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MrPirateCat

Bring Virtuals back

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I have been saying the same things for a long time now - Groundspeak needs t get profesionally involved in promoting this game to state entities. They give me the same canned response every time - "we are just a listing service, its up to the indiidual volunteers in your region to speak to the land managers" - if the individual volunteers do not take the initiative or simply do not know who to seak to or how to speak to these people, then what good is it?

It's usually regional geocaching organizations that would be negotiating with land managers and other entities, not individual cachers. In your area, this would be the North Carolina Geocachers Organization.

 

Not my point, I am speaking for all areas - there is a distrubing trend that more and more states and local entitie are banning caching for unsubtatntiate reasons. Some of these volunteer organizations simply are not doing enough to promote the game. My guess is lack of professional experience in that area. Groundpseak has the money, has the training, has the people that can do just that, do they not?

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For everybody who wants them back, do they want virtuals back under the "wow factor" rule, or pre "wow factor"?

 

Do you really think that the "wow" factor would be needed if virtuals do not contribute to the find and hidden counts?

I never understood why instead of coming up with challenges they had not introduced virtuals with no reviewing by the reviewers

and no contribution to the find and hide counts, but all the other properties of geocaches.

Such a system would not required any new resources at all (in contrast to challenges) and would have appealed to considerably more

people.

 

I just don't see some sort of virtual cache without any sort of review process at all.

 

They have used this system for challenges and it worked reasonably well, at least in my area.

I did not encounter any challenges of interest to me, but that's not surprising as the system did not allow them.

 

Another recent thread is discussing the notion of elected reviewers. Most of the objections to the idea state that the reviewer process is not broken. Since one of the major factor for the demise of new virtuals was from reviewers having to arbitrate whether or not a submission met the "wow" factor, it was pretty clear that they don't want to be put into that position again.

 

I do not think that in my area reviewing of virtuals would be necessary if they do not count as for the gc.com stats.

 

Instead of burdening current reviewers with the task of reviewing virtuals, suppose a new system for reviewers was put in place only for virtual caches. Virtual reviewers could be more anonymous, by using a single account name for all the publish logs. Virtual cache submissions could be reviewed by committee using a voting process (i.e. at least 3 +1 votes required to have it published, only one -1 vote necessary to reject it). Virtual cache reviewers wouldn't require the same skill set as our current reviewers and would only have to consider "virtual cache guidelines" (which would have to be written).

 

Personally, I do not think that reviewing will be needed.

 

I've often suggested that one of the reasons that a earth-cache like historical cache type has never been created is because, unlike earth caches, a historical association hasn't stepped up to the plate and proposed historical cache guidelines and volunteer to serve as reviewers to ensure compliance for a history cache submission.

 

Such an association will never step in. However, I'm confident that myself and other cachers in my area with an interest into virtuals know quite well on our own how a decent history cache looks like (and I can also decide on my own which languages I wish to use and do not need any authority that forces me to use a language I do not want to use as for ECs). Also as a visitor I can judge from the listing whether a virtual cache makes sense to me or not.

Thats's much harder often for caches with containers and has to be done anyway.

Actually, I even do have caches right now, that could easily be turned in the typer of virtual cache I'd like to see just by leaving out the container at the end. Noone is controlling the first part in the container case, so why in the containerless case? The visitors who do not get a +1 for your find count decide whether such a virtual makes sense to them and whether they enjoy it.

 

Unless virtuals count for the statistics, I'm not worried at all that the number of virtuals will be that large that I will ever encounter a selection problem.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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Not my point, I am speaking for all areas - there is a distrubing trend that more and more states and local entitie are banning caching for unsubtatntiate reasons. Some of these volunteer organizations simply are not doing enough to promote the game. My guess is lack of professional experience in that area. Groundpseak has the money, has the training, has the people that can do just that, do they not?
I don't think the local park managers and open space district boards would have paid any attention to a Groundspeak lackey. I know the lackeys couldn't have attended the necessary meetings.

 

The local park managers and open space district boards did pay attention to local geocachers though, and we now have fairly reasonable geocaching policies as a result.

 

If the local geocachers (whether or not they're speaking on behalf of a local geocaching organization) don't speak up, then I really don't think there's anything Groundspeak can do.

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I have been saying the same things for a long time now - Groundspeak needs t get profesionally involved in promoting this game to state entities. They give me the same canned response every time - "we are just a listing service, its up to the indiidual volunteers in your region to speak to the land managers" - if the individual volunteers do not take the initiative or simply do not know who to seak to or how to speak to these people, then what good is it?

It's usually regional geocaching organizations that would be negotiating with land managers and other entities, not individual cachers. In your area, this would be the North Carolina Geocachers Organization.

Yes, it usually is groups, but no in all cases. It's those of us that enjoy geocaching. I'm lucky that we have some good geocachers in my area. Some are State Park employees and LEO's, and understand how to ask first, and knowing who to ask. :ph34r: But in the beginning it was ideas and working with land managers, Parks, ect., that built Groundspeak. Groundspeak is more than a geocache listing service, it is a business. It started somewhere and now it can run itself. I find that pretty darn impressive. :)

Let me post you a link to a site that is now open to geocaching.

 

http://www.dof.virginia.gov/stforest/channels.htm

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Setting up caches is a service to other cachers, not a privilege.

 

Cezanne

 

But if your options for placing caches were limited in number, would you not make sure the ones you placed were of maximum quality?

 

I'm pretty sure I would.

 

And we're talking about the theoretical return of virtuals here, something that would not be possible without some sort of restriction.

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I'm not sure what the previous issues with virtual were: here's some suggestions.

 

- More reviewers. Waypoints have a whole other group of reviewers to spread out the load. Why not do the same for virtuals?

 

- Charge a nominal fee. A cache container isn't free. $1-5 per listing seems reasonable - it IS forever. How much would it cost to maintain a actual cache for a few years? Compensate the reviewers from the fund maybe

 

- Virtual ONLY when a traditional cache is not allowed or impractical. Must have something of interest there - not like waypoints at McDonalds. Lister with have to plead case.

 

- Allow alternate logging if the pictures of virtuals are chewing up band width. An answer box on the web listing would be easy enough. (why not for traditional caches too?)

 

OR treat waypoints like caches. Have then show up in PQ, in third party software and on my gps without any extra effort.

 

I think that making virtual placements a paid member only privilege on top of the fee ($5) would regulate placements. No need for the wow factor as few people will make a lame virtual if they have to pay for it. Those that do will be few and far between and will be no different than the skirt caches that are allowed to exist.

 

The main thing is they MUST be a limited resource. Do this and it solves all the problems.

Edited by releasethedogs

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Setting up caches is a service to other cachers, not a privilege.

 

Cezanne

 

But if your options for placing caches were limited in number, would you not make sure the ones you placed were of maximum quality?

 

I have always given my best. What I wanted to argue about is that I'm not willing to pay a company for the fact that I'm investing several days of work for a few fellow cachers.

 

And we're talking about the theoretical return of virtuals here, something that would not be possible without some sort of restriction.

 

Actually, I'm not in favor of their return as they have been. I do have a great interest in virtuals, but given today's community, I do not want to have a type of virtual that counts as found/hidden cache. I'm pretty much convinced that this aspect would be enough to limit their number.

Virtuals should also not be listed by default among the search results, only if someone wants to see them.

 

Cezanne

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I think that making virtual placements a paid member only privilege on top of the fee ($5) would regulate placements. No need for the wow factor as few people will make a lame virtual if they have to pay for it. Those that do will be few and far between and will be no different than the skirt caches that are allowed to exist.

 

The main thing is they MUST be a limited resource. Do this and it solves all the problems.

 

The outcome would notbe what I would like to see. I know several cachers who bought additional PMships for group accounts just even though all members of the group are PMs. I regard the group account caches as incredibly lame from my perspective.

 

I'm sure that your suggestion along with including virtuals in the find count, will produce many more virtuals (and many of them being boring in my eyes) than my suggestion to have a separate counter for virtuals.

 

I'm much more interested into the virtuals of those who are willing to invest many days in research than in the virtuals of those who are willing to pay a certain amount of money. Even for caches with a container, I have a bias towards investing time and effort and not money. I have found several caches where the container was very expensive, but the cache a drive-in. I found other caches with a very cheap container, but which showed me a beautiful hike. I prefer the latter.

 

In any case, virtuals of the old type when included in the find/hidden count would not appeal to me and I would certainly not be willing to pay for being allowed to set up a virtual cache.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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I like virtual caches, but of course only the good ones.

To me there is no difference to other caches, some are good, some are not.

 

One of the comments made in this thread was that it would take the place of a "real" cache.

If it would take the place if a nice regular cache, it would be a pity, since I like to move trackables as well.

But most virtuals won't take the place of a regular cache, they might take the place of a nano or micro cache.

 

And are these types of "real" caches much more worth finding? Is it more interesting and fun to quickly sign a film canister, instead of taking your time at a location and finding answers, paying attention to details and for the wow factor: make a nice photo?

 

Those who like to score lots of points, will they take the time to find answers (especially when the questions are challenging) and e-mail them to the CO? I don't think so, those cachers go for the powertrails. Hey, the virtual might be even blocking a "perfect" location for a powertrail cache!

 

If the risk of lack of quality is a reason not to allow virtuals, then apparently quality has become a synonym for container.

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To quote myself from another thread....

 

What I REALLY don't get are all the folks that say webcams and virts should not count as finds. Especially those that have some in their find list. If you REALLY believe this, change your finds to notes. It will lend you a bit of credibility.

 

But really, why does it matter? You don't want them in your count? Don't find them. Wanna get them off your list Ignore them. Wanna find them without counting? Go to Waymarking and list them there or visit them if they are listed already.

 

Or are you a believer in "true" caches? Fine...for YOU. But again, give yourselves some credibility and in addition to the virts and webcams, let's see you remove your finds for aarthcaches and any events (regular, CITO, or mega) where you did not have to use your GPS to find a container that contained the log for the event.

 

In any case, why force your way on everyone else? There are multiple ways to deal with caches you don't want to count as a find, but not so much the other way.

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I want to put in my thoughts to virtuals... I love to do them. Of all the ones we have found, almost all of them have brought us to a place that we have learned something, mostly some history. I believe they have a viable place and should count as a find on our stats. You can't please everyone all the time and if you don't like them, don't do them. It is as easy as that. If you want to put some limit on them, make them be a historical site or some history lesson.

 

As far as getting involved on a local level with government entities - maybe you should become aware that the Federal Forest Service is in the process of developing a new plan that will be the guideline for years to come. Our local forest service is one of the first to go through this process and will be looked at by all other forest services throughout the US as they go through the process. My husband and I are participating in the National Forest 2012 Forest Plan Revision Collaborative Process representing geocaching and motorized access in our area. This is a minimum of 9 mo maybe up to 2 year process. We want to have a say in National Forest allowing geocaches and the only way to see it added was to get involved. It would be ideal if we could let them know that we not only have virtual earthcache types but a historical or other type of virtual cache allowed if there are concerns about container placement.

 

Please watch for opportunities to get involved with your local forest service when they start their process.

 

My thoughts again - Bring Back Virtuals that count in your stats. They would be accepted by most geocachers that way and again those that don't want them - don't do them.

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What I REALLY don't get are all the folks that say webcams and virts should not count as finds. Especially those that have some in their find list. If you REALLY believe this, change your finds to notes. It will lend you a bit of credibility.

 

My main reason for my strong preference for not mixing up containerless caches with caches with containers is a quality argument. If virtuals end up such as normal caches, I'm not any longer interested into their return. I own one old virtual which I do not wish to archive, but again I'd prefer if it counted separately. I have set up that cache, but I have not hidden anything.

 

But really, why does it matter? You don't want them in your count? Don't find them.

 

My argument does not run via my own count. I do wish the return of virtuals in a way that allows virtuals as my existing one. I neither wish to see a vague of lame virtuals nor I do I wish to see implemented a system that charges per virtual. It is the intellectual input that I value for virtuals and not the financial one.

 

In my area the numbers people have destroyed what geocaching has been - I'm definitely not eager to see them do zthe same to virtuals. That's why I want them not to count. I want that only those engage in virtuals who really show a love for the activity.

 

Wanna get them off your list Ignore them. Wanna find them without counting? Go to Waymarking and list them there or visit them if they are listed already.

 

Waymarking does not allow virtuals like the one I own and the others I have in mind.

 

Or are you a believer in "true" caches? Fine...for YOU. But again, give yourselves some credibility and in addition to the virts and webcams, let's see you remove your finds for aarthcaches and any events (regular, CITO, or mega) where you did not have to use your GPS to find a container that contained the log for the event.

 

I do want to have a means of completing e.g. ECs - notes are not a sign of completion.

Anyone is free to have a preference. Mine is that I would like to have a counter for ECs, but not have this counter mixed with the count for containers. I enjoy both caches with containers and containerless caches (virtuals, ECs),

 

In any case, why force your way on everyone else? There are multiple ways to deal with caches you don't want to count as a find, but not so much the other way.

 

As I said, if virtuals return as they have been (will not happen anyway), then we will see many lame virtuals and hardly any of interest to me as those with similar preferences like myself will be pissed off and will decide to ignore virtuals at all.

 

 

Cezanne

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My two cents: TPTB shouldn't bring back virtuals, but rather, should spend some significant time reworking and better-integrating Waymarking.

 

As for Virtuals, I would suggest that the problem isn't so much with the criteria; true that in a post-"wow" world (suggesting that they be brought back without "wow" is just silly), qualifying virtuals would be few and far between. But, that's good. If they were to be brought back, they *should* be few and far between. I would also have no issue leaving that up to the subjective determination of my reviewer; that's what they're there for. No, for me, the real issue is the one raised above concerning park access. In a world where Virtuals exist, there will be no real caches in national parks; they'd never allow it. So, do I think there's an internal problem with post-"wow" virtuals? No. But, there's a big enough political reason not to do it to not do it.

 

As for Waymarking, conceptually, at least, Waymarking (with a few tweaks here and there) are exactly what people are clamoring for. Problem is that the site looks and functions like some 14-year-old kid designed it in 1996, AND it's too segregated from the Geocaching site. I'm not a web designer or a systems engineer or a user-experience professional, so unfortunately, I don't have any great ideas on exactly how to fix it. But, I do strongly believe that it can be fixed. Overhaul the site so it functions more like the Geocaching site; maybe integrate it into the Geocaching site like had been done with Challenges (only make the integration a little deeper); make the Waymarking "finds" "count" in some way (maybe like challenges did; or maybe like benchmarks do); etc.

 

But, I really think Waymarking is the answer here. It's an underutilized resource that (I think) could pretty easily be brought back to life to fill this void.

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My two cents: TPTB shouldn't bring back virtuals, but rather, should spend some significant time reworking and better-integrating Waymarking.

 

As for Waymarking, conceptually, at least, Waymarking (with a few tweaks here and there) are exactly what people are clamoring for. Problem is that the site looks and functions like some 14-year-old kid designed it in 1996, AND it's too segregated from the Geocaching site. I'm not a web designer or a systems engineer or a user-experience professional, so unfortunately, I don't have any great ideas on exactly how to fix it. But, I do strongly believe that it can be fixed. Overhaul the site so it functions more like the Geocaching site; maybe integrate it into the Geocaching site like had been done with Challenges (only make the integration a little deeper); make the Waymarking "finds" "count" in some way (maybe like challenges did; or maybe like benchmarks do); etc.

 

But, I really think Waymarking is the answer here. It's an underutilized resource that (I think) could pretty easily be brought back to life to fill this void.

 

Waymarking was a good idea, and (IIRC) the main issue at the time was that the finds DIDN'T count towards your find total, and so I think that the main audience of this site, geocachers, just didn't really get interested. The polar opposite were Challenges, which did count towards your finds in their initial iteration... but the first published Challenges were quite silly and unregulated so folks just well, laughed.

 

So do we need a happy medium between those two? Not sure what that is yet. Groundpseak need to focus on geocachers as their core audience. I like the Waymarking functionality but I think it goes beyond just integration or design (I actually quite like the Web2.0ish white space) and is still far away from being that happy medium to be the replacement for Virtuals ... do you really want a "find" based on seeing a McDonalds store?

 

I'm not keen on bringing virtuals back as they were before (unfettered) or after the wow-factor phase but it is clear that themed virtual locations CAN work with review, as with earthcaches with their Geology Society theme and a dedicated set of Reviewers. Maybe designate some of the Waymarking categories as "wow" categories in which a Waymarking find does count as a caching find. The Waymarking category team is the "Reviewer". This allows for bulk "wow factor" review by Groundspeak rather than every single dang new Virtual being reviewed for "wow"ness. If not use the actual Waymarking site, shoehorn these new categories into the main site with a generic "WOW SITE" geocache icon :)

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Waymarking was a good idea, and (IIRC) the main issue at the time was that the finds DIDN'T count towards your find total, and so I think that the main audience of this site, geocachers, just didn't really get interested. The polar opposite were Challenges, which did count towards your finds in their initial iteration... but the first published Challenges were quite silly and unregulated so folks just well, laughed.

 

Some would claim that 1000 film cans "hidden" every 528' along a road is silly, but as long as people get a smiley face for "finding" each of them, those that find them aren't going to complain.

 

I'm not convinced waymarks, even with some site improvements, would be successful if finds didn't count towards ones find total. If some sort of virtual did come back (even though TPTB have claim that they won't), the only way they're going be successful is if they use the same processes, general guidelines, and other site features that are used for other cache types, and that includes counting it as a find.

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Waymarking was a good idea, and (IIRC) the main issue at the time was that the finds DIDN'T count towards your find total, and so I think that the main audience of this site, geocachers, just didn't really get interested. The polar opposite were Challenges, which did count towards your finds in their initial iteration... but the first published Challenges were quite silly and unregulated so folks just well, laughed.

 

Some would claim that 1000 film cans "hidden" every 528' along a road is silly, but as long as people get a smiley face for "finding" each of them, those that find them aren't going to complain.

 

I'm not convinced waymarks, even with some site improvements, would be successful if finds didn't count towards ones find total. If some sort of virtual did come back (even though TPTB have claim that they won't), the only way they're going be successful is if they use the same processes, general guidelines, and other site features that are used for other cache types, and that includes counting it as a find.

 

Agreed.

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For everybody who wants them back, do they want virtuals back under the "wow factor" rule, or pre "wow factor"?

Wow factor, limit where they may be placed so not to take the place of a real physical geocache. Add a code phrase system similar to what some other geocache listing services offer and limit them to PMO. Allow them to be added/counted as finds. Assign Virtual reviewers similar to GSA with EarthCaches. I like good virtuals. Just my idea, I was fine with Challanges but saw them abused. I wish the faults could have been worked out. I just don't think Challanges replaced Virtuals, but a couple of mine did well. It was fun while it lasted. :laughing:

Yup. Except the code phrase bit; not a fan of that. A question that can only be answered onsite & not with streetview perhaps. Went through the reasons for scrapping; nothing that careful review won't fix, & even 'liar' & other improper trads & unknowns have been known to slip through the cracks; does that mean they should be scrapped as well??

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I'm really sick and tired of the "no virtuals" argument on the grounds of Wow-Factor.

 

Can we all agree that with the caliber of people who geocache almost anything is possible?

 

Can we please consider the prospect of Volunteer Screeners to take the load off the Volunteer Reviewers, rather like exists for Earthcaches?

 

Honestly. It's time to get this bus going and stop finding reasons to hold it back.

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instead of the subjective wow factor, how about the simple rule that they can only be placed where a regular geocache cannot?

 

simple!!!

 

In Florida, there are physical geocaches in National Wildlife Refuges, and in National Parks. As far as I'm aware, the only place that you couldn't put a physical cache is in the Florida National Cemetery (there's already a virt there), and the locations listed in as inappropriate in the guidelines. Those locations lend themselves to an off-set multi-caches. An explanation that reviewers made 100,000 times back when.

 

So, no new virts in Florida.

 

Under your notion, who determines that a "regular" (ie, physical) cache cannot be placed?

Did the cache owner actually ask, or try, or put in the effort in that it can take to get permission for a physical cache in a National Park? or did they just assume that it was hopeless, and opt for the easy virt option? thereby closing the door for all time on physical caches...

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Please yes.

 

What were the issues? I see a lot of ideas below.....

 

Glad you all have had success with the Parks in FLA. But I *KNOW* there are parks here in OH that do not allow containers. And I think it is a BS argument that by NOT allowing vitruals on GC.COM that will some how force the hand of park systems. They don't CARE if there's no tupperware in their parks.

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Personally, I liked the GC Challenges. Team OPJim (Post #13 in this thread) referred to them as "Virtual-Lites", which I think is right on target, and not shameful. I published a few myself, and claimed finds on several. Compared to old school virtuals, I'm not sure that most of these had that "Wow" factor, but they were interesting nevertheless, and I never would have known about many of these sites if not for GC Challenges. I played disc golf for the first time, biked a trail, visited a wildlife refuge, chuckled at some humorous roadside kitsch, etc. I helped bring attention to some magnificent champion trees, and was working on bringing cachers to several other trees. I considered creating other challenges, but some were mundane enough not to earn enough merit in my mind to be created. This earth is finite, and the game is saturated. This disturbs me, because of the possibility that the game as a whole is waning as people are becoming bored. There just aren't many places to hide ammo cans, and all the cool stuff marked by Virtuals has already been discovered. Many cachers look down their noses at uninteresting micros, for example, yet they still seek them. Where I live, there are simply no more places to hide ammo cans, much less micros. Real Estate is a premium, and us caching land barons don't give up our properties freely without good cause. We were lucky to get in on the game early when land was cheap.

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I think why people didn't much gravitate to the Challenges is because, like Waymarks, they aren't caches and don't show up on your page. Also, how do you run a PQ of them?

 

I have a PQ of all the local virtuals, within the maximum allowable radius and it will keep me busy for years finding them all, but I can pop it onto the GPSr and away I go. "Hey! Look! We're near a virtual, let's go get it!"

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Simple fix. Charge $5 for each of them and limit to only places YOU CAN PROVE do not allow a regular cache.

 

So the residential street with the castle on it in my neighborhood can not have a virtual because physical caches are not specifically prohibited in the area? If it were possible to place a physical cache to draw attention to the castle, it would have been done already.

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Simple fix. Charge $5 for each of them and limit to only places YOU CAN PROVE do not allow a regular cache.

 

So the residential street with the castle on it in my neighborhood can not have a virtual because physical caches are not specifically prohibited in the area? If it were possible to place a physical cache to draw attention to the castle, it would have been done already.

Proving a location does not allow physical cache is as difficult as proving the location has a wow factor (maybe even more so). Sure there are locations like National Parks that don't "allow" physical caches. Yet in recent years the NPS themselves have put out physical caches in some of our NPS areas and there have been a number of multi-caches hidden that use virtual stages in the park to lead to a physical cache outside.

 

If someone places a virtual cache, the reviewers would in general have no better way to tell that the location doesn't allow physical caches than the would know that the hider of a physical cache has adequate permission. They would mostly rely on the word of the hider.

 

I would argue that any attempt to bring back virtuals with a restriction on whether or not a cache could be placed is as doomed to fail as any attempt to bring back virtuals with a wow requirement.

 

I think the best suggestion so far is to charge a fee for placing a virtual cache. If the price is high enough, it will only be used where a physical truly could not be placed and where the location is so worthy of a cache that someone is willing to pony up the fee.

 

I think some other issues with virtual caches (couch potato logs, owners who are deleting finds over some triviality, cache pages not being maintained when the physical conditions change) would also be mitigated by a fee. Owners who realize that the cache can be archived and their fee forfeited if they don't follow guidelines spelling out the owner's rights and responsibities, are more likely to abide by these guidelines.

 

The only issue the I have left is whether the virtual is really a kind of cache or would better served as a waymark. My personal opinion is that virtuals that were specific targets that I had to "find" at ground zero had a geocaching quality that set them apart from ordinary waymarks. (My phrasing here parallels the "wow" requirement on purpose). This is of course subjective and hard to enforce. I think I personally might be willing to live with this as a suggestion rather than a hard guideline in order to relieve reviewers of having to decide if a virtual has an appropriate target.

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With the demise of "challenges" it's time to bring Virtuals back.

 

Challenges died already? That didn't take long.

 

I'd like to see virtuals restored although with some limits as to where and how they are used. Where some areas (e.g. the Royal Parks in the UK, the National Parks in the US etc) have restrictions or prohibitions on physical caches it would be good to be able to place a few virtuals at specific points of interest.

 

How to objectively define "point of interest" so that we didn't see endless virtual series based on every branch of McDonalds or some such could be trickier, although perhaps a basic check that the answers sought can't be found using Google Street View and don't require anyone to enter a commercial establishment might do the trick.

 

I'd like to see virtual caches rather than waymarks or other notions simply because it means everything is in one place. I really can't be bothered to load a PQ of geocaches, then load a bunch of waymarks, then log things in multiple places. I couldn't be bothered with challenges and it took me something like two visits to the Waymarking site to conclude it was a waste of space. When I'm in beautiful areas while travelling I often seek out virtuals and earthcaches, simply because they can so often be found easily and without having to spend time hunting a box that might not be there while small children get agitated.

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Thanks for the summary of the difficulty of determining whether a physical placement is possible. You made my point far better than I did.

 

I think the best suggestion so far is to charge a fee for placing a virtual cache. If the price is high enough, it will only be used where a physical truly could not be placed and where the location is so worthy of a cache that someone is willing to pony up the fee
.

 

re fee + no review, I think you are wrong about, "it will only used where a physical cache truly could not be placed".

My guess is that even if fee would were the $100 range, you'd still see vacation virts, + "this spot is so important to me" caches. Adding another $100 to the price of a trip that has already cost multiple thousands in airfare and hotels is really not much of bar. When fairly well off people are in the flush of enthusiasm, they'll pay. It's not uncommon for me to tell cachers how sorry I'm am not to be able to publish their hide that, "they've spent about $60 on", that it must move.

 

How high is that fee?

 

I once suggested a fee to submit a virtual. Ie, you had to pay to see the virtual cache page load, first being linked to virtual guidelines, and WARNED that the fee is non-refundable. If the cache fails to meet the listing guidelines, and isn't published, the fee is forfeit. Cache to be reviewed to the last set of virtual guidelines (ie, can a physical cache be placed + wow). I think I suggested $30.

 

This would naturally create such a firestorm in the forums by furious cache submitters that the entire moderating team would quit. But hey, a serious suggestion.

 

Actually, it might work, if the prospective virtual owner were linked to these forums, with the suggestion that the idea be run by the forum crowd before paying for review. At least as long as anyone stayed interested.... the prospective cache owner could learn that "a beach is just a beach, a view is just a view".... and how to do an off-set multi from that great memorial (tombstone, courthouse historical marker.....)

Edited by palmetto

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I still think that my suggestion would work - you have to spend favorite points which your physical caches have earned. Each virtual which you want to create costs you say 25 earned favorite points. If your review is rejected, they are not refunded.

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I don't see virts coming back, but... I thought the vote up/down system that was being used in challenges to be pretty effective in keeping the dead animal carcass listings to a minimum.

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re fee + no review, I think you are wrong about, "it will only used where a physical cache truly could not be placed".

My guess is that even if fee would were the $100 range, you'd still see vacation virts, + "this spot is so important to me" caches.

 

I think that as long virtuals count for the hide and find counts on gc.com there will be many lame and boring virtuals regardless of whether there is a fee and how high that fee is.

 

I do believe, however, that at least in my area if virtuals were reintroduced on the basis of no review, but separated counts, the number of lame virtuals would stay small.

 

For example, I have several ideas for virtuals where placing a container just distracts from what is really important. You can believe me that I know how to do multi and mystery caches and how to use offsets. If I want to implement an idea as a virtual, it is not because I'm too lazy to hide a container and to maintain it. My oldest cache is almost ten years old and I had to invest quite some work into it.

 

Like a well designed Earthcaches is much better suited for teaching Earth science than a hide and seek game the same is true for many other fields. Waymarking is well suited for example to show others an interesting old ruin and hiding a container there with some offset (in order to avoid damages to the ruin) is well suited if one wants to appeal to those who enjoy the hide and seek process. If I want to teach others e.g. about the role of castle in the middle ages, neither posting a waymark nor hiding a container will be the ideal way to go.

 

I agree that what I have in mind is a different activity than a hide and seek game. Still it is true that the old virtuals allowed to implement such ideas while neither waymarks nor challenges offer(ed) this possibility.

 

The main issue for me is not whether a container can be placed, but rather whether I want to place a container to implement my idea. In some cases my answer is yes and in others it is no.

 

Cezanne

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For example, I have several ideas for virtuals where placing a container just distracts from what is really important. You can believe me that I know how to do multi and mystery caches and how to use offsets. If I want to implement an idea as a virtual, it is not because I'm too lazy to hide a container and to maintain it. My oldest cache is almost ten years old and I had to invest quite some work into it.

 

Like a well designed Earthcaches is much better suited for teaching Earth science than a hide and seek game the same is true for many other fields. Waymarking is well suited for example to show others an interesting old ruin and hiding a container there with some offset (in order to avoid damages to the ruin) is well suited if one wants to appeal to those who enjoy the hide and seek process. If I want to teach others e.g. about the role of castle in the middle ages, neither posting a waymark nor hiding a container will be the ideal way to go.

 

I agree that what I have in mind is a different activity than a hide and seek game. Still it is true that the old virtuals allowed to implement such ideas while neither waymarks nor challenges offer(ed) this possibility.

 

The main issue for me is not whether a container can be placed, but rather whether I want to place a container to implement my idea. In some cases my answer is yes and in others it is no.

 

Cezanne

 

I strongly agree with this post. Virtuals done right can increase the quality of geocaching. I would love to be able to do as you suggested in your post Cezanne. Some times a container is just not practical.

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Thanks for the summary of the difficulty of determining whether a physical placement is possible. You made my point far better than I did.

 

I think the best suggestion so far is to charge a fee for placing a virtual cache. If the price is high enough, it will only be used where a physical truly could not be placed and where the location is so worthy of a cache that someone is willing to pony up the fee
.

 

re fee + no review, I think you are wrong about, "it will only used where a physical cache truly could not be placed".

My guess is that even if fee would were the $100 range, you'd still see vacation virts, + "this spot is so important to me" caches. Adding another $100 to the price of a trip that has already cost multiple thousands in airfare and hotels is really not much of bar. When fairly well off people are in the flush of enthusiasm, they'll pay. It's not uncommon for me to tell cachers how sorry I'm am not to be able to publish their hide that, "they've spent about $60 on", that it must move.

 

How high is that fee?

 

I once suggested a fee to submit a virtual. Ie, you had to pay to see the virtual cache page load, first being linked to virtual guidelines, and WARNED that the fee is non-refundable. If the cache fails to meet the listing guidelines, and isn't published, the fee is forfeit. Cache to be reviewed to the last set of virtual guidelines (ie, can a physical cache be placed + wow). I think I suggested $30.

 

This would naturally create such a firestorm in the forums by furious cache submitters that the entire moderating team would quit. But hey, a serious suggestion.

 

Actually, it might work, if the prospective virtual owner were linked to these forums, with the suggestion that the idea be run by the forum crowd before paying for review. At least as long as anyone stayed interested.... the prospective cache owner could learn that "a beach is just a beach, a view is just a view".... and how to do an off-set multi from that great memorial (tombstone, courthouse historical marker.....)

To your fee idea, I'd add one more thing besides "non-refundable:" there's no right to appeal. And, any complaint in the forums about the denial of a virtual would result in an immediate suspension of posting privileges for a week as a "cooling off" period.

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The challenges I saw convinced me that any form of virtuals would need to be well defined and subject to a meaningful review process. They also need to be part of this game. Another side game called "virtuals" would be as interesting as . . . challenges. There are other location-based games that allow me to find things without containers, but virtuals have been important to me because of the way that they enhance caching.

 

Without question, virtuals would have to be limited so that the core of what defines caching is not lost. I would not want to see a fee imposed for several reasons (including precedent, the potential for abuse, and the way that additional high fees would limit them to a certain demography). I would probably quit my premium membership and focus on another game if Groundspeak began to require a $30 nonrefundable fee, but if a premium member could only submit one or two virtuals, I would hope that they would be good.

 

Virtuals also need reviewing -- if you are not choosy you end up with way too many things you do not want. Whether it be through a peer syatem, separate reviewers, or a combination of the two, a process needs to be in place. The peer process with challenges seemed way too nebulous and did not seem to serve much of a purpose in my area. But I also agree with Keystone that decisions should not be subject to appeal or complaint (unless Groudspeak created a forum section just for that purpose that the rest of us could ignore).

 

It is sad to see some of my favorite virtuals archived and the remaining ones subject to attrition. With over 640 virtual finds, some have been equivalent to lamp posts, and some have wowed me. They are always the first and sometimes the only type of cache that I seek when visiting an area.

 

So I think bringing back virtuals could work, but they would need specific guidelines -- and there is little reason to get that deep into the discussion unless there was a proposal on the table. At the minimum, guidelines should ensure a particular focus, that the virtual "find" goes beyond plaques, to put limitations on proximity and perhaps define the type of land/location or permissions necessary to ensure that virtuals are appropriate.

Edited by geodarts

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