A subtle rule change is on the horizon for geocaching.
Geocaching.com, which is the top listing service for the caching world, has notified users of a change coming in early May. And, honestly, it’s shocking that this hadn’t been in place already.
Though geocaching doesn’t necessarily have “rules,” per say, it has guidelines. The change that will take effect on May 8 is a good one, too.
- Cache owners will no longer be able to log a Find, DNF, Webcam Photo Taken, Needs Archived, or Needs Maintenance on their owned caches. However, event owners can log an Attended or Will Attend on their own events.
- Players will no longer be able to log more than 1 (one) Find, Attended, Webcam Photo Taken, or Will Attend per cache. Players will still be able to change a Write Note to a Find if they have not already logged a Find on the cache.
This is fantastic news. Though I’m a firm believer in players being able to play the game their own way (it’s not a competition, so what somebody else does isn’t necessarily what another will do etc.), I’m also a believer that you have to have some structure.
People often “pad” their stats in some interesting ways, which can hurt the game as a whole.
Let me give an example – when we first started our annual summer picnic event in our area, we had some people travel to attend. We had temporary caches places as part of a “poker” run. These were not permanent caches, however. Two or three of those in attendance logged the event for each of those temp caches they had found – so I think six or seven logs for the event. I wasn’t the one who published the event, so I couldn’t delete those finds.
With the new rules, they will no longer be allowed to do that. It is also good that these rule changes are not retroactive. Past logs are not affected. That could mess with people’s find totals and milestones, which would be a shame to many.
Let’s look at each of these rule changes.
The first is not being able to long your own cache hides. I have known several people who have done this and have always wondered why. I mean, if you hid it, why would you log a find? It is good, however, that people can still log their own events because, in the end, they do attend. It would be silly if that had been taken away.
One question I hope is answered, though, is what happens with an adopted cache. A cache is often done by somebody who has found it in the past. Does that find get deleted? Or does that fall under the “past logs?” This could be quite important, just because it might be the difference between an older cache being adopted, or it being archived.
The second is a good rule, too, as it make it so people can only log something once. Some owners will allow you to log a cache more than once if you do different things. Or an “event” will be something monthly, so the date is just changed and people log the same event several times. One thing wrong with that, is people may not always see the event if it’s only a date change. New events pop up, so it allows more eyes to see it.
These changes are a good step for the game. As the game continues to grow with technology advances, it also needs to maintain some law and order so as not to disturb the game or scare more “veteran” players away.
Kudos to Geocaching.com for recognizing the need for this, but at the same time giving people time to prepare for it and to not eliminate back logs.