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Worry About Micros...


nfa
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Hi,

 

In cruising the forums recently, it seems that I see more and more whine-threads about the prevalence of micro-caches...

 

I have no problem with this, although I think the complaints could more accurately be directed at lame caches of any size.

 

My worry is that as the school year starts, and I have less time to spend (waste? :blink: ) on and in the forums, people will continue to push for the removal of micros from the geocaching.com line-up.

 

I think this would be a shame as I have enjoyed finding and placing some nice micro-caches. I wondered if the micro-cache complaint pattern is a cyclical thing, or has it been building, and whether or not I should be worried about TPTB shoving micro-caches into "that good night".

 

nfa

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I like my whine chilled.

 

Seriously, lame caches are the root problem. It seems that given the ease of acquiring hide-a keys and the permissive attitude towards dumps of jillions of these onto a given area, that micros have a easier time being made lame, and that its easier to run across lame micros than good micros.

 

Granted, there are good micros. They can be made more cleverly than the ammo can cache and if the owner has a little deviousness to them, they can be rather fun. When you see a park full of these, you look forward to the day. When you see a park full of hide a keys, you wish for the ability to delete caches from your search listing.

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People have been complaining about micros, etc., for a far longer time than you two have been geocaching.  And they will probably still be complaining about them long after you are gone.

 

I have no problem with people voicing their opinions.  Hopefully the whiners that whine about whiners will give up after a while.

What about whiners who make "I've been here longer than you" comments while whining about whiners who whine about whiners? :blink:

 

Thanks for answering part of my question though...

 

nfa

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What about whiners who make "I've been here longer than you" comments

I didn't say that. I also expect people will be whining about the same things long after I'm gone ... the only reason they weren't complaining about micros before I joined was because there were very few micros, if any. (Or perhaps they were still a welcome "novelty"). I think we can agree that there is no longer anything remotely "novel" about them.

Edited by BassoonPilot
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People complain because they can. If we charged a dollar for every post, I bet only those folks that had something really important to say would actually pay to have their opinion heard.

 

There's nothing wrong with micros just as there is nothing wrong with ammo cans. In almost every case I've gone after a cache, I knew what the type of container was that I was looking for. If I had some aversion to micros (which I don't), I would avoid those caches.

 

It's not hard to do, so if folks put as much thought into their own actions as they do about complaining about what others do, we'd all be a lot better off.

 

Edit: Fixed typo

Edited by Team DEMP
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Now what would a crack-down on micros cause... a rash of lame offset caches? Read the year on the plaque, continue across the town to a cache under a bush?

Mind-numbing puzzle caches that took us directly to piles of refuse behind the "PigglyWiggly" store. Though I am not convinced that would be any worse than all those micros currently hidden under waste baskets in parks on which homeless people (and others) urinate 20 times a day.

Edited by BassoonPilot
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I  think  it's  been  building,  since  the crack-down on virts, which seemed to encourage a rash of lame micros.

Now what would a crack-down on micros cause... a rash of lame offset caches? Read the year on the plaque, continue across the town to a cache under a bush?

No. It would cause cache owners to lie about the size of their container, and say that it was bigger than it really was. For some people, this lie will be strangely familiar and easy to tell.

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It just occurred to me that if gc.com got rid of the "micro" size (because we are talking about size here), it would leave "Regular" and "Large" and "Other" sizes, and people would just list their really small caches as "regular" or "other" sized.

 

edited to correct type/size error

 

nfa

Edited by NFA
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Call it cache pressure. All the cool (and easy) spots are taken. Now you have to figure out an urban micro, or do a little more work off the beaten path and hike. But you can't rule out that micros are cheap either.

 

For all of the above reasons micro's are here to stay. They are welcome in an urban environment. They make you appreciate a 'real' cache all the more.

 

I don't think there will be an anti micro rule anytime soon.

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I didn't read the whole thread i admit.. but doesn't one know ahead of time if they are searching for a micro? if you wan't want to find a micro.. don't look for one!

Not really. I have hunted for caches that are not designated as micro caches. The logo on the search field simply says whether its a trad ., multi, puzzle, virt, or webcam. If the cache description doesn't specify, you can go after a micro with little sense of what you will find.

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Worry About Micros..., is gc.com going to make another rule?

 

Yes I think so, if people whine and cry loud enough long enough. So then the approvers will have even more to do, and if doesn't fix the problem well enough the rules will get even tighter.

 

My worry is that as the school year starts, and I have less time to spend (waste? :blink: ) on and in the forums, people will continue to push for the removal of micros from the geocaching.com line-up.

won't people do the same things while your here?? or you mean you think things will happen if your not right there to say 'thats a dumb idea because...'???

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I didn't read the whole thread i admit.. but doesn't one know ahead of time if they are searching for a micro?  if you wan't want to find a micro.. don't look for one!

Not really. I have hunted for caches that are not designated as micro caches. The logo on the search field simply says whether its a trad ., multi, puzzle, virt, or webcam. If the cache description doesn't specify, you can go after a micro with little sense of what you will find.

How so? The size is listed on the cache page as well as the type. It's included on the printer-friendly page, and it's included in the GPX pocket queries. Every paper-less solution I know includes the size, and most gpx applications allow you to sort or filter on size. The logo isn't supposed to show what size it it, the logo shows the type. If it's really too hard for some people to read a word instead of looking at an icon, perhaps geocachaching is just too complicated for some people.

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... but doesn't one know ahead of time if they are searching for a micro? ...

Not really. ...

How so? The size is listed on the cache page as well as the type. ...

BigRedMed is correct. The cache size isn't (or didn't use to be) a required field. Many times I have searched for a cache which size was not listed.

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:blink: OK, not trying to hijack the topic, but exactly what is a micro. When I started caching, a 35mm film canister was the standard micro. Now I find Altoids tins, breathmint containers and other small containers. To me, these are definitely micros. Now comes a gray area. Sandwich size gladware or tupperware containers, decon kit containers, various small PVC tubes and other containers such as paintball tubes or parachute flairs containers. Then you move up to what I have no doubt is a standard size, the small and regular size ammo cans. So what do people consider the gray area containers? Coincidently, when I completed a cache page last week, I was able to leave the cache size as not given. Edited by Team Madog
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... but doesn't one know ahead of time if they are searching for a micro? ...

Not really. ...

How so? The size is listed on the cache page as well as the type. ...

BigRedMed is correct. The cache size isn't (or didn't use to be) a required field. Many times I have searched for a cache which size was not listed.

Correct. And those are the same caches that wouldn't have a size icon tomorrow if one was added to the site.

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I don't think that I have found a micro that was not designated and listed as a micro. If others find one then they should note it in their log to aid others in their decision as to whether they should hunt the cache or not.

 

Enough of this forum business for now. If TPTB are thinking of banning micros, I'm going to go out and hide one right now. Gotta get it in before the ban starts.

 

MC

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(Wonders yet again why people cant just leave things alone for everyone to enjoy. Why do some people insist that since they dont like micros, the solution is to ban them so no one can enjoy finding them?)

 

This physically limited cacher likes micros, as well as ammo cans. I can reach micros a lot easier than I can reach an ammo can hidden far underneath that bush I gotta crawl under. Please dont take micros away from those of us who enjoy finding them.

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B) OK, not trying to hijack the topic, but exactly what is a micro. When I started caching, a 35mm film canister was the standard micro. Now I find Altoids tins, breathmint containers and other small containers. To me, these are definitely micros. Now comes a gray area. Sandwich size gladware or tupperware containers, decon kit containers, various small PVC tubes and other containers such as paintball tubes or parachute flairs containers. Then you move up to what I have no doubt is a standard size, the small and regular size ammo cans. So what do people consider the gray area containers? Coincidently, when I completed a cache page last week, I was able to leave the cache size as not given.

My personal criterion is, if I can fit a standard 3"x5" logbook inside its a regular sized cache. If I need to cut the log to fit, or to use another, smaller log, its a micro. Because of this, I call decon boxes micros, but a sandwich size container would be regular.

 

I've hidden decon boxes before and listed them as regular and had complaints from people who "didn't realize they were looking for a micro". I also now call them micros so people know not bring large trade items, or TB's for the cache.

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... but doesn't one know ahead of time if they are searching for a micro? ...

Not really. ...

How so? The size is listed on the cache page as well as the type. ...

BigRedMed is correct. The cache size isn't (or didn't use to be) a required field. Many times I have searched for a cache which size was not listed.

Correct. And those are the same caches that wouldn't have a size icon tomorrow if one was added to the site.

These may not, but future ones will.

 

Clarity of what a micro is and what to expect when you get there is needed.

 

The bigger problem (as has already been dicussed) is the ease of making a lame micro and the seemingly vast quantity of "hide a key under the park bench, along the guard rail, on the bottom of a trash can, along a light post" micros that have caused the whole genre to be called into question. Just like crappy locationless caches brought down the whole genre in the past. Many were good (Where's in a Name, comes to mind), many more were not and these caused the collapse of the genre including the good ones.

 

This has lead me to the opinion that the reviewers need to have a list of experienced cachers that are familiar with various areas under the control of the reviewer and who can provide enlightenment as to the frequency of various cache types as well as the actual lay of the land in a given area. This would help micros as well as all the other genres as cachers in a given area can be encouraged to make more of a certain kind of cache or place their caches in areas that are deficient in the planned genre.

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If we charged a dollar for every post, I bet only those folks that had something really important to say would actually pay to have their opinion heard.

 

That sounds like politics in America! Only those who can afford to pay are the ones who have something important to say. . . .

 

But back to the subject, I feel that micros are good when they are placed cleverly in an area where a regular cache would not be appropriate. Micros hidden in the woods where a regular cache could be placed are examples of laziness.

 

So far, I have hidden one good regular cache in the woods and one lame micro under a park bench. I will make a better effort in the future to place my micros in such a way that nobody thinks they are lame. . .

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Clarity of what a micro is and what to expect when you get there is needed.

 

The bigger problem (as has already been dicussed) is the ease of making a lame micro and the seemingly vast quantity of "hide a key under the park bench, along the guard rail, on the bottom of a trash can, along a light post" micros that have caused the whole genre to be called into question.  Just like crappy locationless caches brought down the whole genre in the past.    Many were good (Where's in a Name, comes to mind), many more were not and these caused the collapse of the genre including the good ones.

 

This has lead me to the opinion that the reviewers need to have a list of experienced cachers that are familiar with various areas under the control of the reviewer and who can provide enlightenment as to the frequency of various cache types as well as the actual lay of the land in a given area.  This would help micros as well as all the other genres as cachers in a given area can be encouraged to make more of a certain kind of cache or place their caches in areas that are deficient in the planned genre.

Bigredmed,

 

I have noted the theme in your recent posts, that there ought to be some sort of supervisory effort aimed towards ensuring a healthy mix of caches in a cache-dense area. While I agree with you completely that a mix is good and oversaturation is bad, I disagree that the cache review process is the right way to bring this about. This is a listing service. My responsibility is to list caches that meet the listing guidelines, and to not list caches that don't. Interjecting my subjective views about cache type composition would not square well with how this listing service currently operates. "Sorry, I know you've put a lot of effort into this puzzle cache, but there are already 24 puzzles in the county, and I can't solve them because I suck at math, so I'm archiving your submission."

 

As a cache reviewer, I am quite familiar with the cache composition, "lay of the land," and leading cache hiders in each corner of my review territory. In most cases, I've gone geocaching there personally and I have met many of the people at events. Even if I haven't spent a lot of time in an area physically, just from reading and working at my volunteer job, I still know a bit. For example, I can tell you that "Good Dog" is the leading hider in Toledo Ohio, and the main problem there is flat terrain, and the relations with the local MetroParks there are excellent. I've never been there to find a cache, however. I am sure that my colleagues can say the same thing for their review territory. There are more than 50 of us now, so at least in the U.S. you don't have the problem of a reviewer being totally unfamiliar with the area. So I'm not sure what you're getting at here by encouraging me to consult local hiders for "enlightenment." I already do; they're my friends.

 

I would instead leave the issue of cache composition up to peer pressure and debate on the local level. A good local geocaching organization can do wonders for cache quality by pointing out excellent caches, criticizing lame ones and adopting or trashing out abandoned ones. But even then, the reviewer serves a worthwhile purpose as a check and balance, applying more or less objective standards to cache listings. If a micro meets the listing guidelines, I'll list it. Here in Pittsburgh, there are just 49 micros within a 50 mile radius of Pittsburgh, out of 500 total caches. But if you follow the local discussions, the "onslaught of micros" is the number one issue. That debate ought to work itself out on its own, and it shouldn't be the reviewer or the area's leading hider who ought to have the last say in what the answer is.

Edited by Keystone Approver
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Personally I dislike micros almost as much as hydros. Ok, not as much as hydros which I will never do because of the low probability that it's still there but I really don't like them. I'll do them if I have to (you do have to when you drive past them on your way to a regular, don't you?) but I usually don't find the cache itself fun. Now I did a micro just the other day that was great. But it was great only because of the location that I would have missed if the micro wasn't there. It would have been just as enjoyable if not more so as a virtual. But thems the rules.

 

But even though I strongly dislike micros I would fight against any ban. More people live in the city than in the country and there are far fewer places for a regular size per finder in the city. Micros have their place. (Maybe a rule that says a regular can displace a micro within the .1 mile rule?)

 

As mentioned several times above, the real problem is lame caches of any size. It's just easier IMHO for a micro to seem lame. A pill bottle thrown in a pile of trash beside a highway isn't as exciting to find as an ammo can in the same pile of trash. Both are lame but the former is far worse. It would be a shame if micros were limited without taking this into consideration. (How about requiring a picture of the container and hiding place before approval?)

 

Edit: Ok, KA mades a good point while I was posting. Forget the last sentence above. Approvers have to have objective rules to hold down the fighting. But a picture of the general area posted publicly on each cache page so we could all decide whether or not it was worth the effort to go just for a micro?

Edited by FtMgAl
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Correct. And those are the same caches that wouldn't have a size icon tomorrow if one was added to the site.

These may not, but future ones will.

 

Clarity of what a micro is and what to expect when you get there is needed.

Those future (and present) ones are already identified on the webpage, on the printed page, and in the pocket queries. What more can you want?

 

f401a898-3a13-4ae3-9b91-fca7140c2247.jpg

 

The only place I can think of that size isn't already included is on the cache search page. That might be a nice addition.

 

What a micro is is also defined already when you submit a cache, although I agree there is room for improvement there. I like so many others have suggested there should probably be a "mini" category inbetween micro and regular. A mini would be something like a decon that is too small for a bunch of mctoys, but still a lot bigger then a film canister, altoids, or bison tube.

Edited by Mopar
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... That debate ought to work itself out on its own, and it shouldn't be the reviewer or the area's leading hider who ought to have the last say in what the answer is.

You used the term "leading hider" a couple of times in that post. Does "leading hider" mean "the individual who hides the most caches" or "the individual who hides the best caches?" Just wondering, because the term is so subjective.

 

A good local geocaching organization can do wonders for cache quality by pointing out excellent caches, criticizing lame ones and adopting or trashing out abandoned ones.
I wonder if the percentage of people that belong to local geocaching organizations is any higher than (or even as high as) the percentage of geocachers that read these forums? Edited by BassoonPilot
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... That debate ought to work itself out on its own, and it shouldn't be the reviewer or the area's leading hider who ought to have the last say in what the answer is.

You used the term "leading hider" a couple of times in that post. Does "leading hider" mean "the individual who hides the most caches" or "the individual who hides the best caches?" Just wondering, because the term is so subjective.

 

A good local geocaching organization can do wonders for cache quality by pointing out excellent caches, criticizing lame ones and adopting or trashing out abandoned ones.
I wonder if the percentage of people that belong to local geocaching organizations is any higher than (or even as high as) the percentage of geocachers that read these forums?

Nice points.

 

We may have 30% of the geocachers in our area actively involved in a local group. Define actively involved as "responds to email" and it gets up to about 50%.

 

The people who are active are some of the best cachers and the most longtermcachers in the area, but still not all of these people are actively involved.

 

By putting local groups into a brighter spot light, you give them some added prominence and that gets them more attention by other cachers, thus facilitating the very debate Keystone wants to have.

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... That debate ought to work itself out on its own, and it shouldn't be the reviewer or the area's leading hider who ought to have the last say in what the answer is.

You used the term "leading hider" a couple of times in that post. Does "leading hider" mean "the individual who hides the most caches" or "the individual who hides the best caches?" Just wondering, because the term is so subjective.

Indeed it is subjective, which is why I'd like to avoid having something like this formalized as part of the review process. In some regions, "most caches" and "best caches" mean the same answer to "who is the leading hider?", in other areas, that is probably *not* the case, in others, it depends on one's definition of "best" and that will depend on what type of geocacher you're asking.

 

A good local geocaching organization can do wonders for cache quality by pointing out excellent caches, criticizing lame ones and adopting or trashing out abandoned ones.
I wonder if the percentage of people that belong to local geocaching organizations is any higher than (or even as high as) the percentage of geocachers that read these forums?

 

I suspect this varies from one area to another. In my review territory, I actively participate in two local groups, and I closely monitor the forums for three or four others. In each case, there are many active participants who rarely post here, if ever, and in many cases they don't even read these forums. The number one reason given is "too much negativity." Local forums tend to be friendlier, as everyone knows each other and expects to see the other posters at the next picnic, although that does not keep them free from controversy. In any event, in Western PA and Ohio, I'd say that well over 50% of active geocachers are also active in their local group. I'd guess that Groundspeak forum readership in that same small sample is more like 10 to 20%.

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In some regions, "most caches" and "best caches" mean the same answer to "who is the leading hider?", in other areas, that is probably *not* the case, in others, it depends on one's definition of "best" and that will depend on what type of geocacher you're asking.

Quite. But I asked how you had used the term.

 

In any event, in Western PA and Ohio, I'd say that well over 50% of active geocachers are also active in their local group.

 

That's an impressive number, and I would tend to agree that if half of the geocachers in an area were members of an organized group, the group would be likely to exert a positive influence on all cache placements in the area. But I also think your area is probably not representative of most.

Edited by BassoonPilot
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So far, I have hidden one good regular cache in the woods and one lame micro under a park bench. I will make a better effort in the future to place my micros in such a way that nobody thinks they are lame. . .

I do not think that every micro under a park bench is lame. A micro under a park bench in a special rose garden, or japanese tea garden is far nicer than the micro under a park bench in a dog walking area. I thought the point of caching was to take you to places you might not see otherwise, special places of interest. Most of my caches fit that description. Most of my caches are micros.

 

As far as leaving cache quality up to the locals? Im not so sure that is a good idea. What if the vocal active locals are of the mindset that all urban micros are stink no matter how good they are, but they do them anyway for the numbers? What if all they want to have more of are the hard to get to ammo cans? I dont see how that will improve the quality of the hides at all.

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I think it's been building, since the crack-down on virts, which seemed to encourage a rash of lame micros.

That's definitely the case.

I don't understand this - lame micros are typically in vacant or parking lots. how could you put a virt in one, even a lame virt?

 

I will say one thing about the virts I've done. They are almost never lame.

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A way to forestall all ban talk would be to take up the idea of rating caches by the finders or the idea of actually disabling or archiving caches that were in a garbage pile or a lamppost in a parking lot, etc.

 

If a cacher could send word to some source here that would flag the cache (and this would actually take place), then we might see fewer lame caches of any kind.

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With more and more cache theft in my area(ammo boxes) Micros are more appealing as they are not stolen....They are harder to find , but at least you know they are there.......SOMEWHERE! :blink: ! :huh: ! :huh: ! :blink: !

Absolutely positively not true.

Do a search for Dalmatian caches in Nashville (no, I'm not putting these down, it's just a large group of micros under one quick search), and you'll see how many are "Redo Dalmatan ##" or some other variant of having to be replaced because they've gone missing for a variety of reasons.

 

Micros can, and do, get stolen/misplaced/etc... Heck, put one too close to the ground, you can mow it.

 

 

I think that to appease the masses we ought just to make micros a cache type like mystery or multi caches are. Then, if you don't like them, you can avoid a certain cache type. If you don't care, you're not really looking at that type setting anyway.

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I think it's been building, since the crack-down on virts, which seemed to encourage a rash of lame micros.

That's definitely the case.

I don't understand this - lame micros are typically in vacant or parking lots. how could you put a virt in one, even a lame virt?

 

I will say one thing about the virts I've done. They are almost never lame.

The very strict virtual guidelines guard against lame virts. These guidelines were brought into being because of a perceived proliferation of lame ones. It is almost certainly true that we would have all sorts of lame virts scattered around everywhere if there wasn't a crackdown.

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