Freegle Tech Report 17-03-31

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Freegle Tech Report March 2017 Posts 21981-22245 Members 116


It’s been a month of tidying up and tweaking, plus some work on the home and group pages of our Website.
As Snaply was abandoned by its creator some time ago, all Snaply members of our groups were unsubscribed this month. So if you see a reduction in your members that's why.
‘Charities love things that go viral on Facebook so it’s worth coming up with ideas which are easy to implement’ Most of them won't work - but one might, so Edward’s started by writing something that shows you how common your streetname is in the UK. Have a play
Lots of discussion about ways to get more donations from members several of which will be trialled to see what gets the best results.


Some work on tidying emails has been done.
You can now go from fullscreen to pop up to enable you to hold a conversation without keyboard covering message.
The length of time you get reminders has been reduced.
The chat search was for content not names but this has been improved,
Had a couple of reports of typing being slow to appear in the chat box. If you see it and are willing to do a team viewer session please email


We have a new page called Why Freegle? There are two purposes for this page:

  • When we're talking to people, we explain to them why it's a great idea and they should give us a try. We should have somewhere on the site that does that.
  • It may be good for Google search rankings if we talk about some of the other options that people might use, like Freecycle, Gumtree and eBay, so that they show up in search results. We'll see whether this works, but there's no point pretending they don't exist, and as a potential user, we would need to decide which to use - this is our take on why one of them should be us.

We could probably make it better - suggestions welcome.
Pause messages contained some faulty coding which was found and fixed.
Members page now has an invite function to encourage them to easily invite other people they know to try Freegle. This is to broadly follow the best practice guidelines for "tell a friend" found here:
Posts. Now show the number of replies to the post and greys out promised posts.

  • This is a gentle way to: Encourage people to reply to less popular items - if you see that nobody else has replied, then you know that your chances are good, so you might reply when otherwise you wouldn't.
  • Discourage people from replying to very popular items - if you see that 15 other people have replied, then you know that your chances are not good. So if you do reply, you will be more understanding if you don't get it. And if you don't reply, it saves the offerer getting a zillion replies.
  • Discourage (but not prevent) people from replying to promised items - if it's promised, then you probably don't need any more.
  • At the moment, if an item is promised, or when it's taken/received, people can still reply. Most of the time, you're probably not interested in those replies - at least until your plans change.

-We can improve this in a fairly simple way: If it's a reply to a post from a fresh person, don't send it out by email when the item has been promised/taken/received - but do show it on the site, including in the red notifications. If it's part of an ongoing conversation, then do send it out by email (if they don't see it on the site) So you don't get lots of emails for something you've already dealt with - but you can find the replies on the site if you look, which is where you'd go to unpromise or repost an item.

 This will probably be introduced soon.

As people or members put their postcode in first, and so the default group they get signed up to is the most local one we feel it is the best way to do stuff. They can join other groups - but they have to actively do so by changing the default. Whereas in the previous site, we forced people to choose which group to join first, and so people would often join the biggest one even if it was further away. We could also automatically join them to their local one in the event they choose a different one, and this will be looked at.
Edward was contracted to add to the site the ability to post requests for volunteers - either for Freegle itself, or for other people or community organisations. This is similar to community events - there is now a section on the site and an email digest, for this. They will all be moderated.
If you do not wish to have this, you can turn it off in ModTools->Settings->Group Settings->Global Settings.


The code which handles dates in community events has been reworked to allow you to delete as well as add dates.
To improve the display of times when the end date is the same as the start date - that's very common, and there's no point showing the date part of the end, just the time.
Please let geeks know if any problems.
Q. We had a scammer who has been since removed. I noticed just now he has tweeted about 11 times and it is still showing with a link to events. The event has his email showing so effectively the post is still live. Can we delete these tweets and the event listing ?
A Yes delete the Tweets on Twitter . To delete an event, go to FD and click on the More Info link to get the popup with details - there should be a Delete/Edit option at the bottom if you're logged in as someone with mod rights. Q. I have no idea what the password is for the Twitter account. I tried on modtools but for now cant see how to delete an event.
A All Twitter accounts set up by us used the Yahoo email address so you can log in and click on forgotten password. If Jean set it up you can email her and she may still have it.
Q. A member of the group posted an event that was for a whole weekend. On the events page it only showed the Saturday event and not the Sunday. A That only shows if you click on more info, then you can see both days.

I've added something on to show when there are more dates. If I did something similar in the emails, would that work?
Q. Most of my members are TN ones do they get the event digests?
A All members get sent the event digests, not just FD ones. but I doubt that they can put one on, as TN would need to build an interface.


Q. What is happening about the Facebook Groups and the ability to be able to link to them on Mod Tools, and even more importantly, be able to approve members and messages that way as well? I have several groups waiting but have held off doing pages in case the Groups will be ready soon.
A It will be some time yet. There is a button ready to click and will be easy enough to link a group when ready.

Q. Last night I got a message from my daughter who having just moved is freegling like mad to get rid of stuff. She thought she hadn't had a response to her latest offer, but found two notifications on Facebook replying. I don’t get on Facebook often so am not keen on this.
A The other member uses TN and the mails were sent out. You can check with Andrew, but every previous example we have checked has also been sent out fine by TN and has just been members not seeing it or not replying.


As you are aware Freegle can’t exist without any expenses. We are exceedingly lucky to have free hosting on Bytemark now and this has meant we have been able to pay for some help to keep us relevant.

Donation thermometer
This month some work has been done to try and increase the number of donations we get from members. There are various changes, but the key one was to introduce a "thermometer". In Feb we had £412 in donations; this month we have had £1,145. That hopefully shows that just by changing the way we ask people (not how often we ask), we can have a significant effect on the donations we get.
After much discussion on the ways we could do more we will be experimenting with asking members related to their local group total, rather than the national total. As this way the total will be much smaller and be linked to something they have feel an emotional attachment with, it could help. . It might also be that we get larger donations - people with more disposable income might well think "£40, for this community thing? Wow, that's cheap. Once we have got a local group "funded", we could then ask people to help fund their nearest unfunded group - which should still appeal to the local aspect. We will measure whether people donate more or less for this local approach compared to the single national target.
Group activity, as shown on the stats page will be used to determine amounts. Each group will have a target rounded up to the nearest £10. There is no requirement that groups have to meet any target and you do not have to have it on your page. There is some different donation requests which will be displayed to see which ones result in more clicks


We tried Microsoft's Yammer as a possible replacement for our Yahoo discussion groups. It wasn't that great for us.
Facebook have something called Facebook Workplace, which is a private Facebook just for your organisation. It's free for non-profits. Obviously this won’t work well for people who don't like Facebook, just like Yahoo doesn't work well for people who don't like Yahoo, and email for people who don't like email. So as with Yammer, we could do with a few people who'd like to try this - even if they think they wouldn't like it - so that we can see whether it's worth exploring. Edward needs to invite you by email, so let him know offlist which email you'd prefer to have invited.


The work on getting all the groups boundaries harmonious is still underway. Most groups approached have been happy to change their boundaries to prevent overlaps of core areas.


A new version of the mobile app for Android has been released, bringing it up to date with the web version including all the latest chat interface
A Problem with member delete resulted, which Edward has fixed, so is in the next app release.
I think there is also a problem with read/unread chats. Edward is looking for anyone with the problem to do a TeamViewer.
Messages can only be deleted using the web interface.
app hat


Everyone with a group on Direct or Native needs to have at least one moderator who regularly uses Modtools to moderate, either from a computer with the plugin, or using the IOS/Android apps. Every week several groups are left without being updated. Jean is mailing groups about this but is not getting many replies.
Q. A member was set to group settings in February, but two of his messages have come through for approval today
A For groups on Yahoo they may appear in Pending on MT until Yahoo sends them back after putting them on the group.You should find they go away eventually.
Q. What can we do re members showing as bouncing in MT? Specifically what do we do with pending messages?
All you can do is reject the message. Given that they are logging in to the site, they should be seeing the bouncing message, and should also see your rejection on there even though it won't reach them by email.
Q. I tried to edit a post to remove the location, but using my my phone app, I probably deleted the subject line in error. Can I suggest that if a subject line is inadvertently removed there is a fail safe that the message won’t save.
I will do that.


Q. More of an observation when I sign into Modtools on my phone using Android and gmail I still get a (red) message saying That I am not connected to Yahoo
A It's not easy to do anything about that, as people may well mod a mixture, even if just for a working group. Q. I don’t seem able to edit the subject line on approved messages on Freegle Native Groups
You can’t yet but it will come.


It has been a very quiet month on Support as most members are finding it easy to use the website. We have many tools at our disposal for checking and helping with queries so please do consider using us.
One main complaint is members thinking that their posts/messages ar not going out. Invariably this is not true, - but people are either not seeing them in their spam folder, or seeing them and not replying, or their own email systems are eating them. Those things happen often enough that people become suspicious. Only geeks can check the mail logs, and it's a bit tedious for them do that.
As a first step to help with this Support is now able to see the recent emails that have been sent to a member if you want someone to check.

Tech Group Report
March 2017

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