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Ethical Dilemma


Guest Markwell
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Guest Markwell

A couple weeks ago, I set up a level 5 difficulty cache (GCC9D), and the good geocachers of the area are closing in. Two teams, neck and neck.

 

I inteded the cache to be a difficult one due to the clues involved, but apparently, I hid one of the caches so well, that even though they got the correct coordinates through the math skills, they can't find the cache. He wrote me today and asked about getting a hint.

 

My wife and I talked long and hard about giving clues on this level 5 cache. We talked about the ethics of Geocaching and the fact that this is the first level 5 cache in difficulty in the area (the terrain is only 1½). We also talked about the spirit of Geocaching, in that the intention is for people to actually find the cache.

 

Finally, we talked about what we would want if the situation were reversed. I think I personally would want as little help as possible - so that I could say I mastered the problem with my own brain cells - however, if I got COMPLETELY stumped, I'd want the hider to give out little hints in as small of increments as possible.

 

So that's what I did - just verified that he got the coordinates correct, and told him that he needed to search further.

 

I'd like some feedback from other cachers as to both sides - how you would feel as the hider and/or the seeker? Should I give more clues? Should I give away the location? confused.gif

 

[This message has been edited by Markwell (edited 07 July 2001).]

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Guest cleenjeep

If you want it to remain a 5, then I say you have given all the hints you should. You verified that the coordinates were correct, and I believe you have done all you can. I wouldn't give out any more, because if you give another to them, why not the next group, and the next group, etc. Pretty soon, your 5's are someone elses 3's. And then you have a rep for giving it away if someone asks you to. Well, okay, so maybe it's not that bad. But, it could happen!

Michael

 

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Webmaster and List Admin for Southern Michigan Rockcrawlers

Personal Site is Cleenjeep's Site

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Guest Scout

I would give hints, subtle at first, then more revealing, if needed, later. The difficulty rating is based on what information is provided in the description, not on what is revealed privately elsewhere.

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Guest Olar

When a level 5 is involved I wonder if there should be a process where when a seeker is absolutely certain that he/she cannot find the cache without further hints then they could forfeit the right to log a find in exchange for the extra help. They could sign the cache log-book (once they do find it) and trade items but not log a find on the website cache page.

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Guest cache_ninja

i've had the same qualms on my more difficult caches..i thought it out this way : well, these people went there and searched all around, and potentially spent a great deal of time hiking there and/or searching around. if they went through all that effort, and didnt find it, its kinda disappointing, and well, if they are still interested and willing to look again, why shouldn't i give them ore hints? they already gave it a go w/out them. in terms of what kinds of hints, i just ask them how specific they want me to be etc.

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Guest robamy

na, Arial">quote:


Originally posted by Olar:

they could forfeit the right to log a find in exchange for the extra help.


 

Well I say if you do give hints (which I don't think I would) on a level 5 then it should be written in the log that hints where used.

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Guest mfratto

Markwell, this is a tough question to answer. I guess what you might want to look at is if over time no one can find your cache, then perhaps you hid it too well. Then maybe modify the description a bit if needed.

Several of the cache hiders local to us provide pics and other spoilers on the cache page and they are marked *as spoilers* so the hunter can choose to look or not. That is another way to handle difficult caches.

 

In the mean time, I think if hunters have really tried to find a cache and can't (and you will figure out from talking with them if they are really stumped or just giving up too easily), then why not give out a few hints? Mauri and I have come close to not finding a few caches and that was really frustrating (ok, we are really task oriented sometimes :D ). Had we not found them we would have asked for help. If no help was forth coming I doubt we would return to find that cache (unless it was a really nice hike).

 

I don't think you have an ethical dilema here either. It's not like asking for help is cheating in this game. Who loses (or wins) if you provide help?

 

mike

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Guest Markwell

I'll snip and answer...

quote:
Originally posted by mfratto:

if over time no one can find your cache, then perhaps you hid it too well. Then maybe modify the description a bit if needed.


 

Actually, I didn't think the hiding spots were all that difficult. The mathematical challenges involved were difficult, which is what I based the level five on. Since the original post of this thread the other team (remember I said two were neck and neck) found the one that was evidently so well hidden.

 

why not give out a few hints?

I don't think you have an ethical dilema here either. It's not like asking for help is cheating in this game. Who loses (or wins) if you provide help?

 

The giving of the hints was what I meant. Maybe "ethical" was too strong a word. What I meant to say was that in giving too many hints I would dillute the difficulty of the cache. I think I've already got my answer here, just from a short straw poll.

 

As a side note, I did get a response after I verified to the seeker that he got the coordinates correct. His response to my limitation on clues was "Fair enough," which made me fell better.

 

I guess the whole point was that I didn't want to come across as a hard*** by not giving clues.

 

Thanks all for your suggestions and insight.

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Guest WJJagfan

What is the danger of damage to the surrounding area if hunters go in and try to tear up the place looking for it?

 

Minimal - no hints

Great - give hints to prevent damage.

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Guest rusty

Re-verify that your co-ordinates are correct and don't give any further hints. If they want it easy they can go look for a 1-2 star cache. If your data is correct then it is not impossible to find but by definition it won't be easy.

 

Any cache that is rated 4 stars or more in difficulty or terrain should be out of reach of 70-80% of cachers. If attempted you should not be afraid to fail becuase failure is more likely than success. But if you succeed you have that much more reason to feel good about your accomplishment. It is not necessary to give a little gold star to everyone that tries, (or feed them hints until they get it) becuase that only dilutes the victory for those that actually make it.

 

Rusty...

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Guest Markwell

WJJagfan - there's no danger to this particular area. It is not pristine wilderness, just mildly developed public land. Only thing that might get disturbed would be the spiders and snakes.

 

Thanks, Rusty. Your verification is what I needed.

 

An update: Once I verified the coordinates, the hider went back and tried harder, ultimately finding the spot. I now have two teams that have found the first three legs of this hunt and are calculating the coordinates to the last and most difficult portion of the cache. icon_biggrin.gif

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Guest Markwell

WJJagfan - there's no danger to this particular area. It is not pristine wilderness, just mildly developed public land. Only thing that might get disturbed would be the spiders and snakes.

 

Thanks, Rusty. Your verification is what I needed.

 

An update: Once I verified the coordinates, the hider went back and tried harder, ultimately finding the spot. I now have two teams that have found the first three legs of this hunt and are calculating the coordinates to the last and most difficult portion of the cache. icon_biggrin.gif

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Guest brucebridges

I'll be planting a level 5 cache this weekend and since it will involve whitewater rafting to reach, I don't really want anybody to leave without a reasonable chance to find it.

 

I also can't be sure that the cache is still there unless I return to the site and don't intend to do that too quickly unless it becomes clear the cache is gone.

 

I guess my point is that in my mind at least, if somebody goes to all of the trouble I expect them to, I'd like them to have a fairly good chance for success. It won't be easy by any means.

 

bb

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Guest Markwell

BB - my dilemma was with level 5 difficulty caches, not terrain. You bet your sweet bippy if I went to all the trouble to go whitewater rafting for a cache, I'd want to be pretty darn sure I knew where it was - as I might not get another chance for a while.

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Guest rusty

HR>

 

I agree with you on this when you talk about Terrain rating. If my part of Michigan had a place to put a cache with a 5 star terrain rating (and if I was actually able to get there) I would not make it extremly hard to find once at the location.

 

It would be fun to combine the two and have a multi-part cache with a very hard puzzle to deduce the location that you would be rafting to. You would solve the puzzle in relativly easy terrain and then head downriver when you were sure you had it. That could be a 5/5 and still meet the criteria of being able to actually find it once you got there.

 

Rusty...

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Guest k2dave

Get another person. Let him know all that the 'hint asker' knows and see if he can find it. If he can then you most likely gave enough but if not you can give him the hint you are considering giving to the 'hint asker' and see if it helps.

 

After he finds it ask him if you gave enough info to find it originally

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