Wherein I Learn A Lesson About Geocaching

I love reading the logs.  One out of 100 logs is just a side splitter.  Today I found one.

I called Calipers to ask him about one of my caches and the moment he answers I know he’s already read the log.  The bastard reads my logs before I read them.  Dammit, I’m never FTF any damned thing in the Geocaching world!  🙂

This one was a doozy:

“January 31 by ANONYMOUS (16 found)
After a diligent search, no cache. And if you are going to give a hint, then give a hint. Do not give a hint telling there is no hint. That is just rude and annoying.”

Now anonymous has a name but I’m just snarky and not a complete ass; close, though.  The irony is that this is one of a series of good examples caches, perfect for newbies like this one.  It was a 1/1.5 ammo can under a bush.  Easy pie, good view, super kid friendly.  My hint was essentially garbage since this is really a 1.  Really.  I just started laughing when I saw he had 16 finds.

Who makes a comment like that after 16 finds?  My reaction, below the fold.

Now I know I was harsh.  Too harsh.  I’m probably gonna tick off some really nice people with this one.  Sorry folks.  Just know this: I really, really want to help this guy out.  I just want to know he gives a crap, first.  I can take the pounding, I can’t allow someone just starting in the game to jump in and begin demanding accommodation or passing off opinion as wisdom without a response.

It’s not in my nature.

The cache was muggled, so the cacher gets some slack for putting up with idiots.  Those weren’t ME idiots, of course, but the THIEVES who stole the ammo can, nicely stocked.  I got the message: DNFs suck.  Yup.  They piss me off, actually.  But I didn’t start telling owners how to craft their Cache Description on hunt #17.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not shy.  I try to put it in context.  Mostly.  😉

Here’s the unexpurgated version for history.

ANONYMOUS: The cache was MIA at the time of your search, much like your manners. See my prior log and look again late tomorrow.

If you don’t return to avenge your DNF I won’t think less of you than I do now. It’s not possible. If you do bag the smiley I will personally pay tribute to your achievement in the cache description.

After 16 of what must have been the world’s most incredibly clever finds consisting almost entirely of 1-1.5 star difficulty hides and terrains I am absolutely certain you’re the Allah, Jesus and Anakin Skywalker of Caching all rolled up into one. I clearly have much to learn about this game. Having said that, please make sure you read all the cache descriptions for this series and the Geocaching FAQ while you’re hiding Cache number 20 after find number 17.

My apologies for not instructing everyone on the proper etiquitte concerning logging in the cache description but since this is an instructional series we’ll begin with this example. I will update the other cache pages and my blog accordingly:

0.) Read the description, last 5 logs and any related material the owner has invested many hours in creating for your entertainment BEFORE you go out. You might avoid problems or, as in this case, you might have foreseen this written carpet bombing (hint: the owner is a sarcastic practical joker).
1.) If the cache is a “1” it probably doesn’t need a hint. If it needs a hint, it is either not a “1” or it is missing/muggled.
2.) If the cache is a “regular” size that probably means “ammo can”, which is to say it’s not a small object. You should be able to spot it from 50′.
3.) If #1 and #2 are true and the last 2 logs are DNFs, it might be a good idea to ping the owner with a little “hey, have you checked on this lately?” That’s not rude, that’s doing your homework. This is a community effort, after all.
4.) If you’ve gone through 1-3 and you still can’t find it, you might try pausing the “I’m an awesome cacher” soundtrack for a moment so you can focus on whether you should just move on, log a DNF and live to hunt another day.
5.) When posting a DNF, it is usually helpful to add some detail like “checked under the bush at GZ pretty thoroughly” to prove you were actually there and gave it a college try. At this point I am inclined to believe a “diligent search” means you drove in, realized it wasn’t an LPC and just drove off before putting out your smoke.
6.) LPC = Light Post Cache. They teach you that after find number 20. Manners, however, are a learned experience I have come to understand.

I totally agree in principle that, say, a 4-Star cache sporting a lengthy hint without any real information is frustrating. It’s frustrating but it is a 4-Star and that’s the way the owner wants it to be found: without a hint, AND while mocking you (you don’t think the hiders want to miss out on the fun, do you?). I wouldn’t call it rude but I would call it forcing one to be humble and take a chuckle when it’s offered.

I’ve had 3 new cachers approach me in the last month asking for help. For each I engaged in a lengthy conversation about the game, how to have some fun and meet some of the ridiculously awesome folks in the area in the process (hint, we meet for pizza and beer regularly). We’ve talked about bringing the kids, climbing mountains and maybe even griped a little about dougandsuzy snagging all the FTFs. All was in good fun and I hope to meet every one of them on the trail. This type of conversation is perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the game: helping people out.

You, too, ANONYMOUS. Bring it. Bring the fun. Drop me a line and when you hit a few more caches come on back to complain about the hint. I guarantee it will make you laugh.

I may have to pull this one, but while I was in for a penny I did add most of this log to the new “hint”.

Good times.

UPDATE 2/7/2009: I have been castigated by dougandsuzy for the “bogus hint” technique employed for this hide.  Let me clarify.  It is not the fact that I was called out for it but the final comment regarding my being rude and annoying that riled me.  I am annoying, but I try not to be rude.  This has given me an idea for yet another in the series of bad caches.

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