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At what point do you start to add a hint?

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I have a new cache that is a 2 stage multi




Without giving anything away because it has yet to be found....I was wondering how long I should let it go unfound before I post some hints...


The first stage is actually hidden in a common form in this area but of the two cachers that have attempted it, one has only 1 find so no experience and the other is from NZ although a good number of finds...

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Adding hints is totally up to you. As long as the difficulty reflects how hard it is to find - you should be ok.


I add hints to ALL of my caches and a perfer some kind of hint when I am seeking but that is just my preference.


Hints need not be a dead giveaway or straight pointer. Just something to nudge them along.

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It all depends on how difficult you intend the cache to be. As you said, one of the cachers has almost no experience, and so can pretty much be discounted, even though they've tried twice. You've rated your cache as a difficulty of 2.5, so that tells me that you want people to have to work a bit for it. I'd say give it some more time.


Another option is to email hints to those that fail to find it. That way you can customize the hint based on the experience and frustration levels of the cacher.

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It really depends on how hard it is. I personally hate looking for a micro tied to a random tree that looks just like the nearest 187 other trees within my GPSr search area.

I like a hint that makes no sense if you read it ahead of time, but makes sense (after some thought) when you get close enough to the cache.

One of my caches is in an area with spotty GPSr reception. If you happen to be in the right area, the spot is quite obvious. On a bad day you could be 100 feet off and never find it without a hint.

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I always add hints.


At the end of the day I tend to set caches to take people to nice spots not get the frustrated at not finding the cache.

The other factor is that most of mine tend to be in areas that would easily suffer from too much disturbance from people rooting around looking.

I'd rather they got to the spot , enjoyed the view and then easily found the cache.

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I most often include hints. I do not adjust the difficulty rating based on whether I include a hint or not. The hint is encrypted for a reason. Should the searcher wish to reduce the difficulty by reading the hint, that's up to them.


Of course, if you've been caching awhile you can almost read the hints without de-crypt. I know I can if I've had a particularly busy caching month and it's not nine lines long. :( But, if I haven't needed a hint for some time, de-crypt goes the standard way.

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I usually add a hint. Of course, there's hints and then there are spoiler hints. A spoiler hint is "crook of tree". A non-spoiler hint would be "not on the ground", or "don't step on it". A good hint keeps you from banging the bushes or searching a fence that you don't need to search without totally giving away the location. Depending on how you feel about the cache a spoiler hint isn't necessarily a bad thing - it tells seekers that yeah, the cache is missing, or hey - someone moved it and I should move it back. A non-spoiler hint, done right, excludes areas from the search without totally compromising the hide.


Then there are worthless hints, like "in the ivy". No. Just No.


It's often a good thing to consider what you would use for a hint when you hide the cache. If the search might be particularly difficult and you can locate the cache near a distinctive object, the resulting hint can 'save' the hide. A cache hidden in ivy, bad. A cache hidden in ivy such that "within 12 feet of light pole" applies, not so bad.

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  1. Did you double-check your coordinates?
  2. Did you intend for it to be this hard?
  3. Do you want people to find it this infrequently?
  4. Did you check to make sure the waypoints are still there?

If the answer is yes, then don't add a clue.

If the answer to any of these is no, then add a clue.

This is a good list. Numbers 1 and 4 are critical and are typically the reason for most DNFs along with inexperience. Number 3 will happen if it gets DNFed a lot because DNFs scare people away. As far as number 4, it's great to see some people are still hiding some challenging caches! Bring 'em on! :santa: Edited by TrailGators
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It all depends on how difficult you intend the cache to be. As you said, one of the cachers has almost no experience, and so can pretty much be discounted, even though they've tried twice.


On the other hand, there was a cache place near here (Siren's Song) a couple of months ago that has given lots of seasoned cachers fits. I know one cacher that has over 1500 finds that looked for it 9 times and didn't find it (it was archived due to a really obnoxious muggle that lived nearby) . I was out cacheing a couple of days after that cache was published and ran into a couple of cachers that as it turned out had FTF honors on Siren's Song. It was also the first cache that they had ever found.

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I do not generally add hints. If I want it to be an evil hide, I'm willing to live with not a lot of finds. ;) If I want it to be an easy find, I'll give all the hints necessary to make it an easy find, when I submit the cache for publication. I might make an exception is people are destroying things,. but, I'd be more likely to archive the cache and try again.

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I add hints about 50% of the time when I'm publishing a cache.


Sometimes after the cache has been listed for a while and a few cachers have had trouble, I'll either up the difficulty half a point or add a hint. (It's hit or miss if cachers who have gone the first time will see the hint before the second try or just use coords only and/or the old page they brought with.)

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