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  1. How do I change the type of a letterbox?
  2. How do I change the box type if I made an error?
  3. I made an error while entering a letterbox—how do I fix it?
  4. What is a reserved box?
  5. How do I import a box from another site?
  6. How do I log hitchiker or personal travelers?
  7. How can I unrecord a find?
  8. How do I list a letterbox?
  9. How do I narrow down the hundreds of boxes available?
  10. How do I change which account I want as my Primary account?
  11. What may I do with PLBs that have returned home?
  12. How do I search the message boards?
  13. How do you search for mystery boxes?
  14. How do I delete a find in my logbook?
  15. Where do you find clues for personal travelers?
  16. How do I use the chat room?
  17. What's the Billboard widget do?
  18. Why did my F-count drop unexpectedly?

How do I change the type of a letterbox?

This question almost invariably has its roots in a letterboxing gathering where you carved a special box just for the gathering, then afterwards convert it into a hitchhiker (or some other type of letterbox) to be unleashed upon the rest of the world at large.

You cannot change the type of a letterbox, and there's a good reason for that. If you plant a temporary letterbox at a gathering, people will want to record it as a find on Atlas Quest. Later, after you turn it into a hitchhiker, people who find it will want to record it as a hitchhiker. If you simply change the letterbox type, however, people who found it as a real letterbox will end up getting credit for finding a hitchhiker that they really did not find and not getting the proper credit for finding a traditional letterbox. Even worse, if someone who was at the gathering that found it as a traditional letterbox ends up finding the hitchhiker, they won't be able to record finding both versions of the letterbox.

The solution, in this case, is to list the letterbox twice: once as a traditional letterbox and once as a hitchhiker. The traditional version should be listed as retired once it's played its role while the hitchhiker can be listed as active. That way, people can record the find for the correct type of box that they found, and if they find both types, they have a way of recording it.

It doesn't really matter what type of letterbox you are starting with and into what you have converted it. The theory is still the same. An event stamp that becomes a traditional letterbox, or a personal traveler that becomes a hitchhiker, or for any other combination of letterbox types, the process is still the same. Mark the old version as retired and list the new version as if it were a completely new letterbox.

So Atlas Quest does not allow you to change the type of a letterbox once it's been listed. Instead, the recommended method is to retire the old type, and list a new type.

If you inadvertently list a box incorrectly, just delete the incorrect listing and relist the box correctly.

How do I change the box type if I made an error?

Delete the listing and relist it using the correct letterbox type. If the box already has lots of finds on it, you can contact an administrator who can change the box type manually. If you reuse a stamp for a different box type, you should retire the old listing and create a new listing with the new type so people can record the type of box they actually found.

I made an error while entering a letterbox—how do I fix it?

From the box details page, click the Edit Box button. That allows you to edit almost everything you entered about the letterbox—the location, the attributes, the name, the status, and whatever options are available.

The one thing you cannot change, however, is the box type. If you've mistakenly listed a letterbox as the wrong type, you'll needed to delete the box and add it again using the correct type. Details about why you cannot change the box type are described in the help question How do I change the type of a letterbox?

What is a reserved box?

Some people like to pre-list their boxes. Some people want a box ID number they can list in their logbooks. Some people want to try listing a box to see how it works. And some people want to tweak their clues until things are just right before making their box live. And that's what a 'reserved' box allows you to do—list a 'box' before it becomes live for the rest of the world to see. It'll be assigned a box ID number just like any other letterbox, but it won't show up in searches or in your logbook. (You will see an option to view "reserved" boxes in your logbook, but only you can see your own reserved boxes. Nobody else will be able to.)

The reserved box can be listed just like any other box type from the Add Letterbox page—just select the reserved type.

When the box is ready to publish for the world to see, open the box details page for your reserved box and click the button to "Activate Box." This converts the box from a 'reserved' type into any other letterbox type. Be careful, however. This conversion is permanent! You will not be able to undo the conversion, nor will you be able to change the box type to something else once it has been set.

How do I import a box from another site?

First, never list someone else's letterbox on Atlas Quest without their permission. You'll save yourself a lot of grief if you remember this from the very start.

With that disclaimer out of the way, there's no dedicated 'import' feature. You simply list your letterbox like you would any other letterbox with the Add Letterbox option. Type in the name of the letterbox, location, attributes, and so on. The only thing you might do differently if your letterbox is already listed on LbNA or a personal website is the listing of the clue. There no sense in listing duplicate clues, so you can link your listing to your remotely-listed clue.

If your box is listed on LbNA, change the source of the clue to "" and type in the box number from that website.

If your box is listed on any other website, select the option for "Other Website" and type in the URL for where your clue is hosted. If you have control of the source HTML, you can surround the actual clue with <!-- aq --> and <!-- aq end --> on lines by themselves and AQ will cache just the clue itself without any navigation bars or other page elements.

How do I log hitchiker or personal travelers?

From the Letterboxes column on the toolbar at the top of the AtlasQuest page, select Record Find. Type in the name of the letterbox and change the type to HH/cootie/flea (for hitchhikers) or traveler (for personal travelers). Search, type in the pertinent information and then hit the record find button at the bottom of the page.

It is also possible to record a find directly from the box details page of the box you found. Run a regular search like you normally would from the Simple Search page or Advanced Search page. Once you've found the listing for the box you found, use the "Record Find" button on that box's page.

How can I unrecord a find?

You can view a list of all of your finds in your logbook at Change the 'type' to the type of box that you inadvertently recorded a find on, so if you wanted to remove a find on a traditional box, make sure you're viewing the page for traditional finds. Then click the "Remove Find" link on the find you'd like to remove.

How do I list a letterbox?

These steps describe how to list a traditional letterbox. Most of the steps are exactly the same or very similar for listing non-traditional boxes, and if you can list a traditional letterbox, you should have no trouble figuring out how to list a non-traditional box.

  1. Click the Add Letterbox link from under the Letterboxes menubar option.
  2. Select the type of letterbox from the options available (probably a normal traditional), and click the Add Box button.
  3. Type in a name for the letterbox—that's the only required piece of information for all boxes, and you cannot leave this page until one has been entered.
  4. (Optional) Fill out the attributes by clicking the Attributes link.
  5. (Optional) Add multiple boxes to a series, set the status of boxes, and add carvers for each box from the Series Info page.
  6. Fill out the clue by clicking the 'Clue' link. (You'll probably want to change the location of the clue to 'AQ hosted.')
  7. (Optional) Add restrictions to your box from the Restrictions page.
  8. Fill out the location of the box by clicking the 'Location' link. (Not available for bonus boxes.)
  9. When you're done, click Save. Or, if you made a mistake and don't want to save, click Cancel.

How do I narrow down the hundreds of boxes available?

There are several ways to more effectively search through many box listings to find the ones that you would like the most:

  • Learn Atlas Quest's Advanced Search feature. This feature allows you to sort by hike length, by specific planters, only for hand carved, pet friendly, etc. If you change the search type to "area" you can even search for all the mysteries in a particular state. By changing the search type to "trip," that enables the trip planner search which allows you to search stretches along major highways and trails such as Interstates or the Appalachian Trail.

  • Look for boxes that others have rated highly with Blue Diamonds icons.

  • Look for boxes that planters have rated highly (of their own boxes) with Planter's Choice icons

  • Do a search on that city and when it pulls up all the listings, hit the "map results" button in the upper right hand corner. It will give you a map of the locations of the boxes that are listed IF the planter gave the address.

  • Contact a local boxer. Out of all the choices above, a local boxer is going to be the most knowledgeable. You can do this privately in an e-mail (you may notice a lot of boxes in an area planted by the same person) or publicly on the state message boards (some areas use Yahoo Groups to communicate more than Atlas Quest. If you know that, you may what to join that group prior to coming through the area for tips). Some areas also have developed clue guides with tips and boxes for specific frequently visited places in their area.

How do I change which account I want as my Primary account?

First, make sure that the account is independent of all other accounts on AQ. If it's a sub-account of an already-existing account, spin it off into an independent account.

Second, start adding other independent accounts as sub-accounts. Accounts that are already a primary account to other sub-accounts or other sub-accounts cannot be added without first being turned into independent accounts.

To spin-off an account, change the "account type" to "spin-off."

What may I do with PLBs that have returned home?

There are a couple of main options:
  • Reissue as a single postal so that the log book can fill up.
  • Retire the postal letterbox (change the status to "retired").

Once a postal is retired, you may choose to do a number of things with it:
  • Plant it as a traditional or mystery box.
  • Use it as a hitchhiker (if it is small).
  • Have it become a personal traveler (particularly if it is something special to you that you don't want to risk losing).

In these three cases, you will need to create a new listing for the box. Do not simply change the box type or delete the old listing, because this can cause confusion in the online logbooks. You may consider noting in the clues that it was previously a postal letterbox so that nearby postal finders can choose whether to hunt for a stamp they already received in the mail. Some people also opt to use a new logbook for the box rather than the one that traveled as part of the PLB.

How do I search the message boards?

The simplest, quickest, and most common search you'll likely run on the message boards is to look for posts with a specific keyword or phrase within the message. You can run this type of search from most any message board page just by entering the keyword in the search box in the upper-right corner of the page. For more advanced search options such as searching for posts by specific members, on specific boards, during a specific timespan, and more, use the dedicated Search Messages page.

A few things to know about keywords searches. First, searches are case-insensitive, so capitalization will not matter. Second, some common words are automatically ignored such as and, then, don't, etc. These are called stopwords, and the full list of stopwords used are:

a, a's, able, about, above, according, accordingly, across, actually, after, afterwards, again, against, ain't, all, allow, allows, almost, alone, along, already, also, although, always, am, among, amongst, an, and, another, any, anybody, anyhow, anyone, anything, anyway, anyways, anywhere, apart, appear, appreciate, appropriate, aq, are, aren't, around, as, aside, ask, asking, associated, at, available, away, awfully, be, became, because, become, becomes, becoming, been, before, beforehand, behind, being, believe, below, beside, besides, best, better, between, beyond, both, box, boxed, boxes, boxing, brief, but, by, c'mon, c's, came, can, can't, cannot, cant, cause, causes, certain, certainly, changes, clearly, clue, co, com, come, comes, concerning, consequently, consider, considering, contain, containing, contains, corresponding, could, couldn't, course, currently, definitely, described, despite, did, didn't, different, do, does, doesn't, doing, don't, done, down, downwards, during, each, edu, eg, eight, either, else, elsewhere, enough, entirely, especially, et, etc, even, ever, every, everybody, everyone, everything, everywhere, ex, exactly, example, except, far, few, fifth, first, five, followed, following, follows, for, former, formerly, forth, four, from, further, furthermore, get, gets, getting, given, gives, go, goes, going, gone, got, gotten, greetings, had, hadn't, happens, hardly, has, hasn't, have, haven't, having, he, he's, hello, help, hence, her, here, here's, hereafter, hereby, herein, hereupon, hers, herself, hi, him, himself, his, hither, hopefully, how, howbeit, however, i, i'd, i'll, i'm, i've, ie, if, ignored, immediate, in, inasmuch, inc, indeed, indicate, indicated, indicates, inner, insofar, instead, into, inward, is, isn't, it, it'd, it'll, it's, its, itself, just, keep, keeps, kept, know, knows, known, last, lately, later, latter, latterly, least, less, lest, let, let's, letterbox, letterboxed, letterboxes, letterboxing, letterboxer, like, liked, likely, little, look, looking, looks, ltd, mainly, many, may, maybe, me, mean, meanwhile, merely, might, more, moreover, most, mostly, much, must, my, myself, name, namely, nd, near, nearly, necessary, need, needs, neither, never, nevertheless, new, next, nine, no, nobody, non, none, noone, nor, normally, not, nothing, novel, now, nowhere, obviously, of, off, often, oh, ok, okay, old, on, once, one, ones, only, onto, or, other, others, otherwise, ought, our, ours, ourselves, out, outside, over, overall, own, park, particular, particularly, per, perhaps, placed, please, plus, possible, presumably, probably, provides, que, quite, qv, rather, rd, re, really, reasonably, regarding, regardless, regards, relatively, respectively, right, rock, said, same, saw, say, saying, says, second, secondly, see, seeing, seem, seemed, seeming, seems, seen, self, selves, sensible, sent, serious, seriously, seven, several, shall, she, should, shouldn't, since, six, so, some, somebody, somehow, someone, something, sometime, sometimes, somewhat, somewhere, soon, sorry, specified, specify, specifying, still, sub, such, sup, sure, t's, take, taken, tell, tends, th, than, thank, thanks, thanx, that, that's, thats, the, their, theirs, them, themselves, then, thence, there, there's, thereafter, thereby, therefore, therein, theres, thereupon, these, they, they'd, they'll, they're, they've, think, third, this, thorough, thoroughly, those, though, three, through, throughout, thru, thus, to, together, too, took, toward, towards, tree, tried, tries, truly, try, trying, twice, two, un, under, unfortunately, unless, unlikely, until, unto, up, upon, us, use, used, useful, uses, using, usually, value, various, very, via, viz, vs, want, wants, was, wasn't, way, we, we'd, we'll, we're, we've, welcome, well, went, were, weren't, what, what's, whatever, when, whence, whenever, where, where's, whereafter, whereas, whereby, wherein, whereupon, wherever, whether, which, while, whither, who, who's, whoever, whole, whom, whose, why, will, willing, wish, with, within, without, won't, wonder, would, would, wouldn't, yes, yet, you, you'd, you'll, you're, you've, your, yours, yourself, yourselves, zero

Any word you attempt to search for in this list will be ignored.

Search Operators

By default, Atlas Quest will return all searches that include one or more of the keywords you specify. You can, however, change that behavior through the use of operators. Supported operators include:
Operator Result
+ A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in every post returned.
- A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any post returned.
( ) Parentheses are used to group words into subexpressions
* An asterisk is the truncation operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word, not prepended.
" A phrase that is enclosed in double quotes matches only posts that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.
@distance Tests tests whether two or more words all start within a specified distance from each other, measured in words. Specify the search words within a double-quoted string immediately before the @distance operator.
<> These two operators are used to change a word's contribution to the relevance value that is assigned to a row. The > operator increases the contribution and the < operator decreases it.


Search Results
apple banana find posts that contain at least one of these words
+apple +juice find posts that contain both words
+apple -macintosh find posts that contain the word “apple” but not “macintosh”
+(apple banana) -macintosh find posts that contain “apple” or “banana”, but not “machintosh”
apple* find posts that contain “apple”, “apples”, “applesauce”, “applet”, etc.
"some words" find posts that contain “some words of wisdom”, but not “some noise words”
"word1 word2 word3" @8 finds posts that contain the words “word1”, “word2” and “word3”—BUT only if all three words are located within 8 words of each other.
+apple +(>turnover <strudel) Find rows that contain the words “apple” and “turnover”, or “apple” and “strudel” (in any order), but rank “apple turnover” higher than “apple strudel”.

How do you search for mystery boxes?

From the Advanced Search page, change the search type to an Area Search. Select the area you want to search for mystery letterboxes—you can search based on state, country, or all the world—and check the Include only mystery letterboxes option if you want a list of just mysteries. Otherwise, all letterboxes in the specified region will be returned.

Choose any other additional search parameters you might be interested in, then click search.

How do I delete a find in my logbook?

Go to your logbook and change to the page with your find by adjusting the Action and Box Type drop down menus as needed.

Then click the delete icon () and confirm your deletion.

If you want to delete someone else's find on one of your boxes, there is no way to do that except to ask the finder to remove their find.

Where do you find clues for personal travelers?

Depending on your needs, there are several methods to look up clues for personal travelers.

  • If you want to look up the personal travelers for an individual member, pull up their logbook and change the page to view their planted personal travelers.
  • If you are attending an event, the active personal travelers of other letterboxers who are attending the event will be displayed in a list near the right side of the event listing, just below the event details. If you are logged in, personal travelers that you have already recorded as finds will automatically be suppressed so you can focus on the ones you have not yet acquired.
  • If you want to browse through a generic list of personal travelers, try using the Advanced Search page. Be sure to check that the search type is set to Traveler.

How do I use the chat room?

Once you're in the chat room, you can type messages to send to others in the chat room in that long box near the bottom of the page and click "Send" when it's done. To exit the chat room, click the "Exit Room" link in the upper-right corner of the room. To open another page to continue visiting other places on Atlas Quest such as the message boards or to check your AQ mail, clicking on the AQ logo in the upper-left corner of the page will open My Page in a separate window.

Then there are the two control buttons at the very bottom of the page to allow the chat messages to auto-scroll or to be notified of whenever someone enters the chat room.

You'll also find a row of colors near the bottom right corner of the page. You can change your color by clicking on the color you are interested in.

What's the Billboard widget do?

The Billboard widget is something of a cross between the message boards (where what you type will stick around essentially forever) and a chat room (where the messages are as fleeting as the duration you're in the chat room). By default, you'll only see the last ten messages posted to the billboard, and only if they had been posted within the past 24 hours. You can change these defaults by clicking the 'Edit Preferences' link, the small pencil in the title bar (). The maximums allowed show 99 messages posted within the past 99 hours. The messages posted to the billboard are temporary in nature, and there is no mechanism provided to review or archive old messages.

This widget is a premium member perk, so you must be a premium member to add it to My Page. The messages are public that essentially anyone may read, so you are expected to conduct yourself just like you would in a chat room or on the message boards. Moderators can delete messages that they feel are inappropriate.

One use where this widget may be useful is to ask questions that you don't want to last for eternity on the message boards, such as, "How do I record a find on an unlisted box?" You might get an answer just as fast as by posting on the message boards, but the conversation essentially deletes itself after a period of time keep the message boards less cluttered with constantly repeated questions. Or you could just root for your favorite sports team, or wish everyone a happy holiday.

The widget does not auto-refresh, but it will update whenever you post a message, open My Page, or click the "Refresh" link in the title bar. The refresh link is the green, circular arrow in the title bar of the widget. ()

It is possible to ignore a specific member who posts to the widget. Use the Ignore Member option on that person's profile. The same settings used for ignoring a member in the chat room will also be used to ignore them on the billboard widget.

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:

  • Multiple stamps in a single letterbox are listed as individual boxes. When we find these, we usually delete the extra listings--along with any finds you had on them. We count found boxes, not found stamps.
  • Boxes are listed in the incorrect category, such as an event box that's listed as a traditional letterbox. When we find these kind of problems, we usually convert the box into the correct type. In this case, however, your traditional box F-count would go down by the same amount your event box F-count goes up.

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.