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cmdigests

Promoting Virtual Caches

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With all the press, concerns, and fears about Geocaching damaging places (especially in state & nat. parks), etc. it seems that "virtual caches" (V.C.) should be promoted and refined. I think V.C.s are great ideas, but that they are not being fully utilized and made fun and creative.

 

V.C.s should be able to be counted and logged as a regular cache simply because as more people do caching, restrictions by state and national authorities regarding caches may increase. Excluding them is short sighted.

 

One problem I currently see is that when you do a V.C., and e-mail has to go to the creator of the V.C., and they have to respond before you can log a "find". Putting myself in a position to respond to e-mails like that stops me from creating a V.C..

 

This site already has a great database. How about further automating the site with a V.C. authentication database?

 

The idea is that when someone creates a V.C., they also create a test question which can only be answered by having been to the location. This question, with the answer, is loaded into the database on Geocaching.com. When a geocacher selects the V.C. from the list, they get the question in the description, such as "How many lakes can you see from this location?". This lets them know what they are looking for. When they get back from the "hunt" and log onto the site they can submit their answer through a web-form and get a response from the database letting them know if they can log it as a find or not.

 

This way people can set up V.C.s and not have to manage or administer them, but we can still have the experience of a GeoCahce in a location that does not permit a physical cache to be placed.

 

I realize the some people need to find a physical cache, but I think in order to preserve and promote the sport in a good light, and change/addition needs to happen.

 

What do you all think?

 

Enjoy,

C.M.

 

[This message was edited by cmdigests on August 16, 2002 at 10:23 PM.]

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Very good idea! That would be nice if there could be some system put in, so when you log a virtual cache, it asks you a question, that the owner comes up with, and if they get the right answer they can log. Virtual caches do need more attention. I've never done one, but they sure do look fun.

 

jhwf4

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If you want to place a virtual, it's your responsibility to read through the e-mails and decide which ones can stay and which ones must go.

 

Who visited the site? The person who created the cache.

 

Who created the verification questions? The person who created the cache.

 

If answers received are close, but not quite right, who should be able to discern if the find is legitimate? The person who created the cache.

 

That's the price one pays for not placing tupperware. icon_wink.gif

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If you want to place a virtual, it's your responsibility to read through the e-mails and decide which ones can stay and which ones must go.

 

Who visited the site? The person who created the cache.

 

Who created the verification questions? The person who created the cache.

 

If answers received are close, but not quite right, who should be able to discern if the find is legitimate? The person who created the cache.

 

That's the price one pays for not placing tupperware. icon_wink.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by BassoonPilot:

If you want to place a virtual, it's your responsibility to read through the e-mails and decide which ones can stay and which ones must go.

 

Who visited the site? The person who created the cache.

 

Who created the verification questions? The person who created the cache.

 

If answers received are close, but not quite right, who should be able to discern if the find is legitimate? The person who created the cache.

 

That's the price one pays for not placing tupperware. icon_wink.gif


 

Points are well taken.

 

I don't see setting up V.C.s as making sure its a like-for-like responsibility with physical caches. They should be different because not everyone has the same level of time to commit. I see it more as a way to provide access to the sport in places where a physical cache can't be had, or allow people to create who don't have the time/ability to maintain a physcial cache.

 

The question in the description should be worded so the person knows exactly what they are looking for.

 

To be fair, whatever system was setup would have to allow for a couple different answers which the creator would accept as legitimate. But just as not everyone finds a physical cache, not everyone will qualify for a find in a V.C. An e-mail address could be provided for folks incase someone wanted to discuss the results, but that would not be the primary confirmation method.

 

Let's use Walt Disney World as an example. Great place for V.C.s. You design a "Hidden Mickey" V.C. so the players run all around the park to coordinates, and then try to find the "Hidden Mickey" you saw at each location. If they don't find the Hidden Mickey, but found the coordinates, that shouldn't count. If one can't identify the Hidden Mickey in the totem pole at "Canada" in Epcot Center, then it shouldn't be a find just because you found the totem pole. Everyone can find the actual totem pole, but the goal is the Mickey.

 

On the other side of the coin... Yellowstone has many many little known water falls. Someone could setup a V.C. of their favorites. The questions they provide in the V.C.s description could be so general that one couldn't help but get it right if you had been there.

 

Enjoy,

C.M.

 

[This message was edited by cmdigests on August 16, 2002 at 10:24 PM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by BassoonPilot:

If you want to place a virtual, it's your responsibility to read through the e-mails and decide which ones can stay and which ones must go.

 

Who visited the site? The person who created the cache.

 

Who created the verification questions? The person who created the cache.

 

If answers received are close, but not quite right, who should be able to discern if the find is legitimate? The person who created the cache.

 

That's the price one pays for not placing tupperware. icon_wink.gif


 

Points are well taken.

 

I don't see setting up V.C.s as making sure its a like-for-like responsibility with physical caches. They should be different because not everyone has the same level of time to commit. I see it more as a way to provide access to the sport in places where a physical cache can't be had, or allow people to create who don't have the time/ability to maintain a physcial cache.

 

The question in the description should be worded so the person knows exactly what they are looking for.

 

To be fair, whatever system was setup would have to allow for a couple different answers which the creator would accept as legitimate. But just as not everyone finds a physical cache, not everyone will qualify for a find in a V.C. An e-mail address could be provided for folks incase someone wanted to discuss the results, but that would not be the primary confirmation method.

 

Let's use Walt Disney World as an example. Great place for V.C.s. You design a "Hidden Mickey" V.C. so the players run all around the park to coordinates, and then try to find the "Hidden Mickey" you saw at each location. If they don't find the Hidden Mickey, but found the coordinates, that shouldn't count. If one can't identify the Hidden Mickey in the totem pole at "Canada" in Epcot Center, then it shouldn't be a find just because you found the totem pole. Everyone can find the actual totem pole, but the goal is the Mickey.

 

On the other side of the coin... Yellowstone has many many little known water falls. Someone could setup a V.C. of their favorites. The questions they provide in the V.C.s description could be so general that one couldn't help but get it right if you had been there.

 

Enjoy,

C.M.

 

[This message was edited by cmdigests on August 16, 2002 at 10:24 PM.]

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You can do what you're proposing with existing materials.

 

My virtual web-cam cache Peek-a-boo! has an online verification. There is a six digit code that is obvious when you get to the coordinates - but not obvious to someone who hasn't been there.

 

The WinZip file is password protected. You can't view the "Certificate of Completion" without the code. WinZip is shareware - use it and then delete it off your computer for free.

 

So I don't need to have people e-mail me verifications when I have a precise code. I trust that if they're logging the cache as found, they've seen the code and figured out the certificate.

 

Just an idea and my 4¢

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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quote:
One problem I currently see is that when you do a V.C., and e-mail has to go to the creator of the V.C., and they have to respond before you can log a "find". Putting myself in a position to respond to e-mails like that stops me from creating a V.C..


 

In most cases, its not necessary to wait for the response from the cache owner before you log your find. The way that I manage my virt and the way I log my virt finds is to send the verification email and to log it as a find at the same time.

 

If, for any reason, the cache owner was not satisfied with my email, there are a number of options open to us:

 

1. I can send another email with more detailed info to satisfy the cache owner.

2. I can change my 'found' log to a note.

3. The cache owner can delete my log.

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It's really not that hard to reply to the emails of people logging a virtual cache.

 

- I added an email link to me on the cache page that includes the cache ID ([GCnnnn]) on the subject line.

 

- I use Eudora as my email client, and have it look in the subject line for that cache ID. If it finds it, it routes it to a folder I set up just for the cache.

 

- I saved off a piece of "stationery" that says congratulations, log it if you haven't already, thanks for playing, blah blah. icon_smile.gif

 

When a new email with the correct info shows up in the folder, I reply to it with the stationery. 15 minutes of setup means I can reply to each finder in about 15 seconds. icon_smile.gif

 

And there's nothing that says you *have* to respond to each finder. I just think it's polite, and gives the finder a thumbs up.

 

> Martin (Magellan 330)

Don't have time to program and record your shows while geocaching? Get a TiVo!

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It's really not that hard to reply to the emails of people logging a virtual cache.

 

- I added an email link to me on the cache page that includes the cache ID ([GCnnnn]) on the subject line.

 

- I use Eudora as my email client, and have it look in the subject line for that cache ID. If it finds it, it routes it to a folder I set up just for the cache.

 

- I saved off a piece of "stationery" that says congratulations, log it if you haven't already, thanks for playing, blah blah. icon_smile.gif

 

When a new email with the correct info shows up in the folder, I reply to it with the stationery. 15 minutes of setup means I can reply to each finder in about 15 seconds. icon_smile.gif

 

And there's nothing that says you *have* to respond to each finder. I just think it's polite, and gives the finder a thumbs up.

 

> Martin (Magellan 330)

Don't have time to program and record your shows while geocaching? Get a TiVo!

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

You can do what you're proposing with existing materials...


 

I just took a look at that cache Markwell and I must say that is a fantastic idea!

 

icon_wink.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

You can do what you're proposing with existing materials...


 

I just took a look at that cache Markwell and I must say that is a fantastic idea!

 

icon_wink.gif

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I'm rather confused how a password protected zip file stops someone from logging a find if they haven't been there.

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Good idea Markwell. I'd think a person could also go one step further and have a password protected web page that could redirect and give a confirm/deny page, possibly send an email as well.

 

There are two rules for success: 1) Never tell everything you know. 2)

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The purpose of my suggestion was to make Virtual Caches centralized, standardized, and easy for people to setup, hunt, and log.

 

There have been some great suggestions for how to respond to people, but each one requires the creator to have access to some computer stuff, and be tech savy to some degree.

 

This site is great and automated. I think it can be expanded to make virtual caching easier for all.

 

If my only access to the internet is through a public library and a yahoo account then many of the suggestions offered won't work.

 

I don't think it's realistic to ask people to obtain and maintain their own webspace for the purposes of creating a virtual cache. Some people don't have the time, money, ability, or interest in maintaining a personal webspace to authenticate caches.

 

With how robust this site is with the database, keyword searches, links to various maps, discussion forums, etc. Creating and adding a virtual cache authentication database would not be a huge deal.

 

Enjoy,

C.M.

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quote:
The purpose of my suggestion was to make Virtual Caches centralized, standardized, and easy for people to setup, hunt, and log.

 

Centralized

A charter membership fixes that

 

Standardized

You mean like it is described in the "Cache Listing Requirements/Guidelines"

 

Easy for people to setup

How would you make it easier to setup?

 

Easy to hunt and log

I see them being no more difficult than any traditional cache I have found.

 

quote:
Originally posted by cmdigests:

If my only access to the internet is through a public library and a yahoo account then many of the suggestions offered won't work.


 

That could be a problem. But remember virtual caches are not post and forget caches.

 

quote:
Cache Listing Requirements/Guidelines

 

Understand that although the virtual cache is not something you physically maintain, you must maintain your virtual cache's web page and respond to inquiries. You should also return to the web site at least once a month to show you are still active. Virtual caches posted and "abandoned" will be archived by the site.


 

I like the idea of an authentication database. But should we as virtual cache creators have to use it? I say no. If you have time to get on the site to log your find then you should have time to shoot a quick email to the cache owner with the proper answer to claim the log. I log the find and send the email the same day. If I missed the proper reply the cache owner has every right to delete my log.

 

quote:
I don't think it's realistic to ask people to obtain and maintain their own webspace for the purposes of creating a virtual cache.

 

I was never asked to create a webspce for mine nor do I have one.

 

Just my feelings on the topic. Not meant to be a bash on your post.

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I keep returning (mentally) to someone's suggestion that the cache creator could require a "password" to log a find. Caches placed with the password option could have the password written in the cache log, on the lid, etc. The VC answers that you seek could become the password ("How many lakes?""What's the six-digit code?"). This way the email contact would become the exception rather than the rule.

 

I know, regular cache finders will say "I forgot to get the password, so you won't let me log it?!" It is really no different than if you "forgot" to sign the log book and the owner decides to delete your find. You could just email the owner and explain. But, again, that would be the exception and not the rule.

 

Implementation would require one additional field on the cache creation page. If the password is not filled in then no password would be required for this cache. The "nearest" cache(s) listing could easily make note that a password is required with a small icon.

 

I've seen several problems noted that could be solved with a simple password. "Passwords don't remain secret for long on the Internet". True, but how is that any different from VC answers?

 

I don't mean to hijack your post. I went out yesterday to place a regular cache at a beautiful location. When I got there it was obvious that the place was not a good location for a cache. So I might post it as a virtual.

 

Now if I can just figure out a password...

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I really do appreciate the discussion, and everyone's input, on this topic.

 

Based upon the site's information, I figured this was the place to start with a idea/suggestion of this nature.

 

What started me thinking about this was how one would handle a high volume of requests for authentication if a VC were placed in a highly visited public place that would never lend itself to a physical cache.

 

I think the idea of the optional password field is a good one.

 

It doesn't prevent someone from designing a more elaborate and fun method of authentication, but would serve an authentication purpose for those who don't.

 

As to the concern about "abandoned" VCs. Seems that would be more of a concern to the site owners in terms of items using storage space, etc. indefinitely.

 

If space and bandwidth are a concern, one thought would be to have an expiration time on VCs based upon one being a charter member or not. All the VCs would be available to all people - charter members and non-memebers.

 

If one was a charter member the VC could be allowed to become a "Set it and Forget it" VC as long as one was a charter member; because one was helping to support the site. You've made a level of commitment.

 

The only thought that came to me regarding non-charter members was to make VCs have an expiration date - say three months from creation. If not a charter member, your VC would be listed for three months and then deleted. You could always resubmit it if it was an active and going concern. Not sure if the deletion could be automated by a script, or if it would become an administrative headache.

 

Since, as people pointed out, a VC is different than a physical cache in terms of management, might this arrangement provide a sense of ownership/responsibility?

 

Enjoy,

C.M.

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Could we making a bigger deal out of this than is necessary. I have a VC that's been there for over a month. You have to report a "fact" for each of the four covered bridges that are part of a virtual tour. Mydescription allows posting when you report the fact tome. Only one guy's been posted a find. If they're cheaters around, either they really aren't or maybe the fact they have to just report facts keeps them at bay from posted a find.

 

Alan

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quote:
Originally posted by geospotter:

I keep returning (mentally) to someone's suggestion that the cache creator could require a "password" to log a find. Caches placed with the password option could have the password written in the cache log, on the lid, etc. The VC answers that you seek could become the password ("How many lakes?""What's the six-digit code?"). This way the email contact would become the exception rather than the rule.


 

I've been thinking about this a lot since the first time someone suggested it. And I've decided what I'm going to do about password protected caches, if they catch on:

 

not bother to log them on the web site.

 

Passwords don't protect anybody from anything important and they add a burden to people who are playing fair.

 

if you wanna use 'em go ahead, but don't expect me to log your caches when i find them.

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quote:
Originally posted by Marty Fouts:

 

Passwords don't protect anybody from anything important and they add a burden to people who are playing fair.

 

if you wanna use 'em go ahead, but don't expect me to log your caches when i find them.


 

Marty,

 

That is certainly your right, but I can see that having to enter a password has not stopped you from posting to these forums. Or posting your finds. Both require that you login and enter a password. (I know, there are shortcuts, but you had to enter a password at some point.) Entering a password would require considerably less time than entering your log entry.

 

As far as protecting anything important, that wasn't the point of my suggestion here. It was to help in limiting the email usually associated with a VC.

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quote:
Originally posted by geospotter:

quote:
Originally posted by Marty Fouts:

 

Passwords don't protect anybody from anything important and they add a burden to people who are playing fair.

 

if you wanna use 'em go ahead, but don't expect me to log your caches when i find them.


 

Marty,

 

That is certainly your right, but I can see that having to enter a password has not stopped you from posting to these forums. Or posting your finds. Both require that you login and enter a password. (I know, there are shortcuts, but you had to enter a password at some point.) Entering a password would require considerably less time than entering your log entry.

 

As far as protecting anything important, that wasn't the point of my suggestion here. It was to help in limiting the email usually associated with a VC.


 

Passwords are a routine requirement of the net, because abuse of the net is routine, widespread, and potentially harmful to the person whose identity might be stolen.

 

I find the password requirement for Groundspeak forums and geocaching.com inoffensive, because I only ever had to enter them once, and because they are relatively secret phrases that I control.

 

This is significantly different than having to collect a cookie from every cache I visit, remember that cookie, and have it available when I want to log that find. And the difference is one of trust.

 

As soon as distrust becomes prevalent in the hobby than the hobby is going to become something very different than it is now, and something that I don't think any of us are going to like.

 

After all, if cache hiders don't trust cache finders, why should cache finders trust cache hiders. What's to say you really placed that cacehe? How do we know it's not booby trapped?

 

Is it really too much to ask that we keep our hobby trust based?

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quote:
Originally posted by geospotter:

 

As far as protecting anything important, that wasn't the point of my suggestion here. It was to help in limiting the email usually associated with a VC.


 

I read the email of all the logs of all my caches, and I reply individually to all the responses to my VC. Seems to me that it's an obligation of a VC hider to be willing to check the answers.

 

Automating the process takes some of the human interaction out of a hobby that it's already possible to participate in with very little interaction.

 

In my opinion, if you don't want the interaction, simply don't hide or seek virtuals.

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Marty,

 

It seems to me that you are talking in circles.

 

You don't like "having to collect a cookie from every cache I visit, remember that cookie, and have it available when I want to log that find."

 

Yet, you are doing exactly that when you must answer a VC question to post a find. IN ADDITION, you must fashion an email response, send it to the owner, wait for a response, and THEN post your find. My suggestion, and cmdigests', was to reduce the number of steps necessary to post a VC find.

 

I understand your liking the interaction with the owner (and I agree, nothing wrong with a little interaction), but you've taken a giant leap when you say "if you don't want the interaction, simply don't hide or seek virtuals".

 

cmdigests' original post stated that one of the problems with VC's is "when you do a V.C., an e-mail has to go to the creator of the V.C., and they have to respond before you can log a find". The password idea was in response to that issue.

 

You also state that "Seems to me that it's an obligation of a VC hider to be willing to check the answers." That's your opinion, but it is not everyone's opinion. Some posters here are looking for ways to improve the system (thus this topic's original post, and the purpose of this particular forum).

 

[This message was edited by geospotter on August 18, 2002 at 05:08 PM.]

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You may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Set up a VC, give it a try. You can always deactivate it if the e-mail becomes over-whelming. We have two VC's set-up, one is very new. The other has generated 13 finds in six weeks. Figure it for yourself. I think I can safely set-up a dozen or so without exceeding my capacity to respond to verifications. icon_smile.gif

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You may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Set up a VC, give it a try. You can always deactivate it if the e-mail becomes over-whelming. We have two VC's set-up, one is very new. The other has generated 13 finds in six weeks. Figure it for yourself. I think I can safely set-up a dozen or so without exceeding my capacity to respond to verifications. icon_smile.gif

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