CacheCrazy.Com: Interview with the reViewer

Friday, April 17, 2015

Interview with the reViewer

How do geocaches get published? Anyone who has tried to hide a cache knows that there are mysterious people called Reviewers who review and publish geocaches. For many people, that is where the extent of their knowledge ends.
reviewprocess
With this question in mind, I recently had the opportunity to interview my local reviewer, who goes by the name of OReviewer. (Reviewers generally use a different account than their main account to review and publish geocaches.) OReviewer was more than happy to take some of his undoubtedly limited time and help shed some light on the mystery surrounding the sometimes enigmatic review processes and practices.
George (me): Are you a geocacher yourself? If so, about how many caches have you found?
OReviewer: Yes, I am a geocacher, with 12,000+ finds.
G: How long have you been geocaching, and how long have you been a reviewer?
OR: I have been caching since 2004, reviewing since 2006.
G: On average, about how many hours a week do you spend reviewing caches (including publishing, rejecting, archiving, etc.?)
OR: I spend too many hours on the Geocaching site. I can't begin to estimate the amount of time. It is a lot of 10-15 minute spots while doing something else rather than long hour-plus spans of time. For the most part, I am reviewing at least a couple of hours a day seven days a week, if not more.
G: How many submissions do you get during a typical week?
OR: I probably see 200-300 listings in a given week.
G: Do you get paid for being a reviewer?
OR: I do not get paid; this is strictly a volunteer position. I guess I am paid in t-shirts and thanks if that counts.
G: Do you get the final coordinates for multi-stage or puzzles caches from your reviewer account?
OR: I'm not sure I understand your question. As a reviewer, I have access to all of the final coordinates. If you are asking if I use these to skip stages of caches and not do puzzles; no. This would go against the reviewer code of ethics as well as my own.
G: If you hide a cache, do you have to approve it yourself?
OR: Let me make something clear, I don't approve or disapprove caches, I publish them. Approve or not is an opinion or judgment that doesn't play into how I review. There are many caches I've published I don't approve of but if they met the guidelines (even if barely,) they were published.
To answer your question; yes, have published my own caches. Most of the time I have another reviewer check it over to make sure I've not missed anything then either I publish it myself or have them do it.

G: What do you do if you have to take a vacation/family emergency/otherwise unavailable for a while?
OR: Usually I just ask one of the other reviewers to look at the queue if I am going to be away. Most of the restricted areas are pretty well marked.
G: How big of an area are you responsible for, and how many cache listings do you get a month?
OR: I review everything east of Latitude W77 in Pennsylvania, all of Delaware and I review in New Jersey.
G: Are you responsible for publishing all cache types?
OR: I publish all regular cache types except EarthCaches.
G: What do you like most about being a geocache reviewer?
OR: I enjoy helping the community getting their caches published, working with my fellow reviewers and promoting/protecting the hobby.
G: What do you like least about being a geocache reviewer?
OR: People who take the hobby too seriously and get upset over minor things. I don't like having to play the bad guy at times disabling caches for problems. I don't like having to say "No."
G: What is the worst experience you have had as a reviewer?
OR: My worst experience was being cursed at and threatened by a cacher because I wouldn't publish their cache. I've also had some...uncomfortable interactions with unhappy cachers at events. It comes with the job; people sometimes have trouble realizing it is just a game.
G: What is the top thing (or things) you wish cache submitters would do more or less of when submitting new caches, and what tips would you give to a new cache hider that would make your job easier?
OR: 1) Spell check your cache page; this is being published for the world to see and will be there forever.
2) Check for proximity yourself (what you can). Clicking the "...all nearby caches" will show you if you are less than 528 feet from another cache.
3) Include a detailed reviewer note about how and where the cache is hidden as well as well as how to solve puzzle or anything else that you think will get your cache published faster. The more you tell, the less back and forth there needs to be.
4) Look at the map of your cache. Does it look right? Do you see anything on it that might make me question your cache?
5) Location, location, location. Just because you can throw a film can in bushes, do those bushes really deserve a cache? What are you trying to show with your cache? Imagine this was your first find, would you continue caching if this was your first find?

G: What, if anything, would you change on geocaching.com or about the reviewing process?
OR: I would prefer to see there be a max number of caches per cache owner; be it by number of finds (sort of like how favorites work) or a strict "X amount of container caches out at a time".
G: How did you come to be a reviewer? Who asked you if you wanted to be a reviewer?
OR: I was asked to join the group by MissPlaced, the eastern PA reviewer at the time.
G: Can anyone become a reviewer? If not, what are the qualifications? (Note: Groundspeak has additional guidance at http://support.groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=278)
OR: I would imagine almost anyone could become a reviewer. The requirements are pretty simple. They are listed at the link above. It mostly comes down to does the area need another (or more) reviewer(s). Our area seems to be doing well; I don't have trouble publishing the caches in a timely matter.
G: Why do you do it? (Reviewing geocaches)
OR: This game gave a lot to me when I started; it got me out of the house, showed me new places, helped me make some good friends and overall, and improved the quality of my life. I wanted to be able to do the same for the game. I started by helping to lead SEPAG (our local geocaching organization) and that evolved into becoming a reviewer. Now, I get to help my local community as well as the greater community (i.e., the areas I review.)
Hopefully, you now know a bunch more about the reviewers and review process that go into this game, and have a higher appreciation for just how much work is involved. Why not take a moment to drop your reviewer a line and say "thanks" for all their hard work. It won’t kill you, I promise!

2 comments:

Kevin Bloodhounded said...

This is excellent! Fantastic interview George! I love this, you just made my weekend. .....

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Great interview. I've always wondered about a lot of this.

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