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Does ANYONE read the Cache Description anymore??


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Ok. I’m actually asking this out of humor not complaint.

first off, disclaimer: I myself am 47. But I’ve been caching less than a year. I’m comfortable with technology but I wasn’t raised with it.

my understanding is that in “the good old days” a cacher would print out a cache description, hand-decrypt the clue and type the coordinates into the trailer-mounted mainframe they towed behind their 4x4.

Before Blue Switch Day it seems descriptions would be vital to finding caches since coordinates alone might not be precise enough.

Just today a curmudgeonly group of cachers (whom we actually highly respect) attempted one of our new caches. The container has a built-in mechanism to expose the log-containing bison tube.

The very first line of the description says: “NO TOOLS required!”

And yet these venerable veterans posted logs wherein they confessed that they were about to retrieve their tools and disassemble the cache container before suddenly realizing the trick.

So have even veteran cachers given up on reading descriptions? Does the average cacher now just navigate to the posted coordinates and notice nothing else?

On the serious side: if this is the case, what can COs do to hopefully alert cachers to unique characteristics of their caches? (Yes we are aware of, and do use the “field puzzle” attribute when applicable) Or is the game destined to move toward the most generic “least common denominator” sorts of caches?

 

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I sometimes do and sometimes don't.  It just depends on the situation.  If it is one I am planning on going for in advance I will read it.  If I am driving during work and decide to grab one really quick I might just look at the D/T level and then check to see if it has any DNF and stop for it.  I would read it before getting out any TOTT though.

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Imagine that they said that to poke fun at themselves, tools, and reading descriptions and, in fact, knew full well that a tool wouldn't help.

I read descriptions sometimes, I don't read them sometimes. I remember and understand why I read sometimes, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes, I just make a mistake. What's your point?

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8 hours ago, dprovan said:

I read descriptions sometimes, I don't read them sometimes. I remember and understand why I read sometimes, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes, I just make a mistake.

Ditto on that.

On most lower rated caches the description is more like a technicality and doesn't really add much. The hint holds more value. Unfortunately habit starts to creep in sometimes and I may not read the description, missing out on either some really interesting stuff, or some essential instruction. Other times something piques my interest and I read it out of curiosity before searching; but mainly the higher rated d or t caches I'll certainly be reading first.  It's hit and miss here.

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7 hours ago, humboldt flier said:

Me thinks Doc was just having some fun.

First line of the OP! We took those logs in humor.

 

9 hours ago, humboldt flier said:

Ahhhhhhhh, 

      Hey Doc ... Jasper and I were tongue in cheek "fun-in-wit-cha". 

What makes you think I was referring to you two? Lol.

I thought your log comments was a bit too precise to take at face value. 

But it did raise the question in our mind because we could see it happening.

The general subject has come up before because we’ve seen logs in caches saying “couldn’t climb fence to get cache” when the very first line of the cache description was “You don’t need to climb the fence...”

8 hours ago, dprovan said:

 

I read descriptions sometimes, I don't read them sometimes. I remember and understand why I read sometimes, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes, I just make a mistake. What's your point?

So it is something we think about and wonder what else (besides eye-grabbing first lines) other cachers have done in such situations. Or if others have experiences (humorous or otherwise) where missing the description made all the difference?

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17 minutes ago, Doc_musketeers said:

The general subject has come up before because we’ve seen logs in caches saying “couldn’t climb fence to get cache” when the very first line of the cache description was “You don’t need to climb the fence...”

The first time I ever went geocaching in Rome I was looking for a cache large enough for a few trackables I brought with me.  There was one about a 3/4 of a mile away from where I was attending a conference so I went off during the long lunch break to go find it.  I was dressed "business casual" and had my laptop backpack with me.  I had read the cache listing which said, "please don't access the cache by climbing the fence.  Previous finders have started to knock in down."  So, I started for the cache at the bottom of a very steep hill, covered in brush and very slippery leaves.  I finally made it to GZ, dropped in the TBs and traded some swag for a really cool Italian park service lanyard.  The fence I wasn't supposed to climb over was about 10' away and apparently about the time I had found the cache a guy walking his dog had stopped to rest on a bench nearby.  He must have heard/seen me because he called out, in Italian, to me.  When I said that I didn't speak Italian he said, "there is a spot over here where the fence is knocked down where you can climb over".   At that point I figured I might as well and it must have looked rather strange to see a well dressed American coming out of the bushes with leaves in his hair and carrying a backpack.  He didn't say much more though and went on his way and I soon followed down the paved trail.

 

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Lol. We’ve been given “helpful information” by muggles who assumed we were lost. We’ve had to give up searches because some stand there making sure we “find our way” back to the main path or whatever.

we have some local sand dune hides with instructions in the description to approach from a particular direction. Fail to notice those instructions and you may be in for some tumultuous terrain or dense, tick-ridden bushwhacking.

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When we used to go after hides rated 1.5 or less for D/T, there really wasn't much need to read a "description".  Add in the CO's lengthy area history or book reviews, for a film can just 10' in from a road pull-off, and they were just getting silly.

Now, similar to on4bam, we only do caches with higher terrain or lengthy walks, really like multis, and rarely do a puzzle/mystery.  Some of those have multiple hints and waypoints, with the older ones having most info to find the container written in the description.  Higher D, we read others logs as well.  :)

As you say you realize, a special attribute might catch my eye, but these days it's based more on D/T for us.

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17 minutes ago, Doc_musketeers said:

Lol. We’ve been given “helpful information” by muggles who assumed we were lost. We’ve had to give up searches because some stand there making sure we “find our way” back to the main path or whatever.

we have some local sand dune hides with instructions in the description to approach from a particular direction. Fail to notice those instructions and you may be in for some tumultuous terrain or dense, tick-ridden bushwhacking.

There is a really cool earthcache on the sand dunes on the Outer Banks (Nags Head).   To log it, you have to go to the highest spot on the dunes, capture the lat/long coordinates then post the distance between where you're standing and the previous log.  The lesson is to show how much the dunes move.  As its the highest point on the island it offers a great view.

When the question about reading cache descriptions has come up in the past many will suggest about the only way to ensure that it's read is to make the cache something other than a traditional.   A field puzzle cache could also include a puzzle that has to be solved to obtain the coordinates.   

 

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28 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

When the question about reading cache descriptions has come up in the past many will suggest about the only way to ensure that it's read is to make the cache something other than a traditional.   A field puzzle cache could also include a puzzle that has to be solved to obtain the coordinates.   

 

 

We’ve put our hints right in the description and then referred back to the description in the hint. And called attention to the attributes if its a field puzzle. I think it’s more likely a cacher will check the hint.

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On traditional caches, any important info should be in the title

  • My cache name - gadget cache
  • My cache name - no fences to climb
  • My cache name - no tools required
  • My cache name - no trespassing needed
  • My cache name - yes, you really must wade*

I don't think attributes help much, they seem to be mostly challenge fodder these days. 

* one of my all times favorites was titled, Yes, it sure is....

 

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54 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

As you say you realize, a special attribute might catch my eye, but these days it's based more on D/T for us.

Sometimes there’ll be something just slightly different about the cache. Maybe intended to be more playful than challenging, so it might not warrant raising the D rating, but if the finder wasn’t expecting it, they might misinterpret the situation. Example: a cache with a “hidden” log. It’s not going to add a lot of search time, but if the finder doesn’t notice the puzzle attribute or read the hints in the description they may be frustrated, create a “replacement log” or even post a NM.

again, not a big deal. I guess I was more thinking there’d be some informative/humorous stories out there. 

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Yeah I'd say order of reading generally speaking (not everyone, not every case) would tend today to be something like:

  1. Title
  2. Hint
  3. Attributes
  4. Recent logs
  5. Description

Except in cases where something prompts a person to prioritize a different cache descriptor. A location might prompt someone to read the description out of interest; maybe the title or cache type.  But if you want to guarantee something will be read, I'd recommend that order for where to put it :)

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21 minutes ago, Isonzo Karst said:

On traditional caches, any important info should be in the title

  • My cache name - gadget cache
  • My cache name - no fences to climb
  • My cache name - no tools required
  • My cache name - no trespassing needed
  • My cache name - yes, you really must wade*

I don't think attributes help much, they seem to be mostly challenge fodder these days. 

* one of my all times favorites was titled, Yes, it sure is....

 

That’s actually a great concept. 

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15 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Yeah I'd say order of reading generally speaking (not everyone, not every case) would tend today to be something like:

  1. Title
  2. Hint
  3. Attributes
  4. Recent logs
  5. Description

Except in cases where something prompts a person to prioritize a different cache descriptor. A location might prompt someone to read the description out of interest; maybe the title or cache type.  But if you want to guarantee something will be read, I'd recommend that order for where to put it :)

Yep. And when it comes to recent logs, even the tongue-in-cheek ones like my local friends posted can serve to reemphasize the point. 

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I have a cache that's hanging in a tree.  It's set up so all you have to do it slide the rope off a broken branch and lower the cache.    I can't tell you how many times I've had to re-set that cache because people instinctively think they need to untie the knot.    I made the mistake of tying a complex knot only to find  the rope had been cut and was now too short to lower the cache correctly.  Finally I wrote on the branch "slide this way." with an arrow.   So far it's worked. 

On the lighter side I've become an expert at knot tying.  

When I hide a cache I try to think of all the ways someone may attempt to retrieve it and then hide it the best possible way.   I admit I assume that some people won't take the time to read the cache description. 

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3 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Yeah I'd say order of reading generally speaking (not everyone, not every case) would tend today to be something like:

  1. Title
  2. Hint
  3. Attributes
  4. Recent logs
  5. Description

I had to laugh at this. It seems so obvious, yet I think it's so wrong. Here's my order, and I think it's more typical:

  1. Hint
  2. The hint again in case I misread it the first time.
  3. The last log
  4. Other logs
  5. Texts sent in response to my text-a-friend messages (if I have access to text messaging). This can come after step 3 if my friend responds quickly enough.
  6. First sentence of the description, and maybe a little more if the first sentence looks like it's going somewhere
  7. Title (and I often forget this step)

My GPSr doesn't show attributes, so that's not even a thing for me, but I doubt anyone looks at them even if their GPSr can show them.

Don't bother writing a paragraph about the wonderful the location and then, at the end of the description, add "It's in the stump!" if you want me to know it's in the stump. I'll never see that in the field.

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I must confess that I have forgotten to read the hint many times, even those which I did not find. But I prefer to read the description to orientate. I am quite selective and not trying to find every cache on my route. A good description can make me interested in visiting the place.

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3 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

When I hide a cache I try to think of all the ways someone may attempt to retrieve it and then hide it the best possible way.   I admit I assume that some people won't take the time to read the cache description. 

That sounds like a good process. As your example shows, sometimes it’s hard to predict what lengths some cachers will go to, lol. Sometimes ingenuity overpowers common sense.

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1 hour ago, dprovan said:

Don't bother writing a paragraph about the wonderful the location and then, at the end of the description, add "It's in the stump!" if you want me to know it's in the stump. I'll never see that in the field.

We only placed one or two caches back when GS had the “short” and “Long” description fields. I don’t remember the wording they used to indicate what info should go in each field but I remembering being a bit confused.

now we are a bit more consistent: notes about HOW to find the cache come first, info about WHY we thought this was a good spot for a cache come later.

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17 minutes ago, Doc_musketeers said:

That sounds like a good process. As your example shows, sometimes it’s hard to predict what lengths some cachers will go to, lol. Sometimes ingenuity overpowers common sense.

It's something I learned working with areas that have conservation restrictions on them.  many times they don't want people searching in areas that are protected.   It make you think about how to hide the cache in a way people can find it without approaching it from the wrong direction.  It also limits how difficult you can make the hide so people won't expand there search too much and wonder into an area they don't want them in.    It's tricky but worth the effort.  Of those areas are simply breath taking.     

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14 minutes ago, justintim1999 said:

It's something I learned working with areas that have conservation restrictions on them.  many times they don't want people searching in areas that are protected.   It make you think about how to hide the cache in a way people can find it without approaching it from the wrong direction.  It also limits how difficult you can make the hide so people won't expand there search too much and wonder into an area they don't want them in.    It's tricky but worth the effort.  Those areas are simply breath taking.     

 

Edited by justintim1999
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39 minutes ago, arisoft said:

I must confess that I have forgotten to read the hint many times, even those which I did not find. But I prefer to read the description to orientate. I am quite selective and not trying to find every cache on my route. A good description can make me interested in visiting the place.

We know a few local cachers that consider the hint a last resort. Which is why I think info that prevents misunderstanding (“Don’t sever the rope”) needs to be somewhere else ...

I think it’s great you choose caches based on merit of hide/location. That goes back to the question COs are supposed to ask themselves: “why should People come here?”

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3 hours ago, dprovan said:

Don't bother writing a paragraph about the wonderful the location and then, at the end of the description, add "It's in the stump!" if you want me to know it's in the stump. I'll never see that in the field.

^This

I found a few recently that were part of a series. Instead of having the hint in the hint, they buried the hint at the bottom of a copy-and-paste description that contained nothing else of any notable substance.

Edited by The A-Team
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20 minutes ago, The A-Team said:

I found a few recently that were part of a series. Instead of having the hint in the hint, they buried the hint at the bottom of a copy-and-paste description that contained nothing else of any notable substance.

A nearby series did it right. At the very beginning of the description is the information that is specific to the individual cache, including trailhead/parking suggestions, best trails to take, etc. The (rather lengthy) boilerplate content comes after that, where it can be easily ignored.

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2 hours ago, Doc_musketeers said:

We know a few local cachers that consider the hint a last resort. Which is why I think info that prevents misunderstanding (“Don’t sever the rope”) needs to be somewhere else ...

When I first started in 2010, I thought everyone considered the hint a last resort. I don't know whether that changed or I was just wrong back then, but these days I get the impression that pretty much everyone in my area is like me and reads the hint while walking up to GZ.

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21 minutes ago, dprovan said:

When I first started in 2010, I thought everyone considered the hint a last resort. I don't know whether that changed or I was just wrong back then, but these days I get the impression that pretty much everyone in my area is like me and reads the hint while walking up to GZ.

I still wait to read the hint until I've tried to find the cache without the hint. But I also prefer huckle-buckle-beanstalk style when I'm with a group. Neither of those seems to be the norm though. One group was thoroughly surprised that I didn't want to play three-musketeers style, and read the hint as we approached GZ. And even when the two of us convinced the others to play huckle-buckle-beanstalk style, the rest were pretty bad about not giving away the hide when they spotted it.

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Welllllll ... My "caching order"

       Read most recent logs.

       Stumble and fumble around like a drunken sailor.

       Fret, stew and fume.

       Look at the hint.

       Look at the description.

 

Back to topic:  

       I have a Calendar Challenge near Arcata, Calif. the "container is non-standard" and is stated so in the description with logging instructions ... from time to time a helpful soul will install a more standard container.  Numerous times I have removed the additions only to have the cycle repeat.  LOL, LOL, LOL.

 

       Hey I am 71 and get to be eccentric ... 

 

Take care everyone ... hey John, greetings from the Emerald Triangle, we will eventually get to take in a Cornell Hockey Game.  Could NOT find parking on campus despite your directions / instructions / descriptions ... lots of orange construction fencing.

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I too have wondered about the thinking of locals who brag that they never read the cache page.

Readint the cache page can contribute so much to the experience, but you will never know if you don't read it.

Then a light bulb came on...in the hint, I say "Read the Description" , possibly followed by a tiny hint.

Can't say it has helped, but I don't think it has hurt.

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As far as description goes, I'll browse for the bit about type of container and any thing else about the cache that can help in finding it. This is usually after I've done a little searching first. As for history lessons, I baulk at 1000 word, cut and pasted treatises. I like history but I'm not going to spend 15 minutes reading a cache description when I could be searching.

A brief, potted history is ok and if it looks interesting then I can research it later.

Edited by colleda
typo
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13 hours ago, dprovan said:

When I first started in 2010, I thought everyone considered the hint a last resort. I don't know whether that changed or I was just wrong back then, but these days I get the impression that pretty much everyone in my area is like me and reads the hint while walking up to GZ.

I'll only read the hint before reaching gz if it's in a sketchy or high traffic area.   Some place I don't want to have to be rooting around in for too long.   Other than that it's only used as a last resort.  

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15 hours ago, Doc_musketeers said:
16 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

Did I just respond to myself?   Sorry about that.

It was an excellent rebuttal.

Can't stop laughing about that. :D

On topic: I realize I'm in the minority here, but I always read the cache description. Exceptions are copy/paste descriptions of series (I just look if there is some additional info at the beginning or the end) and articles copied over from wikipedia (a link would suffice).

That's also true for almost all caches I get notifications for, even if I'm not planning to go for them in the near future. Maybe it's because I am planning all my cache hunts at home and almost never go caching spontaniously. I also read the latest logs that contain more information than "+1", "Quick find" and so on. If the majority of logs are like that, it also tells me something about the cache and I just scan if there is one written by people I know who always write informativev or interresting logs.

I mostly ignore attributes, though.

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41 minutes ago, Rebore said:

Can't stop laughing about that. :D

On topic: I realize I'm in the minority here, but I always read the cache description. Exceptions are copy/paste descriptions of series (I just look if there is some additional info at the beginning or the end) and articles copied over from wikipedia (a link would suffice).

That's also true for almost all caches I get notifications for, even if I'm not planning to go for them in the near future. Maybe it's because I am planning all my cache hunts at home and almost never go caching spontaniously. I also read the latest logs that contain more information than "+1", "Quick find" and so on. If the majority of logs are like that, it also tells me something about the cache and I just scan if there is one written by people I know who always write informativev or interresting logs.

I mostly ignore attributes, though.

Being in the North East the only attribute I look for is available in winter.    I know many people like to cache with their dogs so that one can be useful too.

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12 minutes ago, hzoi said:

Just as a side note:

Before Blue Switch Day, there was no geocaching.  Selective availability was turned off 2 May 2000; Dave Ulmer hid the original stash 3 May 2000.

More about the early days here.

IW8simF.gif

Yeah, I saw that and was going to bring it up, but figured I wouldn't pursue it.  Maybe he's referring to letterboxing or other similar location-based games.

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Just as a side note:

On 2/27/2018 at 11:06 PM, Doc_musketeers said:

Before Blue Switch Day it seems descriptions would be vital to finding caches since coordinates alone might not be precise enough.

Before Blue Switch Day, there was no geocaching.  Selective availability was turned off 2 May 2000; Dave Ulmer hid the original stash 3 May 2000.

More about the early days here.

IW8simF.gif

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It occurred to me today that I encountered an example of not reading the description this past weekend.

There's a night cache in my area that is incorrectly listed as a Traditional (it was hidden in 2008, so I think it slipped past the reviewer). I was driving past the starting point this weekend and saw a couple of people looking for something at the posted coordinates. I didn't have time to stop and tell them they were wasting their time because there isn't anything hidden there. I later looked at the cache listing and the description is very clear that you need to follow reflectors to find the cache, so those cachers clearly hadn't read the description.

The moral of the story is that you can't always assume that you can just go to the posted coordinates and find a cache. Sometimes there's something different about the cache (incorrect type, field puzzle, etc.), and usually this is pointed out in the description.

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11 hours ago, Rebore said:

That's also true for almost all caches I get notifications for, even if I'm not planning to go for them in the near future.

When I get notifications of new listings I'll have a look at the player's name. If it's one I recognise I probably wont read the description and just head on out . If it's a name I don't recognise I'll quickly scan the the description for those ominous words "this is my/our first cache". Forewarned is forarmed.

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