I think of SOTA as a team sport, so it’s very helpful to understand what the other part of the team needs. (I have too much noise at home to be a chaser.). Hearing what the chasers think about alerts is great - Peter thanks so much for asking the question.
I must admit, an alert does feel like a promise to me (but, it’s really really good news if it’s not a promise)- and I fear chasers remember who makes accurate alerts and who doesn’t – therefore sometimes I feel I shouldn’t make an alert unless I know it’s fairly accurate or I will get a bad reputation.
Also, I’m not complaining but, I must respectfully disagree with those that say putting up an alert is no trouble. I have put in a fair amount of effort/time trying to establish time estimates for alerts. Any summit I do will involve a long drive (2-3hrs one way), and possibly a hike, and maybe even meeting someone for breakfast before hand. I need to take the time to estimate the drive, figure out what the traffic might be, determine the length of a hike and what the terrain might be so I can estimate how long it might take me - not to mention estimating how long we might have breakfast. Yes, I have a spreadsheet that lays that out now, but I still need to estimate individual times for individual summits. It would be much easier to jump in the car & hike to the summit without worrying about what time it will be.
And, I find myself rushing because I put up an alert for a certain time -it feels like I have an appointment with the chasers I need to make. I love the chasers and I don’t want to disappoint them. But, rushing does kind of suck the fun out of it.
All that said, updating alerts if possible seems a great option. I have done this once, and wasn’t sure if it just confuses things - from what I read here sounds like a good idea. I will try to update alerts in the future.