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Everything posted by -CJ-

  1. Numbers really mean something; we used to discuss cachers who have 5,000 finds or more and I was amazed recently reading a log from a cacher who had >50,000 finds. This is very impressive if you take into account that I live in a country where 200 finds mean a huge success. So, we cannot compare numbers (it would be useless) but I agree with those who said that "people compete all the time". If geocaching had no such competition people would invent smth else to compete, really. From our local experience we know that this could be "elections" to some kind of a "geocaching board", or getting access to some private forum, or "geocaching nominations", diplomas, etc. Not all these examples are really positive and some may lead to conflicts and influence the game badly. So, numbers are not the worst variant, and when someone says "I found N geocaches last month" and "it was pretty easy", I'm not upset that I managed to find 1/5 of this number only.
  2. We also have a guy around here that has stolen dozens of caches. The fact is known by his hate speech and threats received by email and read on the net. He has done his best to stay anonymous, of course. The guy is not a muggle but geocacher, we know that he has even placed his own cache in our city. The reason of this ugly behavior is quite simple for a Russian player but may need some explaning to others. Many Russian geocachers are pretty sure that once a geocacher reached the place there should be no troubles for him to simply grab the cache. This guy could probably be deeply infected with this idea. Failing to easily find a couple of caches he became rude and aggressive and declared war to "invalid caches" (as he thinks of them). IMHO. You can make your caches premium-only, I agree with this suggestion. In our country this won't work, but in your situation it may be a good variant. You can check your caches regularly. Try to discuss the problem with local geocaching community so caches might be restored/checked more often. Never restore a stolen geocache in the same hiding place and change your tactics (e.g. camouflage). When creating a geocache which you think could be destroyed, place two containers at once, one of them for further replacement. Perhaps it is a good idea to use (until all this is over) cheaper and simplier containers. Don't discuss these cache destroyers in public (don't do any advertisement to them). They usually don't devote their lives to anti-geocaching, they are just trying to be noticed. When they feel this doesn't work they get bored and switch to some other activity (hopefully not so negative).
  3. There was situation once when I forgot a pen; it was snowy winter at the town of Novgorod which I visited for the first time. It took me about half an hour to visit some local shops; finally, I managed to buy a pen at the post office and returned to the cache to sign the logbook. Since then I usually have two pens with me in different pockets
  4. We in Russia have long experience of this problem at our national server. First there were quite reasonable explanations. "I've been there, it was really cold, the container has stuck to its hiding place, I was afraid of breaking the box so I didn't sign the logbook, here's the photo of myself near the cache". - "OK, don't worry, it is not about numbers, you reached the spot, enjoyed views, so feel free to leave your "found it" online". Happy end. This led to a completely different situation. Cache hunters see from previous posts and from their personal experience that they can mark caches as found without actually doing the job and that COs are usually tolerant. It became the widely accepted idea in Russia that geocaching is about visiting places of interest and geocaches are some formal requirements to mark the place visited at the website's map. It is the place that is really important, not the cache. Many novices used to publish these stories: "I reached the place, that old church in woods was fantasctic, had no time to search for the cache" - and attach a "found it" mark. These guys are not cheating. They believe that what they do is geocaching. On the other hand, cache owners also start thinking that they may care less about choosing good hiding places. If "found it" is not really valuable, why not just put container at the ground level and cover it with old leaves? Yes, it will spend months under thick snow carpet accessible to no one, but what the difference if CO can nevertheless grant permissions to log "found it" to every cacher that visited the place? I personally hate to conflict with people who are trying to cheat me online. However, IMHO it's important not to allow cheating or it may be too late.
  5. It cuts both ways... I mean, being a cache owner I may consider my remote cache to be at less risk since it is rarely visited. At the same time, I receive less information about its current status from geocachers. Maybe. It's up to Groundspeak however whether they wish to see Russian geocaches on the map or not. I doubt there's any other way to promote geocaching in such areas. Well, there's another way - to educate people, involve them into the game and try to raise local geocaching communities so they sometimes start creating their own caches. From 10 years of geocaching experience in Russia we know that this process is very long and resource-intensive. The game at geocaching.com here in Russia has been limited to Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, two major cities of the country, and very limited number of caches outside these cities. But at least the community might start thinking about the idea that a cache far from home is not necessarily a "vacation cache" made by people who don't care much about basic maintenance. It may be (and in some cases it is) an attempt to promote geocaching in areas which are unaccessible for the game by any other means. I would not trip our reviewer up by telling that he follows some policy different from the basic gc.com guidelines COs here are aware of the problem and usually don't load the reviewer with requests about placing geocaches in remote areas. We're still thinking about various possible ways to deal with this issue.
  6. I think I should study caches that have been placed in remote regions. I once did a kind of an overview of "high-altitude" geocaches for our local community. Somehow people manage to place geocaches in jungle and other remote places. I personally have a series of such geocaches, e.g. as far as at the Polar Urals - we made some hiking there for 13 days and met no living soul but a hare I cannot imagine any "maintenance plan" for such locations but since there are caches at geocaching.com - there must be some variant.
  7. Actually, now there are about 11,200 geocaches listed there. 2/3 of them are traditional caches and multi-step caches with containers. 1/3 are virtuals and multi-steps without containers. (I can give you more detailed statistics if you wish). The situation looks not so bad. But these numbers are tricky. Many traditional caches are converted into virtuals or just closed for winter season by their owners. It's quite common that a cache owner allows "found it" to folks who actually didn't find his cache (e.g. found it destroyed or there were any other trouble like "too many muggles for a cache hunt"). Multi-steps can be quite long, up to 25 steps, each one being actually a virtual. So, the number of virtuals are higher.
  8. Yes. It's true that the Russian geocaching website encourages virtuals. This made no good for the game. The idea that virtuals didn't really need maintenance and are much easier to create finally led to situation when people used to quickly place virtuals without paying attention to the general idea of geocaching - treasure hunt. Nowadays at many "geocaches" one has nothing to seek for, just count steps, windows or columns. The game has turned into a kind of tourism/Waymarking. It's not just about 4 virtuals somewhere far from home, you know; there are hundreds and hundreds of them
  9. What if there are neither caches nor geocachers in places you visit and this situation is not likely to change in the nearest future? "Find locally, hide locally" - this what my slogan a year ago, with most caches (micro/nano) within the bounds of my city (>10m population, <10 active geocachers). It looks like that by the end of this year I will come to "Hide locally, find nothing" I mean that the principle sounds reasonable but sadly it doesn't work for the game here (Moscow, Russia). Selective approach (of reviwers) to situation in different countries/regions and promoting maintenance of geocaches as an important part of cache hunt could help, I think.
  10. You're right. Moreover, it seems to be an obvious way to play the game in our country. A cache owner cannot suggest any "maintenance plan" simply because no one knows about geocaching / GPS in the town where he's going to place his/her cache. It would take probably ten years for some enthusiasts to appear somewhere deeply in the Siberian taiga. During this period there would be no game at the vast territory of the country. So, placing a cache far from home location is not just a "vacation hobby" here, it seems to be the only way to promote geocaching in province. These efforts have proved to be effective: the very first caches in regions were mostly created by players from Moscow / SPb and this triggered the development of local geocaching. The gc.com policy you described earlier gives clear explanation why there will be no caches from in most of Russian regions at this website in the nearest future. It took me about a year to wait for some geocachers to appear in Lviv (Western Ukraine) so they could help me with maintenance of my 11 caches in this city. During this period I had to use rare chances to visit Lviv (I live in Moscow, Russia) but mostly rely on cache visitors. Sadly, Russian cachers have been never really active in this part of Europe, and Western cachers often passed by the ruined hiding place - as I understand, most of them thought that the cache owner lived next door. Luckily, there were some enthusiasts who helped in several occasions. And this is why I pay so much attention to first-aid kits, practice and other things like that. I used this flag once (in most situations I was able to solve the problem relatively quickly). However, from my point of view (as a cache hunter) such flag would be not a warning about probable disappointment but (vice versa) a good chance to contact the cache owner and suggest him/her to do necessary maintenance. (At least we often do this here in Russia).
  11. Just thought that someone had already posted such request. I think Russia is not the only country in the world where cache owners cannot quickly repair their caches but have to rely on visitors instead.
  12. My own kit usually includes: a container (about one l), a couple of logbooks, micro container (with its own logsheet), pencils, scotch tape + scissors, paper, small zip-lock plastic bags, several souvenirs and a black plastic bag for camouflage purposes. If I know that the cache needs help before I go, I take everything that is necessary for this specific cache. We've never thought however about such things as towels or silicone sealant. Sounds interesting. It sounds strange however that there is no "official" recommendation on such a repairing kit at gc.com. From our Russian experience we know that many geocachers haven't aided the "problematic" caches not because they (geocachers) just "played for the numbers" but because they simply didn't have anything to restore a cache; they have never thought about taking a first-aid kit with them.
  13. Thank you all for your answers. They're important not only to me but to the young but growing community of Russian geocachers, some of whom are just tired to play the isolated Russian game with its own rules (sometimes rather strange) and have recently discovered the worldwide game for themselves recently. Do they at geocaching.com have a kind of a geocaching repairing kit among all these FAQs, recommendations, etc.? I mean, not that kit you may find at some online stores but a list of things one is advised to keep at hand to repair a geocache? I haven't find such list yet.
  14. Sure. Moreover, if I found that the cache has gone, and I'm pretty sure about this sad fact (e.g. I found the remains of the container which had been burned by some vandal as it happened once not far away from Moscow here), and I have my first-aid kit with me I would probably restore the cache then leave it "as is". Right? I'm asking because I just returned from Europe doing some geocaching there (when I had time) and was surprised by reading logs by people who e.g. found a wet/soaked/unreadable logbook but did nothing, just put it back.
  15. Allright, being a Russian geocacher I think I can answer the question "why are not so many Russians here in the game?" a) Russia is a country of enormous territory and poor dissemination of GPS technologies. Geocaching isn't known to vast majority of people who have GPS-enabled devices, and in many cities and towns there are no geocachers at all. Russian community has developed its own national geocaching website with different database, regulations, traditions, etc. Most of Russians used to play there. This community has becoming more and more isolated from the world geocaching community. E.g. virtual caches are still very popular and people often come not really to hunt a cache but to visit a place of interest. Another example: Russian website has banned placing caches in big cities until Oct 2010 (thinking that "citycaching" could ruin the idea of geocaching as an outdoor activity) so it was really difficult to involve new players to the game. c) Not really many Russians speak/read English fluently and geocaching.com has not been localized in our language.
  16. I'm a novice at these forums though I've played geocaching for years at our national Russian geocaching website (different database, rules, etc.). There's a number of issues that seem rather different at geocaching.com and I hope I will find answers playing the game and/or here at these wonderful forums. One big trouble is that we in Russia cannot strictly follow one of the basic rules of geocaching. Due to huge distances in our country and poor dissemination of GPS technologies (I even don't speak about the popularity of the game itself) we cannot make a cache owner fully responsible for his/her cache. Instead, we used to rely on mutual assistance among geocachers. One who visits a cache should be ready to repair it if needed (replace the broken container, dry its content, put a new logbook, etc.) Actually, we even used to recommend every geocacher to have a geocaching first-aid kit at hand. My current question relates to such possible first-aid action. At geocaching.com it is suggested not to move a cache container (once found). We used to follow the same rule. If the cache needs some help it is recommended to call the cache owner and ask what to do. However, in some places there are no mobile networks or the cache owner is unaccessible at the moment. We don't have clear regulations for this case at our national website and rely on common sense. What if the cache is under clear threat? Let's say, some repairings were started a dozen meters away from the hiding place and it is most likely that the hiding place will be ruined in a day or two? Does this community consider it possible (if I cannot reach the cache owner immediately, of course) for me to move the cache to some other (safer) location and tell the cache owner about this sad situation afterwards?
  17. Let me drop a couple of thoughts from a person who've been playing geocaching in Russia for nine years. Our country 'combines' very large distancies and quite a few geocachers. In most of Russian cities there are just no players at all - and not many people actually know what the game is. So, the only way of the development of the game has been its expanding by a local geocaching community from Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and some other cities. Most of the distant caches (e.g. in Siberia) have been placed by these people. Call them 'vacation caches' or not, they actually do not have a maintenance plan. Many caches have been placed in quite uninhabited areas where there were no chances to meet a human at all, not mentioning any 'local maintainer'. So, here in Russia we rely mostly on visitors. Each geocacher is strongly advised to have a 'geocaching repairing kit' at hand and a contact phone number of the cache owner (if phone connection is available in the area, of course). There are recommendations on how to repair a cache and it's quite common to ask a cache owner if he/she needs assistance with some specific cache before leaving for a hunt. This seems to be the only way to maintain the majority of geocaches in our country. In some other republics of the former USSR, like Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, the situation is even more difficult. I personally own about 90 geocaches at our local Russian geocaching website (geocaching.su), most of them pretty far from my home location, and I doubt that I could provide a suitable 'maintenance plan' for them if I tried to cross-post them to geocaching.com (and I'd love to). Of course we could wait for new generations of geocachers to grow in Russian province but not in this life.
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