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Long term scoutbook plan?

I’m confused why modules of scoutbook keep moving to other platforms recently? Forums moved to this location, adult leader training moved to scouting.org. Now I’ve discovered, without any kind of warning, that camping/hiking/service hours has moved out of scoutbook and into internet advancement.

When I started using scoutbook years ago, the awesome thing about it was that everything was in one interface, online, and relatively up to date. Now I need to log into different sites and learn/teach completely different interfaces to do tasks that used to be very easy.

Is there a documented plan for how all these systems are supposed to interact with one another over the long term? Is scoutbook no longer going to be the one stop shop that it used to be? I appreciate the hardwork that is going into these various systems, but from a user perspective the different interfaces are making it more complex than it needs to be to do basic tasks.

For other scouters out there, are there other offline systems you’ve gone back to using or would recommend.

Eric,

It has been discussed in the forums multiple times that the Scoutbook platform needs to move from its current programming stack that uses classic asp to a more modern programming stack. This stack was originally referred to a Scoutbook Lite but has since been renamed Internet Advancement.

The forums were moved to a Discourse, a standard forum offering used by many sites. This did a few things, first, it removed a very heavy load from the Scoutbook database. Many of the performance issues Scoutbook had as it exanded to more users was due to the forums. The BSA has been able to assign more moderators which allows spam to be removed almost immediately. Previously posts could only be removed during regular business hours. Finally, the code is maintained by Discourse instead of the BSA. This freed up developer time to work on other features.

By using Single Sign On Technology (SSO), the same ID is used for my.scouting.org, Scoutbook, Internet Advancement and the forums. You should not need to log in multiple times. I do know there is an issue that when Internet Advancement times out, the forums are being logged out. This has been reported to the developers.

The BSA has not published a roadmap detailing when features will be moved from the legacy Scoutbook stack to the Internet Advancement stack. When features are moved, they will take on the look and feel of Internet Advancement.

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@EricBermender - I want to add a bit more to this conversation. We all that change is difficult and often met with strong reactions. The even stronger reactions come when user want enhancements and additional features that can not be delivered on the program language that is the core of scoutbook.com. Just so you can visualize the containers:

Scoutbook.com - legacy code
scoutbook.scouting.org - new stack
my.scouting.org
discussions.scouting.org

The migration away from active reliance on the scoutnet core is also a driving force as well. That suite of modules and programming ended its support a long time ago.

I appreciate the technical difficulties inherent in legacy code and systems; probably much more than the average scoutmaster as I work in an environment where we have to to support code from 1995, yet incorporate cutting edge code and modern systems as well. I don’t disagree with any of the engineering you are talking about, and logically it all makes sense to me.

My issue with these new implementations is that they don’t seem to be user focused solutions; at least from my perspective. It appears these are engineering solutions with no unified design structure.

You seem to be suggesting that I should adapt and change my workflow to accommodate engineering difficulties?

From my perspective you are making it more difficult for me in order to make it less difficult for engineering. It’s problematic for me to constantly be flipping between websites where I need to reenter my credentials each time and learn new interfaces for each module. It’s also a big deal to learn, then train other volunteers and parents, each time you change how various modules work.

I like to give concrete examples for engineers so here’s one example: To add service hours I used to log in to scoutbook, select quick entry -> service hours -> select scouts, put in the date, event, and hours in decimal format (i.e. 1.5 hours), and hit enter.
In the new interface, I need to either know to go directly to a new website, or select quick entry -> select enter activity logs -> log into IA -> select roster -> know to checkbox scouts without selecting them-> know to scroll back to the top of the page to select a dropdown that changes from light grey text to white text -> create a new activity -> enter a lot of information that I’ve never had to enter before, but looks at lot like JTE, in order to add service hours. Even after I do all that, it appears that 1. I can’t delete the event if I make a mistake and 2. the hours from new events are not adding up correctly with the hours of past events.

That’s a single example that is making it more time consuming and difficult for me. So yes, change is difficult, especially when the change makes it 1. harder to do basic tasks, 2. is buggy, 3. doesn’t add any additional functionality from a user’s perspective.

Furthermore, am I expect to keep up with the forums in order to know that workflow design changes are being implemented? Is there a specific thread about workflow changes I can follow, and set to get email alerts with updates, like the old scoutbook forum used to have?

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I think that this is the biggest source of pushback. I’d be surprised if any end-user cares what the back-end looks like. The logic of IA2’s front-end (i.e. where to find things, how to do things) seems to be pretty opaque to me, compared to that of Scoutbook. That seems to be a major sticking point for most folks. I recognize the various points made about change always being painful, but this interface seems like change for the sake of making things easier for the folks counting the beans (e.g. tracking statistics for JTE) than the folks trying to cook them (i.e. the leaders trying to deliver the program).

I’ll continue to fight with it for a while, as I’m sure is the case with many other leaders on these forums. I don’t know that anyone else in my unit has the appetite to learn yet another a new UI to track advancement. It was difficult enough to get folks to learn the one at Scoutbook. I think it’s highly unlikely anyone in my unit will bother with the cumbersome activity logs interface in its current incarnation. Some of the comments I got when I showed it to other folks were…less than complimentary.

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The closest to this, I think, are the change log threads for IA2 and Scoutbook:

https://discussions.scouting.org/c/MyST/IA-Change-Log/

https://discussions.scouting.org/c/scoutbook/scoutbook-change-log/

Yeah, but some of the frustration from the problem solvers in the group has to be coming from dealing with people that want the updates!!! but don’t want to deal with changes.

My hat’s off to @edavignon, @JenniferOlinger and all the other SUAC members that tirelessly put up with the complaints when things don’t work, and the complaints when things DO work.

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I agree with your assessment.

Some thoughts here from my perspective in UX, web development, and volunteering…

  1. I don’t think the BSA (software) development team is very big. Perhaps a half-dozen folks? (I’m not in the know.) So what they can accomplish… including design, prototyping, development, testing, rollout, production, maintenance, is likewise limited.
  2. While it may seem like we’re being subjected to changes to solve engineering problems, rather than user ones… engineering changes are often necessary before user improvements can be made.
  3. Of course, that’s a rocky road, especially if you roll out changes incrementally rather than all at once. Remember, the enemy of done is perfect. If we wait for everything to be perfect, we will either a) wait for a long time, b) suffer the risk that the design was flawed, or most likely c) both.

The BSA is a large organization, with lots of volunteers, and we all rely on good technology to help us get our (volunteer) job done. That custom technology doesn’t come cheap or easy.

Personally, I applaud the efforts the development team, and volunteer supporters, are making. I know it’s has, and will continue to be a rough ride. But I know we’re all heading towards the same goal… even if it takes a bit of discussion to get there.

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Does anyone know when my Scouts will no longer be tossed into the unapproved file at 9:00 PM eastern every day? Because I have had to retrieve them and re-approve their membership in order to update information for advancement… I still can’t update their camping/hiking/service logs…not even my own child from his login.

@Y_VonnTeh What is your position / role in the unit?

It sounds like those Scouts might not be officially registered with the unit, and that is why they keep getting removed from the Scoutbook roster every day. I would recommend having a unit Key 3 check the Member Manager at my.scouting.org (my.Scouting Tools) to see if the Scouts are officially registered with the unit. Key 3 at the unit level is a BSA term that means:

  • the Unit Leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, crew Advisor, ship Skipper)
  • Committee Chair
  • Chartered Org. Rep.

Unit Key 3 can use the Organization Security Manager at my.Scouting Tools to designate up to three Key 3 Delegates (K3Ds). K3Ds can also access the Member Manager.

Please note that functional roles such as K3D automatically expire at the end of every year and need to be redesignated after the unit’s recharter has been processed.

I am the Scoutmaster/Lone Scout Counselor and Friend of 3 Scouts.
I am also the parent of 1 of 3 scouts.
All 3 scouts are registered per Western Los Angeles County Council through 12/31/2020. We have the paperwork and receipt dated 01/23/2020.

I am also Committee Member of another unit.

Like/Follow at https://www.facebook.com/LALoneScouts

If I understand correctly, the youth that keep disappearing from your roster are registered as Lone Scouts, not as members of a unit. Is that correct?

At the moment, Scoutbook does not support Lone Scouts. In order to use Scoutbook, youth must be registered with a unit. As you’re likely aware, there’s been a grassroots push for some time to support Lone Scouts. However, the BSA appears (based on various posts to threads here) to have taken the position that, since all Lone Scout advancement must be managed through the council, and Scoutbook is intended to manage scout advancement through a unit, Scoutbook (and I would hazard a guess its successor entities) will not support Lone Scouts. I’m not agreeing with the decision, just trying to read tea leaves.

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We have been using Scoutbook for Lone Scouts without issue between August 16, 2018 through January 23, 2020. I have a Family account and my profile disappears too.

Like/Follow at https://www.facebook.com/LALoneScouts

I believe “Family Accounts” are no longer a concept in Scoutbook.

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