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J-Way

New cache type/icon

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I couldn't find this topic after a very brief search, so I'm posting a new thread.

 

I enjoy solving puzzles, and I usually check out "Unknown (Mystery)" and "Multi" caches first on my business trips. If I can solve a puzzle before the trip, then I save the final coords and make it a point to find that one before looking for any LPC's.

 

Unfortunately, the Unknown (Mystery) category is the catch-all category. If a cache doesn't fit somewhere else, put it here. Tons of Unknown caches are only unknown because of obscure additional logging requirements (ALR's). Lately around here we're being swarmed by "Play It Forward" caches, where you have to post a new cache before you can log a find. There is nothing wrong with these caches, but they have nothing to do with any Mystery.

 

I propose splitting the Unknown (Mystery) category into two categories.

Unknown and Mystery; or Unknown and Puzzle.

 

Puzzle caches would require solving a puzzle to figure out the coordinates. This can be a series of riddles, coords hidden on the cache page, coords hidden in pictures or audio files, using complex surveying equations, etc.

 

Unknown would be the new catch-all category. If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it's unknown.

 

Any opinions? Would anyone else like to see a new category for Puzzle caches?

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It's so ironic that you bring this up, because I am having the exact same problem right now. I'm preparing to go on a business trip the week after next and have been trying to find some puzzle caches that a friend of mine and I can solve on the plane before we land. (Heck, we even solve the puzzles for a lot of caches that we don't even attempt to physically find.) We are both into Sudukos and cryptos and wanted to try to find some actual puzzles so we can hunt down some caches. However, there's no way to simply search for them.

 

I went through about 7 pages of caches in the area, with the Unknown cache filter under the advanced search option and had to sift through cache after cache of other types of caches without finding TRUE mystery caches. (I'm not phrasing that geolytically correct...what I'm trying to say is that these mystery/unknown caches are not actually puzzles, but sort of multi-caches without puzzles or mysteries but not quite multi's...if you know what I'm saying.) I wound up only finding about 5 or 6 unknown caches with real puzzles. It could jsut be the interests of cachers in that area that are creating this phenomenon. But I see it in my area as well and others that I have travelled to.

 

I really wish there were more search options. Or if the advanced search feature had more filters.

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I couldn't find this topic after a very brief search, so I'm posting a new thread.

 

I enjoy solving puzzles, and I usually check out "Unknown (Mystery)" and "Multi" caches first on my business trips. If I can solve a puzzle before the trip, then I save the final coords and make it a point to find that one before looking for any LPC's.

 

Unfortunately, the Unknown (Mystery) category is the catch-all category. If a cache doesn't fit somewhere else, put it here. Tons of Unknown caches are only unknown because of obscure additional logging requirements (ALR's). Lately around here we're being swarmed by "Play It Forward" caches, where you have to post a new cache before you can log a find. There is nothing wrong with these caches, but they have nothing to do with any Mystery.

 

I propose splitting the Unknown (Mystery) category into two categories.

Unknown and Mystery; or Unknown and Puzzle.

 

Puzzle caches would require solving a puzzle to figure out the coordinates. This can be a series of riddles, coords hidden on the cache page, coords hidden in pictures or audio files, using complex surveying equations, etc.

 

Unknown would be the new catch-all category. If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it's unknown.

 

Any opinions? Would anyone else like to see a new category for Puzzle caches?

 

"Pay it forward" caches are nothing more than ALRs. In order to get credit you have to hide another cache. This is no different than, "in order to log your find, you must do XYZ. If you use a program like GSAK, you can review the "real puzzle" caches and delete the rest. I don't think this is valid reason for "yet another icon."

 

ALRs were added into the catch all category due to the proliferation of traditional caches where finders were denied finds due to the obtuse caches owner's silly control issues. Enough people complained about the issue and they were added to the catch all category.

Edited by Kit Fox

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I agree, it would be nice if Puzzles were pulled out of the Mystery category and made it's own.

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Since this is a feature request, I am going to move this topic to the Geocaching.com Web Site Forum.

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"Pay it forward" caches are nothing more than ALRs.

 

That's certainly true, but is not related to the feature request of the OP.

 

If you use a program like GSAK, you can review the "real puzzle" caches and delete the rest. I don't think this is valid reason for "yet another icon."

 

That's a weak argument. In this manner caches types become obsolete - one can sort our traditional caches or caches with an ARL as well.

 

ALRs were added into the catch all category due to the proliferation of traditional caches where finders were denied finds due to the obtuse caches owner's silly control issues. Enough people complained about the issue and they were added to the catch all category.

 

There is nothing wrong with adding caches with ALR into the catch all category.

It is, however, not a good idea to use the same category for the catch all category and for caches involving a puzzle. Cachers who do not like to encounter caches with ALRs among the puzzle caches have the same right than those who do not like to encounter such caches among traditional caches.

 

Caches which involve an ALR are by far not the only caches which currently have to be classified as ?-caches though they do not involve a puzzle. So ALRs are just an example, and not the key issue in this thread.

 

The classification of cache types which is used by a cache site should be based on a well-thought concept and should not be the result of changes which happen over time because some groups of people complain louder than others.

 

Cezanne

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I happen to agree with what is being said here. Myself being from the neck of the woods that the OP is refering to, I have started to see a trend towards caches being placed, and the only reason that it is a puzzle is because it has a logging requirement.

 

Would be nice to have a seperate category for these caches, because as it stands now...everytime I run a PQ for an area that I want to visit, I have to manually check all the puzzle/mystery caches to see why they are listed as such...and if it an extra logging requirement, I will find them on a day-long run.

 

Most of the time I will filter out puzzles because I am pretty bad at solving them.

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Most people know me as a status-quo kind of guy, but I agree on this. I've never liked junk-drawer-labels. Miscellaneous and Unknown and Other just rub me the wrong way.

 

I also think there's enough ALR caches out there to warrant their own type as well.

 

But I think their may be a better solution. Puzzle caches can be multis. Puzzle caches can be single stage. ALRs can be single stage or multis as well.

 

I'd ALMOST like to suggest these as attributes and move them into the Traditional or Multi-stage categories. BUT, the PQ selector for attributes doesn't work right (especially with exclude) and the attributes aren't passed into the GPX file so that GSAK or other software can filter.

 

So - maybe there are two new types needed and a reduction in the number of caches that are thrown into a junk-drawer label of "Unknown/Mystery".

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I vote for a true puzzle cache type. Let mystery still be a catch all for "whatever" but if a person wants to create a puzzle cache and call it such then that would be great.

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While I agree that requiring ALRs to be listed a Mystery/Unknown has diluted the meaning of this category I'm not sure what the definition of a "puzzle" cache type would be. Would it only be for caches that were not at the listed coordinates or would it include a puzzle that was needed to log the cache such as figuring out the combination on a lock or solving a physical puzzle once you got to a cache. What about a puzzle that needed to be solved to gain access to the area where the cache was located? Would you include multicaches that involved solving a puzzle at one stage to move on to the next? If there was a concise definition of puzzle that didn't require the reviewer to determine if the cache was "puzzle" enough then this would be fine. But it would probably mean that some puzzles would still be listed in the catch-all mystery or in the multi category.

Edited by tozainamboku

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I don't see the harm in having more cache types. Separating ALRs, Puzzles, and others is a fine idea.

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I'm not sure what the definition of a "puzzle" cache type would be.

Simply use the definition that is being used today. If the listed coords are bogus--which means you have to figure out something in order to even start the hunt--then it's a puzzle.

 

This would not mean that traditionals with a puzzle in order to open the cache would need to be moved over, nor would it mean multicaches and offsets which require problem solving skills would need to be moved over.

 

The idea isn't so much to classify the style of the difficulty of the cache, but to provide a way to differentiate the style of the hunt. Such as:

  • Traditional - Go to listed coords and find the cache.
  • Multi - Go to the listed coords and follow clues to additional stages to complete the hunt. (Final may be at listed coords, but you have to visit other stages to get in the box.)
  • Puzzle - Solve for coordinates to the first, and possibly only, stage.
  • Unknown/Mystery - Mish-mash of wildly varying styles and caches with the nature of which the owner simply doesn't want to disclose.

Additionally, with the popularity and number of puzzle caches it would make sense to provide an easy way for customers to separate them from the others.

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Well, I doubt that talking about a puzzle cache icon in the forums will do anything it convince TPTB that there should an icon just for puzzle caches. We have been talking about a puzzle cache icon ever since the first puzzle cache was thought up. What is needed are volunteers at the ready to review all the unknown/mystery caches in a region and convert them to the new cache type icon.

I volunteer to do this for the caches in the Hawaiian Islands.

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I think this is a good idea. There's been several caches around here published lately under the "Mystery/Puzzle" icon when there was nothing to solve or figure out, just additional logging requirements like you mentioned above. I'm all for this.

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Put me down in favor of "Puzzle Cache" being it's own cache type with its own icon.

 

;) Here's hopin' TPTB are listening! :yikes:

 

Thanks!

 

Matt

 

Ditto that. :sad:

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Put me down in favor of "Puzzle Cache" being it's own cache type with its own icon.

 

:D Here's hopin' TPTB are listening! ;)

 

Thanks!

 

Matt

 

Ditto that. :D

Ditto Ditto. :sad:

 

I just can't seem to figure out the Puzzle caches, unless they are ridiculously-easy. ;) But . . . I could do an ALR cache. :) I filter out all the Unknown caches from my PQs because the Puzzles give me a headache . . . Therefore I miss the ALRs. :yikes:

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Well, I doubt that talking about a puzzle cache icon in the forums will do anything it convince TPTB that there should an icon just for puzzle caches. We have been talking about a puzzle cache icon ever since the first puzzle cache was thought up. What is needed are volunteers at the ready to review all the unknown/mystery caches in a region and convert them to the new cache type icon. I volunteer to do this for the caches in the Hawaiian Islands.

I started this in the forums to see if anyone else liked the idea, and it appears to be an overwhelming "yes" (at least so far). The next step would be to start petitioning TPTB for the new icon, progressing to demanding, followed by blatant whining. ;)

 

Also, I do NOT think they should start culling through the old Unknown (Mystery) caches to pull out the puzzles. That would require an obscene amount of work for our poor unpaid approvers. Instead, just create the new category and all future puzzles caches can be put there. Owners of old Unknown (Mystery) caches can ask that their caches be moved to the new Puzzle category, but it would have to go through the same approval process as a new cache.

 

Another option would be to leave Puzzle caches in the Unknown category, but create a new category for ALR caches. This would include the "Play it forward" caches, picture caches, Delorme/County challenges, the Cache Across America multi, night-only caches, etc. Or, as Markwell suggested, create new categories for both Puzzles and ALRs.

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Another option would be to leave Puzzle caches in the Unknown category, but create a new category for ALR caches. This would include the "Play it forward" caches, picture caches, Delorme/County challenges, the Cache Across America multi, night-only caches, etc. Or, as Markwell suggested, create new categories for both Puzzles and ALRs.

When I asked for a definition of "puzzle" I got a response from CoyoteRed that puzzle would mean any cache which is not at the listed coordinates. Puzzle that need to be solved to open or retrieve the cache container would not be puzzles and neither would multi-caches where a puzzle is solved to get the coordinates for a subsequent stage. By this definition Delorme/county challenges would be puzzles as would any caches where you get the coordinates by finding other caches. A cache where you go to the listed coordinates and compute an offset or follow clues (including a night cache with reflective tacks) would be a multi-cache. I'm not sure what is meant by picture caches. I have found several caches where I had to line up a pictures to find the cache. My guess is that these would have to give a location for a starting point and would thus be multi-caches.

 

The point is really that these definitions are hard to understand and to get people to agree on. When there is a clear precise definition of what is a puzzle then it would be appropriate to discuss a new cache type.

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My take is if I have to do pre-work to solve for the coordinates it is a puzzle cache.

 

Typically I need the print out to do a multi but I can grab the print out and run and do not really need anything else at my disposal.

 

A puzzle cache implies there is something that needs to be figured out prior to going into the field. A puzzle could be on the print out and all you need but if is more than what a multi is covered by.

 

To me there is a clear line between puzzle and the uber bucket of "other" that also falls under a mystery cache.

 

It would be good to make sure that everyone agrees on what a puzzle cache is and what a puzzle cache is not.

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I like the idea of adding more cache types. I would also like to suggest a PnG category.

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I started this in the forums to see if anyone else liked the idea, and it appears to be an overwhelming "yes" (at least so far). The next step would be to start petitioning TPTB for the new icon, progressing to demanding, followed by blatant whining. :)

 

:mad: LOL :mad:

 

This is the same strategy my kids use!

 

<_< LOL :huh:

 

;)

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I would also like to suggest a PnG category.

I wouldn't like to see a cache type for each category of hide like PnG, night caches, etc. At this point geocaches would become like geocoins where people would be hiding/finding caches just to get another icon. In order to help people who want to find PnGs or night caches or whatever in their PQs I would prefer either additional attributes or for more people to create bookmark lists for these caches and sharing of these bookmark lists.

 

I think this thread is addressing a specific problem some people are having keeping track of which puzzles they have solved.

 

The description of an unknown/mystery used to be that the cache was not located at the posted coordinates. A traditional cache would be on that was found at the posted coordinates. Some people complained that they would find a cache at the posted coordinates and still not be able to log it either because there was some puzzle involved in retrieving or opening the cache or because there was an additional logging requirement. TPTB decided that these traditional caches should be listed as mystery/unknown. Now people who had come up techniques to keep track of mystery/unknowns where they had figured out the true coordinates had to deal with lots of caches that already had the actual coordinates listed but were thrown into this category because some people want traditional to be defined as "you can find this cache without reading the cache page". The OP may be asking for a new category for "traditional caches that you had better read the cache page before you look for it" and leave mystery/unknown for caches that are not at the specified coordinates.

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When I asked for a definition of "puzzle" I got a response from CoyoteRed that puzzle would mean any cache which is not at the listed coordinates. Puzzle that need to be solved to open or retrieve the cache container would not be puzzles and neither would multi-caches where a puzzle is solved to get the coordinates for a subsequent stage. By this definition Delorme/county challenges would be puzzles as would any caches where you get the coordinates by finding other caches. A cache where you go to the listed coordinates and compute an offset or follow clues (including a night cache with reflective tacks) would be a multi-cache. I'm not sure what is meant by picture caches. I have found several caches where I had to line up a pictures to find the cache. My guess is that these would have to give a location for a starting point and would thus be multi-caches.

 

The point is really that these definitions are hard to understand and to get people to agree on. When there is a clear precise definition of what is a puzzle then it would be appropriate to discuss a new cache type.

That's why we're discussing it - to arrive at a consensus definition. Or at least a definition the vocal majority agrees on, and the minority can either play along or go pout in the corner :mad:

 

As to CoyoteRed's definition, it's a start. A traditional Letterbox doesn't have the cache at the posted coordinates (although with the new letterbox rules, you *do* have to provide the final coords). I consider the Delorme challenge to be more of an ALR type cache... you don't have to figure anything out, you just have to complete Additional Requirements before you are given the final coordinates.

 

With that in mind, here's my go at a definition for a puzzle cache:

 

"A cache that is not at the listed coordinates, where the seeker must obtain the actual coordinates by solving a puzzle. The seeker must be able to obtain the final coordinates without requiring interaction with the cache owner and before arriving at the cache location."

 

Theoretically, anybody anywhere in the world should be able to "solve" a puzzle cache, even if they're too far away to "find" it. The last sentence in the definition eliminates caches where you have to email the owner for the coordinates, like with "Challenge" style caches, and also where you must use on-site information. Those would still be "Unknown (Mystery)" caches.

 

Examples of caches that would fit this definition:

- Coordinates hidden somewhere on the cache page, or in a picture.

- Coordinates hidden in a file you must download.

- Solve a crossword or soduko

- Answer trivia questions.

- Search for solutions on the internet.

 

This has nothing to do with keeping track of solved puzzles... this is purely to aid people in FINDING puzzles to solve.

Edited by J-Way

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Add my vote for a new icon too, although I think we need a crystal clear definition first so it doesn't end up going the way of the unknown icon.

I did think a new attribute would do (Homework required), but many caches don't seen to have these categorized properly so it probably isn't the way to go.

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With that in mind, here's my go at a definition for a puzzle cache:

 

"A cache that is not at the listed coordinates, where the seeker must obtain the actual coordinates by solving a puzzle. The seeker must be able to obtain the final coordinates without requiring interaction with the cache owner and before arriving at the cache location."

 

Theoretically, anybody anywhere in the world should be able to "solve" a puzzle cache, even if they're too far away to "find" it. The last sentence in the definition eliminates caches where you have to email the owner for the coordinates, like with "Challenge" style caches, and also where you must use on-site information. Those would still be "Unknown (Mystery)" caches.

 

Examples of caches that would fit this definition:

- Coordinates hidden somewhere on the cache page, or in a picture.

- Coordinates hidden in a file you must download.

- Solve a crossword or soduko

- Answer trivia questions.

- Search for solutions on the internet.

 

This has nothing to do with keeping track of solved puzzles... this is purely to aid people in FINDING puzzles to solve.

Sounds like you want to define a puzzle caches that a something that can be solved by a cacher without having to visit and find anything, either before or after solving the puzzle. I don't like this definition, perhaps because I own a puzzle cache where you have to get information from several locations to use in solving the puzzle. I suppose it could've been listed as a multi cache as well but I preferred to list it as a puzzle. I have another puzzle that can be solved before you go to the look for the cache, but which the instructions read more like a multi offset cache. The real puzzle in this one is figuring out the route to get to cache.

 

I know some people like to solve puzzles just for the enjoyment of that and finding the cache afterwards is not so important. It sounds like you may be one of these people. My suggestion is to have a way for these puzzlers to create some kind of bookmark list for sharing these puzzles. Geocaching is about finding caches and not about solving puzzles. Puzzles are a fun variation of caching. Adding a new icon (or changing the meaning of existing icons) should only be done to help geocachers who are going to look for these caches. If you just want to solve puzzles please find a way to do it that doesn't make it harder for cachers to find caches.

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I am also on the Puzzle category bandwagon simply ebcause there are SO many puzzles now. Also, excluding the Unknown/Mystery category to avoid puzzles is no answer since you'd then miss many other caches that are in there because of a "mystery container" or some other reason that have nothing to do with being a puzzle.

 

IMO, the "Unknown" category should be used for caches that have some "unknown" property (size, type, D/T rating, etc.) other than bogus coords.

 

Sure, there are other ways to deal with this...GSAK, Bookmark lists, etc....but I think doing it on the site is a far better and far more appropriate solution for the geocaching community as a whole.

 

BTW - I would like seeing ALR's in their own category as well, especially since I absolutely detest these things and using GSAK or anything else to find them is, at best, a pain. And it is not all unusual to find out it is an ALR when you get to the final location.

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With that in mind, here's my go at a definition for a puzzle cache:

 

"A cache that is not at the listed coordinates, where the seeker must obtain the actual coordinates by solving a puzzle. The seeker must be able to obtain the final coordinates without requiring interaction with the cache owner and before arriving at the cache location."

 

Theoretically, anybody anywhere in the world should be able to "solve" a puzzle cache, even if they're too far away to "find" it. The last sentence in the definition eliminates caches where you have to email the owner for the coordinates, like with "Challenge" style caches, and also where you must use on-site information. Those would still be "Unknown (Mystery)" caches.

 

Examples of caches that would fit this definition:

- Coordinates hidden somewhere on the cache page, or in a picture.

- Coordinates hidden in a file you must download.

- Solve a crossword or soduko

- Answer trivia questions.

- Search for solutions on the internet.

 

This has nothing to do with keeping track of solved puzzles... this is purely to aid people in FINDING puzzles to solve.

Sounds like you want to define a puzzle caches that a something that can be solved by a cacher without having to visit and find anything, either before or after solving the puzzle. I don't like this definition, perhaps because I own a puzzle cache where you have to get information from several locations to use in solving the puzzle. I suppose it could've been listed as a multi cache as well but I preferred to list it as a puzzle. I have another puzzle that can be solved before you go to the look for the cache, but which the instructions read more like a multi offset cache. The real puzzle in this one is figuring out the route to get to cache.

 

I know some people like to solve puzzles just for the enjoyment of that and finding the cache afterwards is not so important. It sounds like you may be one of these people. My suggestion is to have a way for these puzzlers to create some kind of bookmark list for sharing these puzzles. Geocaching is about finding caches and not about solving puzzles. Puzzles are a fun variation of caching. Adding a new icon (or changing the meaning of existing icons) should only be done to help geocachers who are going to look for these caches. If you just want to solve puzzles please find a way to do it that doesn't make it harder for cachers to find caches.

 

Well, how about...

 

"A cache that requires that the seeker must obtain the actual location coordinates or the means to opening the container by solving a puzzle, answering questions, or gathering information from sources other than other stages of the same cache."

 

This would open up the puzzles to any kind of data gathering and puzzles but would exclude the offset style of multis from being reclassified. It would also cover having to solve a puzzle to open the cache.

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Examples of caches that would fit this definition:

- Coordinates hidden somewhere on the cache page, or in a picture.

- Coordinates hidden in a file you must download.

- Solve a crossword or soduko

- Answer trivia questions.

- Search for solutions on the internet.

 

Wow! great examples....two of my puzzle caches are even in there :D

 

I think you have a great suggestion going here J-Way! I'm in support...

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I hate to just add a "me too" entry, but my thoughts have pretty much been summarized above. Puzzle category is a great idea!

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I'll keep it short as my feeling have already been expressed by others.

Making "puzzle caches" their own type is a good idea.

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When I asked for a definition of "puzzle" I got a response from CoyoteRed that puzzle would mean any cache which is not at the listed coordinates. Puzzle that need to be solved to open or retrieve the cache container would not be puzzles and neither would multi-caches where a puzzle is solved to get the coordinates for a subsequent stage. By this definition Delorme/county challenges would be puzzles as would any caches where you get the coordinates by finding other caches. A cache where you go to the listed coordinates and compute an offset or follow clues (including a night cache with reflective tacks) would be a multi-cache.

 

The highlighted part is not exactly right. The definition would be the listed coords have nothing (or very little) to do with the hunt. Don't read anything else into it and it will not be confusing.

 

The Puzzle category and a puzzle within a cache hunt are two separate things. In fact, you could have a puzzle cache, as defined by my standards, where the cache's actual coordinates are simply shown in the description. It wouldn't be much of a puzzle, but still a puzzle cache.

 

Delorme/county challenges are special-case (key point) bonus caches that require interaction with the cache owner. I'd keep them in the Unknown category for the very fact this type of hunt is generally not allowed.

 

Bonus caches where you go around collecting information from a set series of caches is straight forward and it would be a puzzle cache as the anchor coords have nothing (or little) to do with the hunt and you have to solve for the real coordinates before you hunt it.

 

Having to solve something within in the hunt, like returning home to solve a puzzle, is already built into the rating system.

Difficulty 4 stars: Difficult. A real challenge for the experienced cache hunter - may require special skills or knowledge, or in-depth preparation to find. May require multiple days / trips to complete.

 

So, we're back to the describing the underlaying mechanics of the hunt. I'll describe these again, but in a different way:

  • Traditional - Starts and ends at the listed coordinates.
  • Multicache - Begins at the listed coordinates and ends somewhere else.
  • Puzzle - Starts and ends somewhere other than at the listed coordinates.

IMHO, these definitions are straight forward and easy to understand. You can easily turn these definitions into a short series of questions the answers to which will provide a definite outcome. However, regardless of the outcome, one can still list it as an Unknown. The idea of a new category is to pull those caches out of "catch-all" category for the convenience of the cache seeker. If the owner doesn't want that, then it shouldn't be forced upon him any more than any other cache type.

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Puzzle - Starts and ends somewhere other than at the listed coordinates.

For me a Puzzle cache is one that requires homework to be done before setting out.

I could set a cache which is guarded by a combination lock. The coords would be posted, but you still wouldn't be able to log the find until you'd done the homework to obtain the combination.

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So, we're back to the describing the underlaying mechanics of the hunt. I'll describe these again, but in a different way:

  • Traditional - Starts and ends at the listed coordinates.
  • Multicache - Begins at the listed coordinates and ends somewhere else.
  • Puzzle - Starts and ends somewhere other than at the listed coordinates.

IMHO, these definitions are straight forward and easy to understand. You can easily turn these definitions into a short series of questions the answers to which will provide a definite outcome. However, regardless of the outcome, one can still list it as an Unknown. The idea of a new category is to pull those caches out of "catch-all" category for the convenience of the cache seeker. If the owner doesn't want that, then it shouldn't be forced upon him any more than any other cache type.

I don't really follow this. You define a puzzle as "Starts and ends somewhere other than at the listed coordinates" but elsewhere say that some kinds of cache where you don't go to the posted coordinates are not puzzle caches.

 

J-Way's definition is clearer to me. I think he wants to define a puzzle as on where the cache is not at the listed coordinates and the seeker can obtain the final coordinates without requiring interaction with the cache owner and without visiting the cache location. While not in his definition he elsewhere seems to want the puzzle to be solved without having to visit any other cache or waymark to retrieve information needed to solve the puzzle.

 

I think this last sentence it the part that has to be clarified. Some people have puzzles based on information that you need to find at another location. If you can clarify this we may have a workable definition.

 

If this is the definition then I am against a new cache type. What you have defined is a subset of caches where you can spend time at home working out a solution on a rainy day. You'd miss some, like the combination lock example that SidAndBob mentioned. I can understand wanting to find these caches to work on when you can't get out of the house to go caching. I work lots of puzzles at times like this myself. But I have no problem finding these (even the combination lock type). I look at the mystery/unknown type that we currently have. At a glance I can tell if there is a puzzle to solve or not. Even with all the challenge caches, caches where I have to visit someplace, and ALR caches, these are still mostly puzzles. A puzzle cache type, to me, is like the requests for a separate type for night caches, park 'n grabs, challenge caches, travel bug hotels, cemetery caches, or the many categories that someone requests a new icon for because they want to filter on this attribute. As such, these are better handled as attributes or as bookmark list that are put together to highlight a caches that share some property.

 

What would be helpful to me is a cache type for caches that are not at the posted coordinates (and the coordinates are not the starting point for some kind of multi or offset). This would include challenge caches and caches where the coordinates are found in some other cache. When I get the coordinates for these caches - either because I've done the challenge or solved the puzzle I enter the corrected coordinates in GSAK. I can then use GSAK to only download caches I've "solved" to my GPSr. Now, I have to download all unknown caches so that I have the coords for caches with ALRs and to caches with combination locks that I may have solved in my GPS. Each time I go to look for an unknown cache I have to check Cachemate to see if its one I can hunt or if it is one I still need to work one. I realize that there are other methods to flag these in GSAK but this would take more work.

 

Here are the types I would like to see

  • Traditional cache - cache is found at the listed coordinates
  • Multi cache - cache search begins at the listed coordinates, the final cache is elsewhere
  • Unknown cache - cache is not at the listed coordinates, the listed coordinates are bogus or may be for a trail head or parking area. The coordinates can be determined before the start of hunt either by solving a puzzle, gathering information from another cache or waymark, or fulfilling a challenge and getting the coordinates from the cache owner.
  • Non-conventional cache - the cache doesn't fit in one of the other categories or has special requirements to find or log the cache. Note that caches requiring special equipment are better handled by setting the difficulty or terrain to five stars rather than listing as Non-conventional but some caches that require what are often referred to as TOTTs may want to use this category.

I'd probably not strongly object challenge caches being listed in the non-conventional category if the general consensus is that's where they belong.

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I think I'm going to modify my suggested definition a bit, but I don't have time to think it through right now.

 

Something that includes caches where you gather information at the cache site. In my search of good caches, I'm finding lots of awesome-looking caches that are definitely Puzzle based, but some of the info required to solve requires a site visit.

 

I also like some of the other suggestions in this thread.

 

Finding the caches for this post, especially some of the bookmarked lists at the bottom, is what made me change my mind.

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I'm for a puzzle cache type. It's been a type in name since virtually the start. Only it's own Icon and Catagory are missing.

 

The trick is to nail down what it is. Anything that you solve the coordinates for at your desk? Anything you solve the coords for before you go to the cache site?

 

Multi's are not puzzles. Delorme Challenge caches are not puzzles...

Edited by Renegade Knight

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I’m in favor of a separate, searchable ‘simple’ puzzle cache icon – one where the final coordinates are determined with some benchwork where no additional visits are needed. Just solve the puzzle and you go and find that puppy. I feel that a lot of puzzle aficionados would welcome it, especially if traveling to unfamiliar or new territory.

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The following is a direct copy from the "Guidelines". Edited text is in blue.

 

Traditional Caches [no change]

This is the original cache type consisting of (at a bare minimum) a container and a logbook. The cache may be filled with objects for trade. Normally you'll find a Tupperware-style container, ammo box, or bucket filled with goodies, or smaller container ("microcache") too small to contain items except for a logbook. The coordinates listed on the traditional cache page are the exact location of the cache. A container with just an object or codeword for verification, and no logbook, generally, does not qualify as a traditional cache. Caches that require the geocacher to do something beyond finding the container and signing the logbook generally do not qualify as traditional caches.

 

Multi-Caches [no change]

There are many variations to multi-stage caches. The most common is that in which the first container or waypoint contains or provides coordinates to the next location. Another popular variant is a series of multiple waypoints, each of which provide partial coordinates for the final cache’s position. Please provide the coordinates of all stages of the multicache. The posted coordinates are for the first stage. Use the “Additional Waypoints” feature when submitting the multi-cache coordinates for the other stages. If you don't want the coordinates for the rest of the stages displayed, be sure to mark them as “hidden”. Doing this will hide the coordinates from view by anyone except the owner and website volunteers.

 

Offset caches are a variation on multi-caches. They are listed as a multi-cache when selecting a cache type. They are not found by simply going to some coordinates and finding a cache there. With the offset cache the published coordinates could be of an existing historical monument, plaque, or even a benchmark that you would like to have your cache hunter visit. At this spot, the hunter looks for numbers or information already appearing on the marker or on some part of the marker or site (geocachers NEVER deface public or private property). The geocacher is then able to manipulate these numbers or information using instructions posted on the cache page to continue the hunt.

 

Puzzle Caches

This form of cache involves a puzzle or puzzles that you will first need to solve in order to determine the coordinates or access the container. There may be multiple or a single cache containers, but solving a puzzle must be a key element in claiming a find. The information needed to solve the puzzle must be available to the general caching community and the puzzle should be solvable from the information provided on the cache page or at the cache location. 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.

 

For many caches of this type, 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 (2-3 kilometres) away from the true cache location. This allows the cache to show up on the proper vicinity searches and to keep the mileage of Trackables that find their way into the cache reasonably correct. All other requirements for Traditional or Multi caches must also be met.

 

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. Report the coordinates for the actual cache location and any other relevant stages or clues using the “Additional Waypoints” feature. The reviewer may still need more information before publishing the cache. Please cooperate with these requests.

 

Unknown or Mystery Caches

The “catch-all” of cache types, this form of cache often involves mandatory requirements in addition to signing the logbook, or caches that combine aspects of more than one cache type without fully conforming to any of them. Examples include sending the cache owner a verification codeword found inside the logbook, performing some task at the cache location and taking a photograph, or writing the online log in a format or with content that satisfies the cache requirements. The mystery cache designation assists finders in identifying that something extra is required in order to log a find.

 

For many caches of this type, 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 (2-3 kilometres) away from the true cache location. This allows the cache to show up on the proper vicinity searches and to keep the mileage of Trackables 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. Report the coordinates for the actual cache location and any other relevant stages or clues using the “Additional Waypoints” feature. The reviewer may still need more information before publishing the cache. Please cooperate with these requests.

 

[Edited to incorporate suggestions, and for spelling]

Edited by J-Way

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Puzzle Caches

This form of cache involves complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve in order to determine the coordinates or access the container. There may be multiple or a single cache containers, but solving a puzzle must be a key element in claiming a find.

What constitutes complicated?

 

I realize some puzzle lovers out there may think I'm making this too complicated. But I really want a simple definition that we can agree on. I also only think we should make a change if it is helpful to a significant segment of geocachers. Some people want to ignore puzzles because they don't like solving them. But they may work a simple problem that can be done in the field or they might like trivia puzzles but not math based ones. How would this proposal help them? I've mentioned that I would be helped most by defining a type for caches that are not at the specified coordinates (or that you don't have to go to the specified coordinates to begin your search, i.e. multi caches). This definition is clear. A puzzle definition might be clear if you limit it to certain types of puzzles. Complicated is not a good attribute because what is complicated to you would be simple to me :huh:

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Good work J-Way! Remove the word "complicated" and I think you've nailed it.

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What constitutes complicated?

Good point, I edited the previous post to remove the word "complicated".

 

I realize some puzzle lovers out there may think I'm making this too complicated. But I really want a simple definition that we can agree on. I also only think we should make a change if it is helpful to a significant segment of geocachers. Some people want to ignore puzzles because they don't like solving them. But they may work a simple problem that can be done in the field or they might like trivia puzzles but not math based ones. How would this proposal help them? I've mentioned that I would be helped most by defining a type for caches that are not at the specified coordinates (or that you don't have to go to the specified coordinates to begin your search, i.e. multi caches). This definition is clear. A puzzle definition might be clear if you limit it to certain types of puzzles. Complicated is not a good attribute because what is complicated to you would be simple to me :huh:

My idea helps two distinct groups, which I believe is a significant portion of the geocaching comunity: 1) people who want to find "puzzle" caches that they can solve without having to sort through all the ALR caches and the caches that don't conform to ANY category (true unknown cache), and 2) people who hate any form of "puzzle", but would be willing to hunt for an ALR cache (i.e., can only log a find if you place a new cache afterwards).

 

The reason I'm resistant to a simple "cache is not at posted coordinates" is that too many non-puzzle caches would fall into that category. "Challenge" caches, Offset caches (a form of a multi-cache, which usually requires simple math to calculate the final coordinates), and Letterbox Hybrids all have caches that are not at the posted coordinates. Actually, the current distinction between Offset and Mystery is fairly subjective. And as you can see from the examples at the bottom of this post, there is an amost infinite variety of "puzzles".

 

[Edit to remove unintentional smiley]

Edited by J-Way

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Here is one cache that would fit in the new category, instead of in the Puzzle category, if this great idea would be implemented. :huh:

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I already call them Puzzle caches....All the unknown caches I own are Puzzles. Great Idea, I hope Groundspeak considers the suggestion. :huh:

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I also support a Puzzle cache type. In fact, I'd like to see many more types so that caches can be better classified. As the number of caches increases it's important that cachers are easily able to filter the types of caches that they do, or don't, like.

 

Like Markwell, I'm not keen on Miscellanous as a classification in any system. Sure, there's always a need for a catch-all but it should catch only a very small number of the total. The rest should be properly classified. In the UK Mystery/Puzzle/Unknown (see, there isn't even an agreed name for the present type :D ) average 10% of the total (and in some areas it's much higher). That's a lot of caches to look through to find the ones you like.

 

Some new cache types I'd like to see:

- puzzles to be solved before leaving home

- puzzles to be solved in the field (though the owner might not want to say)

- caches that depend on other caches (e.g. bonus caches)

- caches that depend on trackables

- ALRs

 

Slightly OT, but sort of related: I'd also like to see better definition and application of the existing cache types, and for them to be consistently applied. Some owners make their bonus caches Multi, other Mystery. Some Multis don't have the posted coords as the first stage. Some Mysterys are just straightforward Multis. An improved set of cache types would help solve these problems.

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I don't really follow this. You define a puzzle as "Starts and ends somewhere other than at the listed coordinates" but elsewhere say that some kinds of cache where you don't go to the posted coordinates are not puzzle caches.

I must be missing something. Can you show me where the confusion is? I'm simply not seeing it.

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Puzzle - Starts and ends somewhere other than at the listed coordinates.
For me a Puzzle cache is one that requires homework to be done before setting out.

I could set a cache which is guarded by a combination lock. The coords would be posted, but you still wouldn't be able to log the find until you'd done the homework to obtain the combination.

With the way the categories are defined today it would not be wrong to put this style of hide in the Puzzle/Mystery/Unknown category. In fact, it's not wrong to put any style hide in that category.

 

What we're trying to do is separate "Puzzle" from "Mystery/Unknown." You need a set criteria. Even after establishing a criteria for Puzzle it still would not be wrong to put in Mystery/Unknown. You always have that option and that shouldn't change.

 

But one thing anyone who has been around a while is you have to make definitions simple and straight forward.

 

Let's look at the terms "solve before you leave home." There's a lot of space between home and the cache to do your homework. Do you have to solve it before you leave home? "Homework" can be done in the field depending on difficulty. Which begs, does a question to a solution have to be of a certain difficulty to be called a puzzle? If so, what is the threshold? "Difficulty" could range from the solution being spelled out on the description to having to employ a think tank. Hopefully you can see where I'm going with this. "Puzzle" you "have" to "solve" at "home" is very, very fuzzy.

 

Still, if you're not comfortable that your cache fits neatly into the defined categories you still have the Mystery/Unknown to fall back on. Additionally, some issues can be solved with proper ratings.

 

As you can see above, just trying to nail down just what is a puzzle can be difficult, not to mention definitively articulate. Sometimes you just have to go with "good enough" and I'd prefer "good enough" be a solution that doesn't generate countless forum questions "just what is a puzzle?"

 

Oh, and let's look at an additional twist to your example. What if instead of the puzzle being in the cache description it is written on the side of the box? You'd have to go to the final location, gather information, possibly leave to solve the puzzle, and then return to the final to access the log. The only difference is where the puzzle is presented. There is nothing to do before leaving the house, but the essence is the same.

 

You also don't want to be creating something that will end up having a whole host of exceptions for different situations. Something clearly delineated and straight forward would be better, IMHO.

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Like Markwell, I'm not keen on Miscellanous as a classification in any system. Sure, there's always a need for a catch-all but it should catch only a very small number of the total. The rest should be properly classified. In the UK Mystery/Puzzle/Unknown (see, there isn't even an agreed name for the present type :D ) average 10% of the total (and in some areas it's much higher). That's a lot of caches to look through to find the ones you like.

 

Some new cache types I'd like to see:

- puzzles to be solved before leaving home

- puzzles to be solved in the field (though the owner might not want to say)

- caches that depend on other caches (e.g. bonus caches)

- caches that depend on trackables

- ALRs

Trying to make the cache types too specific just causes other problems. What to do with caches that fit two or more categories? What if it could fit if you stretch the definition a little? I also worry about iconSpew. Will caches become like geocoins where everyone will hide caches of each type just to get another icon?

 

My preference is to use attributes or bookmark list to identify sub-categories of caches for cachers who need help in sorting these out. The problem with some puzzle caches is that the owner may not want his cache to be in a particular sub-category as it could be a used as an unwanted hint.

 

I don't really follow this. You define a puzzle as "Starts and ends somewhere other than at the listed coordinates" but elsewhere say that some kinds of cache where you don't go to the posted coordinates are not puzzle caches.

I must be missing something. Can you show me where the confusion is? I'm simply not seeing it.

I was just trying to make things more complicated. I understood what you meant but was just pointing out the difficulty in writing a specific definition of what is a puzzle. Much as you point out in your following post.

 

Puzzle - Starts and ends somewhere other than at the listed coordinates.
For me a Puzzle cache is one that requires homework to be done before setting out.

I could set a cache which is guarded by a combination lock. The coords would be posted, but you still wouldn't be able to log the find until you'd done the homework to obtain the combination.

With the way the categories are defined today it would not be wrong to put this style of hide in the Puzzle/Mystery/Unknown category. In fact, it's not wrong to put any style hide in that category.

 

What we're trying to do is separate "Puzzle" from "Mystery/Unknown." You need a set criteria. Even after establishing a criteria for Puzzle it still would not be wrong to put in Mystery/Unknown. You always have that option and that shouldn't change.

 

But one thing anyone who has been around a while is you have to make definitions simple and straight forward.

 

Let's look at the terms "solve before you leave home." There's a lot of space between home and the cache to do your homework. Do you have to solve it before you leave home? "Homework" can be done in the field depending on difficulty. Which begs, does a question to a solution have to be of a certain difficulty to be called a puzzle? If so, what is the threshold? "Difficulty" could range from the solution being spelled out on the description to having to employ a think tank. Hopefully you can see where I'm going with this. "Puzzle" you "have" to "solve" at "home" is very, very fuzzy.

 

Still, if you're not comfortable that your cache fits neatly into the defined categories you still have the Mystery/Unknown to fall back on. Additionally, some issues can be solved with proper ratings.

 

As you can see above, just trying to nail down just what is a puzzle can be difficult, not to mention definitively articulate. Sometimes you just have to go with "good enough" and I'd prefer "good enough" be a solution that doesn't generate countless forum questions "just what is a puzzle?"

 

Oh, and let's look at an additional twist to your example. What if instead of the puzzle being in the cache description it is written on the side of the box? You'd have to go to the final location, gather information, possibly leave to solve the puzzle, and then return to the final to access the log. The only difference is where the puzzle is presented. There is nothing to do before leaving the house, but the essence is the same.

 

You also don't want to be creating something that will end up having a whole host of exceptions for different situations. Something clearly delineated and straight forward would be better, IMHO.

I actually like the "homework" definition. But it does need clarification. I think some people want a puzzle type for caches that can be solved at home before you go out to find the cache. The puzzle may be the final coordinates, the coordinates for the first part of a multi, the combination of a lock, or even a description of the tools you will need to access the cache. What wouldn't be puzzle caches would be caches where you have to do some field work - finding other caches, using pictures or letterbox style clues in the field, solving puzzle you find in one stage of multi to get the next stage, etc. My guess is that some people will search for these kinds of puzzles to work when they are unable to go caching. I personally do this. I get notifications on the mystery/unknown type and after seeing if they are this type of puzzle I add them to a bookmark list of puzzles to solve. Then when I have time, I solve the puzzles. For the ones where I solve for coordinates, I put the corrected coordinates into GSAK and when I load these caches to my GPS, I use a name that gives me an indication that this is a solved puzzle. The problem I have is that I use the same process for challenge caches and caches where the coordinates are hidden in another cache. A separate puzzle type would not be helpful to me personally. I'd rather see ALR caches and others that have special requirements beyond than "cache is not at the specified coordinates" have their own category.

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What to do with caches that fit two or more categories?

Yeh, I've had that discussion with myself, too :D. We already have that problem even with the current cache types (e.g. a Letterbox Hybrid can be any of the other types).

 

It's a problem inherent to many classification systems that there are things that can fit in more than one class. You can often solve this with sub-types, but let's not get into that - it's far too complex for our needs, I think. Instead we should just do what we do now, which is to put the cache in the most obvious cache type.

 

I wonder if we're all trying to fix all the perceived problems all at the same time? The OP only suggested a new type for Puzzles. There seems to be a consensus for that, and even a consensus for a definition. Perhaps we should just run with that and move other suggestions forward sometime in the future?

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