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JL_HSTRE

Good Local Geocaching Communities

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In the thread about Bryan and Jeremy switching positions in Groundspeak the subject of good geocaching communities came up. Similarly, there have been several threads recently to the effect of "is geocaching dying and why?" Good local geocaching communities would seem to be, if not absolutely necessary for geocaching as a whole, at least very helpful for the health of the hobby/game.

 

So lets have a thread all about what makes a good geocaching local community and what geocachers reading this thread can do to improve their local geo-communities for the better. Success stories are certainly helpful ('My community is great because we do A, B, and C and we stopped doing X, Y, and Z') but we might also learn from mistakes (missteps on the way to achieving a good community, why a good community turned bad, etc). At the same time we each answer the question: "What do I think makes a good local geocaching community?"

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To answer my own questions...

 

What makes a good geo-community?

 

1. Welcoming of new cachers and non-local cachers.

 

2. Quality cache placements, and the positive encouragement of them.

 

3. Semi-regular (not necessarily monthly) meet-n-greet events and CITOs that add to the sense of community and help cachers (especially new ones) connect to other cachers.

 

4. Positive leadership. Little progress gets for any community or group without some folks who take charge, organize, listen to others, and set a good example.

 

5. A general widespread attitude of wanting to get together to have fun experiences.

 

What hurts a geo-community:

 

1. Cliquish behavior or other hostility to newcomers and outsiders, especially from locally prominent cachers.

 

2. Divisive geocachers that drive others away. Under some circumstances, such cachers fracture the community or scatter one part while the remaining portion has the issues in #1.

 

3. No leadership - events don't happen or are of poor quality. Alternatively, bad leadership - prominent members of the community are unfriendly, have bad attitudes, don't set good a good example for others, don't want input from members of the community.

 

There is an area that requires more than an hour drive for me to reach, but the people are friendly and the cachers are good so it's worth the drive.

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The most important thing for me is quality Caches. Although I have only placed one cache,(more on the way), I have "adopted" a few local caches that are great caches to begin with. By adopting, I mean that I visit them regularly and fill with swag as needed. I do not encourage bad ownership by propping up caches, if they need maintenance, I am the first to post that they do and hopefully the CO will fix the problem. I have also posted a NA on a few local caches that needed to be removed from the game. However, I think that by adding swag and commenting appropriately, I can make the game "more funner" for the next guy. Just my three cents... inflation you know.

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To answer my own questions...

 

What makes a good geo-community?

 

1. Welcoming of new cachers and non-local cachers.

 

2. Quality cache placements, and the positive encouragement of them.

 

3. Semi-regular (not necessarily monthly) meet-n-greet events and CITOs that add to the sense of community and help cachers (especially new ones) connect to other cachers.

 

4. Positive leadership. Little progress gets for any community or group without some folks who take charge, organize, listen to others, and set a good example.

 

5. A general widespread attitude of wanting to get together to have fun experiences.

 

What hurts a geo-community:

 

1. Cliquish behavior or other hostility to newcomers and outsiders, especially from locally prominent cachers.

 

2. Divisive geocachers that drive others away. Under some circumstances, such cachers fracture the community or scatter one part while the remaining portion has the issues in #1.

 

3. No leadership - events don't happen or are of poor quality. Alternatively, bad leadership - prominent members of the community are unfriendly, have bad attitudes, don't set good a good example for others, don't want input from members of the community.

 

There is an area that requires more than an hour drive for me to reach, but the people are friendly and the cachers are good so it's worth the drive.

 

Good idea for a post.

 

The geocaching community here is pretty vibrant and has been since before I joined the game in 2005. My main regret about it these days is that I am too busy to participate much.

 

I think you've hit the nail on the head with these points. I would say that the core good people in this area cover the bases when it comes to the good things, and also do a pretty good job of derailing the bad things when they come up.

 

There are a small handful of geocachers in this area who can be pretty toxic, but the good people far outnumber them, and are usually around to set things straight if a new cacher ends up caught in some nonsense.

 

Events here are generally well-attended. Sometimes newer people innocently try to host small events without realizing how big the community is.

 

Another good thing is that there are a few cachers who tend to be the earlier finders on new placements, and they are pretty fast with feedback if the container is poor quality, the hide is bad, or there's an obvious permission issue. This alerts the hider, but also means that finders can look to those logs if they're concerned or want to know what to expect. We get the usual chorus of TFTC type logs, but there are always some reliably detailed logs too.

 

I would like to see more people using NM where it is warranted, but I think people avoid it because they are trying to be nice and don't want to upset the cache owner. In a community where people do tend to see each other a lot, I think that sensitivity is understandable. Something to work on changing - NM doesn't mean I hate you!

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I've found a good indicator.

 

You're caching away happily somewhere away from your home area, and get an email like this: Hey, I see you've been caching around town lately. A few of us are getting together tomorrow for a caching run. Would you like to join us?

 

Let's see, that's happened to me in Calgary, Ottawa, Querétaro, and Hong Kong so far. You meet some great cachers this way.

Edited by Viajero Perdido

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The most important thing for me is quality Caches. Although I have only placed one cache,(more on the way), I have "adopted" a few local caches that are great caches to begin with. By adopting, I mean that I visit them regularly and fill with swag as needed. I do not encourage bad ownership by propping up caches, if they need maintenance, I am the first to post that they do and hopefully the CO will fix the problem. I have also posted a NA on a few local caches that needed to be removed from the game. However, I think that by adding swag and commenting appropriately, I can make the game "more funner" for the next guy. Just my three cents... inflation you know.

A quality cache is hard to define. For someone with kids, it's probably a big box filled with nice swag; someone else might like containers with clever camo or a field puzzle trick that's needed to open it; at the end of a long hike some might think a cache with a big flashing light on the top would be great to save having to crawl around poking in bushes and under rocks, while others love scouring GZ for that dastardly hide. At the other extreme is the cleverly concealed micro or nano hiding in plain sight in a busy street or park.

 

Showcasing quality caches to newcomers can be a little tricky given that the official app limits them to D/T 1.5 or lower until they've become premium members, although there are some nicely placed ones around here that fit under the bar.

 

A good and inclusive Facebook group goes a long way to creating a cohesive community, as do occasional good events - probably two or three a year is enough to keep interest going without becoming tedious. From my own experience when I first started, FTF races that became convivial mini-events at GZ were a great ice-breaker.

 

I suppose the other thing that comes to mind is having a good mix of cache types so that there's something for everyone. Many of the complaints I see on the forums are from places where they're all power trails or LPCs (fortunately our lamp posts have uncovered nuts so we're spared those things), while there've been some rumblings of discontent around here about too many tough bush hides.

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In the thread about Bryan and Jeremy switching positions in Groundspeak the subject of good geocaching communities came up.

 

Good idea to have this thread. However when I wrote in the other thread that the community feeling got lost for me in my area I apparently had some completely different in mind than what you associate with a good geocaching community and I also did not mean to associate adjectives like good and bad. I would not say that the geocaching community in my area is bad in the sense you use your area - it just does not feel like a community to me any longer.

 

In the early times I knew almost all cachers in the area personally (and also many from other areas) and many of them had similar preferences for geocaches and it was easy to find topics of common interest outside of searching for caches. Topics like which equipment is the best (torches, UV-lights etc) and have you already solved puzzle X were not present at events. We typically talked about topics not directly related to searching for geocache containers (hiking, traveling and many other things).

 

Events were smaller and much more appealing to me (which is also connected to the fact that moving events like hiking events have been published back then).

 

Nowadays I feel that around 99 out of 100 cachers have different interests to the extent that I rather meet non geocachers. Of course there are exceptions and there are still a few geocachers that I really enjoy to meet but they somehow almost get lost in the crowd. For sure the fact that many of my geocaching friends from the old times left the scene also adds to my personal feeling. It's a loss with which I have to deal. The group back then was much more homogeneous and led it self much better to gave me a home feeling. Meanwhile I feel very akin among a typical group of local cachers (there are exceptions of course).

 

I need to mention that I have never been into geocaching for the container searching aspect but always for the outdoor and physical activity aspect. Hardly any of the early cachers has been into geocaching mainly for the container searching aspect - that has changed a lot and influences the type of people attracted and it changes the topics people enjoy to talk about.

 

I cannot think of anything that locally can be changed to make me end up with a community feeling again but that's not a question of bad or good. In terms of what you and some others listed, I would need to say that the local community is good and vibrant. I do not feel to be part of it however.

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I've found a good indicator.

 

You're caching away happily somewhere away from your home area, and get an email like this: Hey, I see you've been caching around town lately. A few of us are getting together tomorrow for a caching run. Would you like to join us?

 

Let's see, that's happened to me in Calgary, Ottawa, Querétaro, and Hong Kong so far. You meet some great cachers this way.

 

Nice. I haven't had that happen to me exactly, but I have had similar when I've asked for help/advice on a cache before travelling. In one case I was invited to attend an event which was nearby when I was there (Iowa). My friends and I were treated like guests of honor. In another, an event was arranged in my honor, so I could meet local cachers (New Zealand). A third (Qatar) a local cacher arranged a meet-up of cachers (not an official event as there wasn't time).

 

When I've seen logs on my caches by new cachers or visitors and there is a nearby event soon, I've sent them emails inviting them. (I know invitations to events aren't needed, but more reminding them/encouraging them that they will be welcome).

 

I've also attended events in countries where I didn't speak the language (Czech Republic, Germany), and local cachers went out of their way to speak to me in English which I appreciated.

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I've found a good indicator.

 

You're caching away happily somewhere away from your home area, and get an email like this: Hey, I see you've been caching around town lately. A few of us are getting together tomorrow for a caching run. Would you like to join us?

 

Let's see, that's happened to me in Calgary, Ottawa, Querétaro, and Hong Kong so far. You meet some great cachers this way.

 

I disagree about caching runs being a sign of a good local community. Group caching tends to lead to a for-the-numbers mentality. A "run" suggests finding a lot of caches in a day, possibly sharing multi and puzzle final coordinates, skipping stages, not remembering the day's caches, not actually seeing some caches, writing cut n paste group logs. A good community includes one that rewards the owners of good caches by treating their caches with some recognition.

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A good local caching community takes pride in their local caches. Our city use to have a reputation for good, inclusive, cared for caches, in nice locations. Not anymore. We expected people to abide by the rules and maintain their caches. Not anymore.

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I could've been more precise than to refer to a caching "run" invitation, sorry. The typical message I'd received was more like, we're hiking up this mountain for an FTF and a handful of others, would you like to join us?

 

Some of those I've had to decline because I didn't think I had the physical oomph for that particular mountain (and I'm in shape). The ones I did accept turned out to be great big balls of fun. cool.gif

 

redsox_mark above mentioned some good indicators too, much in the same vein. smile.gif

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I've found a good indicator.

 

You're caching away happily somewhere away from your home area, and get an email like this: Hey, I see you've been caching around town lately. A few of us are getting together tomorrow for a caching run. Would you like to join us?

 

Let's see, that's happened to me in Calgary, Ottawa, Querétaro, and Hong Kong so far. You meet some great cachers this way.

 

I disagree about caching runs being a sign of a good local community. Group caching tends to lead to a for-the-numbers mentality. A "run" suggests finding a lot of caches in a day, possibly sharing multi and puzzle final coordinates, skipping stages, not remembering the day's caches, not actually seeing some caches, writing cut n paste group logs. A good community includes one that rewards the owners of good caches by treating their caches with some recognition.

I understand what Viajero Perdido is getting at, that the invite is a nice gesture that shows a sense of community. I used to do cache runs with friends all the time. There were many times when we invited other cachers to join us. Unfortunately, we found that, for the most part, it was more enjoyable with just our group. Everything ran smoother because we knew how each other worked. In other words, our cache runs didn't help the local geocaching community. Like Lone.R, these runs ended up becoming more for stats and numbers. It was fun for a good while but even with our group, each of us ended up having different ideas of what we wanted from geocaching.

 

Now, at our local monthly event, it was all about community for me. I made it a point, and enjoyed thoroughly, visiting with new or out of town cachers that happened to attend. Unfortunately, i can't say the same for some of our other locals. I don't think anyone ever meant to be "cliquish", it's just the way it appeared because they are friends that were comfortable with each other. Sadly, there was more than one instance when a new cacher told me they didn't feel welcomed at our events. This of course, isn't a good thing for any geocaching community. I'm pretty sure i've read a few threads here where people talked about the same thing happening at events in other areas. I'm not helping now as i don't attend many of the local events these days but i can just about guarantee that the same few people that do attend, are doing the same as they always done.

 

Quality is subjective but i don't think it's far fetched to come up with what a majority of people like. At this point in time, quality is what geocaching needs. You get some creativity going, more than just micro caches placed, in some nice areas, and we'd see a difference. The other thing, and i know i harp on this a lot,,, is to figure out how to make the app's usage more social. As it is now, newer people are "playing" the app but aren't really getting involved with the community they live in.

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I've found a good indicator.

 

You're caching away happily somewhere away from your home area, and get an email like this: Hey, I see you've been caching around town lately. A few of us are getting together tomorrow for a caching run. Would you like to join us?

 

Let's see, that's happened to me in Calgary, Ottawa, Querétaro, and Hong Kong so far. You meet some great cachers this way.

 

I disagree about caching runs being a sign of a good local community. Group caching tends to lead to a for-the-numbers mentality. A "run" suggests finding a lot of caches in a day, possibly sharing multi and puzzle final coordinates, skipping stages, not remembering the day's caches, not actually seeing some caches, writing cut n paste group logs. A good community includes one that rewards the owners of good caches by treating their caches with some recognition.

 

Yeah, what kind of monster actually reaches out and invites other people to cache together?

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I think focusing on effects is somewhat off the mark. What makes a good geocaching is the same as what makes a good real life community. As I've said before, I think it boils down to a basic assumption of cooperation among friends instead of an assumption of competition between combatants. The benefits of that, such as well maintained caches and helpful owners, flow from that, they don't cause that except in the sense that people acting friendly is infectious.

 

A lot of the things people complain about can be boiled down to "I don't like the caches people plant", and it's a somewhat unfortunate result of my ideal community that that happens naturally when the community's tastes differ from the person complaining. But once you observe this, you recognize that the solution to "not enough caches I like" is to plant caches you like. Trying to introduce people to the kind of caches you like is the friendly approach; complaining that you don't like the caches other people are planted veers towards being unfriendly.

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...As it is now, newer people are "playing" the app but aren't really getting involved with the community they live in.

We used to have a friendly local community, and we were lucky to be in the middle of two large organizations with their own sites.

Both would sometimes share events.

As newer folks arrived, the main question on the sites became "why isn't this site on faceboook?".

Newer cachers were already bumping heads with older, because they had little in common on pretty-much every topic in regards to this hobby.

The new folks say they didn't really break away from the old sites, but since both sites now use faceboook, that forced those not wishing to use that avenue out.

Most phased out were original members.

- This was about the time this hobby more or less became a game, with points/stats vs views, or unique locations.

 

Today, both sites are almost dead, the once very active faceboook sites just seem to have the same couple folks, and most are now off doing their own thing.

We haven't seen new folks at events in some time.

We've seen claims here in the forums that old-timers at events don't always make them feel welcome, but I'd be interested in seeing if most made any effort themselves. :)

 

Today, similar to another's off-topic post, we get more folks from outta our area asking to tag along with us, or head out with them.

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In the thread about Bryan and Jeremy switching positions in Groundspeak the subject of good geocaching communities came up.

 

Good idea to have this thread. However when I wrote in the other thread that the community feeling got lost for me in my area I apparently had some completely different in mind than what you associate with a good geocaching community and I also did not mean to associate adjectives like good and bad. I would not say that the geocaching community in my area is bad in the sense you use your area - it just does not feel like a community to me any longer.

 

In the early times I knew almost all cachers in the area personally (and also many from other areas) and many of them had similar preferences for geocaches and it was easy to find topics of common interest outside of searching for caches. Topics like which equipment is the best (torches, UV-lights etc) and have you already solved puzzle X were not present at events. We typically talked about topics not directly related to searching for geocache containers (hiking, traveling and many other things).

 

Events were smaller and much more appealing to me (which is also connected to the fact that moving events like hiking events have been published back then).

 

Nowadays I feel that around 99 out of 100 cachers have different interests to the extent that I rather meet non geocachers. Of course there are exceptions and there are still a few geocachers that I really enjoy to meet but they somehow almost get lost in the crowd. For sure the fact that many of my geocaching friends from the old times left the scene also adds to my personal feeling. It's a loss with which I have to deal. The group back then was much more homogeneous and led it self much better to gave me a home feeling. Meanwhile I feel very akin among a typical group of local cachers (there are exceptions of course).

 

I need to mention that I have never been into geocaching for the container searching aspect but always for the outdoor and physical activity aspect. Hardly any of the early cachers has been into geocaching mainly for the container searching aspect - that has changed a lot and influences the type of people attracted and it changes the topics people enjoy to talk about.

 

I cannot think of anything that locally can be changed to make me end up with a community feeling again but that's not a question of bad or good. In terms of what you and some others listed, I would need to say that the local community is good and vibrant. I do not feel to be part of it however.

 

At the risk of unintentionally sounding mean spirited, maybe geocaching just isn't your game anymore.. and there's nothing wrong with that if that's the case. I have many friends that came and went from geocaching. Some got busy with family. Some found other hobbies (GPS-based and not GPS-based). Some got bored. Some got burnt out. Whatever the case, there's nothing wrong with that.

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At the risk of unintentionally sounding mean spirited, maybe geocaching just isn't your game anymore.. and there's nothing wrong with that if that's the case. I have many friends that came and went from geocaching. Some got busy with family. Some found other hobbies (GPS-based and not GPS-based). Some got bored. Some got burnt out. Whatever the case, there's nothing wrong with that.

 

I'll put it this way,,, Geocaching as it is now, isn't for me. This may be foolish thinking but i hold on to the thought that someday, some things might revert back to how geocaching once was. It would be nice to once again see cachers not so concerned about their stats and who actually wanted to find and place caches that weren't just the routine stuff we see now. Yea, far fetched thinking but, who knows? :)

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At the risk of unintentionally sounding mean spirited, maybe geocaching just isn't your game anymore.. and there's nothing wrong with that if that's the case. I have many friends that came and went from geocaching. Some got busy with family. Some found other hobbies (GPS-based and not GPS-based). Some got bored. Some got burnt out. Whatever the case, there's nothing wrong with that.

 

I'll put it this way,,, Geocaching as it is now, isn't for me. This may be foolish thinking but i hold on to the thought that someday, some things might revert back to how geocaching once was. It would be nice to once again see cachers not so concerned about their stats and who actually wanted to find and place caches that weren't just the routine stuff we see now. Yea, far fetched thinking but, who knows? :)

 

This is exactly how I feel.

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At the risk of unintentionally sounding mean spirited, maybe geocaching just isn't your game anymore.. and there's nothing wrong with that if that's the case. I have many friends that came and went from geocaching. Some got busy with family. Some found other hobbies (GPS-based and not GPS-based). Some got bored. Some got burnt out. Whatever the case, there's nothing wrong with that.

 

I'll put it this way,,, Geocaching as it is now, isn't for me. This may be foolish thinking but i hold on to the thought that someday, some things might revert back to how geocaching once was. It would be nice to once again see cachers not so concerned about their stats and who actually wanted to find and place caches that weren't just the routine stuff we see now. Yea, far fetched thinking but, who knows? :)

 

This is exactly how I feel.

 

I understand the perspective. But other than garbage being hidden in the woods, I am not seeing how it affects anyone personally. And maybe that's just it.. quality?

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At the risk of unintentionally sounding mean spirited, maybe geocaching just isn't your game anymore..

 

There is still a very small group of cachers out there who have similar preferences than I do have (it's for them that I have hidden all my newer caches) and geocaching is still useful for me to be more physically active than I would otherwise be.

 

What I wrote was to explain why I do not have a community feeling any longer and why this is not a question of a good or bad local geocaching community. I could provide recommendations for caches to visit in my area for everyone in this thread and I'm quite confident that everyone would be happy with the recommendations. I'd say that there is a fair number of good caches in my area for all sorts of different tastes. There are certainly some local habits which most cachers from North America would not appreciate, but that's not the topic here.

 

For me neither cache quality nor how often cachers use NM and NA logs are of importance when it comes to describe what a community feeling means to me. I think one key aspect is that there needs to be a reasonably large intersection area of interests.

Edited by cezanne

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At the risk of unintentionally sounding mean spirited, maybe geocaching just isn't your game anymore.. and there's nothing wrong with that if that's the case. I have many friends that came and went from geocaching. Some got busy with family. Some found other hobbies (GPS-based and not GPS-based). Some got bored. Some got burnt out. Whatever the case, there's nothing wrong with that.

 

I'll put it this way,,, Geocaching as it is now, isn't for me. This may be foolish thinking but i hold on to the thought that someday, some things might revert back to how geocaching once was. It would be nice to once again see cachers not so concerned about their stats and who actually wanted to find and place caches that weren't just the routine stuff we see now. Yea, far fetched thinking but, who knows? :)

 

could you expand on this some more? how did it used to be etc ?

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Things I love about my community:

1. Some of the older cachers reach out and invite people (new or old) to events and sometimes to go out as a group so they can show them how things are done. They are patient and fun to be around!

2. The reviewer is also kind and patient and will work with anyone who asks for help on the particulars of their hide.

3. There have been events created specifically aimed to invite new cachers and teach them how to use a gps, what a trackable is etc.

4. Most of the active cachers in the area do maintain their caches and will show some sort of etiquette.

5. Geocaching with friends! It's so much fun to get a group and go out kayaking/hiking/biking.

 

Some bad things in the community:

1. Cliques. The lot of them. Sometimes they are older cachers who are sick of how the game has changed. They get grumpy and nasty to newer people and will complain without offering any good suggestions and are very exclusive.

2. People who don't sign the log, steal containers, don't rehide containers, leave unacceptable items in container or lie about finding a cache when they clearly didn't.

3. Sometimes the community doesn't seem to care about keeping a standard when it comes to placing and maintaining. Or..They just let one slide when the cache owner has archived himself from the game leaving trash in their wake.

 

Ultimately, I find that just like in real life, sometimes you gotta choose who you want to be around or who you want to affect you. I think for me, I need to me more understanding to newer and older players. They see things differently but sometimes need someone to at least listen and share with them. I will try to write more N/M logs if it's necessary. I'll keep maintaining my caches and archive if needed. I'll always sign the log and cito wherever I am and lead by being a good example.

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For me neither cache quality nor how often cachers use NM and NA logs are of importance when it comes to describe what a community feeling means to me. I think one key aspect is that there needs to be a reasonably large intersection area of interests.

The impression I'm getting is that back in the beginning, geocaching was bolted on to hiking communities, and many of the people that geocached back then were leveraging the relatively new phenomenon of on-line interaction provided by geocaching to get together with other hikers. As geocaching grew into its own thing, the hiking aspect was lost. On-line communities have come a long time since then, so I'm wondering whether there are now hiking communities available that would be more what you have in mind. Naturally that doesn't mean you have to leave the geocaching community or stop geocaching, it just means you can find what you lost.

 

I'd be particularly interested in the synergy and how it might lead to a renewed interest in the high quality hiking caches you often talk about.

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To answer my own questions...

 

What makes a good geo-community?

 

1. Welcoming of new cachers and non-local cachers.

 

2. Quality cache placements, and the positive encouragement of them.

 

3. Semi-regular (not necessarily monthly) meet-n-greet events and CITOs that add to the sense of community and help cachers (especially new ones) connect to other cachers.

 

4. Positive leadership. Little progress gets for any community or group without some folks who take charge, organize, listen to others, and set a good example.

 

5. A general widespread attitude of wanting to get together to have fun experiences.

 

Generally agree with all of the above - with the possible exception of #4 because - who gets to choose the leaders - and what makes leaders necessary in the first place? Unless of course you're simply referring to individuals who lead by example - and that example is a good one that aspires to ongoing improvement wherever possible.

 

What hurts a geo-community:

 

1. Cliquish behavior or other hostility to newcomers and outsiders, especially from locally prominent cachers.

 

2. Divisive geocachers that drive others away. Under some circumstances, such cachers fracture the community or scatter one part while the remaining portion has the issues in #1.

 

3. No leadership - events don't happen or are of poor quality. Alternatively, bad leadership - prominent members of the community are unfriendly, have bad attitudes, don't set good a good example for others, don't want input from members of the community.

 

There is an area that requires more than an hour drive for me to reach, but the people are friendly and the cachers are good so it's worth the drive.

 

Again with the leadership point - some prominent members of the community fancy themselves as leaders WHILE setting bad examples to others AND engaging in conflict with other would-be leaders - definitely not conducive to a good local geocaching community.

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I've found a good indicator.

 

You're caching away happily somewhere away from your home area, and get an email like this: Hey, I see you've been caching around town lately. A few of us are getting together tomorrow for a caching run. Would you like to join us?

 

Let's see, that's happened to me in Calgary, Ottawa, Querétaro, and Hong Kong so far. You meet some great cachers this way.

 

I disagree about caching runs being a sign of a good local community. Group caching tends to lead to a for-the-numbers mentality. A "run" suggests finding a lot of caches in a day, possibly sharing multi and puzzle final coordinates, skipping stages, not remembering the day's caches, not actually seeing some caches, writing cut n paste group logs. A good community includes one that rewards the owners of good caches by treating their caches with some recognition.

 

Completely agree - seen it time and time again.

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3. Sometimes the community doesn't seem to care about keeping a standard when it comes to placing and maintaining. Or..They just let one slide when the cache owner has archived himself from the game leaving trash in their wake.

 

This is all I see these days and it amounts to school bully mentality and accelerates the race to the bottom.

 

To be completely honest, I think it's gone beyond the point of no return.

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For me neither cache quality nor how often cachers use NM and NA logs are of importance when it comes to describe what a community feeling means to me. I think one key aspect is that there needs to be a reasonably large intersection area of interests.

The impression I'm getting is that back in the beginning, geocaching was bolted on to hiking communities, and many of the people that geocached back then were leveraging the relatively new phenomenon of on-line interaction provided by geocaching to get together with other hikers.

 

The originally GPS Stash was announced in a Usenet newsgroup (sci.geo.satellite-nav). At the time, there was a group called rec.backcountry that was pretty much the group used to discuss hiking. I did some searching of the archives and found several posts from 2001 in rec.backcountry (and one in July 2000 by Mike Teague) which mentioned Geocaching. I used read rec.backcountry back then and remember some of those compass vs. GPS discussions, some of which cross-posted to sci.geo.satellite-nav.

Although there was some cross interest between geocaching and hiking (mostly due to the use of a GPS for navigation), some of the earliest geocaches didn't involved hiking at all (Hello Mingo).

 

 

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Although there was some cross interest between geocaching and hiking (mostly due to the use of a GPS for navigation), some of the earliest geocaches didn't involved hiking at all (Hello Mingo).

Thanks for setting me straight. My point, though, was about how those yearning for the good old days remember them, not how they actually were. But I appreciate learning that the two are different.

 

The lack of appreciation of location is often the complaint from old timers. So are you saying that early caches weren't in better locations than current caches? Or were the early caches in good locations, you just didn't typically have to hike to get there?

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Although there was some cross interest between geocaching and hiking (mostly due to the use of a GPS for navigation), some of the earliest geocaches didn't involved hiking at all (Hello Mingo).

Thanks for setting me straight. My point, though, was about how those yearning for the good old days remember them, not how they actually were. But I appreciate learning that the two are different.

 

The lack of appreciation of location is often the complaint from old timers. So are you saying that early caches weren't in better locations than current caches? Or were the early caches in good locations, you just didn't typically have to hike to get there?

 

Note that early caches in different areas were quite different which was also the case for the early communities in different areas. The first geocache ever has very few in common with the typical early caches in my area. So the answers to your question will depend on the area.

This cache was one of the very early ones in my area

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCBE2A_old-stones?guid=517708a6-8187-49de-b4c9-9fbc84736bfd

and that's still my favourite type of geocache but it has become very rare.

 

Austria's oldest still active cache

https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1298_salzig-hund

also involves quite a hike.

 

Not all of the early caches in my area were in special locations though many were. The big majority of caches involved a walk or even a hike and even if the cache hideout was no special place one typically was led to special places along the way as a general rule of thumb.

 

I know other areas where geocaching developped in a quite different manner.

Edited by cezanne

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Although there was some cross interest between geocaching and hiking (mostly due to the use of a GPS for navigation), some of the earliest geocaches didn't involved hiking at all (Hello Mingo).

Thanks for setting me straight. My point, though, was about how those yearning for the good old days remember them, not how they actually were. But I appreciate learning that the two are different.

 

The lack of appreciation of location is often the complaint from old timers. So are you saying that early caches weren't in better locations than current caches? Or were the early caches in good locations, you just didn't typically have to hike to get there?

 

I was just saying that not all early geocaches involved hike. I understand that the very first was very close to a road and that the location for Mingo didn't require a hike, nor was it especially scenic. However, caches like GC12, GC17, and The Spot (GC39) all require a bit of a hike. I suspect that although there were exceptions many of the early caches *did* tend to involve some amount of hiking and focus on good locations. Certainly, even when I started 10 years ago most of the caches in my area were in areas which required a little bit of hiking. Today, the percentage that require any sort hike is getting quite low, especially in areas where the focus on numbers caches is strong. I believe that areas like yours, where there is emphasis on quality by the local geocaching community, there are still many caches available that involve some hiking, but I think that your area is more of an exception.

 

The discussions about what makes up a good local geocaching community are great, but I'm more interested in hearing suggestions about keeping a local community that emphasizes quality stay that way, or how to turn a community around that has already developed a strong numbers caching mentality.

 

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Here in southwest Ohio, I am blessed to be part of (what I think is) a great Geocaching community. We have two active and welcoming organizations. Both of them put on events regularly in addition to the other events hosted by other cachers. We have trackable races, zombies, great food, and meteor shower watches. We welcome new cachers and encourage them to hob nob with some of us veterans.

 

The cachers in the area include some prolific hiders too. We have some of the most favorited hiders in the state which (I think) gives inspiration to other hiders, new and veteran.

 

We routinely host Geocaching events at other, larger gatherings in order to introduce the larger community to Geocaching. (Parks, Scouts, schools, etc).

 

Plus we genuinely like each other! Many of us hang out apart from caching. I have been to Super Bowl parties, taken vacations with people I met caching, attended weddings and funerals of other cachers. We really are a family!

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I suspect that although there were exceptions many of the early caches *did* tend to involve some amount of hiking and focus on good locations.

Right, that's what I was saying: the early geocachers tended to think of geocaching as something to do on a hike. So I think people that had been hiking tended to be the first to gravitate to geocaching, and there they found that the geocaching descriptions and logs functioned as an early social media, so they formed their hiking community around it. Now that social media in general has matured, perhaps social media venues focused on hiking would do a better job for the hiking interests.

 

The discussions about what makes up a good local geocaching community are great, but I'm more interested in hearing suggestions about keeping a local community that emphasizes quality stay that way, or how to turn a community around that has already developed a strong numbers caching mentality.

I continue to say the start is to view geocaching as a cooperative activity. As an individual, that means you engage people that don't treat it as cooperative to try to help them see the advantages. Once enough people have been convinced, quality comes directly because friends respect each other so they don't hide trash, and indirectly because a friend can talk to another friend about any lack of quality.

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I continue to say the start is to view geocaching as a cooperative activity.

 

But doesn't the concept of cooperation involve an nonempty intersection of goals or at least goals that are not too far apart?

 

The goals of cachers who want to fill some grids will be for example quite different from those who are focussed on finding nice swag.

 

As an individual, that means you engage people that don't treat it as cooperative to try to help them see the advantages. Once enough people have been convinced, quality comes directly because friends respect each other so they don't hide trash, and indirectly because a friend can talk to another friend about any lack of quality.

 

Trash and quality are subjective, so are other aspects that play a role.

 

For example, I'm growingly unhappy as there are more and more caches that make cachers drive around with their cars in a manner they would not if those caches did not exist. For example consider caches that make the cachers visit all city limit signs (the coordinates of which are not given - so cachers will end up driving up and down many roads until finally a checksum for all the collected numbers is correct. Not what I would like to see in an area which fights heavily with almost daily violations of the particular matter limits.

 

Of course noone will love real trash - however there are many cachers out there who would opt to have the chance to log a find for a trashy cache when the alternative would be to log no find on that day in that area.

I think that this also explains why NA logs are used less frequently in many areas than some would like them to be used.

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Things I love about my community:

1. Some of the older cachers reach out and invite people (new or old) to events and sometimes to go out as a group so they can show them how things are done. They are patient and fun to be around!

2. The reviewer is also kind and patient and will work with anyone who asks for help on the particulars of their hide.

3. There have been events created specifically aimed to invite new cachers and teach them how to use a gps, what a trackable is etc.

4. Most of the active cachers in the area do maintain their caches and will show some sort of etiquette.

5. Geocaching with friends! It's so much fun to get a group and go out kayaking/hiking/biking.

 

Some bad things in the community:

1. Cliques. The lot of them. Sometimes they are older cachers who are sick of how the game has changed. They get grumpy and nasty to newer people and will complain without offering any good suggestions and are very exclusive.

2. People who don't sign the log, steal containers, don't rehide containers, leave unacceptable items in container or lie about finding a cache when they clearly didn't.

3. Sometimes the community doesn't seem to care about keeping a standard when it comes to placing and maintaining. Or..They just let one slide when the cache owner has archived himself from the game leaving trash in their wake.

 

Ultimately, I find that just like in real life, sometimes you gotta choose who you want to be around or who you want to affect you. I think for me, I need to me more understanding to newer and older players. They see things differently but sometimes need someone to at least listen and share with them. I will try to write more N/M logs if it's necessary. I'll keep maintaining my caches and archive if needed. I'll always sign the log and cito wherever I am and lead by being a good example.

 

thank you

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Here in southwest Ohio, I am blessed to be part of (what I think is) a great Geocaching community. We have two active and welcoming organizations. Both of them put on events regularly in addition to the other events hosted by other cachers. We have trackable races, zombies, great food, and meteor shower watches. We welcome new cachers and encourage them to hob nob with some of us veterans.

 

The cachers in the area include some prolific hiders too. We have some of the most favorited hiders in the state which (I think) gives inspiration to other hiders, new and veteran.

 

We routinely host Geocaching events at other, larger gatherings in order to introduce the larger community to Geocaching. (Parks, Scouts, schools, etc).

 

Plus we genuinely like each other! Many of us hang out apart from caching. I have been to Super Bowl parties, taken vacations with people I met caching, attended weddings and funerals of other cachers. We really are a family!

 

I agree! (geocat_ and I are in the same area)

We also work with the parks, and the parks work with us -- we do CITOs and education, they allow caches and events

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But doesn't the concept of cooperation involve an nonempty intersection of goals or at least goals that are not too far apart?

No, I don't think so. I can do what I can to help someone achieve their goals without having any interest in achieving those goals myself. If nothing else, I can avoid making it harder to achieve their goals. For example, I can avoid being annoying if one of their goals is to not be annoyed.

 

The goals of cachers who want to fill some grids will be for example quite different from those who are focussed on finding nice swag.

That's true, so it would be a mistake to focus on highly defined tactical goals and, instead, worry more about more general goals such as having fun.

 

Trash and quality are subjective, so are other aspects that play a role.

Absolutely. And any solution that comes from outside the community is just going be add one more subjective opinion to the opinions already in the community. The mistake is thinking that because it's subjective, then that subjective answer should come from somewhere outside the community. That's exactly backwards. Alas, yes, that means you might not agree with the community's answer, but dealing with that -- indeed, wanting to deal with it -- is an important part of being a member of a community.

 

For example, I'm growingly unhappy as there are more and more caches that make cachers drive around with their cars in a manner they would not if those caches did not exist. For example consider caches that make the cachers visit all city limit signs (the coordinates of which are not given - so cachers will end up driving up and down many roads until finally a checksum for all the collected numbers is correct. Not what I would like to see in an area which fights heavily with almost daily violations of the particular matter limits.

Either there is a real safety issue, in which case I'd claim the existing geocaching rules are as good as possible for dealing with it, or you're just saying you don't like them, and if that's the case, then I don't want a system that allows you to create a rule to enforce your preferences over those that are participating in those caches. On the other hand, I encourage you to speak your mind about it.

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But doesn't the concept of cooperation involve an nonempty intersection of goals or at least goals that are not too far apart?

No, I don't think so. I can do what I can to help someone achieve their goals without having any interest in achieving those goals myself. If nothing else, I can avoid making it harder to achieve their goals. For example, I can avoid being annoying if one of their goals is to not be annoyed.

 

At least for my understanding of community there must be something in common - otherwise trying to cooperate seems pretty unnatural.

 

The goals of cachers who want to fill some grids will be for example quite different from those who are focussed on finding nice swag.

That's true, so it would be a mistake to focus on highly defined tactical goals and, instead, worry more about more general goals such as having fun.

 

That's however not so easy to separate as the fun of many seems to come from such goals.

 

For example, I'm growingly unhappy as there are more and more caches that make cachers drive around with their cars in a manner they would not if those caches did not exist. For example consider caches that make the cachers visit all city limit signs (the coordinates of which are not given - so cachers will end up driving up and down many roads until finally a checksum for all the collected numbers is correct. Not what I would like to see in an area which fights heavily with almost daily violations of the particular matter limits.

Either there is a real safety issue, in which case I'd claim the existing geocaching rules are as good as possible for dealing with it, or you're just saying you don't like them, and if that's the case, then I don't want a system that allows you to create a rule to enforce your preferences over those that are participating in those caches.

 

No, my concern is an environmental and people's health concern and not a safety concern but maybe that's hard to understand in a different culture - it would not have occured to me that someone thinks that it is about safety. Of course nothing can be enforced and I did not ask for new rules. There are many caches that I do not like/enjoy but that do not make me concerned - gadget caches for example.

Edited by cezanne

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Regarding quality, I think there is some things we can't all agree on (location, container size, swag, difficulty) but there are some things I think we can all agree on. Nobody likes a broken container or wet, moldy cache log at least.

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Regarding quality, I think there is some things we can't all agree on (location, container size, swag, difficulty) but there are some things I think we can all agree on. Nobody likes a broken container or wet, moldy cache log at least.

I don't think that is true. Some finders seem to not care about it, or at least like to play that angle as a forum poster.

Edited by fbingha

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Regarding quality, I think there is some things we can't all agree on (location, container size, swag, difficulty) but there are some things I think we can all agree on. Nobody likes a broken container or wet, moldy cache log at least.

 

But if the alternative is no cache to log in that area on that day, many would opt for the broken container with the wet log.

Or they rather live with a powertrail which after a while degrades and is badly maintained than having only 1-2 caches along the trail which they have already found.

It always depends a lot on the objectives of the cachers.

 

In modern geocaching much is about care/do not care and not about like/do not like. What I wrote above explains that many do not care that much about badly maintained containers when they take into account the alternatives. This is also demonstrated by how many quickly rush for badly maintained caches which are close to becoming archived.

 

While I do try to give my best to maintain my own caches I need to admit that even though I'm neither numbers oriented nor driven by any statistics goals or challenge cache goals that I prefer having an unvisited badly maintained caches that motivates me to go for a nice hike to having no cache that can be used in this manner at all. I typically select my destinations based on caches and not on the other way round.

Edited by cezanne

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I prefer having an unvisited badly maintained caches that motivates me to go for a nice hike to having no cache that can be used in this manner at all. I typically select my destinations based on caches and not on the other way round.

 

So you are promoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable so long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike?

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I prefer having an unvisited badly maintained caches that motivates me to go for a nice hike to having no cache that can be used in this manner at all. I typically select my destinations based on caches and not on the other way round.

 

So you are promoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable so long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike?

 

I started out with I try to maintain my caches properly. I did not evaluate caches. I just wrote above what is true for me anyhow if I'm really honest to myself. It's not difficult to prefer a perfectly maintained cache to a badly maintained cache while everything else stays the same.

 

I will never log finds for caches when there is no container to find and I will not leave throwdowns. I have to admit however that depending on my mood, the circumstances and many other things it can happen that I'm glad that a badly maintained cache is available to me.

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I prefer having an unvisited badly maintained caches that motivates me to go for a nice hike to having no cache that can be used in this manner at all. I typically select my destinations based on caches and not on the other way round.

 

So you are promoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable so long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike?

 

I started out with I try to maintain my caches properly. I did not evaluate caches. I just wrote above what is true for me anyhow if I'm really honest to myself. It's not difficult to prefer a perfectly maintained cache to a badly maintained cache while everything else stays the same.

 

I will never log finds for caches when there is no container to find and I will not leave throwdowns. I have to admit however that depending on my mood, the circumstances and many other things it can happen that I'm glad that a badly maintained cache is available to me.

 

So you ARE prmoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable as long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike.

 

Why?

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Regarding quality, I think there is some things we can't all agree on (location, container size, swag, difficulty) but there are some things I think we can all agree on. Nobody likes a broken container or wet, moldy cache log at least.

 

I prefer a broken cache to no cache. I'll always report on the condition in my log and NM if it's necessary, but I'm not going to go home in tears because a logbook was a bit slimy.

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So you ARE prmoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable as long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike.

 

Why?

 

If you wish to interpret it that way I cannot change it. For me promoting means something different. I did not say anywhere that the hider of a badly maintained cache which might serve

its purpose for me under certain circumstances does not have maintenance duties.

 

I did not say anything about acceptable or non acceptable. I'm neither a reviewer nor involved in Groundspeak's business. In my opinion it is not my task to decide what is acceptable and what not.

 

I cannot change that some caches come in handy to me regardless of in which condition the container is. If I said anything else I would end up insincere.

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I dunno. I dunno. I see geocaching groups working well with state, county and local parks to promote geocaching. And they seem to do a very good job of it! Then, all of a sudden, I see all the caches in a park get archived, And a new series set out. In many cases it is obvious. Sometimes harder to tell who is setting out the new caches. Great challenges cache! Worked hard to log it! Then it was archived. As well as some other interesting caches in the park. For a power trail! Which only lasted a few months. So sad.

New Jersey state parks archived all caches without a permit. But that took quite a while. Except in some cases where someone at the state park wanted to put out a power trail, and had all the caches in the way archived. Or a huge event was being held. Archive all the caches in the way to set out a new trail. Ah! Another event. Archive most of the caches from the previous event to set out new ones for the new event!

It's good to work with the parks to promote geocaching. But what I am smelling is megalomania.

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At least for my understanding of community there must be something in common - otherwise trying to cooperate seems pretty unnatural.

Communities are defined by what's in common. If you don't think you have anything in common with your community, then I suggest the proper diagnosis is that you're in the wrong community, not that there's something wrong with the community. But I'm guessing you really do recognize that you have some things in common with your community even though you don't share all the same goals, and whatever that commonality is, that defines what you should cooperate on.

 

That's however not so easy to separate as the fun of many seems to come from such goals.

I'm sorry, but I simply won't agree that we can't all help everyone else have fun while pursuing our separate goals.

 

No, my concern is an environmental and people's health concern and not a safety concern but maybe that's hard to understand in a different culture - it would not have occured to me that someone thinks that it is about safety. Of course nothing can be enforced and I did not ask for new rules. There are many caches that I do not like/enjoy but that do not make me concerned - gadget caches for example.

The point is that either there's a demonstrable objective problem, in which case it makes sense for the rules to deal with it, or you have an opinion about the problem, in which case the solution can only come from interactions between you and your community. Normally I would class "environmental and people's health" as safety issues, hence my use of that term and the implication that the existing rules are appropriate, meaning that there are ways for you to state your case and mechanisms for powers above your community to judge whether anything should be done about it. But if you feel like this is more a matter of opinion, then the community based approach is to discuss it with the people involved.

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I prefer having an unvisited badly maintained caches that motivates me to go for a nice hike to having no cache that can be used in this manner at all. I typically select my destinations based on caches and not on the other way round.

 

So you are promoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable so long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike?

 

I started out with I try to maintain my caches properly. I did not evaluate caches. I just wrote above what is true for me anyhow if I'm really honest to myself. It's not difficult to prefer a perfectly maintained cache to a badly maintained cache while everything else stays the same.

 

I will never log finds for caches when there is no container to find and I will not leave throwdowns. I have to admit however that depending on my mood, the circumstances and many other things it can happen that I'm glad that a badly maintained cache is available to me.

 

So you ARE prmoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable as long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike.

 

Why?

 

Major derailment here. God please make it end...... :(

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I prefer having an unvisited badly maintained caches that motivates me to go for a nice hike to having no cache that can be used in this manner at all. I typically select my destinations based on caches and not on the other way round.

 

So you are promoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable so long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike?

 

I started out with I try to maintain my caches properly. I did not evaluate caches. I just wrote above what is true for me anyhow if I'm really honest to myself. It's not difficult to prefer a perfectly maintained cache to a badly maintained cache while everything else stays the same.

 

I will never log finds for caches when there is no container to find and I will not leave throwdowns. I have to admit however that depending on my mood, the circumstances and many other things it can happen that I'm glad that a badly maintained cache is available to me.

 

So you ARE prmoting the idea that a badly maintained cache is acceptable as long as it motivates you to go for a nice hike.

 

Why?

 

Major derailment here. God please make it end...... :(

 

Fair point. Not entirely accurate but fair enough.

 

Question withdrawn.

 

Your prayers are answered.

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...

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I was a bit surprised by the poster earlier who said they encountered communities so welcoming they invited strangers to go caching.

 

I would usually want to meet a cacher in person at event before going caching with them, or at least have them be accompanied by a mutual friend. If I was caching in another state and some locals messaged me to invite me on a caching run I would decline. Maybe that's just me.

 

Is there anything Groundspeak can do to promote good communities? Have stories about them in the weekly newsletter and on their YouTube channel?

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