Freegle Tech Report 16-09-30

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'Freegle Tech Report September 2016 Posts 18297-19505 Members 107'


The beginning of the month saw the launch of our new website and the end of the present Mobile app.
There were many bugs in the system, which is really complex behind the scenes. This was to be expected with probably only a dozen mods and a few more machines doing the testing. Edward has been hard at work all month fixing bugs and dealing with queries.
Thanks very much to the support team for their superb efforts helping users while liaising with Ed.

This month we will not try and cover every issue brought up, just the useful bits.
It is now imperative that all groups have at least one moderator logging into at least once a day. This is partly so that the membership list is synchronised between Yahoo and the new platform, but also because there are things (like reviewing spam messages or events) which you can only do from ModTools. If you can’t do this then please find a mod who is willing to sync your list for you even if from another group.

Freegle Direct.

From observation the majority of posts are being made without any problems reported.There seems no decline in posts or members. Support have seen more queries as have Moderators but the average group has only had a couple of queries each.
New features are:
Chat This allows moderators and members to respond to each other on line. Very helpful for those who are not receiving emails from us like BT. (Tip: to start a new line click on Alt and Enter)
Reposts This automatically sends reposts after the time interval selected by moderators in the groups settings. 24hrs before these are sent members now get a notification so that they can mark the item as taken. You can configure this from Settings in ModTools.
Settings. All groups settings are now done on ModTools. Please use [1] at least once a day to sync your membership lists.
Locations These are automatically selected from the postcode given when posting. Some groups especially rural have had a few problems with these. Please check your groups in the ModTools under Settings->Group Settings->Map Settings, and amend remove or rename any polygons which need to be changed. Please also check the catchment area for your group, using the map at ModTools/settingsall//map
Spam filter. Messages between members on Direct will be subject to a spam filter. Any looking suspicious will be redirected to the group mods. You need to use ModTools to check these. Some are innocent where a member has sent a link to a photo or has a long signature advertising work etc.We were all amazed at first at the amount of spam which was being sent. Some like LinkedIn are being caught and removed automatically to cut down the amount which we have to check.
Promotion. It’s now easier to share things from our main Freegle page onto your local group’s Facebook page, which helps promote your group. These are stirring up quite a bit of interest, so if you don’t see the button either try and link the Facebook page in settings or if you have no page ask for one.

Benefits and Changes seen so far are:

  • A decrease in the number of posts which need amending. More than one photo per post can be shown.
  • Quicker response time to member queries.
  • Member settings are easier for them to check and change.
  • Members can be given the direct link to their settings page etc. and save you having to explain how to get there.
  • Events can now be approved via ModTools.
  • Spam filter, catches the obvious ones, and sends others to ModTools for moderators to accept or reject.
  • TN members posts with photo links took them through to TN before. Now our website will retrieve the images and display them on the post.
  • We are dropping the ‘asking for permission to republish’ activity from Yahoo only members. The effect of this is that if you are a non-member of a group, and you search or look at the group, you won't see posts from those Yahoo users nor will they be on Twitter. Members will of course see them.
  • Rejected posts go back to members for amendment and easy resubmission.
  • Posts are automatically reposted at the interval specified in the groups settings.

Yet to come.

  • Welcome messages to new members and hopefully leaving messages as well.
  • Ability to separate groups from Yahoo, if necessary or wanted.
  • Groups which elect to ditch Yahoo will be able to edit live posts.
  • Reoffering but on an adjacent group.

Things you may be seeing:

  • Funny email addresses. All Direct users are given a new email address ending

If their email address contains their name, then we invent a new one for them. If we didn’t then someone who wanted to remain anonymous couldn't do so, because their name would be in their email. If their email address doesn't have their name in, or we have a Yahoo ID, then we use that info instead. Members can change the name shown for them in Settings.


Q. When there are multiple mods - if I have a blob to say it's unread and look at the conversation does that just clear the blob for me or for everyone?
A.Just for you. If a mod replies then the others get another red dot so that they can see the reply.
Q. Have you a new unsubscribe link for moderators to give to members?
Q. Auto reposts for members not on moderation are coming into ModTools to be moderated.
A. At this stage the app does not know the members moderation status. Edward will have to do some thinking about how to solve this.
Q I expected to be able to do my moderating using ModTools in on an android tablet as used to while I was away. This time it did not seem to work - pending requests never appeared in the ModTools page and I had to resort to approving using yahoo. Is this a side effect of the changeover?
A.No. Either your ModTools user isn't set on Yahoo to receive notifications of pending work, or Yahoo isn't sending them out

Message Maker

Links have been amended to take members to the Direct page so please do not give them out and remove them from your Yahoo page.

Facebook pages

The old offer/wanted app and the Q&A one if you have it, can now be removed. Instead you can create a ‘Sign In’ button on the top right and put a link to your groups posts in it.
I have done a few, and will do any I notice. I will be starting a list of groups who need it doing though, so just send an email to also if you need to be promoted to do it yourself, it is possible I can do this if I am still Admin on your groups page.

This link now takes you to Freegle Direct. All the previous stuff on there has now been condensed to a minimum, and put on Direct. This means all maintenance of Freegle’s IT stuff can now be found in one place.

Mobile app.

Chris has been given a small grant and is working on getting a new one running using the same coding as the main website.

Freegle Tech
Sept 2016

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