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To Replace or Not to Replace ...

posted Aug 19, 2013, 1:31 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Aug 19, 2013, 7:49 PM ]

BarbJ/Tygress (
Barb - It's too hot to go barking mad - Tygress

Folks have different approaches within the freedom of the game of geocaching. And feel pretty strongly with really good reason about them. All ways.
TattooBarbie has said it's ok to replace her South Austin EASY caches in kind if you're sure they're not there. Other cachers also give permission (especially for remote caches where it's 50 miles to replace a film can zipped to a fence) -- but CHECK THE CACHE PAGE. Or, if you know the owner, call and ask. [We've been known to employ email from the field -- don't you love technology?!?] But NEVER *assume*!
Yes, I have replaced caches WITH PERMISSION. Or if I find the mangled remains (those vertical mowers are BEASTS). [And ALWAYS fess up in the log.]  But I have also seen where people replaced caches with the original still there -- the funniest was 2 pill bottles zipped 8 inches apart. The sad are when a really elegant hide gets trumped by someone's lame substitute because they figured they were doing a 'favor' (or couldn't bear a blue frowny). Or the next person who comes along and finds the substitute gets their hindquarters chewed royal and log deleted by the angry cache owner. It happened to me -- how was *I* to know the cache I found wasn't the cache? But MINE, coming along innocently the next day, were the ears boxed. Thanks for setting me up, Impatient Cacher before me.
I don't care how experienced you are, JUST BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T FIND IT DOES *NOT* MEAN IT WAS NOT THERE TO FIND. Even our remarkable HiDude_98 posts DNFs (and employs phone-a-friends) -- near as I can tell, we're all mortal. Heck. I'll still whiff an obvious one. And you've seen my count. [Especially those black key holders -- I *SUCK* at those. And I think I'm going to give up searching Cabooses entirely.]
DNFs are NOT the end of the world -- everybody sings the blues sometimes, consider logging sad a challenge -- and useful information. [And, in this August madness, it's not like Austin is short of caches. Well, at least not for some of us.] I know BigGuy will award a smilie to the first DNF if she's convinced the cache is actually missing, because she's grateful for the information.
Tougher hides will not always respond to a DNF -- I have a tough one that gets 1 DNF in 3 hunts. So I'll wait for a string of no finds before checking. Because I *expect* people to have trouble. Yes, perhaps I'm mean bordering on evil, but the difficulty stars are there for a reason.
So. There's your rule of thumb. And, while you may not agree, a little thanks is due Toni for attempting to be gracious; especially if her caches are having problems. [It's summer and little bored muggles are out in force, folks!  And don't MOVE a cache, either. You got a better way to hide a cache? Go find your own spot and do it. Don't 'improve' my hide -- even if you ARE right in your brilliance -- it makes owner maintenance a PITA. And I don't get to claim finds on my own now 3-star diff cache....
On the other hand, most of us are VERY grateful if a full or damaged log gets replaced. Note it on the cache page -- the owner may or may not want their paper mache or filled up scratch paper back.
So that's my dollar fifty on the matter.  Can we shake hands and call our points made, if not aggreed?

from John/thenkengrene

I'd like to add to this thread. Another good thing for new cachers to do is DNF...like said before. DNF is better than a "Needs Maintenance" just because you couldn't find it. I've had that before. I've seen "Needs Archived" just because it wasn't found. It should have been a DNF. Also, if you truly didn't attempt to look for it...don't mark it "DNF". You can write a note, but not a DNF. I noticed that today too!

I recently saw a DNF on one of my caches and checked on it...it wasn't there. I maintained it. Nothing personal, but if I see someone with 30 finds that marks it DNF...that is part of learning how to hunt. I will probably not go check on that one.

But, most importantly...enjoy the game! It's FUN!

from BarbJ = *PLAY* on = Tygress

The ET Highway and like power runs are special cache cases, and the replacement/swap down the line is recommended by the CACHE OWNERS. Right there on the cace page (or in prep materials). That said, on the associated (same area) ABC run, in more than one spot we found multiple caches. Though, to be fair to those who came later, those hides were film cans chucked in chamisa bushes, not nice little URPs that squirrels and cattle like to raid. ["Film cans.... yummy."]
HOWEVER, and here is to my point, there are caches in the areas of Power Runs that are treated as if they are part of the series and they are clearly NOT. Their pages say SPECIFICALLY not to swap containers/logs, etc. But people blow them off. Some because they're only looking at GC#s/Names and not the cache page, some because they don't care. They also drive routes that they are specifically and adamantly told to walk. That's ill-considered caching, and the sort of thing that gets us banned.
As finders we all have over eager moments. And I've made that lecture before.
Every cacher is different; every hider is different.... and while we know how we got to OUR count, it's ill-conceived (not to mention fruitless) to worry about others'.
A modicum of tolerance, and, more, compassion -- which is to put yourself in the other cachers' shoes, or the local muggles, for that matter -- goes the long way. [And we're GOOD at the long way.]
You don't have to agree to let folks have their play -- we're ALL judgemental.
BUT, while the CO isn't God, the CO is the final arbiter on their cache -- sensible to you or not.
So, again, I say to newcomers and everyone: know your CO. Just because one allows something (like replacing) doesn't mean another will.
When in doubt, DNF -- and believe me, I hate those blue frowns as much as the next person. They represent MORE work -- takes me a LOT longer NOT to find something, and I still give good log -- not to mention the possibility of a total oops/geosense fart, and, come on, the ego wants to be a super hero.
Be nice. Nice is good.

GC Documents my Life

posted Feb 20, 2013, 6:05 PM by Greg Jewett

by Julie, 
Mrs. Captain Picard

For the last 10 years of my life, I have this wonderful photo gallery of all my adventures and friendships.  It's called geocaching.com.  It's not just all the photos I've posted on my own gallery, but everyone else's, too.

Just today, I went back and found the very first photo of Footnotes coach and I together.   ......but it was before we met!  There was a flash mob in front of the Alamo in May of 2007, and we were able to go through the gallery of 76 photos and find several of us in the same shot......except that I don't believe we ever actually met or spoke to each other at the time. (Missed my chance, there, huh!)  That was 9 months before we met for real in February of 2008, made our first date on August 1, 2009, and got married on May 8, 2010.

These photos are precious to me!  Thanks you so much to everyone who took photos and posted them.  I know sometimes it's a pain to load photos into GC.com, but once you do, the photos and the logs become the story of our lives.  So upload, upload, UPLOAD because you never know what special moments you are capturing.

Hiding Quality Caches - A lost art?

posted Sep 29, 2012, 3:50 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Sep 29, 2012, 3:50 PM ]

mda_taz (Matthew)
I heard about this website http://www.progeocaching.com/ (on the Podcacher.com show #334) that has surveyed cachers thought about the quality of geocache hide getting less interesting.

I seem to agree in part that there are to many cache hides with no personal touch or creativity.  Why does it seem to be a lost art of hiding creative hides?

Jay - BingOGT
Personally, I think that it is not so much a lost art as it is a not yet found art. It is much harder to hide a quality geocache than it is to hide a lame one, one that is just like dozens of others that you and everyone else has already seen. As the number of geocachers increases, the number of geocachers wanting to contribute to the game increases thus the number of geocachers who actually hide a cache increases. While some people are just naturally creative, the rest of us have to learn to think creatively, which takes work, so unless we are very motivated we just tend to follow the crowd, imitating what we have already seen. As Hi_Dude98 pointed out to me once when we were discussing LPCs, the more a hide is imitated the lamer it gets. When I started geocaching I intentionally chose for quite a while to look mostly for caches rated 2/2 or lower, so I came across a great many caches that were on the low end of the creativity spectrum. Personally, although I had the urge to start hiding when I had found about 100 caches, I resisted the urge until I had found nearly 400 caches. I know that during that time that it took me to reach nearly 400 caches my attitude about what was a good hide and what was not changed, as a result I crossed off my list several places that, as a novice geocacher, I had thought would be good places to hide a cache. I also know that it made me think about the possibility of hiding a cache more creatively. I know that it made me consider that a cache should have a reward for finding it in addition to the smiley and the bump in the find count, for example a beautiful view or a challenge to overcome. Hopefully it improved the quality of the few caches I have hidden. Although I think it did, the community will have to be the judge of that.
Another reason that quality may be decreasing is that people get lazy after they see how much effort hiding a quality cache takes and just go for the low hanging fruit, so to speak.


I think it's just percentiles, Matthew
More hides out there, fewer of 'em will be creative. And we also lose some our our "charmed" -- a certain hide that's clever the first time or two is ho-hum after a while.
That's my theory...

Ed/SSO (Soft Science Officer)

I hide a geocache for any number of reasons, but there usually is a reason. Sometimes, it's about the cache itself--there something unique about the container that I like, or the hide is meant to be a bit on the evil side, or some other trick. Sometimes it's about the location--I really like the spot, or it's at a place that makes you go "whoa." In these cases, the hide itself is usually lame or boring--the point is to enjoy what's at the site. The lamest hide I think I have is an LPC, but it's at the Humane Society, and you can take your kids and look through the window at the cats and kittens! What's not to like? Other times, though, it's neither the location nor the container--but I thought of a funny cache name and I had to dedicate a cache to it. So, in those cases there's nothing much to the cache at all except maybe a bad pun. On second thought, maybe i should stick to the other two reasons...


You know, I think it depends on why you geocache.

If you geocache just to get numbers, it doesn't matter.  "High" or "low" quality...whatever.  And, considering the amount of traffic this list has that is "So-and-so hit this milestone" - anyone who says they completely don't care about the numbers...well, I suspect they're few and far between.

Personally, there are a few different reasons I cache:
  1. Hiking/great outdoors.  When I'm in Texas especially, I enjoy hiking around parks to find caches.  It's a good way to exercise, get outdoors, etc.

  2. Tourism.  I use geocaching when I travel to explore new areas, and areas that people think I might find interesting.  This is where high/low quality geocaches come in a little.  If you take me to a spot in a city that has nothing of interest, then...oh well.  However, for the most part, I find that a lot of people take time to come up with really cool things.  Like GC2AB5N, for example, which is a working cowpath...in the middle of downtown Chicago.  How random!  However, tourism geocaches don't have to be creative.  A lot of the ones in downtown Chicago are magnetic key boxes inside free newspaper stands.  Does that make them "low quality?"  Not to me - because I still see something cool!

So, really, it depends on why you're caching.  But that's also why Groundspeak has a "Favorites" system.  Why not, if you want a bunch of really cool caches to find, just set up a Pocket Query that requires 5+ Favorites, and only go after those?

That's one of the cool things about caching - there's room enough for all of us, regardless of why we want to go out in the first place.

Mark (BewareOfPenguin)

I feel that in some part, having quality cachers leads to having quality caches.  There should be a minimum find count required for someone to start hiding caches.  If a person has found 1 cache, I hardly think he's ready to go hide one.  For what it's worth, I waited until I found about 330 caches before running out to hide one.  That being said, I still agonize over whether or not a cache placement is a good one. 

But as far as caches are concerned, I think that quality is in the eye of the beholder.  I'm sure we were all jazzed the first time we lifted the skirting around a light pole and found that there was an honest to gosh cache under there.  Now...not so much.  As it was mentioned, good cache ideas will invariably be imitated.  And after everybody's seen that "creative" idea a couple dozen times, it loses it's edge.  But I do think that even the "lame" caches have their place.  They make for easy finds for those new to the sport and for those bent on the numbers.  We have to bear in mind that as long as people are turning up in droves to find those unimaginative, lame caches, those lame caches are every bit as much a viable part of geocaching as the clever, crafty, cool, creative caches.

BarbJ / Tygress

I *LIKE* puns, Ed....   Just sayin'.
Now I've plunked out my share of no-brainers -- and our oldest cache is a match container (original) in a cedar tree (you LOVE to HATE 'em!). Like Ed, we like interesting places, or a place we got map sourced to -- figureing we're not alone, so we'll reward the NEXT guy with a smiley. 'Normal' hides we do change up a tad -- make you work. And I like silly containers. Got some out there -- in fact Aunt Misbehaving is probably the toughest hide we have, just because of the container. If all else fails, make you smile.
Earthcaches, of course, are another game. bwahahahaha! Come to this cool spot -- and THINK! [After, of course, reading an essay worth a technical journal entry. bwahahaha!]
But there are times, like in this heat, that a park and grab that is just that, is just the ticket. The only caches I really dislike are those placed where there are going to be a gazillion spiderwebs (or otherwise reaching blind into a spot that will probably be full of spiders, wasps, scorpions, snakes), greenbriar thickets, PI thickets (but when you place in winter, you forget summer's another matter, so some get a pass), bushwhacking forever through cedar to just a urp or uwp under another cedar (I fear I'm not into bushwhacking for bushwhacking's sake, and no swag is worth it), or having to frisk a bush right outside a business. Hard to be subtle with your head in a bush. I mean, you DO have to make caches muggle proof, but maybe put it next to a landmark or something (and hint to it) so it's grab and go. If you want a HARD bush find, don't make me do it in muggle grand central station. Though it's a great time to talk up geocaching....  Them's my hates. Which still aren't as bad as a cache with a string of DNFs on it (it's one thing if it's a tough hide, *I* have a couple of those miserable boogers, but a 1.5 with months of DNFs wastes my and other's time, and speaks of no respect for others)(or, if I know the owner, makes me worry a whole lot whether they're ok).

BarbJ / Tygress

Besides, it makes those creative caches stand out more.
If every rock were a diamond, diamonds would be ho-hum!
Still, Matthew's concern is not one to just =eh= ... it's worth stopping to think about at some of our hides -- how to change up the container, how to change up the hide, how to make it a wee bit different. Though most didn't last, Mrs Captain Picard's 'make a 35mm look like something else' (sorry, out in heat all day, memory oozy, you said it better) containers were great fun.
Anyway, you know I'm definitely on the equal opportunity band wagon -- I'll do a power string, I'll do the really clever ones, the smiles are just as golden, and each has their place (like a couple gimmes in a new area to get my mojo booted). But I'll appreciate, just an itty bit more, the memorable hides (which can be as much an easy find with a nifty container -- like the bison tube hanging from a faucet on the back side of a tree -- or a gimmick (the cheerleader photo cache) as a devilish cammo that nearly ruptured every brain cell) -- they make logging SO much easier. And you all know they ALL get a log!

Doc, Barry Watson, MSgt, USAF (Retired)

I suppose how you hide it or camoflage it, could be creative, but I so totally agree with you Matthew.
I don't think I will be "Favorite"-ing micros much (and never a nano).  When I do an ammo can for a new cache,
I go down to WalMart's camping area or toy area, Cabelas or REI and buy NEW stuff  ($5) or less for the cache.
I want people to open my ammo box and go, "Oh, Wow!  Look at the great swag!".  And I want to place it
someplace that will impress the finders.  But it might be the overall cache theme that makes it all special....
like The Monster...


Caching is what you make it!  Around here there are many awesome puzzles, series, night caches, skirt lifters you just have to pick which ones are for you!


I like hiding and try and come up with new and interesting things to do. Some people get frustrated with my hides, but some seem to really like them and some just seem indifferent. I like that motto of the guys in Florida GC profiled a few weeks ago: "Take pride in your hide". That says it all, really. Good hides remind me of when I was a kid and was really into spy stuff. I loved hiding things for others to find... so a good cache hide brings that childhood fun back out for me, which is why I do it. 

That said, you can have a simple lamp-post and it be interesting just because it's a cool spot or has a punny/witty description... I really like my "Cold Lampin'" cache for example... it's a Flava Flav tribute based on an old phrase of his that people into hiphop would get. It's nothing but a lamppost, but still kinda cool IMO.

Paul (de Los Komodos)

It seems like the game (it's a game, right?) has room for a variety of hides.  Descriptions, difficulty and terrain ratings, and favorite scores enable the finder to have information to choose what he/she hunts.  Part of the fun (it is fun, right?) is looking at the map and finding what peaks your interest.  I love a sneaky hide (when alone).  I also enjoy an easy, large cache when I'm with the kids on a hot day.  Sometimes a long hike is perfect.  I'm not a huge fan of power caches for my needs... but these are very easy to spot on the map, so I just don't do them. Loads of folks do.  Good on 'em.

That there are so few rules (ie. minimum finds per hides), leaving the game open to interpretation, is quite appealing and encourages the creativity of the players.

Hide 'em where you like.  If I choose to, I'll find them.

Logging Your Own Cache

posted Sep 29, 2012, 2:47 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Sep 29, 2012, 3:26 PM ]

Groundspeak Guidelines

6.6. Logging My Own Cache

Can I log a find on my own cache? What about when I go back to visit?

It is considered "bad form" to log a find on your own cache, no matter when you do it. The same is true if you re-visit another traditional cache (for example to place or retrieve a travel bug). Use the "post a note" log option to record your visit in these circumstances.

In either case, you're not "finding" a cache because you already know where it is. Save the smiley face for use when you've truly discovered a hidden cache.

Many thanks to Volunteer Cache Reviewer Keystone for initially developing this article.

banda_cacher (Brent)
Not to open up a can of worms, but I just ran across this and thought I'd post it since I wasn't aware until today that Groundspeak had a policy on this. I personally agree with them, but I know not everyone here does.

Russ the Waterweasel
Pretty much agree.  I make an exception for events that I host and also for caches that I help hide but am not the owner of.  The last is not so much because I 'found' them but because it gets them off of my 'unfound' list.

I agree with that...if I was at my event I'm going to log it.   Ditto on caches I helped hide and for the same reason, but not until it has a few actual finds on it. 

BarbJ =doesn't worry me, really= Tygress
While it is true, MOST of us consider logging your own cache ''bad form':

  1. Who are you competing with? Doesn't matter what *I* think, if you feel the need to log your own cache -- after all, you went through the work of creating it, maintaining it, and DID visit it -- then =whatever= (but mind that some will Disapprove and/or Mock You... because we're human)

  2. Same for repeat visits ... and sometimes, as the cache owner, I *feel* like I should claim a smiley, because the cache has been rehidden in a new way. Fresh hide for me!

  3. Events, however... Events are not 'finds' but "attended" -- which the Owner did. Not even a whiff of inappropriate to log your own event IN MY OPINION.
The question:  Is the line between 'right' and 'wrong' in this game in sand or concrete?

To *most* of us, logging one's own cache or sock puppeting caches, DOES SEEM a bit (or a lot) of 'bad form' ... and FTFing it is right out 'cheating' in most minds. There are also SOME who feel those who assist in a hide should not log it, either -- yet most of us do claim that smiley (just not FTF).

Heck, some people feel the same way about park and grabs -- or any sort of cache that doesn't fit their own view of what the game is.

But the game is large, it contains multitudes. The way YOU play, so long as you're not trashing caches or ground zeroes, attacking other cachers, spooking muggles or otherwise giving Geocaching an awful name in the general press/population, MOVING/"improving" hides that aren't yours, stealing coins/travel bugs, putting inappropriate material in caches, or other aspects that can cause real-world harm, doesn't affect MY game in the least.

The issue of armchair caching is similar -- it became a REAL problem when certain virtuals were flooded (almost a denial of service attack) by armchair visitors. Otherwise... other than the praise and/or derision of your peers, last I checked there are no awards for this game, beyond our own personal ego boo.

Ergo, ultimately, does it *really* matter? Is logging one's own cache such an endemic problem that it's destroying the game for people? I doubt it. How could it?

Frankly, I *do* feel some folks spend WAY too much time worrying about how others play the game, let alone live their lives, and wail over (and, worse, attempt to RULE out) others' refusal to toe the line to the fretters' idiosyncratic (and we're ALL idiosyncratic, get over it) constraints of "True Morality."

Do *I* have Opinions on what constitutes The Game, Good Caches, Lame Caches, bad form, etc.? Of COURSE I do. But unless there's a real-world implication of physical harm or getting the game outlawed (e.g. I'm very particular that Cemetery Hides need to remember that to many this is hallowed ground, even more sacred than their front doorstep -- that we remember we are 'visitors' to any cache spot, and need to behave as good and respectful visitors, and NOT disregard how locals/others may feel -- but even then, my margins of error may not be as tight as someone else's) -- then, =whatever=  [And, yes, some have seen me huff in a log if I'm feeling put-out. It's still, however, ONLY ONE CACHER'S OPINION. Whoop dee dee.]

Find-smilies are just icons.

I don't HAVE to go for any particular cache. And while I applaud some's numbers -- if I'm in competition with them, it's just a quirk of my own brain.  [I'm not. The only competition is in the moment: me versus hide.]

True, in the consequential aspect of the game, there is the real world implication of people's time and gas and all... but that's still a voluntary thing. And I only get pissy when someone's ignored cache maintenance, and I've driven miles to a clearly AWOL cache (not just a hard find that I genuinely DNF'd, but a cache where it's quite if not absolutely clear it's not where hidden -- and we've all been to those and growled).

So. Log your own caches or not -- up to you and your game. You'll figure out right away what many don't think is cricket. [Let's not even get into regional differences...]

All that said, WAYMARKING -- which some choose to hate on, which I don't get... if it's not your thing, ignore it, don't diss it, because lots of folks DO enjoy it -- has an OPEN policy that you can log your own waymark. But waymarks are visits, not finds, and that's simply an aspect of the game over there. There's no FTF aspect -- most of Waymarking is an effort to catalogue sites of a certain sort (some of mine have shown up as reference materials -- which is why I do it). And if there WERE an FTF game, just disregard the Owner log, just as geocachers should disregard owner & co-hider logs in the FTF credits, in my opinion, your mileage may vary.  But I digress.... (what's new?)

Bill a.k.a ZionZR2
I would like to add one more exception.  And it probably goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. If I found a cache that was not mine then adopt it as mine at a later date.  Technically it could at first glance be seen as A find on my own cache, but it wasn't mine at the time I found it. There should be no problems with that either.

After all,  If I adopt it I better know where it is ;)

Jeremy @ Groundspeak (forums) per SQ (SemperQuesto)
I just saw this post from Jeremy in the forums.  Kinda sums it up pretty well I think...

"Bickering over the rules of a cache "find" was never the intent of Geocaching.com. There's no prize, no leaderboard, and no trophy, so there's no reason to get your knickers in a twist about anyone else's definition of a find."

Personally, I don't care what you log as a find on your cache or anyone else's but mine.  If I think there is a bogus log on my caches, I'll delete it and let the logger know why. 

As for others' find counts, I really don't care and I don't care what someone else thinks of mine.  My count means something to me because I know what went into it.  I congratulate others on their milestones simply because their count may well mean something to them.  If it doesn't, they are free to ignore my well-wishes.

BarbJ =shrug= Tygress
Their game, their count.

No skin off my nose -- unless someone starts awarding cache prizes or product endorsements. =g=

Around here, the stats are easy -- there are NOT that many 'prolific hiders,' and it's easily ascertained who may or may not be counting their own hides. If that bothers you, you can simply calibrate the numbers of that/those person(s) in your head.  Most of us, if we counted our own hides, would barely hit a statistical margin of error.

People with big find numbers face too much jealous/incredulous-based prejudice anyway -- there are those who accuse them of armchair caching  and worse. Eh. Why? (For the record: the people I know with BIG numbers do NOT armchair cache, they just get out there and FIND ALL THE TIME; The Outlaw doesn't even claim bonus smilies -- that's his personal yardstick.)

What about people/families who cache under a single moniker? Should they NOT count caches found by only a fraction of the team? That has the potential to pad the count far more than claiming one's own hides. It's an open game, with flexible interpretations. And, yes, for some, numbers are Meaningful. For the rest of us, it's just a ticking odometer. Milestones might be worth a woo hoo -- but then, when there's a party, it's the milestone person who's footing the swag bill. Again, who is HARMED?

Should my 'finds' count more than a cut-and-paste logger because I actually spend as much time over content as finding? No. That's *my* game. Sure, I get tired of 'TFTC' and, especially, contentless travel bug logs (the POINT of travellers (for me) is to collect stories, miles are ... not irrelevant, but not as interesting except as a notion of longevity). But just because *I* have this idiosyncratic notion of what makes adequate pay-back to a cache hider/traveller owner doesn't give me leave to enforce it on others. Though I will and always encourage folks to post more than four characters -- just as we ENCOURAGE people to put out more creative and interesting hides -- without outlawing ordinary goober hides, which have THEIR plate at the table, too. That's what the Austin Cache awards are about -- acknowledgement to those who do do a bit extra for the game.

Sure. Given the recent head-count, most of us think that logging a find on our own hide isn't cricket. Even and so, that's OUR mileage. Not going to worry about others'.

My alignment is clearly 'chaotic' rather than 'lawful.' "An' it hurt none," I'm a live-and-let-live, play-and-let-play kind of gal.

BarbJ = a toot on the party horn and we're good, yes? = Tygress

Also, to be totally transparent my personal calibration to this topic -- an email saying so-and-so hit X # of finds isn't a 'big deal' to me. We DID establish, a few years ago, that it made more sense to bandwidth to woo woo only over hundreds up to the 1K mark, then only shout out thousands -- unless you have a funky number (like 3333) that makes you giggle. But that was only because milestones were coming so fast and furious we couldn't keep up with them all.  [Some of the prolific folks were ticking over hundreds of caches every weekend or two.]
And most milestone woo-woos of late have been coming from third parties -- "I see so-and-so hit X on my cache...." There have been possibly statistically more of late because the two mega events involved road-trips for many, so they racked up big numbers.

Barb =longwinded= Tygress

Gee, haven't seen 'knickers in a twist' in ages... that Jeremy slings the metaphor!
and, well.. that last paragraph sums it up -- in rather fewer words than mine!

I had read that before and agree. IMHO the same goes for if you assisted in hiding it... if you wanted to find it then you shouldn't have gone along.

BarbJ = arbiter of my own game, that's enough = Tygress

Since we all likely do something that pisses off other cachers, perhaps we should take the indicting "you shouldn't" (even when bracketed with an IMHO) and rephrase "the way I play *I* don't..."
It's all personal judgement calls, anyway. I'm rather glad that geocaching isn't so tightly ruled in. Probably wouldn't play if there weren't the flexibility -- even if *I* don't always fully appreciate the directions some people might stretch it.

de Los Komododos (Paul)

While I think it is a little silly to log your own caches (as if there were not enough others out there to log).... it did get me thinking.  Every morning I get up and the first thing I do is to find my glasses.  Then I go through a process of 'finding' all sorts of things from my toothbrush to my shoes to my motivation to slug through another day at work.  I wouldn't mind get an little smiley for finding each of these things each morning.  I didn't exactly 'hide' them, but I am probably responsible for having to find them....  and my glasses are devilish little micros.   hmmmm....

Jay - BingOGT
I have always tried to put things in the same place after I use them so I don’t have to find them, now I see the error of my ways.
Thanks Paul for pointing to the way to have more fun in my life.

banda_cacher (Brent)

"Pretty much agree.  I make an exception for events that I host and also for caches that I help hide but am not the owner of.  The last is not so much because I 'found' them but because it gets them off of my 'unfound' list."

I see your point for events, since those are "attended" logs, but as for hides you assisted with, couldn't you accomplish the same thing by adding them to your ignore list? This keeps them from showing up on the maps and out of your pocket queries.

BewareOfPenguin (Mark)

Logging one's own caches is not something I'd do, but I wouldn't harsh on someone who does.  The way I see it, if the extra smileys are the carrot on a stick some people need to want to hide more caches, that's fine with me.

I have two Challenge caches placed.  One I have logged, and the other I'm just waiting a while to do (probably next year).  And I can't tell you off the top of my head how many event caches I've had.  I've logged all those.

I think it is ok for CO to log their own Challenge cache, especially if it is one they've put out but haven't met the goal for yet.  And I think it is definitely ok to log one's own event cache.

Those are the only two exceptions to logging my own hides that I can think of right now that I believe are acceptable.  People play different and I don't care.  Usually doesn't effect the way I play, and definitely doesn't take away from my enjoyment.

There's is only one cache close to me that I helped hide.  I have it own my ignore list so it won't come up in my PQ's, and my watch list so I can see when it gets found.  Seems weird to ignore and watch, but that's what gets the job done for me.

Extra smilies seem to be a big deal to some.  Don't know why.  GSAK and other programs will tell you how many "real" finds you have and how many extras.  Extra smilies for doing something are just part of the experience to me.


I'm going to answer this as an honest desire for understanding -- it does not *read* that way, mind. But that may be my baggage.
Why log help-hides as finds?
A> because I want credit for the assist. Hides appear in the owner's profile. They have heft. Assists don't have that option. Often I put as much or more effort in an assist than a find. And the log effort is just as equal. [Plus, if you're worried about my totals being corrupted, it's less than 10%]
B> in my head, an assist find here is no different than a find that is made as part of a geoteam. When we group cache, once the cache is found, it's a 'kaching' -- not standing around until everybody's found it independently.  Now, SOME people don't think that counts as a clean find. That's ok. Their numbers, their finds -- if you geoteam with us state that preference right off or you're not going to enjoy yourself.
To requote Jeremy: I know what went into my numbers. They're meaningful to *me* -- and aren't that important quantitatively except to clock the miles/attempts (even assists) I've made. It's not the FINDS (the number of smilies) but the string of experiences. Where I've been. What I've seen. Who I've been with.  I don't use my numbers as a yardstick or any one-upmanship against someone else. Bordering on 8K, I can still whiff a 1/1. =shrug= So if my numbers are bugging your numbers, tell 'em to cut it out. They're just milling about hoping for a chai latte anyway.
Numbers runs aren't about the numbers -- though numbers are nice (otherwise would I log at all? Some don't.) -- but about the experience with the people I've been with. [And, apparently, the challenge of logging them.]  I've cached alone. Don't care for it. I love caching with my best partner, and it's even better (for me) with our best geobuddies. [Geoherds, however, I'm not so fond of. But that's my personality quirk.]  That's what caching is to me. Not amassing find numbers (or I'd be out every day), but the experience of the chase -- or the assist -- and being out with people I truly enjoy.
Sure, finding is GREAT -- especially tricky hides. There's an endophin thrill I won't deny. Then it's over. Off to the next one. I remember exactly ONE of my major milestones. [1K -- it was Ebenezer Cemetery and SNOWING on the day before Easter.] The rest? Would have to look up. All they count for is that, well, I've spent some time at this game, haven't I?
That's my game. I'm happy with it. And I really truly hope you're not MEANING to put me in a mind-state of having to defend it. [If my ego were stronger it wouldn't give a whup, but some of us over crave acceptance, I fear. Even if we do insist on walking our own tracklog.]
Well, it is a can of worms, because many of us DO feel passionately about our numbers and therefore it starts mattering too much how others account theirs, I suppose.
Ok. I've said my piece. The moral is Jeremy's words. I'm good with that.


lol. Considerate idea, but I'm not going to hedge my opinions more than I already do. I think we all know that we have differing opinions and they are all valid... or mostly valid :P

Just like you said tho, it's all personal judgement calls and it's all personal stats. If people feel like they accomplished something by massively bending the rules then great for them. They get no respect from me tho. And that's my right too. That doesn't mean I'm gonna be a jerk to them tho. That's not cool.

The site says it's bad form and rightfully so. But the fact it's bad form to do something doesn't stop people in the real world so why would it be any different with caching.

banda_cacher (Brent)
I was just responding to what Russ said, that he wanted them off his "unfound list". It appeared to me that this could be accomplished by adding these caches to his ignore list. This would require the extra step of going back to all his existing PQs and checking the "Are not on my ignore list" button, if he hasn't already done that. So maybe that's extra work he doesn't care to do.

And you bring up plenty of reasons to go ahead and log them. To each his own. My original post was simply to point out Groundspeak's take on the subject, which is:

"Can I log a find on my own cache? What about when I go back to visit?

It is considered "bad form" to log a find on your own cache, no matter when you do it. The same is true if you re-visit another traditional cache (for example to place or retrieve a travel bug). Use the "post a note" log option to record your visit in these circumstances.

In either case, you're not "finding" a cache because you already know where it is. Save the smiley face for use when you've truly discovered a hidden cache."

So, just how would you rate that cache?

posted Sep 28, 2012, 8:50 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Sep 29, 2012, 3:55 PM ]

Busybeetoni (tfbrown)

I've tried using the rating scale guidelines, but some things just don't seem to fit. There is nothing in there about how to rate one when you put it in a tree. For terrain, it talks about slopes and whether you could ride a bicycle or push it. I've seen ratings where it's a 1.5/3 because the cache is up a tree, yet the walk to the tree is a breeze. To me, that rating is backwards because the difficulty isn't the journey there, the hard part is actually getting the cache. That's more of a puzzle. How to get it down from the tree.

BarbJ (Tygress)

OTOH, a terrain 3.5 or 4 tells me I have to CLIMB the tree (or arch, or whathaveyou)
Many of those hides are easy to spot from below (even whilst backflipping off a median planter), therefore justifiably only 1.5s or 2s.
I could use a lot of things to simplify any tough terrain, but they all have hints -- subjective as they may be -- to where to be looking for the cache.
And, well, to get a bike into a tree, that's a BIG push!!!!
So. Rule of thumb when *I* am setting ratings:
Difficulty - trickiness of the hide. If it's a straightforward hide atop a lamppost, it's still a 1. If it's an electric plate flush against the top of that lamppost, it's a 4... or a bolt in the top of that lampost, maybe even a 5 Terrain -- 1 -- wheelchair access. We learned a lot about this when Semper Q was on wheels. Not only does the chair have to get to GZ, but the person in the chair has to reach/retrieve the cache from that chair (e.g. NOT on the ground). So most simple caches are really 1.5s, we learned.  And on from there. 4 means a tough climb (whether up someone's shoulders or whatever). 5 means it requires special gear. For example, Spring Loaded for Waterweasel & I was probably a 3 as far as exertion -- but because it needed fins and mask/goggles (if not snorkle) to do realistically, it's a 5. Hubbard Glacier Earthcache. We viewed it from the veranda of our stateroom. Hardly any physical effort at all. But because it required a boat or a helecopter, it's a 5 Terrain.
Yes, for some a 4 or 5 terrain is a lot easier than for others. For some a 3 terrain is next to impossible. So you also need to know the Cache Owner's prejudice & capability. OTOH, these ratings tell this cacher quite a lot about what to expect and how to look for the cache. Even though they're all over the place. Well, for that matter, so are cache sizes. These days I'm seeing smalls regularly classified as regulars and a waterproof match case or altoids tin (micros when we started), as smalls. Suppose we need Micro, Mini Micro, and You have GOT to be kidding/How did you get a LOG in there?!?
This is all my subjective take, based on how I've learned to play (and thus calibrate) the game. So there are certain people like TreyB & the Outlaw who are likely to blame for my point of view. LOL.

Kevin (KoosKoos)
To me, difficulty is how hard is it to FIND the cache once you arrive and terrain is how hard is it to GET TO the cache location.

In the tree example, yes, the walk to the cache was probably a 1-1.5, but that last little bit raises the difficulty.  When you arrived at ground zero, the cache was in a mostly obvious hiding place, so it warrants a low difficulty rating. 

If that was my hide, I'd probably mention something in the description that I rated it a 3 overall, but only because the last bit of terrain will make retrieving the cache harder than the walk there.

Walkin Around With Claws Out

posted Jan 17, 2012, 9:52 AM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Jan 21, 2012, 8:46 AM ]

by BarbJ/Tygress (Yes, I’m a Crabby Tygress sometimes. But I CARE.)
Once upon a time, we thought it would never rain in Texas again.

Well, it did, finally. And a lot of containers are proving less than water worthy. Pretty much EVERY bison tube I’ve cached in the last few weeks has had an at least damp log.
Zippy bags work a couple times, but weren’t created for MANY opening closings. So fail within months. (P.S. NEVER put a pen, pencil, or other pointy object in a zippy bag – it will be perforated in days.)
And don’t get me started on people who don’t take the time to reclose the zippy (an unzipped zippy is just a water collector), or even make sure the cache container is securely reclosed/snapped/all the log bits in. If you don’t put the log coiled in the narrow end – usually the cap – the bison won’t close. You can only CRUSH a log so far. And if ANY log is in the threads, it WILL wick moisture in. Sure, we ALL spend more time rerolling micro logs than finding the cache. Well, that’s caching. You don’t wanna, don’t find micros. As FINDERS we owe the CO some responsibility of taking care with the cache. Or they’ll stop placing!
Sunday TreyB said three of the bison-tubes (you know, those little metal key-chain thingies you love to hate) we found were either not fully twisted down, or cross threaded. Hello wet log! I found on out in Williamson County park where the lid hadn’t been replaced at ALL. (And me with no paper, sorry!)

Finders, please have a care – and if you’re caching with kids (I love kids, but they aren’t as thorough as grown-ups), check their work. ((I’ll rant about replacing as found another day.))
Anyway. Wet/damp log. Compromised container. Pieces of a container. Do I post a maintenance log? NOT if I can help it.
Come ON. We’re family. I TRY to remember to carry supplies. Spare paper/logs, spare zippy bags, duct tape (I HAVE repaired a container with a band-aid), spare containers… a little geo First Aid kit. Especially logs. Especially way out in the country.
Wet/damp log? Swap a new one in. (Exceptions are when the cache is so wet and/or compromised and I don’t have a zippy bag or replacement so there’s no point – and/or again, when *I* have forgotten my fix-its -- and, in those cases, I DO feel badly).
Full log. Also swap a new one in. (Especially nanos, where some people are afraid that initials won’t do – I’ve had sigs take up 3 inches of an 8 inch log. Thanks, but, *really*?)
Pieces of a container? If I’ve got a new one, here you go. Other times judicious use of duct tape may not return the cache to ship-shape, but gives it ‘time.’ Maybe I’ll even order up a bunch of o-rings for bisons (though I think just closing ‘em right will alleviate most the problems.)
DNF’s? No. Unless I’ve talked to the CO (Cache Owner for those new to the nomenclature) and am absolutely certain I haven’t just gone blind, I do NOT put containers in for DNFs but take my lumps like a grown-up.
And then I fess up to the fix.  Tell the CO I have the log if they want it. Got several drying out on the floorboards of the car. Let them know if I swapped containers and why. If I’m not certain of the rehide, I relay that information, too.
It’s not a willy-nilly thing. But it’s a kindness thing. It’s going to be a while before I get out past Marlin to GC1ZXEA A Hundred to One Shot #6 - gotta scuttle. I don’t want to just archive it for a damp log. So if someone swaps a new one in, I’d be GRATEFUL.
Now, true, there are some containers that there is no helping. Certain plastic tubes are amazingly NOT water-tight, and swapping the logs out for the whole series is an exercise in futility. I probably won’t repair EVERY cracked plasticware box I find. (Some things just do NOT make Texas tough caches. You’ll learn that. Some things seem they OUGHT to be watertight aren’t (like certain pill bottles – go figure). Some things are fine in the kitchen for two, three uses, but not in the field for 10 or 20, with rocks dropped on ‘em, and those temperature changes… and… but I digress.)
If a little judicious fixing from my bag o’ cache-aid can save a CO a trip. Why not? I’d APPRECIATE the same kindness.
Now, not all COs are as grateful for the help. You’ll figure out who they are, and they’ll reap their own harvest. But most are so grateful it’s almost embarrassing.
If I can’t do an on-the-fly repair – no hope for the container, or I’ve forgotten my supplies. (I am a forgetful Tygress – bad me) – *I* use the Needs Maintenance flag judiciously as a 9-1-1 sort of call. Usually I just comment in MY log or fire off an email to the CO. And certainly no Needs Maintenance for a damp log. That’s the Check Engine light of caching, not the Needs Gas. If you follow my savvy.
  1. Reinsert logs CAREFULLY in micros/nanos – roll tight, log goes in the NARROW end (yeah, it sucks when it’s the lid still hanging in the tree)
  2. Reclose every cache container carefully and completely – but be gentle with the fragile ones. (Those little plastic inserts that come with some Bison Tubes – yeah, lousy caches, I’ve discovered, but still, don’t OVER twist them and break ‘em, thanks. Same for containers glued up in something – be thorough, but mind the setting and don’t break it). Check your kids’ work – and teach ‘em good etiquette. It’s all fun – it’s funner still when we respect each other.
  3. Wet/damp logs are ubiquitous in Texas when the weather’s normal. Carry spares and be a friend. Or at least don’t go all weird when you find one (gel pens will sign a damp log – just sayin’)
  4. If you’re really gung-ho, put together a cache first aid kit (spare logs, zippy bags, duct tape, monofilament & wire, spare containers) and be a better friend still – hey, those spare caches ready-to-go mean you can nail that cool spot on-the-fly!
  5. Use NEEDS MAINTENANCE flag as a last resort – since it’s essentially a Gibbs-slap to some people. A PS in the log (maybe the next cacher will bring something to fix), or a little email goes a long way in kindness!
Try to be cache family – not too familiar, but thoughtful. Golden Rule, you know?

Cache on. Cache well. Cache thoughtfully.

posted Jan 17, 2012, 9:28 AM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Jan 21, 2012, 8:46 AM ]

by BarbJ/Tygress (Yeah, I'm a crank -- but I love y'all and the sport)

Every single one of us is an ambassador of our sport. OUR behavior will make or break its popularity.
A couple things this weekend got me to ranting (a little) -- and TreyB, the great incorriger, said I should vent them in a sort of bloggy.
We found a cache in a guardrail along the 30 Toll Road this weekend.  Eh, maybe not the safest place for a cache, but whatever. Keep my butt off the road and an eye on traffic. My PROBLEM with it -- the thing looks like a pipe bomb.  We need to remember not everyone is a cacher. Placement and appropriate appearance ARE important.  (This is not just me over reacting: 4 schools were under lock down last week when threats were phoned in, and something that looked like a pipe bomb was seen in a student's car.)
Careless placement

Placement against the rules. Re-read the FAQs, man, there's a reason.  Like the rules of baseball, they're there because of experience (usually unfortunate interactions with non cachers) in the game. CACHERS dismantling ground zero, not respecting property (remember, we are 'guests'), not getting our asses off the road, pulling back on the road without looking... all these add up against geocaching.
In some states cemetery caches are actually against county code. Why? Some are because people get Ideas in their head about respect/disrespect. Some are because some cachers actually weren't respectful to the spot. *YOU* may not care one way or another -- but that grave is someone else's Granny.
Again, appearances, guys. How do things look to others -- property owners, non-cachers.
Parking lots

We make free use of parking lots as if they were public property.  Remember, they're not.
So placing a cache that puts a property owner in liability -- not all of us take full responsibility for our insanity -- is bound to make said owner anti-caching.  I'm not talking lamp skirts, I'm talking high terrain hides that put people in risk, or demand that they use structures in ways never intended by the designer.
Technically, we're supposed to ask permission. Do we? Often not.  I recall one cache in a food trailer, where maybe the owner gave permission (the cache page said so, anyway), but the people working it didn't know about it -- they were just tired of people dismantling their trailer skirt. Or a business changes hands and/or management and staff -- the old guard probably didn't write 'And there's a geocache' in the disclosures.

Blind curve/access

It's a great old tree. But if there's no good access, maybe it's not a great spot for a cache. Because:
  1. We will MAKE access
  2. We'll court being road-kill -- because we all get caught up in the passion of the search. And locals on a back road don’t expect to come around a curve to find a geo-rig there.
We have all encountered totally tossed ground zeros. I've seen historical stone fences dismantled. Heck, I saw a traffic light box dismantled. And I, for one, am very good at reassembling sprinkler heads. Ooops. That was real.
And Trey and I – so you know we’re guilty, too – in a fit of the moment went over instead of around a fence. Bad on us. I’ll think twice next time. (And maybe read the cache page that said the going around wasn’t that far away. Sheesh. =sound of hand-slap=)
Place a cache in a busy parking lot, or outside a business, with or without permission, you're going to find you have a high maintenance problem. Because some of us don't cache at 2 a.m. and never intend to. And we get old and cranky and have spent the gas to get to the place -- we stop caring a bit. (Shame on us – it’s just a smiley – but we’re all sorts and I drove 90 miles.) Sure, use due caution, but it's Caveat HIDER as well as Finder. And we'll all reap the harvest of misplacements and mishiding -- high maintenance caches, public sentiment, etc.  Sure, there are some people who will NEVER like caching, who just don't GET IT. There are people who are afraid all the wrong sorts of people will come to their little alley. Sure, WE know most caches are lucky to get 20 visitors over the course of a year -- but that's changing as the sport gets bigger, too. We need to be Considerate – even of those who don’t know where their property line ends and public access begins. Be kind. That will win people when you’re NICE about whatever. And sometimes, well, just take the cache down and go. The world isn’t saturated yet! (Though I’m still hurting over the archiving of MCP’s Tygress Milestone cache. That was PERSONAL! But necessary.)
I was at GC1CJ1F Frankenfeet yesterday. The site still has the bent fence where Mrs. Captain Picard went over the top. And the top brick on the retaining wall is still missing where Howard went up from the inside (and on the WRONG side, dammit!) -- and, more, came tumbling down. Without putting too aggravated a spin on it -- this cache placement (in the median of a BUSY road) was a good idea.... why? In retrospect, even the CO realized the problem -- it was archived as soon as word got out about Howard. But we don't want to be the CO that put a buddy in a hospital, got some newbies harassed by the police/security/property owner, got a historical site destroyed. (And, yes, as finders we do have moments of 'knowing better' -- usually right before we maim ourselves. I call it the Wile E. Coyote moment.)
On the whole, I'm astonished at how we are ignored by Joe Public. And that's a fine thing. I like caching. I like park and grabs, I like hikers. I do NOT like going way off trail in State Parks where signage to stay on trail is pretty obvious (means us, too, mes amis). How many of us use geotrails to find the cache? Out in the juniper, I'm not so picky. Through someone's landscaping -- er, not as nice. And I can list off caches taken down because of that.
So, and there is a point:

Remember to think beyond your moment.
Sure, your kid can scurry up that. But is your kid half orangutan? Sure, you put all sorts of terrain warnings, but think a couple jots to the right and left of your position, just to be safer.
Is the driving by State Trooper going to understand that is a PVC pipe or something more sinister?
Do you really want someone and their kids caching into that homeless camp? Or CITO posterchild? (God, I’ve been to some oogy, hateful places, and wondered ‘why?’ Why put a cache there in the first place? Why did I bother grossing myself out – it’s just a smiley. Ah! The finding compulsion!)
Yes, we use the world as our playground -- but we have to remember we SHARE that world. We need to be good citizens. We need to beware of the tunnel vision of our passion. WE know we MEAN NO HARM. But there are unintended consequences as well as, well, misunderstandings by non-cachers. I used to be so covert -- but these days, at least with adults, I'll just explain the game. They usually lose interest when they find there's no money in CACHING. One case in five decide it's a great idea and we have a new convert.
Old timers need to share experience.  New people need to listen and know we're not just being cranky. You may disagree, but at least listen and hear the kernel of truth (or at least experience) in another person's point of view.
I'd hate to see the sport founder under it's own popularity. So, I guess what I'm saying: have a care. Think outside your perspective.
((And, finder (me, too!) – just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you HAVE to get it. Even with the gas/time expense – ultimately, it’s JUST a smiley, and not worth life and limb. You’re allowed to listen to better sense and walk away. Really. It’s ok. I won’t even ask you post a “did not attempt” so your stand-down secret is safe!))
Just – think of others. Cachers of less ability. Noncachers who see through other spectacles.
Remember, we are ALL ambassadors of the sport. Every cacher’s action will make or break the game.
And, yeah, even when I rant – be nice to each other. Nice is good. Really and seriously.
Cache on.
Cache well.
Cache thoughtfully.

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