Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Worth Mentioning?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Worth Mentioning?
Date Posted: 6/17/2012 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
Back To Top

I'm currently waiting for a requesting member to reply before sending a book.  And yes, I realize this situation should be avoided whenever possible, but that's not my question.  But contemplating the situation, an idea came to me...

In the past, the PBS Team has declined member suggestions to institute a 'check-in' requirements.  Whereby members would be required to check in every so often (the time has also been much discussed) to keep their account active. 

But it occurred to me today...what about a 'check-in' requirement to keep your books/account on auto-request? From reading forum posts??  I know many good members do not necessarily check in every day or even every week.  Some only check-in if they receive an e-mail regarding a pending transaction, or something else that needs their attention.  So say a member doesn't log-in for 30 days (either calendar month or 30 consecutive days), any items auto-requested on their account are moved off of auto-request.  Not suspending their account or anything, just requiring that they check-in after that to accept book offers.  Active members will not loose anything (wishlist position, etc).  Inactive members will have the transactions time-out unaccepted, and after several cancelled transactions their account will be suspended (without having books mailed to them).

Finally to my question.  Has this already been suggested?  Are there negatives I'm not seeing?  Is it worth suggesting to PBS admin?

Date Posted: 6/17/2012 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
Back To Top

That would be totally backwards IMO. I would think, if anything they'd want to toggle everything to auto so the system isn't waiting on the person. The whole point of autorequest is so that they system does everything for you. Everything runs smoothly and the only problem that would arise is if the sender would want to do something unusual and wanted communication, which isn't the requester's problem.

Anyone getting multiple offers would be signing in to log in the books and this wouldn't affect them. It would be the people who aren't too active and have their account set to auto so they don't have to check daily when they don't do much. The system would kick their stuff off so when their rare offer came in, they'd lose out when they may well have come on to log the book in just fine.

You'd be getting to the same end already in place (suspending inactive accounts after non-response) with more hassle to members who are good members, they just aren't on the site all the time. Keep in mind that only a very small fraction of the members use the forums. If a member doesn't use the forum, they aren't going to be coming to the site unless they have activity. If they have a small  wish list, they may not get a book every month, something like this would disqualify them from using AR when it is really designed for those kind of members in mind IMO.

Date Posted: 6/17/2012 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
Back To Top

I always assumed the whole point of auto-request was so people wouldn't have to visit the site every time a book got offered to them.

Date Posted: 6/17/2012 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
Posts: 389
Back To Top

I don't think this is backwards.

I made a similar suggestion once and someone got very upset about it. I don't think anything should happen until an email is sent reminding the person to log in within the next two weeks (for example) or their books will removed from auto-request. I think once per month may be a bit too often, though, and I think the thread was debating between 3 and 6 months. If someone doesn't log in after that long and being reminded, I think that is a good sign they may have forgotten about PBS and won't be able to log in to mark a book recieved. No one has to log on every day and no one loses their place in line. I belong to other sites that ask you confirm your membership from time to time if you become inactive.

I am guessing that TPTB don't get many complaints about inactive accounts that auto-request books or else they would have instituted a stricter policy like this.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 12:57 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 170
Back To Top

I have always been nervous about auto request and inactive members.  I always send books DC so I'm covered.  When I joined DVDswap some of the WL DVD's were auto resquested. I mailed them with DC and a couple of them were marked as delivered but never never marked as received.  After they were declared lost in the mail, DVDswap marked them as received.  I assume that DVDswap marked them as received because both were marked received soon after being declared lost.  If I had not used DC,  I would have been out of 3 credits (one was a 2 DVD set). I had several books go lost before I started using DC, but they could have been lost by the PO.  I don't think a check-in system is too much to ask to weed out inactive members. More times than I can count, I have requested a book only to have it sit for 5 days before timing out and I have posted a WL book only to have it roll over and over and over. Inactive members are out there.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 5:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,327
Back To Top

If a member hasn't logged on for a certain amount of time (we don't know how long that is) the server will mark a book "received" instead of lost.  I had that happen with a book I sent once, so it works.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 8:22 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,264
Back To Top

I too have had the system mark books received when the member has been inactive...it works!

I would prefer the "if you don't sign into your account every 30 or 45 or 60 days your account goes inactive" scheme. I see no negatives with it, only positives. I think, for a lot of members that don't have large bookshelves or they are all books that has thousands in the system, PBS just sort of falls off their radar because they are getting any requests and thus have no credits so there is no incentive to reply to a book request when they do finally get one. Or they've changed their email address and because they are not active at PBS, they never bother to update their info here. There are far too many inactives out there and not having a member respond to a request makes a lot of new members feel that this place just doesn't work, they get discouraged and leave without closing their account.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2006
Posts: 3,348
Back To Top

I agree with Lisa. I have most of my books on auto-request to ensure I get them whether I check in or not. Now if I don't have enough credits to cover them, I can maybe understand what she is talking about.. But if I am covered as far as the credits, then my account is not inactive just because I don't happen check in for 30 or so days. If you get an auto request from me and I have the credit to cover it, your book should be sent to me whether I have checked in or not. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF AUTO REQUEST.

Pam

ETA: So say a member doesn't log-in for 30 days (either calendar month or 30 consecutive days), any items auto-requested on their account are moved off of auto-request.  Not suspending their account or anything, just requiring that they check-in after that to accept book offers.   

This is what I don't understand. If I have enough credits, why would my auto requested books be removed from my auto request list just because I don't check in? Even if I receive an auto requested book and fail to check in to mark it received, the system as it is automatically does that for me. The ONLY case where I can see removing an item off auto request is if there were not enough credits to cover the item. The system already does this. Then the request may time out if the person doesn't check in and manually complete the request. But unless their whole auto requested book list is suddenly offered at the same time, I don't see how having one or two or even three books possibility time out would warrant ALL the items on auto request being removed and making an account inactive. I average receiving one to two auto requested books per every 4 to 8 months. I can't imagine why my not checking in, let's say, for a month would require removing my items from auto request and putting my acct on inactive status. I mean, life happens. Some days, PBS doesn't even cross my mind. And if I know in advance that I am going to be gone for a while, then I simply put my acct on vacation hold. I think the system works very well as it is. It has numerous check and balances already in place.



Last Edited on: 6/18/12 9:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/18/2012 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,727
Back To Top

they get discouraged and leave without closing their account.

Well, to be fair, PBS does not make it easy to close an account. If you search the Help docs for "close my account" .... you do not get to the proper help document.



Last Edited on: 6/18/12 8:47 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/18/2012 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I've always thought we could weed out a ton of inactives by implementing a mandatory check in once every 60-90 days or so. I mean really, it only takes a couple of minutes to log into your account.  If you don't have time to do that once every 90 days then how would you have time to accept a book, wrap it and mail it out or mark a book received? 

Maybe it would inspire people who don't trade much to add some books to their WL or post some books they have laying around since they have to log in anyway. 

What would also probably do a good job of weeding a bunch of inactives out is to just send an automated email once a year to any account that hasn't had a log in for say 6 months and tell them if they don't log in by x date they'll be put on vacation.  Then vacation any where the email bounces back.



Last Edited on: 6/18/12 9:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/18/2012 9:25 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I don't think  30days would be a long enough time.  It would have to be at least  60 days. A requirement of a log in once every 6 months would probably be enough to weed out inactives without causing too much trouble to people who only do a couple of trades a year. I don't know if I'd bother staying  a member if I only did a couple of trades a year, personally.  But I'm not usually looking for anything rare.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 12:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 8,022
Back To Top

I agree that PBS and the sister sites need to have a "check-in" system.  An email that just says "You have not logged in [x] days, please click on [link] to confirm that you are still active and would like for your account to remain open; otherwise, it will be put on hold until the next time you sign in."  I have been a member of many websites that have implemented this scheme and it's much better for everybody all around.  Personally, I think once every 6 months would be fine. 



Last Edited on: 6/18/12 12:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/18/2012 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
Back To Top

I've always thought we could weed out a ton of inactives by implementing a mandatory check in once every 60-90 days or so.

I've always thought it would weed out a lot of quieter, but still active accounts too. Just not as active as forum users. The day they implement check-ins, both my sister site accounts will be closed because I don't use them like here. I let the system do what it is supposed to and have, more than once, not realized I had a wish granted until the CD or DVD showed up in the mail.

If you search the Help docs for "close my account" .... you do not get to the proper help document.

I always wonder why people try to search on long phrases. You'd get exactly what you needed by typing in "cancel", "close", "close account", "cancel account". Isn't it common search knowledge that you don't include words like my, the, and, I, etc and just use the key words?

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I only use the DVD site a couple of times a year. I wouldn't find it a hardship to check in once every 90 days or so to keep my WL active. It's not like it's time consuming and it lets the site know that I still want the account open. 

If someone would leave the site becuase it's too much trouble to sign in once every 6 months then I'd be wondering how they could possibly have the time to deal with a request. 

Clearly they've decided they aren't going to do anything about this.  They could at least reduce the # of time outs allowed or something.  I no longer order books from here with more than a few copies because it rolls over too many times. 

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,727
Back To Top

I always wonder why people try to search on long phrases. You'd get exactly what you needed by typing in "cancel", "close", "close account", "cancel account". Isn't it common search knowledge that you don't include words like my, the, and, I, etc and just use the key words?

Maybe 10 years ago.

I work in web software development. PBS has a very rudimentary search engine that does not work like most modern search engines. So, no, it's not common anymore to exclude words like "the" from searching. There is no need to do so when you are using modern software.

It's true, that I often need to go and think about how I might have phrased a search 10 years ago, in order to find anything on PBS.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
Posts: 96
Back To Top

"If someone would leave the site becuase it's too much trouble to sign in once every 6 months then I'd be wondering how they could possibly have the time to deal with a request."

Why put one more thing on my "to do" list if it doesn't result in much benefit to anyone?  Who loses if I have a book on autorequest but don't check back in for a while?   Inactive accounts are annoying when you request a book from an inactive user but you aren't out anything but a few days of waiting.  You don't give up a credit or a book to an inactive user.  If an inactive user is on autorequest and has the credits, you will get your credit if the user never responds to requests to mark it mailed.  If an inactive user doesn't have the credits, you won't ever have to mail them the book.

But requiring people to check in can mean some members who have credits but no reason to use them yet will lose their credits.  That seems a harsh result to solve a minor problem. 

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
Back To Top

I have a large amount of credits saved up, and 300 books on my WL on auto-accept

If I were to decide that I no longer want to visit PBS for whatever reason, I feel that I have earned the right to use my banked credits and the handy auto-accept feature to have books automatically sent to me for years to come, with little-to-no further effort on my part.

As far as inactive people not marking books received; there is already an effective system in place to deal with this problem on both ends of the transaction.

Automatically weeding out inactive accounts after some arbitrary time-limit seems great on the surface, but the fact is that it will simply bring this site's fantastic looking numbers way down. Things like # of members, # of books posted, # of books traded, etc. would take a big nosedive if large numbers of memberships ceased to exist through deactivation. Frozen/deactivated accounts can't be/aren't included in a site's membership statistics. So, mass-deactivation = bad for company.

A simpler, temporary freeze of a person's bookshelf and WL would cause a lot of extra work, as well as a slew of very angry people flooding the company's email with complaints and demands for reactivation. What company wants to implement some new policy if the most obvious immediate (and long-term) outcome is that it is going to enrage hundreds of their customers, then cause even more work reviewing and reactivating accounts and sending apology emails?

So, I'm not holding my breath waiting for anything new or different to be implemented regarding inactive members.



Last Edited on: 6/18/12 4:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/18/2012 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,727
Back To Top

Yup, Lisa said it. That's what I think too.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 170
Back To Top

It sounds like a number of people are against a check-in system. I don't think getting an email telling you to check in every 6 months is a hardship if you want to keep on receiving WL books, CD's, or DVD's.  The account could just be put on hold until the member checks in, nobody would lose credits.  It would be a big help to weed out the really inactive members.

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 8:05 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
Back To Top

 I don't think getting an email telling you to check in every 6 months is a hardship if you want to keep on receiving WL books, CD's, or DVD's.

It's not a "hardship" in most cases. Just unnecessary.

 

Date Posted: 6/18/2012 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I'm just suggesting that the account be put on vacation if there's been no activity in several months with not even a log in.  They would just have to come back and go off vacation. 

It won't happen so we'll all just suffer through time outs.  Well I won't anymore with book requests, I hope because I only get WL books at this point.  I stopped, for the most part, requesting anyting with more than a copy or two because they'd just time out on me.  I just wait and see if they turn up at the thrift store.

I still don't see how it would be a hardship to log in once every 6 months.  And anyone who had a transaction in that time would have logged in to deal with it and it wouldn't apply to them anyway. 

Date Posted: 6/19/2012 11:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
Back To Top

It sounds like a number of people are against a check-in system. I don't think getting an email telling you to check in every 6 months is a hardship if you want to keep on receiving WL books, CD's, or DVD's. The account could just be put on hold until the member checks in, nobody would lose credits. It would be a big help to weed out the really inactive members.

But there is already a system in place to weed out inactive members and despite what people thing, the Team has said the number of missed transactions is very minimal to get an account placed on hold. It is just that there will always be new people that come on, post and leave, or people that wander away or have things come up and miss a transaction so the impression is that inactive members are allowed to languish in the system for a long time. Adding a proactive action instead of leaving it at the reactive test to keep an account open will weed out more less active accounts along with the inactive.

Date Posted: 6/19/2012 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
Posts: 96
Back To Top

Not all "rolled over" requests are the result of inactive accounts.  Sometimes stuff happens even to "active" members.  They may not think to themselves on vacation hold when they go away for a few days, especially if they haven't gotten any requests lately.  They may have pressing matters that prevent them from checking their account, or they may just forget to accept a request if they planned on checking one more time on the book's condition first.  With the vast number of members and requests, the likelihood that one of these situations may apply to your request is significant.

Date Posted: 6/19/2012 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

Putting someone on vacation with 1 non-response then would be a good thing for someone who forgot to go hold, lost power, got sick etc., It prevents them from losing out on WL books that weren't on autorequest that get posted and from having a book that's been on their bookshelf along time finally get requested.  I know if that happened to me, I'd be happy if they put on vacation with 1 non-response.  So I can just unhold when I get back. 

I don't see that as a bad thing.

Date Posted: 6/20/2012 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2007
Posts: 96
Back To Top

Mary L - but vacation hold is not the same as the proposal to make an account inactive without a check-in.  On vacation hold you can still get books on autorequest. 

Page: