Requesting a feature for Commissioner Tools

I brought this up before, when it was thought that virtual contacts would only be necessary for a short period. It looks like it is going to be with us for a long time now.

I would like to ask for an email and virtual contact picks for type of contact in Commissioner Tools. Almost every contact I have these days is one of the two and having to pick Other and type in the type of contact is getting old, especially if meet with several units in one day.


Its interesting that you read the contact event in that way because I’ve been using virtual or email contacts for a while but continue to clarify them as to the type of event or group being contacted. We have and will continue to have virtual contacts that are unit meetings, committee meetings, key 3 meetings, maybe district or council meetings. I would plan to continue marking these meetings as such and not lump them under virtual.

Email might be a consideration but I had a committee meeting via email with a lively discussion recently and I’d categorize it as committee meeting. So its really one on one discussions via email that don’t fit the current categories. And other is as good as anything else I can come up with.

I think the type of contact is meant to categorize the type of event, not the method of contact.

When we designed Commissioners Tools we wanted to allow the Users the greatest flexibility. Consider we were replacing UVTS (Unit VISITATION Tracking System) where only a ‘visit’ was to be logged.

What we discovered (beyond our wildest dreams) was just how differently people do their Scouting in the BSA. So we try to minimize providing hard and fast ‘rules’ (but occasionally we must… such as one contact per unit per day due to technical concerns) to allow the local leadership to use the tool as best suits their local circumstances. Our (recent) emphasis on virtual scouting has certainly provided us lots of opportunities to use Commissioner Tools in innovative ways. Thomas’ way of documenting the TYPE of contact based on the purpose versus Robert’s desire to document the method is a good example of the many different ways we ‘skin a cat’ and how a solution / approach in one district/council doesn’t fit another.

As much as we would like to make everybody “happy” we do not have the resources to personalize Commissioner Tools (or the other my.Scouting apps) to meet all the individual desires… .especially in this current extremely constrained resource environment. Fortunately, while not “perfect” from some perspectives, in this instance, from what I can tell the existing Commissioner Tools process is ‘workable.’

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It just seems that the majority of my one-on-one contacts with leaders of a unit are via email or phone these days. I am not counting Roundtables, Committee meetings, unit meetings or anything taking place by webinar software. Only the personal contacts, which I always record because I feel they give as much information about the unit as the larger meetings. Since that is at least 50% of my contacts these days, I was hoping that there could be a phone, email contact added. Not a big thing if you can’t, but I was hoping.

Robert I can see your point. For those one on one meetings, usually one of the Key 3, I’ve used “other” and specified who it was but I wonder if it’s more appropriate to use a “Key 3” contact for that even if its just one of the Key 3. I’m not sure on that, just curious what other’s think. Frankly I’m not sure how those classifications are used outside of the district.

That is what I do, but since it is half of my contacts and I have 7 units to enter for, that is a bunch of “Others” and typing in email or phone. I used phone and email contacts before this COVID-19 time and we are going to use them after. To me, it just makes sense. Anything that makes entering easier so I don’t put it off and forget it is a good thing in my book, especially considering how little effort it takes to add it.

Robby Wright

@Robby: "In response to your comment “…especially considering how little effort it takes to add it.” I will just say that there are over 20,000 Users and the way we decided to allow personal ‘customization’ (since everybody has their own idea of what they need) was via the OTHER option. As an FYI there is a team of about 18 people involved in the decision making process of not only prioritizing how to use the limited resources we do get to make required changes to Commissioner Tools, but also ‘nice to have, but not required’ enhancements that affect the User experience. So to not adversely impact the User experience - which happens when the pull-down list gets tool long - the team decided sometime ago to limit the number of ‘choices’ (which we have slightly exceeded), but in order to allow flexibility we not only added OTHER, but the option to amplify what was meant by ‘other.’