I think that's a reasonable answer. And looking at the budget, I agree MGS more than certainly can afford them, since it seems from a financial perspective that most of MGS's operating budget is currently structured around the concept to give away free CAM coins (or at least that's how I intrepret the financial statements). I even question my own suggestion because of the discrepancy that while it's a financial burden on MGS to give away free coins, however, if they didn't give them away, what else can MGS do with the money or even the money it could raise by selling coins? Sort of a catch-22 in which case MGS is making money with no way to effectively use it, and I for one don't have an answer to that.
Thinking on it, what we have is the age old question of "What does it mean to successfully complete CAM" which is not a clearly answered question and gets us into some murky territory.
What I struggle with is the idea that those who may be of the opinion they have completed CAM, but aren't able to attend the picnic are shut out of the opportunity to purchase the coin because of an early sell out at the picnic, that is, none are held for them for a later date. I suppose that could be handled by the officers behind the scenes, but there is no guarantee offered that people who found the 10 caches, but unable to attend the picnic have the option to even purchase them at a later date at all. Maybe that's where the rub is for me - which brings up the point:
Also, only handing free coins out at the picnic, is a little validation that the receivers have actually found all 10 CAM caches of the year
I'd might modify this sentence to read "is a little validation that the receivers have actually found all 11 CAM caches of the year" - and that makes sense and perhaps it makes sense to say 10+EVENT or 11 in future communications and it becomes explicitly clear what is meant by completing CAM. I think most people, including myself, have been led to believe that completing CAM is defined as finding the 10 caches and not the 10+1 model.
Why do people think that: It's how the number 10 occures repitiously in the FAQ, and the concept to reinforce that CAM IS THE PICNIC
is outweighed by how many times the number 10 is mentioned. What I read and walk away from the FAQ is the following emphasis:
What is CAM?
CAM (Cache Across Maryland) is an annual event hosted by the Maryland Geocaching Society. 10 members are chosen by the MGS CAM Committee to place a total of 10 CAM caches in various locations all over Maryland. Your mission is to find all 10 of those caches and have a wonderful time travelling around this fine State. If you find all 10 and gather the special code from each one, the location of the annual CAM celebratory picnic will be revealed and you're invited to attend.
Maybe then the whole issue I raise is moot and is more of a communications issue. If CAM is defined as 10 caches, then those unable to attend the picnic have earned and should have fair access to the coin. If CAM is defined 10+1, then they have not earned access to the coin, and should be lucky at all to get the scraps. I'm okay with that, but the communications and FAQs should be updated to emphasize the 10+1 model.
I think where things stand currently is more of a three state result:
Group 1: Not completed (can purchase coin)
Group 2: Finished 10 (Can claim CAM as completed and earn certificate; can purchase coin but not guranteed that option above anyone else including Group 1)
Group 3: Finished 10+1 (Can claim CAM as completed and earn certificate; earned free (and guranteed? access to) coin).
The trouble is many people in Group 2 are considered CAM complete by the way it is currently interpreted
, but perhaps actually aren't in terms of the reward system (or only partially so). So fundamentally, does MGS consider those in Group 2 have earned any reward above and beyond those in Group 1 other than a certificate of completion? Currently, the answer is no.
I can dig that, but I'll play devil's advocate by saying there's very little incentive to be a member of Group 2 by the time the CAM picnic comes around. Might as well find the 10 caches at your own leisure, including after the CAM picnic when they have published.
Quoting from the FAQ
Is there any sort of reward for finishing?
Of course! You'll get to see a bunch of Maryland, meet people on the trails and at the picnic, and generally have a REWARDING time! If you mean something physical, very often (but not always) there is a reward such as a geocoin, Pathtag, or other such thing presented at the picnic to those that complete CAM. And you get a Certificate of Completion because if you finish you definitely deserve recognition! If there are any special reward items, they are strictly limited to one per geocaching.com account.
What is stated here is that the reward is presented at the picnic, but does not clearly state attendance is required to earn this reward. It also does not clearly indicate that completing CAM for this purpose is in line with the 10+1 interpretation.
May I suggest then the FAQ be updated to be clear as to what does it mean to "complete" or "finish" CAM. Is it 10 CAM caches or 10+1 CAM Caches, because the FAQ does not address this, and my interpretation of the FAQ is that the picnic itself (and by extension, all things included in it) are prizes for finding just the 10 caches. The FAQ should make clear and be consistent with current implementation, that the access to rewards is only available at the event. The FAQ should emphasize that CAM is AN EVENT and to complete CAM means attending the event by fulfilling the requirements.Now having said this, what do others think, particularly if you believe you would be a member of Group 2 - does this match your own expectation, and if not, does anyone think there be a change in policy to give some incentives to those who might fall into Group 2?
If the officers want to continue with this approach, then those are the rules, but the public communication is not very effective. The answer really only exists in this topic. (and similar ones from years past).
Once again, I stress, that I personally have every intention of attending the picnic so consider myself in Group 3, so I'm not whining... I'm just asking what's fair here for Group 2, because let's face it - time conflicts routinely happen when it comes down to a few hours in a single day and thinking ahead there are times where someone may at the last minute not be able to attend the picnic for whatever reasons arise.
I'll pause but will identify one last can of worms that if things are going to get cleaned up, another look should be directed at this one too:
If there are any special reward items, they are strictly limited to one per geocaching.com account.
There's a serious balance issue with this restriction. Just keep in mind that there exists a potential of one to many relationship of individuals to geocaching.com accounts, and some families maintain a many to one relationship for convenience. This hurts the latter, and opens the former to abuse the system. I think it's okay and fair to restrict rewards to one per individual person, even if it subjects MGS to higher costs (and hence nominal charges for coins) due to the liklihood of the latter more likely than the former. Just my two cents because although the current restriction makes it easier to administrate, it doesn't make it the right thing to do. (And yes I acknowledge that people can set up additional accounts to make it one to one; but it sort of feels like a step into being silly to force people to have separate accounts to log 11 caches a year and those people might feel called out for "faking accounts" just to get a free reward - why would we want to force that upon our friends?!??!). There's a lot of deep considerations that go into this and other ways to slice and dice it. Of course it's convenient I suppose for the officers to say leave it be and live with the annual angst that occurs in some circles over this topic.