Central UK Summary - October December 2016
Freegle UK Central: Summary of items of interest
October (614 posts), November (610 posts) and December (442 posts) 2016
Posted on Central 11th January 2017 
As in August and September, most posts were concerned one way or another with issues arising from the new platform. This summary attempts to list the main points and features dealt with on Central, but for more detailed information, anyone who doesn’t regularly follow the posts on Central is advised to do so. Many queries and issues are also dealt with, often in more detail, on modtools https: //uk. groups. yahoo. com/neo/groups/ModTools/info and Tech https: //uk. groups. yahoo. com/neo/groups/Freegle-Tech/in fo . In particular, see the monthly Tech reports listed at the bottom of this summary.
Edward was offered (and accepted, fortunately) £10,000 after his current contract to maintain the new platform for the following 12 months – covering major fixes and general maintenance. And then in November we heard a Freegle volunteer is anonymously donating £500 a month, specifically to keep the new platform up and running. So that means it is possible to offer Edward a further £10k, which he has, again luckily for us, accepted. Thank you, anonymous volunteer!
This allows members and moderators to communicate on-line. The chat can be seen on both modtools and FD. Any messages are also sent by email. There have been intermittent problems with this that cannot be summarised here. Any queries should be directed to Support@ilovefreegle.org or asked about on Central.
Operating in the same way as the members/moderators chat, a discussion group has been set up on modtools where members of Central can chat together in the way that café groups traditionally operate, or operated. You can access it here https: //modtools. org/chat/1037340 where you will see it is headed ‘A trial of using a group chat as a kind of café’. The idea is that is if people like it, it could be introduced for individual local groups. See message 61576 for the initial post https: //groups. yahoo. com/neo/groups/FreegleUK-Centr al/conversations/messages/6157 6 and then subsequent posts for (extensive) discussion.
On 3 December the first group went live on Freegle Direct without Yahoo – Otley. Since then quite a few other groups have gone Native (as it is called) without any major difficulties. There is no requirement to do this, but it shows that we can exist in the future without yahoo, which was the objective after all. If groups DO move exclusively to the native platform, their yahoo members will have to join Freegle Direct.
FAQs about all of this can be found here http://wiki.ilovefreegle.org/Native_Group_FAQ
Given the periodic problems with and plummeting trust in Yahoo, and the development of the new platform, groups who are not currently on Freegle Direct are strongly advised to add it.
Other items discussed or notified
Helping out with moderation on other groups
The new spam filter in modtools enables mods to easily delete spam messages that would otherwise travel between members on their own or neighbouring groups. This raised the question of whether mods might deal with other tasks, such as approving messages, on neighbouring groups if they were not being regularly dealt with. (See post 60336 and associated mail trail.) After a very long discussion, two polls were held – (1) Should Mentors be alerted automatically when groups were only being moderated slowly or not at all. (2) Should there be an opt-out scheme on modtools where neighbouring groups could help out with moderation if work wasn’t being done regularly. The results were a decisive yes in both cases, although it should be noted that only 35 people voted. Development will now discuss the details of how this would work, e.g. the definition of ‘regularly’.
The AGM was held on-line from 1-7 November. Go here for more information http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/AGM_2016 or here for the notification of the start of the meeting https: //groups. yahoo. com/neo/groups/FreegleUK-Centr al/conversations/messages/6088 5 , and subsequently for the discussion.
New Board Members
The rules allow for two non-member directors of the Board, and two have now been co-opted – Jo Fisher,the Societies Coordinator (Academic & Medical) and Schools Project Leader at Liverpool Guild of Students, and David Greenfield (good name) who has extensive experience in local authority waste partnerships, among other roles.
Edward reported that Uber had sent what was probably a standard mailshot, where they would provide a promo code which people can use to get a free £15 free first ride, of which Freegle would then get £5 - a minimum of 50 people required before they pay out. See here for further information https: //groups. yahoo. com/neo/groups/FreegleUK-Centr al/conversations/messages/6093 1 The Board are in favour, but some members expressed reservations. Watch this space!
Courier scam news
There were no courier scams reported in the three months Oct to Dec, which is great, and undoubtedly thanks in part to Edward’s spam trap. And there were only one or two other possible scam offers reported, so good news all round. But it is important for mods still to keep alert to the sorts of high value items that could potentially be scam offers.
There was a fair amount of discussion about whether groups should allow bartering or swaps. Overall, it was felt that the potential problems (e.g. items breaking, not being returned, the strings attached to an exchange) outweighed the benefits – so not a good idea.
Just a reminder that Admins/Special Notices for Freegle Direct members should be sent via modtools, but for yahoo and trashnothing members they need to be sent via yahoo. So twice, basically.
There are some Freeglers who have offered huge numbers of items and there was general agreement that it would be useful publicity to collect some of the stories behind this generous activity, probably at the local level. Edward is to consider mailing groups (monthly?) with details, but then it would be up to groups what to make of the information.
Telephone numbers in posts
There was quite a long discussion about whether telephone numbers should be allowed in posts. Ultimately it is up to individual groups, but mods should be aware and make members aware of possible dangers, such as the wrong number being accidentally included, or even deliberately.
As a charity, Freegle gets a budget of $10K free Google AdWords each month. Edward set up some ads for Freegle nationally, and an army of Freegle mods has very kindly been setting them up for individual groups. See message number 61558 https: //groups. yahoo. com/neo/groups/FreegleUK-Centr al/conversations/messages/6155 8 for more information and instructions on how to set up the ads, if help is still required.
Modtools app now available for IOS and Andoid
The Board asked Chris to produce a ModTools app with built-in plugin function so that mods can moderate their groups from mobiles/tablets, including editing messages and changing Yahoo settings like you can do from a laptop/desktop.This is now available for both Android and IOS:
Any queries should be addressed to Tech.
Chris has also updated the mobile app for phones and tablets to work on the new website. Please report any issues to Tech.
We won £3,000 - hurray
E-bay and paypal ran a competition during October whereby users could vote for their favourite charity. We missed the first prize of £7,000, but still got £3,000 for coming second. Not bad. This generated quite a lot of discussion about how best to garner support for this kind of thing – facebook, twitter, admins to groups, additions to signatures etc. Ideas always welcome.
Looks like you may still have a chance to vote in the Resource magazine poll for people who have made a difference in the waste and resources sector. I have looked and there does not seem to be a closing date, although it says the results will be announced in February. Go here to vote for Edward and Cat, if you can http://hot100.resource.co/
The Board has been approached by the owners of http://ww2.interests.me/ with a view to sharing content. It is a digital community facility that aims to roll out nationally in 2017. The Board can see no drawbacks and so has given them permission to go ahead and add Freegle to their feed, although it may yet be a few weeks before any Freegle posts will be seen on the interests.me site.
Automatic emails from Freegle
There was discussion about two automatic emails which members are/were receiving from Freegle, with further discussion about these also taking part on Tech. The first suggests posts that members may be interested in based on their previous offers or searches. Mods reported that there had been some complaints about these, but they are also generating a lot of clicks. The mails can be turned off by clicking on a link at the bottom of the email.
The second was more controversial and has been subsequently turned off as a result of complaints as well as bugs in the way it operated. These mails thanked members for offering something x days ago and suggested that they might like to Freegle something else.
At the year-end, Edward shared some stats showing activity across all Freegle groups on Freegle Direct – see herehttps: //dev. ilovefreegle. org/stats . As Edward said, it showed that across Freegle groups we have 71% OFFERs to 29% WANTEDs, reflecting the way the new site encourages people to search and respond before posting a WANTED. You can also see the spike of activity right at the end, caused by some of the more recent things he’s been doing for search optimisation and user engagement.
He also, with the help of a young person, produced a video of images of what people had actually freegled throughout the year. Here it is https://youtu.be/k_fOUndrFf0 . Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.
Working group reports
September 2016 http://wiki.ilovefreegle.org/Freegle_Tech_Report_16-09-30
October 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Freegle_Tech_Report_16-10- 31
November 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Freegle_Tech_Report_16-11- 30
September 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Development_Group_Report_2 016_09
October 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Development_Group_Report_2 016_10
August – October 2016
http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Freegle_Funding_Group_Repo rt_-_2016_08/10
Freegle Board Minutes
September 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Freegle_Board_Minutes_Sept ember_2016
October 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Freegle_Board_Minutes_Octo ber_2016
September 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Mentors_Team_Report_2016_0 9
October 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Mentors_Team_Report_2016_1 0
November 2016 http: //wiki. ilovefreegle. org/Mentors_Team_Report_2016_1 1