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turbine495

Bring back virtuals!

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Or better better yet...just make an offset or multicache and let go of virtuals. There are ways to do exactly what you want to do with the GC site as it is. Personally, I'd rather just sign my name than bother with sending an email to someone who probably isn't even checking them anymore.

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I recently did a challenge cache about national parks that reminded me how important virtuals have been to my enjoyment of this game in ways go beyond other types of caches. But many of us asked for virtuals and instead we got the now defunct challenges. It's not that it would be impossible to make virtuals a part of this game again. It's just that it is not going to happen.

 

Maybe at some point an organization will do what the Geological Society did with earthcaches - come to Groundspeak with the resources and expertise to make a new category of educational virtuals.

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I like the exclusivity of the virtuals. Only a handful here and there. I'm more interested in seeing Geocaching separate Mystery and Puzzles from Challenge style caches. I haven't found much though, just love geocaching. I kinda thought challenges also replaced virtuals as they both require a verification for credit.

Edited by ^up

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I like the exclusivity of the virtuals. Only a handful here and there. I'm more interested in seeing Geocaching separate Mystery and Puzzles from Challenge style caches. I haven't found much though, just love geocaching. I kinda thought challenges also replaced virtuals as they both require a verification for credit.

 

Virtuals weren't particularly popular when they were allowed. A lot of cachers felt they weren't "geocaching". When Groundspeak pulled the plug on new ones there was no firestorm of criticism, instead the decision was largely met with indifference. Sure there were some complaints, but they died out soon.

 

The reason that so many people clamor for them these days is precisely because of their exclusivity. I think that if we went back to the days of posting virtuals for manhole covers, flag poles, etc. this love affair with virtuals might not be quite as intense.

Edited by briansnat

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Virtuals weren't particularly popular when they were allowed. A lot of cachers felt they weren't "geocaching". When Groundspeak pulled the plug on new ones there was no firestorm of criticism, instead the decision was largely met with indifference. Sure there were some complaints, but they died out soon.

 

I didn't join until 2003, which was after (I think) virtuals were already dead or subjected to the "wow" factor. I don't recall anybody being upset when they were killed off. There was actually more of an outcry for locationless, which itself was not even remotely geocaching - it was the submit part of Waymarking.

 

Looking back at my last 20 virtuals I've found, I see about 1/4 as the "I'm glad I stopped type". The rest of email me a word/year/name type, and are the equivalent of a lamp post cache in the virtual world.

 

I have no desire to see a return of virtuals that will be scattered keyword type caches. The only way this will work, and it's been brought up before, is to work with an organization like how earthcaches work to bring history caches, biological caches, etc...

 

In most cases, you can incorporate a virtual location into a multi or puzzle cache that ends with a physical container. Or create a Wherigo that requires you to visit the location. Or - shameless plug - you can create an intercache (intercaching.com) and bring people to a location before you reveal coordinates to them for the cache.

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Virtuals weren't particularly popular when they were allowed. A lot of cachers felt they weren't "geocaching". When Groundspeak pulled the plug on new ones there was no firestorm of criticism, instead the decision was largely met with indifference. Sure there were some complaints, but they died out soon.

That's not exactly how I remember it. True enough, there was always a vocal segment of the community that felt virtuals weren't "geocaching". And as the "wow" requirement was tighten to make virtuals nearly impossible to get published, I don't recall much push back - except from people whose submissions were denied. The forums were full of threads on "Why was my virtual turned down while this one was published?". It was an impractical burden on reviewers to apply the "wow" requirement fairly.

 

With the advent of Waymarking however there were people who argued that the new site missed the mark if it was meant a replacement for virtuals. Aside from it being a completely different site/activity removed from geocaching, visting a waymark was completely different from finding a virtual. And for people who wanted to submit a virtual, finding a Waymarking category to list your virtual was a pain. Then there were virtual owners like cezanne in Austria who used the flexibility allowed by cache types to do things like multi-caches and field puzzles to construct more elaborate virtuals that tied several sites together. There was just nothing in Waymarking that allowed this to be done easily.

 

When the decision was made to grandfather virtuals, there was already a lot of complaints that Waymarking was not a suitable replacement. I personally thought that there was room in the Waymarking structure to develop categories that better replicated the experience of a virtual cache. My first attempt was a bit tongue-in-cheek Wow! Category; but I followed this up with what became the Best Kept Secrets category.

 

Eight years later though, I'm convinced that without a lot of effort from Groundspeak, geocachers who like the experience of virtuals are not going to bother to find categories in Waymarking that work for them, and in the meantime, the general direction of Waymarking has been toward cataloging locations by category, so that carving out a niche for virtual geocaching is harder to do.

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Eight years later though, I'm convinced that without a lot of effort from Groundspeak, geocachers who like the experience of virtuals are not going to bother to find categories in Waymarking that work for them, and in the meantime, the general direction of Waymarking has been toward cataloging locations by category, so that carving out a niche for virtual geocaching is harder to do.

 

I've always said that they are not going to bother with Waymarking because they don't get a :D + 1 in their stats. Sure, the website experience is different, but if they every counted for :D it would suddenly become a lot more popular.

 

One argument against Waymarking categories is the lack of the unknown or surprise at the end. Most virtuals don't have a big surprise, though some do, so they could be nicely categorized into a Waymarking category. Almost every virtual I've done can fall into an existing category, though I can think of one (Reflections) that really stands by itself.

 

Waymarks can be hard to find when you are traveling because of the lack of a mobile app and pocket queries to preload, though I'll plug my mobile Waymarking site here that does help in that arena to find virtuals, I mean, waymarks: http://www.chilehead.us/wm

Edited by ChileHead

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If they are brought back, only done so by express permission or request of Groundspeak, or a special council/group that directly reports to HQ. I could see (if not one already) a Virtual for HQ itself. Other specific Virtuals:

 

- Olympic Games, inside the park which may not allow caches for security reasons (Thank you Atlanta)

- Capital Buildings (state, US, other countries) again where security is a concern

- National Parks (cause I believe the ban on traditional caches is still in place).

- Milestone markers/places in geocaching history (like the spot of the first geocache, first event, last new virtual, where the APE caches were, etc.)

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If they are brought back, only done so by express permission or request of Groundspeak, or a special council/group that directly reports to HQ. I could see (if not one already) a Virtual for HQ itself. Other specific Virtuals:

 

- Olympic Games, inside the park which may not allow caches for security reasons (Thank you Atlanta)

- Capital Buildings (state, US, other countries) again where security is a concern

- National Parks (cause I believe the ban on traditional caches is still in place).

- Milestone markers/places in geocaching history (like the spot of the first geocache, first event, last new virtual, where the APE caches were, etc.)

 

The earth cache model would be the best one to follow. It would be interesting if somebody took the initiative to work with groups to set up virtual caches that are approved by "professionals":

 

National Park Service

Virtuals in national parks.

 

National Register of Historic Places

Virtuals of places of historical interest.

 

American Historical Association (other countries as well have associations)

Interesting places in history.

 

American Institute of Biological Sciences

Places of biological interest, these would probably be very similar to earth caches.

 

The point is, rather than have untrained reviewers or Groundspeak staff evaluating the wowness of some location, let an organization staff up volunteers like earthcache.org has that has trained professionals and volunteers evaluating the merits of each location, and inserting some sort of lesson into the virtual cache so they don't become the virtual equivalent of a lamp post cache.

Edited by ChileHead

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The point is, rather than have untrained reviewers or Groundspeak staff evaluating the wowness of some location, let an organization staff up volunteers like earthcache.org has that has trained professionals and volunteers evaluating the merits of each location, and inserting some sort of lesson into the virtual cache so they don't become the virtual equivalent of a lamp post cache.

 

Apart from the fact that I do not think that the organizations needed for this approach will have an interest into this sort of work, I would not be happy personally with the outcome. It does not allow to mix topics from different areas and I'm not happy at all with the way the GSA introduces additional requirements for Earthcaches that are not related at all to geology (such as the unfortunate language requirement that keeps me from setting up Earthcaches as I'm not willing to have anyone force me to use German in my cache descriptions).

 

There are so many boring and lame physical caches around. I think that if finding/hiding virtuals would not count together with the caches with containers, this would provide a scenario which would make me much more happy than what you describe above. For example, I would have liked to implement my cache from 2011 as virtual cache (and I still would very much like to turn into a virtual). This cache (and also my existing virtual from 2003) do not fit at all into the organizational concept you suggest above (they do not fit into Waymarking either). All my caches include an offset and multi stage character anyway and many involve additional mystery elements. So my reason for wishing that a form of containerless cache existed is not based on me not being aware of the alternatives. Containers can hidden at the majority of places, but in urban environments most of these places belong to the category where I neither want to hide a cache nor like to search for one.

What currently remains is to forget about an idea at all or to implement it with the help of a container at a place one does not like oneself. For me this is a serious drawback.

I like all parts of my 2011 cache exept the hideout. Removing the container would remove this factor of displeasure.

 

 

Cezanne

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If they are brought back, only done so by express permission or request of Groundspeak, or a special council/group that directly reports to HQ. I could see (if not one already) a Virtual for HQ itself. Other specific Virtuals:

 

- Olympic Games, inside the park which may not allow caches for security reasons (Thank you Atlanta)

- Capital Buildings (state, US, other countries) again where security is a concern

- National Parks (cause I believe the ban on traditional caches is still in place).

- Milestone markers/places in geocaching history (like the spot of the first geocache, first event, last new virtual, where the APE caches were, etc.)

 

This sort of thing is great in theory but in practise "security concerns" represents the kind of vague concept that gets blown out of proportion in most situations it's used. I even had my bank tell me they couldn't give me currency exchange rates over the phone for security reasons, but when I laughed at them and asked how they hoped to do business if they wouldn't give me a price they realised they were being silly and relented.

 

It's easy to see why hiding boxes under benches in high profile areas could cause problems, but if the London Metropolitan Police can figure a way to allow geocaches to be placed within sight of Buckingham Palace and Westminster I'm sure other police forces could do likewise, if they had the inclination. If we use "security concerns" as a reason to shift to virtuals then before we know it the placing of physical caches anywhere will be prevented because landowners will figure that they can just ask us to stick to virtuals instead, and before long geocaching will be a game that looks like hunting the tags from other games where there's little scope for a clever hide.

 

One specific issue with virtuals is that so many of them can be solved quite easily with Google's Street View these days. Some of them require information that can be found with a quick internet search, others just require a picture taken from a vantage point (so you can download someone else's picture, fiddle with it in Photoshop and upload it as your own picture), and so on. On top of that they are unlike physical caches in that the virtual cache with an inactive owner is unlikely to ever come to a reviewer's attention in the way the physical cache with an inactive owner will. If people can't find a physical cache it's only a question of time before someone logs NM or NA, whereas if a virtual owner stops playing the game people will still log finds on their cache without any verification at all.

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AND....they don't have to be called "Virtuals", but something like "Landmarks" or "GeoPOIs" (said jeo· poiz), etc.

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I could see (if not one already) a Virtual for HQ itself.

Why would this be a virtual? Wouldn't you think Groundspeak could give permission for a physical cache at HQ?

 

(There is in fact already a physical cache at Groundspeak HQ but you need to schedule a visit in order to log it).

 

There may be places where a physical cannot be placed - and where the property owner/land manager would have no problem with a virtual cache. The problem has been determining what these are and whether just having the option to have a virtual cache influences the property owner/land manager to take a tough stance on physical caches.

 

AND....they don't have to be called "Virtuals", but something like "Landmarks" or "GeoPOIs" (said jeo· poiz), etc.

or Waymarks :P

Edited by tozainamboku

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There may be places where a physical cannot be placed - and where the property owner/land manager would have no problem with a virtual cache. The problem has been determining what these are and whether just having the option to have a virtual cache influences the property owner/land manager to take a tough stance on physical caches.

 

The strange thing is that many people argue that Waymarking covers virtual caches and much more and at the same time the argument about that property owner/land owner might change their stance on caches with a container never comes up with respect to Waymarking.

 

AND....they don't have to be called "Virtuals", but something like "Landmarks" or "GeoPOIs" (said jeo· poiz), etc.

or Waymarks :P

 

All these names do not reflect for me the full flexibility of a geocache with no container. They all make me much rather believe that the idea is to have a (potentially classified) collection of waypoints.

 

Cezanne

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(There is in fact already a physical cache at Groundspeak HQ but you need to schedule a visit in order to log it).
This is why a Virtual would be nice. What if you came buy the building and the office was closed. I do find it funny though that the HQ cache is inside the building (from what you are saying) though the rules say there is no cache's allowed inside a business and cannot promote a business. Irony is funny sometimes.

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I just looked for links to Waymarking from Geocaching.com and I don't see any on the front page. It is like they don't want you going there either. I kinda noticed that with the benchmarking link, well hidden. From what I've seen, Waymarking is just Foursquare without the cool App.

Edited by ^up

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That's odd, on my profile, right under "List newest in... " is View nearby benchmarks" and "View nearby waymarks".

- They don't seem to be hidden at all, really.

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That's odd, on my profile, right under "List newest in... " is View nearby benchmarks" and "View nearby waymarks".

- They don't seem to be hidden at all, really.

was referring to the front or main page of geocaching.

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That's odd, on my profile, right under "List newest in... " is View nearby benchmarks" and "View nearby waymarks".

- They don't seem to be hidden at all, really.

was referring to the front or main page of geocaching.

Guess what, there is not a link from the front page of Waymarking to geocaching either.

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That's odd, on my profile, right under "List newest in... " is View nearby benchmarks" and "View nearby waymarks".

- They don't seem to be hidden at all, really.

was referring to the front or main page of geocaching.

I'd think Benchmarks and Waymarking were purposely "hidden" from the main/front page, so new folks weren't confused, as most enter the site for Geocaching.

I haven't looked at the main page since the fun pics were removed and thought most enter directly to their profile page, if they enter the site at all.

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That's odd, on my profile, right under "List newest in... " is View nearby benchmarks" and "View nearby waymarks".

- They don't seem to be hidden at all, really.

was referring to the front or main page of geocaching.

 

I know that a lot of people don't go to the front/main page at www.geocaching.com. I have a bookmark (and I know a lot of others do this) that goes to www.geocaching.co/my which has links to just about everything you need.

 

 

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Virtuals weren't particularly popular when they were allowed. A lot of cachers felt they weren't "geocaching". When Groundspeak pulled the plug on new ones there was no firestorm of criticism, instead the decision was largely met with indifference. Sure there were some complaints, but they died out soon.

 

I didn't join until 2003, which was after (I think) virtuals were already dead or subjected to the "wow" factor. I don't recall anybody being upset when they were killed off. There was actually more of an outcry for locationless, which itself was not even remotely geocaching - it was the submit part of Waymarking.

 

Looking back at my last 20 virtuals I've found, I see about 1/4 as the "I'm glad I stopped type". The rest of email me a word/year/name type, and are the equivalent of a lamp post cache in the virtual world.

 

I have no desire to see a return of virtuals that will be scattered keyword type caches. The only way this will work, and it's been brought up before, is to work with an organization like how earthcaches work to bring history caches, biological caches, etc...

 

In most cases, you can incorporate a virtual location into a multi or puzzle cache that ends with a physical container. Or create a Wherigo that requires you to visit the location. Or - shameless plug - you can create an intercache (intercaching.com) and bring people to a location before you reveal coordinates to them for the cache.

 

That wasn't shameless! OK, maybe a little. :) I joined 1 month after you, and yes, Virtuals were already subjected to the "Wow Factor". I'm of the opinion the Wow Factor went into effect with a May, 2003 guidelines update, although I'll bet someone will come along and correct me. Sometime in 2002 or early 2003, they dropped a complete moratorium on any new locationless caches. So that may be why you remember more of an uproar about locationless. Like that guy in our State who archived all his caches because they killed locationless caches. :huh:

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I joined 1 month after you, and yes

 

Noob.

 

Sometime in 2002 or early 2003, they dropped a complete moratorium on any new locationless caches. So that may be why you remember more of an uproar about locationless.

 

I don't recall concerns on the moratorium on new locationless, but I do recall a lot of whining when they were locked. With virtuals, no new ones were added, but existing ones stayed. Locationless were locked completely, and no logging of locationless can occur anymore.

 

Like that guy in our State who archived all his caches because they killed locationless caches. :huh:

 

I don't recall that story.

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Like that guy in our State who archived all his caches because they killed locationless caches. :huh:

 

I don't recall that story.

I think he's referring to these caches. Understandable that a newbie like you wouldn't know that.

 

Did you know that my daughter coined the term "Wow Factor" for virtuals? That happened on May 24, 2003, right after I became a reviewer. My post in the Reviewers' forum on that date included this:

 

"Is this supposed to be a virtual cache? If it is, it's lame. A virtual cache has to make me go "wow" when I see it. A cemetery just creeps me out.

 

I think you are taking this approver thing way too seriously, Daddy."

 

There you have it. I propose that all virts have to be run past my daughter to see if she goes "wow."

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Did you know that my daughter coined the term "Wow Factor" for virtuals? That happened on May 24, 2003, right after I became a reviewer.

 

Wow. :D

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(There is in fact already a physical cache at Groundspeak HQ but you need to schedule a visit in order to log it).

If it was anywhere else, that would violate at least two of the rules! dry.gif

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I feel like this should be a new thread topic, but I'm not sure if the moderators would allow that, as this one is pretty fresh. (If yes, is there any way you could make it it's own topic?)

I haven't bothered to read this entire thread, so perhaps what I'm about to say has been said already.

 

Now I just thought of this, so please add input, don't just criticize a few specifics of how it would work.

 

The exclusiveness of virtual is what gives them their charm. Unfortunately, right now they are a dying breed. A way is needed to keep virtuals around. A solution is similar to that of Favorite Points. Perhaps for every 10 "regular" hides (regular being any currently allowed cache type) you would be allowed to hide one virtual. You don't have to hide it, but its there if you'd like. (The number 10 is absolutely not set in stone. Nor is using number of hides, it could also be finds, or any other thing that you can think of. Please add your input.) Using this system would allow virtuals to stay alive. Having only a limited amount to be hidden would require careful placement of the cache, which would force the "wow-factor".

There are numerous benefits to this system. I'd like to hear what others think.

Edited by ADKer

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Perhaps for every 10 "regular" hides (regular being any currently allowed cache type) you would be allowed to hide one virtual.
I don't think it's a good idea to create incentive for hiding "regular" caches, other than the desire to own and maintain the cache. If this proposal became reality, then someone who wanted to place a virtual cache would only need to list 10 disposable traditional caches first. Or maybe they could just churn their existing traditional caches, archiving them all and re-listing them with a new GC code. The account that owns the ET Highway numbers run trail could list 200 virtual caches.

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Perhaps for every 10 "regular" hides (regular being any currently allowed cache type) you would be allowed to hide one virtual.
I don't think it's a good idea to create incentive for hiding "regular" caches, other than the desire to own and maintain the cache. If this proposal became reality, then someone who wanted to place a virtual cache would only need to list 10 disposable traditional caches first. Or maybe they could just churn their existing traditional caches, archiving them all and re-listing them with a new GC code. The account that owns the ET Highway numbers run trail could list 200 virtual caches.

 

Like I said, there are many imperfections with this plan. However, I do think that somehow limiting the creation of virtuals would be the best. Doing so would make sure the "wow-factor" is there, as people wouldn't want to "waste" their virtual. The trickiest part would be the implementation of such a limit.

 

Luckily that's what the forums are for, to come up with ideas!biggrin.gif

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However, I do think that somehow limiting the creation of virtuals would be the best. Doing so would make sure the "wow-factor" is there, as people wouldn't want to "waste" their virtual. The trickiest part would be the implementation of such a limit.
With any kind of limit based on other geocaching activity, there will be people who fulfill the requirement, but who really don't care about any "wow factor". If you're lucky, then they'll ignore their ability to list a virtual cache. But I would expect some of them to list a virtual cache anyway, but with some other goal in mind.

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Perhaps for every 10 "regular" hides (regular being any currently allowed cache type) you would be allowed to hide one virtual.
I don't think it's a good idea to create incentive for hiding "regular" caches, other than the desire to own and maintain the cache. If this proposal became reality, then someone who wanted to place a virtual cache would only need to list 10 disposable traditional caches first. Or maybe they could just churn their existing traditional caches, archiving them all and re-listing them with a new GC code. The account that owns the ET Highway numbers run trail could list 200 virtual caches.

 

Like I said, there are many imperfections with this plan. However, I do think that somehow limiting the creation of virtuals would be the best. Doing so would make sure the "wow-factor" is there, as people wouldn't want to "waste" their virtual. The trickiest part would be the implementation of such a limit.

 

Luckily that's what the forums are for, to come up with ideas!biggrin.gif

I recently went to find a physical cache within the Oregon Badlands. The local BLM is forcing the archival of all physical caches within the Badlands by June 16, 2014.

My idea is to allow the cache owners forced to archive the caches to put a virtual in their place. If this is not allowed then I will ask for permission to put in at least 1 Earth Cache in the Badlands. I will probably be denied the Earth Cache solely because I have been vocal about physical caches that have been there for more than 9 years that "may" cause damage. When the BLM announced they were shutting down geocaching in the area they said there were virtuals in the Badlands. (Blatant lie).

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Perhaps for every 10 "regular" hides (regular being any currently allowed cache type) you would be allowed to hide one virtual.
I don't think it's a good idea to create incentive for hiding "regular" caches, other than the desire to own and maintain the cache. If this proposal became reality, then someone who wanted to place a virtual cache would only need to list 10 disposable traditional caches first. Or maybe they could just churn their existing traditional caches, archiving them all and re-listing them with a new GC code. The account that owns the ET Highway numbers run trail could list 200 virtual caches.

 

Like I said, there are many imperfections with this plan. However, I do think that somehow limiting the creation of virtuals would be the best. Doing so would make sure the "wow-factor" is there, as people wouldn't want to "waste" their virtual. The trickiest part would be the implementation of such a limit.

 

Luckily that's what the forums are for, to come up with ideas!biggrin.gif

 

The biggest imperfection is linking creation of virtuals to creation of regular caches. The last thing we want is people throwing out more and more lame caches just so they can create a new virtual. If people just want to create virtuals then before long they'll just be throwing out endless lame micros that they don't maintain, which will make the game less fun for everyone.

 

I'd like to see virtuals returned, it's just hard to come up with a useful way to restrict them. A stricter proximity rule might work in remote areas but in more urban areas it would mean one lame virtual would block out lots of good virtuals (in cities like London, New York, Washington DC it's easy to find lots of interesting places where a virtual would have a "wow" factor quite close together). If we don't require a "wow" factor then before long virtuals will be springing up with such exciting series as "McDonalds #4856" and maps will be cluttered with ghost icons. If we do require a "wow" factor we need a way to objectively determine how it is measured, to save reviewers from becoming referees in what is ultimately little more than a matter of opinion.

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To deal with some of the comments above, one could argue that restriction of a new virtual to a location where no physical caches are permitted would be a solution to that part of the problem. One could further, for some initial period of time, restrict that to a location where a physical cache existed but was necessarily replaced by a virtual due to a change in policy.

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To deal with some of the comments above, one could argue that restriction of a new virtual to a location where no physical caches are permitted would be a solution to that part of the problem. One could further, for some initial period of time, restrict that to a location where a physical cache existed but was necessarily replaced by a virtual due to a change in policy.

But in the case of the Oregon badlands it was not a change in policy, but rather the enforcement of policy.

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To deal with some of the comments above, one could argue that restriction of a new virtual to a location where no physical caches are permitted would be a solution to that part of the problem. One could further, for some initial period of time, restrict that to a location where a physical cache existed but was necessarily replaced by a virtual due to a change in policy.

 

As long as it didn't turn into people saying "I can't place a cache inside McDonalds, so I'll make it a virtual" and before we know it the map is splattered with ghost icons for every branch of McDonalds, Charbucks, Burger King etc.

 

Virtuals are another example where caching in rural areas is very different to caching in urban areas. Virtual caches at, say, waterfalls inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park make sense. Virtuals in sensitive areas of London or New York make sense (although the Metropolitan Police have agreements that allow caching within sight of Downing Street and Buckingham Palace).

 

One concern about using virtuals where physical caches are not allowed is that it's seen to encourage landowners to deny physical caches on the basis we can use virtual caches and not having people rummaging around looking for boxes. Personally I'd rather see virtuals allowed in interesting places than a seemingly endless push to find more and more uninventive places to hide film pots.

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To deal with some of the comments above, one could argue that restriction of a new virtual to a location where no physical caches are permitted would be a solution to that part of the problem. One could further, for some initial period of time, restrict that to a location where a physical cache existed but was necessarily replaced by a virtual due to a change in policy.

But in the case of the Oregon badlands it was not a change in policy, but rather the enforcement of policy.

Don't know - not there. You'll have to take that one up with the person who posted -- they left the impression that at some point, they had changed policy.

We have some issues here in Colorado as well - they don't even want virtuals for fear it might actually bring some folks into their territory. What the heck are we paying for?

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To deal with some of the comments above, one could argue that restriction of a new virtual to a location where no physical caches are permitted would be a solution to that part of the problem. One could further, for some initial period of time, restrict that to a location where a physical cache existed but was necessarily replaced by a virtual due to a change in policy.

But in the case of the Oregon badlands it was not a change in policy, but rather the enforcement of policy.

Don't know - not there. You'll have to take that one up with the person who posted -- they left the impression that at some point, they had changed policy.

We have some issues here in Colorado as well - they don't even want virtuals for fear it might actually bring some folks into their territory. What the heck are we paying for?

Probably afraid we're going to bury the virtuals. :)

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As long as it didn't turn into people saying "I can't place a cache inside McDonalds, so I'll make it a virtual" and before we know it the map is splattered with ghost icons for every branch of McDonalds, Charbucks, Burger King etc.

Clearly not what I meant, nor would any admin likely make that mistake. We're talking about territory where physical caches are not permitted on public land.

 

Virtuals are another example where caching in rural areas is very different to caching in urban areas. Virtual caches at, say, waterfalls inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park make sense. Virtuals in sensitive areas of London or New York make sense (although the Metropolitan Police have agreements that allow caching within sight of Downing Street and Buckingham Palace).
Agreed in both sets of circumstances. That's where it might be worthwhile to press the point. Back when Virtuals first started to appear, those were the sorts of locations where we would find them... a site with definite appeal, but with restrictions on leaving something behind.

 

One concern about using virtuals where physical caches are not allowed is that it's seen to encourage landowners to deny physical caches on the basis we can use virtual caches and not having people rummaging around looking for boxes. Personally I'd rather see virtuals allowed in interesting places than a seemingly endless push to find more and more uninventive places to hide film pots.

I'm curious to understand more of what you mean by 'Landowners'. If it's private property you're alluding to, then nothing has changed there. Physical caches shouldn't be placed there without the owner's permission to begin with, and neither should a cacher be expected to traverse the landowner's property to obtain the details for a virtual without that same sort of permission. Further to that, caches should not (but sometimes are) be placed within the confines of a commercial enterprise that would cause contact with the owner.

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Certainly the intent was to allow some kind of caching in places that would be nice to visit but where physical containers weren't allowed or were inappropriate. The problem was there was already a division among geocachers as to whether the point of geocaching was to visit interesting places or if was to find geocaches. Once you allow virtual cache people are going to leave them any place they can argue a physical cache isn't allowed or would be inappropriate. The response was to implement the "wow" requirement. What everyone who wants to bring back virtuals forgets is that it was never easy to define what is "wow". The reviewers are certainly not going to allow themselves to be put in the position of judging wowness again.

 

You might get away with virtuals are only allowed on public land where the land manager has specifically said that physical caches are not allowed but virtual are. There may be problems implementing this on a global basis with differing definitions of public land and with reviewers not sure how to determine the policies of so many agencies. But assuming you could tell if the virtual cache was on public land where the managing agency prohibited physical cache but allowed virtuals, it is still questionable if this is a good policy for Groundspeak. With the option of virtuals, it seems pretty clear that some parks will simply adopt a no physical cache policy. Geocaches need some leverage to open up more land for physical caches. By deprecating the use of virtuals, the option to simply have a virtual only policy is removed. The agencies controlling these areas need only consider if geocaching is compatible with the uses for which this land is managed. There will indeed be some locations where a land manager would find virtual caches compatible while physical containers aren't. I would rather lose these areas than have physical cache removed form lands where physical geocaches are compatible with the managed uses.

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Virtuals are another example where caching in rural areas is very different to caching in urban areas. Virtual caches at, say, waterfalls inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park make sense. Virtuals in sensitive areas of London or New York make sense (although the Metropolitan Police have agreements that allow caching within sight of Downing Street and Buckingham Palace).

I would argue very strongly that a limited number of Virtual caches are entirely appropriate in such locations.

 

I'd be happy if these had to be sanctioned on an individual basis by HQ and/or that existing ones in those sorts of locations could be adopted. I think there's a valuable contribution that can be made in those circumstances.

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As long as it didn't turn into people saying "I can't place a cache inside McDonalds, so I'll make it a virtual" and before we know it the map is splattered with ghost icons for every branch of McDonalds, Charbucks, Burger King etc.

Clearly not what I meant, nor would any admin likely make that mistake. We're talking about territory where physical caches are not permitted on public land.

 

I know it's clearly not what you meant. But unless you can clearly define it in ways that specifically exclude such things, sooner or later reviewers are going to have to either start allowing them or end up in endless arguments over whose interpretation of a vague guideline matters. If there's nowhere to place a physical cache, or agreements like the one made with the Metropolitan Police regarding geocaching in central London ever lapse or get revoked and caching in central London is banned, now you've got swathes of urban areas where physical caches are not permitted on public land. So at a stroke you need something to objectively differentiate a virtual cache based on, say, a war memorial and a virtual cache based on, say, a branch of McDonalds. After all, if one wanted to play devil's advocate, war memorials and branches of McDonalds have several attributes in common.

 

Virtuals are another example where caching in rural areas is very different to caching in urban areas. Virtual caches at, say, waterfalls inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park make sense. Virtuals in sensitive areas of London or New York make sense (although the Metropolitan Police have agreements that allow caching within sight of Downing Street and Buckingham Palace).
Agreed in both sets of circumstances. That's where it might be worthwhile to press the point. Back when Virtuals first started to appear, those were the sorts of locations where we would find them... a site with definite appeal, but with restrictions on leaving something behind.

 

The problem always comes back to defining "definite appeal". What has appeal to some lacks appeal to others. The question of why someone would place a physical geocache in a particular location appears to have devalued into nothing more than "Because there isn't a film pot within 528 feet of here", so why would we assume that things would be different with virtuals? As I mentioned earlier the proximity issue works so very differently in urban and rural areas - in an urban area there may be vast numbers of sites of particular interest very close together whereas in rural areas one breathtaking vista is unlikely to be within 500 feet of another.

 

One concern about using virtuals where physical caches are not allowed is that it's seen to encourage landowners to deny physical caches on the basis we can use virtual caches and not having people rummaging around looking for boxes. Personally I'd rather see virtuals allowed in interesting places than a seemingly endless push to find more and more uninventive places to hide film pots.

I'm curious to understand more of what you mean by 'Landowners'. If it's private property you're alluding to, then nothing has changed there. Physical caches shouldn't be placed there without the owner's permission to begin with, and neither should a cacher be expected to traverse the landowner's property to obtain the details for a virtual without that same sort of permission. Further to that, caches should not (but sometimes are) be placed within the confines of a commercial enterprise that would cause contact with the owner.

 

True, although this may be down to a national issue. In the UK most land is owned by somebody even if it is open for public access, so permission should technically be sought for any cache unless it's in your own front yard. So, for example, in many forested areas it's perfectly acceptable to walk freely through the forest but geocaching is by agreement with one or more official bodies such as the Forestry Commission. If it becomes acceptable to take someone to a point and ask "how many bars on the gate?" it's not a huge stretch of the imagination to see why official bodies would decide they don't want sandwich boxes hidden under trees any more.

 

As it stands major London parks are still open to the public but many have banned the placement of geocaches anywhere within the parks. So there have been a few caches that require people to gather information from inside the parks to then find a cache hidden outside, but given how beautiful the parks are it seems like a poor relation to being able to find a decent cache inside the park.

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Certainly the intent was to allow some kind of caching in places that would be nice to visit but where physical containers weren't allowed or were inappropriate. The problem was there was already a division among geocachers as to whether the point of geocaching was to visit interesting places or if was to find geocaches. Once you allow virtual cache people are going to leave them any place they can argue a physical cache isn't allowed or would be inappropriate. The response was to implement the "wow" requirement. What everyone who wants to bring back virtuals forgets is that it was never easy to define what is "wow". The reviewers are certainly not going to allow themselves to be put in the position of judging wowness again.

 

I think this is a key question. I discovered all sorts of interesting places thanks to geocaching, and back when geocaches were placed in interesting spots I found the game far more enjoyable than I do today. Today so much of the game, in my area at least, appears to be little more than finding somewhere new to hide a film pot behind a sign even if there is little or nothing of note about the area. Of course in the more touristy areas where there are far more points of interest, it's harder to retrieve and rehide a cache without being spotted by hundreds of tourists and frankly less interesting to retrieve a film pot from behind a sign just because "you can sort of see Big Ben from here".

 

Defining the "wow" factor is always the difficult part and it's certainly easy to see why reviewers don't want to become the referee in an argument over whether an area is "interesting" or not.

 

You might get away with virtuals are only allowed on public land where the land manager has specifically said that physical caches are not allowed but virtual are. There may be problems implementing this on a global basis with differing definitions of public land and with reviewers not sure how to determine the policies of so many agencies. But assuming you could tell if the virtual cache was on public land where the managing agency prohibited physical cache but allowed virtuals, it is still questionable if this is a good policy for Groundspeak. With the option of virtuals, it seems pretty clear that some parks will simply adopt a no physical cache policy. Geocaches need some leverage to open up more land for physical caches. By deprecating the use of virtuals, the option to simply have a virtual only policy is removed. The agencies controlling these areas need only consider if geocaching is compatible with the uses for which this land is managed. There will indeed be some locations where a land manager would find virtual caches compatible while physical containers aren't. I would rather lose these areas than have physical cache removed form lands where physical geocaches are compatible with the managed uses.

 

It's hard to see how it would be possible to prohibit virtual caches on public land whatever the land manager may want. If I'm allowed to walk across the land and look at the pretty things visible from the trail, how can anyone prohibit me from noting down how many miles it is to Squiddlyville or how many people from Squiddlyville died fighting the looting party from Fiddlesville? If photography is prohibited it rules out "take a picture of yourself by the memorial" types of virtual but I don't see any way a landowner or manager can stop people noting down information that's clearly visible from public land.

 

From a personal perspective I still find the primary attraction to geocaching is that it takes me to interesting places. If I go to look for a geocache, don't find the cache, but still feel a desire to return to the area then I regard it as a success. If I find the cache and consider the area somewhere I'd revisit, I consider it a success. If all I've done is ticked off a box on a map and have no desire to ever go back, I don't see the point. So on that basis I'd rather see interesting virtuals and accept the loss of physical caches, than lose virtuals from interesting areas and see physical caches ever-more concentrated in strip malls and behind road signs.

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I still don't really understand what all the debate is about.

 

virtual_72.gif simply became a 'virtual stage' in multi_72.gif.

 

No emails to absentee COs necessary. Yeah, you don't get a +1 on your virtual_72.gif, but if that's all that matters then I think you are kind of missing the point of virtual caches...which brings us full circle to one reason why they phased out the virtuals: crappy waymarks for the sole purpose of a +1.

Edited by J Grouchy

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I totally agree, but unfortunately Groundspeak considers Waymarking to the alternative for virtuals, so I doubt it's going to happen any time soon.

 

The problem is they've made it without any consequence, leaving the old virtuals and not moving them to Waymarking. They haven't cleaned up the icons in 'most find types a day' etc., leaving open the rivalisations and challenges that are hard to made. 10 cache types a day, when you have no virtuals, no webcams, and mixing events & mega events is not allowed...

 

Some countries has no virtuals or no webcams, and only a few has a webcam and a virtual in the same city. Wouldn't it be a solution, to limit both of them to 1 per 1M citizens, or 1 per 10k km2, or something similar?

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I still don't really understand what all the debate is about.

 

virtual_72.gif simply became a 'virtual stage' in multi_72.gif.

 

No emails to absentee COs necessary. Yeah, you don't get a +1 on your virtual_72.gif, but if that's all that matters then I think you are kind of missing the point of virtual caches...which brings us full circle to one reason why they phased out the virtuals: crappy waymarks for the sole purpose of a +1.

 

I'd still rather have a virtual cache that takes me somewhere I might find interesting, than a multi of unknown length that may or may not take me somewhere interesting, or that might take me to the breathtaking vista only to then lead me a mile away to a film pot behind a sign.

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I still don't really understand what all the debate is about.

 

virtual_72.gif simply became a 'virtual stage' in multi_72.gif.

 

No emails to absentee COs necessary. Yeah, you don't get a +1 on your virtual_72.gif, but if that's all that matters then I think you are kind of missing the point of virtual caches...which brings us full circle to one reason why they phased out the virtuals: crappy waymarks for the sole purpose of a +1.

 

I'd still rather have a virtual cache that takes me somewhere I might find interesting, than a multi of unknown length that may or may not take me somewhere interesting, or that might take me to the breathtaking vista only to then lead me a mile away to a film pot behind a sign.

 

But you still got to see the breathtaking vista you might not have known about otherwise. Seems like a win-win to me, really.

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I just popped in (TLDR) to cast my vote: Please don't bring back virtuals.

 

Our friendly hosts already have a ghost-town website for virtuals, and there's that goofy geology-virtual thing wedged awkwardly into the concept of "geocaching". Between the two, isn't there enough to keep aficionados of hide-and-seek without the actual hide or seek happy?

 

Thank you.

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I still don't really understand what all the debate is about.

 

virtual_72.gif simply became a 'virtual stage' in multi_72.gif.

 

I do not agree. For a multi cache or any other physical cache a container needs to be hidden.

In many urban settings there is not a single hiodeout within a very large area where I like to hide or search for a cache.

I do own a cache where I hate the hideout and I would have loved to turn it into a multi stage virtual cache with

no container at all.

There are many places where a cache container can be hidden, but I do not like to hide one there.

In urban settings this occurs more often than the case where there exists a hideout I like.

 

No emails to absentee COs necessary.

 

I'm not absent and reply typically within a few hours.

 

Yeah, you don't get a +1 on your virtual_72.gif, but if that's all that matters then I think you are kind of missing the point of virtual caches...which brings us full circle to one reason why they phased out the virtuals: crappy waymarks for the sole purpose of a +1.

 

That's definitely not behind my interest into virtual caches. All my caches have multiple stages and also any new virtual would have more than one stage.

I already own a virtual and icons are of no value for me. So, +1 aspects do not play any role for me.

Edited by cezanne

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I still don't really understand what all the debate is about.

 

virtual_72.gif simply became a 'virtual stage' in multi_72.gif.

 

No emails to absentee COs necessary. Yeah, you don't get a +1 on your virtual_72.gif, but if that's all that matters then I think you are kind of missing the point of virtual caches...which brings us full circle to one reason why they phased out the virtuals: crappy waymarks for the sole purpose of a +1.

 

I'd still rather have a virtual cache that takes me somewhere I might find interesting, than a multi of unknown length that may or may not take me somewhere interesting, or that might take me to the breathtaking vista only to then lead me a mile away to a film pot behind a sign.

 

But you still got to see the breathtaking vista you might not have known about otherwise. Seems like a win-win to me, really.

 

Up to a point. In spectacularly beautiful areas where physical caches aren't permitted (e.g. the Smoky Mountains) none of it works because the people who manage the national park won't allow the physical cache and Groundspeak won't allow the virtual cache.

 

I'm really not interested in Waymarking because last time I looked there was so much dross on the site I have no interest in wading through the garbage to look for the ones I consider worth finding.

 

In many ways for me the bottom line is that geocaching has "evolved" into a game that just isn't much fun any more. I'm wondering if there's any inclination to change it back to when it was more fun, or if the best thing for me to do is accept it's moved in ways I don't like and do something else instead.

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