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Read Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing

Re: Wanting to plant first box
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #809771 by Sunia
Oct 11, 2013 2:40am
Thread
I like straightforward clues that lead to a fun box. In my opinion its better to have the perfect stamp for the location and a good hide, then off-the-wall clues.

Schizokeet
Re: Wanting to plant first box
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #809771 by Sunia
Oct 12, 2013 6:12pm
Thread
They seem to be saying one ought use secret codes, stories, riddles etc., to tease people's brains.

I read that the same way. So far, save my latest, I have done my clues in rhyme or puzzles. Both are more difficult to find as a result. I know that there is at least one boxer who gave up on my latest series because it is in rhyme. I've decided to do clues more as directions, or at least more of them as directions.

But I want to try a variety of clue types for the fun of it. If you want even more of a challenge, come up with a puzzle box to post to both here and geocaching site(s). Then you have to direct different people using different ways.

Above all, have fun writing the clue.
Re: Wanting to plant first box
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #809776 by Kelsung
Oct 13, 2013 9:14pm
Thread
Thanks Kelsung and others.
Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Oct 13, 2013 9:29pm
Thread
I haven't been rating finds, yet. Partly because I am not sure what that does. If I rate a three, can that bring down someone's average? If I don't Rate at all, does that bring down the box average?

Once I gave Toyota salesman a bad review, and then found out it affected his pay...hadn't expected that. And now the repair folks at Toyota tell me if I don't rate them five out of five they will get in trouble.

So how do I do the least harm?

And am I rating the stamp, the directions, or what? What if I love the stamps in a series, but there is no upkeep and half the boxes are missing or empty?
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 13, 2013 9:53pm
Thread
If I rate a three, can that bring down someone's average? If I don't Rate at all, does that bring down the box average?

Not rating it doesn't affect the rating at all.

Rating it a three could bring it down, or it could bring up the average. It depends on what the current average is. It also depends on how you tend to rate boxes. If your ratings follow a normal distribution then your ratings will count more. Also, if your ratings correspond to what others have rated boxes your ratings also count more. Ryan doesn't explain all of the algorithm so that people don't game the system.

So how do I do the least harm?

If you rate all of the boxes a 5, your ratings won't count for much. And if you don't rate any boxes but those that you rate 5, your ratings also won't count for much.

If you don't want to affect any rating then you'll just have to not rate boxes.

And am I rating the stamp, the directions, or what? What if I love the stamps in a series, but there is no upkeep and half the boxes are missing or empty?

There is a wide variety of opinions about this, and you'll probably get to hear them. Take them all as opinions and make up your own mind. There's probably some guideline that I'm not remembering right now though.

I rate them based on the overall box: Location, stamp and logbook. I don't use the clue for much of the rating since I may have followed the directions incorrectly. Since there is only one rating for a series, you will be rating the overall series. Again, you'll have to decide what affects your rating.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 13, 2013 10:30pm
Thread
You have a good question. But please don't rate based on whether it brings someone's average up or down. I agree, either rate all or none. You can find 50 boxes of different types and locations and people first, then go back and rate the boxes once you get a feel for what you like.

You can see how you rate boxes, and click the letterboxes tab, and see box rating and see how you tend to rate boxes. You need a nice bell curve for you ratings to have much weight to them. So you need mostly 3s, some 2s and 4s, and a rare 1 or 5.

Actually, that reminds me to go back and check the boxes I've found recently and make sure I rated them, and see how my curve is doing. I remember when I first started boxing, I was rating a lot of 4s, and then after seeing a bigger variety, I saw some really over the top boxes. I went back and re-rated my early boxes accordingly.

Oh, and this is how I rate: overall feel of the experience.

Good location, good or interesting carve, clues, interesting logbook, solid watertight container, meaningful theme all get + points.

Bad, misleading clues are my first pet peeve, Soggy, neglected container (which owners ignored pleas for maintenance), carve is uninspiring or has no theme or anything, location is by a dumpster or another odd place, logbook is a scrap sheet of paper, etc. all may lose points... depends on various reasons.. I try to see past a soggy container if I was the first to see it and they respond, but repeated requests... I feel should be addressed. It is different for an historic old letterbox... but a six month old forgotten box.... that's sad.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 13, 2013 10:39pm
Thread
Once I gave Toyota salesman a bad review, and then found out it affected his pay..

Oh, I hate that. One day, six or seven years ago, someone shopped me. I got everything on that shop; friendly, suggested additional products, told her (maybe him) all this product information, just a great review in general. However, when it came to the final question, would the customer shop there again - they selected no. That prevented me from a 100% shop with a bonus of $50 or $100.

However, a negative review or complaint may hurt the employee in some way. If there was a complaint or received an unacceptable score on a shop, I would get a write-up for it; a write-up would lead to a cut in hours or maybe dismissal. That is how it usually works in sales and retail.

Ratings here will only hurt or improve their chances of getting a blue diamond and maybe a box of the week. Someone getting 1s will not cause Ryan to ban a letterboxer from Atlas Quest. However, while it is great to have quality boxes out there, not every box will have a blue diamond. It is not possible. With that, people should plant what they like.

As Oberon_Kenobi mentioned, many have different ideas on how to rate. Some will suggest that you look at several factors. On some I do, but sometimes it may be just two of the features; like an excellent stamp and clue, or gorgeous locale and stamp. There have been times when it has been just the stamp, though. I've given a 5 to a store-bought/custom stamp because of the spot it was hidden and the stamp tied in with the place.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 3:13am
Thread
he repair folks at Toyota tell me if I don't rate them five out of five they will get in trouble

Here, as with there, if you don't rate honestly, why bother to rate at all?

I am sorry if you "get in trouble" or it "effects your pay" but if you don't deserve a higher score, I won't ever give it to you.

So how do I do the least harm?

If that is what you are worried about, see my above comment about why bother.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 4:15am
Thread
Once I gave Toyota salesman a bad review, and then found out it affected his pay...hadn't expected that. And now the repair folks at Toyota tell me if I don't rate them five out of five they will get in trouble.

Yes this is true my hubby sells cars for Hyundai. One month not very long a go he got a good score but not perfect and he lost $1800.00 of pay that month :(
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 4:30am
Thread
Once I gave Toyota salesman a bad review, and then found out it affected his pay...hadn't expected that. And now the repair folks at Toyota tell me if I don't rate them five out of five they will get in trouble.

Wow, to tell people that is skewing the ratings and seems to make the whole rating system pointless doesn't it?

Ratings should be your personal opinion and should not be to win friends or make people happy. If a box is undeserving of a Blue Diamond then it shouldn't have one. It's as simple as that. Look at it this way... if you give it a "5" rating and the box gets a Blue Diamond, then the next person to find the box is expecting a fantastic box or at least a really good box. If the box is deserving of the diamond, then there's no problem. If the box is undeserving of a diamond, it can ruin the experience for a letterboxer expecting a good box. Not only that but can set a bad precedent. If a box owner or finder thinks an average box is worthy enough of a diamond, then that may be all they shoot for and they won't try to do any better. Nobody can see your ratings so you should rate how you feel best. It's hard to give a poor rating, I know, but the first time you find a box with a blue diamond and you think to yourself, "Really???" you'll find it easier to hand out ratings that the box actually deserves. It's also hard to give out "1" ratings but trust me when I say, there will be a time you find a box and a "1" will seem generous!
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810273 by Oberon_Kenobi
Oct 14, 2013 5:25am
Thread
I don't use the clue for much of the rating

Conversely, I rate primarily based on the clue. I personally think the hunt is the most important part of letterboxing and that the stamp just proves that you found the box. Not that there aren't stellar boxes with poor/boring clues, though :)

I reserve the 1 ratings for poor boxes with store bought stamps.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810277 by FloridaFour
Oct 14, 2013 6:40am
Thread
FloridaFour,
You have a lot of good ideas. I think I should wait until finding a really Wow box.

I have seen many beautiful carves, but they are in two long-ignored series', with half the boxes missing, and owner doesn't check in or respond to messages. She made lovely handmade logs, too, but some are bent, soaked or ruined. How would you rate an old series that was once glorious, but not at all cared for? For all I know, the owner could be in a nursing home and unable to get out or fix things. I have no way to know why her boxes are just deteriorating.

Also, does a great box earn five if it is sitting in poison ivy?

By the way, it seems like most series in our area are older and missing about forty percent of boxes. Except one, so far.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810323 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 7:53am
Thread
I think I should wait until finding a really Wow box.

you could do that. it's always nice to have some experience under your belt when you're doing stuff.

By the way, it seems like most series in our area are older and missing about forty percent of boxes. Except one, so far.

i like how you are asking good questions and thinking about things. i'm sad that you are running across old stuff. There are lots of letterboxers in your region who care a lot for their stuff; i'm wondering if you're not quite at enough finds/plants to see their clues and things. Hmm. . . when you get some more finds/plants under your belt, you may be amazed at what there is to see. . .

And please don't be annoyed at that. It's kind of a nice surprise as you get more experience. It's not about you, personally; it's a way to keep things interesting and one of the ways that people play this game we call letterboxing. They put some restrictions on boxes, so that, as you gain more experience, more clues show up.

~tigs
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 8:11am
Thread
Whatevers: Favorite country explored: Turkey

in your profile. Ummm, not sure how I feel about this, lol
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810323 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 8:12am
Thread
Okey dokey!

i have just stalked your logbook (this means i went and looked at your finds, to figure out if i could see what you were talking about), to see if i could figure out what is going on. Then i went and looked up your area, to see what else is going on, what kinds of boxes are available.

Here's what i think: the two long series you picked to go find were just unfortunate choices for someone new. They were good choices in that, if they were all there, they'd have been GREAT finds!! However, one of them looks like a Girl Scout series - nothing wrong with scouts, except that they often go missing quickly, since they're often planted by troops (translation:kids) and not well maintained, even if they aren't very old. The other series is just really, really old. Just from reading the clues, it sounds like there's been trouble with it being left out already, so it's likely to have been missing. As you said, it was a really nice series. . .

i'm sad you had the trouble you did, and isn't it great to be getting the experience??? You're gonna be a great boxer!! ;-)

Now, off you go to the rest of the 8 pages of boxes in the area!! Tell us all about your adventures, cuz we love hearing about them!! (really. that is NOT sarcastic. most of us love hearing about Adventures in Boxing, Adventures in Carving, Adventures in Inking. . . yeah, we're basically nerds).

~tigs (i may join you next Spring; i hear there's this Coaster event)
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 8:26am
Thread
We choose not to rate the letterboxes we find. Each person's idea of a good stamp, clue, or location is highly personal and mine might not agree with yours. We enjoy letterboxing for so many reasons, not for accolades from others. We do our best when we carve, challenging ourselves to improve. We are rewarded when others find our stamps. We try to make our clues simple and family friendly - just our style. Others might prefer more difficult clues, more detailed carves, or boxes hidden at the end of longer hikes. Why ask for ratings when they are bound to vary from person to person?
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810315 by Aiphid
Oct 14, 2013 8:27am
Thread
I don't use the clue for much of the rating

Conversely, I rate primarily based on the clue.

With more variety of clues I may change the weight of the clue. Most (but not all) clues around here are directions. I hear that there is a national mystery around here but I haven't even figured out which one it is yet, let alone where specifically it is.

The ones with better clues tend to be better in the other respects anyway. That may be why I've given less weight to the clue, so far.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810273 by Oberon_Kenobi
Oct 14, 2013 10:09am
Thread
Not rating it doesn't affect the rating at all.

Not entirely true - given the same average value, the box with more ratings going into that average gets the edge. Thus, not rating it can hurt in the event of a tie.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810269 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 10:51am
Thread
It's complicated . . . as others have said, they do or don't rate, base ratings on all or some of: clue, location, carving, etc. Add to that, the weight of your rating varies, depending on the "normal curve" of all your ratings, and the rating curve of other LB'ers around you.

In the area where I live, there are many awesome carvers and an unusually large percentage of boxes that deserve the highest ratings. I know that, because I have found boxes here and elsewhere which clearly do not. That means when I give a 5-star to a deserving box, it doesn't mean as much, just because there are so many around me! Likewise, if you tend to look for boxes you know will be awesome (from past finds, best carvers, etc.), then your ratings are less meaningful, because you don't have as many 1's and 2's included in your ratings. Did I mention, it's complicated??

I gave up worrying about it long ago - some I rate, some I don't, as honestly as I can, and based on the whole experience. The best boxes will still rise to the top, because they're based on all the finds, not just mine.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810371 by Wise Wanderer
Oct 14, 2013 11:35am
Thread
In the area where I live, there are many awesome carvers and an unusually large percentage of boxes that deserve the highest ratings. I know that, because I have found boxes here and elsewhere which clearly do not. That means when I give a 5-star to a deserving box, it doesn't mean as much, just because there are so many around me!

Then you need to use criteria besides quality of the carves to separate the boxes if you are going to rate them.

Is a great carve in a parking lot equal to a great carve at a waterfall?
Is a great carve hidden in a L&L behind a tree equal to a great carve hidden as a trapdoor in a birdhouse?

The point of rating the boxes in comparison to other boxes you have found. And the point of average is that half the boxes you find are below average. So if you found 100 boxes and have 30 that you rated 5, you should also have 30 you rated as 1.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810374 by Eidolon
Oct 14, 2013 11:50am
Thread
Then you need to use criteria besides quality of the carves to separate the boxes if you are going to rate them.

You missed the part where I said I rate a box based on the "overall experience" - that includes more than the carving quality. Also, as I said, I no longer get concerned about the weight of my ratings. Great boxes, carvings, clues, and locations tend to rise to the top, regardless.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810323 by Sunia
Oct 14, 2013 12:04pm
Thread
Also, does a great box earn five if it is sitting in poison ivy?

Poison ivy happens. It may not have been there when the person planted the box. PI can spread quickly. I found PI in my yard this last summer that has never been there before. Or if the planter planted in the winter, they may have had no idea it was there because there are no leaves at that time. Lastly, there are people that are not allergic to PI and may not even look for it as a result. I'm not allergic but I do try to look for it when I'm planting. If it is a great box, rate it how you would rate it without the PI and if it is that big of a concern to you just email the owner and tell them about the PI.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810379 by Wise Wanderer
Oct 14, 2013 12:20pm
Thread
You missed the part where I said I rate a box based on the "overall experience"

Oh I saw it, but then you proceeded to say:

In the area where I live, there are many awesome carvers and an unusually large percentage of boxes that deserve the highest ratings.

which implies carving is what matters, that is all.

Great boxes, carvings, clues, and locations tend to rise to the top, regardless.

I agree. But the truly special ones separate better from the really good ones when people rate using the full range of 1-5 and based on their honest opinion of the entire experience, not just how pretty the stamp happens to be (not to imply you don't, just a general comment).
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810381 by Dizzy
Oct 14, 2013 12:21pm
Thread
Also, does a great box earn five if it is sitting in poison ivy?

I agree with Dizzy. In fact the first thing that came to mind was a favorite box I found (a clear "5" in my eyes). Well it is right under PI, but it is a great box. In fact it even has a blue diamond with multiple finds, so I am not the only one to think that thought.

But my personal thought is to not stress too much about rating. You always can go back and change it if you feel the desire to do so. :-)
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810337 by Oberon_Kenobi
Oct 14, 2013 12:35pm
Thread
With more variety of clues I may change the weight of the clue. Most (but not all) clues around here are directions.

All the more reason to consider the clue! If someone is taking the extra time to do a nice creative clue when others are not, that makes the box stand out.

1. Clue (this starts the adventure before you even leave home some times, and can enhance the entire journey there)
2. Location (makes the journey enjoyable)
3. Carving/logbook/box presentation (icing on the cake, a total bonus if #1 and #2 are done well).

IMO, all of these things are done well to get a #5. And if you look at it this way, you really have very few #5s which is as it should be.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810383 by Eidolon
Oct 14, 2013 12:46pm
Thread
I agree. But the truly special ones separate better from the really good ones when people rate using the full range of 1-5 and based on their honest opinion of the entire experience, not just how pretty the stamp happens to be (not to imply you don't, just a general comment).

In my experience, people who are awesome carvers, almost always go the extra mile to include a great handmade logbook, plant somewhere relevant to the stamp in a beautiful, meaningful, or interesting place to take the finder. And finally, write up a clue that grabs my interest or challenges me in some way, to draw me in. I have yet to find a great carve, in a crappy box, in a dismal no-where location . . . or vice versa. It all goes together, in my experience, and that's why I rate the EXPERIENCE, and not the stamp or any other single element.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810371 by Wise Wanderer
Oct 14, 2013 1:01pm
Thread
If a friend comes to town and wants advice on which boxes to hunt, and only has time for a few, the few you tell him to hunt should be the ones you rate a "5". Period.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810391 by Wise Wanderer
Oct 14, 2013 2:49pm
Thread
In my experience, people who are awesome carvers, almost always go the extra mile to include a great handmade logbook, plant somewhere relevant to the stamp in a beautiful, meaningful, or interesting place to take the finder. And finally, write up a clue that grabs my interest or challenges me in some way, to draw me in.

I'd like to think I can do the carving and logbook part well, but I have a LONG way to go on the creative clue writing!!

I see others that are incredible carvings but don't do handmade logbooks.
Some make the most beautiful logbooks and nice carvings, but don't make creative clues.
Some make incredible puzzle clues but don't carve as well or make handmade logbooks.

I see very FEW that do ALL and find the amazing locations! I have to do collaborations and share skills to get that.
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810413 by The Wolf Family
Oct 14, 2013 3:05pm
Thread
I see very FEW that do ALL and find the amazing locations!

That was my point exactly!! These are the ones that deserve blue and purple diamonds! And these are the ones we have an abundance of in this area (thank you, letterboxing gods, for putting me in this Nirvava of letterboxing).
And, this is the reason why my ratings are skewed toward 4's and 5's, and therefore, less relevant in weight!
Re: Rating finds
Board: Stupider Questions About Letterboxing
Reply to: #810419 by Wise Wanderer
Oct 14, 2013 3:37pm
Thread
And these are the ones we have an abundance of in this area

You are in the OR/WA area? Ah, home of X Marks the Spot. In that case, it makes sense.