Some more off-thread thoughts on hitchhikers:
We are thinking about this wrong. Up to now hitchhikers have been something out of the ordinary. That's because it's a lot of work to set up and track a hitchhiker. Why not make hitchhiking as easy to set up and track as wheregeorge bills? Then, you could make *everything* in your cache a hitchhiker. And everything you take from a cache. Make it easy to track the movements of *everything* in a cache, just like wheresgeorge makes it easy to track the movement of *every* bill.
How would that change the dynamics of the hobby? For one, it would make opening a cache interesting to me again. Instead of just finding the usual collection of trinkets, I would find a collection of hitchhikers, each with its own personal travel history. I would be eager to get back to the computer and log my finds and see where these random trinkets originated and traveled to.
The only built-in advantage that wheresgeorge has in this respect is that each of their hitchhikers (dollar bills) comes ready made with a serial number. But set up a site that generates a unique serial number whenever you register a new hitchhiker and let the cacher write that ID on the hitchhiker with an indelible marker and that problem is solved. Encourage cachers to register every trinket they remove from a cache and a side benefit is that will also encourage them to get out and find a new cache to place it in to see where it goes next. It fosters the continuation of the hobby. It may also help with the Gresham's Law of "cache depletion" whereby good trinkets disappear and get replaced by cheaper junk. With everything a hitchhiker, cachers have an incentive to keep the good stuff circulating, too.
The key to this is to flood the market with hitchhikers by making them as ubiquitous as dollar bills. The key to that is to make it easy to register hitchhikers and log their finds.
Just a few more thoughts...
(Edited by Scout at 10:09 am on Oct. 26, 2001)