Author Topic: One year moratorium on Challenge caches  (Read 5609 times)

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cron

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2015, 18:37:47 »
Never mind! The experiment has been done, the questions have been asked, the answers have been given:

Thanks for saving us the work to try it out.


We'll see how Groundspeak will deal with the challenge caches in a year. There are a lot of creative suggestions on the GC forums (but I agree with you there's a lot of noise over there).

lostinthegarden

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2015, 21:19:14 »
We're with Blue on this one.  We enjoy challenge caches - they add spice to our caching and to our travels, and they really help sustain our interest in the game.  The nice thing about challenge caches, like caches in general, is that there are many to choose from, ranging from monumental to silly.  You can pick and choose those that turn you on, and ignore the others.  And, of course, there are some worthy and interesting challenges (such as the Binthair AFC) that don't have a particular challenge cache associated with them.

As cron points out, Groundspeak is a business, and their bottom line depends on attracting and retaining paying customers.  A large proportion of high-difficulty caches could be bad for business.  However, challenge caches are a tiny minority of the total, so it's hard to see them as a significant impediment to attracting the newbies - the large number of puzzle caches in places like Ottawa would be a much more significant deterrent, and there doesn't seem to be any move afoot to curb those.  Groundspeak's major concern is probably the lackey time taken up with dealing with appeals and other complaints associated with challenge caches.  The most likely outcome of this moratorium will be that challenge caches, if they come back at all, will be hamstrung with so many restrictions that they will cease to be of much interest to challenge aficionados.  Pity, but at least there's enough of them out there already to keep us busy for some time to come.

Cron's concern about elitism is puzzling.  Can you name any sport/game/hobby that doesn't have elite participants?  This is simply human nature.  In any activity, some participants won't be satisfied unless they keep pushing themselves to higher levels of achievement.  Others will be quite happy to be casual participants.  Nothing wrong with either approach - all levels of interest and participation should be accommodated.  The particular problem with geocaching is that it is essentially controlled by a single commercial entity, making it more difficult to achieve this broad appeal and balance.

bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2015, 22:21:30 »
If I understand this situation correctly the Challenge caches were causing a serious administrative burden on Groundspeak through the appeals system, but those appeals were not coming from geocachers finding the caches, they were coming from the cacheowners submitting the Challenge caches!

The example I'm familiar with is "The Social Butterfly Challenge" by carnigrewal, http://coord.info/GC5Q5YP, which Model12 and I found earlier this month. This challenge is straightforward enough, you must have attended an event, each month, for 12 consecutive months. That's it. 12 events, 12 months. 

When first submitted this challenge was denied, too difficult for people to attain. Remember the guideline about not altering the caching style or habits. Apparently inviting people to publish/attend events was against the guidelines.

carnigrewal pointed out there was a similar challenge in the States that required one event cache every week for a year, 52 events in 52 weeks! He polled Ontario cachers on FaceBook and submitted the names of many users who had achieved this feat already, I was one of them. He had to go to appeals, where the cache was finally approved.

So why this loggerhead between the cacheowner and the reviewer? Was this challenge so bizarre that the reviewer had to dismiss it out of hand? Was this a feat so few people could achieve that it was unreasonable? I thought it was a ridiculously easy challenge, but then I'm from Ottawa.....  Don't like events? Ignore the cache!

I think most of these confrontations come about because the reviewer 'interprets' the guidelines. What one reviewer will publish with no qualms another will deny. The guidelines are either too vague or the reviewers are given too much leeway to interpret them as they see fit. While I think the volunteer reviewers do a great job over all there are individuals with definite biases and that's going to produce an appeal every time.

Hopefully there is some equitable resolution to this problem and they don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Blue -
Without shared stories we are strangers.
- Sheila Mendonça


portera

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2015, 20:56:43 »
I have only created one challenge cache, and it was a pain. I wanted a simple challenge, find at least the number of caches on your cache-iversary that your anniversary is, i.e. on your third cache-ivesary, you'd need to find 3 caches to qualify. It was disallowed because, "cachers might have to wait a year to qualify. Never mind the 365 consecutive find days challenges that would force a cacher to wait a year if they hadn't found a cache a day before the challenge was published...

I was in no rush to set up another one.

cd.cuts

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2015, 01:01:31 »
Groundspeak has condensed all the noise from the forums into a rather comprehensive survey that seems to address most points that have been raised/discussed in the forums concerning challenge caches.
I would encourage anyone who cares about challenge caches one way or another to get their opinion to count by filling the official Groundspeak survey on that specific subject:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HFPMDKQ

cd.cuts

lostinthegarden

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2016, 12:54:07 »
So, the moratorium is over, and challenge caches are back, with (to no one's surprise) a number of new restrictions.  A discussion of the changes with a link to the detailed guidelines can be found here: https://www.geocaching.com/blog/2016/05/return-of-challenge-caches/

For the most part, the new guidelines seem reasonable.  The requirement to have a web-based challenge checker is certainly a good idea, though it may pose some practical problems for some cache owners.  If you're not willing or able to create your own checker, you'll have to solicit some help from someone else before your cache is published.  Another change that is virtually a no-brainer is that COs must qualify for their own challenges.

A more controversial move is the elimination of time-limited challenges.  Personally, we enjoyed some of these challenges, such as the ones for doing 25 puzzles or 8 different icons in a day.  On the other hand, we've avoided trying some that would obviously be grueling dawn-to-dusk (or longer) marathons to complete.  It is a good point that sometimes events are created mainly to help people do the icon challenge, but the objections to most of the other time-limited challenges are a little less clear.

Another somewhat contentious move is the banning of challenge caches based on cache names, owner names, GC codes, and the like. Here again, the main rationale is that sometimes caches of convenience are created simply to help someone with one of these challenges.  Fair enough, but it's hard to see how that argument would apply to challenges based on GC codes!  In any case, there will still be lots of grandfathered challenge caches of this ilk around for some time to come, for those who are interested (and caches of convenience will still be created, especially ones with bogus D/T ratings to help with filling someone's grid!).  You can forget about any new challenge caches for finding all of those Restin' caches, though...

It comes as little surprise that there will not be a new icon for challenge caches anytime soon, though the possibility of it happening sometime in the future has been dangled.  All things considered, challenge cache aficionados should be fairly happy that the existing ones will not be impacted, and that there will still a fair bit of scope for creating new ones.

BlackRose67

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2016, 13:07:03 »
Bugger, I just realized that a 7 x 7 challenge (7 different cache types from 7 different GC code periods in a single day) would not be allowed, since it is based on GC codes and is time limited.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 13:11:36 by BlackRose67 »

bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2016, 15:51:28 »
Groundspeak had an almost impossible task, trying to reconcile two very different caching styles, but they may have succeeded.

One caching style, the casual cacher, is by far the most common cacher out there. They usually only have a few hundred or a few thousand finds but they're mostly traditional caches and they just want the numbers. When they encounter a challenge cache their reaction is "I can't be bothered!" or "I can't possibly qualify!", they don't see a challenge, they see a frustration, a cache they aren't allowed to "Find". Show this cacher a series of challenges like the Carni Challenge Trail https://www.geocaching.com/bookmarks/view.aspx?guid=8585f7c9-0e37-46b1-b0d8-350e5138f12b and all they see are caches they can't find "filling" up the area and denying them the 1.5/1.5 traditional caches they want to find. While most people are happy to ignore cache types they don't like I've read some bitter complaints from these cachers about caches forever denied to them!

This cacher probably likes it that challenges are more difficult to publish, and that the checker makes it simpler to discover if you qualify.

The other type of cacher has found their share of parking lot skirt lifters and powertrails of 1.5/1.5 traditional caches and is looking for something more interesting, dare I say more challenging? This type of cacher looks at a challenge cache, like "Carni Challenge Trail: 5 Icons x 5 x 1 Day", http://coord.info/GC4RDQF, and thinks to themselves, "How can I manage that?". These cachers get in the car and drive to Michigan to find "Power Island" & "612" to fill their JASMER grid, buy a kayak or canoe to fill that terrain 5 column, and search out the WebCam caches and "oldest" cache when they travel.

This cacher probably dislikes that challenges are more difficult to publish, and was using the challenge checkers long ago anyway.

Groundspeak has managed to piss off both types of cachers, but as I said, reconciling these two types of cachers is almost impossible.

I'm happy that challenge caches are still around, and that some of the more bizarre and abstruse challenges will be curtailed. I'll continue to attempt to meet the 'challenges' out there.

Cheers,

Blue -


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- Sheila Mendonça


bluelamb03

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Re: One year moratorium on Challenge caches
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2016, 12:45:05 »
One of the new stipulations for publishing a challenge is that you must demonstrate that 10 "local" cachers are qualified to find it. I have two problems with that caveat:

First: What if I was the first to achieve a feat, say I was the first to complete a fizzy grid. Would I have to wait for 10 more "local" cachers to manage this before I could submit the cache?

Second: My challenges in Ottawa are commonly found by Quebec cachers, often from Montreal and area. They are more "local" than the GTA and the rest of Ontario, an easy day trip. Yet I'm told "local" is being interpreted as "in your province".

I'm a little concerned that any future challenge I submit will ignore the Outaouais, Montreal and the Eastern Townships regions of Quebec since these are right in Ottawa's backyard.

We'll see.....

Blue -
Without shared stories we are strangers.
- Sheila Mendonça