Author Topic: One year moratorium on Challenge caches  (Read 5608 times)

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Xira

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One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« on: April 21, 2015, 21:02:49 »
BluePanther51's Arithmetic Sequence Challenge, which was published today, will likely be the last challenge cache published locally for the next year, unless someone else has one that meets the guidelines and has already been submitted for review.

Why? Because, effective today, Groundspeak is putting a moratorium on new challenge caches.

Information on this is available at: http://support.groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=675.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 21:26:44 by Xira »

bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 10:43:56 »
Yes, the recent explosion of 'challenge' caches has caught up to us. Despite being only a tiny minority of all the caches out there these challenge caches are responsible of the majority of appeals and conflict with reviewers, even with the fine-tuning of the Guidelines that was done recently.

Full disclosure: I enjoy challenges. I've "found" over 400 of them and have published a dozen or so too.

I like caches that invite you to step outside your comfort zone, that ask you to try something new and different.

After I noticed that some cachers ignored certain cache types altogether I published "The "Well Rounded Cacher" Challenge" http://coord.info/GC2FKV3 to invite people to attempt more than just another traditional cache. After completing my "JASMER" grid I published "History Challenge: JASMER" http://coord.info/GC5EG5V in the hope that people would consider hunting the old caches as they traveled around. I'd been passing by several old caches I needed to complete my 'Jasmer' grid for years, oblivious to them because they were swamped in a sea of LPCs and AMIATs. It's only when I started searching that these historical caches popped out of the background noise.

That being said there have been more and more challenge caches lately that are pretty contrived or arbitrary. Cron's "Le Défi du géocacheur bien équilibré (Bilingual)" http://coord.info/GC2Q1AM was in the first wave of challenges that offended the community, you could not achieve the challenge unless you stopped geocaching for most caches! Guideline changes followed as the rules were refined to make challenges inclusive rather than exclusive, but there were still many "Find X number of Y Type during a Full Moon in a month with no R in it!" Some challenges were just ridiculous, but then there's lots of ridiculous caches out there, aren't  there?

I like to pick and choose among challenges. There are some that are, well, CHALLENGING. Qualifying for "Tequila: 81 Proof" http://coord.info/GLFNQZ5A was not a trivial matter, it took a lot of planning and work to find the required caches. There are other challenges that I really don't care about, especially if I have no way to find out if I qualify for it. Thankfully the Project-gc.com website has lots of Challenge Checkers (and more everyday), because some of these abstruse challenges require you to master GSAK macros in order to tease out the qualifications from your My Finds list. I'm afraid BluePanther51's Arithmetic Sequence Challenge is one of these. I've read the cache page several times and I'm still not sure what is required of me....

So you don't think EarthCaches and Virtual Caches are "real" geocaches? That's fine, but put my "The "Well Rounded Cacher" Challenge" http://coord.info/GC2FKV3 on your ignore list. You'll never qualify for it anyway. Don't like to geocache on vacation? Only cache on the odd weekend with the kids? That's good, but my "History Challenge: JASMER" http://coord.info/GC5EG5V is not for you, read the logs!

If you don't want to find 26 caches that each begin with a different letter of the alphabet, in one day, just to be able to claim a find on another 'challenge cache' then don't do it! Ignore the challenge and enjoy your caching...... or shut up and start planning your route and downloading the caches.

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« Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 10:51:15 by bluelamb03 »
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cron

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2015, 09:16:48 »
It's just unfortunate there's so much politics in that game.

As a company making money out of this hobby, Groundspeak probably want to appeal to the majority and putting an end to challenge caches is a way to attain that goal. You/I may like or not, it's their business. You can always try to influence, but you can also play with their rules or opt out and move on. Disclaimer: I don't like what challenge caches are becoming (and puzzle caches too).

Just like puzzle caches (actually, any caches that will require something else than just walking to a coordinate, finding a container and signing your name in a logbook), challenge caches can be annoying to the casual geocacher who has to ignore/skip all the geocaches around his/her home that he/she cannot solve, complete or meet the requirements. Yes, they can ignore these caches, but human nature makes it difficult to ignore what you know (you need to be aware of them before being able to ignore them). I guess the silent majority doesn't like to be told there are caches they are denied to find, especially when the new caches are becoming sparse in their respective areas. It happened in the past with difficult puzzles and multis, but people started to circumvent this difficulty by asking the final coordinates to previous finders or friends. Once a logbook was signed, it could be "found". Challenge caches remediated this "issue" by allowing the COs to have the power to decide who could log their caches online.

And when you put humans in the equation, it can only go wrong... If Groundspeak let the challenge caches continue, it will end up as a mini-game within geocaching for a selected few, it will entice people to cheat (I've seen a lot of date logging tweaks and the like) and it will most likely continue to spark rounds of appeal calls from both the finders and the COs.

One way to solve the issue is to not allow any kind of caches where the CO has the final say on who can log a find on a cache, except for the monitoring/auditing of the logbook for "fake" finds. Or another way is to let everybody sign the logbook and log a find on any kind of cache, but allow the CO to assign a "star" (or any kind of virtual mark) to those who demonstrated they met the requirements of the cache (yes, I'm including puzzle, multi and any other kind of caches that require some work to obtain the final coordinates, as well as challenge caches that require someone to meet some requirements).

You think it's "unfair" to let everybody sign the logbook of any caches? Thinks about group finds where only one person climbed the tree, only one person was on the boat, only one person solved the puzzle, etc. In reality, nothing is unfair. It's just a game, isn't it? Personally, I would probably find puzzles and challenges without completing the requirements (for many reasons), but I would still do the multis as intended as this is something that appeals to me. I'm sure others would do differently and it's fine by me.

This would be a positive solution to the problem. This would let those who like to be challenged collect the virtual rewards and those who prefer to just cache around collect their finds. This should not deprive either COs or challenge/puzzle/multi/whatever cache aficionados from the joy of placing/finding a cache. Eliteness has never been well received in the geocaching community. I don't see why t would be different for challenge caches.

BTW, yes, GC2Q1AM was to prove the point that challenge caches were silly. I think it did. On the other hand, what is silly to one person is not to another (challenge caches often reflect what the COs like about geocaching). My other challenge caches were much more "acceptable" (http://coord.info/GC206CE, http://coord.info/GC20619), if that can appease your mind...  ;)

BluePanther51

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2015, 17:41:30 »
My last cache did get a disabled notice first from a squatter then the moratorium.  When the reviewer pointed out that it was submitted back in March it was enabled. 

There where be be several in the series,  Pi Sequence was published first, since almost everything can be found in the digits of Pi I left the retrieval to be the challenge.  All the parts needed to make tools are in the area around the cache,  I added a few more on a recent visit.

The sequence series was intended to have you notice patterns in the numbers.  An arithemetic sequence will appear as a straight line when plotted, passing through the data points. I had originally planned for people to find (1,2,3,4,5,6...) caches but the parameters allow (1,1,1,1,1,1) or  (0,0,0,0,0,0) although no one has yet claimed a series of DNF's.  The geometiric and fibonacci will now have to wait.

I think I'll try and turn the hardbottom into an event rather than a challenge


bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2015, 11:09:33 »
Quote
Or another way is to let everybody sign the logbook and log a find on any kind of cache, but allow the CO to assign a "star" (or any kind of virtual mark) to those who demonstrated they met the requirements of the cache (yes, I'm including puzzle, multi and any other kind of caches that require some work to obtain the final coordinates, as well as challenge caches that require someone to meet some requirements).

Over all I agree with cron's post, but I have to take issue with the idea that anyone can sign the log and then the CO can decide to issue a "star" for those who have met the "additional logging requirements" (ALR) criteria. The whole point of a Challenge cache is that it is challenging. What is the point of placing a 5/5 challenge cache that anyone can claim a find on? It's going to take some time and effort to complete a JASMER grid. Can't afford the time and money to travel to these older caches? Then you should ignore that challenge, I know I did for many years. Claiming a find on a 5/5 challenge (which is typically only a 2/2 on the ground) without demonstrating your qualifications for it is right up there with armchair logging caches. Why bother even signing the log?

Some puzzle caches can be difficult to solve, but if it's a high difficulty puzzle cache we're talking about there are ways to solve it without jumping through the CO's hoops. Don't know music? Find a musician! http://coord.info/GL77VDW Can't figure out the cockamamie puzzle? There are alternative ways to find that cache! http://coord.info/GLCZ4VDT Can't do quadratic equations? There's an app for that!

Some caches can be difficult to reach, but if it's a high terrain cache we're talking about there are ways to get around that terrain rating! A long way in on the Lingham Lake Road? Find a friend with a 4x4! http://coord.info/GL9FVMZ1 Don't own a boat? Take your chances on the ice and walk across! http://coord.info/GL24CMZG

But a difficulty 5 challenge cache typically requires a challenging amount of effort on the finder's part. A terrain 5 challenge usually means you've overcome high terrain several times at least. Allowing anyone to claim a find, but awarding a 'star' to those that qualify effectively destroys the D/T rating. Should all caches be 1.5/1.5?

High difficulty/high terrain caches are always going to be challenging to the average cacher, but if we disallow challenge caches because the average person can't qualify for them then by extension shouldn't we ban any cache that's more than a 3.0/3.0 D/T? God forbid that grandma can't climb that tree, or cousin Cletus can't solve that crypto-puzzle.

Quote
One way to solve the issue is to not allow any kind of caches where the CO has the final say on who can log a find on a cache, except for the monitoring/auditing of the logbook for "fake" finds.

I'm not at all sure what the statement above means. The CO only sets the ALR criteria, the 'final say' in logging the find is up to the finder - they must demonstrate the qualifications as requested. Can't do that? Don't log a find, post a note instead. Just like Virtual caches and EarthCaches.....

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cron

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2015, 11:25:20 »
The whole point of a Challenge cache is that it is challenging. What is the point of placing a 5/5 challenge cache that anyone can claim a find on? It's going to take some time and effort to complete a JASMER grid.

What is the problem with sharing the find of the physical cache with those who don't want to play the sidegame?

Who would care about a JASMER or Fizzy grid? The point is to move the "challenge" aspect into an optional virtual realm (e.g. Groundspeak could offer to track them with the star system). Who cares about the difficulty of the "challenge" except those playing the sidegame? Everyone signing the logbook should be awarded the find (as it is the basic of geocaching: write your name in the logbook of a physical cache and log a find on the website), but only those who would meet the requirements of the optional virtual challenge would be awarded the star. If it really matters, you could even have two difficulties for the cache: one for the physical cache and one for the ALR. At the moment, finding a D5/T5 challenge cache (which may well be a T1 cache) will count towards meeting the requirements of another challenge that will require T5 cache finds. Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours...

Unfortunately, some players that were getting bored with the simplicity of the game proposed to "evolve" it and brought a "challenging" aspect to it. It started with crazy ALRs and Groundspeak quickly put a stop to that by stating any physical cache signed was a find, despite any ALR. Then the same players pushed a little bit more and Groundspeak allowed the "challenge" caches which quickly required guidelines because of all the abuse. Then the "challenges" became ever more convoluted. I think the people at Groundspeak are now realizing it was a bad decision to let the players create a game within a game. Challenge caches are creating a fuss (with appeals) because geocaching is a simple game (or hobby) and user-imposed rules are just making it too complex and frustrating (Groundspeak let it slip: if they really wanted to include ALRs in the game, they should have stepped up and followed with something different).

For the newcomers, and they're coming to the game in an exponential way, it's frustrating to log a find on a cache to later be told they had to meet some "requirements" (my cache is special, you're not allowed to touch it until you become part of the elite).

When you think about it, these ALRs are mostly bullshit anyway... Anyone can place a cache and date it back from 2001 for those missing a required cache. Same for any requirement. Same for people to "find" D5 or T5 caches without ever solving/reaching the cache. Everyone is cheating everyone, including themselves.

Let's hope they put a stop to that.

cron

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2015, 11:37:19 »
BTW, even if anyone would be able to log a find on any challenge caches, it wouldn't cause you any harm.

Creating a cache page and installing a cache container takes about the same time for any cache types, except maybe for multis. As a CO, it shouldn't matter who logs a find on your cache.

As a finder, you could mention you met the requirements and be happy about your achievement. The others could find the cache and that's it. They could also claim they met the requirement even if they didn't. What difference for you?

Fame and glory? Really? Does that pay your coffee?

cron

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2015, 12:51:43 »
And why not allow two finds per challenge cache if the virtual aspect is killing the interest of challenge aficionados?

A feature could be implemented to allow the CO to assign an extra find for those that are demonstrating (or care to demonstrate) they met the "requirements".

bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2015, 10:07:34 »
Quote
What is the problem with sharing the find of the physical cache with those who don't want to play the sidegame?

Who would care about a JASMER or Fizzy grid?

Since the D/T matrix is a major component of the 'stats tab' on your profile page it's clear Groundspeak cares about the  JASMER and Fizzy grids. Project-gc.com is an entire site devoted to user statistics, so it's clear many people care about their JASMER and Fizzy grid.

I can see where the difficulty of completing these grids is frustrating to some people, but I also think many people use those grids to guide their geocaching experience and challenge themselves to go places and find caches they wouldn't find otherwise. If the JASMER isn't important why would anyone want to hike into The Spot, GC39? After all it's just another ammo can in the middle of no-where. There are plenty of 3.0/4.0 traditional caches that are closer and easier to reach. Yet it's been found over 1,000 times and has over 500 favourite points, why?

So how do we reconcile those who just want to sign the log of what is otherwise a 2/2 traditional cache with those who can demonstrate that they have satisfied the logging requirements that turn that same cache into a 5/5 challenge cache? Cron has suggested anyone can log it, but the people satisfying the challenge get a virtual "whoo-hoo" on their profile page. But what's the D/T rating then? Just 2/2? Not a true reflection of the effort some of these challenges demand.

How about this solution: It's listed as a 5/5 challenge cache but anyone can log it (as indeed anyone can now of course) but for those who don't satisfy the logging requirements they get the virtual "whoo-hoo" instead? I can see a whole new category of "finds": challenges I've found but do not qualify for! They can even be added to the stats tab so people can keep track of challenges they've logged, like "Lab caches". But should those finds appear in the finder's Fizzy Grid? I'd suggest it would be pretty lame to claim you've "found" IRONCACHER - 365 Days in a Row Challenge by missbug,  GC312YH, a 5.0/3.0 challenge, when the best you've managed is three days straight over the long weekend.

But that's OK, these people don't care about JASMER and Fizzy grids remember? That's just a side-game to them. They just want to log a cache, never mind about the 'challenge'. And if they do care about the stats and need a 5/5 cache there's plenty of "liars caches" out there......

Blue -
« Last Edit: April 29, 2015, 13:17:33 by bluelamb03 »
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bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2015, 13:16:27 »
Cron wrote:

Quote
When you think about it, these ALRs are mostly bullshit anyway... Anyone can place a cache and date it back from 2001 for those missing a required cache. Same for any requirement. Same for people to "find" D5 or T5 caches without ever solving/reaching the cache. Everyone is cheating everyone, including themselves.

Well no, you can't backdate a cache as being published in 2001 - I think people would notice that and call you out. People do publish caches just to provide qualifiers for some challenges, that's true. Often it makes the challenge much easier, much to the chagrin of the cacheowner, but that's what happens when you produce a lame challenge. I don't see how that could happen for JASMER and Fizzy challenges.

As for "Cheating", people not solving the puzzle cache/climbing the tree, this seems to really bother some people, so a Challenge cache should please them no end! You can't cheat in a challenge cache, you have to provide evidence of your qualification. The cacheowner, heck anybody at all, can look at your log and evaluate your submissions. The easiest of all are the stats that already appear on your profile page.  Surely this should please the geoPure?

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cron

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2015, 16:17:35 »
I'd suggest it would be pretty lame to claim you've "found" IRONCACHER - 365 Days in a Row Challenge by missbug,  GC312YH, a 5.0/3.0 challenge, when the best you've managed is three days straight over the long weekend.

Lame? Lame because you believe in the sidegame aspect. It's still just a box in the woods with a logbook in it.

Maybe virtualizing the challenge sidegame would indeed provide a way for everyone to log a find on a cache (with whatever D/T it truly deserves) and for challenge aficionados to get a reward that would be rated differently. I'd even suggest a double "find" (not virtual, but a true second "Found it" for those who demonstrate or bother to demonstrate they met the requirements - this "find" could also have a different D/T that would represent the "true nature" of the challenge).

cron

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2015, 16:31:40 »
Well no, you can't backdate a cache as being published in 2001 - I think people would notice that and call you out.

Therefore the answer is yes you can backdate or do whatever you want as a CO or a finder to meet the requirements of a challenge cache. More appeals? How can you prove the cache was not truly "placed" in 2001 and only published in 2015?

You can't cheat in a challenge cache, you have to provide evidence of your qualification.

What? You can cheat just the same as a puzzle, a multi or a difficult trad. The stats page is just that, a stats page. To that point, the cheating mentionned above would show a cache find for 2001. There's not much you could do about that. The CO would really have to dig deep to analyze each and every log of the person to make sure they truly found the caches the way it was intended (and it doesn't really matter anyway as for most of the caches that are part of a requirement, the only rule is to put your name in the logbook to log a find). Challenges are built on that ground. More appeals again...

The only difference for challenge caches is that Groundspeak allowed the COs to become administrators and have a right of say for the cache find logs based on subjective criteria (used to be very objective: no name in the logbook, no find). This is probably what brought the whole issue with both COs and finders. Hopefully Groundspeak can find a way to please everyone.

It's human nature, but it's unfortunate people always tend to create an elite version of everything for the sake of fame.

« Last Edit: April 29, 2015, 16:33:21 by cron »

bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2015, 10:45:37 »
Cron wrote:
Quote
It's human nature, but it's unfortunate people always tend to create an elite version of everything for the sake of fame.

There's that accusation of elitism again. I really don't know what that means because I don't think challenge caches are any more "elitist" than any other high D/T geocache. Take our local Ironman challenges for example, IRONCACHER - 365 Days in a Row Challenge by missbug | GC312YH and We’re Going Streaking - 1 Year (Challenge) by yukonshawn | GC2P7P. Both these challenges can be accomplished by anyone, just go out and find a cache every day. Despite having found over 18 thousand caches over the past 12 years I will never find these two caches, though I did try. Twice. In fact I would argue that these 'caching streak' challenges are easier for newcomers since the many unfound caches in the area make it easier to keep a long streak going.

Other local examples include The 50 Golden Oldies Challenge - Think Local!, GC5GD7P, and The D4+ Challenge, GC5GV3P, by lostinthegarden. Both of these can be accomplished by any cacher regardless of their finds total. As LiTG say in the description for "The D4+ Challenge", "This challenge is about getting out of your comfort zone a little, and expanding your horizons as a cacher by tackling more of the tougher caches out there." 
Couldn't have said it better myself....

As to "fame" seeking, Tequila: 81 Proof http://coord.info/GC11PZW has only been found 48 times since April 2008. Name three people who have found it.
No? How's that for fame!
Find Tequila: 81 Proof and with $1.60 you can buy a coffee at any Time Horton's in Canada!

Any human endeavour produces statistics, golf, baseball, World of Tanks, and it's human nature to see patterns in those stats and to try to complete or make patterns with the numbers. If you're content to find only traditional caches, LPC's and AMIAT's then more power to you. Challenge caches invite cachers to achieve certain goals, goals whose accomplishment provide some guidance to their caching efforts. Like EarthCaches and Virtual Caches there is a requirement to prove you've qualified for the cache. Elitist? Hardly....

Blue -
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bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2015, 12:34:03 »
Cron wrote:

Quote
Therefore the answer is yes you can backdate or do whatever you want as a CO or a finder to meet the requirements of a challenge cache. More appeals? How can you prove the cache was not truly "placed" in 2001 and only published in 2015?

That's easy enough to prove. Will someone place a cache please, and date it as "placed" on 2001. I'd like to see it pass the review process.

Thank you in advance,

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bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2015, 15:18:35 »
Never mind! The experiment has been done, the questions have been asked, the answers have been given:

Yes you can submit a cache dated far in the past! (and the reviewer will notice and ask you to change it.)
Yes you can edit the date of an existing cache to the past! (and someone will notice and groundspeak will ask you to change it.)

Essentially you can do anything you want with your cache page but someone will call you on it and you'll be asked to conform to the guidelines.

Is anyone surprised?

Blue -
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