I know not everyone is a fan of challenges, but I really don't understand this announcement. I have to think it stems from complaints from the select few geocachers that hate them. This is a mentality I've never understood. I'm not a fan of multi-caches, but I don't think we should do away with them. For those that complain there are ones close to home they don't qualify for, well, that's just the way it goes. I don't worry about the ones I don't qualify for. GC31HNC is 23 miles from home, in an area I frequently cache. Odds are good I'll never qualify in my lifetime, but I'm not going to lose any sleep at night over never finding it. That's a part of the game. If there is a cache you don't like, or cannot do for any number of reasons (special equipment, physical limitations, etc), then just move on.
I've personally always loved challenges because they gave me additional goals in geocaching. They also got me to do caches I might not have otherwise done. I've been working on GC47J91 for two years now. I'm now just under 150 away from achieving that goal. Ask anyone that knows me, and you'll find out that's outside my comfort zone! GC43JTY had me stopping in places I wouldn't have seen otherwise in my quest to qualify for it. That cache is actually one of the most rewarding challenges I've ever completed. My point is, these gave me some new experiences in geocaching I might not have gotten otherwise.
I admit there is the occasional convoluted and strange challenge out there. However, in my experience in finding well over 100 challenges across multiple states, these are in the minority. The vast majority of the challenges I have done have required very little homework to figure out if one qualified or not. The same goes for the challenge caches I have hidden, most of them require only a quick glance at your stats page.
I cannot speak for how much trouble reviewers actually have with people submitting challenge caches, but I can say, in my numerous discussions with many different reviewers over the years, I cannot recall a one saying they are the absolute bane of their reviewing existence. I always heard more about clueless newbies, illegal placements and saturation issues.
Whether you like challenges or not, I have a greater concern. That they intend to do away with challenges completely and grandfather all the existing challenges out there.
Why do I think they'll do that? Firstly, because it seems unnecessary to stop the flow of new caches while they make up a new framework of rules. Make up these new rules and announce them when appropriate. That's what they did the last time they changed them.
There's also the fact that Groundspeak, unfortunately, has a history of simply doing away with things that cause them any sort of a headache. They did it with virtuals. They did it with additional logging requirements. (For the record, I like the elimination of silly ALRs that had nothing to do with caching) They completely wiped out the existence of the strange "pseudo-challenges", even after many racked up hundreds of the things.
I love the creativity and the additional fun side games challenges bring to the table. I don't want challenges to go the way of the virtual cache. Please don't kill the challenge cache Groundspeak.