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Hated Hints


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I'm sure this topic must have been discussed before but my search didn't turn one up. I usually do my first search for caches in my local area without decoding any hints. I figure I can always go back and try again. However, when I'm a few hours away from home I do use the hints if the cache isn't located quickly because I won't be returning anytime soon. I hate the "No Hint Needed" hint. It's worthless, unnecessary and consumes time which can be used searching for the next cache.

 

"Too easy" and "Cheater" are others I hate. Please, if there is no hint, just leave the hint blank.

 

What are some examples of hints you could live without? And for extra credit, what nice ways could we leave hints to those cache owners to please write a useful hint?

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How about a URL for a hint? Yeah, SOME people could use that at the cache location, but MOST of us DON'T have internet access in the field.....

 

The one that really irks me is when people put information that SHOULD be in the main description, like "Start from xxx and follow the orange trail to avoid trespassing", as the hint. Well, once I'm already at the cache site, the information is useless, and doesn't help find the cache.....

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It's worse when you're paperless. At least if you're carrying paper, you can sort of tell whether or not the hint is going to be worthless. When I'm caching with Plucker on my Palm all I see is a link that says hint. I don't touch the hint until I absolutely need one. When I click it and all I get is "No hint" or "this one is too easy" you've just wasted my time. Thanks for nuthin'.

 

Bret

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My favorite was a hint giving advice on parking and finding the trailhead. For once, I decoded it after looking for the cache for a while. Found the cache the blunt force way. And yes, as it turned out, I'd parked in the wrong place and caught the wrong trail.

 

Usually, though, I decode the hint before I leave my livingroom. If I could rig it so the cache would leap up, shout "here I am!" and kick me in the tail, I'd do it. I hate the hunt. I like the walk in the woods.

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It's worse when you're paperless. At least if you're carrying paper, you can sort of tell whether or not the hint is going to be worthless.

I assume when you push that button you get the hint decrypted automatically?

 

Picture heading out for a one-star difficulty and one-star terrain (1/1). It turns out to be in a forest, about 100 feet off any trail, over logs and through brambles. The tree cover is dense. It would have been dark at mid-day sun and I had arrived at dusk.

 

After I got there I realized it was a camouflaged microcache (this was early in my caching, that can’t happen now). I was already beginning to lose patience with microcaches and probably wouldn’t have tried had I read more carefully. They can be hidden to easily in too many places, and this was a cluttered forest floor with such dense tree cover the GPS hardly knew where it was.

 

It was dusk and would soon be too dark to see my references for the way out. It’s Houston and it had rained earlier. At 95 degrees and absolutely still it was a steam room. I’m an old man and don’t take the heat too well. I only took it on so late because it said it was an 1/1. Later, when I got home I looked at the logs for this cache. In the past year 23 people had found it and 22 have DNFed. If half had the kahonies to admit they failed I'll bet the real DNF count was much higher. But, I didn’t know this at the time.

 

So, with the light rapidly fading, mosquitoes by the hundreds swarming over me, and risking darkness in the forest, I knelt down, constantly wiping away the sweat streaming into my eyes blinding me, and struggled to see to decrypt the hint which read, "No hints for this one, it's too easy!"

Edited by Thot
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"Too easy" and "Cheater" are others I hate. Please, if there is no hint, just leave the hint blank.

 

What are some examples of hints you could live without?

You’ve struck upon what was my main complaint against this game when I was starting out.

 

The incident I recounted above it one like you mentioned.

 

Here are some others I ran into early on.

 

Another micro in the forest. I decrypt the hint to learn "It's near the tree."

There were trees everywhere surrounded by a lot of undergrowth.

 

Another hint I didn't read it 'til I got home, explained where you could park. We had a devil of a time finding a place to park and the wife was very worried about the car where we left it. As it turns out that terrible place was exactly where the hint said to park. The rest of this very long hint explained information they had already given in the cache description.

 

I’ve run across a cacher who like to give misleading hints. The ultimate cheater, sucker hint. He deliberately steers you away from the cache leading leads you on wild goose chases. I think this may win my award as the worst hints.

 

One the "hint" gave the name of the city it was in.

 

A couple told me the name of the park I was in.

 

Another meant absolutely nothing unless you had already found the cache and could then divine the obtuse connection. Actually I’ve seen more than one of these.

 

Because of these experiences, early on, I pretty much began assuming hints will be worthless. So, when I need them, I’m pleasantly surprised if they help me find the cache. But, I can’t be upset by them anymore because I quit expecting anything useful some time ago.

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The last one I found had one of those hints that could be in this catagory. It said: at the base of a pine near a rotting log. Well, every 5 feet or so there was a pine tree with a rotting log by it! I guess you gotta have gps accuracy of 1 to 5 feet for that hint to do you any good! We had 25'! We did find the cache, but the hint was useless!

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Thanks for that link. I knew there had to be a thread somewhere about pointless hints. In just this year here's a sampling of actual hints on my distance cache finds:

 

Not for this one

 

none needed (on two caches)

 

Bring a flashlight! (I hiked in for over an hour to reach the location. Good thing I always carry a small flashlight since I did need it in the mine.)

 

HINT? Nope, this one is too easy!

 

None needed here.

 

If you need more, email me.

 

Don't need a hint

 

No way. It's too easy!

 

No hints

 

Be sure to obey City Ord. 9-12.050 As if I knew the local codes.

 

The cache is at the base of a clump of trees. Yes, I know there are lots of trees clumped together around here. But at least you now know the cache is not stuffed in a stump or wedged between boulders.

 

Even first timers should not need a hint for this one

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This was my all time fave. Imagine decrypting this one at the cache site (this is verbatim) :lol: :

 

When you get to N40 58.999 W073 54.723 ..look for a dead tree on the right side of the trail,Its kmow more then 20 feet tall.ITs still standing but its top is cutoff. The cache is in the tree.Please cover it up well when you find it,From the tree,you can see a yellow exit sign oN the parkway......MORE INFO...sinse I put this cache out,,,things have changed,,,here is a note from TRIXIEGRIME...WHO FOUND THIS CACHE,,,Hey Bill, Your PIP cache was found by me and another cacher today. But in a fallen 20 foot tree. You might want to amend the description a bit. We placed it back in the stump that is left of the same tree. Had to poke around for a while to find it. Was quite funny, cuz we knew our GPS's were guiding us to that spot but there was no standing 20 dead tree. ...ok SEEMS MY TREE CAME DOWN...TY TRIXIEGRIME

Edited by briansnat
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...

Usually, though, I decode the hint before I leave my livingroom. ...

Me, too. If I don't find the cache fairly quickly, I tend to lose interest and start to ask myself "why am I doing this?" For me, getting there is more than half the fun--it's most of the fun.

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Briansnat's post reminded me of this hint:

 

After experiencing the " Hole in the Wall" cache, take a walk down the main trail ( be Careful) to view Rattle Snake Creek passing under a massive granite cliff and out the other side through the "Hole in the Wall". If the weather is nice and warm you might have a picnic lunch with you and you might want to take a dip.Just checked if the cache is still there. YES it is! Weeds have grown up a bit, try a little harder.

 

The description of the cache said, "Park in dirt pull off on public property. Enjoy cache site"

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This was my all time fave. Imagine decrypting this one at the cache site (this is verbatim) :lol: :

 

When you get to N40 58.999 W073 54.723 ..look for a dead tree on the right side of the trail,Its kmow more then 20 feet tall.ITs still standing but its top is cutoff. The cache is in the tree.Please cover it up well when you find it,From the tree,you can see a yellow exit sign oN the parkway......MORE INFO...sinse I put this cache out,,,things have changed,,,here is a note from TRIXIEGRIME...WHO FOUND THIS CACHE,,,Hey Bill, Your PIP cache was found by me and another cacher today. But in a fallen 20 foot tree. You might want to amend the description a bit. We placed it back in the stump that is left of the same tree. Had to poke around for a while to find it. Was quite funny, cuz we knew our GPS's were guiding us to that spot but there was no standing 20 dead tree. ...ok SEEMS MY TREE CAME DOWN...TY TRIXIEGRIME

Must have flunked out of geocaching.com's "3rd. grade writing and composition class." Too funny. :D

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After two more DNFs in the past couple of days where there was no hint at all, my little editorial about hiding caches is still valid for me. :D

 

Why place a cache if you are only going to frustrate most of the seekers? :lol:

I read your editorial, and disagree 100% If I found EVERY cache the first trip out, even if I did have to use the hint, I think I'd quickly get bored with this and look for something else to do with what little free time I have.

 

That said, I _DO_ agree that if you're not going to provide a helpful hint, LEAVE THE SPACE BLANK. Oh, and by helpful, I don't mean it has to be a give-away, but should be a nudge in the RIGHT direction.

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Well, with the price of gas being what it is, and the fact that I have to drive quite a long distance to get to a cache, I really want to find it . . . eventually . . . the first time I visit the cache location.

 

If I lived closer to caches maybe I would not mind making several trips to find it, but I don't.

 

Also, I really, really look the first time. Without a hint, I don't know how my second search will result in a different outcome, so . . . why return, especially if it is a 30-mile round trip or more . . . ?

 

EDIT for spelin'

Edited by idiosyncratic
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Also, I really, really look the first time. Without a hint, I don't know how my second search will result in a different outcome, so . . . why return, especially if it is a 30-mile round trip or more . . . ?

It's amazing the difference just leaving and coming back another time can sometimes make in the way you look/think/see things in the area.

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  I've had it in mind, but have yet to do, to hide a cache and in the encrypted hint, include a long rambling bunch of text that looks like it might contain relevant clues; the very last sentence would read something like “I hope you didn't spend a lot of time decoding this by hand, because this ‘hint’ doesn't tell you anything useful.”

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After two more DNFs in the past couple of days where there was no hint at all, my little editorial about hiding caches is still valid for me. :D

 

Why place a cache if you are only going to frustrate most of the seekers? :D

When people ask me about geocaching, I sometimes tell them that it's "hiking for people who need more frustration in their lives." :lol:

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Well, with the price of gas being what it is, and the fact that I have to drive quite a long distance to get to a cache, I really want to find it . . . eventually . . . the first time I visit the cache location.

 

If I lived closer to caches maybe I would not mind making several trips to find it, but I don't.

Then why not just stay with one or two star difficulty caches?

 

Somehow that's what I've always assumed the rating system was for. If you want to be challanged choose hard ones. If not, choose easy ones.

 

Now when hard ones are rated easy, I'm with you, but the DNF history should give you a "hint" when this is the case.

Edited by Thot
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I've had it in mind, but have yet to do, to hide a cache and in the encrypted hint, include a long rambling bunch of text that looks like it might contain relevant clues; the very last sentence would read something like “I hope you didn't spend a lot of time decoding this by hand, because this ‘hint’ doesn't tell you anything useful.”

Well, if you want all your local cachers who have trouble with your cache and decrypt it by hand to hate you and think you're a complete moron, go ahead. Otherwise, if you don't have anything useful to say, leave the box blank.

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   I've had it in mind, but have yet to do, to hide a cache and in the encrypted hint, include a long rambling bunch of text that looks like it might contain relevant clues; the very last sentence would read something like “I hope you didn't spend a lot of time decoding this by hand, because this ‘hint’ doesn't tell you anything useful.”

I've fanaticized about adding such a hint to a micro hidden at a 2 mile hike and 500 foot bushwhack into dense woods with about a jillion places it could be hidden and coordinates that are way off. Then, publicly invite a list of cache owners like of the ones mentioned here, while urging other cachers to give the people on the list a chance to get the two carat diamond ring FTF prize.

:(:):DB):D:lol::D:D

Edited by Thot
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The star ratings should give a hint for finding the cache.

 

One cache in my area took me multiple 2-hour round trips on gully ridden dirt roads to a steep hike climbing over loose rocks only to hug the cliff to reach the ledge where the cache was finally located. On my first attempt it had a one star rating (but now is a 4 1/2 star).

 

Another cache in the area had 7 finds (the last in 2003 with all the rest in 2002) and 17 DNF's (including me). It is rated a 1 1/2 Difficulty.

 

I have a palm and I think I'm going to enable automatic decoding of the hints. When I'm out of my area I do like to find the cache after a good hard search. Of course, the local owners won't know that I'm an outsider needing help so I don't expect hints on all (or even most) caches. But the ones who do leave hints - please leave something useful.

Edited by Team Dromomania
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I have a palm and I think I'm going to enable automatic decoding of the hints.  When I'm out of my area I do like to find the cache after a good hard search.  Of course, the local owners won't know that I'm an outsider needing help so I don't expect hints on all (or even most) caches.  But the ones who do leave hints - please leave something useful.

Yeah, if you use Cachemate, you will. You have to click on the "hints" button to see it, so you won't automatically know the hint.

 

Actually, if you use Mobipocket, it's even harder to see the hint, because they're all crammed together in an appendix at the end of the document. This makes them hard to find. It also means I used to look at the wrong hint sometimes. And sometimes I caught myself thinking, "no, I don't like that hint. I'll use the one next to it" -- which was for another cache.

 

I was far too stupid to stay a Mobipocket user.

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Usually, though, I decode the hint before I leave my livingroom. If I could rig it so the cache would leap up, shout "here I am!" and kick me in the tail, I'd do it. I hate the hunt. I like the walk in the woods.

I'm with you. I always decode the hint first. After a year and a half of doing this, I've decided that I really don't like looking for the thing all that hard. I like signing the log book, and reading other entries, but what I really like is seeing things or finding things that I never knew existed but for somebody placing a cache there.

 

My gripe for the week: A puzzle cache called "GeekSeek" where the coords were in code AND the hint was in code. In fact, they were double-encoded. When you decoded the hint, it said, "Geeks don't need hints." Ah, but I do. So far, I've been the only non-geek (geek being a professional in the computer industry) to find the darn thing. Actually, except for the non-hint hint, I really enjoyed that one anyway. BTW, it was a full-sized cache camouflaged really cleverly, even though it was dang near in plain sight, and could have used an on-site hint.

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...

Usually, though, I decode the hint before I leave my livingroom. ...

Me, too. If I don't find the cache fairly quickly, I tend to lose interest and start to ask myself "why am I doing this?" For me, getting there is more than half the fun--it's most of the fun.

Add me to this camp. The BEST thing about geocaching for me is finding new places to hike when I'm in an unfamiliar area. I have sometimes given up on a cache after only a cursory search because I wanted to explore the area.

Also, sometimes I have another agenda. On Saturday I went down to RI to pick up

a certain person's Smiley Guy 2 TB for no better reason than that I have Smiley Guy 1 :ph34r: When I got to the parking lot I shut off my geepser cuz I knew exactly where the cache was. It was still fun to see that the hints really did lead me right to it. I went after two more easy caches in the same area and saw a nice park, river, playground and old forgotten picnic area that I never would have known about but for the terrific people who put caches there!

(Sidenote: Do I need professional help if I seem to agree with just about everything AuntieWeasel says? :D )

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My least favorite hint was on GC502F: "You will find the cache in near a spot where many local aromas mix."

 

The cache is located at a garbage transfer station (right where they dump the garbage), by far the ugliest and most odiferous spot we visited while caching on three islands in Hawaii last year. We weren't pleased to have wasted time on this one, and didn't bother looking for it once we got to the location. For us, the journey is by far the best part of the trip, and this one burned us twice - an awful location, and no useful hint when you get there (since you don't want to spend too much time in this area without a haz mat suit). :ph34r:

 

As a cache owner, I try to make my hints useful - while not quite spoilers, they're clear enough to end the frustration, on the assumption that you won't be looking at the hint unless you've 1) given up, or 2) you don't like searching and just decode at the start (fine with me). I once had a seeker write to me to say one of my hints was too obvious - that I should make it more oblique. I replied by asking what he would suggest and (nicely) asking why he looked at the hint if he didn't want help finding the cache? He didn't respond... :D

 

Clearly, some people believe that the goal of placing a cache is to torment seekers, while others believe that the point is to offer people a fun experience. To each his own, but let's at least have truth in advertising (diffiulty/terrain and general descriptions of what you're in for, and leave the hint blank if there is no useful hint!).

Edited by Kai Team
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...

Usually, though, I decode the hint before I leave my livingroom. ...

Me, too. If I don't find the cache fairly quickly, I tend to lose interest and start to ask myself "why am I doing this?" For me, getting there is more than half the fun--it's most of the fun.

Add me to this camp. The BEST thing about geocaching for me is finding new places to hike when I'm in an unfamiliar area. I have sometimes given up on a cache after only a cursory search because I wanted to explore the area.

Me three...

 

There's nothing more aggrivating than taking a nice walk through the woods, coming to where my gps's little arrow is spinning in a happy little circle, and then taking an hour to search. The Mousie starts getting agitated, because we're not moving, our time available for finding our cache list gets eaten away, and it stops being *fun*.

 

*Especially* in places where reception might be squirrly, and put you 30ft away, the hint sould be something useful.

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Also, I really, really look the first time. Without a hint, I don't know how my second search will result in a different outcome, so . . . why return, especially if it is a 30-mile round trip or more . . . ?

It's amazing the difference just leaving and coming back another time can sometimes make in the way you look/think/see things in the area.

If I've looked and looked and looked, and it is a 15-mile drive to the cache location, there is no way I'm going back without a serious hint from the cache owner or another finder.

 

To paraphrase what you said,

If I have to return to most the caches I seek in order to finally find them, I'd quickly get bored with this and look for something else to do with what little free time I have.
<_<
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Be sure to obey City Ord. 9-12.050 As if I knew the local codes.

I'll bet this was probably a useful hint. Was there a sign with City Ord. 9-12.050 nearby? The cache was probably hidden there.

This cache was hidden in a wooden area off a small park. I don't recall seeing any signs on the edge of this wooden area. I just looked up that code and it's saying don't dump garbage. Because of the massive amounts of PO around the cache it has since been disabled.

 

Still you might have something there. A sign may have been located at another path leading this the cache area. I'll just write this hint up as a "may be" helpful if you take the right path.

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Also, I really, really look the first time. Without a hint, I don't know how my second search will result in a different outcome, so . . . why return, especially if it is a 30-mile round trip or more . . . ?

It's amazing the difference just leaving and coming back another time can sometimes make in the way you look/think/see things in the area.

If I've looked and looked and looked, and it is a 15-mile drive to the cache location, there is no way I'm going back without a serious hint from the cache owner or another finder.

 

To paraphrase what you said,

If I have to return to most the caches I seek in order to finally find them, I'd quickly get bored with this and look for something else to do with what little free time I have.
:angry:

Most of the unfound geocaches for me are located at least an hour's drive - one way. I commute 1 1/2 hrs each work day so an hour seems "short" to me. :mad:

 

Hints help me judge which caches to go after. I just don't care for useless hints. On the other hand, clever ones are ok by me.

 

Another I don't like but should expect in this area are the Spanish language caches.

 

la rama alto is about as helpful to me as "no hint needed"

 

I have to admit that I usually have a pretty good idea that spanish is needed when I read the cache page. <_<

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