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What changed about logs?


MMaru
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Every now and then I come across a logbook where previous finders have written notes about their experience in the logbook itself. I love finding those and reading the real-time comments. One older cache I just found had quite a few of these entries, and the cachers who wrote these detailed notes on the physical log paper actually didn't write much at all on the on-line log. I never seem to see this in more recent finds. What changed? Why do you think people used to do that, but don't seem to do it anymore?

 

Another question - is there any way to help boost a cache's popularity other than giving it a good log and a favorite point? Specifically there is one that I found recently that was all-around just so much fun to do! It was a multi, a nice, easy one to solve, but the cache itself had not been found in just under two years. I'd like to encourage other people to try for this cache. Is there anything that can help with that?

 

And finally, I remember when I first started geocaching, I read that a lot of caches had disposable cameras in them so you could take your picture when you found it. I've yet to see a camera in a cache, but as someone who scrapbooks and generally just really likes taking and seeing pictures, I was thinking about throwing one into my cache when I hide one. Any particular pros or cons? Would you, as a cache seeker, enjoy taking a snapshot of yourself or your group like this?

 

Thanks in advance for your responses!

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My personal belief is that along with the interest in numbers and the proliferation of micros, there's simply no space or time to write wordy logs anymore.

 

Often it seems, caches that have been around a while are already found by locals, and now sit for longer periods, waiting for new folks and visitors.

In my area, multis are the least popular cache type (but my favorite).

 

I wouldn't take my pic with a camera in a cache years ago and won't do it now.

My personal feelings are this selfie thing has gotten nuts.

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Great question.

 

Since I started in 2002, I was "old school" for writing long logs both in the cache logbook and online. In the logbook, people would share private details that would be spoilers if written online, like "I searched all the stumps before looking up and seeing the cache dangling." We kept careful track of what items were traded, as most caches had trade items.

 

I remember feeling guilty that my "logbook logs" were too short, so I came up with a minimalist "signature log" that said: "The Leprechauns Found It! May the luck of the Irish be with you on all your cache hunts." Sometimes at a nice cache out in the woods, I will still write this, but it will be the longest log in the book.

 

Why did things change? In 2002-2004, caches were few and far between. A large park might have just one or two caches, and it took a hike to get there. Ten caches was a busy day, now that's "warmup." So, each individual find was special, and it was fun to rest at the cache site after a tough bushwack, savoring the moment and writing a nice note in the logbook. Now it's "on to the next cache" as I no longer trade swag, and most of the logs are micro scrolls. Once people got used to writing their name and the date on a tiny line in a micro scroll, they started doing the same thing in the remaining giant notebook logs in ammo cans.

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I have recently posted longer logs. I typically only do this when:

1) There is a more substantial log book, and

2) The cache is one that is not sought after very often, and

3) It took considerable effort (for me) to reach the cache.

 

1.a could be that the cache is at leasdt a regular. Anything smaller than a regular is going to have a little tiny notebook not intended for much more than "Thanks, swapped trackables. Next finder should find Binford 1280 Travel Bug."

 

Austin

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Yeah I think the proliferation of small logsheets (not just micro caches, but small sheets in larger containers where a bigger pad or book could go) aren't helping. And I think more people are out these days for more than just a couple caches in one run, so often like The Leprechauns said it's quickly off to the next one, no time to write lengthy (especially when it's faster and easier to do it online).

I do occasionally write a little more than name & date, but usually only on special dates or occasions, like holidays or accomplishments.

 

I think, if you'd like to put out a larger family friendly cache that's good for kids, definitely put a bigger book in, and try to encourage people to write some more. If the book is kept in good condition it can be lots of fun for children (or even adults :P) to read through if they're just out to have fun as a group and not rushing to get moar caches! :)

 

I remember one I logged a couple years back while I was up at a camp with a big group of kids and some other leaders, and it was a hidden ammo can, not hard to find. And they loved looking for it, then poring through the box and checking the log book. The adults enjoyed the time too, asked a few questions, etc.

 

I think if we want to keep this sort of logging spirit alive, we have to do our part and try to put out caches that encourage it!

:cool:

Edited by thebruce0
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Powertrails have destroyed the fun of the game, the relevance of logs and have encouraged the "let us move on, we are wasting daylight" mentality. I do it but I am compelled by my competitive nature and not my good sense. Power trails have made a lot of money for Groundspeak but has diminished the quality of the "activity", but this is capitalism. I am losing my enthusiam for the game. We do what we need to to do to keep us "happy".

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heh, I wouldn't put that all on powertrails. Powertrails became a thing because people wanted to find more and fast, and figured out how to place a whole bunch in a way that made that possible. Then spawned all the drama about what's allowable and not. If "powertrails" were disallowed, people would find another way to do it. Heck there are small forests that are littered (literally) with caches along their trail systems just to provide a good time of finding a bunch of caches on a nice walk. You may hate powertrails, but still want to 'clear out' a forest of its caches. Same issue.

 

It's a mentality, not a specific 'thing'. If no one wanted high numbers, none of those find concepts would exist. Now that they exist, yes they do make high numbers (and fast loggin) easier, but taking them away wouldn't solve the problem, just shift it somewhere else.

 

I think the only way to (bringing it back to logs) see better on-the-spot logbook writing, is to encourage it, rather than discourage things we think oppose it.

*shrug*

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I think The Leprechauns answer covers it all.

 

I do put a larger logbook (logbook, not a sheet of paper) in my larger caches. And when I find a larger cache with a "proper" logbook, I'll write at least a few words.

 

And when I do a difficult cache - say one which takes a half a day or more just for that one cache - I tend to write more in the physical log (as well as the online log). In these cases, what The Leprechauns said about "savoring the moment and writing a nice note in the logbook" still applies.

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Some of my caches - and caches I have found - get longer longer logs by accidental finders. But I rarely write long logs in caches unless there is something to say that is different from what I will write online or if the moment or location calls out for something more. Considering that many online logs have become cut and paste sentenced or brief acronyms, it is not surprising that written logs have become abbreviated as well.

 

Disposable cameras have also become rarer where I live. Perhaps because people routinely carry cell phones or other cameras, perhaps because reclaiming the camera and posting photos adds another level of maintenance. I have taken a few pictures with cameras in caches, usually when I had my dog or kid with me, but never have remembered to check to see if they were ever posted.

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Replying to the OP, boosting a cache's popularity is something I've been working on lately. We have some wonderful, well thought out caches in our area that have only been found by a handful of people. On our local caching group's Facebook page I've started trying to do a profile of one local cache a week that's definitely worth the time. We have a great local multi cache that was placed on the ground of a beautiful church. It was placed by a mother in memory of her son. The church allowed her to use their very lovely gardens and part of the grounds that overlook their graveyard. There's a great final surprise container and a nice field puzzle. To me, this is a fantastic cache: Nice location, fun field puzzle, and it's a cache that tells a story. It's been around for almost a year and it's only bene found twice! What a shame!

 

I haven't seen any new found it logs yet, but we'll see what happens!

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I think that, also, caches placed in more muggle-prone areas aren't conducive to long, written logs. You want to sign that thing and replace it before anyone sees you. Back in the day, more caches were in out of the way places, right? So there was time to sit and write without people wondering what you were doing.

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We have a great local multi cache that was placed on the ground of a beautiful church. It was placed by a mother in memory of her son. The church allowed her to use their very lovely gardens and part of the grounds that overlook their graveyard. There's a great final surprise container and a nice field puzzle. To me, this is a fantastic cache: Nice location, fun field puzzle, and it's a cache that tells a story. It's been around for almost a year and it's only bene found twice! What a shame!

 

I haven't seen any new found it logs yet, but we'll see what happens!

 

What's the GC number? I keep a private bookmark list of caches we'd like to do if we are ever in the area. Since our daughter and her family are moving to northern SC, we may well take a vacation out in that area.

 

Thank you!

 

Mrs. Car54

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Every now and then I come across a logbook where previous finders have written notes about their experience in the logbook itself. I love finding those and reading the real-time comments. One older cache I just found had quite a few of these entries, and the cachers who wrote these detailed notes on the physical log paper actually didn't write much at all on the on-line log. I never seem to see this in more recent finds. What changed? Why do you think people used to do that, but don't seem to do it anymore?

The simple answer is that there are more caches. Each individual cache is no longer a special event, so seekers are less likely to feel a need to immediately write down their experiences. Similarly, COs have more caches, so they're less likely to go back to each one regularly to read the logs (although I'm sure there are some COs that still do). And, on the second order, seekers no longer expect the CO to read the logs, and COs no longer expect every visitor to fill a page or two of the log. Finally, in the end, I think those trends made people realize that the on-line log was better in so many ways, anyway. After all, anyone can read your on-line log, but only people that look for and find the cache -- not a replacement, but only that same cache with the same physical log -- you can read your physical log, and even then only if they find the cache after you did, assuming it hasn't been obliterated by weather when they get there. That makes it easy to see why people put more effort into their on-line log.

 

So while I think physical logs are cool, and I try to write something, in the end I have to say they're obsolete except for find verification.

 

Don't listen to people telling you that micros or powertrails are the cause. Those are effects.

 

And finally, I remember when I first started geocaching, I read that a lot of caches had disposable cameras in them so you could take your picture when you found it. I've yet to see a camera in a cache, but as someone who scrapbooks and generally just really likes taking and seeing pictures, I was thinking about throwing one into my cache when I hide one. Any particular pros or cons? Would you, as a cache seeker, enjoy taking a snapshot of yourself or your group like this?

Cameras are a really cool idea, and I think everyone likes them. Be prepared for it to be lost or broken, because that happens, but as long as your expectations are in line with reality, go ahead. And not to discourage you, but I think these are no longer done very often because experience showed that they didn't work out as cool as expected. Everyone carries their own camera now, so everyone can take their own picture and post it on the web. Furthermore, the people taking the pictures in a cache cam rarely get to see them because the camera never gets retrieved, or it takes so long the seekers have forgotten about it and never go back to look.

 

Having said that, the 2 or 3 caches where the CO did retrieve the camera and post the pictures, it's been fun to look at all the pictures people took of themselves however many years ago.

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What's the GC number? I keep a private bookmark list of caches we'd like to do if we are ever in the area. Since our daughter and her family are moving to northern SC, we may well take a vacation out in that area.

 

Thank you!

 

Mrs. Car54

 

GC5D3Y5: Chach-the angel on my shoulder.

 

Good luck! Northern SC and Southern, NC have some great caches if you know where to look! Spartanburg, Rock Hill, Pacolet, the Broad River Greenway, and Northern Cleveland County are some of my favorite places to cache.

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I started caching Xmas eve 2001. I remember how I felt the first time I opened up a micro cache and the owner actually said not to write in the log. He didn't want the scroll to fill up. What?! huh.gif I expected every owner to want to hear our tales fresh at the source. It was a little insulting. A little deflating.

Oh well at least small and larger caches had logbooks with plenty of room to write. A few months later I find a regular size cache with a geocaching info sheet. No logbook. Where's the logbook? I pull the GC info sheet out of the baggie unfold it and lo & behold, on the back of it is a printed table with about 200 little cells for people to leave there tiny trail name.

Now I rejoice when I see a spiral notebook - the kind you can get at the dollar store 4/$1. So rare. I'm amazed when I see a larger more expensive notebook - the kind you get for $1 at the dollar store. I still try to do the traditional thing and write something in a logbook if there's a nice logbook.

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And I think more people are out these days for more than just a couple caches in one run, so often like The Leprechauns said it's quickly off to the next one, no time to write lengthy (especially when it's faster and easier to do it online).
There's a geocaching hike scheduled for tomorrow (a "tax day" geocaching hike). They're limiting each geocache stop to 5 minutes, apparently because any longer would be too much of a "geocaching obsession" (the organizer's words).

 

With only 5 minutes, you hardly have time for everyone to write their own geocaching handle, let alone time for anyone to write anything more substantial in the log. Assuming that any of the caches they search for have logbooks with room for substantial logs.

 

No, I won't be joining them.

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And I think more people are out these days for more than just a couple caches in one run, so often like The Leprechauns said it's quickly off to the next one, no time to write lengthy (especially when it's faster and easier to do it online).
There's a geocaching hike scheduled for tomorrow (a "tax day" geocaching hike). They're limiting each geocache stop to 5 minutes, apparently because any longer would be too much of a "geocaching obsession" (the organizer's words).

 

With only 5 minutes, you hardly have time for everyone to write their own geocaching handle, let alone time for anyone to write anything more substantial in the log. Assuming that any of the caches they search for have logbooks with room for substantial logs.

 

No, I won't be joining them.

 

That just seems so sad. One of our favourite things to do is trek out to a difficult-to-reach cache, and then have what we call a "Binthair Party" at the GZ. We sit on the ground, flip through the logbook and the cache contents, eat the snacks we brought with us, and enjoy being in nature with friends.

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...The simple answer is that there are more caches. Each individual cache is no longer a special event, so seekers are less likely to feel a need to immediately write down their experiences. Similarly, COs have more caches, so they're less likely to go back to each one regularly to read the logs (although I'm sure there are some COs that still do...

Yep, that pretty much sums it up simply, but...

in the end I have to say they're obsolete except for find verification...

I would disagree with them being obsolete. There is no requirement by Groundspeak to post an online log & "earn a smiley" and one of the basic rules is to sign the physical log. Over the years I've seen many physical logs which were never claimed/posted online. Some left by cachers, and some from muggles. They were all interesting to read & part of the fun finding a well earned cache.

Though finding these are definitely less common now that along with technology, popularity & numbers, the game has changed so much.

 

That just seems so sad. One of our favourite things to do is trek out to a difficult-to-reach cache, and then have what we call a "Binthair Party" at the GZ. We sit on the ground, flip through the logbook and the cache contents, eat the snacks we brought with us, and enjoy being in nature with friends.

Haha- "Binthair Party" That is really cool you still do that :)

 

This reminds me to make the effort/ strive to put out better caches with proper logbooks for those that appreciate them :) And to do maintenance more often & remember to photograph some of the significant logs in case the book goes missing ;) will have to post a photo of one later (when I have time to find it)

Whatever suits your style, M/O , Happy Caching folks! :)

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Thanks for all the responses! I have to admit that I have never written more than my geocaching handle and date, except for maybe once or twice when I added "whoohoo!" on a FTF and once when I wrote "darn you, (FTFer)!" when a local FTF hound beat me by literally four minutes :) A cache that I came across recently had a ton of pages of detailed logs in the physical logbook, and it was really cool to read - but it was also a very remote log in the middle of the woods where you had to do an epic battle with walls of thorns to get to it, so it was definitely deserving of some extra time in logging! :)

 

Trotter17, that's a really cool idea! Thanks for sharing! The cache that inspired my query (which, incidentally, is the same one that also had all those neat hand-written logs) also had a bunch of very short online logs that did nothing more than complained about the thorns, which the CO posted about on the GC page so it's not like you don't know what you're getting into. I left a long online log about how much I enjoyed it, favorite it, and then also sent the CO a private thank you message, cause I know he puts a lot of thought and effort into creating fun and educational caches.

 

As for the camera, I'm a realist - I figure if I put one out there, it has a 50/50 chance of making it, if that :) It was one of the things I was looking forward to when I first was learning about geocaching, and I thought it would be fun for others, especially since I would like to build some very family-friendly caches in the future.

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What's the GC number? I keep a private bookmark list of caches we'd like to do if we are ever in the area. Since our daughter and her family are moving to northern SC, we may well take a vacation out in that area.

 

Thank you!

 

Mrs. Car54

 

GC5D3Y5: Chach-the angel on my shoulder.

 

Good luck! Northern SC and Southern, NC have some great caches if you know where to look! Spartanburg, Rock Hill, Pacolet, the Broad River Greenway, and Northern Cleveland County are some of my favorite places to cache.

 

Thank you! I've put Chach's cache on my bookmark list. Our daughter's family is moving to Rock Hill, so it's very exciting to know that there's some good caching there. :)

 

Mrs. Car54

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The size of the log is probably the biggest factor, and that is of course related to the size of the cache. When all you have is a little cell, then it is just date and initials ... or date and name maybe.

 

If there is a nice little book, the opportunity to write more arises. I will usually write at least my date and name, a TFTC, where I am from if I am non-local to the cache, and if I swapped anything. A nice book with other stories means I might write my own story as well, and I enjoy reading a log book with other stories in it.

 

When I do my online logging, I'll probably write similar things, but that's okay too.

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When geocaching started, there was no easy method of making an on-site on-line log. Also, there wasn't the proliferation of micros, so log books were bigger and you had more room to write about the experience. As log books got smaller, they became a place to prove you were there with a signature, and the longer logs were posted on-line.

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I sat in the sun today by the side of a path and wrote a nice long log entry where no other cacher had written more than their name and the date.

 

Then I did the same thing later on.

 

If people model the behaviour they want others to adopt then, maybe, we'll get a few more longer logs and a few more bigger logbooks.

 

Thanks to the OP for making me think about this a bit more as well fwiw.

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Where caches still have actual logbooks I generally write something descriptive of the day, the journey, how many parts fell off my car getting here, how many parts fell off me getting here, etc. Not much room for that without an actual logbook.

 

Something that bugs me is finding a cache large enough for a logbook, which has a strip of paper in it to sign. C'mon, if you can put a regular container out, at least put a notepad or such in it.

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Powertrails have destroyed the fun of the game, the relevance of logs and have encouraged the "let us move on, we are wasting daylight" mentality. I do it but I am compelled by my competitive nature and not my good sense. Power trails have made a lot of money for Groundspeak but has diminished the quality of the "activity", but this is capitalism. I am losing my enthusiam for the game. We do what we need to to do to keep us "happy".

This is a refreshingly honest answer to the question. For many, it has become an online rather than offline game. Myself included. Although I enjoy the outdoor aspect, I am often influence to take an "on to the next one" approach as I compete with myself and friends. That competition doesn't always allow for good laid-back strolls down a trail.

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This is a refreshingly honest answer to the question. For many, it has become an online rather than offline game. Myself included. Although I enjoy the outdoor aspect, I am often influence to take an "on to the next one" approach as I compete with myself and friends. That competition doesn't always allow for good laid-back strolls down a trail.

I'm just the opposite, but I reach the same conclusion. To me, the caches themselves are somewhat secondary. I'm more using the caches as an excuse to take that laid back stroll. But that just means sitting around writing an essay in a log book is even lower in my priority list: I'd rather get on with exploring the area which may or may not involve finding another cache. I can write my essay at home after the sun goes down.

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Why did things change? In 2002-2004, caches were few and far between. A large park might have just one or two caches, and it took a hike to get there. Ten caches was a busy day, now that's "warmup." So, each individual find was special, and it was fun to rest at the cache site after a tough bushwack, savoring the moment and writing a nice note in the logbook. Now it's "on to the next cache" as I no longer trade swag, and most of the logs are micro scrolls. Once people got used to writing their name and the date on a tiny line in a micro scroll, they started doing the same thing in the remaining giant notebook logs in ammo cans.

 

That sums it up perfectly. I have some caches that are pretty old (2001/2002) and still with the original log book. It's interesting to page through the books to see how things have changed. In the beginning most cachers would write a paragraph and some would fill up a page and sometimes more. By 2005/2006 the logs started getting shorter. The longer ones were a paragraph and most were a few sentences.

 

The one word, "TFTC" logs started becoming common around 2008ish and now with even full sized logbooks I usually see simply a name and date.

 

I'm a throwback I guess. I still wright a few sentences if there is room. Who I was with, what the weather was like, how easy or hard the hunt was, stuff such as that. There are a few others in my area that still write a bit. But not long ago I overheard a newer cacher saying people who write longish paper logs are being selfish. Sigh.

Edited by briansnat
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The quality and length of my logs are, more often than not, a direct reflection of the cache itself. I love writing good longer logs on caches that are memorable (found or not). More and more often though, I find myself leaving the dreaded Sl, TFTC logs. These are usually on caches that the CO has been absent from for years and are in need of maintenance but not yet bad enough for a NA log. For these, I'll write a longer NM log describing what I found.

 

My generic Found It logs are because the CO doesn't care enough to read it anyway. The longer NM logs are for those poor souls that still seek the cache in question.

 

I've found though, that the folks looking for these caches often don't care enough to read or research past logs anyway...

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The quality and length of my logs are, more often than not, a direct reflection of the cache itself. I love writing good longer logs on caches that are memorable (found or not). More and more often though, I find myself leaving the dreaded Sl, TFTC logs. These are usually on caches that the CO has been absent from for years and are in need of maintenance but not yet bad enough for a NA log. For these, I'll write a longer NM log describing what I found.

 

My generic Found It logs are because the CO doesn't care enough to read it anyway. The longer NM logs are for those poor souls that still seek the cache in question.

 

I've found though, that the folks looking for these caches often don't care enough to read or research past logs anyway...

 

Sounds as though you are talking about the online logs. This thread, I believe, is more about what is (or was) written in the logbook.

 

I still sometimes will write a bit about my experience in the logbook, if there IS a log book and if I'm not in any hurry (which, IMO, is the best way to cache). But those times are rather rare these days when caches are smaller, often with just strips of paper for a log, or inadequate containers and maintenance where the log book has become damp and yucky.

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I tend to write a longer log entry in the logbook if one exists and there is a place nearby to sit on. If it's under muggle supervision or ankledeep in insect infested mud or simple in the forest without some dry place to sit on or just to place the rest of the container other than in dirt, my on-scene logs tend to be the TFTC type. No fun to write in a logbook then.

 

Two of my hides (one a traditional and one an easy puzzle, small container each) have a bench with a beautiful view nearby. Their offline log entries are significant longer than those of my other hides (multis, regular container each) just being placed in a forest without a decent place to sit on and enjoy the find...

 

That said, on all of them, the logs of those high count number crunch cachers are the worst, offline and online, by content and length (either one or - in the online log - copy & paste 100 words for the authors badge).

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I have very little interest in - after hiking through woods in a hot, humid Georgia summer - sitting down and reading a long story written on damp, moldy paper.

 

I have ZERO interest in - after hiking through woods in a hot, humid Georgia summer - sitting down and WRITING a long story on damp, moldy paper.

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Agreed -- if I write a good log, digital or paper - it's usually because the cache itself has raised the standard bar for that task. A great cache with a big logbook? Yeah I'll likely write something more significant. If I find a cache on a powertrail that's cookie cutter of all those around it, then for one the CO likely isn't paying attention or doesn't care, and second if there's nothing notable or at issue with it then what's the point?

The only additional argument would be that logs are also for followup finders. On caches not part of a trail, then yes even if the CO doesn't really care and the cache logbook is big and good condition, other cachers after you might get value out of a nice written log, or helpful online log. Powertrails? Likely notsomuch (other than issues or difficulties - I'll add them because I appreciate when other cachers do that; stuck? check past logs)

 

So I would correlate the quality of written logs to the amount of viable logbooks that make it feasible. With the average logbook just over an inch wide, it doesn't really cry out "hey write about how awesome your experience was!"

I'd say the issue is partly geocaching-activity culture, and partly geocaching-placement culture.

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