Freegle Tech Report 16-01-31

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Freegle Tech Report January 2016 Posts 16600-16746 Members 107


Freegle Direct went down mid month for a hour or so until Edward was contacted.
The new version of Mod Tools is now well underway, and as it is now part of the Freegle family, the features of the new version will be included in discussions on this group. However if you have a particular problem you should still use the ModTools group where there are many experienced members, who can help you even when Edward is away.
Willingness for members to wait for pages to load and concentration spans seem to be shortening all the time, and we discussed various aspects of this which we are considering in the new platform for the creation of a smooth appealing website to attract people to join and post.

  • Google's guidelines for page load times used to be "under ten seconds" but it’s now "under 300ms", so if your page takes more than 0.3 seconds to load, some people get bored and try a different one. So we need to improve our page load speed.
  • When members post, they expect their message to be on the group immediately, and if it isn’t there in a couple of minutes they assume something is broken (and contact us). At present if you post via Freegle Direct then the message goes from there to Yahoo, and then Yahoo sends it back to Freegle Direct before it will appear. The new platform will help here.
  • This is why the approach some groups take of full moderation can be problematic, even if they moderate many times a day. Even if you're sitting at your computer waiting for moderation alerts to come in and instantly jumping to approve them, the delay caused by the moderation process has already at least doubled the time it takes for the message to appear.


Various stats on the mobile app are here:
Total downloads are 17,439 though this doesn't include installs for iOS version less than 8. The average rating is 4.17 over 58 ratings - and a retention rate of 48% on Android which is still actually quite good.
There have been 4 in-app purchases this month, 2 each on Android and iOS.
Newest release is v0.76 of the mobile app for Android which temporarily disables some buttons when pressed, changing the label to "Please wait" until the operation is complete. This should stop people pressing again to send a reply etc when the response is not immediate for any reason.
Note that anyone who is using 0.71 or earlier (on any platform) should upgrade to the latest version to ensure photo uploads work.
App hat

Freegle Direct v2


  • A member enquired about her membership. She has been very active but found she had to repost some ‘takens’

It turned out that her original FBuser email address disappeared from the Yahoo group, so she got a new one when she next posted.

  • Report of adding alerts not working for a moderator. But it works for others.
    Has anyone else seen this?
  • Some members using the Freegle button to log in have reported problems. This is often because they think they are a member, being or having been one on the Yahoo group. They need to either join or use the Yahoo button.
    However there is some flakiness in the login stuff in this area, but it's not fixable until the rewrite is complete.
  • If you select Taken but don't add a message FD generates "Thanks, this is now Taken" which doesn't parse nicely for multiple items.
    *It’s been changed. It's better for FD if you don't post multiple different items in the same post - it messes up the categorisation, the weights, and you then get into the whole "this is taken but this is still available" mails. However you could easily be posting "bottle tops" or something.
  • I have noticed that when I am logged in on FD, messages posted by members that included an image, do not show the map image when I am viewing a list of messages. When clicking on the message to view further details, then the map can be seen ok.
    *This is a deliberate decision to give preference to pictures.

Direct V3

Ideas and improvements requested for the new platform

  • Useful Yahoo feature to move over, would be, to be able to choose which type of notifications an individual moderator gets, it was suggested.
  • Consider some way to "re-engage" with mods who may find there is not enough to keep them interested. For example it has been found
    in a new group which has hardly any posts , a new mod can get a bit dispirited checking regularly and finding nothing to do, and tends to check
    less and less frequently and sometimes give up. Instead we could send a notifications suggesting other stuff they can do.
    *Check the Freegle Twitter/Facebook stuff and repost anything of interest.* Follow local people on Twitter. *Find a new media outlet for their local media database. *Contact a local paper etc.
  • Later this year Edward intends to replace the FOP with the ability for a poster to specify things like this, which we ask them to do after they've posted. (so that we don't lose the post if they can't be bothered). For example: collection required/I can deliver- Preferred days/times -Mobile contact number required-Deadline-How I'll choose (needs thought but first come first served vs nicest reply vs closest vs other).
  • The ability to add a mod note at the bottom of an email, instead of the top was suggested? Currently we have to edit the post to add it at the bottom.
  • Could member search snip mailto: where present? or land at the left hand end of the box so we can see it and remove it ourselves?
  • Display of recent posts. FD shows fine big pictures, a maximum of four to a page is how it displays to some..The big pictures lead to much scrolling. Could the search box be positioned at the right of the page, and ideally move down with you?
  • Have the “See what people are Freegling” search box on each page, not just on some of them.


Edward and Chris are both looking into ways to maximise use of Google. It is possible to get the mobile app to launch from Google searches. The more information in the material Google can see, the more useful it could be for recruiting new members.
Edward is intending that some of the post details will be public and indexable by google. The URLs which he’s constructing in the new platform are being designed with that in mind.

Modtools (Beta Version)

Now included as it is now part of Freegle and of Direct.V3
Suggestions and Queries. Q. Could it move from page to page faster? Accept search terms faster? Bring up the paste function faster?

  Yes, the new one should feel significantly faster when ready for general release.

Q. A post in pending does not contain a location in the subject line or body, but ModTools is suggesting something that looks correct, in that it matches posts from two months ago.I thought ModTools only stored posts for a month so how is ModTools picking this up?

  FD stores the last used location for each member, modtools now picks up the last location used, when the member forgets to fill one in.

Q. I see we now have extra IP checking which is great and would appreciate advice on what I should be aware off as I see our own emails in this example This is correctly identifying that an IP has been used for multiple users, which is a good way to spot some kinds of abuse.

  It is just to draw your attention to the post, you need to think about it on a case by case basis. For instance if you look at the hostname and    it's an O2 address or mobile network then they  are quite likely to reuse IP addresses.  

Q. Each morning I go to settings for 8 of my groups and select not to have messages and members show in All Groups, I click save and all seems OK until the next time I re-boot my machine. Might this be a bug?

  Yes, I think there is something in that area that I've not got to the bottom of yet, to do with when the membership list is resync'd (which is daily).

Q. Could posts sent by unmoderated members, be sent into the mod queue if they failed some checks: there are some that apply to messages posted. so useful as a check on unmoderated members (if say no offer or wanted in subject line or has say the word sell in the post.


Q. Reply in messages and reject in pending are set up for us and they are empty. I am suggesting there is provision in the config to edit them. It's not majorly important, just silly that we can't.

  They are set up ready for groups which don’t have their own configuration. I'll think about whether there is a way of folding them into the config if you have one.

Q. Re Events Could we allow members to post these directly with no moderation as an option. as we rarely reject and can always remove any that are not appropriate


Q. Can we have a substitution string just for the first part of the Group name, Croydon etc? We could merge it with -Freegle, as required, but also, usefully, use it on its own.
Q. Could the ability to copy Mod mails to additional addresses be restored?

Questions and Answers.

Q. I can’t find my link to check membership stats ! Can anyone point me in the right direction?

  This link shows the message counts at each group, opens in a csv file.

Q. I have a member who complains that her account is restricted. She has been using a form and an automatic message appears says “one wanted per month.”

  Turned out she was posting on Trash Nothing and the group settings on there were set to this, even though the group allowed more. Easy to get mod privs on TN and change it.

Q. I don't seem to get many new listings although I am set to everyday?

  Change to immediately and see if that works then change back. 

Q. A freegler sent a reply to a wanted request that I posted but I did not get it via email - I only discovered it when I logged on to Freegle. and saw it in the responses to my request when I was just about to mark as received from from another freegler. Can you please advise?

  Some emails do fail to be delivered or end up in spam so we can't guarantee all members will receive them all. When Edward checks one like this it has almost always been sent out.

Q. Now that we have a phone app is Snaply not redundant? If I recall it was a mainly selling based app with a bit of Freegle tagged on?

  Snaply can bring in few new members.  Those who have something they would like to try and sell first maybe but it that fails, it makes it easy for them to give it away. It is only for offers so is not a problem.


I noticed an approved post in pending but it is not showing on the group . I am not sure what to make of it. X-eGroups-Approved-By:XXXXXXX via email; 19 Jan 2016 17:39:47 -0000 X-Originating-IP: From: ……....> Subject: WANTED: Office
shredder, xxxxxxxxX-Yahoo-Group-Post: member; u=577699125 X-YGroups-SubInfo: t=0;f=512;g=none;Wanted a heavy duty Office shredder, that can

  It’s a Yahoo bug which occurs when a post is approved via email and via modtools.

If you wish to join this group just send an email to Media: stating which group you moderate for.

Any queries or need help!

Send an email to who will be able to deal with it or know someone who can.

Tech Report
January 16

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