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virtual caches
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we all know virtual caches are easy ways to add to the cache total. if given a choice between visiting 2 virtual sites that are otherwise equal, which would you prefer?
one that takes 10 seconds to complete
16%
 16%  [ 2 ]
one that asks me to explore the site for 5 minutes in order to complete it
83%
 83%  [ 10 ]
Total Votes : 12

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hardware
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Jan 2003

Posts: 157

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2003 4:44 pm    Post subject: virtual caches Reply with quote

i spent some time this week trying to create a virtual cache. i wanted it to be more appealing than simply "find this historical marker and identify what year it was erected." the cache location definitely warrants something more substantial, IMWO. (w=worthless)

upon first review, it was rejected. it was suggested that it should include some sort of way to steer cachers to a micro cache, rather than have them simply answer questions about the site. to make the cache site more interesting/challenging than the typical virtual cache, there are 9 questions to answer. the questions tell you where to look and what you're looking for, so it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to gather the appropriate information. i thought this was a great idea, and perhaps would be "fun for the whole family."

as i said, it has been rejected thus far. there seems to be no indication that the cache site violates a geocaching guideline, and i have asked for a clarification regarding its rejection. this post is not to criticize the administration that is reviewing it. i am sure s/he will thoroughly reconsider my submission.

what i am curious about is the experiences of others who have created virtual caches and/or had them rejected, as well as the knowledge of those who read the geocaching.com forums. (i don't have the time, unfortunately.)

1. are virtual caches, by nature, supposed to be tasks where you simply go to a site and answer one simple question for credit?

2. is it taboo to ask geocachers to do more than determine the date of an event at the virtual site?

3. is geocaching.com steering the "game" away from virtual caches?

4. anyone else ever been frustrated by a virtual cache rejection?

i hope to have a new cache on the market, or at least a better understanding of why i've been rejected thus far, in the next couple of days.

P.S. while my poll question may sound like a loaded one, it isn't intended to be. for all i know, 99% of geocachers may prefer the quick park and note of some of the simplest virtual caches. this poll may not provide a scientific answer, but the honest answers of forum members will be of interest to me.
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King Boreas
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2003 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1. are virtual caches, by nature, supposed to be tasks where you simply go to a site and answer one simple question for credit?

2. is it taboo to ask geocachers to do more than determine the date of an event at the virtual site?

3. is geocaching.com steering the "game" away from virtual caches?

4. anyone else ever been frustrated by a virtual cache rejection?


1. I think that in the beginning, in order to increase the number of available cache sites, that may have been true.

2. I think that now, because there are MANY more caches and cache-placers/hiders/stashers, much more is required.

3. I don't necessarily think that this is true. The explanation given to me, in its simplest form:

A virtual cache should be at a site where a traditional cache CANNOT be placed. An example might be a historic site, that cannot have a traditional cache because it's near a railroad.

4. Yes, I tried to do a cache at the "moontheamtrak" site, and it was rejected by honeychile.
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15Tango
MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Dec 2002

Posts: 852

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2003 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Points 1,2,&3--I have to agree with the king--gc.com seems to be pushing more for physical caches over virtuals--the first thing the admins ask when they turn down a virt is if a physical cache can be placed there instead. I submitted two virts a couple of months ago, and they were both turned down initially--with "The Holy Grail", I argued that it is a unique water tower with statuary on it, and since it's still in use, I didn't feel comfortable placing a physical cache in the area, and it got approved. "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" is the phone booth on the corner of 40th and Bloomington--I thought it was the last actual phone booth in the Twin Cities (as opposed to phone kiosks, etc), but it was turned down as being too common--there are still more of them out there than one realizes--initially I was upset, but I later saw that mtn-man had some valid arguments for not approving the cache.
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hardware
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Joined: 13 Jan 2003

Posts: 157

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i am still waiting a clarification on my cache submission.

so far i have been told that a virtual cache has already been rejected for this site. why that is wasn't stated.

the location i am using for this virtual does not lend itself to a traditional cache. (it's not a historic site, but it's a high-traffic public area, and the object sought is a very prominent work of art in the community.) if i HAVE to, i can find a way to take this site and use it as the key to finding a micro cache, but i have yet to be given a good reason why i should, although that was suggested.

i came up with 9 questions pertaining to the site. by my estimate they will take about 5 minutes to complete. rather than simply asking "what year was this erected," i am asking cachers to find specific points on this work of art and answer those questions. so instead of walking up to it, noting a detail and leaving, you have to find several things i draw your attention to. i tell you where to look and what you're looking for, so it won't take an hour to figure out the answers, and i figured that since there are numerous things to search for, it would be "fun for the whole family."

i will wait patiently for a response to my questions about why it was rejected. the rejection suggested it should lead to a micro cache, but i was never told the cache violates any geocaching.com guidelines.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hardware wrote:
if i HAVE to, i can find a way to take this site and use it as the key to finding a micro cache, but i have yet to be given a good reason why i should, although that was suggested.


Honestly, virtual caches should remain just that. Geocaching is no longer "their" site. It's a community. While virtual caches do raise your cache totals, their basic refusal to support a leader board leads me to believe that it doesn't matter.

Virtual caches can be much more valuable and have less impact on the surrounding enviornment...

I am new to all of this I suppose so my opinion probably matters little. I just don't see why they must deny all of them yet allow caches to be placed less than 1/10th of a mile apart (Old Mill Stream in Bloomington and Tree Hugger).

What do I know?

Silent Bob
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hardware
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Joined: 13 Jan 2003

Posts: 157

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2003 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marsha&Bob wrote:
Geocaching is no longer "their" site. It's a community...

Virtual caches can be much more valuable and have less impact on the surrounding enviornment...

I am new to all of this I suppose so my opinion probably matters little.


while i respect the need to moderate and control geocaching so that it doesn't get out of hand, i agree, it is a community. i'm not at the point of petitioning geocaching on behalf of my cache proposal, but perhaps i will, at which time i may call on this community for a little support.

many virtual caches are quite lame. (no disrespect intended to those who created them.) i've done a few of them when i've been passing by. while it's nice to draw attention to historical markers, et al, they're usually not very exciting to do. since they're virtual for a good reason, it's hard to make finding them very entertaining. i am attempting to make my virtual cache more entertaining than the average virtual.

bringing geocachers to already public places where there's no environmental impact should be something that geocaching.com promotes heavily, rather than discourages.

you are correct. your opinion matters little. but it matters just as much as that of rickrich, r.j., towlebooth or king boreas, and it probably matters more than mine. thank you for sharing it. Razz
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rickrich
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Joined: 06 Jul 2003

Posts: 673

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think gc.coms current policy regarding virtual caches is wrong, and I'd like to see MN revolt over their policies.

If the virtual is an interesting place, then the thrill of discovering and walking through the place should be sufficient for a find. The extra step of finding a micro is simply not necessary. It detracts from the primary reasons you should be there - the walk and the education.

Exhibit A: Would the Jabs Farm virtual (August cache of the month) be impoved by placing a final micro cache? I think not. You've already walked 1.25 miles to the cache site and gotten to see some great scenery and have learned about a neat historical place. Finding a micro would be anti climactic.

Exhibit B: Witches Hat virtual.. An incredible view of the Mpls skyline. Should I be spending my 15 minutes at the site looking at the water tower and the view, or huniting a micro?

With winter coming, I look forward to having a supply of virtuals that can be found even if there is heavy snow on the ground.
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King Boreas
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2442

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i wonder if part of it is verification issues. how many virtual cache owners accept less than perfect responses, or allow logs with no response. i had one that was totally off the wall, suggesting new verification info, making me wonder if (s)he was even there. i received no response from my e-mail, so i deleted the log.
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King Boreas
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to thank everyone for the favorable comments on Jabs Farm. I had driven past the Louisville Swamp sign on 169 numerous times on my way to Mankato. One day I decided I was going to stop. The only other person I saw on the trail was a bow hunter coming out. Almost decided to leave. I just kept walking the trail, then I saw a sign for Jabs Farm and wondered what that was. I placed a cache there, took some photos with my first (crappy) digital camera, and was pretty proud of my "discovery". Of course eventually the cache disappeared. When caches are stolen, I don't usually replace them. So I archived the site.

Bobhiker used to check on the cache for me. He asked me to do a virtual for Jabs Farm, and I did.

Thanks to tomslusher for nominating it. Not many people have been there. It's really a cool area.
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Moe the Sleaze
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Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1146

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I find myself in pretty much total agreement with gc.com's current stand on virtuals. Out of over 500 finds, fewer than 20 of mine are virtuals. (My profile shows 20, but at least two of those were changed to virtuals from physical caches after I logged them).

Several of the virtuals that I did log, I knew what I was going to see before I went there. Others, when I did get there, I wondered "what's the point?" Only a couple stand out as being worthwile, IMHO.

An example of a worthy virtual, IMO, is Vermadon's "Spirit Plaza". What makes it worthy?

a) It is a very moving, interesting location.
b) It's location pretty much rules out a physical cache, even a micro.
c) It's a location very few people know about.

GC.com seems willing to continue listing virtuals of this type. What they are not listing is every road-side historical marker where you are asked to answer what year so-and-so was born.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moe the Sleaze wrote:
GC.com seems willing to continue listing virtuals of this type. What they are not listing is every road-side historical marker where you are asked to answer what year so-and-so was born.


Eh, but I think they they should allow MORE virtuals than have been apparently going through. While I agree that some virtuals are abusing the ease of setting one up (the one in front of the Union on the UMN campus comes to mind), I think that some historical markers have their point... Then again, I was a history major Wink

Just my worthless .02
Silent Bob
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hardware
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Joined: 13 Jan 2003

Posts: 157

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2003 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the cache in question:

the band shell at the commons of excelsior.

while i'm told that the cache is rejected in part because band shells aren't that interesting, i've made it clear that this one is about 1,000 time more interesting than any other community bandshell. there are literally hundreds of tiles that adorn the interior walls. each one is engraved by community members, and they're cut, placed and painted to created a unique world map. there are about 1,000 different questions i could ask a person to answer pertaining to these tiles with individual messages and pictures, so i came up with 8, and one question that doesn't apply to the tiles themselves. that's not interesting enough. so now if i want to make this a cache, you have to answer 9 questions, then figure out where i'm going to hide a micro cache so you can sign a log sheet in it. seems like a big waste.

it was also noted that the location can be identified without use of a GPS. agreed. i didn't realize there were so many non-geocachers who were abusing the system by hunting down virtual caches that didn't require a GPS. (sarcasm mode off.)

and why would a geocacher want to spend any of his/her time on the las vegas strip identifying interesting little points where caches can't be hidden. who would ever want to spend any of his/her vacation time geocaching? what a waste of time!

while i agree that every roadside historical marker doesn't need to have a virtual cache attached to it, what harm is there in it, if that's what i want to find while out and about? if i choose to find 100 virtuals in a year, or just 1, what difference does it make. as it was pointed out, virtuals give us some incentive to learn something about history or art that we might not take the time to otherwise learn. i guess education isn't a priority of geocaching.com.

so, look for my "virtually worthless" cache to show up in the next week or so. there are already a handful of caches in the excelsior area. this was supposed to be a fun virtual to add to a morning of geocaching in the south lake area, but that wasn't good enough.

this geocaching.com episode makes me want to start looking into navicache.com.
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Jillibean
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Joined: 26 Nov 2002

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2003 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hardware,

Some of my all-time favorite caches have been virtuals, particularly multi-virtuals that show you something really challenging or interesting. I like geocaching in general not because I can't wait to see what's inside the tupperware, but because I enjoy the journey to the cache site. So virtual caches to me are at least as fun as the physical ones.

I was wondering, when you created the cache page on Geocaching.com, if you included any reason why the cache should be virtual rather than physical? I only ask because I placed a virtual cache that was rejected at first because the approver didn't see why there couldn't be a physical cache at that location. So I resubmitted it and included in the cache description, "It would not be appropriate to place a physical cache in this location due to it being a high traffic area, so this needs to be a virtual cache." With that sentence included in the description, it got approved.

If they're rejecting virtuals because they don't see the reason the cache can't be physical, I would suggest giving them some reason. You could delete that sentence from the description once the cache is approved. Just a suggestion, it worked for me....
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15Tango
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Joined: 17 Dec 2002

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2003 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to second Jillibean--my "Holy Grail" cache was initially rejected, but it's a unique water tower in Minneapolis that is still being used, and I don't think the non-geocaching public would feel comfortable seeing people poking around looking for a small container or accidentally finding a strange container next to their water supply (I know if I wasn't a cacher, it would make me feel uncomfortable). I said as much to the admin who was in charge of my cache, and it was soon approved. Good luck with your situation.
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rickrich
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of Holy Grail, my wife loved that virtual! Given a sample size of 4 (our house), my wife prefers the virtuals, my daughter prefers anything near a playground, I prefer multis, and my son prefers anything he can find before I do.

As far as hunting virtuals without a GPS, when I have spoken with muggles on the trail and have told them about geocaching, I mention that they can get started without a GPS by hunting the virtuals. Maybe some of them will go on to buy a GPS. Maybe some of them will get hooked. The ones that get hooked plant more caches. Thats more caches for me to find Smile.

If this sport ever gets really popular, we will regret being too picky about caches.

The way to solve "lame" caches is to use collabrative technology. Each cache finder would rate the cache experience. Then, you could search for caches (or exclude caches) based on the finder ratings. On top of that, you could define the rating you want to use to be based on all finders, or just a subset of finders with like minded interests. All ratings would be anonymous, and a cache would not get a visible rating until its been found by a sufficient number of people.

As long as we allow Jeremy to hold a monopoly on this sport, this will never be implemented. He's spent the entire summer doing absolutely nothing to add features to gc.com. Even simple things that take 5 minutes (like fixing the topo map links for WGS84 coords) aren't getting done.

-Rick
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