Thursday, August 19, 2010

Churning

If you haven't checked out the brouhaha going on in the Groundspeak forums about a pair of geocaches that I reviewed, you should take a look. Apparently a friend of the cache owner objects to the fact that I wouldn't publish two caches that his friend submitted. The caches were not new. They were simply renamed versions of his existing caches, which he had recently archived so he could resubmit them. When stock brokers buy and sell a client's portfolio simply to inflate their commission, it's called churning. That term can also be applied when cache owners archive and then resubmit their caches when nothing about them has changed -- not the location, not the cache container, or not anything about the hide. Most of those posting in the forum topic seem to agree with me when I requested that they should ask for their previous caches to be reactivated/unarchived rather than published as new caches. What do think?  And for the record, despite the title of his forum topic, I never claimed that publishing these caches would cause a FTF frenzy. I simply implied that this appeared to be the only reason for relisting the exact same cache at the exact same location. So, OK. Maybe I should keep my opinions to myself? ..... nah

12 comments:

DanOCan said...

I agree with your stance on this matter. Even if it is not a direct guideline violation, the idea of cache churning is still lame and I hope Groundspeak can think of some way to discourage the practice.

Jack said...

I think you should do your job and publish caches that do not violate the guidelines. This game is being ruined by reviewers writing their own guidelines. If you don't want to do the job you signed on to do then step aside and let someone else do it. It's not like you are being paid.

juicepig said...

Have to agree with Jack - though not phrased quite as harshly.

While I think its devious and dishonourable to publish a cache in this manner - it does not go against guidelines. If there is nothing that would prevent you from publishing a new cache in that location - you should do so.

IowaAdmin said...

Jack, thanks for your posting. Instead of throwing out glittering generalities, please explain how "This game is being ruined by reviewers writing their own guidelines" by giving specific examples of things that reviewers have done to ruin this game.

Michael said...

In this case, unless the cache owner can show some reason that the cache is new / different / improved, the reviewer should do what s/he did: let the owner request to reactivate the old cache. It is not a personal preference and has nothing to do with FTF. New means new. As far as I can see, this is neither new / different / improved in any way. If not new, reactivate.

If we did not have reviewers, caching would be a mess. Here, s/he is doing their job here and should be supported.

Jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack said...

@IowaAdmin
You are ruining this game by refusing to publish a cache that conforms to the guidelines.

You may not like it but other reviewers do hold their noses and publish caches they don't like. The key is that there is no guideline violation.

Looking at the fiasco with the Original Stash Cach, it is obvious that when reviewers and Groundspeak interject their personal bias, they affect the game in a negative manner.

You may not like what the cache owner is doing. Your recourse is the speak to Groundspeak and get them to change the guidelines.

But you are not at liberty to invent rules as you go. By doing so, you erode confidence in the player base.

Todd300 said...

I have to agree with IowaAdmin here. What's the point of archiving a cache just to re-sumbit it with no changes whatsoever.

If the cache owner wanted to bring people back to a certain area, it's just a simple matter of moving it, then making it a multi, puzzle, something different than it was.

Otherwise, it's redundant. Previous finders would not even need their GPS. Just walk up to it, sign log (again) and walk away. That simple. No challenge whatsoever. That is not geocaching.

IowaAdmin's got my support here.

Jack said...

@Todd300
I actually agree with what's the point?

I agree that it is lame.

It is most likely just for the numbers hounds.

I don't personally care for it one bit.

The problem is that it is the hider's cache and it jives with the guidelines. So unless Groundspeak has changed the guidelines, the reviewer should just hold his nose and hit the publish button.

The same thing goes for the lame, irritating power trails. A lot of us hate them. But they are no longer against the guidelines so reviewers must publish them.

There is nothing exciting about a micro attached to a garbage bin. But assuming no guideline violations, the reviewer probably literally holds his or her nose and hits the publish button.

The point is that the guidelines exist for a reason. The give both the hider and the reviewer a set of given rules to proceed with. When we start seeing reviewers making up rules because they don't like a given cache or set of caches then it erodes confidence.

If you follow the forums and the GetSatisfaction site, you will see that these are serious issues.

There are people asking that reviewers no longer be able to hide behide alternate account names.

I commend IowaAdmin for not hiding. So this is not directed at him. I am speaking in general that as trust erodes, confidence levels follow and there will eventually be a backlash effect for which Groundspeak may not be able to overcome.

The way to head this off is to insist that reviewers follow the same set of rules as the rest of the geocaching community, regardless of whether they approve of a particular cache or not.

IowaAdmin said...

Jack, you have taken the position that I have gone rogue and am working outside the wishes of Groundspeak, which is not the case. Groundspeak is aware of the discussion that took place in the general forums and has expressed support to me for my request to the cache owner to have the original caches reactivated rather than publish them as new caches. I should point out that there's a clause in the guidelines that states: "At times a cache may meet the listing requirements for the site but the reviewers, as experienced cachers, may see additional concerns that you as a cache placer may not have noticed. As a courtesy, the reviewer may bring additional concerns about cache placement to your attention and offer suggestions before posting." And that's what I have done in this case. If the cache owner -- not you but the cache owner -- disagrees with my request, he or she should contact appeals@geocaching.com and let them make the final call.

Jack said...

@IowaAdmin
You are making assumptions. I never said you went rogue. The unfortunate truth is that is was always likely that Groundspeak fully supported your decision.

And it would be nice if this was just an issue for the particular owner in question. But it is not.

This incident and a few others are what point us to hidden guidelines and some of us don't appreciate a hidden book of rules that we are not privy too.

I am also aware of the section of the guidelines that you quoted. But where you read it as "this very generalized statement gives me the right to refuse publication of caches that meet the guidelines but I see problems with" most others see it as saying "this generalized statement is to let the hider know that sometimes a publication may be held up while we point out some issues we see with this cache. However, once we point it out and the hider chooses to listen or not listen, then we will go ahead and publish caches which do not violate the guidelines."

A good example of this is with 1 terrain caches. There is a general consensus that terrain 1 caches should be wheelchair accessible. And if you see someone trying to publish a 1 terrain cache without the wheelchair attribute, you might delay that publication while pointing this out to him/her. However, if he decides not to use the wheelchair attribute, there is no reason to deny that publication.

Please don't dismiss these concerns just because Groundspeak has sided with you on this issue. Just because they may choose to give their hard working, unpaid volunteers a lot of descretion and may be unwilling to call you on an "on the fence" issue such as this does not mean it should be dismissed.

I implore you to consider the overall affect of these hidden rules the next time such a situation arises.

P.S. I would much prefer to discuss this in the forums rather than here, but this is the forum you chose, not mine.

Tape worm said...

Ahhh, some of the responses give me a headache. :)

I kind of am revisiting this, as I've seen quite a bit of churning caches as of late. Most it's cause the CO hasn't been maintaining their cache as they should, it goes missing for a long period of time, then when they do replace it, they finally archive the listing and re-list it. I could point out caches, but I don't think there is anything good to come of that. Any suggestions if we notice this happening and what to do?