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To hint or not to hint - a controversy

private bones
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The good thing about a competent, serviceable hint is that it gives the finder some control over the difficulty of the cache. Think about it: you may place some ultra-clever hide that's going to have seasoned cachers talking to themselves, but what if it's some first-timer? A decent clue gives them a shot at it as well. Instead of a DNF and a bad experience, the cacher is going to look at the hint, probably figure out the hide, and come away thinking "ah, now I have a better idea what to look for on tough hides now".


And it's always up to the finder whether they want to look at the clue or not.

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It's your cache!!! Add a hint if you want to...leave a cache hint-less if you want to. Whether a cache has a hint or not is not going to stop me from trying to find the cache. There happens to be a cacher in my area that hides a lot of caches without a hint...some hate it, some love it, some don't care....personally, I see a cache and want to find it no matter when, where, how or why!!!


I hate it if I am having a bad day and just want an easy find...(no hints)


I love it if I am having a good day and didn't need the hint to score a find...(hints)


I love it if I am having a good day and it forces me to think a bit...(no hints)


I love it is I am having a bad day and it forces me to think a bit...and settle down...(no hints)


I love it if something just seems wrong in the area and the hints helps clear things up...


But, I always go back to it's your cache...and people don't have to try to find something if they don't want to...unless you have this rigged up somehow...and if you do, I would love to know how you did that ;)




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In all honesty, the need for a hint will also depend greatly on the experience and tenacity of the cacher. I've DNF'd some caches that others have spotted before even getting out of their car. On the flip side, I've spotted some that others have DNF'd in similar fashion.


So, hint or no hint, I think the question would be; Do I need to give a hint to keep someone from damaging something? or, Is this hide really tough? Did I rate it appropriately? Did I place this for the beginer or as a challange for a more experienced cacher? Again, did I rate it appropriately?


I have found caches that could have easily been rated 5 but the hint was so specific that the rating was brought down to something like a 2.


Hints are great! but I've seen some that I wish I hadn't seen before the hunt.

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Recently, 5 of us worked on supposedly a very difficult cache, only found a few times in 2 years; it is just a pic. We ended up being stumped after about 2 weeks working on. The owner doesn't reply to emails or answer questions. He refuses. Well, I just put it on my ignore list. Yes, it is tough, but anyone can make an impossible cache or maybe an "out in left field" cache.

I put out a multi last week, with 10 pictures taken in the area with 10 dog tags, each with a number, giving you the final answer. "X doesn't Mark the Spot 2"

The pics were Infrared and then purposly trashed to make them harder.

On our local forum, I read where people were having troubles, with a couple of them. I listed my email for those who didn't know it and when they asked, I gave them subtle hints that would help them find that

particular site. Not the answer, just a little help....

The reason I mention this is I have been on both sides recently. I know I could care less about the one I couldn't solve. I don't care if it is ever found again. And if anyone asks me, I will tell them that.

But, when I gave some minor help on my cache, I got a really nice email from the cachers and a really nice log page. It made me feel really good about all the work I put into it. I want people to find my caches. I think it makes me a better "hider", because I solicit comments, good or bad. So the next cache will be better. I don't have to feel superior, because I put out a cache no one can find. I just try and make it difficult, but not impossible.


Just my 2cents...

Rick (One of the Texas Vikings)

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I like people finding my caches and posting what a wonderful time they had. So I give very specific hints. I also like to find the cache I'm going after after driving miles and walking whatever, so I appreciate caches that have hints, but make it a real specific hint like "uinder the white rock" not "you're getting close" or "its by the tree" when you're in a forest full of trees, or something inane like that.

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I never leave home without my hints. Ever. And I still have trouble finding caches sometimes. Chalk it up to being blonde, or just being a noobie, but I don't care. If you don't want to leave a hint and it's a micro, chances are I won't go look for it. I might, but it won't be my first choice. That doesn't mean that I don't think you're a great person or even that I think you don't know "how" to hide a cache. We just see things differently. (Or I may not see things at all. Whatever.) Maybe you like strawberry ice cream (you weirdo), I like chocolate. It's the same thing with caches and hints to me - you do things your way and I can choose to try it, or I can pass and do something that's a little different. :)


But seriously, if I go out several times to look for a cache and it's REALLY bugging me, and I REALLY tried, I might e-mail you (nicely) for a hint. Then I would appreciate some help. I've only done it once after I looked four times over a month period. It took the person a week or so to get back to me, which was fine. I was very happy when he wrote back. I didn't bug him daily or reply, "Well, it's about time, numb-nut!" when he sent the hint. I took the time to look for other caches during the week. (Incidently, I had actually had my hand on that cache twice - but didn't realize it was a cache! It was inside a screw.)


My point it, as long as we are all respectful of each other, then I say do whatever you want - leave a hint or don't. But if I ask (nicely) for one, could you please find a minute to write me back with one? (A really good spoiler one that makes it obvious because by that point I will be tired of looking for it and want it pointed out to me.) Take your time - I have lots of caches to find until you get back to me. As long as you don't e-mail me that I'm a loser for not seeing your hide, then we can still be friends! :P

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Most caches don't NEED a hint. But many are going to be little fun without. I've found a few where the main challenge is locating a micro within the 100 sq m area indicated by the GPS. The area containing numerous bushes, trees, holes, rocks and miscellaneous stuff: all with a backdrop of cold drizzle. I could be looking for a heavily-camouflaged nano tube, or a film container, or anything. It cold be up a tree, under a stone, or inside the ivy. No hint. The only option is to start at one end and slowly work across to the other.

Fun? Perhaps for some!


Generally I hope that the hint contains just enough so that I can be sure that I'm looking in the correct spot, and if it's gone missing that I can stop wasting my time.

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I like having hints available, if needed. I will look and seek for a good while before checking the hint, but 45 minutes of searching, or approaching darkness or bad weather will lead me to check the hint. I'm not looking to rack up big find numbers, sometimes I only do one per day. I'm out there for a nice hike through the woods, not walking around in a 30' circle for two hours....

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