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Please don't make your description too long

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Sorry to butt in, but as a (relatively new) EC reviewer, I actually think that posting the logging requirements first, or at least very early on, perhaps after a brief introduction, could make the review process easier in fact. This is for a few reasons:

 

1. Logging requirements are often one of the elements that requires the most "editing" in order to get an EC approved, so it could be good to start the review there in many cases.

 

2. With some ECs, it's often not clear what the main theme/lesson/topic is, but the logging requirements often help clarify this.

 

3. Sometimes the logging requirements can be hard to find. This could be resolved by headings or formatting perhaps, but listing them first could make them even easier to find.

 

4. I like it when a writer gets to the point quickly. (As the recent poster suggested, too.) Then if I'd like more background, I can dig deeper in the remainder of the text. But I like to know where I'm going before I read on. I'd rather not read a long text thinking that "A" is the theme, only to find out that I really should have been focusing on "B". Some may say that would add to the fun and challenge, but people have limited time, and I appreciate when an author realizes that. Not that EarthCaching should be rushed, but let's be realistic, life moves fast.

 

5. I think that some "paper-ful" cachers could benefit from having the logging requirements posted first as well. That way, it's much easier to find the crux of the EarthCache -- it's at or near the top of the first printed page, rather than buried somewhere on page 11... or was it 12?

 

If one did not want to list the logging requirements first, I think some of these benefits could also be gained by a good introductory note or overview, such as "This EarthCache is about the identification of minerals in igneous rocks."

 

I doubt anyone expects cache owners to go back and revise their previous EarthCaches, but this is certainly something worth thinking about when submitting a new EarthCache.

 

Please note that my comments are merely personal, and not "official" by any means! I just thought this was an interesting discussion and wanted to add my own point of view.

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p.s. As someone who writes for a living, let me pass this along. My job is communicating ideas to people, specifically, military commanders. These folks have limited time in the day and have to pull the trigger (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally) on an issue without spending all day on it. Or if it's not a commander, it's a judge, who has far too much paperwork to do and does not want to wade through pages and pages of prose to get to the bottom of an argument.

 

So, my dad, who was also in my line of work back in the day, taught me a valuable lesson. It's this:

 

Imagine that every word you write costs you a dollar.

 

Now imagine that you do NOT have an unlimited budget, and you have a lot of information that you need to get to different audiences.

 

Without reverting to caveman speech, without cutting corners on the information that you need to convey, try to spend as little money as possible to get that message across. If five hundred words will do, do you really need six hundred? or a thousand? no, because it comes out of your pocket!

 

right, rant over.

Great advise. I'm guilty of too many words most all the time. My son was recently assigned a 300 page book to read. After the reading his assignment is to tell the story in 4 sentences. Therein lies a real challenge.

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I know exactly where the original poster is coming from on this. On more than one occasion, I have gone hunting for an earthcache, the description of which is so long (sometimes due to HTML language, sometimes due to having descriptions in two languages, sometimes just because the earthcache is just very, very long) that it gets cut off by our Oregon.

 

I always review earthcaches ahead of time -- we don't just randomly load caches into our GPSr and go. But we don't usually travel with our laptop, so we count on the description that's saved to the GPSr. Some earthcaches we've just had to skip. One, in Quebec, we were able to find because, after staring at the screen for a very, very long time, enough of our high school French came back to us that we were able to translate the French logging requirements.

 

We've placed a few earthcaches of our own, and we put the requirements at the end. But rarely do earthcaches need hints, and hints are almost always saved in a separate section in a paperless cache description. So as a compromise, and as a boon to paperless cachers, we copy the posting requirements and paste them into the hint.

 

To all of the folks who've posted "you should do this, you should do that," rather than acknowledge that this is such an easy issue to fix and actually spend ten seconds to edit your earthcaches to compromise, that's wonderful that your hindsight is of such clarity. On behalf of all paperless cachers who have less than 100% accurate memory and who apparently naively assume that a given earthcache is less than a billion words, thanks very much for your cooperative spirit. I hope you find all the caches you are looking for. I *CERTAINLY* don't secretly hope that this problem happens to you someday. Really, I don't. That would be terrible. </sarcasm>

 

Thank you! I had not thought of this and it is an excellent suggestion. I have one EarthCache of mine where the page is truncated and I will add the logging requirements to the hints section. Just out of curiosity. do you know if or what the hint character limit is on your Oregon?

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I also think it perfectly reasonable to keep all of the logging requirements together and put them at the top of the cache so that they are easily available to all, including paperless GSPrs. It certainly is the finder's responsibility to read the entire cache description and know what is expected, but it makes sense to put the "abstract" front & center, for easy reference after reading through the entire "manuscript" (that is how science papers are written, after all). Tasks that are stuffed at the end or worse in between the text are more difficult to find later. After I read the whole thing, as the seeker I want the "Executive Summary" to be easy to refer back to.

 

And with that, I think it also pertinent to include a list of the tools needed to perform the tasks, and relevant safety information, right at the top also.

 

The goal is to make EarthCaching less frustrating to those who want to give it a try. In my opinion, some EC owners are overly zealous when it comes to "protecting" the integrity of the finds. Most folks are good people and are doing their best at these things; I encourage people to not make this into a frustrating experience for the majority of users. It is possible to uphold good standards and make the experience enjoyable & easily accessible at the same time.

 

My $0.02.

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And with that, I think it also pertinent to include a list of the tools needed to perform the tasks,

 

I think the best place for that is "short description" field.

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I also think it perfectly reasonable to keep all of the logging requirements together and put them at the top of the cache so that they are easily available to all, including paperless GSPrs. It certainly is the finder's responsibility to read the entire cache description and know what is expected, but it makes sense to put the "abstract" front & center, for easy reference after reading through the entire "manuscript" (that is how science papers are written, after all). Tasks that are stuffed at the end or worse in between the text are more difficult to find later. After I read the whole thing, as the seeker I want the "Executive Summary" to be easy to refer back to.

 

And with that, I think it also pertinent to include a list of the tools needed to perform the tasks, and relevant safety information, right at the top also.

 

The goal is to make EarthCaching less frustrating to those who want to give it a try. In my opinion, some EC owners are overly zealous when it comes to "protecting" the integrity of the finds. Most folks are good people and are doing their best at these things; I encourage people to not make this into a frustrating experience for the majority of users. It is possible to uphold good standards and make the experience enjoyable & easily accessible at the same time.

 

My $0.02.

 

I totally agree with this good advise. The only thing I would add is o make sure any necessary reference material (needed to answer questions (at the EC site) is also located above the truncation mark.

Your point of overly zealous cache owners "protecting" the integrity of the finds is very well taken. Why turn people off from earthcaching just to say we know best? :D

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Unless the Earthcache.org team wants to bring in an actually template to follow ( which might not be a bad thing...), it's up to the cache owner to decide how the page should be written. It is unreasonable to hold the cache owner responsible for somebody else's inability to prepare. Those determined to make everything into a park and grab will be frustrated by Earthcaches no matter how much we try to coddle them.

 

If you feel it is best to put all requirements at the top, go for it. If not, there's no need to feel pressured or guilty about it. The submission guidelines, as they stand, leave this to the cache owner to decide.

Edited by narcissa

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Unless the Earthcache.org team wants to bring in an actually template to follow ( which might not be a bad thing...), it's up to the cache owner to decide how the page should be written. It is unreasonable to hold the cache owner responsible for somebody else's inability to prepare. Those determined to make everything into a park and grab will be frustrated by Earthcaches no matter how much we try to coddle them.

 

If you feel it is best to put all requirements at the top, go for it. If not, there's no need to feel pressured or guilty about it. The submission guidelines, as they stand, leave this to the cache owner to decide.

 

And if you are hiding a regular cache, don't feel guilty about using glass containers, and hiding with coordinates that are way of. So WHAT if noone finds your caches or adds you to their ignore list. Don't CODDLE the finder!

 

You make it sound like Earthcaches are for the intellectual set...they are Geo-tourism...not rocket science. I cannot believe dozens of people are saying that they would enjoy Earthcaching even more if the requirements were easier to find, and you come back with a retort that says don't coddle them. Who are you making these things for exactly? Take the advice, and better the user experience or don't and have far fewer people experience them. But I won't feel guilty about skipping a long-winded, boring Earthcache with difficult to read or understand logging requirements.

 

Please savour the irony of people having to print out the logging requirements (on dead tree) to go find your Earthcache. That idea is so delicious it HAS to be fattening!

 

I am sorry my response is so long but I didn't have the time to write a shorter one.

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For those of you creating earthcaches and including lots of interesting information, I strongly suggest you to put the requirements first. My Oregon 400t (and my friend's older 60sx) have a limit on the length of the downloaded description.

 

I am a paperless geocacher as well but not for EarthCaches and Multies. For those two types I always carry a printout with me.

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And if you are hiding a regular cache, don't feel guilty about using glass containers, and hiding with coordinates that are way of. So WHAT if noone finds your caches or adds you to their ignore list. Don't CODDLE the finder!

 

You make it sound like Earthcaches are for the intellectual set...they are Geo-tourism...not rocket science. I cannot believe dozens of people are saying that they would enjoy Earthcaching even more if the requirements were easier to find, and you come back with a retort that says don't coddle them. Who are you making these things for exactly? Take the advice, and better the user experience or don't and have far fewer people experience them. But I won't feel guilty about skipping a long-winded, boring Earthcache with difficult to read or understand logging requirements.

 

Please savour the irony of people having to print out the logging requirements (on dead tree) to go find your Earthcache. That idea is so delicious it HAS to be fattening!

 

I am sorry my response is so long but I didn't have the time to write a shorter one.

I am not going to "coddle" you (just kidding), but you make some good points. Marge and I develop ECs for others, not just us! Oh yes, our egos get a little stroked when a someone makes a nice comment about one of our ECs, but having fun earthcaching is a two-way street! Like Narnian Rockhound recently said, "some EC owners are overly zealous!" That's one of OUR problems as earthcachers. In the general geocaching community, often we earthcachers are viewed as being slightly snobby! Too many questions, too difficult questions, too strict with accepting logs and yes, too long cache write ups which need a geological thesaurus (is there such a thing?) to read! Maybe a geological dictionary instead?

Why one may ask? It's a game!

P.S. Back to the OPs question: I am checking all of our ECs to see if any cache pages get truncated. If so, changes will be made. I guess you could call that coddling after all! lol. :huh:

Yes, if anyone wishes to check, I have done an 180 degree turn with this subject. If we can't learn from our experiences, we are not learning? Nothing makes you more sympathetic for the OP's position than to get out in the field only to find that your pda left half of the data on the computer! That experience deserves this: :yikes:

Edited by Konnarock Kid & Marge

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And if you are hiding a regular cache, don't feel guilty about using glass containers, and hiding with coordinates that are way of. So WHAT if noone finds your caches or adds you to their ignore list. Don't CODDLE the finder!

 

You make it sound like Earthcaches are for the intellectual set...they are Geo-tourism...not rocket science. I cannot believe dozens of people are saying that they would enjoy Earthcaching even more if the requirements were easier to find, and you come back with a retort that says don't coddle them. Who are you making these things for exactly? Take the advice, and better the user experience or don't and have far fewer people experience them. But I won't feel guilty about skipping a long-winded, boring Earthcache with difficult to read or understand logging requirements.

 

Please savour the irony of people having to print out the logging requirements (on dead tree) to go find your Earthcache. That idea is so delicious it HAS to be fattening!

 

I am sorry my response is so long but I didn't have the time to write a shorter one.

 

Comparing a detailed Earthcache description to poor coordinates and bad containers is ridiculous.

 

Earthcache owners have a lengthy set of submission guidelines we need to meet in order to have the Earthcache published in the first place. In some instances, being "long-winded" is unavoidable - the Earthcache submission guidelines require us to assume the finder will have no previous knowledge of the site or the science. If the scientific information in the description isn't sufficiently detailed, the Earthcache won't get published.

 

It's fairly common to have an Earthcache rejected for not having enough geology information in it, or because the information doesn't conform to a certain definition of Earth Science. After going through this process - which we do because we love geology and want to share it with others - it's a bit of a slap in the face to get complaints that Earthcaches are "boring" and "too long" and "too hard."

 

When I plan to do an Earthcache, I read the entire cache page on my computer at home so I'm prepared before I go. I jot down the requirements in my caching notebook before I go - there's no need to print the cache page if you read it in advance. Earthcaches require preparation - when I want to cache on the fly, I look for traditionals.

 

If you fail to adequately prepare for an Earthcache visit, blame yourself - not the individuals who put considerable time and effort into crafting thoughtful Earthcaches for you to find. Earthcache owners have enough submission guidelines to contend with as it is.

Edited by narcissa

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I like it when a writer gets to the point quickly. (As the recent poster suggested, too.) Then if I'd like more background, I can dig deeper in the remainder of the text. But I like to know where I'm going before I read on. I'd rather not read a long text thinking that "A" is the theme, only to find out that I really should have been focusing on "B".

 

If a cache page is so poorly written that you, the reviewer, can't be sure of the topic, perhaps you should send it back to the owner for editing instead of publishing it.

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Well I must admit I am torn here..... I am by no means an expert on the topic, but I can speak from experience with respect to having earthcaches published. Yes it is a tedious process and the reviewers, for good reason, have become increasingly stringent on what is required for publication. A one liner and a great view does not make an earthcache. A unique lesson on your surroundings does. In many cases, making these lessons worthwhile is not an easy affair and the content cannot be summed up in 5 lines. Keeping in mind that Earthcaches are not drive up LPC's I would expect that some effort is made to actually learn based on the content. I whole heartedly believe that if you are simply a numbers hound, click on the ignore button and move on. For those who are interested, there are some amazing locations and lessons to be learned. Remember, this is a game. Everybody’s idea of fun is different be it a huge ammo can in a stump or a geology lesson it’s your choice.

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@geoawareHQ - thanks for weighing in from a somewhat different perspective. Helpful, that is.

 

@hzoi, KK&M, Narnian Rockhound: +1! Excellent suggestions and recommendations. Any future consideration of a guideline (like another one is really needed...), template recommendation or example should really incorporate those.

 

@KDBD - +1,000...

Edited by 3doxies

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For those of you creating earthcaches and including lots of interesting information, I strongly suggest you to put the requirements first. My Oregon 400t (and my friend's older 60sx) have a limit on the length of the downloaded description.

 

I am a paperless geocacher as well but not for EarthCaches and Multies. For those two types I always carry a printout with me.

We tryed paperless caching. Our Triton 400 is problematic, displays internal error and shuts down. Sure is good to have a printout and a back-up unit.

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I have used two "paperless" gpsrs for the most part, a Colorado and a 62s. Yes, it is possible to do earthcaches with either, but I quickly stopped doing it. Earthcaching is not just about going straight to the logging requirements, it is about learning from the site. And many earthcaches contain diagrams or photos that are not displayed on these units. And even if the text is not truncated, it lacks formatting and is harder for me to follow.

 

I rarely go earthcaching on the fly. Before going to any area, I will search specifically for earthcaches (and other special types that i enjoy doing). In most cases, there are a limited number of these types so it is not hard to look at the location, the length of the description, or whether any special tools are required.

 

And I am fortunate to be able to use geosphere on my phone, which displays the text and graphics beautifully, maps out where all the earthcaches on my pq can be found, and eliminates any concern with truncated descriptions. If I did not use this, or anther tool (such as cachemate on a pda), I would print out the descriptions (the same as I would do with some virtuals, elaborate multis, or letterbox caches)..

 

For the earthcaches I have developed, I try to keep things readable, edit out typos, use headings to identify specific sections, including the logging requirements, and (for one proposal being reviewed by NPS officials) identify any special equipment in the initial short description. So far, no cacher has complained to me about not being able to read the page -- and I would at least review any page where this was a problem.

 

So I think we should be aware of various limitations and try to make our earthcaches readable. I recognize that not everyone will prepare for an earthcache or understand the concept (I once got a NM log because the cacher could not find a container). But I also think that if I have a problem making an earthcache work on my unit, then I need to think about what I can do to make the experience work for me. It is the same thing I would do if I were using a gpsr like the 60csx. There are a lot of different units, and ultimately it is the user of the unit who needs to think about its limitations and what they can do so that caching is fun for them, no matter what type of cache they are seeking.

Edited by mulvaney

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