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New way to log trackables to cut down on missing TBs


teambaconpancakes
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The biggest frustration of the whole geocaching game for me is searching for so many caches that list a trackable being available in their inventory -- only to arrive and not find any trackable there. It's ridiculous how often the TB is missing from the cache it's listed as being in; out of dozens I've looked for so far since I began geocaching, I've only managed to find one.

 

I'm aware that many people, for whatever strange reason, don't bother to log trackables when they pick them up -- not only new cachers who don't know how trackables work, but even many experienced cachers. I don't understand why, because logging a trackable takes just as little time as logging a cache find so I'm not sure why people can't be bothered to take the two seconds to log the TB as well. *Frustrated*

 

What I'm suggesting would be a new simpler way to log trackables. When you go to log a find for a cache, why can't there be a checkbox or something that automatically appears on the same page if a trackable is listed in the inventory, that says something like "I took the TB from this cache", and if you check the box then it submits the logged trackable right along with the logged cache find? (I realize some people like to write comments about the TB with their log or take pictures -- those could still be incorporated by just having those form fields only show up on the logging page if the "I took the TB from this cache" box is checked.)

 

Or, you know, SOMETHING. If logging a trackable is so confusing and so time consuming that people can't be bothered to do it, then why not make it easier to do so right on the cache logging page? The same sort of thing is already implemented on the website for dropping off a TB when you go to log a cache -- so why can't it be done for picking up a trackable?

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the PTB would need to do perhaps a drop down box with a link allowing for entering the trackable's number...

 

logging a cache find with a drop down reminder box of trackables just might jog the memories of someone who forgot they

picked up a traveler from that cache... :unsure:

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The problem is that retrieving a trackable requires logging the trackable number. That is another step, which requires a different screen.

 

I doubt it actually requires another screen. I can't imagine why a whole refresh of the page would be required to query the database (even if it's in a completely different database than the cache information); I don't have a lot of programming background, but I believe something like this could be easily done all from one page.

 

the PTB would need to do perhaps a drop down box with a link allowing for entering the trackable's number...

 

logging a cache find with a drop down reminder box of trackables just might jog the memories of someone who forgot they

picked up a traveler from that cache... :unsure:

 

Yeah, it could be like the set up for dropping off a trackable. If a cache contains trackable items, they could all be listed on the logging page in dropdowns, and as soon as you changed a dropdown for one of them to "taken" or whatever, it would give you a blank form field where you would enter in the tracking number.

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This is basically the same as dropping trackables, except instead of offering to drop the trackables in your inventory, it would offer to let you pick up the trackables in the cache. Yes, there would need to be a way to enter the tracking number, but otherwise it's basically the same.

 

If something like this happens, I'd like an easy way to copy the cache log to the trackable log, both when dropping them and when picking them up. Right now, the only time you get a log for a trackable is when someone picks it up. When they drop it, you get a blank log generated automatically by their cache log.

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The problem is that retrieving a trackable requires logging the trackable number. That is another step, which requires a different screen.

 

It shouldn't require a different screen, when you log a find on a cache you get a list of trackables in your inventory that you can drop off or "visit". There's no reason why there shouldn't also be a list of trackables in the inventory that you can discover or pick up, with a box beside each entry to enter the tracking number if you want to discover or pick up any or all of them.

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It would be great to have a drop-down list of TB's that are supposed to be in the cache, and a place to enter the tracking # if you select one.

 

However, from a user-interface design point of view, this isn't a simple thing at all.

 

The problem is, you'd be trying to do two distinct operations on the same page, and the second, minor one is the one where the editing is more likely to fail, aborting the PRIMARY transaction: filing the 'Found' log.

 

When you log a cache, your log goes in as long as you have a log type and a date. If you add TB-pickup to it, then you also have to edit for the validity of the tracking number. If that edit fails, you're left with NEITHER of the transactions completing, and if you decide to scrub it because you don't have the tracking number in front of you or you can't read it, you could be left without your log being added unintentionally unless you remove the TB and try to submit the log again.

 

OR, you could get a message saying "TB # is wrong, do you want to (1)-Add the CACHE log anyway, (2)-Try and correct it or (3)-Quit?". THEN, you'd have to tell the logger to go file the TB log over in the Trackables section.

 

That's an awful lot of complicated pathing to ask people to put up with.

 

Another complicating factor would be programming for the cacher who picked up MULTIPLE TB's from a cache and want to enter more than one number in a single transaction.

 

Oy.

 

A BETTER way to do it would be to have a big ol' button on the Log Confirmation page that says, "These TB's might be in this cache - Click Here to log one!"

Edited by TeamRabbitRun
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It would be great to have a drop-down list of TB's that are supposed to be in the cache, and a place to enter the tracking # if you select one.

 

However, from a user-interface design point of view, this isn't a simple thing at all.

 

The problem is, you'd be trying to do two distinct operations on the same page, and the second, minor one is the one where the editing is more likely to fail, aborting the PRIMARY transaction: filing the 'Found' log.

 

When you log a cache, your log goes in as long as you have a log type and a date. If you add TB-pickup to it, then you also have to edit for the validity of the tracking number. If that edit fails, you're left with NEITHER of the transactions completing, and if you decide to scrub it because you don't have the tracking number in front of you or you can't read it, you could be left without your log being added unintentionally unless you remove the TB and try to submit the log again.

 

OR, you could get a message saying "TB # is wrong, do you want to (1)-Add the CACHE log anyway, (2)-Try and correct it or (3)-Quit?". THEN, you'd have to tell the logger to go file the TB log over in the Trackables section.

 

That's an awful lot of complicated pathing to ask people to put up with.

 

Another complicating factor would be programming for the cacher who picked up MULTIPLE TB's from a cache and want to enter more than one number in a single transaction.

 

Oy.

 

It doesn't have to be complex at all.

 

Each bug that's supposed to be in the cache has an entry in the cache page with an entry box beside it to enter the tracking number, and a drop-down to select "Took", "Discovered", "Missing" or "No Action". If you Took or Discovered it you enter the code.

 

If the code doesn't match for one or more of the bugs the site logs the find anyway, processes any trackables that were entered with the correct code, and generates an error relating to the trackables that didn't have the right code. From there people can log them as they currently do.

 

If a bug is marked Missing then it gets tagged and once it's picked up a few Missing tags it is automatically moved to Unknown Location, so as a bonus we get a cleanup process to handle bugs that have disappeared. This feature was requested a couple of years ago but seems to have fallen down the priority list.

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When you log a cache, your log goes in as long as you have a log type and a date. If you add TB-pickup to it, then you also have to edit for the validity of the tracking number. If that edit fails, you're left with NEITHER of the transactions completing, and if you decide to scrub it because you don't have the tracking number in front of you or you can't read it, you could be left without your log being added unintentionally unless you remove the TB and try to submit the log again.

 

OR, you could get a message saying "TB # is wrong, do you want to (1)-Add the CACHE log anyway, (2)-Try and correct it or (3)-Quit?". THEN, you'd have to tell the logger to go file the TB log over in the Trackables section.

 

I think you're making it too complicated. The form wouldn't need to be submitted in order to validate the tracking number -- fields can be validated in real time as you type in them, so if you enter a wrong tracking number it could instantly have a little line of text appear beside the box saying "invalid number" and then you would just correct your typo and carry on. It would be no different than, say, the section of your account settings page here on Geocaching.com where you can change your username: if you start typing in a username that's already taken, it tells you instantly.

 

fieldvalidation.png

 

The logging page would only be submitted after the tracking numbers were entered correctly; the transaction wouldn't have the chance to not be completed in that case because it deals with all the field validation beforehand. I can't think of an alternative method of doing something like this that could possibly be less effort or more foolproof for someone logging a find/trackable.

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This could be handy, but considering we have had an idea to remove missing TBs from cache inventories for two or three years now (that has yet to be implemented despite official approval of the concept) I have ZERO faith that this idea would be developed.

 

My opinion of the suggestion is that even if you made logging TBs as easy as possible, the people who are directly responsible for missing TB and coins still wouldn't log them. The best approach is to put the logging and goal information directly in the hands of the finder when they are in the field.

 

Clean-up as well as identifying and addressing the underlining issue should be a community and a gc.com concern. Still waiting for gc.com.

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This could be handy, but considering we have had an idea to remove missing TBs from cache inventories for two or three years now (that has yet to be implemented despite official approval of the concept) I have ZERO faith that this idea would be developed.

 

Likewise. Maybe we can ask for a souvenir to reward ideas that are officially approved but never implemented.

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