Freegle Tech Report 16-07-31

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Freegle Tech Report July 2016

Posts 17568-17849
Members 105


A lot of the activity this month was around the launch of the FD3 prototype. Added benefits, lost function and any possible problems it may cause.


The community events mails are now generated on the new platform rather than on FDv1. The format is very similar, so you may not notice, but let me know if you see any problems - the sooner the better. You can control whether events are enabled for your group in ModTools->Settings->Group Settings. Soon there will be an option to attach photos to them.
At present these are the groups with Events turned off.
Q. I need to amend an event but can’t get the edit to work on a new group.
For now I have to approve you manually to allow you to edit them on a new group and have done so. Once we shift over to FDv3 this will pick up permissions automatically.
Q Can someone stop the Community Events going to this member and when can we have control?
A For now you can ask to turn them off. Function will be added to modtools shortly.

Freegle Direct V3

An early beta is now out. You can try, but feedback will have to be on Tech. If there are any posts on Central by mistake replies will be given on Tech. To join Tech please go to
Early comments were favourable but some tweaking needed for different devices and as usual Edward was fixing stuff as it was reported. . The more moderators that can give detailed feedback about the way it works on their particular devices the less problems there will be with members when it is officially launched.
Many of the comments were concerning mapping not being strictly accurate. It is only meant to give an approx location as it would not like to pinpoint the house so may choose an adjacent locations using the same first part of your location. You can change the areas from ModTools, Settings, Group, Map Settings. Please do take a look at this.
Another major issue was found to be the prominence given to Direct in the links it was felt by some to be detrimental to Yahoo-only groups. A compromise was reached.
There is added a function to include Norfolk groups in the mapping. There are quite a few different options (Yahoo, with/without Freegle Direct, Norfolk) but most users will only use one postcode and therefore won't see it all . It would be good if people could test this.
I've moved tweeting of the events over to the new platform. We tweet an event when: It's first added and every four hours within the 96 hours before it starts. We may tweak this a bit, but it'll do for a start. At some point we will have the ability to add hashtags for a group, so that they show up in all group tweets.
Problems. There was the traditional timezone bug, so you may have seen some tweets with times wrong by two hours. But that should be fixed now. Please let me know if you see anything else wrong.
There is code in FD v1-2 which shares out items from the main Facebook page onto the per-group Facebook page. It's not very good; in particular, photos/videos get mangled. This is moving over to the new platform, so you should see the shares look rather better - and therefore they should appeal to people a bit more. You can see a couple of shares on
Logging in. If you log in to a site, your browser usually offers to remember your username/password. That didn't work with FD v2 and we got members complaining as they forgot their passwords. On the new platform it should now.
When you log in using an email/password, offer to remember
When you log out and re-login, it should restore the email/password.
It would be useful if people could test this.
Q. Will FD3 still have a link to Yahoo? I ask because we still have a fair number of members who use Yahoo to send their messages. Or will we be like both Norfolk and Freecycle and lose all connection with the original group?
A.There will be, I've added this on the "Give" flow, and the "Explore" flow.
Q. Will the message maker work with FD3? It could do as it ends up sending to Yahoo. Currently it does need the FDv2 database tables to make it work. These won't be available or up to date. So could we switch to use the new FDv3 database tables?
A. I think we should redirect it to the give flow (but with the group chosen, which I will need to make work). That lets people post with a form and email, and will encourage them to use the new platform.
Q. I notice when I go into FD3 it remembers by old email and merges it with my new one. It occurred to me that you might be ignoring plus addressing. Most sites don't merge shouldn’t we let them know?
A.I don't want to do that, because it will alert spammers to the fact that spot them in this way. It is legal but except for Facebook used mainly by geeks. do not want to reduce our effectiveness at spotting spammers, and I think it's defensible to say to someone more savvy that we have spotted them as the same user, especially as it requires them to have used two separate plus addresses on our site before there is any potential confusion. Obviously if I get a load of confused users I will change my mind.


FD tweets posts, to attract people to your group. This settings has not been moved over to the new platform now. You'll notice two things:
The tweets now include a photo, if there is one, which will make the tweets more more appealing.
ModTools will start to nag you if you have groups which aren't linked to twitter properly. Previously it would just stop working
The link to the Facebook page is also on dev.modtools so you can check it it is working correctly.

Q. Will there be a way to delete old messages in chat? If a lot of stuff is offered or an item is popular, the chats will build up fast and could quickly be overwhelming. I have a couple of chats that are no longer relevant but can't see a way to remove them.
A. At present an individual chat shows up to 100 old messages, though I will be replacing this with the standard infinite scroll sort of thing. I experimented with having the ability to hide a chat completely. But if I do that, then people will then say 'oh, I got rid of a chat but now I realise I want to find that person again, how do I do it'. Sorry likely I will stick to present approach.
Q. I haven't logged in to iznik recently until tonight and found a spam message. I didn't expect someone to be able to do that unless they were responding to a post.
A. It's impossible to avoid completely as long as we support people replying by email rather than from the site. There was strong desire to support this. However I will be implementing spam checking of replies before they appear in chat, before it goes live.

Mobile App

We have now released mobile app v0.82 for Android and Apple/iOS.
This version will allow members to switch off the app gracefully. There will be a big button to launch the new website in a browser window when it goes live. Those still on earlier versions will see a message with a link to the website.
The app will be unpublished so that new people can't get it. Not sure if this will stop existing installations to stop working though.
Chris is looking at the possibility of updating and getting the app working again by changing completely to same code as FD3 but it may not be feasible.

Plug ins.

The ones for local groups so that they could use IFRAME as a way of publicising their local Freegle group. This link has failed to work since FDv2 came along. Edward thinks it would be a shame to lose these, so we will probably reimplement this, so that they can continue. I can't imagine anyone objecting.


Q.I found the "Link to Twitter" stuff didn't work until I did control+click to open in a new tab. Then it was fine.
A.Would someone like to look into the interfaces between Twitter and the group and see if someone replies to a post whether it could be made to forward it on to the originator?
Q. Is it possible to get rid of bracketed text? It is almost always a repeat of the actual twitter handle info, thus takes up unnecessarily characters in a tweet e.g tweeted by @OxfordFreegle[Oxford Freegle] TAKEN: Sack of 112mm black gutter bits (Headington) Or maybe add hastags.
A. If someone retweets, it makes it pretty clear where the item is (though that's probably visible anyway).
It helps spot issues like tweets going on the incorrect group.
The twitter account and the group name may not match, partly due to length on the twitter handles. So EdinFreegle is Edinburgh Freegle, which means that without the subject line tag, a search on Edinburgh wouldn't find anything.
140 characters is plenty of space for a subject line already, so we don't need the space. I truncate the subject at 80 characters.
I like the idea of being able to add hashtags, though, and I can see that if people used that then the subject line tag might become irrelevant because the hashtags would solve the same problems. I'll add that to my todo list.

Questions & Answers.

Q. A member does not like the way the ‘Whats New posts’ are formatted centrally as opposed to left aligned. I guess this is probably down to her email reader?
A. Yes , it appears she is using Outlook. Microsoft email clients are tricky.
Q. "I have posted two recent offers, however I have not received any replies in my e-mail inbox. When on look on the freegle site I can see replies to both offers! Why aren't they getting through to my e-mail address?"Is there a problem with emails on FD?
A Unfortunately a percentage of our posts fail to get delivered. I will contact BT again.
Freegle Tech
July 2016

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