A History cache is a sub type of Virtual cache.
As with a Virtual cache a History cache is a type that is used when hiding a physical geocache may not be responsible, practical or is illegal. A Multi-cache in which you gather information and then head to a final destination to retrieve the geocache may be an appropriate geocache type to use but sometimes the distance required to travel to the final destination is in the wrong direction or too far or you do not have the appropriate clothing or equipment. In an area of historical significance, a History cache is the most appropriate Cache type to hide where the basis of evidence for attending the location is the ability to answer some questions about the area you are visiting. This is very similar to an Earthcache type which can only be listed at another geocache listing site but the answers and evidence are self service at Geocaching Australia.
A History cache requires specific questions to be answered before you can make your find log. There is generally no physical container for a History cache. Unlike Virtual caches which are listed on other listing sites, there is a mandatory question and answer section for a History cache where you must answer all of the question that the cache owner asks. This differs from a Virtual cache in that a Virtual cache may require other types of proof of your visiting such as photo evidence. The only requirement for a History cache is to answer the questions correctly.
Questions are multiple choice with up to 4 answers to choose from and there will be a minimum of 1 question per History cache. The number of questions and the answers are determined by the cache owner. If you make a mistake and select the wrong answer you will need to wait 120 seconds (2 minutes) for each incorrect answer before you can try again. i.e. If you answer 3 questions incorrectly you will need to wait 6 minutes to try again. This is to discourage people who try and brute force their way into logging without having visited the site. While it is possible to guess the answer the penalty of guessing is a wait between tries. The page will highlight which answers are correct and which are incorrect.
Questions should be based on what you can find at the location you are visiting and not general information about the area that could be obtained by an internet search. e.g. Instead of the question being "In what year did John Batman found the current site of central Melbourne?" (Answer: 1835), the question could be "How many screws hold the information plaque in place?" with a choice of answers 4, 6 or 8. You could also consider a question like "The plaque is screwed onto a rock; approximately how wide is the rock?" With a choice of answers like 30cm, 60cm, 90cm, 120cm. The answer to the question should be specific and not open to interpretation. i.e. It is either right or wrong. Subjective questions like "Of the 4 colours on the plaque; which is the prettiest?" or "Was Batman fair in his dealing with the aboriginals in securing the land?", unless the answer is provided at the location, should be avoided as they lead to confusion and frustration. Also consider that some geocachers are colour blind or deaf. Asking specific questions related to colour may disadvantage some geocachers from being able to answer. Be considerate when composing questions and make them simple and easy to understand and interpret. Not everyone has English as their first language. Make the questions clear and unambiguous. Consider limiting the number of questions to relevant information at the site. Avoid asking 20 questions simply because you can. The cache owner should be trying to both confirm the finder was at the site as well as offer some learning about the location. It's not a test or exam to be worried or endlessly frustrated about. In general one or two questions per location should be sufficient.
Answering all of the questions correctly will generate a Codeword specific to your Geocaching identity. The codeword cannot be shared between geocachers so if you are going to log a History cache with a child or other family member who has their own account, you or they will need to generate a codeword for their account before they can log their find. There may also be an additional message from the geocache owner like an additional congratulatory message or some clue or hint to a different geocache.
A find log can only be made on a History cache when accompanied by a codeword. Once you have generated your codeword, when you open the log page, there will be a specific entry point for the codeword. The codeword should be cut and pasted to avoid frustration with mistyping characters or numbers. The codeword is not case sensitive. i.e. testing is equal to TESTING. If your codeword is not correct your log will not be successful.
If you are going to publish a history cache, make an effort to make sure the information you present is correct. There is a lot of incorrect information being passed around as history and as Geocaching Australia caches come up in internet searches and you are essentially publishing information then you have a responsibility not to spread misinformation.
If you are going to Google information for your own caches place more trust in sites which might be published by local history societies or even council heritage departments. Most council libraries will either have a heritage or local studies branch or even just a shelf in their reference section for books on local places and events. The librarians are usually thrilled if you ask for help on this subject. Newspaper reports can be a little dodgy if they are being written in the modern era about an event long past so be wary. Having said that old newspapers can be invaluable. The National Library of Australia has many Australian newspapers available to search and read online through Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/?q=search. Trove is also an excellent resource for images/maps etc.
If you are going to include images, please acknowledge where you got them from and the photographer if known.
If you are going to put in information you 'know' but have not been able to verify elsewhere make it clear in your text "local legend says....", "When I grew up here it was believed....", or something like that.
Hints, Tips and Tricks
Questions are not automatically included in your cache description. You should add the questions into your cache description to ensure that anyone who has a GPX file also has the questions. The questions are not automatically included in the GPX file unless you add thjem to your description. The finder will only see the cache description, so please add them into the description.
History caches are not "set and forget". Information at locations can change or be removed or updated. As with any other geocache the cache owner should check the information in the questions and answers on a regular basis to ensure that the questions can still be answered.
Cut and paste the codeword from the Question and Answer page to avoid mistyping information.
When creating your History cache avoid using the additional message section of Q&A area unless you need to. Placing a message of "none" is pointless and makes you look silly. If you aren't using it, leave it blank.
Creating Questions and Answers
- After you have created your geocache listing but before you publish the listing you will have the opportunity to create, edit and delete questions and answers. On the right hand side of the geocache listing page look for the section called Owner Actions and underneath that click on Questions and Answers.
- On the page you will have the ability to add a question or update and delete any existing questions. You add more than one question by adding a question, submitting and then adding another question.
- In the question box, enter your question. There is a maximum of 255 characters and HTML or other markup is not permitted. Make your question simple and unambiguous.
- Questions can be sorted by entering a number in the Order# box. If you enter the same number against more than one question both, those entries will be sorted in a random order in that position. e.g. 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4 will order the 3 questions with an order of 3 randomly in positions 3, 4 and 5. It is recommended that you set each order so none are the same. Numbers do not need to be sequential but you cannot have a number > 99.
- Enter up to 4 answers. The answers will appear in the same order as you enter them. Once you have entered the answers, select the radio button for the correct answer. There is a maximum of 255 characters and HTML or other markup is not permitted. Make your answers simple and unambiguous.
- There is also a response section which you can provide for each correct answer that will be displayed to the geocacher when they have answered all of the questions correctly. e.g. If you would like to provide a partial co-ordinate to a different mystery cache or some other note to the geocacher you can use this section to add your text. There is a maximum of 255 characters and HTML or other markup is not permitted. Only use this section if appropriate.
- Questions and Answers which are not valid will be highlighted and will not be displayed on the Question and Answer page. You can view the Questions and Answers by clicking on the Preview link on the data entry page after you have saved them.
- Questions and Answers will NOT appear on the geocache listing page. They are there for verification purposes only. You should incorporate questions into your geocache page and layout as you see fit.
Answering Questions and Answers
- To answer the questions look to the right hand side of the geocache listing page. Under Actions there will a link called Questions and Answers Get Codeword. Geocachers looking to answer the questions and get a codeword will click on that link where they will be able to answer the questions.
- A codeword is created when all answers are correct.
- A delay of 120 seconds (2 minutes) per incorrect answer applies in the event of the geocacher getting an answer wrong.
- Copy and paste the codeword into the codeword box on the log page to validate the log.