(German translation – Deutsch Übersetzung)
Volunteer reviewers power Geocaching.com by reviewing and publishing each geocache. They. Work. Hard. As a geocacher you can now choose your own adventure from more than 1.2 million geocaches hidden around the world. Each geocache offers you a custom-made journey to explore your world, and each geocache has the fingerprints of a volunteer reviewer on it.
The volunteer review team is made up of more than 200 reviewers, from Canada to Japan and the United Kingdom to South Africa. These men and women published more than a 250,000 geocaches last year alone.
Volunteer reviewers like Andy Kramer (stash-lab) review geocache listings submitted to Geocaching.com to promote the consistency and safety of the activity. Geocaching.com Volunteer Reviewers are first and foremost geocachers who were involved in their local geocaching communities long before becoming Volunteer Reviewers.
We interviewed stash-lab, a German Volunteer Reviewer, to find out what the experience is like for those who hit the “publish” button on geocaches.
Latitude 47: How did you learn about geocaching? When did you start the activity?
stash-lab: I was looking for a GPS device for car navigation. While browsing I found the Geocaching.com website. When I was a child I loved games like “Fox hunts” or “Hare and Hounds” [Paper Chase] with team tasks. When I realized what Geocaching is I was very excited and I knew that I found my new hobby! This was in September of 2004 but I needed some time until I got my GPS device and found my first geocache.
Latitude 47: When did you become a Reviewer?
stash-lab: I was asked in 2007 to become a reviewer. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t exactly know what to do as a reviewer and so I had to think a few days about this offer. But at last I felt it was time to support the game in an additional way. It was a good decision!
Latitude 47: When people ask, how do you explain the role of a Volunteer Reviewer?
stash-lab: There are many different ideas in the community about the role of a reviewer. But I only can explain my understanding of this role. Besides publishing caches there are three important things to do: understand the requests of cache owners, offer solutions, and be kind and helpful to the cache owners.
Latitude 47: What do you hope people know about Volunteer Reviewers?
stash-lab: Reviewers are humans, reviewers are individuals, reviewers are not infallible. The majority of geocachers are very respectful to volunteers. Thanks for that!
Latitude 47: Did you ever encounter anything funny or unexpected in your role as a Reviewer?
stash-lab: Yes, of course. I’d like to tell you two points. First: Sometimes there are reviewer notes like: “Please let me know when you will come to check the cache container. I’ll try to be there, too.” I like to travel a lot but unfortunately it’s not possible for me to visit every cache before I publish it.
And second: When I was visiting the GeoWoodstock VIII last year I met so many reviewer colleagues and it was like being welcomed at a big family event. That was really awesome.
Latitude 47: What advice do you have for geocachers who submit caches for review?
stash-lab: Use the reviewer notes to submit relevant pieces of information. They help us to review the listing in a more timely manner. I like caches where the cache owners implement new ideas. So it is helpful for a reviewer to have some explanations about the concept. We don’t need to know the solutions for puzzle caches but it’s good to know, for example, that there is a way to get coordinates.
Latitude 47: Anything else you would like to add?
stash-lab: Geocaching has became a very important part in so many peoples lives. It is impressive how dynamically it has grown over just the last two years, especially in Germany. But geocaching is a very young activity and sometimes I think about what geocaching will be like in 5 or 10 years. I don’t know what kind of technology the future will bring. I am sure that the fun of playing this game will always remain because geocaching satisfies three important human needs: nature, playing and social relations. That’s great and I’m proud to be a part of that game.