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Geocachers' Creed   Print  E-mail 
Contributed by Kai Team  

What could lead to the death of geocaching?  What can you do to prevent a ban on geocaching in your area?  In November 2004, some geocachers in an online forum speculated about the significance of a recent ban of geocaching in some locations and whether something could be done to promote responsible geocaching, given the explosive growth of caching. 

 

Over 60 geocachers joined in a lengthy discussion to consolidate existing information and generally accepted geocaching behavior into a format that would guide geocachers and instill a sense of trust in landowners and the general public, and the Geocachersí Creed was born.

 

The idea was to create concise guidelines that are not overly restrictive, that address the root of the reason each was created, and that are easy to understand--all without creating too many! Another goal was to make the Creed generally applicable to geocachers everywhere Ė i.e. not limited to one listing siteís interpretation of geocaching. There were many drafts, and eventually agreement emerged around the main tenets as basic expressions of safe, legal and ethical geocaching behavior.

 

To clarify the tenets, specific examples were put forth.  Reaching agreement on the examples proved even more of a challenge, and again the group went through many drafts to avoid being too prescriptive, while still being clear and easy to understand, especially to people new to geocaching.  For situations not addressed by the examples, it was hoped that the intent expressed in the main tenets would be instructive.

 

Creeds and codes of ethics define acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviors, promote high standards of practice, and provide a benchmark for members to use for self-evaluation.  The need for special ethical principles in an organized activity like geocaching is the same as the need for ethical principles in society as a whole: they are mutually beneficial because they help make our relationships more pleasant and productive.

 

Geocaching is a voluntary, cooperative venture. Those who are asked to follow a code of ethics are also those who benefit from the conformity of others. Each has a stake in maintaining general compliance. One role of the Creed is to reduce conflict among geocachers, and between geocachers and others - to help make geocaching a positive experience thatís fun for everyone who participates and supported by those who donít.

 

The exercise of digesting the Creed is itself worthwhile: it forces us to think about the obligations we have toward fellow geocachers and the general public.  Do we agree with the tenets and examples?  Is this how we behave when geocaching?   Thinking about our behavior reduces thoughtlessness Ė and makes geocaching more fun!  We shape and become part of a geocaching community we can be proud of.

 

Of course, promoting high standards does not mean that everyone will follow them, but when others fail to follow the Creed, it serves as a baseline against which their behavior can be measured with some objectivity. You can use the Creed to help you determine whether actions you plan to take are consistent with the spirit of the game, and to guide newcomers or those who havenít thought about their behavior.

Outsiders will come to know geocachers by their conduct, and a few "bad apples" can spoil things for the rest of us.  But when a geocacher strays from accepted practices, other cachers can point to the Creed and say, "This is the way most geocachers behave. The rogue cacher that gave you a bad impression was not representative of the rest of us, who subscribe to this standard of behavior."

 

You can find the Geocachers Creed at http://www.geocreed.info an independent site that hosts the Creed.  The site contains the full text of the Creed and examples, and more information on how the Creed was developed, with links to the forum discussion threads that produced it.  We hope that youíll join us in supporting and promoting safe, legal and ethical geocaching!
Last Updated ( 16:11 Saturday, 26 February 2005 UTC )


 
 

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