Now it’s Time to Play our Game

I mentioned (albeit briefly) in my last post that I had hidden 3 more caches, and was waiting for them to be reviewed an published – and with only one small hiccup, all 3 were published shortly thereafter… But that small hiccup got me to thinking, yet again, about the subjective and less than consistent application of guidelines – 3 caches, all themed with pop-culture references, and a few associated images attached…

The Contest, is an Unknown cache, based on an episode of the TV show ‘Seinfeild’. The episode is called “The Contest”, and is known for coining the phrase “Master of your Domain” – I figured a cache placed nearby stores named “Masters” and “Domayne” couldn’t be themed by anything else. The image I used on the cache page to highlight the episode shows captured screenshots from the episode itself.  To solve the puzzle, most people would need to google the show/episode to find the answer.
It’s Morphin’ Time, is a simple traditional, with a fun story for its description. Based upon the TV series/movies ‘The Power Rangers’, I used a rough plot from one of the series’ and “bastardised” it to suit my needs – but I do use several Power Rangers references throughout, including names such as “Gosei Morpher”, and catch phrases like “it’s Morphin time!”.  The background image used on the cache page is the Gosei Morpher toy, commercially available merchandise from the show.
Finally, Let it Go Letterbox, created by my geo-girls. They wanted to use their stamp set from the movie ‘Frozen’, and so a Letterbox Hybrid was made. For those people not in the know, “Let it Go” is the title of the main song. The cache page shows an image of a commercially available product, a “Frozen” themed, American style letterbox, but apart from that image and the title, the description doesn’t reference the movie at all. As a bit of a joke I also included at the base of the page, a meme that says “Parenthood: When this is the only Oscar nominee you’ve seen”, depicting an image of Olaf, the snowman character from the movie.

So – there you have it… But that’s where it gets interesting… Here’s a little pop quiz for you:

Clockwise from top left - Frozen Themed Letterbox; Olaf meme; Power Rangers Gosei Morpher; Seinfeld episode screenshotsOne of these things is not like the others,

One of these things just doesn’t belong,

Can you tell which thing is not like the others

By the time I finish my song?

One of the 4 images was not allowed, because according to the reviewer, it held “overtones of marketing or promotion” – now, don’t get me wrong – all 3 of my caches could be deemed as having “overtones of marketing or promotion”, so I wasn’t surprised, but what did surprise me was that only 1 of the 4 images (and nothing within any of the cache description says) crossed this line according to the reviewer.

So, that said, I did a little more reading and came across a great list by groundspeak – What they DO allow, vs what they DONT allow, including examples – should make it straightforward, right? – so, as I have a tendency to do, I unpacked it:

Groundspeak DO allow:

  • Geocaches with pop-culture related content – so the general themes of each cache are fine.
  • A product (or company) that is a part of a generation’s upbringing, or deemed a “classic”. Examples include: Mozart, 60s: The Rolling Stones, or Gone with the Wind – Again, all 3 themes, arguably tick this box. Probably less so with Power Rangers, but Seinfeild is definitely “classic” 90s, and if Frozen isn’t a part of this generations upbringing, I don’t know what is.
  • A series of geocaches, based on one of a set. Examples include: princesses of Disney, teams in the national football league, knights of the Round Table – not applicable for these particular caches, but perhaps the reason for finding say, a “minecraft” or “7 Dwarf” series.
  • A geocache based on parts of the whole. Examples include: a character from a story/film, a scene from a film, one menu item from McDonalds – hmmm. An interesting one, given I’ve previously been knocked back for mentioning “a meal that might make you happy”… I’m guessing though this is where the characters/items I mention in my power ranger story is OK…

Ok, cool. Makes sense. Now. What Groundspeak DON’T allow:

  • Geocaches perceived as commercial. – I’m a black and white thinker. Words like “perceived” is what I perceive as the problem…. to ‘perceive’ something is to understand or think about something in a particular way – but each person will understand or think about something in their own particular way, based on the context they place it in, their level of understanding, their experiences, their values and so forth… No one perceives something exactly the same as another. Gah!
  • Overtones of advertising, marketing or promotion. Examples include: “LOTR is the best series of movies ever!” or “Support this sporting team!” – so the suggestion is that saying something is “the best” or singling out one thing over another is not allowed…. I’m not sure I did this in any of these 3 caches, however it would seem this is where I came a cropper – the reviewer seems to have “perceived” the statement on the meme about my (or more generally, parents) having only seen one movie (though no specific movie was mentioned by name)….hmmm. I’m not convinced, but let’s keep going…
  • It suggests or requires that the finder go inside a business, interact with employees and/or purchase a product or service. Examples include: “Buy this Disney movie!” – I certainly didn’t suggest anyone need watch Frozen or Power Rangers, but in order to solve the puzzle, some people may end up watching some Seinfeild…. Apart from that, this one annoys me – either sometimes a blind eye is turned, or that “perception” gets in the way again – I think many of us are at least aware of a cache ) that requires entering a business/interacting with employees to find it… What about those ones where you have to ask over the counter for the cache? – yet, I have previously been knocked back for suggesting your geomobile could get a “beauty treatment nearby”, and for alerting finders that a coin donation to enter the local volunteer run museum on 2 of the 7 days would be required if they chose to enter (which wasn’t necessary to complete the cache) … and at the opposite end of the scale, I completed a cache yesterday themed on the Cityrail Network. The cache page discussed Cityrail, provided links to the Cityrail website, and shows images of the Cityrail network. while it is stated it is not necessary, the intended route for this cache is to catch the trains.  It even says on the cache page you will require an Opal card (- tap and go paying system for the network). As great as the cache was, how does that get through this guideline??
  • It contains links to businesses, agencies, commercial advertisers, charities, or political or social agendas. Examples include: “Save the…”, “Feed the…”, or “… research support” – again, not so applicable in this case, but an interesting inclusion, none the less…
  • It contains the logo or motto of a business or organization, including non-profit organizations. Examples include: “Home of the Whopper”, “So easy a caveman can do it”, “No One Fights Alone,” or “Got Milk?” – In this case, I would have to say that if we’re being strict about things, then my use of “It’s Morphin Time” may cross this boundary… And from what I now understand, I can have a cache based on a Whopper, but if I say  “home of the whopper” it’s not OK. Clear as mud, right?
  • It contains the name of a business or commercial product. Examples include: “Check out Mac’s Beef house nearby, my favorite local BBQ spot!” – again, I guess of the reviewer doesn’t know that a “Gosei Morpher” is a commercially available product, then it’s not going to get picked up… Same goes for the use of a song title as the cache name… Although I have been knocked back for saying “Maccas run” before, so I guess “Maccas” counts… But isn’t a singular menu item (allowable) a commercial product with a trademarked name?? Yep, clear as mud. Thanks Grounspeak 😉.

So that clears all that up right? I’m sure that like me, you can list numerous examples of the “exceptions”  to these rules…But far be it for me to suggest I’ve only seen one good (unnamed) movie this year 😉

I guess no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone, and consistency is something quite difficult, even in the best of circumstances…. But I guess that’s my issue with the guidelines, not that they exist, or are applied as appropriate, but that they don’t seem to be applied with any sort of consistent application that can be followed.  If there are exceptions that can be seen to the rule, then people will remain confused about what is and isn’t allowable, and inconsistencies will remain.

What are your thoughts?

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3 thoughts on “Now it’s Time to Play our Game

  1. Of course the application of the guidelines by reviewers is consistent.

    If you are friends with the local reviewers, your guideline breaches will consistently get a pass. If you are not friends with the local reviewer, your caches will consistently be scrutinised, so the local reviewer can still be seen to be applying the guidelines.
    Likewise, if your caches with guideline breaches consistently get favourite points, then future guideline breachs will be consistently ignored. For balance, new players who have learned from what they see will consistently be scrutinised for even the tiniest of guideline violations.

    Easy to follow. I don’t understand your confusion. If you don’t like it, just become a sycophant and join the cool kids.
    It’s the easiest thing in the world to point at a new COs cache and say that’s not allowed while simultaneously keeping mum on the issues of your mate.
    Stop being a Tom Duke.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your article voiced so eloquently what I have ranted about on a number of occasions. I was refused including a link to the website of a not for profit organization that did nothing but maintain a long distance footpath on the grounds that it was commercial. My advice is to make the changes the reviewers want and then after it is published, go back and change the listing back… no, wait. did I say that? no, not me. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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