Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Out-of-state reviewers

Question raised about Minn. reviewer
In the ' comments to one of my January 27 posts, welch asked if Minnesota has a "local" reviewer. Winchill provided a link to a post that introduces the new reviewer for Minnesota. Previously, reviewing in Minnesota was done by several different reviewers before the responsibility settled into the hands of mtn-man (who I have corresponded with several times and know to be a very conscientious and fair reviewer).

A few weeks ago, saidcache asked, in the IGO forums, if members felt the reviewer should be required to live in the state they review caches for. I was gratified to see the response. Several members responded "no." They understand that state borders don't mean much in today's online global world. There are many examples of reviewers who don't live in the state they review. And -- to put in a plug for my personal situation -- in some of those cases, reviewers don't have the close ties, proximity, or frequent visits to the states they review like I do. Yet, they still do a fine and fair job of reviewing, based on what I hear anyway. Yes, it's true I now live in Wisconsin, but Iowa will always be my "home" state.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday evening reviews

2 for 4
With less than ideal weather today, I didn't expect many caches to review on this Sunday evening. There were four in the queue since the last time I checked earlier this afternoon. Two were approvable while the other two could not be approved. One of them was too close to an existing geocache. The other was placed in a state park and the owner did not indicate that he had obtained permission from the local park manager, as required by the Iowa DNR. For each of those, I posted a note to notify the owner what they need to do to get their cache approved.

Friday, January 27, 2006

One at a time, please

Let's get one approved before another is submitted
Today I reviewed a second cache from a geocacher who still hasn't answered my questions about one he submitted several days ago. What's up with that? So would I approve the second cache while waiting for a response on the first one? Well, I would have, but he had problems with the second one too, so that one is also on hold. It just seems to me that if he had time to log on and fill out the form for a second geocache, he would have noticed that I posted a reviewer's note (which sends an email to his designated geocaching email account) to ask him a question about his previous submission.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Be careful with the state dropdown menu

When submitting a new cache...
Tonight I went to the Iowa review queue and saw a new cache submission. Right away I could see there was a problem when the map indicated it was in McDonough County. Hmm, I thought, last time I checked there was no such county in Iowa. Sure enough, the cache owner had filled out the hide-a-cache online form correctly, except instead of pulling the drop-down menu to Illinois, he missed it by one and accidently selected Iowa. This happens quite frequently. Not a big deal. Reviewers usually simply edit the cache listing so it shows up in the queue of the appropriate state. However, it can slow the approval process for the cache, because it may take at least an additional day for the next reviewer to check his or her state queue and find it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

How much time?

IowaAdmin's Geocaching Blog

fishpounder said...
Just out of curiosity- How much time do you spend out of your day doing the reviewing process, assuming you have an application in queue?

My time per day probably averages 30 to 45 minutes. Of course some days are more, some are less. Summer is the busiest time. The average per day in summer exceeds an hour. The "review process" includes more than just reviewing new caches submitted. It also includes rechecking pages waiting in the queue to see if the owner has responded to my questions, correspondence with geocachers who are asking questions about their caches, reviewing "should be archived" requests and then reviewing those existing caches, reading the reviewers' forum to keep up with the latest comments from Groundspeak and other reviewers to make sure I'm aware of the latest nuances in the guidelines, such as when a new twist to a cache is submitted somewhere, keeping up with the IGO forums, and yes, even scanning the dreaded gc.com public forums every so often to see what's going on there. I also recently volunteered to be on IGO's Land Managers Relations Committee, so I'm reading email from that group and participating in those discussions. And now I’m blogging too!

Thanks for your question. You're the third and final winner in my current promotion. Email me your address and I'll send you an IowaAdmin volunteer geocoin.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Volunteer Reviewer Geocoins

Reviewer Geocoins
I received email today from a geocacher who asked if I needed any help distributing my volunteer reviewer geocoins in Iowa. I replied that I'm planning to attend some events in Iowa this year and hoped to distribute them at those events. I'll also put a couple in the mail to him, since he asked. And to get some responses/questions/etc. going on this blog, I'll mail my IowaAdmin volunteer reviewer geocoins to each of the first three Iowa geocachers who post a comment on my blog. The comment needs to be a legitimate question about geocache reviewing in Iowa.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

New feature working yet?

IowaAdmin's Geocaching Blog
Has anyone tried the new feature where you can add additional waypoints to your cache pages? The reason I ask is because it doesn't work on my computer. All I get is an error page. My plan is to start asking (requiring?) geocachers who submit multis and mystery caches to submit additional waypoints using this feature, but I want to make sure it's working first. Let me know if you've have experimented with it.

On another topic, I'm still waiting to hear back from a geocacher (Jettdude) who submitted a new mystery cache back on Jan. 17. The problem, which I wrote to him about, is that he lists the starting coordinates somewhere in the wilderness of Ontario. GC.com guidelines say that mystery coordinates which are not the actual coordinates of the cache should be within a mile or two of the true cache location. This allows the cache to show up on the proper vicinity searches and to keep the mileage of Travel Bugs that find their way into the cache reasonably correct.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

IowaAdmin's Geocaching Blog

New feature at gc.com
I just found out about a new feature at geocaching.com that looks pretty cool. It's the ability to add more waypoints to your cache listing when you fill out the form to create a new cache. You can also go back and add waypoints for existing caches that you own. This is also going to be a nice feature for us reviewers because we'll be able to more easily look at all the waypoints for multicache and mystery caches -- making it quicker to approve caches! There's already been some talk among reviewers that they're going to ask anyone submitting a new multi or mystery to use this feature to include the coordinates. I'll probably start doing the same thing -- provided the feature works correctly. I just tried clicking on the link and it seems to be down. :(

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Welcome to IowaAdmin's blog!

This is going to be a place where I write about the geocache approval process, including comments on why some new caches fly through the review process, why some may need additional work before they can be approved, or why some simply cannot be approved. I welcome your questions and comments and hope to make this a fun and polite forum to discuss geocaching issues.