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The Rat

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  1. That's a good one, Boomhawr. Actually I would probably give that one a pass as someone for whom English is a second (or third or fourth) language. I was thinking more like this (fake) one: My intrest was peeked by the history of this cemetary and I desided to hide a cache here. The cache is a film cannister behind a big bolder. Its' in plane site but has good camoflodge. Don't loose it. It took me two trys to get it to stay they're. Italics added for the grammatically challenged.
  2. This thread is so long that I'm sure the majority of things that irk me have been mentioned, so I'll mention something that very well might not have been mentioned: poorly written cache pages, and by that I mean ones with bad grammar and spelling or are sloppy or careless about facts. When geocaching was new around here, circa 2002, if someone had a misspelling on a cache page, someone (me, for example) would mention that in a log or note, or might email the CO, who would be expected to edit the cache page properly. People still do that on rare occasion, especially if it's a puzzle and the edit is important to the solution, but for the most part that is now considered bad form. If people are too lazy to use a spell-checker and are semi-literate, that's now OK because "it's just for fun." That's the same mindset that gives every player on the kid's soccer team a trophy and every student gets an A, at least if a parent goes in and complains. I'm sure inaccurate coordinates must have been mentioned, but there are other kinds of inaccuracy or sloppiness that are irksome. For example, the other day we were looking for a cache where the hint said the cache was on the right side of the trail. The trail was a loop! "Right" depends on whether you choose to do it clockwise or counterclockwise.
  3. You don't know The Rat or you wouldn't have written that. If there is anybody who is NOT in it for the numbers, it's The Rat. fizzymagic knows me well. I'm definitely NOT in it for the numbers. Anyone bothering to look at my profile will see that. I went all of 2010 without a single find. I was not slamming geocaching. I listed in the OP many reasons why I still enjoy geocaching. I went out today with a friend and we had a good time. I gave a favorite point to a difficult cache that took a long time to find. It had very well-crafted camo. The favorite was for the craftsmanship and good placement, dead on accuracy of coordinates, well-written, grammatical cache page, and general all-around fairness since it was in plain view by a marked trail yet virtually invisible. However, while I enjoyed the find, I did not enjoy the hunt. Some might say that I enjoyed the find all the more because of the long search, but I don't think so. I have given fav points to similar caches that I found in seconds. In fact, I'd be more likely to do so because there is something about that type that makes you feel special, like someone with secret knowledge that the rest of the world doesn't have or know, that same feeling I had with my very first geocache in 2002. I can walk right up to something and find it when everyone else just walks on by. It's reassuring to see that there are others who have similar reactions to mine. Obviously there are plenty who don't.
  4. Is anyone with me here? I don't like looking for geocaches. Before you say "then why are you a geocacher?" I'll point out some of the things I do like about geocaching: Finding caches! Hiding caches. Reading the logs others have written (when they've put some decent effort into the log) Planning the caching excursion, the route, researching the caches Hiking or cruising around with a friend (or several friends) talking, laughing, or just admiring the scenery working the puzzles (sometimes) Solving the puzzles! So there are lots of things to like about geocaching but I've never understood why people seem to enjoy actually looking for them. I find that tedious, boring, and often frustrating. Sometimes it's even dangerous or painful. I've had poison oak too many times to mention. Talk about misery. If I had my way every cache would come with a spoiler and I'd read it long before I ever got to the cache.
  5. This question can never be resolved because it depends so much on why people geocache, what they enjoy. Like other COs, I enjoy real logs and dislike cut-n-paste ones, but it's not something that really bugs me. I have gone on a few large groups caching trips and had fun. There is something about the camaraderie. But I've never signed as part of an ad hoc "team". Other big group trips have turned out badly, with the group wanting to do a lot more caches than I did, or go into terrain I didn't (e.g. get soaking wet), or there were some people behaving badly (e.g. swearing in front of kids). It's tough in that situation if you aren't one of the drivers, or even if you are. You can't just leave stranding others, or forcing them to leave. As for signing the log, I have been in situation where I didn't sign the log but I'm the only one who actually found the cache. Once I remember I was up at the top of a utility pole hanging on for dear life and tossed the cache down to my partners who signed for me and tossed it back up. Another time I was in a hole just big enough for me to squeeze in and pass the cache out. Same deal. I was in physically precarious positions where I couldn't sign and I didn't want to have to extract myself just to sign and then go back up or back in. In my experience with large groups someone else almost always finds the cache before I do, often before I even get there so the "find" is just someone handing me the container to sign without even having seen where it was hidden. That's why I prefer caching with a maximum of four people. But then I've never wanted to try to get a high number of finds in one day. For others that's important.
  6. I am surprised by this whole thread, since this topic has come up for years. I don't have a smart phone and was unaware of the intro app "problem" but I have used the PMO feature in the past. Only Pontiac CZ has touched on the main reason this feature has been used over the years: vandals. Years ago I had the first stage of a very complex and involved multi disappear. It had a lot of clue material needed to solve the rest of the multi. I replaced it and it went missing again almost immediately. Then I found out that all the non-PMO caches in the area had also disappeared. There was obviously someone there who didn't like geocachers coming around, even though it was a public area and non residential in nature. They must have figured out what geocaching was and how to locate nearby caches and then removed them. I moved my cache slightly, made it PMO and didn't have any problems after that. Now, I mostly hide puzzles, and this isn't a problem. I welcome newbies to find my caches, although I agree that they tend to write poor logs and not take the time to learn geocaching etiquette.
  7. When I was an FBI agent we used our secret techniques to solve mysteries like this: we ask the person who actually knows the answer. It doesn't look like anyone has contacted Lukin8r. He hasn't been active since 2008, but his profile is there, so if he still has that same email he should get a message delivered to his inbox. (I say he because from the photos in the gallery, Lukin8r seems to be male). He might reply.
  8. It's not a movie, but it is about geocaching and involves 15 hours of acting by a professional actor: Cached Out - Audiobook The author and the narrator/actor are both geocachers.
  9. The woman who found it is a thief, no question. I was lucky the one time I left mine on the ground at a geocache site. It happened to be very close to my home. I went back two hours later and the finder had left a note on the ground with his contact info. I made contact and he returned it. I gave him a reward. He admitted that he was hoping that note would blow away and he would not get my call, but he was just honest enough. As for the police, you should report the lost item and ask the officer to enter the serial number into NCIC if you have it. There is definitely a field where they can do that. It's up to them whether to take the trouble. If it shows up in a pawn shop, an officer can search it. Some cities have detectives or other officers check pawn shops regularly for stolen items. Many, perhaps most, pawnbrokers are honest and will report suspected stolen items to police. Even if the police don't regularly check the shops, an officer would probably check the serial number in NCIC if a pawnbroker asked them to.
  10. I have only been contacted through the MC perhaps two or three times. I've responded, but always ask the person to use email next time, and provide my email address. I don't have a big gripe about the design of the MC, I just don't like using a membership site of any kind forcing (or let's say, encouraging) members to contact each other through that site's messaging. I'm sure it makes sense from a business standpoint to try to get people to stay on your site as much as possible, so I don't blame Groundspeak or other sites for doing it. I just try not to use it. I don't want to ignore people or fail to help them, especially if they are saying something nice (like fan mail on my books) so I reply, but I want to be able to search for a conversation. It's common for me to remember having correspondence on an issue a long time ago, but I don't remember who it was or where it was. I can search my email and find it. If it's in a message center in any of a dozen or more sites I visit, I'll probably never find it. There are other advantages to email, but I think everyone here is well aware of them.
  11. I think there's a dichotomy between the older and newer cachers on this. When I started in 2002 with my yellow eTrex, GPSr's were much less accurate than they are now. Both the satellites and the receivers are better now (and there are more satellites aloft). So it was very common even in relatively open areas for you to zero out 70 feet, even 100 to 200 feet away from where the cache is found. One CO around here back then was notorious for posting bad coords. He was too lazy to average for five or ten minutes, which was necessary back then. One set was off by over 400 feet, if I remember right. The owner was often off a lot and your unit would be too, multiplying the effect. So it was considered a courtesy to post the coordinates you marked when you found it for the benefit of the CO and future finders. Geocaching was simply a lot harder then. Owners would often watch the new coordinates appear in the logs over time and after several came up with a fairly consistent set of coordinates different from what was the original posted ones, would then change the posted ones to conform to this group "average". Posting your coordinates, especially in wooded areas or other bad reception areas, was part of the teamwork expected of fellow cachers. That's why that checkbox has been there since the beginning. Getting good coordinates was team effort. Now with good GPSrs and Google Earth, people expect caches to be within 20 - 30 feet of GZ almost always. Since they almost always are, newer cachers probably aren't aware of this "ethic." Now, if a cache is off by a lot, e.g. 77 feet in my OP case, it's almost certainly because someone moved it, not because of the inaccuracy of of the GPSr. So the reason may be different, but the problem is the same. Future finders, including the CO trying to do maintenance, may not be able to find it; so it is still a courtesy to post your own coordinates when they are that far off. I wouldn't do it for anything less than about 35-40 feet or so.
  12. Is that really for others? Where does that new set of coordinates appear then? I always had the impression that's only for my own purposes (like saving the final coordinates for a puzzle) and not shown to others. Yes, it is really for others, not for you. If you used it on a puzzle cache or multi you would be giving away the final coordinates to the world. Not good. If you want to save your puzzle solution, you should do that by clicking on the posted coordinates on the cache page, which then produces a popup box where you can enter those, not in your log.
  13. Today after a second finder complained about a cache of mine that was "way off where it was supposed to be" I went out to find it. Sure enough, it was 77 feet from ground zero by my GPSr. I know right where I had hidden it and I returned it there. There was no reason for anyone to have moved it, so some previous finder had just lost track of where they'd found it and put it back somewhere else a long way away. It could even have been a muggle, although from the location, I seriously doubt that. So the main culprit is the finder who was so sloppy in returning it so far off where they found it, but that's not what I want to discuss. If you find a cache at its posted location everyone knows you should return a cache there where you found it so no discussion is needed. What ticked me off is that two subsequent finders logged that they found the cache way off from the posted location and nothing more, although one did say it was 50 - 75 feet away without saying which direction. Of course, I first searched two wrong directions before finding the one today. I think a lot of people, newer cachers especially, are simply unaware of the proper geocaching etiquette for the situation when you find a cache way off the posted coordinates. It's not always clear that you should return it to the correct location because your GPSr or phone app may not be accurate, or because the original location may now be unsuitable. If you're positive that you know where it was supposed to be and can return it there, then do so, but otherwise leave it where it is or put it in a safe location and post the coordinates in your log! There's a checkbox under the text box when you log just for this purpose. Please use it. If it's a puzzle cache, multi, or for some other reason you shouldn't post the exact coordinates, then either give a specific offset (e.g. "add .010 to the N and .004 to the W") or email the CO privately. Logging that you found it way off is almost useless. The CO and/or subsequent searchers then have to go out and search all over needlessly. If you put it back, log that you put it back. Otherwise, posting alternate coordinates only takes a few seconds, but of course you have to remember to mark the actual location. If you forgot to do that and don't have them at the time you log, you can still achieve the useful result by simply describing where you found it, e.g. "About 70 feet along the fence line toward the lake from GZ" or "five trees to the left of where I zeroed out". In many cases you can get the exact coordinates of where you found it from Google Earth if you remember the details well enough and the photography is clear. The important point is to communicate what you found and what you did either in your log or in a communication directly to the CO. I prefer it to be in the log so that it's useful to the next searchers, too. Not all CO's are able or willing to do immediate maintenance. A corollary is that if you find a cache based on those alternate coordinates in a log, then state that in your log or repost them. Otherwise, eventually that log with the current coordinates falls off the front page and newer searchers will rely on the incorrect posted coordinates.
  14. On the TB maintenance issue, I have been geocaching since 2002 and didn't know that the CO could mark a TB missing until reading this thread. I have dozens of active caches, almost 100 including my now-archived ones, and have never received a request to remove a trackable from my cache description. I'm with fizzy about it not being the job of the CO to do. Most of my caches are micros now, although I have some regulars and smalls. I've seen many logs mentioning that a trackable is missing on others' caches, and possibly even on my own, but always assumed it was just for the information of future finders, not the CO. For caches large enough to have an inventory, I list the initial inventory at the time of hiding, but make clear that is at the time of hiding. After that I don't pay any attention to inventory, whether swag or trackables, but I may replace a missing pencil, and, of course, log book or sheet.
  15. I think the message from that owner thanking finders for the long logs implies that the short logs he is getting now are part of what bugs him. I'm not so sure that the favorite points has anything to do with it, because that's a relatively new feature, but it's hard to tell without knowing how long he has been putting out caches. I have over 400 favorite points on my caches, and I've found that almost all of them come from the first few finders. If I don't keep putting out new caches, not many favorite points accumulate. I have mostly puzzle caches. This phenomenon may be because part of what people like about a cache is being the first, or among the first, to solve/find it. If a cache has taken a long time to find (or puzzle to solve) it's probably not going to be a favorite for that person. That's understandable and doesn't bother me. I don't put out caches for the favorite points, but I do enjoy thoughtful, long logs. I, too, dislike the changes to geocaching (like people using smart phones to hide or find) but the world changes around us and it is up to me to adapt or move on. I still maintain a good number of caches, but I don't see anything wrong with choosing to archive a cache when it seems to have run its course. Around here the cache density is so high good hiding places are hard to come by. Sometimes I archive a cache of mine that no longer gets much traffic just so I can put out another one in the same general (or even exact) location. It's not a form of sour grapes, or "taking my ball away if you won't let me play quarterback." I just want to put stuff out that other want to go for. Not all caches, especially puzzles, turn out to be as good as one expects so it's worth "killing your babies" sometimes.
  16. I think the OP had a legitimate question/observation. I am a bit disappointed that the thread seems to have focused almost entirely on the etiquette of NM and NA logs and that it has degenerated to some extent into personal comments. I think the OP should be commended highly for two things: 1) His/her sincere attempt to learn and adhere to proper geocaching etiquette and official rules. Many newbies do not. This is obviously not totally possible since, as this thread demonstrates, much of the "etiquette" part is subjective with many different views. 2) How well-written the original post was. It's a relatively long post free of typos, misspellings and grammar errors. I only wish most cache listings were this well-written. Most are not, especially those of newbies. As geocaching has burgeoned in popularity, the care taken with both cache descriptions and logs has deteriorated significantly.
  17. I predicted on this forum long ago, maybe 10 years back, that there would be someone killed or disabled going for a geocache and the subsequent lawsuit would result in eliminating the sport. Happily, I have been proven wrong, at least so far. However, unlike most others here, I was a lawyer (now retired) and still think this could happen. Yes, I agree that everyone should be responsible for his or her own actions, but that applies to CO's and Groundspeak, too. It's also true that anyone can sue anyone else for anything in this country. If someone is deficient or negligent in his description of the hazards inherent in searching for a cache, or if the reviewer is negligent in approving a cache that the plaintiff claims should not have been, then I can see the very real possibility of liability. I doubt the disclaimer would protect those defendants, at least not entirely. It might result in the application of either contributory or comparative negligence doctrines, but that is going to vary by state and even by judge. Even if the defendant is successful in having a suit thrown out eventually, it could still cost thousands in legal fees just to get that far. Trial would cost tens of thousands, even if you win. I hadn't heard of that Texas case where the CO was allegedly held liable (or settled - a link would be helpful), and can't confirm that it is true, but I certainly think something like that is possible. I now think it wouldn't be likely to kill the sport, but I can see it putting a damper on 5 terrain caches. My guess is that if a reviewer were named as a defendant, Groundspeak would indemnify them, but that would probably initiate stronger guidelines for reviewers. Laws in other countries are probably very different, and none of this is likely to apply there.
  18. Cached Out the most popular of the Cliff Knowles Mysteries is free today only in Kindle form.
  19. The fifth Cliff Knowles Mystery, Gut Shot, is out. It's free in serialized form starting here: GUT SHOT, Episode 1. I've also lowered the Amazon price on some of the other Cliff Knowles Mysteries. In Gut Shot, Cliff and Ellen are still geocaching, but geocaching doesn't play a big part in the story the way it does in Cached Out or Death Row.
  20. I just read another book featuring geocaching: Cyberbully Blues by Rubin Johnson. It's really a coming of age story set in the future and geocaching only achieves passing mention, but I know from correspondence that the author is a geocacher.
  21. Since Groundspeak is a for-profit company, its sole responsibility, i.e. mission, is to maximize value (i.e. profit and share value) for its shareholders. To do otherwise would be a breach of fiduciary duty by the directors and officers. This is equally true for both privately and publicly held corporations. I'm not suggesting there is anything nefarious about this. All for profit corporations are under this same obligation. Public mission statements like the above are basically nothing more than marketing efforts designed to appeal to a certain customer base. That being said, Groundspeak provides good value for the money spent by its customers. Certainly I've gotten years of enjoyment from a very modest investment. I just don't buy the mission statement.
  22. I had a blog called Electricaching for a while, documenting my attempts to complete a geographic challenge cache using only my Leaf (an electric car) with its limited range. That ran its course so I don't do that one any more. I have another blog (see my sig line) now, but it rarely discusses geocaching because I want it to be of general interest. I have some geocaching videos made with my drone (e.g. ) and of course the Cliff Knowles novels Cached Out, Fatal Dose, and Death Row document geocaching through fiction, but many of the caching scenes or puzzles are taken directly from my own caching experience.
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