Freegle Tech Report 17-11-30

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Freegle Tech Report November 2017
Posts 24063-24269
Members 116


This month Edward has been upgrading our web servers to make our website more robust. Once this is complete (which will be a few weeks) we will have two for the live service to share the load. This should make us quicker and able to take peaks in our stride, at the same time if one goes down the other should be able to take the slack. Stuff is being moved in sections, so if you notice anything which seems broken let him know.

From now on our database will treat Gmail and Googlemail addresses as the same, so members and moderators should now only need to search for or delete one of them.

We have considered which new forum we could use for our various discussion groups and what to take into consideration. As at the moment it seems that anything suitable would have to be paid for (if only to spend the time “freegleising” it) and money at present is a bit tight, it has been put on the back burner for now.


On the whole it has been a trouble free month. A few minor changes and a lot of questions.

Q. A member wanted to log in using the Google button but it was greyed out.

A It sounds like a flaky connection - we load the Google login code from their site, and if the network is slow (or there's a privacy blocker installed) that can fail.
Q. There is no obvious posts link on the toolbar when in stats. After spending some time reading I remembered to click the back button.
A Yes, that's intentional, because these are really aimed at people councils, and we don't want to clutter up members pages. As it is it is also suitable for using within a Powerpoint presentation.

Q A member has requested that an old post be removed from their my posts section. She posted a received in September, but it is still listed under old wanteds and she has asked me to remove it. She knows other members can’t see it, but she doesn't want to either!

A It is not possible to remove posts from my posts. It is too much work which only Geeks can do, if they want it reinstating later which would happen sometimes. If she doesn’t click on ‘Old Posts then she won’t see them.

Q. A member has stopped getting group emails, but is getting volunteer emails. I can't purge him because he is in other groups. Is there a way to stop him getting volunteer emails?

A If he has really been removed from your group and he just wants to stop volunteer emails from the one group and keep the others then send to Geeks. The member can turn them off for all groups in their settings.

Q. We have received many lovely "thanks for all you do" emails but we've also had two very angry "stop sending me emails or I'll report you for harassment" ones. It seems they've been turning off emails by clicking the link and adding ranty text to the top which would make it obvious that they had issues. Is it possible to copy those emails with text back to the group or maybe have another link at the bottom with a link to "leave the group"?

A The first would generate a lot of unnecessary mail to mods , I will add the paragraph shown below

You can change which other emails you receive from <a href="$settingsurl">Settings</a> or leave groups from <a href="$unsuburl">here</a>.

on the mails,

Q..What are the 4 symbols at the bottom of a post when viewed on the site?
A The left one is share to Facebook, the next to copy so that the post can be pasted into something else, or sent to a friend This it is Love this which opens up a reply box to ask for the item and lastly chuckle which just shows appreciation.

Q. I have had someone ask how they delete a message. There only seems a delete button under the photograph. The wiki says you can but asks you not to. People make gaffes so it is reasonable for them to delete their post I think.

A On Native and Direct only Moderators can delete messages and they use ModTools; members can only withdraw the post and should do this if it has gone on .

Q A member has a TalkTalk email address. He is set to receive messages Immediately. Is there a problem with that domain? I'm not sure how to help him. He's a longstanding member.

A They are being sent to him, and received by Talk Talk. I assume he has checked his spam? He could try putting our email in his contacts, failing that he can try TalkTalk although they are not very responsive to queries. He may have to view posts on our website if he has not got another email he can use.


Q. There have been complaints of the Chat function being slow to show what you have typed.
A A possible fix has been put in, please let the Geeks know if you still see it.
Q A member asked us why when she clicks on a specific member in the chat function it says "Things haven't always worked out for this freegler. That might not be their fault, but please make very clear arrangements." What is this about?
A We keep track of whether we think someone has been a no show (eg they were promised something and then unpromised). After two of these it is presumed the member is having trouble either with emails or collection so it is there to help members select who to give their stuff to in the hope it will reduce no shows.
Q. Can I see the evidence and analysis please?
A Here's the thread covering it.

Volunteer feature.

Q A member has queried a volunteer post that has vanished, it was asking for volunteers for Radstock Museum on Frome Freegle. Is there a time limit on them? I thought we emailed to ask if the post was still required after a few weeks, but if a member doesn't reply to that, is the post removed?

A Yes,it is limited to a month if they don't tell us it's still required, then we remove it. Otherwise we might end up with posts which stay forever.

Mobile App

Edward has done some updates to the code that loads the newsfeed to make it load faster, and Chris has updated the mobile app code has been updated shouldn't be too long.

A few people are still having problems with with the iOS updates. If a member using it, says it is slow, freezes, or photo not loading, ask them to uninstall the app and then reinstall it. This nearly always seems to solve the problem.

Someone left a 4 star review of the iOS Freegle app and mentioned that the Take Photo option caused the app to crash. On iOS 11 it did on a newer phone but was fine on the older iPad. Tweaking an option has it working. This will be in the next released version 1.2.11.
Someone on Android has reported that that they see an "Application Error - blah - android_asset/www/index.html" when the app starts. I have seen this when the app has been slow to start. They have a pretty new phone so it's not that. They say it can happen straight away. Is anyone else seeing anything like that let us know if so?

Q. A member is having issues using our app. Apparently they can only use it on one group. Off the cuff I told them they may need to join up to the other local groups. I understand they have to join through FD or yahoo prior to using App. Correct?
A No they can join via the App and use it to Find and join other groups.

Mod Tools

One way to help make groups feel more local and friendly is to show who the mods are. Many members probably don't even realise that there are local volunteers, so we now have a setting in ModTools to control whether or not you are shown as a mod. This defaults to not showing you - some mods might want to remain anonymous. You'll see a pop-up asking you to set it, and you can also set it from Settings.

We started seeing this warning on Mod Tools:- ‘Some pages are not being pre-rendered. This may affect Google search results. Please make sure the Geeks are aware.’ Our website is a single-page application. When you go to the site all our Javascript code is loaded, and then it updates what you see automatically. This puts less load on the servers and makes things feel quicker. Search engines fetch various links from our site too, and most of them (except probably Google) won't run our code, they just index the HTML . So for the main pages, and individual groups, things that you can see when you're not logged in - we have a job that regularly fetches them as though it was a browser, and stores what it fetched. That's "pre-rendering", which is a term made up. So if you're logged out, we will serve the prerender copy up first (so it can be indexed) then load the code and update it. That's why if you're logged out and you visit a page, you'll see it load, then flicker (and maybe change a bit) This check is a warning that it's not keeping up.
Q. I noticed a few days ago that a group had disappeared from my list, all of the others are OK. Is there anything that I can do?

A Check you are still a mod on the Yahoo group, and that you are logged into modtools with the same email. If so synch the membership list. If this does not work and there is no one to promote you then ask Edward.
Q. Could we have a figure for total group members under ‘Approve Members’ ?
A Yes I will add that.
Q. I would like a combined total of members. They are good numbers to quote in publicity or interviews also numbers do show how successful a group is.
A Not really this would not be a true reflection. We generally quote 2.6 million members, and the best measure of your group is the Activity or Weights graphs on the FD stats. The membership number is complicated. We used to add up all the Yahoo group memberships (the number of email addresses on the group). This double-counted, if you had two memberships, and if someone is on multiple groups, then they could be counted as many. We know people freegle on behalf of other people and as we have no way to measure that it would offset the extra members to some extent. On FD the membership number for an individual group joins together different emails and counts them as one except if they also use Trashnothing, so is lower than the corresponding Yahoo group.
Q. We have had a new moderator join us. As we are also still on Yahoo (but that will change!) I felt that it was useful to make her a moderator rather than an owner as the rest of us are. On ModTools, once someone is a moderator then they can do anything with a group and its members. On Yahoo Groups, a moderator can be given restricted permissions, eg, only to deal with messages/pending messages or only to deal with members/pending members. Could we restrict permissions on ModTools please? I checked and it could be done with some work. Is it something we would want?
A It was a fairly limited response, and no strong majority for making the change. A moderator on Native can't remove an Owner or promote.

Trash Nothing

Q Can Trashnothing members see or use FD settings Ie settings and or my posts. I can see trashnothing members in FD using support tools.
A No, they can't. We don't know their real email and so can’t link them together, and most wouldn't know how to log in. There are members who have two separate memberships, one with TN and one with FD though so know how it works.


Q If a member posts an event on FD, I presume it is linked to the Twitter account for that group. Can the frequency of these events on twitter be changed ? It is for an event on Saturday and they are being tweeted every 4 hours and it's flipping annoying.
A I'll drop it from 4 to 8 hours but I'm not sure why it would be annoying? Twitter isn't like email where you have to read everything - it's very ephemeral and repeating stuff is very common.


Q I am trying to post a few admins via yahoogroups. Usually I post using my own email. This time I want the Group owners email address to appear in the email and my alias. I thought it was just a matter of changing a setting but can't find the link.
A You go into the message composition window ("New topic). Near the word "subject" you see a couple of downward-pointing arrows. Click on them - the "from" field will appear. Click on the arrow on the right to bring up a pull-down menu which will show your personal address and the owners address for you to select.

Q Do monthly scheduled Yahoo file go out to Freegle Direct members? I ask because we have an abandoned group with a mod with limited privs unable to stop them going out.
A No although mods may get them.


Freegle Tech Report

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