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Interview With Marko Ramius: The Reviewer (part 2) March 31, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Philosophy, Reviews.
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The Setup

In the first article on Re-Introducing the 3rd Player: The Reviewer I just covered a few basics. This time around I have a bona-fide Reviewer who was kind enough to indulge me a few questions on your behalf. So here you have it, 20 questions with your local reviewer, Marko Ramius.

Well, local if you’re in San Diego/Orange County. πŸ˜‰

The Questions

Marko, thanks for agreeing to participate here, the folks should get a kick out of it. The general populace only sees your name at the top/bottom of a cache log under “Marko Ramius, Published”. The first question on their mind is “Who is Marko Ramius?”

Former Admiral in the Russian navy, born in Lithuania, demoted to Captain to take the helm of the Red October, defected with said submarine to prevent WWIII…

Um, right. Got it. How did you discover Geocaching and how long have you been a member? It doesn’t seem to be a natural calling for a sub captain.

A friend of mine stumbled across a cache in the desert and told me about it. Been a member since 2002.

So then how long have you been a reviewer and how did you get into the reviewer role?

I was recruited in February of 2006 to assist, then replace, the existing reviewers for SoCal.

I noticed you have 0 finds listed (I do my homework). That doesn’t seem like someone who has the experience to review Geocaches. Do you Geocache under a different name?

Yes, I have many thousand finds under my player account.

Really? I’ve probably seen you around then. Which player account?

I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you. I’m pretty handy at the latter…

Yes, I imagine you are. Have you hidden any of your own caches?

Yes, I have hidden upwards of 150 caches…

I won’t ask whether that creates a reviewer vortex or anything, but I am interested in the kinds of things you need to address in the course of your reviewer work. How does your work schedule break down for what you have to deal with on a daily basis? I mean on average; I assume some days are more challenging than others.

New cache listings – about 10-15 per day; archives and purges – about 5 per day; dispute resolutions – 5-10/week; basic caching education for the new folks – couple times per month.

That seems like a fair bit of work. How much time do you have to devote to cache reviewing per week?

70-85 hours/week — It’s a full time job (;-)) Actually, probably 1-2 hours/day.

Have you ever had to ban someone?

Nope

Sure you don’t want to reconsider the last one? I have a few suggestions. πŸ˜‰ Now my experience has been pretty good with turnaround time for new cache listings, usually just a day or two, but how long does it normally take you to work through a listing, request updates and finally release the listing to the community?

It all depends. Some listings are posted after 20-second review, some take a much longer time to work through all the issues. Most time consuming are series caches that someone has not spent much time thinking through and have all kinds of proximity issues.

What are the most common issues with cache submissions?

Proximity, no home coordinates (for newbies), vacation listings (over 100 miles from home coordinates)

What’s the worst kind of issue with cache submissions? I mean what is the one type of problem that consumes the most time for you and creates the most friction?

Proximity issues and “agenda” or commercial caches

Now the proximity thing is usually good for those “just for the numbers” Geocachers but I’ve seen some of what you speak concerning the latter. So if you’ve submitted your own caches, what’s the most annoying or painful part of the process to you?

Getting the HTML to work correctly

And here I thought it would be getting the reviewer to understand just how cool your “hide in a bomb zone” really is. πŸ˜‰ Do you have a favorite cache, series or hider you would share with the community? I figure you must- I mean, you see them all.

The Hunt for Red October, of course, you dope!! Seriously, though, I love the Challenge caches like the Big Bear Black Diamond 4×4 Challenge, the Joker series, SD County Historic Caches, the 101 Dalmatians, the Fizzy Challenge.

If you could give a new Geocacher one piece of advice, what would it be?

Find a new hobby before you get obsessed like me!!! Seriously, though, READ THE GUIDELINES!!!

I tell interested muggles that first part all the time. Okay then, if you could tell every cache hider one thing over and over to improve their hides, what would it be?

READ THE GUIDELINES!!

I sense a trend here. Let’s change gears. As a player/seeker, what’s the most difficult cache you’ve ever logged a smiley on?

Choreographed Chaos, and I only did the puzzle part. There’s a whole series of physical challenges that I wasn’t able to do because of distance.

Wait a minute, I thought a sub captain could go anywhere in the world. Hmmm…What’s the absolute worst cache you’ve ever seen?

Forgot about it instantly…

A little evasive, aren’t we? Well, that’s the life of a submariner I suppose. Have you noticed any trends in caching worth mentioning over the past few years?

Caching for the numbers, which results in crappy urban micros being the most popular form of cache.

I am sure I’ve contributed my lot to the crappy bits, so my apologies, but how about some final words on the game, perhaps?

This sport was created to get people outdoors and on the trails. There’s something for everyone in the sport, so I don’t criticize any cache that meets the Guidelines, but I’d sure like to see more emphasis on placing caches in beautiful outdoor locations, as opposed to the crappy urban micros that we have to pinch our noses as we hit the publish button…

Thanks for not holding back, and thanks a LOT for suffering the intrusion. Folks- if you’re in the area and submitting a cache Marko is likely to review, do a little re-read here. And maybe a little vodka wouldn’t hurt.

Happy Caching!

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