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M3J

Useless Hints

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The time has come to draw attention to useless hints. In reality, this isn't a major issue, rather just an irritant for many I have spoken with.

 

That being said, lets throw out the best of the worst here. Although I don't have any recent dramatic examples, my favorites are:

 

"spruce tree" in the middle of a forest

 

"don't get STUMPED" ...duh, I wonder what that means...

 

and my alltime favorite...

 

"no hint"

 

What's your favorite??

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"Call Mr. Plow,That's my name,That name again,It's Mr. Plow.

Boom-chi-cha-boom-chi-cha-boom-chi-boom

I'm Mr. Plow, and I'm here to say,

I'm the plowin'est guy in the USA.

I got a big plow and I'll move a lot of things,

Like your cow if you have one..."

 

It was obvious that the cache was on the plow, but it was a devious hide. I found this hint less than useful.

Edited by ElectroQTed

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"I'm pining for you"... and it's in a spruce.

 

Yep, that's my favourite. Or simply "in a pine tree" when there is either a) no pine trees around (but lots of other coniferous trees) or :ph34r: nothing but pine trees around.

 

Recent favourite: "Bridge". Rrrrright. On the bridge. Thanks for the hint.

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"Remember the old [some name] cache?"

 

No, I don't remember it. It's probably archived. It's not in my PDA, that's for sure. I just got into town, so how would I remember the local history?

"Park at [coords]"

 

Thanks, but I'm already at ground zero.

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One was near an overlook that was built so you could step out over the water. The page said it wasn't under the overlook. The hint said "trust your GPS". My GPS said GZ was right at the edge of the overlook, so I thought that meant it was on top of the overlook or the near the edge of the water. Nope, it was about 40 feet away at the base of a tree.

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"It's in the obvious spot". Oh really? If it was that obvious, I wouldn't need to bother to check your stinking hint!

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"It's in the obvious spot". Oh really? If it was that obvious, I wouldn't need to bother to check your stinking hint!

 

I'm guilty of that one, but only because a few people were zeroing out 10m away, and didn't see the really, really obvious hiding spot through the trees (the hint is meant to mean, there is a really obvious spot around, and once you find the 'spot', you shouldn't have much trouble, so don't get hung up looking up trees, tearing apart the ground cover etc.).

 

(the cache is hidden under an abandoned 1940ish truck in the middle of a park, once you see it, you know the cache is somewhere there)

Edited by ibycus

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How about when your facing a Military Tank, BIG Gun or my favourite 'Steam Engine" and the hint is "MAGNETIC"... :)

 

DUH!!!!!! :)

 

Murfster

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I haven't come across many but there are some whose owner doesn't understand the meaning of hint. Where I'm looking for a clue to aid in the search, I find a detailed description of where the cache is hidden. Should have left my GPSr at home! :)

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"In the rocks." grrrrrrr....

 

Yup, I was think of "in the rocks too" but diddn't want to hog all the good ones.

 

Also, I saved the pine tree one for you Ted...I know that's your favorite!

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How about when your facing a Military Tank, BIG Gun or my favourite 'Steam Engine" and the hint is "MAGNETIC"... :)

 

DUH!!!!!! :)

 

Murfster

 

haha, forgot that one....yeah, one of my personal favs as well.

 

I also remember another I like...."nano"

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How about when your facing a Military Tank, BIG Gun or my favourite 'Steam Engine" and the hint is "MAGNETIC"... :)

 

DUH!!!!!! :)

 

Murfster

 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot ... "good luck"

Edited by M3J

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"In the rocks." grrrrrrr....

 

Yup, I was think of "in the rocks too" but diddn't want to hog all the good ones.

 

Also, I saved the pine tree one for you Ted...I know that's your favorite!

 

Yeah, how many times now with the non-pine trees eh Mike? Great topic BTW!

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The time has come to draw attention to useless hints. In reality, this isn't a major issue, rather just an irritant for many I have spoken with.

 

What's your favorite??

"Ab Uvagf Ninvynoyr sbe Guvf Pnpur..."

 

You have to do your own rot-13 decoding out in the field, just to be told that there are "No hints provided for this cache..."

 

dave

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One that always annoys me is "Hint is in the name".

 

Yeah... 99.8% of the time, we already figured out the name itself was a hint. It's usually blatantly obvious when the name is a hint.

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The time has come to draw attention to useless hints. In reality, this isn't a major issue, rather just an irritant for many I have spoken with.

 

What's your favorite??

"Ab Uvagf Ninvynoyr sbe Guvf Pnpur..."

 

You have to do your own rot-13 decoding out in the field, just to be told that there are "No hints provided for this cache..."

 

dave

 

I am definitely guilty of putting the rot13 encoded hint in [] so that people can't use their software for decoding the hint. I miss the good old days of having the fun of manually decoding hints. I was at the point where I could almost read the encoded hint without decoding. Then I got a PDA which took some of the fun away as it's too tempting sometimes to look at the hint before actually needing it.

 

A hint is for when people are having problems finding a cache, so it should be specific to lead you to the cache if you are really stuck. 90% of my hints are specific. If you can't find it with my hint, then it's probably gone or someone didn't put it back in the same spot. Myself, I want people to actually find my cache and go away with a smile.

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The time has come to draw attention to useless hints. In reality, this isn't a major issue, rather just an irritant for many I have spoken with.

 

What's your favorite??

"Ab Uvagf Ninvynoyr sbe Guvf Pnpur..."

 

You have to do your own rot-13 decoding out in the field, just to be told that there are "No hints provided for this cache..."

 

dave

 

I am definitely guilty of putting the rot13 encoded hint in [] so that people can't use their software for decoding the hint. I miss the good old days of having the fun of manually decoding hints. I was at the point where I could almost read the encoded hint without decoding. Then I got a PDA which took some of the fun away as it's too tempting sometimes to look at the hint before actually needing it.

 

A hint is for when people are having problems finding a cache, so it should be specific to lead you to the cache if you are really stuck. 90% of my hints are specific. If you can't find it with my hint, then it's probably gone or someone didn't put it back in the same spot. Myself, I want people to actually find my cache and go away with a smile.

 

I think that is exactly the point Ralph. I do not want to use the hint but if I do, its because I am stuck (heavy tree cover making reception spotty is a good example). I know some don't want to put a specific hint because it might make it too easy to find if people just read the hint before they get there. That's their loss in my opinion. If you want to make it tough, don't put a hint.

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I haven't come across many but there are some whose owner doesn't understand the meaning of hint. Where I'm looking for a clue to aid in the search, I find a detailed description of where the cache is hidden. Should have left my GPSr at home! :(

Guilty as charged, and unrepentent :). If you're looking for a hint I assume it's because you can't find the cache, so I'll tell you exactly where it is. Most of our caches require a hike, and it's frustrating to hike 10km and then not find the cache because you can't get a good signal in the trees.

 

The most frustrating hint we've seen was on a puzzle cache that was sort of a letterbox hybrid or offset cache - point this direction, pace this far, etc. All the directions were hidden in the hint, so it wasn't useless, it was necessary. The cache description made no mention of needing to use the hint to find the cache, with the only clue being that little blue question mark, indicating an unknown cache type. There were many dnfs on that one, from people who hadn't read the hint and then beat the forest to death looking for a cache that was a hundred meters away. If they'd just included a "cache is not at the posted coordinates" statement then all would have been good, because people would have realized it really was a puzzle that they had to solve by finding the instructions in the hint.

 

Now that I have a pda useless hints aren't as frustrating, but when we were decoding on paper, in the rain or mosquitos, the long chatty hints were the worst.

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"In the rocks." grrrrrrr....

 

Aww, c'mon, Ted! I just placed one with the hint, "leave no stone unturned". When you get to ground zero, you will find only one pile of stones, and the cache is behind an upturned flat rock. I figure if somebody got that far, and didn't have the sense to look in the only pile of rocks, they seriously NEED a hint. :(

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I disagree that a "hint" should be specific telling cachers exactly where the cache is hidden.

That could/should then be called a, "here it is, giveaway" not a hint.

Most of the many very, very lame hints have already been mentioned but...we enjoy some of the well done hints that make you think a bit and ultimately lead you to the cache.

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I disagree that a "hint" should be specific telling cachers exactly where the cache is hidden.

That could/should then be called a, "here it is, giveaway" not a hint.

Most of the many very, very lame hints have already been mentioned but...we enjoy some of the well done hints that make you think a bit and ultimately lead you to the cache.

 

I would agree somewhat Ray. The problem with hints that make you think is that some of them an average person might not get...for example, a hint that refers to binary language, or a specific piece of music that many would not listen to, or a local reference that visitors would have no idea on, etc. I don't mind a challenging hint, I just don't like hints that are useless to some due a lack of exposure or experience...kind of creates an "un-level" playing field in those cases.

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Bad hints don't bother me. "Anti" hints bother me. Ones that make you look in the wrong location.

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1. Needless filler that uses up too much space in your GPS so all you see is "the cache is located between the" Thanks... I already know I'm looking for a cache that's located somewhere around here...

 

2. Parking coords... I'm already there!!!/which trail to take...again I'm already there and that's what the DESCRIPTION is for.

 

Unless my hint is going to be a very specific 3 sentences long,(which I don't tend to do) I try to use 5 words or less. "flat rock" or "between log and stump"

Edited by hikerT

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Actually I just thought of a cache that the BFL crew DNF'ed a few Fridays ago. The hint was "predator" What does that mean???? That hint drove us crazy.

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My least favourite has to be "in a hole by a fallen tree." Many holes, many fallen trees, lousy GPSr reception and I was taken out off the forest as my language embarrassed the trees!!! We returned another day and it was in a hole UNDER a fallen tree. It was a big cache and sadly, pretty empty. But, it is a great caching area and we have found a neat restaurant by the lake that serves great food.

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Being a Noob, I have a different view of the stituation. I'm sure that some day once I get more experienced I will perhaps understand the way the Veterans of the community feel.

 

First off this community comes across as intimidating and highly critical. I have 3 young children and the simple hints or give away hints to a small child can still be difficult. I suppose if this community doesn't want the next generation to get hooked becuase hints are too difficult or don't make sense due to either age or lack of experience than I am sadden. To my girls the main fun is rooting around inside the cache, and less on getting there. Now the do enjoy the search but mostly its "whats inside" is what the trophie is for them at the moment. So if the clue is too difficult and we can't find it, than they don't get their prize which is the cache itself.

 

When I first started and still to this day, I like having the obvious hints....... I will hunt and hunt and if I just CANT find it than why would I want a hint that is just going to cause me to hunt and hunt and hunt more. I want something specific.

 

I have come across some caches that were so easy that a blind person could have found it... ok that is a bit of an exaggeration but still what I take from those caches the journey getting there, either the hike or if it was a drive.

 

Perhaps what the real problem is the rating system, if it has a high difficultly rating with a give away hint than perhaps the rating should be set to one star. THere for no one can complain when the hint is obvious.

 

And in closing to those that are new to the outdoors..... a spruce is a pine tree, flame me if you will but I couldn't tell you a spruce from a pine to a fur. They all have needles and at the time of this posting I have alot of other things to learn about the outdoors and hiking than identifing coniferus trees.

 

And yes I do see the irony of my post...... being critical about the community being critical... BUT hey I'm a nood and we get to do things like this :rolleyes:

 

Cheers and happy hunting :)

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First off this community comes across as intimidating and highly critical. I have 3 young children and the simple hints or give away hints to a small child can still be difficult. I suppose if this community doesn't want the next generation to get hooked becuase hints are too difficult or don't make sense due to either age or lack of experience than I am sadden. To my girls the main fun is rooting around inside the cache, and less on getting there. Now the do enjoy the search but mostly its "whats inside" is what the trophie is for them at the moment. So if the clue is too difficult and we can't find it, than they don't get their prize which is the cache itself.

 

Welcome to our addiction....sorry, I mean hobby!

 

Not sure where the "highly critical" part of this thread comes in...we are simply expressing what bugs us about hints. We never commented on the cachers directly, rather just the choice of hints used.

 

Your comment about your young children kind of confuses me though. Maybe I misunderstood your comments though. Cachers look to place caches and create hints for their peers, which are almost always adults. Granted there are some caches directed at kids specifically, but the caching community's goal is to create an adventure for all. Of course, there will be caches that others just cannot do or are not suitable for some, whether you are a non-scuba diver, afraid of heights, not a fan of winter, or are a child. I guess what I am basically saying is that, since you are the adult andd are along with your girls, it is your job, in my opinion, to educate your girls and help them understand hints or hiding techniques, or nature itself.

 

Now, that being said, I am, for the most part, in agreement with you (as many are) that hints should be easy so that you can use them as a last resort before walking away. There is a difference between a good easy hint, and a useless one which is what we are really talking about here.

 

 

And in closing to those that are new to the outdoors..... a spruce is a pine tree, flame me if you will but I couldn't tell you a spruce from a pine to a fur. They all have needles and at the time of this posting I have alot of other things to learn about the outdoors and hiking than identifing coniferus trees.

 

 

I don't think we expect someone to know all tree types (though pine/spruce is pretty easy...pine, long needls, spruce and other, short), but if they don't, calling it an evergreen or conifer would make more sense than guessing for the hint. Again, this is not a big issue, nor anything that causes any major issues, but sometimes its a mixed forest and when someone has a hint that says "spruce", we could waste a lot of time searching spruce trees when the cache could be a pine cone on a pine tree 10M away. This points right back to the easy hint thing....its not an easy hint if it points you in the wrong direction. Again, simply saying "evergreen" in this case would solve all those problems (though still not be much of a hint in a forest of evergreens).

 

Please bear in mind, the main goal in this thread is to educate new cachers (and some old ones) about pet peeves when it comes to hints so that when they are creating future caches, they might consider what the masses are thinking would be a good hint. I may have put a hint out that ticked other's off as well (I can think of one old one that would be contrary to how I now feel).

 

Anyway, welcome again. Come on out to an event sometime and I am sure you will find that we are like most of society...some are highly critical, some are very kind and generous, some are friendly, some are not, so on and so on. Geocaching doesn't change our personalities to something else...we are who we are regardless of that Garmin or Magellan in our hands (that being said, if it is a Magellan in your hands, you're just opening yourself up to ridicule, right Buttons?) :rolleyes:

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Actually I just thought of a cache that the BFL crew DNF'ed a few Fridays ago. The hint was "predator" What does that mean???? That hint drove us crazy.

It's going to attack you from above. I.e., look up.

 

dave

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Hints that are too long to fit into my 30 character limit on my GPS.

"The cache is located next to a" :)

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"The problem with hints that make you think is that some of them an average person might not get...for example, a hint that refers to binary language, or a specific piece of music that many would not listen to, or a local reference that visitors would have no idea on, etc. I don't mind a challenging hint, I just don't like hints that are useless to some due a lack of exposure or experience...kind of creates an "un-level" playing field in those cases."

 

I agree with you Mike. On one particular multi cache I had a difficult bushwack in to

the cache and as I don't look at the hints unless I'm really stumped I decrypted the hint at GZ which was, "Stage 3: "Adrianne!" (movie)".

What the Heck is that all about? Had to abandon the hunt and the cache owner explained the hint in an email to me. Went back and found the cache and not as difficult a hike that 2nd time as the river had receded.

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"no hints at this time"

 

encoded. In the hint box.

 

Saw another that _seemed_ useless till we found it.

 

It was a sucrets box. In the middle of the biggest multiflora rose I have ever seen, and not a stick within 40 feet.

 

Hint was "ow ow ow"

Edited by CBT69

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"The problem with hints that make you think is that some of them an average person might not get...for example, a hint that refers to binary language, or a specific piece of music that many would not listen to, or a local reference that visitors would have no idea on, etc. I don't mind a challenging hint, I just don't like hints that are useless to some due a lack of exposure or experience...kind of creates an "un-level" playing field in those cases."

 

I agree with you Mike. On one particular multi cache I had a difficult bushwack in to

the cache and as I don't look at the hints unless I'm really stumped I decrypted the hint at GZ which was, "Stage 3: "Adrianne!" (movie)".

What the Heck is that all about? Had to abandon the hunt and the cache owner explained the hint in an email to me. Went back and found the cache and not as difficult a hike that 2nd time as the river had receded.

 

We've found one of the five humans on the planet that don't know the movie "Rocky" :laughing:

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We've found one of the five humans on the planet that don't know the movie "Rocky"

 

Doesn't say much for the planet does it.

 

Yeah, tend to not pay much attention to movies or actors so don't recognize quotes from them nor can I put a name to many actors faces.

 

Or how about the one which when decrypted read "none" or or something to that affect in German.

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I'm guilty of that one, but only because a few people were zeroing out 10m away, and didn't see the really, really obvious hiding spot through the trees (the hint is meant to mean, there is a really obvious spot around, and once you find the 'spot', you shouldn't have much trouble, so don't get hung up looking up trees, tearing apart the ground cover etc.).

 

(the cache is hidden under an abandoned 1940ish truck in the middle of a park, once you see it, you know the cache is somewhere there)

 

:laughing: Yeah, I remember falling victim to that one -- twice. Once because I zeroed out quite aways away from the truck and the second time because the obvious spot appeared to be underneath the large dead porcupine. :laughing:

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Bad hints don't bother me. "Anti" hints bother me. Ones that make you look in the wrong location.

 

Ah yes...such as "green". You look in the green bushes when all along the cache isn't in the green. It's only AFTER you find the cache that you realize the container itself is green and the hint was actually useless. Meanwhile the poor green bushes are getting destroyed by cachers who know the cache must be in there since the hint said so.

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We've found one of the five humans on the planet that don't know the movie "Rocky" :laughing:

 

Make that six! I know of the movie, but refuse to watch a steroidal excuse for a human being strut his stuff for a few million dollars a pop. Sincerely, I have better things to do with my time than watch the latest blockbuster movie that makes no sense. :laughing:

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I'm partial to the ones that give arbitrary directions.

"On left side of trail"

 

 

Yep... that is my most disliked hint. It would be more helpful to tell me from which direction you came first.

Also those that say "take the 2nd side trail, not the first". Again, from which direction did you walk when you counted the side trails? :laughing:

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Actually I just thought of a cache that the BFL crew DNF'ed a few Fridays ago. The hint was "predator" What does that mean???? That hint drove us crazy.

It's going to attack you from above. I.e., look up.

 

dave

 

Ahhhh, thanks Dave. [<_<]

Eight adults couldn't figure that one out. After an hour of searching in the dark repeating the hint over and over and over, (and climbing trees) it stopped being fun.

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We've found one of the five humans on the planet that don't know the movie "Rocky" :D

 

Make that six! I know of the movie, but refuse to watch a steroidal excuse for a human being strut his stuff for a few million dollars a pop. Sincerely, I have better things to do with my time than watch the latest blockbuster movie that makes no sense. <_<

 

Wait... how do you know you are not one of the five? Add me to the list, and that makes three of us right here right now who don't "know" the movie. (I didn't bother seeing it when I was in high school, or anytime since.)

 

I agree that a hint referring to a movie that most people under 40 probably didn't see is a bit of a stretch.

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