Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Team" finds or "ghost" logs? What do you think?

This week two different cache owners wrote to me to ask my advice/opinion about how to respond when a geocacher posts a "find" on their cache page but did not sign the log. The first situation (messages are posted below with permission from the cache owner; names changed to protect identities) involves members of a geocaching "team" who all log a find even though only one of them is present at the cache. Here's the message I received:

Hello Ken,
You have been a wealth of information to me lately and because of that, I have a semi-hypothetical question for a real-life situation and how our geocaching guidelines apply to it....

Let's say you and I are good geocaching friends and we call ourselves "GeoPair". So maybe I go out and make a find today (by myself) and sign the log as "GeoPair". I let you know I found it, and BOTH OF US log a find. But since GeoPair is just a pseudonym for our partnership, we have to log our find individually using our separate usernames on The owner of the cache does a log check and finds GeoPair signed the log, but you and I both posted finds. Perhaps it is well known that you and I together are "GeoPair", perhaps not. The general guideline is once you've signed the physical log, you can post the find on the internet. In this situation is it allowable for both of us to log a find? Is it acceptable (without repercussion) for the owner to delete both of our logs (due to the "bogus" nature of the logs)?

I ask these questions because I am aware of a situation that exactly mirrors my description of this hypothetical situation. What are the exact "rules" that apply here? If I had made this "find" today I could have just as easily signed my name and "forged" your name and the owner probably wouldn't/couldn't know the difference. I assure you, I am NOT doing this. I am aware of another geocacher that IS doing this (signing a pseudonym and/or signing for others). I am just looking for clarification of our geocaching guidelines and options/remedies for a situation such as this. I am relatively new to geocaching, but I believe in and insist on maintaining the integrity of this sport.

I would appreciate your insight and opinion regarding this matter. Thank you!

And here's my response...

I appreciate your efforts to protect the integrity of geocaching, but the geocaching logs are sometimes a mysterious place where one person's viewpoint conflicts with the next person's. As a volunteer reviewer, I have been instructed time and time again that reviewers are not the log police, so we shouldn't be editing or deleting logs on caches (other than those we own) unless a log violates terms of agreement that all geocachers "signed" when they created their account on

Note: The rest of this email is my personal opinion and not necessarily that of My personal opinion -- and I believe the widespread opinion of many long-time geocachers -- is that if you are not physically present for a find, you shouldn't claim it as a find.

In additon to my IowaAdmin account (which I rarely use to log finds), I have an account that I use when I cache hunt on my own and a third account that my wife and I use when we geocache together. Having said that, I know of many couples (usually husband and wife) who have just one account and log all their finds there regardless of whether they were both present. If a single account is shared by a nuclear family, there's seems to be widespread agreement among geocachers that it's OK for family members to log a find even if a spouse or kids were not present. To each his/her own.

Regarding the situation you describe, the cache owner IS the cache police for his/her own cache. I believe the cache owner is justified in deleting any logs he/she truly feels are not legitimate. Like any situation where there may be a difference of opinion, all actions by the cache owner should be done with tactful courtesy and not out of spite or nastiness. The cache owner should clearly explain why he or she is taking the action, such as deleting a log, and give the geocacher a chance to respond or revise the log. If the geocacher doesn't like the outcome, he/she can choose not to search for any more caches owned by that particular cache owner. But there's no need for public shouting matches about it. Just accept it and move on.

I hope this helps.
So what do you think?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Stats a lot of caches!

It's time once again for some stats about geocaches.
  • I reviewed 3,053 new geocaches during the past year -- roughly from September 2008 through August 2009. All of these were in Iowa. That comes to an average of 8.36 caches reviewed per day.
  • Worldwide, 391,742 new geocaches were reviewed during the past year.
  • In the United States, 193,054 new geocaches were reviewed during the past year.
  • Iowa now has 7,949 active geocaches (including event caches but not including EarthCaches) listed on
  • Worldwide, there are now 912,967 active geocaches.
What's your guess for the exact date that we'll hit 1 million?