Swapfig News: Dealing with Bad Traders - Part 6: Our Response

Dealing with Bad Traders - Part 6: Our Response

Hello again everybody.
As you recall, we carried out a survey among Project Swapfig users, where we pitched a few ideas about how we could best deal with \"Bad Traders\", as well asking for suggestions to tackle this very serious issue. What we're calling \"Bad Traders\" have no morals or conscience, and in general ruin the trading experience for everybody.

We've been incredibly busy working on the next level of the site, which we're looking to launch on our second birthday (May 1st), and in the process we are definitely taking your feedback on board.

Based on the comments, responses and suggestions we've received, we will be looking to implement the following features:

Unresponsive users

Most people agreed that a week is enough time for a user to respond to a reported trade issue, so the option to elevate a trading issue (to have it addressed by a moderator) will be made available after the issue has been open for seven days.


We will stick with our two strikes rule: when a user receives two strikes they will automatically be banned. We are currently still deciding on whether or not to keep our existing 30 day strike expiration.

New users

Users will be considered \"new\" until they have both completed their first trade and reached a new trading level. Whenever possible these new users will be indicated.

New users to send first

A very popular suggestion! We will eventually have it to where \"new\" users (to Project Swapfig) will have to send their part of a trade first when trading with experienced users, and have their part marked as completed before the other side is given the ability to send. Most of the issues concerning items not received came from users with no trading history.
In the event of new users trading with each other, the user who has to send first will be chosen at random.

Bad Traders page

We will definitely have a Bad Traders section of the site, which will only be accessible to logged in users, although it will take some time to put together. While we won't expose users' addresses on the page (to err on the side of caution), we are still deciding on the information to provide.
To appear in the Bad Traders section, users will have to be flagged as a Bad Trader by a moderator: this will often happen when resolving an issue.

Level 0

In an effort to mitigate the effects of Bad Traders, especially those who try to rejoin the site (though it's against the House Rules), we're keen on introducing Level 0. Moderators will have the ability to demote a user to Level 0 if they have reason to suspect they are fraudulent.
A trade at Level 0 must be completed for the respective user to remain on the site, after which their trading level will reset to Level 1; if the user does not follow through they will automatically be banned.
As for the million dollar question: we eventually decided in favour of starting new users at Level 0, so they can prove their ability to trade successfully. It was a tough decision, but one that had to be made.

Feedback and notifications

One major oversight with the current site is a lack of notifications regarding trades. We will be introducing the following:
  • an email reminder to users to mark a trade as complete if they have received the other user's part;
  • site notifications about open trades: to send their part of a trade, and to mark the other user's part as complete.
We will also aim to make it clearer when a user is dealing with another user who does not have an address in their profile. We understand the case for having or not having an address on one's profile, so we'd rather leave it to users' discretion as to whether or not it is a deal breaker.

Revoke feedback if a trade is manually closed

If for whatever reason a trade has to be closed by a moderator, neither user will receive feedback for the trade: this will be applied retroactively when the new site goes up. We've had a few instances where a trade had to be closed because a user didn't mark the other user's part as complete.
Changes to trading levels and other stats will only count if a trade has been completed on both sides.

Email addresses

As much as possible, users will be prevented from registering with a \"disposable\" email address. When the new site is launched, anyone registered with such an address will be demoted to Level 0 - so make sure you change yours by editing your profile if that is the case.

Squatters and inactive users

These special kinds of users will no longer show up in search results, or be counted towards statistics. After a certain amount of time (to be determined), accounts suspected of being squatters will be deleted.

Offer limits

Going back to an old feature of the site that didn't work as we'd hoped, we will be reintroducing limits to how many offers users can make at once. There will be a limit on how many offers a user can make to another, as well as the number a user can make in total, and both of these will be based on the user's trading level.

Offer expiry

We'll also be introducing the option to have offers expire after a certain number of days, to address non-response from the user receiving them. Users should already be able to turn off the option to receive trade offers (by editing their profile), but by having offers expire hopefully users will save time and energy.

We can't promise to have all of these in place for the site relaunch, but rest assured we're working to get as much done as possible.