PaperBackSwap Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Buddy List’

DEAR LIBRARIAN, Newsletter – October 2008

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Dear Librarian–How do I find a particular member’s bookshelf so I can look at her books?–Searching in Sweetwater

Dear Sweets,

There are a number of ways, depending on how you “know” the member.  If you know the member’s nickname (if she has a nickname) you can simply enter that in the Member Directory to find her profile.  Her book list is linked from her profile.  Searching for her name in the Member Directory may not take you to the right profile – so many names are common here.  The nickname is unique, so it is a good way to search for a member here.

If you know the member only from a forum post, you can simply click on the Books button on any post she has made.

If you have exchanged Personal Messages, you can click her highlighted name in any PM you have shared and it will take you to her profile (if she has made one) or directly to her bookshelf (if she has not made a profile here).

If she is on your Buddy List, you can click the link to her books from your Buddy List available in My Account.
Dear Librarian–I ordered a book and the first sender didn’t respond.  Now I am waiting for the second sender.  Can’t we do something about these unresponsive members?  –Waiting in Wisconsin

Dear Connie,

Yes!  We’ve tightened the “unresponsive member” mechanism a little bit and added a twist – now if senders miss a few requests, their accounts are placed “under review”.  This prevents more requests from being submitted to them – and holds off any Wish List offers – until they return and remove the review from their account.  We know that members don’t mean to be inconsiderate – they get busy, or their computers crash, or they have to go out of town unexpectedly and don’t think to place the Vacation Hold on their accounts.

This new “under review” status means that requestors aren’t inconvenienced AND the unresponsive sender isn’t penalized by missing requests and wish list offers while she is away from her account.  She can remove the review herself, so it isn’t such a great inconvenience to her either, and that meant we could make it so that a smaller number of missed requests will trigger the Review.  Too many episodes of being under review can culminate in a suspension (which the member cannot remove herself – we have to do this), but most of these missed requests are totally accidental, and we don’t want to suspend members too lightly.  This way, everyone is helped, and everyone is less inconvenienced.  We think this will really help keep swaps moving around the club!

Dear Librarian–What is the difference between the Book Browser and the Advanced Search?  I get the same results when I use either one to search–Seeing Double in Denver

Dear Denny,

Not much, actually.  The search engine is basically the same.  There are a couple of additional search parameters in the Book Browser (for example you can search by book ratings, which you can’t do in the Advanced Search), and the layout is more convenient in the Browser (you don’t have to go “back” to the previous page to refine or change your search terms like you do with the Advanced Search).

It’s a bit of redundancy.  We do know that many people use and like the Advanced Search and we didn’t want to snatch it away from them, although the Book Browser is a little easier to use.  You can find both under Search at the top of the site.

Who’s Your Buddy? Newsletter – February 2008

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Now you know! The Buddy List is now reciprocal–which means that in order to be added to someone’s Buddy List, you must accept his or her invitation to be Buddies.  If you accept, you both go onto each other’s Buddy Lists.  We made this change in order to allow the programming of various things that have been requested over and over by members: blast PMs, for one (see below), and expanded privacy options (see below), as well as other upcoming features.   There is a one-time “conversion” step for your current Buddy List, which is explained in the Help doc Buddy List Upgrade in the Help Center.  Unfortunately, there was no way to keep any tags that you had applied to individual Buddies, so anyone you invite will not be tagged when they accept and go onto your Buddy List.  (Your taglists are preserved, though, so you can reapply tags once the inviting/accepting is done.)  Click the link “Buddy List invitations” at the top of your Buddy List to see who’s invited you!  Read more about the Buddy List upgrade in the Help Doc Buddy List Upgrade under What’s New in the Help Center.

Have a blast. Blast PMs = the ability to send the same message in a PM to multiple members at once.   You can do this from the Buddy List now. Limiting it to Buddies only means we shouldn’t have people spamming other members they don’t know.  This feature was requested of us over and over again, and we are sure many of you will find it useful.  Read more about how to send Blast PMs from the Buddy List in the Help Doc Buddy List Upgrade under What’s New in the Help Center.

New Privacy Controls. Now you can decide to share more…or less…with other members, using the Privacy Controls link at the top of the Settings page in My Account.  You can choose who can see your lists, personal info, online status, and more.  Each of these can be set to Public (everyone can see), Private (no one can see), All Buddies (everyone on your Buddy List can see, but no one else) and Full Buddies (only those designated Full Buddies on your Buddy List can see).  The system defaults before you make selections are the same as the system defaults were before.   Read more about the new privacy options in the Help Doc New Privacy Controls under What’s New in the Help Center.

DEAR R&R: Newsletter – February 2008

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Dear R&R–Why do you keep making changes that no one asked for?  It’s just rude not to let us know in advance when you change something!  Don’t you care at all about what WE want? –Irate in Indiana

Dear Ira,

Yes, we absolutely care about what our members want.  That’s why a lot of the changes get made–they are in direct response to member feedback asking us for improvements to existing features.  Sometimes it may not be obvious how much would need to be changed, programming-wise, to incorporate what may seem to be a simple tweak to the site.  Pretty much everything on the site is interconnected, and often one change over here means a lot of changes over there, and over there, and over there.  We are grateful to our members who write in with suggestions: you all have really helped to improve the site!  We consider every suggestion, and those that we agree would be beneficial to the club we put on our To Do list, which is ranked in order of urgency.  Some items need to be done before others can be started on.  For each project, we hash out all the design features first, then work out the programming, and test it before we release it.  Right after a change “goes live” is the best time to tweak it–and we do, based on member comments in forums and in feedback.  We make a lot of little changes based on member comments in the first day or so after new programming is released.  So many times our members think of things we didn’t; constructive commentary about a new feature, especially if it seems to represent a consensus, often will result in a change.  Just saying “I hate it” won’t make the change go away, though.

We actually do try to make members aware of significant changes to the site.  We don’t send out an email for every single change: we are determined not to clutter up our members’ inboxes with emails.  For very major changes (like the change in Postal Rates by USPS in May 2007, and the site upgrade in the same month) we send out a club-wide email in advance to every single member; we also announce the change in the Newsletter, and update the Help Center.  Very significant changes to major features (for example, the Wish List) we announce in the Newsletter well in advance, to give plenty of notice before the change goes live.   For less significant changes (like the Buddy List and Bookshelf upgrades), we update the Help Center What’s New section, and also announce/explain in the Newsletter.  We can’t time the release of every single change to the site to coincide with the Newsletter–that’s just too restrictive a schedule, and not realistic.  Not everyone gets the Newsletter, and not everyone visits the Forums.  That’s why the Help Center What’s New section exists–it is accessible to every member with just three clicks, from anywhere on the site (click Help Center at the top of any page on the site > click Browse Help Docs > click What’s New! at the top of the list on the left).  For every change of any magnitude, we update the Help Center What’s New area, announce/explain in the Newsletter, and will often post a topic in the Discussion Forums (even though only a small portion of the club uses the Forums regularly).  In addition, the regular Help Center topics are continually updated to reflect smaller changes.

If you keep your eye on the What’s New topic in the Help Center, Ira, you won’t be taken by surprise!  And if you hate a change we make, we are really sorry.  We don’t do it to torture you, honestly.  We make changes only after much consideration and discussion, and nearly always directly in response to member demand.  We know that not all members will love all changes; that would be unrealistic to expect.  But each change is made with the membership in mind, to benefit the club as a whole.

Dear R&R–This Buddy thing is like junior high all over again.  My Buddy List is empty! I am too shy to ask someone to be a Buddy, and I feel like a loser.  I am having PTSD. –Shrinking Violet in Sheboygan

Dear Violet,

Don’t feel like a loser!  Some members haven’t gotten invitations because they lurk in the forums, and don’t post, so no one “knows” them to invite them.  And remember that others also may be feeling shy.  You don’t have to use the Buddy List at all, of course!  But if you want to, just try sending an invitation to a few people; you can send a PM telling them why if you like, but many folks have their Buddy Lists set to auto-accept all invitations.  You can ask members who have the same taste in books as you do, if you notice this while browsing bookshelves or the Forums; you can ask someone with whom you have had a good swap.  When marking a book received, you can say “thanks for the book–this was a really great swap!  If it’s okay I am going to invite you to be a Buddy so I can keep an eye on your bookshelf.”   There’s no reason they wouldn’t want to Buddy with you. A good buddy never harmed anyone, and they will probably be flattered.  You don’t have to know someone well to be Buddies–and you can set any or all of your information to private in your Privacy Controls so that your Buddy List doesn’t make you feel exposed.  And you won’t get “rejection” emails if an invitation isn’t accepted.

We are really sorry we brought back bad memories, Violet.   It may help to keep in mind that all members at PBS are required to be over 18, and that this is a friendly site.  Most members are terrifically kind and open to “meeting” others in the club.  We don’t think there’s anything to fear here.  And those who don’t have a lot of (or any) Buddies aren’t losers.  Not everyone uses the Buddy List.  We think it’s a great feature, but it’s not for everyone of course.  Don’t let it stress you out.

TIPS & TRICKS: Newsletter – April 2007

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Check your Pulse… The Pulse of PBS, accessible from the lower left menu of any page on the site, gives some fun (and awesome) numbers to ponder, including “Books Posted in last 60 minutes” and “Books Mailed Today”. You won’t believe how many books are changing hands at PBS every day until you see this new feature.

The Survey says… we received many requests in Survey responses for features that are already available at PBS! We wanted to let our members know that:

  • Audiobooks and hardcover books are permitted for swapping at PBS. The Help item “What can be swapped here?” (available in the Help Center under “About PBS” and “Posting Books” and from the Need Help? Tab on the right side of the book posting page) has more details. There are also items specifically about hardcovers and audiobooks: you can search the Help Center for “hardcover” or “audio” to see all the relevant items.
  • Westerns is a “highlighted” genre on the Genre Search portion of the Search page. To search the PBS library for Westerns, click Search in the left menu, then scroll down to the blue box “Browse by Genre”. There is a short list of Popular Genres, and “Westerns” is in that list. So yippee-ki-yay! Get your Westerns, and get reading!
  • You can easily see where you are “in line” for your Wish List book, from your Wish List itself: put your cursor over the grey ! to the left of any item on the list, and your place in line will pop up.
  • Members can easily give credits to one another, using the Buddy List. Please see the Help item “How do I give credits to other members?” which is in the Quick Help box on the right side of the Help Center page. You can get to the Help Center by clicking the gold button in the left menu of any page on the site. Note: this feature becomes available for each member only after he or she has received 3 books from PBS.

NEW & IMPROVED: Robert has been busy! Newsletter – April 2006

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

My goodness, where to begin with all that has changed at PBS? There’s the Boxer Rating System, the Message Center and Buddy List re-organization, the new Account page, the Wish List, the Bookshelf sort-by-genre, the Back to Top Link at the bottom of each Forum topic page…the list goes on and on.

The Boxer Rating System–A recently added new feature is the ability to record feedback about the members with whom you exchange a Box-O-Books™. When you have received your box and are ready to report your rating, simply go to Box-O-Books and find the swap you wish to rate. First select how you would rate the overall performance of the member: Positive, Neutral, or Negative. Then leave a few comments to explain your rating. It is appropriate to comment here on how long the member took to mail the box, whether s/he used delivery confirmation, and how well the books were packaged. If you disagree with the comments the other member has made about you, you also have the ability to insert a few words of explanation or defense. Remember that you will not be allowed to edit your comments at a later date, so say what you mean, but mean what you say!

The New Account page: The active transactions have moved down on your Account page, but they are still there! Robert has placed links in the white area in the top middle of the page to take you quickly to the different categories of Active Transactions in your account. This will be very helpful to those members who have a lot of books coming and going and who need to “jump” right to a category to mark a specific book mailed or received. Notice also that your bookshelf has moved off the Account page. To see the books you have listed for swapping, click My Bookshelf on the right-hand menu. You can see all your completed transactions on the Completed Transactions page, also available from the right-hand menu. Your Lost Books and your Canceled Transactions are linked from the top of the Completed Transactions page as well.

The Wish List: The Wish List is now limited to 200 items. Please see the Wish List Update at http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/wish_list_change.php for an explanation of this change in policy. There is also a new feature which will help you keep your Wish List tidy as you go along: when you are offered a Wish List item, if there are other versions of this book also on your Wish List, you have the option to keep the other versions on your Wish List or have them automatically deleted from your Wish List by the system when you accept the offer. If you would prefer NOT to have the other versions deleted when you accept, simply uncheck the box next to the list of alternate versions on the offer. It’s that easy! Remember, if you opt out of the auto-deletion, once you receive the Wish List item, you will need to remove these alternate versions manually from your Wish List.

Box-O-Books Gift Certificates: these make a great gift to a Buddy! To buy a membership in Box-O-Books for another member, simply log into your account and click Buy More Credits on the right side of your Account page. Scroll down to see the various Gift Certificates options. Box-O-Books Gift Certificates are at the bottom of the page. You can use PayPal or Verisign to do this, or send us a money order or check payable to PaperBackSwap, at: PaperBackSwap, 3651 Peachtree Pkwy Suite E390, Suwanee GA, 30024.

The New Buddy List: you can tag your buddies now and sort them by tags–for instance, Boxers, or Cozy Mystery Lovers. You can apply more than one tag to a Buddy, and view your Buddy categories–all Boxers, or all members in a Games Forum swap–with one click. The Buddy List is available as always from the right-hand menu of your Account page.

Who’s Your Buddy? Newsletter – June 2005

Tuesday, June 7th, 2005

This button allows you to add other PBS members to your Buddy List. This helps you to keep tabs on your Buddy’s current list of books and also their Wish List. You can even send them a personal message inviting them to chat at a certain time. You will also receive alerts on in your Buddy List when they are online.