So, we geocache. Not as much as we used to, but over 15 years ago my family and I began the sport and really got into it for a while. Geocaching involves using a GPS to find a hidden object (“cache”) so that you can log the find. It’s all in good fun. The organization that hosts the website also offers the chance to log “trackables”—these are objects with a unique identifier that you sometimes find in caches and you get credit for logging your find. There are no prizes involved. We started several of these “travel bugs” ourselves, years ago. If you started one you got an email when someone logged it, and you could see how far around the world your little bug had gone. For many years we’ve not heard much about any of ours and assumed them to be MIA.
Recently I started getting several email notices about a resurrected travel bug. It was as if someone had finally found a cache somewhere deep in the Sahara where it’d been hidden for a decade. Then I had an email from a fellow cacher, in German. I figured it must be serious. The message was that a Facebook page was publishing trackable numbers so that anyone could claim to have found them. One of ours was on that list. I went to the page to look. It said, “Let’s face it, it’s all about the numbers.” And they proceeded to list hundreds of numbers so that you could claim to have “found” the pieces with your posterior solidly sunk in your favorite chair. This is annoying not only because we had to pay for the trackable dogtags, but also because it was cheating. I said as much on the page only to have my comment blocked.
How sad is it when people cheat at a game when there’s no gain? All they do is claim to have done something they haven’t, for no prize or recognition. A fun family pastime falls victim to the internet. Ironically, geocaching was really only possible because of the internet. It required a place where players could log their finds in a common database. Facebook, continuing its potential for misuse, allows someone to spoil it. I, along with my unknown German counterpart, reported the page to the powers that be. But since we live in a world where the powers that be don’t recognize any rules beyond inflating their own numbers, I shouldn’t be too optimistic of any results. I guess this is how Republicans play games.
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