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Topic: Idea for improving the swap process?  (Read 7417 times)
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cranteach
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« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2007 04:38:43 PM »

I'm a teacher, which, maybe, gives me a somewhat unique perspective on this.  Because we, in the public schools, have often done this kind of thinking.

This is the thinking, I think.  You take a problem (some kids are wearing clothes that make people uncomfortable, some people send swap items that don't satisfy their partner), and you come up with a solution, based on rules and policies.  (shorts have to hit mid-thigh, swaps have a two-tiered rating system with scoring guides and opt-outs and averages).

Unfortunately, rules and policies are o.k. ways to cover your tushie, but they don't work so well for human relationships, which are full of sticky spots and grey areas (What is midthigh, anyway?  What if the shorts are long, but they have fifty holes out of which hang dirty thong underwear? What if the recipient loves vintage and faded?  What if the sender had a death in the family, but felt ethically obliged not to flake?

I love all of the people that said that more communication would solve this problem, without the need for ratings/ rankings.  The more relationships we build with each other, the more we can feel comfortable just asking for what we want (I love your look, kid, but those shorts are better for the beach.  Hey -- I'm in the middle of a rainbow binge, and I'm looking for really bright, really new fat quarters.)  Sure, individuals talking and listening are messy, and they make mistakes.  I think rules and policies make just as many mistakes, though.   And the rules just don't feel as nice, somehow.
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yellowladybug
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2007 06:19:37 PM »

 Smiley Teachers always have a way of explaining things that not only helps you understand but also doing it in a way that doesn't make you feel stupid! Smiley

Communication is the key.  Be specific.  Set specific guidelines (i.e. shorts must reach fingertips, I'm borrowing your example cranteach.).  It's always good to want to better the system but I think this would cause too much work for organizers and mods and too much headache for everyone involved.
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determinedimprovisation
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« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2007 06:52:24 PM »

I do like the idea of some sort of improved feedback system.  I used to do a ton of swaps, and before I started crafting for my partner, I'd hunt down all their previous swaps and lots of projects posted on craftster or on their blogs.  I was trying to get an idea of what/how much to expect, so I wouldn't be expecting too much and to have a better idea of how much to send.  I still tended to go overboard though, because I just can't stop myself.  Despite all that research, I sometimes worried about getting something sub-par, because organizers don't usually have much to go on when matching up partners.  On two occasions, I got really crap packages.  One was very late, and while I could tell there was effort in it, the product was unusable.  The other was things off my "things I hate/don't want list," (the person did not get the lists mixed up, because the colors were off my "like/want" list).  The second bad package was also very easy projects, and one of the items had a huge flaw.  The flaw was kindly pointed out in a note.  Well, if you knew it was there and made the item unusable, why not remake it? 

I guess I have 2 points in all that. 
1.  I'd rather be flaked on than get a sub-par package.  With a flaker, I can tell myself personal issues just came up with my partner, and they couldn't do much about it.  (And of course, swap angels are awesome.)  With a crap package, obviously they just didn't care.
2.  I'm not your mommy--a crayon drawing I can't make out but you tried hard on ain't gonna cut it.  No A's for effort.  It's cool if you try something new and it doesn't quite come out but you include it anyway, but don't count that as one of the main items.  If it's obviously messed up--a closure doesn't close right--don't send it to me and tell me I can take it apart and fix it.  This is kinda covered in the general swap rules, but seems to be overlooked.

I LOVE Craftster because we're all so nice here, but I think for swap feedback we need to be honest and not super sugarcoat things.  Still say it nicely, but don't be afraid to say it.  Hopefully we can all take a little criticism. 

I like craft-matic's ideas here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=154039.msg1531935#msg1531935
Those ratings would be really helpful, and not too subjective.
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skarinja
« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2007 07:13:11 PM »

I've experienced a bad swap and let me tell you... It sucks.

I spent hours and hours making stuff that I would have LOVED to keep and then I received a package of stuff that was not at all what I was expecting or requested and overall did not have quality. It was definately sub-par and was not like actual crafts. Some people just aren't up to my personal standard of what is acceptable to send to someone else. I think that while this might hurt people's feelings, it protects people from experiencing a bad swap.

At the same time, some are good and some are bad and I guess we have to learn to deal with it. But it just stinks sometimes.. you know?
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MartiniMonsters
« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2007 07:15:12 PM »

I'm not against the whole ranking idea, but I do see how it would probably be really difficult to implement. This is just a random thought, but what if everyone ranked themselves in every sort of craft they do? That way it would be easy to match people up with similar skill levels. All that could happen is people would lie and say they are better to get something better, but I think so few would do that, that it would end up being the same as how it is now.
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thriftjunkie
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« Reply #45 on: February 21, 2007 07:24:31 PM »

i really wish there could be a way to encourage people to give honest constructive feedback directly to the crafter, and encourage crafters to accept such feedback. there was a post on this somewhere else. darn feelings always get in the way, huh?  Wink

i have seen some really, really terrible swaps that the crafter was SO proud of, and the receiver always says "i loved it," but it never sounds genuine. this is the single reason i have never participated in a swap.

maybe they just don't know they're making crap? i would certainly want to know if i was. i can only tell by the lack of feedback if i made a bad craft- everyone just says "i like it" otherwise. it irks me!
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cinnamon teal
« Reply #46 on: February 21, 2007 10:20:29 PM »

This is just a random thought, but what if everyone ranked themselves in every sort of craft they do?

Theoretically this would be a nice solution, but I think it would be difficult for people to rate themselves.  There are so many different crafts that people here make that I think it would be problematic to create a definitive set of criteria, not to mention ensuring that each person follow it. 

I just don't know about this whole rating idea.  I agree with those that have said that they would like an improved feedback system, but I think that it should be relegated to things like whether or not the swapper complied with the rules of the swap.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but the way I look at a swap is that it's an opportunity to make something for another person.  And yeah, it's really cool that you get something in return, but whether or not you'll like it is always going to be a crap-shoot.  I've done 2 swaps so far.  Each time I assumed that I was going to get something cheesy in return and both times I was pleasantly surprised.  Honestly, my favorite part is the challenge to make something cool.  If you are more concerned with what you will receive, then maybe swapping just isn't for you.

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javastain
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« Reply #47 on: February 21, 2007 10:47:18 PM »

i really wish there could be a way to encourage people to give honest constructive feedback directly to the crafter, and encourage crafters to accept such feedback. there was a post on this somewhere else. darn feelings always get in the way, huh?  Wink

i have seen some really, really terrible swaps that the crafter was SO proud of, and the receiver always says "i loved it," but it never sounds genuine. this is the single reason i have never participated in a swap.

maybe they just don't know they're making crap? i would certainly want to know if i was. i can only tell by the lack of feedback if i made a bad craft- everyone just says "i like it" otherwise. it irks me!

 I still think asking to be rated by your peers, would be a great way to get honest feedback about your stuff. This is the start of self governing, knowing where you stand....
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underthemountain
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« Reply #48 on: February 21, 2007 10:53:04 PM »

This may be an unpopular opinion, but the way I look at a swap is that it's an opportunity to make something for another person.  And yeah, it's really cool that you get something in return, but whether or not you'll like it is always going to be a crap-shoot.  I've done 2 swaps so far.  Each time I assumed that I was going to get something cheesy in return and both times I was pleasantly surprised.  Honestly, my favorite part is the challenge to make something cool.  If you are more concerned with what you will receive, then maybe swapping just isn't for you.

I totally agree with you.  I think the great thing about craftsters is that there are so many generous individuals out there who are not looking to get something great in return, but just wanting to give/share something great with someone else.  In fact I think that a "pay it forward" kind of learning takes place here already and that all swappers get better with time. 
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Mojo
« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2007 03:38:55 AM »

Three more thoughts-

1. The idea that a ranking system would "segregate" (sorry, but that's an offensive word to me) the Craftster community is quite disturbing.  I would like to think that we're not going to get all Lord of the Flies around here and start some kind of hierarchical battle of the ranked and nonranked!  Is it possible there might be some uber-swappers (you know, those folks who participate in multiswaps regularly) who might want to identify themselves as commited swappers?  Not so they can say, "Oo, look at me!  I'm Queen of the Swaps!"  But rather so that they can take pride in their swap integrity and offer some assurance to future partners?  Those who choose not to be ranked might do so for any number of reasons (new to swaps, not planning on swapping often, just not into the idea of rankings, etc). 

2. The swaps as blind dates analogy has been bugging me a bit.  This may be a silly point and for that I apologize.  Even when you agree to a blind date, ideally, you get some sort of reference for the person, right?  A friend recommends him/her, you choose from an online service, whatever.  You do your best to make sure he/she is not an axe-murderer!  I think that's what I was hoping we might achieve with swaps-- some sort of reference system at least.  Make sense?

3. I'm a big fan of the "pay it forward" philosophy.  Personally, I try to build good karma with every swap!  Sadly, not everyone has the time (or means, in some instances) to do the same.  After you've been on the lame side of a couple swaps you might begin to wonder if you're the only one paying it forward.   Sad
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