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OpinioNate

What should new geocachers know about trackables?

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Groundspeak is interested in finding ways to better educate new geocachers on the proper etiquette for handling trackables. I am personally aware of many incidences of trackables going missing - not through any malice on the part of the bugnapper - rather by simply being misinformed about this one aspect of the game. There is a lot to learn when first starting out, so please help everyone by answering the question:

 

What should new geocachers know about trackables?

 

Thanks! :D

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1. How to log a Trackable, can the info be placed in plain view?

2. Is it OK to start my Trackable in my own cache?

3. Is it OK to revisit a cache for a Trackable?

3. How does a vehicle TB work?

4. How long can I hold onto a TB?

5. How long should I wait before contacting someone holding my Trackable?

6. What do you do when someone steals your Trackable?

7. What's the oldest Trackable?

8. Do I have to trade when I take a Trackable?

9. Why isn't my Trackable mileage showing up?

10. I logged it wrong, can I fix it?

11. What do "grab", "retrieve", and "discover mean"?

12. Why does it say my tracking number doesn't match?

13. how do I mark my Trackable missing?

14. What is dipping? And can I do it with someone else's Trackable?

15. How long can I hold on to a Trackable?

16. What kinds of caches can I log a Trackable through?

17. I found an unactivated Trackable, now what?

18. My Trackable met its goal, now what?

19. How does a personal Trackable work?

20. I need help with an activation code for my Trackable, where do I get it?

 

More later, I have to think some more. I'm sure others can add to the list.

Edited by Eartha
  • Upvote 1

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Excellent topic!

 

1. What trackables are, and what they are for.

2. Where to get a trackable of their own.

3. Logging (big one, here): Cache log; online posting (the fact that one does not equate to the other (I think this confuses a lot of people).

4. How to properly execute the online postings (retrieval; dropping; grabbing -- and the differences thereof).

5. Attaching a mission statement to the TB (if it has a mission), so that a cacher can decide at the cache if they can/cannot help its' travels. Especially helpful to those cachers that are on vacation or otherwise do not have immediate access to check on a TB mission.

6. "Discovery" notes important for idle TB/GC.

7. Impressing upon cache owners (or the travelers' owner) to clear their caches' inventory of travelers that have been "missing" from the cache for a specified period of time!

8. Posting in logs or online of the tracking # is a no-no!

9. Get cachers to the FORUMS if they have the slightest question. There is no "stupid question", if one has a question.

 

Many other things (Am sure they will appear in other postings).

 

Thank you for bringing this up, OpinioNate. :D:D

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Where to find the tracking code...many coins have them on the edge now - I think these often get missed and the person finding the coin thinks they are swag and not traveling.

 

The common errors of trying to log a coin's number "O vs. 0" "B vs. 8" "I vs. 1" etc. This also seems to trip a lot of people up, especially when the numbers are very small.

 

Glad to hear you guys are working on making the trackable part of the sport more user-friendly. Thank you for inviting our suggestions. :D

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Is the question "What should new geocachers know about trackables?" the right question?

All the information is allready on the website, available to everyone.

Shouldn't the question be something like "How do we get new geocachers to read the information about trackables?"?

 

Perhaps they should get the information when they are signing up for an account. A page that says:

Special items in caches which are owned by others. Read about it here!

 

Click here to complete your account.

Edited by Ruud4d

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Do I have to attach the "dog tag" to an item to make it a trackable? Can I engrave, write, or otherwise brand an object with the tracking code?

 

How may objects can I display the code on? Can I have a car TB and put one of the matching dog tags on another object?

 

What should I do if I see a "collector" at an event? The coins/TBs are not his yet he brought a ton of them? What should I do if I see somebody passing around the tracking codes of coins/TBs?

 

Are USB thumb drives acceptable as a travel bug?

 

Are human remains (ashes/bones) acceptable as a travel bug?

 

Can travel bug/coins have a social/political agenda on their listing page?

 

Can a travel bug/coin be used as part of an advertising campaign?

 

Can I have have a TB tattoo with the tracking numbers?

 

Should coins/TBs be placed in remote or seldom visited caches?

 

Does somebody at Groundspeak review the listings for coins/TBs?

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Perhaps they should get the information when they are signing up for an account. A page that says:

Special items in caches which are owned by others. Read about it here!

 

Click here to complete your account.

 

HAHA! That might catch their eye. :)

 

However, it seems rather apparent that not all read information that is available. More properly, they read it, but don't always understand what it is they just read!

 

Not trying to be nitpicky, that's the perception I get when I see the daily multitude of repetitive questions.

 

Edit: Moreso, the actions/inactions of those that never seem to ask that "stupid" question, but just go ahead and do it anyway! This is not limited to the actions of newbies, either!

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee

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Finding the travel bug/ geocoin FAQs is apparently a lot harder than finding the Forums where those inclined to ask will post questions they can't find answers to elsewhere.

 

So suggestion #1 is to make the traveler section more easy to find. Perhaps renaming Trackable Items as Travel Bugs & Geocoins may make THAT tab more noticeable.

 

Suggestion #2: After entering a wrong tracking number the error page contains NO INFORMATION on how to get it right. Why was that error message triggered? A description on transcription errors would be informative. Maybe even that brilliant bit of insight I just learned from Coins And Pins that tracking numbers do not include Is and Os while Activation codes do not include 1s and 0s. But how to differenciate that B that looks like an 8 or that 6 that's really a 5 or that S that sure looks like a Z or also a 5 could come in handy. This is more a problem with Geocoins than Travel Bug Dog Tags.

 

Suggestion #3: Require a minimum point size for tracking numbers on new coin designs. Some are so tiny that even with a magnifying glass and reading glasses it's impossible to read. Microscopes should not be part of the geocaching tool box.

Edited by Droo

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Maybe even that brilliant bit of insight I just learned from Coins And Pins that tracking numbers do not include Is and Os while Activation codes do not include 1s and 0s.

Unfortunately, that's not accurate. I have several coins that both have I's and O's in the tracking codes, and 1's and 0's in the activation codes. :)

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1. How to log a Trackable, can the info be placed in plain view?

2. Is it OK to start my Trackable in my own cache?

3. Is it OK to revisit a cache for a Trackable?

3. How does a vehicle TB work?

4. How long can I hold onto a TB?

5. How long should I wait before contacting someone holding my Trackable?

6. What do you do when someone steals your Trackable?

7. What's the oldest Trackable?

8. Do I have to trade when I take a Trackable?

9. Why isn't my Trackable mileage showing up?

10. I logged it wrong, can I fix it?

11. What do "grab", "retrieve", and "discover mean"?

12. Why does it say my tracking number doesn't match?

13. how do I mark my Trackable missing?

14. What is dipping? And can I do it with someone else's Trackable?

15. How long can I hold on to a Trackable?

16. What kinds of caches can I log a Trackable through?

17. I found an unactivated Trackable, now what?

18. My Trackable met its goal, now what?

19. How does a personal Trackable work?

20. I need help with an activation code for my Trackable, where do I get it?

 

More later, I have to think some more. I'm sure others can add to the list.

21. What's virtual logging and why do I get a talking to whenever I post a picture of coins I find or include the tracking number in the logs or in the forums?

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Maybe even that brilliant bit of insight I just learned from Coins And Pins that tracking numbers do not include Is and Os while Activation codes do not include 1s and 0s.

Unfortunately, that's not accurate. I have several coins that both have I's and O's in the tracking codes, and 1's and 0's in the activation codes. :)

I'd better check their quote 'coz it seemed so simple that it was brilliant.

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21. What's virtual logging and why do I get a talking to whenever I post a picture of coins I find or include the tracking number in the logs or in the forums?

 

Because there are people that utilize those posted numbers to "move" that trackable thru virtual postings, tho they have never had any contact with the trackable. Why? Lord knows, but they do it.

Maybe it is just a way to create bedlam. Some live for the opportunity.

 

Those folks that post such trackable numbers only aid these types of creeps.

 

Edit: A photo of the 'coin or the bug is easily altered before posting to eradicate the number. You can still post the photo and probably should. Just kill the number!

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee

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After only being here a few months (and a huge learning curve to learn everything i know know) I would suggest the following:

 

1. What does a travelbug/geocoin look like (and include some examples showing geocoins dont have to be round).

2. Show them the code on the tb or geocoin

3. tell them how to log it

4. a faq of what problems they could come across logging it and how to solve them

5. what to do if the coin isnt registered into that cache

6. how to log it into and out of their care (into and out of caches).

 

Hope that helps.

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Regarding activation codes I think the companies should provide them with the coin, without having to look them up. This would probably help traders know whether they are trading for a new coin or a stolen coin.

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1. How to log a Trackable, can the info be placed in plain view?

Information can be found here,

and here, and here, and here.

 

2. Is it OK to start my Trackable in my own cache?

Yes, any cache at all.

 

3. Is it OK to revisit a cache for a Trackable?

Absolutely, as long as you can help it move, or towards its goal, go ahead, just post a note to the cache page and not another find. Check out this thread for more comments.

 

3. How does a vehicle TB work?

Just like any other Trackable, but you only get discoveries, unless you're willing to hand over your car to be moved to another cacher. Don't be surprised if you don't get a lot of logs on it.

 

4. How long can I hold onto a TB?

Two weeks is the suggested maximum, but not everyone can go out and play that often, so if you have it longer, it is common courtesy to email the owner and update them on the status.

 

5. How long should I wait before contacting someone holding my Trackable?

If they've logged it, wait at least three weeks, and always be friendly. Nothing gets a trackable thrown out faster than a nasty email. If it wasn't logged, do some research on logs from the last time it was seen.

 

6. What do you do when someone steals your Trackable?

Cry, stomp your feet, and THEN do some research by searching cache logs and make sure it is really stolen. Most often, it was merely taken by someone who didn't know how to log it (which is why this thread is here). There are thieves out there, and if your Trackable is truly gone, be it thief, muggled cache, fire, flood, death of a cacher, tornado, whatever, so if it's gone for good, you can send out the copy (in the case of a TB, it comes with two tags) or you can make a replica (in the case of a geocoin) but do not delete any previous logs, or you take credit away from anyone who helped move it along. This upsets people when their logs are deleted.

 

7. What's the oldest Trackable?

Hard to say, some people had sent items out, requesting they be moved from cache to cache, long before there were tracking numbers. I don't have this answer, maybe Groundspeak does.

 

8. Do I have to trade when I take a Trackable?

No, no, no, a thousand times no. Travel bugs and trackable geocoins, that have been set out to travel, are not trade items, you do not have to put something in the cache to take a Trackable item, and you should not take something from a cache in trade for a Trackable item. If you should take something from a cache, you should make a trade, and you can place/take the Trackable item.

 

9. Why isn't my Trackable mileage showing up?

It's a glitch, you can wait and it will eventually, or you can go to your trackable page and in the top right corner, in the drop down menu choose "Recalculate mileage". Sometimes it takes a little while for the system to catch up with the TB.

 

10. I logged it wrong, can I fix it?

Yes, you can. Blue Deuce's instructions on how to correct a TB history when mislogged:

this is when the bug is sitting in a cache.

 

1. Retrieve the bug from the current cache.

2. On the orig/previous cache, log a note POST DATED and drop the bug. ( you can just say "logging bug")

3. Retrieve the bug from that cache POST DATED.

4. Post a note on the current cache and drop the bug.

5. On the current cache logs delete the note that says you dropped the bug

6. On the Bug Page, delete both the logs showing that you retrieved and dropped the bug in the current cache. This will leave it in the cache and show the last cacher was the one to drop it.

(Or contact the current holder and ask them do a back drop.)

 

11. What do "grab", "retrieve", and "discover mean"?

1. Retrieve it from "Cache name"

This is used to pull the TB from the cache you found it in.

2. Grab it from somewhere else

This is used when you've found a TB in a cache but it's listed as being in another cache. Or when you take it from another cacher.

3. Write note

This is used when you want to post a note to the TB page, but are not moving it. You do not need the tracking number to just post a note.

4. Discovered it

This is used when you are logging, but not moving, a TB that you see at an event, or one that someone uses as a personal TB and is not passing it off to you. Also used for logging a TB that you find in a cache, but cannot take or help it on its way, and you wish to log it. This also helps the cache owner, TB owner, and future finders know the bug is alive and well and still in the cache.

 

12. Why does it say my tracking number doesn't match?

You most likely typed in the number wrong. Check the number closely, don't mistake 1 for I, 0 for O, 5 for S, 8 for B, etc....

 

13. How do I mark my Trackable missing?

Log in, go to the trackable page, and in the drop down menu in the top right corner clcik on "Mark as Missing". Trackable owners can do this for their own items, and cache owners can do it if the item is missing from their cache, but shows as being there. Getting it back into circulation is just a matter of "Grabbing it" back.

 

14. What is dipping? And can I do it with someone else's Trackable?

Dipping is logging a TB into several caches. Say you go caching all day long, you visit 3 micros, a virtual, and then finally an ammo can. You can log the Trackable through all those caches if you want to show where it's been. You need to drop and retrieve for each cache. Dipping is fine, no problem. Just don't dip forever, eventually you have to let the Trackable go, so someone else can have fun with it.

 

15. How long can I hold on to a Trackable?

Oops, I already answered this one.

 

16. What kinds of caches can I log a Trackable through?

Traditional (any size, just don't ever leave a Trackable in a cache if the lid won't close tight with it in there), Virtual, Multi, Letterbox Hyrbrid, Puzzle, Event, CITO, APE, and GPS Maze Exhibit. You can't log them through webcam caches, or Earthcaches.

 

17. I found an unactivated Trackable, now what?

First make sure you haven't typed the # wrong. Then check the logs, see if someone mentioned leaving it. If something as attached to a TB tag, and it's not activated, the owner probably didn't know they were supposed to activate it. Try to find them. Post notes to the cache page and ask. If you never find the owner, you can ask Groundspeak for the activation code by sending an email to contact at geocaching dot com.

 

18. My Trackable met its goal, now what?

You can give it a new goal, but do not delete any previous logs, see #6.

 

19. How does a personal Trackable work?

Just like a non-personal one, only you keep it with you. You can let people discover it, and you can log it into every cache you visit with it, to keep track of your own miles. Only you can decide if you want the extra work it will take to keep up with it.

 

20. I need help with an activation code for my Trackable, where do I get it?

contact at geocaching dot com. The activation code for Travel Bugs comes on the packaging, don't throw it out until you've activated it and know it's correct. Geocoins are different though. We have a thread called the Activation Code Clearing House You can search that thread, or ask in the forums, or write to the company/person you got the geocoin from.

 

21. What's virtual logging and why do I get a talking to whenever I post a picture of coins I find or include the tracking number in the logs or in the forums? (Thank you, Droo)

If you log a bogus virtual log on a TB, or offer your own TB up for virtual logging you will risk having that TB page locked forever. This means, if you never saw a bug, but got the bug number and you log it, that bug is in risk of being taken out of the game. Don't do this to TB owners who inadvertently might post a photo, or someone else posts a photo, of their TB number. Don't log it virtually. It's considered abuse of the system. And it's not fair play.

 

Thanks to Castle Mischief for the following questions:

 

22. Do I have to attach the "dog tag" to an item to make it a trackable? Can I engrave, write, or otherwise brand an object with the tracking code?

No, you don't have to, but then you run the risk of people, especially newbies, not recognizing it as a Trackable item, and leaving it in the cache, or worse, keeping it as swag. Make sure it is easily identifiable as a travel item.

 

23. How may objects can I display the code on? Can I have a car TB and put one of the matching dog tags on another object?

Just one. Otherwise, you've got abuse of the system and risk the trackable page getting locked. If you lose the sticker, you can release the tag, if you lose the tag, you can release the copy tag.

 

24. What should I do if I see a "collector" at an event? The coins/TBs are not his yet he brought a ton of them?

Violence is never the answer. You should see if you can find someone who knows them well enough to explain how it works, or do so yourself in a very friendly manner.

 

25. What should I do if I see somebody passing around the tracking codes of coins/TBs?

Please explain to them that this is virtual logging and those trackables will be at risk of being locked. They should especially not be doing this with other peoples tracking numbers. Also, say "No thank you, I do not virtual log, it's abuse of the geocaching.com system, and it's wrong! Wrong, I tell you! Wrong!"

 

26. Are USB thumb drives acceptable as a travel bug?

Yes, but don't expect anyone to actually stick it in their own computer.

 

27. Are human remains (ashes/bones) acceptable as a travel bug?

Here's a thread on the subject. Some people will be freaked out, others will show compassion for the dearly departed.

 

28. Can travel bug/coins have a social/political agenda on their listing page?

Trackables are not regulated with a lot of rules and they do not go through a review process. While people do add them, not everyone is going to care about it the way you do. Don't be surprised if you get no help at all, not everyone will even read the whole page. All they want to know is the goal of the TB. Geocaching is meant to be fun, it's best to leave agendas at home when you go out to play.

 

29. Can a travel bug/coin be used as part of an advertising campaign?

They have been, Jeep and Unite For Diabetes, and Garmin all had promotions through Travel Bugs. But if you want to do that with more than one trackable, you should go through proper channels. This website was not put in place for others to abuse. Read the Terms of Use, the guidelines, etc....

 

30. Can I have have a TB tattoo with the tracking numbers?

It's your skin. How committed are you?

 

31. Should coins/TBs be placed in remote or seldom visited caches?

Any cache is a good cache for a TB as long as it fits, but are you helping the TB towards its goal? If it is in a race, NO, if it wants to visit remote locations, YES. Are you prepared to be asked to go back and get it, when it ends up stuck?

 

32. Does somebody at Groundspeak review the listings for coins/TBs?

No. But if someone posts something nasty and against the Terms of Use, Groundspeak reviewers, Lackeys, and Eartha, the volunteer TB and geocoin forum moderator, can edit that out.

 

And lastly, always teach your newbies well. If your going to show them the ropes, show them all the ropes.

Edited by Eartha

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Travelbugs and Geocoins

 

1. These are private property, released to the public for viewing. These usually consist of a 'dog tag' attached to something or a 'coin.' They will have a unique serial, or ID, number on them.

 

2. When you come across them in a cache, you can :

.....Admire them,

.....Discover them, or

.....Retrieve them to move to another cache.

 

3. To discover them, write down the unique ID number that is on the object and use that number to find the item's page on geocaching.com. On that page you can post a "discover' note and you will get an addition to the number found and/or a special icon added to your on site profile.

 

4. For Retrieval, same as #3 - except you will have the item with you at home. The next time you are out cacheing, 'Drop' the item in another cache and, in your online log, click on the specific item in the menu at the bottom of the log page - before you hit the final 'Log' button.

 

5. Take care in transcribing the ID number. Sometimes O and 0, 5 and S, and other combinarions are a little difficult to distinguish. If you are trying to Retrieve the item and you are certain you have the ID correct but there is no page for that item, then it is yours to keep or pass on as you wish.

 

6. Some of these items have a "mission." This is a plan for the travels of the item, established by the owner. Do your best to aid this item in the mission when you place it in another cache.

 

7. Please, never reveal the unique ID number in text or a photo.

 

8. Enjoy and have fun.

Edited by Minimike2

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"I have no activation code"; "I lost the activation code"; "I can't find the activation code"; "How do I activate my TB" -- repetitive daily questions asked.

 

Perhaps not a problem of informing people, but moreso the packaging (tag with info) is nondescript and subject to be trashed before they realize (if they ever do) that they need that info!

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Maybe even that brilliant bit of insight I just learned from Coins And Pins that tracking numbers do not include Is and Os while Activation codes do not include 1s and 0s.

Unfortunately, that's not accurate. I have several coins that both have I's and O's in the tracking codes, and 1's and 0's in the activation codes. :)

I'd better check their quote 'coz it seemed so simple that it was brilliant.

Coins from Oakcoins DO contain O's in the trackingcode...

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Move some of the trackable info to the welcome screen, or at least a note to them, so newbies will see it earlier or get the gist of what they are about.

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oh thankyou at last praise be:

 

they need to know LESS. KISS your newbs :)

 

The Travel bug tag is TOO WORDY

the mission page prints out TOO BIG but the actual mission prints TOO SMALL to be easily read - business card size please.

the trackable info. page is TOO WORDY

*even the GC supplied stash note is TOO WORDY - it should fit on a business card with a space for the cache name and number (letterboxers traditionally leave business cards since 1800's - that way muggles tripping over a box can pick one up and go home to look it up)

 

Do not coinfuse us with double dose jargon -

Groundspeak.com v. geocaching.com

Changing formats even slightly across menus is not intuitive. Ideally you need to get all the wording on every page consistent.This should include all offsite promotional item webpages.

The fact there are two different numbers for every single trackable item must be made very very clear. It appears “Use TB1H47H to reference this item" is not sufficiently self descriptive on an individual TB's webpage. “Use TB1H47H to write a note if you do not know or wish to reveal the engraved tracking code" This webpage reference code is a source of confusion if it is printed out on a mission note.

 

WRITE IT BIG Insist your coin vendors comply with a minimum legibility rule for a trackable coin or include a customisable packaging insert with space for same.

 

=========EDUCATION ==========

you absolutely must acknowledge

 

1. *that caches listed on sites other than GC.com exist and TB's must not be left in these - encourage STASH NOTES

 

2. that geocoins and sigitems can be tracked on sites other than GC

 

3. that some geocoins are NOT TRACKABLE and these may have serial numbers on them and are USUALLY swap items

 

4. that not every cacher speaks/reads english

eg. Do not abreviate number to # or you will confuse international cachers especially non-romanised language users – it is impossible to use a google translator to get any sense from abbreviations.

 

5. that geocoins derive from challenge coins which may also be found as trade items in caches.

 

6. A picture comparing the various sorts of coins, showing a travelbug kitted out is going to be 100 times more useful than a page of text.

Edited by forthferalz

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"I have no activation code"; "I lost the activation code"; "I can't find the activation code"; "How do I activate my TB" -- repetitive daily questions asked.

 

Perhaps not a problem of informing people, but moreso the packaging (tag with info) is nondescript and subject to be trashed before they realize (if they ever do) that they need that info!

 

ok i got out a new coin and stepped through the process to see what might happen. it is fromlandsharkz and it has not been supplied with either an activation code or any packaging info regarding where to get one. ( att. sharkz!)

so it appears GC.com must systematise this and not rely on vendors. You will need to stipulate at thetime of approving a design that packaging contains either the activation code or a link to a website for retrieval.

 

the gc site is plain enough if i juststick the engraved code into the tracking box i get led to activate it at a nice webpage http://www.geocaching.com/track/activate.aspx

"The activation code is a unique code located on the packaging for each Trackable Item. When activated, the Trackable Item will be assigned to your user account. This way you can modify its own personal page."

 

Suggest you update this page to include

1.links to the code hosting websites or instructions to contact vendor or link to forum if it is missing

2.a note about the creation of the TB webpage reference number and its uses after activation.

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with regards if you think its gone missing and you email the recent cachers, if you find the person with it and they are having problems with logging it ask them if they need a hand. This way if they dont know how to you will be teaching them something of use. If they do know and havent, just be friendly and when they do place it in another cache thank them for their time in moving it for you. I always find this makes a cacher feel good knowing they have helped you.

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What should new geocachers know about trackables?

All of the above.

I think Eartha definitely covered it all.

It's very nice to see GS is listening to our concerns. :laughing:

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Groundspeak is interested in finding ways to better educate new geocachers on the proper etiquette for handling trackables.

 

 

I don't think there is too much confusion about the rules and etiqutte of TB/coins, it is getting that information in the hands of newbies from the get go.

 

For the most part, we all figured out the process on our own. I remember for several of my first few caches I was actually moving swag from cache to cache, not knowing that the real trackables had special numbers on them. Then when I did find a cache with several trackables inside, I felt bad about taking one (my first) since I didn't have any to trade in. Just a little confused and intimidated. But eventually I figured it out, and got confident with the process. Some figure it out sooner, some later. So how can we help newbies figure it out sooner?

 

All TBs list "Groundspeak.com" I've never been to the Groundspeak.com home page, only here in the forums and geocaching.com. Looking at the Groundspeak.com homepage, I am happy to see there is a place to enter the tracking number. Would anybody be confused that the default in that space is "TBXXX" even though tracking numbers don't start with TB?

 

Most (if not all) geocoins I come across do list the website "geocaching.com". Is it mandatory for all coins to have the website mentioned? I think it is a good idea. you never know when a coin could get lost. at least with the website there, there might be a slim chance that a muggle or newbie who finds it will figure out how to get the coin back into circulation.

 

some people might be a little lazy too. they don't take the time to track the bug they picked up, possess, and dropped. I really like how when you possess a TB/coin, it is easy to officially drop it in a cache when you are loggin in. just click the TB at the bottom of the screen. So, is it possible to make it just as easy to retreive a TB/coin? Perhaps when logging in, at the bottom of the screen, the TBs that are in that cache are listed. You pick the ones that you picked up. Somewhere it would ask for the tracking number as well.

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OMG the weekly newsletter has a "trackables 101"

It's the little things - starting with saying the stuff you find in a cache are trackable at geocaching.com OR Groundspeak.com (like they are two separate types of tracking.) and leaving out something like " Note: NOT ALL GEOCOINS OR OTHER TRACKABLE ITEMS ARE TRACKED AT GEOCACHING.COM "

 

the early canadian and state coins are all tracked elsewhere - these all belong to geocaching associations which deserve the support of GC - come on guys!

 

Yes there's that TBXXX reference which IS confusing as the coin/TB webpage has a TBXXXX number on it which can be used just not to move a coin/tb - please just leave the field blank

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best way to know what a newb wants is to walk a mile in his shoes .

 

So stepping through it - I'm a newb , I read "getting started" http://www.geocaching.com/about/ - nothing at all about trackables. NB swaps only mentioned in the ( way cool ) video so no wonder your ammo cans get emptied eh?

 

and set off to find my first cache, good hint, snagged it,

I read the logbook and the stash note -

"The only rules are: if you take something from the cache, you must leave something for the cache, and you must write about your visit in the logbook. "

 

NB If a muggle finds it he reads "If you wish, go ahead and take something." :) But please also leave something of your own for others to find, and write it in the logbook.

If possible, :o let us know that you found it, by visiting the web site listed below.

 

again nothing in there specific to trackables or even mandatorily logging your find online but having watched the video exemplar I swap my engagement ring for a cute little geocoin fairy ( untrackable ) and my wedding ring for the moun10bike v.1 geocoin (which is a fair swap eh?)

 

ok I get home, I'm beat it was a 5/5 - i head off for a soak and monday it's work - I am a xmas elf and we are kind a busy right now so I do not log my find till January 2010 ...... unfortunately I don't read the geocoin forums where 3^20 people are stressing over the stolen moun10bike coin that was not in the cache.

 

Finally i visit the cache listing where according to the weekly newsletter I can log the coins. I see 3^20 people are stressing over the stolen moun10bike coin that was not in the cache. First i log my find - that's easy - top right of navigation menu. It asks me if i have dropped off any travel bugs - well no I picked up ...... so at this stage I can either spot the trackable items menu on the left or return to the cache listing.

 

Let's go back to the cache page as per the newsletter ....... at this stage I can either spot the trackable items menu on the left or the Travel Bugs on the right. If i don'twork out which icon /name is my coin I might I go here http://www.geocaching.com/track/faq.aspx (not the trackables page so geocoins are not mentioned )

 

Say I do work it out and I get to the moun10bike coin's webpage NB once I successfully get to the coin's own webpage it will be referred to as a "travel bug".

and see very prominently "Use TB2KGHX to reference this item."

which returns

* No Match - The number you entered is the public reference number for this trackable item. Please enter the private tracking number located on the trackable itself in order to post a log.

 

So now i'm a slightly confused little elf - no match? what the heck? it just said use that code to reference the item!

 

I decide to look on the coin as instructed anyway and use the correct code and all is sweet to the pick up stage - "This coin may be kept, traded, sent traveling, gifted or otherwise enjoyed by the holder." recall I paid a wedding ring for this so I'm keeping it. Imagine my reaction if it was a travel only geocoin!

 

Back to the wee fairy coin which also has an engraved number I can see - hmmm I try logging that by clicking the "trackable items" link on the left. I think I know how to log a geocoin now so I skip the FAQ and "How to log a geocoin" - (neither of which will mention untrackables anyway) and enter 081

 

http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?tracker=081

 

oh oh I'm back at that moun10bike coin page ..... what gives?

 

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in summary

Note: NOT ALL GEOCOINS OR OTHER TRACKABLE ITEMS ARE TRACKED AT GEOCACHING.COM "

and SOME GEOCOINS ARE UNTRACKABLE - these are super special trade items and you need to trade fairly for them ... cue sales pitch to unactivated gc.com coins for swag

What have you got to lose?

 

A suggestion for development - addition to the cache log page

"Have you found a trackable item?" linked to pop open a javscript page to enter the tracking number and complete that cycle before continuing with logging the cache might be useful. Most cachers log sequentially so if you dropped of a trackable on the same day it is now neatly in your inventory for the next log.

 

more off topic suggestions

just put a form for the tracking number under the inventory section of the cache page template. The fewer clicks a newb has to do to pick up a trackable the better

 

and on the same page update that link under the inventory to go to the trackables homepage.

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PS. 3^20 = 3, 486, 784, 401

and elves use the same type of rings they put into your xmas crackers as prizes

Edited by forthferalz

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Great topic.

 

The most important info to be shared with new geocachers - on the website and on the trackables themselves - is that they are not items to be kept. They are to be moved. The goal is for a new cacher to be easily able to understand that by looking at the item, by following the instructions on the item to go to the webpage, and following the webpage links and instructions.

 

Everything after that - things involved with buying and activating your own trackable, discovering, mileage, goals, etc etc can be figured out at leisure.

 

As already noted in several posts new cachers trying to do the right thing can still get confused with the basic process. Forthferalz post is a little hard to read but the concept is a great one - try to step through the process from the perspective of a newbie and see what might confuse them. Fix those things and keep up the communications in the weekly newsletter.

 

We've learned quite a bit from the forums - Eartha and others provide helpful straightforward information.

 

Thanks again for the topic.

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This looks like a good spot for me to post a question.

 

I read through this topic specifically the 20 + Q&A but I still am not sure how to proceed.

 

Here is my issue. While out I found a geocoin but when I went to log the find the coin is not in the listed cache its listed as with a fellow geocahcer who has not dropped the coin. SO I do a grab then the coin is in my possession but I would like to "DIP" the coin or somehow log the coin in the cache I found it in so that the mileage builds and the record is maintained. How do I do this. I think dipping is the option I want but I do not know how to dip a trackable. Thank you for the help.

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This looks like a good spot for me to post a question.

 

I read through this topic specifically the 20 + Q&A but I still am not sure how to proceed.

 

Here is my issue. While out I found a geocoin but when I went to log the find the coin is not in the listed cache its listed as with a fellow geocahcer who has not dropped the coin. SO I do a grab then the coin is in my possession but I would like to "DIP" the coin or somehow log the coin in the cache I found it in so that the mileage builds and the record is maintained. How do I do this. I think dipping is the option I want but I do not know how to dip a trackable. Thank you for the help.

 

go to the cache you want to dip it in. Write a log/note. Instead of choosing found it, just choose write a note. Explain what you're doing or not and below that, choose the geocoin that should be in your hands right now. Submit it and now the geocoin is listed at that cache. Now go back to the trackable page and retrieve it from there like you did the first time around and it will be back in your possession and has gained the miles it actually gained.

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http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.p...=28&t=12978

here's a real cacher in action with an early geocoin circa 2003 - believe!

The canadian coin is going to be a top coinfuser because it carries the words www.geocaching.com not its own tracking site and GC does not admit these things exist.

 

you can see from the post that the error message could be more helpful.

 

this coin really deserves a hand - can someone think of a brief but useful error message - even more cheerful and useful than a standard microsoft BSOD number :(

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Travelers (travel bugs and geocoins) do not have to be traded out of a cache. They are meant to travel. Please pick them up and move them, even if it's just to the next cache.

 

Traveler prisons/hotels/lodges with minimum occupancy/trade requirements are bad news. Please, keep the travelers moving.

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I've been helping out with an "introduction to geocaching" program at a state park, and I tried to impress upon the newcomers that travel bugs and geocoins are not theirs to keep if they like. That another geocacher owns the trackable and would like to see it travel to another geocache. I showed them a travel bug and a geocoin, showed them the tracking number.

 

Other than that, I think new geocachers should know:

 

Travel bugs are not swag. You don't have to trade anything for them.

 

How to log.

 

The tracking number is supposed to be a secret.

 

Where they can get travel bugs or geocoins if they want one of their own.

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With my limited experience, I would suggest logging all TBs as spotted in XXX cache if you did not take them. This keeps their log updated, and may help with the loss of them.

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With my limited experience, I would suggest logging all TBs as spotted in XXX cache if you did not take them. This keeps their log updated, and may help with the loss of them.

 

That is what the "discovered" log is for.

 

But true, noting the different types of logs is helpful for newbies, and some oldsters too, we have noted! :rolleyes:

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I have two suggestions (for now!):

 

1. Along the lines of letting owners know their TB is in the cache, I think instructions for the "write note" option should be included for those TBs that are NOT in the cache. TB owners would get feedback that their TB is not moving b/c it is not there, and cache owners might have the convenience of someone telling them the status of their cache contents. If I'm not mistaken, that is one of the suggestions for cache logs: the status of the cache, such as pen doesn't work, pen is missing, needs new logbook, etc. Unlike caches, TBs don't have a "Needs Maintenance" option, so writing notes is really informative.

 

2. Please stress to newbies the importance of the tracking number when moving TBs. The first geocoin I moved is an example. I found it early in the day, and placed it in the afternoon. It was not until I got home that I realized my error, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. It happens all the time here in my neck of the woods. TBs/coins are listed but missing in some caches, only to be found in a nearby cache. I chalk it up to new cachers just not knowing what to do. I think part of this confusion is not knowing the difference between the paper log and the electronic logs, but I believe someone already mentioned that.

 

If I may, I'd like to echo someone's earlier remark about the mission sheet. Why are the formatted to print out on an 8.5x11 piece of paper?! Most caches are smaller than ammo cans, and the TB dog tags are smaller than a business card. Having some information is helpful to cachers in the field, but making this information "cache-ready" would be better for those TB owners who don't know or don't have time to make their own mission sheets.

 

Thanks for this topic!

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If I may, I'd like to echo someone's earlier remark about the mission sheet. Why are the formatted to print out on an 8.5x11 piece of paper?! Most caches are smaller than ammo cans, and the TB dog tags are smaller than a business card. Having some information is helpful to cachers in the field, but making this information "cache-ready" would be better for those TB owners who don't know or don't have time to make their own mission sheets.

 

Thanks for this topic!

 

Shrink the mission statement within your "print preview" option before printing it. Any size you want!

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Why are the formatted to print out on an 8.5x11 piece of paper?! Most caches are smaller than ammo cans, and the TB dog tags are smaller than a business card. Having some information is helpful to cachers in the field, but making this information "cache-ready" would be better for those TB owners who don't know or don't have time to make their own mission sheets.

 

Thanks for this topic!

 

Shrink the mission statement within your "print preview" option before printing it. Any size you want!

 

I do this for my travellers. This suggestion was not one for me, but for new geocachers. I am offering this is a suggestion for those people (and there are many) who may not be familiar or comfortable with altering their mission sheets themselves.

 

Simple logic: offering a service like mission sheet printing isn't really a helpful service when your sheet is 20 times larger than your bug. Hence my suggestion for "cache reade" documentation.

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I am the kind of guy that likes to know exactly what I am doing, and what all the ramifications are before I pursue any given endeavor. I am a total newbie. No finds, nothing logged, etc.

 

I have been reading a little bit each night for the last three weeks, trying to figure all of this out before I actually go out and start looking for or hiding caches. The topic of coins and travel bugs still has me a little confused. I understand how travel bugs work, but, having never found one or tried to log one in on the site, I am still half in the dark. I thought reading this forum would help clear up some confusion, but now I see that even logging something in can be a chore to someone who has never done it.

 

I think the best thing any website can do to help newcomers along is to add an interactive tutorial. Put some big linkable icons on the main page that say, "Find something that looks like this? Click here!" Then, when the user clicks, he is directed to some reading, some videos, and an actual interactive tutorial that shows exactly what to do. Simple step by step instructions. "Look for this. Once you have found it, click here. Enter the code you found in this box. etc."

 

Some might find it a bit offensive, but I would rather risk insulting someones intelligence instead of loosing a bunch of trackable items to people who might not know all the ins and outs of geocaching.

 

Hope my reccomendations help.

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What Sgt Jarhead says is good.

 

The only problem is........... getting everyone to see/read the tutorials, not just n00bs.

 

Something that would attract their attention and make them want to view the material supplied.

It can be a daunting task to wander aimlessly through a website, not realizing just what it is that one should be looking for, nor where to look. A piece of candy to get their attention just may make them go to that location or link!

 

Similar problem: Getting others to the forums and to ask that "stupid" question, and then to even return so that they get to see the responses they receive (along with the typical resulting ramble). The question is most always answered -- but only if they are aware that they can come and ask!

 

:rolleyes:B):anicute:

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SSO JOAT summarizes a lot of the basics on the cache page for his new Travel Bug Resort.

 

That cache page is written very well! Maybe that is the format more people should use when setting up a TB Hotel.

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Is it ok to take a TB on a Major Road Trip?

 

YES! Just remember to ask the owner first.

 

Beaglescout had a blast and it can be fun doing it.

 

Binrat

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The tracking number is supposed to be a secret.

 

I'd just like to 2nd this suggestion. I've seen a disturbing trend of cachers putting the tracking number in the find log of the cache. The difference between the tracking number (on the bug or coin) and the reference number should be stressed and that posting the tracking number is not allowed.

 

Also it might be a good idea to mention that posting photographs of TBs or GCs should have any readable tracking number blocked out.

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sorry this is a bit off topic but even though GC has most of the info somewhere it is obviously not always being accessed or retained "The only problem is........... getting everyone to see/read the tutorials, not just n00bs."

suggestions

1. for noobs geocaching 101 is like a click through tutorial including trackables before you sign up - score 10/10 or no cacher nick :rolleyes:

2. run a contest ( but if you are using trackables insist they are purchased even at a nominal fee or MOVED because so far the promotional trackable contests have been a big part of the problem! I don't know if the wording was obscure or whether the aims of the contest conflicted with moving the bug but i have yet to see a jeep of any colour in an actual cache let alone a garmin geocoin)

3. put the word out in the newsletter

4. put the word out on podcacher

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Do all newly registered cachers get some sort of a "Welcome" letter from Groundspeak? Maybe they should, with a quick Top 10 list of things they must do. Like, logging in your finds, trading up or even, and what exacty a TB is.

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25. What should I do if I see somebody passing around the tracking codes of coins/TBs?

Please explain to them that this is virtual logging and those trackables will be at risk of being locked. They should especially not be doing this with other peoples tracking numbers. Also, say "No thank you, I do not virtual log, it's abuse of the geocaching.com system, and it's wrong! Wrong, I tell you! Wrong!"

 

There is an exception. If someone is handing out geocoin codes for DISCOVERY at an event, it could be that the coins belong to that person. Many people like to collect the different geocoin icons on their page. At Discovery tables, I often have a collection of handouts with a list of all my coins that people can take. This avoids having to sit down and go through every coin to identify & write out every tracking number. Usually, this is only done with geocoins. So if you see someone at a table at an event with a collection of coins, a good way to inquire about it is to ask, "Is this the discovery list for your personal collection?". If yes, then it is acceptable. If no, then Earth's above response would be a good response.

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I have logged finding a trackable item, since then it shows "it was last seen in my hands",but I am having trouble registering the TB new home.

I have just put a question on the TB forum page, but any help is appreciated.

 

Russell

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