Sunday, April 5, 2009
The fine folks that run the Geocaching website have decided to further restrict the guidelines for hiding a geocache. In the past, a certain category of cache, known as a puzzle or mystery cache, could have what was called "additional logging requirements," or ALR. ALR caches might say something along the lines of, "you must send the cache owner an email with the text of the plaque," or some other additional requirements in order to log a "find."
Groundspeak, the company that runs the website, has decided that many of the ALRs are getting out of hand, and they have completely removed the ALR aspect of the game. All cache hiders must remove any ALRs, but can keep suggested "optional" activities. Since the bulk of the ALRs were in place to either add some fun to the game, or ensure that someone actually found the container in question, this new rule stomps on the fun of many a cache hider.
The Groundspeak forum post on this topic is afire with hot debate over whether or not this is a good move. I think it's nannyish in its design, and it merely restricts the activities of some geocachers, while ensuring that a few others won't have to think for themselves.
Many a cacher was arguing that if they don't bother to read the cache description before trying to find it, they wouldn't be able to log a "find" with an ALR in place. I would ask, why on earth would you not read the description, particularly for a puzzle or mystery cache? That's like going to a Chinese restaurant, and then complaining that you can't order Italian cuisine, because you didn't bother to find out what type of restaurant it was prior to going. YOUR FAULT, NOT THE OWNER'S!
I'm sure that there are some behind the scenes convenience issues for the volunteer reviewers of the geocache listings. They will now have their volunteer hands full of complaints about whether or not a listing is a prohibited ALR cache listing. Good luck with that. The statement that many of the ALR caches were "absurd," is just as absurd. There are plenty of other types of caches that many would claim are absurd (lamp post skirts at a wally world?). These "absurd" caches bring the hider enjoyment too, remember?
I think that Groundspeak does, overall, a great job. This latest hand holding decision is just a bit much to agree with. What happened to the idea of, if you don't want to search for a particular type of geocache, don't search for it?
Scribbled by Just John at 11:00 AM