Appealing and Reporting Geocaches
Over a period of time there are a number of times when people see that there are problems. Sometimes it is with their own cache, other times it is a problem with a review. Some argue that they realize that there are problems with the cache but believe that theirs is a special exception to the rule. Other times there are problems with a cache itself, one that they have found. They see the cache is behind a private property sign, a property owner chases them away, buried, drilled into a tree, or damage done to an area to make the placement, or because of a massive hunt people have destroyed a sensitive area.
Groundspeak thought of that and they have written it into the guidelines, and made ways that people can contact others.
This is the first note that many see on their caches. It is left up to the cache finder to determine if there is an issue. I have seen them for full logs, soggy logs, missing logs, and for caches that are damaged or obviously missing. Those seem to be some of the most common reasons.
A reviewer has no special power to see these, and no notice is sent to anyone but the cache owner. Like any player of the game, I only see the flags when I specifically search for them or if I look for the icon.
It does attache an Icon to the cache page in the attributes. This also appears in searches. Everyone can see it. If you log a Owner Maintenance log it will clear it up and remove the flag. Please make sure that if you take care of your cache that you perform maintenance that you remove your flag. I have seen many people traveling through that filter everything out with that flag so that they do not waste their time looking for something that may have issues with it.
the statement from groundspeak on needs maintenance
If you find a geocache that is in need of some help (e.g. container is cracked, logbook is full or wet), please post a "Needs Maintenance" log on the cache page so the cache owner and the community is notified.
A cache has problems. There are a number of ways I have seen this used, and heard the argument in many ways. In essence if the cache is defiantly not there, or has guideline violations people will log this. Buried caches, caches that deface, or are on public property, seem to be common.
Many times a cache is a simple hide that many people have found over and over, then suddenly, the string turns to dnf's. You will have to determine for yourself when a cache has reached a point where action should be taken by the cache owner, or it should be archived.
A needs archived note is sent to a reviewer. Many times I leave it alone for a little while, seeing if any response is taken, I may post a note saying that something has to be done, or in the case of a cache behind private property signs, the cache is archived.
This log sends an email to the cache owner and a local reviewer. There are several instances when using a "Needs Archived" log is appropriate. Here are some example situations that warrant a Needs Archived note.
1 - There is a law enforcement, trespassing or similar issue requiring immediate attention. Occasionally a cache is placed in a location that is inappropriate because of security concerns - schools, court houses, or airports among the most common.
2 - There is no immediate problem, but it is painfully evident that the cache is missing AND the owner is missing.
Appealing a cache decision
Once an a while an action taken on your cache will seem to be inappropriate.
- Contact the reviewer and discuss it with them. Contacting another reviewer usually will do no good, if someone contacts me about a decision about something RedHiker reviewed I will ask them to contact him. I do not second guess his decisions. Likewise when the cacher from California contact me I ignore those. I am not from those areas, and will not "plead your case" to your local reviewer. Sorry it is just not my job. Contact the original reviewer with your concerns. Sometimes the case is borderline, and the reviewer has denied the cache and it may not take much to be swayed.
- Ask them for a peer review. This entails asking the reviewer to share your listing with others and get an opinion from them. We see many listings a week. Asking peoples opinions. Some are obvious commercial, or distance form other caches. Others drum up a lot of discussion on topics and open our eyes to new ways to do caches.
- Take it to appeals. I recommenced this as a last resort, but sometimes people do not contact me or ask for a peer review and go straight to this method. There are times i am not comfortable with a cache that someone has submitted, or I am not certain that it fits in the guidelines so I send it on to appeals. appeals @ groundspeak .com is the proper address for those. They will then follow procedures.
I have had a few go through each process, sometimes they convince me that there is no problem, other times I take it to a peer review without asking. They have changed my mind a few times. Appeals have also gone through, and looked at the decisions that I make. Sometimes they contact me for more info, and the cache owner.
If you are trying to report problems, please include all relevant information. GC#, name of cache, your player name, previous contacts. I get a number of emails that have no contact info.
Last month you looked at my cache, I think i fixed it. Please reviewer it again. Bob
That is not helpful. What cache? who is this person? what was the problem? In the winter months I may spend time tracking info down, in the summer months I will email you back. I am just to busy to spend 30 minutes going through all my caches on hold to figure out what cache you may be talking aboug.
Think ahead, read the guidelines. If you are stretching the rules, contact ahead of time. I felt so bad for a guy that traveled 4 hours into a national park and hid a cache full of travelbugs, then left went back to California and I could not list the cache. He tried again and again, with park approval I would, and he could never get the approval. Happily he returned the following year to gather the travelbugs and send them back on their way, but I bet most are lost forever.
Think about your arguments. Just because you see another in another area that is like that one does not make it OK. Many cache types (virtual, webcams) were ended long ago. Other things like additional logging requirements (ALR's) might never have been reported to the reviewer, so they they are not allowed.
Remember reviewers are there to help, along with Groundspeak.