Home › Forums › Administration & Support › Website: Bug Reports, Feature Requests, Known Issues, and Changelog › FEATURE REQUEST: New *** GEAR SWAP *** Section at BPL?
Jun 8, 2016 at 4:30 am #3407664James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Yes. Gear Swap is clutter in the forums. I am with JCH here, It is fundamentally different than the other forums. A separate database, search engine and categorized listings (removing it from the main forums) would help a lot…basically, a separate web site however it is linked back to the main forum page. Note that HTML pages on this site are more hierarchical than relational. Also, a rotating queue of topics would speed things up a LOT…say the first hundred posts or so.
Personally, I never use Gear Swap (well, twice in my time here have I purchased anything and I never post there.)Jun 8, 2016 at 6:48 am #3407677CrowBPL Member
There is benefit in having a feed of new activity that omits the gear swap section, but that doesn’t necessarily require a separate platform for it. The query need not be slow if a filter is added – add an appropriate index to the database table. A dedicated tool tailored for gear swapping could be desirable, but there’s a lot of benefit from having it as part of the forum too, e.g. being able to quickly see into a person’s history on the forum, including past sales as well as posts elsewhere. If a separate tool is made for it, these benefits should be considered and preserved if possible.
However, the forum software here is the worst. Okay, it’s perhaps better than the old BPL forum software in some ways, but it’s still just awful compared to things like SMF, vBulletin, etc. The appearance is bad (blame that on a theme), the usability is poor, and the performance isn’t good. Honestly I feel a bit cheated as I just signed up for BPL membership before the forum software was switched, and the experience now is degraded and I find myself barely using the site anymore. 75% of the space vertically and even more horizontally if you have a wide monitor of every thread page is black whitespace that necessitates a huge amount of scrolling and makes reading difficult. When logged in, the right side of every page is constantly telling me I need a membership, and if I’m not logged in and want to reply to something, logging in does not take me back to where I was so I have to navigate back and start over. The search functionality of the site is extremely basic and needs improvement too.Jun 8, 2016 at 1:01 pm #3407738DAMION STODOLASpectator
+1 removing Gear Swap from Recent Topics because that improves the Recent Topics usability by removing clutter.
My two cents on the gear swap more generally, fwiw. Whether Gear Swap is optimised in its current format depends on how one measures efficiency. And, it might be worthwhile polling users to see what their priorities are. From my perspective, the current system works fine (though based on my completely unreliable and unscientific anecdotal observations) only for those selling very new in-demand items or older very well known and proven hard to find items, which tend to sell quickly.
But it gets harder when trying to find something more general or when not searching by brand and product name.
I’d like a system that would more easily locate a number of relevant and similar goods that are still for sale but buried by an ever increasing number of newer posts so I don’t have to go searching through haystacks . Maybe using additional data fields to help drill down.
The Google searching is pretty close to useless in a large universe of similar but potentially contradictory data or where people only post brand/product names: for example, the search function doesn’t do a great job distinguishing relevant posts from irrelevant posts among positive hits when the FS, WTB, swap key words aren’t universally used or when you’re not searching by specific item name. And, in the current system, sellers tend to sell a “Patagonia R1” and will not provide generic search terms for those who are just searching for a lightweight performance fleece. Thus, unless you have an encyclopedic memory of brand and product names, your searching can take time.
But, like I said, just my two cents. The most important bit, separating it out from recent topics seems like a no-brainer.Jun 8, 2016 at 1:09 pm #3407740Hoosier TBPL Member
Agree with Damien. What really need to be done is to use parameters for posting in gear swap that all write to database fields on the back end. For example, when posting an ad, you have to choose from a drop down or check a box for “WTB”, “WTS, or “WTT”. You would then choose the brand of your item. This would be similar to Ebay but needn’t be nearly as complex since, well, it’s not Ebay.
This would provide two huge benefits. First, it would let people filter on listing type, categories (Tents, packs, etc.) or brands when viewing or searching the page. It would also force uniformity in listings. Secondly and most important to the context of this thread, is having specific database fields would allow proper indexing to occur so the page will be MUCH faster to load.Jun 8, 2016 at 9:05 pm #3407846Richard ScruggsBPL Member
Banishing “Gear Swap” from “Recent Forum Topics” is a frequent request. That’s a clue.
So yes, please do. Nothing against “Gear Swap” except for the fact that it clutters up “Recent Forum Topics” something terrible. Having “Gear Swap” threads intermingled with other threads in the “Recent Forum Topics” is like having a convention of used car salesmen show up at your picnic. They don’t mix well. A thread selling gear doesn’t even sound like a “forum topic” — it’s a thread selling gear.
Have never tried to sell anything on the “Gear Swap” thread, but did purchase one item thru that thread a long, long time ago. Good transaction; great gear; good price.
“Gear Swap” has a place, but not in “Recent Forum Topics” — give it a room of its own. As it is now, it’s almost taken over the whole house.
And thanks for seeking input, Ryan.Jun 9, 2016 at 7:59 am #3407900matthew kModerator
Question: Is it possible to have two Recent Threads links? One that includes gearswap and one that excludes gearswap would meet everyone’s needs.Jun 9, 2016 at 1:44 pm #3407976Carol WBPL Member
@tgaeroLocale: pacific northwest
I just sent in a question. I admit, I mostly only look at your website in the late spring, summer and early fall months. When i do, I find everything on your website very confusing. I could not readily find the gear swap section. Once there, I could not figure out how to search within it. Nothing seems intuitive and it seems like you could really benefit from some good website design help, even if it means raising your fees. I find the website borderline unusable, sorry to say. The number of ads contribute to the clutter and frustration. Since I am a member, I am sad that I have to have as many ads as websites I do not pay for.Jun 9, 2016 at 2:48 pm #3407993Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
It seems the change will allow the same access to buy/sell gear and speed the site up overall, so why not? It is easy enough to create a bookmark for a particular forum and a refresh will bring the forum to the latest posts.
+1 on f<span style=”line-height: 1.8;”>ormatting issues. IOS Safari gives 1/2 page of text and the other half white space in proportion to the user avatar.</span>Jun 9, 2016 at 3:13 pm #3407998David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
+1 on getting GS out of Recent Posts.
The vast majority of my 3,467 posts have been in response to questions from other users (or on-going discussions) on particular destinations, gear design, material properties, water treatment, thermodynamics, first aid, and general UL gear, MYOGing, and UL techniques. Most of my created threads are MYOG instructions and trip reports.
I’ve bought things off of GS three times in 5 years. Plus sourcing a SMD Haven on behalf of Manfred during his Brooks Range Traverse. I’ve sold one item. I’ve PIF’ed a bunch of stuff: 1 to 3 items in each of about 50 mailings, although I’ve only created 3 PIF threads. Mostly, I’ve offered 6 or 10 of some saw or subdivided quantity of cordage/fastener/SAK, etc within a MYOG posting or in response to a particular person’s gear list or MYOG project when I had something that would help lighten their kit. Therefore:
I’d suggest that PIF threads be allowed where ever the thread creator wants to post them. I think gifting something for the benefit of others in the community is inherently different than monetizing your old gear in this slower, smaller, less sophisticated, but far more specific version of eBay. Examples: If I PIF’ed several old, functional Thermarests maybe specifying a youth group like BSA or GSA that maintains a gear locker for their members; then I’d put it up in GS or perhaps in GS, Scouting, *and* the regular forum. But if I spent a bunch of time making a batch of HX pots from beer cans, I’d prefer to offer them on the regular forums out of concern that someone who only Gear Swaps might want it mostly because it’s free while someone who regularly posts content seems more likely to ask for it when it adds new functionality to their kit.
I don’t think there needs be a hard policy on PIF listings – I’d prefer flexibility for the PIFers. I’ll continue to mostly make PIF offers within gear-list threads by others, discussions of gear, or MYOG threads that I’ve created.Jun 9, 2016 at 7:53 pm #3408057Mark V.BPL Member
@room210Locale: Northern California
I agree with the thought of the PIF post being allowed anywhere and have the WTS/WTT posts contained within their own section like Chaff. But I would also go one step more and allow WTB threads to be treated like PIF threads. I know this may not be popular, but it would give the WTB person greater coverage and not detract from the WTS/WTT group.
That is my $0.02 anyway.Jun 10, 2016 at 2:34 am #3408088David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
“That is my $0.02 anyway.”
Since you can only repost with a significant price drop, the next comment must be $0.018 or less.Jun 11, 2016 at 11:53 pm #3408359L LanianBPL Member
@lanianLocale: California, U.S.A.
Gear trade had an interesting model. I don’t know how creative you plan to get if you separate, but having categories would be invaluable.Jun 13, 2016 at 9:55 pm #3408705Katie MuilenburgBPL Member
I agree that separating Gear Swap from other forums and recent topics would significantly clear up those spaces. Gear Swap takes up A LOT of space.
I also strongly agree that separating active and inactive/sold Gear Swap posts would improve the Gear Swap experience. If I want to buy something, it’s frustrating to read a post hopefully, only to see at the end that it is already sold. Having to sift through so many “solds” to find things still available sometimes deters me from using Gear Swap, and it’s a great resource that just needs to catch up in user experience greatness.Jun 14, 2016 at 4:33 pm #3408889
Too many professional gear traders using BPL as an income source that do not care at all about the community. We should make gear swap the BPL home page so that they have to do as little as possible to make money off the BPL community.Jun 14, 2016 at 9:38 pm #3408934Judith HumbertBPL Member
Hi does anyone know how I can unsubscribe from receiving all the new gear swap posts in my email inbox? Been getting them since the website change. Have looked all over the site trying to fix this. Any suggestions appreciated! TIAJun 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm #3409018JCHBPL Member
@pastyj-2-2Jun 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm #3409021JCHBPL Member
@cluemonger’s comment got the wheels turning…so I’ll put it out there to see what sticks…
If the following are true, as they have repeatedly been purported to be:
- BPL costs a lot of money to run (last number I heard was $4k/month?)
- The vast majority of traffic is Gear Swap
- A majority of the most frequent posters, those whose contributions are highly valued by the community, rarely use Gear Swap
- There are a lot of professional gear traders using BPL
Then why not consider a small per-listing charge for Gear Swap, say…$1 per listing? The extra income could help develop, maintain and (god forbid) grow Gear Swap into a more vibrant marketplace, while simultaneously improving the function of the “non-commercial” forums by removing that traffic and helping to defray operation costs. Those who rarely post on GS would suffer very little of the financial burden, while those who profit from GS pony up to support it. We already have a “must offer a BPL specific deal” to use Gear Deals (no extra cost to post there), so most of our cottage/garage entrepreneurs would be minimally affected financially.
Discuss!Jun 16, 2016 at 8:03 pm #3409313
Its possible that the gear swappers that never read the forums or have any interest in BPL beyond selling gear were unaware of their disturbance to the forum discussions until the sticky showed up at the top of gear swap.
It does appear that some of the gear swappers have toned it down a little, and some forum topics are picking up participants as threads linger on the recent page for more than 2 minutes.Jun 17, 2016 at 12:22 pm #3409406
Imagine a hypothetical seller, Big Dealer.
They could have one thread, Big Dealer For Sale Thread.
In that thread the first post could list their shipping and contact information.
The second posts could be used to list items available. As needed additional post could be added by Big D to update available items after the editing period has closed for their previous sale offerings.
Buyers could use PM to avoid cluttering the forums with PM Sent, etc.
Serious swappers could pay $50/mo to have their thread stickied to the top of gear swap. If there becomes too many stickies, then up the price towards $500/mo until the desired number of premium vendors are stickied to the top of gear swap.Jun 18, 2016 at 8:09 pm #3409603BPL Moderator TeamAdmin
Thank you for all the great feedback on this. We will start the process now of exploring some options for separating Gear Swap from the forums, and assessing how those options will affect site speed and usability. Stay tuned!
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