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Topic: Standardized Requestor Conditions?

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Subject: Standardized Requestor Conditions?
Date Posted: 2/27/2008 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2007
Posts: 326
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I don't know if this has been recommended yet, but here is a suggestion...

I have noticed a lot of posts recently about requestor conditions.  Naturally, most of those posts are complaints. The issues don't seem to be about RCs themselves, but about how they are worded, that they are too ambiguous, that they come across as being rude, etc.

Is there any possibility of having standardized RCs?  If you choose 'yes' to put RCs on your account, can some sort of options list appear where you click boxes for pre-worded RCs?  That might help to eliminate poor wording, ambiguous phrasing, unintentional rudeness, etc.

Perhaps there could be a week or two of RC nominations and the top 5 or 10 suggestions make the options list. After that, there would not be a blank 'other' box to fill in on your own. If a popular RC gets left off the list, perhaps requests to include one can be sent in and be added to the list at a later time.

Example of acceptable RCs:

  • No books from a currently smoking household.
  • No books from homes currently with cats.
  • No books from homes currently with dogs.
  • If this book is a hardcover, please include the dust jacket.
  • Please send the book only if it is wrapped in plastic.
  • Please do not send former library books.

Benefits of standardized RCs:

  • Only clear, concise, PBS-approved RCs would be available.
  • Elimination of (unintentionally) rude personal attacks. 'Books from a currently non-smoking household' would replace 'Books from a non-smoking household because smokers are stinky.'
  • Elimination of double-posting RCs that are already PBS posting rules, such as 'no water damaged books,'  'no torn pages,'  'no highlighting.'
  • Eliminates wordy or ambiguous RCs that require PMs to clarify.
  • Allows for community imput on what constitutes a reasonable RC.

Anyone have thoughts on this?


Date Posted: 2/27/2008 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I think this has been suggested to R&R before, but they are not in favor of doing them that way. Don't know why, they've just indicated that they'd rather not.

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 760
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too bad the idea has been vetoed, because it's certainly a good one.  I would also leave open an option for "other" that the member could add their own condition if it's not listed in the standard choices.

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2006
Posts: 2,346
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Amy- Your idea is great !

We should have a list of specific conditions to check off - just like the list of email settings( under the setting tab)

There would be specific words and no more  vague, subjective, or long paragraphs about picky requests-

I normally turn down requests from members who have long, wordy requests-- I fear that I won't meet their "expectations" and I just don't want the hassle, nor do I want to be lectured  or "educated"

This is a swap site for USED books - I don't expect book in pristine condition-- I take my chances

I am happy to report that 99.9% of the books I receive are in excellent condition -


Date Posted: 2/27/2008 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
Posts: 1,826
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It's not a half bad idea.  I wonder if they'd be willing to talk about this one again.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 2/27/2008 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I'd only be in favor of pre-existing RCs if there was an option to add additional notes or other RC.  There are just too many personal variables to be covered by a standard, one-size-fits-all checklist, and people often have good reasons for posting the RCs they have, even if it is a reason that is unique to themself.

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2007
Posts: 1,222
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I like this idea. It would definitely cut down (if not eliminate) all the posts complaining about RCs.

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I think that if we had standardized conditions, the list would have to be oppressively long to cover what everyone wants.  Plus, you'd have to add the variations of "not currently in a smoking household" vs. "has not ever been in a smoking household." 

I recently got a condition that applied only to books by a certain author, since they were for a person with some sensitivities.  How would you work that into a standardized RC?

I'm in favor of letting people say what they want.  If they're unclear, then they'll suffer the consequences of that.

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 2,433
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I think it's a great idea. I've got small animals that people are often allergic to so an 'any animal' condition would probably be good, too. I think people should have to possibility of editing them, though, in case they only want HCs with DJ from a certain author that they're collecting or that sort of thing.
Date Posted: 2/27/2008 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2007
Posts: 326
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I understand the desire to leave an "other" option available.  I originally suggested not having one because I could see people dutifully checking the options boxes, then filling up the 'other' space with all of the silly, offensive, picky, or otherwise inappropriate requests that are causing all of the trouble in the first place.

However, if an "other" option was available, perhaps the number of characters allowed in that space could be limited.  It would give you enough room to say, "Only like-new books please" but not "Only like-new books because sometimes I give them as gifts and I like pretty books, books are fun aren't they, especially when they're shiny and smell like new paper, except when I sometimes keep them for myself and then only semi-like new books are fine but only if they smell like roses, but not the fake purfume rose scent, but the read-this-book-in-my-rose-garden- before-I-sent-it-to-you scent that is just so nice, don't you think?" 

This would provide people who have very individualized (but important) RCs with a space to list them, while at the same time preventing other people from hijacking the option space.


I understand that some people really need RCs.  I understand that some people really hate dealing with them. I also understand that R&R already made a decision on this issue in the past.  But after seeing just how many posts there are regarding bad experiences with RCs and to see that RCs are often a detractor to overall PBS satisfaction, would it be possible to revisit this issue?

It doesn't have to change to become my suggestion (I'm not trying to stage a RC coup) but it seems that change of some sort would be helpful. In my opinion the RC system doesn't seem to be working as well as it could and I'm willing to throw my 2 cents in to make a constructive suggestion.  Take it for what it's worth, but those are my thoughts.



Date Posted: 2/27/2008 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2006
Posts: 1,956
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I hate the idea!    I am one of those people who "double-post RCs that are already PBS posting rules."   Until I stop getting books that CLEARLY don't meet the PBS posting rules & having absolutely no recourse when that occurs, I want the option to list the rules, just so people can't say that they didn't see them.  Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time to carefully review the help center or posting guidelines before jumping in and posting books.  In fact, I have had my request turned down for not meeting requestor conditions, when all I request is that books meet the guidelines.

I just don't see a real need for standardized conditions.  We're all supposed to be adults here. 

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 2/27/2008 2:30 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Sorry, I don't see the need for standardized RCs.  This is a site for readers, I just don't get all the members that get all up in arms about having to read and "define" the RCs they get.  What's the big deal?  Read them, interpret them, and accept/or not (be safe and don't accept if you aren't sure).  If you accepted and are still in doubt about your interpretation of their conditions, PM the requestor. 

I know, people often don't like the "extra" work involved.  *shaking head*  I've read soooo many forum posts about how "no one should ever need to  PM someone".  And I know it isn't required, unless it's a textbook or cookbook.  But I just don't understand what these people have against communicating with their fellow members...  But that's just me, and I realize that.  It -is- an issue to some folks.  Ah well.

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 12/12/2006
Posts: 1,081
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DaniLynn, I do the same thing because I got really tired of people sending me books with water damage or writing all over the pages.  I'm not looking for "like new" books at all, just books that conform with the club rules.  It's really too bad that there are members who do comly with the rules, to whom the RC isn't addressing who bother to get "offended" at being "lectured".  Any bad feelings should be saved for the people who are too lazy to participate in this book club as they should!  And I've also had people inform me that they can't send me a book because it doesn't meet my conditions--evry time I have to "bite my tongue" and not snarkily inform them that if they can't send it to me, they can't send it to anyone in PBS.  Urgh.

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2006
Posts: 13
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I have to agree with DaniLynn and yolen. I, too, double post PBS posting guidelines as my RCs. I've gotten enough unpostable (according to PBS guidelines)  books that it's clear to me that many people either don't read the guidelines, or don't believe the guidelines apply to them. At least in the RCs, I can clearly state that I don't want books with writing or highlighting, and the sender has to read that before accepting the request. It has saved me from 2 books with writing on the pages so far, books that should never have been posted in the first place according to PBS guidelines.

I have to wonder: do the people who take offense at RCs also take offense that there are posting guidelines at all?

Mike (Cindy's husband)

Last Edited on: 2/27/08 3:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/27/2008 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/3/2007
Posts: 326
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Before posting books, people should read the posting rules.  Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen.  The result: people are sending out unpostable books.  The response: people need to make RCs that restate the posting rules.

When a book is posted, a little window pops up that lists some conditions the book needs to meet. They say that the book should:

  • Not be missing its cover
  • Not be an ARC
  • Not have water damage
  • Not have excessive wear and be in generally good condition

Suppose you are someone who has never read the posting guidelines in the help center. (No excuse for that, really, but it happens).  You log on to post a book.  You are shown a window with these 4 requirements.  Who knows...  for someone, "good condition" could include tasteful highlighting.  But since highlighting is not on that list, perhaps they think the book is postable.

I am not suggesting that a complete list of the help center information be displayed when posting a book, but would a (slightly) expanded list make any difference?  Or include a link to the help center for easy access?  I know that this is a site for readers, so actually reading the HC guidelines should not be too much to ask, but...  /shrug

If more and more people are having to make RCs to clarify posting rules so that people have 'no excuse not to see them', would that be an indication to edit the list?  Just curious.



Date Posted: 2/27/2008 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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RCs are by definition special requests of a member, so I can see why they don't want to standardize them. I prefer the ones that go into a little more detail, it helps me understand their request better. I just don't understand people going into a tizzy on RCs, if you can/want to meet them do, if not, don't and move on with life. Very simple.

"...inappropriate requests" I want to know what this could possibly be??? Asking for naked pics to be included, a pair of used panties, what??

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 553
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I'm in favor of keeping the user-defined conditions, but I'd also like to see a standard set as well - with a corresponding matching set of indicators in the user profile.  i.e. in my profile I could click on the checkboxes for "My household has dogs", "My household has cats", "My household has honeybees"  and "My household has goats", and then anyone who had selected the standard conditions "No books from households with dogs" or "No books from households with honeybees" would see (or rather wouldn't see, which is better yet) the request bypass me immediately. 


Last Edited on: 2/27/08 4:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/27/2008 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2006
Posts: 13
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"If more and more people are having to make RCs to clarify posting rules so that people have 'no excuse not to see them', would that be an indication to edit the list?  Just curious."

Amen to that! There needs to be a way to ensure new members read and understand PBS posting guidelines before they post. Perhaps they should have to read and sign off on them prior to becoming members?

Mike (Cindy's husband)

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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I will include my vote in keeping the user-defined conditions (RC's)....I don't like the idea of my specific book requests being jammed into a "boxed definition" .... these RC's are suppose to be my specific requests...

Date Posted: 2/27/2008 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/2/2005
Posts: 405
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Personally I support this idea. I really don't see any need for conditions on this site other then health related ones. If they are concerning a specific type of edition, I think that folks should be communicating with the book sender BEFORE they send the book.

Date Posted: 2/28/2008 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 90
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I know I may be new here but that sounds like a splendid idea. Might help with some posters passing on orders that have rc's.

Date Posted: 2/28/2008 9:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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Kristina, there is no way for the sender to communicate with the requestor BEFORE the book they agree to mail the book and then it is a mark on them for cancelling the transaction and puts them at the end of the FIFO line which is NOT fare.

There are many reasons for requestor conditions other than health related issues...why should everyone have to fit in some specific little box as to what they will and won't accept...we are allowed personal preferences.

Date Posted: 2/29/2008 2:11 AM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2005
Posts: 391
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I've been asking for this since they started the RC thing... for whatever reason, they don't seem to be willing to entertain the idea... I think it's crazy that anyone can put anything. Heh... for the first few months, I put in my RC that my book could not have ever been in contact with aliens from Mars. Jupiter was okay.

Date Posted: 2/29/2008 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2007
Posts: 189
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Sounds like an excellent idea to me.


Last Edited on: 2/29/08 10:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 3/1/2008 1:25 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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I'm with Danielle and Lisette.  I'm perfectly capable of wording my own conditions.  Plus, some people have conditions only for *specific* books.