Announcement Changes for the trading forums

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Gene, Feb 22, 2016.

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  1. Gene

    Gene Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2013
    Location:
    North Jersey / NYC
    In the short time since we launched this site, a lot of things have changed in the beer world. Some are obvious and quantifiable: There are more breweries everywhere, and the breweries that were small when we started have gotten bigger (in some cases, much bigger). There are more great beers to seek out than ever before. Nevertheless, there is another factor which is harder to measure - while the production side of the craft beer industry has been growing, so has the base of craft beer consumers. Unfortunately, most of these sought-after beers are brewed in the same small-batch quantities they were a few years ago, while the number of people looking for them has grown significantly.

    Meanwhile, as has always been the case, the community is layered with people on a wide scale of experience, from brand new to FTowne. This gradient has only gotten wider. The things many of us are fully used to at this point, particularly when it comes to the agony of a bottle release, are still quite surprising to those newer to the scene. Often, the knee-jerk reaction amongst the latter group is to criticize a brewery when they’ve just been shut out of bottles. To those of us who’ve been doing this for a while, it can be frustrating to witness, often leading to accusations of entitlement, or worse. This is just one example of the increasing tension in the community. Trading is another.

    I may not be able to fix beer releases, but I do have the responsibility to make sure beer trading, and every other aspect of this community, are operating on a basis that is true to our mission. TalkBeer is supposed to be a place where much of the BS that you encounter elsewhere is peeled away, you can talk about whatever you happen to like besides beer, and trading is more fair because it is more open.

    That last part has slipped a bit as of late. First, we’ve seen a lot of people join the site and make their first trade offer right away. This is problematic for a number of reasons: Big trades are normal here, but only because generosity and fairness have been the norm for a long time. Newer users may be accustomed to how things work elsewhere, in which the objective is to land as much “ISO” for your “FT” as possible. Here, things work differently - the majority of people on this site know what they’re doing, and care deeply about preserving fairness. Trying to “win” trades like that is clearly frowned upon. It takes some getting used to if you weren’t in this community during the “good old days” when that was the norm in more places.

    Second, this has inspired a lot of hostility from some long-time members of the community. We keep the trade forum open to comments because this transparency can be incredibly valuable, both to those making trade offers (“Am I off?”) and to those browsing them. That being said, many people have been assuming the worst when they see an offer they don’t like. Instead of specific, helpful feedback, we’ve seen a lot of name-calling, antagonism (in both GIF and narrative form), and other disproportionate reactions. This needs to stop. We are exploring ways to encourage more helpful feedback systemically, but I think we’re still in a place where I can trust you guys to take a step back and figure out more constructive ways to provide input on trade threads. Please note that disparaging comments in trade threads not specific to the trade offer may be construed as personal attacks, and will be subject to moderation or other consequences. Besides, my hope is that the overall quality of new trade offers will improve as a result of today’s changes.

    Speaking of which, I should get to the point and tell you about today’s changes! Effective immediately, only established users will be able to post in the ISO:FT forums (Beer Trading Help and Beer-It-Forward remain open to everyone). To avoid abuse, the specific criteria for becoming eligible are not going to be public, but they are designed such that joining and making a bunch of posts won’t cut it, even if those posts receive a bunch of likes. There are a number of factors considered. I think this will go a long way towards ensuring people who are new to the site will have adequate exposure to our unique culture before diving into the deep end.

    At the same time, we have removed the ability to lock your own trade thread. The feature was introduced as a way to indicate that a trade had been completed, but it has seen far more use as a way to prevent anyone from posting comments on an offer. I understand that as the hostility has grown, some have wanted to shield their trade threads from it, but I’m confident that these changes will have the effect of dialing down the intensity here. As I said above, we won’t tolerate abuse towards individuals in the trade forum; if you want to criticize a trade offer, be specific, and please try to assume good intentions before posting. Just because someone was "off" on their first offer (or their first three) doesn't mean they can't figure it out with some guidance!

    Please let me know if you have any feedback or experience any issues. If you haven’t logged in for a while, it might take a few minutes for your eligibility to get processed.

    Enjoy!

    Gene
     
  2. Gene

    Gene Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2013
    Location:
    North Jersey / NYC
  3. Gene

    Gene Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2013
    Location:
    North Jersey / NYC
    To answer a question that has come up from a few long-standing members, I'll reveal one of the criteria. This should have been an obvious one, but you will need to set an avatar to become eligible. It may seem silly, but so is walking into a convenience store wearing a ski mask!
     
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