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Puzzle Creativity, in light of the new rules


Kit Fox
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I would like to discuss puzzle caches, that conform to the new guidelines. As I read it, new puzzle caches will not be approved if cachers need to download software, or the actual puzzle is hosted on another website (non geocaching.com).

 

I'm not trying to circumvent the rules, but I'd like to discuss alternative solutions to find puzzle caches.

 

One example I know of requires cachers to visit the cache owner's personal website, to solve a Java based Jig Saw Puzzle. His solution, to getting his cache approved was by producing a printable version of his puzzle on the actual cache page.

 

I'd like to create a puzzle where cachers need to retrieve a CD that contain all the elements of the puzzle, needed to find the cache. My alternative would be a really obtuse, multi-layered cipher that can be solved on the cache page. In essence, cachers would have a clear choice. Nobody is forcing cachers to take the disk, it is merely an alternative.

 

Question for reviewers:

 

Would this be approved as I described it?

 

 

Please link to other examples of caches where alternative solutions are used. ;)

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Are you going to run off a couple hundred copies of the CD? You'll need to check your CD distribution point quite often. Not everyone will take just one. Some people have no control over their kids "Daddy! Mary took one, I want one too!" If there are 20 disks and three screaming idiot children show up with the cacher, you're down three disks.

 

Trust me, I have three kids. Not that I'd take three disks, but others may just take three to shut up the little brats.

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I'd like to create a puzzle where cachers need to retrieve a CD that contain all the elements of the puzzle, needed to find the cache. My alternative would be a really obtuse, multi-layered cipher that can be solved on the cache page. In essence, cachers would have a clear choice. Nobody is forcing cachers to take the disk, it is merely an alternative.

 

Question for reviewers:

 

Would this be approved as I described it?

 

INAR, but I've seen this exact scheme approved precisely for the reasons you've mentioned.

 

The issue with maintenance mentioned earlier in the thread is a valid one. One cacher I've spoken with solves this issue by putting another puzzle in front of it. Puzzles weed out a lot of cachers.

 

What you are doing is creating two paths for the cacher to take. An alternative is create a single path with an optional detour. This would one where the hideously hard to crack puzzle (your 'really obtuse, multi-layered cipher') is posted on the cache page. Hints, helpers, or spoilers can be hidden in the wild like you would have hidden your CD. Same puzzle, but the detour allows for easier solving.

 

An example of making a cipher harder is to post it as an image. The solver has to do a lot of hand transcribing which tedious and prone to error. A helper would be a link to download it as text--or converted to alpha-numeric depending on the symbols used in the cipher text.

 

Another helper might be the name of the cipher protocol.

 

I think you get the idea from there.

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INAR, but I've seen this exact scheme approved precisely for the reasons you've mentioned.

 

The issue with maintenance mentioned earlier in the thread is a valid one. One cacher I've spoken with solves this issue by putting another puzzle in front of it. Puzzles weed out a lot of cachers.

 

The plan is to make this a remote, physically demanding, Gauntlet. This includes the use of special equipment, ie Rappeling gear. I'm not too worried about running out of CDs, but it is something to keep in mind though.

 

What you are doing is creating two paths for the cacher to take. An alternative is create a single path with an optional detour. This would one where the hideously hard to crack puzzle (your 'really obtuse, multi-layered cipher') is posted on the cache page. Hints, helpers, or spoilers can be hidden in the wild like you would have hidden your CD. Same puzzle, but the detour allows for easier solving.

 

An example of making a cipher harder is to post it as an image. The solver has to do a lot of hand transcribing which tedious and prone to error. A helper would be a link to download it as text--or converted to alpha-numeric depending on the symbols used in the cipher text.

 

Another helper might be the name of the cipher protocol.

 

I think you get the idea from there.

 

Well said. I've seen a PGP encoded file, where you find a paper version in the field, the real puzzle is finding where the electronic version was hidden.

 

I like the idea of the CD being a resource for hints, alternative routes to the cache, etc.

 

Thanks for all the replies so far. ;)

Edited by Kit Fox
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Well said. I've seen a PGP encoded file, where you find a paper version in the field, the real puzzle is finding where the electronic version was hidden.

 

I like the idea of the CD being a resource for hints, alternative routes to the cache, etc.

 

Thanks for all the replies so far. ;)

The best puzzles I 've seen could be solved with the information on the cache page and perhaps a little research on the internet. When I have to start downloading password crackers, enigma applets, and special software, I am usually disappointed at how easy the puzzle is. One exception were Lounging_At_Walden's video puzzles where you had to watch a video he had uploaded to YouTube. In a few other cases, the puzzle involved getting a PDF file from a personal website. These could have been done directly on the cache page but the PDF allowed the puzzle maker a bit of control on the format. I see the requirement as promoting creativity in puzzle caches rather than stifling it.

 

On the other hand, it looks like Kit Fox it planning something similar to an Otis Pug cache. Otis Pug is a well know cache hider in the So. California area. His caches take several days or even weeks to do. They involve going to different areas - often challenging to get to - and finding hints or clues in the cache there to get to the next cache. He has been know to hide CDs in the cache at one location that have to be decrypted to find the hints for the next one. If this is what you have in mind, I would say go for it. I think these are better listed as multicache with appropriate difficulty (5 stars). The reviewer doesn't even have to know that coords for stage two are hidden on a CD :D

 

Oh, and thanks for the spoiler on <<cache name remove per request from OP>>.

Edited by tozainamboku
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INAR, but I've seen this exact scheme approved precisely for the reasons you've mentioned.

 

The issue with maintenance mentioned earlier in the thread is a valid one. One cacher I've spoken with solves this issue by putting another puzzle in front of it. Puzzles weed out a lot of cachers.

 

The plan is to make this a remote, physically demanding, Gauntlet. This includes the use of special equipment, ie Rappeling gear. I'm not too worried about running out of CDs, but it is something to keep in mind though.

 

What you are doing is creating two paths for the cacher to take. An alternative is create a single path with an optional detour. This would one where the hideously hard to crack puzzle (your 'really obtuse, multi-layered cipher') is posted on the cache page. Hints, helpers, or spoilers can be hidden in the wild like you would have hidden your CD. Same puzzle, but the detour allows for easier solving.

 

An example of making a cipher harder is to post it as an image. The solver has to do a lot of hand transcribing which tedious and prone to error. A helper would be a link to download it as text--or converted to alpha-numeric depending on the symbols used in the cipher text.

 

Another helper might be the name of the cipher protocol.

 

I think you get the idea from there.

 

Well said. I've seen a PGP encoded file, where you find a paper version in the field, the real puzzle is finding where the electronic version was hidden.

 

I like the idea of the CD being a resource for hints, alternative routes to the cache, etc.

 

Thanks for all the replies so far. ;)

 

IMHO, this new rule bites. I know alot of good puzzle caches that I have found that utilize external websites and software.

 

I like your way of thinking on this subject. Another alternative that you could try is instead of using a CD is post a website with all the same info as the CD and put the URL in the cache instead. This way if changes need to be made to the content you can do it easier and with less expense of replacing the CDs. Also CDs can degrade in extreme temps.

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I would like to discuss puzzle caches, that conform to the new guidelines. As I read it, new puzzle caches will not be approved if cachers need to download software, or the actual puzzle is hosted on another website (non geocaching.com).

(...)

 

Kit Fox, can you point us to the relevant guidelines? I haven't heard about this issue except in the Forums, so I wonder if it is a case where different local reviewers have different interpretations?

 

On the broader question, I don't see much difference between a puzzle that uses an external web site (which might go down occasionally, disappear when the host goes out of business, etc.) and a physical hide that uses a specific location (which might get rezoned, relandscaped, burn up in forest fire, etc.) In both cases there is much that is out of geocaching.com's control, and in both cases it's the cache owner's responsibility to maintain the hide in find-able condition and to archive it otherwise. Why is it somehow a bigger deal for puzzles?

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I would like to discuss puzzle caches, that conform to the new guidelines. As I read it, new puzzle caches will not be approved if cachers need to download software, or the actual puzzle is hosted on another website (non geocaching.com).

(...)

 

Kit Fox, can you point us to the relevant guidelines? I haven't heard about this issue except in the Forums, so I wonder if it is a case where different local reviewers have different interpretations?

 

On the broader question, I don't see much difference between a puzzle that uses an external web site (which might go down occasionally, disappear when the host goes out of business, etc.) and a physical hide that uses a specific location (which might get rezoned, relandscaped, burn up in forest fire, etc.) In both cases there is much that is out of geocaching.com's control, and in both cases it's the cache owner's responsibility to maintain the hide in find-able condition and to archive it otherwise. Why is it somehow a bigger deal for puzzles?

 

This is what the website has. After re-reading this thread and this description. I am still a little confused on what "avaliable to the general caching community" means.

 

Mystery or Puzzle Caches

 

The “catch-all” of cache types, this form of cache often involves complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve in order to determine the coordinates. The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and should be solvable from the information provided on the cache listing. For example, a puzzle that requires research on public websites in order to determine the coordinates may be acceptable, while a puzzle that requires sending an e-mail to the cache owner with the solution in order to obtain the coordinates may not be. The only commonality of this cache type is that the coordinates listed are not of the actual cache location but a general reference point, such as a nearby parking location. Unless a good reason otherwise can be provided, the posted coordinates should be no more than 1-2 miles away from the true cache location. This allows the cache to show up on the proper vicinity searches and to keep the mileage of Travel Bugs that find their way into the cache reasonably correct.

 

If you choose to submit a cache of this type please give as much detailed information as possible to the reviewer when you submit the cache. The reviewer may still need more information before listing the cache. Please cooperate with these requests.

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Instead of linking to an external site, you can also embed the object, be it flash or whatever directly onto the Groundspeak page. I'm not sure if the reviewers would consider this an external link? Here's a link to my puzzle. It's an embedded flash object "Rockin' View"

 

You used to be able to upload a file to GC.com and have it directly available from the cache page. That would be handy for a mystery cache I'm working on and hope to have in place some time this summer. However the ability to do that doesn't exist now (that I know of) and even when you could it involved indirect methods.

 

The rule limiting things to that which can be solved on the web page is very limiting. While it may be possible to post the code for some cypher breaking program (where the hard part is to figure out it's a cypher to begin with...) it's so much easier to find an appliation that does the job and use it directly.

 

It's true that some people won't download applications but...that's their loss and they are free to bypass the puzzle if they can't find something they trust.

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I would like to discuss puzzle caches, that conform to the new guidelines. As I read it, new puzzle caches will not be approved if cachers need to download software, or the actual puzzle is hosted on another website (non geocaching.com).

(...)

 

Kit Fox, can you point us to the relevant guidelines? I haven't heard about this issue except in the Forums, so I wonder if it is a case where different local reviewers have different interpretations?

 

On the broader question, I don't see much difference between a puzzle that uses an external web site (which might go down occasionally, disappear when the host goes out of business, etc.) and a physical hide that uses a specific location (which might get rezoned, relandscaped, burn up in forest fire, etc.) In both cases there is much that is out of geocaching.com's control, and in both cases it's the cache owner's responsibility to maintain the hide in find-able condition and to archive it otherwise. Why is it somehow a bigger deal for puzzles?

 

Some background on this topic

Website-based Puzzle Caches

 

Cache listing question - external resources

 

Here is the referenced puzzle cache I referred to. http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...mp;hl=solvable#

Edited by Kit Fox
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I'm still a bit confused on what is and isn't allowed now. **sigh**

 

Sounds to me like it's pretty subjective on the reviewer's part. Pre-approval seems like a good idea from now on.

 

The reason behind this topic is "pre-planning" for whatever is to come in the way of new guidelines.

Edited by Kit Fox
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I'd like to create a puzzle where cachers need to retrieve a CD that contain all the elements of the puzzle, needed to find the cache. My alternative would be a really obtuse, multi-layered cipher that can be solved on the cache page. In essence, cachers would have a clear choice. Nobody is forcing cachers to take the disk, it is merely an alternative.

 

Question for reviewers:

 

Would this be approved as I described it?

 

yes

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Where are the new guidelines regarding puzzles listed/posted? The version linked from the "Hide a Cache" page has a date of 2005.

I think it is more of a clarification in interpretation of the guidelines. Several posters ohave commented on this over the past several months.

 

So, how does the average cacher who doesn't follow the forums get wind of these periodic 'clarifications' of the guidelines? It's got to pretty disheartening to work on a creative cache, only to have the listing denied because of an unannounced change in how the guidelines are applied. On balance, I think the 'problems' this rule is intended to solve are minor compared to the resulting restrictions on creativity.

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Where are the new guidelines regarding puzzles listed/posted? The version linked from the "Hide a Cache" page has a date of 2005.

I think it is more of a clarification in interpretation of the guidelines. Several posters ohave commented on this over the past several months.

 

So, how does the average cacher who doesn't follow the forums get wind of these periodic 'clarifications' of the guidelines? It's got to pretty disheartening to work on a creative cache, only to have the listing denied because of an unannounced change in how the guidelines are applied. On balance, I think the 'problems' this rule is intended to solve are minor compared to the resulting restrictions on creativity.

Mystery or Puzzle Caches

The "catch-all" of cache types, this form of cache often involves complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve in order to determine the coordinates. The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and should be solvable from the information provided on the cache listing. For example, a puzzle that requires research on public websites in order to determine the coordinates may be acceptable, while a puzzle that requires sending an e-mail to the cache owner with the solution in order to obtain the coordinates may not be. The only commonality of this cache type is that the coordinates listed are not of the actual cache location but a general reference point, such as a nearby parking location. Unless a good reason otherwise can be provided, the posted coordinates should be no more than 1-2 miles away from the true cache location. This allows the cache to show up on the proper vicinity searches and to keep the mileage of Travel Bugs that find their way into the cache reasonably correct.

 

If you choose to submit a cache of this type please give as much detailed information as possible to the reviewer when you submit the cache. The reviewer may still need more information before listing the cache. Please cooperate with these requests.

 

The way I interpret this guideline you can have people use free software off the Internet to solve a puzzle. I think the thrust of the guideline is to stop an email bottleneck. If people create puzzles requiring that you email them and then never answer their email then it creates a hassle and a dead cache.

Edited by TrailGators
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The way I interpret this guideline you can have people use free software off the Internet to solve a puzzle. I think the thrust of the guideline is to stop an email bottleneck. If people create puzzles requiring that you email them and then never answer their email then it creates a hassle and a dead cache.

Some reviewers interpret it this way, while others don't like caches that can only be solved by downloading software because that may leave some cachers out. For example, what about a cache that requires you to download a program that only runs on Microsoft Windows computers? How will someone with a Macintosh solve it? I know of one cache that required a Macintosh to solve the puzzle - or so they thought ;) Edited by tozainamboku
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The way I interpret this guideline you can have people use free software off the Internet to solve a puzzle. I think the thrust of the guideline is to stop an email bottleneck. If people create puzzles requiring that you email them and then never answer their email then it creates a hassle and a dead cache.

Some reviewers interpret it this way, while others don't like caches that can only be solved by downloading software because that may leave some cachers out. For example, what about a cache that requires you to download a program that only runs on Microsoft Windows computers? How will someone with a Macintosh solve it? I know of one cache that required a Macintosh to solve the puzzle - or so they thought ;)
I see your point but I would think those would be pretty rare cases. So the bottomline is that you can use software if a version of the software is available for free to anyone that uses a PC or a Mac.
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The way I interpret this guideline you can have people use free software off the Internet to solve a puzzle. I think the thrust of the guideline is to stop an email bottleneck. If people create puzzles requiring that you email them and then never answer their email then it creates a hassle and a dead cache.

Some reviewers interpret it this way, while others don't like caches that can only be solved by downloading software because that may leave some cachers out. For example, what about a cache that requires you to download a program that only runs on Microsoft Windows computers? How will someone with a Macintosh solve it? I know of one cache that required a Macintosh to solve the puzzle - or so they thought ;)
I see your point but I would think those would be pretty rare cases. So the bottomline is that you can use software if a version of the software is available for free to anyone that uses a PC or a Mac.

 

Doesn't that fall under the issue of specialized tools? From what I understand it is generally accepted to place caches that may require specialized tools to locate a cache (Scuba gear, a boat, 4WD vehicle). Such programs should fall into that. I don't see a problem in requiring users to use programs to decode a PGP file or to decrypt a steganograph. If that is the case, I say the cache difficulty should be higher. I have a multi-cache where a WiFi enabled laptop or PDA is need to obtain the coordinates for the final leg. I have seen a cache that required the use of a FRS radio to find a leg in a multi. Personally I like to see more of that.

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I'd like to create a puzzle where cachers need to retrieve a CD that contain all the elements of the puzzle, needed to find the cache. My alternative would be a really obtuse, multi-layered cipher that can be solved on the cache page. In essence, cachers would have a clear choice. Nobody is forcing cachers to take the disk, it is merely an alternative.

 

Question for reviewers:

 

Would this be approved as I described it?

 

yes

 

I suggest instead of getting an answer from A reviewer, you should get one from your reviewer. Since they are guidelines.

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We have a puzzle cache that you'll need to download some mp3's (20seconds maximum lenght) and then try to decode them into numbers. The sound files are hosted at server (not geocaching.com).

 

Is that allowed? We're thinking of making another like that using video clips in the future, how's that going to be?

 

If to solve a puzzle cache everything must be on the cache page, why do we need some tools to claim a find on an Earthcache?

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I've got puzzles that require you to take a CD from another of my caches, ones where you need to visit my website, or other people's websites, or make phone calls. These all get passed in the UK as do puzzles where for example you need to download an enigma machine.

 

The UK reviewers take a very practical view of the guidelines- it's a shame if not everyone takes the same approach.

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[...] The UK reviewers take a very practical view of the guidelines- it's a shame if not everyone takes the same approach.

 

Pieman, I think that a lot of the confusion in this thread is related to your comment.

 

Most reviewers (UK and elsewhere) do seem to be practical and flexible about external links in puzzle hides. However, once in a while we hear via the Forums that things have changed and that guidelines are being interpreted differently. That may simply be because a handful of reviewers are less flexible, but it's worrisome to everyone who creates puzzles. Hence this thread.

 

To reviewers or higher-ups reading this: Is there, in fact, some new general guideline about external links that applies to all reviews of all puzzle caches in all locations? Or are the worries and problems expressed in this thread local ones?

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In the interest of file security, caches that require the downloading, installing or running of data and/or executables may not be listed.

 

This principle flows from the guideline text that says "The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and should be solvable from the information provided on the cache listing."

 

If your reviewer says "no" based upon the above guidelines which Groundspeak has asked us to follow, you are welcome to write to the appeals address to seek an exception.

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In the interest of file security, caches that require the downloading, installing or running of data and/or executables may not be listed.

This principle flows from the guideline text that says "The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and should be solvable from the information provided on the cache listing."

 

If your reviewer says "no" based upon the above guidelines which Groundspeak has asked us to follow, you are welcome to write to the appeals address to seek an exception.

When I informed the local SD cachers about this new interpretation of the mystery cache guideline, one of them quipped: "Well, that sucks. I've seen many caches that require buying a GPSr and installing software and downloading maps and gpx files." :D Edited by TrailGators
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As I read it, new puzzle caches will not be approved if cachers need to download software, or the actual puzzle is hosted on another website (non geocaching.com).

 

How long has this been the case? One of my newer ones (Less than a month) has an external part ot it and got the green light.

 

(Then again, I never told the reviewer it had an external link :D )

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In the interest of file security, caches that require the downloading, installing or running of data and/or executables may not be listed.

 

This principle flows from the guideline text that says "The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and should be solvable from the information provided on the cache listing."

 

If your reviewer says "no" based upon the above guidelines which Groundspeak has asked us to follow, you are welcome to write to the appeals address to seek an exception.

 

Although Pieman (from UK) has added his two pennies worth, it is only in the last 24 hours that this thread has hit our shores.

So for my two pennies worth......(and as a setter of puzzle caches that require a download (only a pdf))

I think this guidance is stifling innovation.

New technology is coming along everyday and these should be at our disposal in not only seeking caches, but in setting them too.

Too many caches these days are being set requiring little brainwork, let alone legwork, so why are we stopping another interesting way of tackling caches?

The great thing about the USA is your willingness to embrace new technologies, dont let the new and different hinder this superb sport of ours!

 

This is a retrograde action! :cool:

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I really would like to see some clarification of what was intended by the guidelines. When I read that "all the information needed to solve the puzzle should be on the cache page or found on public websites" the way I interpret that is: Either

 

1) the information is right there on that cache page, perhaps hidden as an invisible color, perhaps coded, perhaps in riddle form, etc, but on that page.

 

OR

 

2) I could google search for some term(s) and find multiple webpages that contained helpful clues. Examples would be "how to" pages for solving puzzle clues in general (i.e. how to solve a cipher puzzle) or--slightly more involved--maybe I'd look for specific content information "Who was the first president of the screen actors guild?" "What year was the treaty signed to end the Peloponnesian wars?" (and when I knew the answers, I'd go back to the puzzle page to choose "A" if the year was 1999 or "B" if the year was 500, etc

 

I didn't think the guidelines meant I should have to go to some specific webpage and download a program, applet, or some other thingy that I have no idea what it is, what it does, or how risky it is for my machine.

 

Those of you who are technologically savvy may not worry about uploads and downloads of every sort, but some of us only know enough to run good virus checkers and good firewalls that scream at us when we try to click on some of those sorts of things. Do I want to disable my virus screening program to be able to upload your little bit of code? Is it safe? Um, usually, "I don't know" is my answer!

 

That leaves me in a dilemma: either it's safe and I know so because it's on gc, or it's at my own risk that I choose to click that link and allow it access to my machine.

 

I might presume that the cache pages are "safe" and that their being reviewed and allowed is a sort of assurance that while the cache itself may be over my head, the links are all safe for me to check out. It doesn't seem to me that can be a truism if all sorts of weird programming oddities are allowed on the pages. Since gc can't possibly lend assurance to all sorts of downloads, I figured the guideline in place to prevent them from being put on cache pages, but perhaps I am the one reading it wrong. Perhaps they were thinking something else entirely. I'd really like to know.

 

I realize that stymies some creativity, but it does protect the average computer user from our own ignorance about computer safety issues.

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I think the real crux of the guidelines is that GC.com has no control over the integrity of the data or content that is on another site. Nor can they guaranty that such specific data will still be there 1 week, month, or 1 year down the road.

 

- "What year was the treaty signed to end the Peloponnesian wars?" has a factual answer.

- How to use a Beal cipher and Vinegre cipher is a specific process.

 

What the tenth, thirteenth and twenty-fifth words of some users AOL home page, if a You-tube video is still there, of if an external java or .GGI app will continue to work for the life of the cache is questionable. Any changes to these examples or the removal of the video will break a puzzle and make it unsolvable.

 

Additionally, I'm sure GC.com has enough trouble keeping their legalities in order and need not to rely on what's happening at some other website

 

Edit for translation into English

Edited by ekitt10
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I didn't think the guidelines meant I should have to go to some specific webpage and download a program, applet, or some other thingy that I have no idea what it is, what it does, or how risky it is for my machine.

 

I understand that concern, but you don't have to download a program any more than you would have to visit a physical cache location. If a cache makes you uncomfortable or afraid -- for physical or "virtual" reasons -- then back away and don't do it.

 

Similarly, if a cache is broken in some way -- physical or "virtual" -- then the cache owner should fix it.

 

As far as downloading software, I think a lot of puzzle-makers are worried about losing the ability to use programs and applets that are run inside browsers, but in ways that are technically impossible on the gc.com site. Here's an example, and here's another. (Run them if you dare! :cool: )

 

[Edited for clarity]

Edited by Urubu
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I think the real crux of the guidelines is that GC.com has no control over the integrity of the data or content that is on another site. Nor can they guaranty that such specific data will still be there 1 week, month, or 1 year down the road.

 

- "What year was the treaty signed to end the Peloponnesian wars?" has a factual answer.

- How to use a Beal cipher and Vinegre cipher is a specific process.

 

What the tenth, thirteenth and twenty-fifth words of some users AOL home page, if a You-tube video is still there, of if an external java or .GGI app will continue to work for the life of the cache is questionable. Any changes to these examples or the removal of the video will break a puzzle and make it unsolvable.

 

Exactly what I hoped was meant by "public" websites....public web pages are only one of many that might have that same answer, not specialty website made just for that cache.

 

I'm still hoping to get someone in an official capacity to chime in here. The rest of us can speculate about intent until we are blue in the face, but we won't get any closer to a definitive answer.

Edited by Neos2
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I didn't think the guidelines meant I should have to go to some specific webpage and download a program, applet, or some other thingy that I have no idea what it is, what it does, or how risky it is for my machine.

 

I understand that concern, but you don't have to download a program any more than you would have to visit a physical cache location. If a cache makes you uncomfortable or afraid -- for physical or "virtual" reasons -- then back away and don't do it.

 

You may have missed my meaning entirely (I may not have said it well)--I'm not talking about the validity of techno fears, real or imagined, I was wondering aloud about the intent behind the guideline. It's no help to dismiss the fears of technophiles as unwarrented if the folks who own the website don't want those kinds of pages being pointed to. If they don't want a cache to require the use of a second web page made expressly so the cache coordinates can be found--for whatever reason--then they aren't going to approve caches that require the use of web pages that were created expressly for the purpose of making that one cache work.

 

I think it would be helpful to everyone if we knew exactly is meant by "public" webpage--What is the intent behind that one phrase?

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As far as downloading software, I think a lot of puzzle-makers are worried about losing the ability to use programs and applets that are run inside browsers, but in ways that are technically impossible on the gc.com site. Here's an example, and here's another. (Run them if you dare! :blink: )

 

I like the one located on a college students (or staffs) home page. What happens after graduation and when the account is purged the next semster?

 

I think there are other things to be concerned with regarding applets, scripted webpages, and DL programs.

 

There is no way a cache placer that is using a Java program or self-contained program to account for all cachers. How do you know what OS every cacher is running, or what version and brand of browser the user might have. How do you know whether a potential cache seeker is using a Intel PC, Mac, Unix?

I've seen a cache that can only be solved using a Mac. (A HTML redirector direct Mac to a web page with the correct coodinates) Someone with a PC will never solve this one. IMO, it's funny as h311, but is it fair?

In a similiar fashion, If I have to change my security settings or use a specific browser to get a program to run correctly, I'm not going to be happy.

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I like the one located on a college students (or staffs) home page. What happens after graduation and when the account is purged the next semster?

The same thing that happens when a cache is muggled or when the sign with the offset for the multi gets changed or removed - the cache is unavailable and needs to be fixed or to be archived.

 

I dunno ... I'm on the fence about this ...

 

I can completely understand Groundspeak being reluctant to provide some kind of file storage for applets, downloadable programs and files, etc. (beyond the image storage they already provide). There's just no reasonable way they could check all of those things for viruses, trojans, and what-not. I can also understand them being leery about having Javascript or Java applets running on cache page windows. That gives the impression that the content is provided by Groundspeak, as opposed to some other third party.

 

But I don't really understand why there's a reluctance to allowing puzzles to be located on other freely-available web sites. Those sites are clearly NOT Groundspeak owned and operated, and there are no more risks to accessing them than there are anywhere else on the internet. The existing ones around my area are certainly no less stable than many of the caches that have been placed here.

 

I can only find one reasonably nearby my home location that uses a puzzle hosted on a site other than the cache description page. Is this over the line?

 

-eP

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I can undertand the issues some cachers have regarding the use of EXEs and the requirement to download programs they are unfamiliar with.

 

Like others have said, the concern about dead links, is exactly the same as missing geocaches, missing sections of multis, etc. This is simply a matter of cache maintenance, not a problem with puzzles hosted elsewhere. If cachers show a history of poor maintenance on their caches, then they should be prevented from submitting new caches for review, until they take care of their disabled/missing caches.

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In the interest of file security, caches that require the downloading, installing or running of data and/or executables may not be listed.

 

This principle flows from the guideline text that says "The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and should be solvable from the information provided on the cache listing."

 

If your reviewer says "no" based upon the above guidelines which Groundspeak has asked us to follow, you are welcome to write to the appeals address to seek an exception.

 

My confusion here stems from the fact that this guideline seems to be addressing caches where the coordinates posted on the cache page are not the actual coordinates of the cache. Do these rules apply to multis where the coords for a later stage may be in an encryted form in an earlier stage?

 

Also, is require the operative word in your opening sentence? A Vigenere, Playfair or Enigma cipher can be decoded without resorting to downloading an applet from an internet site, so no external app is required.

 

Then again, we enter a gray area when we try to restrict information from external sites based on whether or not downloading, installing or running executables is required. Does a Perl, Java or ActiveX script fit this description? Then there's the whole can of worms regarding any advertising or agenda promoted by the external site.

 

I think the wording on this guideline is intentionally vague to allow local reviewers the flexibility to make their own decisions regarding these issues. You should not be required to access any external website or resource in order to solve a puzzle, even if most people will access that resource. Of course, the downside is that you can expect to see a great weeping and gnashing of teeth from individuals whose caches get disapproved based on this guideline and their reviewer's interpretation of it, along with the requisite forum posts complaing that other reviewers have approved similar caches.

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In the interest of file security, caches that require the downloading, installing or running of data and/or executables may not be listed.

You can't possibly be serious.

 

Puzzles that require analysis of digital images are now forbidden? The image is data that must be downloaded. Non-JPEG images must be hosted elsewhere.

 

Puzzles using audio are now forbidden? Audio data must be stored on a separate website and downloaded.

 

Video puzzles are also forbidden? Videos, as you may know, are also data.

 

I could certainly understand a guideline that excluded caches where a specific executable file had to be downloaded and installed, but the above goes absurdly far beyond that.

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In the interest of file security, caches that require the downloading, installing or running of data and/or executables may not be listed.

You can't possibly be serious.

 

Puzzles that require analysis of digital images are now forbidden? The image is data that must be downloaded. Non-JPEG images must be hosted elsewhere.

 

Puzzles using audio are now forbidden? Audio data must be stored on a separate website and downloaded.

 

Video puzzles are also forbidden? Videos, as you may know, are also data.

 

I could certainly understand a guideline that excluded caches where a specific executable file had to be downloaded and installed, but the above goes absurdly far beyond that.

 

I am miffed about that since I had an awesome cache that I was planning using an mp3.

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I'm guessing that the prohibition is explicitly against specific data and executable files, as opposed to programs and data in general.

 

And I think it applies to data as well, because applications that can run macros may have data files that contain embedded executable code.

If that's the intent, then the guideline needs to be stated that way.

 

Because the way it is currently stated, all puzzle caches are forbidden. A cache page is specific data, you know. And it must be downloaded to be viewed.

 

Once again, the guideline as stated is absurd.

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[snip]

 

Puzzles using audio are now forbidden? Audio data must be stored on a separate website and downloaded.

 

Video puzzles are also forbidden? Videos, as you may know, are also data.

 

 

I don't know what's going on in the rest of the country, but this has been the case in NJ.

 

Recently, (in NJ) a video puzzle (You Tube) was submitted, and a alternative method to solving the cache had to be provided. The You Tube video is still the preferred method to solve the puzzle, but for those w/o high speed access or leary of visiting You Tube, or just have the printed cache page, the puzzle is solvable.

 

I like the one located on a college students (or staffs) home page. What happens after graduation and when the account is purged the next semster?

The same thing that happens when a cache is muggled or when the sign with the offset for the multi gets changed or removed - the cache is unavailable and needs to be fixed or to be archived.

[snip]

 

This is true. I guess it's playing the odds. A well placed cache probably will not get muggled and a well chosen clue for a offset probably wont get changed. (Yes, I'm entering the world of good vs. lame here) ;)

Another point that might be worth discussing is what if the external site get's hacked and malicious code is added to that external website.

 

I can only find one reasonably nearby my home location that uses a puzzle hosted on a site other than the cache description page. Is this over the line?

 

Cool puzzle, but why can't that be modified work on GC.com space?

Personally, I have no problems with this, but I understand (I think) GC.com's position.

One again, I would be tweeked out if I followed the link and got a 404 error. More so then if I went looking for a cache and it was muggled or missing.

seriously, everytime I look for a cache, I always consider that it maybe gone.

Whenever I click on a link, I expect it to work. (I should know better, I've been on the Internet for 12 years :D )

I would be double tweaked if I followed the link and 20 pop-up ads with juggling clowns and dancing bears started choking my browser.

 

Because the way it is currently stated, all puzzle caches are forbidden. A cache page is specific data, you know. And it must be downloaded to be viewed.

 

Under that logic, shouldn't that be all caches? :wub:

Let's not poke the bear. :blink:

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I have hidden 2 puzzle (Mystery) caches in the past year. Neither one has been visited, although several cachers have emailed me to confirm the proper location of the first.

The one that I put out last week (GC10JFE) requires that you have to solve the location of (but not visit) my first puzzle cache (GCWE3D). To solve the location the easiest, though not only method is to use Ed William's Javascript Great Circle Calculator. You also have to use the "Find a Benchmark" feature on this website.

I provide the benchmark numbers and the cache #s for two of my other caches and give a radial and distance in Kilometers to locate the cache. My reviewer had no problem with either hide as long as the posted coords were within 2 miles of the final location.

I posted a note on my first puzzle congratulating the first cacher to give me the exact location by email.

The one I hid last week is within 3Km of a US highway. Solve it and I will post a note crediting the solver, visit it and you will get a FTF prize worth $12 (Tommy Trojan geocoin). :blink:

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You can't possibly be serious.

 

Right. I was just kidding. I wasn't explaining, pretty much verbatim, what Groundspeak had asked the reviewers many months ago to do with puzzle submissions.

 

There are a lot of good questions being asked in this thread. But since I'm not serious, I'll not be answering them. Everyone can stumble around, or ask fizzymagic for guidance.

 

So much for trying to be helpful.

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You can't possibly be serious.

Right. I was just kidding. I wasn't explaining, pretty much verbatim, what Groundspeak had asked the reviewers many months ago to do with puzzle submissions.

OK, I apologize. Thanks for trying to communicate Groundspeak's position.

 

If what you said was more or less verbatim what Groundspeak specified, than all puzzle types are now forbidden, and the guideline is absurd.

 

Since puzzles have been approved in the last couple of months, then either Groundspeak didn't mean what they said, or else approvers are basically ignoring it.

 

My vote is for the former. This is not the first time that a new guideline has been poorly formulated and had unexpected negative consequences. Let's hope this time it works out better, but I am not optimistic.

 

There are a lot of good questions being asked in this thread. But since I'm not serious, I'll not be answering them. Everyone can stumble around, or ask fizzymagic for guidance.

Why on Earth would anybody ask me for guidance? I have no idea what the guidelines in this area are, since they haven't been published.

 

Further, since thus far in the discussion the Groundspeak PTB have quite studiously avoided giving any real information, I suspect that nobody else knows what they are, either. I don't understand why they have to remain semi-secret, keeping cachers guessing about what they really mean, but then there are a lot of things I don't understand.

 

My astonishment with you (and hence my claim that you weren't serious) is that you would communicate such a patently ridiculous guideline as if it were actually meant to be implemented the way you stated it.

 

ETA: I should have just kept my mouth shut. Discussions of the guidelines never go well. Continue your discussion; pretend I didn't say anything.

Edited by fizzymagic
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