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HaLiJuSaPa

This is why virtuals need to come back to GC.com

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It's been a LONG time since I've been on these forums (this may even be my first post of 2010, LOL!), but when I learned of this I HAD to say something.

 

I was tipped off by a friend that the "Geocache of the Week" feature in the new "Latitude 47" blog on the GC.com site featured this cache:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...3f-15915fca508b

 

Now granted, if nothing else, a new virtual like this should be allowed if someone proposed it. A plaque under the sea? Something you need to Scuba dive to get to? (as evidenced by only 41 finds in 6 years, so a real "wow" challenge)

 

You know no one's going to find it in Waymarking in between all those McDonald's, etc. that are listed there (I'm surprised the site hasn't vanished yet, but that's a whole other thread I won't get into.......).

 

But worse than that, if TPTB feel that Virtuals are not "caches" and are just being "nice" about this "grandfathering", then don't make one of them "cache of the week", no matter how spectacular. It's just very very hypocritical......(and truth be told, if caches are supposed have a "container", then event caches and earthcaches shouldn't count as caches either.....oh I forgot, it's all "political"; if events didn't count as a smiley, they would get 1/10 of the attendance they have and the foundation that runs the Earthcaches must have pressured TPTB to bring them back because no one was going to them at Waymarking).

 

I've said my peace......by the way the link to the Latitude 47 blog: http://blog.geocaching.com/

Edited by HaLiJuSaPa

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I was tipped off by a friend that the "Geocache of the Week" feature in the new "Latitude 47" blog on the GC.com site featured this cache:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...3f-15915fca508b

 

Now granted, if nothing else, a new virtual like this should be allowed if someone proposed it. A plaque under the sea? Something you need to Scuba dive to get to? (as evidenced by only 41 finds in 6 years, so a real "wow" challenge)

 

Looks like a great cache and a good case for "grandfathering" the virtuals instead of eliminating them. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

 

However, I do not wish to see virtuals return with their inherent issues, including the vagueness of the "wow" factor. If not a waymark (hated by some, loved by some), then offset/multi caches can still be created to include virtual aspects such as landmarks and must-see sites.

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Well, that would be equally applicable to the dozens of wrecks in the Great Lakes. Several have plaques around them.

 

I certified for open water in Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan (late December of all times!) and dove the wreck of a schooner on an optional 5th dive. My dive buddy had missed one of four dives, due to faulty equipment, so I was willing to go out for another dive where the instructor knew of the schooner and we followed it from 20 feet down to 70 feet. A plaque was there, too. Awesome experience.

Edited by DragonsWest

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It's been a LONG time since I've been on these forums (this may even be my first post of 2010, LOL!), but when I learned of this I HAD to say something.

 

I was tipped off by a friend that the "Geocache of the Week" feature in the new "Latitude 47" blog on the GC.com site featured this cache:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...3f-15915fca508b

 

Now granted, if nothing else, a new virtual like this should be allowed if someone proposed it. A plaque under the sea? Something you need to Scuba dive to get to? (as evidenced by only 41 finds in 6 years, so a real "wow" challenge)

 

You know no one's going to find it in Waymarking in between all those McDonald's, etc. that are listed there (I'm surprised the site hasn't vanished yet, but that's a whole other thread I won't get into.......).

 

But worse than that, if TPTB feel that Virtuals are not "caches" and are just being "nice" about this "grandfathering", then don't make one of them "cache of the week", no matter how spectacular. It's just very very hypocritical......(and truth be told, if caches are supposed have a "container", then event caches and earthcaches shouldn't count as caches either.....oh I forgot, it's all "political"; if events didn't count as a smiley, they would get 1/10 of the attendance they have and the foundation that runs the Earthcaches must have pressured TPTB to bring them back because no one was going to them at Waymarking).

 

I've said my peace......by the way the link to the Latitude 47 blog: http://blog.geocaching.com/

 

I like virtuals and I would like to see new ones approved but I don't think it's going to happen. (Especially with the "very very hypocritical" approach. It doesn't help make your case, trust me.)

 

And I also don't want to go back to what it was. You can point out the best to support them, but don't forget to point out the carp.

 

So, what do we do? Improve Waymarking?

 

 

 

edit: clarification

Edited by BlueDeuce

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It's been a LONG time since I've been on these forums (this may even be my first post of 2010, LOL!), but when I learned of this I HAD to say something.

 

I was tipped off by a friend that the "Geocache of the Week" feature in the new "Latitude 47" blog on the GC.com site featured this cache:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...3f-15915fca508b

 

Now granted, if nothing else, a new virtual like this should be allowed if someone proposed it. A plaque under the sea? Something you need to Scuba dive to get to? (as evidenced by only 41 finds in 6 years, so a real "wow" challenge)

 

You know no one's going to find it in Waymarking in between all those McDonald's, etc. that are listed there (I'm surprised the site hasn't vanished yet, but that's a whole other thread I won't get into.......).

 

But worse than that, if TPTB feel that Virtuals are not "caches" and are just being "nice" about this "grandfathering", then don't make one of them "cache of the week", no matter how spectacular. It's just very very hypocritical......(and truth be told, if caches are supposed have a "container", then event caches and earthcaches shouldn't count as caches either.....oh I forgot, it's all "political"; if events didn't count as a smiley, they would get 1/10 of the attendance they have and the foundation that runs the Earthcaches must have pressured TPTB to bring them back because no one was going to them at Waymarking).

 

I've said my peace......by the way the link to the Latitude 47 blog: http://blog.geocaching.com/

 

I like virtuals and I would like to see new ones approved but I don't think it's going to happen. (Especially with the "very very hypocritical" approach. It doesn't help make your case, trust me.)

 

And I also don't want to go back to what it was. You can point out the best to support them, but don't forget to point out the carp.

 

So, what do we do? Improve Waymarking?

 

 

 

edit: clarification

 

No, you undo the mistake of stopping new virtual caches from being published.

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You know no one's going to find it in Waymarking in between all those McDonald's, etc. that are listed there (I'm surprised the site hasn't vanished yet, but that's a whole other thread I won't get into.......).

 

 

You mean it would not be found if it was a Waymark in the the Dive Sites category and it looked like this waymark Oh wait that is for the same location. :(

 

I didn't notice a single McDonalds within the first 50 waymarks to the location.

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Now that is a cool Waymark!! I would love to visit one like that.

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I think that you can't go back to the time when Virtuals were being published. I think it would be a disaster, given what way geocaching has 'evolved' since then. Just imagine the boat loads of 'easy traditionals' that have been placed since then. My expectation is that virtuals will be used a lot because it takes away the last 'effort', the placing of a container and a log that needs to be replaced every now and then. You will get a million virtuals with 'read the number of the pole'.

 

And you will have a larger crowd doing false logs since there is no longer any evidence of logging except the number that you can exchange with others. Currently the false logging is just something that is there and you can ignore it. What if e.g. 10% of all logs were fake?

 

I think too many factors have changed to make it a real option

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Bring back virtuals is a longish thread on Get Satisfaction.

Groundspeak has responded, "The company has this under consideration." I haven't read anything more in that thread but the opening.

 

I'm not a fan of virts, or of bringing them back, but obviously there are those who are.

 

I've long thought that the way to handle this is as a fee service. To submit a cache with the Virtual icon, you must pay a fee. That would help compensate for the high cost (time wise) of reviewing them. Start with, no virt where a physical cache can be placed, something that actually is a bit subjective, but would probably be determined by the local volunteer reviewer. No vacation virts.

 

Then kick it up to paid staff for determination of sufficient "wow". Lord knows how you handle the virts in Korean, or Serbo-Croat.

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You mean it would not be found if it was a Waymark in the the Dive Sites category and it looked like this waymark Oh wait that is for the same location. :(

 

I didn't notice a single McDonalds within the first 50 waymarks to the location.

 

Any chance of staying on topic this time? The thread was about virtuals and had nothing to do with Waymarking, cycling, woodcarving or any of the dozens of other unrelated hobbies,

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Cool as it may be, a five-second Google search and a little creative writing gets you an armchair log. That was always another problem with virts, and Google just keeps making it easier. Even if it is infinitely less fun for the finder.

 

Any chance of staying on topic this time? The thread was about virtuals and had nothing to do with Waymarking, cycling, woodcarving or any of the dozens of other unrelated hobbies,

But per usual, the OP mentioned it first. You left out the part where Bruce was quoting the OP's Waymarking comment. People need to learn that if you leave your dislike of Waymarking out of the conversation, we waymark defenders will follow suit. Here's a very recent case in point. When no one breaks out the "But Waymarking sucks" complaint, no one feels the need to jump in and refute it. Here's another. It's been factual so far, and I expect that thread is just about done, if the waymark bashers will just restrain themselves.

Edited by Dinoprophet

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You mean it would not be found if it was a Waymark in the the Dive Sites category and it looked like this waymark Oh wait that is for the same location. :(

 

I didn't notice a single McDonalds within the first 50 waymarks to the location.

 

Any chance of staying on topic this time? The thread was about virtuals and had nothing to do with Waymarking, cycling, woodcarving or any of the dozens of other unrelated hobbies,

I suggest leaving the moderating to the moderators. The post was very much on-topic. If you can't post nicely, don't post. Thanks.

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I don't find it hypocritical at all. They are caches listed on the site. Why not feature one?

 

You make a great case for archiving all virtuals.

If you find it so hypocritical that they would feature one on the website, maybe they should all just go over to Waymarking.

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I don't find it hypocritical at all. They are caches listed on the site. Why not feature one?

 

You make a great case for archiving all virtuals.

If you find it so hypocritical that they would feature one on the website, maybe they should all just go over to Waymarking.

 

Though I'd prefer that virtual caches be restored, I must admit that I have wondered about that for quite some time.

 

Good suggestion.

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Ok. I see it BOTH ways.

 

Current Policy:

1) Wow Factor is REALLY challenging to get.

2) They're NOT coming Back. We Already created a Separate site for them. Now you want them back Here?!

 

My Idea(as I've Already Stated):

1) Each Account can get 1 Virtual published per each 5000 Finds.

a. For the FIRST one, you Must have over 1500 Finds.

b. Each Account has a MAX of 5 Virtuals.

c. Virtuals are transferable from Inactive cachers to Active Cachers

c1. Transfered Virtuals DO Count toward the 5 MAX

d. Previously Published Virtuals DO NOT count toward the 5 MAX.

e. Cache Owners MUST log in once a month

f. IF a Virtual is ARCHIVED, it STILL COUNTS towards the 5 MAX.

2) Numbers mentioned ablove MAY be increased over time.

3) For Actual Visit, All Logs SHOULD include a picture of the Person AT the cache site, OR a ScreenShot of the Tracklog.

 

The Steaks

Pro-Virtual Comeback

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i see everyone complaining about "crap" virtuals and what happened before, while i wasn't caching at the time when all went to "crap" my understanding is that instead of having interesting spots as virtuals all kinds of mcdonalds driveways and such have been published as virtuals

 

i have two question only, if they were inappropriate WHO published them and WHY?

 

so instead of creating some guidelines of what is acceptable as a virtual, same as earthcaches are handled, GC grandfathered them and tossed them over at Waymarking

 

please correct me if my understanding of all this is wrong

 

and for the record, I want the virtuals back too...unfortunately it all seems to fall into deaf ears that are attached to some extremely hard headed people

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The bigger problem with virtuals, the way I see it, is that they give land managers a chance to say, "Why do you need to place a physical cache here when you can create a virtual cache?" That leads to the logical conclusion that all caches should be virtual.

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The bigger problem with virtuals, the way I see it, is that they give land managers a chance to say, "Why do you need to place a physical cache here when you can create a virtual cache?" That leads to the logical conclusion that all caches should be virtual.

 

Let's all pray that these 'land managers' never learn about 'Waymarking' to the extent that they have about virtual caches. You know, Waymarking.com, the site that is the effective replacement for virtual caches....and now possibly ALL caches.

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I don't think only the land owners will take that stand, but also a noticeable group of potential cache hiders.

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The bigger problem with virtuals, the way I see it, is that they give land managers a chance to say, "Why do you need to place a physical cache here when you can create a virtual cache?" That leads to the logical conclusion that all caches should be virtual.

 

Let's all pray that these 'land managers' never learn about 'Waymarking' to the extent that they have about virtual caches. You know, Waymarking.com, the site that is the effective replacement for virtual caches....and now possibly ALL caches.

Fortunately, Waymarking is a separate site and activity.

 

You put 'land managers' in quotes, but it is not a strawman argument. As I've said many times in these discussions, the Michigan DNR was considering allowing only virtual caches in state parks at the time they were removed from the site.

Edited by Dinoprophet

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You mean it would not be found if it was a Waymark in the the Dive Sites category and it looked like this waymark Oh wait that is for the same location. :D

 

I didn't notice a single McDonalds within the first 50 waymarks to the location.

 

Any chance of staying on topic this time? The thread was about virtuals and had nothing to do with Waymarking, cycling, woodcarving or any of the dozens of other unrelated hobbies,

The contempt that some hold Waymarking in far surpasses the enthusiam for bringing back virtuals. You'd think that there should be more threads "Waymarking SUCKS" and fewer "WHY VIRTUALS NEED TO COME BACK".

 

Whenever someone proposes a new location that is so "wow" that it just has be allowed as virtual, or provides an example of grandfathered virtual as done here, it seems reasonable show that such a site can be listed as a waymark. Why? Because new virtual caches cannot be listed on Geocaching.com so Groundspeak suggests that if you have a neat place to share with others to use Waymarking.

 

Unfortunately statements like "Waymarking is a replacement for virtual caches" do an injustice to Waymarking. Waymarking is a much broader activity than virtual caches. It provides a framework for sharing all sorts of locations, some rather mundane and other that just getting there will be an adventure. It provides some categories that will never be more than lists of places that waymarkers contribute, and other categories that will educate visitors or provide tasks for them to accomplish. There are probably not enough of these later categories because the geocachers who enjoyed virtual caches have decided that Waymarking is not worth the effort and instead prefer to waste their time shouting in the forums "BRING BACK VIRTUALS". If instead they had participated in Waymarking, they could've have suggested dozens of categories by now that emphasize what made virtual caches so special.

 

When I proposed the Best Kept Secrets category, I so much hoped that people would join me and propose other categories in Waymarking to emphasize whatever it was they liked most about virtual caches. Instead of fighting with Groundspeak and the reviewers over how to define "Wow", in Waymarking you can define your own "wow". If Waymarking is in fact a dead end, lame, useless site, I don't blame it on Groundspeak. Nor do I blame it onthe waymarkers who like to make lists of every McDonalds restaurant or public library. Instead, if Waymarking is carp it is because of the geocachers who liked virtual caches abandoning it.

 

Sorry for going off-topic :(

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1) Each Account can get 1 Virtual published per each 5000 Finds.

a. For the FIRST one, you Must have over 1500 Finds.

b. Each Account has a MAX of 5 Virtuals.

Don't you think that would make for fake finds and fake separate accounts?

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Having read this thread I am still a little confused as to why Virtuals were eliminated. Is it because too many people were logging false finds? Because if thats the case I just have to say "who Cares?" If somebody really wants to log finds he didn't find it isn't going to change the game much for me. I only compete with one person while geocaching and that is myself...its kinda like golf in that way although I don't usually drink as many beers when I am geocaching...I think some places should have virtual caches instead of an actual items...Im not a big eco-green-treehugger sort but in National Parks and such it seems to make alot of sense...and sometimes the purpose of this crazy little game is just to get out of usual surroundings and visit someplace new. Finding a little treasurebox when I am there is fun but not always necessary when I am looking at a beautiful mountain view.

 

And if Virtuals were eliminated because there were too many people registering "Mcdonalds and Libraries" I think the responsibility sits more on the reviewers shoulders to not publish these sorts and truly encourage it to be what it was originally intended for...an opportunity to see/find a new and exciting area and spend some time admiring the amazing world we live in.

 

Just my 2 cents...T.

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i see everyone complaining about "crap" virtuals and what happened before, while i wasn't caching at the time when all went to "crap" my understanding is that instead of having interesting spots as virtuals all kinds of mcdonalds driveways and such have been published as virtuals

 

i have two question only, if they were inappropriate WHO published them and WHY?

 

so instead of creating some guidelines of what is acceptable as a virtual, same as earthcaches are handled, GC grandfathered them and tossed them over at Waymarking

 

please correct me if my understanding of all this is wrong

 

and for the record, I want the virtuals back too...unfortunately it all seems to fall into deaf ears that are attached to some extremely hard headed people

Your understanding is a little off.

 

Originally virtuals had no guidelines other than they should be used where you couldn't hide a physical cache. After a while people began to go wild hiding virtual caches and some were pretty lame. It soon became clear that without some guidelines every plaque, tombstone, or sign would get listed as a virtual cache. Some people were even submitting abandoned junk by the roadside as a virtual cache. So guidelines were written to require that virtuals be specific objects that could be located using a GPS and that these object had to have a special historic, community, or geocaching quality that set them apart from everyday subjects. In particular signs, memorials, tombstones, statues or historical markers were among the items that are generally too common to qualify as virtual caches. The volunteer reviewers were tasked with enforcing these guidelines. The number of new virtuals dropped dramatically, in part because the reviewers denied nearly every one submitted. Could there be a physical cache placed a the site? Could information at the site be use to create an offset multi-cache with a physical container at the final? Did the site pass the "Wow" test? Not many things passed muster. Of course, nearly everyone who submitted a virtual cache felt the reviewers were unfair. They could find some example of a similar site getting approved while their's was denied. Or they would argue that their location was indeed "Wow" and appeal the reviewer decision. The threads on "why wasn't my virtual approved" filled the forums. It turned out that while a few really neat places were submitted, the overwhelming majority didn't meet the guidelines.

 

Another problem was that people would submit some interesting locations. But they didn't have a specific target to find using a GPS. There was nothing to find to answer a question or to even take a picture of. People were trying to use virtual caches to share some favorite place with other people. This was not geocaching (not even virtual geoaching). Instead these were waymarks - only Waymarking hadn't been invented yet. When Waymarking was invented, TPTB looked for a way to distinguish waymarks from virtual caches. It may have been that Jeremy had made up his mind already, but he asked for suggestions anyhow. Nothing anyone proposed satisfied Jeremy so he decided to grandfather the existing virtuals and tell people to submit waymarks instead. I personally don't believe that Jeremy or Grounspeak as a company are hard headed. If someone could come up with a satisfactory definition of the difference between a waymark and a virtual cache (other than the smiley), I think they would bring them back. But in several years of threads about bringing back virtuals that hasn't happened yet.

 

I wrote a long explanation a few years ago and have now made it into a

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And if Virtuals were eliminated because there were too many people registering "Mcdonalds and Libraries" I think the responsibility sits more on the reviewers shoulders to not publish these sorts and truly encourage it to be what it was originally intended for...an opportunity to see/find a new and exciting area and spend some time admiring the amazing world we live in.

 

Just my 2 cents...T.

This is the real problem. Yes, it was the reviewers' responsibility, and it wasn't fair to ask them make such a call. There are enough "OMG ROGUE REVIEWER!!!11!" threads as it is when we have very clear guidelines. We'd have dozens of such threads every week if they had to decide if something was "new and exciting" enough.

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Fair enough...that makes sense...and I was, by no means, trying to attack the reviewers or such...I respect the fact that these people volunteer their time for our game and sure do appretiate it. I can completely understand how they could get bogged down appeals and complaints. I cached a few years ago when I lived in Jasper National Park (In Canada) before The National Parks got on board with Geocaching and found a way to make it work. Virtual caches (in the form they were intended) just seemed like a smart solution to the problems they had with Geocaching (I mean, lets be realistic, we are hiding boxes of trash in the woods when you get right down to it). I am going to read up a little on Waypointing as I am not terribly familiar with it and all its ins and outs.

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I don't find it hypocritical at all. They are caches listed on the site. Why not feature one?

 

You make a great case for archiving all virtuals.

If you find it so hypocritical that they would feature one on the website, maybe they should all just go over to Waymarking.

 

Honestly, yes. That is my point. They should go there if this is what it is supposed to be.

 

I could understand the logic behind when they decided new virtuals become Waymarking if:

 

A) The grandfathered ones have to go too (grandfathering made sense at the beginning but it's 5 years now and it's time to be consistent).

 

':yikes: Earthcaches stayed in Waymarking. I'd like someone to give me a good reason why they were moved back, and don't simply say "the educational organization who backs these wanted that", I want to know WHY? And why Jeremy moved them back when they are essentially "virtuals".

 

C) Given that the argument is that geocaching should only involve a physical container to be found, why do you get a 'smiley' for going to an event? Again, I'd like to know the reason for this "inconsistency" (and as for the comment about my saying this "not helping my cause", this "hypocrisy" is proof that they will never change it so I may as well express my feelings on it. Also, regarding the person who knocked the person who defended Waymarking for being "off topic", I completely disagree, as someone else noted I am talking about this in regards to Waymarking and as such it's the right of anyone who wants to say they like Waymarking, it's great, etc. to express their thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. as I have mine.

Edited by HaLiJuSaPa

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I don't find it hypocritical at all. They are caches listed on the site. Why not feature one?

 

You make a great case for archiving all virtuals.

If you find it so hypocritical that they would feature one on the website, maybe they should all just go over to Waymarking.

 

Honestly, yes. That is my point. They should go there if this is what it is supposed to be.

 

I could understand the logic behind when they decided new virtuals become Waymarking if:

 

A) The grandfathered ones have to go too (grandfathering made sense at the beginning but it's 5 years now and it's time to be consistent).

 

':D Earthcaches stayed in Waymarking. I'd like someone to give me a good reason why they were moved back, and don't simply say "the educational organization who backs these wanted that", I want to know WHY? And why Jeremy moved them back when they are essentially "virtuals".

 

C) Given that the argument is that geocaching should only involve a physical container to be found, why do you get a 'smiley' for going to an event? Again, I'd like to know the reason for this "inconsistency" (and as for the comment about my saying this "not helping my cause", this "hypocrisy" is proof that they will never change it so I may as well express my feelings on it. Also, regarding the person who knocked the person who defended Waymarking for being "off topic", I completely disagree, as someone else noted I am talking about this in regards to Waymarking and as such it's the right of anyone who wants to say they like Waymarking, it's great, etc. to express their thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. as I have mine.

 

The grandfathered ones are going...slowly, but they are going...

 

Earthcaches...yeah, agree with you there, once gone, they should have stayed gone...

 

My events have a physical log and cache :yikes: ...not saying...just saying...

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Having read this thread I am still a little confused as to why Virtuals were eliminated. Is it because too many people were logging false finds? Because if thats the case I just have to say "who Cares?" If somebody really wants to log finds he didn't find it isn't going to change the game much for me. I only compete with one person while geocaching and that is myself...its kinda like golf in that way although I don't usually drink as many beers when I am geocaching...I think some places should have virtual caches instead of an actual items...Im not a big eco-green-treehugger sort but in National Parks and such it seems to make alot of sense...and sometimes the purpose of this crazy little game is just to get out of usual surroundings and visit someplace new. Finding a little treasurebox when I am there is fun but not always necessary when I am looking at a beautiful mountain view.

 

And if Virtuals were eliminated because there were too many people registering "Mcdonalds and Libraries" I think the responsibility sits more on the reviewers shoulders to not publish these sorts and truly encourage it to be what it was originally intended for...an opportunity to see/find a new and exciting area and spend some time admiring the amazing world we live in.

 

Just my 2 cents...T.

 

I've said this multiple times in nice and not-so-nice ways, and gotten in trouble for the not-so-nice ones - but I still feel the last paragraph was the big issue - a few people in influential positions had a problem with it and away they went.

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1) Each Account can get 1 Virtual published per each 5000 Finds.

a. For the FIRST one, you Must have over 1500 Finds.

b. Each Account has a MAX of 5 Virtuals.

Don't you think that would make for fake finds and fake separate accounts?

 

Actually, No. Seemings that you need 1500 Finds to get a Single Virtual, And that Virtuals are NOT transferable, I see that fake Finds could happe. I then add these 2:

 

g. Account MUST be at least 2 YEARS old

h. Account MUST have a Premium Membership

 

Would this fix most issues?

 

The Steaks

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I don't think only the land owners will take that stand, but also a noticeable group of potential cache hiders.

 

NPS has taken this stand, and continues to do so. However given the elimination of any new virtual cache possibilities, and the popularity of geocaching; NPS is starting to change. In Maryland NPS sponsored a geotrail, and I'm working with a local NPS park to place physical caches. (been given initial approval, reviewing the hides in September). Maybe published in October.

 

If virtuals come back, land managers such as NPS, local parks, Nature Conservancy(which allows physical caches here) would essentially say, "Create a Virtual, it's a good as a physical cache."

 

As much as people hate Waymarking.com but love virtuals, bringing a flood of new virtuals to geocaching.com would essentially create the same type of website as Waymarking. The WOW factor is way too ambiguous to determine on a Virtual Cache. And besides, you can always incorporate virtual landmarks in any multi or mystery cache. It really doesn't take much intelligence to do so, and it makes it better than any virtual ever could be. If you can be bothered to create a multi or mystery out of it, then it's not worth visiting.

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I don't think only the land owners will take that stand, but also a noticeable group of potential cache hiders.

 

NPS has taken this stand, and continues to do so. However given the elimination of any new virtual cache possibilities, and the popularity of geocaching; NPS is starting to change. In Maryland NPS sponsored a geotrail, and I'm working with a local NPS park to place physical caches. (been given initial approval, reviewing the hides in September). Maybe published in October.

 

If virtuals come back, land managers such as NPS, local parks, Nature Conservancy(which allows physical caches here) would essentially say, "Create a Virtual, it's a good as a physical cache."

 

As much as people hate Waymarking.com but love virtuals, bringing a flood of new virtuals to geocaching.com would essentially create the same type of website as Waymarking. The WOW factor is way too ambiguous to determine on a Virtual Cache. And besides, you can always incorporate virtual landmarks in any multi or mystery cache. It really doesn't take much intelligence to do so, and it makes it better than any virtual ever could be. If you can be bothered to create a multi or mystery out of it, then it's not worth visiting.

 

This topic has been debated on a monthly basis, which might show that virtuals are important to many of us. But . . . If an agency wants to ban caches because virtuals might be listed on this website, it could simply point to waymarks, earthcaches, listings on other caching services that allow virtuals, gowalla listings, and the like as ways that people can play location-based gps games in their park. The state parks in my area define virtuals to include waymarks, set aside some particularly sensitive areas for those, and allow traditionals in others. I could make an argument that not-allowing virtuals makes it more likely that an agency will simply ban caching rather than think about how particular forms of caching fit into their park system.

 

The earthcaching model proves that virtual caching (with a focus and educational experience) can coexist with other forms of caching on this site. With focused content you do not need to rely on subjective wow factor experiences to define a category. I don't think anyone wants to see every McDonalds become a virtual cache. We already have lamp posts for that.

 

And yes, there are some areas where you can create a multi or mystery cache using information that might have been a virtual, but other areas where that is not feasible. I recently did a virtual at an overlook on the Grand Canyon, 60 miles from anywhere, without an informational sign, guard rail, or any other thing that people sometimes use for offsets. It was worth visiting even if no one "bothered" to try to figure out how to somehow create a multi out of it. It was another place I never would have discovered but for this particular game. A virtual in Yosemite took me on a nice hike to a place with some history to it and asked me to think about the purpose of the structure. You could not have created a multi out of it, but it was worth visiting.

 

But no, I do not consider Waymarking and virtuals to be the same type of experience. Having virtuals as part of this game has enriched my caching experience beyond measure. That should again cover what I have to say.

 

But with that said, I was glad to see the NPS being involved in the geotrail (not to be confused with power or repetitive trails), including one cache on the trail in a visitor center on NPS land. And if you are gettiing permission to place some traditionals in an NPS park, that is a great achievement. The NPS land managers in my area (covering vast amounts of land) have said categorically that they will never allow traditional caching in the park, so it is going to be a long wait here. I suspect it is going to be a long wait for places like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, based on the difficulty it took to even get earthcaching approved in those particular areas. However, their policy about geocaching and letterboxing is interesting and could be the subject of a different thread.

Edited by mulvaney

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This topic has been debated on a monthly basis. But . . . If an agency wants to ban caches because virtuals might be listed on this website, it could simply point to waymarks, earthcaches, listings on other caching services that allow virtuals, gowalla listings, and the like as ways that people can play location-based gps games in their park. The state parks in my area define virtuals to include waymarks, set aside some particularly sensitive areas for those, and allow traditionals in others. I could make an argument that not-allowing virtuals makes it more likely that an agency will simply ban caching rather than think about how particular forms of caching fit into their park system.

 

It is topic that is debated too often. Given the popularity, I think Groundspeak should make a separate virtualcaching site. As for arguing that not allowing virtuals bans caching outright, they either ban putting a cache there or they don't. They can't ban someone putting out coordinates on a website.

 

The earthcaching model proves that virtual caching (with a focus and educational experience) can coexist with other forms of caching on this site. With focused content you do not need to rely on subjective wow factor experiences to define a category.

I think earthcaching will become a problem. Maybe they can be put on the virtualcaching site.

 

And yes, there are some areas where you can create a multi or mystery cache using information that might have been a virtual, but other areas where that is not feasible. I recently did a virtual at an overlook on the Grand Canyon, 60 miles from anywhere, without an informational sign. It was worth visiting even if no one "bothered" to try to figure out how to somehow create a multi out of it. It was another place I never would have discovered but for this particular game. A virtual in Yosemite took me on a nice hike to a place with some history to it and asked me to think about the purpose of the structure. You could not have created a multi out of it, but it was worth visiting.

I'm pretty sure you could of found the spot on Waymarking.com. No matter the visual experience, I would never have gotten the "I found it" experience that I get with finding a geocache. It might be nice and wonderful, but I don't know what it has to do with finding a container with coordinates (i.e. geocaching).

 

But no, I do not consider Waymarking and virtuals to be the same type of experience. Having virtuals as part of this game has enriched my caching experience beyond measure. That should again cover what I have to say.

Like you said, there's a LOT of sites doing virtual Waymarking. Having geocaching do this is outside the sport of finding a phsyical container with coordinates. I see virtual caches as no different from Waymarking, no different from foursquare, no different from gowalla. I've done quite a few virtual caches. I've yet to find one that couldn't be made into a cache. I've even done quite a few mystery and multi caches with virtual waypoints. Except for the one you mention, they can easily be incorporated into finding a geocache. I've done Waymarking.com as well, and have created waymarks. I enjoy Waymarking.com. I use it when my wife doesn't want to find a geocache. My wife enjoys the virtual caches on geocaching.com for the same reason. I'd rather the virtual locations stay over there in one place.

 

But with that said, I was glad to see the NPS being involved in the geotrail (not to be confused with power or repetitive trails), including one cache on the trail in a visitor center on NPS land. And if you are gettiing permission to place some traditionals in an NPS park, that is a great achievement. The NPS land managers in my area (covering vast amounts of land) have said categorically that they will never allow traditional caching in the park, so it is going to be a long wait here. I suspect it is going to be a long wait for places like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, based on the difficulty it took to even get earthcaching approved in those particular areas.

Here in DC, every local park in DC is owned by NPS. So getting the buy in and leverage to create a geocache within those parks is very important. By keeping virtuals on this website, it equates a physical geocache with a virtual site, which will ultimately doom the people that want find a physical cache in DC parks.

 

Now if geocaching.com made virtuals again, would it bother me? Probably, because I know it would limit physical geocaching in places . I'd have to click off the virtuals for all my pocket queries, and have a bunch of virtuals on geocaching.com that would slow the servers down or require more money for Groundspeak to maintain. They would then be competing directly with foursquare and gowalla and I really don't think there's enough money to be made in cataloging coordinates to virtual spots. I don't think the Economy of Scale can support that many companies. Would I quit going to virtuals if they added them? Probably not, but I wouldn't call it geocaching.

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I think earthcaching will become a problem. Maybe they can be put on the virtualcaching site.

 

They tried that once. It did not work out very well, but is the subject of a thread in the earthcaching forum.

 

As for arguing that not allowing virtuals bans caching outright, they either ban putting a cache there or they don't. They can't ban someone putting out coordinates on a website.

 

Both my own state's parks and the NPS have policies that speak of approving virtuals -- whether you can put coordinates on a web site or place containers that are listed outside of this web site is not the issue.

 

I think my point was that if an agency is going to point to virtuals as a reason for denying traditional caches, they can simply cite waymarks and other forms of virtual location-based games as a reason for denying a traditional cache. In DC, a park manager certainly could say that if you want to play a location-based game then you should do it through gowalla, Groundspeak's own Waymarking site, or navicaching -- there is no "need" for a physical cache. I don't think allowing new virtuals on this site would significantly impact that decision. In fact, it could work the other way by opening discussion, building relationships, and providing an alternative to banning caching outright when a park encompasses sensitive areas. Our state parks have taken the latter approach.

 

 

I'm pretty sure you could of found the spot on Waymarking.com. No matter the visual experience, I would never have gotten the "I found it" experience that I get with finding a geocache.

 

I have to disagree with that. Neither of the spots I mentioned are found on Waymarking. And even if they were, I never would have found them there, any more if they had been listed on terracaching or navicaching. As to the "I found it" experience, I have had that with both virtuals and earthcaches. I don't have it that much with lamp posts, guard rails, repetitive caching trails, or a bison tube hanging in a bush in a park -- although I continue to do all of the above. The Eureka moment is similar to the Wow Factor, we each definite it differently.

 

I think the virtuals I have found are certainly worth visiting as part of this particular game. They have given me a similar type of experience to and provided some of the best caching I have done. And I think the game is big enough to cover a lot of different experiences and different types of caches.

Edited by mulvaney

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I think earthcaching will become a problem. Maybe they can be put on the virtualcaching site.

 

They tried that once. It did not work out very well.

 

 

It didn't work out for earthcaching(It shouldn't be called earthcaching, there's not cache). It was fine for geocaching.

 

In fact, it could work the other way by opening discussion, building relationships, and providing an alternative to banning caching outright when a park encompasses sensitive areas. Our state parks have taken the latter approach.

 

I've been in at least two meetings with local land managers that have stated, "It's too bad they don't allow virtuals any longer, otherwise we'd just do that."

 

 

I'm pretty sure you could of found the spot on Waymarking.com. No matter the visual experience, I would never have gotten the "I found it" experience that I get with finding a geocache.

 

I have to disagree with that. Neither of the spots I mentioned are found on Waymarking. And even if they were, I never would have found them there, any more if they had been listed on terracaching or navicaching. As to the "I found it" experience, I have had that with both virtuals and earthcaches. I don't have it that much with lamp posts, guard rails, repetitive caching trails, or a bison tube hanging in a bush in a park. But the Eureka moment is similar to the Wow Factor, we each definite it differently.

 

I think the virtuals I have found are certainly worth visiting as part of this particular game. They have given me a similar type of experience and provided some of the best caching experiences I have done. And I think the game is big enough to cover a lot of different experiences and different types of caches.

 

Maybe you should place them on Waymarking.com. Sorry, I can't imagine you going to a monument, and jumping up and down with glee saying, "I found it!". Maybe, "That's interesting", or "Huh, I didn't know that", but not "I found it!". But I know in the past, particularly the first geocaches, I was proud that I was able to find an LPC(first one took two trips, and 20 minutes), or a guard rail(first one took 11 people and 15 minutes), or any other physical ones. Still, when I find the easy ones, I know I found it. Maybe someday I'll get a "I found it" feeling on a virtual cache. But the 100 plus I've tried, I didn't have to "find" them. I just walked up, took a picture of the sign, or the statue, or myself, or nothing, or I guess I could of looked the answers up online. It was all so ambiguous. It had nothing to do with a cache. But if they add virtuals again, I guess it would be nice to have two different activities in one place.

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Sorry, I can't imagine you going to a monument, and jumping up and down with glee saying, "I found it!". . . . But if they add virtuals again, I guess it would be nice to have two different activities in one place.

 

I have done a few virtuals that I almost dnf'd, including one in Yosemite where I had to go back three times before I "found it," and another there that took me twenty minutes (not including the hike). One of the caches I first mentioned involved a beautiful hike to an area that I had previously overlooked, finding the right spot, looking at what I had found there, and then figuring out what it was that I was looking at. Whether it was an "I found it" or "I get it" type of experience is hard to determine. At Toroweap, which just required a photo, it was "I can't believe that I found this particular spot and am looking at this." I would have jumped up and down with glee but it was a 3000 foot drop straight to the bottom. Six earthcaches in the Valley of Fire (Nevada) with a Wow Factor gave me more "I found it" moments (and took longer to do) than 150 or so along the ET highway. A couple of weeks ago, a 17 part virtual multi at Forest Lawn Cemetery in LA, with some tricky spots, gave me a few "found it" moments. My favorite virtuals are the ones that take me to new places and make me think about what I have found, inviting me look at the area in a new way. These can give me a Eureka moment.

 

But indeed there are many that just take me to a plaque, just as there are some caches that just take me to a parking mall. So I would not want to see the floodgates open, but a focused, educational, task-based experience that required express permission of the agency . . . that would be a fun part of the game. And as someone who does not multitask that well, I appreciate your last statement.

 

Good luck with DC and the NPS. It took around a year for TerryDad2 to get the first earthcaches approved for Yosemite, and I spent about five months working to get some approved on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Not to mention a few discussions I have had with our local NPS managers. so I know that any type of agency approval can be a long process. But we are planning to visit DC in October, and although my wife might have other opinions about the matter, I would love to find a traditional you have placed on NPS land!

Edited by mulvaney

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Maybe someday I'll get a "I found it" feeling on a virtual cache.

When I started geocaching, I didn't log virtual caches. Sometimes I would wonder why the hider didn't bother to hide a container nearby for me to find. Often I wonder what it was I supposed to be finding. Finally I did one virtual in a NPS area, I had to hike to get to ground zero, once there I had to locate a specific object, and to log my find I had to email the cache owner with an answer to a question about the object I found. (Actually in this case I had to use the answer to question to open a Word file with a certificate of accomplishment. But this is another matter and ultimately caused the demise of that cache when the armchair loggers figured out how to crack the password). If every virtual cache had these qualities: ability use the GPS to navigate to the cache, a specific object to find at the coordinates, and a method to verify the object was found; then I could see calling virtual caches geocaching. A few additional guidelinez to restrict them to places where you couldn't really have a physical cache, and to encourage land managers to allow physical caches in places where a physical hide is appropriate and you might be able to bring them back.

 

The problem is that both geocachers who want to bring back virtuals and land managers who prefer virtual caches is that they both see virtual caches as coordinates for a place to share with other gecachers. They loose sight of the basic idea of finding something and instead want to take you to a place thay makes you go "Wow" or that educates you. These are all fine reasons for sharing coordinates and encourage others to visit the coordinates. This is not geocaching however. There are sites like Waymarking, Gowalla, and Foursquare that are set up to share what people find interesting or unique. Some people prefer the kinds of places that got listed as virtual caches after the Wow requirement was added to what they see on these other sites. This is because their local reviewer may have had a similar view of wow as they do. At one time I thought "Wow" meant a 9-11 or Vietnam War memorial because my local reviewer seemed to approve these and reject everything else. In other areas, if the virtual was remote and required extesive bushwhacking to get to or special equipment like scuba in the OP cache, that is what made it Wow. Understanding that different people have a different idea about what is Wow and you can see the problems of handling this on Geocaching.com. With Waymarking you determine what kinds of things are wow and select waymarks in those categories. However, in the Waymarking multifarious department, there is room for categories like Best Kept Secrets that attempt to define "wow" and list any place that fits this definition.

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As yet another pointless post :laughing:

 

I honestly do understand the attraction to Virtual Caches, mostly due to their rarity. Yet this same argument is rarely used for WebCam Caches.

 

Were it me, and it certainly isn't :P

  • Show player stats for all four (see lower) sites in a profile banner managed from Groundspeak.com
  • Introduce a fourth section for social activities and move the listings and stats from Events and CITO over to that
  • Transfer Virtuals to a 16th department in Waymarking.com
  • Close down WebCam caches and suggest they move to that category
  • Add PQ's that return data for all four sites, allow people to filter what they want to receive
  • Start treating all listings as equal for 'scoring'

 

It is difficult to evaluate which Virtual is 'worthy' just like it is to do that for any other Geocache, Waymark or Event. We have great variety in all of the games, and even in Virtuals there are great ones and boring ones, same for Geocaches, same for Waymarks, same for Wherigos... same same same.

 

:lol: BQ

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You mean it would not be found if it was a Waymark in the the Dive Sites category and it looked like this waymark Oh wait that is for the same location. :)

 

I didn't notice a single McDonalds within the first 50 waymarks to the location.

 

Any chance of staying on topic this time? The thread was about virtuals and had nothing to do with Waymarking, cycling, woodcarving or any of the dozens of other unrelated hobbies,

 

Actually the OP mentioned Waymarking in his OP so any discussion of it would be relevant to the topic.

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I don't think only the land owners will take that stand, but also a noticeable group of potential cache hiders.

 

NPS has taken this stand, and continues to do so. However given the elimination of any new virtual cache possibilities, and the popularity of geocaching; NPS is starting to change. In Maryland NPS sponsored a geotrail, and I'm working with a local NPS park to place physical caches. (been given initial approval, reviewing the hides in September). Maybe published in October.

 

If virtuals come back, land managers such as NPS, local parks, Nature Conservancy(which allows physical caches here) would essentially say, "Create a Virtual, it's a good as a physical cache."

 

As much as people hate Waymarking.com but love virtuals, bringing a flood of new virtuals to geocaching.com would essentially create the same type of website as Waymarking. The WOW factor is way too ambiguous to determine on a Virtual Cache. And besides, you can always incorporate virtual landmarks in any multi or mystery cache. It really doesn't take much intelligence to do so, and it makes it better than any virtual ever could be. If you can be bothered to create a multi or mystery out of it, then it's not worth visiting.

 

Excellent post!

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I've read through a lot of the various arguments for and against the virtuals over the years. Here's a simple point which seems to get missed:

 

One of the issues that is always brought up with virtuals is the wow factor, and how they need to be something of significance. As I understand it, this is the main reason why virtuals were dropped - lack of a good way to determine wow factor.

 

However, there is no wow factor for any other kind of cache. I can put out as many LPC's and guardrail caches with no wow factor as I want to, as long as I'm willing to invest in some kind of container to put out there, and stay within the saturation guidelines.

 

Instead of signing a paper log, emailing the owner for a virtual takes that place. You have to go there and find some kind of unique feature which can be observed from the virtual site.

 

If the wow factor is all there is to it, or the main argument at least, then it seems simple... it needs to be enforced across the board - ban LPC's, guardrail caches, and any other cache which is nothing more than taking you to a boring place to sign a log. Or bring back virtuals. Double standards are very difficult to support - unless you take the "This is what I'm doing and you have to live with it" approach, and I have never accepted this in my life, nor when I have children do I plan to use it - there's a reason for everything. What are we missing here?

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I don'[t necessarily think virtuals should come back, but I'd like to observe that several of the very good virtuals I have done recently had logbooks.

 

Not geocaching-specific logbooks, but visitor logs. Many peaks in national parks have them, and some other fun places do as well. Perhaps some way to allow virtuals for those kind of places could be achieved. Seems to me that the requirement to sign the logbook makes it a lot more like a "real" cache. And visitor logs tend to be in interesting places, so it fixes the "wow" factor problem at the same time.

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What are we missing here?

 

There is an element of hide-and-seek that clearly appeals to a percentage of cachers , even when the cache is fairly "wowless". It's apparent that many folks enjoy the hunt, even when the cache location and hide style is redundant to those who've been caching a while.

 

The problem with the "wowless" virt is that the hide and seek element is gone.

 

Many bring back virt threads are started by those who praise the special character of the virts they've found - this precisely because virts where subject to "wow" for most of their life on the website.

 

The other negative (to me) for virts is that they're nearly deathless. I saw a Needs Archived log on a virt recently - the virtual object had been gone for 2 YEARS, but folks kept on logging finds on "the place it used to be". Missing physical caches will sometimes get these kinds of runs (once one person logs a find on "the place it used to be" others will follow) - but rarely for this kind of duration.

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What are we missing here?

 

There is an element of hide-and-seek that clearly appeals to a percentage of cachers , even when the cache is fairly "wowless". It's apparent that many folks enjoy the hunt, even when the cache location and hide style is redundant to those who've been caching a while.

 

The problem with the "wowless" virt is that the hide and seek element is gone.

 

Many bring back virt threads are started by those who praise the special character of the virts they've found - this precisely because virts where subject to "wow" for most of their life on the website.

 

The other negative (to me) for virts is that they're nearly deathless. I saw a Needs Archived log on a virt recently - the virtual object had been gone for 2 YEARS, but folks kept on logging finds on "the place it used to be". Missing physical caches will sometimes get these kinds of runs (once one person logs a find on "the place it used to be" others will follow) - but rarely for this kind of duration.

 

Ive seen missing physical caches that have lasted longer. That is a reviewer issue - if theres a NA log, and it isn't there anymore, the reviewer needs to do his/her job and archive it. Until virts come back, people are trying to preserve the few that are left.

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If the wow factor is all there is to it, or the main argument at least, then it seems simple... it needs to be enforced across the board - ban LPC's, guardrail caches, and any other cache which is nothing more than taking you to a boring place to sign a log. Or bring back virtuals. Double standards are very difficult to support - unless you take the "This is what I'm doing and you have to live with it" approach, and I have never accepted this in my life, nor when I have children do I plan to use it - there's a reason for everything. What are we missing here?

The wow factor was an attempt to limit the number of virtuals. The issue was that before the Wow guideline, it was just too easy to hide virtual caches. All it took was for the hider to claim that the location was not suitable for a physical cache: too many muggles, unable to obtain permission for a physical cache, tried hiding physical cache but it keep going missing, etc. People seem to take the path of least resistance. Hiding a virtual was easier than hiding a physical, just as hiding a micro in a lamppost or guardrail is easier than hiding an ammo can (or even creating a camouflaged micro that can be hidden in plain sight). The "Wow" guideline was suggested as a way to make virtuals a little harder to hide and to promote physical caches as the primary type of cache for Geocaching.

 

Now it may be that microSpew will lead eventually to guidelines to make it harder to hide caches in lamppost and guardrails. A reviewer once told me that he would like to be able to ask for explicit permission for caches that appear to be in parking lots. But I think TPTB learnt from virtual caches that double standards are indeed hard to justify. Reviewers do not like them and they end up taking the heat when they approve one cache and have to reject a similar cache for not meeting the guidelines.

 

The biggest problem with virtual caches was actually exacerbated by the "Wow" requirement. It was that people were not using the virtual cache as a substitute for a physical cache in a location where a physical cache could not be placed. It was being used instead to share locations that someone felt was interesting or wow. Sure some people would place a cache at such a location to attract people. But many people had no interest in placing a physical cache they would have to maintain. Instead they placed virtuals even in locations that could support a physical cache or that could be waypoints in a multi-cache. TPTB developed Waymarking as a solution to sharing the GPS coordinates for interesting locations. Now if you have an interesting place you want to share with others you can: place a physical cache there, use the location as a waypoint in a multi, or list it as a waymark.

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Problem is that it still supports a double standard - we can place a container here in this completely nondescript place, or we can place a virtual cache - oh wait, we can't do that. But we can place a container in a place with no wow to it.

 

If they wanted to stay away from double standards, they could have just as easily required a container for an Earthcache. Most of the places I have done earthcaches, it was perfectly possible to place a container there, or somewhere closeby. Why make the exception for that, but not for other kinds of educational caches - many virtuals I have been to required some kind of learning - read a plaque, look up some stuff using info at the site, etc.

 

They're not staying away with double standards - I still feel the reviewers just had a big enough problem sorting through them that they made it easier for them by just removing it. And that's not the right way to deal with a (perceived) problem. Add more reviewers if necessary - it doesn't cost them a dime.

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* wrong thread, sorry for the post .

Edited by palmetto

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