Freegle Tech Report 17-09-30

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Freegle Tech Report September 2017 Messages 23403-23777 Members 116


Several groups moved over to Native again this month, at present there are 90 groups which have dispensed with Yahoo.
A link was published this month allowing you to check if an email has been compromised. The list of about 718 million email addresses and in some cases associated passwords is available for you it you want to check yours at [] Not all these have had their passwords harvested but if your account is on the list and you have not changed it for a while it may be advisable to do so.
We had a spate of duplicate memberships one weekend when Edward was away but it sorted itself out within a couple of days.
Data Protection Act says what information we are allowed to keep. It will be changed soon as part of an EU law called GDPR which will apply to the UK, and John Carroll is looking at this. At present when a member leaves a group we remove any data from them appertaining to that group from our database. When they have left all groups we retain their email address and username, to make it easier if they wish to rejoin or join another group. Support can delete this if it is requested.


Group Messages

  • Tech/Central Discussions in MT/FD chat. Some members are using chat instead of posting to Central, and some moderators are complaining because they are unable to turn them off. Chats are working ok for 1-1 conversations, but are not great for group discussion. There's no threading, or ability to tag people, so they will probably be going.
  • We do have an issue with Yahoo Groups as our main discussion forums though: We have tested some others but with little enthusiasm so Edward thinks we may need to roll out our own, using the Newsfeed as a starting point rather than chats. It would have to do a decent job of email notifications, and be integrated it into MT so will not be possible this year. The per-group mod chats on MT are being well used by some groups so will be kept.
  • A new system Discourse was suggested but it would need to be installed, configured and hosted and would take a couple of weeks of Geek work to get it up and running. It is possible to make a demo system for people to actually play with as there is a 14 day trial if someone has the time and inclination to set it up!
  • Owner emails. Some test mails sent for new groups were not getting through. This was found to be because they had too little in them most just saying ‘Testing’ so were being caught as spam.

Member Messages
An unpromise button was added to the chat message shown when an item is promised.

  • Feedback System. A feedback system has been introduced after much debate, so members can find out some information about those mailing them. It is found on the info button and gives basic information based on the last three months. This is the type of info shown. It is hoped this will help with no shows.
Burnley and Pendle Freegle, 16 miles away.<br>
 Freegler since 11th January 2017.<br>
 Typically replies in 4 hours.<br>
 Not received any items yet so far as we know.<br>
Activity in the last 90 days:<br>
 4 replies.<br>
1 recent OFFER.
14 recent WANTEDs.

As said there was a lot of debate. Some moderators think it unfair to put ‘a badge of shame’ on a members profile and some thought it was intrusive of their private emails. The majority though were for anything which would help with no shows, and decided it was no more intrusive than Ebay, Amazon, and any other system which asked you to rate your transaction. It was made clear that no members emails were read to get the information.
Q. Was there a specific start date for the info that is displayed on a member's profile in FD as some members have said it is inaccurate or incomplete?
A It is the last 90 days.
Q. We're freegling apples at the moment. We put one post on but divide them into several bags and will give them to several people. When we post the Taken, how will the system deal with the info? Will it just apply to the last person or is there a way we can deal with this?
A Just leave it on until they are all gone. You can still arrange collections with several people if you don’t use the promise and taken buttons.


  • Missing posts on Direct but they are on Yahoo. This is brought up regularly and always seems worse at weekends. It is generally down to Yahoo, not sending notifications out in a timely manner. Posts are made via Direct, Yahoo & TN. If the latter we rely on getting the notification from Yahoo before we can process it for modtools. If made via Direct it goes to Modtools and then is sent to Yahoo but will not go on Yahoo until Yahoo acts on it. After a while it will come back in for moderation for another try.
  • A moderator suggested that people who have dyslexia might benefit from simple bullet instructions to help them use the site. Rather than bury them in the site, Edwards feels they will be better in the ‘Welcome to Freegle email.’ and is intending to add something.

Q. Would it be possible to have post status added to info about members on FD please, so that we can see a member's mod status easily. If a group is reported as suspected abandoned, mentors need to see when it was last moderated and without knowing a member's post status we can't tell if recent posts are made by unmoderated members or not.
A I will be doing separate stuff to highlight groups which aren't moderated etc, to replace the various mails that get sent to mentors. This doesn't belong on FD - it isn't info which should be visible to members - and it's a clunky way of finding out what you really want to know.
Q When A member tries to make a new Offer post, they find the previous one is still filled in. Often when he tries to alter the details it won’t post. Uses Safari.
A.Fix applied.
Q. Our group is set up to show post codes but not the area name. I have just discovered that while Yahoo shows the information as per our settings (i.e. first part of post code only) FD is now showing area names - which it shouldn't.
A You're right. I've put a fix in to correct that.
Q. A member has stopped receiving emails from us. Mod Tools show her as bouncing, however she did get an Admin from us this week.
A Often the direct messages are bouncing or just the Yahoo ones. I have reset it for her so we will start sending them out again. Members will see a prominent notice about bouncing when they log in, and can reset them from there.
Q. I really would like the chance to send a ‘sorry you are leaving us’ message, if it can be added to a to do list at some point.
A It's on the list.
Q. If a member selects to see offers only, will he still get emails with wanted posts?
A Yes, He can view offers but it would be unfair to members who want something to be excluded.


We asked people to donate when they mark something as taken/received. If they don't do so, then we switch to asking them if they want business cards for a while, so as not to annoy them. There are some cases where we now know who received an offer, because the offerer tells us that when they mark it as taken (defaulting to our best guess if they don't change it). This means that we can now also ask the person by email who we think received an offer if they'd like to donate to help keep Freegle running. We are trialling this now and it has generated a flurry of donation. It’ll be a while though before we can tell the overall effect.
Q. Can they pay any other way beside that in the link.
A Yes, See [1] or mail treasurer@... if you want to do cheque/bank transfer.
Q.How often will we send these requests.
A Once a week at most no matter how many they posted.


Sharing to Facebook Buy and Sell Groups Facebook Buy and Sell groups may be a competitor to Freegle - but they're also a source reaching lots of people who have never heard of us. Edward has been working on ways to tap into their membership.You can now link one or more Facebook "buy and sell" groups to a Freegle group posts
Posts can be published on these the way they are on Twitter, and anyone clicking to see more is taken to Freegle and will have to join your group to reply.
You don't have to be a Page Admin on the Facebook group, you can just be a normal member - so you can do this with existing thriving buy and sell groups near you as long as it is public, you can’t link to one that isn’t.
Choose groups with lots of members’ if you want to try it out. Link is in the setting at Modtools, Settings> Group Settings - down at the bottom there is a button to link to a Facebook Group. There's then a new "Facebook Groups" option in the left menu, which allows you to share OFFERs/WANTEDs from the Freegle group. This only includes posts made from Freegle Direct, as we have permission for those. You have to share them one at a time at present.
Q. What about the Wanted Posts won’t they get annoyed.
A. We'll see. Most of the groups are buy and sell, so they're used to both sides. I will just switch to offers if it becomes a problem.


  • If you are moving your group and following the wiki please check your Yahoo settings.

Groups on FD use new member moderation. When you move over then your member settings from Yahoo should be moved too. So if someone is on group settings on Yahoo, they should be on group ( = unmoderated) on FD; if they're moderated on Yahoo then they should now be moderated on FD.
It has been brought to our attention that some groups using Yahoo group settings for new members are actually fully moderated and on transfer become unmoderated.
There is not yet a group setting for moderated vs unmoderated though it will be added at some point.

  • A couple of people have had trouble working out what the equivalent of the -owner address is for their group, or other groups, once they're native. There’s now a link on the Explore page, where you see a list of groups. You can click on this, and it'll open an email in your mail client. This is quite subtle as we want to steer members towards the Help page, and not emailing posts to this address by mistake.
  • Someone wanted to know if their TN members get our Admins still. In case other people with native hosted groups would like to know, we are told TN should display ADMINs as long as they aren't FD specific. (eg. Admins about things that would only be relevant to people who use FD and not to people who use TN probably won't show up on TN).
  • On Native groups all new members are automatically approved. As we are possibly going to start asking groups to go Native, some of us think there will have to be a setting to allow for groups to choose to moderate new members. It will take some work, but if we vote to do away with Yahoo then Edward will code it.

Q. Two groups moved to Native after being abandoned are still showing links to the old Yahoo group when looking in Explore. Is there a bug?
A Thanks for spotting that. Fixed now.
Q. Can members unsubscribe if they want to from the Yahoo group without it affecting their access to Freegle Direct via the Yahoo button.
Q. Can I close the close the Yahoo group completely at some point.
A Yes but it is best to monitor it for a while and check for errant members.
Q. How do I email members.
A Via modtools they will go on the chat feed, you can cc copies of all mail to a mods group if you want.
Q. Can members of a FD native group turn their Yahoo membership into a new FD membership ideally with the option to designate a new non yahoo email address? I imagine some yahoo member might like the to abandon yahoo completely can they merge their existing Yahoo membership into a Google or Facebook id based account?
A They just sign in using whatever method they like, e.g. the Yahoo button. It'll connect up the memberships.

News Feed

Q. It would be helpful, that if I clicked the link graphic "Go to Freegle" it takes me to the subject of the notifications, or at least one of them. It seems to take the reader to a generic newsfeed. It may also be useful if there was a clickable link on each comment as it can be a bit confusing.
A I agree we could make these notifications prettier and with more suitable links.I'll do that.


Q. The Plugin keeps wanting to replace someone’s location with different one. One member keeps being told they live in a different area which is an area some members live in.
A Go to the mapping on modtools and shrink the polygon it is picking up until it only covers the actual area.

Mobile App

A new version 1.2.7 of the Freegle app is starting to roll out with Ed's latest code and an app-specific update to make sure push notifications show the latest chat properly + a tweak to the share wording.
Q. FD App issue. Mobile app version 1.2.5, 11 August 2017 I went to post and offer on the app. and the screen just freezes. I am sure it is because, behind the scenes, it is still trying to find a match for the subject line. It doesn't one but everything slows right down for as long as 5mins..
A I can’t replicate your problem and noone else seems affected so I think it is caused by poor internet.
Q. How do I delete a photo?
A The app doesn't have a delete option currently for photos. I am not sure if I could work on Ed’s code instead of the custom app photo loader to provide the delete button; but I don't really have any support time for the app apart from stuff to catch up with Ed's code and anything vital to it working.
Q. A moderator complained because she posted an offer of a printer for a neighbour.. She had a few replies to the post. When she went to her neighbour’s and showed her how it worked her neighbour loaded up modtools and went to look at the post. The neighbour could see stuff on her account.
A If she forwarded a copy of her post then it will have links in it which will log in as her. So once the neighbour has clicked on such a link they'd be logged in as her. We do this to reduce the number of people who have trouble logging in because they forget their password. I have now made it so that this only works on a machine you've previously used to log in on, except for lost password, and email verification.


You can now purge members details and reset bouncing members from the Members page.
Q. Is there a way I can see who has approved a Publicity thing. I ask because in the dashboard part of Modtools I can only see myself as active in last few days but some PR stuff has been approved in the same period)
A No


Q. A member who uses this feature on several groups asked if we can put the group name in this message
A. That's quite easy to do - I'll add that.

Sept 2017
Tech Group Report

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