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CoyoteRed

Geocachers Code Of Ethics

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In reponse to this post in the thread about the concerns of geocaching getting banned, I'm starting a thread meant to form a Code of Ethics for geocachers.

 

The main purpose of this code is to distill what we know about how we should act down into "sound bites." By creating an easy-to-remember tenet we can use them guide ourselves and make decisions based on these tenets.

 

A secondary purpose of a Code of Ethics is to instill a sense of trust in land owner and managers. A Code will facilitate the understanding of our accepted practices much more quickly and could turn a "no" into a "yes" when seeking permission.

 

The trick, I feel, is creating concise tenets that are not overly restrictive, that address the root of the reason it is created, and easy to understand--all without creating too many. Some tenets might be near duplicates of another or could be rolled into another to make an all encompassing one. At the same time, there might be some that are so important or core they should stand on their own.

 

Upon looking around for examples of other Codes for other hobbies and lifestyles I was inpressed with the format of the Leave No Trace Code of Ethics. It displays the core tenets, but gives links to more details. This, I thought, is a good way for a Code to always stand on its core, but allowed for examples and expansion. It also allows for a site or regional group to input their examples and/or additional permissions or restrictions without disrupting the core values.

 

I'd like to start off with a basic core belief:

"I will always be safe, legal, and ethical."

I feel if you can truthfully answer the affirmative to "Is it safe? Is it legal? Is it ethical?" then you should be good to go.

 

<This portion removed to prevent confusion>

 

A point about making a tenet. The one about "I WILL avoid placing a cache where it may cause disruptions." This should serve as an example of identifying the core of a tenet instead of a symptom. See this about not placing a cache near a school if you're just any Joe. Then note two posts below Mtn-Man's post. If the tenet was "don't place caches near a school" then a teacher couldn't place one and be "ethical." It's the "disruption" a cache might cause, not the fact that it is near a school. Examples like this can be explained in further detail under the model that LNT uses that I linked above.

 

I would like your input in creating this code. (Not if we should.)

Edited by CoyoteRed

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As the Code is developed it will be placed here. At this point, it can be considered:

FINAL DRAFT FOR REVIEW

On December 20, minor editing changes were made; these are highlighted by bold strikethrough for deleted text and bold underlining for added text

 

The Code itself follows...

 

The Geocacher's Code

Safe · Legal · Ethical

 

When placing or seeking geocaches, I will:

  • Not endanger myself or others.
  • Observe all laws and rules of the area.
  • Respect property rights and seek permission where appropriate.
  • Avoid causing disruptions or public alarm.
  • Minimize my and others' impact on the environment
  • Be considerate of others.
  • Protect the integrity of the gamepiece.

Examples of how to apply the code and further explanation:

(The below is not actually part of the Code)

Below are examples of how to apply the code with further explanation. These are only examples and not part of the code - not every contingency can be spelled out. If something is not specifically listed in the examples, refer back to the "intent" by looking at the main tenets above.

The items in the Code are in order of importance. An earlier one will take precedence over a later one.

 

...Not endanger myself or others.

  • Like any outdoor activity, geocaching involves some inherent risk and many geocachers enjoy manageable risks. Minimize inordinate risks.
  • When creating a cache, describe any hidden dangers and, if possible, arrange the hunt to minimize these dangers.
  • When seeking a cache, know your limitations and be aware of your surroundings. Don't attempt anything beyond your abilities.
  • A cache you own, or one you're trading out of, could be found by children or even a prisoner work crew - consider the location of the cache and those likely to find it when deciding what to leave as a trade item.

...Observe all laws and rules of the area.

  • Don’t break the law or rules of an area, or encourage others to do so, when placing or seeking a cache.
  • Don't leave illegal items in a cache.

...Respect property rights and seek permission where appropriate.

  • Seek permission on all private property that's not generally open to public access.
  • Check if public land has a geocaching policy and respect existing policies.
  • Promptly remove your cache if the land manager or steward asks.
  • Do not damage or interfere with buildings, structures, or signage.

...Avoid causing disruptions or public alarm.

  • Don’t place a cache near schools or government buildings unless the administration and staff are fully aware of the placement.
  • Use caution around where children play. Parents are understandably paranoid concerned when odd strangers are around near their children.
  • Don’t place a cache near critical infrastructure that might be considered a terrorist target, or create a cache that could be mistaken for a terrorist device (e.g. a pipe bomb).

...Minimize my and others' impact on the environment.

  • Follow Leave No Trace ethics whenever possible.
  • Practice "Lift, Look, Replace" - put all stones or logs back where you found them. Leave the area as you found it or better (e.g. pick up litter)
  • Obtain the best possible coordinates for your cache to reduce unwarranted wear on the area. Recheck and correct your coordinates if finders report significant errors.
  • Do not abandon a cache.
    • If you stop maintaining a cache, remove the container, archive its listing and explain the disposition of the cache in your archive note, or put it up for adoption or rescue.
    • If you de-list a cache on one host, but keep it on another, make sure you mention this in the archive note to prevent rescues of active caches.

...be considerate of others.

  • Treat other geocachers civilly - in the field, in the forums, or wherever your paths may cross.
  • Don't spoil the hunt for others - allow them to experience the cache as its owner intended.
    • Avoid leaving tracks to the cache. Do not disrupt the cache area or mark the hiding spot.
    • Minimize giving unsolicited clues that reveal the cache (i.e. "spoilers")
    • Don't provide any hints if the cache description asks you not to. In all other cases, be cryptic or encrypt any hints or spoilers you enter in online logs.
    • Edit the log if the cache owner requests you to remove spoilers.

    [*]Promptly alert the owner of any issues with their cache. Make minor repairs if you can, it will save the owner a trip.

    [*]Cache owners appreciate feedback - write an online log, send an email, or otherwise let the owner know about your experience with their cache.

    [*]If you exchange trade items, trade kindly: Consider what future finders would like and leave something equal to or better than what you take.

    [*]Move traveling items toward their goal if possible. Contact the owner if you hold a traveling item for more than a couple of weeks or so.

    [*]Only place caches you can maintain and respond promptly to problem reports.

    [*]Obtain permission from the originator before copying unique themes and techniques, adding to an existing series of caches, or placing a cache close to another.

...Protect the integrity of the gamepiece.

  • The owner entrusts you to not damage or jeopardize the cache. Try to ensure the cache is ready for the next finder and is as good or better than you found it.
  • Make sure the container is properly closed to prevent the contents from getting wet or destroyed.
  • Be inconspicuous in retrieving, signing in, and replacing a cache to avoid vandalism.
  • Put the cache back where you found it and hide it well. Don’t move a cache to match your reading - if you suspect the cache is not in the intended spot, hide it the best you can and alert the owner as soon as possible.
  • Don’t collect traveling items meant to stay in the game. This is tantamount to stealing.
  • Don’t tamper with or involve a game piece in "alternate" games without the owner’s permission.

LAST CHANGE: December 11, 2004; EDITED December 20, 2004

 

Changes are copied in by the moderator, who retains the ability to edit posts. The moderator has not altered the text received from Coyote Red (except for this note).

Edited by Keystone Approver

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As a wildlife photographer who abides by a code of ethics well known to all of us who travel the bush in search of that once-in-a-lifetime image, I applaud your efforts in this regard. The last few statements of our code are, IMHO, pertinent:

 

Do not damage or remove any plant, lifeform or natural object. Do pack out any trash. (I know it's a reapeat of one of your statements)

 

Acquaint yourself with and respect the behaviors and ecosystems of the wildlife you may encounter. By doing so, you will enrich your experience tremendously.

 

 

Finally, and most significant, remember that the welfare of the subject and habitat are irrefutably more important than the (photograph) cache.

 

In addition - the 4X4 code appeals for all drivers to "Tread Softly" Sums it up as far as damage to the environment is concerned.

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* I WILL avoid creating social trails and will take appropriate action when I encounter one.

 

Its very hard to do this and the creation of these trails is not necessarily a problem.

A cache placed in a grassy meadow will probably instantly create "social trails", yet trampled grass is hardly environmetnal damage. I would place this under the LNT clause and have it read something like:

 

I WILL strive to minimize my impact on the enviroment when placing and seeking caches.

 

I WILL avoid placing a cache where it may cause disruptions.

 

I think the use or "may" here should be changed. In theory any cache "may" cause disruptions.

 

I will avoid placing caches in a manner or location that is likely to cause disruptions or public alarm. This would cover both the location and type of container.

 

    I WILL trade kindly and use proper geocaching etiquette.

 

But what exactly is proper geocaching etiquette?

 

Perhaps:

 

I WILL trade fairly, respect the cache as the property of the owner and re-hide it the way the owner intended.

 

Well that needs work but you get the gist.

 

"I will always be safe, legal, and ethical."

I feel if you can truthfully answer the affirmative to "Is it safe? Is it legal? Is it ethical?" then you should be good to go.

 

Not all caches are safe, nor should they be. 5 star terrain by definition has risks. To require that all caches be "safe" really waters down the sport as it would eliminate hydro caches (risk of drowning), caches that require climbing equipment (risk of falling) and caches that take a bit of daring to get to, whether it means crossing a rushing stream on a log, climbing a tree or carefully working your way along a ledge to retreive a cache.

Edited by briansnat

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We've been looking at this as part of the process of starting a group here in the West TN area. I like Brian's points. I think the point of "safe" is that it is not unreasonably risky, and that the risks are clearly stated on the cache page. If the cache requires you to rappel down a rock face, you should say so on the cache page. If I get to the site, having not read the cache page, and I see that it is halfway down the cliff face, I should have sense enough not to tell my caching buddy, "Here, hold me upside down by my feet..."

 

I would also add these:

 

"I will put some thought into my cache placements. I will try to make the hunt interesting and fun, in a way that I would like to hunt the cache myself."

 

Maybe the wording needs work, but you get the point. It doesn't ELIMINATE keyboxes on guardrails, if the hider enjoys those, but it will hopefully make folks think instead of just flinging it out the car window like Johnny Appleseed!

 

"I will maintain my caches. If a problem is reported, I will investigate within a reasonable time period. If circumstances arise where I can no longer maintain my caches within a reasonable time period, I will adopt or archive them. I will NOT abandon my caches!"

 

Of course, reasonable is relative. A week is reasonable. Two weeks may be reasonable. Six months is NOT reasonable!

 

In general, I like the idea of a voluntary code of ethics. I think it would help make the sport/hobby/obsession more enjoyable.

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will maintain my caches. If a problem is reported, I will investigate within a reasonable time period. If circumstances arise where I can no longer maintain my caches within a reasonable time period, I will adopt or archive them. I will NOT abandon my caches!"

 

Good addition. Maybe it could be shortened to

 

I will be responsible for my cache and the surrounding area, keep both in good condition and remove my cache when I am no longer willing or able to maintain it. or something like that

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Good stuff!

 

On the issue of "safe," it's more like risk management. You can't make being outdoors completely safe. Plus, you can be relatively safe (though still in danger) while skydiving, SCUBA diving, mountain biking, or a host of other activities.

 

Plus, the point about being safe is both in the placing of caches and the hunting of caches.

 

5 star caches might call for specialized knowledge like rock climbing and it would well within the acceptible margins of risk of an experienced rock climber. However, it could be completely unsafe for someone out of shape, without the proper gear, and no knowledge of how to proceed.

 

Or, here's a better example: spelunking. Hey, it's just going into a cave, right? I understand that spelunking can get deadly in a hurry. Me, I have little knowledge of it and dare say I might get in some serious trouble if I wasn't aware of my surrounds and didn't think before getting beyond my limits.

 

Another issue with "safe" is unseen dangers. An area with open and unmarked wells, ponds that freeze but not enough to hold a person's weight; stuff like that.

 

So, it's two sides of a coin; don't draw folks blindly into areas with unseen dangers, and knowing it's your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and cache within your limitations.

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So, it's two sides of a coin; don't draw folks blindly into areas with unseen dangers, and knowing it's your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and cache within your limitations.

EXACTLY! Well stated! :yikes:

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will maintain my caches. If a problem is reported, I will investigate within a reasonable time period. If circumstances arise where I can no longer maintain my caches within a reasonable time period, I will adopt or archive them. I will NOT abandon my caches!"

 

Good addition. Maybe it could be shortened to

 

I will be responsible for my cache and the surrounding area, keep both in good condition and remove my cache when I am no longer willing or able to maintain it. or something like that

Perhaps it could be shortened even further.

 

I will be responsible for my cache and the surrounding area.

 

Place what that means in further explanation, because this could include moving it if there is too much damage to the area, making sure it is in good order, it is removed when the land owners ask, and other issues that might want to be added. Might want to include being available for issues which might mean an email address or other means of contact in or on the cache itself.

 

We can even further expand what it means later without having to change the basic tenet.

 

EDIT: forgot to proofread.

Edited by CoyoteRed

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Not all caches are safe, nor should they be. 5 star terrain by definition has risks. To require that all caches be "safe" really waters down the sport as it would eliminate hydro caches (risk of drowning), caches that require climbing equipment (risk of falling) and caches that take a bit of daring to get to, whether it means crossing a rushing stream on a log, climbing a tree or carefully working your way along a ledge to retreive a cache.

Some people love the dangerous caches. I'm one of them...but my caching partner is not! However, I don't like it when the cache hider doesn't provide any information about the specific risks involved.

 

Maybe someone can say this in fewer words, but perhaps...

 

If I place a cache in an area where access may be dangerous due to the terrain, I will disclose these risks so that people can make an informed decision to hunt my cache and be adequately prepared should they choose to do so.

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As this is not likely a one or two day project, I am going to pin this topic to the top of the forum to make it easier for folks to find it and add their contributions.

 

I will shut up now so that the flow of good ideas can continue.

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[*]I WILL avoid creating social trails and will take appropriate action when I encounter one.

I think it is important to use plain english (or whatever language you use) when discussing codes of conduct & ethics. I personally do not understand the term "social trail" since I haven't been geocaching long. I would assume that the majority of people who are trying to find out about geocaching wouldn't understand this either? Also what would appropriate action be? Should this be stated or just assumed?

 

Regards,

 

Dan.

Edited by dunos

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Just posted a rough draft of the Code with the inclusion of some the fine examples of above. I also think I show kind of what I meant with each tenet being expanded on. Normally, the subtopics would be linked, not listed under each.

 

It's a good start, I think.

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If I place a cache in an area where access may be dangerous due to the terrain, I will disclose these risks so that people can make an informed decision to hunt my cache and be adequately prepared should they choose to do so.

 

Very nice. As an adjunct, as a cache seeker;

 

When seeking a cache I will take complete responsibility for my own safety, and comply with all local laws and regulations.

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Are we talking about etiquitte here, or ethics?

Ethics. I already see "mission creep."

 

While etiquette kind of goes hand in hand with ethics, I think the focus should be on ethics and let etiquette follow.

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Just posted a rough draft of the Code

Okay, I admit my DNF :yikes:

Where's it posted? :laughing:

 

DUH! Never mind! :rolleyes:

Edited by Spencersb

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Maybe something about Travel Bugs as well? Along the lines of:

 

I will learn how Travel Bugs work and only remove them from caches if I plan on placing them in a cache soon or if I can further their goal in some way before placing them into a cache.

 

Good work so far!

-Jennifer

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... I personally do not understand the term "social trail" since I haven't been geocaching long. ...

Yeah, I'm with you on that. How does a "social trail" differ from other trails? What is the origin of that peculiar term?

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Maybe something about Travel Bugs as well? Along the lines of:

 

I will learn how Travel Bugs work and only remove them from caches if I plan on placing them in a cache soon or if I can further their goal in some way before placing them into a cache.

 

Good work so far!

-Jennifer

Considering "Travel Bug" is kind of like a brand name of a hitch hiker, what if we said something like:

 

I WILL promptly move any retrieved hitch hiker along according to the owner's wishes.

 

This should cover any hitch hiker out there including monkeys, coins, frogs, or whatever.

 

Subtopic: should a cacher assume all hitch hikers are to moved along unless specifically said otherwise? I remember something about some coins being auctioned off and the brouhaha over that.

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... I personally do not understand the term "social trail" since I haven't been geocaching long. ...

Yeah, I'm with you on that. How does a "social trail" differ from other trails? What is the origin of that peculiar term?

A "social trail" is one created by people repeatedly taking the same path through native vegetation, tromping it down into a clearly discernable path. Some also call this "geothrashing."

 

Of course, anyone correct me if I'm wrong! :yikes:

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Maybe something about Travel Bugs as well?  Along the lines of:

 

I will learn how Travel Bugs work and only remove them from caches if I plan on placing them in a cache soon or if I can further their goal in some way before placing them into a cache. 

 

Good work so far!

-Jennifer

Considering "Travel Bug" is kind of like a brand name of a hitch hiker, what if we said something like:

 

I WILL promptly move any retrieved hitch hiker along according to the owner's wishes.

 

This should cover any hitch hiker out there including monkeys, coins, frogs, or whatever.

 

Subtopic: should a cacher assume all hitch hikers are to moved along unless specifically said otherwise? I remember something about some coins being auctioned off and the brouhaha over that.

Sounds good to me, I wondered if I should use hitchhiker instead of TB but I haven't encountered many non-TBs yet.

-Jen

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Just posted a rough draft of the Code with the inclusion of some the fine examples of above.

 

I just love the summary of the code of ethics. I'd LOVE to see someone with some computer savvy put that into a brochure that we can download for land-owners. I can see that as making geocaching seen in a very positive light, and will also help guide geocachers to appropriate ethics.

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if we have the opportunity, we should speak up to those who aren't following the code of ethics.

 

EVANGELIZE.

 

Also, did you follow my link to the Leave No Trace website? Should I get a pat on the back?

 

There are little cards for TREAD LIGHTLY that you can leave as swag.

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Travel and recreate with minimum impact

 

Respect the environment and the rights of others

 

Educate yourself--plan and prepare before you go

 

Allow for future use of the outdoors--leave it better than you found it

 

Discover the rewards of responsible recreation

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Not trying to pick nits (knits?) here, but with this last rule, we blur ethics and etiquette, saying it is our ethical duty to use good etiquette. I'm okay with that idea, but would offer some word editing, FWIW.

 

I WILL trade kindly and use proper geocaching etiquette.

  • I will trade trinkets cache items fairly or not trade at all
  • I will do make minor cache repair when appropriate.
  • I will return the trinkets cache items back to their baggies containers when included.
  • I will return the pen and logbook back to the bag when included.
  • I will re-seal the container properly.
  • I will not claim a find on a cache I did not, in fact, find. I will log "found" only to caches I find, and then only once, and will log "did not find" for caches I failed to find after a fair searh
  • I will be considerate and civil in any log or coorspondence with a cache owner or finder.
  • I will provide the appropriate feedback to the cache owner, approvers, and other cachers.
  • I will remember where I found the cache and hide it back replace the cache as I found it or better based on the difficulaty rating do my best to return it to it's original location if has been misplaced.
  • I will not leave inappropriate items in a cache.
    • No items which are illegal. This would would items illegal at any time, but also items that are illegal at certain times, i.e. matches in a drought-ridden forest.
    • No items that are "not child friendly" in caches likely to be visited by a child.
    • No scented items or food items or risk , food, or other items that might result in an animal distrubing the cache.

    [*]I will not circumvent the posting requirements and guidelines of the listing service of my choice.

I would delete the ital and replace with the bold.

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This doesnt really go in the etiquette part. Maybe broaden the part about placing caches appropriately, or add as its own point:

 

I will not put hazardous or dangerous items (knives, fireworks, etc.) in a cache

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I would be happy to put the Geocachers Code of Ethics into brochure form (as a PDF file) for users to download.

 

Once the Code is finalised, I'll give it a shot and submit for approval to the forum.

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A "social trail" is one created by people repeatedly taking the same path through native vegetation, tromping it down into a clearly discernable path....

So, how is that different from any other man-made trail--say, the Appalaichan Trail? Isn't ANY trail "created by people repeatedly taking the same path through native vegetation?" Come to think of it, that definition could be applied to an interstate highway.

 

I know I'm nit-picking, and if "social trail" is an accepted term that most people understand, then so be it. It has always seemed very odd to me, and somewhat redundant.

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Also, did you follow my link to the Leave No Trace website? Should I get a pat on the back?

Yes, I did. Yes, you should. *pat* *pat*

 

I've been there before with the discussions of some folks' idea of "leave no trace" is "no one can go there but me."

 

However, I don't recall there Code being laid out like that. I really like it.

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Not trying to pick nits (knits?) here, but with this last rule, we blur ethics and etiquette, saying it is our ethical duty to use good etiquette. I'm okay with that idea, but would offer some word editing, FWIW.

 

I WILL trade kindly and use proper geocaching etiquette.

  • I will trade trinkets cache items fairly or not trade at all
  • I will do make minor cache repair when appropriate.
  • I will return the trinkets cache items back to their baggies containers when included.
  • I will return the pen and logbook back to the bag when included.
  • I will re-seal the container properly.
  • I will not claim a find on a cache I did not, in fact, find. I will log "found" only to caches I find, and then only once, and will log "did not find" for caches I failed to find after a fair searh
  • I will be considerate and civil in any log or coorspondence with a cache owner or finder.
  • I will provide the appropriate feedback to the cache owner, approvers, and other cachers.
  • I will remember where I found the cache and hide it back replace the cache as I found it or better based on the difficulaty rating do my best to return it to it's original location if has been misplaced.
  • I will not leave inappropriate items in a cache.
    • No items which are illegal. This would would items illegal at any time, but also items that are illegal at certain times, i.e. matches in a drought-ridden forest.
    • No items that are "not child friendly" in caches likely to be visited by a child.
    • No scented items or food items or risk , food, or other items that might result in an animal distrubing the cache.

    [*]I will not circumvent the posting requirements and guidelines of the listing service of my choice.

I would delete the ital and replace with the bold.

While these are all nice things, they are getting into the ettiquite zone. Also, a code of ethic should be short. I'd say 6-8 statements would be good and with an aboslute max of 10.

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So, how is that different from any other man-made trail--say, the Appalaichan Trail? Isn't ANY trail "created by people repeatedly taking the same path through native vegetation?" Come to think of it, that definition could be applied to an interstate highway.

 

I know I'm nit-picking, and if "social trail" is an accepted term that most people understand, then so be it. It has always seemed very odd to me, and somewhat redundant.

The difference is that a social trail is not planned or thought out. It's just several people tramping through the same grass, creating a "trail" where none was intended. Imagine if the our interstate highway system had been designed to just follow the tracks of the cars that had cut across country. Each car would take a slightly different path, some winding left here, some winding right, there, etc. In some places, like in a mountain pass, pretty much everyone would have taken the same path of least resistance. In other places, like a grassy plain, there would be THOUSANDS of tracks going every which way! Trails are designed and planned so that you can have foot traffic through an area of native woods without everyone making their own path and eventually tromping the whole area flat.

 

Hunt most any cache in the woods that has had more than 2 finders, and most of the time you'll see a "trail" cut through the brush in a beeline from the planned trail to the cache that is so obvious it ought to have runway lights!

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My ability to edit the critical post has timed out. I've forwarded a changed copy to a moderator to edit the post for me. It should be up soon.

 

I agree with Brian, the Code should be a max of 10 items. I think my latest version is 9. The bold items is the Code itself while everything else is further explaination or examples. Some items could be rolled into another one, but I think it important to have the major ones stand on their own.

 

Take a look. As soon at you see today's date in the LAST CHANGE section at the very bottom of the post, it is up.

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So, how is that different from any other man-made trail--say, the Appalaichan Trail? Isn't ANY trail "created by people repeatedly taking the same path through native vegetation?"

 

To put it another way, these informal trails are also called "herd paths", because they resemble the random trails that animals make as they repeatedly go to the same water source, etc. These informal trails could start as a bushwhack or a shortcut to avoid following a longer established trail system that is cut and maintained by some organization responsible for that particular area.

 

These social trails or herd paths have no maintenance or support. There is generally no planning or thought that went into them. They won't appear on maps and won't have trail signs or markers to tell you where they go. Compare these trails to an organized trail like the Appalachian Trail that has been planned, has guidebooks, maps, signs identifying turns, junctions, shelters, maintainers, etc.

 

Basically these informal trails could start by several people bushwhacking to the same site and every person tramples down a little more or breaks a few more branches. Eventually you will be able to see a footpath and follow this trail. If it isn't used for some time nature will reclaim it.

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I will not claim a find on a cache I did not, in fact, find. I will log "found" only to caches I find, and then only once, and will log "did not find" for caches I failed to find after a fair searh

I'm not sure about this one. I can kind of see your point, but not everyone is going to log online, nor will all sites have the ability to accept logs. (I'm thinking some privately listed caches might not have the ability to accept online logs.)

 

Plus, because of not everyone not logging online, the find count will become more of a self maintained thing. While I personally don't really care that much about the number of caches gc.com says I have, I do care that I am able to say that I've found a cache that I've not logged.

 

In my mind, and because we are trying to create something that is universal across all sites, I see claiming a find is different than logging a find. Team 360 is a classic example. I seem to recall Jeremey mentioning he knew some cacher that don't log online. Even a Today's Cacher article mentions that Dave Ulmer doesn't log online much. These two can claim they've visited a lot more places than they've logged.

 

So, because of this if a site wants to say to not log a find unless you can actually claim a find, that's okay. I don't think we should lock ourselves into something site specific. Granted, the bulleted items aren't going to be "locked in" I do think they should be universal while allowing a site to add to them.

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Maybe this is spelled out in another portion, but how about this one?

 

I will endeavor to obtain the best possible coordinates for my cache. If seekers consistently get significantly different readings, I will recheck my coordinates.

 

That might fall under the "impact on the environment" portion, as it is definitely related.

 

Why have this? To prevent people from finding an approximate position on a topo map and then having people provide corrected coordinates. Also to prevent people from providing false coordinates and upping the difficulty. :)

Edited by Markwell

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I will endeavor to obtain the best possible coordinates for my cache. If seekers consistently get significantly different readings, I will recheck my coordinates.

 

That might fall under the "impact on the environment" portion, as it is definitely related.

It's a good one. I will try to remember to include it.

 

Considering the holidays the next update might not be until next week. Then, I think it shouldn't be any more frequent than every day or two considering I need the help of a moderator to do it.

 

BTW, this brings something to mind. While I don't want this to become overwhelming or confusing, I would like the final version to have hyperlinks to some further explainations to terms and procedures. (An example is the link to lnt.org) Markwell, would you mind that we linked directly to a named anchor on your page?

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While these are all nice things, they are getting into the ettiquite zone. Also, a code of ethic should be short. I'd say 6-8 statements would be good and with an aboslute max of 10.

 

I strongly agree.

 

It does seem that people are pretty emotional about ettiquette so splitting the two makes sense to me. Looking at the forums, I think there needs to be some outlet for all that "ettiquette" emotion. You could reference the ettiquette document from the ethics list if you wanted. I'm not trying to create too much information but I think a split will let the ethic list stay pure.

 

It makes some sense to see the ethics as rules we agree to, and the ettiquite as guidelines.

 

Ethics - rules regarding required conduct, and clear definition of core responsibilities as cacher and seeker

like;

- no harming the environment (digging, social trails, CITO, etc)

- following local laws, regulations

- cache placement, maintenance

- liability assumption as seeker

 

Ettiquette - guidelines for appropriate caching social behavior

- When to log, dnf, etc.

- Fair swag trading

- Politeness on the trails, etc.

- Positive representative to the non-caching community

 

You repeatedly break the Ethics rules and you could see eventually see someone lose there account privlidges or something serious.

 

You continually break the ettiquette rules and well I guess folks will just get mad at you.

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I do believe there is a difference and should remove etiquette from the list.

 

But is it "ethical" to use good "etiquette?" Should "I WILL trade kindly and use proper geocaching etiquette" be removed completely?

 

I did some brief reading on the difference between ethics and etiquette. Two things jumped out at me. "Ethics" was something that determins your actions when you were alone. "Etiquette" was something that determins your actions when you were with others.

 

The second thing was "ethics" was something that determined whether an action posed a threat to someone's well-being. Ethics is about being fair to others even if they are not around.

 

If we go by these definitions and adapt it to geoaching, we'd have to ask ourselves is this particular act fair to other cachers? Is it fair to the land owner? Is it fair to the cache owner? Is it fair to future finders? Is it fair to people around me or the cache?

 

My thinking is "trading fairly" is a ethical question. "Is it fair for me to take this LED flashlight and leave an acorn I found on the ground?" This is an ethical question.

 

So do we modifiy the "I WILL trade kindly and use proper geocaching etiquette" tenet? If so, how?

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I like the idea of a code of ethics. Thanks for getting this idea started CR. :)

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So, how is that different from any other man-made trail--say, the Appalaichan Trail?  Isn't ANY trail "created by people repeatedly taking the same path through native vegetation?"  Come to think of it, that definition could be applied to an interstate highway.

 

I know I'm nit-picking, and if "social trail" is an accepted term that most people understand, then so be it.  It has always seemed very odd to me, and somewhat redundant.

The difference is that a social trail is not planned or thought out. It's just several people tramping through the same grass, creating a "trail" where none was intended. Imagine if the our interstate highway system had been designed to just follow the tracks of the cars that had cut across country. Each car would take a slightly different path, some winding left here, some winding right, there, etc. In some places, like in a mountain pass, pretty much everyone would have taken the same path of least resistance. In other places, like a grassy plain, there would be THOUSANDS of tracks going every which way! Trails are designed and planned so that you can have foot traffic through an area of native woods without everyone making their own path and eventually tromping the whole area flat.

 

Hunt most any cache in the woods that has had more than 2 finders, and most of the time you'll see a "trail" cut through the brush in a beeline from the planned trail to the cache that is so obvious it ought to have runway lights!

OK--clear and cogent explanation. Thanks.

 

Of course, I am familiar with these trails, and usually look for them. I don't know whether it is practical to include a prohibition on social trails in a code of etiquette, but if we do, I would still prefer to see another term used. For example, "I will avoid creating an obvious trail to a cache if possible."

 

Let's face it; under many conditions (snow in particular) you just cannot help making a trail.

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you know, I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but the book "Idiots Guide to Geocaching" really covers all this. I think the code of ethics is great but its getting a bit "longish" and "detailish" and many people aren't going to bother.

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I also want to add, that you can adopt an outdoor code already established and focus on geocaching specific situations. Like tresspassing, fairness, looking like a terrorists, etc.

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My thinking is "trading fairly" is a ethical question. "Is it fair for me to take this LED flashlight and leave an acorn I found on the ground?" This is an ethical question.

 

Hmmmm, yeah we'll there are some semantics involved. I think it's more important to define the *purpose* of these lists than it is to adhere to the definition of two terms which I think we starting using rather arbitrarily.

 

I do think that there will be value to whatever list results.

 

It may not be a popular position, but I think there's some value into letting me/others know what rules we must adhere to vs. the ones that people would want us to practice. The purpose of this would be to have an easily understood (ie. short, clear) list of ethical rules which would make sure that everyone knows and agrees to the very basic tenets in order to be considered part of the community.

 

The problem with adding niceities like "trade fairly" or "log DNFs" is that it weakens the entire document by changing it from a short list of requirements to a mishmash of ought-tos and should-when-you-cans.

 

Anyway like I said, I'm sure whatever comes out of this will be a positive first step.

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No one said this was going to be easy. You are doing a great job, CR! Thanks for taking a run at this. You can't please all of the people all of the time.

 

I like the notion that "ethics" is what you should do when no one else is around, and I think "trade fairly" goes on the list. I also agree that "log fairly" probably does not. Cache owners can and do monitor the logs, and as has been pointed out, not all cachers log their finds.

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you know, I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but the book "Idiots Guide to Geocaching" really covers all this.  I think the code of ethics is great but its getting a bit "longish" and "detailish" and many people aren't going to bother.

The Code is only the items in bold will be limited to 10 items. It's 9 right now.

 

What I envision is something like Leave No Trace's Code of Ethics layout. The basic tenets listed and linked to a few details and then something quite detailed.

 

Eventually, when it is fleshed out, I see it copied to other websites, printed in brochures, or on business cards with no need to buy a book.

Edited by CoyoteRed

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I was just pointing out many of the items are covered in the book. Its not pointless to work on the Code...carry on.

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Not trying to pick nits (knits?) here, but with this last rule, we blur ethics and etiquette, saying it is our ethical duty to use good etiquette.  I'm okay with that idea, but would offer some word editing, FWIW.

 

I WILL trade kindly and use proper geocaching etiquette.


  •  
  • I will trade trinkets cache items fairly or not trade at all
     
  • I will do make minor cache repair when appropriate.
     
  • I will return the trinkets cache items back to their baggies containers when included.
     
  • I will return the pen and logbook back to the bag when included.
     
  • I will re-seal the container properly.
     
  • I will not claim a find on a cache I did not, in fact, find. I will log "found" only to caches I find, and then only once, and will log "did not find" for caches I failed to find after a fair searh
     
  • I will be considerate and civil in any log or coorspondence with a cache owner or finder.
     
  • I will provide the appropriate feedback to the cache owner, approvers, and other cachers.
     
  • I will remember where I found the cache and hide it back replace the cache as I found it or better based on the difficulaty rating do my best to return it to it's original location if has been misplaced.
     
  • I will not leave inappropriate items in a cache.

    •  
    • No items which are illegal.  This would would items illegal at any time, but also items that are illegal at certain times, i.e. matches in a drought-ridden forest.
       
    • No items that are "not child friendly" in caches likely to be visited by a child.
       
    • No scented items or food items or risk , food, or other items that might result in an animal distrubing the cache.
       

     

    [*]I will not circumvent the posting requirements and guidelines of the listing service of my choice.

     

I would delete the ital and replace with the bold.

While these are all nice things, they are getting into the ettiquite zone. Also, a code of ethic should be short. I'd say 6-8 statements would be good and with an aboslute max of 10.

I like the changes made in bold and agree that keeping it to 10 or fewer is good.

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i always return the logbook to the bag. i usually take the pen and pencil out. the pen and pencil are the number one causes of holes in the bag. if a separate bag is provided for the pen and pencil, i put them there.

 

i don't take the pen and pencil with me; i just don't put them back in the bag.

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