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An Open Letter To All Cachers


Kealia
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I don't spend as much time in the forums as I used to (with the possible exception of my local section). I've been battling the flu lately and been confined to bed so I've been checking things out more in-depth.

 

Seems the drama never stops.

So:

 

My dearest cachers,

It's been said time and time again that these forums do not represent Geocaching on the whole. I'll reiterate that. Neither does ANY forum, any magazine, or any one group of cachers. What makes caching great is the people, not a person.

 

What makes caching great is not the impersonal exchanges that occur here, but the very real personal exchanges occur when cachers actually meet in person (as I've been privy to a few times out of state).

 

What makes caching great is the fun you get out of it - not taking the fun out of it for others.

 

Yes, advances come through the meaningful exchange of ideas and disagreements, but the keyword there is meaningful. Not rants, finger-pointing, name-calling, site-bashing or other juvenile behavior.

 

I get many emails/PMs from those asking why I'm not online as much as before. The answer? Simple. I've figured out what is REALLY important and worth getting upset over. Losing my uncle to cancer. Seeing a smile on my daughter's face born out of pure joy. Throwing a ball for my dogs. Kissing my wife.

 

Do I have opinions on the many threads I've read lately (Today's Cacher, Texas caching, Terracaching, etc.)? You bet. But it's just that. My opinion on something that I enjoy - caching. Regardless of what this or any other site/publication says or does, the enjoyment that I get from caching and meeting other like-minded people for a day of fun can never be taken from me.

 

To wrap up my longest post (by far):

I'll continue to derive my enjoyment of this RASH anyway that I can - I suggest you do the same. If that means that I need to look elsewhere for aspects of the RASH to fulfill my needs I'll do so without throwing a tantrum - I suggest you do the same. (Those that know me or have been around a while know where I stand on this already).

 

Free enterprise allows us all to pursue that which we desire or dream about. Are you courageous enough to put yourself out there and accept the consequences - good and bad?

 

Remember, it's much harder to build than destroy.

 

- Sincerely

 

<FLAMESUIT ON>

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I've figured out what is REALLY important and worth getting upset over. Losing my uncle to cancer. Seeing a smile on my daughter's face born out of pure joy. Throwing a ball for my dogs. Kissing my wife.

 

I can understand being upset over your uncles demise. May I extend my sympathy.

But I have never been upset by my childs or grandchilds smile. I would only be upset by the kiss if she kissed another man.

 

Do I have opinions on the many threads I've read lately (Today's Cacher, Texas caching, Terracaching, etc.)? You bet. But it's just that. My opinion on something that I enjoy - caching.

 

Of course it is your oppinion. That is what a forum is all about. In the free country in which I was reared, there was something called the first ammendment to the constitution. We all had to learn it in school.

 

Remember, it's much harder to build than destroy.

 

Destruction is not as easy as most people thinf, and few things we do or build are as fragile as that.

 

QUOTE (dead_white_man @ Jan 31 2005, 07:56 AM)

QUOTE (Rainwater @ Jan 30 2005, 12:49 AM)

you lost me about 1/2 way through that one....

 

what he said!

 

Then you should re-read it once more and a little more slowly.

 

I agree with what Kealia said. Well put.

 

I have read and re-read it. Although it uses alot of touching, emotive, poignant, stirring, tear-jerking, tender language, it says very little that is discernible.

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I've figured out what is REALLY important and worth getting upset over. Losing my uncle to cancer. Seeing a smile on my daughter's face born out of pure joy. Throwing a ball for my dogs. Kissing my wife.

 

I can understand being upset over your uncles demise. May I extend my sympathy.

But I have never been upset by my childs or grandchilds smile. I would only be upset by the kiss if she kissed another man.

 

Forgive me but I gotta ask, how on earth did you come to that conclusion from what Kealia said? :D

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I can understand being upset over your uncles demise.  May I extend my sympathy.

But I have never been upset by my childs or grandchilds smile.  I would only be upset  by the kiss if she kissed another man.

 

Forgive me but I gotta ask, how on earth did you come to that conclusion from what Kealia said? :D

Sentance structure. I think his post was meant like this. :D

 

Sometimes communications is reading what they meant to say and not so much what they actually said. Sometimes you have to ask to be sure.

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To clarify -

 

What I meant to say in the line in question was:

I've figured out what's important: A, B & C and I've figured out what's worth getting upset over: D, E & F.

 

I re-read what I wrote and some of it is somewhat muddled - call it a Nyquil-induced rambling (not disimilar to the mission statement that Jerry MaGuire wrote after some bad pizza). Difference being that I don't regret what I said.

 

Not really looking for feedback, just blowing off some steam.

 

Marky - still the same 'old me.

 

Maybe it would've been easier to just post like Nazgul suggested. :D

 

Dead_White_Man:

I was not condoning free speech or the free exchange of ideas. My point (although not stated clearly) was that they are just opinions and nothing more than that. Hardly worth the drama that seems to accompany most opinions around here lately. Not worth fighting wars over regardless of how passionate about the hobby I am.

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To clarify -

 

What I meant to say in the line in question was:

I've figured out what's important: A, B & C and I've figured out what's worth getting upset over: D, E & F.

 

I re-read what I wrote and some of it is somewhat muddled - call it a Nyquil-induced rambling (not disimilar to the mission statement that Jerry MaGuire wrote after some bad pizza). Difference being that I don't regret what I said.

 

Not really looking for feedback, just blowing off some steam.

 

Marky - still the same 'old me.

 

Maybe it would've been easier to just post like Nazgul suggested. <_<

 

Dead_White_Man:

I was not condoning free speech or the free exchange of ideas. My point (although not stated clearly) was that they are just opinions and nothing more than that. Hardly worth the drama that seems to accompany most opinions around here lately. Not worth fighting wars over regardless of how passionate about the hobby I am.

Well said! My apologies if I sounded harsh. It is my sarcastic nature.

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There will always be those who take things too seriously. I used to play a game called Everquest. To some people it was their life and would seem to argue to the death things that just didn't matter....it was just electricity and pixles on a screen a game.

 

Same thing here, it's just an activity; something to do, and this forum is where people that share the joy in this activity can come together to talk about it.

 

I could give a rats butt about media coverage, who is bias to what website or piece of gear. I just like coming here to read others' adventures and hopefully contribute a little. Not to mention get the info for where the latest caches have been placed for me to find.

 

Well with that being said, I need to get back to work.

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... What makes caching great is the people, not a person. What makes caching great is not the impersonal exchanges that occur here, but the very real personal exchanges occur when cachers actually meet in person ...

While I agree with most of your post, I don't agree with the quoted statement. In my opinion, the intent of the game is to derive fun from finding a container hidden in an interesting location ... or in hiding a cache in an interesting location for others to find. Everything else is merely tangental.

 

But it does seem to me that as the game has continued to evolve, geocaching has become, for many people, more and more a social activity and less and less a physical activity. Perhaps that helps account, in small part, for why the general quality of "the cache experience" is lower than it was two or three years ago ... the "box in the woods" is now of only secondary importance.

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While I agree with most of your post, I don't agree with the quoted statement. In my opinion, the intent of the game is to derive fun from finding a container hidden in an interesting location ... or in hiding a cache in an interesting location for others to find. Everything else is merely tangental.

Actually, to me, I'd add: deriving fun from finding an interesting container at a location that may not be so interesting, and deriving fun from constructing and hiding an interesting container at a location that may not be so interesting.

 

Some times, because of the nature of the interesting container, you are limited in your hide options. I think this is not tangental to the intent of the game.

 

--Marky

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Hi Keailia,

 

Well said. In one of my computer ethics classes the professor was talking about email and forums. He said something I've always remembered:

 

"Keep in mind that there is a PERSON on the other end of that thread. Never say anything in an email or forum post you wouldn't say to them if they were standing right in front of you."

 

I'm new to Geocaching and even newer to these forums and I have been pretty disappointed with the behavior I've seen here so far. I've been around Internet forums way back to the original Usenet where EVERY thread eventually turned into a flame. I'm seeing the same thing happening here.

 

I sincerely hope the moderators of these forums take notice of this. Flaming someone and then standing behind "free speech" is not an excuse. We all know the difference between a helpful post and one that's meant only to belittle someone.

 

-Charles

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Hi Keailia,

 

Well said. In one of my computer ethics classes the professor was talking about email and forums. He said something I've always remembered:

 

"Keep in mind that there is a PERSON on the other end of that thread. Never say anything in an email or forum post you wouldn't say to them if they were standing right in front of you."

 

I'm new to Geocaching and even newer to these forums and I have been pretty disappointed with the behavior I've seen here so far. I've been around Internet forums way back to the original Usenet where EVERY thread eventually turned into a flame. I'm seeing the same thing happening here.

 

I sincerely hope the moderators of these forums take notice of this. Flaming someone and then standing behind "free speech" is not an excuse. We all know the difference between a helpful post and one that's meant only to belittle someone.

 

-Charles

Woah! Woah! Woah!

 

While I agree with the basic oppinion of your post.. You went way over the line right here:

Flaming someone and then standing behind "free speech" is not an excuse.

If you lived in some country where free speech is forbidden or restricted. I might excuse that statement as uninformed. Since I see by your profille you live in North Carolina, I cannot find a reasonable excuse for this type of naive ignorance except to perhaps blame it on our failed educational system.

The right to free expression should NEVER be taken lightly. Freedom is fragile. A person will give it up so easily for mere comfort. Free expression is what these forums are all about. If the founders of this country had not intende to protect ALL speech, there would be no need for the constitutional guarentee. You don't need to protect non-offensive speech. Clearly they intended to protect even the most offensive speech. Offenseive speech, although often in poor taste and rude, is and should always be protected.

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Actually, free expression is not what these forums are all about... it is merely a place where we can discuss things, express opinions, etc., to the extent that the owner of the forums (Groundspeak) allows. Many people confuse "freedom of speech" as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights with the absolute freedom to say anything anywhere without limit, censure, or restraint. This is not really what freedom of speech is according to the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Freedom of speech under the constitution means that the government can't pass any laws that limit a citizen's freedom of speech. That applies to the government, not to private individuals, companies, etc. So Groundspeak is well within their rights to impose any limits they want on this forum. And we are well within our rights to go somewhere else if we dont like them. That makes for a good balance...Groundspeak wants people to participate and wants the hobby to grow, so they have to be careful what limits they put on the forums and what rules they make for their listing site for geocaches. We want to use the forums and to find caches, so we have to tolerate a degree of limitation on the forums and put up with perhaps some rules we don't care for on the listing site.

 

Having said all that, I agree 100% that the freedoms that are guaranteed in the constitution should not be taken lightly nor given up easily. I am believe in the "strict constructionist" school of interpreting the Constitution, and abhor much of what our legal system has done to it with its interpretations of it.

Edited by BigHank
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Actually, free expression is not what these forums are all about... it is merely a place where we can discuss things, express opinions, etc., to the extent that the owner of the forums (Groundspeak) allows.

You are absolutely correct here. Groundspeak being the owner of the forum can and does edit where they like, just as a newspaper edits as they see fit. along that vein however, every publisher knows that when you impose too many restrictions, then your column no longer has interest.

That being said, I want to point out that the whole reason for a forum is the FREE exchange of ideas.

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In one of my computer ethics classes the professor was talking about email and forums. He said something I've always remembered:

 

"Keep in mind that there is a PERSON on the other end of that thread. Never say anything in an email or forum post you wouldn't say to them if they were standing right in front of you."

One frequently sees quotes similar to the one used by your professor. I think it's a lot of bunk, and I think it's hilarious that it was a topic in an "ethics" class.

 

'Innocent words on a screen' such as these are, of course, subject to a wide variety of (mis)interpretations by a wide variety of people. My interpretation of that popular quote is "It is better to be innocuous than honest, frank, and direct. In order not to potentially offend even the most "sensitive" individual, never say anything in an email or forum post that you wouldn't say directly to a young child."

 

I checked my thesaurus, and even though it seems to be used that way so very often these days, "sensitive" is not listed as a synonym for "puerile."

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I sincerely hope the moderators of these forums take notice of this. Flaming someone and then standing behind "free speech" is not an excuse. We all know the difference between a helpful post and one that's meant only to belittle someone.

"Flaming" is such a subjective word. In these forums, everything from nasty "name calling" to pointing out factual inaccuracies and/or weaknesses in someone's argument have been dubbed "flaming." So no, I think that difference is not at all clear to a lot of people.

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This is not a topic about free speech, nor is this the forum to debate it (take it to Off Topic).

 

Please get back to the topic in the original post.

with all due respect to our moderator-man, I would suggest that this discussion of "principles of free speech" vs "elements of common courtesy" in our new online sociocultural environment is still very much on the original topic. and interesting to read also......

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... What makes caching great is the people, not a person.  What makes caching great is not the impersonal exchanges that occur here, but the very real personal exchanges occur when cachers actually meet in person ...

While I agree with most of your post, I don't agree with the quoted statement. In my opinion, the intent of the game is to derive fun from finding a container hidden in an interesting location ... or in hiding a cache in an interesting location for others to find. Everything else is merely tangental.

 

But it does seem to me that as the game has continued to evolve, geocaching has become, for many people, more and more a social activity and less and less a physical activity. Perhaps that helps account, in small part, for why the general quality of "the cache experience" is lower than it was two or three years ago ... the "box in the woods" is now of only secondary importance.

The intent of the game may be "to derive fun from finding a container hidden in an interesting location ... or in hiding a cache in an interesting location..," but I agree with Kealia.

 

The mystic of finding a hidden treasure is what gets everybody hooked. Then you sudenly find yourself with new friends. Then you realize you've become part of a community.

 

That's what makes geocaching great. :blink::unsure:

 

Edited: To get Kealia's name spelled correctly (I always get distracted when I see that avatar).

Edited by sept1c_tank
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... The mystic of finding a hidden treasure is what gets everybody hooked.  Then you sudenly find yourself with new friends.  Then you realize you've become part of a community.

I'd have to say the things that "hooked" me on geocaching were the challenging hikes and/or hides in diverse areas ... the actual "treasure" never interested me. Unfortunately, those types of caches are, for the most part, few and far between these days.

 

I find your comment interesting ... my opinion is the community we belong to as geocachers is actually more a "community of mutual convenience and passing acquaintances."

Edited by Bassoon Pilot
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I just re-read Kealia's post and this topic is not about free speech. It's about being respectful and remembering that you're talking to a person on the other end, not just some nameless entity.

 

The lack of respect I see here on the Groundspeak forums is a bad thing. It keeps people from posting because they're intimidated. I think we're losing veterans with experience and newbies alike due to the harsh comments and name-calling I see here.

 

Despite dead_white_man's insistence, I stick to my previous point. Treating people with disrespect and rudeness is NOT excused by "free speech." I can certainly tell the difference between someone who's being helpful and contributing to the forum and someone who's just here to kick people around.

 

I see a lot of dialog here that is anything but "innocent words on a screen." The intent is quite clear. Like my parents always told me: "There's no excuse for poor behavior."

 

-Charles

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I find your comment interesting ... my opinion is the community we belong to as geocachers is actually more a "community of mutual convenience and passing acquaintances."

I guess that's subjective as well. Aroudn here we have a lot of local interaction (in person).

 

While I do VERY MUCH enjoy the solitude of a great hike and the outdoor experience (the final hunt, location, etc.) I do realize that the experince was created by a person, for another person to enjoy.

The point of the logbooks and online logs is to share your experince with others, right?

 

I'm actually suprised that this topic keeps getting bumped up with new comments. I expected a few reads before it fell off the page to be honest.

 

The topic of free speech is not what this was about but I can see how it might dove-tail into this a bit.

 

And Septic - we really should run into each other some time. I'm slighlty less offensive in person. :unsure:

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Despite dead_white_man's insistence, I stick to my previous point. Treating people with disrespect and rudeness is NOT excused by "free speech." I can certainly tell the difference between someone who's being helpful and contributing to the forum and someone who's just here to kick people around.

 

I see a lot of dialog here that is anything but "innocent words on a screen." The intent is quite clear. Like my parents always told me: "There's no excuse for poor behavior."

 

-Charles

Please understand, I don't mean to excuse rudeness and poor behavior only tolerate it!

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exactly....and the real "point" of this discussion thread (as I read it, at least), is not so much whether we "stay on point", but that we understand and appreciate all the related issues.....fully identify and articulate what "the problem" is.....so that we can better judge what might be useful "solutions".

 

I'm very very new to this whole milieu - this is absolutely the first time in my entire life that I've ever even "joined" one of these online groups, or engaged in any of the round-robin discussions or forums or whatever you call it, that provides some of the "glue" that keeps the group together. So, although I have read about this phenomenon (about the poor interpersonal skills, and other boorish behavior perhaps fostered by the anonymity of the online environment), I've never experienced it firsthand. And I still haven't, I don't think (although it's entirely possible that I have been "flamed" and just didn't realize it....I guess ignorance REALLY is bliss....).

 

So, in face-to-face interactions, how do groups "socialize" those with inappropriate or undeveloped interpersonal skills, and try to make them better, more respectful "team players" (other than trading a slap, with a harder slap in return)? Call a "bouncer" (i.e. moderator) when someone gets REALLY out of hand? Create a "flame pit" into which all the chronic "flamers" are consigned as a "time-out" (or as a warning of possible expulsion from the group if they keep offending people?). Is there a mechanism for group members to complain to the moderator, and let them know that a certain flamer needs a spanking? Is that too much to ask of a moderator? (especially if they're volunteers).

 

Does, flaming, harsh comments, name-calling, etc, really intimidate some members into not posting, and possibly leaving the group altogether, do you think? I really don't know - I'm just asking. But if that's true, then that seems to be a fairly significant problem for the group, that needs to be addressed by restoring some sort of "social order" to the process. Hey - maybe this group could have a designated "Seargent-at-Arms" (rather than dumping that kind of work on the moderators)? Or maybe the moderators are okay with also serving this role?

 

anyway......

(I think we need an emoticon for someone like me, for when we talk too much.....)

:unsure:

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never mind.......

 

I just now read the Guidelines for your Forums, and this group already has in place it's system of Bouncers, spankers, etc......

 

so, what's the problem? (i.e. why does this Forum topic even exist?) If someone misbehaves, then just make them re-read the guidelines and apologize to their victim.....and write 100 times on the community message board "I will not flame anyone anymore"......

 

Or maybe you guys already do this also.....?

:unsure:

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Hmmmm... It seems you have issues and maybe forgot this piece of the forum guidelines:

 

Respect: Respect the guidelines for forum usage, and site usage. Respect Groundspeak, its employees, volunteers, yourself, fellow community members, and guests on these boards. Whether a community member has one post or 5,000 posts, they deserve the same respect.

 

Foul Language and obscene images will not be tolerated. This site is family friendly, and all posts and posters must respect the integrity of the site.

 

Personal Attacks and Flames will not be tolerated. If you want to praise or criticize, give examples as to why it is good or bad, general attacks on a person or idea will not be tolerated.

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