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Challenge checker for cache owners

+4 votes
376 views

I am a cache owner of a couple of challenge caches1. When you are a cache owner of challenge caches there are two possible tactics when dealing with people logging your caches:

  1. Manually check and enforce that people logging the cache as found actually qualify to do so AND have adequately documented that they qualify to do so in their log.
  2. Don't give a damn. Let whoever log whatever.

Anything in between will be unfair to those who actually does sit down and reads the logging requirements and follow them.

What I am proposing is that since there is a challenge checker system aimed at challenge cache owners that will monitor whether those who log challenge caches as found actually qualify and has documented this as is specified in the cache description. The service would identify violating logs and notify the cache owner who can then take action on bad logs.

As far as I can tell, Project GC already monitors new logs submitted and tries to monitor log edits. It should thus have the "toolbox" available to implement such a feature. I wouldn't mind it being a paying members only feature that you would have to activate first.

A good case study of this would be https://coord.info/GC48QDA .

I know that that particular kind of challenge cache has been grandfathered now but it illustrates my point. Many people has not read the ALR properly and being a cache owner on such caches can be tedious work. I would write the scripts to do so myself but I lack the API access to do so.

Any thoughts on this? I know that it is a narrow use case in terms of audience but useful none the less :)


1) There is a list here: https://coord.info/BM2MKFM

asked Nov 12, 2017 in Feature requests by Funky_Boris (8,410 points)
If I understand you, basically you're asking for a function that runs the checker once against everyone who has logged a find against a particular challenge cache to confirm or deny that each one qualifies?
Yes, with two additions:
- run on any edit as well as new log
- check that any formal logging requirements (described in the cache description) are fulfilled.
EDIT: The point is to check the log itself. The case study above is actually quite illustrative of what I mean: It is what is known as an NP-problem. The shortest version ever of what means is that solutions are hard to come by, but easy to check. The emphasis here is thus on checking whether the solution provided in the log by the user is valid, rather than to check if they qualify. If you ignore what's in the log, you would have to rely on the checker to see if a person qualify. There is  a challenge checker for the above mentioned case study cache (GC48QDA) that is demonstratively broken. It will only find a small fraction of valid solutions and may thus easily end up telling you that you don't qualify to log it even though literally tens of thousands of valid solutions exist. This happens because coming up with valid solutions (which is what its current challenge cheker does) is hard, but checking any suggested solition is easy. I am proposing a mechanism to do the latter: checking the log.
Oh, by the way: SPOILER ALERT!
The case study linked to in the original post is NP-complete :)
As I side-note, while I read the rest.
I don't think a cache owner is allowed to require anything specific in the log text anymore. I might have misinterpreted that part from HQ though.
Also, there is a core problem of challenges. If one has fulfilled it ONCE, that person is allowed to log the challenge at any time. Basic example:
* Challenge log full D/T.
I log full D/T, I even log the challenge.
An hour later a cache owner changes the rating of my only 5/4.5. I don't have full D/T anymore. But I am still eligible to log the challenge, though it's impossible to prove or disprove.

This is one of the many dangers related to the above suggestion. But with that, I am not saying it's not of interest. I have had similar thoughts for a long time, but I haven't decided of the best approach yet.
While I would agree to do checking personally I would also say there is a reasonable limit - you can't assume the role of a policeman to check/enforce specific requirements unless you accept unreasonable effort or consequences. In principle the same applies to Virtual or Earth caches. There is hardly a realistic way to prove people have been there at a specific day, or even have been there at all and when looking at things realistically, there will always be people who want to cheat, and will find ways to do so. This is not satisfying of course but the effort and worry to prevent (and still not being able to be 100% sure) is simply not appropriate. Like in real life we may have to accept there are some black sheep that simply get away :-(
@ganja1447:
A fair point. That is why my proposal does not include any automated mechanism to delete logs or any similar measure. Just notify the cache owner so that he or she may take whatever action they feel appropriate. While your example is clearly an example of a case where such a tool would report a "false negative" (that a person does not qualify, even if they do according to the rules), it seems to me a corner case, although I have no data to back that claim up.

I would still argue that a tool to sort positives (people that _do_ formally qualify to log a cache and has adequately documented so) from negatives (people who, for whatever reason do not meet the formal requirements, be it erronous or not) would still have value as a challenge cache owner. If the log sheet is generally kept "orderly", most people will notice that there is a pattern to it. It only takes a couple to obfuscate the pattern. This tool would be a help a challenge cache owener keep the logs "clean" of obvious indifference to the rules.

@Domino_67:
Yes, there will always be black sheep. There are also people who cheat at all sorts of other aspects of life, including sports, love, business. It is not unique to geocaching. But there is a difference between covert and overt cheating. If you don't even try to create the illusion that you are in compliance with the rules (by for instance picking a number of caches that would make you qualify for that challenge and then couch-cache them), you are not even cheating - you are then simply too lazy to even try. Such behavior displayed overtly in the log will instill indifference in ordinary people, leaving the impression that following the rules are optional. If we accept this, then we better acknowledge that we are in scenario #2 of my original post - just don't give a damn, let anybody do whatever they want.

Imagine if everyone felt that way. That laws weren't worth enforcing if we didn't get 100% of the perpetrators. IMO rules are still worth trying to enforce, even if a 100% success rate cannot ever be guaranteed.

2 Answers

0 votes
Sorry to jump in, but I think this is a great idea.
What about if it worked like the notifications for pictures added to logs or edited logs.

Once a day (or week might be a little more realistic given the amount of challenges out there) a check is done by the system to identify any new/edited logs (with found it status) and sends a report to the CO if there is someone who doesn't qualify... It would be much less intensive on the system, and means CO only has to look when there is something to be reviewed?
answered Nov 15, 2017 by icklelego (350 points)
Yes, that is what I mean by

"a challenge checker system aimed at challenge cache owners that will monitor whether those who log challenge caches as found actually qualify and has documented this as is specified in the cache description. The service would identify violating logs and notify the cache owner who can then take action on bad logs."

;)
+1 vote

This is a very old topic now. But Project-GC's Web browser extension does help a lot with this. It's probably over a year ago we added the feature that shows, on Geocaching.com, if finders fulfill it or not.

https://project-gc.com/Home/UserScript

answered Jun 10 by magma1447 (Admin) (208,230 points)
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