"Email for a hint": Good Idea or Bad?
Well, I've done some thinking about the "email for a hint" issue that was brought up in another thread. I figured this might deserve it's own thread, so here goes...
Here's the crux, from my viewpoint: For some caches, if the hints were included on the cache page, it would decrease the difficulty rating a notch or two and could change the "caching experience" that the hider intended considerably. It seems, then, that the real question here is whether people prefer to seek a cache with a readily accessible hint (LOWER difficulty rating) or to seek one with NO readily accessible hints (higher difficulty rating).
In my opinion, the "email for a hint" method could be a good compromise. The hint is ACCESSIBLE, but not READILY accessible. I feel that if you're willing to email us AND make a second trip to try to find one of our caches, you have EARNED that hint. In that case, the difficulty rating is not compromised because the cacher is putting forth some extra effort.
For our two caches in this category, I suppose that we could just leave the difficulty rating as it is, provide no hints, and just remove the statement on the cache page about emailing us. That way, if you can't find it and you don't want to bother with emailing us (or visiting our area again), then "NO SOUP FOR YOU!!" (Sorry, couldn't resist a little Seinfeld reference there...)
However, it was our intention to make this a courtesy to the seeker, to make sure that cachers know that they have the option and are welcome to email us if they would like more help. Short of giving out our home phone number, that's about the best we can do. Until I read Geezer's post in the other thread, I never considered that it might be sending the wrong message.
So, what does everyone think? Is this an acceptable way to provide hints, or is is just plain annoying? Are there other ways to do something like this?