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Any possibility to exclude mass FTFs from statistics?

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It has become more and more common that organisers of events allow every participant to log all caches of the event as FTF. While I appreciate the good intentions of this – to make events more sociable and avoid the frenzy of the first hour(s) –, it completely devalues any FTF statistics. People who frequently attend big events get hundreds of (fake) FTFs in a short time. This, of course, is nonsense, and consequently the "Top FTF"-statistics are now dominated by colleagues who have long series of such mass FTFs, which makes these statistics absolutely worthless, spoiling, to a certain extent, the fun of genuine FTF hunt.

Thus, my suggestion / request: would it be possible to determine for each cache how many people have logged an FTF and exclude  from all FTF-related statistics those where more then let's say 3 or maybe 5 people have done so? Ideally one could maybe add a tick box "include mass FTFs" so that those who want this could still see the statistics in the current, meaningless version.

A PS to all event organisers who may read this: a much better approach to achieve the same goal – if you want to – would be to establish the rule that NO FTFs should be claimed on any cache of the event.
asked Oct 3, 2017 in Feature requests by k+gw+a (7,320 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
There is no way we can set a limit that would satisfy everyone for this. I have been on multiple FTF hunts where 4-5 cars come in from different directions, some with multiple people in and all end up in the same place before the cache is actually found. There's no reason to say all of these are not valid FTFs. On the other hand, COs handing coordinates to a single friend ahead of publishing the cache to give them the FTF would be frowned upon by most but not caught by your suggestion.
answered Oct 3, 2017 by pinkunicorn (Moderator) (123,170 points)
Thanks for your comment. I agree that with FTFs there are some borderline cases that cannot be sorted out in a way that satisfies all. Your last case is an example of this, but I do not think that this causes a major distortion of the statistics.
Years ago we had FTF statistics here in Belgium which were extremely strict and went like this: as even in cases where several people are looking for a cache at the same time there is always one who really finds it first, only one person could claim an FTF for a given cache. These statistics were done manually, and where there were more people claiming an FTF they had to sort out themselves who was the real first finder. Obviously, with the increase in new caches, it became much too much work to keep the database up to date, and therefore it was discontinued at some stage, especially as the wonderful statistical tools of PGC became available.
This former Belgian approach was probably too strict, and I agree with your remark that there are instances where several people would legitimately claim a Co-FTF. However, the observation from my experience on this it that again these are rare cases – especially if we are talking about more than 3 or 5 people – which do not distort the statistics, while the mass FTFs at events clearly do so, to the point of making them meaningless. I agree that it would be difficult to find a limit that would satisfy everybody, but perhaps 3 or 5 FTFs on the same cache would be generally considered a good compromise. (Of course, developing further the idea of the tick box, one could imagine this to allow personal limits like "include mass FTFs" with less than "x" FTFs where you could chose your favorite value, but I assume that this would be very difficult to implement, wouldn't it?)
As there was no reaction after my last comment I was wondering whether thinking on this issue was still continuing or whether it has disappeared from the radar screens?
I'd say that you are simply adding new problems without really solving any existing ones. Your above example isn't valid: I've been out more than once when several people have laid eyes on the cache simultaneously. Forcing "only one FTF per cache" is not useful. Another case is with cooperation caches. Who gets the FTF if more than one person is required to reach it? Or if I solve the mystery and my wife finds the box, which one of us is first?

If there is a problem, it is releasing caches at events and everyone going in one big horde from one to another. Project-GC can't solve that.
Thanks for your comment. As written above, I agree that the old Belgian approach of only 1 FTF per cache was probably too strict. I also agree that the problem is caused by event organisers freely distributing FTFs and by the fact that this has not lead to any widespread outcry from the community – although it has caused irritation in the FTF-community.
However, Pandora's box in this respect is already wide open and the damage is done. That's why I was wondering whether a solution can be found that would save FTF-statistics from being simply ridiculous.
When looking at the examples cited, I would assume that cases were more than 3 persons (or maybe 5 if you wish) could claim legitimately a Co-FTF on a given cache are extremely rare and would certainly not be statistically relevant, whereas most typical mass-FTFs at events would be filtered out by this.
If it were technically possible but you feared an endless discussion about the threshold value one could maybe also just ask the question to the community what they would see as a fair cut-off value. Or, as said, most elegantly by adding the tick box (ideally with a threshold value to chose), but this, of course, would add additional technical complexity, I assume.
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