Changes to the Screwfix Community Forum

Discussion in 'Just Talk' started by screwfix.alex, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    At the start of November I asked what changes you'd like to see on the forum, in order to make it a better place for you to share advice, expertise and socialise. I'm now able to confirm that we will be going ahead with some of those changes in the very near future; as early as next week in fact. There will be a variety of changes, ranging from the way that we as a company interact with the forum and its members, through to the look and feel of the forum itself. Below is an overview of the changes which you can expect to see on the forum in the coming weeks and months:

    • Moderation - Please see the paragraph at the foot of this post for more details on moderation. In addition, we've already made some changes behind the scenes, preventing bot and spam sign ups. You may have noticed that strange documents do not appear with the same frequency that they used to, as spammers took advantage of our forum.
    • Getting Involved - We will become more visible on the forum. The forum team is here to make sure that you get the best experience from the forum, which we will only be able to do by participating in it. We will not be prolific, or high profile, but we will answer certain questions that are posed directly to Screwfix, where appropriate.
    • Q&A Sessions - We plan to test Q&A sessions on the forum, which will be your opportunity to talk directly to members of our buying teams. We'll announce these sessions in advance so that you have a chance to think about what you'd like to ask the team.
    • Look and Feel - The forum will be updated so that things are easier for you to find, with content easily navigable. We will also be integrating the forum more fully into our other sites, with the Twitter and Facebook feeds appearing, as well as clearer links to In reverse, we will be giving the forum more prominence on the main site, Facebook and Twitter, as we encourage new users to take advantage of the wealth of expertise found on the forum and amongst its members.
    • Self Moderation - Ultimately, we would like members of the community to work alongside the existing moderation team to support and stimulate the community.
    Moderation, Acceptable Content and Conduct

    One of the areas which has been highlighted by many members as a source of frustration is the potential for users to post unhelpful, spammy or generally unwelcome posts with little intervention from Screwfix. Whilst we genuinely want to avoid overbearing moderation, encouraging sensible debate on a variety of topics, we will be taking a firmer stance on moderation in order to eradicate the abuse (and community members) which many of you have highlighted as a problem.

    Many of you have expressed frustration at posts being altered, or moderated unfairly. Whilst we would encourage debate on a wide variety of topics, it must be borne in mind that this forum is hosted by Screwfix. As a commercial entity we are subject to restrictions which may not be a consideration on other, independently hosted forums. As such, we reserve the right to edit or remove postings without warning or explanation, although we do try to avoid this as far as possible.

    So that there is clarity on what our moderators will be looking for, and the consequences of breaking those rules, the Moderation Policy is available here, and the Forum Usage Rules are here.

    I hope that you will embrace the forthcoming changes, as we work to improve the Community Forum.

  2. joinerjohn1

    joinerjohn1 Screwfix Select

    Alex, Consider this part in the Forum usage policy,
    "Posts which link to competitor websites, or external sites such as Youtube will be permitted, provided that these are relevant to the thread topic. The decision of the Moderator will be final in determining whether links are relevant."
    Certainly, in the very recent past, all youtube links have been deleted. Heck, even links to sites which by no stretch of the imagination are competing with SF, have been deleted.
    Tom plum has posted some excellent videos on Youtube, showing how to do various plumbing tasks. He's provided links to them here when some new user has been stuck with a problem and needed advice, yet time after time, after time, his links have  always been deleted by (one can only presume) an overzealous Moderator.
    Up to now, it seems their attitude has been one of "Delete every link posted."  I have even seen links to SF's own products, on their own website, that have been edited by SF Moderator.
    How can the decision of the Moderator be final ? when there's still an email address to complain to if someone feels the moderation is unwarranted. The Moderators need clear guidelines.

    Kind Regards JJ1
  3. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    John, you're quite right. In the past, all Youtube links have been removed, but in the future I can confirm that we are addressing this. We appreciate that some of the best advice and instruction can be found on Youtube, so we're amending our policy. Similarly, we also recognise that when you're recommending tools or products, they may be items that we don't stock. Of course we'd prefer it if you linked to the products on, but that may not always be possible, so is unhelpful when we remove the link to an alternative vendor.

    You are also correct in your assertion that moderators need clear guidelines. These have been drawn up internally and moderators will be using these guidelines moving forward. I would stress though that we're learning as part of this process. We might not get it all right at the first attempt, but will be listening and adapting our rules and guidelines so that we get the best out of this fourm.
  4. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Three new posts I've just made. Not appeared as yet. How about a forum where posts are posted when posted?

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  5. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Had another look. 5 minutes now. My 3 new posts in Just Talk have not appeared.

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  6. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    Hi Handy - all three posts are there, even when I'm not logged in. How often does this happen?
  7. tom.plum

    tom.plum Screwfix Select

    Hi Alex, Its been happening since the christmas shut down, some appear a few hours later, some don't appear at all,
  8. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Dunno. I don't normally ask or post new discussions. But I often get different results when logged in than when not.

    The posts have appeared for me now.

    For instance, when logged in, I sometimes only see half the posts in someone's thread. When logged out, they all appear.

    When logged in and only seeing half the posts, I make a reply and can then see them all.

    Weird. Useless.

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  9. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    Ok, thank you. I have raised a support request with the company who are responsible for the forum software, so hopefully will have a resolution before long.
  10. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    If you get any more examples, please let me know. Specifics would be really helpful, as that's what I'll be asked for when the support request is responded to.
  11. joinerjohn1

    joinerjohn1 Screwfix Select

    I don't know who moderates the forum at the moment, but it honestly seems to me that you could enlist the help of some forum members themselves as part of the moderation team ( much like some other forums have) . I have noticed that moderation effectively takes place between 9-5 (so must assume that the moderators are paid by SF. (probably some geek working 9-5 Mon--Fri, with occasional overtime on a Saturday) )
    I personally can't see a problem with perhaps inviting some forum members to actively participate in forum moderation. (obviously these members would not be identified to forum members) This way, SF would at least be fortunate enough to have some moderation over the weekend and late evenings, when we do tend to see more of the Spammy type of posts.
    I would also gratefully request that you give the moderation team simple names , like Mod 1, Mod2, Mod3 (ad nauseum) so that the moderation team can be monitored, so SF at least know if one single person is moderating excessively (or not enough)
  12. petertheplumber

    petertheplumber New Member

    Hi Alex, would it be possible at some time in the not too distant future to have an automated system of e-mailing any reply to a participated post so that customers knew when we had replied and we would know when a customer or another member has replied? It would also be usefull to have a forum that was only available to gas safe engineers so that we can get advice from each other that the general public could not access? Otherwise I have to say that the bunch of guys on this site are great compared to other sites. And I agree with Joiner J's last post.
  13. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    John, yes and yes. Identifying the moderators should be a relatively easy thing for us to achieve - bear with me on this one, but I can get this organised. On your other point, we would like to see the forum 'self moderated' to an extent. As well as making it easier to cover out of hours, it will hopefully give you some sense of ownership of the forum, which can only be a good thing. Again, this won't be instant, but is planned.

    Peter, yes... I've been looking into this and am waiting for some technical feedback, but I'm very hopeful that we can do this.
    facilities likes this.
  14. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    Sorry Peter - that was a yes to the email thing. I think that the 'Gas Safe' forum could work as well, so will see what I can do for you. I'm confident that we have the technology in the forum, but will need to give some thought to how we arrange the access. Again, leave it with me.
  15. petertheplumber

    petertheplumber New Member

    Thanks very much that is worth looking forward to.
  16. joinerjohn1

    joinerjohn1 Screwfix Select

    Cheers Alex, for your reply. Obviously if ordinary members of the forum help with moderation, there would have to be limits to what these moderators could do. For instance, if I happened to be a moderator with full discretionary powers, my first action would be to permenantly ban "doG" for his inane posts. ( a minor annoyance, but an annoyance none the  less)  So some safeguards have to be applied to the potential of forum members ability to ban others. ;)
  17. Captain Leaky

    Captain Leaky New Member

    Breath holding not I am.....
  18. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    Yes, good point - we do have the functionality to adjust the permissions so that you can't all disable one another...
  19. screwfix.alex

    screwfix.alex Member

    Thank you everybody for your feedback. Not all of it will be quick to implement, but the team and I will be moving these things forward.

    In the meantime, I noticed that many of you mentioned some technical problems which have caused irritation. I'd like to try a system for reporting these problems as they occur - you may have noticed a new space called 'Support', which is accessible from the home page. If you experience any technical difficulties/problems, then please post them in this space so that the team and I can pick up on them quickly and easily. Please be as specific as possible, with links, screenshots etc, as if we have communicate with Jive for a resolution, we will be asked for these things.

    We want to keep this space exclusively for support issues, so any other threads started here will be moved or deleted.

    FYI, Jive are currently looking into the delayed posts problem, and may have made some progress on items in the 'Recent Activity' tab showing in chronological order, although I note that it's not quite perfect yet.
  20. Littlehamptonchap

    Littlehamptonchap New Member

    I'm gonna ask Joiner John's mother out for a hot date.

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