Geocaching is a relatively new phenomenon. Therefore, the rules are very simple:
1. Take something from the cache
2. Leave something in the cache
3. Write about it in the logbook
Where you place a cache is up to you.
Letís discuss the common themes that lead to angst here in the forums, at events, and between hiders and finders. (Please add to the list. There are far more misconceptions than I have time to list.)
Feel free to disagree, but this is how I see it:
Geocaching boiled down is just high tech hide and seek. Itís nothing more or less.
To play, you or someone else hides some sort of container (usually, but not always) with a log book of some kind using a GPS receiver. The hider is expected to do so while staying within the guidelines set by geocaching.com to get their cache listed here.
A volunteer reviewer will publish or deny the cache based on the guidelines.
Then comes the fun partÖ A finder chooses to hunt the cache. If they find it, they sign the log book and if the cache has trade items, they make a trade if they so choose. The finder then has the choice of writing about their adventure online, but they donít have to.
The Basic Misconceptions:
Most of the misconceptions I see with regard to geocaching seem to come from a sense of entitlement from both hiderís and finders and no small amount of unrealistic expectation.
Hiding: Some folks think that the hider owes them some sort of adventure that they couldnít get at home on the couch eating popcorn and watching a movie, or playing a video game. (I.E. A beautiful view, a fantastic locationÖ In short, something they couldnít find doing any other activity.) The hider in fact doesnít OWE you anything except to be honest in hiding a cache within the posted guidelines. Thatís it. Many caches exist to do nothing more than to give the hider one more hide number and the finder one find number and thereís nothing at all wrong with that as long as the guidelines are followed.
Finding: Some cache owners are very proud of the effort, time, and expense that they put into their caches and rightly so. However, the finderís online account of their find is NOT interest paid on the hiderís expense. The hider is not, in fact, owed anything except a decent attempt to rehide their cache after you found it. They chose to hide a cache as a means to participate. Thatís all. The fact that folks do participate in finding it should be enough. Even if a cache merits long descriptive logs from most finders, itís unfair to hold every finder to that standard unless thereís a clearly stated logging requirement (for whatever reason) which is the ownerís prerogative.
A travel bug/released geocoin/Jeep is just a thing that has been cast out upon the geocaching continuum to fend for itself. It is also a hapless pawn to chance. It is private property that has been placed in public trust. Whatever is attached to the TB tag belongs to the TB owner and no one else. The value of a TB is relative to the person who released it and the person holding it. The positive rule of thumb here is to hope for the best and expect/accept the worst.
The Trackable Misconceptions:
Again, most of the misconceptions I see with regard to trackable items seem to come from a sense of entitlement and unrealistic expectation from both ownerís and interested parties.
If a TB is private property that has been placed in public trust and also a hapless pawn to chance, then many, mannny TB owners either canít, or wonít, accept that they have taken a gamble on releasing their trackable item and also donít realize that ďPublic TrustĒ is an oxymoron. When you gamble and lose in the real world you either quit, or pony up for more disappointment in hopes of a win. Anything more is unrealistic.
Perception IS reality. The fact remains that our perceptions of geocaching change with experience, but the guidelines for how it's played change much slower. As yet, the guidelines and very few rules that exist don't seem to support the sense entitlement and unrealistic expectation that causes so much angst.
So, that's all I had time for, but I believe that the subjects I mentioned are the root of ALL geocaching related angst. I'll leave the branches to those that care to discuss.
Whether you agree or disagree let's hear what you think.....