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Mysteries Of Gc Etiquette


RexDart
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I'm just about to embark on this grand adventure; my first GPS unit is on the way, my Tungsten E is loaded with software and my walking stick is leaning by the door.

 

While I wait, I read, and I've discovered a curious habit of cachers. Apparently (though it appears nowhere in the FAQ) it's considered Bad Form to allow non-cachers to witness the exhumation, interaction and return of a cache.

 

Why? And if anyone posts compelling reasons (I've no doubt they will, I've thought of a few myself) why is this practice not documented in the FAQ for all to read?

Edited by RexDart
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Hmmm, some reasons of the top of my head:

 

1. Non-cachers could take/destroy the cache.

2. Non-cachers might think you are up to something and call the cops (in one case I know of, a non-cacher thought the cachers were dropping drugs in the ammo can because the cache had so much traffic every day).

3. Non-cachers might mistake a cache for a bomb and call the police/bomb squad (this has happened a few times).

4. It's more fun to be sneaky and stealthy!

 

I have no idea why being stealthy isn't mentioned in the FAQ. I always try to be as sneaky as possible when I find a cache. So far, all the caches I have found (and hidden) are still nicely tucked away waiting for the next cacher. :P

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Apparently (though it appears nowhere in the FAQ) it's considered Bad Form to allow non-cachers to witness the exhumation, interaction and return of a cache.

Good point, I think that this is a big component of the game. The goal of a hidden cache is that it is just out of the perceptiion of the average person, so that a Cacher comes along and all of a suddden thinks MMMM that is out of place, MMMM.

 

I'm waiting of a Cache to get approved (submitted it 5/1, approvers still haven't gotten to it, they must be really backloged). If I've done my job right, a muggle will walk by it without even a thought but a Cacher will come by and see the camoflage and notice that something is out of the ordinary there.

 

And unfortunatly there is the "Cache Safty" component. Being participants in the game, We value the Game Pieces for what they are. Someone not playing the game would not be expected to. That risk is also a component of the game, both hiders and finders take on the responsibilty to keep the game pieces just outside an average person's perception. :P

Edited by flgAZ
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People accidently finding caches is the most common way for a cache to dissapear. People seeking them out to steal them is the second most common way.

And people accidentally finding a cache is a popular way people learn about 'caching and start doing it themselves! :P

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People accidently finding caches is the most common way for a cache to dissapear.  People seeking them out to steal them is the second most common way.

And people accidentally finding a cache is a popular way people learn about 'caching and start doing it themselves! :P

True, and I like reading those logs, but I will still try to be discrete!

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You know, that's a very good question. Why isn't proper ettiquette properly and prominently outlined in the FAQs? Seems to me that if the powers that be were more on the ball a lot of the problems that have been, and need to be, addressed wouldn't be problems in the first place.

 

It's like letting children loose in a china store and not teaching them to not run or touch things.

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And people accidentally finding a cache is a popular way people learn about 'caching and start doing it themselves!

 

True, but I'd rather they read about it in the newspaper. If it's accidently discovered about a half dozen thing can happen and only two of them are good.

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Geocachers of our area we are trying to avoid that this sport be known massively, we let know geocaching to our friends, but we don't want too many articles about geocaching in news.

 

We haven't geocaching bandits, but I think that this "sport" is similar to radio HAM in many aspects. Once people can buy a GPSr for only 40$ geocaching could be a full KAOS of stupid idiots bothering geocachers and stealing caches.

 

Many people knows that radio HAM ended badly due to this kind of idiots that enjoy bothering to the others.

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Many people knows that radio HAM ended badly due to this kind of idiots that enjoy bothering to the others.

HUH? It must be different in Spain for you to say that HAM radio "ended badly"? Around here, Amatuer Radio is still going strong and is relatively unpolluted with bad characters. Perhaps you are speaking of CB radio?

 

***editted fro speeeling***

Edited by Gloom
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Many people knows that radio HAM ended badly due to this kind of idiots that enjoy bothering to the others.

HUH? It must be different in Spain for you to say that HAM radio "ended badly"? Around here, Amatuer Radio is still going strong and is relatively unpolluted with bad characters. Perhaps you are speaking of CB radio?

 

***editted fro speeeling***

I know that Spain and some other countries had the same problem, and I am talking about CB and 144 Mhz, 432 Mhz, etc...

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Its covered in the placing of a cache, but not the finding of....

 

Hiding Your First Geocache

Step 1 - Research a cache location

Geocaching is just like real estate - location, location, location! When thinking about where to place a cache, keep these things in mind:

 

Will it be easy to get to? - If it is only a couple hundred feet from the highway, there's a strong chance someone may plunder it. Try to find a place that will take a bit of time to get to, preferably on foot.

Will it be easy to find? - If it is too visible, or too close to busy roads, trails, etc. there's a good chance someone may stumble upon it. Several of the original caches were discovered this way, but the people who found it were nice enough to leave them there (or participate). But don't make it too difficult! If you hide it well, give hints on geocaching.com as to the location.

Will it be on private or public land? - If you place it on private land, please ask permission before putting it there! If you place the cache on public lands you need to contact the managing agency to find out about their rules. You will be in violation of federal regulation by placing a cache in any area administered by the National Park Service (US). The National Park regulations are intended to protect the fragile environment, and historical and cultural areas found in the parks.

Does it meet requirements to be listed on the site? - Make sure to review the guidelines for listing a geocache on this web site during your research.

Edited by woof n lulu
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Hmmm, some reasons of the top of my head:

 

1. Non-cachers could take/destroy the cache.

2. Non-cachers might think you are up to something and call the cops (in one case I know of, a non-cacher thought the cachers were dropping drugs in the ammo can because the cache had so much traffic every day).

3. Non-cachers might mistake a cache for a bomb and call the police/bomb squad (this has happened a few times).

4. It's more fun to be sneaky and stealthy!

 

I have no idea why being stealthy isn't mentioned in the FAQ. I always try to be as sneaky as possible when I find a cache. So far, all the caches I have found (and hidden) are still nicely tucked away waiting for the next cacher. :P

My main reason is No. 1. There are a lot of caches that disappear. Most of these are probably not due to geocachers stealing them with malice aforethought. Therefore, it is not advisable to let the cache location be generally known to the general public.

 

Having said that, No. 4 is near the top of my list, too. Perhaps this is because my life is not full of real danger and adventure (nor would I want it to be). Being secretive gives me a chance to be that Secret Agent without any of the actual peril or sacrifice. A win-win situation if you ask me. Try it at night for even more effect.

Edited by Balboagirl
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(and RexDart pat yourself on the back  :) )

Well, I can't quite reach that far...one good reason to take an outdoor sport. :)

 

Thanks to everyone for the replies... I file most of them in the 'I thought as much' category. I would like to recommend that, for all the reasons listed above, the finding FAQ be amended; after all, finder is the perspective of virtually all the tyros in the sport, yes?

 

Adding a paragraph emphasizing the need for discretion and the rationale would help all of us contemplating the GC hobby. Not that gleaning the discussion boards has been unpleasant.

 

I seem to recall from another thread a scaled response list of replies (ranging from "It's a nice day" to full-on evangelism); that might make a good addition to the FAQ as well.

Edited by RexDart
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Let me be the first to welcome you to your new addiction... At least that's the way my wife looks at it.

 

There have been times when I was inadvertently spotted that I actually turned the person on to caching by explaining what I was doing. Normally I'll just walk on if it looks like too many people are around. I think the primary reason for stealth has just got to be that we don't want the cache stolen or destroyed.

 

I did run across a cache log down in SC that was interesting in this regard (re: Non cachers finding a cache). The person who found it was incarcerated at the time they found the cache. Yep, a crew from the local jail was doing cleanup in the park and he found it. He was nice enough to actually follow the rules and even traded items! (although one of his trade items was a condom)

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I have no idea why most geocachers try to be sneaky about retrieving and replacing caches. It is a bad idea for a couple of reasons:

 

First, it draws attention to the cache (ever seen somebody trying to be sneaky?). If someone does see you, it is much more likely to draw interest if you are attempting to be sneaky. Very few people have any idea how to actually do things covertly. I have seen many geocachers try to be "discrete" [sic] and actually draw more attention to themselves.

 

Second, with all the concern about caches being mistaken for bombs, acting suspiciously around a cache is not likely to win you any friends in law enforcement. People in the forums complain all the time about caches that resemble bombs, but never even consider their own behavior. For example, as I recall, the cache in Orange County, CA that had the bomb squad come out was originally reported by a neighbor who noticed people coming and going at odd hours and acting "suspicious." I'll bet they were looking around to be sure they were unobserved!

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First, it draws attention to the cache (ever seen somebody trying to be sneaky?).

You mean like when I'm whistling, looking around, turning to walk backwards, and acting so obviously non-sneaky? Or is it when I'm bent over in the bushes and someone approaches I suddenly standup and can't figure out how to hold my arms--then I realize I have the GPS in my hand and hide it behind my back?

 

It's not that you should be "sneaky," but discreet. There's nothing wrong with being caught looking for something. The idea is to not give away the location of the cache.

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Once people can buy a GPSr for only 40$ geocaching could be a full KAOS of stupid idiots bothering geocachers and stealing caches.

If everyone and their brother had a GPSr, it wouldn't be the end of caching. It would change the face of caching. It might mean that there are no 1/1 caches. I could see it becoming more of a mind game (aren't the hard ones already that?) and less of a coordinate game.

 

You can pick up a decent compass for $20 and a great one for $50. You just don't see that many people orienteering or letterboxing with those affordable tools.

 

Its less about the tools/hardware and more about interests.

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i think the single most important reason to be stealthy is not to give hints to observers. if another player is behind me, i don't want to spoil the hunt for them.

 

i don't try to be sneaky (just you try to sneak around if you look like i do), but i do try not to give away hints.

 

i also do not want people to tell me the solution to the puzzle. i want to figger it out.

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Being sneaky causes feeling of guilt or at least like I'm going to get caught. I know I feel it the more sneaky I am and the closer to civilization I'm caching. I've cached in bushes on public property or possible semi-public areas like parking lots for businesses, etc nearby where people have their homes and I'm expecting the cops to arrive any minute. I've bailed out of numerous searches becuase of this feeling.

 

I'm sure I'm not the only one. Most people were reared to feel strange when they're sneaking around trying not to be observed. IT's not a normal thing people who have nothing to hide do. If you're sneaking around, let's face it, under most situations you are doing something wrong. That carries over to caching even though you may not be.

 

I'm not sure this has anything to do with your question. But then again, maybe it does.

 

Alan

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I have found that being stealthy is the trick. You don't want to get caught lurking in the underbrush when a mom and her two young children pass by on the trail, but I think being 'sneaky' is bad. If someone see's you being 'sneaky' they're more apt to call some authority.

 

Best action to take if you are caught caching? Be honest.

The best way to be discreet is to NOT try and hide what you're doing.

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I have no idea why most geocachers try to be sneaky about retrieving and replacing caches.  It is a bad idea for a couple of reasons: 

 

First, it draws attention to the cache (ever seen somebody trying to be sneaky?).  If someone does see you, it is much more likely to draw interest if you are attempting to be sneaky.  Very few people have any idea how to actually do things covertly.  I have seen many geocachers try to be "discrete" [sic] and actually draw more attention to themselves.

 

Second, with all the concern about caches being mistaken for bombs, acting suspiciously around a cache is not likely to win you any friends in law enforcement.  People in the forums complain all the time about caches that resemble bombs, but never even consider their own behavior.  For example, as I recall, the cache in Orange County, CA that had the bomb squad come out was originally reported by a neighbor who noticed people coming and going at odd hours and acting "suspicious."  I'll bet they were looking around to be sure they were unobserved!

 

I have to agree with FizzyMagic and travisl. It seems to me the more that geocachers talk about stealth, the less subtle and discreet they actually are. I'm fairly new to geocaching, but certainly not new to tech. hobbies. I've been a ham for 10 years and I think there are some lessons from that arena.

 

First of all, the whole obsession (and for some cachers, it is an obsession) with stealth is laughable. I have a secret for all of you ultra super stealthy cachers out there: This is going to come as a shock to most of you and a dissapointment for some but most people don't care.

 

Does this mean you should shout "I'VE FOUND IT, THE SECRET IS MINE!" every time you find a cache? No, that's just the opposite end of the scale. Common sense should prevail when retrieving or rehiding a cache. And for those of you who have traded your common sense for stealth, keep reading.

 

I've heard of some pain and suffering that cachers have gone thru due to the hobby that make them feel that stealth is necessary. Two of those items happen to be a connection to general suspicion and illegal activities. For a moment, ask yourself, "What looks more suspicious? A guy walking around looking at a PDA type device or a guy skittering around glancing at the people around them prior to looking at said PDA type device?"

 

Now, as I said above, I've been a ham for ten years and as a good ham, I participated in several public service activities and other events (storm chasing, emergency management drills, etc.). I don't know how familiar everyone is with how amateur radio operators set up their rigs, but in some cases, it can look pretty strange. I myself can recall instances where I had a handheld radio in my hand, a backpack on with a deep cycle battery with a large magnetically mounted antenna sticking out of the top of it. With a setup like that, the LAST thing you want to or can do is be stealthy. I found that talking to people about what I was doing was the best and easiest way to resolve their strange and confused looks.

 

That's right, I said talk, as in, open your mouth and speak with another human life form. I think, since a lot of cachers are from the nerd/geek end of the spectrum, that there is a natural tendency to shy away from contact with new or strange people.

 

Getting back to the amateur radio subject, hams aren't known for stealth, at least when they're out in public. In fact, they're anti-stealth. It turns out that not being discreet is infinitely less obtrusive than attempting to be discreet. If someone actually asks us what's going on, we tell them and not only do they understand, they become interested and sometimes helpful. In addition, a lot of people have joined the hobby based on an encounter with a ham.

 

Now, let's pass this over to geocaching. At this point, geocaching can only benefit from more participants. More cachers = more respect for caching = more caches = more fun cache-items. When you're out and you get strange looks, don't hide what you're doing, act normally, and possibly even talk to people. The vast majority of the time, they'll be understanding, if not helpful, and you may have even brought them over to what I consider one of the best new hobbies to come along in a long time.

 

Finally, I'd like to say that as obvous as people are who try to be stealthy, the people who want to steal or destroy the cache are twice as obvious. These are people in the area who are watching you when you are extracting or rehiding the cache who act strangely.

 

If you don't know what that looks like, ask some of the people in this forum who are "ultra-stealthy," they're truly an invaluable resource in this area...

 

Ok, so this is sort of a vent on my part. That's at least one of the reasons why this forum exists. :blink: I'll get off my soapbox now and let the flamers come to the plate. :lol:

 

Happy hunting,

 

W4XJF

Team Vibe

 

P.S. Yes, I am aware that this is just a hobby/game, so save it if that's your reply, you were obviously offended by something I said, or possibly the personification of something I said :sad: . Remember, it's just a message board. B)

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No offense, but being a mobile Ham operator and trying not to reveal the location of a cache are two entirely different things. It isn't as much about educating the people around you as it is keeping the cache from being plundered by those who won't respect the ground rules of the game. And that's different if somebody is curious and they ask about it.

 

The whole idea about employing stealth is to blend into your surroundings. That is, you have to look like you belong and look like you know what you're doing with confidence. It should be like walking into your favorite fast food place knowing exactly what you want. Folks are used to techno geeks these days. The electronics are a part of the background clutter.

 

Now, let's pass this over to geocaching. At this point, geocaching can only benefit from more participants. More cachers = more respect for caching = more caches = more fun cache-items. When you're out and you get strange looks, don't hide what you're doing, act normally, and possibly even talk to people. The vast majority of the time, they'll be understanding, if not helpful, and you may have even brought them over to what I consider one of the best new hobbies to come along in a long time.

 

And I agree. To expound on this... The people around you will ignore you as part of the scenery, and might only glance in your direction if you seem to be walking back and forth a little too much. Look like you're picking up trash and you become invisible once more. Whip out your PDA and look like you're taking notes about something and they'll ignore you. If they look in your direction, ask them how's it going? They'll answer and ask the same thing... you say life is good and then you carry on with what you're doing. They'll forget about you. It's that simple. If somebody is curious and they ask about it, answer them.

 

Acting furtive or sneaky or looking like you're intently searching for something will always draw attention to yourself. Don't do that. Don't be that way. It draws attention to you like sugar water does to bees.

 

I used to look all around me as I was pulling out my gear and stuffing the fanny pack and putting things in my pocket. Now I just do it and not even worry about it. I get less attention this way than I did before.

 

people don't care

 

I couldn't have said it better.

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I have to agree......yada yada yada.

I found a cache along a nature trail today and we were spotted by what looked like a hobo who was pushing a shopping cart. We needed to be stealthy or the cache would have been stolen. He actually tried to walk around us to see what we were doing.

 

No one answer fits every situation.

 

Do it your way, I'll keep doing it mine.

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Agree with Criminal . . .

 

It depends on the Geo-Muggle involved, whether or not you should reveal what you are up to . . . a person walking their dog vs. three teenagers smoking on the merry-go-round. I know it's a generalization, but generalizations are there for a reason.

 

We've abandoned caches for later times when the geomuggles are not so thick. Having had a cache raided myself, I've learned the hard way.

 

That said, I learned about geocaching from a newspaper article -- so I am all for that kind of education!

 

Now, if I can only get my 3 yo to quit yelling across the field, "Mom, did you find the TREASURE yet?!" B)

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Having a dog along can sometimes help with the inconspicuous part. Dogs (especially mine) can always use a little remedial training so stopping alongside a trail and have him sit / down / wait / leave it while people pass by is nothing out of the ordinary. Waiting for the muggles to disappear around the corner can require a little creativity.

 

Now, if only I could get my dog to find the cache for me ... <_<

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Now, if I can only get my 3 yo to quit yelling across the field, "Mom, did you find the TREASURE yet?!"

 

I was reading this thread and was going to add something along these lines. I GC with my wife and our two kids, aged 3 and 7. The 3 year old is a loud kid anyways, but when we find a cache he invariable screams something at the top of his lungs, even if we have just told him to be quiet. And yes, we have had his hearing checked. ;)

 

~daxe

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