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Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hide

Is Geocaching Dead?

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The trouble is that "minimum guidelines" that make sense on a busy highway would be complete overkill on roads that carry little or no traffic. How would you frame an objective global guideline that would provide the level of protection you want on your highways but not impact on caches alongside quiet country roads, forest service trails or even suburban cul-de-sacs?

 

Sure thing -- having a minimum setback from federal and state highways would be a good start. Banning and removing guardrail caches would be another.

 

Kind of missed that "objective global guideline" thing.

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As for guardrails, is a guardrail on a dirt forest service trail or at the end of a cul-de-sac a dangerous place for a cache? Not all roads with guardrails are busy highways, some are just there to protect delicate infrastructure or because of a steep drop-off on the side of a hill, or even to block the road to through traffic. None of the guardrail caches I've found are in what I'd consider dangerous positions, they're on quiet roads and nearly always approachable from behind.
And some guardrails are just there, for no discernible reason. I've found a couple guardrail caches like that, where there wasn't even a trail near the guardrail. One was even hidden specifically to call attention to the odd location of the guardrail.

 

I have seen some oddly placed guardrails as well. A few places where I've found guardrail caches include:

 

In a corner of a parking lot next to Abner Doubleday baseball field in Cooperstown, NY, home of the Baseball hall of fame.

 

At the edge of a large, wide, turn out in Vermont with a great view of the hills of in Massachusetts.

 

At the end of a gravel road, and an overlook of a beach on Cape Cod.

 

 

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Time in the game doesn't guarantee adherence to the guidelines or awareness of personal game preferences (i.e. "etiquette"). It's a poor way to measure someone's readiness for cache placement.

Guidelines don't guarantee adherence either. But they can be enforced, just as a probationary period can. That's exactly how it's intended to work. It would be another rule by which a person must abide before having a cache published. No rule guarantees anything, it merely sets a bar or standard that can be enforced. If you don't meet the bar, you don't get to do what comes after.

 

This bar is there to filter out potential cache hider/hide instances that have been deemed sub-par. Every rule does this. A probationary period would be intended to filter out rush placements by people who don't yet fully understand the making of a basic, decent cache, by GS standard who create the guidelines. No it doesn't mean everyone would be such a problematic CO, so it means that such people would have to ... wait ... until moving forward. There's nothing else negative about it. A good future CO, who chooses to abide by rules, would also see the more general value of having people wait, watch, and learn, for betterment of the community as a whole, just as also abiding by the rules. Oh there may be impatience if they want to use a spot before it gets filled with another one, but that'll happen regardless of a wait period or not; and if it does, then hey it's a first experience that can happen again during the rest of their ownership career.

 

tl;dr: If ownership is considered something to be 'earned' (by merely waiting - arguably the easiest possible way to earn a privilege) and following placement guidelines, there is zero negative, except people who would complain impatiently about waiting, while mitigating potential hides by some inexperienced, inattentive new hiders. (and of course it does not guarantee this won't still happen from the rest of the community who have waited sufficient time)

 

We have a dedicated group of volunteer reviewers who are able to look at each cache submission and determine its suitability based on the cache itself. There's no need to blame and limit large groups of people.

Most people would have zero issue with waiting a little while, just as they have zero issue with obeying the guidelines. The only ones people seem to think would have a problem are the ones who would have to wait (and not like waiting).

 

And yes, of course there are bad hiders who've been around years and good hiders who've just started. Again I'm not advocating for this as a certain solution, only arguing a point about who would be affected by it, and what its effects on cache placement may be, such as mitigating potentially inexperienced hides that get abandoned (and there are plenty) by some who jump in and walk away. And absolutely nothing negative by it, except for people don't like to wait.

 

Good suggestions for improving the game focus on cache characteristics or sensible tools to improve the review process, not attacks on groups of cachers based on arbitrary criteria.

Who's attacking whom? blink.gif

 

ETA: Best to continue the delay-before-ownership topic in this thread already on a roll.

Edited by thebruce0

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Time in the game doesn't guarantee adherence to the guidelines or awareness of personal game preferences (i.e. "etiquette"). It's a poor way to measure someone's readiness for cache placement.

Guidelines don't guarantee adherence either. But they can be enforced, just as a probationary period can. That's exactly how it's intended to work. It would be another rule by which a person must abide before having a cache published. No rule guarantees anything, it merely sets a bar or standard that can be enforced. If you don't meet the bar, you don't get to do what comes after.

 

This bar is there to filter out potential cache hider/hide instances that have been deemed sub-par. Every rule does this. A probationary period would be intended to filter out rush placements by people who don't yet fully understand the making of a basic, decent cache, by GS standard who create the guidelines. No it doesn't mean everyone would be such a problematic CO, so it means that such people would have to ... wait ... until moving forward. There's nothing else negative about it. A good future CO, who chooses to abide by rules, would also see the more general value of having people wait, watch, and learn, for betterment of the community as a whole, just as also abiding by the rules. Oh there may be impatience if they want to use a spot before it gets filled with another one, but that'll happen regardless of a wait period or not; and if it does, then hey it's a first experience that can happen again during the rest of their ownership career.

 

tl;dr: If ownership is considered something to be 'earned' (by merely waiting - arguably the easiest possible way to earn a privilege) and following placement guidelines, there is zero negative, except people who would complain impatiently about waiting, while mitigating potential hides by some inexperienced, inattentive new hiders. (and of course it does not guarantee this won't still happen from the rest of the community who have waited sufficient time)

 

We have a dedicated group of volunteer reviewers who are able to look at each cache submission and determine its suitability based on the cache itself. There's no need to blame and limit large groups of people.

Most people would have zero issue with waiting a little while, just as they have zero issue with obeying the guidelines. The only ones people seem to think would have a problem are the ones who would have to wait (and not like waiting).

 

And yes, of course there are bad hiders who've been around years and good hiders who've just started. Again I'm not advocating for this as a certain solution, only arguing a point about who would be affected by it, and what its effects on cache placement may be, such as mitigating potentially inexperienced hides that get abandoned (and there are plenty) by some who jump in and walk away. And absolutely nothing negative by it, except for people don't like to wait.

 

Good suggestions for improving the game focus on cache characteristics or sensible tools to improve the review process, not attacks on groups of cachers based on arbitrary criteria.

Who's attacking whom? blink.gif

 

Nothing negative about it? This vicious impulse to limit and penalize other geocachers who didn't get into the game before some undefined golden age of geocaching is thoroughly negative. I am just thankful that Groundspeak has never given in to the voices calling for such harsh actions and I hope they continue to treat new cachers positively, even if some grumps in the game cannot.

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N/M: Moving to the new thread.

 

ETA: Topic not dropped, not sorry for continuing it in a more relevant public thread including relevant comments; no one is required to follow it there.

Edited by thebruce0

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N/M: Moving to the new thread.

 

If you want to drop this topic, I understand, but I would strongly prefer it if the comments I've written in this post were not copied to a post I am not participating in.

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Thanks for keeping those up. But the truth is, most cachers go after 1.5/1.5 LPC's caches, not quality caches in the woods. Again, the numbers back this up.

 

Agree and this is what is causing many of the "old-timers" to find other things to do. We often have to choose between taking an enjoyable walk in the woods where there are no new caches, or taking a suburban tour of shopping malls where the new ones are located. I can still drive to some good areas, but the days of a short drive to a couple good hides are gone.

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Agree and this is what is causing many of the "old-timers" to find other things to do. We often have to choose between taking an enjoyable walk in the woods where there are no new caches, or taking a suburban tour of shopping malls where the new ones are located.

 

When a new mall sprang up, so did the LPC's and MKH's in a gutter hides. We found a little section of woods that was left, and placed a regular sized cache. It gets a lot of nice comments, and less visits than the easy ones. :laughing:

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Groundspeak should stop referring to treasure hunt and use scavenger hunt.

 

That is the term they use for their Waymarking site already. :anibad:

And as we all know, Waymarking is the cutting edge of Groundspeak, maintained even more livingly than Wherigo...

 

...n'est-ce pas? :anibad:

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Groundspeak should stop referring to treasure hunt and use scavenger hunt.

 

That is the term they use for their Waymarking site already. :anibad:

And as we all know, Waymarking is the cutting edge of Groundspeak, maintained even more livingly than Wherigo...

 

...n'est-ce pas? :anibad:

 

I thought that Groundspeak was going to dump Waymarking and focus on Wherigo, but things don't look well for either site. :(

 

I still enjoy looking at the Waymarking site, and I created one WIG, but it has not been a popular cache type. I do believe it's time that Groundspeak focus more on keeping geocaching alive, and that may mean a spring cleaning. Some local reviewers do a clean up on caches with lots of DNF's, and some don't.

 

The scavenger hunt feature of Waymarking never caught on, it's more about posting WM's and filling grids kinda stuff. :laughing:

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Personally, it seems like more reviewers need to adopt a stricter maintenance schedule and practice similar to Ontario's. There seems to be a relatively reliable pattern of checking up on long-disabled caches, archival of listings that after a decent amount of time are considered abandoned, and even some proactive checking in to problematic issues with caches (not always on the offense, but sometimes private communication and reminders before any public action taken). I'd wager the tone of communication between reviewers and any individuals are heavily weighted by previous communications and ability to respect and work together, but for the most part, I think their currently adopted practice has actually done well for our region's community. Generally speaking. ph34r.gif Of course I have no first-hand knowledge of the health of other regions/communities/reviewer-relations... but is Ontario a good model? I'd like to think so, but I could be wrong.

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Personally, it seems like more reviewers need to adopt a stricter maintenance schedule and practice similar to Ontario's.

I couldn't disagree with you more. In my area, things are going great because reviewers don't have to be involved in the everyday evaluation of caches. Cachers themselves file the necessary NMs and NAs, and the reviewer only has to get involved when a problem isn't resolved. Not only does this result in problems being identified and resolved more quickly, it also fosters a spirit of cooperation between seekers and owners.

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Personally, it seems like more reviewers need to adopt a stricter maintenance schedule and practice similar to Ontario's.

I couldn't disagree with you more. In my area, things are going great because reviewers don't have to be involved in the everyday evaluation of caches. Cachers themselves file the necessary NMs and NAs, and the reviewer only has to get involved when a problem isn't resolved. Not only does this result in problems being identified and resolved more quickly, it also fosters a spirit of cooperation between seekers and owners.

Oh that happens too. But we quite often see caches say with NM flagged, and no fix. So they get disabled after a time (typically a month), and if disabled for more than another month (likely with extra private reminders), then archived with the option of unarchival, each step warning of the next; and it's rare that the CO ever follows up on those from what I've seen to actually unarchive it.

 

In this case, reviewers are helping to ensure the selection of caches are in relatively good condition and maintained, not left abandoned. Like a 3-strikes and the cache is out type of thing, launched by community NM.

 

I think they may even have flags for keywords on posted logs too (unless people inform the reviewers) as I've seen some inhumanly quick responses to logs containing concern for private property, trespassing, and other important immediate concerns, addressed without public NM or NA. :)

 

I think this helps foster an attentive community who properly use NM and NA. Reviewers don't insert themselves where unnecessary, but they are prompt, quick, and have become as clear and objective in their reviewer logs as possible to try to avoid the drama. :P From what I've been seeing, at least, over the last few years. IMO that's good reviewer activity. Not harsh or oppressive, but authoritative.

Edited by thebruce0

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In terms of reviewer action to clean up caches needing attention vs. community.. In the UK I think the balance is about right. Cachers log NM and NAs as needed, but reviewers also take pro-action to "disable and request action" without NM/NA.

 

I do see the occasional cache get archived where I think the reviewer action was pre-mature; but then again the CO didn't appear to reply or take any action in the time allowed.

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Honestly, it's good to see all of the open discussion here and in the other threads. That's the only way the game and hobby is going to improve and evolve. Sure, we'll never agree on everything, and that's just fine. It's all in the name of dialogue, and I'd rather see fellow members get their thoughts out for Groundspeak to consider the pro's and con's of any potential changes down the line.

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Personally, it seems like more reviewers need to adopt a stricter maintenance schedule and practice similar to Ontario's. There seems to be a relatively reliable pattern of checking up on long-disabled caches, archival of listings that after a decent amount of time are considered abandoned, and even some proactive checking in to problematic issues with caches (not always on the offense, but sometimes private communication and reminders before any public action taken). I'd wager the tone of communication between reviewers and any individuals are heavily weighted by previous communications and ability to respect and work together, but for the most part, I think their currently adopted practice has actually done well for our region's community. Generally speaking. ph34r.gif Of course I have no first-hand knowledge of the health of other regions/communities/reviewer-relations... but is Ontario a good model? I'd like to think so, but I could be wrong.

I've noticed this going on around here. It's actually gotten to where there's more archiving going on than new caches coming out.

 

My personal opinion is that this by itself won't help much in keeping geocaching healthy. It may help a few people to stay interested but there's certainly more that needs to be done. One thing i think is hurting more than it is helping, is the way the phone app works. New people using it are limited to 1.5 difficulty caches which in turn, keeps them from ever experiencing more than the simple caches they find. There needs to be a way of introducing people to geocaching, showing them some of the basics, and not limiting them to just ho hum caches.

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Personally, it seems like more reviewers need to adopt a stricter maintenance schedule and practice similar to Ontario's. There seems to be a relatively reliable pattern of checking up on long-disabled caches, archival of listings that after a decent amount of time are considered abandoned, and even some proactive checking in to problematic issues with caches (not always on the offense, but sometimes private communication and reminders before any public action taken). I'd wager the tone of communication between reviewers and any individuals are heavily weighted by previous communications and ability to respect and work together, but for the most part, I think their currently adopted practice has actually done well for our region's community. Generally speaking. ph34r.gif Of course I have no first-hand knowledge of the health of other regions/communities/reviewer-relations... but is Ontario a good model? I'd like to think so, but I could be wrong.

I've noticed this going on around here. It's actually gotten to where there's more archiving going on than new caches coming out.

 

My personal opinion is that this by itself won't help much in keeping geocaching healthy. It may help a few people to stay interested but there's certainly more that needs to be done. One thing i think is hurting more than it is helping, is the way the phone app works. New people using it are limited to 1.5 difficulty caches which in turn, keeps them from ever experiencing more than the simple caches they find. There needs to be a way of introducing people to geocaching, showing them some of the basics, and not limiting them to just ho hum caches.

 

I definitely think there is a lot more that could be done to onboard new geocachers in a more constructive and positive way, so they have an opportunity right at the beginning to learn and get hooked on the game in a way that makes sense for them.

 

Instead of showing them the most banal geocaches in an area, maybe we could introduce new cachers to the game with geocaches that are specifically designed for onboarding. I think many cache owners would happily volunteer to place caches for this purpose - caches that are frequently maintained (with patience because newbies make mistakes), caches that are designed to highlight certain elements of the game without being too difficult or intimidating, caches that also demonstrate best practices for cache placement.

 

And instead of throwing unsuspecting cache owners under the bus by flagging 1.5/1.5 traditional caches for new geocachers without the CO's knowledge or permission, work with willing cache owners to do this. Maybe it could be a mark of honour to own a cache that is good enough to qualify.

 

When I look at how popular souvenirs and things are, I wonder if there is a way to leverage that sort of gamification to better introduce people to the game. Maybe they could be prompted to try different types of geocaching experiences, the way some of those summer souvenirs have worked.

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Personally, it seems like more reviewers need to adopt a stricter maintenance schedule and practice similar to Ontario's. There seems to be a relatively reliable pattern of checking up on long-disabled caches, archival of listings that after a decent amount of time are considered abandoned, and even some proactive checking in to problematic issues with caches (not always on the offense, but sometimes private communication and reminders before any public action taken). I'd wager the tone of communication between reviewers and any individuals are heavily weighted by previous communications and ability to respect and work together, but for the most part, I think their currently adopted practice has actually done well for our region's community. Generally speaking. ph34r.gif Of course I have no first-hand knowledge of the health of other regions/communities/reviewer-relations... but is Ontario a good model? I'd like to think so, but I could be wrong.

I've noticed this going on around here. It's actually gotten to where there's more archiving going on than new caches coming out.

 

My personal opinion is that this by itself won't help much in keeping geocaching healthy. It may help a few people to stay interested but there's certainly more that needs to be done. One thing i think is hurting more than it is helping, is the way the phone app works. New people using it are limited to 1.5 difficulty caches which in turn, keeps them from ever experiencing more than the simple caches they find. There needs to be a way of introducing people to geocaching, showing them some of the basics, and not limiting them to just ho hum caches.

 

I definitely think there is a lot more that could be done to onboard new geocachers in a more constructive and positive way, so they have an opportunity right at the beginning to learn and get hooked on the game in a way that makes sense for them.

 

Instead of showing them the most banal geocaches in an area, maybe we could introduce new cachers to the game with geocaches that are specifically designed for onboarding. I think many cache owners would happily volunteer to place caches for this purpose - caches that are frequently maintained (with patience because newbies make mistakes), caches that are designed to highlight certain elements of the game without being too difficult or intimidating, caches that also demonstrate best practices for cache placement.

 

And instead of throwing unsuspecting cache owners under the bus by flagging 1.5/1.5 traditional caches for new geocachers without the CO's knowledge or permission, work with willing cache owners to do this. Maybe it could be a mark of honour to own a cache that is good enough to qualify.

 

When I look at how popular souvenirs and things are, I wonder if there is a way to leverage that sort of gamification to better introduce people to the game. Maybe they could be prompted to try different types of geocaching experiences, the way some of those summer souvenirs have worked.

 

Good idea.

 

I would also add hosting a couple of geocaching101s. There's nothing like hands on instruction.

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There are some cachers in our area who occasionally run 101 type events. They do help, though it tends to look like the experienced/regular/vet cachers outnumber the newer ones ;) But it is a great way to bring people into the community and understand local etiquette as well as the basic rules and understandings. Just need people willing and comfortable to organize and run the event.

 

To the previous point: Keep in mind, again, when I point to more proactive reviewer activity in the community, I don't mean situations like mass archivals just because of minor problems. Rather this tends to happen to truly mis-maintained and problem caches, so it really is a good thing all around. I rarely see an instance in my observation sphere where there's unexpected/uncalled-for reviewer action on a cache that's findable or in good condition.

 

Those 3 steps tend to either bring the importance of maintenance to attention of the CO, and it gets fixed, or it clears out the useless lurking containers which saves a lot of people headaches.

 

I'd wager their basic proactive routine is this:

1] Review any cache flagged as NM for X period of time.

2] No owner response or activity in recognizing the problem and timeline for maintenance?

3] Disable, with warning of archival in X period of time.

4] Review any reviewer-disabled cache with no response or activity for X period of time.

5] Archive, with instructions for unarchival.

Edited by thebruce0

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There are some cachers in our area who occasionally run 101 type events. They do help, though it tends to look like the experienced/regular/vet cachers outnumber the newer ones ;) But it is a great way to bring people into the community and understand local etiquette as well as the basic rules and understandings. Just need people willing and comfortable to organize and run the event.

 

To the previous point: Keep in mind, again, when I point to more proactive reviewer activity in the community, I don't mean situations like mass archivals just because of minor problems. Rather this tends to happen to truly mis-maintained and problem caches, so it really is a good thing all around. I rarely see an instance in my observation sphere where there's unexpected/uncalled-for reviewer action on a cache that's findable or in good condition.

 

Those 3 steps tend to either bring the importance of maintenance to attention of the CO, and it gets fixed, or it clears out the useless lurking containers which saves a lot of people headaches.

 

I'd wager their basic proactive routine is this:

1] Review any cache flagged as NM for X period of time.

2] No owner response or activity in recognizing the problem and timeline for maintenance?

3] Disable, with warning of archival in X period of time.

4] Review any reviewer-disabled cache with no response or activity for X period of time.

5] Archive, with instructions for unarchival.

 

You are way more optimistic then I am about Ontario. But I very much agree with you about our great reviewers.

Last year I NA'd 107 caches. The reviewers (one in particular) was right on top of things and almost immediately added disable notes.

5 of the 107 are currently active.

Of the 5:

  • 3 were replaced by the owners and are active caches,
  • 1 the owner posted an OM and said it was there but the next 5 entries are DNFs,
  • 1 was not disabled or archived by a reviewer. The cache is in terrible shape and the owner unresponsive, but it's still there.

I feel like a lone NA logger in Ontario. I know there are a few of us but generally I'd say people post a handful of NAs. Maybe twice as many NMs, but still probably less then 20 a year. Lately I'm not so keen on posting NMs and NAs, it's barely making a dent and it seems the effort isn't worth it. Often when those abandoned junk caches get archived they get replaced by another junk cache that is also destined for abandonment.

Edited by L0ne.R

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As a new geocacher, I will add my opinion. To me, the main point of geocaching is getting me out of the house, and walking in areas I have not been before. To me, therefore, it is more important to have well-maintained caches, than well hidden ones. Whilst I appreciate the occasional challenge, I don't want to spend 20 minutes finding each cache - I want to find it, log it, and get onto the next one, which will normally take me down a path I haven't walked before. I do like the interesting caches, however - the pine cones, the false rocks and the home-made objects. I also appreciate thoughtfulness in the placement of the cache. Searching several ivy covered trees holds no attraction. One is ok.

 

+1

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As a new geocacher, I will add my opinion. To me, the main point of geocaching is getting me out of the house, and walking in areas I have not been before. To me, therefore, it is more important to have well-maintained caches, than well hidden ones. Whilst I appreciate the occasional challenge, I don't want to spend 20 minutes finding each cache - I want to find it, log it, and get onto the next one, which will normally take me down a path I haven't walked before. I do like the interesting caches, however - the pine cones, the false rocks and the home-made objects. I also appreciate thoughtfulness in the placement of the cache. Searching several ivy covered trees holds no attraction. One is ok.

 

+1

 

Caches that I spot immediately now might have taken me 20 minutes or longer as a new cacher. Time spent searching is not necessarily a cache design issue.

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I am going to "bump" this as I am interested in the original topic, "Is Geocaching Dying" or is it just a dip in interest? For example:

Cachers

Active cachers from US 2017 2016 Difference

Last week 20212 52625 -32413 -62%

Last month 66226 129455 -63229 -49%

 

Since 1st of January 131183 222198 -91015 -41%

Whole year 131185 598857 -467672 -78%

 

Active cachers in US 2017 2016 Difference

Last week 23282 53060 -29778 -56%

Last month 70296 131175 -60879 -46%

 

Since 1st of January 137816 226848 -89032 -39%

Whole year 137819 620443 -482624 -78%

 

Active cachers in/from US2017 2016 Difference

Last week 19710 51878 -32168 -62%

Last month 65012 127971 -62959 -49%

 

Since 1st of January 129384 220206 -90822 -41%

Whole year 129386 596113 -466727 -78%

 

It would appear that the interest in Geocaching is dropping very rapidly from these stats. And if I recall, 2016 was way down from 2015. WHY has it dropped? I see the regular, worn out excuses of "power trails", "non maintained caches", "poorly placed caches", etc.... But whenever any entity has a precipitous drop, the FIRST place to look is MANAGEMENT. Whether it is a Fortune 500 company, a Non Profit, a Social Club, a Church, a sports team, ANY group of people, it is the MANAGEMENT that must be examined. For example, in the early days of Video Recording, the BETA system was way superior to the VHS system, and yet VHS took off and BETA faded into memory. I bet everyone reading this has watched a VHS tape and yet how many of seen a BETA tape? It is my perception that Groundspeak, or Geocaching HQ, has DROPPED the ball when it comes to Geocaching! And while there will ALWAYS be a BASE of Geocachers, the inflow of new cachers will fall way below the outflow of people tired of it. If the folks in CHARGE of Geocaching want to keep the sport going, there is going to have to be some MAJOR CHANGES in MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, GUIDELINES, CUSTOMER SERVICE and MISSION STATEMENT. Without re-inventing the wheel here, HQ needs to start with the GEOCACHE itself! They need to STOP the STUPID ONES! What do I mean "stupid" ones? For starters, in the past couple of weeks, I have found a "Pringles Potato Chip Canister" laying on the ground as a cache - that's NOT a cache, that's TRASH. I found a Dishwasher Soap Box laying on the ground, called a 'cache.' Other items found recently include a Tampon Sleeve, a drinking straw, cardboard chewing tobacco containers, glass jars and much more. Where is the QUALITY CONTROL? If I had any say, my first requirement for a cache would be that it is WATER PROOF or at least WATER RESISTANT. This is an OUTDOOR activity and it rains and snows outdoors. My list to improve the sport would go on and on, but if something isn't done, we are going to see the 'active cachers' in the US drop to below 10,000 a week and we will have to admit that the sun is setting on Geocaching and only a handful of diehards will remain!

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Well one factor to consider is how "active" is defined. If it's merely user accounts who've logged in, then thoretically a vast number of "active" cachers are not actual cachers, or already have no interest; in which case the "decline" isn't actually a decline in interest so much as a culling of the non-interested.

 

If Active Cachers (by login date) is continually marketed as how popular geocaching is, then it makes sense that people would think that interest is declining when those numbers dwindle.

 

Would would be more interesting (to me at least) would be to see a graph showing interest/activeness and quantity of such over time. If the very interested remain active, or some of the newer cachers grow in interest, and the only ones that 'drop out' (even if it's a large chunk) are those that don't show much interest, then I'd interpret that geocaching remaining strong and active; though it means retention of new cachers may be weak, general interest is still strong.

 

There's a lot of analysis that can be done on statistics of the hobby :)

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For starters, in the past couple of weeks, I have found a "Pringles Potato Chip Canister" laying on the ground as a cache - that's NOT a cache, that's TRASH. I found a Dishwasher Soap Box laying on the ground, called a 'cache.' Other items found recently include a Tampon Sleeve, a drinking straw, cardboard chewing tobacco containers, glass jars and much more.

 

Think I've found about all of the above in caches within the last month. :(

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Well one factor to consider is how "active" is defined....

- snip -

...Would be more interesting (to me at least) would be to see a graph showing interest/activeness and quantity of such over time. If the very interested remain active, or some of the newer cachers grow in interest, and the only ones that 'drop out' (even if it's a large chunk) are those that don't show much interest, then I'd interpret that geocaching remaining strong and active; though it means retention of new cachers may be weak, general interest is still strong.

 

There's a lot of analysis that can be done on statistics of the hobby :)

I agree, and that analysis can also be twisted to one's agenda.

 

We were spoiled with Winter weather the past coupla years, but this year we really got hammered between snow and rain.

It could look like (to someone not factoring something so simple in) those in this area have lost interest. :)

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Where is the QUALITY CONTROL?

What is your specific, step by step proposal for management to follow in order to increase the quality control? Be precise. Don't forget to address appeals volume for rejected "creative" caches, and the increase in the pre-publication review timeframe.

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I am going to "bump" this as I am interested in the original topic, "Is Geocaching Dying" or is it just a dip in interest? For example:

Cachers

Active cachers from US 2017 2016 Difference

Last week 20212 52625 -32413 -62%

Last month 66226 129455 -63229 -49%

 

Since 1st of January 131183 222198 -91015 -41%

Whole year 131185 598857 -467672 -78%

 

Active cachers in US 2017 2016 Difference

Last week 23282 53060 -29778 -56%

Last month 70296 131175 -60879 -46%

 

Since 1st of January 137816 226848 -89032 -39%

Whole year 137819 620443 -482624 -78%

 

Active cachers in/from US2017 2016 Difference

Last week 19710 51878 -32168 -62%

Last month 65012 127971 -62959 -49%

 

Since 1st of January 129384 220206 -90822 -41%

Whole year 129386 596113 -466727 -78%

 

It would appear that the interest in Geocaching is dropping very rapidly from these stats. And if I recall, 2016 was way down from 2015. WHY has it dropped? I see the regular, worn out excuses of "power trails", "non maintained caches", "poorly placed caches", etc.... But whenever any entity has a precipitous drop, the FIRST place to look is MANAGEMENT. Whether it is a Fortune 500 company, a Non Profit, a Social Club, a Church, a sports team, ANY group of people, it is the MANAGEMENT that must be examined. For example, in the early days of Video Recording, the BETA system was way superior to the VHS system, and yet VHS took off and BETA faded into memory. I bet everyone reading this has watched a VHS tape and yet how many of seen a BETA tape? It is my perception that Groundspeak, or Geocaching HQ, has DROPPED the ball when it comes to Geocaching! And while there will ALWAYS be a BASE of Geocachers, the inflow of new cachers will fall way below the outflow of people tired of it. If the folks in CHARGE of Geocaching want to keep the sport going, there is going to have to be some MAJOR CHANGES in MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, GUIDELINES, CUSTOMER SERVICE and MISSION STATEMENT. Without re-inventing the wheel here, HQ needs to start with the GEOCACHE itself! They need to STOP the STUPID ONES! What do I mean "stupid" ones? For starters, in the past couple of weeks, I have found a "Pringles Potato Chip Canister" laying on the ground as a cache - that's NOT a cache, that's TRASH. I found a Dishwasher Soap Box laying on the ground, called a 'cache.' Other items found recently include a Tampon Sleeve, a drinking straw, cardboard chewing tobacco containers, glass jars and much more. Where is the QUALITY CONTROL? If I had any say, my first requirement for a cache would be that it is WATER PROOF or at least WATER RESISTANT. This is an OUTDOOR activity and it rains and snows outdoors. My list to improve the sport would go on and on, but if something isn't done, we are going to see the 'active cachers' in the US drop to below 10,000 a week and we will have to admit that the sun is setting on Geocaching and only a handful of diehards will remain!

 

We had a Beta VCR when I was growing up.

 

VHS became the standard because it was the format adopted by the, ahem, "adult entertainment" industry.

 

So I don't think that particular example has much to teach us.

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First of all, I agree with thebruce0 that the first question to ask is where these numbers came from and whether they actually reflect a drop in the number of people geocaching. If it turns out to be just an artifact of, say, people switching from website access to app access, then it's not evidence of dying.

 

Having said that, I guess I wouldn't be too surprised if we were in a decline, in which case we'd move on to the second part of Inmountains's post, and from what I see, that analysis looks completely bogus. First, blaming it on management is ridiculous. Everything GS is doing lately strikes me as reaction trying to stop the dropping numbers, not something that would cause dropping numbers. I'm not the biggest fan of a lot of what they're doing, but generally that's because I think they're sacrificing good things about the game precisely because their new way will likely boost the number of players.

 

And Inmountains's specific complaints don't align with my experiences, either. For example, trash in caches is something I almost never see any more because most new caches are too small to hold trash. And far from driving people away, from what I can see, smaller caches have increased participation: sure, some people are turned off by micros, but most people are happy not to have to worry about swag, and it's certainly much easier to find a place to hide a micro.

 

I found the pringles example particularly interesting. I actually can't remember the last time I found a pringles can or anything like that, but I remember running into a few a few years ago. And they weren't really a problem. Naturally, they fell apart in no time, but they'd go through the NM/NA dance and be off the books in no time. Or the CO would learn the lesson and replace the container with something better.

 

In the end, looking at caches, I don't really see anything in Inmountains's list that would explain any overall drop in cache activity. For every example someone complains about, there's either someone that likes them (e.g., big vs. small), or they aren't actually causing any problems that I see when I'm caching (like the hypothetical rush to put up big numbers). So assuming that the statistics do reflect a drop, I'd be more inclined to explain it as a cyclic effect: geocaching became very popular over the last couple years, so lots of people heard about it and tried it, and now we're settling down to the part of the population that actually decided to take it up as a hobby. While that would be (and I think is) alarming to GS, I don't think "dying" is an accurate description.

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I am going to "bump" this as I am interested in the original topic, "Is Geocaching Dying" or is it just a dip in interest? For example:

Cachers

Active cachers from US 2017 2016 Difference

Last week 20212 52625 -32413 -62%

Last month 66226 129455 -63229 -49%

 

Since 1st of January 131183 222198 -91015 -41%

Whole year 131185 598857 -467672 -78%

 

Active cachers in US 2017 2016 Difference

Last week 23282 53060 -29778 -56%

Last month 70296 131175 -60879 -46%

 

Since 1st of January 137816 226848 -89032 -39%

Whole year 137819 620443 -482624 -78%

 

Active cachers in/from US2017 2016 Difference

Last week 19710 51878 -32168 -62%

Last month 65012 127971 -62959 -49%

 

Since 1st of January 129384 220206 -90822 -41%

Whole year 129386 596113 -466727 -78%

 

It would appear that the interest in Geocaching is dropping very rapidly from these stats. And if I recall, 2016 was way down from 2015. WHY has it dropped? I see the regular, worn out excuses of "power trails", "non maintained caches", "poorly placed caches", etc.... But whenever any entity has a precipitous drop, the FIRST place to look is MANAGEMENT. Whether it is a Fortune 500 company, a Non Profit, a Social Club, a Church, a sports team, ANY group of people, it is the MANAGEMENT that must be examined. For example, in the early days of Video Recording, the BETA system was way superior to the VHS system, and yet VHS took off and BETA faded into memory. I bet everyone reading this has watched a VHS tape and yet how many of seen a BETA tape? It is my perception that Groundspeak, or Geocaching HQ, has DROPPED the ball when it comes to Geocaching! And while there will ALWAYS be a BASE of Geocachers, the inflow of new cachers will fall way below the outflow of people tired of it. If the folks in CHARGE of Geocaching want to keep the sport going, there is going to have to be some MAJOR CHANGES in MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, GUIDELINES, CUSTOMER SERVICE and MISSION STATEMENT. Without re-inventing the wheel here, HQ needs to start with the GEOCACHE itself! They need to STOP the STUPID ONES! What do I mean "stupid" ones? For starters, in the past couple of weeks, I have found a "Pringles Potato Chip Canister" laying on the ground as a cache - that's NOT a cache, that's TRASH. I found a Dishwasher Soap Box laying on the ground, called a 'cache.' Other items found recently include a Tampon Sleeve, a drinking straw, cardboard chewing tobacco containers, glass jars and much more. Where is the QUALITY CONTROL? If I had any say, my first requirement for a cache would be that it is WATER PROOF or at least WATER RESISTANT. This is an OUTDOOR activity and it rains and snows outdoors. My list to improve the sport would go on and on, but if something isn't done, we are going to see the 'active cachers' in the US drop to below 10,000 a week and we will have to admit that the sun is setting on Geocaching and only a handful of diehards will remain!

 

We had a Beta VCR when I was growing up.

 

VHS became the standard because it was the format adopted by the, ahem, "adult entertainment" industry.

 

So I don't think that particular example has much to teach us.

 

I think that VHS became standard due to cost and record time but your reason sounds as good as any.

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If we had the raw info/stats we could query to come out with variations on the data. And most of us could come up with stats that show anything we wanted them to show such as an actual increase of "active" cachers if we define "acive" in a way that the data favors.

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If we had the raw info/stats we could query to come out with variations on the data. And most of us could come up with stats that show anything we wanted them to show such as an actual increase of "active" cachers if we define "acive" in a way that the data favors.

 

The data (including the difference data) are from project-gc.com and they refer to cachers logging caches and the way the data is collected did not change.

 

What needs to be treated with caution is however the fact that the data from project-gc do not take into account late logs when making such comparisons.

Edited by cezanne

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If we had the raw info/stats we could query to come out with variations on the data. And most of us could come up with stats that show anything we wanted them to show such as an actual increase of "active" cachers if we define "acive" in a way that the data favors.

 

The data (including the difference data) are from project-gc.com and they refer to cachers logging caches and the way the data is collected did not change.

 

What needs to be treated with caution is however the fact that the data from project-gc do not take into account late logs when making such comparisons.

 

Without knowing the data and how they calculate active users it is still just a view. Do they define 'active'?

As an example, it's unique cachers and we now have less cachers that come and go logging 5 orf less caches but we still have the same number that log more than 5, is it dying?

It's like political polling - both candidates data show they are each leading.

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I found the pringles example particularly interesting. I actually can't remember the last time I found a pringles can or anything like that, but I remember running into a few a few years ago. And they weren't really a problem. Naturally, they fell apart in no time, but they'd go through the NM/NA dance and be off the books in no time. Or the CO would learn the lesson and replace the container with something better.

 

Yes, my reaction to a container like that is usually bemusement because it's only going to be a matter of weeks, if not days, before the poor kid who placed it is going to be inundated with really scathing logs about the condition of the container. It might affect my opinion of the person who placed it but it certainly doesn't affect my opinion of the game.

 

My husband and I reminisce with fond amusement about the handful of truly bad containers we've found. A cardboard box in a tree. An LCBO bag, in the crotch of a tree, at eye level, next to the sidewalk. A styrofoam takeout container. A Powerade bottle with a receipt in it as the logbook - this was the original hide. This game is supposed to be fun, and sometimes you just have to laugh at human folly.

 

I know this stuff drives some people crazy, but I just can't see it being a driving force. We all think our personal pet peeve is the ONE TRUE THING THAT IS KILLING THE GAME. It's just how it goes.

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Without re-inventing the wheel here, HQ needs to start with the GEOCACHE itself! They need to STOP the STUPID ONES! What do I mean "stupid" ones? For starters, in the past couple of weeks, I have found a "Pringles Potato Chip Canister" laying on the ground as a cache - that's NOT a cache, that's TRASH. I found a Dishwasher Soap Box laying on the ground, called a 'cache.' Other items found recently include a Tampon Sleeve, a drinking straw, cardboard chewing tobacco containers, glass jars and much more. Where is the QUALITY CONTROL? If I had any say, my first requirement for a cache would be that it is WATER PROOF or at least WATER RESISTANT. This is an OUTDOOR activity and it rains and snows outdoors. My list to improve the sport would go on and on, but if something isn't done, we are going to see the 'active cachers' in the US drop to below 10,000 a week and we will have to admit that the sun is setting on Geocaching and only a handful of diehards will remain!

 

That's why I've lost interest. Mostly poor quality caches - either they start off that way, or they get that way shortly after publication.

It's impossible to sift through the growing chaff. Favorite points don't help anymore -- an unmaintained leaky roadside pill bottle (listed as small but actually a micro) can get double-digit FPs.

The most interesting thing about geocaching these days are the forums. And I notice that they are generally declining in popularity too.

Edited by L0ne.R

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The first thing I wondered about viewing the numbers in Inmountains's post was "what is an 'active' cacher". I know the numbers are from Project-GC, so I searched around their site to look for a definition and didn't find anything explaining how they determine a cacher to be 'active'.

 

Of course, their numbers also show a sizable decline in caches found and caches hidden, but then I wondered whether data latency could be affecting that number. For example, since the data is calculated once per week, then are they comparing the same timeframe between the 2 years. Does 'since 1st of Jan' for last year include 1/1-4/5 while for this year includes only 1/1-3/31 or ???

 

Then, let's also consider that the numbers in Inmountain's post includes only the United States. The weather this year has been atypical, so seeing decreased activity in an outdoor activity could be weather-related. It's also possible that the political climate has been a distraction from participating in hobbies.

 

------------------------------------------------------

What other numbers might be interesting? I looked around PGC and found they have "Log Entries Per Date", which the site describes as "A zoomable histogram of number of logs per date". I'm not sure if it's just Found logs, or all logs.

 

Looking at Saturdays from the approximate same time of the year, that data shows us the following. The countries are based on where the cachers are from and presumably PGC determines that from cachers' geocaching profiles:

 

Saturdays - Canada | USA | Australia | UK | Germany

1/7/2017 - 5682 | 26705 | 4212 | 14233 | 34872

1/9/2016 - 12416 | 54614 | 5927 | 11797 | 86613

1/10/2015 - 6122 | 50707 | 5662 | 12887 | 48812

1/4/2014 - 6873 | 53765 | 6422 | 12771 | 111550

 

-- Canada shows a large decline from 2016 to 2017, but 2017's numbers are not far off from 2015 and 2014.

-- USA shows a large decline from ~50k in the previous 3 years, but weather and politics could be a factor.

-- Australia is lower in 2017 than it was in the prior 3 years.

-- UK is higher in 2017 than it was in the prior 3 years.

-- Germany showed a huge decline from 2014 to 2015, but then numbers bumped up again in 2016. The drop in 2017 may be followed by a bump in 2018.

 

There are a lot of ways to look at geocaching numbers. From a cursory view of the above numbers, I am personally not convinced that the hobby is "dead" or "dying".

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There are a lot of ways to look at geocaching numbers. From a cursory view of the above numbers, I am personally not convinced that the hobby is "dead" or "dying".

 

Looking up, seeing data is interesting but i certainly don't need any of it to verify the decline, at least in our area. With the few caches published the last few months, the cachers i know just about giving up, the small amount of logs coming in, and the once busy local geocache sites just about dead, it's very easy to see.

 

Geocaching isn't quite dead but it's hobbling along pretty poorly around here. Of course mileage varies, depending on the area a person lives.

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There is no question that the geocaching of today is not the same sport as the geocaching of 2002 when I started. It's not as much fun for me now, but that doesn't make it "dead." Part of the change is the fact that it's no longer new. That's natural for any activity; after a while the novelty wears off. A lot of it is the change in technology. The advent of smart phones made it much more accessible, which is good for many, but had the downside for others of making too easy, i.e. allowing a lot of people to try it without really familiarizing themselves with the rules and expectations of the community. All those complaints are well documented elsewhere in the forums. I liken it to climbing Mt. Everest. Those who did it in the earliest days no doubt got much of their joy from being among the first, early pioneers, and from feeling part of an elite group. When it became an industry of sort with expert Sherpa guides, assigned camps and ascent order, and fancy mountaineering equipment, that "specialness" left, at least for many. I went out today and found several caches. I can't say they were bad hides, but they were all things I'd seen many times and in several cases were right where I had found previous caches, or very near. For a brand new cacher they probably would have been as fun as they were for me in 2002.

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Hey "THE RAT", it looks like we started caching in the same week with you starting four days before me. Yes, I do miss some of those early days, driving sixty miles ONE WAY to get just ONE cache! Printing out information for the cache hunt! For me, it was finding an ammo box at 12,000 feet elevation next to an abandoned mine in Colorado. Or maybe it was a large tupperware container hidden under a rock on a Jeep trail above Telluride, Colorado! I actually started looking for Geocaches in 2001 but just never registered on the site until 2002. In 2001, when I looked at Geocaching.com, there were only 3 or 4 caches within 100 miles of me, not really exciting. Another reason I think GC is dying, at least in my area, is the lack of new caches and the lack of numbers finding new caches that I place. Five years ago, I would have 20-30 finds in the first month of a cache but now I get 5-10 finds during the first month of a new cache. I still think that GC Headquarters, who in essence, OWN the game, could do many things to make the game more fun and more interesting. A moderator asked what I would do. For starters, with the ease of cell phone pictures, I think a new cache placement should require a picture of the cache container, that way, we don't get a Wal Mart receipt wadded up in a ball of aluminum foil and it being called a cache. While there is no guarantee that the picture is the actual cache, maybe it would make most folks THINK before making every cheap container into a cache. Next, I would make it a requirement that every cache owner do a maintenance check once a year. Again, there is no guarantee that it would actually be done, especially for the Power Trails, at least maybe a few more Cache Owners would try to do maintenance checks. OR, maybe have a "Rating Scale" for finds on the HEALTH OF THE CACHE. Nothing fancy, maybe 1-5 with 1 being the cache is in good shape to 5 where the cache was scattered all over the place. Again, there could be and probably would be, some abuse. But as a CO, if I got several 3's and 4's, I would do a maintenance check. There are many more, SIMPLE IDEAS, to improve the game. It just takes good management and some good execution.

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Another reason I think GC is dying, at least in my area, is the lack of new caches and the lack of numbers finding new caches that I place. 5 years ago, I would have 20-30 finds in the first month of a cache but now I get 5-10 finds during the first month of a new cache.

 

Perspectives are quite different indeed. I'm fully satisfied with 5-10 finders even for a whole year.

 

For starters, with the ease of cell phone pictures, I think a new cache placement should require a picture of the cache container, that way, we don't get a Wal Mart receipt wadded up in a ball of aluminum foil and it being called a cache.

 

Is such a cache placement common in your area? In mine it is not.

Would a reviewer right now be allowed to reject a cache with a bad container? I do not think so.

Maybe it's just my area, but it appears to me that new cachers nowadays rather use better containers than beginners more than 10 years ago as many buy containers at geocaching shops.

 

Of course there is the occasional cache placed by a beginner, often children, with an unsuitable container but often those are later exchanged based on feedback.

 

Powertrails and bad locations seem a larger issue to me.

 

 

Next, I would make it a requirement that every cache owner do a maintenance check once a year. Again, there is no guarantee that it would actually be done, especially for the Power Trails, at least maybe a few more Cache Owners would try to do maintenance checks.

 

I guess such a rule would much more hurt longer hiking caches and remote caches.

I do maintenance when it seems appropriate and would not be willing to visit all my caches once a year regardless of whether it is necessary or not.

 

OR, maybe have a "Rating Scale" for finds on the HEALTH OF THE CACHE. Nothing fancy, maybe 1-5 with 1 being the cache is in good shape to 5 where the cache was scattered all over the place.

 

Why do normal logs and NM logs not suffice? Those who do not care will not use the rating system. Moreover, I would not know how to use a 1-5 scale reasonably too.

 

There are many more, SIMPLE IDEAS, to improve the game. It just takes good management and some good execution.

 

It seems more important to me to motivate cachers to hide new good caches and to maintain the existing ones. Too many rules rather have a demotivating effect in my experience.

Edited by cezanne

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There's so little discussion on here nowadays that I have to wonder if Geocaching is soon to be a thing of the past.

 

I've been caching for a number of years, and remember the heady days where that's all I wanted to do in my spare time, but the last few years, finding caches has generally been a disappointment. Most of the time the caches are mouldy, smelly boxes of tat, the kind of stuff you'd normally throw away. And good luck finding a pencil, or a sharpener to fix that broken one you do find.

 

And don't get me started on travel bugs and that sort of thing. The number of tags and coins I put out and never saw or heard from again is really a huge letdown.

 

Now that people are more into games like Pokemon Go, perhaps Geocaching won't survive.

 

Am I wrong to feel this way?

I just checked my stats. 2017 is the first time since 2005 where I am not finding caches at a rate of one per day. 2016 was my lowest find total 2006. I certainly find myself caching less despite (or perhaps because) there are so many more caches to find now.

 

The game has changed.

 

Numbers dominate everything. People no longer seek out interesting locations to hide a cache, they look for a place where they can hide a series of caches. I see caches hidden just off the side of the road at the base of a fencepost listed with a Difficulty of 5, likely to make it easier for local cachers to achieve some bogus statistic for purposes of fulfilling a challenge. While the "numbers game" has always been a bone of contention as long as I can remember, it seems more and more new players come into the game with a mindset of competition -- I need to get higher numbers, I need to obtain every new souvenir that comes out. It is the Pokemon Go attitude of "gotta get 'em all". It's no longer about getting outside and finding new places.

 

I used to plan road trips around caching. Now I find caching is less a planned activity and more of a "Hey, I have a couple of minutes to kill or I need something to do while waiting for my wife so I'll see if there is a cache nearby." Caching is not really an activity unto itself anymore, it's what I do while doing the real activity.

 

The caching community used to be small and tightly knit. You would attend an event and know almost everyone. Now you see so many new people it's impossible to get to know many of them and many will disappear in a matter of months anyway.

 

I'm sure as a company Groundspeak is doing better than ever but for me caching is dying. It's not the hobby I started 13+ years ago, it morphed into something that is getting harder and harder to recognize every day.

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I'm sure as a company Groundspeak is doing better than ever but for me caching is dying. It's not the hobby I started 13+ years ago, it morphed into something that is getting harder and harder to recognize every day.

 

I've felt that way for about 10 years and the advent of the power trail has hastened the change. I've felt that the power trail "ethics" (e.g. not

even needing to actually find a cache to get a simley) to have very little to do with geocaching. And I'm seeing more and more of the power trail ethic spilling over into non power trail caches. The game bears little resemblence to the one I signed up for and I don't think most of the changes are for the better.

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I just checked my stats. 2017 is the first time since 2005 where I am not finding caches at a rate of one per day. 2016 was my lowest find total 2006. I certainly find myself caching less despite (or perhaps because) there are so many more caches to find now.

 

The game has changed.

 

Numbers dominate everything. People no longer seek out interesting locations to hide a cache, they look for a place where they can hide a series of caches. I see caches hidden just off the side of the road at the base of a fencepost listed with a Difficulty of 5, likely to make it easier for local cachers to achieve some bogus statistic for purposes of fulfilling a challenge. While the "numbers game" has always been a bone of contention as long as I can remember, it seems more and more new players come into the game with a mindset of competition -- I need to get higher numbers, I need to obtain every new souvenir that comes out. It is the Pokemon Go attitude of "gotta get 'em all". It's no longer about getting outside and finding new places.

 

I used to plan road trips around caching. Now I find caching is less a planned activity and more of a "Hey, I have a couple of minutes to kill or I need something to do while waiting for my wife so I'll see if there is a cache nearby." Caching is not really an activity unto itself anymore, it's what I do while doing the real activity.

 

The caching community used to be small and tightly knit. You would attend an event and know almost everyone. Now you see so many new people it's impossible to get to know many of them and many will disappear in a matter of months anyway.

 

I'm sure as a company Groundspeak is doing better than ever but for me caching is dying. It's not the hobby I started 13+ years ago, it morphed into something that is getting harder and harder to recognize every day.

I stopped looking at my stats. :)

While I agree that (to me) things have gotten a bit outta hand with the competitive angle present today, I'm simply getting to the point where I walk by those "placed on the way to..." pill bottle hides, heading to the original one at the end of it all.

We haven't hit parking lot or roadside carp in some time either.

 

So even though the idea of "lanquage of location" is kinda dying out here, until those hiders leave for something else, I'll stick with what brought us into this odd hobby, and not think too much of them.

- Kind of an "outlive 'em" thing I guess. :D

 

I sorta agree about events though.

Years ago we'd spend hours chatting at events, new and old alike.

Still hold a few, but many seem to be just another numbers thing.

The last couple attended, everyone but us and the EO signed the log and scooted.

We don't even log those anymore...

One recently, every new person that showed was only interested in meeting the person with the most numbers, so the rest of us had fun chatting among ourselves.

- We already knew how he came by them... :laughing:

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.

 

I. Two thoughts about the decline of geocaching …

 

As with any product, poor quality eventually spells death. As with any company, poor treatment of customers eventually spells death. Groundspeak is a company that had a good thing going once. Then they started treating their customers (cache owners) like crap and created policies that stifled quality. No surprise at the big decline in numbers.

 

II. A reply to a prior comment from someone who said he geocaches to find new places and does not want to spend any time searching ...

 

If you want to find new places to hike, it is pretty easy to find conservation lands, trail maps, and new places to explore with a little online searching. You do not need geocaching to go hiking. In fact, if hiking is your goal, geocaching is an unnecessary distraction. I do not quite get why anyone would be interested in seeking easy to find boxes filled with junk. Now, if someone puts out a cache that is creative or challenging, that is something worth seeking.

 

By the way, I have tried to place nice caches with good stuff inside. It takes less than a year for the geocaching community to plunder the good stuff and turn my cache into a box of junk. That’s why there are many, like me, who have long since retired.

 

.

Edited by emmett

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Okay, I'm a little puzzled ...

 

(excerpting heavily)

Groundspeak is a company that had a good thing going once. Then they started treating their customers (cache owners) like crap and created policies that stifled quality. No surprise at the big decline in numbers.

 

[...]

 

By the way, I have tried to place nice caches with good stuff inside. It takes less than a year for the geocaching community to plunder the good stuff and turn my cache into a box of junk. That’s why there are many, like me, who have long since retired.

 

So, is the problem with HQ, or with the community?

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Okay, I'm a little puzzled ...

 

(excerpting heavily)

Groundspeak is a company that had a good thing going once. Then they started treating their customers (cache owners) like crap and created policies that stifled quality. No surprise at the big decline in numbers.

 

[...]

 

By the way, I have tried to place nice caches with good stuff inside. It takes less than a year for the geocaching community to plunder the good stuff and turn my cache into a box of junk. That’s why there are many, like me, who have long since retired.

 

So, is the problem with HQ, or with the community?

 

In general I think it's good that the game is shifting away from the swag obsession. Swag is one of those cache elements that causes no end of drama, and there's just no pleasing people no matter how hard you try.

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Many of the personal issues people have with geocaching seem to be solvable by limiting oneself. "I used to have to drive hundreds of miles to get a cache" - well you still can if you want. If you feel compelled to find more because the route there is littered with them, that's your choice.

Events in decline? That's entirely community. In my area we still have wonderful events with many fun, great people. And some others. Sure, you could say that community has changed because geocaching has changed. But for the most part, it's expanded to accomodate other mindsets, different characters and personalities. Much of what was beloved a decade ago is still around, just hidden amongst other stuff. What does that mean? Well I know many long-time cachers who still have a blast, because they've learned to live within the changing landscape of the pastime, finding what they love and sticking with it. Geocaching ain't dead, but it's grown.

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Okay, I'm a little puzzled ...

 

(excerpting heavily)

Groundspeak is a company that had a good thing going once. Then they started treating their customers (cache owners) like crap and created policies that stifled quality. No surprise at the big decline in numbers.

 

[...]

 

By the way, I have tried to place nice caches with good stuff inside. It takes less than a year for the geocaching community to plunder the good stuff and turn my cache into a box of junk. That’s why there are many, like me, who have long since retired.

 

So, is the problem with HQ, or with the community?

 

Probably with both - I'm not into the swag stuff but what HQ without doubt contributed a lot to is the growth of geocaching which made many enter the activity who are very different from those from the early times with all the implied consequences. Back then it also made sense to share some kind of best kept secret locations which has become a bad idea later with the so much enlarged community.

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In general I think it's good that the game is shifting away from the swag obsession. Swag is one of those cache elements that causes no end of drama, and there's just no pleasing people no matter how hard you try.

 

If there's one thing that back in 2003-2005 that made by then 8 & 10 year old daughters want to go out caching with dad, it was the excitement of what was inside the cache. We always had a bag of good swag to put into a cache and it was never an even trade - we'd always put in something better than what we took out. They'd be excited about the littlest swag items so it wasn't cost driven. A plastic lion figure was better than a $5 bill.

 

For them, I'm not sure they would have been as willing to spend a few hours walking/hiking and looking for caches with their dad if the swag wasn't there. Though some might have different thoughts, my kids and I were always pro swag. What I see today in many cases is garbage and not swag and without being the 1st one at a cache, I can't tell if that's because of what it starts with or poor trading by cachers, though I would suspect the latter. Also the containers today seem to be of lower quality so whats inside doesn't really hold up well. Stickers, cards, or anything that can't survive wet should be banned from a cache container.

 

Today, there's little in the way of educating cachers on geocaching etiquette and with the ease of participating, that's a problem we need to figure out. Take any hobby and allow anyone to be involved without some education or investment and I'd expect a similar situation. Look at drones as a similar example for what used to be an investment and education process is now a same day delivery from Amazon and off you go.

 

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