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What are pens used for in geocaching


chilicat101
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I'm new to this hobby and everybody talks about pens. what?

 

Help Center:

 

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php

 

Help Center → Finding a Geocache → Finding a Geocache

 

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.book&id=25

 

Help Center → Finding a Geocache → Geocaching 101 → Are there rules?

1.5. Are there rules?

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=539

 

3.1. How do I find the geocache and what should I do once I've found it?

http://support.Groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=528

 

There are many things to know about searching for a geocache. For instance, did you know that there is a slight "error" to every GPS device due to technological limitations? Your device can get you close to the cache, but there are a number of things to consider as you get closer to the cache location.

 

When you find the cache, sign the logbook and return it to the cache. You can take an item from the cache if you like - just make sure to leave something of equal or greater value in its place. When you are finished, put the cache back exactly as you found it, even if you think you see a better spot for it. Please do not move a cache from its original location. If you feel that it may not be located in the correct location, please email the cache owner directly or post a log on the cache listing page, notifying the owner of your concern. Cache owners are responsible for maintaining their cache placements.

 

Finally, visit the cache page to log your find and share your experience with others!

 

 

B.

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There are caches that don't have containers and log books/sheets.

 

"Virtual" and "Webcam" caches that are still in existence, for example.

 

"Earthcaches" don't have physical containers or log books/sheets, either.

 

But I'm guessing that the OP thinks this is another "phone game", where one doesn't actually need to find something other than a qr code.

 

Geocaching 101

https://www.geocaching.com/guide/

 

 

B.

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When you find a cache you need to sign the piece of paper inside it. That piece of paper is called a log or log sheet. That is what you use the pen for. Then you need to come to the website and electronically log your find.

 

Hard core cachers say "If you don't sign the log, you don't get a :D for the cache" as with no name on the log sheet/book, the cache owner can delete your Found It log...

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I suspect the OP may have seen caches that said BYOP and when finding out that this means "Bring Your Own Pen", wondered what the pen is for. My guess is that few people who start the game today spend much time perusing the help center or even the sections of the cache placement guidelines that deal with logging caches.

 

I will however take advantage of this thread to talk a bit about my perception of the history of geocaching and the reasons I think that the signing of physical logs is being over emphasized.

 

Geocaching is an ancient sport that dates back to the year 2000 A.D. Back when Dave Ulmer placed the first geocache he put a logbook in the cache and gave instructions that when people found the cache they could take something from, leave something in exchange, and write about it in the logbook. These became the "rules" for geocaching whether or not they make any sense years later.

 

A few months later, Geocaching moved into the realm of online gaming. Jeremy Irish created a website called Geocaching.com where not only could you find the most complete listing of geocaches that had been hidden, but you could report the results of your search online. There were online logs for reporting you found the caches and online logs for reporting you were unable to find the cache.

 

Since the "rules" said to sign the logbook in the cache, many people extended this to mean that you had to sign the logbook in order to log a find online.

 

Later, it became clear that some people would make bogus claims about finding caches in the online logs. This was not good, both for cache owners who depend on the online log, and for other cachers who make choices about which caches to search for and how long to search. So Groundspeak began asking cache owners whose caches were listed on Geocaching.com, to take responsibility for the quality of the online logs posted on their cache page. One suggestion was that if an online find appeared bogus, the cache owner could check the physical cache log to see if the finder had actually signed the log (according to the "rules").

 

As geocaching has continued to become more of an online game (now played primarily with a smartphone app), Groundspeak has updated the instruction/rules for posting an online find several times, making small changes in the wording, limiting the power of cache owners to delete logs and clarifying to finders exactly what the powers of the cache owners are.

 

The current help center article on logging finds says

To get your smiley, it is as important to log your find physically by signing the log book as it is to create your digital log.

 

In another thread I have expressed my surprise that Groundspeak would begin this direction with "To get your smiley". For years I've thought the purpose of the online log is to share your geocaching experiences - not "to get your smiley". And one point I've always made in the forum is that if someone forgot their pen, or it stopped working, or the log was too wet to write in, or they were just so excited about finding a cache that they forgot about signing the log, a reasonable cache owner would not march out, check the log book, and delete the online log for failing to sign the logbook. If the log does not appear bogus (what the article goes on to call "couch logging") I think cache owners should accept the log. Of course some cache owners are more suspicious of logs that say "I forgot a pen".

 

My guess is that this is Groundspeak's attitude as well, and I am hopeful that the next revision of the help center article will make this clearer. In the meantime, a change that makes signing the physical log a prerequisite to logging a find online would probably result in my stopping to log online. Long ago, a local cacher who I had a lot of respect for, felt that the game had become too much about the numbers. They stopped logging finds when they got to 999 (that was a big number back then). Sometimes (but not always) they logged a note. I've always felt the purpose of the online log was more than just getting a smiley, but if that is what it has become then I don't see a reason to log online.

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Don't feed the troll

 

I think it's actually a legitimate question from a noob. What, who needs a pen, when you can just scan a bar code, and move on to the next one? We are literally dinosaurs around here. That'll happen when you put out a free intro app into the Android and iphone marketplace. :ph34r:

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Don't feed the troll

 

I think it's actually a legitimate question from a noob. What, who needs a pen, when you can just scan a bar code, and move on to the next one? We are literally dinosaurs around here. That'll happen when you put out a free intro app into the Android and iphone marketplace. :ph34r:

Didn't we have a discussion about "newbies" vs "noobs" a few threads ago? :lol:

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I suspect the OP may have seen caches that said BYOP and when finding out that this means "Bring Your Own Pen", wondered what the pen is for. My guess is that few people who start the game today spend much time perusing the help center or even the sections of the cache placement guidelines that deal with logging caches.

 

I will however take advantage of this thread to talk a bit about my perception of the history of geocaching and the reasons I think that the signing of physical logs is being over emphasized.

 

Geocaching is an ancient sport that dates back to the year 2000 A.D. Back when Dave Ulmer placed the first geocache he put a logbook in the cache and gave instructions that when people found the cache they could take something from, leave something in exchange, and write about it in the logbook. These became the "rules" for geocaching whether or not they make any sense years later.

 

A few months later, Geocaching moved into the realm of online gaming. Jeremy Irish created a website called Geocaching.com where not only could you find the most complete listing of geocaches that had been hidden, but you could report the results of your search online. There were online logs for reporting you found the caches and online logs for reporting you were unable to find the cache.

 

Since the "rules" said to sign the logbook in the cache, many people extended this to mean that you had to sign the logbook in order to log a find online.

 

Later, it became clear that some people would make bogus claims about finding caches in the online logs. This was not good, both for cache owners who depend on the online log, and for other cachers who make choices about which caches to search for and how long to search. So Groundspeak began asking cache owners whose caches were listed on Geocaching.com, to take responsibility for the quality of the online logs posted on their cache page. One suggestion was that if an online find appeared bogus, the cache owner could check the physical cache log to see if the finder had actually signed the log (according to the "rules").

 

As geocaching has continued to become more of an online game (now played primarily with a smartphone app), Groundspeak has updated the instruction/rules for posting an online find several times, making small changes in the wording, limiting the power of cache owners to delete logs and clarifying to finders exactly what the powers of the cache owners are.

 

The current help center article on logging finds says

To get your smiley, it is as important to log your find physically by signing the log book as it is to create your digital log.

 

In another thread I have expressed my surprise that Groundspeak would begin this direction with "To get your smiley". For years I've thought the purpose of the online log is to share your geocaching experiences - not "to get your smiley". And one point I've always made in the forum is that if someone forgot their pen, or it stopped working, or the log was too wet to write in, or they were just so excited about finding a cache that they forgot about signing the log, a reasonable cache owner would not march out, check the log book, and delete the online log for failing to sign the logbook. If the log does not appear bogus (what the article goes on to call "couch logging") I think cache owners should accept the log. Of course some cache owners are more suspicious of logs that say "I forgot a pen".

 

My guess is that this is Groundspeak's attitude as well, and I am hopeful that the next revision of the help center article will make this clearer. In the meantime, a change that makes signing the physical log a prerequisite to logging a find online would probably result in my stopping to log online. Long ago, a local cacher who I had a lot of respect for, felt that the game had become too much about the numbers. They stopped logging finds when they got to 999 (that was a big number back then). Sometimes (but not always) they logged a note. I've always felt the purpose of the online log was more than just getting a smiley, but if that is what it has become then I don't see a reason to log online.

 

The OP question:

I'm new to this hobby and everybody talks about pens. what?

 

ROFL! Succinctly put, there, Toz!:P I think he just wanted to know about pens, not a lecture of your philosophy of log signing. But I could be wrong!

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How has this gotten 15 replies? I think one could have done it. :laughing:

 

Which of the posted replies would that be?

 

Since none of us really know what the OP is asking, it's hard to know which reply would be the one that helps.

 

I would think that Toz's standard reply posted here might be more confusing than helpful.

 

Would the reply posted by BC & MsKitty be the one?

 

I am still very interested in having the OP come back and clearly explain what the issue is.

 

 

B.

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In the meantime, a change that makes signing the physical log a prerequisite to logging a find online would probably result in my stopping to log online.

 

I seem to remember that you stated you were no longer going to be logging online in a different thread a few days ago :unsure:

 

I guess you were just joking.

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I would think that Toz's standard reply posted here might be more confusing than helpful.

Did you read my reply?

 

The first paragraph addressed a possible concern of the OP, though of course I don't know for sure if his question was motivated by BYOP caches.

 

The second paragraph warns that I'm going to take advantage of this thread to provide some backgroud on the related topic of signing the physical log. Anyone is free to stop reading at this point.

 

I spent most of the weekend thinking about starting a new thread after spending the week to getting together my thoughts after what I had posted in the "Would You Log This?" thread. I did not want to hijack that thread - it seems to have already been hijacked into a thread for posting your pictures from Singapore. I apologize for hijacking this one, but as stated, the OP asked a fairly simply question that could be answered in one reply. Of course one carries a pen to sign the physical log book. But whenever there are claims about signing the physical log that I don't agree with, I reserve the right to post my objections. And so I took advantage of the related topic to address my concerns about a few words in the help center article on logging finds. (And yes I realize the irony that I wrote so much in responses to four words).

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In the meantime, a change that makes signing the physical log a prerequisite to logging a find online would probably result in my stopping to log online.

 

I seem to remember that you stated you were no longer going to be logging online in a different thread a few days ago :unsure:

 

I guess you were just joking.

Have I logged a find since that first post?

 

As stated above, I spent a week mulling it over and decided that Groundspeak has not fundamentally changed it policy on when you can log a find online. The wording in the current version is still troubling to me. I wait to see what will be changed in the next update.

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In the meantime, a change that makes signing the physical log a prerequisite to logging a find online would probably result in my stopping to log online.

 

I seem to remember that you stated you were no longer going to be logging online in a different thread a few days ago :unsure:

 

I guess you were just joking.

Have I logged a find since that first post?

 

 

No idea.

 

As stated above, I spent a week mulling it over and decided that Groundspeak has not fundamentally changed it policy on when you can log a find online. The wording in the current version is still troubling to me. I wait to see what will be changed in the next update.

 

Glad to hear you've managed to untwist your knickers - even if only temporarily :)

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How many people seriously worry about and take to heart the wording of Groundspeak guidelines/policies when geocaching? Not that they should be ignored...but I think folks in general understand the basic "sign the log sheet if possible, log online for a +1". That's how most everyone plays it...and that's all anyone can expect.

Edited by J Grouchy
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How many people seriously worry about and take to heart the wording of Groundspeak guidelines/policies when geocaching? Not that they should be ignored...but I think folks in general understand the basic "sign the log sheet if possible, log online for a +1". That's how most everyone plays it...and that's all anyone can expect.

I have no doubt that some people log online to get a +1. There is a whole other active thread at the moment about whether cache owners have any right to expect more from the online log than "Thanks for the smiley". Strangely, I'm of the opinion that cache owners should not expect people to do more than that. But at the same time, I sure am not going to log just to get the +1. From the other thread, I'd say that there are plenty of people who would like it if Groundspeak would emphasize other reasons for logging online and not just "To get your smiley".

Edited by tozainamboku
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How many people seriously worry about and take to heart the wording of Groundspeak guidelines/policies when geocaching? Not that they should be ignored...but I think folks in general understand the basic "sign the log sheet if possible, log online for a +1". That's how most everyone plays it...and that's all anyone can expect.

I have no doubt that some people log online to get a +1. There is a whole other active thread at the moment about whether cache owners have any right to expect more from the online log than "Thanks for the smiley". Strangely, I'm of the opinion that cache owners should not expect people to do more than that.

 

I haven't seen anyone in that thread that suggest that cache owners should *expect* to get more than a TFTC. What I see are some people suggesting that many cache owners might appreciate more (and by "more" I don't just mean longer) than a TFTC.

 

 

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How has this gotten 15 replies? I think one could have done it. :laughing:

 

Which of the posted replies would that be?

 

I guess you are right. I was thinking one could just say "to sign log books with" But I guess you could use a pencil or something else. You could maybe use a pen to push a micro out of a fence post or write your loved one a note to tell them you went caching.

When I first seen the thread I thought it would be a easy one. Then the next day came back to see it had 14 responses and thought what could all this be about. I like reading the responses though so it is fun. Maybe they will return to explain more.

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How many people seriously worry about and take to heart the wording of Groundspeak guidelines/policies when geocaching? Not that they should be ignored...but I think folks in general understand the basic "sign the log sheet if possible, log online for a +1". That's how most everyone plays it...and that's all anyone can expect.

I will check my logsheets when I maintain them and if I find that someone hasn't signed it I delete their log. And that also goes logs like "I forgot my pen, I'll come back later" You know they won't and if they did they can log it then.

I had one cacher do that so I checked the other caches he did that same day and there was not mention of a forgotten pen. The cache they didn't sign was a drive up so no excuse for having to hike back to their car.

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When I first seen the thread I thought it would be a easy one. Then the next day came back to see it had 14 responses and thought what could all this be about. I like reading the responses though so it is fun. Maybe they will return to explain more.

Don't forget the use of a pen

.

 

(that was just a random video I found on youtube. I think I also saw this in a movie but I can't recall which one)

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I use pens for laughs when I'm caching with friends. Seems I have bad luck with them, I loose them, they break, the explode I've had a squirrel steal one. Seldom do I make it through a whole day with the same pen so it's usually worth a good laugh.

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I hoped this was going to be a thread about the best pen for caching, instead of so many replies of "for writing".

 

Uniball Vision is the best I've found. 0.5mm ball so you can sign nano logs, liquid ink that absorbs quickly into even wet paper, and once dry is hard enough to remove they call it 'check guard ink'.

 

How did the squirrel steal a pen?

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I think that some of the participants in this thread have fully succeeded in driving the OP away from the forums for good. With that accomplished, I am closing the thread.

 

The discussion of "what's the best pen?" is a good one, and could be a separate thread, or an old one could be bumped. But any discussion of that issue within this thread would be tainted by the preceding posts.

Edited by Keystone
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