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How many people don't read cache descriptions?


SicilianCyclops
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Lately, I've come to the conclusion that many cachers find caches without reading the description. I've noticed this might be the case with two of my caches in particular which have a detailed write-up describing the interesting local history which is the basis for each cache. This is unfortunate because I think people miss out on a lot of caches by skipping over pertinent information in the description. I also think it may have to do with lame, short logs. So about what percentage of cachers do you think skip over reading the description?

Edited by SicilianCyclops
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Where is this description you talk about? Not sure I ever saw one.

I'm referring to the details page. My bad.

I think jholly was joking, answering your question with "never".

 

Anyway, generally for me, seeking the cache is one thing, understanding the cache is another. Sometimes when planning my walk, I'll have taken an interest in that specific cache for one reason or another and have read the description before I look for it, but more often it's just another cache "along the way" that I haven't looked at in advance (except, perhaps, so see if there are any problems suggested by recent logs). In most cases, I do read the description when I post the find on-line, although if the description is extensive, I might skip it then, too.

 

So, in summary, I appreciate the effort of a good description, I'll usually end up reading it eventually, but, on the other hand, you can't count on me having read it. But the other side of the coin is that if you don't write it, it will definitely never be read, so since you like to write them up, I suggest focusing on the fact that some people read them instead of worrying whether lots of people won't.

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Now I see the joke, I thought I was using the wrong terminology. Anyway, I'm not so much concerned about people not reading the description, it's just an observation. It just never occurred to me to ever NOT read the description. For the few caches I own it's pretty crucial to read it in order to fully understand what the cache is about.

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For urban hides, I almost never read the Description. If I do, it's usually after I Find the cache.

 

For backcountry caches, I almost ALWAYS read the Description, so I can get an idea what I'm getting myself into :ph34r:

 

That's interesting. Do most people do it that way? I have two urban hides, both based on historical events. So if someone doesn't read the description the caches would have no significance other than being simple park & grabs.

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I always read the description AND most of the logs (or at least going back a few months). Without doing that I would miss out on most of the best caches around. Chances are we need water for the cache or some other tool. Most of the usual tools are in my backpack but sometimes something else is needed. For multis we want to know if we will be looking for tags or need to answer questions.

I'm sure run of the mill traditionals can be done without reading anything but then again those are not the kind of caches we like to do.

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As a general rule, it is best to assume people will not read the description for a traditional unless they run into trouble.

 

If you want people to follow instructions, it is better to use a cache type like multi, puzzle, or letterbox.

Same for me! Most caches are just run of the mill type. I always read the hiking cache page very careful so I know what I am getting into.

 

In some countries, the CO use pics for hints.(not something I see much in my part of USA) When u get to GZ...its like...oh NO! Take the phone out and wait 15 mins for the pic to download and failed to load! :ph34r: Always where you get bad phone services. So, when I am in other countries, I read every descriptions! Just in case of a spoiler pic that I need to know. I learned the hard way about this. The hint on my GPS will say, look up spoiler pics on cache page. <_<

 

Want people to read your description... just say the hint is on the cache page. :ph34r:

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Lately, I've come to the conclusion that many cachers find caches without reading the description. I've noticed this might be the case with two of my caches in particular which have a detailed write-up describing the interesting local history which is the basis for each cache.

It's annoying to have to scroll through several paragraphs of text, in the hope of reaching the part about how to find the cache. And especially when it's just a terse phrase, when the history of the area was so wordy. More often, a long-winded story ends with no info about hide at all. Cache Owners seem to enjoy doing that kind of thing.

 

I often scroll (and scroll and scroll) through some giant block of Wikipedia-pasted article, on my GPSr while being attacked by mosquitoes, to reach the part where it says which trail to take. I'd like to read a story when I'm either researching caches before I leave, or after I return home (when I'm logging the find). So on my caches, if there's a lot to read, it's optional. That is, you don't have to read all the cool stories in order to find helpful info on how to find my cache. But my way is not catching on. :ph34r:

Edited by kunarion
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I always read the cache description and several of the logs. I like it when a cache takes me to a historical landmark or if there is a special reason for that particular cache. Understanding the reason for a cache is half the fun for me.

 

Yeah, that's how I have approached the game. The beauty is that we can all play in our own way. However, I'm a bit surprised that many people skip over reading descriptions for traditional caches altogether.

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When we used to do the simple traditionals (cache n dashes mostly), we rarely ever read the cache page.

Often the CO would ramble on the cache page of something maybe no one but him was interested in, while the wet film can usually failed to deepen our understanding of their imagery .

I don't really care if the neighbor who's house your pill bottle's in front of was the second cousin of a trumpeter who worked for Al Hirt for a brief time.

Sheesh...

A synopsis is fine, you're not writing Proust's masterpiece.

 

Similar to on4bam, now that we stay away from most hides less than 2 in terrain, we read the entire cache page for everything pertaining to the cache.

Again, we'll steer away if their blather gets ridiculous, believing they're somehow channelling Tolstoy.

Edited by cerberus1
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I generally read the cache page on my GPS. If it's too long, I ignore it. Three paragraph explanation of where the CO got the caches. Or five paragraphs on each cache page explaining the SRT Trail.

(Besides which, I already knew where 'The Night Before Christmas' was written. I grew up in that neighborhood.) I liked the story about Phoebe!

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I generally read the cache page on my GPS. If it's too long, I ignore it. Three paragraph explanation of where the CO got the caches. Or five paragraphs on each cache page explaining the SRT Trail.

(Besides which, I already knew where 'The Night Before Christmas' was written. I grew up in that neighborhood.) I liked the story about Phoebe!

 

Ha. Yes, you knew about Santa Claus, but how many cachers do? (The Night Before Christmas wasn't written there though :D)...Glad you enjoyed the Phoebe story. But that proves my point. If a cacher doesn't read the brief story, then the cache, IMO, is meaningless.

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I generally do but get very very frustrated when it's a huge read, deep into the topic and then 2 lines at the end about the actual cache. If the CO has to present that much about it then I'd prefer if it was at the top of the page or at least well separated some how so it stands out from the rest of the text.

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I tend to, except for trails/series - this weekend we cached along a local trail - we did nearly 50 caches of the same series - they were titled with the number first, and then the name. So on my list to organise us, I just wrote down the number. So for these we didn't even read the cache name, until I logged them! So for some that I didn't even read the hint, I had trouble remembering what the cache was like.... :(

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For urban hides, I almost never read the Description. If I do, it's usually after I Find the cache.

 

For backcountry caches, I almost ALWAYS read the Description, so I can get an idea what I'm getting myself into :ph34r:

 

That's interesting. Do most people do it that way? I have two urban hides, both based on historical events. So if someone doesn't read the description the caches would have no significance other than being simple park & grabs.

Unfortunately, park and grabs are what sell these days. Making a cache creative, challenging, historical, or placing it in a nice spot is great for some but the majority of people just want it to be easy. With this mindset, the reading of a cache page is not something that happens as often as it used to.

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If there's good educational or historical information on a cache page, we'll often close our log entry with "thanks for the history and the cache" or something of that sort so the CO knows we read and appreciated the effort that went in to the cache page. We don't always do that, this is a good reminder.

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FWIW, I usually read the cache description, but sometimes I don't read it until I'm at home, entering my log.

 

In the field, it depends. When I'm by myself, I often don't read anything if I find the cache quickly. If it's taking me a while to find the cache, then I'll start by reading the description, then the hint (if any), and then past logs.

 

When I'm with a group, it really depends on the group. Some groups have read the description (and even the hint) immediately. Others have resisted reading anything until we were really stuck.

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Did you ever notice while in a grocery store that people are so intent on their "finds" that they ignore all others? Their focus becomes laser-beamed into their own hunt for food, and they disregard all other social etiquette? Same principal applies here. I am guilty of this as well, wanting to rely on my GC instinct rather than information. Info is secondary, so make your hides a little harder to force people to disseminate the information a little more acutely.

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Did you ever notice while in a grocery store that people are so intent on their "finds" that they ignore all others? Their focus becomes laser-beamed into their own hunt for food, and they disregard all other social etiquette? Same principal applies here. I am guilty of this as well, wanting to rely on my GC instinct rather than information. Info is secondary, so make your hides a little harder to force people to disseminate the information a little more acutely.

Very interesting insight and observation. I agree.

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I have no idea what the percentages are; how likely it is your page will be read.

 

I generally read the description, either before leaving the house, or in the field. Sometimes I get lazy if I'm doing a series by the same owner, but even then I try to remember. Mainly because I've found (for example) that I had a hard time finding the route from #4 to #5, and there was something in the descriptions which would have helped. Or, I get home and see the description points out an interesting feature I didn't notice.

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Lately, I've come to the conclusion that many cachers find caches without reading the description. I've noticed this might be the case with two of my caches in particular which have a detailed write-up describing the interesting local history which is the basis for each cache. This is unfortunate because I think people miss out on a lot of caches by skipping over pertinent information in the description. I also think it may have to do with lame, short logs. So about what percentage of cachers do you think skip over reading the description?

 

if it's an interesting cache or has a place to sit in the shade, yes, the description will be read.

 

so many of the descriptions ramble on (not referring to yours) wiki style that we just moved on to the next.

 

giving a good, USABLE hint usually leads to actually reading the description also.

"look up" as a hint usually means we just keep walking.

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If a location has special historical or social significance, it might be better to work that into a multi or mystery rather than just presenting it passively as a page full of words. You won't get as many finds, but those who do take it on will probably enjoy it a lot more.

 

I'd say you're definitely right and your advice is spot-on. However, I wouldn't feel right making a puzzle cache just so people pay more attention to the cache page. I have one puzzle because it only works as a puzzle, not so people read the details more thoroughly.

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I always read the cache description too because I think it gives a reason for the cache being there and often provides information of other attractions or activities in the area.The cache is afterall a small reward for being taken to a special or significant site.

Unfortunately while I think that easy caches are becoming more popular I will continue to try and hide caches of distinct difference that suit their envronment and raise the creativity bar a little so the caching experience will be memorable for experienced and new cachers alike.

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I am planning on going to Germany later this year or maybe next year. After seeing this thread, I realized I won't be able to read the descriptions. I am going to be using a GPS and not a phone, so I don't know an easy way to translate any of them. It will be a traditional only trip I suppose. :(

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I am planning on going to Germany later this year or maybe next year. After seeing this thread, I realized I won't be able to read the descriptions. I am going to be using a GPS and not a phone, so I don't know an easy way to translate any of them. It will be a traditional only trip I suppose. :(

 

Or you can plan ahead which non-traditional caches you want to target and translate the pages before you go.

If you use GSAK you can edit the text that will be downloaded to your GPS as well as corrected puzzle coords.

If you don't you can still print out a few pages, or just compress the important stuff into a doc of your own creation.

 

Back to the OP-It depends. I don't expect there to be much on the page of a run of he mill hide, so I don't bother to read the page. If it's taking me somewhere interesting I might read the page before/during/after my visit. It also depends on how much of a hurry I am in that particular day. I doubt you'll get any sort of statistically accurate answer in this thread.

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My own caches suck.

 

Only the descriptions are good, so if you don't read them, you're really missing out!

 

B)

 

I'm a history buff, so I think historical caches are great. However, if you don't read the description you don't get the history. The caches, standalone, could be fine and fun but knowing the history of the site they're hidden on will enhance them.

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For urban hides, I almost never read the Description. If I do, it's usually after I Find the cache.

 

For backcountry caches, I almost ALWAYS read the Description, so I can get an idea what I'm getting myself into :ph34r:

 

That's interesting. Do most people do it that way? I have two urban hides, both based on historical events. So if someone doesn't read the description the caches would have no significance other than being simple park & grabs.

 

Simple Park & Grabs are all some people are interested in.

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I always read descriptions, but when and how much will vary depending on what kind of cache it is. For example, if I'm planning on hiking to a remote cache, I'll read the entire description before I leave home, as well as many logs and even look at past photos that may help me understand the hide and/or area. On the other hand, if the cache appears to be a park 'n' grab, I may skim the description on my GPSr in the field when I start navigating to it, looking for any critical information like access points, permission, safety issues, etc. In cases like this, I generally won't read any lengthy historical text in the field, but usually will when I'm logging the cache at home.

 

In the end, I'll always read at least some of the description at some point before heading for any cache (with the sole exception being series caches with identical descriptions)

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My own caches suck.

 

Only the descriptions are good, so if you don't read them, you're really missing out!

 

B)

 

I'm a history buff, so I think historical caches are great. However, if you don't read the description you don't get the history. The caches, standalone, could be fine and fun but knowing the history of the site they're hidden on will enhance them.

 

Geocachers are in it for different reasons.

 

We're history buffs, and we appreciate caches that bring us to historic places, but we're not going to spend a lot of time reading a cache page to learn history because:

 

1. There's a good chance it's copied from another source anyway.

2. It's probably inaccurate, or very abridged.

3. A cache description isn't really the best place for detailed information like that.

 

For a traditional cache it's better to include a brief explanation of the site and a link to a good source for further reading. The cache page should focus on the cache itself.

 

As cachers who enjoy history, we would much rather be engaged with the site itself than reading tiny text on our GPSrs. We love multis, letterboxes, and puzzles that bring us to different locations and get us physically engaged in the history of a place. If it's an interesting site, we'll follow up with additional research on our own.

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I have always thought that cache descriptions are the most important part of a cache. Some of my caches are based upon certain things that you would never know about unless you read the description. Others tell a story or explain why I wanted to bring people to that particular spot.

 

When I am planning a trip or deciding if I want to find a local cache, the description is often the deciding factor. A cache that makes me want to go to the location will be added to the list; a description that implies the container was placed simply to place a container 528 feet from another will be ignored. A description that tells a story or includes an intriguing photo will get my interest; one with few lines or many typos make me think that if the CO does not care, why should I? Sometimes after reading a description I will know I want to visit a cache because I can write a log that will play off of the story the CO is telling. Other times, the description convinces me that the journey to get to the cache - whether it be a hike or kayak - is one that I do not want to miss.

 

In general, I care more about the location and less about the container - so a description that focuses on the container, or makes me go elsewhere to find out why I should go there, won't catch my interest.

 

I found a couple of caches in the past week because of the description. I did not bother with many more caches because of the description.

 

In the past, I might have been more likely to find whatever was in sight and read the description afterwards, but life is too short for that.

Edited by geodarts
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My own caches suck.

 

Only the descriptions are good, so if you don't read them, you're really missing out!

 

B)

 

I'm a history buff, so I think historical caches are great. However, if you don't read the description you don't get the history. The caches, standalone, could be fine and fun but knowing the history of the site they're hidden on will enhance them.

 

Geocachers are in it for different reasons.

 

We're history buffs, and we appreciate caches that bring us to historic places, but we're not going to spend a lot of time reading a cache page to learn history because:

 

1. There's a good chance it's copied from another source anyway.

2. It's probably inaccurate, or very abridged.

3. A cache description isn't really the best place for detailed information like that.

 

For a traditional cache it's better to include a brief explanation of the site and a link to a good source for further reading. The cache page should focus on the cache itself.

 

As cachers who enjoy history, we would much rather be engaged with the site itself than reading tiny text on our GPSrs. We love multis, letterboxes, and puzzles that bring us to different locations and get us physically engaged in the history of a place. If it's an interesting site, we'll follow up with additional research on our own.

 

+1

Yes, refer people to a webpage with more information. Maybe add a couple of sentences for intrigue. If it's a historical site there's likely going to be plaques or a museum with lots of information.

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My own caches suck.

 

Only the descriptions are good, so if you don't read them, you're really missing out!

 

B)

 

I'm a history buff, so I think historical caches are great. However, if you don't read the description you don't get the history. The caches, standalone, could be fine and fun but knowing the history of the site they're hidden on will enhance them.

 

Geocachers are in it for different reasons.

 

We're history buffs, and we appreciate caches that bring us to historic places, but we're not going to spend a lot of time reading a cache page to learn history because:

 

1. There's a good chance it's copied from another source anyway.

2. It's probably inaccurate, or very abridged.

3. A cache description isn't really the best place for detailed information like that.

 

For a traditional cache it's better to include a brief explanation of the site and a link to a good source for further reading. The cache page should focus on the cache itself.

 

As cachers who enjoy history, we would much rather be engaged with the site itself than reading tiny text on our GPSrs. We love multis, letterboxes, and puzzles that bring us to different locations and get us physically engaged in the history of a place. If it's an interesting site, we'll follow up with additional research on our own.

 

+1

Yes, refer people to a webpage with more information. Maybe add a couple of sentences for intrigue. If it's a historical site there's likely going to be plaques or a museum with lots of information.

 

Yes, by all means tell us what there is to see at the cache site. I can't tell you how many times I've been to caches that were at really cool places or next to really cool things, with no mention at all on the cache page! I don't always read descriptions for traditionals, but I do sometimes, especially when I'm planning a day's excursion. If I know there's going to be something interesting at a cache, I might end up planning the day around it.

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I have always thought that cache descriptions are the most important part of a cache. Some of my caches are based upon certain things that you would never know about unless you read the description. Others tell a story or explain why I wanted to bring people to that particular spot.

 

When I am planning a trip or deciding if I want to find a local cache, the description is often the deciding factor. A cache that makes me want to go to the location will be added to the list; a description that implies the container was placed simply to place a container 528 feet from another will be ignored. A description that tells a story or includes an intriguing photo will get my interest; one with few lines or many typos make me think that if the CO does not care, why should I? Sometimes after reading a description I will know I want to visit a cache because I can write a log that will play off of the story the CO is telling. Other times, the description convinces me that the journey to get to the cache - whether it be a hike or kayak - is one that I do not want to miss.

 

In general, I care more about the location and less about the container - so a description that focuses on the container, or makes me go elsewhere to find out why I should go there, won't catch my interest.

 

I found a couple of caches in the past week because of the description. I did not bother with many more caches because of the description.

 

In the past, I might have been more likely to find whatever was in sight and read the description afterwards, but life is too short for that.

 

What's great about this hobby is that different people get different things out of it. However, I agree with this comment 100%. You don't want to ramble with your description, but take some pride in it. Well said.

Edited by SicilianCyclops
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Now I see the joke, I thought I was using the wrong terminology. Anyway, I'm not so much concerned about people not reading the description, it's just an observation. It just never occurred to me to ever NOT read the description. For the few caches I own it's pretty crucial to read it in order to fully understand what the cache is about.

 

Same here. Why wouldn't you read the description?

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A nice compromise is to include all the essential information at the beginning of the listing, where it is accessible to those using devices with limited capacity, or to those with limited attention spans. Then include the full details after that.

 

The MROSD series takes this approach, for example: GCRJ6E

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Yes, refer people to a webpage with more information. Maybe add a couple of sentences for intrigue. If it's a historical site there's likely going to be plaques or a museum with lots of information.

 

I typically bring along paper printouts for (interesting) multi caches (for some I just scribble down notes a sheet of paper) and also for other caches where the description seems to contain something of interest to me. Links to some webpage do not help me at all at the cache site. I might miss interesting details at the cache site just because I cannot read about them when being at the site. I could of course do all the research already at home before leaving and I of course typically have a look at the cache description somewhen before leaving (could be weeks or even months in advance), but I do not like links when it comes to information I'd like to use at the cache site.

 

What you suggest above greatly prefers those cachers who either do not care about the provided background information or have mobile internet. My cache descriptions are optimized towards those who cache based on paper printouts (where everyone can include what they want to include before sending off the text to the printer).

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