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A Letterboxing Community

Help: Suggestions

  1. Can you make a spell check available?
  2. How do I make a suggestion for this website?
  3. We should have a new attribute for [fill in the blank].
  4. Can you create a specific type of premium member hat for me?
  5. Can you put up a search option that doesn't have to be exact?
  6. Can we be notified when nearby events are listed?
  7. Can our P-count trophies and F-count ribbons include postals and hitchhikers?
  8. What if, after a certain amount of boxes have been found, that one must now plant?

Can you make a spell check available?

Yes and no. No, Atlas Quest does not directly support a spell check, but that's because most modern browsers do that for you. This has two main benefits: (1) when the browser supports the spell check, it will work for all websites, and (2) you can add your own custom words to the spell check dictionary once and they will work for all websites.

As a result, Atlas Quest itself does not support a spell check and there is no intention of ever doing so. Using your browser's spell check is a much faster, more robust option.

If you use Firefox (the preferred browser of Atlas Quest), make sure you've upgraded to at least version 2.0. There is a built-in spell check that automatically checks text you submit into forms and underlines unknown words with a dotted red line. Right clicking it will provide suggested alternatives or allows you to add the word to your dictionary.

Internet Explorer does not include a built-in spell check (not yet, at least, but it probably will in the future). However, you can install the ieSpell add-on to work with Internet Explorer.

Google Chrome also supports spelling error correction too.

The Opera web browser has a spell check available, but you will need to install a dictionary for it to work. Check their site for details and documentation.

The Google Toolbar also includes a spell check button for all your browsing needs.

How do I make a suggestion for this website?

The easiest thing to do is post a message on the Suggestion Box board with your idea. It gives people a place to debate the merits of the idea and is often where the Green Tortuga gets new ideas to implement. It might be prudent to look or search through old posts—often times, your suggestion has already been made.

To help people find some of the most commonly asked ideas, post them to the Suggestions section in the help. You'll find a summary of where the idea stands, why it was rejected (or not, but if it was implemented, there's not much reason to keep it listed as a suggestion), and the general status of the idea.

We should have a new attribute for [fill in the blank].

There have been many suggestions for various attributes, and most of them will never be implemented. It would not be useful for there to be a list of dozens or even hundreds of attributes. They're effective because they're limited to a small number of the most essential attributes people will likely find the most useful. Attributes that would apply onto only a tiny fraction of boxes (e.g. an icon for boxes that require a GPS device) or attributes that would apply almost universally to all boxes (e.g. an icon for boxes that already include a writing utensil) aren't particularly helpful and therefore have almost no chance of being used.

And finally, attributes are also intended to help people pick out the boxes that would most suit their purposes, so those that help people separate boxes they're interested in from those they are not have a better case for being added. For instance, one popular suggestion is a bathroom attribute so people can know if there are restrooms nearby. Besides the fact that restrooms are often only open for limited hours or limited times of the year, it's unlikely that anyone will use that as a decision for whether they will look for the box or not. (They might use it to help decide if they should go to the bathroom before looking for the box, but it's very unlikely anyone would avoid looking for a box simply because no restrooms are known to be nearby.)

Can you create a specific type of premium member hat for me?

No. On the whole, Green Tortuga does not take special requests for premium member hats. There are billions of kinds of hats out there with all sorts of colors and styles, and creating a specific type, color, or style of hat could turn into a full time job if requests are taken.

Which isn't to say he's against adding new hats to the lineup. He just won't make them for you. You can try creating your own version, and if it's acceptable, it can be added. If you choose to make your own hat, follow these guidelines:

  • The icon must be 30 pixels tall. No more, no less. The width can vary as necessary, but in practice it shouldn't be more than 100 pixels wide. Consider that a maximum width, not necessarily an ideal width.
  • A "hat," for our purposes, is something one wears on the head. It doesn't cover the face. While there are some exceptions to this rule, your chances of it being used are significantly increased if it's something worn on the head rather than "around" the head.
  • It needs to actually look like a hat.
  • It must be something entirely new. Using an existing hat in a different color isn't going to fly.
  • Sports teams tend to be very protective of their logos and names. Don't use them. Not to mention that if you create a hat for one sports team, everyone else will want "their team" to have a hat available too. Generic hats work best.
  • Save the hat as a transparent GIF.
  • Make two icons: One with a red feather in the hat and one with a yellow feather in the hat—it's what is used to identify it as a premium member hat, and the 100-year members can choose a yellow feather.

And finally, if you send an icon to Green Tortuga for possible inclusion as a new premium member hat, it's not the type of thing he considers a high priority, so don't necessarily expect an immediate response. It could take several days or maybe even a week or two before he handles such requests.

Can you put up a search option that doesn't have to be exact?

Search limitations on Atlas Quest are largely limited by the database's abilities. We're not Google with thousands of employees to create code that will fix spelling mistakes or punctuation problems, and will likely never reach this level of sophistication.

But there are some steps you can take to improve your chances of finding what you're looking for. For instance, using an asterisk (*) after a series of letters or numbers will match everything that comes after those characters. So instead of searching for child, try searching for child*, which will match child, children, childs, child's, and children's among others.

If you aren't sure how to spell a word correctly, spell up to the part you are sure about, then end it with the asterisk. For instance, is it cemetery or cemetary? Try searching for cemet# and get both! (Not only does that auto-correct for your own misspellings, but it also pulls in other people's misspellings as well.)

Can we be notified when nearby events are listed?

This can already be done. Follow these steps:

  1. Run an event search from the Advanced Search page with the location of your town and how far you are willing to travel to attend an event.
  2. From the search results page, click the Save Search link in the upper-right corner of the page.
  3. Name the search and select an option to be notified of new listings that match this search. (Premium members can select how often they want to be notified. Non-premium members will only be notified once per day.)

You will now receive AQ mail whenever a new event is listed matching your search. If you want the AQ mail forwarded to an external e-mail account, you can set this up in the Notifications & E-mail Preferences page.

Can our P-count trophies and F-count ribbons include postals and hitchhikers?

In short, no. There's a vast difference between traditional boxes and non-traditional boxes like postal and hitchhikers. There's even an enormous difference between postals and hitchhikers. Consequently, they're all counted separately.

A follow up question many people ask is whether icons for other box types can be added. Right now, there are seven different types of boxes available: traditional, hitchhiker/cootie/flea, postal, personal traveler, LTC, event box, and other. A P and F-count icon for each of them would mean 14 different icons, which is kind of a lot to cram next to someone's name. Consequently, only traditional boxes--real, actual letterboxes that this site was first and foremost designed to handle--will ever have icons. Your counts for other types of boxes will still show up in your profile and your exploits will show in the Hall of Fame, but there will be no special icons for them.

What if, after a certain amount of boxes have been found, that one must now plant?

The consensus was that letterboxing is a form of play and that such expectations cramp the joy of unfettered frolicking. Better to find boxes planted by those who love planting than boxes planted by those fulfilling an obligation.