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Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969296 by BBStacker
Dec 12, 2018 11:44am
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I experimented with tags early on, but you've inspired me to use them again.

You've given lots of good ideas, BBStacker; I especially like the "puzzle needs to be solved yet."

I'm curious what others use tags for.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969291 by Angel Winks
Dec 12, 2018 1:06pm
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I use it if I read over comments on the letterbox and there is something important to note that someone mentioned.

I do that also!

I will also put the link to any trail maps or significant websites that I find while doing research for the custom addresses. This can save time when I am actually prepping to go find the boxes later.

And, since many of my own planted boxes are ciphers, I put the actual uncoded clue in the notes so I don't have to go back and solve my own clue to answer questions.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969312 by Angel Winks
Dec 12, 2018 6:34pm
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I'm curious what others use tags for.

I use tags all the time. The ones I currently have are:

  • Mystery/need info - means I have to do some sort of homework before finding
  • Scared to get it - at least I'd be scared to look for it by myself.
  • Tried box - for boxes that I made some sort of effort to find without qualifying as an "attempt." I may have run out of time or the clues were vague at the end. It's interesting to see if people find it after my "try." I generally write a note about when I looked and why it didn't pan out.
  • Fun day - for boxes I'm planning to find on a particular outing
  • Want box - general boxes that look interesting to find
  • MI Counties - boxes that look like they'd be good candidates for my continuing quest to find a box in every Michigan county
  • Last finder - after I find a box I give it this tag. Then I have a saved search I run that lists boxes with this tag in reverse chronological order of when they were last found. Generally when a box pops to the top of the list it means that someone found it after me and I can say, "Oh look, Angel Winks found that fun box in the library in Kalamazoo too!" (Of course 9 times out of 10 Angel Winks has already found the box before me.)

That leaves one tag. It was most recently pulled into duty for "Virginia Trip." Self-explanatory. Now it's generic again waiting for a new assignment.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969321 by Dawnkey
Dec 12, 2018 7:29pm
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Wow. That really gives me food for thought. I like the Last Finder tag. I had never thought of that.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969312 by Angel Winks
Dec 12, 2018 7:37pm
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I use tags a lot for trip planning. I use the trip planner and city searches to see what boxes are in the area I will be passing through and staying in, and then I start to tag the boxes that I think I most want to search for. It helps organize the mass of boxes that might come up with any given search and helps me keep track of an oddball box that I notice but that doesn't fit the main search parameters.

So I'll have green for the route to my destination. Green plus red for boxes around my destination. Purple for short day trips. So when I'm on the trip I'm just choosing from boxes I've already checked out and thought would be good.

I also have orange for boxes I'd like to find in one nearby city and blue color for another city. When I get ready to spend a day in either city, I'll add a second color.

Then doing an advanced search it's easy to make a list of just the boxes I want to look for. I usually map just those boxes, and it's easy to print all the clues from that list. I'll run the list again afterward to record them. It helps me find what I want quickly.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969312 by Angel Winks
Dec 12, 2018 7:52pm
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I'm curious what others use tags for.

I used to use them a lot when I was doing LTCs a lot. I don't remember what they were.

But, I love all the ideas listed above! Thanks for starting this thread! Great ideas here already!
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969325 by BaliWho
Dec 13, 2018 6:06am
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I use tags for:
Caution - go for it if plenty of time (while traveling), but likely not there
Stop - multiple attempts, likely not worth time adding another
Go for it - used especially if I've attempted it in the past, and someone else has logged a find
Printed - to avoid duplications
Trip Planning - used in advance trip planning to an area I don't regularly get to for flagging 'boxes to find
Solved - to note that I've figured out the mystery, puzzle or clue
Dad's Letterboxes - my Dad'll go out 'boxing with me occasionally, and doesn't log his finds on AQ, so I track them with a tag
Box Type Changed - Ryan occasionally changes the type of listing of 'boxes, and I tag those 'boxes
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969312 by Angel Winks
Dec 13, 2018 6:25am
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I'm curious what others use tags for.

I use one color for each state I travel regularly, and tag new boxes as they pop up on the new letterboxes widget.
One additional color is labeled Mapped, meaning I have located the parking spot on a map and placed a pin there. I sometimes do that when I first read the clue, and sometimes it's in an area I won't be visiting for a while, so I don't map it until I'm sure I am going there.
One final color is labeled Clue Collected, meaning I have the clue in a document ready to print. For travel clues, I copy/paste the clue portion into a document, then trim out things I don't need on the trail - the backstory, driving directions to the park, etc. If you've seen my clue sheets, you know roughly 5 or 6 clues will fit on a single sheet of paper (landscape / two columns / skinny margins).
So as I get ready to travel, I search for the color tags that represent the states I need, then read clues more carefully and select those I want - tag them with the map color if they already aren't, and then finally, prepare the clue sheets and add the Clue tag so I can work on it over several days and figure out what's done and what isn't.
edit: The map pins are transferred to my GPS before the trip so the driving instructions in clues are unnecessary.

I found it's important to remove the tags as I log finds or else I have way too many tagged clues.

You all know how to change the labels on your clues, right? That's a Wonderful perk!
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969312 by Angel Winks
Dec 13, 2018 6:51am
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After making the mistake of not looking for one of Safari Man's boxes when I had the chance, I use a tag for all of his boxes. That way, when I have a pile of clues printed for a trip, I can easily see if any of his boxes are among them and make those higher priority.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969336 by Maude
Dec 13, 2018 1:33pm
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You all know how to change the labels on your clues, right? That's a Wonderful perk!

Ears perked! Now, you gotta tell us! maybe we don't know? Labels? Is that different than tags? I'm intrigued.

I need to do what you do with copying/pasting the clues to a word doc. Sometimes it kills three trees to print a clue page and all you need is a 1/4 sheet!
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969355 by BaliWho
Dec 13, 2018 4:13pm
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a quarter sheet? Only if it's just one or two easy clues. But yes, try it. The other advantage is that I have to actually read the clues while I'm still at home, and that has saved me from a few disappointments.

The labels are the words next to the tag's stars. You can change the labels (words) by clicking the ubiquitous little yellow pencil at the bottom of the tag's box, then type what you want - and Save.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969181 by Angel Winks
Dec 14, 2018 3:07am
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I am absolutely loving this thread, hope it lives for a long time!

OK, this is probably something that many people have used but I just discovered it yesterday. Based on many of the suggestions about what people use tags for, I finally revised the system that I had started many years ago when I didn't really know what would be their best use. When I moved all my tags around (thanks to finally noticing the add tag/remove tag boxes at the bottom of the search pages), I created searches for each of them so I didn't have to create a search each time I wanted to work with them. I have always had my personal searches widgit on My Page but, silly me, I never noticed that I could rearrange their order until yesterday. For anyone who might have been as clueless as me, this is done under the Letterboxes tab/My Searches and then in the upper left corner it actually says "sort searches". How could I have missed that all of these years! Now My Page shows my Pennsylvania searches first and the other states in their order of importance to me below. How could something so simple make me so happy!
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969381 by Janila
Dec 14, 2018 4:09am
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Don’t you just love how customizable AQ is?
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969321 by Dawnkey
Dec 15, 2018 3:51am
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Okay. So help is needed. I want to change the labels on my tags. How do I do that?
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969409 by Angel Winks
Dec 15, 2018 4:05am
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Hah! I just figured it out. Now I need to decide which tags to use. So fun. Thanks for all the ideas.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969181 by Angel Winks
Dec 16, 2018 5:13am
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Heading down a different avenue in this conversation...

Does anyone else participate in the Great Lakes Bingo game? Atomicbeans from Illinois is hosting it and the information just came out. I've participated for several years and I even won twice in one year! But the fun is playing this long, drawn-out Bingo game throughout the long, drawn-out winter months.

If you haven't played before and want to, the information is on Yahoo Letterbox Great Lakes.

So, who's playing?
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969435 by Angel Winks
Dec 16, 2018 7:08am
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Does anyone else participate in the Great Lakes Bingo game?

Every year when it comes out, I get excited, I look at the rules and decide that it is just too complicated to try to figure it out. I looked again yesterday and decided the same thing again this year.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969438 by Janila
Dec 16, 2018 7:30am
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I look at the rules and decide that it is just too complicated to try to figure it out.

Oh, that's too bad. Would it help if we explain what you find complicated? I've been playing for several years and think it's a lot of fun. Adam did a superlative job last year organizing and running the game. Most of his daily word calls involved poetry. :)
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969435 by Angel Winks
Dec 16, 2018 10:06am
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I’ve played the last 3 years (since I started letterboxing), and it gives me something to look forward to each morning during this long, winter season. Win, or not, it’s really great fun! Huge thanks to all the folks who host this game!
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969181 by Angel Winks
Dec 30, 2018 5:04pm
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I just learned something new today about ranking letterboxes (from a fellow letterboxer in another state). Here is what she shared:

"You do know, don't you, that unless you give some 4s and a lot of 3s, and a smattering of 2s, and even an occasional 1, your rankings are not considered when AQ presents Blue Diamonds. You must have the "credentials" of reasonableness. I think you need to be an average judge."

So, I'm curious. How do you all decide what deserves a 5, 4, 3, 2, and a 1? Or do you avoid ranking altogether?
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969783 by Angel Winks
Dec 30, 2018 5:46pm
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So, I'm curious. How do you all decide what deserves a 5, 4, 3, 2, and a 1? Or do you avoid ranking altogether?

For me, if it's an average box, with average clues in an average place, it's a three. Wow me with a hike, location, view, clever clues, put some creativity/effort into it, 4-5.
If its a box thrown in the woods or behind a dumpster to get your P-count up, 1-2.

I rarely (if ever) give 1-2.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969783 by Angel Winks
Dec 31, 2018 4:43am
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Store bought stamp =1
Store bought stamp in a really great place or with a hand made logbook = 2
Hand carved stamp obviously just thrown together and "dumped" for a plant = 2
Hand carved stamp in average hide = 3
Hand carved stamp in average hide with hand made logbook = 4
Fabulous hand carved stamp and fabulous logbook in fabulous place = 5
This is my guideline but I think through each find to come up with my score for a box.
I do most 3's some 4's and a few 5's
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969783 by Angel Winks
Dec 31, 2018 6:36am
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You can view your Rating Statistics:
https://www.atlasquest.com/boxes/traditional/ratingstats.php

By giving some boxes a 1 or a 2, your not saying those are bad letterboxes. It's not a thumbs down. Just in terms of awesomeness, was it really awesome, great, good, fair, or just okay? I've found some that were just okay [honestly, I've found some that were actually somewhat disappointing. There, I said it.]
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969783 by Angel Winks
Dec 31, 2018 1:04pm
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How do you all decide what deserves a 5, 4, 3, 2, and a 1?

This is an interesting question, and there are probably almost as many answers as there are letterboxers. When this was discussed on the boards several years ago, I remember one person saying something along the lines of she awarded 0 points or 1 point in each of 5 categories, something like hand-carved stamp, handmade logbook, good container, good clues, and interesting hike. She then tallied the points to arrive at her rating. My thought was, "wow, I don't do it like that at all."

My ratings are more subjective. I definitely will rate higher for hand-carved than store-bought, and I can't imagine ever giving a 5 to a store-bought stamp. But if the store-bought stamp has clever clues and at least ties in to the surroundings I'll rate it higher than I would otherwise. I'll also rank boxes that involve an experience higher than a drive-by. Again, I rarely will give a drive-by a 5 even if it's an amazing carve.

I see that currently my average rating is 3.16, with a distribution of 7% 5s, 24% 4s, 47% 3s, 21% 2s, and 1% 1s. I'll give a 3 to an average box. For a 4, the box has to have something special--a really good carve or creative clues or something. Fives are the remarkable boxes that bring everything together, the ones I'll always remember. A two would be a subpar box--not much effort went into it. Ones are rare, but I might give a one if I thought the box was placed where you might hurt yourself retrieving it (e.g. a lumber pile with exposed nails), or if it was just disappointing all the way around, like a random store-bought stamp placed behind a dumpster.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969181 by Angel Winks
Dec 31, 2018 5:33pm
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Happy New Year, Michigan and followers of the Michigan Board!

I just put 3 grandchildren to bed after a night of playing and it's going to be an early night for me. No watching the ball drop at midnight.

However, I wanted to pass on what I've been reading about on the Letterbox Chatter board. I have to say that I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE if there were more letterboxes planted in Michigan! So who is up for the challenge of getting 10 boxes planted by April 30? Of course, you could be an overachiever and try for 50...

Anyway, I thought I'd throw it out there.

Angel Winks
*who loves letterboxing in Michigan

"Nov 17, 2018: Power Plant Challenge
Calling all letterboxers: It's time to plant more boxes!

On the looooong ride back from L&B, fellow boxers and I were discussing the future of letterboxing in North Carolina and decided:
1. We want to be able to find more letterboxes in NC
and
2. Newer letterboxers would be attracted to letterboxing if they don't strike out on their first few searches due to older MIA boxes

Therefore - we have created a Power Plant challenge! We challenge all letterboxers to plant 10 traditional boxes in the next six months. Imagine - if even 10 boxers accepted the challenge - that would be 100 new boxes. If 40 boxers did it, 400 new boxes in the state for everyone to enjoy! Even if planting is not your favorite part of letterboxing - the only way to get new boxes (and boxers) is to plant - so let's all plant together!

~ Of course, there are prizes ~
Participants who plant at least ten traditional permanent plants between Nov. 1 and April 30 will receive a Power Planter Patch.
Participants who plant at least 50 traditional permanent plants between Nov. 1 and April 30 will receive a Power Planter Path tag.
There will be special recognition and a grand prize (TBD) for the participant who plants the most traditional permanent plants during this six month period.

~ Quality is important ~
While this is a planting challenge, it's important to still think through your permanent plant - don't just toss boxes out and hope for the best. Plant boxes in locations you would be able to check on, are safe from muggle meddling, and will hopefully be around for quite a while. Drive by, long hike, easy clue, challenging puzzle - and all shapes and sizes of letterboxes in between - those details are up to you. You could do a series or individual boxes. Since the goal is to increase our permanent plants in the state, these boxes should be permanent, not temporary or just for events.

~ Other details: boxers and boxes everwhere are welcome!
Anyone can participate - even boxers in other states
You can plant anywhere - even other states (letterboxing while traveling is a grand adventure)!

~ OK - you're IN - how to participate:
1. Send me an AQ message to let me know you want to participate! You can contact me at any time during our six month challenge.
2. Plant at least ten boxes (or way more) over the next six months (Nov. 1 through April 30, 2019).
3. We will recognize all participants at the big GeekFest event in Raleigh at the start of May. You do not need to be present to participate (but we know you want to come to this huge event). We will share all the participants who qualify for the patch and pathtag, and announce the grand prize winner. If you are not able to attend GeekFest, we will send you your patch/path tag through snailmail.

Let me know if you have any questions, and plant on, NC! (Super Hedge Hoggie)

Power Plant Challenge brought to you by:
Airstream Dreams
Bluebird
Mouse Nanny
Sudoku Crazy
Super Hedge Hoggie"
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969832 by Angel Winks
Jan 1, 2019 10:43am
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I saw this and thought it'd be a great idea! 10 may be a stretch by April, but I'll think about it! I have ideas of boxes to carve, but limited ideas of places to plant! Ack!
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969832 by Angel Winks
Jan 4, 2019 1:20am
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I was looking at that when SuperHedgeHoggie posted about it.

I'm tempted, but haven't really had the energy to carve or plant. Haven't planted or carved in well over a year. Heck, I have three or four stamps carved for your area since 2012, since before moving to North Carolina, but haven't ever gotten around to figuring out a place for them.
Although, it looks like Nic wants to go that way for his 40th in a couple of months to show me his individual tour of GR when he lived there in 2015/16. Don't know if there will be any letterboxing on that trip, but a week later will be my 10 year anniversary as a letterboxer.
Re: Letterboxing Conversations
Board: State: Michigan
Reply to: #969321 by Dawnkey
Mar 27, 2019 5:16am
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I just wanted to let you all know how enjoyable and helpful these conversations in the "non-letterboxing" months were to me. One thing I did was to set up my tags and that has been just great. I've used one tag for Locations Needed and then when I feel like digging deeper into solving a mystery location, I can easily find the boxes.

I've also used one for Puzzles to Solve and then solve them when I'm bored with the Netflix series we're watching :).

But the most fun I've had with tags has been an idea from Dawnkey...to use tags for Last Finder. Then I've also created a search for that and then I added it to my custom menu (under Letterboxes) to be sorted by last found. So every couple of days I do a quick click on that and find out if someone has found a box in which I was the last finder. If so, I get rid of the tag quickly, but it's also fun to see who is out and about letterboxing.

The other tag LaLaBirds suggested was Last to Attempt. So I've created that and then when I do a quick check I can see if someone else found it. If so, I delete my attempt, kick myself for not finding it, and I know I need to go and look again.

Anyway, there were so many great ideas shared, and I had a good time personalizing my page with your ideas. Happy boxing, everyone! I've been working on planting my Letterboxing Memories boxes and hope some of you find them in this year to come. Three boxes/series are done and I have seven to go!