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J Grouchy

Waning interest in puzzles

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Is interest in puzzles waning? Maybe, in the same way that many things in life today that don't provide (more) instant gratification with less work are becoming less popular.

I have a puzzle cache that I published in August. After our local frequent FTF-er got it....no one. 

(Some of you have already commented on it here in the fora.)

It's nasty field puzzle, but it's not that bad. Lots of locals do the other ones around it, but not this one.

 

<sigh>

 

There are lots of factors that contribute to the low find count, including the wordiness, the visual density of the cache page and the nature of the physical task involved. I know it ain't designed for crowds.

 

Team Cap'n tells me to make it easier; that nobody wants to put the work into it. I won't though; it just makes it more special for the people who DO like a challenge.

 

I'm not so needy that I have to maximize visits by compromising the creation.

 

Sure hope whoever shows up for it leaves a great story in their log.

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2 minutes ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

I have a puzzle cache that I published in August. After our local frequent FTF-er got it....no one. 

 

Around here, it would stay like that until a group of 30 add it to their geo-day's target list, where either one person solved it or the ftfer let it slip - then you get 30 vague copy/paste find logs, and then it'll sit with no more activity :P

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4 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

 

Around here, it would stay like that until a group of 30 add it to their geo-day's target list, where either one person solved it or the ftfer let it slip - then you get 30 vague copy/paste find logs, and then it'll sit with no more activity :P

 

Boy, I hope not. But sometimes, you just can't fight the forces of entropy.

I'm not worried about our local FTF-er. She's a well-respected player and a frequent hider who appreciates the word "game" and everything that implies.

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5 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Anyway point being, if it were possible to also track how many "I qualify! I'll find later" notes are posted on challenge caches, that would be interesting to see as well.

 

The other side of that coin is the "signed the log but don't yet qualify" notes. On my older challenge cache (published in August 2017) I have five "qualified but not yet signed" and four "signed but not yet qualified" notes, with one of each subsequently converted into a find. On my new one (published a month and a half ago), there are seven "qualified but not yet signed" notes and none of the other - it's only had two visitors to GZ, both already qualified and both in the first few days after publication, but the current fire situation might have something to do with that.

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3 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

The other side of that coin is the "signed the log but don't yet qualify" notes. On my older challenge cache (published in August 2017) I have five "qualified but not yet signed" and four "signed but not yet qualified" notes, with one of each subsequently converted into a find. On my new one (published a month and a half ago), there are seven "qualified but not yet signed" notes and none of the other - it's only had two visitors to GZ, both already qualified and both in the first few days after publication, but the current fire situation might have something to do with that.

 

You guys are dry as a bone right now and those fires certainly aren't helping matters much.  Hope you and the rest of the community the fires are affecting are staying as safe as you can.  I know it's not any consolation but I'd pay a visit to your new challenge if I lived down under (assuming I qualified since I wouldn't have the same caches found as I do now!).  I'd probably visit most of your other ones as well.

 

As to my new series, the traffic has slowed down since their publication but the traditional caches have been found at a roughly 2-1 rate compared to the non-traditional caches in the series.  The final only has 2 finders but both of those cachers are known for finding non-traditional caches more often than not.

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2 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

You guys are dry as a bone right now and those fires certainly aren't helping matters much.  Hope you and the rest of the community the fires are affecting are staying as safe as you can.

 

Thanks. So far the Central Coast has escaped the fires but there's a huge one to the west that's been burning since early October and now has a perimeter of about 500km. The eastern fire front is about 35km west of me and currently the winds are favourable for containment (no chance of extinguishing it until we get some really soaking rain), but if it gets into the bushland here it could wipe out all my caches in one swoop.

 

image.png.151d6584704c0675f0241d54b8be2ef8.png

 

My sympathies go out to any cachers further up the coast who might have already suffered that fate.

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3 hours ago, barefootjeff said:
3 hours ago, coachstahly said:

You guys are dry as a bone right now and those fires certainly aren't helping matters much.  Hope you and the rest of the community the fires are affecting are staying as safe as you can.

 

Thanks. So far the Central Coast has escaped the fires but there's a huge one to the west that's been burning since early October and now has a perimeter of about 500km. The eastern fire front is about 35km west of me and currently the winds are favourable for containment (no chance of extinguishing it until we get some really soaking rain), but if it gets into the bushland here it could wipe out all my caches in one swoop.

 

I can totally identify with this - and hope for a quick end to all the fires near you, Jeff.  I do hope all your caches survive, but more importantly, structures, and people, and wildlife survive.

 

We had some pretty devastating fires here in N. California over the years and it's heartbreaking to see the devastation and the loss.  We are long overdue for some rain here in N. (and S.) California - predicted rain for next week!  But "they" are now saying it will be a dry winter for us (our rain normally arrives Oct-March or so - it's nearly December and we are still waiting for the first real rain to hit).

 

This is getting way off topic though - back to puzzles - I just had solves and finds on my series of 3 Sudokus that involve a short (0.5 miles one way) walk along a paved pathway, first in awhile, people just don't want to make an effort it seems.  Park N Grab or else it takes too much time!!  Me?  I prefer those that take some effort and time to find!!

Edited by CAVinoGal
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I’ve put out quite a few puzzle caches in my area and been met with lukewarm response. In fact there’s one that has gotten a nasty-gram posted as a note on the cache page because it’s hard and apparently everyone needs a hint to solve it. Which is not the case at all, but it is a rather difficult puzzle. I just get the feeling that people don’t want hard puzzles. If they can’t solve it almost immediately then it’s not worth the effort....

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1 hour ago, Korichnovui said:

I’ve put out quite a few puzzle caches in my area and been met with lukewarm response. In fact there’s one that has gotten a nasty-gram posted as a note on the cache page because it’s hard and apparently everyone needs a hint to solve it. Which is not the case at all, but it is a rather difficult puzzle. I just get the feeling that people don’t want hard puzzles. If they can’t solve it almost immediately then it’s not worth the effort....

Not to make too much of a pun, but I don't think that there's anything 'novui' about what everyone is reporting.  There are always going to be a) a few dedicated puzzle solvers out there who will tackle just about any puzzle you throw out, then there will be b) a much larger number who will only tackle it if a solution comes to mind quickly, and then there's c) those who either rightly or wrongly assume they're just not up to the task, and last d) those who don't want to be bothered.  I haven't seen any real shift in the COUNT for a or b here, but have seen those groups diminish as a percentage of the total caching population.  If we take life as it was a few years back, and add a lot of far more casual cachers, we are where we are.

 

The 'a' group, being the smallest, prefer the more inventive puzzles, but not the absurdly obscure kind that one cannot possibly solve independently without some direction from the owner (we had one of those recently in our area).  Even in our area, with a lot of participants, I think there might be a dozen or less of these folks around -- but they haven't disappeared over time, either. 

 

By the way - that's a cool caching handle.  Cinnamon is one of my favorites no matter how it gets used!

Edited by ecanderson
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44 minutes ago, Korichnovui said:

I’ve put out quite a few puzzle caches in my area and been met with lukewarm response. In fact there’s one that has gotten a nasty-gram posted as a note on the cache page because it’s hard and apparently everyone needs a hint to solve it. Which is not the case at all, but it is a rather difficult puzzle. I just get the feeling that people don’t want hard puzzles. If they can’t solve it almost immediately then it’s not worth the effort....

 

It depends on the reason why the puzzle is so hard and why they are trying to solve and find it. I can live with a puzzle I have not solved but some players are not so patient.

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15 hours ago, Korichnovui said:

I’ve put out quite a few puzzle caches in my area and been met with lukewarm response. In fact there’s one that has gotten a nasty-gram posted as a note on the cache page because it’s hard and apparently everyone needs a hint to solve it. Which is not the case at all, but it is a rather difficult puzzle. I just get the feeling that people don’t want hard puzzles. If they can’t solve it almost immediately then it’s not worth the effort....

 

Perhaps the issue is not so much that the puzzles are difficult as that they require reading your mind.  Making a difficult puzzle is trivially easy; making a hard puzzle that is solvable without requiring a hint is much more difficult.  I haven't tried your puzzles, so I don't know, but your contention that people will not do the work for hard puzzles is, in my experience, not as big a problem as that people have no idea where to even start, so they can't work hard on the puzzle.  Such a puzzle often seems to give the hider a big "I'm cleverer than you" ego boost, but that doesn't make for very good puzzles.

Edited by fizzymagic
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I have a rather different experience.

Multi-caches are more frequent than ever here, mostly made by me and one other CO. I make the harder ones, he makes the easier ones, a good combination. But when I say "harder" that means medium, rarely really hard.

And I think the response is quite positive. The logs are pretty frequent and the FPs are too. In the list of the most popular recent caches (Wilson) the field puzzle multis totally dominate the top!

Of course, long and hard caches are not logged much, but those that are clearly not so long and that you can expect to be not so hard, they are quite popular. But even the hard ones are fairly popular. Only one, which involves the highest free climbing tree cache I ever made (and two other free climbs, one of them pretty hard), is rarely logged. I can understand that.

I think that many of the local cachers know that my field puzzles tend not to be impossible to solve, but rather something that you can solve in one visit. I aim for the "sweet spot" in difficulty, where the problem first have you puzzled, but after some thinking you do figure it out and get the nice feeling of success.

However, I think this is very much a question of local culture. I have a few in the neighbor regions, and they are significantly less popular both in visits and FPs despite being quite good.

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16 hours ago, Korichnovui said:

apparently everyone needs a hint to solve it. Which is not the case at all, but it is a rather difficult puzzle.

 

I tried to find the nastygram from cache logs but failed. One D4.5 puzzle looks like the one because "needed a hint" mentioned in some recent logs.

 

Can you explain in one sentence why this puzzle is difficult? I couldn't solve it is 3 minutes :rolleyes:

 

Normally I skip this kind of puzzles after trying few random ways to solve them.

 

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7 hours ago, fizzymagic said:

 

Perhaps the issue is not so much that the puzzles are difficult as that they require reading your mind.  Making a difficult puzzle is trivially easy; making a hard puzzle that is solvable without requiring a hint is much more difficult.  I haven't tried your puzzles, so I don't know, but your contention that people will not do the work for hard puzzles is, in my experience, not as big a problem as that people have no idea where to even start, so they can't work hard on the puzzle.  Such a puzzle often seems to give the hider a big "I'm cleverer than you" ego boost, but that doesn't make for very good puzzles.


The “read my mind” issue is complicated. I’m aware of the difficulty and try my best to avoid it. But it’s hard to be unbiased in this area. I’m definitely not going for a “cleverer than you” scenario but I want the puzzles to take some work, effort, thought, and be a little different than just a straightforward cipher or google this and that.

 

I made a short decoder series recently and the puzzles ended up being pretty difficult. And actually the “read my mind” phenomenon loomed unexpectedly for GC7WZV1. I thought this was the easiest one but people really didn’t get it. I have adjusted the puzzle to make it easier and now people are getting it. So it’s hard to fully avoid the “read my mind” problem and the other puzzles in the series likely suffer from it still. But actually they were all solved by people who received zero hints or help from me, so they do not require “reading my mind”. They DO require patience, experience, and some willingness to engage in trial and error. These are qualities that I have used to solve some difficult (for me) puzzles. To what degree other cachers want to exercise these qualities (or obtain experience elsewhere) is variable, and when some cachers fall short then they may say “you need to be able to read his mind”. Not so, it’s just a difficult puzzle.

 

The nastygram cache is not in my profile, the cache is GC7T5WG. Yes, I made a difficult puzzle. But to some people it’s dead easy because they’re already familiar with the concept and there are clues enough to be able to solve it quickly.

 

Should we not make difficult puzzles? Should we dumb things down to cater to most cachers, who (I am well aware) have little interest in difficult puzzles?

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3 hours ago, Korichnovui said:

The nastygram cache is not in my profile, the cache is GC7T5WG. Yes, I made a difficult puzzle. But to some people it’s dead easy because they’re already familiar with the concept and there are clues enough to be able to solve it quickly.

Thanks for the GC#. Like arisoft I looked and couldn't find. 

 

Are you sure it's really solvable with the info you've provided?

Looking at the logs the FTF team says this, "Last night we got a hint from the CO at the geocaching event on the “blue question mark “ Then he gave us a nudge and then finally a big push."

The next cacher to find it says, "After getting a few nudges from the CO,..."

The next,  finder is you. <_<

And the last, most recent, and only other finder says, "I got a big hint from the cache owner and everything became simple."

 

After the FTF the information is out there. Maybe some of the other solvers shown in the checker solved it without help or maybe not. You'll never know for sure.

 

As far as the nastygram, I've seen far worse. I think he's expressing the same frustration I would be feeling if I cached here. It's discouraging to look at an apparently difficult puzzle and see that every finder solved it with the help of a private hint. 

 

My rule of thumb is to never give private hints before the FTF. It's the only way to really know if the puzzle can be solved with the information I've provided. If an additional hint appears to be necessary it goes on the cache page for everyone. After the FTF I give any help or hints necessary. I want people to find my caches. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MtnGoat50
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3 hours ago, Korichnovui said:

Yes, I made a difficult puzzle. But to some people it’s dead easy because they’re already familiar with the concept and there are clues enough to be able to solve it quickly.

 

With that specific one, I have a vague idea about what to try.  As with most of this kind of thing, I don't see any "clues".  I often see the text on such pages that there are clues, but I tend to not be able to tell where they are (apart from the parts that are not clues).

 

As to the Topic of puzzles not being worked, there are buh-zillions of caches, including puzzles.  That's a huge selection.  I look at one, and if I can't solve it, I put it at the bottom of the pile.  I may or may not ever get back around to looking at it again.  And if as mentioned, the FTF required a hint from the CO, I might assume that most people would need such a hint.  Don't expect that I will ask if I'm stumped.  I might just skip it.

 

 

Edited by kunarion

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3 hours ago, Korichnovui said:

The nastygram cache is not in my profile, the cache is GC7T5WG. Yes, I made a difficult puzzle. But to some people it’s dead easy because they’re already familiar with the concept and there are clues enough to be able to solve it quickly.

 

You are at least partially right. It took just the 3 minutes to solve. I didn't read your mind but I used my experience from similar puzzles I have solved before. Your puzzle is difficult only if it is the first of its kind that someone is trying to solve.

 

You have made it correct way by using some subliminal hints to prime the solver towards the solution.

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17 minutes ago, kunarion said:

With that specific one, I have a vague idea about what to try.  As with most of this kind of thing, I don't see any "clues".  I often see the text on such pages that there are clues, but I tend to not be able to tell where they are (apart from the parts that are not clues).

 

The best hint is something you may not notice at all, but your subconscious will use it and then you know the answer without noticing where you got it. It is just opposite of reading mind when a puzzle designer is using this kind of mental tricks.

Edited by arisoft

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2 hours ago, MtnGoat50 said:

 

 

Are you sure it's really solvable with the info you've provided?

 

 

 

Well, since posting the GC code here earlier today, 2 more people have solved it without getting any contact from me, so yeah, I'm sure. There were a flurry of certitude solutions before the cache was ever found. It took 2 months for the first person to visit the cache, I think mainly due to unusually heavy snows that came shortly after publishing the cache.

 

Looking at the logs and then concluding that its only solvable if you get a hint is a fallacy, like a confirmation bias. Others have solved and chosen not to find the cache, because they don't live in the area or for whatever reason. It's not a park and grab.

 

I like what kunarian said. There are buh-zillions of caches out there. If you don't like this puzzle then just skip it, that's fine. Someone out there likes it. I think most of all, I liked making it and seeing it get solved, that made me happy, I think that's all there is to it.

 

 

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2 hours ago, MtnGoat50 said:

As far as the nastygram, I've seen far worse. I think he's expressing the same frustration I would be feeling if I cached here. It's discouraging to look at an apparently difficult puzzle and see that every finder solved it with the help of a private hint. 

 

 

 

 

I also found this statement interesting. I think we are straying into an area now where different people will have different opinions about what is "correct". Is it okay to give hints or not?

 

In this case, people asked for a hint and I gave it. Then they found the cache and added +1 smiley to their account. Maybe some people are offended that those finders didn't really "earn" it because they had to get help, get a hint. It's not "fair" to compare them to someone else who solved a 4-star difficulty puzzle without any help. I can understand that point of view. But at the same time, if someone asks for a hint on a puzzle of mine, I'm going to work with them on it. I think it's fun, like we are both learning a new way to think, together.

On my other puzzles I did withhold hints until they were solved without help. And I thank you for your advice, it's good advice!

For this one, I decided to give hints because it had been 2 months. Maybe that's not so long a time for you guys. I probably could have been more patient. Maybe it wasn't fair to a couple of solvers who put off finding it when it was relatively inaccessible (sorry Wild Ponies!!). All I can say is, I'm definitely not perfect and I'm just trying to improve myself in this interesting hobby. This cache has been a learning experience for me. And again, I liked the concept of the puzzle, had fun making it, and I know that it is solvable without getting a hint, so I feel satisfied with it. If I felt otherwise then I would tweak it (as I did for the other GC code that I provided in an earlier post)

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2 hours ago, MtnGoat50 said:

My rule of thumb is to never give private hints before the FTF. It's the only way to really know if the puzzle can be solved with the information I've provided. If an additional hint appears to be necessary it goes on the cache page for everyone. After the FTF I give any help or hints necessary. I want people to find my caches. 

I only own one puzzle cache so far, so take the following with a grain of salt. But the FTF didn't require any personal contact. And my rule of thumb when people have contacted me for hints has been to include the info I provided in the encrypted hint of the cache listing. So if one person needed a hint from me to get started, then anyone following in that person's footsteps would have access to the same hint without asking me.

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7 hours ago, Korichnovui said:


The “read my mind” issue is complicated. I’m aware of the difficulty and try my best to avoid it. But it’s hard to be unbiased in this area. I’m definitely not going for a “cleverer than you” scenario but I want the puzzles to take some work, effort, thought, and be a little different than just a straightforward cipher or google this and that.

 

I made a short decoder series recently and the puzzles ended up being pretty difficult. And actually the “read my mind” phenomenon loomed unexpectedly for GC7WZV1. I thought this was the easiest one but people really didn’t get it. I have adjusted the puzzle to make it easier and now people are getting it. So it’s hard to fully avoid the “read my mind” problem and the other puzzles in the series likely suffer from it still. But actually they were all solved by people who received zero hints or help from me, so they do not require “reading my mind”. They DO require patience, experience, and some willingness to engage in trial and error. These are qualities that I have used to solve some difficult (for me) puzzles. To what degree other cachers want to exercise these qualities (or obtain experience elsewhere) is variable, and when some cachers fall short then they may say “you need to be able to read his mind”. Not so, it’s just a difficult puzzle.

 

The nastygram cache is not in my profile, the cache is GC7T5WG. Yes, I made a difficult puzzle. But to some people it’s dead easy because they’re already familiar with the concept and there are clues enough to be able to solve it quickly.

 

Should we not make difficult puzzles? Should we dumb things down to cater to most cachers, who (I am well aware) have little interest in difficult puzzles?

 

Neither of those appears horrifically difficult to me, although GC7T5WG goes out of its way to obscure the puzzle in a particularly annoying way.  I was more intrigued by GC7WW83, which presents some interesting features that warrant further investigation. That's close to the ideal -- presenting the puzzle in a way where there are immediately things that may be interesting to pursue.

 

It is often hard to discern whether a particular puzzle requires mind-reading or not.  I always recommend that you find one or two friends to test the puzzle, both to check for errors and to report on their experience of solving it.  Then you can adjust it to make the solving experience more like what you desire.

 

One thing stood out for me:  you want solvers to be willing to use some trial and error.  I agree that trial and error is a part of puzzle solving, but if the final answer depends on using trial and error until magically the answer appears, then IMO that is too much of it.  Trial and error is a good strategy when it leads to hints about the solution; for example, trial and error may get a partial decrypt that lets you know you're on the right track.  But all-or-nothing trial and error is just a mental needle in a haystack.

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As a new GCer, can I guess that the change might be structural? New technology means more young families (myself included) find and place puzzle geocaches, because for young GCers they aren't as exciting (or possible to solve) as traditional caches.

 

That doesn't mean people should give up on them, after all, if you like puzzle caches, there will be a roughly equal number of other GCs who like puzzle caches. It just means they will never get as many finds.

 

To be fair, it doesn't help that the concept of puzzle caches is never really well explained, so you would only search for them if you had specifically made the extra effort to understand them. The icon in the app looks a bit like the "help" symbol in computer programs, vs the clearer symbol for traditional and multi-caches.

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2 hours ago, daddybeth said:

To be fair, it doesn't help that the concept of puzzle caches is never really well explained, so you would only search for them if you had specifically made the extra effort to understand them. The icon in the app looks a bit like the "help" symbol in computer programs, vs the clearer symbol for traditional and multi-caches.

 

There's something strange about a bunch of caches I placed in a particular park.  They're all pretty much accessible from paved walking paths, but both "puzzles" get routinely skipped.  You'd walk right past one of the puzzles where the coords are at the cache place.  And this is even by cachers who returned to "get all the caches in this park".  Maybe they all have The App, but they're typically Premium Members.

 

Anyway, I've also started to wonder what the deal is with that, if it's the icon, or what else it could be.  "Puzzle Caches" in general tend to be found less often (that's why I made one of them a Puzzle).  But someday, my curiosity will get the better of me, and I'll ask one of the "get all caches" people, "What gives?"  :cute:

 

Edited by kunarion

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9 hours ago, niraD said:

So if one person needed a hint from me to get started, then anyone following in that person's footsteps would have access to the same hint without asking me.

 

Even this sounds fair it may be unfair because it favors the player who asked the hint. For other players the reason for the hint and interpretation of the hint may be vague or it may be unnecessary if they have already solved that part of the puzzle.

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10 hours ago, daddybeth said:

To be fair, it doesn't help that the concept of puzzle caches is never really well explained, so you would only search for them if you had specifically made the extra effort to understand them. The icon in the app looks a bit like the "help" symbol in computer programs, vs the clearer symbol for traditional and multi-caches.

 

You mean mystery caches? I thought we were rather talking about field puzzles.

 

Mysteries, multis with field puzzles, traditionals with field puzzles... they are all mental challenges but in different ways.

 

Mysteries, the ones you solve at home, and then go out in order to find a simple petling hanging at a low branch in a tree or behind a traffic sign, they are often very hard. We have lots of them in my areas, and they pose big troubles when placing new caches. A D2 mystery is often impossibly hard (but I consider that underrated). They get many logs (very high rate of copy-paste logs) but very few FPs so they are both popular and not popular.

 

Multis with field puzzles is what I often make. They get fewer logs but much higher % FP. The puzzles, as I make them, are easier since they are supposed to be solvable on location. Since I want to know whether my caches are fun or not (after all, I make them for the visitors), I am sensitive to FPs as well as informative logs, which I get from these.

 

Traditionals with field puzzles are often of mechanical or electronic nature, gadget caches. They can be very fun but they are sometimes damaged by rough treatment. I have a few and they relatively often need repairs so they must be close to home. Can be very hard to build.

 

That's quite a range of "puzzles"... :) Like I mentioned before, I see no decline in interest for them, quite on the contrary.

Edited by Ragnemalm
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3 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

Even this sounds fair it may be unfair because it favors the player who asked the hint. For other players the reason for the hint and interpretation of the hint may be vague or it may be unnecessary if they have already solved that part of the puzzle.

 

I agree, it is unfair. If you need hints in order to solve it, it will cause hints to spread, and fewer and fewer will actually solve the problem but rather get a solution and your beautiful problem is shortcut to a simple one-more-log.

 

I fear that this happens with one of my most beautiful field puzzles. It is pretty hard, but quite elegant, but if you get the solution, do you appriciate that? You may not do that if the hint is too clear or you get it before even trying.

 

It is a problem that we can't get awy from, but I think it is worse for mysteries, where you can more easily trade solutions since you know beforehand that the puzzle is the whole thing. For a multi, the actual nature of the problem may come as a surprise, and hopefully that makes you try solving it before asking for cheats.

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On 11/22/2019 at 12:59 PM, thebruce0 said:

 

Around here, it would stay like that until a group of 30 add it to their geo-day's target list, where either one person solved it or the ftfer let it slip - then you get 30 vague copy/paste find logs, and then it'll sit with no more activity :P

 

This is why we can't have nice things.

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6 hours ago, arisoft said:

Even this sounds fair it may be unfair because it favors the player who asked the hint. For other players the reason for the hint and interpretation of the hint may be vague or it may be unnecessary if they have already solved that part of the puzzle.

Well, in a sense, any additional hints are "unfair" because the FTF was able to solve the puzzle without them.

 

But I really don't care. I'd rather have people solve the puzzle, with as many (or as few) hints as they need.

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4 hours ago, niraD said:

But I really don't care. I'd rather have people solve the puzzle, with as many (or as few) hints as they need.

 

Fine with me, but I do wish that they understand enough of the puzzle to see the point, and hopefully appriciate it, rather than just see it as one more signature on a piece of paper.

 

Myself, I refuse to log a mystery or field puzzle unless I have solved it myself. I recently visited the final of a really hard D5T5, but decided not to log it because I got too big hints. Now it will wait until I have forgotten enough of the hint to solve it for real so I see the whole solution and the trick to find it. I know, I am putting unnecessary demands on myself, but that is my right to choose.

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I'll cross-post what I just added to the Irks thread, as it's relevant to puzzle caches...

What irks me is the sense of being lied to. Long ago I gave up caring about how people found a final cache of a puzzle or multi (coordinate sharing is quite prolific, it's futile battling it or wasting energy caring about it much any more, and it just causes drama when you start playing blame games, plus I've been known to take note of finals, though being sure to note the ones I do), but what irks the most is the feeling that people are actually okay with being dishonest to you. Especially when you try to be friendly and avoid confrontations and drama when possible, yet geo-friends in the community don't feel they can just be open and honest.

 

For example, if I put out a hard puzzle, and 1 person solves and 30 people find, I'm not going to make a fuss over that any more. It happens. It will happen. And there's no way to avoid it. But man, if I like to know things about my cache or puzzle, like how hard it was to solve or retrieve or whether they just got coordinates from someone, and you can't seem to get a straight answer, that is what irks me. :(

 

And when it gets to the point that it feels like people are just sharing puzzle finals and no one is actually solving, it's certainly not encouraging to spend time and effort to create more puzzles that no one can actually solve, if all they care about is finding the container (let alone being honest about how they attained the coordinates).  blargh.

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16 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

And when it gets to the point that it feels like people are just sharing puzzle finals and no one is actually solving, it's certainly not encouraging to spend time and effort to create more puzzles that no one can actually solve, if all they care about is finding the container (let alone being honest about how they attained the coordinates).  blargh.

 

Even there are many finders who has not solved the puzzle at all there are still some who plays like Ragnemalm or between these two extremes. They are the audience to whom you have made the puzzle. To make the puzzle more exiting for all just leave it without any geocheckers.

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2 minutes ago, arisoft said:
29 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

And when it gets to the point that it feels like people are just sharing puzzle finals and no one is actually solving, it's certainly not encouraging to spend time and effort to create more puzzles that no one can actually solve, if all they care about is finding the container (let alone being honest about how they attained the coordinates).  blargh.

 

Even there are many finders who has not solved the puzzle at all there are still some who plays like Ragnemalm or between these two extremes. They are the audience to whom you have made the puzzle. To make the puzzle more exiting for all just leave it without any geocheckers.

 

Right, but in my quote I'm talking about when it's past that stage - "when it gets to the point that it feels like people are just sharing puzzle finals and no on is actually solving".  It's a judgment call every puzzle owner has to make, where to draw the line. Does it feel like there's enough people enjoying the puzzle the way it was intended, to keep making puzzles like that? If not, and it's no longer fun, then there's really no point continuing. That's the point a lot of puzzle-makers get to in some geocaching community climates.  Some puzzle makers will keep doing it if it seems like 1 in 50 people enjoy doing the puzzle; some will quit if more than a handful start not caring for the puzzles.

But that really wasn't the main point I was getting at in my post =P

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8 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

It is a problem that we can't get awy from, but I think it is worse for mysteries, where you can more easily trade solutions since you know beforehand that the puzzle is the whole thing.

 

For my mysteries, be they solve at home or in the field, solving the puzzle is just the beginning of the adventure, so maybe that's why I'm not bothered by people getting hints from each other or even swapping coordinates. One of my puzzles, a D4, had a couple of people find it by nutting out from the lay of the land, the national park boundaries and the hint where it was likely to be and, yep, that's where it was. I don't mind creative workarounds to my puzzles - they often make great logs to read - and I don't mind people sharing their solutions, as long as they enjoy the cache that's all that really matters. I'd rather have a dozen logs from happy cachers who got to GZ by whatever means than none at all.

 

2 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

What irks me is the sense of being lied to. Long ago I gave up caring about how people found a final cache of a puzzle or multi (coordinate sharing is quite prolific, it's futile battling it or wasting energy caring about it much any more, and it just causes drama when you start playing blame games, plus I've been known to take note of finals, though being sure to note the ones I do), but what irks the most is the feeling that people are actually okay with being dishonest to you.

 

Yes, that would be pretty irksome, especially the feeling that they thought they had to lie. I'm always open in my logs about getting hints or other help and I'd hope my reputation is such that others would feel comfortable doing the same on my hides.

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2 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

Fine with me, but I do wish that they understand enough of the puzzle to see the point, and hopefully appriciate it, rather than just see it as one more signature on a piece of paper.

 

This is a very altruistic notion of human behavior but there are many that don't really care and the +1 is what matters.  You can't control how people choose to find your puzzles.  You can only hope that they do it as it was intended, realizing that there's a strong possibility that some won't even make the effort or that some might happen upon the final via methods you didn't even consider.

 

2 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

Myself, I refuse to log a mystery or field puzzle unless I have solved it myself. I recently visited the final of a really hard D5T5, but decided not to log it because I got too big hints. Now it will wait until I have forgotten enough of the hint to solve it for real so I see the whole solution and the trick to find it. I know, I am putting unnecessary demands on myself, but that is my right to choose.

 

That's your right to decide but I'm curious to know how you managed to get a big hint that "ruined" it for you.  From the CO? From another cacher?  Did you ask for the hint or was it provided to you without your prodding?  If you asked and got what you wanted, even if it were too much of a spoiler, I'm not sure I understand your reasoning behind choosing not to log the find.  I'd also be hard pressed to forget a hint for a 5/5 cache.  Perhaps for a 1.5/1.5.....

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14 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

For my mysteries, be they solve at home or in the field, solving the puzzle is just the beginning of the adventure, so maybe that's why I'm not bothered by people getting hints from each other or even swapping coordinates. One of my puzzles, a D4, had a couple of people find it by nutting out from the lay of the land, the national park boundaries and the hint where it was likely to be and, yep, that's where it was. I don't mind creative workarounds to my puzzles - they often make great logs to read - and I don't mind people sharing their solutions, as long as they enjoy the cache that's all that really matters. I'd rather have a dozen logs from happy cachers who got to GZ by whatever means than none at all.

 

I had a D5 T1 cache in my Geoart.  (I thought a 5/1 was an interesting thought.)  FTF had solved most of the puzzles, and noticed an empty spot.  And found it!  I think nost of the finders used that log to find it.

I did a bonus cache where one had to find three caches to get the coords for the final.  I could not find one.  But I had the north coords!  So, I hiked back and forth along that latitude for about a mile, and I found it!

Edited by Harry Dolphin
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3 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Right, but in my quote I'm talking about when it's past that stage - "when it gets to the point that it feels like people are just sharing puzzle finals and no on is actually solving".

 

There is no difference. I have seen a new geocacher solving puzzles made many years ago, even the hardest ones. Of course it is a rare event but players who find the cache without solving the puzzle are not generally "lost opportunities" as they are usually not able to solve those puzzles anyway.

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9 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

Myself, I refuse to log a mystery or field puzzle unless I have solved it myself. I recently visited the final of a really hard D5T5, but decided not to log it because I got too big hints. Now it will wait until I have forgotten enough of the hint to solve it for real so I see the whole solution and the trick to find it. I know, I am putting unnecessary demands on myself, but that is my right to choose.


I'm a bit like this too. Or I at least need to understand every step of the puzzle. (With a couple of exceptions that keep me awake at night. LOL.)

I can't help thinking about geocaching 'achievements' in terms of how they would look to an outsider. If they make sense only to those inside the bubble I typically find it harder to care.*

 

eg. "I climbed a tree today for the fun of it, because of a geocache" would make a lot more sense to an outsider (and seem more like an actual thing worth mentioning) than "I got someone to put my signature onto a bit of paper in a tree because statistics!"

Likewise "today I solved this tricky geocaching puzzle I've been pondering for literally years" would sound a lot more like an actual achievement than "I went and signed a bit of paper because someone finally told me where it is--I really needed that D/T". An outsider would likely reply "You needed what? No, actually, I don't want to knpw" to the latter.

* It's possible I'm not a proper geocacher. I'm probably just as likely as an outsider to think signing a geocache log [or pretending to] on 365 consecutive days sounds more like mental illness than something to boast about. LOL.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, BendSinister said:

eg. "I climbed a tree today for the fun of it, because of a geocache" would make a lot more sense to an outsider (and seem more like an actual thing worth mentioning) than "I got someone to put my signature onto a bit of paper in a tree because statistics!"

Likewise "today I solved this tricky geocaching puzzle I've been pondering for literally years" would sound a lot more like an actual achievement than "I went and signed a bit of paper because someone finally told me where it is--I really needed that D/T". An outsider would likely reply "You needed what? No, actually, I don't want to knpw" to the latter.

* It's possible I'm not a proper geocacher. I'm probably just as likely as an outsider to think signing a geocache log [or pretending to] on 365 consecutive days sounds more like mental illness than something to boast about. LOL.

 

I'm probably not a proper geocacher either since the only streak I've ever done was the 7-day one for the recent souvenir promotion, I have a grid that's unlikely to ever fill, a "best day" of 22 finds at a mega and a find rate that's half that of anyone else I know. But on occasions I've carted along a ladder when I haven't been able to reach a cache unaided, other times I've carted along a friend or three for the same reason, and I'm not all that good at solving puzzles so, after getting as far with it as I can, I've asked the CO or a caching friend for a nudge, but never for the coordinates - I do have a little bit of dignity left. The standard I've set myself on finds is to either sign the logbook myself or to have been close enough to do that if someone else has written all the names in on a group outing. Help with a puzzle or find, yes; a proxy solution or find, no.

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14 hours ago, coachstahly said:

That's your right to decide but I'm curious to know how you managed to get a big hint that "ruined" it for you.  From the CO? From another cacher?  Did you ask for the hint or was it provided to you without your prodding?  If you asked and got what you wanted, even if it were too much of a spoiler, I'm not sure I understand your reasoning behind choosing not to log the find.  I'd also be hard pressed to forget a hint for a 5/5 cache.  Perhaps for a 1.5/1.5.....

 

I got it from another cacher who just wanted to help, but he helped too far. So, it will have to wait. It is a nice place so I don't mind going back.

 

Concerning 5/5 vs 1.5/1.5, the 5/5 is a major accomplishment so I want to fulfill that accomplishment, I want to deserve it. 1.5/1.5 is very much one in the crowd - so much that I usually skip them because they usually are not interesting. (That us usually, not always. A cache with a decent number of FPs is another thing.) I am a rather unusual breed: 1.5/15 is not my most common combination but the fourth most common in my D/T matrix. Because we all cache the way we like. ;)

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15 hours ago, arisoft said:
19 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Right, but in my quote I'm talking about when it's past that stage - "when it gets to the point that it feels like people are just sharing puzzle finals and no on is actually solving".

 

There is no difference. I have seen a new geocacher solving puzzles made many years ago, even the hardest ones. Of course it is a rare event but players who find the cache without solving the puzzle are not generally "lost opportunities" as they are usually not able to solve those puzzles anyway.

 

There is a difference. I know that there will always be the chance of someone coming along who can enjoy the puzzle. That's why it's a judgment call - when it feels like people are just sharing puzzle finals and no is actually solving. Of course no one can verify that NO ONE is solving a puzzle, at any time. The point is that a CO can absolutely feel like a community does not care about puzzles, and when that feeling grows too great and overcomes whatever value there might be in leaving it for the occasional person who does enjoy it, they have every right to decide to archive it.

 

On one hand, you want caches to be found, and for people to enjoy finding them. But when it comes to puzzles, or virtual aspects of geocaching that aren't merely finding a physical container. That same value applies - you want people to enjoy the whole process of finding them. And when you feel like all the work and effort you're putting into the whole process is either no longer being appreciated, or no longer being experienced sufficiently (to your subjective threshold, to some higher, to some lower), you make the call as to whether it's worth continuing.

 

And when that happens, it absolutely is the effect of people who don't care about anything but the physical cache that have a negative effect on the variety of experiences geocaching can provide - because they devalue the work that COs put into such caches, and can cause them to be discouraged enough to stop creating them.

 

 

But again, the point of my post wasn't merely about people logging caches by "cheating" - it's technically not cheating (the game) because it's allowed (sign the log, log online), and COs can absolutely have no problem with that. My point was more along the lines of people not caring about puzzles so much and feeling that lying about not doing them to the cache owner is justifiable, is far worse than merely getting puzzle solutions or multicache finals and just finding the container.  And there are many out there who will do that - who either won't ask a CO for help, or will just ask people for final locations, and won't tell the cache owner; or who will hand out final locations in secret, keeping that fact from cache owners.  That under-the-table activity is GREATLY discouraging to puzzle/multi cache owners.

 

We had an uptick a few years back of high D puzzle caches and fun/interesting lengthier multicache experiences. These days, those are falling by the wayside, or have very short lives, because - even though there are people who still solve them, the bulk of community cachers just tag along with a group to find them, most often without CO knowledge until they get a handful of find logs with nothing interesting about the puzzle/experience/container/etc.  That is discouraging activity.

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    I notice that my interest in puzzles varies by "puzzle type" and within types it tends to vary by who placed the cache.   In general there seem to be two types of puzzles:  those which invlove a "brain teaser" of some sort that can be solved at the computer; and those that have to be solved "in the field".  I find puzzles that combine these approaches to be the most engaging.  For example a wonderful classic puzzle such as Still on Patrol GCK1MT (sadly now archived and dismantled) required code work, visits to physical sites 60 miles away, watching movies and learning military history and finding a worthy physical cache placed in an interesting area.  My enjoyment of straight forward brain teaser type puzzle depends mostly on the difficulty of the puzzle and if I have a clue (if I have no ideas that work I'd rather be outside hiking so these tend to be solved or not during the evening or bad weather...) .  In general, the majority of these puzzles are more about the puzzle solution than the cache placement and in my experience often tend to be uninteresting physical caches, even when the puzzle is engagzing.  A similar "field puzzle" type cache is what I consder the "pretend multi" where you go to a sign or marker, plug in the numbers and then walk 200 feet to the container.  Since the majority of caches in my area are placed by a handfull of cachers, after doing a few of them and checking the FP totals, generally few, I skip over them.  Of a similar ilk are the "power trail mulitple choice" caches where someone lays out a string of caches, provides a choice of 2 to 4 answers to a question (hardly a puzzle, really) and after replotting the actual coords you go do a power trail.  Again who placed the cache is paramount since the puzzles are trivial, but take time to "solve" and don't teach you much (the more you care about the subject matter, the better).  My experience here ranges from "why bother" to "wow, that was pretty good".  

    What I find most engaging as a format is a "puzzle multi" where deucing the coordinates relates to geocaching in some way, typically using maps, either modern or historical, which then leads you to work in the field.  Field puzzles can be as simple as finding a series of stages as in a typical multi, or involve solving clues at the stages, or using projections, landmarks, hints etc. to lead you on to the final.   While there is no accounting for taste, as a general rule, both puzzles and multi and combinations of them, tend to have "half the finds and twice the Fav Pts"  In effect, the folks who choose to expend more time and energy in solving for the coordinates are a self selected group whose opinions I find more in tune with my own.  Dosen't mean I can solve the brain teaser but I'm more likely to stick with it...More often than not, who created the puzzle is a good indication of how interesting I will find it to be...

   Regarding "short cutting the answer" from a cache owners point of view:  I'm fine with folks finding a multi without finding all the stages (I construct them with location hints so this is possible if you are clever and observant) and if a stage is missing, a PAF to get the next stage coords is also good (as long as you let me know so I can go replace the stage).  Small group finds, where one person does the puzzle work and everyone else just searches at the coords, are fairly common and not objectionable; but somehow having someone else tell you the final coords while you represent as having solved that d4.5 puzzle seems wrong to me.  Write a note instead or describe your find as "found cache but couldn't solve the puzzle"    

 

 

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4 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

The point is that a CO can absolutely feel like a community does not care about puzzles

 

Community does not care about puzzles. Puzzles are too difficult for the community. Forget the community and focus on those who mostly find puzzles only and usually skip traditionals. I have found 48% traditionals and 36% mystery caches. Player who visit all caches may have 70% / 17%.

 

I know that some COs have archived all mystery caches when they realized that no visitors have idea about the solution. I have not planned to archive puzzles for that kind of reason.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, arisoft said:

Community does not care about puzzles. Puzzles are too difficult for the community. Forget the community

nah, no thanks.  You can do you, I'll do me :P

 

"Community" is a group term. I wasn't saying we make puzzles "for the community".  Obviously a community is made of people, who may or may not like puzzles, and there are more geocachers than only within a local community. Again, that's really not the point of my comments, not merely whether people solve puzzles or only get final coordinates. It's how they do that, and the affect it has on cache owners - some COs have a high threshold for people not doing it as intended, and some have a very low threshold.  My point is once the threshold is reached - by people not doing them as intended - the CO will feel it's not worth continuing. And being the target of dishonesty about such practices is a big discouragement to continuing to create them. And I think that's is a huge factor in the waning interest in puzzles.

When it feels like the community (this is the part that different depending on which CO you ask) is no longer fun or worth creating puzzles for, they may choose to stop. Dishonesty dramatically speeds that process. And can likely even lead to a full geocide (archived all caches, not just relevant ones).

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

My point is once the threshold is reached - by people not doing them as intended - the CO will feel it's not worth continuing.

 

I understand your point very well. I have made the same reasoning. I am sure that some or many COs may feel that it is not worth continue at some point. Especially if they have trying to make puzzles to the whole community not understanding that community is not going to play the game the CO is trying to present.

 

You must understand that when you create a great refector field puzzle cache, some players will start from the beginning and follow the reflector path to the cache but some other players will go directly to the cache without participating the adventure you have made. It is the way the HQ have decided the game to go - so be it. In guidelines there is not a word about participating the orgnized adventure, only log and forget.

 

I was quite amused when I read Adventure Lab cache owners complaining players not participating the adventure. They were right - as right as every puzzle cache owners are. But for some reason HQ desided that Adventure Lab Caches needs a guideline which recommends to participate the adventure. " To log a Lab Cache, finders must visit the location, discover the find code, and then enter the code into the app to mark the cache as found. " how about " To log a Mystery Cache, finders must first solve the puzzle,  visit the location, and then log the cache as found. "

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2 hours ago, arisoft said:

I was quite amused when I read Adventure Lab cache owners complaining players not participating the adventure. They were right - as right as every puzzle cache owners are. But for some reason HQ desided that Adventure Lab Caches needs a guideline which recommends to participate the adventure. " To log a Lab Cache, finders must visit the location, discover the find code, and then enter the code into the app to mark the cache as found. " how about " To log a Mystery Cache, finders must first solve the puzzle,  visit the location, and then log the cache as found. "

 

And how would GC require that the cacher solve the puzzle?  I've noted the one mystery where I did not find one of the caches leafing to the bonus mystery.  But bushwhacked along the N coords until I found it.  I have found the final of twelve multi caches without finding one leg.  I signed the log.  I found it!  I have several mystery caches where a cacher did not solve the puzzle, but he/she signed the log.  The found it!

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On 11/25/2019 at 11:47 AM, thebruce0 said:

Right, but in my quote I'm talking about when it's past that stage - "when it gets to the point that it feels like people are just sharing puzzle finals and no on is actually solving".  It's a judgment call every puzzle owner has to make, where to draw the line. Does it feel like there's enough people enjoying the puzzle the way it was intended, to keep making puzzles like that? If not, and it's no longer fun, then there's really no point continuing.


This post jarred something inside of me. There are similar sentiments expressed in other threads, and they affect me in the same way.  Because I just can't relate to the idea that if your caches are not being solved/found/experienced the way you intended, it's appropriate (and justified) to get upset and/or quit hiding caches.

 

I know this post may come off as moralistic or something, and I want to be clear that I in no way mean to tell anybody how they should approach cache hiding.  But I've been hiding caches since 2002 and my approach, which works for me, does not seem to be expressed often in the forums.

 

Put simply:  when I hide a cache, I consider it a gift to the caching community as a whole.  That means I don't believe that I have the right to impose my idea of how it should be done or what kind of logs I should insist on.  It's like giving a gift to a friend: while if they enjoy it the way you hoped, that's great and it gives you joy; but if they use it in some way you didn't expect, that's great too.  So I release my caches, and especially my puzzles, in the hope that people will enjoy them, but without the expectation that everyone will put in some required amount of work. I maintain them, including deleting logs that I know are not valid, because that's what I committed to do when I hid the cache.   If I don't like the logs I get, then that is feedback that the cache did not work out as I had expected.  But I don't get upset that my ego is not being stroked enough, or that people aren't doing the cache in exactly the intended manner.  The cache is a gift, not a means for me to reinforce my own ego.  If people do my puzzles and learn something new, or enjoy the process, that is just gravy.

 

As a result, I am not disappointed by puzzle "cheaters."  If they got the answer from somebody else, that is fine.  They may have missed out on a fun experience solving the puzzle, but they still had fun finding the cache.

 

I have played around in a couple of my caches with designing a puzzle where a finder can prove that they (or somebody else) put in the effort to do the puzzle, but I don't require that proof to log the find.  Others can see their logs and know whether they actually did it or not, and I don't get bent out of shape if someone didn't.  Because the puzzle and the cache are gifts.  Not obligations.

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13 minutes ago, fizzymagic said:

This post jarred something inside of me. There are similar sentiments expressed in other threads, and they affect me in the same way.  Because I just can't relate to the idea that if your caches are not being solved/found/experienced the way you intended, it's appropriate (and justified) to get upset and/or quit hiding caches.

 

Let me make an analogy. You organize a surprise party for your friend, as a gift, you invite friends, etc. Then your friend arrives and says, "thank you for the party", and leaves immediately with the gifts. Are you planning a party next year?

 

47 minutes ago, Harry Dolphin said:

And how would GC require that the cacher solve the puzzle?

 

Same way as ALC requires that the cacher finds the code.

 

Nobody can verify that you have found the code instead of you get it from your friend or you visit the coordinates instead of your friend.

It is important to tell how you are supposed to find the cache even you can cheat.

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3 hours ago, arisoft said:
4 hours ago, fizzymagic said:

This post jarred something inside of me. There are similar sentiments expressed in other threads, and they affect me in the same way.  Because I just can't relate to the idea that if your caches are not being solved/found/experienced the way you intended, it's appropriate (and justified) to get upset and/or quit hiding caches.

 

Let me make an analogy. You organize a surprise party for your friend, as a gift, you invite friends, etc. Then your friend arrives and says, "thank you for the party", and leaves immediately with the gifts. Are you planning a party next year?

 

Bad analogy.  A party is not the same as a gift.  A party would be analogous to an event.  I am talking about a cache.  Thanks for trying.

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1 hour ago, fizzymagic said:

 

Bad analogy.  A party is not the same as a gift.  A party would be analogous to an event.  I am talking about a cache.  Thanks for trying.

 

Actually I thought the analogy was good. Throwing a party for your friends can be a lot like a gift. Even more than a gift sometimes. You put time, effort, and money into it. Making a cache for the community can feel similar. Anyway, the analogy worked for me. But it won't work for everyone. Different cache owners view things differently.

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