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When do you log a DNF after failing to find a cache?


hoyshnin
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Sometimes I won't be able to find a cache and I'm never sure if I should log a DNF right away or only after trying a few times. I'm hesitant about logging a DNF right away because I don't want to discourage other geocachers from thinking the cache may have been muggled or something when it might just be that I wasn't looking in the right spot.

 

When do you log a DNF? Right away? Only after trying again?

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Sometimes I won't be able to find a cache and I'm never sure if I should log a DNF right away or only after trying a few times. I'm hesitant about logging a DNF right away because I don't want to discourage other geocachers from thinking the cache may have been muggled or something when it might just be that I wasn't looking in the right spot.

 

When do you log a DNF? Right away? Only after trying again?

 

If I hit goto on my GPS and don't sign the log I log the DNF on the website right away. If I make several trips to the cache without signing the log I log several DNF's.

 

For me the rule is

 

one visit = one log , one cache = one find.

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I go caching, then I go home, then I log my results. Usually the same day.

That's my mantra. Timely logging is important, especially if there are issues requiring maintenance or permission.

 

Since I got my iPhone, I've made one small change...

 

I often cache as much as an hour, or more, away from home (never knowing when I'll return to the area) so I will often log DNFs immediately in hopes that the owner might send me an extra hint, allowing me to make a second attempt while I'm still nearby. :anibad:

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I go caching, then I go home, then I log my results. Usually the same day.

 

That's a good way to look at it. I always try to log results the same day. In the past, I have not been as faithful about logging DNF's as I should have, but after reading the various threads on the forums, my new policy is going to be the same or similar as others:

1. Hit goto on the GPS,

2. Arrive at GZ,

3. Search for cache,

4. and then log results.. either smilie or DNF.

 

If for some reason I don't do 2 or 3, then I won't do 4.

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I go caching, then I go home, then I log my results. Usually the same day.

 

That's a good way to look at it. I always try to log results the same day. In the past, I have not been as faithful about logging DNF's as I should have, but after reading the various threads on the forums, my new policy is going to be the same or similar as others:

1. Hit goto on the GPS,

2. Arrive at GZ,

3. Search for cache,

4. and then log results.. either smilie or DNF.

 

If for some reason I don't do 2 or 3, then I won't do 4.

 

I second that. Sometimes I may get close to GZ and find I am not attired appropriately or that I don't have the right equipment to go after it so I leave and mark it for another day. In these cases I do not usually log the DNF. When I do log a DNF (which I do if I actually searched for the cache for any reasonable period of time) I always give some detail in the log about how long I looked and any other important details so that other cachers who read the log can make an educated decision about whether to even try. The problem is that a lot of cachers won't even look for a cache that has one DNF. They don't look at the logs, they just use GSAK to filter them out. One DNF logged by someone who did not really even look for it can result in a very long period where people avoid the cache.

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Here's how I see it...

 

- If I don't get to the site I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons unrelated to the cache, I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons related to the cache, I will log a note

- If I search and don't find anything, I'll log a DNF

- If I search and find the cache, but am unable to retrieve it, I'll log a DNF

- If I search, find the cache and sign the log I'll log a Found

 

I think my personal rules are well within the spirit of the game as intended by Groundspeak.

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I'm hesitant about logging a DNF right away because I don't want to discourage other geocachers from thinking the cache may have been muggled or something when it might just be that I wasn't looking in the right spot.

 

I don't look at one DNF automatically as 'likely missing' and pass over it. I'll actually spend more time than normal just to make sure it hasn't been moved or hidden deeper than the owner intended (based on the difficulty rating).

 

With your DNF and mine, then the owner should pay more attention to the next log or go check the cache. I would prefer that you not delay logging your DNF. Multiple logs reporting the same situation is always better.

 

If you log a DNF and the next person finds it, no harm done.

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I don't view a single DNF as indicating a problem with the cache. I always read the DNF log to determine what that "report" says. Many times the log will say they aborted the search for some such reason (like too many muggles, etc). You also can't tell from the logs the "experience" level of the DNF cacher which could contribute to the DNF.

 

My DNF logs are done as soon as I get home. And they will indicate the conditions under which I searched so the next searcher can judge for themselves whether to search or not.

 

Oh, and if I plan to revisit the area again, they will go on my watch list so I'll get any future logs and, maybe glean a hint from them.

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Sometimes I won't be able to find a cache and I'm never sure if I should log a DNF right away or only after trying a few times. I'm hesitant about logging a DNF right away because I don't want to discourage other geocachers from thinking the cache may have been muggled or something when it might just be that I wasn't looking in the right spot.

 

When do you log a DNF? Right away? Only after trying again?

On those occasions where I realize I've gotten in WAY over my head time-wise (this can happen easily during lunch caching runs), I won't DNF the cache until I return and can actually spend the amount of time appropriate to the difficulty rating. Once in a while, we'll leave a tough one (3 stars or more) to the end of our run and just use the few minutes we've got to look around and see what we'll be up against when we've got the time for a real search.

 

A similar situation occurs (rarely) due to weather. While we don't often get much rain here in the Denver metro area, this summer has been quite the exception. If I start a search and get rained out before I've completed anything close to a decent search, I won't DNF on that trip.

 

If I show up, but I'm prevented from doing a search (muggles or physical barriers to the site), I'll likely drop a "note". Have had that happen again this summer when headed down to a mountain area cache where a slide had messed the road up pretty good. Figured the "note" would be fair warning to anyone else planning to come to that site before they got it cleaned up. As I pointed out to someone the other day in a similar thread, there's a difference between "Did Not Find" and "Did Not Look". And sometimes, a note as to the problem that caused the latter can be helpful to those that come afterward.

Edited by ecanderson
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We're good about logging DNF's, better than some cachers we know of. With that being said, there has been a time or two when all we had was the GPS, no print outs or Palm Pilot, thus no description or hint and were unable to find the cache. Didn't log a DNF as we didn't feel we'd gone as far as we could with all the information. Some may look at that as "cheating" on the DNF, but our conscious is clear, so what the heck. As far as the timing, if we have all the info and didn't find it, the DNF is logged as soon as we get home and log on. MTGeoPirates

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Here's how I see it...

 

- If I don't get to the site I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons unrelated to the cache, I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons related to the cache, I will log a note

- If I search and don't find anything, I'll log a DNF

- If I search and find the cache, but am unable to retrieve it, I'll log a DNF

- If I search, find the cache and sign the log I'll log a Found

 

I think my personal rules are well within the spirit of the game as intended by Groundspeak.

 

This is a great point by point description - I'm pretty much the same.

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Here's how I see it...

 

- If I don't get to the site I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons unrelated to the cache, I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons related to the cache, I will log a note

- If I search and don't find anything, I'll log a DNF

- If I search and find the cache, but am unable to retrieve it, I'll log a DNF

- If I search, find the cache and sign the log I'll log a Found

 

I think my personal rules are well within the spirit of the game as intended by Groundspeak.

 

This is a great point by point description - I'm pretty much the same.

 

My only difference is that if I only search for a short time (speedcaching), and I believe the cache is still there and I just missed it, I'll usually log a dnf stating that. My wording would say something along the lines of " only searched for a minute and didn't find it. It's probably there."

I will still log a DNF for my own purposes (next trip thru the area).

 

Other than that....I like your list.

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If something prevents me from getting to GZ or I get close or at GZ but dont search (too many muggles, etc) and plan to return to thoroughly search the area, I do not log a DNF.

If I thoroughly search the GZ area and/or spend a considerable amount of time looking, then I log the DNF.

 

From looking at logs of caches, I consider my inability to vet the area but logging a DNF to be a detriment to how others view the cache. If I vet the area and do not find it, then I am confident in placing a DNF because I know I exhausted my abilities to find it.

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Here's my take:

 

If I go there, and look for the cache, and can't find it, then leave without signing the log book, I go home and log the DNF.

 

If I go to the location and there is some reason why I can't actively search, I'll log a note and say "DNA (Did Not Attempt)", and why. If, for example, I visit at a certain time of day and there are too many muggles, perhaps it might help some other cacher in his or her plans. Or if there's construction in the area, etc.

 

(I have a low find count, and I'm still building up the discipline in all of this, but that is, at least, my intent.)

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Here's how I see it...

 

- If I don't get to the site I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons unrelated to the cache, I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons related to the cache, I will log a note

- If I search and don't find anything, I'll log a DNF

- If I search and find the cache, but am unable to retrieve it, I'll log a DNF

- If I search, find the cache and sign the log I'll log a Found

 

I think my personal rules are well within the spirit of the game as intended by Groundspeak.

 

I like this post too. It's pretty much our MO.

 

Sometimes, though, I don't log anything if we search a minute or two and walk away because either the site was terrible or the suspected hide type was very boring or very annoying.

 

I keep track of all our dnf's and proudly announce century-marks on our profile page for dnf's where the cache was in place and we got skunked.

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Here's how I see it...

 

- If I don't get to the site I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons unrelated to the cache, I won't log anything

- If I get to the site and abort the search for reasons related to the cache, I will log a note

- If I search and don't find anything, I'll log a DNF

- If I search and find the cache, but am unable to retrieve it, I'll log a DNF

- If I search, find the cache and sign the log I'll log a Found

 

I think my personal rules are well within the spirit of the game as intended by Groundspeak.

this is a good summary...

one thing that I think is important is to not get too into the competitive mindset of viewing a DNF as a failure...whether I find it or not, I find a smilie, a note, or a DNF to be equally of value as a journal or diary of my caching experience...it is just as interesting, or maybe more so, to go back and revisit the DNF's as it is a find.

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The best way to sum this up, If you log it as a DNF, there should be no shame in it.. It just means you didn't find it.. Aside from that, how is the owner going to know? Did they make the hide too hard? or did they get the wrong coordinates? Has the cache been muggled? or is it still there?

 

Posting a DNF, at least gives the owner reference to the condition & status of their cache.. Likewise, if you post a "Seen it" for a travel bug, or geocoin, You could be letting the owner of the bug or coin know that their item is still "In Play", and not missing.

 

I know of two tradable items, that have been out of play for awhile.. I hope they're still in play, and not misplaced.. (which reminds me,, time to find where I misplaced someone's geocoin replica.. fell behind the car seat, I hope!) Stephen (gelfling6)

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I think what the OP is asking is whether or not to post a DNF after only searching once, or if s/he should try the search again, some other day, before logging a DNF. I belief s/he is worried that the cache is there, but being inexperienced, s/he would be giving future seekers an unwanted skepticism. It seems to me this conversation has take the turn to the often asked question of how much of a search the first time there deserves a DNF. The answer, if my assessment of the original question is accurate, is log the DNF each and every time you look for a cache and don't find it. But I'm guilty of not always following my own rule.

 

(I could be wrong on all accounts, though that has never happened before :laughing: )

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If I give a serious effort to find a cache and don't, I log it in my Colorado as a DNF.

If I am at GZ and decide not to search (muggles, NIH, Too many spiders at night, bears, crazy whacked out druggies, Homeless, etc) then I don't log it in my GPSr.

When I get home, within a few days, I open up the logs from the Colorado and log them all as they were stored. Founds and DNFs combined.

 

There have been many caches that I just didn't feel like looking for. Why log them as a DNF? It serves no useful purpose.

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If I give a serious effort to find a cache and don't, I log it in my Colorado as a DNF.

If I am at GZ and decide not to search (muggles, NIH, Too many spiders at night, bears, crazy whacked out druggies, Homeless, etc) then I don't log it in my GPSr.

When I get home, within a few days, I open up the logs from the Colorado and log them all as they were stored. Founds and DNFs combined.

 

There have been many caches that I just didn't feel like looking for. Why log them as a DNF? It serves no useful purpose.

 

I disagree. If you didn't log a DNF because you didn't feel like looking for it because, there were too many muggles, spiders or a bees nest (as was the case for one I found today), bears (read a log this morning about a very large black bear that was spotted at a cache where I'll be visiting in a couple of weeks), druggies or homeless near GZ, that's information that any future seeker of the cache might want to know. It's all information that the CO might want to know about as well.

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If I give a serious effort to find a cache and don't, I log it in my Colorado as a DNF.

If I am at GZ and decide not to search (muggles, NIH, Too many spiders at night, bears, crazy whacked out druggies, Homeless, etc) then I don't log it in my GPSr.

When I get home, within a few days, I open up the logs from the Colorado and log them all as they were stored. Founds and DNFs combined.

 

There have been many caches that I just didn't feel like looking for. Why log them as a DNF? It serves no useful purpose.

 

I disagree. If you didn't log a DNF because you didn't feel like looking for it because, there were too many muggles, spiders or a bees nest (as was the case for one I found today), bears (read a log this morning about a very large black bear that was spotted at a cache where I'll be visiting in a couple of weeks), druggies or homeless near GZ, that's information that any future seeker of the cache might want to know. It's all information that the CO might want to know about as well.

 

You could be correct. How about I rephrase it.

I don't log a DNF when I DNL (did not look).

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I think what the OP is asking is whether or not to post a DNF after only searching once, or if s/he should try the search again, some other day, before logging a DNF. I belief s/he is worried that the cache is there, but being inexperienced, s/he would be giving future seekers an unwanted skepticism. It seems to me this conversation has take the turn to the often asked question of how much of a search the first time there deserves a DNF. The answer, if my assessment of the original question is accurate, is log the DNF each and every time you look for a cache and don't find it. But I'm guilty of not always following my own rule.

 

(I could be wrong on all accounts, though that has never happened before :laughing: )

You are right, I think that is the very question that the thread originator is posing....and yes, for me, the answer is...If I follow the coords and spend some time looking at GZ and come up empty, it is a DNF in my book. And if I return later and have the same experience, another DNF. If, for example, I drive to the vicinity, see that it involves too much traipsing through poison ivy, I don't get out of the car, and I keep on driving, I may not post anything for that visit. If I return, I will remember to come better prepared, and if I search with the Garmin and don't find..."DNF".

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If I look for a cache I log a find, DNF or note. Pretty simple and no need for rationalizing. Thankfully the majority are finds! :) If I look and can't find due to my own ability or lack therof it is a DNF. If there are mitigating circumstances (excuses) I log a note.

 

Same here. If I begin the hunt and do not find it, I log a did not find. Can't get easier than that. No need for all these nuances. The only grey area I see is the point at which you determine when you began the hunt. For me it is the minute I plug in the cache coords and hit Go To on my GPS.

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Sometimes I won't be able to find a cache and I'm never sure if I should log a DNF right away or only after trying a few times. I'm hesitant about logging a DNF right away because I don't want to discourage other geocachers from thinking the cache may have been muggled or something when it might just be that I wasn't looking in the right spot.

 

When do you log a DNF? Right away? Only after trying again?

 

Assuming that you gave it a fair try, log it as soon as possible.

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I log it as I am logging all of my caches for that day. I try and log in the same order as I found them in the field, so it goes right in line with all the rest of my logs. I had the "honor" on GC1B97K of not finding, meeting up with a buddy to go after some other caches, and coming back with him (probably within the hour), and finding the cache. I logged the DNF, then the finds on the 2 or 3 that he and I had hit, and then the find for when we came back -- I'm sure the owner got a chuckle out of those notification emails.

 

The DNF is part of the story of the cache and of your efforts -- log 'em proudly, and log the smiley with even more pride when you avenge!

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I log a DNF, if I looked and I did not find the cache, generally the same day. I wear a denim jacket when out and about with either a "I found it" smiley pin or a "DNF" frowning pin, depending on whether I found the last cache I searched for on not. Currently it's the DNF pin. but I am going out this afternoon, so hopefully I will get to change pins, :)

If I go back another day and find it, I log that it was a return visit in comments. If I still don't find it, I don't embarrass myself and keep noting that I can't find it.

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If I still don't find it, I don't embarrass myself and keep noting that I can't find it.

 

Don't think of it as an embarrassment. Think of it as an honest report of the result of a search. (I can think of several caches that I logged 2 DNFs on and I think there is one I logged 3 before I finally found it.)

 

I operate the same way. I logged two DNFs on a cache recently that turned out to be a guard rail grab. If I make a visit to a site and leave without finding it I log a DNF. It's both an honor system for my own personal "scoring" and a way to signify to the cache owner that they might want to make sure the cache hasn't been muggled or is missing for some other reason.

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If I look for a cache I log a find, DNF or note. Pretty simple and no need for rationalizing. Thankfully the majority are finds! :) If I look and can't find due to my own ability or lack therof it is a DNF. If there are mitigating circumstances (excuses) I log a note.

 

Same here. If I begin the hunt and do not find it, I log a did not find. Can't get easier than that. No need for all these nuances. The only grey area I see is the point at which you determine when you began the hunt. For me it is the minute I plug in the cache coords and hit Go To on my GPS.

 

I have one nuance (that is a fun word to type-nuance. It has good finger flow.) There have been times when I have aborted the hunt long before getting to the area of the cache. Called into work, back to home, didn't have appropriate footgear, was hungry, etc.

 

If I don't get to the area of the cache and don't actually look for it, I won't post my DNF. Once I start paying more attention to potential hiding spots instead of my general surroundings and my GPS the hunt is on. Then the only options are find or didn't find.

 

And on 1-2 occasions I spotted the cache but didn't have a 30' extension ladder or pole to retrieve it. I merely posted 'found the cache, didn't sign the log' as a note. That was more to tweak the CO and not give him the pleasure of seeing my DNF.

 

I consider these honest recordings of my caching experiences.

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Now that I have the iPhone I log my DNF right away, especially if the cache is clearly missing so that others will know because I sometimes don't log my finds for a couple days.

 

As far as how often & stuff, I pretty much will log a DNF whenever I set out to search for a cache and can't find.

 

I know some people won't log one if they only search for a couple minutes or don't do a "thorough" search of the area, and there are others who will only log a DNF when they're not going to search again, even if they had tried 20 times before.

 

And some will only log a DNF when they think the cache is missing...and then some never log DNFs.

 

I like to see one logged everytime someone searches because it gives you a true history of the cache.

 

Also, I'll generally log just one DNF if I search and then go back later in the day, like if I pass it on the way into a trail and then pass it on the way out. I'll mention that I searched in the morning and then on my way back out.

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The only grey area I see is the point at which you determine when you began the hunt. For me it is the minute I plug in the cache coords and hit Go To on my GPS.

And when you pop a flat tire 1/2 a mile from home, do you add that to the notes for your DNF log???

 

I had a grand plan to catch a series of 8 caches one day this last spring. As I was driving towards the area, I spotted a family looking at an EOTR cache that I'd bagged some months before. Stopped to give them a hand, and wound up with a sprained ankle for my efforts. I had them all loaded up and was already navigating towards the first one when this all happened. I suppose I should have DNFd all 8 that I'd planned to visit that day? The family was nice enough to load me up with a couple of Tylenol gel caps and pour me into my car for the ride home. No caching that day (or for the next week, for that matter). I didn't DNF anything. What would be the point?

 

As you can see, your hard and fast rule can't ALWAYS be so hard and fast and still make any sense.

 

"Go", as you say, is a very relative thing based upon the circumstances of the moment.

Edited by ecanderson
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Sometimes I won't be able to find a cache and I'm never sure if I should log a DNF right away or only after trying a few times. I'm hesitant about logging a DNF right away because I don't want to discourage other geocachers from thinking the cache may have been muggled or something when it might just be that I wasn't looking in the right spot.

 

When do you log a DNF? Right away? Only after trying again?

 

I log a DNF when I look for a cache and don't find it, weather its my first time, 10th time, even if I've already found it and am just there because the friend I'm caching with still needed to find it.

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I generally log a DNF every time I search for a cache and can't find it. Occasionally, if there are lots of muggles around or if I'm not able to search for long I might NOT log a DNF. I want to be able to look at my DNF's a week or so later and see if they've been found or if they're really missing. Also, before I look for caches it's important to see if others are having issues with it. For me about half the time I log a DNF it's missing and the other half it's just that I couldn't find it.

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If I look and can't find the cache then I log a DNF, some of the time though I might be somewhere over an hour looking because I am very persistant and do not want the feeling of "LOSING". But if I eventually throw in the towel I log a DNF. I have a guy in my area that hunted one of my caches and did not log anything so I called him and asked if he found the cache and he said NO. So I asked why he did not log a DNF and he told me that only I knew he did not find it why should he tell the whole world he did not find it. I personally don't agree with that so I told him you log a DNF because it is part of the game. That is just my two cents worth.

 

Smoke :)

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I have a guy in my area that hunted one of my caches and did not log anything so I called him and asked if he found the cache and he said NO. So I asked why he did not log a DNF and he told me that only I knew he did not find it why should he tell the whole world he did not find it. I personally don't agree with that so I told him you log a DNF because it is part of the game. That is just my two cents worth.

 

I'm confused. How did you know he looked for and didn't find it?

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I log a DNF everytime I search and don't find it. If I eventually find it, I keep the original DNFs because it shows a true history of the cache, plus I like to go back and look at my DNFs and laugh at myself and wonder how I missed it those other times.

 

If you delete your DNFs, it messes with the history of the cache. For instance, a hard cache that has 80 DNFs and 14 finds. That must be a very hard cache, and the DNFs show it.

 

If people deleted those DNFs, you'd have a cache with 14 finds and people would think it's easy because no one DNF'd it. It would still be a hard cache, but there's nothing to judge how hard because the only thing showing are success stories. You need the DNFs to compare it to.

Edited by Skippermark
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If I search, it's either a find or a DNF.

 

No "I didn't really try hard enough" excuses.

 

Ditto. Because even if I go down the wrong path, someone else might find it useful to know.

 

I am not like those cachers who have too much pride to log a DNF. The only thing more irritating is when a cacher CHANGES a DNF to a Found It.

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I have a guy in my area that hunted one of my caches and did not log anything so I called him and asked if he found the cache and he said NO. So I asked why he did not log a DNF and he told me that only I knew he did not find it why should he tell the whole world he did not find it. I personally don't agree with that so I told him you log a DNF because it is part of the game. That is just my two cents worth.

 

I'm confused. How did you know he looked for and didn't find it?

 

Because he sent me an email and told me that the cache I had hidden was tuff that he had spent 25 minutes there and did not find it.

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I have a guy in my area that hunted one of my caches and did not log anything so I called him and asked if he found the cache and he said NO. So I asked why he did not log a DNF and he told me that only I knew he did not find it why should he tell the whole world he did not find it. I personally don't agree with that so I told him you log a DNF because it is part of the game. That is just my two cents worth.

 

I'm confused. How did you know he looked for and didn't find it?

 

Because he sent me an email and told me that the cache I had hidden was tuff that he had spent 25 minutes there and did not find it.

 

Okay. Not everyone is comfortable logging a DNF but I think it's super that he was at least willing to let you know. If you want to jump on this guy for not playing the game he's probably not going to do much more caching. One step at a time, eh?

 

Let him know that even us old timers have trouble finding caches and we love to share the story. Some of the best adventures are a DNF.

 

Throw a rule in my face and I don't think I'd really want to share much of anything.

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