Monday, December 04, 2017

How do you explain why you do not follow the rules

How do you explain why you do not follow the rules
By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Geocaching Instructor - Baytown, Texas

This game has morphed many times in how many of us play it and aside from some old faithful's who follow the letter of the law, many of us have modified our approach to the geocaching game. Am I saying we break rules?  Nope. What I am saying is many of us now play the game instead of the game playing us. I'll be honest and admit, I bend the rules occasionally - well, maybe too often. HoustonControl is my mentor and he attempts to keep me out of Groundspeak jail, as does our reviewers Vertighost and Reviewer Revan, who are my geo-friends.

I've written a good number of primers on how I see the best way to play the game and with a few minor exceptions, I play by the rules. My fellow geocachers for instance know I mostly do not sign the log on a nano. The reason is I figure I am doing the CO a favor by not filling up his small slip of paper and second, it's a danged hassle. I'll create a field note (sorry, I mean a DRAFT!) and write something like black nano in pipe (to post in personal notes) and then I'll place the magnetic pencil eraser-size container in between my eyes on my glasses and post a photo. If they want to erase my log, so be it, but I am probably not going to sign the log.

 Now mind you, I have literally risked my life on a cliff or up in a tree to sign a log, as I believe in that aspect.  You must sign the log to get credit for finding it. Now, after saying that, I will not erase a log if the person says they didn't sign it, because this invokes another law of geocaching physics - truth in logging. I believe in telling the truth and this has brought about a bit of controversy amongst veterans down here in Houston, Texasland. This is a game of integrity, right?

Let's talk DNF's. What I see and I admit, I may be wrong, some geocachers will "forget" to post a DNF. For reasons only they can justify, they simply forget 100% of the time. Another item is posting that you used a PAF (Phone a friend) or god forbid, you called the cache owner and got the down low on placement. the log is mysteriously absent of these details. "This one took a few minutes, but I got it!  TFTC!"

Some cachers are adamant: "If I don't sign the log, I won't post it as found!" and I give them a high five.  Me? If I'm in the middle of a bayou or creek and there are 20 of us kayaking, I log it, even though I was explaining the fine points of logging to a fellow enthusiast 50 meters away. We sign as a group and off we go on a geocaching adventure.

Now I've never participated in one of the famous power trails where a group of geocachers can log a 1000 caches in one day, so the vast majority of the time, I am solo and going full legit. I'm good with both.  I carry a lot of geocaching supplies in my Jeep (Tha Choppa - 9Z1HCA) and I repair cache containers and logs as I go. I do this because I want to contribute to the game, rather than leach off it. I say "leach" as I believe some veterans have become so number conscious that they have little time to post corrected coordinates or slap a new baggie and log inside a container. YMMV and this may really rankle your bones, but I am simply saying what I have observed. "Found cache 86 feet from coords" is a poor excuse for posting better coords. At least say it was west, for golly's sake.

Let's take a look at cache maintenance. As I write this, I have 230 active caches I maintain. Because I have all but wiped out all available caches out to 20 miles, I do a pocket query for new caches, archived caches, and cache maintenance out to 40 miles. In the Houston area, this is easily a lot of caches. The rules state that you should perform cache maintenance in a timely manner. If 6 geocachers can't find your 2.5/2.0 cache in 7 months, don't you think it might be a good idea to check on it? You did when you first started hiding caches, so why not now? Some veterans actually get testy if you post a needs maint attribute on their cache! Really?

How about this rule: Cache owners who do not maintain their existing caches in a timely manner may temporarily or permanently lose the right to list new caches on Is it enforced?  Not that I can tell, but it is in the rule book.

In summation, the three top rules in my book are tell truth in logging, cache maintenance in a timely manner, and sign the log (unless its a nano!).

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