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turbine495

Bring back virtuals!

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I wish more people focussed on the "wow" than the "me too".

 

I'm not sure that I understood you, sorry.

 

Actually, I had no intention to change how this discussion has flown. Just to give a living example to anyone who might be interested.

Edited by -CJ-

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I wish more people focussed on the "wow" than the "me too".

 

I'm not sure that I understood you, sorry.

 

Actually, I had no intention to change how this discussion has flown. Just to give a living example to anyone who might be interested.

 

You mentioned how in your country people focus on looking for cool places rather than just putting caches everywhere just because they can. I wish more people took the same position. In other words, I like the sound of caching in your area more than my experience of caching in my area.

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It's not about an experience of geocaching. We're talking about two different hobbies. They are tourism (visiting and enjoying interesting places) and geocaching (searching for hidden "treasures").

 

Placing caches everywhere "just because you can" is probably a dark side of geocaching. But simply walking/driving and marking places I visit is in my opinion not geocaching at all.

 

So please be careful with your wishes ;)

Edited by -CJ-

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It's not about an experience of geocaching. We're talking about two different hobbies. They are tourism (visiting and enjoying interesting places) and geocaching (searching for hidden "treasures").

 

Placing caches everywhere "just because you can" is probably a dark side of geocaching. But simply walking/driving and marking places I visit is in my opinion not geocaching at all.

 

So please be careful with your wishes ;)

 

I agree. Careful what you wish for.

 

We've seen what happens when people are allowed to go for the lowest common denominator - i.e. the easiest way to get a smiley.

 

The site will be overrun with virtuals and GS will be pressured to separate the virts from the rest of the caches and probably move the cache type to it's own site...maybe something called "earthmarking" or something like that. bad_boy_animated.gif

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"Public" lands are not "Unmanaged" lands. Laws and regulations manage what you can and cannot do in parks. Parks have designated managers, in some cases, employed at the City, State or Federal level, to protect the publicly accessible lands under the same guidance for everyone. It makes for a level playing field if you will. Just because it's "Public", doesn't mean Joe Public can go to it and do what he wants without repercussions. Some parks don't allow motorized vehicles, where others don't allow horses, or mountain bikes. It depends entirely upon the charter of that park, and how it is to be managed. I have no argument about your website examples. The other web sites provide information for visiting the site, but do not encourage folks to look under rock and log for a box or search for a specific landmark to answer questions required to "find" the cache. Geocaching on the other hand, is known to bring large groups of people to a location all at one time and the impact can be devastating. I know this from personal observation of several cache locations.

I think team tisri's point is not that land managers can't have regulations on the land that they manage. The issue is that you have a location that is publically accessible where someone lists a virtual cache or a waymark. Logging a find simple requires going to the coordinates and perhaps taking a picture or getting some information. These are activities that a visitor to the area may do in the absence of the vitual cache or waymark. So the question has to do with whether a Land Manager has any power to demand that a listing on a website be removed. I keep saying this is a 1st Amendment issue. If there's a cave entrance at some coordinates, why can't I post that on the Internet? The evidence that listing coordinates of sensitive locations does bring more people to these areas (sometimes people who don't appreciate the need to protect these areas) explains the concerns of the Land Managers and possibly a rationale for censoring the internet.

I get that too. The issue with any of this, is there isn't a single parcel of land in this country that isn't under some form of land management thus lands under someone's charter. First Amendment claims can't stop total censorship, but if the commercial enterprise wants to have a friendly relationship with said land manager, then there are certain things they need to abide by. Let's say a taxi decided to not follow the rules in Yellowstone and drives off road just for an example. The company receives a warning, the driver a citation. A second offense could mean the company now loses business inside the park. Now that's an extreme example but the point is the same, to limit damage, Groundspeak has to abide by the land manager's request if they expect to be able to use the land for recreational purposes.

 

This keeps coming back to the whole "if they (Groundspeak) expect to be able to use the land for recreational purposes" issue again.

 

If Groundspeak totally disregard the preferences of land managers where virtual caches are concerned they may find other land managers less willing to play ball where physical caches are concerned. This is a business decision that has nothing to do with what, if any, powers the land managers have to restrict people from noting down that it's three miles to Squiddleville. This becomes a matter of internal policy rather than the land manager having any legal powers to stop people walking the public trail and looking at the signpost.

 

In Washington, our club manager Hydnsek has made great inroads with our local city and state parks including our national parks to the point the feds have relented allowing caches in national parks subject to approval with the local land manager (Ranger in charge). This also required a total rewrite of leaving caches in park systems. Note, this is not just geocaches, but caches of any kind. We're lucky, the ranger at Mt Rainier is a geocacher, but there are limits he has to abide by when allowing a physical cache. Failure to follow that charter means we get kicked out again. It's public land, but it is managed at a Federal level and we have shown through the years we are responsible land care takers by helping clean up, repair and bring back to serviceable usage, areas of the park where requested.

 

Sure, if you've been granted permission to place physical caches you follow the terms of your agreement or the permission is revoked. That's a different issue because hiding a box involves activities over and above walking along the public trail looking at stuff.

 

So yes, in short, the land manager has the power as provided by charter and the regulations the land manager follows are written in detail. Challengable? Yes. How much money are you (generally speaking) willing to throw at it?

 

From what you've posted here it seems the land manager only has the power to be awkward elsewhere.

 

From the post in the middle of all the quotes, I get that some areas are sensitive and bringing huge groups at once can damage/devastate a sensitive area. What I've seen in the UK several times is that sensitive areas are fenced to protect them. In PA I've seen areas of the forest fenced to keep deer out to give new trees chance to grow before they get chewed by deer (with gates, so people can still walk through if they want to). But even in your quoted post you're still talking about people looking under rocks and digging around trying to find a sandwich box, whereas a landmark is typically much more clearly visible. If you say "go to the posted coordinates, enjoy the vista, and tell me how far it is to Squiddleville from the sign" that's a totally different thing to "go to the posted coordinates, enjoy the vista, and try to find the film pot hidden among the rocks. By the way, try not to trample the delicate lichens and flowers." The latter case will inevitably see some knucklehead trashing the place to find the film pot as fast as they can so they can get to the next smiley, but even if the knucklehead does visit the former location he can walk in, read the sign and walk out without touching anything. Sure, Mr Knucklehead might walk off trail because he gets to the vista a bit faster but people like that are going to ignore the trails anyway so they can see the vista without having to waste their time following the approved trails.

Now you're just nit picking. I gave you the cause and affect of how the charters can be changed. Our lands our managed and you're arguing the fact.

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It's not about an experience of geocaching. We're talking about two different hobbies. They are tourism (visiting and enjoying interesting places) and geocaching (searching for hidden "treasures").

 

Placing caches everywhere "just because you can" is probably a dark side of geocaching. But simply walking/driving and marking places I visit is in my opinion not geocaching at all.

 

So please be careful with your wishes ;)

 

I'd still rather see geocaches (physical or virtual) placed to mark an area or location of specific interest, than placed just because there was a spot. And personally I have little interest in "this is the house I grew up, so I hid a film pot behind the sign 100 yards away" types of cache.

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"Public" lands are not "Unmanaged" lands. Laws and regulations manage what you can and cannot do in parks. Parks have designated managers, in some cases, employed at the City, State or Federal level, to protect the publicly accessible lands under the same guidance for everyone. It makes for a level playing field if you will. Just because it's "Public", doesn't mean Joe Public can go to it and do what he wants without repercussions. Some parks don't allow motorized vehicles, where others don't allow horses, or mountain bikes. It depends entirely upon the charter of that park, and how it is to be managed. I have no argument about your website examples. The other web sites provide information for visiting the site, but do not encourage folks to look under rock and log for a box or search for a specific landmark to answer questions required to "find" the cache. Geocaching on the other hand, is known to bring large groups of people to a location all at one time and the impact can be devastating. I know this from personal observation of several cache locations.

I think team tisri's point is not that land managers can't have regulations on the land that they manage. The issue is that you have a location that is publically accessible where someone lists a virtual cache or a waymark. Logging a find simple requires going to the coordinates and perhaps taking a picture or getting some information. These are activities that a visitor to the area may do in the absence of the vitual cache or waymark. So the question has to do with whether a Land Manager has any power to demand that a listing on a website be removed. I keep saying this is a 1st Amendment issue. If there's a cave entrance at some coordinates, why can't I post that on the Internet? The evidence that listing coordinates of sensitive locations does bring more people to these areas (sometimes people who don't appreciate the need to protect these areas) explains the concerns of the Land Managers and possibly a rationale for censoring the internet.

I get that too. The issue with any of this, is there isn't a single parcel of land in this country that isn't under some form of land management thus lands under someone's charter. First Amendment claims can't stop total censorship, but if the commercial enterprise wants to have a friendly relationship with said land manager, then there are certain things they need to abide by. Let's say a taxi decided to not follow the rules in Yellowstone and drives off road just for an example. The company receives a warning, the driver a citation. A second offense could mean the company now loses business inside the park. Now that's an extreme example but the point is the same, to limit damage, Groundspeak has to abide by the land manager's request if they expect to be able to use the land for recreational purposes.

 

This keeps coming back to the whole "if they (Groundspeak) expect to be able to use the land for recreational purposes" issue again.

 

If Groundspeak totally disregard the preferences of land managers where virtual caches are concerned they may find other land managers less willing to play ball where physical caches are concerned. This is a business decision that has nothing to do with what, if any, powers the land managers have to restrict people from noting down that it's three miles to Squiddleville. This becomes a matter of internal policy rather than the land manager having any legal powers to stop people walking the public trail and looking at the signpost.

 

In Washington, our club manager Hydnsek has made great inroads with our local city and state parks including our national parks to the point the feds have relented allowing caches in national parks subject to approval with the local land manager (Ranger in charge). This also required a total rewrite of leaving caches in park systems. Note, this is not just geocaches, but caches of any kind. We're lucky, the ranger at Mt Rainier is a geocacher, but there are limits he has to abide by when allowing a physical cache. Failure to follow that charter means we get kicked out again. It's public land, but it is managed at a Federal level and we have shown through the years we are responsible land care takers by helping clean up, repair and bring back to serviceable usage, areas of the park where requested.

 

Sure, if you've been granted permission to place physical caches you follow the terms of your agreement or the permission is revoked. That's a different issue because hiding a box involves activities over and above walking along the public trail looking at stuff.

 

So yes, in short, the land manager has the power as provided by charter and the regulations the land manager follows are written in detail. Challengable? Yes. How much money are you (generally speaking) willing to throw at it?

 

From what you've posted here it seems the land manager only has the power to be awkward elsewhere.

 

From the post in the middle of all the quotes, I get that some areas are sensitive and bringing huge groups at once can damage/devastate a sensitive area. What I've seen in the UK several times is that sensitive areas are fenced to protect them. In PA I've seen areas of the forest fenced to keep deer out to give new trees chance to grow before they get chewed by deer (with gates, so people can still walk through if they want to). But even in your quoted post you're still talking about people looking under rocks and digging around trying to find a sandwich box, whereas a landmark is typically much more clearly visible. If you say "go to the posted coordinates, enjoy the vista, and tell me how far it is to Squiddleville from the sign" that's a totally different thing to "go to the posted coordinates, enjoy the vista, and try to find the film pot hidden among the rocks. By the way, try not to trample the delicate lichens and flowers." The latter case will inevitably see some knucklehead trashing the place to find the film pot as fast as they can so they can get to the next smiley, but even if the knucklehead does visit the former location he can walk in, read the sign and walk out without touching anything. Sure, Mr Knucklehead might walk off trail because he gets to the vista a bit faster but people like that are going to ignore the trails anyway so they can see the vista without having to waste their time following the approved trails.

Now you're just nit picking. I gave you the cause and affect of how the charters can be changed. Our lands our managed and you're arguing the fact.

 

I'm not nit picking at all. I'm just asking for reasons how, if land is open to the public, the public can be told they're not allowed to write down the information on the sign. All people have done so far is provide longer forms of "land managers demand the caches are removed, so the caches are removed" without saying anything relating to what gives the land managers the right to make the demand in the first place.

 

I'm not arguing that the land is managed. I'm trying to understand what gives the land manager the right to tell the public, who are allowed to walk across the land, that they aren't allowed to write down what the sign says as they walk across the land.

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I'd still rather see geocaches (physical or virtual) placed to mark an area or location of specific interest, than placed just because there was a spot

 

Be sure, I'd also rather go hiking to the mountains and enjoy nice views, nature and the air of freedom than spend all my day collecting 50 power trail micros along some dusty road.

 

Mind that if virtuals are allowed the game may get thousands of virtuals placed just because there was a spot, and very quickly since virtuals are much easier to create and don't need maintenance. So every second "cache" will be "count these steps" or "count those windows" or "count the high pillars". EarthCache is a good compromise in my opinion (as for virtuals) and education about good geocaching practice is a perspective way of thinking (as for geocaching at whole).

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I'm not nit picking at all. I'm just asking for reasons how, if land is open to the public, the public can be told they're not allowed to write down the information on the sign. All people have done so far is provide longer forms of "land managers demand the caches are removed, so the caches are removed" without saying anything relating to what gives the land managers the right to make the demand in the first place.

 

I'm not arguing that the land is managed. I'm trying to understand what gives the land manager the right to tell the public, who are allowed to walk across the land, that they aren't allowed to write down what the sign says as they walk across the land.

I gave you the reason. You're choosing to ignore it. I'm out of this thread from this point forward.

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If I'm ever elected President of these United States, I will issue a Presidential order to Groundspeak to reinstate virtuals.

 

Further, each user would only be able to post 1 to start. After 100 likes are posted on that virtual you can post another and so on...

 

Oh, and I'll legalize weed in all 50 states.

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each user would only be able to post 1 to start. After 100 likes are posted on that virtual you can post another and so on...

I like this idea, however, the 100 "likes" doesn't make sense to me when the Geocaching favorite point system can replace it. How about 10 favorite points?

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I'm not nit picking at all. I'm just asking for reasons how, if land is open to the public, the public can be told they're not allowed to write down the information on the sign. All people have done so far is provide longer forms of "land managers demand the caches are removed, so the caches are removed" without saying anything relating to what gives the land managers the right to make the demand in the first place.

 

I'm not arguing that the land is managed. I'm trying to understand what gives the land manager the right to tell the public, who are allowed to walk across the land, that they aren't allowed to write down what the sign says as they walk across the land.

I gave you the reason. You're choosing to ignore it. I'm out of this thread from this point forward.

 

I don't see a reason, I see endless statements that "land managers make these demands" with nothing to back what gives them the right to stop people walking on the public land. But if you're bowing out (and I see the thread moved on while I wasn't looking) there's no point us both stating and restating the same positions. You think it's answered, I don't see an answer, so I guess we just call it a stalemate.

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I'd still rather see geocaches (physical or virtual) placed to mark an area or location of specific interest, than placed just because there was a spot

 

Be sure, I'd also rather go hiking to the mountains and enjoy nice views, nature and the air of freedom than spend all my day collecting 50 power trail micros along some dusty road.

 

Mind that if virtuals are allowed the game may get thousands of virtuals placed just because there was a spot, and very quickly since virtuals are much easier to create and don't need maintenance. So every second "cache" will be "count these steps" or "count those windows" or "count the high pillars". EarthCache is a good compromise in my opinion (as for virtuals) and education about good geocaching practice is a perspective way of thinking (as for geocaching at whole).

 

You're probably right, just like we get endless power trails that serve no apparent purpose beyond making it possible to find several hundred caches in a day we'd probably get endless virtuals where you could just walk down an average High Street and pick off the local McDonalds, the local Starbucks, the local Burger King and so on. At least those who were inclined could find them without constantly fussing with soggy film pots.

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If I'm ever elected President of these United States, I will issue a Presidential order to Groundspeak to reinstate virtuals.

 

Further, each user would only be able to post 1 to start. After 100 likes are posted on that virtual you can post another and so on...

 

Oh, and I'll legalize weed in all 50 states.

 

It might be interesting to have a "like" and "dislike" option on virtual caches, effectively giving it a +1 and -1 score. If the score goes below some designated value (maybe -10) the cache gets tagged for archiving (not automatically archived, so a human could make a final check to make sure the system wasn't being abused). If a hider had more than maybe 5 virtual caches archived for being boring they'd lose the right to place any more virtuals. If placing virtuals was a premium member only feature it would discourage people from just creating a new account and also add a new benefit for premium members.

 

I'd also be inclined to make the voting a PM only function to prevent abuse from people who might want to mark a cache down so they could grab the area.

 

As an extra feature it would be good to say that if a virtual was archived for being inappropriate the system would automatically disallow any new virtuals within the normal 0.1 mile exclusion zone. This would mean that if there was a compelling reason not to list a virtual in a particular spot (examples of sensitive vegetation, hibernating bats etc have already been given) then it wouldn't be possible to just create a new cache a few feet away.

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If I'm ever elected President of these United States, I will issue a Presidential order to Groundspeak to reinstate virtuals.

 

Further, each user would only be able to post 1 to start. After 100 likes are posted on that virtual you can post another and so on...

 

Oh, and I'll legalize weed in all 50 states.

 

It might be interesting to have a "like" and "dislike" option on virtual caches, effectively giving it a +1 and -1 score. If the score goes below some designated value (maybe -10) the cache gets tagged for archiving (not automatically archived, so a human could make a final check to make sure the system wasn't being abused). If a hider had more than maybe 5 virtual caches archived for being boring they'd lose the right to place any more virtuals. If placing virtuals was a premium member only feature it would discourage people from just creating a new account and also add a new benefit for premium members.

Well said. I support this decision 100%.

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here. (Petition closed)

Edited by SeaBoundBeaver

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here.

Good luck with that...

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here.

When you get a reviewer signing your petition you might stand a chance. Until then, ain't going to happen.

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here.

I have recently (well 4 years ago) uploaded a video explaining why new virtual caches are no longer published on geocaching.com. You can view the video

. Edited by tozainamboku

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here.

I have recently (well 4 years ago) uploaded a video explaining why new virtual caches are no longer published on geocaching.com. You can view the video

.

That video just states the basic "go to Waymarking.com" stuff. I don't want to go to Waymarking.com. It is not as upgraded as geocaching.com. I'm fine with not getting a smiley for a virtual, but I just want virtuals to stay on geocaching.com.

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here.

 

The Bring Back Virtuals request in the old feedback forum had over 1800 votes (4/15/2011). Although the update Wherigo thread had more votes, it was still pretty popular - I supported it. Groundspeak listened . . . and we got Geocaching Challenges (enough said about that).

 

So I won't sign the petition, although virtuals are the one the type of cache I will go out of my way to find and do not think that there would be insurmountable problems if there was an actual commitment to keeping them as part of this game.

Edited by geodarts

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here.

I have recently (well 4 years ago) uploaded a video explaining why new virtual caches are no longer published on geocaching.com. You can view the video

.

That video just states the basic "go to Waymarking.com" stuff. I don't want to go to Waymarking.com. It is not as upgraded as geocaching.com. I'm fine with not getting a smiley for a virtual, but I just want virtuals to stay on geocaching.com.

You missed the point of the video, which enumerated the many problems that virtual caches had. If I were making this video today, I would not emphasize Waymaking so much. I believe the video does point out that Waymarking is lacking in several aspects including very little integration with the Geocaching.com site. I agree with you that having to go another site and deal with virtual/waymarks in a completed different way than you deal with geocaches is not satisfactory to those who want all their geolocating experience in one spot.

 

I noticed that at the start of this thread I posted that I find the whole bring back virtual discussion have gotten boring. It's the endless petitions like this with no attempt to address the issues that virtual cache had that I find boring.

 

Virtual cache were grandfathered for a reason. Several reasons. Watch the video again and learn of the problems they caused reviewers and others. At least try to propose some change to overcome these problems. Starting a petition that doesn't address these issues is a fool's errand.

 

Just one more note of warning. If you think you have a solution for these problems, think again. That solution has probably been proposed and shot down. The most likely solution we have heard so far, is to replicate EarthCaches and have an outside group of experts handle the virtual caches in some category like HistoryCache or ArchitectureCache. However, AFAIK, nobody has followed up by finding a qualified group to manage a new category of caches.

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Just one more note of warning. If you think you have a solution for these problems, think again. That solution has probably been proposed and shot down. The most likely solution we have heard so far, is to replicate EarthCaches and have an outside group of experts handle the virtual caches in some category like HistoryCache or ArchitectureCache. However, AFAIK, nobody has followed up by finding a qualified group to manage a new category of caches.

 

The Geological Society itself took the lead with earthcaches, from within its own membership, before it began working in partnership with Groundspeak and land managers. As a result, they were able to provide administrative costs, expertise, and organizational development, which is far different from someone else finding a qualified group. So if the earthcache model is to be followed, then it needs to start someplace other than these forums.

 

Many solutions have been proposed - I am not sure who has shot them down since that implies an active engagement with decision makers beyond what I have seen on this forum. Nothing will ever find consensus here. However, as a starting point, I would allow adoption to keep existing virtuals as part of this game. Some other ideas might be intriguing, such as limiting premium members to one virtual and requiring express permission of every land manager or owner; demonstrating that a traditional cache is not viable, perhaps with a two mile saturation zone from any physical container and/or reference to established land policy; peer review or a process that is distinct from the present volunteer group.

 

Various things could be explored as part of a discussion that brainstorms guidelines and structure, but that is a different from the basic question of whether virtuals should return. The latter is more of a philosophical question - although an important one. I often think that where there is a will, there is a way.

 

Allowing existing virtuals to be adopted would provide part the answer since Groundspeak now uses attrition as the way to slowly remove virtuals from this game. Unless the underlying issue is addressed any serious discussion about nuts and bolts seems to be another fool's errand.

Edited by geodarts

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here.

I have recently (well 4 years ago) uploaded a video explaining why new virtual caches are no longer published on geocaching.com. You can view the video

.

That video just states the basic "go to Waymarking.com" stuff. I don't want to go to Waymarking.com. It is not as upgraded as geocaching.com. I'm fine with not getting a smiley for a virtual, but I just want virtuals to stay on geocaching.com.

You missed the point of the video, which enumerated the many problems that virtual caches had. If I were making this video today, I would not emphasize Waymaking so much. I believe the video does point out that Waymarking is lacking in several aspects including very little integration with the Geocaching.com site. I agree with you that having to go another site and deal with virtual/waymarks in a completed different way than you deal with geocaches is not satisfactory to those who want all their geolocating experience in one spot.

 

I noticed that at the start of this thread I posted that I find the whole bring back virtual discussion have gotten boring. It's the endless petitions like this with no attempt to address the issues that virtual cache had that I find boring.

 

Virtual cache were grandfathered for a reason. Several reasons. Watch the video again and learn of the problems they caused reviewers and others. At least try to propose some change to overcome these problems. Starting a petition that doesn't address these issues is a fool's errand.

 

Just one more note of warning. If you think you have a solution for these problems, think again. That solution has probably been proposed and shot down. The most likely solution we have heard so far, is to replicate EarthCaches and have an outside group of experts handle the virtual caches in some category like HistoryCache or ArchitectureCache. However, AFAIK, nobody has followed up by finding a qualified group to manage a new category of caches.

 

If you've got a video transcript and it isn't hugely long I'll be happy to read it. I have no interest in watching videos of people talking, especially when they talk as slowly as the two characters in your video.

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I have recently uploaded a petition to resolve this issue. You can view the petition here.

I have recently (well 4 years ago) uploaded a video explaining why new virtual caches are no longer published on geocaching.com. You can view the video

.

That video just states the basic "go to Waymarking.com" stuff. I don't want to go to Waymarking.com. It is not as upgraded as geocaching.com. I'm fine with not getting a smiley for a virtual, but I just want virtuals to stay on geocaching.com.

You missed the point of the video, which enumerated the many problems that virtual caches had. If I were making this video today, I would not emphasize Waymaking so much. I believe the video does point out that Waymarking is lacking in several aspects including very little integration with the Geocaching.com site. I agree with you that having to go another site and deal with virtual/waymarks in a completed different way than you deal with geocaches is not satisfactory to those who want all their geolocating experience in one spot.

 

I noticed that at the start of this thread I posted that I find the whole bring back virtual discussion have gotten boring. It's the endless petitions like this with no attempt to address the issues that virtual cache had that I find boring.

 

Virtual cache were grandfathered for a reason. Several reasons. Watch the video again and learn of the problems they caused reviewers and others. At least try to propose some change to overcome these problems. Starting a petition that doesn't address these issues is a fool's errand.

 

Just one more note of warning. If you think you have a solution for these problems, think again. That solution has probably been proposed and shot down. The most likely solution we have heard so far, is to replicate EarthCaches and have an outside group of experts handle the virtual caches in some category like HistoryCache or ArchitectureCache. However, AFAIK, nobody has followed up by finding a qualified group to manage a new category of caches.

The thing about looking for EarthCaches is that they are rare in my area. They are probably rare since they are actually hard to place because Groundspeak is picky of where an EarthCache is located. What Groundspeak should do is encourage more EarthCaches to be placed, that way everybody is happy. How will they do that? I'm not exactly sure at this point. But, you're definitely right, EarthCaches are like VirtualCaches.

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The thing about looking for EarthCaches is that they are rare in my area. They are probably rare since they are actually hard to place because Groundspeak is picky of where an EarthCache is located. What Groundspeak should do is encourage more EarthCaches to be placed, that way everybody is happy. How will they do that? I'm not exactly sure at this point. But, you're definitely right, EarthCaches are like VirtualCaches.

 

Earthcaches are indeed a type of virtual -- but one with a very specific educational focus. Given that, both Groundspeak and the Geological Society of America (GSA) do a great job of encouraging people to develop them.

 

Because earthcaches are focused on earth science, they can be hard to place. I know some areas deep within NPS land near where I live that would have made great virtuals -- especially after the park service removed the physical containers that once were there -- but they concern history or culture rather than earth science. I know of other areas that offer some stunning geology, but since I am not a geologist I am still trying to learn enough about the sites to make things work.

 

Within this process, though, I have always had the full support of the GSA and the land managers. I recently developed an earthcache at a unique pictograph site in a remote area of the Canyonlands in Utah. The spot would have been a "natural" for a virtual if it had been possible to do that. Earth science, however, contributed to our understanding of the location and I was able to use that to create an earthcache. So it is not that either Groundspeak or the GSA are picky about the location, but they are committed to the educational component and want to make sure that an earth science lesson is being conveyed.

 

In an ideal world. the earthcache model would be adapted to other things. A history cache, for instance, might encompass many of the better virtuals I have found. But as tozainamboku pointed out, it needs a group with sufficient resources and expertise to develop a proposal that Groundspeak could consider. I doubt if anyone would want to see every historical marker turned into some kind of virtual.

 

In the meantime, virtuals and earthcaches have enhanced the game for me in any number of ways. They are the first thing that I identify when traveling through an area. I think the game will be significantly diminished when the last regular virtual is archived.

 

As I wrote above, there are steps that Groundspeak could do with no major changes to keep virtuals as part of caching, such as allowing existing virtuals to be adopted when COs can no longer maintain them. And if there was a commitment to returning virtuals a part of this game, then I don't think the problems commonly associated with them are insurmountable.

Edited by geodarts

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It's not about an experience of geocaching. We're talking about two different hobbies. They are tourism (visiting and enjoying interesting places) and geocaching (searching for hidden "treasures").

 

Placing caches everywhere "just because you can" is probably a dark side of geocaching. But simply walking/driving and marking places I visit is in my opinion not geocaching at all.

 

So please be careful with your wishes ;)

 

I agree. Careful what you wish for.

 

We've seen what happens when people are allowed to go for the lowest common denominator - i.e. the easiest way to get a smiley.

 

The site will be overrun with virtuals and GS will be pressured to separate the virts from the rest of the caches and probably move the cache type to it's own site...maybe something called "earthmarking" or something like that. bad_boy_animated.gif

Yes, the site exist, it is a Groundspeak site an its name is Waymarking !!!

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It's not about an experience of geocaching. We're talking about two different hobbies. They are tourism (visiting and enjoying interesting places) and geocaching (searching for hidden "treasures").

 

Placing caches everywhere "just because you can" is probably a dark side of geocaching. But simply walking/driving and marking places I visit is in my opinion not geocaching at all.

 

So please be careful with your wishes ;)

 

I agree. Careful what you wish for.

 

We've seen what happens when people are allowed to go for the lowest common denominator - i.e. the easiest way to get a smiley.

 

The site will be overrun with virtuals and GS will be pressured to separate the virts from the rest of the caches and probably move the cache type to it's own site...maybe something called "earthmarking" or something like that. bad_boy_animated.gif

Yes, the site exist, it is a Groundspeak site an its name is Waymarking !!!

That's a cheap shot at Waymarking showing you haven't really looked a the site or thought about how is can be used.

 

The first point is that Waymarking is not Virtual Caches. The Waymarking is site is primarily set up to get people to make list of geographic coordinates that fit in certain categories. By definition that means you will get lots of listings and that people will find some of the categories mundane. However unlike geocaching where all of these places are virtual caches (or sometimes EarthCaches), there are hundred of categories and they are arranged heirarchally to let you search for categories that you might find interesting. You can ignore all those mundane categories and find some categories with far fewer waymarks that you might really be interested in visiting.

 

The next point (where I think Waymarking has fallen short of its potential), it that some of these categories could have been "Wow" waymarks, with whatever definition you think made virtual caches "wow". If you like surprises ther could have be a "surprise" category, if you like educational experices you could have a "learn something new" category, if you liked finding those places where your would think "I had no idea this was here", you could have a "Best Kept Secrets" category (this one exists). There is no agreement on what makes a "good" virtual or what is "wow", but because Waymarking allows the community to define and manage each category, it could be used to experiment with different ideas of what makes something "wow". Of course, these are still Waymarking categories, so they don't respond to the geocacher who can't be bothered with going to a different website (even one that uses their same Groundspeak account), to find cacheless locations to visit.

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This may be a silly question and has been asked before but here goes anyway.

Can anybody (perhaps somebody in Groundspeak) tell me how many grandfathered virtual caches still remain in the world?

Edited by bushman002

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I don't see a reason, I see endless statements that "land managers make these demands" with nothing to back what gives them the right to stop people walking on the public land.

Let's start with this overgeneralization. First, land managers can close off any piece of land under their control if their charter and chain of command allow for this. They can and do, FREQUENTLY. In some areas, they take it some pretty amazing extremes. But I don't think (at least I hope not) that's what you meant to say, nor does it address the issue.

 

Land Managers can determine, again, within the scope of their authority within their chain of command, exact what sorts of activities are permitted on any piece of land they control. I don't think anyone is arguing that these are always sensible decisions, only that they can and are being made.

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This may be a silly question and has been asked before but here goes anyway.

Can anybody (perhaps somebody in Groundspeak) tell me how many grandfathered virtual caches still remain in the world?

 

4,791

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I don't see a reason, I see endless statements that "land managers make these demands" with nothing to back what gives them the right to stop people walking on the public land.

Let's start with this overgeneralization. First, land managers can close off any piece of land under their control if their charter and chain of command allow for this. They can and do, FREQUENTLY. In some areas, they take it some pretty amazing extremes. But I don't think (at least I hope not) that's what you meant to say, nor does it address the issue.

 

If the land manager can close off sweeping areas of public land then obviously they do have authority to make a virtual cache inaccessible even if they have no authority to require an external web site to stop listing it. But if the land manager has the right to close off huge amounts of land it raises the question of just how public the land really is.

 

Land Managers can determine, again, within the scope of their authority within their chain of command, exact what sorts of activities are permitted on any piece of land they control. I don't think anyone is arguing that these are always sensible decisions, only that they can and are being made.

 

I can see that a land manager can specify that it's not permitted to throw a frisbee, or hide a sandwich box under a dead tree, or ride a mountain bike over the delicate flowers. The bit that makes less sense is that if a "permitted use" is to walk across the land following the trail how can it be a "prohibited use" to walk along the exact same trail and write down what the sign says? If a virtual cache requires nothing more than walking along the designated trail, enjoying the breathtaking vista at the end of the trail and then making a note of just what the sign pointing to the vista says, how can the land manager differentiate between the person using the land to enjoy the view and the person using the land to enjoy the view and write down what the sign says?

 

Fundamentally if there's a trail you're either allowed to walk along the trail or you're not allowed to walk along the trail. I don't see how the land manager can specify that you're allowed to walk along the trail as long as you promise not to look at the signpost along the way.

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If the land manager can close off sweeping areas of public land then obviously they do have authority to make a virtual cache inaccessible even if they have no authority to require an external web site to stop listing it. But if the land manager has the right to close off huge amounts of land it raises the question of just how public the land really is. . . .

 

Fundamentally if there's a trail you're either allowed to walk along the trail or you're not allowed to walk along the trail. I don't see how the land manager can specify that you're allowed to walk along the trail as long as you promise not to look at the signpost along the way.

 

Some people have questioned the permission requirement for earthcaches using similar reasoning. As I understand it, though, the National Park Service conditioned their partnership with earthcaching on a requirement for express approval of the listings. There are good reasons for this.

 

Most importantly, to me, is that it assures communication. As a result, this site can make sure that a listing is in an area that is accessible to the public. It also gives the agency a means of dealing with a situation should that change. Land managers in my area have closed down large areas of land to remove certain trails, prevent people from entering areas that have been hit particularly hard with sudden oak death, protect endangered nesting areas, limit damage to historical sites, or as part of general conservation efforts. There are other areas that are not officially closed, but not publicized because of certain archaeological and cultural interests - everything from debris sites of crashed military planes, old lime kilns, or areas important to Native Americans.

 

A cache listing may need to take all these concerns into account. It may not always be advisable to list certain things even if access is permissible. That does not mean the land is any less public, but that public use is subject to rational restrictions.

 

Working with agencies also has given me the benefit of the their resources. I have had some of my earthcaches reviewed by park service geologists and other park officials have recommended certain things that have made the caches better. The same could be true of other virtuals.

 

If virtuals ever returned,however, I think that express permission from land owners or managers would also help with quality control. To the extent that people are concerned about "lame virtuals" flooding the site, permission would help ensure that more thought and effort is put into developing a cache.

Edited by geodarts

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Most importantly, to me, is that it assures communication. As a result, this site can make sure that a listing is in an area that is accessible to the public. It also gives the agency a means of dealing with a situation should that change. Land managers in my area have closed down large areas of land to remove certain trails, prevent people from entering areas that have been hit particularly hard with sudden oak death, protect endangered nesting areas, limit damage to historical sites, or as part of general conservation efforts. There are other areas that are not officially closed, but not publicized because of certain archaeological and cultural interests - everything from debris sites of crashed military planes, old lime kilns, or areas important to Native Americans.

 

The concept and role of land managers in the US plays a key role here. For example, in my country except in national parks one does not even need to stick to trails in forests and on mountains.

In Scandinavia the freedom is even much larger.

In many European countries the situation is rather like this: If caches are placed in critical areas, it relies on cachers who visit the caches to report the problems.

 

 

Cezanne

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If the land manager can close off sweeping areas of public land then obviously they do have authority to make a virtual cache inaccessible even if they have no authority to require an external web site to stop listing it. But if the land manager has the right to close off huge amounts of land it raises the question of just how public the land really is. . . .

 

Fundamentally if there's a trail you're either allowed to walk along the trail or you're not allowed to walk along the trail. I don't see how the land manager can specify that you're allowed to walk along the trail as long as you promise not to look at the signpost along the way.

 

Some people have questioned the permission requirement for earthcaches using similar reasoning. As I understand it, though, the National Park Service conditioned their partnership with earthcaching on a requirement for express approval of the listings. There are good reasons for this.

 

Most importantly, to me, is that it assures communication. As a result, this site can make sure that a listing is in an area that is accessible to the public. It also gives the agency a means of dealing with a situation should that change. Land managers in my area have closed down large areas of land to remove certain trails, prevent people from entering areas that have been hit particularly hard with sudden oak death, protect endangered nesting areas, limit damage to historical sites, or as part of general conservation efforts. There are other areas that are not officially closed, but not publicized because of certain archaeological and cultural interests - everything from debris sites of crashed military planes, old lime kilns, or areas important to Native Americans.

 

A cache listing may need to take all these concerns into account. It may not always be advisable to list certain things even if access is permissible. That does not mean the land is any less public, but that public use is subject to rational restrictions.

 

Working with agencies also has given me the benefit of the their resources. I have had some of my earthcaches reviewed by park service geologists and other park officials have recommended certain things that have made the caches better. The same could be true of other virtuals.

 

If virtuals ever returned,however, I think that express permission from land owners or managers would also help with quality control. To the extent that people are concerned about "lame virtuals" flooding the site, permission would help ensure that more thought and effort is put into developing a cache.

 

All these things make sense. My concern isn't so much about the relative advantages or disadvantages of working with a land manager to get the best out of their land and protect it from unexpected harm, it was about whether a land manager actually had the power to effectively say that you're allowed to walk along the trail as long as you don't take a picture of the signpost.

 

I like the idea of permission being used to help with quality control. Seeking permission would be more about an internal policy decision rather than a situation where denial of permission could be enforced, but as you say it would go a long way towards reducing the number of lame virtuals placed "just because I can". I can also see a potential benefit if someone finds a beautiful spot and asks permission only to be asked "if that's what you want, why not put it over here instead" and encouraged to use a more beautiful spot instead. If all the virtual will do is bring people to the area and nobody is going to be digging in the rock piles or rummaging around under fallen trees, maybe land managers would help people find the most beautiful parts of the lands they manage, and guide them to places that people will enjoy being without sending lots of extra traffic through more delicate areas.

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But if the land manager has the right to close off huge amounts of land it raises the question of just how public the land really is.

In my area, at least, "public" is very much in the eye of the beholder. When our tax dollars are used to buy up the land to take it out of private hands, the resulting "public" land is then often fenced off and effectively closed down to public access. In fact, we've had a rather large conversion of land from private to public in this area. You'd have had a better chance of visiting some of it when it was in private hands. While the county claims that 55% of the open space they have purchased is accessible to the public, that's with the caveat that such access may be restricted to specific trails, and is sometimes even restricted to a fenced-in trail through a very small swath of the much larger space ... so the 55% figure is very misleading. You can't begin to even see 55% of it, much less visit that amount.

 

http://www.bouldercounty.org/doc/parks/allosmap.pdf

 

That goes hand in hand with a few other things that have taken place in the area:

County roads have apparently been turned over (by what legal mechanism, I haven't a clue) to private landowners with subsequent creation by local landowners of gates with daisy-chained locks to block access. Those same roads still show up as county roads on county maps after the fact, and can create some very difficult routing situations to circumnavigate very large areas of land.

Roads that have existed in the mountains since the turn of the century (the 1800-1900 turn, mind you) gated off and closed down (this started in the 1980's) by public agencies. You can still see the tracks from the old wagon wheels in some places -- and it's not as though new trails were being blazed by the back woods folks. Most have been very careful about this.

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I don't think there is any dispute that public land agencies can restrict access or require vistors to remain on trails. The question is given a virtual cache that takes you to a place where the public is permitted to be, why would you need permission to post the coordinates of that place on a web page and invite others to go to the location to take a picture or get some information off a sign.

 

EarthCaches, and some of the suggestions for bringing back virtuals, require you get permission. That seems silly to some people. It is not clear if the land managers are the ones asking for these guidelines or if the reason for permission is to limit the numbers of virtual/EarthCache by making them harder to place. What happens when you ask permission and the land manager says no (or just ignores your request)? You may have a constitutional right to post the coordinates on the internet anyway, but if the website has listing guidelines that require you get permission then you are going to have to list your virtual cache somewhere else (maybe as a Waymark :unsure:)

Edited by tozainamboku

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I don't think there is any dispute that public land agencies can restrict access or require vistors to remain on trails.

 

Even that depends on the country, see e.g.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam

 

My question related to the most severe restrictions - even if the public is only allowed to walk across a piece of land using one designated trail it's still hard to see how the land manager can argue that you're only allowed to walk along the trail if you don't look at the signpost where the trail splits.

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I don't think there is any dispute that public land agencies can restrict access or require vistors to remain on trails.

 

Even that depends on the country, see e.g.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam

 

My question related to the most severe restrictions - even if the public is only allowed to walk across a piece of land using one designated trail it's still hard to see how the land manager can argue that you're only allowed to walk along the trail if you don't look at the signpost where the trail splits.

 

I simply think that different countries are different. It apparently differs what land managers can ask for and what power they have and how important it is to fulfill their wishes.

My reply above was directed to the statement that there land managers can restrict access and require visitors to remain on trails.

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I don't think there is any dispute that public land agencies can restrict access or require vistors to remain on trails.

 

Even that depends on the country, see e.g.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam

 

My question related to the most severe restrictions - even if the public is only allowed to walk across a piece of land using one designated trail it's still hard to see how the land manager can argue that you're only allowed to walk along the trail if you don't look at the signpost where the trail splits.

 

I simply think that different countries are different. It apparently differs what land managers can ask for and what power they have and how important it is to fulfill their wishes.

My reply above was directed to the statement that there land managers can restrict access and require visitors to remain on trails.

And I don't see what right to roam has to do with it. So what if a country has established a right for the public to access wilderness areas. This seems to have a bigger impact on private land owners than on publicly owned land, and in any case the the Wikipedia article seemed to indicate there may be all sorts of exceptions. I'm pretty sure that in these countries, the government could restrict access either temporarily or permanently should they want to. A private landowner might have a bigger hurdle, perhaps having to get some government office to grant him a license to restict access to his land. But perhaps the right to roam is absolute in those countries, like owning a gun in the US. They'll take away my right to roam when they pry my hiking boots off my cold dead feet.

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They'll take away my right to roam when they pry my hiking boots off my cold dead feet.

Around here, they'll just write you a ticket, 相撲-san.

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Although I do not really understand why new virtual caches were disallowed, I think there is a place for them. As advertised, there are geocaches all over the world, but most people who have done much international traveling will tell you that there are many places with few or none. This is especially true in countries where there is little local interest in geocaching, many of which have endemic poverty or high crime rates, or simply lots of people sitting around doing nothing. In places like that, traditional caches are hard to maintain, and usually go missing in short order. In such places, virtual caches would be the only real opportunity for tourists or short-term visitors to place or find a cache in that country. It is usually easy to find something unique in almost any area--a statue, a historic building, a remarkable landmark, etc.--and such things make excellent virtual caches. For these reasons, I think virtual caches should again be authorized.

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It is usually easy to find something unique in almost any area--a statue, a historic building, a remarkable landmark, etc.--and such things make excellent virtual caches

 

Virtuals are like weed. You allow weed because in some really specific situations it's too hard for anything useful to grow (because of the soil, for example) so you're happy with weed which grows easily and gives nice flowers. After a while you see that weed is everywhere within your land. Soon after that you are trying to persuade your neighbours that weed is your agriculture.

 

Don't be narrow-focused, limited on your piece of land. See how weed behaves itself at the other side of the fence.

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It is usually easy to find something unique in almost any area--a statue, a historic building, a remarkable landmark, etc.--and such things make excellent virtual caches

 

Virtuals are like weed. You allow weed because in some really specific situations it's too hard for anything useful to grow (because of the soil, for example) so you're happy with weed which grows easily and gives nice flowers. After a while you see that weed is everywhere within your land. Soon after that you are trying to persuade your neighbours that weed is your agriculture.

 

Don't be narrow-focused, limited on your piece of land. See how weed behaves itself at the other side of the fence.

What do you think micros along a bike trail are? Give me a good virtual anytime. How many there are shouldn't even enter into the picture as long as they are good ones, and if they aren't good ones that's the reviewer's fault.

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...and if they aren't good ones that's the reviewer's fault.

 

I love this "let's shoot the messenger" attitude <_< We wouldn't want to place blame on the cache owner for submitting a virtual that requires us to take our picture next to a dead animal carcass or an email the CO with the brand name of an old shoe (reference to the usual "bad" virtuals that once existed).

 

If they ever did bring back Virtuals, I wonder how people would feel about them if they imposed a 528 foot proximity to them. Hmmmm....I'm guessing not so popular then.

 

Sorry, just thinking out loud.

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It is usually easy to find something unique in almost any area--a statue, a historic building, a remarkable landmark, etc.--and such things make excellent virtual caches

 

Virtuals are like weed. You allow weed because in some really specific situations it's too hard for anything useful to grow (because of the soil, for example) so you're happy with weed which grows easily and gives nice flowers. After a while you see that weed is everywhere within your land. Soon after that you are trying to persuade your neighbours that weed is your agriculture.

 

Don't be narrow-focused, limited on your piece of land. See how weed behaves itself at the other side of the fence.

What do you think micros along a bike trail are? Give me a good virtual anytime. How many there are shouldn't even enter into the picture as long as they are good ones, and if they aren't good ones that's the reviewer's fault.

 

Are you suggesting that reviewers should determine whether or not a cache should be published based on quality? While that might sound like a good idea in theory I imagine that we'd lose a lot of reviewers that have been subjected to verbal abuse from potential cache owners that were told that their cache would not be published because it wasn't "good enough".

 

 

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...and if they aren't good ones that's the reviewer's fault.

 

I love this "let's shoot the messenger" attitude <_< We wouldn't want to place blame on the cache owner for submitting a virtual that requires us to take our picture next to a dead animal carcass or an email the CO with the brand name of an old shoe (reference to the usual "bad" virtuals that once existed).

 

If they ever did bring back Virtuals, I wonder how people would feel about them if they imposed a 528 foot proximity to them. Hmmmm....I'm guessing not so popular then.

 

Which is why new virtuals are no longer a part of this game. Many of us who want to see virtuals return would not want reviewers to act as gatekeepers with a wow factor, nor would we want every potential object to suddenly become a virtual.

 

The infamous carcass or shoe (were they ever listed on this site?) would not, of course, meet a permanency requirement. But I have seen virtuals that are nothing more than a mailbox number in a location with no particular reason to visit, just as I have seen virtuals that have enhanced this game and expanded it to areas where a physical container is not appropriate.

 

Virtuals are popular in many ways because they are rare. The wow factor did not work out, but I think its possible to keep existing virtuals as part of this game and ensure that new ones would be limited as a rare exception to the general requirements for a physical container.

Edited by geodarts

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It is usually easy to find something unique in almost any area--a statue, a historic building, a remarkable landmark, etc.--and such things make excellent virtual caches

 

Virtuals are like weed. You allow weed because in some really specific situations it's too hard for anything useful to grow (because of the soil, for example) so you're happy with weed which grows easily and gives nice flowers. After a while you see that weed is everywhere within your land. Soon after that you are trying to persuade your neighbours that weed is your agriculture.

 

Don't be narrow-focused, limited on your piece of land. See how weed behaves itself at the other side of the fence.

What do you think micros along a bike trail are? Give me a good virtual anytime. How many there are shouldn't even enter into the picture as long as they are good ones, and if they aren't good ones that's the reviewer's fault.

 

I don't think we can blame the reviewer, unless we expect them to visit every single cache location to check on the "wow" factor. If we're going to do that I'd also like them to check the location of every new physical cache so we can lose the uninspiring film pots behind signs.

 

Even then if you read the thread here: http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=323254 - where one of the UK reviewers resigned over issues with the document detailing what is expected of reviewers, it would probably need a change of mindset at the highest levels to make this happen. The push over the last few years towards quantity over quality doesn't inspire confidence that the powers that be have any desire to maintain geocaching as a way of finding interesting places, it looks like they just want to be able to claim bigger and bigger numbers.

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This may be a silly question and has been asked before but here goes anyway.

Can anybody (perhaps somebody in Groundspeak) tell me how many grandfathered virtual caches still remain in the world?

 

4,791

 

Oh, Moun10Bike, you're awesome! biggrin.gif

 

 

Also, it's great to know that Groundspeak is listening in on this post. I'd like to see some sort of resolution made. I live in the Adirondack Mountains. In the "High Peaks Zone" any sort of "temporary storage of containers for any sort of game or sport" such as geocaching or letterboxing. It would be nice to put some virtuals in the awesome spots in the park.

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