Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Less-than-helpful hints

I always look at the hints written by cache owners when they submit a new cache. For the most part, geocachers seem to understand the purpose of the hint. However, I do see an occasional less-than-useful hint. For example:
"This is one of my favorite parks."
"Be sure to bring along a piece of metal tied to a string at least 2 feet long."
"Your best approach is from the north."

If I see that a hint doesn't fulfill the intended purpose -- giving geocachers a last resort clue that they can decrypt at ground zero -- before I publish the cache, I think it's due primarily to inexperience. I send them a note with my recommendation for changing their hint and why. In most cases, they seem happy to oblige. They simply haven't thought things through and put themselves in the shoes of people who will be hunting for their cache.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Getting a second opinion

One thing that I stress when writing to or talking with geocachers is that I, as a reviewer, don't make the rules. My role as a volunteer reviewer is to enforce the guidelines that have been put in place by Groundspeak. However, because of the ever-evolving creativity of geocachers, situations often arise that require interpretation to see if they comply with the guidelines or may pose problems or dangers that the guideline writers had not previously thought of. In situations like those, I like to ask my fellow reviewers for their opinions about the cache. Groundspeak has a special online forum for reviewers with a topic called "What do you think of this cache?" There we can post a link to these speical situations and ask if anyone else has encountered this type of cache before. It's a great resource that helps keep all of the reviewers worldwide in touch with each other and consistent in how we review new geocache submissions.