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Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game - [Closed] 
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Post Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game - [Closed]
One of the many aspects that attracted us to GCA was equity of access for all participants so that individuals could choose how they wanted to be involved and enjoy their geocaching. Whilst there have been and will always be some inequities, GCA has largely managed to maintain that quality.
However a recent “enhancement” to the States Of the Nation game has taken a significant backward step resulting in many cachers being at a considerable disadvantage. The change was the introduction of 50% bonus points for participants who hide or find caches in another state. We appreciate that this change was introduced to add another dimension to the game but it has inadvertently resulted in significant discrimination against those living in geographically isolated areas. Cachers living in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania, and most of South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland are not able to access adjacent states with the ease enjoyed by others who live, for example, within 100km of a border.
Cachers who live close to state and territory borders can easily drive across the border to hide a cache and to find a cache within a short period of time. If that cache was a large puzzle, they are rewarded with 37.5 points.
On the other hand, cachers who do not live close to state borders would only be rewarded with 25 points for the same hide or find. Driving very long distances and flying to another state are the only options for the geographically isolated. They are time consuming and very expensive options especially when fares, fuel, accommodation and possibly car hire are included. They are not viable options for most of us.
We thought that the introduction of bonus points was to encourage travellers to participate. However it appears that “border hoppers” are now manipulating the provision to accelerate their personal and state points tallies. It is within the rules as they are stated but not everyone has the opportunity to join in. Where is the equity?
It is true that not everyone in some states will be able to (or want to) border hop. But some people in some states will be able to hop across a border and accelerate their state’s accumulation of points. However unless significant expenses are incurred, cachers from Western Australia and Tasmania cannot realistically border hop in a similar way. Where is the equity?
Last night we noticed that a cacher who has very easy access to an adjacent state had an average of just over 32 points per claim. For those living in Western Australia and Tasmania, for example, the maximum points claim they can make is 25 points per claim and since all claims are not for large puzzles or D5/T5 caches, the average claim is less. The approximate difference of 10 points per claim is significant and means that geographically isolated cachers are being inadvertently discriminated against by the inclusion of the bonus option for the current games.
We noticed on the Facebook page yesterday (6 January), GCA were encouraging wider and more active participation in the State Of the Nation. However the 50% bonus provision is working against wider participation by those in geographically isolated areas and leading to a feeling that GCA now has two classes of cachers – those who can access the bonus points and those who cannot.
It is extremely disappointing and disheartening that the introduction of bonus points to enhance a game is actually resulting in the exact opposite, a devaluing of many geocachers and a significant reduction in access and opportunities. Yes, it is just a game but for as many as possible to enjoy the game, there must be equitable opportunities to participate and achieve satisfaction.
We are participating in the game and will continue to do so to support other Tasmanian cachers. However we are very disappointed that GCA appears to have inadvertently taken a significant backward step away from encouraging wider participation and enjoyment.

We would appreciate your reactions to our thoughts.


07 January 18 11:18 pm
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
Very quite out there! Inadvertently is the word. Consequences not evident at the time I'd say. Bonus should be withdrawn retrospectively though to make it a level playing field for everyone.


08 January 18 3:50 pm
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
Unfortunately, we cannot please all of the people all of the time. Not everyone has nearby D5/T5 caches, or has the physical capabilities of finding such caches, so they too would be marginalised in this game.

At the moment Western Australia and Tasmania are sitting quite nicely on the ladder, and probably wouldn't take a big rise in everyone's average points to take over first place.

As the bonus point rule has been in place from the beginning, it will remain in place.


08 January 18 5:43 pm
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
We do learn as we go along, and yes obviously for those living in the ACT it is quite easy to border hop. An example of what was thought to be a nice addition perhaps having unintended consequences that helps some cachers. I had thought about doing a raid to Canberra myself last week but didn't have all my camping stuff organised and also wasn't feeling 100%.

So perhaps if a similar game is run in the future we could look at offering the bonus points for (say) a find more than 200km from your posted home coordinates at the start of the game. Or to stop people gaming the system by resetting their home location we could make it their current caching or hiding centre. Or not announce the bonus points until after the start of the game.


08 January 18 9:36 pm
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
If you do raid ACT you have to watch out what you get. We solved a few puzzles that listed coords, solved coords are in ACT. The Dragonzone listing shows it as being in ACT but the CO has listed it as being in NSW. So you go to ACT and you end up with a NSW cache.

So ACT cachers don't even have to leave ACT to get a NSW cache & bonus points for this game


09 January 18 12:18 am
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
Interesting :-k ...just ran a query searching for NSW only puzzles and then a separate query for ACT only puzzles. Almost every puzzle with listed coords starting in the ACT were found by each query. Meaning all the ACT puzzles were found by the NSW search but the reverse was not true. No NSW puzzles appeared in the ACT search.
Are the ACT puzzles somehow dual listed by the software as belonging to both ‘states’. Is this a State vs Territory software glitch rather than something intentionally done by a hider?


Last edited by Nessell on 09 January 18 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.



09 January 18 7:24 am
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
phlphotos wrote:
If you do raid ACT you have to watch out what you get. We solved a few puzzles that listed coords, solved coords are in ACT. The Dragonzone listing shows it as being in ACT but the CO has listed it as being in NSW. So you go to ACT and you end up with a NSW cache.

So ACT cachers don't even have to leave ACT to get a NSW cache & bonus points for this game


Can you give some examples of this?


09 January 18 7:34 am
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
Richary wrote:
So perhaps if a similar game is run in the future we could look at offering the bonus points for (say) a find more than 200km from your posted home coordinates at the start of the game. Or to stop people gaming the system by resetting their home location we could make it their current caching or hiding centre.


I like that idea! I'm actually really close to only being able to find GCA caches that far from home. And if I move to Cobar...

But not the caching centre. My caching centre is 100km away from my current home.

2y'stassies wrote:
One of the many aspects that attracted us to GCA was equity of access for all participants so that individuals could choose how they wanted to be involved and enjoy their geocaching. Whilst there have been and will always be some inequities, GCA has largely managed to maintain that quality.
However a recent “enhancement” to the States Of the Nation game has taken a significant backward step resulting in many cachers being at a considerable disadvantage.


Whilst I agree with it being a lot easier for people like ACT cachers to play for bonus points before or after work compared to the majority of us, I don't agree with including GCA as a whole in this statement. The States game (and dragonZone in general) is just a game added to the GCA site for extra fun and to raise numbers of geocaches and therefore geocachers listed on GCA. Games are meant to be a little competitive and we have the choice whether to participate in them or not. If we roll it all into a ball with all GCA normal geocaching it gives the wrong impression of GCA. Please don't see the whole that way, just the dZ game/s.

Anyhow, I'm sure the bonus points seemed like a good idea at the time by the person/people that decided upon it. We all make mistakes from time to time. Myself only once in a blue moon though. Hahaha - wait its a blue moon this month! :shock:


09 January 18 8:02 am
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
Nessell wrote:
Interesting :-k ...just ran a query searching for NSW only puzzles and then a separate query for ACT only puzzles. Almost every puzzle with listed coords starting in the ACT were found by each query. Meaning all the ACT puzzles were found by the NSW search but the reverse was not true. No NSW puzzles appeared in the ACT search.
Are the ACT puzzles somehow dual listed by the software as belonging to both ‘states’. Is this a State vs Territory software glitch rather than something intentionally done by a hider?


The hider sets the state when they list.

We give a warning (that they can choose to ignore) if the listed co-ords do not match the state they have selected. The search feature usues the state the cache hider has selected.
As to if it's intentional, it may be (for whatever reason), or may be accidental and they havent noticed the great big warning.


09 January 18 8:19 am
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
No_Tomorrow wrote:
Richary wrote:
So perhaps if a similar game is run in the future we could look at offering the bonus points for (say) a find more than 200km from your posted home coordinates at the start of the game. Or to stop people gaming the system by resetting their home location we could make it their current caching or hiding centre.


I like that idea! I'm actually really close to only being able to find GCA caches that far from home. And if I move to Cobar...

But not the caching centre. My caching centre is 100km away from my current home.


Mine would be a similar distance as I started my caching career in Adelaide - but then again that would make it easier to get 200km from it :o Probably not the best option though as a lot of people's caching centre may well not be home if they have travelled a bit particularly in one particular direction.


10 January 18 7:52 pm
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
Sol de Lune wrote:
Can you give some examples of this?


Two of the caches with listed & solved coords in ACT were CORs an Effect GA8897 & Don't forget to sign the log..... GA9279 in the Mulligans Flat area, they don't appear on the Yass dragonzone they only show on the ACT dragonzone list. In the game got points as if they were NSW caches

Some of the caches in this area are listed as Sutton ACT & some are listed as Sutton NSW, including the trigs that are definitely on ACT side of border show as Sutton NSW

Another cache at Hall "An ode to Geocaching Australia" GA9880 has recently been changed from ACT to NSW as on the 20/12 it was listed as ACT but it now shows as ACT & listed and solved coords are in ACT. Don't know how it relates to Nessel's earlier post, but possibly keying errors

I have just been to Gold Coast & noticed if I hid a cache and didn't change it from NSW it would accept it and give me a warning saying the state didn't match but trusted my judgement.


10 January 18 11:15 pm
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
Contact the CO and ask them to fix. The cache listing is the property of the cache owner and we leave it to them to fix stuff like this.


11 January 18 7:58 am
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
phlphotos wrote:
Sol de Lune wrote:
Can you give some examples of this?


Two of the caches with listed & solved coords in ACT were CORs an Effect GA8897 & Don't forget to sign the log..... GA9279 in the Mulligans Flat area, they don't appear on the Yass dragonzone they only show on the ACT dragonzone list. In the game got points as if they were NSW caches

Some of the caches in this area are listed as Sutton ACT & some are listed as Sutton NSW, including the trigs that are definitely on ACT side of border show as Sutton NSW

Another cache at Hall "An ode to Geocaching Australia" GA9880 has recently been changed from ACT to NSW as on the 20/12 it was listed as ACT but it now shows as ACT & listed and solved coords are in ACT. Don't know how it relates to Nessel's earlier post, but possibly keying errors

I have just been to Gold Coast & noticed if I hid a cache and didn't change it from NSW it would accept it and give me a warning saying the state didn't match but trusted my judgement.


Don’t Forget to Sign the Log – GA9279. Published Dec 2016 for last summer’s game. Posted co-ords are in ACT, published as NSW. Keying error I would think, will get the CO to correct this.

CORS and Effect. Published Dec 2016 for the last summer’s game. Posted co-ords are in NSW (on the NSW/ACT border), published as NSW. This is my cache and the GZ co-ords are in the ACT. There is no problem with this. Plenty of caches are published in one state and have a GZ in another state. E.g. Sydney – Melbourne, Melbourne – Adelaide, Adelaide – Melbourne, Hobart – Canberra, Perth – Canberra. Yes, these are multi caches but as long as a puzzle GZ is within a reasonable distance of the posted co-ords (3 mile or 5klm I believe is the limit on GC .com) it doesn’t matter where the GZ is. In this instance, the published co-ords are in NSW, the cache is listed in NSW, but the GZ co-ords are in the ACT. As I say, no problem with that.

An ode to Geocaching Australia – GA9880. Published Jan 2017 for last summer’s game. Posted co-ords are in ACT, published/currently listed as NSW. How do you know it was changed on 20 Dec? Will get the CO to correct it.

As for the trigs, no idea who published them, but it was a while ago. Does the system override trig published co-ords or has the cacher who published these ones stuffed up? Once I clarify that, I’ll go in and change them from NSW to ACT if need be.


11 January 18 10:11 am
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
phlphotos wrote:
I have just been to Gold Coast & noticed if I hid a cache and didn't change it from NSW it would accept it and give me a warning saying the state didn't match but trusted my judgement.


Curious about your maintenance plan for those caches? GCA cachers are *very* thin on the ground in this region so self maintenance by regular finds is limited.

Perhaps this too is an issue that needs to be considered for future bonus points for interstate hides.


11 January 18 10:18 pm
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Post Re: Equity Concerns in the States Of the Nation Game
phlphotos wrote:
If you do raid ACT you have to watch out what you get. We solved a few puzzles that listed coords, solved coords are in ACT. The Dragonzone listing shows it as being in ACT but the CO has listed it as being in NSW. So you go to ACT and you end up with a NSW cache.

So ACT cachers don't even have to leave ACT to get a NSW cache & bonus points for this game


The caches in question were actually hidden for the game last year and most of the active ACT cachers found them at that time, so no great impact from the cross border effect. That said, I remember at the time some of my caches in the Mulligans Flat area defaulted to NSW despite the fact both posted coords and final coords were in the ACT when I published them. I thought I'd corrected all of those at the time, but seems I missed one. I have now fixed the problem with GA9279 and would have happily have done so earlier if I'd been made aware of the problem. This wasn't a deliberate attempt to 'game' the current game, the cache was published 12 months before and I'm a more than a bit upset that that is the implication!


12 January 18 8:12 pm
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