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A question to the reviewers


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Just out of curiosity, is it in your remit to tactfully suggest that people should write something interesting (or indeed anything at all) in their cache descriptions?

 

Quite a few times recently, new caches have been published close to me with either virtually non existent, or truly non existent, descriptions. These have all been traditional caches, not clever puzzles where you are expected to go off and find weird and wonderful hints in the cache name or the background picture or anything, they just seem to have been put together with minimal effort.

 

Like one that just said something like “small box”. And one that just said “.” (sorry no links, I can’t remember which ones they were now and wouldn’t link to them anyway, as I don’t have a problem with them per se and don’t want to come across as specifically critical of the COs)

 

I’m always disappointed when one like this pops up close by, as, for me, reading the description and getting a heads up about why the place I’m about to visit is interesting (or if it isn’t, why the cache container is interesting etc), is part of the fun.

 

I know people will say “if this kind of cache doesn’t interest you, ignore them” – and that’s exactly what I do (although, to be fair, I don’t know if they would interest me or not, seeing as they aren’t telling me anything). I guess I’m of the mindset that if someone has put such little effort into their cache page and description, they probably haven’t put much effort into the container or its placement either. And on that note, perhaps their descriptions should therefore be left as is, as a warning of sorts.

 

But I was just wondering how the reviewers handle incoming cache submissions like this – do they go back to the submitter and gently suggest that they might like to write a bit more so that potential visitors will be more likely to want to visit their caches? Or do they just check it hasn’t broken any actual guidelines and publish?

 

Sarah

 

PS as a side question - if a submitter DOES write a description and it makes it clear that the cache has no redeeming features at all (IMO :ph34r: ) - ie it's yet another micro hid in the same old same old way in an ugly place - are the reviewers ever tempted to go back with a big fat “but WHY??????????” ;) I think I’d be a terrible reviewer ;) I wouldn’t be able to stop myself asking them why they are bringing people to this place, and how they think this experience will enrich the finder’s life in the slightest, and urging them to throw that film pot away and come back to me when they had found a nice pretty spot to stash an ammo can lol

Edited by The Chaos Crew
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I'm not a reviewer but I know the primary job of reviewers is to check for adherence to the guidelines and known local Geocaching policies. Since the guidelines do not address the cache page descriptions - it is really outside of their normal duties.

 

However, all the reviewers I know have gentle ways of prodding folks to go back and write a little something or at least verify they meant to leave it virtually blank - but ultimately - there is little that they can do to make it happen.

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...

PS as a side question - if a submitter DOES write a description and it makes it clear that the cache has no redeeming features at all (IMO :ph34r: ) - ie it's yet another micro hid in the same old same old way in an ugly place - are the reviewers ever tempted to go back with a big fat “but WHY??????????” ;) I think I’d be a terrible reviewer ;) I wouldn’t be able to stop myself asking them why they are bringing people to this place, and how they think this experience will enrich the finder’s life in the slightest, and urging them to throw that film pot away and come back to me when they had found a nice pretty spot to stash an ammo can lol

 

I know Keystone once stated that he often has to hold his nose while pushing the publish button - but the cache and listings did meet the guidelines so it had to be done.

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i remember some caches which had no description at all. usually people do that when they want a challenging hide and don't want to provide any clues. one of those caches even was a puzzle cache and wasn't at the given coords.

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New internet acronym: IANAR

 

I'm not a reviewer, either, but even if they could insist on a description, the cache owner could go back immediately after publication and edit it all out.

 

Sometimes descriptions are left out to avoid revealing anything about the cache that might give it away. Sometimes they are left empty out of sheer laziness or lack of creativity. Some people don't type very well. I suppose there are other reasons, good or bad, too.

 

I generally prefer a description of some sort, myself, but no... there is no requirement.

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he often has to hold his nose while pushing the publish button

 

:ph34r:

 

that's a good way to describe it

 

I guess I just have to remember that different people play the game for different reasons - but I really can't get it straight in my head why some locations ever struck anyone as a good place for a cache....

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The simple answer to your question is found in the guidelines, at the very top of the page.

These are listing guidelines only. Before a cache is published on the website, a volunteer will review the page for inaccuracies, bad coordinates, and compliance with these guidelines. The physical cache site is not verified. As the cache owner, you are responsible for the placement and care of your cache.

 

This sentence makes no mention of quality control, safety issues, spelling and grammar issues, or any other issue you raised. Nor should it. Why should the volunteers be responsible for that? And why would you think that they would agree with what you think is or isn't a quality cache listing anyway?

 

Personally, I do prefer a bit of text to read, but don't always need it.

In another recent thread the OP defended his spartan page text as unnecessary as the cache was only for the locals who already knew about the local history. That stance didn't go over very well in here.

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I really don't think that the ones that popped up local to me recently were leaving it blank deliberately to make the hide more challenging, I just don't think they had anything to say. Seems a pity, that's all, but that's because I guess I have this mindset that if a place isn't interesting, don't put a cache there, and if it IS interesting, tell me why.

 

But yes, I agree that the reviewers have enough to do without taking on the role of “creative writing” mentor.

 

Just makes me wonder how they stop themselves from replying "huh? is that it??? what's the point??"

 

Like I said, I'd make a lousy reviewer :ph34r:

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I guess I’m of the mindset that if someone has put such little effort into their cache page and description, they probably haven’t put much effort into the container or its placement either.
If I basically have all the useful info to at least find the thing, I'm happy.

 

One of my first two cache hides has all kinds of info about where to look (and how to avoid ending up in the swamp, since the container's on dry land), and the other has a silly story that fills the page.

 

My recent cache GC274MB has pretty much nothing in the description. The place speaks for itself, and I spent over a month tweaking the container. You may not fully understand the cache theme til you find it. As with others, I didn't want to give away the hide with too much info (this one's supposed to keep you guessing). I also feel for the poor paperless souls like myself, who had to slog through my other more wordy cache descriptions.

 

As with most other aspects of Geocaching, there's a balance. I don't want people going overboard with all the history (often just cut-n-pasting from WikiPedia), and don't even need much of an explanation of why the container's in this particular spot. Like you, I often try to gauge the quality of a cache by reading the cache page, but also take recent logs into account, among other things.

Edited by kunarion
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No.

 

I agree. I think. The reviewers do not get into quality control issues on the cache pages. Otherwise, 99% of the nano's in the world wouldn't be listed as sizes "other" or "not listed". :ph34r:

 

I don't know. What you see may be a sign of the times, minimal cache descriptions, newbs dropping "TFTC" logs on every cache, etc. Then again, that doesn't explain this guy's cache pages. ;)

Edited by TheWhiteUrkel
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But I was just wondering how the reviewers handle incoming cache submissions like this – do they go back to the submitter and gently suggest that they might like to write a bit more so that potential visitors will be more likely to want to visit their caches? Or do they just check it hasn’t broken any actual guidelines and publish?

 

The latter.

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It is quite disappointing to run across such caches, and i tend to ignore them. i have two caches out for review right now (my first two) and i have typed in a nice description and even came up with custom "logos" for each of them.

 

My motto, if it looks like not much care went into it, it goes into my "ignore" list.

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It is quite disappointing to run across such caches, and i tend to ignore them. i have two caches out for review right now (my first two) and i have typed in a nice description and even came up with custom "logos" for each of them.

 

My motto, if it looks like not much care went into it, it goes into my "ignore" list.

 

I don't know about that. I have a number of well received caches that say almost nothing on the cache page. If Iput a cache at a nice view the view is obvious to searchers, so what more is there to write? In a case like that I just put "Nice view" on the cache page.

 

The earliest geocaches had no description. Just coordinates. Some of the earliest hiders in my area going back to 2000 put very little text on the page, but I assure you the caches were outstanding.

 

I can see an extensive writeup if the CO wants to provide background about the area, especially when it might not be obvious when someone gets there, but there is something to be said for letting the cache speak for itself when the searcher arrives.

Edited by briansnat
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PS as a side question - if a submitter DOES write a description and it makes it clear that the cache has no redeeming features at all (IMO ) - ie it's yet another micro hid in the same old same old way in an ugly place - are the reviewers ever tempted to go back with a big fat “but WHY??????????” I think I’d be a terrible reviewer I wouldn’t be able to stop myself asking them why they are bringing people to this place, and how they think this experience will enrich the finder’s life in the slightest, and urging them to throw that film pot away and come back to me when they had found a nice pretty spot to stash an ammo can lol

 

You've gotten good advice on the first part of your question.

 

However, for your side question, many times it is fun just to grab a NRV (no real value) cache. They can be quick and fun.

 

If I'm feeling good and have plenty of time, I like to find a nice pretty spot, and an ammo can. sometimes though I am short on time, or my arthritic knees are holding me back. At those times it can be fun to find a micro NRV cache.

 

Also, I have found if the CO notes it is a cache with no redeeming value, there is a good chance it is a little better NRV. :ph34r:

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I have a number of well received caches that say almost nothing on the cache page. If Iput a cache at a nice view the view is obvious to searchers, so what more is there to write? In a case like that I just put "Nice view" on the cache page.

 

The earliest geocaches had no description. Just coordinates. Some of the earliest hiders in my area going back to 2000 put very little text on the page, but I assure you the caches were outstanding.

 

....there is something to be said for letting the cache speak for itself when the searcher arrives.

 

I can see your point.

 

The earliest geocaches probably didn't need a description, though, they were few and far between and high quality, and the fact that there was one there at all would have presumably been incentive enough to go look for it

 

Nowadays though, there are more caches out there than I, with limited free time, can search for, and therefore I guess I'm looking for something to help me separate the caches I am going to go after from the ones I'm not.

 

I don't expect an essay from the description, just some sort of USP - the answer to the question "why this cache?"

 

Your "nice view" answers that, "small box" or "." do not.

 

I could just ignore them, but then I will always have a niggle that they MIGHT have been good and I've missed out :ph34r:

 

Hmmmm.....maybe I could start bookmarking the empty-description caches and going back to them in a month or two and checking the logs.....

 

As for my original question - I've got my answer. I knew the reviewers weren't OBLIGATED to perform any kind of 'quality control', but I wondered if maybe they did a bit anyway ;)

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I rarely read the cache page. Some of the best caches I found got little or no descriptions. Some of the best hiders are good with their hands but poor in writing skills. There is a saying that I like to use when it comes to cache pages, dont judge the book by its cover.

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Some of the answers posted by reviewers so far are a bit terse. I wonder how they interpret the following excerpt from the guidelines:

At times a cache may meet the listing requirements for the site but the reviewers, as experienced cachers, may see additional concerns that you as a cache placer may not have noticed. As a courtesy, the reviewer may bring additional concerns about cache placement to your attention and offer suggestions before posting. But as the cache owner you are responsible for placement and care of your cache.

It seems to me that it is within a reviewer's remit to make suggestions, though they may be under no obligation to do so.

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What I've noticed that's similar but sometimes worse, is a cache description with no punctuation, no capitalizing, and terrible spelling. Then throw in, a CO who has signed up 3 days ago, found under 5 caches, and this is his first hide.... it's really likely that it's going to be bad. Fuzzy coordinates or worse, in a 'no trespassing' zone, in a margarine tub, wrapped in a plastic grocery bag.

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My favorite cache I have ever found had no description or hints. The description doesn't make the cache good, the area and cache itself do.
Equally true is that I've found some pretty bad ones with clever names, big cache page writeups with enticing pictures... all the bells & whistles. In some ways, that's worse 'cause you're going into it with certain expectations.
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While it's true the Guidelines say...

These are listing guidelines only. Before a cache is published on the website, a volunteer will review the page for inaccuracies, bad coordinates, and compliance with these guidelines. The physical cache site is not verified. As the cache owner, you are responsible for the placement and care of your cache.

 

It also says...

At times a cache may meet the listing requirements for the site but the reviewers, as experienced cachers, may see additional concerns that you as a cache placer may not have noticed. As a courtesy, the reviewer may bring additional concerns about cache placement to your attention and offer suggestions before posting.

 

If I see an empty description, it does get bounced back. Sometimes they've accidentally submitted it before the page was completed. Sometimes they don't know what to say about it. My usual message asks why they thought that spot was special enough for a cache, and that should be a jumping-off point for saying something about the cache.

 

If the owner still wants to leave it blank, it's published that way. Cache hunters can infer whatever they want from it.

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http://coord.info/GCGDC1

 

Sometimes it doesn't NEED anything else. This was one of my favorite cache placements. The park was great, the trails were winding, the location was in a massive tree that had sheered off around should height, and was jagged. The clear container was at the breaking point of the tree and had a log book and was able to be reached by most everyone over 4 feet high.

 

I didn't fee the NEED to put anything else in the description. Why should I be forced with a minimum word/character count?

 

It seems that it was well-liked if you can judge by the 142 logs (not counting mine) with an average character count of 192.

Edited by Markwell
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My favorite cache I have ever found had no description or hints. The description doesn't make the cache good, the area and cache itself do.
Equally true is that I've found some pretty bad ones with clever names, big cache page writeups with enticing pictures... all the bells & whistles. In some ways, that's worse 'cause you're going into it with certain expectations.

 

Exactly! I remember someone on this forum that said his favorite cache was some sort of firefly puzzle. I looked at it and the puzzle looked amazing. It must've taken hours to make. Yet, the person who found it said it was actually just a pill bottle in a parking lot.

 

EDIT: To clarify the cache I was referring too in my other post,(not this one) wasn't my favorite cache, but ONE of my favorites. In the top 3.

Edited by Coldgears
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I do read the cache description, if there is one, but it doesn't influence me one way or the other as to whether I'll look for the cache; unless, of course, the cache description implies the terrain is harder than what is posted. Then I might, if I'm interested, pull it up on GoogleEarth to see just what I might be getting myself into. The history or geological information about an area will perk my interest also, but even if the page is blank I'll still go looking for the cache if it's in an area I plan on caching. As some others have already stated, I've found some great caches with no description given and I've found some disappointing caches because I expected more from the description than what I found.

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It is quite disappointing to run across such caches, and i tend to ignore them. i

My motto, if it looks like not much care went into it, it goes into my "ignore" list.

One of our local hiders seems to consistently find great spots even in "played out" areas. He often says nothing more than "a box in the woods" or something similar. Sometimes a short description has no relation to the quality of the cache.

At least you are reading the cache page! What irks me is people who download a bazillion caches, read nothing, and then complain about the caches they are finding.

if the cache pages really bother you than it's a good idea to put them on a boolmark list and then wait awhile to see what people who find it think about it.

Myself, while i like a good story, the cache page doesn't determine whether I'll look for a cache. If the maps show that it's in the woods or a nice park, I'm going for it. If it looks like it's behaind a shopping center, I'll let it go.

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