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Would you rather have a hint or a higher difficulty rating?

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I have recently some adopted caches, after looking at past logs and seeing the cache sites, I was thinking about changing the difficulty ratings on a few of them. Also some of them have no hints. So before I go changing anything, was wondering what most people thought. Hints, or higher ratings? Or both? I have one cache that can be high muggle traffic, and for that one in particular I would like the cachers to not have to look so long and hard.

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Depends on what you want. I agree with either/or I like the caches to match the rating, and too many have hints that degrade the rating. If I want an easy cache, there is no shortage. Keep the challenging ones alive in appropriate areas.

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For the sake of those working on d/t challenge caches (sometimes called a fizzy challenge), please never change the difficulty ratings.


...however, I perfer a hint over a higher rating.


Agreed. I've had to backtrack twice now on my fizzy challenge because the ratings changed on two rare D/T after I found them but before I finished the grid. I only discovered the change after I finished the grid and went to submit the finds for approval. In both cases, the COs quit the game shortly after changing the D/T. I am now stuck at 80, grrr!


Besides, I would respect the setting of the original CO given that they are adopted caches.

So, maybe change the hint a tad.

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Thanks! One that I am thinking of changing is a 1.5/1.5 It's in a neighborhood garden where there are often gardeners working. An urban area and we have a LOT of 1.5/1.5 caches. :)


Oooh, but I love cryptic hints... :P:bad: Actually, there are already 3 hints referring to it in the logs, but I know on my GPS I can only see a few past logs. Tree cover and muggles at this one makes it a 2.0 in my opinion.


Another one I am wondering about is a 3 difficulty... I hate to add a hint on that one, or change the difficulty, but I have noticed coords are off by 6 feet and are making people tear apart some man-made material at this public site, and I don't like that. I am going to try and get better coords first.

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Michaelcycle, I was posting at same time you did. Thanks, that helps me understand why not to change the rating if possible. I've not done a "fizzy" yet!


Changing the both D/T ratings are under three or 3.5 I wouldn't worry about changing them for fizzy reasons. Cachers generally have multiple qualifying caches for the lower D/T ratings.

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The best hints are often those that narrow the search area, without being spoilers. For example: "not in ivy" or "about knee high".


I think the difficulty/terrain rating should be as accurate as possible. Don't change it capriciously, but if the situation changes (or your understanding of the situation changes), then go ahead and change the rating to make it as accurate as possible. Those who are using difficulty/terrain ratings to play meta-games will just have to cope with the change.


I also think the difficulty rating shouldn't change because of the hint. For example, it's fine to rate a cache as 4-stars difficulty even if you include hints like:

[small hint:] yberz vcfhz qbybe fvg nzrg

[big hint:] pbafrpgrghe nqvcvfvpvat ryvg

[spoiler:] frq qb rvhfzbq grzcbe vapvqvqhag

even if the "Spoiler" hint makes it an obvious find that takes only seconds.
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Oooh, but I love cryptic hints... :P:bad:



So do I. One of the best I've seen was appropriate on three levels. The hint was "think laterally".


Upon arriving at the cache location, it was apparent that there was a significant vertical component added to the possibilities of where the cache might be hidden. So I first started looking for a potential hiding spot located on a lateral view. There were also several ladders in the vicinity. However, if one read the cache description carefully, and applied lateral thinking, it would narrow down the possible hiding places to a small area.

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well, any cache that has any combo of 3 diff and/or 3 terrain or lower is not that big of a deal to lower, those are easy to grab for most folks.


If you add a hint, I would think 90% or more would use it automatically so a part of me thinks any hint given should be factored into the rating. Do not know any cacher I go with that would not use the hint first.

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For the sake of those working on d/t challenge caches (sometimes called a fizzy challenge), please never change the difficulty ratings.


...however, I perfer a hint over a higher rating.


While considering challenge cachers might be the Kindest approach, the bottom line is that the cache should be rated properly. That either means rehiding the cache or changing the ratings. Do one or the other and don't let this post by Starbrand indicate that this is an official position of the entire geocaching community. It's not. You do what's best for the cache.

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While considering challenge cachers might be the Kindest approach, the bottom line is that the cache should be rated properly.

I agree with this. Most people are not trying to meet challenges, so they would be concerned that the rating is correct, and they would not care if the rating was changed to make it correct. Even for the minority who are attempting to meet challenge requirements, they are probably not using that particular cache.


I will add that in a situation where the ratings are mostly correct, it would be better to not adjust them by a half-star, just in case someone is depending on the ratings to stay the same.

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Thanks, I think I am going to add a hint to the one in the garden. I am going to try and get better coords for my other caches that seem to have trouble, and re-evaluate them after that. I have already exchanged several e-mails with the previous cache owner and they don't have a problem with small changes, as they even suggested that one of them could be made a small instead of a micro, and even the location changed a bit. They are just grateful to have someone adopt the caches and take care of them.

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For the one where the wrong spot is being torn up...what about putting in the cache description that it's not there?

I have an evil one in a parking lot and the 3rd finder told me he was looking almost in someones yard next to the lot so I changed the description and put to not go up the little hill because the cache isn't up there. GC1HGH4

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However, if I find the cache out in the open, I will decrypt the hint to make sure I return the cache to it's proper hiding place.

Actually, I've gotten in the habit of always reading the hint before replacing a cache. Unless the cache is obviously out of place, I still replace it where I found it. But sometimes there's information in the hint that lets me know that I should give the owner a heads-up.

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Easy geocaches are everywhere. There is no shortage. Don't make a cache easier with an easy hint. Unless you can come up with a cryptic hint, that doesn't take much or any away from the rating, just allows for another way of thinking or protects a nearby area from damage. Leave it be.

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I seriously don't like this question as your caches should be rated as accurately as possible. I know different ratings mean different things to different people. But you should not be allowed to have poorly rated caches thinking you'll overcome that with a hint.


Hints are always good even on properly rated caches and only if the hint is useful.

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