We've had a few concerned messages recently about swaps on CO+K. As much fun and pleasure they give when they go well, there seems to be a lot of negativity and drama when things don't work out. So... we'd like to discuss the future of swaps with you guys.
We have three options:
1. No swaps on CO+K (keep it all about the crafting).
2. We link up with a system that already does swaps (Swap-Bot or similar).
3. We create our own system for swaps.
Our main priority is to keep the community a happy and positive place, so let us know your opinions!
I like option 3. Though mostly swaps on here go well, I think if the swap feedback thread was kept as a sticky at the top of the swap board then everyone could see it was there and it may make people think twice before flaking. It may not but at least people have somewhere to warn other swappers.
We have an idea which would link swaps to projects... so the big change would be that you would have to post a photo of your completed item before you could take part in the swap. This would hopefully stop people from signing up to swaps and then not having time to make something. Also the way people would be paired would change and be automated, along with tracking... it's something we'll have to work out in more detail though.
I'd support option 3. I used to do a lot of swaps on here and every so often I'd get flaked on and I was okay with that. What put me off was that I got flaked on 3 times out of 5 swaps I was in for and it put me off joining any more. I felt thoroughly crap about it as it was a big highlight for me getting a package in the post and I especially loved the challenge of making stuff for someone else using the info they'd given you.
I don't think posting pics before you join a swap would help as it would stop the swaps from being personal. You would be making for someone before you'd even been assigned a partner. I've never minded what I got from my partner so long as I got something and it would be a shame to loose some of the mystery.
Is there a way we can include swaps in our profile (a bit sugar and several others have on theres). I'm thinking of a system where you sign up to new swap and that appears on your profile. You have a tab to update your status to say if you are creating, have sent out and a final option to say swap recieved/completed (this could only be filled in by someone else (i.e. your partner or the person running the swap)). A bit like Ebay and Amazon have when you are buying from them.
I'm not computery so I don't know how much coding that would involve but its just a thought.
I think an ebay account styley thing would be great. Bid for a partner lol! Nah I mean like a star rating out of 5 on were you happy with it, communication, and postage. So you could have a little grid at the top of your profile with the title of the swap and the feedback for it on show.
In school we have a colour coded system for grades
1 = Bright green (outstanding)
2 = Green (Good)
3 = Orange (Satisfactory)
4 = Red (Poor)
5 = White (could be black as I think it looks worse - for incomplete)
So the aim would be to have a Bright green grid for swaps at the top of your profile for everyone to see.
It motivates the pupils at school, so it could work on here.
I don't think posting a picture would help as people could take a picture of any random items and claim that that's what they are sending and then not go through with it.
I agree with Arty KitKat, maybe some sort of swap rating like on eBay. Then if people don't want a bad rating they don't flake. Obv extenuating circumstances should be taken into consideration, but many people do that anyway with the swaps.
The whole point of the swaps is that you make unique items for people and it's a bit of a surprise so it kind of defeats the point I think.
I totally disagree with option 1... I'm not being funny but there's not much going on here lately -- in the boards at least I find -- and it would be even quieter without the swaps!! Swaps are fun to take part in if people were to follow the rules.
I also noticed that in my bio bit I put a list of the swaps that I had participated in but they have disappeared? I didn't delete it!! It would have been nice to have had a message explaining why it had to be deleted...
Thanks for the feedback everyone. We'll definitely have the ebay style feedback! As for posting the images of the projects... the idea would be that you guys can create a theme for a swap and then to take part, members would create a project and then upload it to the site (this wouldn't appear live on the site at this time), once they've added the project they'll be able to enter the swap and will be paired with a partner. Once the partner has received the project, they can confirm it arrived and then the project would appear on the site. What do you think of this? It's just an idea... so we're really open to any other ideas!
Lolly.bot - we didn't delete anything from your profile... that's very strange. Did it all go missing?
I'm sad to see that swaps arent working out! :( Option 3 is the most appealing for me... the only problem with linking to an outside site is age requirements. (Most have an 18+ rule)
I really like the idea of 'secret projects' for swaps, although it would be REALLY nice if we could know who we are crafting for! Also, a 'status'/ebay system would be fantastic, even if it is managed by users. Also, I think it would be helpful if there were a set of rules that ALL swaps must follow (Ex. Those new to swapping need to send to their vets first, or s request that people not talk about their partners on outside websites without their partner's consent, etc) Also, if there is a 'star' rating system involved, I think that it should mimic Swapbot's...
Looking forward to seeing what swapping with CO+K will become, and I'm optimistic that the changes made will be for the better. :)
I like the 3rd option as well because a lot of people have to some cool ideas for swaps and I would like to continue swapping here, as I have done my most recent swaps on swap-bot.
I also like the idea about the feedback and maybe there can maybe be an option to be able to rate your partner with a comment once you received your swap which will reflect in the feedback reading.
This is how swap-bot's rating system looks to give you an idea:
* 5 - I got my stuff and it met posted swap requirements.
This was an extra special package. Give a heart! (this is optional for the receiver if they feel that the sender did an extra special job or something, and there's a check box for this and will also show how many hearts the swapper has accumulated on their profile)
* 3 - I got my stuff, but it didn't meet the posted swap requirements.
* 1 - I never got anything.
* I do not wish to rate at this time.
I think we have good system going with the end swap feedback and conclusion to this was not to rank swappers.
I'm a little surprised at the automated partnering concept.Being a swap host involves taking into account peoples differing requirements and matching them up.
I'm not too keen on the idea of producing item prior to partnering-swaps are people specific for me.
I still think we need to discuss swap host role and maybe explore buddies for first swap host experience.Looking back at the swaps that were unsuccessful these were new comers to the site who then disappeared maybe this could be a way forward.
I agree with Debs..
I think the swap system is working out ok at the moment, and the fact that the end swap feedback allows us to see who has not completed their swap goes some way to preventing people signing up for swaps that they may not finish. As Debs says, this was mainly a problem with new swappers signing up for swaps without properly considering what was involved, and then dropping out much to the frustration of their partner.
I would like a simple feedback system, showing how many swaps you have successfully completed, but I must admit I am not at all keen on Selina's grading system...I always try to do my best at swaps and make something my partner would like, and after sending it, I worry about what they will think of it, but I wouldn't like to be rated in that way....if i got a "poor" or maybe even "satisfactory" it would put me off sending anything again. Would I get a "poor" if my sewing wasn't quite straight?
Anyway, we are all (mainly) adults here, and I for one don't really want to be treated like a school child.
The swap bot system mentioned by creativemind looks a better option.
I always take into account my partner's likes/ dislikes, age etc when producing items for a swap, to make it a bit more relevant and personal, so I don't like the idea of making the items first, before getting to know my partner .
Most of us post a teaser before sending, which is great because it lets the recipient know that there's something on the way, and builds up a bit of excitement and anticipation. But as for uploading your swap items as projects, some people have a problem with this, either no camera, pictures haven't turned out, or quite simply don't have time to upload projects, especially if you are sending your partner 6-7 items, which happens regularly.
I don't want to see what I'm getting in advance, I love opening the parcels and getting awesome surprises!
This is just my opinion, and I look forward to hearing others.
I really enjoy swapping on this site, and have always found it rewarding. Most swappers are awesome here. I've had great swaps so far, and I can overlook the flakers I've had as just one of those things that happen from time to time.
I think Creativemind's system would be much better. As Nora said, it's nerve-racking enough when sending out some hand-made stuff just in case the person you are sending too doesn't think it's 'good enough', even if you have spent hours on it! If it matches the theme of the swap, was posted and received that is all that needs to be said surely? Plus communication, obviously.
I got flaked on on my first 3 swaps, all people who had previously swapped so yes a majority might be the newbie swappers but not always the case. If I had been flaked on in my 4th swap I would have given up altogether. Not sure why I even signed up to a fourth but I'm glad I did now because the swapping experience is good fun! :D
I'm not 100% clear on this picture/project thing though. You mean we 'publish' a project with our swap items then when it's received it gets published? That could work but I wouldn't want to see before hand, the surprise is most of the excitement of it all :)
Crafterella: Yeah I had a list, only of about 3 swaps right at the bottom of my "About" section. These have disappeared but nothing else has...
In a ranking system, I think it would be good if it was ranked purely on the basis on having the items recieved and stuff rather than the quality of work as some people will be newbies or learning/trying out a new medium or technique on someone.
I think we should have a 3 tiered rank like
2) Not received -- had contact with swap partner
3) Not received -- no contact with swap partner
I don't know... I'm just throwing ideas out there. I think ranking would be good to try and weed out flakers but I get Nora's point also. It's a very difficult position...
Luckily I've never been flaked on but I can imagine how awful it would make you feel. I'm with Ruby I don't get the whole piccie/project thing.
Also the automated partner pairing would be difficult as Essex Debs said people's considerations need to be taken into consideration. Not everyone is able to afford to send out internationally all the time, as well as skills and other such stuff.
Aw sorry to the folks who thought I meant that the grading system would be on the quality of the work done. I am soooooo not meaning that at all. I love being a teacher so that i can motivate and encourage my pupils. Anything that is created is of a huge value to me. I meant for the grading system to reflect the swapping process - so if it was recieved on time and communication was good and it had met all of the swap criteria then it would get a 5 or 5 stars (like on ebay).
No one would want a black or red bar at the top of their profile - that way you could easily spot the flakers plus prevent people from flaking. x
I've only done one swap and it was a brilliant experience. I've sort of been put off doing more because of the issues that have been raised about flakers and crafters expectations not being met.
I like Lolly Bot's 3 tier ranking. It's simple and says what it needs to say without commenting on personal crafting styles that my not be agreeable between swap partners.
Sorry to read that your a bit antsy about swapping Sheila, but also glad to know that you did have a good experience with it. It is a lot of fun participating in, but like a couple of people have said, the flaking was mostly with the newbies. I for one did give a few of them more chances than I probably should have, only to have them flake again on a known good swapper, and it bugged me to no end that they had to deal with that. Though some don't mind that they don't receive from their partner, but it still doesn't make it fair.
I am fairly satisfied with the posting of teasers of items made for partners, but it's no fun crafting in advance before you know who you're crafting for, because again like some have mentioned, we craft specifically to our partners likes/dislikes or preferences, unless it's a theme specific swap. And by no means should there ever be rating of what you received from your partner for obvious reasons. BTW Selina, I knew what your meant.
I don't know exactly how much has improved with the swaps going on here on CO+K as far as the flaking problem because I just stopped swapping here with maybe one or two here and there. So if the end swap feedback is working, then just to continue to go with that, but of course if there is still too many people joining swaps and not fulfilling the obligation then yes, by all means come up with something that will deter the behavior.
Honestly, I like swaps here better than swap-bot because they are more personable and you actually make friends, where as on swap-bot not so much. Don't get me wrong though, I've never been flaked on...yet (knock on wood), but there you join, you swap, you get some pretty neat stuff, you rate and on to the next one. The site is about swapping, but people put a lot of emphasis on the low tolerance of flaking so it's almost like that's what the site is about--not flaking. So I want to get back to having more fun with swapping.
Phew! I am most definately on here to make friends all over the world with the same interests :) I didnt want to go upsetting people :)
I am an ickle bit worried thoug as I am still a newbie - I really want to get rid of that label as I will never flake on anyone :( I just want to make people smile :D big cheesy ones
We also have to look at it from a newbies point of view. With all this rating stuff would it put them off signing up to swapping do you reckon? Too much hassle? Want to fit in and not get a black dot next to their name?
Sorry for misunderstanding Selina, I get ya now ;p
And 100% agree with the girls - it's no fun if you have to make before you even know who your partner is or not make it personalised :| I made some great friends on this site through swapping as you need to keep in contact! Without that I'd feel there is no point :S Hence why a few have opted out of the swap-bot idea (option 2) because we probably aren't on there. Like Creativemind said also, as she is a member there, it's a lot more personal here :)
I do hope all this feedback is worth something. I don't want to just slate everything you've suggested lol, sorry!
One other thing or maybe a couple, maybe there could be button or section where the swaps would be listed for people to see and read the rules what the hosts put as requirements for the swap, including if its international or regional, and you can click to join the swap so it automatically signs you up for it, and will show on your profile what swaps you are in.
These are not my ideas, just some things that are on swap-bot, and I don't mean to copy them per se, but again just to get some ideas.
For those of you who are not familiar with swap-bot, here is link to my profile page to show you the way they have their rating system set up and a list of swaps you're in or hosting:
and a visual of one of my hosted swaps now in progress: (this is not the exact look of what's on swap-bot)
Supernatural Door Hanger Swap
Number of people in swap: 2
Last day to signup/drop: January 10, 2011
Date items must be sent by: January 19, 2011
Number of swap partners: 1
I thought it would be cool to have a Supernatural-themed door hanger swap!
For this swap, you will make one door hanger that is Supernatural related for your partner. It can be any character, quote, episode etc.
You can either make your own or buy one and decorate it, but it should be sturdier than a sheet of paper so that it doesn't rip or tear (if making your own) and make sure the hole is big enough to fit around a door handle.
Let's get creative with these! You can use anything to decorate them... paint, marker, pencils, papers, ribbons, buttons, confetti, tissue, digital images, anything you want as long as it is something you would like to receive yourself, but most of all HAVE FUN!!!
And Selina, I like making big cheesy grins too!! I think most of us declare you a vet once you've done like I think 5 swaps.
And Ruby, as much as we all swear to swapping being so much fun, it might not scare them off too much to give it a try or at I least I hope not, but either that or for those of us who do like swapping and want to be more secure in joining them without fear of being flaked on to stop swapping altogether.
Wow thanks for all the great feedback everyone. I'll discuss with Tom to see what's the best option for something we can get together soon - I think the eBay style feedback will help lots as well as putting together some house rules... I'll ask you all for help with that!
Thanks again :D
I'm back properly for my extended trip to the UK.So can finally actually use a keyboard.
Had a tiny idea?
Is there any possibly of being able to put photo collages of our completed swaps on our home pages ?
If I actually wrote a list of all the swaps I've been in over the past year it feels really long and boring.I think teasers and completed swaps would be much more fun.
Just another idea for the pot.
Ya know I was thinking...when I was suggesting setting up a group for CO+K members on swap-bot for moderation of flakers and such, the rule still applies--ONLY CO+K MEMBERS CAN JOIN THE GROUP, so you wouldn't be swapping with just anyone on swap-bot. The only headache with it is that you have to register on the site and it wouldn't actually be a part of CO+K and there is nowhere on the site to post pix of the creations. Some groups have setup accts on flickr so that members can post there, but again you would have to register. Other than that, everything else would work there the same way it does here, where anyone can host a swap and anyone "who's in the group" can join them, with the only difference is that there would be a rating system already system put into place.
Just a thought if it turns out to be too much work for you guys Cat. Here's the thread where I was suggesting this alternative.