Forum: General Discussion
Topic: Geocaching "enlightenment" Chapter 5
started by: DudleyGrunt

Posted by DudleyGrunt on June 10 2010,9:28 am
Fifth piece written by a Northern Virgina geocaher
< Original NoVAGO Thread >

This one is the most specific to Groundspeak, but since lessons can still be learned and applied to any cache listing site, I thought I'd share.  And since I don't want to edit Bill's words, I'm posting "as is".

Geocaching "enlightenment" Chapter 5 "Cache Pages"
by twowheelin

Quote
So, you’re thinking about placing a geocache, eh?  Well, as with most things in life…there’s a correct way and an incorrect way; a complete way and an incomplete way; a fast way and a half-fast way.  I’m pretty passionate about cache page preparation…it’s sort of where the “rubber meets the road”…your way of introducing your cache (and you) to the geocaching world.  Here’s a sobering thought, your cache page can…at any given time…be viewed worldwide, by any or all of the 3 to 4 million geocachers taking part in this pastime.  This chapter is pretty “wordy”, but like I said…I’m passionate about cache pages.  Hopefully the following information will aid you in completing your submission correctly, completely, and relatively fast.  A well done cache page is not only a joy to behold, but it goes a long, long way towards ensuring an enjoyable experience for you as the cache owner, and for those cachers who hunt your cache.  Once again…personal opinion (and there’s a considerable amount of it) will be placed in italics so take it for what you think it‘s worth.  Your comments are appreciated, but please stay on the topic of Cache Page Preparation.

Chapter 5:  "Cache Pages"

Placing a geocaching is just as much fun as hunting geocaches…for some, even more so, but don’t rush into it.  Take your time to gain some experience finding caches first: see what’s out there; what sort of containers are being used; what the different styles and methods of hiding those containers are; what the different cache contents are; study the Difficulty and Terrain ratings on the caches you find so that you know how to apply them to your own cache; look at the Attributes…there’s lots of valuable information there.  In short, gain some experience by finding…let’s say, 25 or 30 geocaches before you decide to place one of your own.  No, that’s not a “rule”…and certainly there are exceptions, but overall…poor quality caches (and cache pages) generally relate directly to a lack of experience.  Let’s get started:

1.  Open the “Hide and Seek a Cache” page on GC.Com, go to the right (Hide a Cache) column, and click on the on-line form link.  Your time starts now!!  That’s right, you have 45 minutes to complete your submission or you will time-out.  Solution…take a good look at the on-line form itself…see what’s required for submission, take some notes…then open a word processing application or notepad and do your typing, formatting, and editing there.  Transferring the information to the actual online form comes later via copy and paste.  Complete/type the following:

    A.  Select a cache Type  (Traditional/Multi/Mystery-Puzzle/Letterbox Hybrid/Wherigo/EarthCache/Event Cache/CITO Event)

    B.  Select the cache Size (Micro/Small/Regular/Large)  Let’s stop right here, I suggest you do not select the “Not Listed” or “Other” sizes unless you have a VERY good reason for it.  If your only reason for selection one of those options is to “make the cache harder to find“…then list an honest size and raise the Difficulty rating!!.  Then too, realize that many cachers filter out the “Not Listed” and/or “Other” sizes…they just don’t wish to hunt what they don’t know the size of…don’t sell your cache short.  You place it to have it found…and an accurate depiction of the size will at least help raise the odds of it being hunted.  Use “Not Listed” or “Other” for Events…or if you opt to use them for another type of geocache…at least describe why in the cache page description.

    C.  For the time being you are preparing your cache page…so UNCHECK the “Yes, this listing is active” box NOW!  That’s right, UNCHECK the box.

    D. Don’t worry about the date, you can select the current date when you copy and paste your narrative to the actual on-line form for submission.

    E. The “Related Webpage” and “Background Image URL” entries are optional, use them if desired.  I suggest keeping your first cache or two simple, you can experiment later, or you can go back to your cache page after it’s published and edit those items.

    F. Ah, coordinates.  Go back and read Chapter 1 now.  Type your marked coordinates in your word document…double check them to make sure they are exactly what you marked as the waypoint for the cache location.  Good….now triple check them again!!  Keep in mind…once you release your cache for review, and it’s published…there are folks who will rush right out to hunt it.  There’s not much that’s more embarrassing to a cache owner…than having lousy coordinates (big mistakes) pointed out to them by the first hunters.  When entering your coordinates…make sure “fat fingering” doesn’t enter into the process.

    G.  Select your Difficulty and Terrain ratings.  Here’s where experience finding caches pays big dividends.  By comparing the ratings of the caches you’ve found, you are much more likely to assign accurate ratings to your own cache.  The following links may also help in the process:  http://clayjar.org/gcrs/ or < http://www.techblazer.com/geocache-rating-calculator.php >  While I’m at it…the Difficulty and Terrain ratings should be “static”.  If, after the first few finders log your cache, you receive suggestions to adjust your ratings…fine, make adjustments if you agree.  However; over the life of the cache the published Difficulty and Terrain ratings should remain as published…changing them will affect some on-line data bases that are integral to past finder’s Profile statistics, “Well rounded cacher”, GSAK stats, LogicWeave, etc..

    H.  Remember to “check” the HTML box if you plan to use that on your cache page.

    I.  Prepare your short description, it’s a great place to mention the terrain, path availability; hike distance, parking, amenities.  Keep it short though (500 characters or less).

    J.  Prepare your long description, here’s your chance to shine - promote your cache, and give cachers a reason to seek it.  Highlight the area, the hike, the views, the challenge, and the satisfaction you hope they will receive by finding it.  Take a look at other existing cache pages and include what you like, discount what you don’t like - taking “Pride in your Hide” starts on your cache page!

    K.  Child Waypoints, are mandatory for stages of a multi-cache, and optional for Reference Marks, Suggested Parking, or to highlight Scenic Views, etc.  Prepare them now if required, and pay as much attention to their coordinates as you do for the coordinates listed at the top of your cache page.

    L.  Prepare your hint.  If you don’t have a hint, leave it blank.  Resist the urge to enter “None needed”, “Too easy for a hint”, “Are you kidding?”  Cachers who find themselves decrypting that hint in the field will…at best consider it a waste of time, at worst…..well, if you were close enough you’d hear what they’d call you.  Actual hints should be kept short…ROT 13 is an easy cipher, but not if you have to decrypt 6 lines of it, and keep the hint meaningful…those using it will thank you.

    M.  Prepare your Note to Reviewer.  Do a bit of research, it is optional, but suggested that you list those active caches that you are aware of in close proximity to your new cache (list them by GC ID and distance from your submission - mapping programs like MapSource, Google Earth, or an application like FizzyCalc < http://www.fizzymagic.net/Geocaching/FizzyCalc/ > can help with that effort).  Include a statement about permission:   adequate; blanket; or explicit (might be a good time to review Chapter 2, eh)?  If your new cache is on private property, or falls under the guidelines published by the various local land managers, or jurisdictions…then list the contact information for the individual or office who granted permission for cache placement.

2.  Hey, you’re almost done…just a few more steps:  Run a spell check and grammar check on your word document, then proofread it!  (I’m forever typing “you” instead of “your”, or “then” instead of “than”…take pride in your cache page and try to eliminate those little errors before the page is published.

3.  Now return to the Hide a Cache on-line form, update the “Date placed” calendar to the current date, then copy and paste the information from your word document into the appropriate locations on the form.  Double check your coordinate entries!  Make sure the “Yes, this listing is active” box is still UNCHECKED.  You can also omit the Note to Reviewer entry for the time being.  Proofread the on-line form one final time, assuming you have read the GC.Com “Guidelines” and “Terms of Use agreements…check the 2 boxes at the very bottom of the on-line form, and hit the “Report New Listing” button.

4.  Your cache has been submitted, and will be assigned a GC ID, but will not be placed in the review queue…this gives you the opportunity to view your cache page in its final form, and also to edit your cache page if necessary, and to add Attributes to the page.  Please don’t skimp on the Attributes, they display valuable information about your cache, and the location…to name just a few:  Parking; Hours; Hazards; Kid Friendly; Rest Rooms; Dogs; Bikes; etc..

5.  Once you’ve added the Attributes, and are completely satisfied with our cache page…copy and paste your prepared reviewer information into the Note for Reviewer block.  Now, assuming your cache container is actually in place…go back up near the top and place a checkmark in the “Yes, this listing is active” box…return to the bottom of the form, you’ll have to again checkmark the Yes, I have read and understand the guidelines for listing a cache, and Yes, I have read and agree to the terms of use agreement boxes…and hit the “Report New Listing” button.  Your cache will enter the review queue, and (if there are no issues with your cache or location) it will normally be published within 72 hours.

Then sit back, watch the flurry of activity as folks hunt for it, and enjoy the on-line logs they will write.  Oh, and thanks for placing a new cache!


Bill


Read between the lines and around the specifics and I think you'll finds ways to improve your cache pages.

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