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Thread: I don't know whether to laugh or cry...

  1. #1
    Alan White Guest

    Default I don't know whether to laugh or cry...


  2. #2
    Simply Paul Guest

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    I feel like I'm missing something Alan. Shouldn't the owner reactivated it months ago? It could well be in place, but they should have responded to the SBA log with something... unless they're on holiday- I see they've not signed in since the end of July and August is the month lots of people go away.

  3. #3
    Alan White Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simply Paul View Post
    I feel like I'm missing something Alan.
    It's unusual for me to be too deep for you, Paul. It's usually the other way round .

    What I meant was that the cache was disabled by a reviewer (completely unnecessarily as the cache is not on farmland) and then archived by another reviewer because the owner hasn't enabled it!! If it were my cache I'd be pretty miffed, I can say.

  4. #4
    Simply Paul Guest

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    Well, the owner/s did have (just) over a year to click a button and bring it back online. Fair's fair.

  5. #5
    Alan White Guest

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    And have the wrath of a reviewer on them? I wouldn't do it.

    The reviewer(s) should have re-enabled it when they thought it appropriate, not archived it!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    And have the wrath of a reviewer on them? I wouldn't do it.

    The reviewer(s) should have re-enabled it when they thought it appropriate, not archived it!

    Why would they have the wrath of the reviewer on them when the problem was over?

    I personally think your trying to find a problem that is not there

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    It's unusual for me to be too deep for you, Paul. It's usually the other way round .

    What I meant was that the cache was disabled by a reviewer (completely unnecessarily as the cache is not on farmland) and then archived by another reviewer because the owner hasn't enabled it!! If it were my cache I'd be pretty miffed, I can say.
    Sorry but ALL caches within the Exclusion Zone without exception were Disabled. The others affected were enabled either by their owners directly or by request to a reviewer when the Exclusion zone was lifted.

    If the situation happens again I will not hesitate to take the same actions again, and I can promise you that if any owner of a cache within a Exclusion Zone which had been Disabled was enabled before the exclusion zone was uplifted, I'd not hesitate to Archive and lock it.

    The cache was Archived due to the owner not maintaining it. He/She could have enabled it, or emailed a reviewer to enable it. But instead chose to ignore the cache.

    [] The Guidelines the details of which I've had pointed out to me on several occasions clearly states a cache should be disabled for a short period, usually a few weeks. Months after the exclusion zone was lifted the cache hadn't been enabled and as a result the appropriate action was taken

    Deci
    Last edited by Brenin Tegeingl; 19th August 2008 at 09:14 PM. Reason: added Deci at the end
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  8. #8
    Simply Paul Guest

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    Ok, I see the problem. Deceangi's temp disable log does say 'until further notice' - a cache owner taking that literally *might* wait to get an email or log saying it was safe to bring it back online, or expect the reviewer to reactivate it. I say might- I would have taken things into my own hands after the DEFRA exclusion zone was dropped, clicked it live and risked the consequences
    Last edited by Simply Paul; 19th August 2008 at 09:38 PM.

  9. #9
    Alan White Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mancunian View Post
    Sorry but ALL caches within the Exclusion Zone without exception were Disabled
    A completely unnecessary over-reaction. As was archiving them.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    A completely unnecessary over-reaction. As was archiving them.

    yes yes Aaln

  11. #11

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    Echoing that on this instance (as is normal!) common sense prevailed. The cache was unmaintained for over a year, it was totally right to archive it.

    The exclusion business is a separate matter imo

  12. #12

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    The owner can request it is unarchived if they wish. It's not like it's gone for good.

  13. #13
    Alan White Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by PopUpPirate View Post
    The cache was unmaintained for over a year
    How do you know? The cache had been disabled, on threat of being archived and locked if the owner re-enabled it.

    The poor owner couldn't win: if he'd enabled it it would have been archived; if he didn't enable it it would be archived hmy:.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    How do you know? The cache had been disabled, on threat of being archived and locked if the owner re-enabled it.

    The poor owner couldn't win: if he'd enabled it it would have been archived; if he didn't enable it it would be archived hmy:.
    already been pointed out others inthe same situation were re enabled. Again my personal opinion, an argument with no foundation for the sake of it.

  15. #15
    fraggle69 Guest

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    Sounds to me like the owner has been waiting for DC to re-enable the listing. I don't see the huge issue, I mean it can be re-activated at the owners request, who is probably off sunning himself somewhere nice.
    I rekon it's time to take the big chill pill Mr White.... then you can laugh soooo much you might just cry
    I'd be more concerned with the cache police who grassed him up to the reviewers tsk! A safer world with or without them I wonder.....

    h34r:

  16. #16
    Alan White Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by fraggle69 View Post
    Sounds to me like the owner has been waiting for DC to re-enable the listing.
    Exactly my point. I'm glad that at least one other person can see the foolishness of this situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by fraggle69 View Post
    I'd be more concerned with the cache police who grassed him up to the reviewers
    In this particular situation I tend to agree with you, though my general view that we are all the cache police prevails.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    Exactly my point. I'm glad that at least one other person can see the foolishness of this situation.


    In this particular situation I tend to agree with you, though my general view that we are all the cache police prevails.
    Oh I can see your point 1, however its very much a clutching at straws situation. Not as if there was no opportunity to clarify is it?


    Cache maint is the owners concern, lack of maint becomes the reviewers concern. Not hard to contact them is it?

    As for the second point, well I have expressed my view privately.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    How do you know? The cache had been disabled, on threat of being archived and locked if the owner re-enabled it.

    The poor owner couldn't win: if he'd enabled it it would have been archived; if he didn't enable it it would be archived hmy:.
    I'll say again caches in a exclusion zone. Once this has been lifted there are no caches in a exclusion zone to be actioned.

    JUST TO MAKE IT VERY CLEAR SO THAT NO ONE READING THIS CAN MISUNDERSTAND! Caches in a Exclusion Zone will be Disabled, and if Enabled whilst the Exclusion Zone is in existence. I will Archive and lock them. Once the Exclusion Zone has been lifted, the owners are free to enable the cache or ask a reviewer to do so for them. This was how we worked over the last Exclusion Zone Incident, and will do so over any future ones.

    Oh and several owners enabled their own caches without contacting a reviewer. Not one had any action taken against them for being enabled after the exclusion zone had been lifted.It's not up to a Reviewer to enable a cache which has been disabled, unless requested to do so by the owner. We do not know the status of that container. The owner could have removed it, it could have been muggled, the location might not be accessible due to construction work. That is something the owner will be aware of by maintaining their cache.


    its funny how the reviewers receive complaints when the guidelines are not followed to the letter, and also receive complaints if they are

    Deci
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  19. #19
    Simply Paul Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    How do you know? The cache had been disabled, on threat of being archived and locked if the owner re-enabled it.
    I think PUP might have been saying the cache listing hadn't been maintained, in as much as it hadn't been reactivated. Could be a simple oversight.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    The poor owner couldn't win: if he'd enabled it it would have been archived; if he didn't enable it it would be archived hmy:.
    I doubt it would have been archived if the owner had reenabled it. Reviewers aren't quite so daft, I hope! Once the 'danger' had gone it would have been fine I'm sure, but perhaps Dec' could have picked his words a tiny bit more carefully when putting the cache on hold last year. And now a smiley for the hell of it: :socool: Mmmm, now, that is cool.

  20. #20
    Alan White Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mancunian View Post
    Caches in a Exclusion Zone will be Disabled
    Can you not see how unnecessary that is? The last exclusion zone included towns and villages. What purpose is served by disabling caches in town centres?

    Even if a cache is on a right of way which crosses farmland there's still no reason to disable the cache unless the RoW is legally closed. A right of way can only be closed by DEFRA or the local council acting on advice from DEFRA. Some landowners illegally closed RoWs during the last outbreak and by disabling caches indiscriminately we encourage such landowners to continue to act illegally.

    Common sense is required should this situation arise again. Caches should be disabled by the cache owner if, and only if, the area has been legally closed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mancunian View Post
    It's not up to a Reviewer to enable a cache which has been disabled
    Of course it is, if a reviewer disabled it. With power comes responsibility.

  21. #21

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    The Big Green Bird did ask me to point out that he was up till after midnight last night (and the night before - and the night before that each after a full days work in the office) and was wondering that if he did get paid for all his hard work what sort of salary he would get. He dealt with some 20 SBA logs last night amongst many other tasks and whilst he would love to talk to all the cachers whose caches are presenting him with problems he simply doesn't have time. He also said to spare a thought for his colleague who for many months was working on his own and doing the work that 3 had done before .

    The Big Green Bird did say to me that if the original poster of this thread would like to become a volunteer Reviewer he would surely enjoy the job too.

    The Big Green Bird has told me that despite the hard work, the emails and the forum posts he still enjoys the job and feels very privileged to be supporting the UK Geocaching community in this way. :socool:

    Chris (MrB)

  22. #22
    sTeamTraen Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    The last exclusion zone included towns and villages. What purpose is served by disabling caches in town centres?
    I'm sure one could make a perfectly coherent case to DEFRA that when they declare an exclusion zone, that instead of being just a circle, it should be a 5,000 point delimited polygon, with little holes in it delimited by 500 points for any population centre of more than 200 people. Or whatever. I have no way of knowing whether their failure to do that is caused by the genuine epidemiological requirements of the foot&mouth virus, or bureaucrats reacting in a panicked way, or some point in between. My guess would be "lack of time - this is urgent".

    I am, however, reasonably certain that if DEFRA says "no movement within this zone", and geocaching.com or the GAGB were then to put a post on their site saying "nothing to see here folks, continue caching as normal as long as there's tarmac under your feet, we're all much cleverer than the civil servants, it's all an over-reaction, plenty of places are miles from any farm animals", it would not do the image of the game much good.

    When the big F&M outbreak occurred a few years previously, entire parts of the country shut down. I remember an Ireland-Wales rugby match being cancelled because they didn't want Welsh supporters "roaming the countryside" on their way to the Swansea-Cork ferry (fill in your own joke here). For good reasons or bad, an F&M outbreak causes the authorities to close down all movement in a given area. They don't have time to work out all the exceptions for all the people who live inside the area, and communicate a 2,000 page list of those exceptions to every citizen and police officer. Nor do the UK reviewers have time to look at every cache in the area to see if it's "clearly" more than X hundred metres from the nearest sheep.

    Anyway, what's the big deal about the cache being archived? Archiving just means that the cache owner needs to ask the reviewer (preferably nicely) to reverse the situation. In the absence of any other special circumstances that we might not know about, if the cache owner asks in the next few weeks, the cache will surely be unarchived. All that's happened is that the presumption about whether the cache is likely to be repaired in the near future, has gone from "yes" to "no". (From the reactions I often see when various caches get archived, it seems like a lot of people consider it to be like having a limb amputated, in terms of both its impact and its perceived irreversibility.)
    Last edited by sTeamTraen; 20th August 2008 at 10:28 AM.

  23. #23
    Alan White Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by sTeamTraen View Post
    if DEFRA says "no movement within this zone"
    That is exactly the point. DEFRA does not say things like that. It makes decisions on a case-by-case basis in deciding whether to close particular areas during an outbreak. Sometimes those areas include RoWs, which means that any caches along those RoWs are inaccessible (indeed, it would be a criminal offence to do so). Such caches should of course be disabled. But the decision on that should rest with the cache owner who, unlike a distant reviewer, knows exactly where the cache is.

    In fact, during the last outbreak DEFRA were keen to stress that the countryside remained open and specific RoWs were closed only if absolutely necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by sTeamTraen View Post
    what's the big deal about the cache being archived
    Because the caches (there are two of them) were archived by a reviewer because they had been too long disabled: by a reviewer.

  24. #24

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    I'll stick my neck out and say that I agree with Alan on this one...despite it being a bit of a debating point rather than a real problem.

    On the FMD situation, there was a lot of trouble caused when MAFF started with "blanket bans" on public movement back in the 2001 outbreak (closing footpaths being the most damaging action). They very quickly reversed that decision: but it was too late, and the damage had been done. It was partly because of this over-reaction that MAFF was replaced by DEFRA, to signify that the Department was responsible for all aspects of countryside management, not simply the commercial interests of farmers. But various local authorities found it convenient to keep bans in place even though there was no basis for them, causing untold damage to businesses that were based on people visiting the countryside.

    Ever since then, DEFRA has been at pains to emphasise that only the premises where FMD is actually in the process of being cleared are potentially subject to footpath closures. The reason for this type of restriction is that casual passers-by are not really going to be pleased to be observing mass slaughter of farm animals, nor is it helpful to have curious onlookers crowding round when such operations are in progress.

    Apart from this, even if suspect cattle or sheep are enclosed in a field with a footpath, and even if this is in one of the FMD Protection Zones, there's not normally any ban on walkers moving along the path (although there are guidelines to observe). Town centres and roadsides are unaffected.

    Whether or not a particular geocache has reasonable access is probably only going to be ascertained by going to the area and having a look: I would suggest that a reviewer should temp disable any caches that appear to be in fields around a FMD-affected farm, then request a maintenance visit and leave it to the cache owner to decide whether the cache should be enabled. Otherwise it gives the false impression that such areas are out of bounds in some way, which is generally not true and can lead to the spread of dangerous misinformation.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Blorenge View Post
    The Big Green Bird did ask me to point out that he was up till after midnight last night (and the night before - and the night before that each after a full days work in the office) and was wondering that if he did get paid for all his hard work what sort of salary he would get. He dealt with some 20 SBA logs last night amongst many other tasks and whilst he would love to talk to all the cachers whose caches are presenting him with problems he simply doesn't have time. He also said to spare a thought for his colleague who for many months was working on his own and doing the work that 3 had done before .

    The Big Green Bird did say to me that if the original poster of this thread would like to become a volunteer Reviewer he would surely enjoy the job too.

    The Big Green Bird has told me that despite the hard work, the emails and the forum posts he still enjoys the job and feels very privileged to be supporting the UK Geocaching community in this way. :socool:

    Chris (MrB)
    Yep, sometimes people can expect reviewers to have an in-depth knowledge of every cache, where in reality they'll almost certainly have to make a snap judgement on whatevers in front of them, because there's a long to-do list.

  26. #26
    fraggle69 Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    Can you not see how unnecessary that is? The last exclusion zone included towns and villages. What purpose is served by disabling caches in town centres?
    Now, even I think you're MENTAL! No, really I think you've completely lost the plot in a HUUUUGE waaaayyy man - keep taking the pills.

    If there's a diesease outbreak, the gov want to limit movements to stop the spread. Joe Bloggs from clean area A goes to nasty B area caching for the day and comes back with nasty crap for area A to enjoy. Just simple procedures to stop the threat of anthrax, aids, hoof rot or whatever it is trying to infect you.

    gagb/gc.com are doing the right thing by discouraging activity in the affected area.

    Alan, talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill m8! to the bar :cheers:

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by fraggle69 View Post
    Now, even I think you're MENTAL! No, really I If there's a diesease outbreak, the gov want to limit movements to stop the spread. Joe Bloggs from clean area A goes to nasty B area caching for the day and comes back with nasty crap for area A to enjoy. Just simple procedures to stop the threat of anthrax, aids, hoof rot or whatever it is trying to infect you.

    gagb/gc.com are doing the right thing by discouraging activity in the affected area. :cheers:
    I don't think you read my post above very well! It's the wrong thing to do, to discourage activity in the affected area. Check with DEFRA for the correct procedures.
    May I suggest :coffee: instead of ?

  28. #28
    fraggle69 Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    I don't think you read my post above very well! It's the wrong thing to do, to discourage activity in the affected area. Check with DEFRA for the correct procedures.
    May I suggest :coffee: instead of ?
    didn't read it at all mate, I know what I'll be doing come the appocalypse - staying in my bunker

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by fraggle69 View Post
    didn't read it at all mate,
    There's no hope, is there.
    The apocalypse may as well come along now! :socool:

  30. #30
    uktim Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    I don't think you read my post above very well! It's the wrong thing to do, to discourage activity in the affected area. Check with DEFRA for the correct procedures.
    May I suggest :coffee: instead of ?
    Speaking as a livestock farmer, I see this entire issue as being exceedingly complex and more than a little controversial.

    The messages from government are mixed to say the least. I can only marvel at the fact that they apparently believe that muck on a farmers boots or vehicle wheels is a greater risk than the very same muck on a walkers boots. Muck is muck regardless of who steps in it

    In this case I think that the actions of the reviewers were a very sensible "middle ground" option. There's a huge difference between the countryside being open and the active promotion of an activity close on an infected premises. We can't expect reviewers to check out every cache, but GC.com should be seen to be acting responsibly. We must also bear in mind that the decision was taken very early on when no-one knew how big or small the outbreak was going to be.

    I believe that disabled caches still come up in searches, they can still be searched out on the website and visited if circumstances permit? If so then the disabled flag could be seen as highlighting to cachers that they should think about their actions and check things out before visiting.

  31. #31
    sTeamTraen Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    Because the caches (there are two of them) were archived by a reviewer because they had been too long disabled: by a reviewer.
    There is a fundamental problem of information becoming incomplete over time. Suppose your cache is disabled for the F&M alert which lasts three months. After a month, you find out that your cache has gone missing. Normally you would disable it, but you can't, because it's already disabled, and there's no point in replacing it right now, so you wait. Then the F&M outbreak ends, but you haven't got round to replacing the cache yet. If the reviewer reactivates your cache, they're doing the wrong thing, but the reviewer has no way to know all this. (If you like, blame Groundspeak: perhaps the system should accept multiple, "stacked" levels of disable.)

    So the problem is asymmetrical: for the reviewer to disable a cache is "always" the right thing to do, but only the owner can know if enabling it is the right thing to do. Compare the guard of a train, who can stop it, but only the driver can restart it, because the guard doesn't know if someone hasn't started to cross the track since the brakes were applied.

    Reading the notes, it was made pretty clear why the cache was being disabled. I would have thought that this would also make it obvious that when the F&M all-clear was given, that the cache owner could reactivate it - or at least ask the reviewer if it was OK to do so. If the cache owner still sincerely thinks that the exclusion zone is in place, then there are other issues here - they would have to believe that they were in a "Salman Rushdie" situation, where "his" fatwa couldn't be rescinded since the person who issued it was dead. (Actually, I know one other person who thinks like that. My mother-in-law saw Edwina Currie's warnings about eggs and salmonella circa 1986 and hasn't eaten an egg since, because the government hasn't given the all-clear. Really.)

    And again, nothing bad has happened here. Graculus has not pressed the self-destruct button to make the cache explode. Unarchiving takes 30 seconds, including the time to file the e-mail.

  32. #32

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    I am afraid I need to disagree with Allan (and Andy) here.

    I live within what was one of the exclusion zones - as Allan knows - and in my immediate area many managed "public" areas - notably the Great Park and the Crown Lands - were in fact closed to the public and all entrances and footpaths locked.

    The decision was taken that any caches within the exclusion zones were to be temped in order that there could be no criticism from anywhere - official or otherwise - of geocaching for encouraging walkers into any possibly compromised areas.

    (On the Isle of Man, quite a distance from the outbreak, ALL public footpaths were closed - and I remember Andy, at the time, criticising the Manx Government for this (and it put the clamps on our fortnights caching holiday on the island ))

    At the time I disabled a number of caches in my review area that were within the exclusion zone. At least one of the caches under discussion was within my review area and all I can think is that Deci disabled it because I was on holiday, and that it was never re-enabled because Deci forgot and as far as I was aware it hadn't been disabled.

    Then a relatively new reviewer, anxious to help lift the load that Deci has had to carry for some months, archived it without referring to all the logs.

    And he gets slammed, much in the way you criticised UK cachers for slamming a recent post by a German cacher, shame on you!

  33. #33

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    Personally I think the mods acted correctly in all instances.

    The only issue I see (and this is splitting hairs) is what would now happen if the cache was a "grandfathered" one and did not meet the current guidelines.

    Once it has been archived, theoretically it could not then be re-enabled, what would happen in that case ?

  34. #34

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    This is a wind up thread isn't it

    Please tell me it is

  35. #35
    fraggle69 Guest

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    opcorn:

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgydaved View Post
    On the Isle of Man, quite a distance from the outbreak, ALL public footpaths were closed - and I remember Andy, at the time, criticising the Manx Government for this
    Indeed, and I had quite a bit of correspondence with the Minister about this. He'd based his decision on a press release from MAFF in 2001 which was later proved to be misleading (but has been widely quoted ever since: Veterinary Risk Assessment No. 4 was the culprit: misunderstood and later amended but still quoted even now). Many farmers still quote the same document, but DEFRA had later realised the mistake that had been made and I took the trouble to study more recent material. That's why DEFRA was extremely keen to ensure that the same mistake wasn't made in the more recent outbreak. Basically, they'd realised that the danger of the casual walker passing on the disease simply by treading in fields near infected animals was so small compared to the REAL dangers that you may as well ignore it. At least bearing in mind the damage caused by frightening away the public, and the waste of time and money that should have been directed at more useful measures.

    Quote Originally Posted by dodgydaved View Post
    Great Park and the Crown Lands - were in fact closed to the public and all entrances and footpaths locked.
    Even the farms that were confirmed as having the disease weren't closed (except some were later, against scientific advice, to appease farmers who were uneasy about the situation), so the fact that these parks were locked is pretty irrelevant. It was wrong, just like the IOM closures were wrong (as privately admitted to me - I'm pleased that the Minister bothered to check the facts I presented and changed the policy - although too late for Dave's visit!).

    The problem in 2001 was that MAFF assumed that keeping walkers away from footpaths would somehow limit the spread of the disease. Which it didn't, because that is not how it is passed on. So they were taken by surprise when their draconian closure regime did nothing to halt the spread. In fact it encouraged it, as farmers assumed that something had been done to halt FMD when the real cause had not actually been dealt with at all (i.e. farm animals were still being sold and moved from farm to farm).

    If geocachers want to follow hearsay, the popular Press, kneejerk reactions and general chitchat and use this as guidelines: then let's have that written down as official GAGB policy.

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgydaved View Post

    And he gets slammed, much in the way you criticised UK cachers for slamming a recent post by a German cacher, shame on you!
    Totally agree but not surprised

  38. #38
    fraggle69 Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    Even the farms that were confirmed as having the disease weren't closed (except some were later, against scientific advice, to appease farmers who were uneasy about the situation)
    From what you say it sounds like Farmers were extremely concerned as to why no quarantine had been set in place.
    I think I trust Mr Farmer who's been farming for time and a day rather than a snotty post grad with little or no experience - the government who get it wrong time and time again are the worrying factor here.

    I am still in my bunker!!

  39. #39
    Alan White Guest

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    It's interesting to see this discussion continuing. I'd left it because I'd said what I wanted to say, but to pick up on some points which have been made later...

    It's disappointing that in this forum, as in "the other place", there are people who feel that expressing opinions contrary to their own is somehow taboo. At least here the management don't feel like that. It's also disappointing that some people think that reviewers are above comment. Let's remember that reviewers work for Groundspeak not for UK cachers, but what they do has an impact on UK caching and therefore all UK cachers should always let reviewers know what they think, good and bad.

    The discussion has continued mostly on the question of what should or shouldn't be done during a F&M outbreak but that wasn't what made me "laugh or cry". My reaction, largely of incredulous laughter, was because of the cache being archived with a note saying it was because of inaction by the owner whereas it was inaction by a reviewer. As dodgydaved says, clearly Deceangi forgot. No problems there: we all forget things and given the situation over the last few months it's entirely understandable. The appropriate action would have been to log a Needs Maintenance asking the owner to check it out and enable it if the cache is OK. Instead it was archived and the original action justified in here by an unnecessarily forceful, authoritarian and draconian response instead of the "sorry, I forgot" that would have been more appropriate.

    Windsor Great Park and other areas have been mentioned. My comments only covered public rights of way. Of course, "private" land such as WGP can be closed by the owner at any time and for any reason. It's unfortunate that Crown Estates decided to close WGP but there's nothing to be done about that, except that cache owners - not reviewers - would then be wise to disable any affected caches to avoid cachers making unnecessary journeys. However, despite the over-reaction of Crown Estates most rights of way in our area (and remember I live just a few miles from the centre of last year's outbreak) were open and accessible the whole time. One local RoW was closed unilaterally by the farmer until the council pointed out to him that his action was illegal and it was re-opened.

    The point has been made by others that reviewers can't be expected to know the detail of every cache. Of course they can't, and that's my point. The decision about disabling a cache during a F&M outbreak should be left to the cache owner not left to the whim of geography and a circle on a map.

    I don't see any connection between this discussion and the "German cacher" topic on the "other side". I felt that a person whose English was obviously poor was being unduly criticised as a result of being misinterpreted and that that criticism reflected badly on UK cachers so I commented to hopefully show him that not all UK cachers are so critical of visitors to the UK forum. When we treat visitors so badly it's no wonder that many UK cachers choose not to visit the forum.

  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan White View Post
    Let's remember that reviewers work for Groundspeak not for UK cachers, but what they do has an impact on UK caching .....
    I would take slight issue with you there. I always considered my position to be split between the needs of Groundspeak and the needs of UK cachers. Yes, I was a Volunteer carrying out the requirements of Groundspeak but I always tried to do so in a way that worked for the local caching community.

    Of course this all changed back in April when it was made clear by some, both within Groundspeak and in the wider Reviewer group, that this approach was to cease. At that point Dave and I left.

    I believe that since our departure a certain amount of local representation has returned to the role but as I am now an "outsider" such as yourself I know no more than you do.

  41. #41
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    The only comment that I could make in this whole topic is one from the agreements standpoint.

    We have worked very hard against a perceived belief by lots of large land owners and managers that we are a bunch of nutters who care little or nothing about the land we access as long as we can carry on with our little hobby.
    They often believe that we are to be discouraged as we will go wherever we want and cause whatever damage we see fit in the process.

    This is often enforced due to caches being placed without bothering to ask for any permission and the land owner discovering them by accident and similar things like that.

    So when a major outbreak occurs and there is a debate about whether ROW should be closed and whether access of certain parts of the countryside should be discouraged surely it is better for the caching community as a whole to err on the side of excess caution and be seen to care whether we have an impact?
    We lose a few days/weeks of caching in certain areas, not exactly the end of the world.
    We gain the respect of owners who hopefully realise that we are a sensible group of people to be trusted to act responsibly.

    So the right course of action was to disable those caches.

    Then as has been covered many times, the only person who can get the caches back is the owner as they are the only people who can check the cache is still there and ready to go.

    It's a box in the woods! If a cache has been disabled it's not going to end the hobby as we know it! If anyone cares that much why not make up a new cache box and go to that location and put a new cache out in the same place?

    some sense of proportion needs to be applied I think.

  42. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobbynobbs View Post
    ...
    So when a major outbreak occurs and there is a debate about whether ROW should be closed and whether access of certain parts of the countryside should be discouraged surely it is better for the caching community as a whole to err on the side of excess caution and be seen to care whether we have an impact?
    We lose a few days/weeks of caching in certain areas, not exactly the end of the world.
    We gain the respect of owners who hopefully realise that we are a sensible group of people to be trusted to act responsibly.

    So the right course of action was to disable those caches.

    Then as has been covered many times, the only person who can get the caches back is the owner as they are the only people who can check the cache is still there and ready to go.

    It's a box in the woods! If a cache has been disabled it's not going to end the hobby as we know it! If anyone cares that much why not make up a new cache box and go to that location and put a new cache out in the same place?

    some sense of proportion needs to be applied I think.
    So you're proposing ignoring official guidance, and taking contrary action based on the GAGB's rather limited expertise and knowledge (I assume!) about animal health and countryside economics. Hardly "excess caution", more like recklessness.

    I may be in a minority here, but to me that's setting a bad example and causing confusion. The official DEFRA advice was to encourage people to visit the countryside (even in the areas with FMD), but to take note of certain precautions. There was no debate or doubt about it from people who are actually expert in the relevant subject (which doesn't necessarily include the local farmers or newspapers).

    Discouraging geocaching altogether might seem a harmless approach, but it helps spread misinformation (just look at some of the responses in this thread!). I remember at the time cachers were saying things like "OK, as a precaution I've cancelled my proposed trip to the Lake District now that we have a new outbreak". That sort of thing would cause alarm bells to ring in DEFRA, as it's just what caused most of the problems in the 2001 outbreak (hundreds of jobs were lost when many countryside industries suddenly collapsed). The GAGB at least should take a more cautious approach than the easy option that you propose, and take into account the real damage that can be caused by ill-informed action.

    If there was a outbreak of another disease and DEFRA issued advice to for the public to avoid the area altogether, I've a feeling that geocachers would be happy to comply (as would I). So it's odd that when they issue advice to continue as normal, it's ignored.

    Quote Originally Posted by nobbynobbs View Post
    Then as has been covered many times, the only person who can get the caches back is the owner as they are the only people who can check the cache is still there and ready to go.
    ...back on the original topic: my opinion is that the cache has simply been unfound for a period of time. The listing was not disabled because of any suspected problem with the cache itself, so in these circumstances it seem logical to enable it without the need for an inspection.

  43. #43
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    I think you will find, should you actually read what I wrote, that I said IF there was "debate about whether ROW should be closed and whether access of certain parts of the countryside should be discouraged" then we should be excess cautious and go with the disable approach.

    And regarding the ongoing debate regarding the rights and wrongs of the actual disabling and then leaving the enabling to the owners. The reviewer(s) are volunteers, they have other more important things to do like have a life.

    And you'll find that unless I state clearly that any reply I make is a committee statement you should consider it to be my own personal opinion.

  44. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobbynobbs View Post
    should you actually read what I wrote,
    I did, and even quoted it...

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    Sorry but the detractors of how we handled the F&M issue have ignored one very important post by someone who actually matters the most .

    A landowner/Manager/Tenant [as I don't know the actual status of the person, I've covered all sides] who happens to be a Farmer who also caches. And who stated that we'd taken the right decision!

    Thats what the whole decision was about, how Landowners would perceive our actions. Because without them behind us at the end of the day we don't have a hobby! Fancy a situation where before any cache could be placed, written permission off the Landowner had to be presented. I can guarantee it would be the end of caching in the UK, as we would be in a situation of having to ask every cache owner for proof that they obtained permission for their cache. Instead of the Presumed Permission it was Proof of Permission, how many caches would be Archived?

    How many cachers in the UK still believe that if a cache is on a Public Foot Path or on Public Owned land they have aright to do as they wish?

    From experience, I'd say three quarters at least!

    Here's a challenge to the Anti Group, go and explain the situation and actions we took to 100 farmers and come back and let us know how many agreed that what you believe we did was wrong? Don't bother asking DEFRA as they are not the Landowners with the power to refuse permission for a cache. Or even worse ask for a cache to be removed and place a permanent ban on caches on their land.

    Deci

    Deci
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mancunian View Post
    Here's a challenge to the Anti Group, go and explain the situation and actions we took to 100 farmers and come back and let us know how many agreed that what you believe we did was wrong? Don't bother asking DEFRA as they are not the Landowners with the power to refuse permission for a cache. Or even worse ask for a cache to be removed and place a permanent ban on caches on their land.

    Deci

    Deci
    Well, I guess I'm supposed to be in the "anti" group, whatever that is. What you're saying is that it doesn't matter whether someone is right or wrong, all that matters is how much influence over our hobby they have. So even if they are proposing something illegal (as was the case here if you're saying that farmers were supporting disobeying Government directives), you'd still side with them as they have the most clout.

    I'm not going to argue with that: it's your approach and you're bound to stick with it so there's no point discussing it. I've said that I'd rather keep to the legal/official side of things and I'll stick with that opinion too . I hope we can agree to differ. :cheers:

  47. #47
    uktim Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    Well, I guess I'm supposed to be in the "anti" group, whatever that is. What you're saying is that it doesn't matter whether someone is right or wrong, all that matters is how much influence over our hobby they have. So even if they are proposing something illegal (as was the case here if you're saying that farmers were supporting disobeying Government directives), you'd still side with them as they have the most clout.

    I'm not going to argue with that: it's your approach and you're bound to stick with it so there's no point discussing it. I've said that I'd rather keep to the legal/official side of things and I'll stick with that opinion too . I hope we can agree to differ. :cheers:
    We're talking about good PR rather than promoting something just because we can or because we believe that we should have the right to do so.

    If we want to talk about the legality of caches. Disregard the F&M problem last year, I suspect that there is no legal right to place caches. You need the landowners permission and they can withdraw that whenever they like for whatever reason they like. All the more reason to do a little bit to improve landowners perceptions of the hobby IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by uktim View Post
    We're talking about good PR rather than promoting something just because we can or because we believe that we should have the right to do so.

    If we want to talk about the legality of caches. Disregard the F&M problem last year, I suspect that there is no legal right to place caches. You need the landowners permission and they can withdraw that whenever they like for whatever reason they like. All the more reason to do a little bit to improve landowners perceptions of the hobby IMO.
    This may come as a surprise but I wholeheartedly agree with uktim on this one !

    He's right in saying that we have to present a good image of geocaching if we're to win over possibly sceptical landowners. We have to be seen to be cooperating with them and if we sometimes err on the side of caution then that is a price worth paying.

    At the time of the last outbreak I was on the reviewing team and I worked with Eckington and Deceangi to determine the extent of the restricted zones and the caches they contained. It was a very "fluid" situation and advice was changing daily, even hourly it seemed at times. We decided it was better (easier?) to play safe and disable the caches in the restricted zones until things resolved themselves. I would point out that those cachers involved were informed why we doing what we did and as I recall should have been in no doubt that their caches could be reenabled when the restrictions were lifted.

    Hindsight is wonderful but at the time I was reminded of the time in 2001 just a few months after I started caching when the previous VERY serious outbreak almost finished off Geocaching here. Most of the countryside was closed down and many public footpaths were indeed made out of bounds to walkers. We were lucky this time but we didn't know that when we disabled the caches being discussed.

    I thought we were acting appropriately at the time and I still do.

  49. #49

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    I can see where the reviewers and ex-reviewers are coming from here, and I agree that it may not have been wrong to take the pragmatic approach at the time. I'm actually not criticising them for doing this (even though it might seem like it!), more for putting forward the principle that this was the "responsible" approach and that people should be discouraged from visiting the FMD affected zones. When in fact the opposite was the case.

    All I'm doing is suggesting that next time you check official advice, rather than simply the knee-jerk response from a few farmers. Yes, the reviewer might choose to ignore the former in favour of the latter, for PR reasons (so I also agree with uktim!).

    Really, what I objected to was the strong inference that following the official guidelines was inherently irresponsible. Probably I would have accepted it much more easily if it had been put forward like this;

    "I know that there's no official reason to disable all these caches, but feedback indicates that local landowners would prefer to see caching discouraged in this area for the time being. So until further notice we've disabled caches which appear to be in sensitive areas. We'll keep an eye on the situation and will enable them once we've been given the all-clear. In the meantime, feel free to use the footpaths in the areas in question according to official DEFRA advice, but please don't log any disabled caches you may encounter.".

  50. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    ....... feel free to use the footpaths in the areas in question according to official DEFRA advice, but please don't log any disabled caches you may encounter.".
    Why?

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