Monday, November 17, 2008


The first time I saw the mass hysteria over geocoin icons, was at an event several years ago. People had books of geocoins and there were other cachers just scrambling to write down the geocoin numbers on them. This is all done so that people can get another cool looking "Icon" on their geocacing profile page. And you don't have to look, because I'll freely admit that I have many icons on my page as well. This has all been precipitated by's use of the "Discovery" feature, where cachers don't have to virtually grab a geocoin, then virtually drop it back into the same cache to get credit for the icon. All they have to do is discover the coin.

I'm pretty sure I know why they did it. It reduces the number by half of emails that get sent out to owners following a discovery. Previously, the owner of a geocoin would get an email from when a cacher grabbed a geocoin or travel bug, then would get another email when it was virtually placed back into the cache. With the discovery method, less computer resources are used.

However, as an owner of many geocoins and travel bugs, I find the discovery option to be very frustrating. I've been getting a lot of emails lately on several of my coins that are just discovery emails. I place geocoins and travel bugs in caches so they'll travel around. The problem is the discovery option allows cachers to leave the coins in the cache, get another icon and not have to bother with moving it along. Or, I'll see a comment where the cacher didn't have a trade item so just decided to discover the coin instead.

Geocoins and travel bugs are meant to travel and are not considered swag, or treasure in a cache. Therefore, you don't have to trade something for a travel bug or geocoin. It's very frustrating to see discovery after discovery on some of my geocoins, yet not see any movement. That's one of the reasons I've stopped using the discovery option unless I'm discovering a friend's coin from their personal collection. I'd much rather see my geocoin or travel bug on the move as opposed to sit in a cache for months while people look at it, discover it, and then basically ignore it. I wish never had thought up the discovery option. I think it would encourage more movement of travelers if they hadn't.

Photos were taken at or near the following geocaches:
Freeway Photo-op - by Zenophile
Mary E. J. Colter built it - by Yrium and Whistlestick

Profile for Webfoot


P.J. said...

I am basically doing the same now. I'll discover coins that someone ones, say at an event, or if I'm caching with someone and they take the coin or whatever.

That being said, it's nice that someone who doesn't really move TBs discover them because I think, at least, know that my bug is still somewhere. Better than having them sit somewhere forever and not know!

But, I agree with you on it. Discovering gets kind of crazy at times.

A 'lil HooHaa

benh57 said...

Amen, webfoot!

TBs/Geocoins are should not be 'discovered' then left in a cache. I've done that in the past, then the cache was muggled and the coin lost. So now i generally try to move them.

pj does have a point though, some people just aren't going to move them. So discovering is better than nothing.

Usually if I don't move a TB it's because it is too large, and i'm worried about not finding large caches soon. It can be a problem in LA.

chaosmanor said...

While I am in general agreement with you, there is one thing to consider that might make you at least think about Discovering a geocoin other than in someone's collection.

Consider a TB Hotel or similar facility; it is considered poor form to drain the thing unless you have at least a couple of TBs or coins to drop in. I'm not talking about prisons that try to force one to trade traveler for traveler; those *should* be emptied, as the owners aren't playing fair. I'm just talking about a normal Hotel that states plainly that taking a traveler without leaving one is OK. I still think it is poor form to empty such a cache of traveler, unless the owner has approved it, such as for someone going on a trip. If one is at a Hotel, having the Discover option is nice, as it allows me to pick up two or three goodies and leave the rest, while Discovering the ones I left in. I did this very thing yesterday, in Nipomo. I also reported a missing Bug, but the Note function took care of that.

I agree 112% about those who think that geocoins are like swag. I've talked myself blue in the face trying to convince folks that you don't need to "trade" travelers. Some get it, but many cachers refuse to see the point.

But I'll be honest; I like the Discovery option, whether for our coins or other people's coins. It tells me that the thing is still out there. Sometimes I find out that a geocoin has moved without being logged properly and the Discoverer wasn't sure what to do, so left it up to me. For my money, any news is better than no news. Sure, I want our geocoins to travel, but if they don't, or if the person Discovering one of them thinks that they can't help with the mission, I'd still like to know that the thing is OK.