The website showcaves.com is a guide to underground tourist attractions. The idea is to provide as much information as possible to individual tourists when travelling through a foreign land. This includes hard facts, like open hours, fee, address, a short history, and a short review called description. It is a private website without any commercial interests, we are not the owner of any of the described attractions, and we do not earn money with this website despite some ads to pay the isp. This has two implications:
The reviews are intended to be as neutral as possible. We use the existing sources and try to describe as good as possible, concentrating on the facts. If we visit the site and have an oppinion, we write it on a second page and make clear that it is an oppinion.
We thought this concept was easy to understand when reading our website, but in the last year we often received emails and complaints from people who obviously did not get it. So we decided to explain how the pages are created and where the infos are gathered. This might explain why this website is as it is.
There are countless publications on caves, cave areas, show caves, tourism, and so forth, including websites. We do not own all, but we collect them and have a small library. We try to extract cave descriptions, location, and in the case of brochures open hours, fees and directions. To avoid copyright problems we never copy existing text, but collect the data, the facts in the sources, and then write our own summary.
The drawbacks of this strategy are obvious: literature takes time to be published and so hard facts are often outdated, and websites are often of rather poor quality and thus incorrect. This is not a scientific publication, so we do not add references for anything we write, but we give literature and links we used.
Several people involved with this site like to travel, and when visiting a foreign country, try to visit some caves and mines. The material is converted into pages, the dates and fees on location are copied or photographed, and we add pictures to the pages.
When we visit attractions we go unannounced and we do not identify ourselves. Not to identify ourselfes is important to get a valid impression from the view of the normal visitor. The resulting pages are first hand information, but again there are some nasty drawbacks. Those visits give only a single random sample, we may either get a guide who is poorly instructed, a seasonal employee or demotivated, or we might get an enthusiastic guide. We stood in front of closed doors, despite the sign telling the cave was open, and we were annoyed by mad BGFHs (Bastard Guide From Hell). And even the open hours and fees may be inaccurate, as many attractions give only the daily values, not how it changes over the year.
And just if you wonder: all of us pay our journey, our cave ticket, and the tip for the guide from our own pocket. There is no funding, no sponsoring, no bribing, and no money earned.
We get emails and letters, complaints, hints, and updates. We receive sermons from kibitzers and professional cave discriptions (unfortunately those are really rare).
We try to add anything, but it is hard as some info is inconsitent. So we have to find the most plausible interpretation or write down the alternatives and allow the reader to decide. If we get good descriptions we copy them word by word and credit the author, as long as he adds his clear allowance to do so. So if you want to add a description, send it, and tell us clearly that you allow us to publish it!
If it is informative and neutral, we will add it immediately, but if it is just a description of your personal feelings or oppinions, if it is wrong or lacks usefull information, it will be kicked. And be aware that we will do our best to crosscheck your submission with other sources.
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