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A little perspective on the state of caches... 
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Post A little perspective on the state of caches...
Some idle thoughts for a Friday morning, from an equally idle person.

There’s been a fair bit of moaning for a period of time about the falling quality of caches. And to be honest, I’ve contributed to that – both in the forums and in logs. I’ve noticed myself getting a little disappointed with caches in my local area and being almost immediately suspicious when I see new caches appear, especially by new cachers. I find myself whinging to my spouse about ‘that crap cache’ or beginning to nark on logs about how it should be improved.

And to be honest I’m a little embarrassed with myself about that. :oops:

Because in the end, I still enjoy this. (OK – I’m only on 500 or so finds, but still) – And I still go and find the ‘crap’ caches. So I’ve forced myself to reflect on whether it’s all as ‘crap’ as we really go on about, and how much of it is reality and how much is perspective.

First off, yes, I reckon there are more very ordinary caches out there now than when we started. But then, there are way more caches full stop – so of course there will be more bad ones. And with the phone apps we’re seeing a lot more new and casual cachers, so it’s understandable that the dodgy % will increase. But is it really that bad?

I have some vague, unproven theories that perhaps we’ll always feel that things were better ‘in the old days’. Firstly because I think we all were more impressed with hides when we were new. I look back on my early finds and I was thrilled at almost any hide, whereas now I find myself fussier and more critical. “Oh, another sistema crammed in a tree. How unimaginative” :roll: , I say - when my first find was such a hide and I was delighted (thanks Geodes!). So it’s not the caches getting worse, it’s my expectations getting higher simpler because I’ve done so many of the same kind. That’s my problem, not the cache hiders responsibility.

I also reckon (again, unproven) that the crap caches come and go, so they are always going to seem to be the ‘newer’ ones. We all see the unimaginative, badly placed micros. But when I see one published I know it’s probably not going to be around for long. It’ll get lost, damaged, and the owner will probably lose interest or just not bother maintaining . In which case eventually (and we won’t go into the archiving discussion here) it will disappear… So in that sense, there’s probably been a fair number of dodgy micros and other caches in the past but since they are no longer around, most of what we see in the past is ‘quality’ caches. Time has cleaned the database of the chaff. I hope that will continue to happen so when we look back at caches placed in 2010 all we’ll see is the better ones. Again, this is perhaps an inevitable process that we just need to accept.

I think the collective criticism doesn’t always help either. The more I hang around these forums, the more critical and disappointed I find myself getting – So I’m watching myself for that now… (Marge: “You know Homer, it’s very easy to criticize”. Homer: “Fun too!”) And if I lament the quality of caches, well, the best thing for me to do is go out there and plant some really excellent ones. Not only to ‘give newbies the right idea’, but simply to just give people a good time with a great cache. That should be my first response.

I’m also learning to reframe my own approach to this. This week I did a cache by a new cacher locally. Even before I got there, due to its description and some other stuff, I knew it would be a pretty ordinary micro. And it was by those standards – Bad container, ordinary placement, bad description, no real ‘need’ for it to be there. BUT – I did it. And why? Well, not just for the numbers (although that’s always there which is why I’ll always do a cache rather than ignore it), but also – It got me outside. It took me out of the office and out of my car and into a lovely park. Yes, a park I’ve been to before, but it was a lovely walk on a nice evening. Yes, the cache was ordinary, but when I found it there was still that little squirt of adrenalin that said “yay”. And there was the satisfaction of going home to log the find knowing that today had been more than just work and home, but that I’d had a little experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, as small as it may be. And the cache owner is to be thanked for that…

I may not be able to control who puts what out there, but I can control how I respond to it - And as such, caching will always be fun for me, regardless. :D


05 November 10 10:26 am
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Bloody well said. Thankyou.


05 November 10 11:00 am
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
As one of those people who has been pretty critical in these forums lately, and also someone who is equally idle on a Friday with the mother of all head and chest colds....

I say well said too.

I have whined a lot lately on these forums, somewhat about cache quality although I maintain that my beef is more with the "dodgy" - ie deliberately shonky cache placers, not the enthusiastic newbies who've only found two caches and just want to get out there and put out one of their own (and who will, as you said, lose interest quickly, or they will improve with time). I'll still bemoan the poor spelling, punctuation and cache descriptions even when I know the placer is probably an enthusiastic kid, because I'm a pedant when it comes to that and I believe children, with or without supervision, are quite capable of creating a decent cache description.

But I'm trying to focus on how I react to caches too. I won't stop giving gentle, polite advice to newbie cachers in the hopes that their quality will improve. But if they don't take that on board, I'll step away and focus my attention elsewhere - congratulating the many, many impressive hides I do have available to me. There are tons of crap caches around at the moment, and there are tons of brilliant caches too. When I look back at the really old caches that I have found, they were generally okay, but not what I'd call brilliant by today's standards. Geocaching has evolved and new ideas with respect to puzzles, camo, containers, locations, format of multis etc. The game has expanded in so many ways and I love seeing what people come up with. That more than makes up for the mint tins with a scrap of paper in them with off coordinates on a suburban street.

You also said something that rings true - even a crap cache can be a positive experience, the thrill of a FTF or the simple "got it!" (especially if the coordinates are dodgy - gives an extra sense of accomplishment!).

What's important is to focus on what you, personally get out of the game. For me, right now, I'll mostly ignore those caches that I know aren't worth my time and seek out those that have had a lot of effort put in to them. Similarly, I try to ensure that my contribution to the game is as high quality as I can come up with.
I will probably still have a whinge now and then. But I'll try and focus on the positives and what really matters - the thrill of the hunt, the accomplishment of the find, the great people I meet and the ideas that pop into my head for the next hide I'm planning.


05 November 10 11:35 am
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
I do not consider that enjoying this game and commenting on how the standard should be maintained (or even improved) are mutually exclusive events. We will continue to do all manner of caches – because as you say “… not just for the numbers (although that’s always there which is why I’ll always do a cache rather than ignore it), but also – It got me outside.” In addition I would like to continue to point out what I think is happening to the game – whether it be a positive, or a negative as I reckon that there is a danger that we could be letting this great game deteriorate.

We know quite a few cachers who seem to share the same sentiments, but are very wary of offering an opinion because of the scathing attacks that sometimes come from hypocritical points of view. If they don’t like a discussion then “shut it down” seems to be the catchcry. A pity as I believe that newer cachers won’t get the opportunity to become aware of what is right and what is wrong with the game and therefore possibly make improvements where possible.

We are off tomorrow morning to do a couple of caches that are 86 - 106kms away, one which hasn’t been found for nearly a year. A tough 4wd track and some walking through thick lantana, nasty spiky vines, leeches and ticks await us and it has been pouring here today. And you know what – we are going to absolutely love it all, because that is what caching is all about for us.


05 November 10 1:30 pm
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Happy Chappies wrote:
Some idle thoughts for a Friday morning, from an equally idle person.
.....
I’m also learning to reframe my own approach to this. This week I did a cache by a new cacher locally. Even before I got there, due to its description and some other stuff, I knew it would be a pretty ordinary micro. And it was by those standards – Bad container, ordinary placement, bad description, no real ‘need’ for it to be there. BUT – I did it. And why? Well, not just for the numbers (although that’s always there which is why I’ll always do a cache rather than ignore it), but also – It got me outside. It took me out of the office and out of my car and into a lovely park. Yes, a park I’ve been to before, but it was a lovely walk on a nice evening. Yes, the cache was ordinary, but when I found it there was still that little squirt of adrenalin that said “yay”. And there was the satisfaction of going home to log the find knowing that today had been more than just work and home, but that I’d had a little experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, as small as it may be. And the cache owner is to be thanked for that…

I may not be able to control who puts what out there, but I can control how I respond to it - And as such, caching will always be fun for me, regardless. :D


Yep, I nodded my head in agreement as I read this thread; also for me I reflect on our own cache quality - and with some embarassment think how we can improve our own caches and swaps. Why else, we also like the additional FTF challange where we can (as you know :oops:) and so we have gone out with the same enthusiasm even when suspecting that it may not be the greatest.

When writting the logs however I find myself thinking however "I want to be positive and provide encouragement" even when the cache is a 'kinda egg' or the new cache log book is completly sodden, soaked through when we are a FTF or STF or First Day Find.


05 November 10 2:08 pm
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Happy Chappies wrote:
I may not be able to control who puts what out there, but I can control how I respond to it - And as such, caching will always be fun for me, regardless. :D


Well said Happy Chappies. Glad to hear you have changed your outlook. =D>

Happy Chappies wrote:
I think the collective criticism doesn’t always help either. The more I hang around these forums, the more critical and disappointed I find myself getting – So I’m watching myself for that now…


That is the nature of forums! The opinionated people give their opinions. :lol:
That's a good thing because a forum doesn't work if everybody lurks.

Unfortunately it also means sometimes people get the idea that everyone thinks their way when they are actually in a small minority.

Enjoy your caching. :)


05 November 10 6:24 pm
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
True story for cache in point.

My assumptions -
Young geocacher.
Found one cache.
Wanted to join in the game.
Wanted to put one in near to their home.

Facts -
Hid cache in a playground in a small park.
Due to inexperience - did not put up much of a description on the cache page.
Due to inexperience - used a container that would not stand up to elements.
Due to inexperience - stuck cache up to underside of platform by lid. The lid seal would not hold up the weight of the cache so it detached a couple of times, falling open.

What happened next and how could it have been better handled?

Here is the cache (the logs will tell the story) -

Flying Fox


05 November 10 7:18 pm
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Happy Chappies wrote:
Some idle thoughts for a Friday morning, from an equally idle person.

There’s been a fair bit of moaning for a period of time about the falling quality of caches. And to be honest, I’ve contributed to that – both in the forums and in logs. I’ve noticed myself getting a little disappointed with caches in my local area and being almost immediately suspicious when I see new caches appear, especially by new cachers. I find myself whinging to my spouse about ‘that crap cache’ or beginning to nark on logs about how it should be improved.

And to be honest I’m a little embarrassed with myself about that. :oops:

Because in the end, I still enjoy this. (OK – I’m only on 500 or so finds, but still) – And I still go and find the ‘crap’ caches. So I’ve forced myself to reflect on whether it’s all as ‘crap’ as we really go on about, and how much of it is reality and how much is perspective.

First off, yes, I reckon there are more very ordinary caches out there now than when we started. But then, there are way more caches full stop – so of course there will be more bad ones. And with the phone apps we’re seeing a lot more new and casual cachers, so it’s understandable that the dodgy % will increase. But is it really that bad?

I have some vague, unproven theories that perhaps we’ll always feel that things were better ‘in the old days’. Firstly because I think we all were more impressed with hides when we were new. I look back on my early finds and I was thrilled at almost any hide, whereas now I find myself fussier and more critical. “Oh, another sistema crammed in a tree. How unimaginative” :roll: , I say - when my first find was such a hide and I was delighted (thanks Geodes!). So it’s not the caches getting worse, it’s my expectations getting higher simpler because I’ve done so many of the same kind. That’s my problem, not the cache hiders responsibility.

I also reckon (again, unproven) that the crap caches come and go, so they are always going to seem to be the ‘newer’ ones. We all see the unimaginative, badly placed micros. But when I see one published I know it’s probably not going to be around for long. It’ll get lost, damaged, and the owner will probably lose interest or just not bother maintaining . In which case eventually (and we won’t go into the archiving discussion here) it will disappear… So in that sense, there’s probably been a fair number of dodgy micros and other caches in the past but since they are no longer around, most of what we see in the past is ‘quality’ caches. Time has cleaned the database of the chaff. I hope that will continue to happen so when we look back at caches placed in 2010 all we’ll see is the better ones. Again, this is perhaps an inevitable process that we just need to accept.

I think the collective criticism doesn’t always help either. The more I hang around these forums, the more critical and disappointed I find myself getting – So I’m watching myself for that now… (Marge: “You know Homer, it’s very easy to criticize”. Homer: “Fun too!”) And if I lament the quality of caches, well, the best thing for me to do is go out there and plant some really excellent ones. Not only to ‘give newbies the right idea’, but simply to just give people a good time with a great cache. That should be my first response.

I’m also learning to reframe my own approach to this. This week I did a cache by a new cacher locally. Even before I got there, due to its description and some other stuff, I knew it would be a pretty ordinary micro. And it was by those standards – Bad container, ordinary placement, bad description, no real ‘need’ for it to be there. BUT – I did it. And why? Well, not just for the numbers (although that’s always there which is why I’ll always do a cache rather than ignore it), but also – It got me outside. It took me out of the office and out of my car and into a lovely park. Yes, a park I’ve been to before, but it was a lovely walk on a nice evening. Yes, the cache was ordinary, but when I found it there was still that little squirt of adrenalin that said “yay”. And there was the satisfaction of going home to log the find knowing that today had been more than just work and home, but that I’d had a little experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, as small as it may be. And the cache owner is to be thanked for that…

I may not be able to control who puts what out there, but I can control how I respond to it - And as such, caching will always be fun for me, regardless. :D

these are the most sensible words that have been written on this forum for a very long time, congratulations, well done, many others on this forum should read this post, then have a good look at their posts gone by. the last sentence says it all, well said Happy Chappies, but watch out you dont end up on everyone's ignore lists for your efforts ! again well said , cheers =D>


05 November 10 7:45 pm
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Happy Chappies wrote:
Some idle thoughts for a Friday morning, from an equally idle person.
.... there was the satisfaction of going home to log the find knowing that today had been more than just work and home, but that I’d had a little experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise…
:D


I love having a little snippet of enjoyment in a work day that can be otherwise very blah :D


05 November 10 9:01 pm
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Very well put Happy Chappies, and that's the way I see things these days. Like others I have noted the general average decrease in hide quality if we want to put it that way. But have also accepted that is because of the number of newcomers to the game.

As a perfect example, it just so happened I was interstate on a work trip this week. The way things worked out I had time for 25 finds (and a few DNFs, but hey). Would I call any of those caches particularly memorable? Probably not except for the views from one. Would I have rather sat in my room or been out doing 200m each way walks on average per cache to get 10 finds in a day when it was 36 degrees?

So yeah, a lot of that 25 might have been what the community considers ordinary though generally not crap caches, but I had more fun finding them than I would have staying in my accomodation and wasting time on the net. So yes - caching gets me out of the house or wherever I am, and even if it's what's considered a crap cache then at least I still got out and enjoyed the walk or whatever.


06 November 10 12:17 am
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Strange as it may seem, I almost expected this thread. Happy Chappies put it very well indeed and I sincerely concur.
If you have read any of my logs lately, you might see why. :wink:


06 November 10 12:46 am
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Hm, most comments seems to more or less agree with Happy Chappies that all is well if we keep a positive upbeat approach to new caches and caching in general. I am skeptical to say the least.

I can’t say whether the quality of local caches has gone down, because I’ve only been caching in Oz for 4 months. But there sure are a whole lot of simple, uninspired caches (and of course some really good ones). I can’t make myself like them better than they are, and it doesn’t make this great game of geocaching better if I do. If we don’t criticize (in a friendly constructive way, of course, and depending on my day, I admit, I am guilty of not always using the right tone ) how shall any cache owner, new or old, find out that there is room for improvement. There will be more and more of the same lame caches covering the map, and newbies will think that’s what geocaching is about. I’ll be harder and harder to find the good ones and geocaching will be less fun for many of us.

Caching is always fun, regardless?- nope. I don’t need cache coordinates to make me get out of the house and make a difference to my day!

If I am pretty sure the cache is crap, I won’t go there, like Team Wibble. Ignore it rather than honor it. If I come across a poor one because the cache description didn’t give it away (or other cachers were too thankful about it in their logs!), then I won’t pretend in my log that it is great.
ButI’ll try to stop the general moaning, Happy Chappies ;-)

Like several people have stated, our expectations are probably rising with experience. But that’s great: The standard of caches will rise, because cachers will come up with new, better ideas. And new cachers have the advantage of ‘learning’ from a much wider array of caches. I don’t have to like every cache idea, and I don’t have to be able to find every cache, but at least I want to see choice.
Beautiful locations, secret spots, tricky hides, funny containers, educational caches, clever mysteries, physical challenges,…
- geocaching is about diversity.

Btw, I am a friendly person, most of the time, at least trying to, just wanted to keep the topic going.


06 November 10 11:12 pm
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Despite our name :D , I certainly don't think it's all about positive thinking and pretending everything's hunky dory... But I also reckon that things aren't as bad as we might tell ourselves sometimes.

I do agree certainly with constructive, welcoming, positive feedback. I also certainly agree with choosing to ignore caches when we know they're not going to add anything to our day (I guess I'm just at heart a numbers hound - or just easily entertained!) I'm just not sure that complaining about it or narking in logs (and this isn't directed at you p-boro) actually improves the situation any. In fact, I think it makes it worse - both for the finder, but also for the hider (who in the vast majority of cases I still believe is excited about their hide and 'thinks' it is enjoyable themselves - even if we didn't find it so), and for the next person who comes along to find it, and thus the broader caching community. We certainly shouldn't pretend a cache is great when it isn't (we do, I admit, tend to be a bit oversupportive and too thankful at times which can be misleading!) but I think we can find ways to express that it might not have been the best experience for us without making it a negative experience for the hider.

My thinking has more been that, for me at least, there are two aspects which build the caching experience. One is the cache itself - the hide, the placement, the description, all that goes with it. And the second is my attitude in approaching it. And I know that over the last few weeks as I got more critical of caches, my level of enjoyment dropped - even when the caches hadn't necessarily got all that much worse. Stepping back and finding what I CAN enjoy in even the most ordinary cache is helping to rebuild my enjoyment of it. And if/when there's nothing to enjoy about it, well, so be it. But in my whole time of caching, if I'm serious, there's only a small handful that had nothing either in the cache or the visit there that didn't have something positive in it. And that goes for almost anything else in life that we do too. Cycling, playing, bushwalking, driving, reading, work (!), sex (!!), . Most of the time there's something positive in it, more or less. Very rarely does it suck completely.

I also do worry about newcomers coming into the game. Especially the young - Yes, feedback is great, and I'm heartened when I see people offer to help them (and that includes you p-boro! :) ) But too often I see logs (and have written a couple myself) which sound like a bunch of old farts sucking the joy out of their newfound enthusiasm. And we won't develop new standards and new ideas as much without new players. Besides, someone's gotta find my old caches and all the 'old farts' have done it already! :wink:


07 November 10 12:48 am
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
p-boro wrote:

Caching is always fun, regardless?- nope. I don’t need cache coordinates to make me get out of the house and make a difference to my day!




OK - It's late and I should really be in bed, but this line had me feeling all self-conscious... It's a fair point and it had me squirming thinking "Why can't I just go out and have that experience without the cache?" Which of course is silly because we do that all the time! (ie. no caches today and we had an awesome time!)... So, why do I enjoy an ordinary hide just for the sake of 'getting out'...?

I think it's something about being taken on a journey. Sure, I could have decided to go for a walk in the park that evening - but it would have been my plan, my direction. Sometime's that's nice. But I find it fun to be taken on a journey by someone else. To be led somewhere I might not have planned to go... Even if it's in the same old park I've been to before.

And now it's DEFINITELY time for bed!


07 November 10 12:58 am
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Post Re: A little perspective on the state of caches...
Good Karma!


07 November 10 1:54 pm
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