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jshults (Rally Dude)

INTRO APP users are killing the hobby

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There is something like this already- beginner caches- that are highlighted on the listing. Usually a one/one and a half difficulty.

 

 

I gave this one a little thought although I'm not completely convinced that there is an issue. However, if there is an issue then this is my suggestion.

 

Create a new cache type. The INTRO cache. Give it it's own icon. I know, I know, but bear with me. I'm going somewhere good with this. This new cache type will be the only caches that someone using the intro app can see. The INTRO caches will be caches that you would take someone too if you were introducing them to geocaching. An INTRO cache would have no or minimal camouflaging, low terrain and difficulty ratings, a park and grab or a short hike, no special equipment required, etc. This will also allow reviewers to do a sanity check on INTRO caches for things like low terrain and difficulty ratings, and appropriate location for someone who's never found a geocache before.

 

A new icon will be a benefit by encouraging experienced geocachers to hide INTRO caches so that there is a good number of INTRO caches to be found. It will also signal experienced geocachers to the fact that the cache will most likely need a little more TLC than most other caches.

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Create a new cache type. The INTRO cache. Give it it's own icon. I know, I know, but bear with me. I'm going somewhere good with this. This new cache type will be the only caches that someone using the intro app can see. The INTRO caches will be caches that you would take someone too if you were introducing them to geocaching. An INTRO cache would have no or minimal camouflaging, low terrain and difficulty ratings, a park and grab or a short hike, no special equipment required, etc.

I like the idea behind the Intro Cache. Heck, we could even give it a shiny new icon. But for the love of Gaia, why would you want to use a P&G as being demonstrative of this hobby? That sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry. How about a compromise? Instead of giving us players the ability to creat Intro Caches, have the folks at the Lily Pad establish some pretty detailed criteria. Toss in a "Wow" factor. Something to the effect of, if you were being brought to your first geocache, what would it take to get you completely hooked? A nice location, a quality container, a pleasant write up, all could be factors. Yes, it would be entirely subjective. I get that. Once the criteria are established, give the Reviewers the ability to modify the cache type from whatever, to Intro Cache, as part of the review process, with the owner's consent. Or, create an attribute for Intro Caches that only the Reviewer can apply, as part of the review process, again, with the owner's consent.

 

Then, make these the only ones available to intro app players.

Edited by Clan Riffster

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There is something like this already- beginner caches- that are highlighted on the listing. Usually a one/one and a half difficulty.

 

The problem with the beginner cache designation is that the cache owner has no control as to whether or not their cache will be listed (highlighted) as a beginner cache. INTRO caches will need to have cache owners who are very attentive to the needs of the cache. It can't be left up to some computer to automatically select the cache owners without their consent. That is basically what we have now. What needs to happen is for the cache owner to agree to the extra maintains and attention that owning an INTRO cache will require.

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I like the idea behind the Intro Cache. Heck, we could even give it a shiny new icon. But for the love of Gaia, why would you want to use a P&G as being demonstrative of this hobby? That sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry. How about a compromise? Instead of giving us players the ability to creat Intro Caches, have the folks at the Lily Pad establish some pretty detailed criteria. Toss in a "Wow" factor. Something to the effect of, if you were being brought to your first geocache, what would it take to get you completely hooked? A nice location, a quality container, a pleasant write up, all could be factors. Yes, it would be entirely subjective. I get that. Once the criteria are established, give the Reviewers the ability to modify the cache type from whatever, to Intro Cache, as part of the review process, with the owner's consent. Or, create an attribute for Intro Caches that only the Reviewer can apply, as part of the review process, again, with the owner's consent.

 

Then, make these the only ones available to intro app players.

 

Sorry that I wasn't clear. Yes, a shiny new icon is an important part of the plan. Experienced geocachers should be encouraged to hide and maintain INTRO caches. What better way to do than to give them a shiny new icon in there stats for doing so.

 

Another important aspect is that these INTRO caches, like you said, will have to be the only ones that someone using the INTRO app can see. Additionally important is for the INTRO caches to be available for everyone else too. This will give Geocachers a ready list of geocaches they can use to introduce other people to the hobby.

 

There definitely needs to be some criteria/guidance for creating an INTRO cache. I didn't have any one particular cache type or style of hind in mind but they do tend to lend themselves to being park and grab or very short hike styled caches. The important factor will be the cache owners willingness create a cache that is easy to find and that will be properly maintained with the understanding that the caches will see a lot traffic and need more maintenance than normal. Theses cache owners are going to essentially be a Geocahcing Ambassador for the entire time that their INTRO cache is active.

 

I like the idea of reviewers being able to solicit cache owners for permission to change the cache type to INTRO cache. I realize that will add a little extra burden to the reviewing process but it is for a good cause and give the reviewer the control they need.

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Its really just a personal thing but i think that smart phones have introduced many more folk to caching but i would like it to be that you have a dedicated gps before you go out caching,its just an old fashioned idea i have,i do have ipads,pod,phone etc but do not use them to go caching especially to set one. :D :D :D jeff=bones1.

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I guess you could say I'm old school. Didn't have smart phones for geocaching when I started. Didn't even know about the intro app until I read it here.

What I have noticed is the increase in the number recent logs saying that it was their first find.

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Its really just a personal thing but i think that smart phones have introduced many more folk to caching but i would like it to be that you have a dedicated gps before you go out caching,its just an old fashioned idea i have,i do have ipads,pod,phone etc but do not use them to go caching especially to set one. :D :D :D jeff=bones1.

 

How is having a dedicated GPS as a requirement going to help the situation at all? I've got two of the things and I still prefer to use the phone for a large majority of the caches I go looking for.

 

There IS NOTHING WRONG with the phone app for finding and it is quite natural to use, which is important when people are just getting into the game. Handheld GPS receivers can take a fair bit of getting used to with it not always being clear what each button does or how to get around the interface.

 

I've not used the intro app, I ended up buying the full Groundspeak app on day 1 but if it works the way it sounds like it does then they need the email verification before they can find anything. A short 5 question quiz to reinforce ideas like logging, proper replacement of the cache and CITO. Also a big fan of the limited caches idea, 10 or so is enough for a weekend or two of caching, enough for an idea if you like the game or not.

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Theses cache owners are going to essentially be a Geocahcing Ambassador...

I think we're on the same page. That's exactly what I was thinking. Personally, I would hope that a film can in a Wally World lamp post would not serve as an Ambassador to anything but the Kingdom of Mundania, however, given Groundspeak's infatuation with numbers, and their blog highlighting a cache which clearly violates their most sacred guideline, I've stopped trying to guess what the Frog might do next.

 

If it were left up to our Reviewers to decide which caches get the fabled new icon, I think the results would be favorable. One advantage to making the Intro Cache an attribute, as opposed to an icon, is that the cache type, (puzzle/multi/traditional), would still show up. Groundspeak could link the Intro attribute to a kwick tutorial regarding the cache type. Say, a Noob gets the introductory app, and clicks on a multi. With the secret powers of the Lily Pad, the tutorial would launch, explaining what the average multi entails, stressing that the user should read the cache page for further details. The tutorial could also explain the finer points of difficulty and terrain.

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I got a log today on one of my caches that said it was found with the Intro app. Inspired by this thread, I went to send the cacher a "welcome to geocaching; let me know if you have any questions" message but unsurprisingly I could not because the user has not validated their email.

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I have a 20 year old coworker.(snip) I asked him for his email address so I could email him something. He said he didn't know what it was and that no one that he knows uses email.

I'm 29 is there really that much of a gap already :(

 

Maybe follow the FB and youtube trend: validate with phone number and/or real name?

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I think we're on the same page. That's exactly what I was thinking. Personally, I would hope that a film can in a Wally World lamp post would not serve as an Ambassador to anything but the Kingdom of Mundania, however, given Groundspeak's infatuation with numbers, and their blog highlighting a cache which clearly violates their most sacred guideline, I've stopped trying to guess what the Frog might do next.

 

If it were left up to our Reviewers to decide which caches get the fabled new icon, I think the results would be favorable.

I feel like most reviewers know who the best hiders in each region they monitor are (I can easily name them for all my nearby population centers) and ask if they would be willing to hide a few of these Intro Caches. I could see them being different types mostly low difficulty that highlight some of the common aspects. I like this idea!

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I have a 20 year old coworker.(snip) I asked him for his email address so I could email him something. He said he didn't know what it was and that no one that he knows uses email.

I'm 29 is there really that much of a gap already :(

 

Maybe follow the FB and youtube trend: validate with phone number and/or real name?

 

But the problem becomes that no one can contact them if there is an issue, to welcome them or just offer a bit of friendly encouragement or guidance. If they place a cache and there is an issue, they won't get the reviewer notes. A lot of this activity/game depends on cachers being able to communicate with each other and that is typically done through email.

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I have a 20 year old coworker.(snip) I asked him for his email address so I could email him something. He said he didn't know what it was and that no one that he knows uses email.

I'm 29 is there really that much of a gap already :(

 

Maybe follow the FB and youtube trend: validate with phone number and/or real name?

 

But the problem becomes that no one can contact them if there is an issue, to welcome them or just offer a bit of friendly encouragement or guidance. If they place a cache and there is an issue, they won't get the reviewer notes. A lot of this activity/game depends on cachers being able to communicate with each other and that is typically done through email.

 

Well stated.

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I think we're on the same page. That's exactly what I was thinking. Personally, I would hope that a film can in a Wally World lamp post would not serve as an Ambassador to anything but the Kingdom of Mundania, however, given Groundspeak's infatuation with numbers, and their blog highlighting a cache which clearly violates their most sacred guideline, I've stopped trying to guess what the Frog might do next.

 

If it were left up to our Reviewers to decide which caches get the fabled new icon, I think the results would be favorable.

I feel like most reviewers know who the best hiders in each region they monitor are (I can easily name them for all my nearby population centers) and ask if they would be willing to hide a few of these Intro Caches. I could see them being different types mostly low difficulty that highlight some of the common aspects. I like this idea!

 

So do I.

 

Best hiders - the conscientious type that try to provide a good caching experience, regularly maintain their caches even when no one points out a problem, and hide quality containers.

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But the problem becomes that no one can contact them if there is an issue, to welcome them or just offer a bit of friendly encouragement or guidance. If they place a cache and there is an issue, they won't get the reviewer notes. A lot of this activity/game depends on cachers being able to communicate with each other and that is typically done through email.

If it were validated by phone, the communication could be sent in a text (as long as it's short enough).

 

Maybe validate by phone or Facebook account? You can send long messages via FB, and every young person I know has a FB account unless they're under age 13 (and some of them do, too).

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But the problem becomes that no one can contact them if there is an issue, to welcome them or just offer a bit of friendly encouragement or guidance. If they place a cache and there is an issue, they won't get the reviewer notes. A lot of this activity/game depends on cachers being able to communicate with each other and that is typically done through email.

If it were validated by phone, the communication could be sent in a text (as long as it's short enough).

 

Maybe validate by phone or Facebook account? You can send long messages via FB, and every young person I know has a FB account unless they're under age 13 (and some of them do, too).

 

Not to say what you experience is not true, but Facebook's own data indicates their user demographic is shifting quickly away from the under 30 set to mainly older adults and commercial use. In other words, it seems to be going the way of MySpace. That's the problem with sites like this and trying to use it as a mainstream communications medium. What is cool and heavily used one day is not necessarily so the next and trying to chase fads just to maintain basic communications with/between individuals is a maddening exercise.

 

Given the wide availability of free email accounts, I can't see a problem with GC.com requiring having one and supplying same when registering on the site. It certainly would not be the first to do so. To take that a couple of steps further and informing the new cacher why the email address is important aas well as requiring it be confirmed to continue using the site beyond an introductory period or number of finds does not seem at all unreasonable to me.

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I think we're on the same page. That's exactly what I was thinking. Personally, I would hope that a film can in a Wally World lamp post would not serve as an Ambassador to anything but the Kingdom of Mundania, however, given Groundspeak's infatuation with numbers, and their blog highlighting a cache which clearly violates their most sacred guideline, I've stopped trying to guess what the Frog might do next.

 

If it were left up to our Reviewers to decide which caches get the fabled new icon, I think the results would be favorable.

I feel like most reviewers know who the best hiders in each region they monitor are (I can easily name them for all my nearby population centers) and ask if they would be willing to hide a few of these Intro Caches. I could see them being different types mostly low difficulty that highlight some of the common aspects. I like this idea!

 

So do I.

 

Best hiders - the conscientious type that try to provide a good caching experience, regularly maintain their caches even when no one points out a problem, and hide quality containers.

 

They can use one of my geocaches as an Intro cache. It's going to be in a quiet spot a couple tenths up a trail though. That was my self introduction to geocaching and I think that it worked out well. More than once, I've run into people at events that had been caching for a number of months with the paid app, just hitting the nearest cache from wherever they may happen to be. They were surprised to find out that there were caches on the mountain trails as well. Their entire exposure to geocaching was parking lot hides. I would really hate to see a program of Intro caches that reinforces that same idea.

Edited by Don_J

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The highlighted "beginner" caches, while a good idea, are not enough to be a standalone tool for new geocachers.

 

Nothing will train better than a supportive local community.

 

For example, I was very happy to get a friend request via geocaching.com from a person who is new to the game and recently moved to the area. I'm looking forward to helping to answer questions, and to make them feel welcome.

 

Now, if only all cachers were extroverted and got in touch with a local to ask questions on their own

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Okay, after reading through some of the horror stories on here, it's clear people should have to take a multiple choice/true-false style quiz and get all of the answers right before being allowed to download this INTRO APP. No joke.

 

After they get all of the answers right, they're given a unique code required to download the free app.

 

I've been caching since 2010, as an iphone user from the moment I found out about the app, but I don't consider myself to be a horrible geocacher (although I once kept a travel bug for too long, and I would have learned about that faux paux much earlier had I been quizzed on it). But I started geocaching because a friend got me hooked, so I had someone to teach me many of the rules.

 

BUT I can completely see how someone with no one to teach them wouldn't know a lot of things.

 

I've come up with some questions (I didn't create answers as I'm sure GS is the most qualified to create the actual answers to choose from.)

 

Questions:

 

1.) What is a travel bug?

 

2.) If you find a travel bug, what should you do with it?

 

3.) What is the most accurate geocaching device? (i.e. handheld GPS, iPhone app, or car GPS.)

 

4.) What is the only type of device that should be used to hide geocaches? (i.e. handheld GPS, iPhone app, or car GPS.)

 

5.) Which of the following are characteristics of good hiding spots for caches.

 

6.) It is okay to hide caches on private property? (T/F question.)

 

7.) What should you do with the items you find in a container?

 

8.) Which of the following are characteristics of a good cache container.

 

9.) What should you include in a cache you are hiding?

 

What else could go on the quiz...

Edited by kittehkat

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"4.) What is the only type of device that should be used to hide geocaches? (i.e. handheld GPS, iPhone app, or car GPS.)"

Sorry - bad question. A smartphone may be used effectively if it is used correctly.

 

" 6.) It is okay to hide caches on private property? (T/F question.)"

It IS okay with permission. This is misleading.

 

There are too many variables and nuances to make black-and-white answers to such questions.

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Okay, after reading through some of the horror stories on here, it's clear people should have to take a multiple choice/true-false style quiz and get all of the answers right before being allowed to download this INTRO APP. No joke.

 

After they get all of the answers right, they're given a unique code required to download the free app.

 

I've been caching since 2010, as an iphone user from the moment I found out about the app, but I don't consider myself to be a horrible geocacher (although I once kept a travel bug for too long, and I would have learned about that faux paux much earlier had I been quizzed on it). But I started geocaching because a friend got me hooked, so I had someone to teach me many of the rules.

 

BUT I can completely see how someone with no one to teach them wouldn't know a lot of things.

 

I've come up with some questions (I didn't create answers as I'm sure GS is the most qualified to create the actual answers to choose from.)

 

Questions:

 

1.) What is a travel bug?

 

2.) If you find a travel bug, what should you do with it?

 

3.) What is the most accurate geocaching device? (i.e. handheld GPS, iPhone app, or car GPS.)

 

4.) What is the only type of device that should be used to hide geocaches? (i.e. handheld GPS, iPhone app, or car GPS.)

 

5.) Which of the following are characteristics of good hiding spots for caches.

 

6.) It is okay to hide caches on private property? (T/F question.)

 

7.) What should you do with the items you find in a container?

 

8.) Which of the following are characteristics of a good cache container.

 

9.) What should you include in a cache you are hiding?

 

What else could go on the quiz...

 

If GS implemented some sort of quiz it would work better if each question was multiple choice. For example,

 

1. What is a travel bug?

A. a type of insect that is often found in geocaches.

B. an ailment commonly cause by traveling between geocaches

C. a trackable tag that you attach to an item

D. something that is responsible for 10% of groundspeaks revenue.

 

If you answered D, it would respond:

Incorrect. The correct answer is C. For more information see the Travel Bug page.

 

The point of the quiz should be educational, not to test if someone knows all the answers. You can take the quiz several time in a row until you answered, say, 8-10 questions correct. Since you would always be told the correct answer to each question, the quiz itself will educate new users.

Edited by NYPaddleCacher

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Okay, after reading through some of the horror stories on here, it's clear people should have to take a multiple choice/true-false style quiz and get all of the answers right before being allowed to download this INTRO APP. No joke.

 

This idea gets brought up every couple of years. I don't have the time to dig though old posts and find the relevant ones (do we still call this Markwelling?) but needless to say the idea keeps getting shot down and I agree that it sounds like a good idea on the surface but it isn't a very good idea once you start to get below the surface.

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Okay, after reading through some of the horror stories on here, it's clear people should have to take a multiple choice/true-false style quiz and get all of the answers right before being allowed to download this INTRO APP. No joke.

 

This idea gets brought up every couple of years. I don't have the time to dig though old posts and find the relevant ones (do we still call this Markwelling?) but needless to say the idea keeps getting shot down and I agree that it sounds like a good idea on the surface but it isn't a very good idea once you start to get below the surface.

Assessments are tough. There are some very important differences between knowledge and understanding. Any good quiz checks understanding, not "just" knowledge. (See NYPaddleCacher's post)

 

Then, how on earth can we assume that a read through any resources available will help new users find, understand, and "know" the rules. Just ask the question, "What do you know about geocaching?" and you will see how difficult it is to describe. You'll dozens, if not hundreds of different and even misleading items of "knowledge".

 

There is absolutely no replacement in this game for experience. And there is no better way to accelerate experience than to be joined by a "mentor" of some sort. Finding 2000 ET highway caches does not a good cacher make.

 

So, what can be done from there? Can Groundspeak alert area cachers about new signups? Do new users have the requirement to enter home coordinates or zip code? We could come up with a bunch of automated and bureaucratic ways to introduce new cachers to the game, no doubt. But why not just discuss how we can all "take new cachers under our wing", and continue to engage them with constructive mentorships and kind redirection as needed? Because that's tough. And it takes a village, yada yada. And because not everyone in this game is good at reaching out. And not everyone who joins this game understands that they are joining a community with some serious history and significant obstacles to clear understanding and knowledge about the game.

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I have a 20 year old coworker.(snip) I asked him for his email address so I could email him something. He said he didn't know what it was and that no one that he knows uses email.

I'm 29 is there really that much of a gap already :(

 

Maybe follow the FB and youtube trend: validate with phone number and/or real name?

 

But the problem becomes that no one can contact them if there is an issue, to welcome them or just offer a bit of friendly encouragement or guidance. If they place a cache and there is an issue, they won't get the reviewer notes. A lot of this activity/game depends on cachers being able to communicate with each other and that is typically done through email.

 

Ever notice that Private Messaging is limited to the forums? I wonder what would happen if instead of depending on email addresses, that PM's appeared in the header on GC.com as well (why not all GS sites). Private still, but right there in front of them rather than in some apparently forgotten email provider, or spam folder.

 

I suspect that since people don't seem to use the forums much, that linking PM's to the Geocaching site would perhaps get some responses from newbies... emails often don't. So... validate with something or other suitable and then the account is linked to the account name. No validate, no play! And there is a record of communications for the record. I know server load might be increased, but only by active accounts, the 'dead' ones won't generate much I think. Might even solve the local notification and newsletter problems in one shot.

Just rewrite to generate the local stuff in house and keep it there. Email notification would be optional for those that use it.

 

As for is it time for proper names (only for use of GS) why not? Most serious sites do now. One of our big failures is lack of accountability / responsibility isn't it?

 

Doug 7rxc

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Okay, after reading through some of the horror stories on here, it's clear people should have to take a multiple choice/true-false style quiz and get all of the answers right before being allowed to download this INTRO APP. No joke.

 

This idea gets brought up every couple of years. I don't have the time to dig though old posts and find the relevant ones (do we still call this Markwelling?) but needless to say the idea keeps getting shot down and I agree that it sounds like a good idea on the surface but it isn't a very good idea once you start to get below the surface.

 

Shot down by who? When Groundspeak had their separate Feedback forum a few years back, this was one of the top vote getters and Groundspeak seemed to be in favor of it. I also recall a favorable comment from Miss Jenn in a past forum thread.

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The highlighted "beginner" caches, while a good idea, are not enough to be a standalone tool for new geocachers.

 

Nothing will train better than a supportive local community.

 

For example, I was very happy to get a friend request via geocaching.com from a person who is new to the game and recently moved to the area. I'm looking forward to helping to answer questions, and to make them feel welcome.

 

Now, if only all cachers were extroverted and got in touch with a local to ask questions on their own

 

I don't think, beginner caches placed by reviewer would be such good idea. How do you get people to geocache if the app tells you the next newby cache is 500km away? Would the few reviewers of for example Texas have to drive through the whole state to place caches and maintain them? It doesn't sound really practical.

 

I tried out the intro app when my new phone (dropped mine on something very hard and pointy) would not install the previously purchased official one. It looks like this app only shows traditional caches, which is good as an introduction, but it does not exclude caches that might be difficult for beginners. Right next to my office is a terratin 5 cache underneath a bridge, which might confuse beginners and a difficulty 4. At least it looks like disabled caches are not shown (or that one near me is just outside the circle) and caches with size 'other' (sometimes used for nanos around here).

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NeverSummer will, no doubt, correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think they were suggesting that Reviewer accounts be the owners of these Intro Caches. Rather, I think they are suggesting that Reviewers be the ones to determine if a particular cache, owned by a Geocacher, meets whatever criteria Groundspeak comes up with for the new cache type. The Reviewer could then send a note to the cache owner, asking if they would mind having their cache highlighted as an Intro Cache.

 

If I were the one behind the scenes making these decisions, I would create some sort of boiler plate letter with an explanation of the Intro Cache program, the maintenance expectations, and a 'Yes / No' button. If the cache owner clicked the Yes button, their cache would automatically become an Intro Cache.

 

I suspect, once the criteria is established, the Reviewers would be able to use PQs to quickly find a whole bunch of caches in every geographic region which meet the standards.

 

On a related note; what should those standards be? I would suggest that the criteria be goals based, focusing on what Groundspeak would like to accomplish with the proverbial Intro Cache. Obviously, they don't want future customers to walk away disappointed. Maybe keep Intro Caches in the larger end of the size spectrum, as these are reportedly easier to find? Another frequently cited source of noob disappointment is uninspired locations, such as the backside of strip malls, guard rails, lamp posts, etc. if Groundspeak decides that they want noobs to have a quality experience to go along with their find, perhaps they could exclude any caches which don't have a certain percentage of favorite points? While a bit biased, it's been my experience that, regardless of the total number of finds, if a cache has at least a 30% ratio of favorite points, it's going to be a good hide. I suppose, they could also exclude those which are too high up the D/T ladder, to help ensure that the noob's hunt is successful?

 

So, a question for the Reviewers who participate in the forums...

 

If you set up a PQ to exclude every size other than large, regular and small, exclude any D/T rating over 3/3, exclude any cache with less than a 20% favorite points ratio, and exclude those caches with historical maintenance problems, would the end result be enough caches to adequately represent your region?

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Shot down by who? When Groundspeak had their separate Feedback forum a few years back, this was one of the top vote getters and Groundspeak seemed to be in favor of it. I also recall a favorable comment from Miss Jenn in a past forum thread.

 

If I have the time this weekend I may go Markwelling. I know this topic has been brought up many times since almost the beginning of geocaching. You are correct, most everyone is initially for some kind of test. Then nothing happens.

 

I wouldn't be against something like that on the intro app. For example; when it detects that someone is looking at a listing for an earth cache for the first time it can pop up a window that says something like "I see this is the first time you'll be looking for an Earth Cache." Then go on to explain what an earth cache is. At the end of the description is a simple comprehension question that needs to be answered correctly in order to close the window.

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I think a big barrier to entry, in some regions, could be a witch-hunting type of community. God forbid some new cacher in the area start doing something that's considered wrong, mistaken or even cheating - social media can erupt in anger at the newbie who should know better. I've seen it first hand (from the side line) and it's not pretty. Encouraging these people to settle down and - as mentioned earlier - be more of a welcoming, training, teaching type of community, ended up being better than just ranting to the social media world (and who knows if this person was watching as a friend of a friend? who knows what their mental state even is, if seeing that level of hatred could do more harm indirectly, or behind their backs?). A couple of people contacted the person (relatively nicely from what I hear) and the person apologized for pre-dating finds and looks like they'll play more appropriately in the future; hopefully not so afraid of the rage of the local community that they never attend any events or make friends in the community.

 

So I say yes, as community we do have a responsibility to help new players and hobbyists learn the methods and etiquette and rules especially. We can either blacklist people who don't know any better, ignore people we don't like and just move along, or you know, be nice and friendly and helpful and encourage people to become more welcome members of the community.

 

/rant

Just had to get that in this thread :P

 

On the latest topic, the idea of "Intro" flagged caches is an interesting one. Does it have to be a different type of cache though? Why not a special attribute, perhaps that only reviewers could add, following the process mentioned above?

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On a related note; what should those standards be?
I think the current criteria for highlighted "beginner caches" are pretty good:
  • Traditional type
  • Low difficulty
  • Recently found by others
  • No micro sized caches
  • No problems reported

I think it would work reasonably well to limit the free intro app to caches that meet these criteria. I'm not sure how much a new "intro cache" type could improve upon this.

 

For example; when it detects that someone is looking at a listing for an earth cache for the first time it can pop up a window that says something like "I see this is the first time you'll be looking for an Earth Cache." Then go on to explain what an earth cache is.
Just a quibble... I like the idea of using the intro app as a true introduction to geocaching, with brief tips followed by simple comprehension questions to dismiss the tips. But I don't think it should be showing users anything but traditional caches, so I don't think this EarthCache tip is a good example.

 

And for the record, the past discussions of a quiz feature have mostly focused on verifying that cache owners understand the basic principles of the guidelines. And yes, lackeys have expressed support for the idea. But obviously, nothing has happened yet.

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On a related note; what should those standards be?
I think the current criteria for highlighted "beginner caches" are pretty good:
  • Traditional type
  • Low difficulty
  • Recently found by others
  • No micro sized caches
  • No problems reported

I think it would work reasonably well to limit the free intro app to caches that meet these criteria. I'm not sure how much a new "intro cache" type could improve upon this.

That's the initial thought I had. Just use the beginner caches. No need to reinvent the wheel. Then I looked at the beginner caches local to me. The list reads like a tribute to mundania. Which is why I added the favorites points bit. Hopefully, with that addition, the Intro Cache will keep potential future cachers from being inundated with Burger King shrub hunts. One possible issue with the 'Recently found by others' bit you suggested, which also applies to the 'No historic maintenance issues' bit I added, is that those are issues which can change from day to day. I'm not sure if that's a real concern or not, but it's something to think about.

 

I agree with excluding complicated concepts like earth caches, wherigos and puzzles, though, as a fan of the pop up tutorial, I think that multi caches and letterbox hybrids could be easily integrated, so long as they meet the other criteria. As to cache type or attribute, either one would work for the purposes of Groundspeak being able to limit what noobs can access with the free app. Personally, I lean toward doing the Intro Cache thing as an attribute, as I suspect it would be easier to convince TPTB to add an attribute as opposed to coming up with a new cache type. I don't think the distinction is great enough to warrant a new cache type.

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NeverSummer will, no doubt, correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think they were suggesting that Reviewer accounts be the owners of these Intro Caches. Rather, I think they are suggesting that Reviewers be the ones to determine if a particular cache, owned by a Geocacher, meets whatever criteria Groundspeak comes up with for the new cache type. The Reviewer could then send a note to the cache owner, asking if they would mind having their cache highlighted as an Intro Cache.

:laughing:

 

Yeah, no. I'm not, nor was anyone else I can find, advocating for a Reviewer-created intro cache set for an area.

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On a related note; what should those standards be?
I think the current criteria for highlighted "beginner caches" are pretty good:
  • Traditional type
  • Low difficulty
  • Recently found by others
  • No micro sized caches
  • No problems reported

I think it would work reasonably well to limit the free intro app to caches that meet these criteria. I'm not sure how much a new "intro cache" type could improve upon this.

That's the initial thought I had. Just use the beginner caches. No need to reinvent the wheel. Then I looked at the beginner caches local to me. The list reads like a tribute to mundania. Which is why I added the favorites points bit. Hopefully, with that addition, the Intro Cache will keep potential future cachers from being inundated with Burger King shrub hunts. One possible issue with the 'Recently found by others' bit you suggested, which also applies to the 'No historic maintenance issues' bit I added, is that those are issues which can change from day to day. I'm not sure if that's a real concern or not, but it's something to think about.

 

I agree with excluding complicated concepts like earth caches, wherigos and puzzles, though, as a fan of the pop up tutorial, I think that multi caches and letterbox hybrids could be easily integrated, so long as they meet the other criteria. As to cache type or attribute, either one would work for the purposes of Groundspeak being able to limit what noobs can access with the free app. Personally, I lean toward doing the Intro Cache thing as an attribute, as I suspect it would be easier to convince TPTB to add an attribute as opposed to coming up with a new cache type. I don't think the distinction is great enough to warrant a new cache type.

This is my fear as well. By limiting the caches a newbie sees to "mundania" (I like that, I'm sticking with it), that's the type of geocaching they will come to expect and even hide.

 

Meaning, more LPCs, match containers tossed in bushes, etc. Let's be honest, most caches that are 1/1s are not the kind of caches we all desire. We can eat fast food, but a fancy meal sure tastes better...

 

I think that, if we want to "bring back the things we love", we need to focus on the beginner caches which are regular in size, and aren't necessarily "urban" caches. It would mean another filter for TPTB, or something where favorite points and other input from Reviewers or local caching community memebrs would be helpful.

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So, a question for the Reviewers who participate in the forums...

 

If you set up a PQ to exclude every size other than large, regular and small, exclude any D/T rating over 3/3, exclude any cache with less than a 20% favorite points ratio, and exclude those caches with historical maintenance problems, would the end result be enough caches to adequately represent your region?

Out of almost 7,000 caches in South Dakota, using your criteria (small/regular/large only, D/T <=3/3, no maintenance issues), but limiting to traditional only, and showing just non-PMO caches, I get about 102 total caches in the entire state using normal GSAK filters and the finds/fav macro. Many of the ones that I would personally choose (as a player) aren't included in the 20% or higher list for various reasons, mainly because the caches are old enough that they haven't accumulated a large ratio of finds v fav points, unless people were to go back and add them to their fav list. They're still great caches for beginners to find, however.

 

With all due respect, and speaking only for myself, in my opinion having a Reviewer choose which caches would be "worthy" of Intro cache status isn't something they should be a part of. Reviewers should never be arbitrators of worthiness, awesomeness, or... lameness. That's best left up to the caching community to decide. :D

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Eliminate micros and the mundania will be much less. A small sampling of regular and small on easy terrain is all they should have access to. The bar has been lowered so much that it probably violates the buried guidelines.

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Eliminate micros and the mundania will be much less. A small sampling of regular and small on easy terrain is all they should have access to. The bar has been lowered so much that it probably violates the buried guidelines.

:laughing: :laughing: :blink:

 

Agreed.

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That's best left up to the caching community to decide.

The 'community', so to speak, has spoken. The result of this speech has been the phenomenal influx of lame P&Gs, the vile drivel known as power trails. If the idea is to bring noobs to those kinds of caches that raise the bar, and will hopefully result in them thoroughly embracing this hobby, do we really want to bring them to Mundania? Assuming Groundspeak is listening, and sees this as the knocking of opportunity, this could be a great chance to promote quality rather than quantity.

 

What if we kept the favorites points aspect, along with the other standards, but lowered it to 10%? 5%?

 

Would that give us enough caches to make this viable?

Edited by Clan Riffster

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Shot down by who? When Groundspeak had their separate Feedback forum a few years back, this was one of the top vote getters and Groundspeak seemed to be in favor of it. I also recall a favorable comment from Miss Jenn in a past forum thread.

 

If I have the time this weekend I may go Markwelling. I know this topic has been brought up many times since almost the beginning of geocaching. You are correct, most everyone is initially for some kind of test. Then nothing happens.

 

I wouldn't be against something like that on the intro app. For example; when it detects that someone is looking at a listing for an earth cache for the first time it can pop up a window that says something like "I see this is the first time you'll be looking for an Earth Cache." Then go on to explain what an earth cache is. At the end of the description is a simple comprehension question that needs to be answered correctly in order to close the window.

 

Okay, maybe I wasn't being fair. Yes it has come up many times and it has been shot down by several forum posters because they think that it wouldn't work. I don't recall it being shot down by TPTB however, in fact my impression is that they were receptive to the idea. This is true of many ideas, but I don't think that the fact that most of these never get implemented means that they are shooting the idea down, it just means that they haven't acted on it. Things tend to move very slowly here. I remember suggesting that it would be good if cache owners could delete spoiler photos of the logs posted to their caches and everyone said "Yes" including the Lackeys. It seemed like it was totally forgotten until it showed up in a site update about a year later.

 

What we are asking them to here would probably require them to rewrite a large amount of the app, if it happens, it won't be quickly. I think that something does need to be done, even if it is simply a constant reminder that there is a web site. I think that a lot of users that discover geocaching because they discovered the app, never realize that it is not just a smartphone game like Foursquare, etc. I also think that people are coming into these in this way at an exponential rate. I watch caches close to my home and noticed that six new intro app cachers came on the scene over the last weekend, all unvalidated.

 

I also noticed someone that came on about two weeks ago that was writing logs almost daily that said "Thanks", or "Cool", along with the generic intro app signature. This morning, I see a log from them that says that they took a walk through the neighborhood to find the cache and discovered things around him that he had never seen before while driving. It was a mundane cache but he wrote a very nice log for it. I looked at his profile and he now has a validated email and a "last visit" date. Since they now have an email, I sent him a note welcoming them and explaining that our monthly event was tonight if they were interesting in meeting other geocachers.

 

I'll repeat, whatever GS comes up with, it needs to be educational but it also needs push people to the web site and reinforce the idea that this in an interactive game and the other players are not just anonymous blips on their smartphone.

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I also noticed someone that came on about two weeks ago that was writing logs almost daily that said "Thanks", or "Cool", along with the generic intro app signature. This morning, I see a log from them that says that they took a walk through the neighborhood to find the cache and discovered things around him that he had never seen before while driving. It was a mundane cache but he wrote a very nice log for it. I looked at his profile and he now has a validated email and a "last visit" date. Since they now have an email, I sent him a note welcoming them and explaining that our monthly event was tonight if they were interesting in meeting other geocachers.

 

I'll repeat, whatever GS comes up with, it needs to be educational but it also needs push people to the web site and reinforce the idea that this in an interactive game and the other players are not just anonymous blips on their smartphone.

I like that adaptation to smartphone use. If I see "new" cachers in the area, I'm going to check in and ping them to say hello. I'll just hope that they want help, or see how help can be, well, helpful.

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On a related note; what should those standards be?
I think the current criteria for highlighted "beginner caches" are pretty good:
  • Traditional type
  • Low difficulty
  • Recently found by others
  • No micro sized caches
  • No problems reported

I think it would work reasonably well to limit the free intro app to caches that meet these criteria. I'm not sure how much a new "intro cache" type could improve upon this.

 

For example; when it detects that someone is looking at a listing for an earth cache for the first time it can pop up a window that says something like "I see this is the first time you'll be looking for an Earth Cache." Then go on to explain what an earth cache is.
Just a quibble... I like the idea of using the intro app as a true introduction to geocaching, with brief tips followed by simple comprehension questions to dismiss the tips. But I don't think it should be showing users anything but traditional caches, so I don't think this EarthCache tip is a good example.

 

And for the record, the past discussions of a quiz feature have mostly focused on verifying that cache owners understand the basic principles of the guidelines. And yes, lackeys have expressed support for the idea. But obviously, nothing has happened yet.

 

How about after they find two or three traditional caches, they get a popup. "Did you know that there are special types of caches called Earthcaches, Earthcaches are..., Learn more at Geocaching.com". The link brings them to a page that that has more info and a link, "See local Earthcaches". At some point in the process, force them to log on and validate their account, update their profile and set home coordinates.

 

Keep it light and interesting, make them curious so they continue through the process.

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I find this all quite ironic, actually (hopefully I'm using that term correctly, the definition always confuses me). When geocaching first started, people were so widespread that they thought this would be more of an individual sport. But the psychology of visiting a site that others had visited, reading their logs in the logbook, actually meeting them on the trail for the first time - made everyone want to interact and be a group. Surprisingly, geocaching became a very social activity.

 

Now, with the advent of apps and all that, it seems that geocaching has devolved socially, and become more of a computer thing and not as much a people thing. Most people don't write in logs anymore, and a lot is done on phones out in the field. I guess the original idea was to get people off their butts, out into nature, and away from their computer. But when you can take your computer with you, part of the point is lost.

 

Just my ramblings, take no notice. :rolleyes:

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That's best left up to the caching community to decide.

~snip~

 

What if we kept the favorites points aspect, along with the other standards, but lowered it to 10%? 5%?

 

Would that give us enough caches to make this viable?

Same criteria as before, as of today there are 848 caches with at least 1 FP. Out of that subset, there are 279 with a 10% FP/F ratio, and 487 with a 5% FP/F ratio.

 

As for the worthiness of those individual caches, I can't comment on that other than to say many of them are on our own personal Favorite list.

 

I'm not totally convinced that FP are the best way to filter the cream of the crop. Everyone uses them differently. What is a cool cache for me as a player may be a yawner for someone else. What's cool for you, I might find as ho hum. Some cachers never use their points, despite everyone saying a particular cache is a mega-super-cool-awesome-totally-rad-gotta-do-this-cache, cache. Some give their FP away like free money. It's an individual perspective. Sure, it might give a player some idea of what might be good, but that's about it.

 

As for eliminating micros, I know of MANY micros out there that have high FP ratios. Filtering them out would be a disservice to both the CO and the newbies. It's the location and presentation that make those work well.

 

Knowhatimean? :D

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Another example, "Would you like to solve a puzzle to find the location of your next cache? Mystery caches are..., learn more at geocaching.com".

 

Anything to get them to the web site.

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Eliminate micros and the mundania will be much less. A small sampling of regular and small on easy terrain is all they should have access to. The bar has been lowered so much that it probably violates the buried guidelines.

Nonsense. It was a pre-existing hole. I will explain why.

 

From the very early days there were caches that you would have likely viewed as mundane. This is because there were always people hiding caches in the simplest way in the easiest to get to place. As people saw examples of smaller and smaller containers and found there were some common places where the cache could be hidden easily and avoid discovery by most muggles, these became the popular styles to hide. Of course as these styles became more popular they became more mundane for experienced cachers.

 

My guess is that an awful lot of noobs get hooked on caching because they see a cache is hidden down the street in the supermarket parking lot. When they go and look for it they are at first stumped. Either they lift the lamppost skirt by chance or someone tells them to look under the lamppost skirt. It doesn't matter, when they see that you can hide something that only geocachers would know about, they feel they are part of a special group. They are hooked and some become avid geocachers. They may, after a few weeks, be just as bored as you are finding cheap containers in lampposts. They may move on to taking hikes and looking for caches that are big enough to hold travel bugs. But is was the mundania that brought them to geocaching in first place.

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Nonsense. It was a pre-existing hole. I will explain why.

 

From the very early days there were caches that you would have likely viewed as mundane. This is because there were always people hiding caches in the simplest way in the easiest to get to place. As people saw examples of smaller and smaller containers and found there were some common places where the cache could be hidden easily and avoid discovery by most muggles, these became the popular styles to hide. Of course as these styles became more popular they became more mundane for experienced cachers.

 

My guess is that an awful lot of noobs get hooked on caching because they see a cache is hidden down the street in the supermarket parking lot. When they go and look for it they are at first stumped. Either they lift the lamppost skirt by chance or someone tells them to look under the lamppost skirt. It doesn't matter, when they see that you can hide something that only geocachers would know about, they feel they are part of a special group. They are hooked and some become avid geocachers. They may, after a few weeks, be just as bored as you are finding cheap containers in lampposts. They may move on to taking hikes and looking for caches that are big enough to hold travel bugs. But is was the mundania that brought them to geocaching in first place.

Thank you. I totally agree. Our first cache find was a lamp post in a parking lot that took 3 visits to figure out that thing lifted up and concealed an orange matchstick holder. A micro. We found it with a car Nuvi, stumbling and wandering around that parking lot like we were drunk. Our second and third finds were micros. We got hooked, splurged, and bought a cheapo yellow etrex. 4 1/2 years later with almost 5700 finds we're still addicted.

 

Micros, even "lame" ones, have an important place in this game. :D

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As for eliminating micros, I know of MANY micros out there that have high FP ratios. Filtering them out would be a disservice to both the CO and the newbies.
Many of my Favorites are micros. For that matter, many of my Favorites are multi-caches, mystery/puzzle caches, and other non-traditional caches.

 

But I wouldn't recommend any of them as good beginner caches.

 

If the intro app is going to become a true intro app (as we're discussing), rather than just being a stripped down free version of the regular app (as it is now), then it should focus on good beginner caches, at least at first. Maybe after a few finds, the app could suggest other cache types, or other cache sizes (micros for now, but eventually maybe it could enable micros first, and then nanos later).

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How about after they find two or three traditional caches, they get a popup. "Did you know that there are special types of caches called Earthcaches, Earthcaches are..., Learn more at Geocaching.com". The link brings them to a page that that has more info and a link, "See local Earthcaches". At some point in the process, force them to log on and validate their account, update their profile and set home coordinates.
I think they should already have logged on and validated their account, and it sounds like Groundspeak is considering fixing this. We'll see if anything happens.

 

Another example, "Would you like to solve a puzzle to find the location of your next cache? Mystery caches are..., learn more at geocaching.com".
I think it might work for Earthcaches. They're relatively straight-forward: go here, learn something, email the answers to the CO, and log the cache online.

 

But there are a lot of variations in multi-caches. Two stage (first and final) or more than two stages? Physical stages or virtual (question to answer) stages? Information that produces coordinates, or information that produces a bearing and a distance, or information that specifies the next stage some other way? And there are even more variations in mystery/puzzle caches. A significant fraction of them don't have any puzzle at all.

 

Those variations make it harder to facilitate a simple progression with a question like "Would you like to try a cache with puzzle?" or "Would you like to try a cache that takes you to more than one location?"

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I'm not totally convinced that FP are the best way to filter the cream of the crop.

 

Perhaps. The issue of favorite points is, to a degree, subjective. I can say, with no hesitation, that using favorite points has helped me tremendously is separating the wheat from the chaf. The formula I use involves searching by favorite points, then tweaking those results by percentages. I picked an entirely arbitrary number of favorite points, (10), as my lower limit, not because that number has any magic power, but simply because it demonstrates that the cache has been found by at least 10 premium members, which I figure is enough to get a feel for the quality of a particular cache to a highly diverse group of people.

 

Disclaimer: Yes, I know. I could miss out on an amazing cache, with 8 favorite points and a 100% ratio. I get it. Really, I do. But I had to start somewhere. If it's really that amazing, the next two premium members to find it will likely award it favorite points, then it will make the cut. I'm in no hurry.

 

Once I have my list, I look at the percentage ratio of each one. To date, using the following formula has been flawless. Not even a single exception. A cache with a 30% or higher favorite point ratio will be a good hide. A cache with a 50% or higher ratio will be a great hide. A cache with a 70% or higher ratio will be epic.

 

Of course, not everyone enjoys the same things I do. My preferences tend toward quality containers at scenic locations, with interesting write ups. If, for instance, someone preferred leaky containers in utterly uninspired locations, with poorly written cache pages, this process would not work well for them. Unless, of course, the majority of premium members suddenly enjoyed the same thing. Then, using favorite points would not work for me.

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But there are a lot of variations in multi-caches.

That's true. Once you step outside the circle of traditionals, many variations come into play. What about having the Intro Caches in available in the app be limited to traditionals, but include tutorials which introduce other cache types? Something to the effect of, "Did you know there are caches which have multiple stages? You can read about multi caches here: <link leading to brief description, including some text encouraging folks to sign up for the real app>. There could also be pop up tutorials teaching about puzzle caches, earth caches, Wherigo caches, letterbox hybrids, events, CITOs, etc.

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Man. You folks sure know how to talk a subject into the ground (which is technically considered 'illegal' according to Groundspeak's Geocaching guidelines).

 

dead-horse.gif

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