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Campaign For Real Hints


Slytherin
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<rant>

Imagine the scene. A nice sunny spring day. A 1/1 cache. A walk in the woods. What could be nicer?

 

We get to the spot, the trees are beginning to leaf, gps coverage is not bad but a bit patchy. The ground is covered with six inches of dead leaves. Half an hour of wandering around looking in likely spots. No luck.

 

OK. De-crypt the hint. That tells us to look in the roots of a tree. Well, thanks for that. It's a wood. There are trees everywhere!!!!

 

Bearing in mind that gps accurracy is showing as 45ft, that makes a 90ft circle. That means lots of trees. Assuming of course that the accuracy of the cache owners readings don't put you an extra few feet away as well.

 

With a 9 year old in tow and grandparents waiting a quarter of a mile away in a hot car, we don't have hours to look under every tree.

 

PLEASE can we make the hints specific enough to be able to find the cache without too much difficulty. We all want people to find our caches - don't we??

 

</rant>

 

---------------------------------------------------

Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.....

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Totally Agreed! here are some entries for the worst clue in the history of geocaching competition (advertising is not intended!)-

 

1) Welwyn Woodlands by Lost in Space - Under a fallen silver birch tree.

 

The entire wood is made up of silver birch trees and there are hundreds of them fallen!!!!

 

2) Bluebell woods by Jaq - Box 2 - Cross the bridge and look in the trees.

 

This is a tiny bridge which puts you instantly inside a wood icon_wink.gif

 

3) Keynes Overlook by P.Howard - It is hidden in the middle of an evergreen bush at the top of the slope, under a small fallen branch.

 

This 1 sounds ok until you reach within 100ft of the cache and your gps goes and you find yourself surrounded by small evergreen bushes with thousands of small fallen branches, curse you Howard! icon_razz.gif

 

Its just a hunt for a lunch box, why be so serious!?! badgerslayer.gif

 

Dan Wilson - www.Buckscaching.co.uk

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quote:
Originally posted by Dan Wilson:

1) Welwyn Woodlands by Lost in Space - Under a fallen silver birch tree.

 

The entire wood is made up of silver birch trees and there are hundreds of them fallen!!!!


Strangely enough Dan, we found Welwyn Woodlands within about two or three minutes, but probably we were just lucky.

 

Alex.

 

---------------------------------------------------

Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.....

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quote:
Originally posted by Slytherin:

Strangely enough Dan, we found Welwyn Woodlands within about two or three minutes, but probably we were just lucky.


 

No, strangley enough I would imagine you did it during daylight hours... icon_biggrin.gif

 

No trees were harmed during the production of this posting, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced....

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Clues that are vague are the most annoying thing since they invented sliced bread!

 

I mean I think everyone should lead by example and do ones like our Hellfires Globe cache....straight and to the point no fussing around just get what you came for...

 

Im all for a challenge hense the night caching but come on guys there is breaching on the ridiculous sometimes...

 

Welwyn Woodlands being one of them - sorry LIS but thats a killer blow mate!!! I might aswell say to you a line out of Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy!!!

 

BUT MCL I will add that never again can I be called stupid for night caching!

 

icon_biggrin.gif

 

--------------------------------------------------------

I'm Bad, I'm Bad you know it you know! mikejackson1-vi.gif

 

www.buckscaching.co.uk

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I suppose that the difficulty rating also has something to do with it,

 

I would expect that I should be able to find a 1/1 without the clue. To struggle to find a 1/1 after decrypting the clue is unexpected to say the least.

 

Alex.

 

---------------------------------------------------

Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.....

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quote:
Originally posted by SimonG:

I agree that in theory hints should pretty much spell out where the cache is, but when you've hidden a cache under a tree in the middle of a forest with nothing else in sight but more trees, it can be incredibly difficult to come up with a useful hint.


I would agree with that. But will add, that if your going to have a hint, it should at least attempt to be helpful. I've seen ones like "You don't need a hint, go find this cache", and "Let's go [insert placers favorite sports team here]!" icon_mad.gif

 

waypoint_link.gif22008_1700.gif37_gp_logo88x31.jpg

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The worst we found was for a micro.

 

There was about half an acre of short grass (rabits, sheep ?) and in the middle, two trees about 9 feet apart. After searching both trees we decrypted the clue which said "In the left hand tree". icon_smile.gif

 

Anyway, there is one very important reason to make sure that the clue is very precise.

 

Most cachers will search an area carefully to ensure that no damage and little disturbance is done. After a while if the cache is not found, they will decrypt the clue and continue the search.

 

If the cache has gone missing (or very difficult to find) and the clue is useless, this search will continue. The depth and thoroughness will increase as the fruitlessness continues. Eventually, having disturbed much of the area, and trampling all the fauna etc, the cacher goes away not being sure the cache is missing, and maybe, just maybe, posts a "not found" log.

 

If the clue says "under the root of the fallen tree" or similar, little or no damage is done before the cacher is pretty sure the cache is missing.

 

This is even more important with micro's.

 

Just our 2p worth.

 

Tim & June (Winchester)

 

See June, I told you that sign which said 'Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles' was wrong ! icon_smile.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Tim & June:

Anyway, there is one very important reason to make sure that the clue is very precise.


Is it in the cache approvers job spec to take a look at the clue before approval and perhaps suggest to the cache owner that a better clue should be provided??

 

If not, then I think it should be. I know that nothing can be done retrospectively, but if all the newly approved caches had decent hints, then over time the situation might improve.

 

Alex.

 

---------------------------------------------------

Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.....

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quote:
Originally posted by Slytherin:

Is it in the cache approvers job spec to take a look at the clue before approval and perhaps suggest to the cache owner that a better clue should be provided??


 

Yes it is, but the guidelines do not give any guidance other than to not make it too long.

 

We are not in a position to insist that cachers follow our advice, we can only suggest, and often we do. Many people ignore it though.

 

The other point is that in most cases we wouldn't be sure (without actually visiting the cache) whether or not the clue is accurate.

 

Probably not a good idea to enforce a ruling like this because for a number of caches the clue really does form part of the game. Plus of course, it might prevent reasonable evolution of ideas and variations.

 

We dont have all the answers, but we do have a lot of questions.

 

Tim & June (Winchester)

 

See June, I told you that sign which said 'Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles' was wrong ! icon_smile.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Omally:

Maybe we can persuade GC.com to start selling little plastic signs to nail to trees saying "Gur Pnpur Vf Urer!" icon_biggrin.gif


 

Alright, own up, who worked out what it meant within a few seconds............. icon_biggrin.gif

 

Mike

 

Stoners live and stoners die

but in the end we all get high

So if in life you don't succeed

then &*#% the world and smoke some weed

icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

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We've never had a really bad clue, apart from one which I won't name where it was a 1/1, a micro and the clue was a one word and cryptic. I spoke to the cache owner about it though.

 

Mike

 

Stoners live and stoners die

but in the end we all get high

So if in life you don't succeed

then &*#% the world and smoke some weed

icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Seifer (Mike Blitz):

We've never had a really bad clue, apart from one which I won't name where it was a 1/1, a micro and the clue was a one word and cryptic. I spoke to the cache owner about it though.


 

That wouldn't be a cache which is currently temporarily archived and only had one finder before being plundered, would it? icon_wink.gif

 

------

An it harm none, do what ye will

soapbox.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Kouros:

quote:
Originally posted by Seifer (Mike Blitz):

We've never had a really bad clue, apart from one which I won't name where it was a 1/1, a micro and the clue was a one word and cryptic. I spoke to the cache owner about it though.


 

That wouldn't be a cache which is currently temporarily archived and only had one finder before being plundered, would it? icon_wink.gif

 


 

Me say nuffin

 

Mike

 

Stoners live and stoners die

but in the end we all get high

So if in life you don't succeed

then &*#% the world and smoke some weed

icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Omally:

Well, I reckon the clue should be fairly close to a giveaway: that's the whole point of having encryption!


 

Hi Omally,

 

I'm glad you think that should be the case :-)

 

Recognise this......You'll be BARKing mad if this cache leaves you STUMPed!......?

 

I spent over an hour looking for this cache and still couldn't find it :-(

 

The trouble is that you can't be sure you have the correct final co-ordinates :-(

 

Perhaps in the light of your above statement.....................

 

WoodSmoke

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quote:
SimonG:

I agree that in theory hints should pretty much spell out where the cache is, but when you've hidden a cache under a tree in the middle of a forest with nothing else in sight but more trees, it can be incredibly difficult to come up with a useful hint.


 

Good point but I will add something PHoward did when we couldnt find his cache up Keynes Overlook he went bac up there and tied something to a tree......you could also write on a tree with white paint and use that as the clue...hinters or pointers could be done in many ways especially in the middle of a wood-

 

Alternitivly you could jjst pplant it by something a little les obvious.

 

Pid

 

--------------------------------------------------------

I'm Bad, I'm Bad you know it you know! mikejackson1-vi.gif

 

www.buckscaching.co.uk

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quote:
Originally posted by SimonG:

I agree that in theory hints should pretty much spell out where the cache is, but when you've hidden a cache under a tree in the middle of a forest with nothing else in sight but more trees, it can be incredibly difficult to come up with a useful hint.

 

http://www.SimonG.org - now with added blog!


 

How do you people feel about photos used in conjunction with a hint?

For example, the hint could say, “The cache is hidden under the fallen tree in the photograph.”

Then upload to the cache page one or two photographs that will clearly identify the fallen tree under which the cache is hidden.

 

John

 

Age and treachery will always triumph over youth and ability.

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quote:
Originally posted by Pharisee:

How do you people feel about photos used in conjunction with a hint?

For example, the hint could say, “The cache is hidden under the fallen tree in the photograph.”

Then upload to the cache page one or two photographs that will clearly identify the fallen tree under which the cache is hidden.


The problem with that is that unless you read the hint before you left the house, you don't know you have to print out the photos. I suppose it would be okay if you said on the cache page that the hint referred to the photo, but then you'd have to try to print the photo without actually looking at it...

 

SimonG.org - now with added blog!

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quote:
Originally posted by Pharisee:

 

How do you people feel about photos used in conjunction with a hint?

For example, the hint could say, “The cache is hidden under the fallen tree in the photograph.”

Then upload to the cache page one or two photographs that will clearly identify the fallen tree under which the cache is hidden.

 


 

I think its a good idea and I've done it for one of my caches. You can print the photo and put it in your pocket and only use it if you need it.

 

Its unlikely you will remember the photo in enough detail to find the right tree if you don't get the photo out and look at it.

 

Obviously the photo should be labelled 'Photo clue' or similar on the web site.

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quote:
Originally posted by Pharisee:

How do you people feel about photos used in conjunction with a hint?


If you use a PDA then you don't get the photos.

I'd say that is worse than having a bad hint.

 

alex.

 

---------------------------------------------------

Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.....

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quote:
Originally posted by SimonG:

The problem with that is that unless you read the hint before you left the house, you don't know you have to print out the photos. I suppose it would be okay if you said on the cache page that the hint referred to the photo, but then you'd have to try to print the photo without actually looking at it...

 

http://www.SimonG.org - now with added blog!


I understand where you’re coming from, Simon… but last weekend I spent 3 hours on a cold and windy Welsh hillside and failed miserably to find the cache. The hint didn’t actually refer to a photograph but then it didn’t help me a great deal either (that wasn’t the fault of the hint, I hasten to add [just what is a ‘bothy’, anyway]). When I got home and looked at the cache page again I realised that the cache setter had uploaded a good photograph that very clearly identified the exact cache location. Had I printed this out and taken it with me, as a last resort so to speak, I’m sure I would have found the cache and saved myself the embarrassment of being the only person so far to log a ‘Could Not Find’ for the cache.

 

John

 

Age and treachery will always triumph over youth and ability.

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quote:
Originally posted by Slytherin:

If you use a PDA then you don't get the photos.

I'd say that is worse than having a bad hint.

 

alex.

 

---------------------------------------------------

Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.....


I didn't know that... I don't have a PDA but I'll bear it in mind when I next set a cache. Thanks.

 

John

 

Age and treachery will always triumph over youth and ability.

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Personally I expect that the hint for a cache of difficulty 1 or maybe even 2 to virtually give away the location - although I've hardly ever seen this. I would not expect caches with a difficulty of 3 or higher to have a hint that gives away the location. I've done a couple with difficulty 5 that didn't have a hint.

 

Groover

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quote:
Originally posted by Teasel:

quote:
Originally posted by Slytherin:

If you use a PDA then you don't get the photos.


Out of interest, why not? Is it that they can't "do" photos, or is it that nobody's yet written a program to grab GC.com photos in a format that PDAs can cope with?


 

I use the GPX file sent in an email from g.com which contains all the cache info.

 

Pictures are not sent with this :-(

 

It would be nice if they were as it wont make much difference to the file size to me :-)

 

PDAs will display the same format pictures as Windows.

 

WoodSmoke

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood Smoke:

I'm glad you think that should be the case :-)

 

Recognise this......You'll be BARKing mad if this cache leaves you STUMPed!......?

 

I spent over an hour looking for this cache and still couldn't find it :-(

 

The trouble is that you can't be sure you have the correct final co-ordinates :-(

 

Perhaps in the light of your above statement.....................

 

WoodSmoke


 

Well I managed to find it OK... icon_wink.gif

 

I reckon that clue is good enough to help find that particular cache. Given the highlighting capitals letters and all... I guess this sort of clue would be OK for a seasoned cacher, but a newbie (sorry, new cacher) might have problems. But then, that's what being new is about isn't it? Low level of knowledge and a desire to learn? After quite a few caches you tend to be able to spot likely looking places (such as tree STUMPs surrounded by lots of bits of BARK...) cos in a way some hiding places get kinda repetitive. Of course, I can't guarantee that every visitor will replace the cache exactly as it was found, nor can one stop woodland critters running off with bits of bark etc...

By the way, have you found it yet? I'm gonna do a maintenance visit at the weekend: if you'd care to meet up I'd be more than happy to give you a couple more clues! icon_biggrin.gif

 

Also, bring a carrier bag cos Saturday is CITO day! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

 

Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis.

 

[This message was edited by Omally on April 24, 2003 at 10:59 AM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by Omally:

 

Well I managed to find it OK... icon_wink.gif

 

I reckon that clue is good enough to help find that particular cache. Given the highlighting capitals letters and all... I guess this sort of clue would be OK for a seasoned cacher, but a newbie (sorry, new cacher) might have problems. But then, that's what being new is about isn't it? Low level of knowledge and a desire to learn? After quite a few caches you tend to be able to spot likely looking places (such as tree STUMPs surrounded by lots of bits of BARK...) cos in a way some hiding places get kinda repetitive. Of course, I can't guarantee that every visitor will replace the cache exactly as it was found, nor can one stop woodland critters running off with bits of bark etc...


 

Hi Omally,

 

I bet you did :-)

 

Unfortunately you completely missed my point :-(

 

Funnily enough I can work out BARK and STUMP :-)

 

But my point was.............if the finder makes a mistake in the co-ordinates there is no way of knowing this other than to go around the walk again :-(

 

In caches where you have to build up the final destination from other clues, there is always the chance of making mistakes.

 

Do you not think that the hint should contain the final co-ordinates?

 

This would follow your original statement of making the hint almost certain :-)

 

Btw I quite like the term 'Newbie' :-)

 

So all you 'Oldies' here let us decide what we like to be called :-)

 

WoodSmoke

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There is one exception to clues that are total spoilers. If a cache is rated at the more challenging end of the difficulty scale then the clue should not give the cache location away. This prevents people getting easy scores on the more difficult ones. I know this is a pain if you are not local to the area and have made a special visit to the said cache but lets face it if they were all easy where is the challenge?

 

Perhaps the more challenging caches should have some sort of warning: 'This ain't going to be easy and tyhe clue won't help a great deal'

 

I did a cache in Camberley this week where the team who placed who placed it must be on another planet ;-) and although I manged to get the gist of a very small part of his cache description when I decoded the clue I had no idea what it meant and it was no use to me at all. Anyway I found it by being methodical and very lucky. That was a very enjoyable find.

 

Thanks

 

Chris

 

LASSITUDE- (noun) Tiredness and apathy: a state of weariness accompanied by listlessness or apathy[15th century. Via French from Latin lassitudo , from lassus 'weary'.]

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood Smoke:

<snip> my point was.............if the finder makes a mistake in the co-ordinates there is no way of knowing this other than to go around the walk again :-(

 

In caches where you have to build up the final destination from other clues, there is always the chance of making mistakes.

 

Do you not think that the hint should contain the final co-ordinates?

 

This would follow your original statement of making the hint almost certain :-)

 

Btw I quite like the term 'Newbie' :-)

 

So all you 'Oldies' here let us decide what we like to be called :-)

 

WoodSmoke


 

If mistakes are made, then tough. If you get the clues wrong through your own errors, then of course you won't find the cache (unless by accident!) I've made enough mistakes myself that have led to "no-finds" and have kicked myself when I've realised the error was mine. That's the point if the game, to get it right so's you can find the cache. I certainly don't think the final co-ords should ever be given away as it would take the edge off the sense of achievment when you do finally find the cache!

"Almost certain" means just that: almost certain, and I still feel the clue is OK.

I guess my maintenance visit will include checking the area for other stumps surrounded by bark; there weren't that many before!

 

I must say, though, I did place that cache a few months ago and have since done a lot more caches. Opinions change over time in line with experience... and I'm certainly open to criticism/ideas. I feel it is my duty as a cache manager/owner to ensure that all is well, and that includes problems with the clues. My offer to meet up is still open as I do value your judgement.

 

I do still regard myself as a Newbie, though: apparantly Centurians are 10 a penny and I'm not there yet, and I deffo am not an "Oldie"!

 

Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis.

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood Smoke:

Do you not think that the hint should contain the final co-ordinates?


NO!

 

People would just decrypt the clue and not bother visiting the other locations! A good compromise is some kind of checksum - I have a multi where you have to figure out the final coords, and the cache page tells you what all the digits add up to. If they add up right, chances are they're correct.

 

SimonG.org - now with added blog!

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quote:
Originally posted by SimonG:

quote:
Originally posted by Wood Smoke:

Do you not think that the hint should contain the final co-ordinates?


NO!

 

People would just decrypt the clue and not bother visiting the other locations! A good compromise is some kind of checksum - I have a multi where you have to figure out the final coords, and the cache page tells you what all the digits add up to. If they add up right, chances are they're correct.


 

Hi SimonG,

 

Now that's a very good idea :-)

 

Only problem is, I'm not sure if cachers like Omally could add them up correct in the first place :-)

 

WoodSmoke

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood Smoke:

 

Hi SimonG,

 

Now that's a very good idea :-)

 

Only problem is, I'm not sure if cachers like Omally could add them up correct in the first place :-)

 

WoodSmoke


 

Ah, now! Surely 2 and 2 still make 5, right? icon_biggrin.gif

 

Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis.

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quote:
Originally posted by Lassitude:

There is one exception to clues that are total spoilers. If a cache is rated at the more challenging end of the difficulty scale then the clue should not give the cache location away.


 

In our new cache, we plan to make it with no hint, as it will be a 5* difficulty. I think that's fair as it will be pretty abvious that the clue 'ain't gonna help much. Hell, Burial Mound's clue 'ain't that specific!

 

Mike

 

Stoners live and stoners die

but in the end we all get high

So if in life you don't succeed

then &*#% the world and smoke some weed

icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

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Dan and Pid, I don't think you are stupid. I think you are nuts. Big difference!icon_biggrin.gif

 

Stupidity infers intellect.

Nuts implies bravado.

 

No trees were harmed during the production of this posting, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced....

 

[This message was edited by MCL on April 24, 2003 at 06:24 PM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by Seifer (Mike Blitz):

In our new cache, we plan to make it with no hint, as it will be a 5* difficulty. I think that's fair as it will be pretty abvious that the clue 'ain't gonna help much. Hell, Burial Mound's clue 'ain't that specific!


For a 5* cache I wouldn't expect much of a clue. The cache I was talking about was a 1/1.

 

BTW, I don't think your sig. is appropriate to the group. icon_mad.gificon_mad.gif

 

---------------------------------------------------

Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.....

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I thought that the most important part of caching is enjoying the location which has been chosen with exceptional care - the views, history, originality, or 'cute' factor etc. Having often travelled some distance to get there, it is very annoying having to search for ages without the help of a good clue when I just want to sign the log book and move on. A clue is supposed to help after all; if you don't want it don't decript!

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quote:
LIS:

Not as bad as putting on the cache page that a cache has been replaced, when in fact you had only planned to replace the cache on the coming weekend....!!!!!


 

Yes....Ho hum!! Sorry bout that one icon_wink.gif but hey there is no use in calling yourself "Lost in Space" if I can't lose you in some space at some point icon_wink.gif hehe. Its back now by the way your welcome to come and get it!

 

quote:
MCL:

Dan and Pid, I don't think you are stupid. I think you are nuts. Big difference!

 

Stupidity infers intellect.

Nuts implies bravado.

 

No trees were harmed during the production of this posting, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced....


 

Fair enough MCL - won't agree Night caching as a whole requires bravado but...walking through a field that is signed "BEWARE: BULL IN FIELD" in great big red writing in he middle of a 1.06 mile walk to a cache in the pitch black dark! Yes we got egg on our face at the Matson Bicester Clan's latest stint, the buggers!

 

Pid

 

--------------------------------------------------------

I'm Bad, I'm Bad you know it you know! mikejackson1-vi.gif

 

www.buckscaching.co.uk

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quote:
Originally posted by Lassitude:

I did a cache in Camberley this week where the team who placed who placed it must be on another planet ;-) and although I manged to get the gist of a very small part of his cache description when I decoded the clue I had no idea what it meant and it was no use to me at all. Anyway I found it by being methodical and very lucky. That was a very enjoyable find.


Hey Chris, I recognise that cache icon_smile.gif As far as I can tell, that clue was only helpful if you couldn't find your way to the path! (did make for an interesting challenge though)

 

I nominate it for Least Helpful Clue.

 

I'll get me coat

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quote:
Originally posted by MaryE:

I nominate it for Least Helpful Clue.


 

I nominate the hint 'clue with only constanants: whr th rbbt ls r th crw fls, y wll nt fnd r gl', which as far as I can see means 'its in the countryside somewhere. The cache was actually about a foot off the ground in a hawthorn bush.

 

I suppose I'd better not name the cache.

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quote:
Originally posted by Daisy&me:

I nominate the hint 'clue with only constanants: whr th rbbt ls r th crw fls, y wll nt fnd r gl'


I'll stick up for this one.

I quite liked the clue when I visited the cache it refers to. I thought it was a novel way of adding a bit more interest to the procedure, and it is (relatively) accurate as your description of where the cache was found indicates.

Extracting the cache from its location, however, was a very painful experience if memory serves me correctly!

 

Rich

mobilis in mobili

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I have to say I would like clues to be more obvious. We have 2 kinds one of 2.6 years the other @ 7 months. We went caching the other day and the clue was " Large north-pointing stump " This was in a forrest and in the close fasinity of the cache place there was 5 other fallen trees all pointing North and on the way the the cache site within 20-30 meters there was another 30 trees fallen and all pointing north. This caches site took us 30-60 minits to find and with kind getting borred this is not good.

 

Yes Yes Yes WoodSmoke I know you found this site easy, but thiis is because of the equiptment you use, I know John a gill found this hard 2. Hiding caches in forrests is very nice and R lovely walks but I have to say this is a very good reason why clues should be good, as tree cover plays havoc with the GPS, and kind just give us grief when they get bored.

 

Better clues

please, please please please

 

GEOC.gif | forumpics.gif

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