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Logging Less Than Ideal Caches.


bons
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We've talked about cache rating systems and how people "only say nice things about the cache in the log".

 

Well, this morning I had to log a "less than ideal" FTF for a bookcrossing type cache. I left the following comment and in doing so wondered if I could have wordsmithed this into something better and realized that the cache owner could (and probably would) just delete the log.

 

I also sent an e-mail to the cache owner:

 

So, given that I probably handled this poorly, how should I have handled it?

 

------

 

Edit: removed copies of the log and e-mail. See post below for more information.

Edited by bons
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I don't see what you did as anything but constructive criticism. I appreciate suggestions on all of my caches. Lately, I've been getting comments like "You should have phrased that better." And when I ask how I could re-phrase, I get the comment, "Oh. I understand it completely now that I know what you're talking about." But I'll never turn down advice or comments.

 

What you wrote in the log involved describing the conditions of the cache for future finders. I see that as the responsibility of a first finder. If you were to say "Stupid didn't leave a log. (S)he should be banned for life. Boycot all XXXX's caches!" then there would be cause for apology. If the cache owner updates the placement and take your help, you should probably edit your log to something differant. Otherwise, leave it.

 

Did it end up being a 3/3, as well?

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Did you report the lack of a logbook to GC?

Nope. I figured it was easier to just fix the problem myself. I keep spare logbooks, pencils, sharpeners, etc. in my car (usually a set is in my pocket but in this case it was just a short walk back to the nice warm car so no worries).

 

Thanks for your comments everyone. I feel a lot better.

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I have to agree that 98% of comments I see in cache logs are of the positive nature. If I were new to Geocaching, I might believe that this was because the caches were all great and the experiences that went with them were similar. Although we all know that this is not true.

 

I have found caches that were so badly placed that it was a wonder that they had survived at all. I have been to a couple of multi's that were not planned well at all and were lost within the first few weeks of being placed. I have also found caches where the items found inside were embarrassingly bad.

 

In each of these examples, I have left what I felt to be constructive criticism in order for future cachers and the owner to recognize that they need to work a little harder to get their cache right.

 

In one case, I found a cache that had been placed by a user that had zero finds. The location was inappropriate, the container was poor and the log book was unusuable. I left a note to this effect, but the user never responded.

 

Not much you can really do... other than notify the approver in your area and suggest that they review this user with a more critical eye for future caches. Or is this going too far?

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I made the mistake of publicly lambasting a local cacher for a series of less-than-high quality caches - I slammed him both in the the cache logs as well as on our local state forum. Needless to say, when he read my logs and caught wind of my other comments, he was, ahem, less than pleased.

 

Upon reflection I agreed it was poor form to use public forums to criticize the caches, and worse, to do so non-constructively. I have since made peace with this other cacher and have altered my approach to dealing with sub-par caching experiences. (This other cacher, in turn, has taken the advice from me and others who did so more constructively, and he's now one of our state's best cache hiders, with good caches in good locations now.)

 

Now, when I find a sub-par cache (either a poor container, a poor location, poor contents, etc.), all it gets from me is a one-line "TNLNSL" log entry. Any other caches, I'll take the time to write a nice log on-line. If I don't know the cache hider, I'll send a private note, written in nice, constructive, non-threatening language. If I do know the cache hider and it's clear that that person just doesn't "get it", then my simple "TNLNSL" on-line log is my passive-aggressive way of slamming them. I know, it's weak, and my NYC-native upbringing HATES being non-confrontational, but it beats starting a war with someone. I guess life's too short.

 

As for another comment on this thread about hiders not gaining experience with a few finds before rushing out to make their hides, I started a thread on that a number of months ago and got publicly lambasted over it (I had proposed a "rule" about minimum finds before a hide, and the respondents felt we had quite enough rules already), so while I agree with the idea in principle, I'm not as much of a hard-a** over it as I was back then.

 

FWIW...

-Dave R. in Biloxi

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Well, the owner apparently has only one find under their belt, which may be part of the problem. You need to get some experience in order to find out what makes a good cache.

yes, yes, yes

 

You would be surprised at how many caches come through where the owner has 0-10 finds. I don't understand it but also don't think its fair to make someone find X number of caches before hiding one either.

 

bons, I think the way you offered your help to them in an email is great and its that kind of dedication that will help out that cacher and others to follow.

 

Good Job.

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I think the email is great. I might have went a little lighter in the log though especially the private property part. No reason to raise any red flags if you're not sure about it being on Private property or if the owner hasn't gotten permission.

 

If you were expecting something like the Lewis and Clark caches with great bits of history in them, then I suggest you type it up and bring it with you. It would make the cache a bit more memorable.

 

I probably would have left that for the email as well.

Sounds like the owner has some decent idea's and your offer to work with them is great.

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I once had such a miserable time trying to find a cache that I HAD to note it in my log.

 

My DNF log was promptly deleted.

 

After bringing it to the forums, I think most people stated that they didn't want negative comments in the logs, and that the on-line logs should be more constructive. The ole if-you-can't-say-anything-nice axiom.

 

I, for one, think that you should say exactly what you want to say in your log. Good, bad, and ugly.

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I like being up front with comments. My favorite log was on a cache page I read last weekend. The name of the cache was "Why" and it was rated a 4 for difficulty. The cache was a hollowed out log and the owner gave about 10 clues to that effect in the write up.

 

One person who found the cache said "Why -- because this is an easy cache that should be rated a 1, not a 4, that's why."

 

Now that is my kind of log !

 

;)

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I certainly think being as objective as possible in log entries is admirable. If the cache is a cracked leaky tupperware thrown from the freeway, say it. The only way somebody improves is through education and constructive feedback. Saying something like "Fun cache, quick find. Took XXX left XXX. Thanks for placing it!" suggests it is not a stellar cache placement, but does nothing to help improve the hider's placement skills.

 

We need more positive peer pressure, rather than more rules from above.

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I think you did the right thing. I initially was going to say that you shouldn't include the criticism and comments in the gc.com log, but rethought my response and concluded that it will help other cachers decide whether or not they are going to waste their time in finding the cache. You know the old axiom (to steal a word from the owl dude): So many caches, so little time.

 

I would certainly want to know ahead of time if I'm heading out to a cache full of gold dubloons or a cache full of dead monkeys. And, I would also appreciate comments from cachers as to what may make my cache more worth hunting.

 

EDIT: spelling

Edited by Sparky-Watts
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I'm with BrianSnat on this one. I think you should have adressed your concerns in an email first, if you did not receive a response in a reasonable amount of time, then go ahead and post your concerns.

If the cache is not breaking any laws, then the only remaining issue is it's quality. I'm not sure if you intend this thread to discuss that particular cache, or any less than "ideal" cache. I take it to mean the latter, because of the plural in the title.

 

So, if the cache meets the guidelines, and breaks no laws, you have only it's quality to post about. If you did not enjoy the hunt, so be it. Go ahead and say so. You could publicly tell the hider, and all of the past and potential finders exactly how to make the cache better, in your opinion. But I would not try to win any popularity contests. :lol:

 

Remember, they did you a favor by placing a cache for you to find.

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<SNIP>

 

Remember, they did you a favor by placing a cache for you to find.

Sometimes, a really poor quality cache is a waste of time, and an unpleasant experience. I have been to quite a few caches placed in briar patches of small parks. No favor to me...

Haha! Some people act like they're doing the placer a favor by hunting it!

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<SNIP>

 

Remember, they did you a favor by placing a cache for you to find.

Sometimes, a really poor quality cache is a waste of time, and an unpleasant experience. I have been to quite a few caches placed in briar patches of small parks. No favor to me...

Haha! Some people act like they're doing the placer a favor by hunting it!

favor to me, favor to me.

 

Easy numbers baby. :lol:

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I think you did the right thing bons. It sounded very non-threatening with a truly helpful tone.

 

umc Posted on Dec 10 2003, 12:56 PM

 

(Prime Suspect @ Dec 10 2003, 10:54 AM)

Well, the owner apparently has only one find under their belt, which may be part of the problem. You need to get some experience in order to find out what makes a good cache.

 

yes, yes, yes

 

You would be surprised at how many caches come through where the owner has 0-10 finds. I don't understand it but also don't think its fair to make someone find X number of caches before hiding one either.

 

I agree even though I'm new at this, 35 days actually. I have imposed a goal for myself of having at least 25 traditional finds under my belt before I place my first cache. I didn't do this because of anything I had read or experienced here. I just felt like I need to gain some experience before doing that in order to avoid mistakes. As with any group, sport, hobby, whatever, you have to feel things out in the beginning. If a few more people didn't just jump in without research, things would be a lot better. But the excitement takes over for some and without research they lose interest and go on to the next "hobby". Or they get with the program. Better sooner than later. I am close to having accomplished my goal. I have almost everything ready for my first cache, but I will still be taking my time to do the planning beforehand. I may end up having more than 25 before I actually get to it. Nothing wrong in getting it right the first time. I learn a lot lurking here. :lol:

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Actually there was no intent at public humilation. The comments were encrypted in the log in order to avoid as much of that as possible while trying to be fair to those people who would be coming after me.

 

Actually I was shocked that people here went to the trouble of seeking the cache and looking at the owner's stats. I deliberately didn't include a link to the cache because I didn't want critisism of the cache or the cache owner to come into this. I didn't feel the cache needed administrative involvement. I felt it all could have been taken care of locally. What I really wanted was feedback on what I was saying and how I said it in order to be able provide better feedback in a more productive manner in the future.

 

Really, there was no secondary intention. I fixed the log issue while I was there (as I said in the feedback) in order to bring the cache up to current standards. The personal property thing was mentioned because in another local cache that's on personal property) a number of local cachers have commented that they didn't like caching on personal property even though permission was explicitly given.

 

I'm going to remove the comments from this thread because this really has gone a lot further than I intended.

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I'm going to remove the comments from this thread because this really has gone a lot further than I intended.

I think that's because you really touched a nerve for a lot of us around here. Sub-par caches placed by "just don't get it" cachers, who rush out and put just any old container on the side of any old road and just do it for the thrill of getting validation Emails that someone actually went after something they put out, is unfortunately a very real issue in our sport. And then the issue goes further because if you post something critical, however legitimately, then some of those people delete your Find (or No Find) log and "take their bat and ball and go home". BTDT. Thus, my use now of what RK correctly refers to as the universal code for "your cache sucked": "Found it." or "TNLNSL."

 

-Dave R. in Biloxi

Edited by drat19
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Actually I was shocked that people here went to the trouble of seeking the cache and looking at the owner's stats. I deliberately didn't include a link to the cache because I didn't want critisism of the cache or the cache owner to come into this. I didn't feel the cache needed administrative involvement. I felt it all could have been taken care of locally. What I really wanted was feedback on what I was saying and how I said it in order to be able provide better feedback in a more productive manner in the future.

Welcome to the club. Has happened to me here as well, except my resulted in the cache being archived. And then unarchived and then the owner getting harassed via email by others. Now he's upset with me. I've heard things through the rumor mill of them talking flak, but oh well. I didn't say anything in their log bad. I brought up a type of cache that I did that according to the guidelines should not of been approved. It was in a discussion of incosistencies. On my part an admin person seeked out the cache and archived as well as removing my find on it and then posting a message to send all complaints to me. Hopefully that won't happen to you. After I brough that to the forums, it was all reversed and I received an apology from TPTB.

 

Nothing wrong with constructive criticism. Sometimes the truth hurts, but I do agree though that probably an emial first would of been better. And then if you got some flak from them or no response, then maybe send an email to approvers for that area about it and for them to keep an eye out.

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I recently noticed two on-line logs deleted from a local cache on my watchlist. Paraphrasing: "I wouldn't recommend this one for night due to the inhabitants at the back of the lot" and "I think I walked through someone's living room on the way to the cache". Both were veiled references to homeless near the cache location. Cache owner who is very well respected and who's caches are some of the most popular in the area felt the logs were derogatory. I didn't agree as I would want to know that piece of information before visiting the cache, especially if my young children were going to be with me. Personally, I try not to delete any logs on my caches, except for unnecessary conversational notes from non-searchers. The superfluous banter does not need to stay there permanently.

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Look at it this way, if you logged a find, it at least was worth continuing to search. If the experience was so bad due to lack of scenery, trash, bad neighborhood, thorns, etc, you could have stopped searching right then. The fact that you continued long enough to actually find the cache and log it tells me it had to be at least worth that much.

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Some caches I have found seem to be purposely placed in the thickest briar patches they can find!

I recently found a cache in a city park that was placed in the middle of a bunch of small honey locust trees. If you don't know this species, it is covered with VERY sharp thorns up to 6" long, and no matter how careful you are, they have an uncanny ability to "reach out and grab you". Anyway, this particular cache, I'm sure, was placed there so that muggles would not find it. Most muggles will avoid these trees like the plague, so the honey locust were used as "guardians" of the cache. The cache is pretty much in the open once you get within 50 feet or so, but to the best of my knowledge, no muggle has plundered it in the couple of years that it has been there.

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I personally do not believe in censoring anything someone has to say about my caches. My first cache put in the field had a rocky start. It was a multi but two of the caches dissappeared in the first month they were in the field (not listed yet) so i had to replace them and redo all the paper work....after listing i was informed that I had the cords wrong on one of the caches by the FTF. Fixed that problem and then after adding the little paper slips to each cache i was told by the second to find that i had cords wrong on those :lol: then just recently i was told that the first cache in teh series was soaking wet....so i replaced the containor ....the very next person said that the new containor was leaking and the cache was full of water......i leave all these things on the cache page and i think it maybe affecting the rate of people finding the cache......not sure what to do? have thought of replacing all containers with ammo boxes and redoing all the paperwork with like seven people double checking it

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......i leave all these things on the cache page and i think it maybe affecting the rate of people finding the cache......not sure what to do?  have thought of replacing all containers with ammo boxes and redoing all the paperwork with like seven people double checking it

You might consider archiving the original cache and then immediately following up with a new cache called "<old cache name> - Take 2", so that all those negative comments don't deter folks from searching, there's an archival reference to the original cache, and also previous finders of the old cache get another chance to return and try your new one.

 

FWIW...

-Dave R. in Biloxi

Edited by drat19
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i leave all these things on the cache page and i think it maybe affecting the rate of people finding the cache......not sure what to do?

'Round these parts - neophytus extremitis - if someone posts about an issue with a cache, the owner usually goes and checks on it, makes the adjustments needed (coords, new container, dry log, whatever) and then posts a note on the cache page itself so people then reading the page can see it's been updated and all moves on as happily as before.

 

 

-=-

m

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