and the guidelines that might be of interest to the community should be posted here - listing-specific and interpersonal communications should be done via Reviewer Notes or email to NatureFish@gmail.com

    Reviewing cache listings is necessarily a bit arbitrary, and one cache placement or answer does not set precedence for another, so an answer here may conflict with the answers I apply to a particular listing request, depending on specific circumstances. If there appears to be inconsistancy it's because that's the nature of the game - few caches are exactly alike!

    I encourage all geocachers to read the guidelines at http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx before asking a question here that's already covered.

    Please remember that I am here to help and support you while maintaining the guidelines for placement and maintenance. I will do anything I can to help you get your cache listed properly. If you are unhappy with my decisions flaming will do no good whatsoever, just write to appeals@groundspeak.com with the listing ID number and details of why your cache should be allowed to violate the guidelines, or an explanation of just how my decision fails to apply them properly in this particular case.

    Have fun!
    NF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Little Rock (south of), AR.
    Posts
    302
    BUMP
    I don't know what the BB ethics is on such things but this was about to drop off of the page and get buried. With all the new members and increased interest in caching I thought it was too important to let it fall.
    Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Morrilton
    Posts
    327
    Sometimes a BUMP in the road is a good thing --- just don't bounce out if the top's down.

    I do have a question. It's a Waymarking question and I don't know it that falls in your domain. Concerning Waymarks and State Parks; is there a policy from geocaching.com's point of view about placing waymarks in state parks? Last Sept. I added three waymarks in the Civilian Conservation Corps category for CCC structures in Petit Jean State Park. I did not seek park approval since there was no physical cache and the waymark coordinates all were in heavily traveled motorized and foot traffic. They were approved by the category owner who may or may not have been familiar with the approval process for physical caches.

    Today I was thinking of adding another before the March 4th meeting and I went ahead and emailed the Park people, telling them also about the three I had already set up. I guess I'll hear from them in a few days, but was wondering if you knew anything about the waymarking in state parks situation.

    Thanks,

    Guy Veazey


    Take time to smell the roses and love the grandkids.

  4. #4

    Waymarking

    Waymarking replaced Locationless and Virtuals as a way to record a location - no cache is placed.

    What you do with waymarking is much like taking a picture and making it into a postcard - zero impact on the location and no need for permission! Anywhere you can take a camera you can waymark.

    The limitations of waymarking are strictly those of the landowner - if it's posted Private Property or No Access After Dark we'd appreciate it if you didn't create a waymark to lure folks there - or that you post the hours in the description.

    The waymarking rules outlined in the FAQ are remarkably few.
    See http://www.waymarking.com/help/faq.aspx

    In a more direct answer - no, there are no permission requirements
    and
    No, Reviewers don't watch waymarking.com!

    Waymarking is peer-reviewed, meaning that the rating system they use allows finders, even armchair internet cruisers who have never been there, to rate waymarks on a scale and thus indicate their overall value to the community.

    I own the category Fishing Holes, where folks around the world list their favorite fishing spots and methods.

    The only time I even look at it is to approve new waymarks or if I am taking a trip I'll look to see if there is an interesting fishing hole along the way!

    Have fun,
    Ed

  5. #5
    Guest
    I've got a slightly more specific question, or at least one that a specific instance brought up.

    Does a cache automatically become "temporarily disabled" if it doesn't get found for a length of time?

    I ask because there is one that shows disabled that hasn't been found since last June that another cacher tells me should still be there (though not the owner, I haven't heard from them yet).

  6. #6

    Diasabled

    No, there is no timer.

    A cache lives forever, no matter how often found, unless it's manually disabled or archived for some reason.

    Your previous Groundspeak Reviewer, MaxCacher, just traveled to Brazil from Tennesee to get one that hadn't been found in three years!

    A cache may be disabled by the owner or Reviewer.

    Many times the cache will get multiple DNFs or a Needs Maintenance or even a SBA note and the owner will disable the cache until he can get to it.

    Sometimes a cache will be hidden in a snow zone, and disabled during the winter months.

    Whatever the reason, owners often neglect to re-enable the cache, and there's no way for Reviewers to watch this.

    If you see a cache that's been disabled a while, especially with no owner follow-up, file a SBA note and I will pursue it with the owner.

    As far as a cache going a long time without being found - go find it! I fairly often look at the oldest unfounds in my PQ and go hunt 'em. Can be frustrating if it's gone, but highly rewarding if you find it!

    Thanks,
    Ed

  7. #7

    Additional Waypoints

    Many of you have noticed that your emailed PQs now contain two files, the second labeled 'waypoint'.

    This is a new feature designed to be of mutual benefit to the geocaching and Reviewer communities.

    The Additional Waypoints feature is being discussed in a thread in the main forums here:
    http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/ind...owtopic=120544

    The Additional Waypoints feature is designed as a way to manage caches with more than one waypoint.

    Additional Waypoints introduce some powerful and flexible capabilities, but can can cause a bit of initial confusion when learning to use them, primarily because some can be hidden and some visible.

    Examples would be:

    A virtual tour of monuments leading to a final cache - waypoints could be visible except for the final.

    Traditional Multi-cache - waypoints hidden

    Puzzle cache - waypoints hidden or some hidden some visible

    A nearby cool thing you want to point cachers to like parking coordinate or a nearby monument - waypoints visible

    For Reviewers, Additional Waypoints will help us make sure that a new cache isn't too close to any existing caches or multicache waypoints. Until now Reviewers have had to manually maintain a database of all stages for this purpose, that's why we currently ask for all stages of a multi, and that's a lot of work! Using the Additional Waypoints feature for any multi will help us help you!

    HINT: Reviewers, especially this one, appreciate and remember geocachers that help make our job easier!

    TIP: It is easy to get this concept backwards - where you have a monument, for example, that you want to use as a virtual waypoint that leads to a final. If you list the monument's coords as primary and the final as an Additional Waypoint then only Premium Members that choose to use the Additional Waypoints will be able to see the coords to your final!

    The proper way would be to list the final's coords as primary and any monuments of interest as Additional Waypoints.

    Hope this helps!
    Ed

  8. #8

    Caching Territory and Cache Hide Review

    This topic is cross-posted, I hope you don't mind, but after writing it in another thread I felt that it was good info for all geocachers, and so am posting it here!

    The basic question, paraphrased, was "Where is your geocaching turf?"

    Great question, and one that I will chime in on because it is one of the most common issues that arise in new cache listings.

    Geocachers get their new listings held up almost daily over this issue!

    [FlameGuard On] Herein the word 'you' is easier to type than 'the geocacher involved' so I am not using 'you' to address the OP (Original Poster) or you the reader directly, but the whole community of geocachers. Further, I am not particularly politically correct, so though I value and appreciate the women of geocaching I use "him" rather than dance around the him/her/he/she/them gender thing in my writings![/FlameGuard]


    Where you normally geocache, the area that might be called your 'turf', is relevant to me only in the context of my ability to spot vacation and 'throwaway' caches... those that are too far off of your beaten path to realistically believe that you will maintain them.

    You would not believe the number of proposed new listings submitted where it is obvious that the hider was driving down some highway far from home, sees an interesting tree and thinks "Hey, I have a microcache in my briefcase, I believe I'll throw 'er under that tree!" He'll get home, list it, and forget it. It becomes GeoTrash after the first couple of months, as he has no intention of ever going back to look at it.

    Now, I am all about helping geocachers get their hides listed.

    I am a Volunteer Reviewer for no other purpose.

    Sure I apply and enforce Groundspeak's Cache Listing Rules and Guidelines, but I represent and work for geocachers.

    If there is room for flexibility or discretion in the application of the Guidelines I will almost always exercise it to the benefit of the geocacher.

    I will go to great lengths to work with any geocacher to help them configure a cache so that it is listable.

    A vibrant, healthy, happy and growing geocaching community is my only pay or reward.

    That said, however, I have no desire whatsoever to list a cache like the one above described! Such hides benefit neither the geocaching community nor the listing service that publishes them.

    So, knowing something about your turf and travel habits is important to me... and by extension, to you!

    Here's how:

    Your turf, in my terms, is the area you reside or work in and regularly travel through.

    Determining that turf is the reason we ask you to put your home coords in your profile - when you list a cache its distance from your home is one of the things we see and consider.

    If it is over 30 miles from your home I will generally inquire as to how often and how quickly you can respond to cache issues.

    I know from experience that a 60-mile round trip to change out a wet log is more effort than most geocachers are willing to put into a cache - in which case they don't need to have caches that far away!

    If, for example, you are a family man, you have young kids at home, your wife doesn't cache, you've got 0 hides and 30 finds and you work full-time, you can pretty much expect that I will question your ability and dedication to maintaining your new listing on top of a mountain 20 miles away! You're just not likely to have time to go climb that mountain to check on the cache very quickly or often!

    On the other hand, if you are retired, are an active cacher with 10 hides and 300 finds and are a participant in your geocaching association's forums, I can better expect that you'll be able and willing to get to that cache in a reasonable timeframe.

    Every Reviewer is different, but in most cases my expectation is that you will respond to cache issues within two weeks. That is the maximum time that should elapse between a 'Needs Maintenance' or 'Should Be Archived' note and your going to check on the cache. There are, as in everything, exceptions. If you need an exception just write me! When I don't hear from an owner and two weeks pass after an issue alert I will most likely archive the cache.

    This is why we use guidelines instead of rules... geocaching and geocachers need this level of flexibility.

    I will also look at the number of caches you've found in the area of your new hide. That's a pretty good indication of the turf you regularly cache - that way when I see you place a new hide way out away from where you normally cache I can pretty much predict that you won't maintain it!

    If I have reason to believe that you can't or won't maintain a hide, I may list it based on your note telling me that you will maintain it, but may set a watch on the cache.

    If unresolved maintenance issues should arise I will then have no hesitation about archiving the cache, and the experience teaches me something of value to consider for your future hides!

    You may travel 100 miles to your lake house once a month. If I know that this is the case I won't have any trouble listing caches along that route, even though they are much farther from your home than I might allow for another geocacher!

    Even then, if I see you place a new cache that's not along that route, we are back to square one - I have to determine (and hold up the listing while I ask) is it a vacation cache? A cool place you happened by and will never visit again? Do you have relatives there that you only visit every six months?

    Of course your time in the game, your reputation in the caching community, the number of hides you have and where they are, your maintenance history with existing hides as well as our relationship and your past relations with Reviewers all feed into my ability to decide if you are likely to maintain the hide.

    Geocaches may in theory live forever, but the minimum lifespan under the guidelines is 90 days.

    To list it I have to believe that you can and will maintain it as needed for at least that long and will collect it when you no longer can or desire to keep it up. Therefore I need to know that it is within your normal turf.

    There are exceptions, of course.

    Vacation caches are not allowed, but occasionally you'll see a cache hundreds of mile from the owner's home, even in another state.

    I have several caches near me here in Alabama that are owned by a cacher in California. I have never met the man, but I know that he has a home in both states, spends half the year in each home, has family that lives close to his caches here for whom he provided me phone numbers and who have committed to doing maintenance as and when needed. So far that has worked fine!

    There is a caching couple here who are truck drivers; they have caches strung from Miami to New York, but they are actively up and down that route every week or so and no cache of theirs has ever gone two weeks without attention when it needed maintenance.

    So, if you have a dependable local maintainer and give me their contact info, or if I know that you are in the area of your new listing frequently, your 'turf' can be vastly extended!

    Another way to extend your turf is to co-own a cache with another geocacher. Under the Guidelines co-ownership doesn't exist - one account must own and be responsible for each cache, but it can be done as a cooperative agreement among geocachers.

    If you are out of your normal turf and find a location that really begs a geocache, a place you just know geocachers will enjoy, but it's just too far out of your normal travel routine and you know you wouldn't realistically maintain it, team up with a local cacher to place it.

    This local cacher will, if he sees the value of this location as you do, likely allow you (or work with you) to place the hide and will list it under his account.

    He will actually own it and as far as Groundspeak is concerned he will be singularly responsible for it, but in the listing page he will put both his name and yours as the cache owners, giving you credit and recognition for the placement.

    You won't get a statistics bump out of it, it won't show up in your hides list, but geocachers will see and appreciate your involvement, and that's got to be more satisfying than incrementing a number!

    This is but another good reason to host and attend events, geocache with others and to be active in the forums and community - if you are known and trusted well enough to work cooperatively with geofriends you can place caches almost anywhere!

    As far as the idea, and surely it was mentioned only in jest, of protecting your turf from other cacher's hides - you have that right only on property you own and not one inch further!

    What all of this means to you is that anytime you place a hide outside of the normally-accepted 30-or-so miles from home, writing a Reviewer Note when you submit your listing to explain that you can and will be able to maintain it will very likely keep the listing from being held up while I try to contact you!

    The more I know about you and your hides the more I can help you. Use the Reviewer Note on all new listings to tell me anything I need to know about the listing and it should sail right on through the review process!

    I hope this helps you!
    Ed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Hot Springs Village
    Posts
    620
    Long post, but a good one!! I always wondered about your whereabouts Naturefish. I didn't think that it would be much fun to find caches that you approved, or maybe it would, I don't know. I never really thought about the turf thing in the reviewing process but that makes perfect sense. I gotta say that was an excellent post that you made. I have other caches planned for my area but some of them may be more than 30 miles from home( my home is nearly 30 miles from anywhere ). I will make sure to give you a note to help ease the review process when I do. I also travel to Little Rock at least 2 times each week (70 miles one way) so I may place a cache along the way sometime. Your description of the guy with a fulltime job, wife and three kids fits me perfectly, have you been peeking in my windows? Caching is my weekend activity with the kids and we really enjoy it. Keep up the good work Fish and thanks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    396

    Best Clear Container

    I get Google Alerts on the topic Geocaching. A large majority of the headlines are something to the effect of "Geocaching - Gamers or Terrorists" . I think the day will come when some stupid person will use a Geocache in a bad way and will severly affect the game. It may not be a bad idea to look at the guidelines and prohibit ammo cans. But that leaves us, me at least, without a good waterproof container. I don't have many finds, but I have never found a wet cache in an ammo can.

    What is the best "clear" waterproof container that you have seen, heard of, etc.? I would switch now if I had an alternative.

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