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BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
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Discussions > Members > Buy and Sell > BS&T: A great...  
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farmroast
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farmroast
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 1,449
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Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 8:52am
Subject: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

I started this post because every once in awhile an issue comes up in a BST post that then gets hijacked and the post then becomes about issues with the BS&T forum or what is an appropriate comment/suggestion. I thought it better to post here rather than "Bugs, Suggestions" or "site info" to get more input from those who frequent this section. I really believe this forum section is extremely valuable to our community but could be better. Coffee is a journey education wise and equipment wise. Upgraditis is more common than the common cold when it comes to coffee equipment. The old one is sold and a New/Used one is bought over and over again. Sometimes I buy an item to try/learn about it and then pass it along to another cgeek. I started with a whirly grind now have 2 Majors and know a Robur is in my future. I've always been a believer in "what goes around comes around" and feel generally that most that list on this section do too. I sell for a reasonable price in hopes of being able to buy at a reasonable price. Another good thing about this section is that, when done responsibly, other members can provide useful information that can help a seller or buyer. Misunderstandings/issues do occur every once in awhile and maybe we can come up with better ways to deal with them. CG is family and ebay/craigslist/etc. can be part of the cold cruel world. I'd rather keep our good stuff in the family.
farm

 
Ed Bourgeois... LMWDP #167
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niwot
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Joined: 7 May 2007
Posts: 37
Location: Niwot, CO

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Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 10:24am
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

I completely agree that BST is a useful service. This is from first hand experience, having purchased a PID'ed Silvia, a Super Jolly and several smaller items here.

This said the etiquette here takes some getting used to. In particular sellers may be taken aback by follow-up posts stating that their asking price is too high, that the same machine just sold a month ago for $100 less, that somebody.com is selling a new machine for just $100 more, that somebodyelse.com is selling refurbished machines for the same price, that for the money it would be better to get a different machine altogether, etc.

I think this goes well beyond protecting buyers from outright ripoffs. The goal seems to be avoiding any sort of buyer's remorse. This can be a good thing, but it sometimes causes confusion and frustration, e.g. "Why is this person who has no interest in buying my machine trying to interfere with my sale?" And this in turn leads to noise, which makes BST less useful.

Don't get me wrong; many follow-up posts are very helpful. So my only suggestion is that we all consider counting to ten before pressing Submit Reply.
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RapidCoffee
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RapidCoffee
Joined: 4 Dec 2004
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Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 12:57pm
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

Great post, long overdue. IMHO, simply adhering to the BST guidelines would improve matters dramatically.  I hate to make more work for the moderators, but they should enforce those guidelines more aggressively. In particular:

Simple "Do's" to follow when posting in the BST forum
- Make sure your profile page is up to date, with your real name and an accessible public address...
- Give as much detail as possible about the product, including where bought from, condition, age, any problems or cosmetic defects, etc...
- Post a photo or two...
- Always post an asking price...

These are all reasonable, no-nonsense rules. Of course prospective buyers want to know the model, basic specs, and condition of the gear. Of course they want to see pix. Of course they want to know the price. Of course they need a way to contact the seller - and not only with posts on a public forum. Negotiations between the buyer and the seller should be private matters.

Re price:
1) Post a price, don't ask for offers. Accepting private offers is fine, but let's not turn BST into an auction. We've already got eBay for that.
2) Set a reasonable price. If you try to sell used gear for the same price as new gear, don't get bent out of shape if someone calls you on it. Used gear should be priced significantly under new gear, because the buyer gives up a warrantee and takes a risk on cosmetic/functional damage to the equipment. If you want top dollar for your equipment, sell it on eBay where the audience is 100X larger. If you want to find a good home for it, price it reasonably and sell it on CG.
3) Don't post your gear on eBay and then use the BST forum to advertise the auction.

It goes without saying that this is just my two cents worth. ;-)
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valree
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Joined: 28 Jan 2009
Posts: 4
Location: bay area
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 2:06pm
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

I agree with everyone who's posted so far. Polite realism is where it's at when dealing with strangers, and that goes for buyers and sellers. Sometimes people need to be reminded. One thing I appreciate about this place over craigslist or ebay is the opportunity to buy from someone who really knows what they have - they know the quirks of their piece of equipment and seem by and large to be honest about them. I have not sold here, but if I did I think it would please me to sell to someone who was happy to find my exact configuration of machine rather than just someone who was looking for "something under $400."

I think this is all normal, people just need reminders of rules and appropriateness.

BTW, Hi! From a long time lurker, first time poster.
-
Valerie
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baevans
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baevans
Joined: 22 Jun 2008
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Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 2:54pm
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

I have great respect for the audience here - it is comfortable dealing with people serious about their equipment.
I have sold 3 significant pieces of espresso gear here. In each case (all relatively new - I got the bug bad!) I asked a price about 2/3 of my investment.
Maybe too little, but on the other hand everything sold quickly, and I enjoy seeing posts from people with my stuff now showing up in their profiles - I know the home was good.
I think I'm done shopping now, although a second grinder may be in my future. I firmly support the guidelines posted above - I would like to avoid a trend to auctions and overpriced gear. Naive perhaps, but I'd like the emphasis to be on community.
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espressoed
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espressoed
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Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 2:59pm
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

While there are lots of good changes that could be implemented to make BST better, there's one largely self-policed change that could instantly improve the BST forum as it already exists:

If you're not actually interested in buying the listed item(s), don't respond to FS posts unless bringing to light a factual inaccuracy in the original post or directly related follow-up discussion.

That alone would eliminate a lot of the "white noise" in BST.

Another would be don't respond to WTB posts unless you have the item for sale or know someone who does.

 
E d  C u s t a r d
pseudo-barista

"...the extreme of banality allows us to catch a glimpse of the sublime." Umberto Eco
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
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Location: Vancouver, BC
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Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 3:59pm
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

I like Ed's suggestions, but it's also a moderators' nightmare scenario - there'd have to be a lot of policing and deleting (and dealing with the subsequent emailing - why'd you delete my post! - stuff.

I am looking at ways to change the BST in the future with the new site. One I'm about 99% sure I'm going to implement:

- members will only be able to post a maximum of two new threads per month (two new sales)
- there will be a mechanism in place for members to be able to post more than two items per month
- there will be a mechanism in place for cottage businesses to sell items (and be clearly defined and identifiable)
- there will be a marketplace for commercial businesses to sell their wares, including refurb stock, and maintain it on a daily basis.

In addition, I'm looking at limiting how followups are made. We may have a check system in place (ie, the respond field has a check box that must be clicked, stating "you can only respond if your response meets one of these criteria...." or something like that - basically a check box activation that also clearly states that if the followup doesn't meet the criteria listed, the post may be deleted and/or a strike issued for not complying with the BST rules

We may also limit the number of followups members can make in the BST per month - since the 2 post max will be implemented, perhaps a 2, 3, 4 post followups max per month as well. This will hopefully have the effect of letting people (esp. BST regulars) know that they shouldn't waste their BST posts with noisy responses.

Reading this thread, looking for other ideas as well.

Mark

 
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itsallaroundyou
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Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 6:46pm
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

I check this forum pretty much everyday, and what strikes me as the problem is not that individuals are selling or wanting to buy too many items per month, but that there is a lot of chatter surrounding the new posts (which was already pointed out).  I think Mark's idea of having a check box acknowledging that a post fits certain criteria before posting will seriously cut down on "unnecessary" chatter.  Posts that check the box AND don't meet the criteria get dinged in what ever way the mods see fit.  

If people have a limit to the number of replies they get a month, then that may cause them to withhold tips or info that they otherwise would have freely posted (and that would have probably been beneficial to the people reading the thread). again, the Mark's check box idea would solve that problem.


More rules and suggestions if i were forum czar (these should all be read with "I think that..." preceding them, since they are just my opinion :)

Firstly, what might thin out the "noise" a bit in the forum as a whole is to break it into sub-sections for For Sale, Want To Buy, and Sold/Received (Sold/Received would be helpful for determining "fair" pricing on similar items for potential posters).  Having all of the "dead" threads still in the some forum is hard to sift through.

Pics should be required for items for sale.  Everyone wants to see a pic before buying, except in rare cases, if its required it will reduce the "Can you post a pic?" replies.  Also, it should be possible to post more than one pic in one forum post.  Many individual threads have as many posts with just pics as they do replies.

If an item is sold, you shouldn't reply. Period.  If you're dying to tell the buyer or seller something after the transaction is done, email them off list. (maybe the reply feature can be turned off by a moderator? or even better, automated when "Sold" is in the subject line).  

Buyers and sellers should be required to have an email address posted on their profile, again, this will limit the "I'm interested, but can't find your email address" replies.

as a member with chronic upgraditis, i'd like to see some housekeeping in this forum, but i also don't want it to limit my ability to post, so long as its pertinent to the topic of the thread.

-mike
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,611
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 8:43pm
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

I forgot to mention one other thing we'll be doing with the new forums. Some will not like it, but I know more will.

No member with less than 5 or possibly 10 or more posts in our forums can post anything to the new BST forum - no for sale items, no replies. The posting box in these forums will clearly indicate that, so there's no confusion.

I wanted to implement this rule when we started BST, but our forums software wouldn't allow it - at least easily.

CoffeeGeek is first and foremost a community website, at least where the forums are concerned. People signing up just for the sole purpose of selling a machine isn't community building, in my opinion. It's just one-off using a resource to sell a product, and I never liked it.

Mark

 
CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
www.twitter.com/coffeegeek www.flickr.com/coffeegeek, www.instagram.com/coffeegeek (you get the picture)
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Everman
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Everman
Joined: 25 Nov 2004
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Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009, 8:58pm
Subject: Re: BS&T: A great service, but could it be better?
 

Traffic isn't so high here that many changes seem to be necessary. If volume was perhaps 5 times as much then some kind of split in the forum might be useful. Personally I visit a buy/sell forum daily with extremely high traffic and little to no organization and it still works fine (timezone.com sales corner). On the other hand  having things more organized is nice, I visit AR-15.com frequently and their buy/sell forum is nicely organized, but they have extremely high volume.

Essentially you want it to be easy to use with as few restrictions as necessary. If flooding the forum is a problem then post number restrictions may be needed. It just depends on the circumstances. Maybe a cup collector section would be nice =)
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