On Saturday July 14th there will be significant changes made to the "Swap N Shop" and "Sponsors And Power Seller Specials". We are making the announcement a week in advance to give those affected time to analyze, adjust and make any changes necessary. We also will be taking user feedback via this thread up until the new system is enacted.
Please read this thread carefully and thoroughly as there have been quite a few changes.
Why make changes?
This site has always been targeted towards the hobbyists and the Swap N Shop was never meant to be anything different. It has recently however turned into a heavily commercialized section of the website. The commercial entities are drowning out the hobbyists more and more. We have attempted to rectify this by separating the Power Sellers and Sponsors into their own forum but it is only partially working and it leads us to the secondary reason:
Its becoming a moderating nightmare. We are constantly having to make judgement calls on very limited information about what is and isn't commercial. Our rules are strictly enforced but it is a very manual process. Many members break the rules simply because they aren't aware they exist. A few members break the rules because they simply fly under our radar for a period of time.
We need a new system that is clear, easy to use and that does not drown out the hobbyists. We need a level playing field with software enforced restrictions that do not require any manual moderation or judgement calls. The new system (hopefully) meets these requirements.
Ok, Ok so what is the new system?
- There will be one forum for "For Sale"/"Trade" and one forum for "WTB"/"RAOK".
- The "Sponsors And Power Seller Specials" forum will be merged back into these two new forums.
- Acts just like any other forum.
- No limit on number of threads.
- No bump time limit
- No limit on replies
- Closely resembles a Classified section rather than a discussion forum.
- No replies/bumps, posts remain in chronological order
- Posts can be edited
- Titles are locked
- Items may be added
- Multiple items may be listed
- Prices have to be listed
- Links/URLs are not allowed
- Threads can be marked as "Sold"
- Threads "expire" after 10 days, but count against user for 30 days. "Expired" threads will no longer be editable.
- Remove power seller option
- Allowed 1 (Regular), 2(Bronze), 3(Silver), 4(Gold/Sponsors) listings
- Sponsors get 4 listings like gold supporters, plus their own forum, banners, and the ability to link to their store or sales threads
- Only Sponsors can have links to their classified listings in their signature
What happens to the current Listings?
- Anything aquarium related can be sold
- No Presales
- No Group Orders
- No Auctions
All "Swap N Shop" and "Sponsors And Power Seller Specials" listings will be closed to replies and no new threads can be created. They will remain this way for 60 days and will then be archived off the main forum.
What happens to Power Sellers?
There will no longer be the level of Power Seller. Current Power Sellers can contact myself via PM and I will give you a pro-rated refund of your current subscription as of July 14, 2012.
The moderators, myself and a small subset of users have already been testing this new system with great success. We believe it will make browsing items far more enjoyable and will level playing field significantly. We understand that these changes are not trivial and there will be an adjustment period but we are confident that they are necessary for the long term health of our great community!