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  1. Can I record finds for boxes that are not listed on AQ?
  2. How are PFX counts calculated?
  3. Should I log past finds upon joining Atlas Quest?
  4. Why does AQ not count hitchhikers as a find?
  5. I listed six plants, but no icon for plants shows up on my logbook page. What did I forget to do?
  6. Why did my F-count drop unexpectedly?
  7. Why do people keep their logbooks private?

Can I record finds for boxes that are not listed on AQ?

Since the day Atlas Quest went online, the number one feature request was the ability to list a letterbox as a find even if it isn't listed by the owner on Atlas Quest. Seeing as it's not a feature essential to the use of Atlas Quest, however, the option accessible only to Premium Members. If you are a premium member and try to record a find for an unlisted letterbox, Atlas Quest will show you a list of other unlisted boxes that people have recorded finding and allow you to add one of them or, if the box you found is not in that list, allow you to add a new one. The find will then be listed in your logbook and, if it's a traditional letterbox, count towards your F-count like any traditional letterbox.

For non-premium members, the answer is simple: You can't. You still have the option, however, of contacting the owner of the letterbox and ask to have his or her boxes listed. Often, the owner is more than happy to oblige. You can even offer to list the letterbox on the person's behalf—Atlas Quest does supported adopted letterboxes, and you can ensure the creator of the box still gets the appropriate credit. Do not list a letterbox without the author's permission. If someone is caught adding letterboxes that they do not have permission to add, the letterboxes will be deleted and the offending account suspended.

There is one exception to this rule: A few times each year, this premium member feature is opened for non-premium members to take advantage of. These days are variously called Free Listing Day or Hat Day since a theme featuring many of the premium member hats shows up on designated dates. What dates? It's random—it could happen on any day, and with absolutely no warning. Many non-premium members are valuable members of this community, and Free Listing Day is designed for them. Members who regularly check Atlas Quest and are active message board participants will likely be able to take advantage of Free Listing Day while those who log in infrequently will likely miss it.

If having an accurate found count is important to you, however, becoming a Premium Member is your best option. For just pennies a day—less than a pint of Ben & Jerry's best each month—you'll be able to record finds of unlisted letterboxes.

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How are PFX counts calculated?

Atlas Quest does not use the standard PFX counts as described on the Letterboxing North America website. AQ counts all traditional boxes (normal and mysteries, both listed and unlisted) that you are listed as the author or planter as a plant. All traditional boxes you record as finds count as finds except if you are already getting credit for it as a plant or if you've already recorded a find on it. Exchanges are counted as expected—one for each exchange you enter.

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Should I log past finds upon joining Atlas Quest?

It's up to you. It's certainly not required, but there's no harm in it either. Many people enjoy having their finds listed online for their friends to see or to let Atlas Quest keep track of their F-count, while others prefer to keep their logbooks in the more traditional manner. Do what works for you.

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Why does AQ not count hitchhikers as a find?

This question invariably arises due to LbNA's Official Letterboxing Counting Guide, which states in no uncertain terms that hitchhikers can count as a plant if you created it and as a find if you find it. So why does Atlas Quest not follow this rule?

Letterboxing is an evolving hobby, and many of the original rules and guidelines to direct this hobby no longer apply. In the early days of Letterboxing North America, there were no cooties, no postals, and no virtual letterboxes. Even hitchhikers were a rare and unusual breed, and the counting rules were adapted to include hitchhikers.

By the time Atlas Quest was established, additional types of boxes were created and passed around. Hitchhikers were no longer rare and exciting, but rather distributed by the hundreds, often at events where the people "found" the hitchhikers on picnic tables. A backlash ensued. Perhaps the definition of what really counts as a find should be established, such as it must be found in or with another letterbox. (Alas, unscrupulous counters could put a real letterbox on the picnic table and pass out clues saying the letterbox was on the picnic table.) Some people counted such finds, while others refused to do so. There was no consistency and anarchy ruled.

So when Atlas Quest finally came along, the Green Tortuga decided simply not to count them at all. The site had no way to distinguish between 'real' hitchhiker finds and 'picnic table' finds, and nobody could agree on which situations that hitchhikers should be counted, he decided they would not be counted at all.

In your personal PFX counts, you are more than welcome to use the more traditional counting rules that include hitchhikers, but to keep counts consistent across everyone, non-traditional letterboxes will not be counted towards one's official Atlas Quest PFX count. The traditional letterboxes and the wide variety of non-traditional letterboxes have very little in common, so it makes sense to break up the counts for each category.

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I listed six plants, but no icon for plants shows up on my logbook page. What did I forget to do?

You didn't forget to do anything. Icons do not start showing up by your name until you've planted ten traditional letterboxes. Same goes for finds—you get your first icon for finds after recording finds on ten traditional letterboxes.

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Why did my F-count drop unexpectedly?

The vast majority of the time, it's because you recorded finds on incorrectly listed letterboxes and those incorrect listings were fixed.

The two most commonly found incorrect listings are:

The thing to keep in mind isn't that your F-count went down--it's that your F-count was inaccurate and was corrected. Just because you might record a thousand incorrect finds and they later get deleted, your real F-count hasn't changed. Your AQ count, however, will be different, as they should never have been in your logbook to begin with.

If you're recording finds and you see either of these types of problems in a listing, tell the owner of the box! Let them know that it's not right and give them an opportunity to fix the problem. And whatever you do, don't record a find on an invalid listing. If you're a premium member, you can accurately record your find as an unlisted box. If the listing is incorrect, that is, in fact, the only correct way to record your find. If an administrator has to step in and fix the problem, your find counts won't change like it would if you had recorded finds on invalid box listings to begin with.

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Why do people keep their logbooks private?

By default, all new accounts on Atlas Quest are set so an individual's finds are private, so most private logbooks are probably like that simply because the person hasn't changed their default settings.

However, some people may explicitly choose to keep their online logbook private for any number of reasons including (but not limited to):

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