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How Do I reach Phone Cachers?


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Back in the olden days, I harrumphed about these new-fangled cachers that used their phones instead of the website and a GPSr to find a hide.:D  I realize now that the game has grown to where a good portion of players are playing exclusively by the phone app. The issue I see now is that, by the nature of the app, there is little incentive to read a cache page description; you just click the target and go, then leave a 'TFTC' (or less), then move on to the next find. In one of my recent hides, I have started the post with "Please read cache description; there is a special request for logging online." (https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC8TBYJ_the-mark-twain-quotation-station) , yet still get logs from some hunters that obviously have not read the cache description, and have seldom, if ever, logged onto the website.

I'm working on a new series that I hope will be a LOT more fun if people read the write-up before going for it. Any suggestions on how to grab a phone cacher's attention enough to load and read the description before hunting?

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25 minutes ago, Lostboy1966 said:

Any suggestions on how to grab a phone cacher's attention enough to load and read the description before hunting?

Make 'em mystery/unknown geocaches? And of course, don't hide them at the posted coordinates.

It could be a simple (but substantial enough) offset:

 

"[description]

To find this cache, add 500 to the decimal portion of the coordinates."

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We know by asking it's not just us, but it's rare if we read  lower D/T cache pages, especially if traditionals.  

Read enough booklets work of information, to find it has nothing to do with the cache, and ya kinda give up on that after awhile.  

No offense, but I'd probably skip your Additional Logging Requirement if reading it anyway.   :)

I agree with Tricia G, most we know will read a mystery/puzzle at least until they know what to do.

Edited by cerberus1
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Some of my German cache names start with "Listing beachten!..." translated that means "Note the Listing!..."

But if I really need, that cachers read the listing, i never use the traditional cache type. For example the cache LA: Reviewer monument is only a Multicache, in order that the geocachers have to read the listing and don't damage the cache. But in your case I think there are several effects. Some who don't read the listing and some like that:

17 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

No offense, but I'd probably skip your Additional Logging Requirement if reading it anyway.   

Greetings Johannis10

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19 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

We know by asking it's not just us, but it's rare if we read  lower D/T cache pages, especially if traditionals.  

Read enough booklets work of information, to find it has nothing to do with the cache, and ya kinda give up on that after awhile.  

No offense, but I'd probably skip your Additional Logging Requirement if reading it anyway.   :)

I agree with Tricia G, most we know will read a mystery/puzzle at least until they know what to do.

 

For most of my traditionals, the description doesn't say much about the cache but it does contain a lot of useful and important stuff about getting there safely. App-only cachers are an increasing problem, particularly since the changes to the app a few years back that effectively hid the description along with instructions to only look at it if you get stuck. The trouble is, by the time someone has got themselves stuck, it's probably too late to be reading the description, best to just call search-and-rescue or set off your emergency locator beacon. I had one cache in a sea cave at the bottom of a cliff, with access along the rocks from about a kilometre south where I'd set the parking and trail head coordinates, but the app directed seekers to the road closest to the cache at the top of the cliff and, with visions of someone trying to climb down from there and getting stuck on an undercut ledge, I ended up archiving it.

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Posted (edited)

It’s a five cache series, and I’m still not decided if I’ll make it ‘find one to find the other four’, or ‘find four to find the final’ yet. The schtick so far is Traditionals as much as possible, with a Choose Your Own Adventure theme a la D&D, where you pick a character and there is a die in each container to randomize your progress – just for fun, even if it is a low D/T listing. The schtick can be ignored and you can just go for the TFTC logs, but I want to encourage players to go for the full effect. I’m trying to keep away from the Mystery category (which I’ve done for series before), but I suppose at least one will have to be in that category.

I’m still building the containers, anyway, so I have time to decide on the format.

Thank you, everyone, for the feedback!

Edited by Lostboy1966
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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Read enough booklets work of information, to find it has nothing to do with the cache, and ya kinda give up on that after awhile.  

 

That's my point. Sometimes a hider puts effort that has something to do with the cache, but nobody reads it because they are just checking off the next smiley on their phone.

Capture.JPG

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Just now, Lostboy1966 said:

That's my point. Sometimes a hider puts effort that has something to do with the cache, but nobody reads it because they are just checking off the next smiley on their phone.

Capture.JPG

Work in progress, BTW...

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I think you're over estimating how many people using dedicated units read the description. I don't know the mechanics of reading descriptions for every type of navigating device, but with my Garmin, it takes a couple extra steps to read the description, so I rarely do in the field. I gather that's very similar to the glitch you are suggesting causes phone cachers to skip the description.

 

So, first, set aside the prejudice against phone cachers, 'cuz it's not really warranted.

 

I think using the unknown cache type is the obvious solution. "Unknown" *means* the seeker should read the description. Judging from the hints you've given about your project, I think it would be a shame not to wrap it in a good puzzle, anyway.

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14 hours ago, Lostboy1966 said:

if I’ll make it ‘find one to find the other four’, or ‘find four to find the final’

 

Find one to find the other four won't be published.  When you make a cache "bonus" to another cache, you're limited to one bonus.   Quote, "No geocache can have more than one cache dependent on it", from the Help Center article on Bonus Caches LINKY

 

For Trads, critical info goes in the title. Seriously ;-) ... or hint,  though that only works when the cache is a bit more difficult,  so the hint is used.

 

 

Minor aside on your logging request, I *might* offer a Twain quote, but might not. It's an optional logging request. Much would depend upon how entertained I was by finding your cache. 

 

(Very minor aside - ignore freely, you're a putting a lot of effort into lock and lock container caches.  Over the last 16 years, I've concluded that they're too short-term to hide. The lid groove mildews,  the seal then wicks moisture, very small insects chew on the seal, and of course, the tabs break off. They don't hold up well at all to UV, though that's easy enough to plan around.   Hiding, for smalls, wide mouth nalgene bottles, for regulars, ammo cans, for micros,  preforms - big  micros by today's standards,).

 

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13 hours ago, Lostboy1966 said:

That's my point.

Sometimes a hider puts effort that has something to do with the cache, but nobody reads it because they are just checking off the next smiley on their phone.

 

We use GPSrs.  Most we know use GPSrs.  Same scenario as I explained earlier, but to clear things up, we normally don't use phones.   

We aren't interested in the "next smiley" either.  Over the years we've simply found descriptions on lower D/T hides wanting.

Similar to dprovan, I feel you may not realize it's more people that don't read descriptions than you thought.   :)

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I have been a GPSr user since geo-birth.  I use my phone occasionally (sometimes to look at photos in the field), but I much prefer to use my GPSr to geocache.

 

That said, I bet that I have never read the description on the vast majority of traditional caches that I have found.  Typically, my search for a traditional goes as follows:

1) Find traditional on GPSr and load it up.  

2) Get to GZ and look for the cache.  If I find the cache, great, I'm done, move on to the next. 

3) Read hint after a minute or two if I can't find it.  If I find the cache, great, I'm done, move on to the next. 

4) Read through the past 5 logs if the hint doesn't make sense or another minute or two passes.  If I find the cache or the logs suggest the cache is missing, great, I'm done, move on to the next. 

5) If none of the above works and I still can't find the cache, I might read through the description hoping for another clue.

 

When I go to log, I do so on my computer and I very rarely open up the full cache page and read through the description - usually I find the cache on the map, click it, then click log visit.  For a standard traditional cache, I usually never go in to read the description.

 

I would, however, say that I ALWAYS read the description first for a mystery or multi cache - that way I know whether or not I will be wasting my time by going to GZ. 

So that would be my suggestion to you: use mystery or multi caches instead of traditionals.  Mystery is probably better than multi. Incorporate an easy little Mark Twain puzzle and you've succeeded in getting me to read through the cache description. 

 

Whether or not I quote Mark Twain in my log or even read the description of your traditional geocache at all would depend on:

a) Whether the cache was an excellent, high quality hide that offered something unique, or

b) Whether you are a CO that I personally know or otherwise respect. 

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I have never used anything except my phone.  I always read the description but only dive into hints and previous activity if I am having trouble.

I bought a GPS for geocaching but it was too much trouble to manage when everything I need is on my phone, so it is stashed away, still unused, in a drawer somewhere.

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How Do I reach Phone Cachers?

Just call them! (SCNR! :-))

 

Simple answer but I don't know if this is what you want to read:

You have five nice hides as it seems.

You want to make five traditional caches, probably with short walking distances (or four traditionals plus bonus).

Why don't you make ONE multi cache from these?

 

A multi cache with five nice stages will surely get better logs than several traditionals. And you can do so much more with multi caches when you are able to construct nice caches. You will "generate" less finds but what do you want - many found its with logs as you mention or less ones with good ones? The decision is easy for me!

 

Jochen

Edited by frostengel
the quotation was wrong
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22 hours ago, Lostboy1966 said:

In one of my recent hides, I have started the post with "Please read cache description; there is a special request for logging online." (https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC8TBYJ_the-mark-twain-quotation-station) , yet still get logs from some hunters that obviously have not read the cache description, and have seldom, if ever, logged onto the website.

 

I took a look at the logs on that page, and was pleasantly surprised at how many of them follow your special request for logging online. :)

 

For an unplanned cache hunt, I usually skim the description, but if it's several paragraphs that seem like copied Wikipedia, I at least try to find the part about the cache hide itself.  For a planned trip, I've selected caches, and read them on the web site, even if I the use a phone App to hunt the caches.  I can't stand the Phone for Geocaching, but it happens.

 

But for a request for my favorite quote... with the premise being then I'm using The App... are you asking me to type something from memory?  And TYPE all that into the APP? I guess the idea is that everyone else loves to stand in the mud, being eaten by mosquitoes while typing historical quotes?  I'm not saying everyone else doesn't.  But I sure don't.  I hope you don't mind if I wait til I get to a PC and edit my logs (which I type as drafts in shorthand just to jog my memory later).  So, occasionally there's something in the Cache Description that the CO invited me to do while there, and I will notice that part later, when I edit my logs.

 

Anyway, if the cache description is super short, I can read the whole thing in the field.  That's my suggestion:  the less wordy the better.  Or the suggestion to add "See Description!" to the title has merit.  I don't have any log requirements, but I have some extra lengthy cache descriptions with what I think are cool or interesting things, and it's extremely rare for anyone to notice.  At least nobody mentions it.  Some of those cachers have dedicated Geocaching GPSs, not phones.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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On 3/30/2021 at 7:57 PM, Lostboy1966 said:

It’s a five cache series, and I’m still not decided if I’ll make it ‘find one to find the other four’, or ‘find four to find the final’ yet. The schtick so far is Traditionals as much as possible, with a Choose Your Own Adventure theme a la D&D, where you pick a character and there is a die in each container to randomize your progress – just for fun, even if it is a low D/T listing. The schtick can be ignored and you can just go for the TFTC logs, but I want to encourage players to go for the full effect. I’m trying to keep away from the Mystery category (which I’ve done for series before), but I suppose at least one will have to be in that category.

 

I have a series of 5 traditionals that lead to a final, which can only be found if you opt to play the game I have set up at each traditional cache.  It's not even a hard game, for the most part.  Each of the traditional caches has specific game pieces in each container (dominoes, cards, dice, Scrabble tiles, bingo balls) and I've done something to one (domino since it has two numbers on each one) or two pieces in each cache that makes them different from the others and you plug the numbers you get into the corresponding formula that leads you to the final.  It's not overly difficult at all but I realized, when putting it out, that many cachers probably wouldn't be interested in going after the final (which is a ? cache), despite the fact that all the caches are within a square mile and a half of each other and are rated as 2/2 or less, with one exception, and a higher rated final cache.

 

I also realized that the fact the final is an unknown cache would automatically preclude quite a few cachers from even looking at the cache page, despite the fact that I created a bookmark list that contains all 6 caches on it, mention the final on every cache page, and mention the final in each cache container note (that says not to take the game pieces and provides a reminder about the final).  The fact that a cache is listed as an unknown will automatically limit the number of people who will visit your cache page, thereby decreasing the "reach" you may hope to attain.  However, you can be certain that they'll read the cache page once they get there.  It (the page or the cache) just won't be visited nearly as many times as a traditional cache would be.

 

I had to redo a couple a few times due to them going MIA but for the most part, they've been in place since 2011 and one redone in 2012.  Here are the number of finds for each traditional - 124, 137, 152, 184, 112.  Here's how many have chosen to play my game and found the final - 23.  I expected far lower numbers for the final so I'm not overly disappointed.  That's roughly a 1 in 5 to 1 in 8 ratio, which is about what I expected.

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3 hours ago, coachstahly said:

I had to redo a couple a few times due to them going MIA but for the most part, they've been in place since 2011 and one redone in 2012.  

Here are the number of finds for each traditional - 124, 137, 152, 184, 112.  Here's how many have chosen to play my game and found the final - 23.  I expected far lower numbers for the final so I'm not overly disappointed.  That's roughly a 1 in 5 to 1 in 8 ratio, which is about what I expected.

We rarely attempt to bother with this type anymore.  Between distance and one going "MIA", many were never completed for that "final".   :)

There's four series that I know of out now, and I'll be just as happy simply finding the caches, and not stressing about any "final".

I've received a good share of mails from COs, asking why I didn't get the final/bonus.  Fifty miles to do one cache to get the bonus... Meh.

We have this a lot lately with multis too...  Before I got hurt, I had over a dozen multis not completed, due to a stage missing.

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On 3/30/2021 at 7:47 PM, barefootjeff said:

App-only cachers are an increasing problem, particularly since the changes to the app a few years back that effectively hid the description along with instructions to only look at it if you get stuck.

I don't see what using the app has to do with reading the description.  Are GPSr users more apt to read the descriptions after downloading the closest 1000 caches using a PQ?  While it's nice to write something up about the location, and I've done this myself, it's not required for traditional caches.  If I see too much text, whether reading on a cache page or on my phone, I'll scan through it for any important info.  I've done several heavy write-ups on my cache pages, and for the traditional they're mostly ignored.  But when I put the info in a mystery it's paid more attention.

 

On 3/30/2021 at 7:57 PM, Lostboy1966 said:

with a Choose Your Own Adventure theme

My favorite books as a kid!  I remember one where I looked through the book to find the best result and realized there was no way to get to it!  I made a geocaching Minecraft based trackable video on my YT channel that was a Choose Your Own Adventure style.  If you made good choices you were rewarded with one trackable code, if you made all bad choices you were rewarded with another trackable code.  I had two extra trackables sitting around and it was fun to make.  :D  Making videos is my creative outlet.

 

On 3/31/2021 at 1:52 AM, dprovan said:

I think you're over estimating how many people using dedicated units read the description. I don't know the mechanics of reading descriptions for every type of navigating device, but with my Garmin, it takes a couple extra steps to read the description, so I rarely do in the field. I gather that's very similar to the glitch you are suggesting causes phone cachers to skip the description.

 

So, first, set aside the prejudice against phone cachers, 'cuz it's not really warranted.

Thank you!  I use both a receiver and a phone but it seems like there is a lot of angst toward phone caches in the forums.  I love phone caching, as anywhere I am I can just search and find something nearby.  Family stopping at a rest stop?  Searching... hey a cache!  I use a GPS receiver for longer days of caching so I don't use up my phone battery but I love my iPhone with Cachly app.  The few times I went out of the country I downloaded every cache in the area onto my phone and used it on Airplane mode in the country so as not to use data (GPS signals are received in airplane mode).  I also downloaded Google Maps and was able to use that without data, which is really convenient for spending a week in a foreign city without using data.  But if I'm going to spend hours looking for caches I'll use a GPS receiver.

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4 hours ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

I don't see what using the app has to do with reading the description.  Are GPSr users more apt to read the descriptions after downloading the closest 1000 caches using a PQ?  While it's nice to write something up about the location, and I've done this myself, it's not required for traditional caches.

 

The App is more of a Pokey-Man point-and-click get-em-all thing, than a reading about a cache thing.

 

readf.jpg

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I must be an oddball, or perhaps I'm playing a different game, but I almost always look at the cache page and read the description before I load a cache onto my GPSr, which is usually the night before any planned caching trips. I figure if the CO went to all the trouble of creating the cache page I should at least show them the respect of looking at it. There's usually a reason they put their cache where they did, something interesting or unusual about that spot or its history, and I go more to experience that thing than to just get a +1 to my stats. But parking lot caches are rare here and LPCs non-existent because our lamp posts aren't made that way, so there's usually something interesting to see either at GZ or along the way.

 

About the only times I haven't looked at the description beforehand were on group caching trips where we ended up visiting caches I hadn't expected, and on those I felt like a fish out of water.

Edited by barefootjeff
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10 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

Fifty miles to do one cache to get the bonus

 

All 6 caches are within a 1 1/2 square mile area, which includes the final.  3 are within .3 miles of each other and the other two are just over a mile away and about .3 miles apart.  The final is within that 1 1/2 mile stretch.  I live within 4 miles of them and have no problem keeping them maintained and active.

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10 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

I've received a good share of mails from COs, asking why I didn't get the final/bonus.

 

I'll never ask because it's not my business why you didn't do the final cache in the series.

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I'm a phone cacher - like many younger people, I already owned a good phone that I could use and I didn't have the money for a GPS, so I'm firmly a phone cacher. I definitely read the description and cache page and home thoroughly before I go out to look for caches, even if it's a lower D/T rating that I'd be pretty confident I could manage. No one likes going out and getting no finds, so I do my digging first. A lot of people have already mentioned the stuff that comes to mind for me - I don't think it's necessarily a phone/GPS issue, I would have said the app makes me more likely to check the description again in the field because it's so easy to access that way. I've also seen a lot of descriptions which, while super interesting and providing a lot of info about the history of a location, don't help with finding the cache, hence I read at home to avoid standing around reading in the field like a fool. 

 

As a proper answer to the question regarding getting people to read descriptions, I would say the descriptions I like reading the most have the history/culture/backstory information distinctly separated from the caching info. For example, they have a paragraph about the history and then after a bold heading that says "the Cache", indicating that cache info is there. I would also say attributes make a difference - if I see attributes I'm not familiar with or that indicate certain risks or obstacles, I'll be giving a more thorough read of the cache page and the previous logs. I think the unfortunate thing at the end of the day is that much like how many students never learn to take their time and read the question, many cachers can't be conditioned into reading the description. All anyone can do is make their best effort and hope people follow along.

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On 4/2/2021 at 6:55 AM, jaysonC said:

No one likes going out and getting no finds, so I do my digging first

 

On 4/2/2021 at 6:55 AM, jaysonC said:

hence I read at home to avoid standing around reading in the field like a fool. 

I often cache on the fly, which is one of the things I love about the app. I got burned recently because after not finding the cache I read the description and saw that it was now a virtual and everyone else had been logging it as such. 😬

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Having read all of the heartfelt comments, I apologize for the Subject of this thread; I should have titled it more along the lines “How Do I Get Hunters To Read My Cache Page Description?” Sometimes being a grognard when phones came on the GC scene still taints my comments; my intent certainly was not to offend anyone.

I do put a good amount of effort into my containers and write-ups, however. It is where I get my enjoyment of the game (and we are all free to play as we see fit).  Am I wrong for wanting people to read them and not just drop a ‘TFTC’ regardless of the device used to find them?

In this case, the Mystery Cache route seems the best way to go for most of the series. I will probably start with a Traditional the leads to four Mystery hides. Again, the schtick is to add a little mini-game to the mix in the series. Wish me luck, and thank you, everyone!

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3 minutes ago, Lostboy1966 said:

Having read all of the heartfelt comments, I apologize for the Subject of this thread; I should have titled it more along the lines “How Do I Get Hunters To Read My Cache Page Description?” Sometimes being a grognard when phones came on the GC scene still taints my comments; my intent certainly was not to offend anyone.

 

I do put a good amount of effort into my containers and write-ups, however. It is where I get my enjoyment of the game (and we are all free to play as we see fit).  Am I wrong for wanting people to read them and not just drop a ‘TFTC’ regardless of the device used to find them?

 

In this case, the Mystery Cache route seems the best way to go for most of the series. I will probably start with a Traditional the leads to four Mystery hides. Again, the schtick is to add a little mini-game to the mix in the series. Wish me luck, and thank you, everyone!

 

Good luck!

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18 hours ago, Lostboy1966 said:

Having read all of the heartfelt comments, I apologize for the Subject of this thread; I should have titled it more along the lines “How Do I Get Hunters To Read My Cache Page Description?”

I admit that I consider this the main takeaway from the thread, but I'm sorry you feel like you need to apologize. I consider the phone cacher myth misguided, but it's not uncommon, and it has its roots in valid complaints about early phone cachers. And I also don't rule out the possibility that there's some truth to it still, I just think it's a prejudice that should be dropped whether it has any validity or not.

 

So to return to the new question, I think we've covered the technical question of getting your descriptions read. Beyond that, the main thing is not to worry about it. Just write your good descriptions. Some people will read them and enjoy them naturally. Others will hear about them and discover them later. Some people will start looking forward to reading your future descriptions having read your past ones. In other words, write them and people will come.

 

BUT, some people won't read any of them. Who cares? You're not writing them for those people, anyway. And you're not asking for special logging tasks because of people who don't want to do special logging requests. Yes, be clear that the special requests are just requests since some people get upset about being ordered about, but mainly enjoy the people that do your special logging requests because they enjoy doing them as much as you expected them to.

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On 3/30/2021 at 6:50 PM, Lostboy1966 said:

In one of my recent hides, I have started the post with "Please read cache description; there is a special request for logging online." (https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC8TBYJ_the-mark-twain-quotation-station) , yet still get logs from some hunters that obviously have not read the cache description, and have seldom, if ever, logged onto the website.

 

What you're really asking is, how you can get more folks to leave Mark Twain quotes on the cache in question, since what you're asking for is optional. Back in the day, you could attach such "Additional Logging Requirements" to a cache, but that hasn't been allowed for a decade or so. In essence, then, there's really no guarantee that people aren't reading your log description, and then simply opting not to comport their logs with your request.

 

If you really want to hit people over the head with it, you could change the cache title to "Please Log Me With A Mark Twain Quote." Still not a guarantee, but I guess that's the most direct approach.

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On 3/30/2021 at 3:50 PM, Lostboy1966 said:

Any suggestions on how to grab a phone cacher's attention enough to load and read the description before hunting?

 

 

Hide it someplace without cell service.

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I once hid a cache called "My Unbelievable Caching Adventure" (GC3F5DD) which was a boring bison in a tree but I had encouraged people to tell "unbelievable" stories about their geocaching adventures to find the cache.  I got some great stories but toward the end they started going back to boring logs, obviously not catching the spirit of the cache.  But it was fun while it lasted and I got some great stories.  At least I think they were just stories...

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1 hour ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

I once hid a cache called "My Unbelievable Caching Adventure" (GC3F5DD) which was a boring bison in a tree but I had encouraged people to tell "unbelievable" stories about their geocaching adventures to find the cache.  I got some great stories but toward the end they started going back to boring logs, obviously not catching the spirit of the cache.  But it was fun while it lasted and I got some great stories.  At least I think they were just stories...

Reminds me of:

GC1T778 The Biggest Liar's Cache Sequel (Traditional Cache) in Texas, United States created by Joey & Deb (geocaching.com)

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I must be an oddball of newer geocachers. I only use my phone (but 3rd party app) and always read the descriptions. *Shrug* it's more fun .. then again even though I have gotten bit pretty hard with the game I try to enjoy the hunt and am less worried about how many I can find as fast as possible

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13 hours ago, RaingerLeahcim said:

I must be an oddball of newer geocachers. I only use my phone (but 3rd party app) and always read the descriptions. *Shrug* it's more fun .. then again even though I have gotten bit pretty hard with the game I try to enjoy the hunt and am less worried about how many I can find as fast as possible

Well, yes, I suppose you're something of an oddball, but I think a lot geocachers go through a phase early on where they read descriptions. And, yes, some are fun. But many are boring, so I don't think I'm the only one that soon got tired of looking at them, especially in the field. I claim we're mainly talking about in the field in this thread. At home, both in planning before and logging after, I normally take a look at the description and read any that look interesting. But when I'm walking up to the cache, I'm not going to stop to bring up the description and sit down to read it before I start searching. If you do, more power to you, but I suspect you'll get bored with that step soon enough. If it's short enough to read without stopping the flow, it's probably not interesting enough to read. And that's when you're by yourself without a companion saying, "Can't we just find it and keep walking? What is with this intolerable need to read the description every time?" ;)

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