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Old Jun 10, 2008, 02:29 PM   #1
Doctor Q
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Announcement: Major changes for the Marketplace forum

This is an announcement that MacRumors is going to change the nature of its Marketplace forum in July.

The Marketplace forum will become a smaller, more privileged area of MacRumors. Fewer members will be able to participate, but for those who qualify we expect it to be a much more hospitable place, with a better atmosphere, fewer problems, and a higher percentage of successful transactions.

Some members will lose Marketplace access at least temporarily, but we ask for your cooperation in making the new system work for the benefit of the membership as a whole.


Background

The Marketplace forum is an area of the MacRumors forums where qualified members can make deals to buy, sell, or trade personal items, typically but not always Apple products.

The ability to start Marketplace threads has been available only to qualified members, based on a minimum post count of 100 in other forums. The purpose of the requirement is two-fold: to provide a more personal and private area for these transactions among a smaller community, and to prevent outsiders who are unknown to other members and have no other reason to be at MacRumors from starting threads. We don't want them to take advantage of a benefit intended for our regular forum members.

As our community has grown, and people have been spending more and more time online, the qualifications we require for Marketplace participation have grown less effective. The forum moderators spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with Marketplace problems, including removing posts that violate Marketplace rules, stopping members who make useless and rapid posts (spam) to build up their post count for Marketplace qualification, and dealing with problems that result from new and unknown members making deals that later fall apart. Although MacRumors is not responsible for the success of Marketplace transactions between our members, it is in our interest and the interest of our members that the Marketplace have a high success rate.

Many members have voiced concern over problems in the current Marketplace. We think these changes will address those concerns, serve the overall membership, and go a long way toward solving the frequent problems.


What's changing

Next month, the Marketplace will become available only to qualified members, and we are raising the requirements for qualification.

We will no longer distinguish the requirements for starting threads vs. replying to threads. In order to start threads, reply to threads, or view threads in the Marketplace, members will need
  • at least 250 posts in other MacRumors forums (in which posts count)
  • to have been a MacRumors member for at least 6 months (180 days)
To make a smooth transition to the new Marketplace environment, there will be a transition period from July 1, 2008 to July 15, 2008. We're giving you advance notice with this announcement.

We have introduced a new user title to distinguish members with 250 posts.


Schedule

On July 1:
  • The transition period begins.
  • The Marketplace forum will change to the Marketplace Archive forum.
  • The Marketplace Archive forum will remain open for posting replies but closed to new threads.
  • Members already involved in Marketplace deals can make posts to complete their transactions during this transition period.
  • A new Marketplace forum will become available, in the Community section, only to qualifying members.
  • Only members with 250 or more posts and memberships of 180 days or longer will be able to participate in the new Marketplace forum or see its threads and posts in the New Posts display, the Forum Spy, or in results of forum searches.
  • For everyone else, the new forum and its threads will not appear, as if the "Exclude Forums" list in their User Options included the Marketplace forum (mandatory exclusion).
  • Marketplace threads will no longer be shown on the MacRumors front page.
On July 15:
  • The transition period ends.
  • The Marketplace Archive forum will be closed to posting and moved to the Archive section.
  • Members still involved in deals in the Marketplace Archive forum must rely on Private Messages and/or email, not posts, to complete their transactions.
  • The new Marketplace forum will remain available only to members with 250 or more posts and memberships of at least 180 days.
  • For everyone else, the new Marketplace forum will be unavailable until they reach 250 posts and 180 days of membership.

New user title

Previously, we did not have a user title that began at 250 posts, but now it is beneficial to have one.

We have changed the user titles so that members get user title 6502 at 250 posts and user title 6502a at 500 posts. Members who were previously 6502 are now 6502a and members with between 250 and 500 posts are now 6502 instead of Regular.

Therefore, user title 6502 or above (plus 6 months membership) is required for Marketplace access, while user title 6502a is required for a forum avatar.

Although the 500-post user title has changed, this is the same post count previously required for an avatar. Avatars require 500 posts, as before.
Old:
Member => 50 posts
Regular => 100 posts
6502 => 500 posts (minimum required for avatar)
New:
Member => 50 posts
Regular => 100 posts
6502 => 250 posts (minimum required for Marketplace forum access)
6502a => 500 posts (minimum required for avatar)
Note: The 6502A chip was used in the Apple III computer, and "a" also stands for avatar.

Have questions?

The following post answers many likely questions, but you are invited to post your own comments and questions (and yes, complaints) in this thread.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 02:30 PM   #2
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Marketplace Changes FAQ: Overview

Why are Marketplace changes being made?
To return the Marketplace to its role as a smaller community of well-established members, improve the atmosphere and success rate, reduce problems that have become too common, ensure better compliance with Marketplace rules, lessen the frustration for our established members who use the Marketplace, and let the forum moderators spend more of their time helping members in other forums.
What exactly will change?
  • The minimum posts required to access the Marketplace forum will be increased from 100 to 250 and you will also need to have been a forum member for 180 days or longer.
  • These qualifications will be required before you can start threads, post replies, or even view the Marketplace forum.
  • The changes will be phased in from July 1 to July 15, 2008.
  • The 6502 and 6502a user titles are now distinguished, with 6502 for reaching 250 posts and 6502a for reaching 500 posts.
  • Currently existing Marketplace threads will remain visible but will be archived and closed to posting.
Does this change the rules for the Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum?
No. The Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum will continue to require a minimum post count of 100 to start a thread or post a reply.
Why not use a feedback system to identify good and bad sellers/buyers/traders instead?
We have considered adding a Marketplace feedback system to MacRumors, but that would add management overhead for our small staff. We are not adding one at this time, but have not ruled it out for the future.

We suggest that members reference their feedback at other sites and/or in other Marketplace threads when making Marketplace offers.

It would not be feasible for us to rely on feedback at other sites to let members qualify for our Marketplace forum, nor do we want to require members to prove themselves elsewhere when they can establish their credibility by their activity at MacRumors.
Why not just sign up more moderators?
Moderators are volunteers, and we don't like asking them to attend to frequent Marketplace problems. We already devote more of their time to the Marketplace forum than we want to.

Other reasons: Management overhead for our small staff would increase if we had many more moderators just to cover the Marketplace forum. Increasing Marketplace enforcement might let us remove members who cause problems more quickly, but there would still be a regular influx of new members with very few posts. Rather than deal with problems after they happen, we want to prevent them before they occur.
With tougher requirements, won't members go to other sites to make deals?
Some will, and that's fine. We do not operate our Marketplace for profit, as commercial trading sites do, but as a service to some of our members. The focus of our site is news and rumors about Apple and its products, business, and customers, not the Marketplace forum. If our Marketplace is the main reason a person is at MacRumors, their interests do not coincide with ours.
Won't the higher post count minimum cause people to make more spam posts?
Probably not. The moderators catch members who go on a posting spree trying to reach 100 posts. This user behavior is much rarer for members approaching the 500 posts required for a forum avatar. We think that's because established members are more aware of the rules and what's acceptable, and have more to lose (a longer standing membership) if they violate rules. The same should be true for 250 posts, and the minimum length of membership discourages spamming by newbies.
Won't there be a rush of posting and Marketplace threads to beat the July deadlines?
Perhaps, but they are permissible if they comply with forum and Marketplace rules. A member with 99 posts may make a few more posts, qualify, and choose to start a Marketplace thread in the next couple of weeks, but the forum moderators will be on the lookout for forum spamming.

Even if there's disruption from last-minute dealmaking as a result of our announcement and transition period, we feel that having prior warning is the best choice for for the members who are using the current Marketplace.
Do these changes guarantee I'll have successful Marketplace transactions?
No. We hope and expect that the Marketplace changes will reduce the occurrence of both minor problems, like miscommunications, and major problems, like nondelivery, but we make no guarantees for the success of any Marketplace transaction. Marketplace deals are between individuals, and MacRumors is not a party to those transactions.

Each member must choose whether or not to make deals with other members and is responsible for all risks. We ask that you bring any problems to our attention, but we are not a dispute resolution service.
Are the new rules final and permanent?
Extensive planning has gone into these changes and we are committed to implementing what we have announced as scheduled. However, we are always open to making adjustments in rules, policies, and the organization of the MacRumors forums. We have made changes to the Marketplace and its rules many times over the years to "fine tune" them. Our forums and our rules have evolved to best suit our membership and we rely on user feedback for the evaluations we do regularly.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 02:30 PM   #3
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Marketplace Changes FAQ: Marketplace qualifications

Why is there now a minimum required length of membership? Will the 6-month requirement exclude many members?
The minimum length of membership will weed out new members who purposely post rapidly to build their post count for Marketplace access, and also make it more likely that a member becomes "known" to other members (by participating in more threads) before joining the Marketplace. Our statistics show that almost all members with 250 worthy posts have reached 6 months or are close to it.
Why are the cutoffs 250 posts and 6 months?
We have tried to strike the right balance between values too small and values too large. We've studied Marketplace successes and failures and looked at membership statistics in making our choices. In our judgment, the minimum of 100 posts to start a thread and no posts to reply to a thread was allowing too many poorly known members to participate, while a minimum of 500 would leave too few qualified members.

Six months gives other members time to meet a new member, and should reduce or eliminate the temptation for a new member to make posts simply to gain Marketplace access quickly, as we have seen happen.
What user title is 250 posts?
User title 6502 (awarded at 250 posts) or higher is required for Marketplace access, along with at least 180 days of forum membership.

See list of user titles in the FAQ.
I don't meet these qualifications. Will I see Marketplace threads?
Not in the new Marketplace forum. You will still be able to see the Marketplace Archive forum, which will be closed to posting July 15.
I already qualify. Won't this take away most of my potential buyers?
It will reduce the quantity of potential buyers but increase the average quality of potential buyers.

Our experience has shown us that those who have been at MacRumors for many months or years and have been regular participants in our forums are the best prospects for a Marketplace transaction. Well-established members have made an investment in our site and are unlikely to risk it by making bad faith deals or violating Marketplace rules. They are also much easier to know and evaluate because they have a long track record at MacRumors.
What if I pay for MacRumors membership? Why not charge a fee to use the Marketplace?
Paying for MacRumors membership does not let you post in the Marketplace (or bypass post count requirements required for other forums or for having an avatar). Paid membership is for the purpose of supporting MacRumors, and gives you small thank-you rewards, primarily ad-free pages, a special user title, and access to a private discussion forum.

Although the new Marketplace forum is also a "private" forum since it has membership requirements, access to it is not part of paid membership.

We greatly appreciate those who support our site, and providing access-for-pay would increase our income, but we do not feel it would be fair to other members to allow anyone to buy access to the Marketplace, since this would not provide the familiarity to other members that we think is necessary. We also realize that scammers hoping for a big payoff might consider a fee to be a business expense but not a prohibitive factor.
Why do you equate post count and length of membership to trustworthiness?
We don't, but forum privileges have to rely on factors we can measure. We can't compute people's personal qualities, only measure what they do at MacRumors. Familiarity breeds trust, and forum participation is our measure of familiarity.
Can members who don't qualify for the Marketplace sell in other MacRumors forums, like Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion?
No. That would defeat our purposes. It's also against the rules.

Threads or posts for this purpose will be removed and violators may be subject to discipline, especially for intentionally or habitually bypassing or breaking rules.

Until members qualify for the MacRumors Marketplace, they should use other websites to buy, sell, or trade. We also consider it inappropriate for members to start "Thinking of selling, how much should I charge?" threads outside the Marketplace forum, because these threads too often become (or are intended as) "for sale" threads.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 02:31 PM   #4
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Marketplace Changes FAQ: What it means to you

I just joined MacRumors and I'm a great person. Why shouldn't I be allowed to use the Marketplace?
We are glad to have you at MacRumors and hope you participate in our forum discussions and eventually become an established member. We are not excluding you from the Marketplace because of something negative about you. Our members simply need to know much more about you, through your posts over time, and we need to know that you have an investment of time and attention in our site before we expect other members to have a sufficient comfort level in dealing with you. This is a generalization, and not about you personally.
I have 150 posts and have used the Marketplace successfully. Why am I now excluded?
Because we are tightening the requirements. You very likely have already met the requirement for length of membership. If you continue to be a regular participant in other forums, you will likely qualify again for the Marketplace in a matter of months. (Posting rates vary from person to person, of course.)

Once you qualify, you will benefit because of the changes we have made, since only equally qualified members will be offering to make deals with you.

We do not feel it would have been fair to "grandfather in" previous users of the Marketplace. We would have had to let everyone in, including members who have caused problems, since it would not be feasible to evaluate members individually to decide who deserves access and who does not.
Can I have an exemption from the new Marketplace rules because ___(fill in reason)___?
No. That would not be fair to other forum members.
When I first qualify, what do I have to do to gain access to the Marketplace forum?
Nothing. Your access will begin within 24 hours after you reach 250 posts and 6 months of membership. Please do not contact us about access problems unless at least 24 hours have elapsed.
I'm a fairly new MacRumors member. What do I need to know or do?
Nothing. If you become a regular forum participant, you will eventually become eligible for the Marketplace forum. In the meantime, it should be out of sight, out of mind.
I have 100 posts but not yet 250 posts, or have been a member less than 180 days. What do I need to know or do?
If you are not involved in a current Marketplace thread, nothing.

If you are involved in a current Marketplace thread and are thinking about making a deal, you should make up your mind. We do not encourage members to make hasty decisions without careful thought, but you should know that your ability to exchange messages in the current thread will end July 15.

If you are in the midst of a Marketplace transaction, you should try to complete your transaction soon. We suggest that you exchange email addresses with the other party so you will not be limited to Private Messages once the Marketplace Archive forum closes to posting, in case loose ends remain.
I have 250 posts and have been a member over 180 days. What do I need to know or do?
If you are not involved in a current Marketplace thread, nothing. You are welcome to participate in the new Marketplace forum after July 1.

If you are involved in a current Marketplace thread and are thinking about making a deal, you should make up your mind. Even though you will be eligible to use the new Marketplace thread, other involved members may not be, and the thread will remain in the Marketplace Archive forum when it is closed. We do not encourage members to make hasty decisions without careful thought, but you should know that your ability to exchange messages in the current thread will end July 15.

If you are in the midst of a Marketplace transaction, you should try to complete your transaction soon. We suggest that you exchange email addresses with the other party so you will not be limited to Private Messages once the Marketplace Archive forum closes to posting, in case loose ends remain.

If all parties in a Marketplace Archive thread qualify for the new Marketplace forum, they may by mutual agreement start a new thread in the new Marketplace forum to continue where they left off. If this is the case, the original poster should use the Report Post feature to ask a moderator to close the old thread, explaining that a thread in the new Marketplace forum will replace it.
What if I don't complete my Marketplace transaction by July 15?
You can continue to exchange Private Messages or email as you complete your transaction. You will no longer be able to post feedback in the Marketplace Archive thread after July 15.
I HAVE STUFF I NEED TO SELL RIGHT AWAY!!!
That's not a question.

Members who are in a hurry to sell something have been a frequent source of the problems we cite. We are not the appropriate website if you want to make a quick sale without first being a well-established member of the forum community. Participation in the new Marketplace forum will come to those who are patient.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 02:34 PM   #5
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A very smart, well-thought out change IMHO. Well done.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 02:58 PM   #6
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A very good arrangement, in my opinion.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:01 PM   #7
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good stuffs
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:02 PM   #8
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Terrific changes.

Although I don't meet the minimum post requirement - I am glad these changes are being implemented.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:04 PM   #9
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The Doctor is quit good at this sort of thing. Concise and to the point. Well written.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:05 PM   #10
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how about a real high post count, say 1500? that overrides the 6months

there are a couple of new members that have been real active in the past few months who have 1000+ posts who are known around the forums, like alphaod who has 2000+ posts but has only been a member for just over 3 months
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:05 PM   #11
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Makes sense to me -- but with my post count, I'm a little biased. I've also found that people with low post counts don't make very good buyers, so this will help with that problem as well.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:08 PM   #12
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I have to say this is a most excellent idea. The marketplace is not eBay. Well written and concise also.
Now what about some UK user specific ideas? Maybe highlight UK posts in a different colour. Or have a standard box for the country the sale is to take place in? eh?
Not sure how many posts I have. I read a lot but feel my input is often of little value.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:09 PM   #13
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I am glad Arn is taking proactive steps to help ease the load on Mods, while adding to the quality of the site. Well done.

Ah, I'm already a 6502a!
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Peace View Post
The Doctor is quit good at this sort of thing. Concise and to the point. Well written.
You can give me credit or blame for making the announcement, but the thanks should go to the moderators for the effort that went into this. They have worked as a team for months, discussing alternatives, debating the tradeoffs of each choice, formulating the plan, and even helping with the announcement and FAQs.
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:14 PM   #15
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Ah, I'm already a 6502a!
Sod it! I have only 180 posts, actually 181 now. 0.17 a day average - that is real low.

Try not to post too much for fear of being accused of spam.
Come on UK users - do we want marketplace listings to show the country of sale?
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBC B 32k View Post
Sod it! I have only 180 posts, actually 181 now. 0.17 a day average - that is real low.

Try not to post too much for fear of being accused of spam.
Come on UK users - do we want marketplace listings to show the country of sale?
you only have 181 posts and have been a member since 05..i dont think you are in any danger of being called a spammer
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:25 PM   #17
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before 2005 I spent many years as a voyeur, waiting to see if I would fit in. So technically I have been lurking around since 2003. Even worse eh?
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:27 PM   #18
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I hope I'm not considered a spammer... I tend to make quick posts only because I genuinely get excited about this stuff (it also helps my work day to pass a bit quicker).
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:29 PM   #19
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Come on UK users - do we want marketplace listings to show the country of sale?
It may be handy, especially when considering dispatch costs. However, I'm happy to ship to/buy from either side of the pond (or Australia or Canada or, or...) - how would you mark that?

Oh, and huzah for the changes!
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:30 PM   #20
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Sounds like good changes guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by squeeks View Post
how about a real high post count, say 1500? that overrides the 6months

there are a couple of new members that have been real active in the past few months who have 1000+ posts who are known around the forums, like alphaod who has 2000+ posts but has only been a member for just over 3 months
This is a good point, but it would make the rules more complex to do it like that .
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:30 PM   #21
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worldwide?
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:30 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by BBC B 32k View Post
Try not to post too much for fear of being accused of spam.
Come on UK users - do we want marketplace listings to show the country of sale?
If you start to differentiate one country from the others then. There'll be calls to do the same for every other country..
The seller could just add the country to the post title, isn't that easier?
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:33 PM   #23
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Great choices and reasons. This will help out the marketplace a lot. Thanks MRs
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 03:34 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by bartelby View Post
If you start to differentiate one country from the others then. There'll be calls to do the same for every other country..
The seller could just add the country to the post title, isn't that easier?
Was thinking of the possibility of viewing only threads with particular countries via some sort of check box or icon. When searching for me do I use UK or England or Britain etc...
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 04:26 PM   #25
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Sounds like a good idea. However, I bet there are a bunch of people (myself included) that get hurt by this. At my rate of posting, it will be another 3 years before I can even see the new marketplace. I doubt you're going to change these new rules, but how about something like keeping the 250 post count/6 months time to start a thread, but allowing those with 2 years or more of membership to view/post in existing threads? It seems like people in my situation (been around for a while, but don't have much to say) are getting punished for the sins of others.
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