" Geocaching HQ is in the middle of a comprehensive update to the Help Center, to make it more... well... helpful. "
The above statement was posted in one of the Groundspeak forums on 13 January 2017. It was posted by Keystone, one of the Pennsylvania reviewers, who is also a charter member, an a Moderator on those forums.
It would appear that the process for the "comprehensive update" is not a review and and re-issue, but rather a review and update section by section as you go. What this means for you, as hider, as that although you may think you are familiar with the guidelines, they may have changed since you last looked at them. That can have significant implications.
Unfortunately, Groundspeak does not provide a forum section announcing guideline changes similar to the existing Release Notes section for their software. Currently the only way for you to know things have changed is for you to review them directly, or by hearing about it through third party posts on forums like this post.
Here's a case in point for you:
Article 4.15 provides guidance on editing a cache listing after it has been published. Here are some recent iterations of changes to that article:
Help Center Article 4.15, prior to 11 October 2016:
"You might wish to make minor changes to your geocache page after it has been published. Your geocache must still abide by the Guidelines.
To edit your listing, log in to your Geocaching.com account and display the listing. In the Navigation box in the upper right corner of the geocache page, use the "edit listing" link. That will take you to the original geocache report where you can edit the title, text, hint and geocache size. You can also edit the difficulty and terrain ratings. You may wish to make adjustments after a few finds on a new geocache, or if a geocache container has been replaced."
So, a CO has discretion to adjust D/T ratings
Help Center Article 4.15, after 11 October 2016:
"Major changes can alter the geocaching experience and are discouraged. You must get approval from a volunteer reviewer before you make major changes. Without approval, your cache may be archived.
Major changes include
•Difficulty and terrain rating
•Time, date, or location of your geocaching event"
Now D/T rating changes require reviewer approval....this resulted is some significant discussion on the Groundspeak forums, as you might imagine, which some reviewers (including Keystone) noted and queried Groundspeak about. That query resulted in a new edit:
Same article after 04 FEB 2017 (current as of the date of this post):
"4.15. Edit a listing after publication
"In order for other cachers to have a consistent experience when they find your cache, try to avoid editing your listing after publication.
However, if you need to make small edits after publication select Edit from the Admin Tools menu on your cache page. Your listing must still follow the geocaching guidelines.
Edits can include
Coordinate changes less than 0.1 miles (161 meters)
If edits to your listing change the experience of your geocache fundamentally, it may be appropriate to archive the listing and submit a new cache.
Tip: If you are unsure if your listing will continue to follow the listing guidelines, contact a community volunteer reviewer for advice. If your changes do not follow the listing guidelines, the cache may be archived."
Here's a link to the Groundspeak forum topic, in case you'd like to review it: http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=342694&st=0
It is, for the most part, a decent discussion thread. [url]Here's a link to the Groundspeak forum topic, in case you'd like to review it. It is, for the most part, a decent discussion thread.
The take away here is that Groundspeak changes the rules with no notification to the end users. Not really new news, but you need to review the guidelines with every hide you make, every change you make, or expect that the reviewer may contact you with regard to changes you did not know about.