Tech Group Report 2012-07-31

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 Freegle Tech Report July 2012

Messages 9362-9750

Members 92

If anyone is interested in this stuff you are welcome to join us, even if you are technically challenged. Non techie mods who are willing to try out innovations are always appreciated, and it is useful to have people,who can look at stuff purely from an end user angle.


Google Plus

Edward requested that someone look into the possibilities of using the developer API for Google. Mike Jury volunteered to look into it. He reported back that it was ambiguous at present. If we do find proof of concept to post to G+ Edward could write something which would post from FB to G+


Stuart (Freegle Returning Officer) reported changes to the Kwiksurveys which makes it unsuitable now for use for us.. He has looked at others and thinks, is the best option. We were asked to try it and it seems to be okay.


Geek job description

Edward did a revised Geek job description which was discussed, and is to be used for the general recruitment of Geeks.
It is to go out to all groups to request that they canvass their members.
This will be available when someone has drafted an admin.

 Accessibility Issues.

We could do with someone to review the main website and Freegle Direct to see how well or badly we handle accessibility issues.
Two links about this are:

The definitive guide is the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative:
A simple guide (but by no mean exhaustive) is here:
Further links are available if required.

You will need to have either done this kind of thing before, or be pretty familiar with HTML/CSS.

Mini-project: Wall of Fame

We are looking for someone who can implement this. It has been posted on Cental already but so far we have not received a response. We need someone with PHP skills for the basic stuff, but the fancy aspects of the construction could be done either in PHP (preferable) or in Javascript (acceptable).

Mini-project: Weights.

The person doing the weights, has to edit some PHP code to do so.
It would be easier if we had a simple web interface which stored the weight estimates in database fields, and then generated the relevant PHP code automatically

 Help with the server setup

We have two servers, which use replication between them. One is a master for all the data, and the other is a slave. This setup is problematic:
We need someone to evaluate the various options, and decide which we should use, and also do the migration.
You need to have in depth experience of MySQL, and experience of MySQL replication is strongly desirable.

If you're interested in any of these, please contact volunteers @
Some of these have already been put on Central by Julie (Bolton) Julie has also volunteered to do a monthly admin to Central with the current vacancies.


Post Validation

There is a new section in the group settings where you can configure some validation to occur on the Post tab before messages are submitted. This is to reduce the work we have to do to moderate messages by making it easier to get them right in the first place. Members can still submit the post anyway, because sometimes the matching may be mistaken, but it should reduce the number of bad posts. More details at

New photo slideshow

This is a slideshow of several photos posted that day on Direct and appears on members Facebook walls. Synonyms were requested and they were supplied from a couple of members and are now being used.

Photo collage

On Freegle Direct join page and main website. This has been downsized to thumbnail size to speed loading.

 Auto posting/tweeting about the amount saved from landfill.

This has been activated by default for all groups using the app. If you don’t want it then just go to your settings page and turn it off.
Some modification was later done to allow retweeting.

Photo Links

It was noticed that members can no longer post links to photos on Direct.
It has been removed as often the links put in were broken or invalid. As it was little used anyway, it has been decided to leave it out for now.
Photos themselves can still be uploaded or linked from Facebook.

 Reposting of Photos

FD wasn't very good at showing photos when people reposted items, either via the links in mails or the app. Now it should be a lot better.

 Post page. This has been reworked.

This is to split out the Post function into an Ajax API call which we can then potentially use from clients such as a mobile app.
There is not much change on the surface, a bit neater and now capable of putting thumbnails of photos.
We were asked to try it out, but had few offers. As a result a problem popped up later.
Anyone willing to try stuff out is welcome to join Tech and help the geeks.

Access Tokens

Chris noticed that access tokens he had just obtained no longer have expiry dates. These are issued by Facebook and were the reason, for many of the ‘wall post failed’ notifications. This should happen a lot less often in future.

Removal of Posts.

Edward has now added a script to remove posts taken off the Yahoo group, from the other interfaces. It will become available in the next Moderator plug in update. FD groups are strongly advised to use the plug in when moderating, and enable the syncing between the two membership and post lists.

 Points raised and sorted.

1 There was a bug introduced a new update of the posting stuff on DIrect which was sorted once found. More testers at the pre live stage would help prevent this.
2. It was discussed whether it is better to put taken on all groups if a member posts to multiple group. Many were in favour of doing so, but for large items it could skew the stats.
3. A problem was caused by a mod asking the mapping to ignore ‘park’, so that the correct place could be mapped. If you have a problem making a correct location stick, then please forward the request mail to geeks @ and it will be sorted.
4. Problem with scrolling on Facebook. It works fine with DIrect, and is most probably due to limitations with Facebook, which we are unable to do anything about. ,
5. Duplicate email addresses in the to field. - Fixed
6. Direct digests stopped coming through for a day. Fixed as soon as it was reported.
7. The new Direct box was not working on IE..
8. Request for the Republisher icon to make it clear, it was the one to click for members to go to their own freegle page, was denied, as felt it would confuse the members who use it presently.

 Tasks outstanding

Work is ongoing on amalgamating the various privacy texts we have.
Artwork is required for the proposed reward scheme
Still trying to get someone to man a tech desk to answer Facebook/Direct related queries. It was suggested that maybe if it was broken down, a volunteer could be found for a lot of the routine stuff.

Mobile App

It is still being worked on behind the scenes.We heard from Hamish , who is helping with some Geek stuff.


These have behaved well throughout the month.


Christian (Wilmslow) developed a bot and found dead links and links to empty pages in the wiki. Some of these have now been used or deleted.
David (Reading) suggest that it would be worthwhile if someone reviews our FAQ and (and other parts of our website) to sort out which are for Yahoo users and which for Freegle Direct. He will be putting out an Admin.

 Yahoo stuff

 Quick Join Box

Work has started to remove these and replace them with a box which links to the Direct log in page. We do not have precise numbers of how many are in use.
Of 103 known 57 have been replaced to date. If you have one can you remove it and also the Moderator email address attached to it.
If you need help contact freegledirecthelp @ Instructions for removing and replacing the box can be found here.
It is intended to stop all support at the end of September. The decision has been made, partly because Yahoo have stopped allowing new groups to add members, and may extend this to existing groups, partly because Edward is cutting back where possible and mainly because most groups using it are already on Freegle Direct which is just as easy to join and use.

This does not affect the non Official-badged groups who use the one Richard created which does not actually add members to the list.

Member Plug in.

Edward has asked for a volunteer willing to take of the maintenance and support of the Member Plug in.
He is attempting to cut out some of his workload, and is of the opinion that it is no longer needed on Freegle Groups as members who want the function can be directed to Freegle Direct. It is also very underused by our members.
He will stop supporting it on an individual basis in five months and completely in 11.
It is recommended that groups on Direct, take off the links which take members to the download page. If you keep the coding in your group description anyone using it will be able to continue doing so; until such a time it becomes nonfunctional.

 Official Badges

Edward managed to obtain all those outstanding after a delay of six months.
If you want one please request it by sending a mail to sueandjean @ You don’t have to use it now, but it would be good if all groups had it, so that any future delays, can be avoided.

 New Style Yahoo Page

Stuart worked on this some time back, but it was stalled due to insufficient geek time to make it easily configurable, for any groups using it. Hopefully, he has now got some help to get it moving.
There was much geek discussion on how and where to store the configurable files.
There is an example at.
but you do need an official tag to consider having something like this.

 Having Templates for the Yahoo page

It has been mentioned that some of you may want to have a template of a new page you could use. Or maybe just for different parts of it?
The easiest way to provide one it to use the one that newgroups put on. An example is here
If you would appreciate having this template available, for your group please discuss, and if enough request it, it can be put on the Wiki with instructions on how to personalise yours.

 Points raised and sorted.

1. A problem was reported that the spammar list was not working properly. It is now okay.

2. A moderator wanted to be able to distinguish between Direct and Facebook users on the Yahoo group..
Something has been added to to the Moderator plug in to accommodate this. It will be in the next beta release.

 Questions raised and answered.

Q. I have got a few groups, where I was not wanting to sync so said no. I am then asked to cover, them for a while. Is there a way I can reset my prefs?
A. Yes just click on the Freegle button on the mod plug in, whilst on the group.
Q..What should I do about member feedback comments, how is it I get them from Yahoo users?
A. Answer them or ignore them as necessary.
They are in response to members being asked if we can republish their posts.
Q. I posted an Admin on my group and it has not appeared on my FB page. Do Admins not appear on Facebook?
A. No they are sent out to Direct and Facebook members but not posted.
Q. How do FBusers unsub themselves?
A. Direct members can click on a link at the top of all mails, most groups have a link on the Direct page and in the sidebar as well. Facebook members, have a link under their groups and in the emails.
Q. If someone has a tiscali email address linked to a yahoo profile on Yahoo but they want to try freegle direct - do they need to put their tiscali address and assoc password into the boxes on the left?
A. Complicated. Probably what would work would be to sign in using Yahoo
then change the email address from My Settings.
Q. When I am asked to categorise a message is it already on FD or is it held until I categorise it?
A. Not held, as the requests can’t be sent out until the post has been approved. It is not needed for the Yahoo group.
Q. When I delete a message on Yahoo does it get removed from FD or FB?
A. Yes it should do so now.
Q. How do I remove a Direct member?
A. Just remove from the Yahoo group and it should be picked up.
If you don’t use the mod plug in you can go here.

Freegle Tech

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