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Reviewing caches and translations

Audience of this document

Primarily this document was written for reviewers. The purpose is for example to clarify what the reviewers do not need to care about. Reviewing is probably easier and faster than what you might think without reading this.

Users who make translations should read the chapter 'Principles of reviewing translations' as it describes what kind of translations we expect to have in motocaching (It's something that is a lot easier than what we normally think about translating texts).

If you only make caches but don't make reviews, you will probably still find this useful.

Introduction

New caches and translations are reviewed before they are published and shown to other users.

The review process has been set up to help users to make good caches. Maintaining reasonably high cache quality makes finding and visiting new places easy and fun for everyone.

Reviews are done by other motocachers. Usually more than one review (=reviewer) is required to publish a cache or a translation (or to require changes). If the text is written in a language that only a few users have selected in their profile, then only one reviewer is required. This makes it possible to get motocaching started with a new language.

The next two chapters address caches and translations separately. After that, only caches may be mentioned but everything applies to translations too (unless mentioned otherwise).

Principles of reviewing caches

Generally speaking one could say that all caches are approved unless they do not comply with the rules or terms of use.

Please remember that the rules have some requirements for the cache description and the control question.          

The review is limited to things that are possible to check by just looking at the information in the cache details. For example; the cache is not an advertisement or that it's not too close to another cache.

The reviewer doesn't usually know the cache location. Therefore he or she will probably not assess whether the information is accurate or if for example it is safe to ride to the suggested location. But that's not a too big issue because find logs tend to mention it if there is something that others should know too.

Principles of reviewing translations

It is not required that the translation is an actual exact text translation of the original cache text. Of course that would be good but it's not required. We think that it's more important to get reasonably good cache texts so that a visitor from another country can figure out what kind of place it is.

A translation is selected for a reviewer only based on the language of the translation (i.e. if the user has selected the language of the translation in his or her user profile). It's quite common that the reviewer will not understand the original cache description. We don't expect the reviewer to translate it either. Therefore the translation should be reviewed in the same manner as original cache texts. For example: Is it written according to the rules, does it describe what kind of place/road it is, is the control question possible to answer etc.

It can be said that the author of the translation has a lot of freedom when writing the text as far as it's according to the rules. The rules for caches apply also to translations and there is actually only one specific requirement for the translation that is related to the original text: The translation length should be at least half of the length of the original text.

It's also good to remember that the author of the translation is often the owner of the cache who is adding a shorter version of the text for visitors form other countries (and he or she is using a foreign language to do that).

In many cases a "modest" translation is better than no translation at all. If we wanted "real reviews for real translations" it would also mean that the reviewer should know both languages and we would probably end up with very few translations.

Things to remember while reviewing

We should be quite strict about the rules. Caches that break the rules are bad examples and they cause extra work for the administrator. If you think that there is something that should be accepted but it's against the rules, please suggest changes in the rules (but don't accept it in the review). Or if you think that something should be required, suggest adding it to the rules.

Otherwise (except the rules) we shouldn't be very demanding. The caches or translations don't need to be perfect. It's usually enough if there is enough information to tell what kind of place or route it is, ride there and log a find.

If you suggest an improvement, please be very polite and help the author of the cache (instead of being a critic). It's important to keep in mind that if the cache or translation complies with the rules, the author has actually done all that is required. Everything else is "extra" that can't be "demanded". Unfortunately, quite many people "quit the game" if they get negative feedback. The cache stays archived and the user may not even return to the site anymore (we know this from experience). Cache authors are definitely people that we don't want to drive away from motocaching.

Here are some examples:

Not like this: Typo in the name of the cache.
But something like this: I noticed that the name of the cache says "Casle". I wonder if it should be "Castle"? Just suggesting... A great cache by the way!

Not like this: The street address is wrong!
Not quite like this either: Fix the address.
But like this: I found a name for the street. I think that "Curvy Road 12 (road nr 9987)" would be good. Hope this helps.

Not like this: Opening hours are missing.
Not quite like this either: You should add the opening hours.
But like this: The coffee shop has a page with opening hours: www.somesite.com/contact. It would be great if you could add that link.

If you are not able to help because you are in a hurry (or for some other reason), just accept the cache as is. Disturbing mistakes will probably be fixed later anyway. For example someone may add the missing information in a find log.

Reviewing

Reviewer can choose one of these tree options:

1) Accept without changes

In practice this means that the review has nothing to say about the cache.

2) Accept, with suggestion for improvement

The cache is OK according to the rules as well as terms of use but the review wants to suggest something that the author of the cache should consider.

The suggestion for improvement is written as a text comment.

Examples of this kind of cases:
- the reviewer noticed something misleading in the description
- there is a typing mistake in the street name making it a bit difficult to find
- suggestion to add a link to the home page of the coffee shop

3) Needs changes

The reviewer thinks that there is something that violates motocaching rules or terms of use.

Please note that rules and terms are different form the instructions for making caches - the instructions have a lot of tips to make good caches but it's by no means mandatory to do everything that is written in the instructions.

Most common reasons for requiring a changes are:
- the condition logging the find includes buying a product (e.g. food)
- the cache has difficulty 3 selected and a control question that may be impossible to answer (writing the exactly same text)
- the cache picture is clearly copied from Streetview or somewhere else (e.g. it has copyright watermarks)
- the description is so short that it doesn't actually tell anything about the place (e.g. just two words like "big rock")

In this case the reviewer must select the reason for requiring changes from the list of rules or terms and conditions.

The reviewer can also write a suggestion how to fix the cache or translation but that is optional.

We hope that this helps to unify the reasons for requiring changes and make the communication easier. We don't want to make the reviewers to write the argumentation. It would be surprisingly difficult and inconvenient for many reviewers.

Review results

Depending on the language of the cache or translation is reviewed may be reviewed by several users. (For details click the link 'List of all languages and related review limits' on 'Your own caches' or 'Review' page).

The result is one of the following

1) Cache is published

The cache is published automatically if all reviewers accept it without suggestions for improvement.

2) Cache is approved but archived

If both of the conditions below are true, the cache is approved but archived:
- there were enough 'Accept' reviews (with or without a suggestion for improvement)
- there was at least one review with 'Accept but suggest for improvement' or 'Needs changes'

The cache is approved and the owner of the cache can publish it whenever he or she wants without further reviews.

It is archived only because there was some feedback from the review and we want to give the cache owner an opportunity to make changes before the cache is shown to other users. At this point it's up to the cache owner to decide if he or she wants to change anything.

To publish the approved cache: Push the 'Preview...' button on the cache edit page and then push 'Publish' button.

3) Cache is archived (without approval)

If there are enough reviewers that selected the 'Needs changes' option and a rule as the reason, then the cache is archived but not approved.

The cache owner can make the necessary changes and send the cache for review again just like on the first time (cache edit, '...Preview...', 'Ready for review...').

If you are not satisfied with the review results, it's probably not a good idea to send private messages to the reviewers and/or the administrator. You can of course send a private message if you want to ask about a comment that you didn't understand.

Usually it's much better to write about it on the motocaching forum so that we all can learn from it. See chapter 'Developing the community review system' below.

Who can review caches?

Anyone who has the cache or translation language selected in the user profile and has earned enough "points", can make reviews.

You can find a link to current point limits for each language on 'Your own caches' page. Look for the link 'List of all languages and related review limits').

Choosing a cache to review

The reviewer can't choose which caches or translations to review. The system chooses the items based on this criteria:
- the language of item to be reviewed is selected in the users profile
- the reviewer has not yet reviewed the item
- the item is one of the items that has been in the queue for the longest time

When a review is started it should be completed. There is more information on this on the review start page.

The purpose of these features is to ensure that all caches and translations get reviewed and the "difficult" ones are not skipped.

Developing the community review system

It's obvious that this kind of system requires constant improvements.

Examples of things that we expect to improve based on experience:
- general knowledge about the review practices among motocachers
- rules that are the reasons for requiring changes
- the point limits and number of required reviewers per cache or translation
- ways to motivate reviewers
- instructions
- the site software

In order to improve all these, it's very important to discuss the issues on motocaching forum. Note that the amount of discussion about some issue also indicates whether the issue is "serious" or if it affects many users.

Even if the discussions on the forum may not be very active, we should keep in mind that quite many people read the forum posts and it's a very effective way to share information among motocachers.