Sunday, June 22, 2014

F-summaries have arrived!

It occurred to me one day that sometimes, seeing the list of finds and attempts on a letterbox is just too much information. I don't really care who the last 10 finders were or when the box was last found. But there are patterns in the finds and attempts on a box that can be useful to see. If the last 5 people who looked for a box succeeded in finding it, there's probably a strong probability that the box is still there. And likewise, if the last 5 people who looked for it couldn't find the box, there's a good chance that the letterbox really is missing.

A hard to find letterbox might have a lot of attempts interspersed with the finds, and a box that has been replaced after it went missing might have a long series of attempts followed by a long series of finds.

There's a lot of information you can glean from patterns, but the finds page is overloaded with too much information! Wouldn't it be nice just to see the pattern of finds and attempts? So that's what the F-summary does. The finds page is still there if you'd like to take a closer look at the who and when of the finds and attempts, but just by looking at the pattern, you might decide you don't even need that information. Or maybe you'll see something in the pattern that makes you want to check out the finds and attempts in more detail.

An example of F-summaries on my Los Osos Oaks series.
Now, a little about how the F-summary works.... Most of the time, you'll see a series of characters such as FFFFFFFFxxxFFxx. The green F's, not surprisingly, represent finds. The red x's represent attempts. (Using capital A's seemed like it blended in too much with the F's, so I went with lowercase x's.) It will only display the last 15 attempts and finds--patterns before then probably don't mean much. They're read from left to right, so the oldest find and attempts will be on the left and the most recent activity will be on the right. The last successful find will have a small circle around it--the last find date will be pointing to that. (I couldn't make the circle in this blog so just imagine that last F has one!)

F-summaries when attempts on the box are hidden show a hit-ratio instead.

For those of you who've hidden attempts on your boxes, AQ will still respect that and not display the list of finds and attempts. Instead, it'll display a less useful summary and include a hit-ratio instead--the number of successful finds compared to the total number of attempts and finds. So if our previous example had finds hidden, you wouldn't see all of those F's and x's. You'd see "10/15 (67%)" instead. Ten out of the last fifteen people, about 67%, were successful in finding the box. All else being equal, the higher the success ratio, the better chances you'll have of finding a box.

When both finds and attempts are hidden, no F-summaries are displayed.

And for those who have chosen to hide both finds and attempts on a box... no F-summary will be displayed at all.