Well, I did it. After nine years of caching, I set all of my hides to ‘Premium Member Only’ earlier today. I didn’t really want to. It just seems friendlier to place caches that are available to everyone. But . . .
You see, over the last several months I’ve been getting more and more logs that are wildly inappropriate. Today I got one saying the finder moved the cache to keep it dry! Sigh.
Now I do understand that everyone was new at some point and we all make mistakes. However, I suspect this new influx is coming from folks who download the app and probably have never visited gc.com. I also suspect they’re not seeking any education about caching through the local community.
This is by no means a rant about smartphone cachers – trust me I’m currently using my phone to cache more than my GPSr! I just wonder how we can bring along these new players when the cost of entry is now so low there’s little incentive to do more than create a user name and hit the trail (or drive to the nearest Wal-Mart parking lot).
So, how can we educate new players so they understand the etiquette and are warmly welcomed to the community rather than become the subject of a story that begins, ‘you won’t believe it, but . . .’ My suggestion is for Geocaching HQ update both the free and full apps to include popup tips each time the app is opened. Yes, it will get repetitious but maybe there could be an option to turn it off after X number of finds or X number of times the app is accessed. I’m sure there are other ways this can be accomplished – if you have thoughts, please share!
But for now, I think I’ll keep my caches Premium Member Only.