Freegle Tech Report 16-10-31

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Freegle Tech Report October 2016
Posts 19506-20311
Members 109


The beginning of the month saw us all floundering around trying, testing and reporting on anything and everything. We discussed what we liked, and changes we would like to see. Chris brought out his first pass at the app, bringing it in ahead of schedule and Edward and Chris were constantly tweaking, changing, breaking and fixing stuff.
A bit of apprehension while Edward went on holiday, but everything had settled down and Chris dealt with anything which did arise. By the end of the month, we are all growing used to the new stuff, members queries are down to pre FDv3 levels and Chat seems to be working better. Moderating from tablets and phones for moderators of several groups, was very slow, but after some work by Edward is now faster than ever.

Direct V3

Now the only version, so it will be referred to as Freegle Direct from now on. New members mostly have just got on well with the new version and not found any problems. Some groups found problems with the auto repost function and it was decided to warn members first that their post was going to be reposted and allow them time to stop it. This does seem to work better.


As it is completely new to many members and moderators it has been the main source of emails to Support
Early on in the month it was decided to change to sending notifications of every post made to members, as they were worried their messages weren’t getting through. This was followed by more mail from members thinking that the posts were being sent back to them and not on to the third party. The wording on these has now been changed.

  • Members who write a chat message are sent a copy to their email account.
  • Members who are replied to via chat get a message on chat and a copy to their email account.
  • Members who reply via email do not get sent a copy as they will have it in their sent file.

There's a search box which will search through the title and contents of the chat, to make it easier to find things.
Mod chats have a crown symbol next to them so that you can more easily spot them when looking at the list.
It won't show chats where there's no message within 31 days - to stop them accumulating forever.
Many moderators do not like the anonymous nature of Chat as you don’t know who is asking for an item. We deliberately don't show people's real emails. Partly this is for privacy, but mostly it's for spam prevention - as soon as you show the real email in some form, then spammers can harvest the email addresses and send spam direct to it, which is then a) our fault and b) impossible to prevent.
Something may be done to improve our knowledge of the sender without compromising the system in the future.
There were also some messages which were wrongly categorised as spam ('specialist' contains 'cialis', which is a spam keyword). This caused blank emails and chats and have now been fixed. If you now have examples of chats which still don't open properly, please let us know the specifics.
Most problems were from established members, who do not like change but some from members who were trying to help us make it better or had particular problems. Many bugs were found, created, reported and fixed, so current problems only should be brought up.
One problem which has been found is members logging in using different ways and attached to different emails, and so are looking in the wrong place for their Chats/posts .
The new app does a good job of tying up different log ins but if you suspect this is the problem, check they are the same person and send to geeks @ so that the accounts can be merged. Some members were joining posting and promptly leaving and still getting replies to their posts. It has been decided that this was wrong, and once they leave no replies should be passed through to them.


New digests show the available posts only. It was discussed whether to include recent Taken and Receiveds but opinion was split so no decision has been reached.


Mapping was causing quite a few problems so Edward revamped the whole system and it now seems a lot better. Still if you haven’t done so yet, have a look in the settings on Modtools and check your groups.
There are two maps one is for core areas and one for catchment areas.For catchment areas go to [you can click the blue ‘all maps’ link next to the map button to get to this on Mod Tools]
Search for your Group and click the polygon so it goes blue. [this will be one large one just for your group] Copy the Polygon info into the wicket link here
You can select a few surrounding group areas as well by using the Multipolygons option which is already in the box on the right, just remove the coordinates stuff that is in there already and pop yours in, then separate each new one you want to view alongside your own one with a comma in between each set of coordinates, then click map it.
Click and drag your groups polygon around to cover what you would accept as a catchment area. . and when you are happy copy the coordinates that appear in the box on the right to


We made some changes to try to get more mail through to BT, and had reports of mail starting to arrive again for some members which was welcome, but still the majority of those who seemed to be getting no replies through were either on BT or sending to BT users. The new system does now pass more mail through our own servers as opposed to directly so there probably are more members not receiving messages. Edward is continuing to look at this. Members can always see their messages on the site.


There are now buttons on My Posts (in FD) and on messages on ModTools to rotate photos these will also be added to the post pages so that you can rotate a photo after uploading it if you notice that it's wrong.
Q.If a member wants to send another member an extra photo of the item she is offering. How does she do that? The chat doesn't give the email address of the member. A.She will have to put the photo in something like Photobucket and put the link in chat, or she could ask the other party for their email address and send it direct.


These were going out for all posts showing as still available, but some groups were finding it troublesome. After a lot of discussion, it has now been decided to send a notification email 24hrs before the reminder to give members a chance to do a taken or received. Further discussion resulted in deciding that people who don't respond to replies (even if it is because our mails are lost) shouldn't really be allowed to post again - as it wastes the time of other users.So we will Only do auto-reposts for messages which have not had any replies. This handles the case where an item just didn't generate any interest without the original freegler having to do anything, but avoids annoying other freeglers with cases like: the original freegler hasn't done the taken/received the original freegler isn't getting or replying to emails Instead we will add a manual repost button, which members can use in the other cases and we will not send reposts through to Yahoo. The complexities of trying to show a single message on our system (e.g. in My Posts) which corresponds to multiple messages on Yahoo are probably impossible to fully deal with, and it doesn't make sense to put more effort into trying to do that.

Direct Q & A

Q Can a member still reply to a post from a digest? “I get the email digests..but find i can no longer respond to offers this way unless I log in on the Web page” Is this member correct?
A No. There are buttons in digests to reply by email or the web under each individual post. Those set to get emails immediately you can just hit reply.
Q A member posted an offer. Someone replied but the reply has come into the mods. That reply shows the original offer as coming from the correct poster's name but with a local user addy, hence the reply to the mods.
A. When you send out a mail, it has:

  • An "envelope from", which is like the return address you write on the back of an envelope.
  • An "envelope to", which is like the address you write on the front of the envelope.
  • A "reply to" address, which is like the address you put on the letter inside.

Email clients are supposed to reply to the reply to address. But sometimes they're bugged, or people hit reply all, and then a reply goes to the envelope from address. (This is the same reason that some people on Yahoo accidentally reply to the whole group.) We could send that into a black hole, but this way you at least get to see that they intended to reply, and you can redirect them.
Q I understood in FD 2 members got a different email address for each group and one for each method they signed in with. Is this still the case?
A Now they get one user@email address for all groups, under which all FDuser, and known email addresses are linked. So all should be listed on modtools. Don’t delete any of the old ones unless the member asks you to, as you probably won’t know how it affects the members posting habits.
Q, There is no option to tick the box for the FAQ now
A It will be added later.
Q. I'm guessing that auto reposts automatically show on Freegle Direct straight away as the original one was approved even though the member is on moderated status.
A. No it is coming into modtools for checking I will fix.
Q I have a member joined yesterday and her real email address is not showing on Modtools. Can you tell me why it's not showing and what her email address is?
A She joined via the Facebook login and has to give her permission before we can access her email. She will keep getting asked via a popup. Hopefully she does not block pop ups. Technically it is possible for her to use the group via the website, and not get email updates, but volunteers probably wouldn't feel comfortable with that.
Q.What is going on with these email addresses containing long strings of numbers? This is the third I've noticed in the last week or so.
A.This happens with some weird Yahoo IDs. It is on the list to try to do something better than that. When I do that I will add something to replace emails like this with something more friendly, so at that point they'd unsub the weird email and resub with a better one.
Q. Have you any plans to introduce an 'Invite' option for FD so we can add email (gmail) addresses like this to FD and cut out all the hassle of people signing up with their old yahoo addresses by mistake?
A Yes, as part of the native hosting working.

General Q & A

Q. A member left our group by mistake and has rejoined.She's complaining that since she has rejoined her digests are in HTML format which she reckons she finds it hard to read.
A That is because she gets them from Yahoo and they no longer give you the choice not to.
Q A member complaining that he is getting a message saying emails are being delayed when he tries offering things to members. I have asked him if he can get a screenshot or exact wording for me. Are there any known delays with emails?
A There were! Bug now fixed.
Q. How do I remove someone's email from spammer list?
A.Go to modtools/spammer list/confirmed, search for the member then click on request removal.
Q. I read a spam message but did nothing with it and it has vanished
A.Have you another moderator who may have approved it meanwhile.
Q. We see pending members and messages in modtools sometimes but they should be auto approved.
A.Don’t worry you can approve them or not. Because memberships are no longer pre approved then they and messages from them may appear until Yahoo actually pop them on their database.
Q.A member wants to add another email address, make that the default and delete the other two<or three>she's used before. Anyone remind me where you can do this,seem to recall it was in the membership tab but can't see it now?.Also how can you do this if using Freegle Direct just in case she asks.
A. This method worked the last time someone tried it.

  • Add any new addresses to a Yahoo profile via the actual Yahoo profile page.
  • On the Yahoo email web page click ‘Account info’ from the cog’s drop down Menu
  • A new page opens up, make sure the menu option down the left has Personal Info selected
  • Click on where it says Full name, it may ask for your password and then it opens a page where you can add a new email address for that Yahoo profile and set it as the primary email. They then have to remember to log in with the new primary email address.

Try this link [1]


Various stats on the mobile app are here:

The revamped app was released on 19th October on Android and two days later on iOS.

  • The Android app is at at v1.0.3 and the iOS app is on v1.0.2.
  • There will be no Amazon app.
  • I'm not currently planning to re-add in the in-app purchase facility as this raised paltry funds.
  • I am planning to add in notifications - when Ed is available to do this server-side.

Android total installs is 21879 and current installs 6949.
On iOS total installs is 9274.
The average rating is 3.81 over 83 ratings.

Time was spent by the group testing the new mobile app and reporting back. It was considered good enough to launch and a first edition has gone to both Android and Apple. Although you can tell members who ask about it, until its function includes the Chat system, and some other refinements we are suggesting you wait a while before publicising it your whole group.
Eventually we should be able to download the modtools app on mobiles and use it for all moderation needs.
The new app needs an internet connection to load

Mobile Q & A

Q I noticed that the Freegle app is huge. Any chance of making it smaller please?
A I can see a couple of things I can do to reduce the Android one by about 13mb but more than this will affect performance. Android versions are about 40MB and iOS is 17MB.
Q I had a bit of an issue. Once I'd signed in it kept giving me this message: "Freegle needs to access local storage" The advice on the screen was something to do with private browsing,
A.You do have to allow private browsing, to use Freegle.

Tech Report

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