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Geocaching Ethics!


Inmountains
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25 minutes ago, arisoft said:

There is possibility that geocaching is a non-competitive game.

Wow.  I was tempted to say there is a possibility that monkeys... but I won't.

If it's non-competitive, then why are there so many ways of keeping score, why are there logs, why is there swag, why are so many people making it about numbers, etc?  ;)

And perhaps most importantly, what's wrong/the problem with it being competitive?  Is that somehow threatening? :huh::blink:

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27 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

If it's non-competitive, then why are there so many ways of keeping score, why are there logs, why is there swag, why are so many people making it about numbers, etc?  ;)

And perhaps most importantly, what's wrong/the problem with it being competitive?  Is that somehow threatening? :huh::blink:

The poster said that there is  possibility that this hobby isn't competitive.

After the other 2/3rds got FTFs out of her system, we have no competition with anyone.

I believe logs are there simply to say "Yes, this is a nice spot!  Thanks for showing it to me.",  thanking the CO, and not a "score".   

 - If you've done similar caches that have views that are  breathtaking, maybe you  might have seen it that way too.  :)

Guess I thought "swag" was there just to keep the kids busy, while you sit a spell, or to grab a "souvenir" of that fun spot, leaving another in it's place.

 

However, there's nothing "wrong" with those who choose to make this a competitive game.

I think you know that already, and maybe just looking to keep stirring that pot...

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29 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

If it's non-competitive, then why are there so many ways of keeping score...?

You see it as competitive, so you see it as "keeping score", presumably because you compare your score to other people's scores. I see it as individual, so I see it as tracking my progress. I look at other people's numbers in order to see how much progress they've made, not to compare their progress to my progress.

30 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

...why are there logs...?

There are logs so we can tell each other about our experience. I don't even understand how logs contribute to any kind of competition unless you see bragging as a significant part of logging.

31 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

...why is there swag...?

There's swag because some people like swag. I have even less idea how this has anything to do with being competitive.

32 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

...why are so many people making it about numbers, etc?

Some people can make anything a competition for themselves. That doesn't make it a competition for anyone else.

32 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

And perhaps most importantly, what's wrong/the problem with it being competitive?  Is that somehow threatening?

Good point. I have no problem with competition, I just ignore people that mistakenly think I'm competing with them.

In this thread, which is about falsifying logs, being competitive can be a problem when the person being competitive loses sight of the fact that the competition is in the actual caches found, not in invalid claims of caches found. That leads them to report things which are not true, thus degrading the information available to others.

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22 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

Wow.  I was tempted to say there is a possibility that monkeys... but I won't.

Thank you!

25 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

If it's non-competitive, then why are there so many ways of keeping score, why are there logs, why is there swag, why are so many people making it about numbers, etc?  ;)

When one is collecting those virtual items, It is an integral part of the game to count them and build statistics. You may count how many children you have but does it mean that you are competing with a neighbor with the number of children? I don't think so. Of course a geocacher may try to compete with an another geocacher but It is more likely that they will go together to look for caches than try to win a friend or someone else.

42 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

And perhaps most importantly, what's wrong/the problem with it being competitive?  Is that somehow threatening? :huh::blink:

Not at all. But there is no cake in this competition. I have seen how this goes. The first thought in the beginner's mind is to develop to the best of the best geocacher until he realizes that there are no prize pools left in this game. You can only overcome the goals you set yourself. For example, I try to get one FTF in every month, but I am not going to compare the length of this streak with anyone else.

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1 hour ago, RufusClupea said:

Wow.  I was tempted to say there is a possibility that monkeys... but I won't.

If it's non-competitive, then why are there so many ways of keeping score, why are there logs, why is there swag, why are so many people making it about numbers, etc?  ;)

And perhaps most importantly, what's wrong/the problem with it being competitive?  Is that somehow threatening? :huh::blink:

I never had a problem with competition until I noticed it started driving the types and sheer numbers of caches being placed as geocaching became more about the numbers than about the hunt. I'm surprised that Power Trails haven't gone the way of virtuals. As virtuals took off, stricter requirements were put in place to attempt to discourage poor quality caches. Even though I enjoyed virtual caches, I can understand that the argument that they weren't true geocaches as they were lacking a container and logbook. I'm really surprised that power trails have been allowed to drive geocaching in the opposite direction of the original spirit of the hobby. 

Edited by TahoeJoe
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8 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

However, there's nothing "wrong" with those who choose to make this a competitive game.

I think you know that already, and maybe just looking to keep stirring that pot...

That's what I've been saying right along, because that's what it is--a competitive game--by every definition I'm familiar with.

Maybe those who insist it's not are just looking to keep stirring the pot...

Perhaps we should agree to disagree.

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44 minutes ago, RufusClupea said:

Wow.  I was tempted to say there is a possibility that monkeys... but I won't.

If it's non-competitive, then why are there so many ways of keeping score, why are there logs, why is there swag, why are so many people making it about numbers, etc?  ;)

And perhaps most importantly, what's wrong/the problem with it being competitive?  Is that somehow threatening? :huh::blink:

Geocaching didn't used to be this way. All the numbers and statistical stuff has come about over the years. I consider geocaching a hobby, with no winners or losers. Now days, most people see it as more of a competitive game that can be scored.

What's wrong is that people do goofy things because they see the competition (saying they found the most caches) as somehow being important. I'm competitive myself but i wouldn't ever knowingly cheat at any game. Unfortunately, this is not the case for a lot of people. Some seem to take this stuff too seriously and end up rationalizing ways to claim finds on caches or in some cases, flat out cheat. In geocaching, this sort of stuff can sometimes cause problems for other cachers. For the most part though, it usually only garners a rolling of the eyes from the more honest people that have a little bit of common sense.

Logging caches used to be more for, well,, keeping logs of a cacher's experience. These days however, they're mainly used for keeping score since very few consist of anything more than an acronym or a couple or three words. Because of this, a newer person is going to see it as part of a competition.

Swag has been around since the beginning. Yes, it is sad to see so many people refuse to trade up or even. But at the same time, i don't see swag as adding to the perceived competition..

 

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58 minutes ago, dprovan said:

You see it as competitive, so you see it as "keeping score", presumably because you compare your score to other people's scores. I see it as individual, so I see it as tracking my progress. I look at other people's numbers in order to see how much progress they've made, not to compare their progress to my progress.

Please don't put words in my mouth or thoughts/intentions in my head.  I see it as competitive because there are so many ways of keeping score (among other defining attributes).

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There are logs so we can tell each other about our experience. I don't even understand how logs contribute to any kind of competition unless you see bragging as a significant part of logging.

So far, I haven't seen a single cache log (the ones that are signed inside the cache--i.e. the ones I'm talking about--not the ones on the cache sheet) that mentions anything about experiences other than a quick "TFTC" or "Great Hide".  The largest category--Micros--don't have room for much--if anything--else.  Their purpose seems to be one of the ways of keeping (or proving) score.

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There's swag because some people like swag. I have even less idea how this has anything to do with being competitive.

I've seen swag described as souvenirs, items for trade, and rewards for finding a cache.  At least 2 of those qualify as things to accumulate (a way of keeping score,and one of the 3 objectives of games, i.e. race, accumulation, position).

 

Edited by RufusClupea
correction
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1 hour ago, Mudfrog said:

These days however, they're mainly used for keeping score since very few consist of anything more than an acronym or a couple or three words.

I think the 'quality' of the hides also contributes to this. When I first started caching, I barely wrote anything in the logs. A few months later we hid our first cache and I learned that CO's get an email of the logs. Since then, I do try to write a short story about our experience; but there are times where you find the 5th key holder in a guard rail in one day. What can you possibly say at that point? 

As a tangent thought, if you feel the number of "finds" you have is making it an unwanted competition, then don't log them online! The requirement to log a find online is to sign the paper log, but there is no requirement to log a find on the website.

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5 hours ago, dprovan said:

In the other class, like golf and geocaching, you do your best, and you win when your best is better than your competitor's best. The thing about that second class is that there's no particular reason to identify a competitor, thus playing the game but eliminating the competition.

That sounds like the way I play pool at work. I scatter the balls around the table, then alternate between sinking solids and sinking stripes. Eventually, I sink all of one or the other, and then I sink the eight-ball. Yes, pool is a competitive game, but I don't play it in a competitive way.

And I don't geocache in a competitive way either.

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Surely a competition requires at least two competitors, all of whom realise that there is a competition and who have agreed to take part in the competition.

Geocaching, in general, doesn't meet these criteria. 

If someone decides to try and get more caches than I do this coming weekend, it isn't a competition unless I realise what they are doing and unless I agree to take part.  Somebody's find count (or DNF count or find rate or average D/T rating) may be higher than someone else's.  They may be proud of their achievements, but it isn't a competition unless the other guy is competing.

 

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1 hour ago, Gill & Tony said:

Surely a competition requires at least two competitors, all of whom realise that there is a competition and who have agreed to take part in the competition.

Geocaching, in general, doesn't meet these criteria. 

If someone decides to try and get more caches than I do this coming weekend, it isn't a competition unless I realise what they are doing and unless I agree to take part.  Somebody's find count (or DNF count or find rate or average D/T rating) may be higher than someone else's.  They may be proud of their achievements, but it isn't a competition unless the other guy is competing.

 

Perhaps we should call it bragging rights and the competition is in their own minds. Personally I think it's a male thing where evolution hasn't caught up  yet. :wacko:

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3 hours ago, Gill & Tony said:

Surely a competition requires at least two competitors, all of whom realise that there is a competition and who have agreed to take part in the competition.

Geocaching, in general, doesn't meet these criteria. 

If someone decides to try and get more caches than I do this coming weekend, it isn't a competition unless I realise what they are doing and unless I agree to take part.  Somebody's find count (or DNF count or find rate or average D/T rating) may be higher than someone else's.  They may be proud of their achievements, but it isn't a competition unless the other guy is competing.

 

Why would someone secretly try to snag more caches then you this weekend without mentioning their intentions? 

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6 hours ago, niraD said:

That sounds like the way I play pool at work. I scatter the balls around the table, then alternate between sinking solids and sinking stripes. Eventually, I sink all of one or the other, and then I sink the eight-ball. Yes, pool is a competitive game, but I don't play it in a competitive way.

And I don't geocache in a competitive way either.

If you weren't playing by yourself it would be a competition. 

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3 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

If you weren't playing by yourself it would be a competition. 

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Competition is, in general, a contest or rivalry between two or more entities, organisms, animals, individuals, economic groups or social groups, etc., for territory, a niche, for scarce resources, goods, for mates, for prestige, recognition, for awards, for group or social status, or for leadership and profit. It arises whenever at least two parties strive for a goal which cannot be shared, where one's gain is the other's loss (a zero-sum game).

As you see, many aspects of competition, according to this Wikipedia article, suits very well to geocaching in general. When you do geocaching you may "win":

  • territory
  • niche
  • scarce resources
  • goods
  • mates
  • prestige
  • recognition
  • awards

I have seen everything in this list to happen in geocaching, but I do not know against whom I should compete, and whether he or her has the same goal. The real competition happens during the FTF hunt when several players are pursuing the same unique goal and this is not a part of the official game.

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5 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

Why would someone secretly try to snag more caches then you this weekend without mentioning their intentions? 

That's the point. How can geocaching be competitive without others consenting to be part of the competition?

I can run down a busy sidewalk and yell at everyone that I've won, but that doesn't mean much if nobody else knew it was a race.

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16 hours ago, RufusClupea said:
18 hours ago, arisoft said:

There is possibility that geocaching is a non-competitive game.

Wow.  I was tempted to say there is a possibility that monkeys... but I won't.

If it's non-competitive, then why are there so many ways of keeping score, why are there logs, why is there swag, why are so many people making it about numbers, etc?  ;)

And perhaps most importantly, what's wrong/the problem with it being competitive?  Is that somehow threatening?

I can think of a couple of things about how competition can have a negative impact of the game.  If in the pursuit of "winning" geocachers will willingly  engage in practices which violate or play fast and loose with the guidelines which, in some cases demonstrates a lack of integrity and honesty. Personally, I'd rather see a perception of the game as one where players are honest and play with integrity than one where players will do almost anything to increase their find count.

In most cases, competition in the game is based on quantity.   The more the better.  When cache owners are placing large numbers of caches to satisfy geocachers driven by number of finds, their motivation isn't to create quality hides.  When quantity take precedence over quality the game, iMHO, suffers.

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For me, and I think for the majority of cachers, Geocaching is generally non-competitive.   We cache for fun, not to win.   

However, there are aspects which can be competitive.   Clearly, for many, FTF is one.   To get there first you need to get there faster than others.

I've also seen friendly competition locally with various local series which have their own stats.   E.g. the Church Micro series in the UK.  Church Micro Statistics.  A specific example within those statistics:  There is a record of 186 Church Micro finds in a day.   Second place is 179.   That group with 179 are friends of mine, they set out to break the record, but didn't succeed.   They did this for fun.. for a challenge. but also, they wanted to hold the record.   I call that "competition".   

And I don't see anything wrong with it, if it is done in a fun way, and isn't the main motivation.  

Where competition can become a bad thing is if people take it too seriously.    This didn't happen, but for example if the group with 179 were to accuse the group with 186 with cheating as they split into sub-teams at one point and the other team didn't.. etc.   

 

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8 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

I can think of a couple of things about how competition can have a negative impact of the game.

In real competition players should remove every cache they find or at least make them harder to find, as it improves their chances of winning. I have seen this happening. :mad:

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One of the cool things about geocaching is:  If you WANT it to be a competition, it absolutely can be. If you DON'T WANT it to be a competition, it absolutely isn't. 

For me, it is just a hobby. I challenge myself to certain goals/objectives simply to keep myself from falling away in the day to day, to inspire myself to try out different things in this hobby, and to keep it fresh and creative. But I'm not competing against anyone in these goals. It's just ME. 

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54 minutes ago, hdbaggerdave said:

I don't understand what the fun would be in armchair caching. This hobby to me is about going out and having an adventure. However, I will armchair quarterback during football season, and not very well either.

The armchair geocacher may have been mistaken for the nature of the hobby and he may imagine that other players compete with him. He also may imagine that others are envious of his fake accomplishments. Or may be he is a passionate collector who can not resist the attraction of the points.:)

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15 hours ago, narcissa said:

That's the point. How can geocaching be competitive without others consenting to be part of the competition?

I can run down a busy sidewalk and yell at everyone that I've won, but that doesn't mean much if nobody else knew it was a race.

Yep, it takes two or more consenting people for it to be a competition. I believe that the competition we talk of here is in a person's mind. There are people that see other cacher's stats and think to themselves, i'm gonna beat that other cacher. I've heard too many people state/brag that they're about to catch up with or pass another cacher. I have no doubt that there are people striving to be top dog on the geocaching stat sites. There's something about find count that drives people, and some of those people do silly, sometimes unethical, things to get that find count.

Whether we call it competition or not, the fact that people do these silly things sometimes causes problems for others. In your example above,,, I agree that running down a busy sidewalk and yelling that you won, isn't a competition. Still, doing so in a haphazard manner can cause problems for others using the sidewalk. ;)

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On 8/12/2017 at 5:21 PM, TahoeJoe said:

I don't see many new hiking caches in my area anymore and I live in an area know for it's trails and outdoor activities. I took a break from geocaching for a number of years and when I returned I was surprised at the direction the game took. At first looking at the map of all the caches I thought I had enough caches to keep me busy for months but soon realized the majority were park and grab and poor excuses for what I thought a geocache should represent. 2 1/2 years ago I placed a new hiking cache out there that involved a moderate hike to an interesting local location stocked with goodies for the kids and I thought it would get plenty of visits. It was two months till the first visit and one visit after that. The game is what it is but I'm amused how geocaching is marketed as a treasure hunt when the majority of caches I see are leaky pill bottle with camo tape placed along side the road with little or no thought involved with the creation or placement of the cache. By no stretch of the imagination do I see this as modern day treasure hunting. When I think of geocaching treasure hunting, I think of the treasure as being the journey to the cache as well as where the cache is located and my overall experience from the cache. I'm one who likes a logbook in the cache that I read about others experiences and that I can record my own thoughts. I'm probably a relic from the early days but I don't see playing for the sake of numbers of finds as geocaching. 

 

On 8/12/2017 at 6:04 PM, cerberus1 said:

:)

We used to like to read those ... a lotta poems too,  and view the drawings that often accompanied that lengthy log. 

 - Those  people,  many who rarely or never logged online really made us look forward to maintenance.

We know now our log books will last a long time, unless damaged from neglect, as these days there's either a name/date on a single line, stamp, or sticker.

 - And it's rare to see any kind of wordy log on the online as well.    We're often told that change is supposed to be good...

 

I would actually really like to see more caches with lengthy log books. I'm extremely new to geocaching and all of the caches in my area have small logs in them (or just a piece of paper for the micros) that aren't really viable for writing little notes on. I've stopped by a few on my trips back and forth that were easy park/grabs just to get a good idea of what to expect and learn the game, but what I really have loved are the ones that take me on a hike through some beautiful forest or to an interesting historical area that I wouldn't have gone to otherwise (with a nice view is a bonus!). I made a day of it with my dad who was visiting and even he had a blast going through the areas, reading the history, and finding the caches to see who had last visited them. It would have been even more fun to see something extra creative inside of them which would have kept us in the area a little longer before hiking out. I should go back in my logs and write down more thoughts online for the particularly lengthy visits in retrospect, since I tend to log them right there on my phone so I don't forget.

Some of the park and grabs are pretty cleverly hidden, though, which I find impressive enough. If they take me to a nice park or area I'd like to visit again, or are cleverly hidden where I have to actually look a little and am impressed by after I don't mind that at all. I guess the experience of seeing beautiful places in an area I've lived my entire life for the first time is what feels nice to me, on top of the "treasure" hunt.

4 hours ago, arisoft said:

The armchair geocacher may have been mistaken for the nature of the hobby and he may imagine that other players compete with him. He also may imagine that others are envious of his fake accomplishments. Or may be he is a passionate collector who can not resist the attraction of the points.:)

With the rise of video games, many people are into things for the points and achievements collections solely. I wouldn't say that's negative unless they cheat of course, because then you can't even be proud of your own achievement. As for competition, I think some people like to see the high numbers and be seen on leader boards, even if there is no specific competition going on with anyone else. I don't see that as a problem at all, as long as they aren't bothering anyone else with that goal.

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5 minutes ago, mimaef said:

 

 

I would actually really like to see more caches with lengthy log books. I'm extremely new to geocaching and all of the caches in my area have small logs in them (or just a piece of paper for the micros) that aren't really viable for writing little notes on. I've stopped by a few on my trips back and forth that were easy park/grabs just to get a good idea of what to expect and learn the game, but what I really have loved are the ones that take me on a hike through some beautiful forest or to an interesting historical area that I wouldn't have gone to otherwise (with a nice view is a bonus!). I made a day of it with my dad who was visiting and even he had a blast going through the areas, reading the history, and finding the caches to see who had last visited them. It would have been even more fun to see something extra creative inside of them which would have kept us in the area a little longer before hiking out. I should go back in my logs and write down more thoughts online for the particularly lengthy visits in retrospect, since I tend to log them right there on my phone so I don't forget.

Some of the park and grabs are pretty cleverly hidden, though, which I find impressive enough. If they take me to a nice park or area I'd like to visit again, or are cleverly hidden where I have to actually look a little and am impressed by after I don't mind that at all. I guess the experience of seeing beautiful places in an area I've lived my entire life for the first time is what feels nice to me, on top of the "treasure" hunt.

With the rise of video games, many people are into things for the points and achievements collections solely. I wouldn't say that's negative unless they cheat of course, because then you can't even be proud of your own achievement. As for competition, I think some people like to see the high numbers and be seen on leader boards, even if there is no specific competition going on with anyone else. I don't see that as a problem at all, as long as they aren't bothering anyone else with that goal.

I think your right that video games have influenced the need for points and achievements and it's great hear about new players enjoying reading the logs.

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On 8/13/2017 at 1:21 AM, on4bam said:

I don't see it as a competition. We went on bike rides and went for walks/hike before geocaching and still do the same except that now where we're going is less random because we let "good" caches lead us.

Interestingly, people who see it as a competition would say you just don't care about the competition. People who don't see it as a competition are (typically) fine with living side by side with those who do if they keep the competition amongst themselves. :P

 

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There are two classes of competitive games. In one class, like football or bridge, part of the game is actively preventing someone else from achieving their goals. In the other class, like golf and geocaching, you do your best, and you win when your best is better than your competitor's best. The thing about that second class is that there's no particular reason to identify a competitor, thus playing the game but eliminating the competition

Yeah. The latter may or may not be seen (by the player) as a competition; depends if they get competitive - with themselves or someone else. Sort of an opt-in competition and "losing" only exists in the eye of the "winner". But competition isn't required in participation. The former is unavoidably competitive as the intent of the setup (objectively) is always to not be a/the loser (meaning the intent of making someone else that).

 

On 8/14/2017 at 5:52 AM, narcissa said:

That's the point. How can geocaching be competitive without others consenting to be part of the competition?

I can run down a busy sidewalk and yell at everyone that I've won, but that doesn't mean much if nobody else knew it was a race.

I'm going to remember this analogy. Excellent.

 

11 hours ago, mimaef said:

With the rise of video games, many people are into things for the points and achievements collections solely. I wouldn't say that's negative unless they cheat of course, because then you can't even be proud of your own achievement. As for competition, I think some people like to see the high numbers and be seen on leader boards, even if there is no specific competition going on with anyone else. I don't see that as a problem at all, as long as they aren't bothering anyone else with that goal.

Yes, stats, achievements, badges, collecting digital swag, all are elements of a modern game/app centric culture that's growing up. "Everyone gets a trophy" would be prescriptive mentality that leads to this. But that mentality itself doesn't imply competition - but it does allow for it.

To expand the above analogy, that would be like someone at the corner giving the runner a ribbon, then offering the a ribbon to everyone else for reaching the corner. Some walkers may not be in it for the ribbon and may trash it later. Some may decline (or wish they could) the ribbon. Some may see the ribbon and divert to a different sidewalk. The only 'competitor' is the one who feels like bragging about getting their ribbon first (hopefully not by stepping on others' toes who may not even be competing). The best part is, to the non-competitors, if that person wants to cheer and wave their banner around jeering at all the walkers (non-competitors), that's just fine and dandy. It'd only be relevant to them if they were also competing (and lost). Otherwise it's just noise to ignore. 

Don't let the competitors get you down. If you get the ribbon and that was your goal, great. If you get the ribbon by besting your own time, great. If you get the ribbon by being first (of everyone, whether or not competing), great. If you don't want the ribbon for whatever reason, great. If you want to display your ribbon collection or keep it organized and stashed in your basement, great.  That's the flexibility we have in geocaching.  The community is only 'hurt', in a sense, by those who go out of their way to hurt the experience for others at their expense, for their own gain.  And that loss isn't hurtful because of "losing" against someone else; it's just about having a fun experience while not competing.

Edited by thebruce0
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Logging a cache from your couch isn't a wholely innocuous action. Not as much as being at the base of the tree your friend climbed to sign you both in, and logging it found. Or logging your after-midnight find on the prior date.
In the latter cases, your Find log correctly implies the cache is findable. In the former your Find log may well imply an incorrect status for the listing if it's not actually there or in bad shape (which you didn't confirm), deceiving both the CO and followup finders. -- Even though the latter case is technically allowable by the guidelines.

So, "people can play any way they want" is fine when how they play does not have an effect on other players. It's not a blanket excuse for a player to just do anything they want. The guidelines are there to help direct the activity towards actions that are beneficial for the most people, and if it seems their flexibility is being taken advantage of, they might get stricter, and when that happens it's typically at the expense of the innocent. Ethics are more like the personal decisions people make which aren't explicitly outlined in the guidelines, which I'd say are primarily about making the experience better for others.  Do you replace a full or wet log or not (and make it clear in the logs)? I would say that's more akin to an ethic.

It gets more difficult the more a decision is based on what "might" happen.  A lot of time my ethical decisions are based on past experience and what has happened which informs how likely I think something might happen in the future (like someone being upset, or thankful, or infer the wrong thing from a log). It's harder to defend ethical decisions based on what you think may happen based on your own feelings and opinion about the subject. Those are the ones that get lengthy forums debates. :)

Arguably, if you choose to do something that someone else doesn't like, but you can provide a good reason you truly believe is for the better of the community, I'd say that's a positive ethic (we can't and shouldn't cater to every hurt feeling).  Ethics are just a tough nut. One person's ethic is another person's cheat in these forums :P

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1 hour ago, SeattleWayne said:

According to this website, ( http://www.zinnware.com/HighAdv/Geocaching/most_caches_found.php) has the most finds with 147,128. He really has 173,233. So he's the true winner. :P

I'm very familiar with several on that list. And I can tell you which ones actually find caches --- and which ones never ever DNF a cache... Should change their name to "Pockets full of Film Cans" 

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2 hours ago, mvhayes1982 said:
4 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

According to this website, ( http://www.zinnware.com/HighAdv/Geocaching/most_caches_found.php) has the most finds with 147,128. He really has 173,233. So he's the true winner. :P

I'm very familiar with several on that list. And I can tell you which ones actually find caches --- and which ones never ever DNF a cache... Should change their name to "Pockets full of Film Cans" 

I know Bobcam was near the top of the list (according to the site above, #3) and his find count rate *was* very high.  If I'm reading his profile correctly he hasn't found a cache since 2015.  There was a FB group that I briefly joined awhile back that I assumed was about advocating integrity and fair play but it seemed to be more about calling out some cachers near the top of that list that had armchair logged a lot of caches (over 8000) on a couple of PTs in France as part of a "team".  If one believes some of the claims that were made, a couple of them didn't even go to France but "the team" did so they logged over 8000 caches as found.

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If I understand this correctly, people will log caches that they have NEVER been to because they want to be competitive and have more finds that others?!  Those folks have completely LOST the purpose of Geocaching, which is too bad. But it doesn't change MY purpose of Geocaching. I still have Joy with each find!

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 3:24 PM, NYPaddleCacher said:

...If one believes some of the claims that were made, a couple of them didn't even go to France but "the team" did so they logged over 8000 caches as found.

First or second to find, we've seen a few hides placed with "team names" in the middle of the log somewhere, so I'd kinda believe it.

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On 12-8-2017 at 3:31 AM, Inmountains said:

.......

 The whole idea was to enjoy the HUNT and the FIND!

Last weekend we found 2 reverse Wherigo caches (on two different dates in two different cities), among some other geocaches. We've found several of these reverse Wherigo caches in different countries last couple of years.

For those who don't know what they are a short description: In the Wherigo you are the owner of a Reverse-Cache-Box. It will not give you coordinates but rather indicate the distance to the final/geocache. Your task is to find the geocache using the box as little as possible for checking the distance. In practice this means you go somewhere near the given the given coordinates and ask the "box" at what distance you are from the cache. You move around and try again until you are at the coordinates or after three attempts you could calculate the final by finding the intersection of the three circles.

Personally I like the trial and error methode, we enjoy the hunt to get closer and finding our way around an unknown area. And it when it takes too long or when there are some difficulties we use the calculation method. This weekend it took us respectivily 5 and 11 attempt to find the cache.

Back home we logged the caches online and then suddenly received a message which stated (translated): Hi, If you ever want to do another reverse Wherigo there is a simple solution. You can simply solve them at home: *** link to website with solver***
 

I was very surprised for several reasons: This cacher has not found any of the reverse Wherigo's I've found. He is not the CO of a reverse Wherigo. I don't know this cacher, never met him.

Why would any cacher send a message like that? I just replied that using that website is just like walking directly to the final coordinates of a multicache and that geocaching is about the adventure, not just the (little) box. 

 

 

Edited by irisisleuk
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4 minutes ago, irisisleuk said:

I was very surprised for several reasons: This cacher has not found any of the reverse Wherigo's I've found. He is not the CO of a reverse Wherigo. 

 

Probably the one sending the e-mail has the Wherigo on his/her watchlist and got a notification after your log was posted.

It sure beats the purpose of a Wherigo (or any other cache) which is having fun playing :rolleyes:

 

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2 minutes ago, MartyBartfast said:

Maybe (s)he is the owner of the website they sent the link for, and they have a number of Wherigo caches on their watch list so they can target people like you to try and attract them to their own site (for whatever reason).

 

Yeah, I kinda agree.    There's one here in the forums too.  Helpful, then you find they're helpful because they sell something related...

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20 minutes ago, MartyBartfast said:

Maybe (s)he is the owner of the website they sent the link for, and they have a number of Wherigo caches on their watch list so they can target people like you to try and attract them to their own site (for whatever reason).

 

No, just checked: the website is from someone in Germany, the cacher who messaged me is from the Netherlands.

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1 hour ago, irisisleuk said:

Back home we logged the caches online and then suddenly received a message which stated (translated): Hi, If you ever want to do another reverse Wherigo there is a simple solution. You can simply solve them at home: *** link to website with solver***
 

I was very surprised for several reasons: This cacher has not found any of the reverse Wherigo's I've found. He is not the CO of a reverse Wherigo. I don't know this cacher, never met him.

Why would any cacher send a message like that? I just replied that using that website is just like walking directly to the final coordinates of a multicache and that geocaching is about the adventure, not just the (little) box. 

 

This is called spoiling. There is also some spoiling services which share final coordinates to mystery caches. Couple of times I have found that someone has spoiled mystery by building a web site which offers the information or tools needed to solve the mystery.

The reason to spoil others experience with such determination is that a person has imagined the cache owners and cache seekers to be enemies alike, as if criminals and law enforcement were. The idea of action is similar as drug dealing on darknet. It may seem even exciting.

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5 minutes ago, arisoft said:
2 hours ago, irisisleuk said:

Back home we logged the caches online and then suddenly received a message which stated (translated): Hi, If you ever want to do another reverse Wherigo there is a simple solution. You can simply solve them at home: *** link to website with solver***
 

I was very surprised for several reasons: This cacher has not found any of the reverse Wherigo's I've found. He is not the CO of a reverse Wherigo. I don't know this cacher, never met him.

Why would any cacher send a message like that? I just replied that using that website is just like walking directly to the final coordinates of a multicache and that geocaching is about the adventure, not just the (little) box. 

 

This is called spoiling. There is also some spoiling services which share final coordinates to mystery caches. Couple of times I have found that someone has spoiled mystery by building a web site which offers the information or tools needed to solve the mystery.

The reason to spoil others experience with such determination is that a person has imagined the cache owners and cache seekers to be enemies alike, as if criminals and law enforcement were. The idea of action is similar as drug dealing on darknet. It may seem even exciting.

I started working on a reverse Wherigo awhile back.   I noticed that the FTF on it posted a couple of photos around GZ...which were geotagged with the coordinates of the final location.  That may have been a spoiler but I doubt that it was intentional.

I've seen several levels of spoiling mystery caches.  Sites or downloadable spreadsheets which just list the final coordinates are the worst but there are other methods that essentially defeat the purpose of creating a puzzle cache.   The way I see it, a cache owner creates a puzzle cache because they want finders to solve a puzzle to obtain the coordinates for the final.  If the cache has a high D rating, to me, it means that the CO expects that obtaining the coordinates should be difficult.  If you're having difficulty solving the puzzle, asking the CO for help should be the first step one should take.   If the puzzle is difficult, it should be up to the CO to decide how much information they want to share to make it "easier".  When someone asks another geocacher that has already solved the puzzle for the solution or even some sort of hint they're essentially circumventing the intent of the CO because the CO has no control over how much information is shared.   

There's a fairly buy FB group about Geocaching Puzzle help that I read and I suspect that most people asking for help have never asked the CO first.   I also see a lot of references to sites like you describe which provide tools for solving puzzles.   In some cases, they're sites where one can just copy-n-paste text from the description or a link to an image and it will spit out the solutions.   To me, that isn't solving the puzzle and is really not much different than copying down the solution from one of those sites with spoiler coordinates or getting the final coordinates from another geocacher that has previously solved it.

One thing that I have done when I've had difficulty with a puzzle is to try and find someone else that is working on it (but hasn't solved it) to collaborate with on solving the puzzle.  

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7 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

I also see a lot of references to sites like you describe which provide tools for solving puzzles.   In some cases, they're sites where one can just copy-n-paste text from the description or a link to an image and it will spit out the solutions.   To me, that isn't solving the puzzle and is really not much different than copying down the solution from one of those sites with spoiler coordinates or getting the final coordinates from another geocacher that has previously solved it.

This is where the line gets hazy.  Like, when does solving a ROT13 properly, the "intended" way occur?  When you plop it into a converter? When you look at a chart and find the opposite letter yourself?  When you take each letter and count on your fingers until you hit 13 and write the answer?  What about someone who's memorized the pattern? That must be rough because the CO "intended" someone to figure it out, not read it second nature, so they have to withhold their skill and downgrade to a solving method...  What about projections? Man, we'd better get back to protractors and rulers on a paper map instead of letting a calculator or scripted algorithm do the math for us. :ph34r:  (yeah I'm bein facetious ;P)

All that to say -- I'm certainly not advocating that everything have auto-solvers, and not advocating that everyone must solve puzzles as the CO intended. I'm definitely not advocating for the sharing of solutions. But I understand how it's a big grey area and most people hover around "tools are ok to use" if they can automate the solve, especially if it's tedious. In the grand scheme, very few would advocate intentionally publicizing and spoiler puzzles (quite unfortunate those who do).  But I also think that most people aren't dead set on principle against asking for help, or finding a puzzle cache if they were given final coordinates.

My personal ethic is that I understand the desire of a CO to have people, in essence, learn something (even if it's merely discovering the existence of a new cipher or puzzle type) - it's that aspect of discovery that carries over from finding physical containers to "finding" the solution.

If I get the final to a puzzle I haven't solved, I won't stop myself from finding the cache (necessarily), but I will keep on record that I have an unsolved puzzle; I have a bookmark list for found/unsolved caches.

Additionally, if someone asks me for help on a puzzle I have solved, I'll nudge them through it sort of like the Hint (should, imo). It's so much more rewarding when you're able to come to that final solution 'aha' moment yourself.

So I do not advocate, and detest, sites that simply publish solutions without the owner's consent.

But that is a far cry from making use of tools that aid in what could otherwise be repetitive and/or mundane solving processes.  Rather, I'd recommend to puzzle creators to find a way to make a puzzle that isn't as easy as dropping text into a converter, IF they want the person to have a bit more difficulty.

And we certainly can't force people to solve our puzzles the way we intend them to solve them. Which is also why Groundspeak can only enforce valid Finds on whether the name is in the logbook, not whether the person "solved" the puzzle in som specific manner.

In a way it's like trying to thwart a hacker. They'll always try to find the quickest and easiest way in, but as a system operator you may be trying to stay one step ahead of them.  Instead of complaining that the hacker found a way in you didn't expect (like a code template or a decryptor website), you've got to render those methods insufficient and make them work harder for the hack. :) Make unique puzzles, make thinkers (not leapers, hate leapers), combine puzzle types in creative ways.

 

Puzzle design ain't easy when there's no enforceable ethic in the solving methodology!

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6 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

All that to say -- I'm certainly not advocating that everything have auto-solvers, and not advocating that everyone must solve puzzles as the CO intended. I'm definitely not advocating for the sharing of solutions. But I understand how it's a big grey area and most people hover around "tools are ok to use" if they can automate the solve, especially if it's tedious. In the grand scheme, very few would advocate intentionally publicizing and spoiler puzzles (quite unfortunate those who do).  But I also think that most people aren't dead set on principle against asking for help, or finding a puzzle cache if they were given final coordinates.

I have a very fun case how to see this so different ways.When I saw the big era of jigsaw puzzles coming this summer, I made a special tool which can solve them pretty fast.

From my view, I used time to solve a technical problem and with this tool I have got some FTFs. :D

One cache owner was very frightened when she saw how fast I solved her large size puzzles. Her fear became easier as he learned that this is not a public tool. :o

Some geocachers have been sorry that somebody else has better tools than they have themselves and asked cache owners not to make more jigsaw puzzles. :mad:

One FTF-hunter felt like he was cheated and he signed a second FTF when he lost the first FTF in a couple of minutes. :blink:

Some cache owners have understood that making a huge jigsaw puzzle may give me many hours of advantage and they have decided to publish rational size ones. B)

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6 hours ago, arisoft said:

Some geocachers have been sorry that somebody else has better tools than they have themselves and asked cache owners not to make more jigsaw puzzles. :mad:

One FTF-hunter felt like he was cheated and he signed a second FTF when he lost the first FTF in a couple of minutes. :blink:

Some cache owners have understood that making a huge jigsaw puzzle may give me many hours of advantage and they have decided to publish rational size ones. B)

If I put out a puzzle knowing that there's a tool that can make solving it as easy a cut and paste, then I'll doing that knowing that it could be D4 for some people, and D1 for others. If I put it out not realizing there's a tool that would make my D4 puzzle a D1, then find out people use it regularly, I really have no one to blame but me. I can't force other people to solve the "hard" way.  It's really on me to learn from what's out there and design a puzzle that isn't so easy to 'script'.  My puzzle caches are for the most part designed that way. Requiring research, or less rote solution processes (easily scriptable patterns that lead to a solution, like rot/vigenere/cryptograms/etc).

Plus, for myself, if I find a puzzle and realize that how it's solved but don't want to do it manually, I'll write up a script to do it automatically. I don't think that's 'cheating' in any way, rather that's fulfilling the difficulty as far as I'm concerned. It's just the D is not longer a tedious process, but a programming one. :)  However, if I feel that the puzzle is still fairly unique, I won't publicize the tool for others to use - that's very specific to that puzzle. But if it's a fairly common puzzle type, then I might make it available to the public if there isn't a tool already out there (and that's rare).

IMO, it's good to make use of a relatively common cipher - but don't rely on that alone to make a high difficulty! Obfuscate it. Mix it up with others. Make the difficulty about discovering which style is or are used, not just in the act of decoding.

Sudokus for instance are so common, very trendy. Don't just give a sudoku; I (personally) don't really have a desire to solve them to get coordinates (I used to love them, but they are quite repetitive and you need to be in a puzzly mood to sit down and work on them :P), so I'll use a tool.  Rather, throw in a trick, throw in a twist to the puzzle that thwarts standard solvers. Or mask the puzzle as something else so you have to realize that the puzzle is a sudoku.

 

As an older example of my own, there's GC22YDQ - and it has a number of red herrings; from easy to pretty technical or obscure, just in case.  But once you discover the method, I actually don't expect you to do it without any tool :)  (a cache which is also by the way a good example of only a handful of solvers but loads of group cachers or people who were given coordinates)

Edited by thebruce0
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13 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

This is where the line gets hazy.  Like, when does solving a ROT13 properly, the "intended" way occur?  When you plop it into a converter? When you look at a chart and find the opposite letter yourself?  When you take each letter and count on your fingers until you hit 13 and write the answer?  What about someone who's memorized the pattern? That must be rough because the CO "intended" someone to figure it out, not read it second nature, so they have to withhold their skill and downgrade to a solving method...  What about projections? Man, we'd better get back to protractors and rulers on a paper map instead of letting a calculator or scripted algorithm do the math for us. :ph34r:  (yeah I'm bein facetious ;P)

I agree, this can get hazy.   To me, solving a puzzle consists of two logical stages - figuring out what is needed to solve the puzzle, and solving it.   (A single puzzle may have multiple parts which each have these "stages".

So, for example, if it is a cipher, the first "stage" is I need to figure out what type of cipher, and often a keyword.   Once I have that, I could decrypt using pen and paper, or in many cases, I can use a tool.    I'll generally use a tool.   The fun for me is figuring out the cipher type and keyword, not cracking it with pen and paper.  I will have no idea if the CO intends for me to solve the cipher with pen and paper or not.    As a puzzle cache owner myself, I expect solvers to use tools.   

I would say cipher solving tools are generally accepted/expected to be used.   Maybe a better example of a "spoiler tool" is with those "Magic Eye" pictures.   Those are clearly intended to be solved by looking at them.    But there are tools which can do that.   Still, in general I don't see using tools to solve a puzzle as being unethical.   

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29 minutes ago, redsox_mark said:

Maybe a better example of a "spoiler tool" is with those "Magic Eye" pictures.   Those are clearly intended to be solved by looking at them.    But there are tools which can do that.   Still, in general I don't see using tools to solve a puzzle as being unethical.   

Right, and in that case there are people who can't seem to be able to get it to work, so, then what?  Is it like 'special knowledge/tool required'? :)  Or will they resort to asking someone for help (or the answer)?   Just like the sudokus (and other 'variety puzzle' types)... or jigsaw puzzles... and more. When challenge caches started, part of the difficulty was determining if you qualified - having to scour your own stats to rack up the qualifications. ..until people started scripting the checkers (and before PGC exploded)

It's bound to happen, and that's the nature of the game. When we as puzzle creators put out puzzles, we can't blame others for how they solve, or force them to solve a certain way. Hopefully our design mentality is to provide fun or learning - however it's gained.  Puzzle design itself is a huge subject.

A great concept released by an acquaintance of mine recently was the Maze of Games - an entire book, with a story, where each page is a unique puzzle, and there are meta puzzles throughout the book. It was a kickstarter, but this designer and his crew are UBER puzzle and game creators. He's been in this business for a long time, and has experienced all of this :) and rather than ranting about people who don't do puzzles the way he intends, he either learns the 'tricks', makes the puzzles extremely unique and twisty, or just makes them fun for however people want to solve.

As the designer, we put a puzzle out there, and then we let it go. There are no more rules or ethics. So getting hung up on the "how" that people solve only serves to raise our own angstiness.  And that's carried forward into geocaching when it comes to puzzles, or challenges, or even etiquette on how someone defeats a terrain rating like a climb. We put caches out there, with so many aspects of the 'find' that cannot be enforced. It's fruitless to worry about that. So as owners we have to adjust our mentality about the experience we want to provide with our caches. That's all we can do!

Edited by thebruce0
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