Should We Use Hints & Spoilers?

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  • #588
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    This is included in the Green Gable cache description: SPOILER PIC,and lets not have any of this searching without “Resorting” to the hint,far to (sic) much disturbance is caused in this way,USE THE HINT AND LOOK AT THE SPOILER………………………………………………….

    I totally disagree with this statement – if the hint & spoiler is needed to protect the environment, then either the cache shouldn’t be there in the first place or that necessary information should be in the description (optionally repeated in the hint). You will find in some of my caches “Do NOT climb the trees” or “The cache is NOT in the wall”. This information is in the first line of the description (often in red) and not hidden away.

    To my way of thinking, half the fun of geocaching is trying to find the cache and we (nearly) always search without any reference to the hint or spoiler, especially if it is not a nano or micro. If we can’t find it within 10 or 15 minutes we then resort to the hint, etc. and I always state in the log if the hint was used. Even for a difficulty rating of 2 you should expect to search for a cache for up to 30 minutes, so should we try to short cut this by using the hint? If we do we are making a nonsense of the difficulty rating for traditional caches, which surely were set without the hint or spoiler (otherwise they would all be 1).

    #595
    dartymoor
    Participant

    People play differently I guess. I do use hints a lot, often on approach if it’s an area where gps accuracy is going to be dodgy, or chance of disturbance is high.

    The one thing that is guaranteed to get a stroppy log report from me is a hint that says “See spoiler photo”. I’m paperless with an Oregon and no internet. I can’t check spoiler pics on the hoof…

    #598
    Tamerton Chocolates
    Participant

    I am the opposite Dave. The fun of geocaching is that it brings me/us to places I had not been to before. I have very little interest in spending half an hour looking at an acre of boulders trying to find a cache that someone hid with an iPhone. Or similarly I don’t enjoy these powerloops very much where all one seems to do is look at a gadged as there is a new cache every 0.1 mile.

    #706
    forgetful elephant
    Participant

    I use the hints if needed, and I second the hate of spoiler pics. I don’t like caches hidden in a giant pile of rubble, or gorse bushes!!. I do like SOME of the rings but on the hole I think they are poor quality caches in a ring, but everyone else seems to love them.

    #717
    Hobo
    Participant

    I recently found GC3AV2T, Blacklane Brook. I needn’t have worried because the co-ords were spot on but as I approached the area my heart sank at the thought of feeling under the thousands of rocks in the area without a hint or spoiler. I am always wary of feeling under rocks. You never know what you will find. Broken bottles, jagged half crushed drinks cans, poly bags full of whatever and adders. Even with a spoiler it can sometimes be difficult to find the right hole but at least you only need to chance one hole.

    My view is that hints and spoilers should be on the cryptic side, even amusing. They should add to the caching experience. They should not be there to make the cache easy.

    #718
    Tamerton Chocolates
    Participant

    Funny you mention that one .. I had a DNF on it last saturday 🙂 .. I have to admit I didn’t spend a lot of time on it as I was also doing some letterboxes and was running out of time. It also did look like a lot of that area was old buildings & walls etc .. I wasn’t really expecting a cache to be hidden in those.

    And you mention adders – one of my Chocolates got bitten by one in that area last year (it was the other side of great Gnats hill in the Langcombe valley). We were lucky she happened to be on medicines to boost her joints as she is getting slightly arthritic and this somehow countered the venom a bit the vet said. She managed to walk back all the way to the scout hut before going into shock.

    #721
    dartymoor
    Participant

    The best clues to me are:

    1. Helpful.
    2. Very slightly cryptic in the way that they make little sense until you’re at GZ. As in “42” for something bearing a number or “I wear a china hat” (For a flowerpot).
    3. Don’t spoil the discovery. The best hides are those that are pleasantly surprising when found, aren’t noticed by muggles but can still be found by almost everyone who /is/ looking.

    I don’t like clues that:
    1. Don’t exist. I know there are many who believe that field should be entry, and cite “back to basics”, but it’s there for a reason. People can read it if they want or not, but give them the choice!
    2. Rely on photos or websites. As an extra, fine, but not instead of.
    3. Need trivia knowledge not everyone will have, unless that’s a part of a field puzzle. I love latin tree names but understand that those who don’t know them you might as well be talking japanese.

    As a cache owner, I know that the only way not to get people leaving irritated DNFs is to spell out exactly where it is. If you try to be funny, clever or inventive, somebody will get uppity with you… One day I might even get it right!

    #722
    The Celtic Jedi
    Participant

    Just a quick one to dartymoor, we also are paperless with an oregon, did you know that you can download spoiler pics to the oregon for viewing in the field ?
    Must confess only just learnt how to do this but its fairly straightforward. On your earlier post you said you have no internet, I guess you mean out in the field not at home. If you would like to contact me through my groundspeak profile I would be happy to let you know how to get spoilerpics onto your oregon.

    #730
    dartymoor
    Participant

    Thanks Celtic – yes, I do know how to put pics on the Oregon, but the interface is quite clumsy and it’s hard to determine which is which even if you rename the files, and the screen is small. I tried it for the Zoom puzzles a couple of weeks ago.

    Did you see the latest Garmin update? They have improved the geocaching side so that spoiler pics (and en route pics) can be added to the cache itself, but so far ONLY for opencaching.org. It’ll be nice if those can be added automatically to PQ’s if gc.com decide to support it, but still – I don’t think spoiler pics should be relied upon only!

    #731
    Dartmoor Dave
    Keymaster

    dartymoor wrote “As a cache owner, I know that the only way not to get people leaving irritated DNFs is to spell out exactly where it is.”

    But are you looking for a 100% find rate? The most popular caches certainly don’t achieve that. Make it too easy and boring and it almost becomes pointless. There has to be some element of a challenge and difficulty. Most irritated DNFs come when either the coordinates are not accurate or when it’s a micro or nano with a multitude of hiding places. That’s when you need more explicit hints or spoilers. Place a decent size container with accurate coordinates and you don’t need them.

    My most popular cache by far is Bird’s Eye View which has a 20% DNF rate but a 43% favoured rate! Look how popular The Joy of Caching series is, I don’t believe the FE caches ever have hints, and the same for MP’s Pipe Dream series. A good cache needs no additional help or you destroy the sense of achievement when it is found.

    #734
    dartymoor
    Participant

    I didn’t say that’s what *I* was looking for, Dave, even as a CO 🙂 The point I was trying to make was that people who DNF when they thought they should be able to find it tend to be more upset and sometimes irate than those who found it too easily.

    I’m not sure I’d agree there is ever a need not to put a hint, nor that the hint should be anything other than helpful. You might invite cachers to try and find your cache for various reasons; my usual reason is to bring them to a location *I* find interesting and hope they may too. The hint is an option somebody can use to prevent going away disappointed. If they choose to read it before they NEED to (as I sometimes do), up to them!

    If your intention as CO is to outfox the cacher or to make it more of a challenge, great – but many people *do* want an easy find and the challenge and enjoyment for them is getting to the location and in some cases, bringing all their orienteering and planning skills to bear to put them at the GZ with most of their bits intact, and to them, spending half an hour feeling under stones or poking piles of leaves isn’t the fun, especially in a spot where they feel uncomfortable – such as the side of a road, or overlooked. A few DNFs in a row and despondency can set in.

    Of your birds eye view – I DNF’d that myself a couple of weeks ago so have no idea how great it is until I do find it! I’ve loved all the of the Joys I’ve found and been inspired by them, but the Elephants do sometimes have the grace to include a hint for the likes of me 🙂

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