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Virtual caching


bremilldrum

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Virtual caches have been disallowed for some time now. There are quite a few that have been grandfathered. They cannot be adopted.

 

Check your area map(s) for a ghost icon.

 

The original idea behind virtual caches was to take you someplace nice, yet perhaps sensitive to having an object (cache) at the site. As usual, the virtual caches submitted after a while became, well... let's just say "anything".

 

 

This probably should've been in the Geocaching Topics forum.

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee
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Imagine a virtual cache at every lamppost in every parking lot in the world. That's what would have happened had virtuals still been allowed today.

Virtuals were meant to be somewhere significant that you couldn't place a traditional cache, say at the base of the washington monument looking towards the lincoln memorial, or somewhere on private property where you couldn't place a cache. The virtual was logged usually by the cache finder answering a question or sending in a picture. Check walt disney world - there are five virtuals there because placing a cache on disney property would be an awful thing to keep up with and Disney wouldn't want people being seen hiding things in brush, etc. But, much like lamp skirt caches, virtuals got overly prolific and took away from container caches. the EarthCache sort of replaced virtuals, requiring someone to answer questions about what they saw. I miss the ability to have virtuals, but at the same time, seeing some of the carpetbombing road caches (again, check florida, some roads are just lines of hundreds of caches with no purpose other than boosting numbers) maybe preventing virtual carpet bombing isnt a bad thing. Imagine Disney World with a virtual cache at every ride entrance...

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Imagine a virtual cache at every lamppost in every parking lot in the world. That's what would have happened had virtuals still been allowed today.

Virtuals were meant to be somewhere significant that you couldn't place a traditional cache, say at the base of the washington monument looking towards the lincoln memorial, or somewhere on private property where you couldn't place a cache. The virtual was logged usually by the cache finder answering a question or sending in a picture. Check walt disney world - there are five virtuals there because placing a cache on disney property would be an awful thing to keep up with and Disney wouldn't want people being seen hiding things in brush, etc. But, much like lamp skirt caches, virtuals got overly prolific and took away from container caches. the EarthCache sort of replaced virtuals, requiring someone to answer questions about what they saw. I miss the ability to have virtuals, but at the same time, seeing some of the carpetbombing road caches (again, check florida, some roads are just lines of hundreds of caches with no purpose other than boosting numbers) maybe preventing virtual carpet bombing isnt a bad thing. Imagine Disney World with a virtual cache at every ride entrance...

In the first place I don't believe the original intent for virtuals was to place them in Disney world or in a lamp post, the reviewer should have disallowed them. I found the many virtuals that I did while traveling took me to many interesting places that I would have normally not found. Crummy virtuals existed because the reviewers allowed them. I believe virtuals were dropped because TPTB didn't want them anymore. Bottom line, I'll take a virtual any day over a bison tube in a bush.

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Imagine a virtual cache at every lamppost in every parking lot in the world. That's what would have happened had virtuals still been allowed today.

Virtuals were meant to be somewhere significant that you couldn't place a traditional cache, say at the base of the washington monument looking towards the lincoln memorial, or somewhere on private property where you couldn't place a cache. The virtual was logged usually by the cache finder answering a question or sending in a picture. Check walt disney world - there are five virtuals there because placing a cache on disney property would be an awful thing to keep up with and Disney wouldn't want people being seen hiding things in brush, etc. But, much like lamp skirt caches, virtuals got overly prolific and took away from container caches. the EarthCache sort of replaced virtuals, requiring someone to answer questions about what they saw. I miss the ability to have virtuals, but at the same time, seeing some of the carpetbombing road caches (again, check florida, some roads are just lines of hundreds of caches with no purpose other than boosting numbers) maybe preventing virtual carpet bombing isnt a bad thing. Imagine Disney World with a virtual cache at every ride entrance...

In the first place I don't believe the original intent for virtuals was to place them in Disney world or in a lamp post, the reviewer should have disallowed them. I found the many virtuals that I did while traveling took me to many interesting places that I would have normally not found. Crummy virtuals existed because the reviewers allowed them. I believe virtuals were dropped because TPTB didn't want them anymore. Bottom line, I'll take a virtual any day over a bison tube in a bush.

 

There are two realities you will never get an honest "yes, that is true: about why virtuals went away. Reviewers will pitch and yell about the whole "wow factor" thing when the reality is they were getting tired of being complained about because they had to be subjective, so a bunch of them threatened to quite reviewing which would have put Groundspeak in a pickle. The second, which to me is more plausible, is the fact the virtuals didn't yield any possible profit for Groundspeak (mo containers, no possible sales of signal on a lock and lock).

 

There is another kind of virtual cache that is active still - earthcaches. They are containerless (in fact, Groundspeak nearly dumped them once but GSA throw a major tizzy over it and, thankfully, Groundspeak kept them).

 

The only official word you will ever get out of Groundspeak on "virtuals" is to "go visit Waymarking.com and you can submit and find all the the virtuals you want" - when the reality is, you have to wade through incoherent and irrelevant "waymarks" before you find anything interesting. 10 mins on Waymarking is enough to make anyone want to watch justin bieber videos on youtube. ;-)

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Virtual caches have been disallowed for some time now. There are quite a few that have been grandfathered. They cannot be adopted.

 

Check your area map(s) for a ghost icon.

 

The original idea behind virtual caches was to take you someplace nice, yet perhaps sensitive to having an object (cache) at the site. As usual, the virtual caches submitted after a while became, well... let's just say "anything".

 

 

+1. The roadkill virtuals, amongst others, were the beginning of the end. All you see now are, in the main, the creme de la creme of Virtuals, a snapshot if you will, and it gives people warm fuzzies. Luckily, they won't be back (unless in some new, twisted permutation via the Lab Cache).

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Imagine a virtual cache at every lamppost in every parking lot in the world. That's what would have happened had virtuals still been allowed today.

Virtuals were meant to be somewhere significant that you couldn't place a traditional cache, say at the base of the washington monument looking towards the lincoln memorial, or somewhere on private property where you couldn't place a cache. The virtual was logged usually by the cache finder answering a question or sending in a picture. Check walt disney world - there are five virtuals there because placing a cache on disney property would be an awful thing to keep up with and Disney wouldn't want people being seen hiding things in brush, etc. But, much like lamp skirt caches, virtuals got overly prolific and took away from container caches. the EarthCache sort of replaced virtuals, requiring someone to answer questions about what they saw. I miss the ability to have virtuals, but at the same time, seeing some of the carpetbombing road caches (again, check florida, some roads are just lines of hundreds of caches with no purpose other than boosting numbers) maybe preventing virtual carpet bombing isnt a bad thing. Imagine Disney World with a virtual cache at every ride entrance...

 

Right - it's a small world after all.

 

(Now that tune will be rattling around in your brain for a week - mwahahahahaha!) :laughing:

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Instead of those awful terrible virt caches, we have super HQ lamp posts in walmarts, pill bottles in guardrails and wisents in trees! Thank GOODNESS those virts went away!

My favorites... the bison tube in a thick stand of pines, with the following hint: "near the base of a pice tree".

 

And of the you are right about the lamp skirt micro... i.e. "let's appear to be up to no good, and at the same time let's reach around and try to find the cache before the black window"

 

I do miss a good box in the woods. I found a cache in a decent spot today, a bison tube hanging from a tree. It could easily been a small lock and lock or a small jar instead... but they went for the micro.

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Instead of those awful terrible virt caches, we have super HQ lamp posts in walmarts, pill bottles in guardrails and wisents in trees! Thank GOODNESS those virts went away!

My favorites... the bison tube in a thick stand of pines, with the following hint: "near the base of a pice tree".

 

And of the you are right about the lamp skirt micro... i.e. "let's appear to be up to no good, and at the same time let's reach around and try to find the cache before the black window"

 

I do miss a good box in the woods. I found a cache in a decent spot today, a bison tube hanging from a tree. It could easily been a small lock and lock or a small jar instead... but they went for the micro.

 

Its not even thats so much as the double standard of "bad quality virtual caches" coming out of the one side of a mouth and then the jumping up and down, rah rah yay numbers games of power trails that are pill bottles on guard rails.

 

If you are going to cite quality, don't pick and choose which TYPES of caches it applies to. I would gaurntee there are a heck of a lot more bad quality traditionalS than there ever were virtuals total. I.E. for every "road kill virtual" or "sneakers on a wire" virt - i bet there are 500 lamp post skirts.

Edited by nthacker66
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Its not even thats so much as the double standard of "bad quality virtual caches" coming out of the one side of a mouth and then the jumping up and down, rah rah yay numbers games of power trails that are pill bottles on guard rails.

 

If you are going to cite quality, don't pick and choose which TYPES of caches it applies to. I would gaurntee there are a heck of a lot more bad quality traditionalS than there ever were virtuals total. I.E. for every "road kill virtual" or "sneakers on a wire" virt - i bet there are 500 lamp post skirts.

It's not really worth responding to someone who has decided that the virtuals they've found are generally much better that the sorts of traditionals that are put out by the "for the numbers" crowd, but it's Sunday morning and since I can't go out geocaching, I've nothing better to do.

 

If virtuals were still allowed and did not have any "wow" requirement, don't you think that the for-the-numbers crowd would be putting out tons of "lame" virtuals just for the numbers? Wouldn't it make more sense to create containerless power trails than to spend time getting a bunch of containers and logs and having to hide each of them?

 

You suggested in an earlier post that is very easy for reviewers to simply not publish virtuals that weren't interesting. Since you weren't around as Groundspeak tried many different approaches to define a "wow" requirement, I chalk this up to naivety. As the owner of the Best Kept Secrets Waymarking category, I can tell you that no matter what criteria you list for virtual quality or "wowness", people will submit whatever they like for virtual caches. Even those who read and understand the requirements will have a difference of opinion on how to interpret them. I do not doubt for a minute that someone would argue why a lamppost or mile marker is significant and needs a virtual cache there. This takes up a reviewers time. They have read the appeal and generally will follow up on the claims to see if the lamppost really does have something unique about it. Imaging someone submitting 100 lammposts each with a unique story.

 

I own a physical cache - a bison tube on a fence at the end of a dead-end street. The cache page has a write-up on where the dog Toto from Wizard of Oz may be buried. If virtual caches were allowed, I suppose my write-up could have been used to justify making this dead-end street a virtual cache. The problem is that reviewer would need to decide if my claim that Toto is buried here is true and if that is the case then whether or not this is a significant enough reason for making a virtual cache here.

 

I suspect that it wouldn't be hard for a reviewer to turn down a virtual here - there is only speculation on where Toto is buried, there is nothing significant to see on the street that can be associated with Toto, and it is possible to hide a traditional (micro) cache at the location. But it still would have taken a reviewer some time to reach this conclusion and to pick out a a canned response that conveyed the reasons it was denied.

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If virtuals were still allowed

 

I think I can say what could happen because virtuals have never been banned at our national geocaching website so I have real life examples in front of me.

 

The worst thing IMHO are not "just for numbers" powertrails - you would have them in any scenario. It's more about cache quality and changes in the core of the sport. In our story, the described "Lincoln-Disney" criteria soon was widened to different situations when it seemed difficult to a CO to place a cache - for example, if the place was muggled or it was too much snow. So, it became a nice option to place a virtual and don't care about learning stealth techniques or preparing clever hides/containers. It also seemed easier to place a virtual instead of thinking about a cache as of an all-seasoned hide. There appeared numerous "alternative questions" for traditional caches: e.g. one could approach the hide, see it was muggled (or didn't find it) and answer a "virtual question" instead of posting DNF/NM or calling the CO (or just searching better). After some years there grew a generation of cachers who got enough experience of very simple virtuals and half-virtuals and used to think they all caches must be of the same sort so they didn't need to put any efforts in hiding and/or searching. The statistics for the website currently shows that virtuals are 1/3 of the whole number of published caches, not counting half-virtuals ("virtual questions") and long multi-step caches with many intermediate virtual points. It became common that one comes to some cache, fails to find it and blames the CO because there was no any "alternative question", a photo spoiler or anything of this kind. Dozens of caches have been destroyed with an angried guy in Moscow who believed that COs must guarantee he finds any cache in a minute.

 

There's some number of really interesting virtuals that could compete with the idea of Earthcaches - those virtuals where one really has to look for answers and these answers widen his knowledge about the place. However, vast majority of virtuals is just "count lampposts" or "how many benches" - no treasure hunting at all. When players start thinking that this is geocaching it's time to talk about losing the whole game.

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Wow (factor), I was just thinking to myself that it's been a while since a Virtual Caching topic showed up.

 

The only official word you will ever get out of Groundspeak on "virtuals" is to "go visit Waymarking.com and you can submit and find all the the virtuals you want" - when the reality is, you have to wade through incoherent and irrelevant "waymarks" before you find anything interesting. 10 mins on Waymarking is enough to make anyone want to watch justin bieber videos on youtube. ;-)

 

When Waymarking was first introduced it was pretty good. Everyone seemed to like that idea of a "peer" review system and how things were categorized. The lack of a proximity rule allowed a single object or location to be placed in more than one category. WHOOHOO, multiple finds for visiting one location.

However, since these "finds" didn't show up on your Geocaching find count, people lost interest in the concept. From there, the only people that were interested in Waymarking were those that could post lots and lots of entries into as many categories as possible.

I have no idea why or when the abundance of fast food restaurants showed up, I guess for the same reason that people place caches in these places. However, I will admit that prior to the search features on Google Maps, I notices a White Castle 20 miles from my home that I didn't know about and made a Hajj to my Mecca.

 

Anyway, the lesson learned from Waymarking are: 1: If you leave cachers unattended and unsupervised, you get globs of redundant and lame Waymarks.

2: If you don't count the "visits" as finds on the Geocachers' profile page, very few people will be interested in the activity.

 

Several years later, Groundspeak introduced something call Geocaching Challenges, which was a slight variant of the Waymark concept and put even more power to placers and finders, introduced a thumbs up and thumbs down rating system, and allowed the community to police themselves and flag bogus logs or flag inappropriate or problem placements. Initially, the finds/visits on the Geocaching Challenges didn't show up in your Geocaching find count, but they were visible on your profile and with your avatar. Many cachers hated this, revolted and intentionally sabotaged the system.

 

The lesson learned from Geocaching Challenges are 1: Geocachers want to be monitored and regulated, 2: If you count non-physical caches in a cachers profile it some how cheapens that game.

 

Also, naming the "new" game after and already existing side game within the Geocaching community (Challenges), probably wasn't the best idea, I really did nothing more than to confuse anyone that didn't hang around the forums. Groundspeak probably would have been better off calling the new game Virtual Geocaching.

Either way, it doesn't matter, because finding any reference to Geocaching Challenges is even harder then finding Locationless (Reverse) Caches. :laughing:

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If virtuals were still allowed

 

I think I can say what could happen because virtuals have never been banned at our national geocaching website so I have real life examples in front of me.

 

The worst thing IMHO are not "just for numbers" powertrails - you would have them in any scenario. It's more about cache quality and changes in the core of the sport. In our story, the described "Lincoln-Disney" criteria soon was widened to different situations when it seemed difficult to a CO to place a cache - for example, if the place was muggled or it was too much snow. So, it became a nice option to place a virtual and don't care about learning stealth techniques or preparing clever hides/containers. It also seemed easier to place a virtual instead of thinking about a cache as of an all-seasoned hide. There appeared numerous "alternative questions" for traditional caches: e.g. one could approach the hide, see it was muggled (or didn't find it) and answer a "virtual question" instead of posting DNF/NM or calling the CO (or just searching better). After some years there grew a generation of cachers who got enough experience of very simple virtuals and half-virtuals and used to think they all caches must be of the same sort so they didn't need to put any efforts in hiding and/or searching. The statistics for the website currently shows that virtuals are 1/3 of the whole number of published caches, not counting half-virtuals ("virtual questions") and long multi-step caches with many intermediate virtual points. It became common that one comes to some cache, fails to find it and blames the CO because there was no any "alternative question", a photo spoiler or anything of this kind. Dozens of caches have been destroyed with an angried guy in Moscow who believed that COs must guarantee he finds any cache in a minute.

 

There's some number of really interesting virtuals that could compete with the idea of Earthcaches - those virtuals where one really has to look for answers and these answers widen his knowledge about the place. However, vast majority of virtuals is just "count lampposts" or "how many benches" - no treasure hunting at all. When players start thinking that this is geocaching it's time to talk about losing the whole game.

 

Good post with real experience; this is what virtual caching was definitely heading for on this listing site.

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If virtuals were still allowed

 

I think I can say what could happen because virtuals have never been banned at our national geocaching website so I have real life examples in front of me.

 

The worst thing IMHO are not "just for numbers" powertrails - you would have them in any scenario. It's more about cache quality and changes in the core of the sport. In our story, the described "Lincoln-Disney" criteria soon was widened to different situations when it seemed difficult to a CO to place a cache - for example, if the place was muggled or it was too much snow. So, it became a nice option to place a virtual and don't care about learning stealth techniques or preparing clever hides/containers. It also seemed easier to place a virtual instead of thinking about a cache as of an all-seasoned hide. There appeared numerous "alternative questions" for traditional caches: e.g. one could approach the hide, see it was muggled (or didn't find it) and answer a "virtual question" instead of posting DNF/NM or calling the CO (or just searching better). After some years there grew a generation of cachers who got enough experience of very simple virtuals and half-virtuals and used to think they all caches must be of the same sort so they didn't need to put any efforts in hiding and/or searching. The statistics for the website currently shows that virtuals are 1/3 of the whole number of published caches, not counting half-virtuals ("virtual questions") and long multi-step caches with many intermediate virtual points. It became common that one comes to some cache, fails to find it and blames the CO because there was no any "alternative question", a photo spoiler or anything of this kind. Dozens of caches have been destroyed with an angried guy in Moscow who believed that COs must guarantee he finds any cache in a minute.

 

There's some number of really interesting virtuals that could compete with the idea of Earthcaches - those virtuals where one really has to look for answers and these answers widen his knowledge about the place. However, vast majority of virtuals is just "count lampposts" or "how many benches" - no treasure hunting at all. When players start thinking that this is geocaching it's time to talk about losing the whole game.

 

Good post with real experience; this is what virtual caching was definitely heading for on this listing site.

 

Eh, you know, I've been slapped around by the moderating team for mentioning other Geocaching listing sites, but I think I can delicately state my opinion here. Virtuals "taking over" the listings has not really happened at any of the sites that still accept them. Including a Country that adjoins Russia, where the national website only has 3% Virts. They have a pie chart, and I just looked. And CJ mentioned 33% at the Russian National site, even that's not too crazy. Who knows what would have happened here though. They probably would be well over 50%, and every historical marker in America would be a virt by now. :)

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And CJ mentioned 33% at the Russian National site, even that's not too crazy.

 

As I said, these are "pure" virtuals - by their status on the site. There are numerous "seasonal virtuals": these caches are traditional in summer season and turn into virtuals for winter season. Besides, the majority of traditional caches have "virtual questions" for different situations, e.g. "if the cache is missing..." or "if you ran into any problems while getting the container from its hiding place...", etc. You probably won't believe but they even allowed logging a virtual cache as found if you know the answer to the question but visited the place before the cache was published. Even before geocaching was introduced. So, if you spent time with your parents 20 years ago in a tour and they made a photo of your family beside some monument, and in 2013 there appeared a virtual cache with the question like "how many figures are depicted in the monument", you can use your photo to count figures and if your answer is correct you can log this cache as found.

 

It's not about the percentage of virtual caches. It's about attitude to the game. With virtuals people believe that geocaching is about visiting interesting places and marking them as visited. Call this Waymarking or give it any other name but this is not geocaching. Of course, I didn't mean that this scenario is the only one that could happen. Just an example.

 

What about mentioning other geocaching listing sites? Is mentioning of other websites an issue at this forum? I hope it's not because if I do it it's definitely not for any advertising or promoting but as part of exchange of experience and knowledge among geocachers.

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The worst thing IMHO are not "just for numbers" powertrails - you would have them in any scenario. It's more about cache quality and changes in the core of the sport. In our story, the described "Lincoln-Disney" criteria soon was widened to different situations when it seemed difficult to a CO to place a cache - for example, if the place was muggled or it was too much snow. So, it became a nice option to place a virtual and don't care about learning stealth techniques or preparing clever hides/containers.

 

Everything has two sides. Despite being into geocaching for over 11 years, stealth techniques and clever hides and containers have never been part of my approach to geocaching.

 

I neither enjoy a micro cache at a lamppost or parking lot nor a virtual there - both do not show me anything.

 

If I have the choice between a virtual the stages of which offer me a nice guided city tour and where for logging the questions to some answers need to be sent to the owner of the virtual and the same setup as a cache with a container where at the end I need to search 20 minutes for a nano cache at a dirty urban location with lots of muggles around, I definitely prefer the virtual. The search at the end will be a frustrating and annoying experience for me and will destroy at least partially the positive feelings conveyed at the earlier stages.

Of course there are caches where a hideout for a larger cache at a clean location with hardly any muggles can be found and where yet at the same time the cache can be found without at most five minutes of search, but this does not happen too often in an urban setting.

 

I do not like the concept of using alternative logging methods for caches with containers that got lost. I see virtuals as their own category which has its appeal for me.

 

Personally I think that if virtuals are counted separately and not together with caches with containers, one would see much less boring virtuals at lame locations than boring caches with containers at lame locations. The problem of the existence of lame caches is persistent anyway - regardless of whether virtuals are allowed or not, but it's mainly the people with some focus on numbers that opt for the easiest solution.

 

I have cache ideas that are better suited to be implemented with a container and others that are better suited to be implemented as virtuals. There a container would just be placed at a boring location just to offer a way to log, but reduce the fun for those to whom the first part of the cache appeals to. I have never ever hidden a cache for those who really like to search containers and for whom this is the first priority.

 

Cezanne

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With virtuals people believe that geocaching is about visiting interesting places and marking them as visited. Call this Waymarking or give it any other name but this is not geocaching.

 

Actually, when I started geocaching virtuals on gc.com where already quite hard to get through and I own one of two existing real virtuals in my country. Despite this fact I and almost all my fellow cachers back then thought and still think that geocaching is about showing interesting objects in the widest sense (this not only includes places, but also hiking trails, biking trails, historical buildings etc). The container was there, but never played the key role except for proving the visit in a simple manner. Even if virtuals are allowed, it can be hard to come up with meaningful questions and answering them does take additional time and also will turn off those cachers who just want to visit a location and experience it, but not get involved in a learning process as many Earth caches require it.

 

For me a virtual at an interesting place fits into my idea of the spirit of geocaching, a clever hide at a parking lot does not fit.

Waymarking is something completely different to me and not only because there the focus is on categorizing nearly everything and not only objects of special attraction within a certain category, but also for many other reasons.

 

Cezanne

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Yep, lets trade those nasty virtuals for a bison tube every tenth of a mile along a trail or a bison tube under a lamp post skirt. TPTB didn't make any money off the virtuals, but look at all of the bison tubes they've sold. When we travel I get every virtual I can find along our route, they have taken me to places that I would have never found otherwise. As far as I'm concerned it was a bunch of baloney for the reasons given to get rid of them. As far as I'm concerned geocaching has turned into nothing but a numbers game. Bottom line I'll the worst virtual over a bison tube in a bush.

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For me a virtual at an interesting place fits into my idea of the spirit of geocaching, a clever hide at a parking lot does not fit.

 

"Virtual + great place is far better than traditional + poor place". Yes, good place is better than poor place.

 

Why did we switch to places?

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...

I think I can say what could happen because virtuals have never been banned at our national geocaching website so I have real life examples in front of me.

 

The worst thing IMHO are not "just for numbers" powertrails - you would have them in any scenario. It's more about cache quality and changes in the core of the sport. In our story, the described "Lincoln-Disney" criteria soon was widened to different situations when it seemed difficult to a CO to place a cache - for example, if the place was muggled or it was too much snow. So, it became a nice option to place a virtual and don't care about learning stealth techniques or preparing clever hides/containers. It also seemed easier to place a virtual instead of thinking about a cache as of an all-seasoned hide. There appeared numerous "alternative questions" for traditional caches: e.g. one could approach the hide, see it was muggled (or didn't find it) and answer a "virtual question" instead of posting DNF/NM or calling the CO (or just searching better). After some years there grew a generation of cachers who got enough experience of very simple virtuals and half-virtuals and used to think they all caches must be of the same sort so they didn't need to put any efforts in hiding and/or searching. The statistics for the website currently shows that virtuals are 1/3 of the whole number of published caches, not counting half-virtuals ("virtual questions") and long multi-step caches with many intermediate virtual points. It became common that one comes to some cache, fails to find it and blames the CO because there was no any "alternative question", a photo spoiler or anything of this kind. Dozens of caches have been destroyed with an angried guy in Moscow who believed that COs must guarantee he finds any cache in a minute.

 

There's some number of really interesting virtuals that could compete with the idea of Earthcaches - those virtuals where one really has to look for answers and these answers widen his knowledge about the place. However, vast majority of virtuals is just "count lampposts" or "how many benches" - no treasure hunting at all. When players start thinking that this is geocaching it's time to talk about losing the whole game.

 

Good post with real experience; this is what virtual caching was definitely heading for on this listing site.

 

I concur. In New Jersey, there were a couple of cachers that would change their traditional hides to virtual hides if the container when missing, especially if they liked the location. (Remember the good old days when you could change the cache type). There are a least two of these on a archived bookmark, and people still go around logging these archived virtuals. :blink:

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For me a virtual at an interesting place fits into my idea of the spirit of geocaching, a clever hide at a parking lot does not fit.

 

"Virtual + great place is far better than traditional + poor place". Yes, good place is better than poor place.

 

Why did we switch to places?

 

Because of your statement about that geocaching is not about visiting interesting places. For me the container there is only an extra.

A container at a lame place rather fits to what you described as spirit of geocaching in your description that a virtual at a superb location.

 

Along the same lines that you claim that virtuals might people make think that geocaching is about visiting interesting places, I claim that there is

a huge amount of geocaches around on gc.com that make people believe that it plays no role whether the location is interesting or not.

 

When looking at listing sites that allow virtuals, I still encounter much more caches with containers at boring locations than virtuals at boring locations.

 

For me a cleverly designed container and a tricky hideout do not compensate for a boring location which has nothing to offer for me. Of course others will see this differently.

 

Cezanne

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Isn't it interesting that each time virtuals are discussed people use examples of really poor traditional caches to compare them to virtuals? Why such a low standard?

 

Probably it is because too often the fact that poor virtuals exist is used as a general argument against virtuals.

With this argument we would need to abolish all caches types and power trails never would have been allowed .....

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For me a cleverly designed container and a tricky hideout do not compensate for a boring location which has nothing to offer for me. Of course others will see this differently.

 

The search itself is probably the least interesting thing about this game. When I first began placing caches I asked myself why I wanted to bring people to that particular location - and caching in turn brought me to places where the answer to that question was clear. At some point I began to see more descriptions stating that there was a lack of caches around a particular parking lot. So I end up ignoring a lot of caches.

 

But I will go out if my way to find virtuals. They extended caching into areas where traditionals were not permitted or appropriate and have given me some of the best experiences I have had in this game - from "aha" moments to stunning or quirky locations. I recently did a challenge cache that focused on finds in national parks and was reminded again how important virtuals have been for me in this game.

 

There have been enough threads about problems that became associated with virtuals and whether the problems were insurmountable. I don't believe they were, but it is clear that Groundspeak won't be listing them on this site. When the last virtual is archived, the game will have lost something important.

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I like the way you provide arguements.

 

Because of your statement about that geocaching is not about visiting interesting places. For me the container there is only an extra.

 

I apologize for being not exact. Geocaching is not about just visiting interesting places.

 

(from gc.com, the very first line) Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

 

Simply traveling to interesting places without searching for anything hidden is different from how geocaching is introduced above. I would call this hobby tourism.

 

Probably it is because too often the fact that poor virtuals exist is used as a general argument against virtuals.

 

The main arguement against virtuals is that they can easily "virtualize" the attitude to the geocaching and change the core of the game.

 

As for the quality, a virtual is much easier to "place" than a traditional cache and typically they don't need maintenance. This is the way to lower standards.

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Instead of those awful terrible virt caches, we have super HQ lamp posts in walmarts, pill bottles in guardrails and wisents in trees! Thank GOODNESS those virts went away!

My favorites... the bison tube in a thick stand of pines, with the following hint: "near the base of a pice tree".

 

And of the you are right about the lamp skirt micro... i.e. "let's appear to be up to no good, and at the same time let's reach around and try to find the cache before the black window"

 

I do miss a good box in the woods. I found a cache in a decent spot today, a bison tube hanging from a tree. It could easily been a small lock and lock or a small jar instead... but they went for the micro.

 

Its not even thats so much as the double standard of "bad quality virtual caches" coming out of the one side of a mouth and then the jumping up and down, rah rah yay numbers games of power trails that are pill bottles on guard rails.

 

If you are going to cite quality, don't pick and choose which TYPES of caches it applies to. I would gaurntee there are a heck of a lot more bad quality traditionalS than there ever were virtuals total. I.E. for every "road kill virtual" or "sneakers on a wire" virt - i bet there are 500 lamp post skirts.

 

That might be true today, but at the time virtuals were phased out, most traditionals were not in crappy spots, and powertrails were banned. Groundspeak also did not sell bison tubes either. Most micros were in film cans because not many people had figured out that they needed maintenance frequently. Regular sized caches were more common, as well as geocachers filling out an entire page with comments as a log.

 

There are complaints about Waymarking, but that's exactly what would have happened with virtuals if they were not discontinued - 5% wheat/95% chaff.

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The search itself is probably the least interesting thing about this game.

 

Still it's the core of the game, no?

 

Yeah...I'm really just not a fan of virtuals. I don't really feel like I'm caching when I just go to look at a statue or read a sign and email information to someone. It's one thing if that is PART of the search...but it bores me to tears if that IS the search. I much prefer that sort of 'containerless' cache being part of a "?" or "multicache".

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The great schism of geocaching exists whether or not you have virtual caches. One group will say that geoaching is about using GPS to find caches while the other group says that geocaching is about discovering interesting new places.

 

Virtuals only tend to sharpen the divide. If you have an interesting place you would like to share and it is difficult or impossible to leave a physical cache there you might say that virtuals are a necessity. If you simply want to have a easy way to give targets for GPS user to "find", vituals are and extremely easy way to do so.

 

Whether or not there are virtuals, some people will place caches in ordinary mundane locations. Experience has shown that given the chance people will place virtual in unintersting places, most of which could support a physical cache. While some interesting places may not allow physical cacehs, there are plenty that do. And ther are ways to incorporated other as stages in a multicache. If you are in the group that believes geocaching is about discovering interesting places, you can find ways to do so without virtual caches. But don't blame the lack of virtual caches for the many caches in uninteresting places. These would exist even if virtuals were the only type of cache that could be placed (re. Waymarking).

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The search itself is probably the least interesting thing about this game.

 

Still it's the core of the game, no?

 

Different people will answer that question differently.

 

For me it is not the core at all.

 

I prefer caches that are hidden such that a cacher will find them very quickly and they are just hidden in a way that makes the chances that the cache stays at its place higher.

 

For me the experience is about the locations and the way getting there. I do not want to spend more than 5 or at worst 10 minutes looking for a container.

 

Cezanne

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The search itself is probably the least interesting thing about this game.

 

Still it's the core of the game, no?

 

You cannot find something without a search, but the search itself does not define the game for me and is not the reason I cache. I know people who love certain kinds of hides and will spend on hour or more looking for a container if that is necessary. I have been known to spend more time with the search when there is some particular reason I want to log the cache as a find -- the photo opportunity, the hike, the title of the cache, its location, might all be reasons why I will search. But the act of searching . . . its not part of the core game for me. Just a means of getting there.

 

Some of the best virtuals I have done have involved their own kind of search . . Finding an object while walking a trail through Incan salt ponds, discovering a structure and determining its likely purpose in part of Yosemite where I had never before hiked, tracking down a particular petroglyph. In each case, getting there was interesting . . . what I found was interesting . . . but the search itself was only the means to the end.

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For me a virtual at an interesting place fits into my idea of the spirit of geocaching, a clever hide at a parking lot does not fit.

 

"Virtual + great place is far better than traditional + poor place". Yes, good place is better than poor place.

 

Why did we switch to places?

 

Because of your statement about that geocaching is not about visiting interesting places. For me the container there is only an extra.

 

 

It's not either/or, it's a multifaceted experience that includes a nice location, a quality container and a decent finding experience. All things should be equal to create a good geocaching experience.

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Wise words.

 

I cannot say I'm in one of these groups. I really like geocaching because it takes me to interesting places. Visiting a Robert Capa photo gallery in Budapest made my day, not finding another couple of magnetic micros. However, geocaching is the game where one needs to use GPS to find caches, and this is not a private opinion of some group, it's stipulated at this website as the very core of geocaching. Can I say that since I visited the gallery I played geocaching? No. I can say this only after I searched for the mentioned containers and found them. We probably should not put these values against each other but combine them.

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The great schism of geocaching exists whether or not you have virtual caches. One group will say that geoaching is about using GPS to find caches while the other group says that geocaching is about discovering interesting new places.

Virtuals only tend to sharpen the divide.

 

I fully agree.

 

If you have an interesting place you would like to share and it is difficult or impossible to leave a physical cache there you might say that virtuals are a necessity.

 

I would not say that they are a necessity.

I fully agree with you that in many cases a container can be placed at least somewhere in the vicinity.

 

The issue I have is just that quite often this leads to caches where I enjoy the first part and the search for the container destroys then everything or if I'm the cache owner I refrain from implementing the cache idea. There are so many more locations where a cache can be hidden as locations where I like to place or search for a cache.

 

While I enjoy going for a walk in a city, I do not enjoy at all to search for cache containers at typically urban locations. There are so many issues - dirty spots, muggles, residents that get suspicious, I feel like a drug dealer or burglar etc.

While CJ claims that learning stealth techniques is part of the game, I hate to act stealthy.

 

I do enjoy well made virtuals in urban settings while I neither like to search for containers in such settings nor enjoy Waymarking.

 

I'm fully aware that if virtuals were allowed, I would be confronted with lame virtuals, but there would also exist a few jewels that now either do not get implemented at all or end with a container search of the type I do not enjoy. I could skip the container search but then I cannot write a found it log and then my friends will not be able to read about my experiences and I will be presented the same caches over and over again in the nearest search when I do not log a found it.

 

 

Whether or not there are virtuals, some people will place caches in ordinary mundane locations. Experience has shown that given the chance people will place virtual in unintersting places, most of which could support a physical cache.

 

Definitely true. I wonder however how many of those virtuals would have been places if virtuals did not count together with the physical caches.

 

If you are in the group that believes geocaching is about discovering interesting places, you can find ways to do so without virtual caches.

 

I agree, but see what I wrote above. They are ways to do, but they are less enjoyable for me than would be the outcome if a virtual is done in the way I like it.

 

But don't blame the lack of virtual caches for the many caches in uninteresting places. These would exist even if virtuals were the only type of cache that could be placed (re. Waymarking).

 

Of course they would exist. The key issue is that for more and more geocachers the location does not play the role number one. We agree upon the statement that this is not an issue virtual vs physical cache.

 

 

 

Cezanne

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It's not either/or, it's a multifaceted experience that includes a nice location, a quality container and a decent finding experience. All things should be equal to create a good geocaching experience.

 

While I agree that caching should be a multifaceted experience, we all have different definitions of a "decent finding experience" might be. There is someone in my area who liked both difficult hikes and difficult hides. I tend to adhere to the "longer the hike, the easier the find should be" type of caching and soon learned that I did not want to look for a micro hidden in a rocky area under bit of lichen unless I was with a group of people and that is what we are doing. But there are those who consider his hides to be some of the finest in the game.

 

Some people think that a multifaceted experience includes doing complicated puzzles involving higher math, cryptic codes, and twisted logic.. In general, I won't spend more time trying to solve a puzzle than trying to find a cache. The game is big enough to encompass a lot of experiences . . . except perhaps for new virtuals.

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It's not either/or, it's a multifaceted experience that includes a nice location, a quality container and a decent finding experience. All things should be equal to create a good geocaching experience.

 

They are equal for you, but not for everyone. A decent finding experience for some is if they find an evil, but fair hide after 30 minutes. A decent finding experience for me is to find a cache with the method "where would someone put the cache most likely such that it is found by a cacher very fast?" within at most 5 minutes.

 

It is also subjective what a quality container is. For me containers where opening them is a tricky thing and a puzzle in itself are not what I wish to encounter. I clearly prefer standard containers and do not mind at all if they encounter the same type of container (provided that it is suitable one for an outdoor game) at every cache.

 

Others see it as a plus if tehy encounter different containers and sizes within a series caches.

 

Cezanne

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I really like geocaching because it takes me to interesting places.

 

Nowadays the majority of new caches in many areas do not lead to interesting places.

 

. Can I say that since I visited the gallery I played geocaching? No. I can say this only after I searched for the mentioned containers and found them.

 

Of course I would not say that I hunted for a geocache if I visited a gallery. I realize that almost all caches you found on gc.com are traditionals.

 

My favourite type of caches and even more in urban settings is a multi cache. I like geocaches that show me 10 or more sights in one cache and lead me

from location to location. Whether there is a film canister at the end to find does not make that much a difference except that it can spoil my positive experience.

If I start at location 1, answer a question there, compute coordinates for location 2, use my GPS to go there, do the same at location 2 for location 3 and so on,

it feels very much like geocaching to me. Whether I hunt at the end a micro is just a very minor difference on how to prove that I did the walk and determined

all locations and visited them.

 

Consider a cache like this one

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCH85J_fantastic-beasts

 

Visiting the locations, answering all the questions and then coming up with the codeword was the really enjoyable part for me. Visiting the location of the final (fortunately in this case not a typical urban one) did not add much to the experience.

 

Another example (I can only select examples with English descriptions) is this one

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCQKYP_4-hauser-4-houses

 

If you take the container away, the geocaching feeling is still there and nothing really essential gets lost in my opinion.

 

Of course for a traditional the value of a container is higher than for a multi with 20 question to answers stages as a virtual with 20 stages will provide a similar experience and you really use your GPS-receiver to navigate from location to location and often do not know in advance where you are guided. So that also adds a surprise factor which is not at all present if you follow city tours suggested by tourist offices (apart from the fact that geocaches often lead to interesting locations that are not well known and are not to be found in tourist guides or hiking books).

 

Many of the hiking caches I liked the most did not lead me along marked trails or trails that are described in hiking guides, but along trails and routes that are hardly known and can be regarded as some kind of insider recommendations. Of course this started to become an issue when the geocaching community started to grow exponentially. It started to turn off those early geocachers who never had the idea to address a large group, but that's not an issue virtual vs virtual, but is directed to your tourism comparison you used elsewhere.

 

Cezanne

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It's not either/or, it's a multifaceted experience that includes a nice location, a quality container and a decent finding experience. All things should be equal to create a good geocaching experience.

 

They are equal for you, but not for everyone. A decent finding experience for some is if they find an evil, but fair hide after 30 minutes. A decent finding experience for me is to find a cache with the method "where would someone put the cache most likely such that it is found by a cacher very fast?" within at most 5 minutes.

 

It is also subjective what a quality container is. For me containers where opening them is a tricky thing and a puzzle in itself are not what I wish to encounter. I clearly prefer standard containers and do not mind at all if they encounter the same type of container (provided that it is suitable one for an outdoor game) at every cache.

 

Others see it as a plus if tehy encounter different containers and sizes within a series caches.

 

Cezanne

 

What I'm arguing about is the often tauted....it's all about the location. It's a part of geocaching but not the core. And hopefully COs keep overall quality in mind when hiding a cache. Would we proudly take (for example) a TV news reporter to guardrail at a scenic lookout, that holds a rusty leaky magnetic key container with a torn up mushy logsheet? Then tell our TV audience to ignore the container and pulp, because the view is what geocaching is all about?

Edited by L0ne R
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It's a part of geocaching but not the core.

 

For me as an individual it is at the core in the sense that I prefer a rusty container found at the end of a wonderful hike to an extremely creative container in perfect condition at a location which has nothing to offer. So my personal top priority is that I get to see something interesting. The other aspects play a role, but came thereafter for me.

 

. Would we proudly take (for example) a TV news reporter to guardrail at a scenic lookout, that holds a rusty leaky magnetic key container with a torn up mushy logsheet? Then tell our TV audience to ignore the container and pulp, because the view is what geocaching is all about?

 

No I would not, but I also would not take this person to the the guardrail if an ingeniuous container/hide would wait there and the cache would be in perfect condition.

As an individual I would not mind the rusty container, but I do not like micros. I would not select however a cache which has an issue to promote geocaching (apart from the fact that I'm against pointing reporters to geocaching).

 

There are lots of cachers however who certainly would take the reporter to a cache at a parking lot if a special container is hidden there and the hide is a clever one. So for these people a lame location can be compensated by other assets and still lead to a cache with a FP percentage well over 75% and to a cache that many regard as showcase for an excellent cache and this is where my opinion is completely different.

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