Groundspeak would like to clarify for the German community what we mean with the following two guidelines: the virtual starting location to a multi-stage or puzzle cache, and the proximity to a railroad. In both cases, you may notice a change from your reviewers on these points starting today.
Our previous guidance to the reviewers on these subjects has not always been completely clear, for which we apologize to them and to the wider geocaching community.
1 - Virtual Stage 1 of a Multi or Puzzle Cache
Groundspeak's guidelines are a little vague when it comes to certain aspects of cache saturation in Multi or Puzzle caches. We would like to clarify that a virtual waypoint is a virtual waypoint even when it is the first stage of a multi-cache. In other words, the saturation guideline of 0.1 miles/161 meters may not apply to the coordinates listed at the top of the page.
For example, if the listed coordinates at the top of the page (Stage 1, essentially) point to a statue and a there is a "question to be answered" there, then it can be exempted from the saturation guideline.
Note, however, that the reviewers are allowed to exercise their good judgment as they review each cache. For example, it maybe unwise to have 150 geocaches all starting from the same statue.
2 - Proximity to a Railroad
The current published guidelines say
First, let's start with some history: Groundspeak originally added this guideline when we found out that in the USA, it is against federal law to place an object like a geocache on or near an active railroad. Railroad property includes the actual rails, typically 150 ft (46 m) on each side (called "the right of way"), the crossings and the stations. Publishing a geocache in those areas would cause people to break the law by trespassing.
Second, geocaching expanded to include a large international audience. Since the laws are not the same in every country, we added these statements to the guideline: "your local area's trespassing laws may be different. All local laws apply." We know, of course, that "cache seekers assume all risks involved in seeking a cache." This is in the disclaimer for each cache page. That said, we do not want to inadvertently lead geocachers into illegal activities. The guidelines regarding cache placement are concerned with the legality of our game.
Third, let's move on to today: In order to accommodate local differences, the local reviewers may exercise some flexibility to make decisions that are appropriate for this community. Again, "your local area's trespassing laws may be different." I am fairly sure that you cannot legally place anything directly on the railroad tracks in Germany, for example.
If your local area's laws are less strict than the 46 m law in the United States, the reviewers may allow publication of a geocache in accordance with those rules. If an area is specifically designed for use by the public, such as a sidewalk or a park, a geocache may be published there.
If one of your older caches was denied for being much too close to a railroad, and you feel that it should be re-visited today, you can create a new cache page and submit it to the queue. At times a cache may meet the listing guidelines for the site but the reviewers, as experienced cachers, may see additional concerns that you as a cache placer may not have noticed. These concerns may include an obvious safety issue, or a situation where permission cannot be assumed.
The reviewer team
We have recently increased the number of members of the team in Germany in response to the increased demands. Each of our reviewers tries to be a good steward of this game, and Groundspeak is greatly indebted to each of these individuals.
Cache review is demanding work: it has been likened to birthing a child. Sometimes, you get lucky and it's an easy delivery. More often than not, it's a long labor of love. Every reviewer wants to publish caches; if yours can't be published, it will very, very likely be for a good reason. We ask that you continue to respect their publication decisions in this light.
I sincerely thank the German reviewers who are all dedicated to fulfilling the duties of this demanding job for the benefit of the community and the game itself.
We hope that these clarifications make sense to you. Thank you for your continued support of geocaching and all of your feedback.