The steady decline of the quality of geocaching....

For all your general chit chat, caching or not.

Do you think the quality of geocaches is going down with the quantity of caches going up?

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Post by Gwennie1984 » 09 September 08 9:07 pm

penguin wrote: This may have been covered before somewhere in the forums, but would it be reasonable to make it necessary for someone to have found a certain number of caches before having a hide published? Perhaps 10 or 20?

It may sound a tad draconian, but could be way to prevent carppy hides such as the one mentioned above (and a crappy one in Highgate Hill).

It would also allow hiders to have found enough caches to have a better idea of what is expected in a hide.

/my 2 cents...
If you start doing that people will keep pushing the numbers up. Instead of dodgy hides of cachers under 10 finds, the focus will then be on substandard ones of cachers under 50 finds. Yes, it will stop the really really dumb hides like the one posted above, but it will just make everything seem more imposing for the serious newbies.

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Post by Jemalong & Family » 09 September 08 9:24 pm

I have to agree with many of you about the state of caches and it is not just in Australia that there seems to be this problem.

We have cached in 15 countries - mainly in Europe and Australia is the most current.
There has been a wide variety of caches in these countries
The ones that we find most interesting are:
historical perspective (a plane from WW2 landed in the field and now there is a memorial there for it)
good walk in the bush/countryside (which as a family is bonding because we get to talk and learn from nature)

The majority of ones we have done so far in Australia are ok for getting to know the local area but are not awesome memorable caches.

We have completed 685 caches and only placed 2 one event cache and one traditional. The reason for this is because there were so many in our local area that we decided to not just place another cache for the sake of it and when we discovered a historical spot which was also a walk with great views we placed it. Another reason was we knew we were only going to be living there for a limited time and so it came down to maintenance issues which I don't think some people think about. We now have friends looking after it for us but how long it will live is up to them.

Anyway there is my moan - Don't get me wrong I love caching just interesting caches that take me to new and exciting spots that I would otherwise not have known please!

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Post by Alansee » 09 September 08 9:33 pm

I've been caching for 2 1/2 years now and actually feel that the average quality of caches hasn't changed - in my earlier days there were just as many "good" and "bad" (if you can actually define those) caches. Just not as many caches full stop.
I fully concur with Team Rubik's comments although they apply just as much to cities and rural areas as well.
Team Rubik wrote:I've found that the towns which generally have a high quality of caches (as determined by wider opinion, not just my own) also have a very close knit community of cachers who share ideas and help one another.
Cache quality will be a permanent issue and rightly so. The best ways to encourage that have already been mentioned here and on previous discussions - helpful feedback on logs, care with your own caches, encouragement and discussions with other cachers, especially newbies.
If we want "good" caches we need to make the effort to encourage them.

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Post by Richary » 09 September 08 10:52 pm

I agree with most of the comments placed so far despite their varying opinion. I guess my experience has been changed by moving from Adelaide to Sydney with a whole set of new caches to place.

I will start by saying I have placed a lot of caches in SA (a lot are now adopted so don't show under my name). Most I feel fairly proud of. Either because of the spot they are in, or because there is a devious micro, or a history lesson multi involved. Since I have been in Sydney I have placed 1 in a year. Why? Because the place has so many already available so I want to find somewhere special to place it. The one I did was a quick multi that was also historical, and I have another couple in mind in the area (when the council finishes remediation works). I won't throw a crap micro into the park on the corner just because it doesnt have a cache.

Since I moved here I must admit most of the quality ones I have found have been older caches. Perhaps that is because a lot of the good spots were taken early. So new cachers have less choice of places to put one when they feel they owe something back to the community. More modern ones in Adelaide (such as Zytheran's - when you could find them) were in some great spots. Here we need Tangles caches etc for the great hides not too far from the city.

We can lead by example, by that accepts that a great spot is available, not already full of caches, and we don't feel guilty that we have found xxx and hidden few. Sydney has enough normal ones, so any I hide will be because it is a spot I want someone to go to. Not just because "oh shit, I had better place one to make up for the ones I have found".

I have another plan for a mystery that I will follow up after the current caching game has finished that will be a bit out of town. But there will be a reason for it. And the historical ones I mentioned close to home will probably be easy multis - why? Because I will want people to read the signs. That is why I am taking them there. I don't care if they only have to then walk 20 metres to find it. The location is the point, not the challenge.

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Post by stealth_ninja_penguin » 09 September 08 11:34 pm

I reckon the quality of caches has slipped but that is not limited to the hide. Sometimes people haven't got the right terrain, container size or bothered to provide some extra coordinates (eg parking or access point) to help give the finder a happy experience. There are a few I have found which I'm sure are not in keeping with the spirit of geocaching or even the rules.

I'm all for having someone beta test a cache so we can give our caching friends a better finding experience. No, I'm not suggesting this as a mandatory requirement rather, imagine if we could rely on our caching friends to be honest with us and help us make better cache hides before they (the caches) go out to the wider caching community. So, maybe when we go to place a cache, no matter how many hides or finds we have, we could ask a friend to check it out for us.

For me caching is about the journey and the destination. If I spend all my time trying to work out how tf to access a spot only to eventually find a micro hidden in a thorn bush in an old dump...... then I would be not really happy to find that kind of cache.

So keeping it legal, accurate and in mind of how to give as many people the best experience we can (rather than a desperate hide before someone else puts a cache there) is a good start IMHO :roll:

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Post by Richary » 10 September 08 12:38 am

stealth_ninja_penguin wrote:If I spend all my time trying to work out how tf to access a spot only to eventually find a micro hidden in a thorn bush in an old dump...... then I would be not really happy to find that kind of cache.
<p>Definitely. I annoys me to do a 5 point multi only to be looking for a micro in a spot when a decent size cache could have just as easily been hidden. If you have to go to that effort for it, the cache itself should be worth the find, with at least the capacity for decent swaps if that is what you are into (I rarely swap these days).

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Post by zactyl » 10 September 08 2:04 am

I thought this was a resurrection of an old thread from years ago. :shock: I reckon there were probably people thinking the same thing back in, oh, 2003?! :cry: I do agree though, I was out caching with a friend on the weekend and we got to thinking that perhaps we were getting to be grumpy old men... :roll: Mint tin hidden at the base of a tree under leaf litter anyone? Then you check the hiders profile and find that's the only kind of caches they've experienced. They do seem receptive to feedback though, the mint container has been upgraded. :o

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Post by Bewilderbeest » 10 September 08 8:46 am

Gwennie1984 wrote:
penguin wrote: This may have been covered before somewhere in the forums, but would it be reasonable to make it necessary for someone to have found a certain number of caches before having a hide published? Perhaps 10 or 20?
If you start doing that people will keep pushing the numbers up. Instead of dodgy hides of cachers under 10 finds, the focus will then be on substandard ones of cachers under 50 finds. Yes, it will stop the really really dumb hides like the one posted above, but it will just make everything seem more imposing for the serious newbies.
Gwennie is right about that. Rather than any arbitrary limit, I'd rather see people encouraged to experience a broad range of caches before they try hiding.

Make sure you've found some multis and mystery caches as well as trads. Do some urban and bush ones, get experience some challenging difficulty and terrain caches, even try travelling to another town or state to see how things are done elsewhere. Then try hiding one. Im sure the result will be better in most cases.

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Post by Jardry » 10 September 08 9:02 am

Being relatively new to geocaching (about 15 months), it took me about 8 months and 120 or so finds before I placed my first cache.

I admit I have placed a significant number of micros in order to create a series of cache hides to highlight country football, hiding spots were also at a premium. Due to the high probability that these caches could end up being muggled I wanted to make sure I could replace these caches at little or no cost. Hence the reason for these caches being micros.

In my area since I commenced caching there have been three other cachers that have hidden around 20 or so caches over the same time that I started hiding caches, with a number of other cachers hiding one or two.

Overall, over the past 8 months close to 100 caches have been placed in the Riverland. In my opinion the majority of these caches are well placed and the cache container appropriate for the location.

I have noticed a number of experienced cachers making the effort to come to the Riverland. The feedback given on caches have in the main been very positive. Occasionally a cacher has a bad experience, through the hider having local knowledge of how to get to the cache location which an "out of towner" wouldn't necessarily know about. I have the same experience when caching in and around other country towns.

Given the increasing popularity of geocaching, at some point cache saturation will occur in an area and subsequent caches appear to be "bad" caches. Personally, I believe the effort a hider puts into the cache description gives an indication as to the quality of the cache. Usually the cache description highlights a historical event, magnificent views, difficult terrain or the necessity to solve a puzzle to obtain the final co-ordinates.

I know one of my cache placements is very ordinary (due to limited hiding places and close proximity to private property), however, the cache description provides the reason why you would visit the location. There is no view or amazing structure at GZ, you use your imagination to reflect on the past history of the location.

In urban areas there are literally thousands of places where it is very easy to hide a small/micro cache. Some cachers may feel that it is part of the "game" that they need to place caches once they have found a few. I'm not all that impressed seeing a cache description which just explains what was in the cache container when it was hidden in a suburban park.

I agree with earlier comments that cache hiders need to have found some caches before being allowed to hide them.

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Post by mundoo » 10 September 08 9:28 am

Interesting to read all the points of view.

As someone who is yet to get 50 under their belt but been caching for many years, I still consider myself to be relevantly inexperienced. I am now hesitant about placing more caches after reading here.

I haven't had bad feedback so far on the 5 I have placed. I have placed them in areas of interest in my area after being surprised that no-one had done so before me. They are simple trads with 1/1.5 ratings as that is all the experience I have had in finds.

I have tried finding 2 simple multi's and not got anywhere. I now filter multi's out of my searches as I haven't had success and so my hides reflect my lack of experience in the more difficult/challenging caches that you all are saying you prefer.

I also am limited in my physical stamina and a bush walk, no matter how easy the terrain is beyond me. I am a drive-by cacher and recognise that. I am also limited in budget and petrol is a big issue.

I am in a regional/rural area and have only met 2 real-life cachers who live here (and they have been caching less time than me, but now have more finds) but managed to go to an event last month (Pub Lunch in Adelaide) in the hopes of picking up some tips from the more experienced. Whilst the lunch and friendship was great there was no discussion that I heard or lurked on about placing caches etiquette and what makes a good or bad cache. I even took my GPS into the venue in case someone started showing tricks or hints on the more than basic operation of them. I didn't see a GPS at all at the lunch.

One of my problems I have in placing a cache is deciding what constitutes the size of the cache container. I have no idea what size is considered to be small or regular or large. And saying a simesta (spelling) container makes no sense to me as I don't know what that is. What I do know is the description of clip-lock or tupperware or ammo box (and that only because I have found a cache with an ammo box and now know what that one looks like). I placed my first cache with a sandwich-sized container and called it small (erring on the side of caution) and yet I have had one comment in my logs that it was a regular size and they had been looking for a small. I have worked out that a micro is a film container/eclipse mint tin size, only by reading here. If a cacher never came to this Australian forum then they would not be able to learn what may or may not be expected from them when placing a cache.

If the suggested criteria of so many finds before being able to place a hide was implemented then I wouldn't have placed any hides. My enjoyment of my hides and the logs from who find them actually outways my own finds.

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Post by penguin » 10 September 08 10:19 am

Hey Mundoo,

The GCA site has a great wiki section. Cache sizes and other things are explained here:

Your sandwich-sized cache is, by definaition, a small cache.

There is also nothing wrong with the easy, drive-by caches. As much as I love a cache that requires a good walk in the bush, often I personally, may only have time for an easy cache or two. Don't let people's perceived high expectations put you off - just make sure that any caches you hide are of a standard (or higher) than you'd like to find. :D
Last edited by penguin on 10 September 08 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by delboy1203 » 10 September 08 10:19 am

I'm with Spindoc Bob when it comes to finding & hiding. I don't get much time to go geocaching anymore between work and family/baby time (1 cache in the last 3 weeks!!), so I pick my hunts very carefully. Not only by age of cache, but also by cache placer and any comments left in the log.
There's nothing wrong with micros if they are hidden in worthwhile spots. When I first started caching, I was living in London - try finding anything but a micro in that city! :shock:
As for hiding, I hid my first cache after only very few finds and it is by far my most popular, most commented on cache (GC11TFG). I don't believe setting a limit to minimum finds before allowing somebody to hide a cache. If a hider is a good cacher, they will think about what they are putting out, not just hide a ziplock bag! I, too, scout out a potential hide for a couple of weeks, think about what I will write in the cache description and make a decision about what goes inside the cache before actually hiding it. (Saying that, my last cache was muggled before it even got any finds! :cry: ) Maybe GC should add a rating system just like we have on GCA.

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Post by Team Wibble » 10 September 08 10:21 am

I have mixed feelings about the issue.
In some ways, I agree that there are a lot of less than ordinary hides, especially by new cachers with very few hides and little concept of what a good cache is.

At the same time, I think that at least in the four years that I've been caching, there has been an increase in really quality hides, cache types, puzzles, locations, the lot. I think we need to be careful not to slip into "the good old days" nostalgia, because when I think about it, many older caches were fairly ordinary in their hides too. I have found several much older caches that were in poor containers that haven't lasted the distance, and on roadsides with not a whole lot to distinguish the location from anywhere else.

Geocaching has evolved and will continue to evolve, from what was probably an original "stick a tupperware container under a bush somewhere that's kind of interesting or in an area that hasn't got one yet" to a whole range of attempts at clever hides, original containers, containers that will survive any conditions for years to come, themed swaps, tricky puzzles, caches in really unusual areas, hidden gems, or areas with interesting history.

If anything, i think its a (if I can use a sort of mathematical term here) "de-normalising" of cache types. Back in the day there was a fairly limited range of what to expect with a cache hide. These days there is a much broader spectrum, from the fantastically clever and excellent locations to poorly thought out micros chucked any old place.

There are two main issues that come to mind that worry me a little. One is the proliferation of poor caches that in some cases contravene the guidelines, such as being right next to or practically within a school, that I question whether they should ever have been published in the first place. I am in no way criticising The Ump or other reviewers for this, as with the increased numbers of caches that they are publishing, and the fact that in some cases, all the resources in the world won't tell them the location is a bit iffy unless the hider mentions something. So I'm not sure how that can be resolved.

The other issue is one that was raised by Mundoo. How does a newish or more experienced (but with fewer finds) cacher determine what makes a good hide, or what the "etiquette" is regarding hiding, especially in their area and especially if they don't have the opportunity to interact face to face with other cachers very often to pick up some hints and advice?
I have to admit, a lot of caching related chatter at events such as the Pub Lunch as Mundoo mentioned does occur, but its usually, at least in SA's case, hints on how to solve the latest Zytheran puzzle. I think we sometimes forget that newer people may want some more basic conversation.
So what's the answer? My first thought was, we've had tips and tricks events in SA for using GSAK and OziExplorer in the past, maybe a tips and tricks for hiding event would be a good idea? I suspect a lot of newbies and even more experienced cachers would find this useful. I don't think such an event would attract those very new cachers with appalling hides though.

The other answer maybe in the light of caching gurus, there's been talk of a buddy system, but this focuses more on helping newer caches with finds, perhaps it could extend to hides as well?

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Post by The Rats » 10 September 08 12:39 pm

Certainly a very interesting topic and one I'd have to agree whole heartly with Webbys original comments. While I have been reading all the posts and sitting back and having a good laugh to myself because this topic is no more evident than here in Wollongong.... Some of you may have expereinced it already.<P>Here in the Gong/Illawarra like elsewhere there has been an influx of new cachers and caches. Over the past couple of years primarily our new cachers have been school kids and I applaud them for taking up a new interest but it has shown us that they have little idea on how big this game is. They started with the plastic bag and piece of paper and little to no contents and for them it was a game that they played amongst themeselves after school oblivous to us seasoned cachers who were out ther getting very frustrated with their antics.<P>Myself and another cacher organised an informal caching workshop for these kids, the roll up was good and we thought we'd had a win. Their hides improved, but it wasnt long and it was back to the norm...... Over time, yes they have picked up their game a little but there is still along way to go and yes some of them do read this forum so I hope they take note. It has come to a point that many of us no longer rush out to find their work.<P>I have pride in my area and for many years I have prided myself on hiding good quality caches in areas that draw the cacher to an interesting place/feature etc with good quality swaps. I still maintain that level but I no longer swap items in caches I found due to the rubbish which is out there and often the trival area wher you are drawn to... Yes there are expections to that, but our game has changed so much that we now need to select what we do and dont find. Thats life

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Post by Aushiker » 10 September 08 3:47 pm

Gunn Parker wrote:I must say my interest level has dropped lately, I always look at new caches and wait for a while. If others say it is good and if it involves a walk in the bush then even better.
But there are soooo many run of the mill caches in local parks it's not worth going out.
I agree with Andrew.


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