Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Recording finds and attempts, version 2.0!

Well, I finally did it. I updated the sub-system for recording finds and attempts. It's been completely rebuilt from the ground up! 

You'll definitely notice some changes with them, but the two most important changes to note are:

  1. You can record multiple finds and attempts on the same box! So if you revisit a box after you've first found it, you can record another find on it without removing your previous one! It doesn't matter how often you record a find on it, however--it still counts as only 1 find on your F-count. So please, if you revisit boxes, record the find! Let everyone know the box is still alive and well on subsequent visits!

    Likewise, you can record multiple attempts on the same box as well. Only the last attempt you record on a box is included in the F-summaries and factors into strike counts and findability and such. Earlier attempts are essentially ignored, but they don't hurt anything either.

  2. And the other big change is that you can now specify the confidence level of your attempts. So now there are three levels of attempts: high-confidence, mid-confidence and low-confidence attempts.

    I imagine a high-confidence attempt is basically what everyone has more-or-less been recording to this point, but now there are options if you have a lot (or a little) doubt about your attempt. There's also an option for a "zero-confidence" attempt, although I've started calling those "fake attempts" in my code. I imagine those being used for people who have an urge to record attempts but didn't actually look for the box. They looked at a mystery clue but couldn't figure out the starting point so they think they "attempted" the box kind of thing. Or they started hiking down the trail, but it started to rain so they turned around before reaching the end if it. That type of thing where there was never a real search for the physical box. AQ basically just ignores these, but you're welcome to record them as zero-confidence attempts.

There are other details that I'm sure some of you want to know all about. For instance, with all these attempt options, how are strikes counted? How does the F-summary work? 

In a nutshell, a high-confidence attempt counts as one strike as usual. A mid-confidence attempt counts as half a strike, and a low-confidence attempt counts as a 1/4 strike. (But after adding everything together, they will be rounded to the nearest whole number.) So if you use the default strikeout settings on AQ, it would take 3 high-confidence strikes before a box is struck out, 5 mid-confidence strikes or 10 low-confidence strikes. (Zero-confidence attempts, as I said before, are ignored by AQ so they basically count as 0 strikes.)

F-summaries still use F's and X's to mark finds and attempts, although now the F and X will be capitalized if the finder/attempter is a planter of the box. Those are basically the maintenance visits by someone who should know what they're talking about. Lowercase letters are finds and attempts by non-planters. As for attempts, the letters are sized based on the confidence levels, so high-confidence attempts will have a much bigger X than a low-confidence attempt. The colors also go from "in your face red" to "subtle, low-confidence blue." =)

There are also minor notes practically not even worth mentioning. For instance, although you can now record multiple finds and attempts on the same box, they can't be on the same day. If you record a find or attempt on a specific box on a specific date, it will overwrite anything else you had previously recorded for that same box on the same date. But really, why would you be recording it more than once for the same day anyhow?! Most likely, something had been entered incorrectly the first time so you're probably just trying to fix the information.

There are some other relatively minor, cosmetic changes you might see around finds and attempts as well.  Mostly to make sure there was space to display multiple finds and attempts (if needed) and mark the type of attempt that was being recorded, but since nobody has had a chance to record multiple finds/attempts on the same box or record different types of attempts, it generally looks the same as before. For now. You'll notice the changes more as y'all  start using the new features.

There are almost certainly going to be bugs that slipped through the cracks and need to be worked out. Please be patient. This was a huge undertaking that required a lot of changes to the code and database, but I'll fix the bugs as quickly as they're found and reported.

Hope you enjoy the update! If you have any questions or comments, send them along.


Abbie_normal said...

Thanks for the amazing work you do!

I just wanted to give you a heads up that a big influx of new letterboxers may be coming. There's a very popular movement called "1000 Hours Outside" that has a list of fun activities for each month to help get your kids outside. Mostly they're themed hikes or things like "play in the rain" or "draw with sidewalk chalk". Last month, "Go geocaching" was on the activity suggestion list for March and for April "Go letterboxing" is on the list. I don't have any idea how many people will participate, but literally millions of people are part of the 1000 Hours Outside movement (I've even had random people at the library ask if I was logging hours), but there's a possibility of lots of newbies showing up.

Thanks for the amazing site. Your work is greatly appreciated by so many people.

Lou Catozzi (PI Joe) said...

I am curious if this change might have "broken" reporting finds thru the Clue Finder app. I'll check it out tomorrow.