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turbine495

Bring back virtuals!

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...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.

 

Something like that?

 

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Mount Marcy - highest point in New York State

 

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Bog River and Lows Lake, Adirondacks, NY

 

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Faces of the Future in the Adirondacks - Inlet, NY

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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of reviewers that have been subjected to verbal abuse from potential cache owners that were told that their cache would not be published because it wasn't "good enough".

No, I'm not suggesting it, I'm saying it. That's one of the reasons virtuals went down the tube. That's why they're called reviewers, if there were no controls on caches of any type where do you think the game would end up? If a person wanting to publish a virtual were required to state exactly what the virtual consisted of, I'm sure it would have eliminated, as one moderator put it, an old tennis shoe in the woods. I can't see where that would put an undue strain on the reviewer. I have done many virtuals and can only remember one that was really a dud. Other then that I would say 99.9% of them were entertaining or informative and took me to places that weren't in the tourist books. I firmly believe all of the tennis shoe in the woods stuff was blown out of proportion to cover up the fact TPTB just wanted to get rid of them. It was stated by one of the lackeys that as long as there were virtuals, physical caches wouldn't be allowed in National Parks.

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Are you suggesting that reviewers should determine whether or not a cache should be published based on quality? ...

No, I'm not suggesting it, I'm saying it.

One can pack any baloney they like into the description of a cache listing. To really know whether a virtual meets some subjective standard, the admin would actually have to visit or have visited the site. Does that really sound practical?

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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".

No, I'm not suggesting it, I'm saying it.

 

The need for reviewers to decide whether virtuals were worthy or not is the whole reason they ended up getting banned in the first place. The "wow factor" story has been told so many times...I won't bother repeating it.

 

I personally would love to see virtuals make a comeback in some way. If a practical way to do so is discovered, I'd be happy to get behind the idea.

Edited by ADKer

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Are you suggesting that reviewers should determine whether or not a cache should be published based on quality? ...

No, I'm not suggesting it, I'm saying it.

One can pack any baloney they like into the description of a cache listing. To really know whether a virtual meets some subjective standard, the admin would actually have to visit or have visited the site. Does that really sound practical?

That's a bunch of baloney, unless the person that wants to publish the virtual flat lies about it, with a full description it shouldn't be too hard to figure out if the virtual has any merit. The members should have some input on them, if the description says one thing and ten or fifteen cachers contradict that then archive it. Cachers report unsafe caches or violations of the rules on caches so why not bogus virtuals? As I said before, TPTB had other motives to do away with virtuals and any attempt to bring them back is beating a dead horse

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As I said before, TPTB had other motives to do away with virtuals ...

 

My imagination runs wild :rolleyes:

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That's why they're called reviewers, if there were no controls on caches of any type where do you think the game would end up?

 

Probably with a lot of hides in parking lots and lamp posts. Which is why reviewers do not review for quality. I think it would be possible to bring virtuals back with well-defined set of guidelines - to keep them rare and encourage quality - the wow factor would not be one of them. Unless Groundspeak wants to appoint me to be the virtual dictator, with the power to impose my own standards without appeal or complaint.

 

It was stated by one of the lackeys that as long as there were virtuals, physical caches wouldn't be allowed in National Parks.

 

I have heard that, but it has not exactly worked out. It does not seem worth debating at this point, except to note that my state park system was able to develop caching guidelines that distinguished between places where physical caches are allowed and places that are only appropriate for virtuals. The NPS park managers could do that as well, and I am not sure I would want physical containers in many areas of our parks. In any event, the NPS superintendent in my area considers physical containers to be litter. with the potential to be environmentally damaging, so he has vowed never to approve physical caches as long as he has the job. Still . . .

 

As I said before, TPTB had other motives to do away with virtuals and any attempt to bring them back is beating a dead horse

 

Exactly. I would welcome even a change to keep most of the existing virtuals as part of this game. But we asked for virtuals and got geocaching challenges . . . . which really says it all.

Edited by geodarts

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What do you think micros along a bike trail are?

 

They are geocaches. Virtuals are not.

 

In all these discussions there are (at least) two arguements that IMHO should not be used.

 

1) "I like virtuals because they take me to so many wonderful places". It's not a unique feature of a virtual - to take someone to a beautiful place. All geocaches can do the same. Tourist guides can help with this too. Today there are many websites that may become great companions in one's trips, even provide GPS coordinates.

 

2) "Look at that dusty powertrail micros, are they better than virtuals?" Probably not, but it's a question of quality but not of a cache type. Give green light to virtuals and you'll witness how owners of that poor micros quickly publish tons of even poorer virtuals.

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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".

No, I'm not suggesting it, I'm saying it. That's one of the reasons virtuals went down the tube. That's why they're called reviewers, if there were no controls on caches of any type where do you think the game would end up? If a person wanting to publish a virtual were required to state exactly what the virtual consisted of, I'm sure it would have eliminated, as one moderator put it, an old tennis shoe in the woods. I can't see where that would put an undue strain on the reviewer. I have done many virtuals and can only remember one that was really a dud. Other then that I would say 99.9% of them were entertaining or informative and took me to places that weren't in the tourist books. I firmly believe all of the tennis shoe in the woods stuff was blown out of proportion to cover up the fact TPTB just wanted to get rid of them. It was stated by one of the lackeys that as long as there were virtuals, physical caches wouldn't be allowed in National Parks.

 

I'd like to see virtuals brought back in some form but expecting reviewers to be referees of whether a cache is "good enough" will just generate a lot of extra grief for minimal benefit. It would be nice if there were some form of quality control on caches now but it's practically impossible to implement. If we require reviewers to quality-test virtuals we'd end up in a silly situation where a place could be utterly uninspiring, a virtual asking "how many bolts on the guard rail" would have to go through a quality control process (and hopefully fail it) but someone could hide a leaky film pot on the guard rail and it would be published without question.

 

I see the argument that a film pot is a geocache while a question about bolts isn't but if the ultimate question behind it all has to be "why are you bringing people here?" then arguably both should fail the test on the basis both are utterly uninteresting. Even if the film pot were swapped for a suitably waterproof and durable container the location wouldn't be any more interesting and the justification for the cache would still be nothing more than the absence of any other caches within a 528-foot radius. So under the guidelines such a cache would be discouraged anyway.

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The lab caches (those I've seen) where de facto virtuals, only with other name.

 

What's the point of blocking virtuals, and in the same time allowing them, but under other name, and only for a short period of time?

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The lab caches (those I've seen) where de facto virtuals, only with other name.

 

What's the point of blocking virtuals, and in the same time allowing them, but under other name, and only for a short period of time?

 

Regarding the first part of your question....

 

 

I can only speculate on the second part of your question, but I'm guessing it has something to do with threads such as this one, that crop up every now and then, and Groundspeak's attempt at "Customer Service" :ph34r:

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The lab caches (those I've seen) where de facto virtuals, only with other name.

 

What's the point of blocking virtuals, and in the same time allowing them, but under other name, and only for a short period of time?

 

Regarding the first part of your question....

 

 

I can only speculate on the second part of your question, but I'm guessing it has something to do with threads such as this one, that crop up every now and then, and Groundspeak's attempt at "Customer Service" :ph34r:

 

If that's the case, at least they're trying things out and testing to see how their new ideas would work. Better than just releasing something and hoping that everything would be fine.

 

Fingers crossed they figure out a good way to bring back virtual-type caches!

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Another vote for bringing virtuals back. It would be fine with me if the requirements were really strict so that there aren't too many.

 

What if there were a more streamlined way to send a picture/info to the CO to prove that you completed the virtual? I could imagine the CO creating a form that everyone must correctly fill out to log the cache.

 

Thoughts?

 

-pancakes&bacon

Edited by pancakes&bacon

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Another vote for bringing virtuals back. It would be fine with me if the requirements were really strict so that there aren't too many.

 

What if there were a more streamlined way to send a picture/info to the CO to prove that you completed the virtual? I could imagine the CO creating a form that everyone must correctly fill out to log the cache.

 

Thoughts?

 

-pancakes&bacon

 

A form would be prone to all sorts of errors - if the virtual asked for the person who laid the foundation stone and the correct answer was Joe Blow then a human would be able to realise that "Joe Blwo" was a typo whereas a computer would just reject the answer as being wrong.

 

That said a cacher local(ish) to me adopted a few virtuals and set up an automated system to deal with the answers. He required people to email a specific address (which may have varied for each cache, I forget) with their caching name. It runs in my mind he may have set up email address based on the answer to the virtual, so in the example above you'd email joeblow@whateverdomain with your caching name as the subject. The email address had an autoresponder that would confirm you were correct and could log the cache, and of course if he got a Found log for the cache without a corresponding email to joeblow@whateverdomain he could delete it right away. Of course that requires having your own domain, but if people wanted a virtual and didn't have their own domain I'm sure someone could set up something like that for them, for a nominal fee.

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A form would be prone to all sorts of errors - if the virtual asked for the person who laid the foundation stone and the correct answer was Joe Blow then a human would be able to realise that "Joe Blwo" was a typo whereas a computer would just reject the answer as being wrong.

 

That said a cacher local(ish) to me adopted a few virtuals and set up an automated system to deal with the answers. He required people to email a specific address (which may have varied for each cache, I forget) with their caching name. It runs in my mind he may have set up email address based on the answer to the virtual, so in the example above you'd email joeblow@whateverdomain with your caching name as the subject. The email address had an autoresponder that would confirm you were correct and could log the cache, and of course if he got a Found log for the cache without a corresponding email to joeblow@whateverdomain he could delete it right away. Of course that requires having your own domain, but if people wanted a virtual and didn't have their own domain I'm sure someone could set up something like that for them, for a nominal fee.

 

Fair enough. It was just one solution I came up with on the fly. If the form system were implemented, Geocaching.com would (hopefully) not let someone log the cache without correctly submitting the form.

 

Really, I just want virtuals back. :)

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The problem with virtual caches wasn't the task of verifying the information provided by finders.

 

The problem with virtual caches was the drama involved in reviewing them, and in dealing with unhappy cache owners whose virtual cache listings were not published.

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A form would be prone to all sorts of errors - if the virtual asked for the person who laid the foundation stone and the correct answer was Joe Blow then a human would be able to realise that "Joe Blwo" was a typo whereas a computer would just reject the answer as being wrong.

 

That said a cacher local(ish) to me adopted a few virtuals and set up an automated system to deal with the answers. He required people to email a specific address (which may have varied for each cache, I forget) with their caching name. It runs in my mind he may have set up email address based on the answer to the virtual, so in the example above you'd email joeblow@whateverdomain with your caching name as the subject. The email address had an autoresponder that would confirm you were correct and could log the cache, and of course if he got a Found log for the cache without a corresponding email to joeblow@whateverdomain he could delete it right away. Of course that requires having your own domain, but if people wanted a virtual and didn't have their own domain I'm sure someone could set up something like that for them, for a nominal fee.

 

Fair enough. It was just one solution I came up with on the fly. If the form system were implemented, Geocaching.com would (hopefully) not let someone log the cache without correctly submitting the form.

 

Really, I just want virtuals back. :)

 

Me too, although I'd like to see controls on them so we don't get overrun with them put in utterly interesting places like the QR-code based game that must not be named here. In urban areas it would be more interesting to view a monument or point of historical interest and focus on it, rather than seeing it and then trying to find a nano while hundreds of muggles interested in the history wonder why that person is tying their shoelaces for the 14th time in as many minutes.

 

Thinking about the form system, if the form rejected "Joe Blwo" because the correct answer was "Joe Blow" the person submitting would at least have the chance to realise they mistyped and try again. And much like geochecker, it could restrict the number of attempts to stop people making endless guesses. Maybe two or three goes per 10 minutes would make sense - if you get it wrong once take care to retype correctly the second time because if you get that wrong you'll be waiting 10 minutes before you can claim the cache.

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A form would be prone to all sorts of errors - if the virtual asked for the person who laid the foundation stone and the correct answer was Joe Blow then a human would be able to realise that "Joe Blwo" was a typo whereas a computer would just reject the answer as being wrong.

 

That said a cacher local(ish) to me adopted a few virtuals and set up an automated system to deal with the answers. He required people to email a specific address (which may have varied for each cache, I forget) with their caching name. It runs in my mind he may have set up email address based on the answer to the virtual, so in the example above you'd email joeblow@whateverdomain with your caching name as the subject. The email address had an autoresponder that would confirm you were correct and could log the cache, and of course if he got a Found log for the cache without a corresponding email to joeblow@whateverdomain he could delete it right away. Of course that requires having your own domain, but if people wanted a virtual and didn't have their own domain I'm sure someone could set up something like that for them, for a nominal fee.

 

Fair enough. It was just one solution I came up with on the fly. If the form system were implemented, Geocaching.com would (hopefully) not let someone log the cache without correctly submitting the form.

 

Really, I just want virtuals back. :)

 

Me too, although I'd like to see controls on them so we don't get overrun with them put in utterly interesting places like the QR-code based game that must not be named here. In urban areas it would be more interesting to view a monument or point of historical interest and focus on it, rather than seeing it and then trying to find a nano while hundreds of muggles interested in the history wonder why that person is tying their shoelaces for the 14th time in as many minutes.

 

Thinking about the form system, if the form rejected "Joe Blwo" because the correct answer was "Joe Blow" the person submitting would at least have the chance to realise they mistyped and try again. And much like geochecker, it could restrict the number of attempts to stop people making endless guesses. Maybe two or three goes per 10 minutes would make sense - if you get it wrong once take care to retype correctly the second time because if you get that wrong you'll be waiting 10 minutes before you can claim the cache.

This sounds like a viable solution to me. I'm sure Groundspeak could implement stuff like this fairly easily, and I think it would be worth being able to create a virtual again.

 

I wouldn't be against a find limit either. Like, you have to find so many caches (or virtuals) to be allowed to create one. Maybe it would be a premium member only feature to create one.

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The problem with virtual caches wasn't the task of verifying the information provided by finders.

 

The problem with virtual caches was the drama involved in reviewing them, and in dealing with unhappy cache owners whose virtual cache listings were not published.

There were multiple issues with virtuals (see my video). Certainly once the "wow" requirement was in place, reviewers had the unenviable task of deciding if a submitted virtual cache was "wow". But other issue had to do with enforcing logging requirements.

 

If a virtual cache required an answer to log, the cache onwer was supposed to respond to email. Many did not, so it became common to log the cache and say "anwswer was sent". Using an answer to verify a virtual also led to the practice of "couch potato" logs. If you could find the answer on the Internet or some where else, some people felt the could log a find even without visiting the cache location. Even when the guidelines were changed to make it clear that you had to visit the virtual site, "couch potato" logging continued.

 

Many virtuals had "certificates of achievment" - usually a Word document that was password protected. The password was the verification. These caches were the most likely to be "couch potato" logged. In some cases, people would guess the password and even share the password. I suspect a form to verify would see the same kind of abuse.

Edited by tozainamboku

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The problem with virtual caches wasn't the task of verifying the information provided by finders.

 

The problem with virtual caches was the drama involved in reviewing them, and in dealing with unhappy cache owners whose virtual cache listings were not published.

There were multiple issues with virtuals (see my video). Certainly once the "wow" requirement was in place, reviewers had the unenviable task of deciding if a submitted virtual cache was "wow". But other issue had to do with enforcing logging requirements.

 

If a virtual cache required an answer to log, the cache onwer was supposed to respond to email. Many did not, so it became common to log the cache and say "anwswer was sent". Using an answer to verify a virtual also led to the practice of "couch potato" logs. If you could find the answer on the Internet or some where else, some people felt the could log a find even without visiting the cache location. Even when the guidelines were changed to make it clear that you had to visit the virtual site, "couch potato" logging continued.

 

Many virtuals had "certificates of achievment" - usually a Word document that was password protected. The password was the verification. These caches were the most likely to be "couch potato" logged. In some cases, people would guess the password and even share the password. I suspect a form to verify would see the same kind of abuse.

 

This is all well and good but physical caches have pretty much the same problems.

 

The majority of caches placed these days lack the "wow" factor, and frankly if I'm being taken to somewhere that leaves me wondering why the cache setter bothered I'd rather be able to claim the find by counting the bolts on the guard rail then being expected to fumble around among the spider webs looking for a film pot or a nano. If a cache is in an inspiring area the container is a bonus, and if a cache is utterly uninspiring at least counting bolts on a guard rail is less unpleasant than fumbling around hoping there's nothing nasty lurking in the darkness, waiting to bite me as I hunt the nano.

 

Many cache owners don't seem to check the online logs against the physical logbook so it's not as if you can't cheat with physical logs the way you can with virtuals. Certainly if you wanted to claim you'd logged a powertrail it's hard to see anyone verifying it, and with the number of micros and nanos out there all you need to do is find one with the "needs maintenance" flag set, then claim a find confirming the previous NM that noted the log was wet and saying your pen wouldn't write on the wet log.

 

If people were sharing passwords for virtuals or giving each other the answers, how is that any different to two people doing a trail starting from opposite ends, and both then claiming all the finds? Or one person going out caching and signing caches for their friend, who then logs them having never even moved from their armchair?

 

I won't dispute that there are issues with verifying logs, but they apply to physical caches just as much as to virtual caches. And if we're going to allow powertrails that are nothing more than a series of film pots attached to the roadside guard rail by the roadside, exactly 528 feet apart, why bother with so many film pots when you could just spraypaint a number on the guardrail? It would mean you could claim the powertrail at speed even if you didn't have a carefully designed number of people in the car, and save you bothering to stop and get out every 528 feet. It's not as if it would be any less inspiring than finding 800 film pots in 24 hours.

Edited by team tisri

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I'd be all about virtual caches making a return! Some of my favorite caches were virtuals. I thought they really encouraged cachers to explore and learn rather than just look for a hidden container. Don't get me wrong, I like both, but I feel much more comfortable doing a virtual in a place like a graveyard or at a monument than looking for a pill bottle, y'know?

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