Freegle Tech Report 18-03-31

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Freegle Tech Report March 2018 Posts 24449-24947 Members 117


A quiet month, the website had a slowdown but Edward’s warning system kicked in and he fixed it before most of us even noticed there was a problem. There was also a problem with email delivery, for a few days. These are usually delayed if we are working at full capacity just to run the website.
Edward and Chris have had time out which has resulted in a quieter month.
A question about data protection issues was brought up. John (Hertford) is dealing with this and will have something ready soon.


A change in the spam check now brings to attention any containing an email address. This is because the scams involve getting communicating with members offlist, before they ask for courier fees or money. Just mark any which seem to be from normal members as ‘Not Spam’
Someone wanted to print their chat out on the FD website. It only showed the list of chats rather than the chat itself. A fix has been done which should allow this.
Some would like photos included in the Chats. These are stripped out to prevent any unsavory ones being posted onto members, but it also stops members responding to requests for them from other members or moderators. Moderators also have to give a non Freegle address if they ask for screenshots. This is to be looked at again.
Q. There doesn't seem to be a way of removing your address from a chat once you've 'unpromised' an item. I'd like that to happen , if not automatically, then have the option to do it manually.
A I do not really want to offer the option to delete a message from chat. Messages have probably gone out by email, or been seen by the member already. If we offer the option to delete them, then we are suggesting something we can't achieve.


Changes to code

  • Notifications count not clearing has now been fixed
  • Warn when someone else you're talking to is spotted as a scammer or spammer
  • Speed up: promise button is slow because it includes very old posts and ones which are already taken. (2 days ago)
  • Stats page showing low values for the oldest bar in the weight chart
  • Make photo bigger in community event details
  • More freegle doodles for particular days
  • Map overlaps with message text
  • Improve display of user info, with an eye to user profiles later
  • Can't clear unread notifications if some of the unread ones are really old
  • Show who posted community events and volunteering opportunities
  • Allow print of chat messages

A query was raised about the accessibility of shortlinks, these were created when a group was launched, and owners provided with their groups. They used to be available on the wiki, but it was doubtful anyone used them there. Edward switched them to point to Direct instead of the Yahoo groups some time ago. Shortlinks now explains the process on the Wiki at If you have a query about yours just ask support or info for help.

Q. Can we add to the wishlist the ability to post volunteer opportunities and Events to more than one group please? It's not something mods will have to do very often, but I can imagine members do post an event to a few surrounding groups and it will make it much easier for them..
A The current group model requires them to understand which areas the individual groups cover while not having anything on the screen that actually shows them that, just based on the name alone. So it's quite a hard decision for them to make. I'll think about it when I get that far.

Q. Realising that, I need to be a lot more familiar with the FD interface than I currently am, I enlisted a friend's help and asked him to respond, by email, to a couple of offers I posted via Freegle Direct back in December - just to learn how the whole process works. He emailed me about both, to my FD email forwarder (he, too, gets individual emails via Yahoo). I received one of his two responses in my inbox (but not in Freegle chat), and the other one in Freegle chat (but not in my inbox)... BUT (and this is the bizarre thing) both were linked to a different offer altogether.
A The originals were posted via Yahoo and changes made before approving. When a subject line does not match, we have to try and find the best match. This could be improved and I will work on it.
Q. I just had a member ask if we can be given the option of do nothing when the do you want to repost or withdraw or taken emails come in.
A Yes if he went in and clicked promise, it would hold the post. It would fade it out but leave it showing so others can see it has been promised. You can't promise it though unless you have someone replying to ask for it. Don't think using TN will make a difference.


Advertising in emails was introduced last last month. A few initial complaints from members, but none seen lately. Very early results, resulted in the ads in the What's New emails generating around $60 / day. If that holds up, it would be around £15-16K per year, too soon to count on this, but it suggests that it is worth continuing with these for now and could get us to the point whereby income exceeds our current expenditure.
Q. Has the format of individual emails been changed? Until two hours ago they were perfect when viewed in plain text - just the actual message, nothing more. Nice and simple. Crisp and clear. Now there are several lines of links, at the top, with the actual text right at the bottom.
A. Not that I know of, have you switched on the HMTL view? Please send a screenshot. What is happened here is that when there is no content under the subject line, it has searched and found some Hmtl. I've put a change in so that if the content is empty then we put a full stop in there. Check if you see any more from now.
Q. Our What’s New’ email had 112 posts to day. We don't normally get quite this many messages over the day, when I looked at the detail there were a lot of messages from December.
A Have you changed the repost option, if you do it will send out a lot together.


The bad publicity Facebook has received has resulted in many of our members withdrawing access to their accounts or closing them altogether. Facebook are informing us if they have allowed us access. We need this access to be able to confirm, they are who they say they are, and have been told we will now have to remove these members from Freegle.
You need to be aware of this in case your members did use Facebook to log in, has been removed and has now lost access to their posts etc.


The longstanding bug about seeing pending posts from other groups should now be fixed.
The problem was that when the page loads it makes a bunch of calls. One of those is to get your current session with the server. Quite often (especially at the start of day), the server would think you were logged out but the client would then log you back in.
Another is to get the pending messages. If you were logged out, it turns out that you could get a list of pending messages from all groups (though only containing very basic info, nothing confidential).
So what was happening was that it was getting the pending messages when logged out, and getting the list from all groups, then logging you in. If you refreshed then you'd be logged in and it would pick up the correct ones.
Q. Is it possible to have a side menu for approved events and Volunteering on groups showing which members submitted them?
A That's quite easy to add in. I've done a change (not live yet)


Q. At the moment support tools show the date posts last auto approved. Would it be possible to say how many times in the last 30 days posts have been auto approved as well please? That way Mentors can see a little better when a group needs help.
A. This is a good suggestion. I've added it, on You can click on the "Recent auto-approves" column to sort. It does show some groups which definitely look worth investigating.


Q. I have a post held in pending that I am suspicious of. I usually mail these offers if I'm suspicious and ask for more details or even if I can have it myself. Most times the gut feeling is right. I was going to email this person direct from my email, but if it doesn't go through chat they will likely be suspicious. I can send my copy through to their ilovefreegle id, but what about the reply? I just need a way t be able to check suspicious posts out
A Mailing their account should be fine.

Tech Chats

Hi Jean just a quick one about the note you put on a members post who was accused of being racist. He's posted offers for the first time today I wasn't able to do anything when the member complained as there wasn't a way to find him. My question is since this is a first for me do I/Should I do anything or just wait to see if I get any other complaints? Thanks Liz
Liz I copied you in at the time and sent you a separate email about where I think you should go from here. I put the note on to keep an eye on him. I read a lot of his messages and most were okay. He had a go at another member who posted a taken without sending him a separate email, but I don't think it had been read. I think he has a bit of a chip, but wouldn't write to him without the other members consent in case it escalates the problem.
Probably a stupid question but why do chat messages other than those that have money/business details in them come up as spam I have a message sitting but all I can see is a personal email address is that the problem?
Yes probably. Courier scammers are known to say'use this email address as the mods are so slow at approving messages'.
Remind me if TrashNothing members get our admins through FD or not please?
It depends. I understand that they only get the ones thought relevant. 0n the whole they are irrelevant to them.
Ask him for Admin rights on TN and have a look. I think he may have his own warnings. Modtools now deals with the courier scams though, the member once reported has all posts removed and an automatic mail about the scam is sent out to anyone who has replied.
I chose to respond to a member asking for something I'd offered by email I prefer not to have personal details on chat only to discover my email republished on chat is there a way to stop that happening please?
Chat and email are the same thing. You'd need to ask for the other members email address within the chat. It’s not a public chat though liz.... just between you and the member
Please can someone remind me of the email people can use to post using FD
David if you mean post messages direct to the group it's - to post replace x's with group name as formatted in FD
Should every group have a mod chat group? Bangor doesn't
Look in the group settings. Most will be at the very bottom of the side menu even if you have it on until you add some chat to it. Wanda
@Liz I personally would advise members to ask responders to add a contact number or direct email address in their replies. We may not be able to check spam between them after first contact but there's more chance of replies getting thru for all those members that have providers who ditch ilovefreegle emails... plus a lot of people do reply with a mobile number to text them on so they are just asking up front for info that a lot already give without being asked for it.
horozonmorningblue Had a relatively new member join up and post a Black Google Nexus 5 case. Apart from that there is no description. In subject line was simply phone case. I notice the ip according to a well known anti spam site that recently it is showing the ip is infected with a bad virus. Unfortunately it was already posted by email. Just in process of deleting off FD I am wondering if they are a spammer The anti spam site says it is part of a botnet.
I've checked them out, they offered plastic containers previously and replied perfectly normal in chat. I can see they are in the list for removal from the spammer list, I take it that's at your request? They seem perfectly legit. I'll wait for your reply to confirm before doing anything. If you start getting spam from them then you can advise them about it.


Q. I had 4 columns on my Tweetdeck, then yesterday one disappeared. Can anyone help me get it back please ?
A Columns not a group missing? You can hide and unhide columns and get them back again. If it is a group that has gone has the Twitter password been changed if so you need to re add it? For those that don’t know Tweetdeck allows you to manage several Twitter accounts from one place.

Jean Freegle Tech Report March 2018

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