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Fighting Hate through Geocaching


strontium87
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I'm disappointed that Groundspeak has not spoken out about the racist turmoil happening in the US especially around Confederate monuments/statues.

I live in the South (Texas) where you can find several caches encouraging people to visit places that highlight / glorify the Confederacy without any context in the cache descriptions as to why these are ok.

Geocaching is supposed to be family-friendly; a teaching tool; fun. Confederate-centric caches tarnish geocaching and promote racial division. As much as we might like to think that geocaching is "fun for all", it's really not that inclusive or diverse.

This is not a call to archive all Confederate caches per se. This is a request that we speak out to Groundspeak and demand specific guidelines around hate speech, following in the footsteps of other large tech companies in the wake of Charlottesville.

Thank you.

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5 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

I appreciate the fact that Groundspeak doesn't get involved in the silliness, thanks.  :)

If you  read the guidelines, you see that most of the carp you're referring has been covered for some time...

This.

For completeness, here's the relevant portion of the guidelines (section II-1-4):

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Geocaches do not solicit for any purpose.
Cache listings perceived to be posted for religious, political, charitable or social agendas are not permitted. Geocaching is intended to be an enjoyable, family-friendly hobby, not a platform for an agenda.

If you're aware of any cache listings that appear to violate the guideline against agendas, feel free to point them out to a reviewer. Many reviewers are dogs, so they may have missed that a cache listing had an agenda.

Beyond that point, I'm going to stay out of the discussion. I'm a Canadian who's too far removed from the current situation in the US to be able to adequately discuss it.

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29 minutes ago, strontium87 said:

I'm disappointed that Groundspeak has not spoken out about the racist turmoil happening in the US especially around Confederate monuments/statues.

I live in the South (Texas) where you can find several caches encouraging people to visit places that highlight / glorify the Confederacy without any context in the cache descriptions as to why these are ok.

Geocaching is supposed to be family-friendly; a teaching tool; fun. Confederate-centric caches tarnish geocaching and promote racial division. As much as we might like to think that geocaching is "fun for all", it's really not that inclusive or diverse.

This is not a call to archive all Confederate caches per se. This is a request that we speak out to Groundspeak and demand specific guidelines around hate speech, following in the footsteps of other large tech companies in the wake of Charlottesville.

Thank you.

download (1).png

Your race and hate baiting is offensive to me. Please take it to a hobby that actually cares about your totally misguided politics.

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If there are specific caches that you are aware of that you find offensive, you can contact staff through the Help Center, contact form.   https://www.geocaching.com/help/

Use 16. Geocacher Disagreement, that will get a complaint about listing content to the correct staffer, or email an active reviewer in the region.

 

As to, "specific guidelines around hate speech ", that already exists in the listing guidelines and terms of use. 

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1 hour ago, strontium87 said:

I'm disappointed that Groundspeak has not spoken out about the racist turmoil happening in the US especially around Confederate monuments/statues.

Are you kidding me???  The fact that you are serious about this is disappointing.  Not everything, every day, everywhere is about race!!!!!  Go get another hobby [:(]

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56 minutes ago, Manville Possum said:

What next? Removal of American Civil War Monuments and Memorials from Waymarking? I know of a few virtual geocaches that mention US history, should those be removed as well?

The Jackson Grey's Monument

Alt.left would say "yes" emphatically.  Remove anything from history that might be offensive to anyone.  That way they can re-write it all covered in snowflakes.

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Actually, I think quite the opposite. It's not a problem of a cache placement, it's a problem with the place. I give a lot of credit to the Community, that they can figure this stuff out on their own. I don't need to put any context on my Listing pages. 

If you have a problem with these places, talk to your local or state governments that put them there in the first place. Don't come to us preaching that we need to fix your problem. 

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3 hours ago, bflentje said:

Your race and hate baiting is offensive to me. Please take it to a hobby that actually cares about your totally misguided politics.

+1

There are hobbies that actually care about other's total lack of appreciation for the importance of history?  

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I come to these forums to find a place where the greatest angst I might encounter is trying to determine if the "newbie" who has hit the ageless arguments just a BIT too close to home (swag, virtuals, webcams, log length, swag, ammo cans vs. film cans, throwdowns) is actually a long time cacher who has created a sock just to start a brand new thread on a topic that has been address 47 times in the 1048 pages of this particular forum page. 

There is a place and time for debate on the issues presented by the OP (although I think he's totally wrong in what he wants done), but my friendly geocaching forums are NOT the place. I desperately hope that one of our trusty mods (HEY, @Keystone) shows up to close this thread before the angst gets out of control. 

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I find a few of the answers here offensive. :ph34r:

The OP has a valid question but I think it's not "black and white". These statues/sites have an historical value and as long as listings are not promoting what they stand for it should be OK. The moment listings are made up like "this cache is to honor xxx ....." they promote an agenda and should not be published. On the other hand, the fact that these statues exist is in itself strange. Ever see a statue of Hitler in Germany? The very symbols of that era can land you in jail, yet it seems no problem to walk the streets with them  in the US. It's called free speech and should be defended but suppose the flags and symbols were IS/Al Qaeda, would that be tolerated in the name of free speech?

As some one once said: "Everyone has the right to be offended but no one has the right not to be offended".

To the OP: You can always live by your own standards and not go find the caches you think are inappropriate.

 

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A number of posts were hidden from view because they were off topic and/or constituted personal attacks against other participants in the discussion. 

Discussion should focus on the Terms of Use and Listing Guidelines that govern how we play our game, and should stay away from the underlying political and social issues.  One reason I enjoy geocaching so much is because it gives me a break from the issues in the news of the day.  Geocaching is a light, fun activity - not a platform for an agenda.  I am glad that Geocaching HQ has firm guidelines prohibiting agendas of any type from appearing on cache pages.

As pundits are fond of saying, "more speech is good."  Here, however, that speech must meet our posted forum guidelines.

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Glad the personal attacks were reported (the baby seals and so on :rolleyes: )

Just let me quote my bottom line (that also got deleted):

 

Quote

Back on topic: have you even read what I wrote about caches at/near Southern statues/sites? If not, let me repeat, No problem with the sites but a cachelisting glorifying the monument is best left behind.

 

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7 hours ago, on4bam said:

Ever see a statue of Hitler in Germany? The very symbols of that era can land you in jail,

 

Are you sure about that? http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/in-a-german-village-the-bell-still-tolls-for-hitler-1739605

 

American history can be ugly at times, and so can other country's history. Either love it, hate it, embrace it or don't. But history is history. You can tear down all the statues you want. The mere fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people who lived in those days, have memories etc will always remember. 

To call out Groundspeak claiming they're a racist organization because they allow caches to be placed around statues of men who were involved in slavery is a little over the top in my opinion. 

 

HBO played "42" last night on HBO. Rough times back in those days for baseball players of color. Should HBO be banned from playing that movie? We can use those moments as a learning experience, and see how people lived in those days, and how ridiculous it was to discriminate against race, religion or gender and use that as motivation to not continue to act like that. 

 

Not everything is pretty in this world. 

Edited by SeattleWayne
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Under the forum guidelines, side conversations should take place using the forum private messaging features or through the Geocaching.com email or message center features.  A number of posts have been hidden from view because they were a side conversation between two users.  That side conversation is distracting from the larger discussion.  Participants in the side conversation (you know who you are) are advised not to post further in this thread.  Your views have been made clear.  Thanks!

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I have supported removal of certain statues.  And if I came to a cache highlighting a monument that was erected to perpetuate the Lost Cause, rather than a particular historical event, I would comment about it in my log.   Just as I have done at sites commemorating battles with Native Americans and certain historical figures.  But Groundspeak's only obligation is to ensure that a cache listing does not advance any particular narrative.   The debate can occur elsewhere.

History is often what you make of it.  I have a cache at the site where two union members were killed, that led to a general strike.   I was glad when this game took me to the Manzanar internment camp, memorials to the international brigades of the Spanish Civil War, the grave of an IWW union organizer, stops at the Underground Railroad, slave cemeteries, sites commemorating Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers.  When Equal Justice finishes its memorial to the victims of lynching, perhaps someone will put a cache there.  Some people might not like these caches or the location as much as I do, but I am glad that Groundspeak has chosen to include them in the game even if they might be controversial.

The one time I felt there was overt racism on this site - something I would not want my African American grandchild to see -- Groundspeak was quick to respond and after a short discussion they took care of the issue.   So if there is a problem with anything in particular, let them know 

Edited by geodarts
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22 hours ago, strontium87 said:

This is not a call to archive all Confederate caches per se.

Which Confederate caches would be OK? Other than this comment, everything else in your post appears to be echoing the idea that has recently swept the nation which says that anything Confederate is offensive. I think this is the crux of your post's relation to geocaching guidelines: is there a concrete way for GS to decide what's offensive, or should they just listen whenever anyone declares something offensive?

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23 hours ago, geocat_ said:

Alt.left would say "yes" emphatically.  Remove anything from history that might be offensive to anyone.  That way they can re-write it all covered in snowflakes.

Monuments commemorate history; they are not themselves history.

 

I have found caches that brought me to or near Confederate monuments with disingenuous inscriptions. I have also found some caches related to historical sites with descriptions that, if not an agenda per se, clearly indicated the CO was a Lost Causer. I noted my disagreement in my log, but did not regret seeking the cache. Ignorance about the American Civil War is widespread. As a Civil War buff I will continue to find caches related to monuments, even those whose removal I would recommend.

Open hate speech on the cache page is already covered by Guidelines.

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18 hours ago, Joshism said:

Monuments commemorate history; they are not themselves history.

In general, maybe. But at some point, monuments themselves become historically significant. For example, the Statue of Liberty originally commemorated the alliance of the USA and France "in achieving the Independence of the United States of America". But it now has more historical significance than that.

18 hours ago, Joshism said:

Open hate speech on the cache page is already covered by Guidelines.

Yep. So are open agendas on the cache page, which includes both "good" agendas and "bad" agendas.

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My experience with geocaching is that it overwhelmingly white and male. That influences the caches placed, the (obvious) anger about being even possibly challenged on the appropriateness of a cache, and what new people might be drawn to this game.

Most seem to think this post is political or supporting a specific agenda, though not my intention in the least. I can appreciate, however, that many, many, many of you don't want to think about these issues because geocaching is just a fun/game/hobby/good time for you. Cool! It's more than that to me.

Peace and love from the Lone Star State.

Edited by strontium87
typo
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5 minutes ago, strontium87 said:

My experience with geocaching is that it overwhelmingly white and male.

Okay, and what does that mean? Golf is overwhelming white. NBA is overwhelmingly black. Football is overwhelmingly black. Baseball is overwhelmingly latino. What does all that mean? I guess it means what you want it to mean. And I'm sure you have stats to back up your claims just like I have stats to back up my claims.

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1 hour ago, strontium87 said:

My experience with geocaching is that it overwhelmingly white and male. That influences the caches placed, the (obvious) anger about being even possibly challenged on the appropriateness of a cache, and what new people might be drawn to this game.

Most seem to think this post is political or supporting a specific agenda, though not my intention in the least. I can appreciate, however, that many, many, many of you don't want to think about these issues because geocaching is just a fun/game/hobby/good time for you. Cool! It's more than that to me.

Peace and love from the Lone Star State.

The cache placement guidelines prohibit caches that promote an agenda of any sort.

If you feel that someone is using a cache page to promote hatred, please report it to Groundspeak.

If you feel that a monument in your community promotes hatred, ask your local politicians to remove it.

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6 hours ago, strontium87 said:

My experience with geocaching is that it overwhelmingly white and male. That influences the caches placed, the (obvious) anger about being even possibly challenged on the appropriateness of a cache, and what new people might be drawn to this game.

 

As far back as I have been part of this game, there have been periodic discussions about race and caching.   I don't think that there are any simple answers to how race affects this game, but I think there is room for discussion  - perhaps because I once majored in American and ethnic studies and think that the role that race plays in our lives is interesting, even in a game that involves finding containers.

A few years ago someone did a series of caches that highlighted her belief that this game could help preserve history and our collective experience.   I liked her perspective.  We bring our experience into this game.  It is also a game that involves a certain amount of privilege.   There are a lot of dynamics.

On a personal level, I never have ascribed any importance to the fact that I am the only white male in my immediate family and am also the only one that caches.   Maybe I'll start a conversation about it next time we get together. 

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2 hours ago, geodarts said:

  I don't think that there are any simple answers to how race affects this game, but I think there is room for discussion  

Is race becoming an issue, or has it become an issue in the past? What kind of discussion do we need to have as cachers regarding race and geocaching? 

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14 hours ago, strontium87 said:

Nothing to defend. Was an open conversation met with hate instead of discussion.

I didn't notice any hate. Can you give some examples? All I see are people disagreeing with you.

13 hours ago, strontium87 said:

Most seem to think this post is political or supporting a specific agenda, though not my intention in the least. I can appreciate, however, that many, many, many of you don't want to think about these issues because geocaching is just a fun/game/hobby/good time for you. Cool! It's more than that to me.

As it happens, I think about these issues a great deal, and they are very important to me. That's is why I agree with the initial responses that explained how the existing geocaching guidelines already address you concerns.

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19 hours ago, strontium87 said:

Nothing to defend. Was an open conversation met with hate instead of discussion.

 

On 8/21/2017 at 4:38 PM, strontium87 said:

Geocaching is supposed to be family-friendly; a teaching tool; fun. Confederate-centric caches tarnish geocaching and promote racial division. As much as we might like to think that geocaching is "fun for all", it's really not that inclusive or diverse.

I think "open discussion" is an exaggeration. You all but accused Groundspeak of promoting racism unless all caches related to Confederate locations include a condemnation of the CSA for being a bunch of racists. That's not an attitude that promotes a positive discussion.

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3 hours ago, Joshism said:

I think "open discussion" is an exaggeration. You all but accused Groundspeak of promoting racism unless all caches related to Confederate locations include a condemnation of the CSA for being a bunch of racists. That's not an attitude that promotes a positive discussion.

Well, I doubt that some of the responses exactly encouraged open discussion either - and, for the record, I don't read the OP in the same way as you have.

This thread has made me consider that there is probably more of a need to place caches in context. I found some last week in a historic location that made no reference to the history of the site - or the fact that it's English language name is under dispute. A little context on those pages would have really helped in a variety of ways - but I guess that it was much easier to throw the same text on each of the pages of the series without bothering to write anything about the place.

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19 minutes ago, Blue Square Thing said:

This thread has made me consider that there is probably more of a need to place caches in context. I found some last week in a historic location that made no reference to the history of the site - or the fact that it's English language name is under dispute. A little context on those pages would have really helped in a variety of ways - but I guess that it was much easier to throw the same text on each of the pages of the series without bothering to write anything about the place.

Isn't it also possible that the CO didn't see any issue when a series was placed?   

We've done many that only lately  some have created  an issue, when earlier there was none.    :)

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14 hours ago, SeattleWayne said:

Is race becoming an issue, or has it become an issue in the past? What kind of discussion do we need to have as cachers regarding race and geocaching? 

A good question.   This game is not a matter of  race or gender, but it can inform us about both things and the way that we bring our experiences to the game.  From what I can remember,  the subject usually comes up in questions relating to demography.     I think of it in more personal terms, would my son-in-law be comfortable in poking around some of the places I have been or would his experience be different in some of the encounters because of the color of his skin?   I don’t have any answers – and the questions go beyond what this game can control - but as a starting point, in my life, the discussion of privilege and implicit bias is important, whether that be as a cacher or just as a human being.

Race occasionally enters this game more directly.   As I mentioned before, there was one matter that I wrote Groundspeak about because it involved overt racial prejudice.    The representative who handled it agreed with one of my concerns but did not understand another.   I provided information about the history of racial images and the problem was readily resolved.    I have no doubt that Groundspeak will act when such matters are brought to their attention.

The question about caches and confederate statues was interesting to me, but a little hard to discuss outside of a specific example.  I did not read the OP as supporting removal of all such caches, but the dividing line or the specific context was unclear.  There was a reaction to it – mention of snowflakes and the alt left that I might have debated but this was not the time or place.  I have done some confederate caches, beginning with the old “Dead ‘Federate” locationless.   I went back and read the descriptions and have no problem with any of the ones I have done – although I wrote in one of my logs about  the sheer number of  flags and decorations in the area of the cache..  I might have had more to say had I been logging it today.  Although I support removal of certain statutes, I would not archive any of the caches I have done 

Edited by geodarts
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Interesting to consider this article, that I happened to pick up on another forum just now, alongside the idea of adding at least some context to cache pages. This happens to deal with slavery in the United States, but could arguably relate to a range of subjects (not just history related fwiw):

Quote

Still, I'd often meet visitors who had earnest but deep misunderstandings about the nature of American slavery. These folks were usually, but not always, a little older, and almost invariably white. I was often asked if the slaves there got paid, or (less often) whether they had signed up to work there. You could tell from the questions — and, not less importantly, from the body language — that the people asking were genuinely ignorant of this part of the country's history.

From this opinion piece: https://www.vox.com/2015/6/29/8847385/what-i-learned-from-leading-tours-about-slavery-at-a-plantation

The source is Vox so it's going to be selective in terms of it's approach, but I found the piece, and particularly the section I quoted, interesting and it made me reconsider this thread.

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Nice article and it follows along the same tracks that we experienced when visiting the US driving from Dallas to Chicago via Houston, New Orleans and along the Natchez  Trace Highway through KY, IN and WI.

We  visited plantations and southern mansions but read up on the history before our trip. It's enlightening after reading about it to also visit the locations.

The same goes for South Africa where the guide at Robben Island (the prison where Nelson Mandela spend 28 years of his life) was a former inmate giving first hand info on the times of apartheid.

Since there are no more first hand witnesses of the US civil war it's important to keep educating people visiting the sites, placing a cache where history took place I would expect to find information about it on the cache's page.

With the 100th anniversary of WW I there's again more interest in the area around Ypres here in Belgium and looking at caches near the battlesites and monuments there's a lot of info to be found on cache pages.

 

Side note for B S T ... It seems children/students in the UK are being taught more about WW I than here in Belgium. More UK schoolskids are seen on the many cemeteries than from Belgian schools.

 

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On 8/21/2017 at 4:30 PM, geocat_ said:

Alt.left would say "yes" emphatically.  Remove anything from history that might be offensive to anyone.  That way they can re-write it all covered in snowflakes.

A Conservative snowflake complained and caused my new virtual to be disabled until I deleted the cache description. It goes both ways. Snowflakes on both sides want to rewrite whatever history doesn't support their views.

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1 hour ago, simpjkee said:

A Conservative snowflake complained and caused my new virtual to be disabled until I deleted the cache description. It goes both ways. Snowflakes on both sides want to rewrite whatever history doesn't support their views.

Pot meet Kettle type of argument to me.  Someone might think they are providing "history" , but really it's just another point of view.  Just looking at your new Virt (Congratulations BTW....very nice spot), it's easy to imagine what the Description looked like previously, judging by the links that remain on the page.   It would be very easy to avoid such an Agenda by merely stating facts, and not some websites "interpretation" of the facts, or what some like to call "history".   I do agree with your statement regarding "it goes both ways" though.  It's easy to get sucked into the narrative that someone publishes online.  Best to keep it off the Listing page in my opinion.  Providing facts on the Listing page, I have no issue with.  Let people come to their own conclusions, and respect the fact that their world view might be different than yours.

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6 hours ago, simpjkee said:

A Conservative snowflake complained and caused my new virtual to be disabled until I deleted the cache description. It goes both ways. Snowflakes on both sides want to rewrite whatever history doesn't support their views.

Don't want to sound too critical but i would rather see information stated on the cache page. I know you said that you deleted the description to get the cache enabled but i still think it needs to have something besides links. Doesn't have to be much, maybe a bit about him, the heinous tragedy that occurred, and/or his memorial. In this case, keep to the facts. I don't care to click on links, especially when i'm out in the field.

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10 hours ago, on4bam said:

Side note for B S T ... It seems children/students in the UK are being taught more about WW I than here in Belgium. More UK schoolskids are seen on the many cemeteries than from Belgian schools.

That's interesting to know. I used to teach some history 20 odd years ago and WWI was always part of those courses and we always ran trips to somewhere or other - sometimes France, sometimes Belgium. I saw that you noted there is a new virtual at the Menim Gate - which is a grand place for one. I've not been there in years but that will encourage me to go back next time I'm over the Channel. The town I grew up in is actually twinned with Ypres oddly enough.

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7 hours ago, simpjkee said:

A Conservative snowflake complained and caused my new virtual to be disabled until I deleted the cache description. It goes both ways. Snowflakes on both sides want to rewrite whatever history doesn't support their views.

I'm surprised to be honest - I read the cache page just after it came out so I can recall the sort of information that was on there. Given that there seems to be a general acceptance of things like war memorials from recent wars as valid caching sites I'm rather surprised that they insisted you remove the information.

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2 hours ago, Blue Square Thing said:

 I saw that you noted there is a new virtual at the Menim Gate - which is a grand place for one. I've not been there in years but that will encourage me to go back next time I'm over the Channel. The town I grew up in is actually twinned with Ypres oddly enough.

Maybe this will be of interest then.

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Guys, if I may add something, this is a forum to discuss general geocaching topics. I appreciate that Americans invented geocaching and I thank you for it. However, I find that your US home politics discussed here, while quite interesting from the historical and societal perspective, is extremely inconsequential for geocaching as a game. I have found over 1700 caches, none of them in either of the American continents, so I am not sure what this subject is doing here...

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1 hour ago, pantadeusz said:

Guys, if I may add something, this is a forum to discuss general geocaching topics. I appreciate that Americans invented geocaching and I thank you for it. However, I find that your US home politics discussed here, while quite interesting from the historical and societal perspective, is extremely inconsequential for geocaching as a game. I have found over 1700 caches, none of them in either of the American continents, so I am not sure what this subject is doing here...

I believe it was established early on (the first couple of responses) that as far as this geocaching hobby is concerned, there is no issue. 

 - Maybe it's still here so some get it out of their system, but you don't have to read it  ...  :)

 -

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