58 / Hint
For a traditional cache the hint is for the cache location. With a multi-cache it can contain hints for each stage of the cache and with mystery caches it can aid with "home preparation" as well as the hide. The hint should be clear otherwise it might cause more harm than good. For example, with a multi-cache, when a searcher is looking for the first stage, they might stumble across an item matching the hint intended for the final stage. It is ideal to mark each part of the hint, to make clear what's it about, for example "cipher:", "stage:", "final:" etc.
When creating a hint, make sure the cache is solvable with or without it.
This especially applies to mystery caches. It also applies to caches difficult to find in the field. Provide the necessary information in the listing and other parts of the cache description (terrain rating, attributes, size etc.) to reduce the chance of the surrounding area being destroyed by searching. Bear in mind that some people might set out to look for a cache without the hint, so important information should be in the listing (e.g. "The cache isn't in the tree; there's no need to climb.")
The hint is only good if it is useful. Although the owner might think it's funny to give a hint like "No hint necessary", a desperate geocacher (in the dark, during a thunder storm and five minutes before the bus leaves) might think otherwise.
For a hint to be useful it has to be clear. Even though it might seem that everyone understands this, it is not unusual to come across a hint like "the bridge, bottom right side". With a hint like this it is much more useful to use north, south, east and west.
One way to make searching easier is to include a spoiler photo. When doing this, please remember that most cachers use GPS units that do not hold photos. Add a detailed description as well as the photo. Such as "base of the cliff five metres from the birch tree".
Keep hints brief for those who need to manually decrypt them in the field.