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'preparation Required' Attribute


tofska
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I'd like to make a suggestion for a new attribute/type for cache pages.

 

'Preparation required' means that you have to do some background work/research, or require special equipment, in order to find the cache - or more specifically/practically, that you will unlikely be able to find the cache by going straight to the site with just the cache page.

 

At the moment, this is probably handled by specifying it with a higher difficultly rating. But this doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be able to solve it on site. The 'Preparation required' (or whatever it's best called) attribute would make it clearer that some off-site preparation is required before going on site. The difficultly rating is a bit more generic and doesn't convey this very well.

 

I think this would be especially useful for geocachers who are caching outside their normal region and may not have their usual access to resources. It would be nice to be able to filter out, or at least quickly identify, these types of caches that they would not be able to find. It may help avoid those cases where people turn up at the coordinates, willing to do a difficult cache, but only to find they are not able to continue.

 

Thoughts?

Cheers, M@

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I would have thought that the special equipment issue would be taken care of by a rating of "5" for terrain, and that the advance preparation issue, like solving a puzzle, would be taken care of by using the "mystery/unknown" cache type. By definition, a traditional cache is one where you CAN show up at the cache site and find the cache using just the information on the cache page.

 

If you come across caches that are mis-rated or mis-classified, I'd encourage you to raise your concerns via an e-mail to the cache owner.

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I would have thought that the special equipment issue would be taken care of by a rating of "5" for terrain, and that the advance preparation issue, like solving a puzzle, would be taken care of by using the "mystery/unknown" cache type. By definition, a traditional cache is one where you CAN show up at the cache site and find the cache using just the information on the cache page.

 

If you come across caches that are mis-rated or mis-classified, I'd encourage you to raise your concerns via an e-mail to the cache owner.

But my point is that a terrain rating of '5' does not necessarily always mean that special equipment is required (if it does, then it's not clear). And a 'Mystery' cache does not always mean that you have to preparation to do before going on site. There are plenty of Mystery caches out there that can be solved on site and don't require preparation before the visit. An unresourced cacher filtering out 'Mystery' caches in a query could potentially miss out on caches that they would actually be able to do.

 

I think it would be good to if this aspect of a cache could be made a bit more explicit. The cache type and difficulty rating are a bit too generic and don't solve the problem.

 

Cheers, M@

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This is a gray area that can't be cleared up by using simple symbols. You need to read the description on the cache page and determine for yourself why it is rated 5 or if you have the knowledge to complete the mystery cache at the site or if you need to do some research or learning before hunting the cache. There just is no one size fits all for everyone in these cases.

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Its a tough one. Basically Mystery caches seem to divide into three types

1

on site at co ords

2

work it out at home

3

a bit of both

When on holiday we tend to ignore the mystery caches alltogether and just do trads and multis. a bit of research before we go may reveal some mystery caches we can do and we sometimes solve them.

Near to home we tend to go for them all. :P

In theory it needs another cache type but as the current types get missused it would just add more confusion.

We should all highlight to cache owners if we think a mystery is a multi or vice versa and these caches would slowly be resolved.

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A terrian marking of five automatically signals to me and most cachers I know that you better study the page and figure out what you are getting yourself into and what you need to bring with you.

 

As for puzzle caches - there you MUST always read the cache page to know what you are up againist. An Icon wouldn't make that any clearer - Just my thoughts.

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Puzzle caches that have high difficulty rating may or may not need advance preparation. It is suprising that some people can solve even the toughest caches in the field sometimes. Some have the neccessary tools in their laptop or PDA; in other case no special tools are needed - just a bit of inspiration to solve the puzzle.

 

When I travel, I list all the puzzle cache in the area I will be in before I go. I take a try at solving them before l leave. If I am flying some place, I may take the puzzles on the plane to solve. If I don't have the coordinates then I don't look for them when I get there. An exception are puzzle/multi-caches where you need to go to the coordinates to find some information to solve the puzzle. I like the challege of trying to solve these in the field. I probably won't try these if I'm in an area for just a short visit and know I won't be back soon. Otherwise, I'll do as much as I can and post a note (if appropriate) and hopefully get back to solve the puzzle.

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HMMMMmmmmm! I have a cache which requires a phillips-head screwdriver to open it.

 

The cache is on slightly-hilly terrain after walking less than .3 of a mile. Once you arrive at the cache location, the cache is in plain site. I rated it a '3' for Terrain because I clearly mention the screwdriver and because that didn't seem to fall into the "specialized equipment" category like "Scuba, boat, 15-foot ladder, etc."

 

Most people who have visited the cache haven't read the description and arrive without the screwdriver, however if they read the cache description they can't miss that requirement -- it is in color in bold.

 

Fortunately, everyone has been able to get the container open, but I wonder if I should change the rating so people will read the cache page? :D:P

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I do think we should add a "special equipment required" attribute. That would mean that you would need something other than the essentials to get to or open the cache. A more generic one would be "you must read the listing description"

 

Both ideas have been mentioned before. I'm indifferent with either. Perhaps a vote?

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Of the two options, I think "Special Equipment Required" is superior to "You Must Read the Cache Page" for at least two reasons.

 

1. Since "you must read the cache page" is a requirement for essentially all puzzle (mystery/unknown) caches, as well as many multicaches, the attribute doesn't add very much. It would be over-selected so that filtering on it wouldn't help very much to narrow down a search. And if a traditional cache were to have this attribute, then one might wonder why it isn't properly classified as a "mystery/unknown" cache. By definition, a traditional cache is one that can be found by just going to the posted coordinates and searching.

 

2. A "Special Equipment Required" attribute could be applied to caches of any terrain rating. If implemented, this change ought to go hand-in-hand with a tweak to the Geocache Rating System, which pretty much makes any cache with a "special equipment" requirement into a terrain 5. I've completed a terrain 5 that involved a leisurely paddle on a pond where swimming would be dangerous, but it wasn't all that taxing. But, over the weekend, I hiked 12 miles to score a smiley on a terrain 4.5 that is in my top five most physically demanding caches. Change the rating system to reflect *just* the physical terrain, and capture the special equipment requirement using an attribute, and I'd be a happy cacher.

Edited by The Leprechauns
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I do think we should add a "special equipment required" attribute. That would mean that you would need something other than the essentials to get to or open the cache. A more generic one would be "you must read the listing description"

 

Both ideas have been mentioned before. I'm indifferent with either. Perhaps a vote?

I like the "specialized equipment required" but expand to "specialized equipment/information needed." This would cover anything that isn't a puzzle cache or caches with much less than 5 difficulty.

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2. A "Special Equipment Required" attribute could be applied to caches of any terrain rating.

Hmm... Perhaps special tool required is better. I don't really want "requires piton and climbing rope" to be part of this kind of attribute. Really it just means you might need a spanner, gizmo or doodad to extract something. Or a flashlight is needed to see in a nook or cranny.

 

Cat 5 terrain should still mean piton and climbing rope, scuba gear, wings, etc.

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I see your point about preserving Terrain 5 for true "special equipment" like climbing gear or scuba. You're right.... as has often been noted in the forums, requiring a flashlight or tweezers shouldn't automatically be "special equipment" warranting a Terrrain 5 rating.

 

But in practice, the Terrain 5 rating is not evenly applied. I've seen Terrain 5's that were really 4's and required only foot power, and I've seen boat-only caches rated 3 stars. If a new "special tools required" attribute is added, query whether the average cache owner -- who doesn't read these semantic debates -- will appreciate the distinction between "special equipment" and "special tools." This assumes that the hypothetical average cache owner has even studied the GCRS, which would be a leap.

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Heh. Well attributes really aren't meant for people who don't pay attention anyway. It does make a good check for filtering out those kinds of listings when you're out of town, for example. It is also good as a flag when you're perusing caches like - oh - I better look at this before I load it into my handheld and take off.

Edited by Jeremy
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It does make a good check for filtering out those kinds of listings when you're out of town, for example. It is also good as a flag when you're perusing caches like - oh - I better look at this before I load it into my handheld and take off.

Exactly the situation I had in mind :blink:

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Of the two options, I think "Special Equipment Required" is superior to "You Must Read the Cache Page" for at least two reasons.

 

1. Since "you must read the cache page" is a requirement for essentially all puzzle (mystery/unknown) caches, as well as many multicaches, the attribute doesn't add very much. It would be over-selected so that filtering on it wouldn't help very much to narrow down a search. And if a traditional cache were to have this attribute, then one might wonder why it isn't properly classified as a "mystery/unknown" cache. By definition, a traditional cache is one that can be found by just going to the posted coordinates and searching.

 

2. A "Special Equipment Required" attribute could be applied to caches of any terrain rating. If implemented, this change ought to go hand-in-hand with a tweak to the Geocache Rating System, which pretty much makes any cache with a "special equipment" requirement into a terrain 5. I've completed a terrain 5 that involved a leisurely paddle on a pond where swimming would be dangerous, but it wasn't all that taxing. But, over the weekend, I hiked 12 miles to score a smiley on a terrain 4.5 that is in my top five most physically demanding caches. Change the rating system to reflect *just* the physical terrain, and capture the special equipment requirement using an attribute, and I'd be a happy cacher.

What he said. That's my vote.

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I see your point about preserving Terrain 5 for true "special equipment" like climbing gear or scuba. You're right.... as has often been noted in the forums, requiring a flashlight or tweezers shouldn't automatically be "special equipment" warranting a Terrrain 5 rating.

 

But in practice, the Terrain 5 rating is not evenly applied. I've seen Terrain 5's that were really 4's and required only foot power, and I've seen boat-only caches rated 3 stars. If a new "special tools required" attribute is added, query whether the average cache owner -- who doesn't read these semantic debates -- will appreciate the distinction between "special equipment" and "special tools." This assumes that the hypothetical average cache owner has even studied the GCRS, which would be a leap.

I've been thinking about this and I've come to the realization that geocaching happens in three stages and not two stages. The current rating system only rates the first two of these stages.

 

When you go to hunt a geocache you first travel to the geocache. The difficulty is represented by the terrain rating. When you get to the area that has the geocache, you then locate the geocache. The difficulty of this stage is represented by difficulty rating. Once the cache has been located the third and final stage is retrieving the cache. Usually, this is as simple as brushing a few leaves off the geocache and opening the latch on the ammo can. But, it be as complicated as constructing a retrieval tool from small twigs you find nearby, a lace from your boot, and some bubble gum. The retrieving stage doesn't have a rating. What most geocache owners do is increase the rating for one of the first two stages. A better solution would be to have a third rating for this retrieval stage.

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When you get to the area that has the geocache, you then locate the geocache. The difficulty of this stage is represented by difficulty rating.

Not necessarily. For a puzzle cache, the difficulty may represent how hard it is to solve the puzzle that gives you the coordinates.

 

You could thus imagine four stages: at-home preparation (read the description, solve any puzzle); travel to the cache; find the cache; access the cache. But I think that would be a bit over the top.

 

For difficulty, I wish we could separate "time and exertion required" from "special equipment required." When I look for a substantial hike in my area, I look at 4- and 4.5-star terrain and ignore the 5-star caches. Many of them can be done in less than an hour but happen to require an inflatable boat.

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