Sunday, April 05, 2009

No more ALR caches

In case you haven't heard the news, the guidelines have been updated and ALR (Additional Listing Requirement) caches have been banned/stricken/outlawed/disallowed... whatever word you prefer. Here's the new guideline text:

Logging of All Physical Caches

Geocaches can be logged online as Found once the physical log has been signed.

If it is appropriate for your cache location or theme, you may ask the cache seeker to accomplish an optional and simple task, either close to the cache site (normally within 0.1 miles or 161 meters) or when writing their online log. For example, wear the goofy hat inside the cache container and upload a photograph. Cache finders can choose whether or not to attempt or accomplish optional tasks. Cache owners may not delete the cache seeker's log based solely on optional tasks.

This guideline change applies immediately to all logs written from April 4, 2009 and going forward. Older caches with "additional logging requirements" (ALRs) are not grandfathered under the older guideline. If you own an existing cache with mandatory additional logging requirements, we request that you:

  • Cease deleting logs based on additional logging requirements.
  • Review your own cache listing to see if the ALR can be made into an optional and simple task, or whether it must be removed altogether.
  • Adjust your geocache listing by editing the text then contact a reviewer to change the cache type, if appropriate.
Compared to some parts of the U.S. and the world, I think this change won't affect Iowa geocachers that much because I've seen very few ALR caches submitted in Iowa. Many ALRs had nothing to do with geocaching, such as the requirement to draw a picture, stand on your head, step under a waterfall, sing a silly song, etc.

What do you think? Do you (did you) love ALRs and think this is a terrible idea? Or did you hate them and think it's about time they were written out of the guidelines?


Parabola said...

I didn't mind them. Most of mine where just to get more of a log, than the dreaded, TFTC 1 of 10 found today. I've never deleted a log for not meeting the requirement, but again I was just aiming at getting more of a log than "Thanks for the cache". Which for the most part doesn't seem to happen on mine very often.

I do have one I'm really twisted about though. It involves three log books spread through the multi/puzzle cache. For a "find" on it a hunter must sign all three log book's. I'm not sure if this is a ARL or not, since you don't have to do any extra work for it. It was just a way for me to try and defeat someone getting the final cord's for it, and skipping the rest of it.

I've got an e-mail into groundspeak to see what they think about this before I just up and archive it. I've decided I won't change this regardless of what they tell me. I'll archive it first. It's a hard cache, and everyone that has done it has sent me a thank you e-mail after doing it, thanking me for putting out one that you really feel like you've earned it. So I'm really twisted about it.

Really every ARL I've done was related to how the cache was logged, from having to meet a certain about of words in a log to writing a poem as your log. If I didn't want to do that I would have just skipped it.

I was kind of surprised they didn't grandfather the existing one's.

Regardless, I'll bet you've had to deal with some complaint's from both side's of it. :( Good luck with those!!!

IronGambit said...

I think they are fine also, you already know what you are getting yourself into BEFORE you go look for the geocache in the first place!

Also, it mixes it up a little bit!

P.J. said...

I won't like when I say this is highly disappointing news.

I have no problems with ALR caches and really enjoy them most of the time. Taking a photo with a goofy hat or getting info from the area doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. Almost seems like they are trying to make the game even easier or easier to have to pay attention, anyway.

I don't see the problem with ALR caches. Now, if there is a micro at the bottom of a mountain trail and you know the hider didn't climb up... yet makes it an ALR to go up there and take a photo of the view... then I agree with this decision. But the basic fun, silly ones? Come on... let's stop making rules for a game that always claimed to never have "rules," only guidelines.

A 'lil HooHaa

welch said...

"I think they are fine also, you already know what you are getting yourself into BEFORE you go look for the geocache in the first place!"

I don't know if I would agree with that IronGambit. While at one point, I think everyone read the page, printed the page, and went seeking the cache. That may not be the case... While there probably are people that pre-read every page, I don't think its uncommon to find people that have not. Either they are reading/skimming as they go (pda, laptop, live via WAP, etc), or just loaded sorted waypoints and went blind caching.
If you look at the various changes over the years at a, a lot of them lend themselves to this type of find now, read it all later type of hunting. (In no certain order) adding PQs, adding attributes, making attributes searchable, adding an in between size, give more emphasis on cache type (offset = multi, ALR = mystery, etc), linear/along a route PQs.

Getting back to ALR, I think some people didn't care for them because there's not a easy filter method for things that are allowed. Either have to actually read things ahead (and put on ignore list) or, just take them as they come. Apprently there were reoccurring complaints for groundspeak about ALRs. I figure disallowing them was the easy way to stop that. Telling people to stop using things that have nothing to do with geocaching sounds easy, but so did 'all new viruals must have WOW'... whoever ends ups being the judge of that is going to get gripped at either way. I am very suprized the existing ALR were not grandfathered in, but if you consider that people still ask why the old virtuals exist if they can't have any new ones, then it seems like a good way to head off future complaints.

"What do you think? Do you (did you) love ALRs and think this is a terrible idea? Or did you hate them and think it's about time they were written out of the guidelines?"
I don't know that I likeed ALRs, but most of the ones I'd seen around Iowa were pretty simple, take a picture?, what this song about? etc. Picking threw the forums at it seems like there were some really odd ALRs, some that would have been very annoying to deal with...glad I didn't see any of those.
The downside of losing the ALR is that it elimnates some of the variations in the game. Sooner or later will end up with just one 'flavor'?


Keydet Piper said...

I've seen some caches that are required to be found at night, or on snowshoes, or in a canoe. Does this count as ALR, or is it just part of the cache?