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To Hint or not to Hint


Russ!
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I am finally getting around to creating some caches. For those hides that take time to construct, where you create a unique type cache with excellent camo, do you typically leave a hint, or require a DNF before giving a hint? Personally, I know I feel somewhat disappointed when I cannot figure out a cache and you don't get a hint. However, I also feel a sense of accomplishment at finding a level 3 or better even if I DNF a few times. Then factor in that some cachers can only look for your specific cache once, due to traveling etc....don't they deserve the best shot at finding it? Is camo primarily to make finding the cache more challenging or to fool muggles?

Edited by Russ!
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Completely up to you. I've got a couple caches that they are hard to find and there are no hints unless you ask me directly. There are a couple others that I don't want people to make the trip and not find it, so I provide a dead give-away hint. I even tell people to read it if they can't find it. For those who want to maintain the difficulty level, they don't have to read the hint.

 

I think the most important thing is not to add hints that say, in general, 'no hint needed'. If you are not willing to provide a hint or think one isn't needed, Leave The Hint Section Blank.

 

Edit: well I take that back, the hard ones do have a few math hints but they don't help everyone.

Edited by BlueDeuce
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With one possible exception, I want people to find my caches so I always leave hints (even the one exception that many people struggle with, I leave some very good hints). I do not want people to take a long hike and not get a smiley, to have to tear apart a wooded area in a canyon where gpsr reception is poor, or to spend an inordinate time with the search (which is my least favorite part of caching). So hints are available.

 

But as BlueDeuce states, if you chose not to have a hint, please do not use that space to indicate that there are no hints or that hints will be emailed if you post a dnf. I will probably walk away from the cache and think bad thoughts about you, which probably does not help either of our karmas.

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Personally, I think hints should be used to help cachers verify that they are looking in the correct location- NOT to be a 100% dead give away to lead you directly to the cache. The hints I find most helpful (when searching) are those that let me know that I'm on the right track, and help eliminate signal issues or answer the "would they REALLY hide it there?" question.

 

An example of hints I would find helpful:

"fallen tree" "vines" "call me" (for a cache in a phone booth) "look up" (for a cache hidden above eye level)

 

An example of hints I would find annoying:

"2nd fallen tree to the left of the large stump, 10 ft. from trail" "bison tube covered in leaf camo tied to a branch at the Y of the birch tree" "under the front left corner of the picnic bench"

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I like for all of my caches to be found, so I tend to leave pretty good hints. Most of my hides are fairly challenging to get to, and I figure after all that effort, you really don't want to add to your DNF count. By leaving a detailed hint on a challenging cache, you put the level of difficulty directly in the cache seeker's hands. If they want a challenge, they can ignore the hint and hunt till the cows come home. If they grow weary and want their smiley, they can read the hint. Those who choose to go straight to the hint are also playing the game they want to play, so no worries from me.

 

On a semi-related note, I have an archived cache that shares its name with the title of your thread:

To Hint or Not To Hint

The premise of the cache was that you would probably not be able to sign the log unless you read the hint.

Edited by Clan Riffster
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I think hints should be used to help cachers verify that they are looking in the correct location- NOT to be a 100% dead give away to lead you directly to the cache. The hints I find most helpful (when searching) are those that let me know that I'm on the right track, and help eliminate signal issues or answer the "would they REALLY hide it there?" question.

Yes. Hint me, please. Seriously.

 

Is camo primarily to make finding the cache more challenging or to fool muggles?

All of my hides are camo'd or hidden in a way to make them as uninteresting to non-cachers as possible. The camo is designed to make the container fade into the scenery. Yet to experienced Geocachers, it seems like I might as well have had a neon sign pointing to it.

Edited by kunarion
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If the hide is fairly typical, I don't provide a hint.

 

If the hide may prove difficult due to the surroundings, or possible signal bounce, I will provide a decent hint - just the right mix of enabling the find, without saying exactly where it is.

 

On my urban hides (which are nanos at cool spots in Newport) I provide very detailed hints, so that people aren't looking forever, drawing attention to themselves.

 

On a few of my creative "hide in plain sight" caches, I'll leave a very gentle nudge type of hint.

 

On my one or two very evil hides, I don't provide any hints. But I state up front they are meant to be difficult.

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I feel a hint is needed for caches that say are over 500 feet from start point. Takes me alot of effort to walk that far and I dont mind it but just hate to do it and then get a dnf in the end. I know will say dont go after them but dont see what a hint would hurt especially if in woods heavy brush etc.

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I feel a hint is needed for caches that say are over 500 feet from start point. Takes me alot of effort to walk that far and I dont mind it but just hate to do it and then get a dnf in the end. I know will say dont go after them but dont see what a hint would hurt especially if in woods heavy brush etc.

 

Understood, but my caches can't account for everyone. I completely understand that many people need a bit more information and having to ask is definitely one more hurdle.

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I prefer hints, because then when I do out-of-town caches, then I can actually find them and not have to go back again and again because I can't.

 

I have really good hints on my caches.

One of them is really good for beginners, and indeed, I've had a lot of people say it was the first cache they could find. I loved the log about the small child finding it. That was great.

 

But then again, I do like caches that are really tough sometimes. I expect them not to have hints. These aren't for newcomers, but for old-time cachers who need a good challenge sometimes.

It would be boring to find all of them easily all the time. I need to DNF sometimes, or I'm going to lose interest in this game.

 

I'd say, "It depends on the cache."

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Most of my caches have excellent hints, as do most of the caches hidden in my area. I don't enjoy seeing DNFs, I want people to have fun and find the cache. If they want it to be more challenging, they don't have to read the hint, right? I like to cater to the newbies and folks who just plain suck at finding caches. They should be able to enjoy the activity too.

 

Where my mom, dad and sister live, the caches there rarely have good hints. If there is one, usually it's sarcastic. This has resulted in my family getting alot of DNFs and thus being turned off caching all-together. After several failed attempts at a cache up there, I emailed the CO and he basically wouldn't tell me anything. Not coincidentally, there isn't a ton of caches up there. If more people enjoyed the activity, there'd be more caches hidden and everybody would win.

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Say you decide to not hint. Whatever you do, for crying out loud, do not put abar in the hint field. That decodes to "none". :lol: As well as something like "no hint needed". The instructions say if you don't have a hint, leave it blank.

 

I couldn't agree more. That is pretty frustrating when you are about to pursue a "needle in a haystack" cache and you get mocked by the possibility of a hint only to see that there is nothing there but a statement of its absence. :angry:

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Personally, I think a clever hint is almost as difficult to create as a clever hide. You do not necessarily need to point out the exact location, but only eliminate some of the places where the cache isn't. Getting the cacher to 'see' what they are looking at is the way to go.

 

Advising me to wear good boots and bring plenty of water is NOT a hint. <_<

 

Anyone who's 'hint' says 'eMail me' should be pummeled with an ammo-can until they loose consciousness. :anibad:

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I prefer hints to verify where I am thinking. What really gets me is when I am in a field of rocks and the hint says "rockin!" or I am looking in pine trees and the hint says "Tree..". useless!

 

I tend to get some pretty good hints from the previous found logs as well.

 

Shaun

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It really depends on the hide. Hints can be used to benefit the finder or to benefit the environment. I see no problem with foregoing any hint until the FTFers are done w/ their game unless there is potential for damage. Then I think it is the COs responsibility to add a hint up-front. Also, I think if the cache is a high terrain, it is nice (but not required) to offer a great hint to allow the finder, who has just completed a serious and time consuming physical challenge, to make a find...that is after the FTFers are through. Finally, I wouldn't make a hint such a spoiler that I couldn't tweak the hide a bit to mess w/ the PAF hounds. :lol:

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Personally, I think a clever hint is almost as difficult to create as a clever hide. You do not necessarily need to point out the exact location, but only eliminate some of the places where the cache isn't. Getting the cacher to 'see' what they are looking at is the way to go.

 

Advising me to wear good boots and bring plenty of water is NOT a hint. <_<

 

Anyone who's 'hint' says 'eMail me' should be pummeled with an ammo-can until they loose consciousness. :anibad:

I agree with all on the following:

1. Unless you are deliberately trying to make the cache difficult, a hint is a really good thing. As stated above, hints can help you know where to look, say ground vs. trees vs rocks vs on top vs beneath the cliff.

2. In addition to hints, I find that a good description, especially in the woods can be helpful. My feeling for a cache that requires a hike/climb/effort to get there is that the GPS is only good to about 20 feet, then you need something else to zero in. saying "it's in the rocks" is only helpful if the aren't 500 potential rocks to look under.

3. Absolutely do NOT put meaningless comments in the hint section: "take water" "great hike"

Examples of really good hints:

"remember to CITO" cache was attached to a bottlecap on the ground

"barking up the wrong tree" cache was attached to tree trunk and looked like bark

 

I agree with the comment about a good beating for the "email me" hint

 

Finally, if the hint is a spoiler picture, say so in the body of the listing. I hate getting out somewhere with no cell reception, and realizing that the only clue I have is a picture I can't access without going home first.

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Never throw a hint in someone's face this can spoil the fun if they like a challenge.

Just to touch on this;

Hints are not thrown in people's faces. They are encrypted on the cache page. Assuming a cache is difficult, and a hint is available, if a cache seeker desires a challenge, all they need to do is not read the hint. The ball is firmly in their court. If they decide they've been challenged enough, they can read the hint and make the find.

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